The Foundation has published its semi-annual newsletter. It contains updates on this year's projects and fundraising campaign, testimonials from TaxiMagic and the Apache Software Foundation, and the Q1-Q3 balance sheet. You can read the newsletter here
. It begins with the letter from the President which is as follows:
The Making of The FreeBSD Foundation
My first introduction to FreeBSD came in the form of a tall, wirery,figure, camped out in the Walnut Creek CDROM machine room. RodGrimes cut the figure of a true hacker: skin only touched by therays of a glowing CRT, nicotine stains on his long fingers tonedby hours of vi keywork, and a wardrobe comprised of faded blue jeansand worn out t-shirts. Regardless of what hours I worked duringmy internship that summer of 1993, Rod was always awake, hunchedover his keyboard, putting all of his energy into the first everrelease of FreeBSD.
I was between my second and third years working on an undergraduatedegree at the University of California at Berkeley. Even attendingthe institute of BSD's genesis, I was completely unaware of Berkeley'scontributions to UNIX. So it was really a stroke of luck, a randomchoice to take a job organizing OS/2 software into a CDROM distribution,that led me to Walnut Creek that summer to witness the making ofFreeBSD 1.0. But without Rod's passion and dedication, I doubt I'dhave realized the opportunity before me.
What I quickly learned from watching Rod and then delving intoFreeBSD, was the incompleteness of my education from Berkeley. SureI was technically proficient in computer algorithms and writingcode, but my courses failed to give me a sense of the art of computerengineering: how to be a craftsman practicing my trade, how todesign and build a complex system that is robust and maintainable,and how to collaborate successfully in such a system. The structureand methodology behind FreeBSD made it the perfect vehicle forabsorbing the real world skills of being a successful programmer.
In 1993, the development model used by the BSDs was rarely encounteredin open source projects: revision control, a bug tracking database,a coding style standard, the hardening of software through peerreview and discussion, and a governing body to mediate write accessto the code and to resolve disputes. Many of these pillars ofprofessional and successful engineering are lacking in both corporateand open source environments today. In fact, it took almost adecade for BSD's main competitor Linux to catch up and adopt somethingas fundamental as revision control. In so many ways, FreeBSD'sdevelopment model was superior and ahead of the times.
So I started my second education while completing my first. Duringmy last two years at Berkeley I spent most of my free time, andsome time I should have devoted to the classes for my degree,absorbing the lessons FreeBSD had to teach. The FreeBSD distributionoffered practical examples of how to deal with almost any type ofcomputer science challenge - examples that I found much morecompelling than the contrived exercises in my text books. While Iwas learning I was also able to contribute in small ways. Thereviews of my work were much more useful than for the projectsassociated with my formal studies. The feedback wasn't alwaysdelivered in the most pleasant way, but that in itself providedvaluable experience on how to improve my people skills.
Small contributions lead to larger ones. The apprentice became amentor. Upon receiving my degree, I found myself sitting on FreeBSD'sgoverning body, the FreeBSD Core Team, with a skill set and experiencein high demand and not found in other members of my graduatingclass.
The historical way to contribute back to the FreeBSD project hasalways been to volunteer time to enhance the "product" that isFreeBSD. For seven years this was the primary way I repaid FreeBSDfor the valuable education I received by being part of its community.However, by 2000 I was struggling to find a better way to ensurethe continued success of FreeBSD. FreeBSD's mindshare growth wasslowing. Linux was starting to receive the attention and financialbacking of large corporations. I wanted to create something thatcould promote, protect, and grow the use of FreeBSD even while theduties of my paid day job prevented me from personally achievingthat mission. The natural answer was to form a corporation.
This had been done before. Jordan Hubbard was operating FreeBSDInc., but its charter and activities were never well defined. Iwanted to build an entity that engendered the trust of the FreeBSDcommunity, followed in the Open Source spirit of doing good forgood's sake, yet could perform tasks only possible with a legalcorporate entity. The FreeBSD Foundation, an open-book, 501(c)3U.S. non-profit charity, was born.
Fast forward a little over a decade, and the FreeBSD Foundationstill adheres to the same mission I defined for it in 2000. Everyyear we sponsor BSD conferences and events around the globe, workto protect the intellectual property of the FreeBSD project, visitinstitutions and corporations to promote the use of FreeBSD, andfund research and development projects that enhance the FreeBSD OS.But even with our $400,000 annual budget there are so many thingswe want to do, but can't. Just as was the case for me in 2000, theFreeBSD Foundation is searching today for new ways to help supportthe FreeBSD project.
In the coming months you will see one of the ways the FreeBSDFoundation is changing. Using the feedback we have gleaned fromcountless meetings with FreeBSD consumers both large and small, theFreeBSD Foundation is sponsoring the work to fully specify andestimate the cost of implementing critical enhancements to theFreeBSD platform. Developed in partnership with the FreeBSDcommunity, the goal of this effort is to provide a roadmap forinfrastructure improvements that have long been needed, but havegone unsatisfied due to lack of a coherent direction. This modelwill also give current and potential supporters of the FreeBSDFoundation concrete insight into our future plans.
I can't imagine what my life would be like today without my FreeBSDexperience. Through the FreeBSD Foundation I hope to give back tothe FreeBSD community even more than I have received, and help toensure that the next young engineer has the same opportunities asI did. However the FreeBSD Foundation can't do it alone. If FreeBSDhas impacted your life, please visit our website
and help us to continue FreeBSD's legacy.
Justin T. Gibbs
President and Founder
The FreeBSD Foundation