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FreeBSD Project Falls Short of Year End Funding Target By Nearly 50% 245

Posted by samzenpus
from the half-empty dept.
TrueSatan writes "Perhaps a sign of our troubled times or a sign that FreeBSD is becoming less relevant to modern computing needs: the FreeBSD project has sought $500,000 by year end to allow it to continue to offer to fund and manage projects, sponsor FreeBSD events, Developer Summits and provide travel grants to FreeBSD developers. But with the end of this year fast approaching, it has raised just over $280,000, far short of its target."
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FreeBSD Project Falls Short of Year End Funding Target By Nearly 50%

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  • Finally.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by identity0 (77976) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:37PM (#42235453) Journal

    After many long years on Slashdot, can I be the first one to actually confirm that FreeBSD is dead?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:06PM (#42235729)

      No. Only Netcraft is allowed to do that.

    • by Kergan (780543) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:18PM (#42235831)

      It's. Not. Dead. Yet.

      It'll return as a zombie... process?

  • by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:40PM (#42235499)
    I have never met anyone in person who uses it. I know some must.
    • by Melkman (82959) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:46PM (#42235567)

      Well, I know people who use FreeNAS which is based on FreeBSD. I think the thought behind the BSD license is telling. It basically says you can take the code and nothing in return is expected, which is exactly what they get.

      • by 1s44c (552956) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @04:52PM (#42236639)

        Well, I know people who use FreeNAS which is based on FreeBSD. I think the thought behind the BSD license is telling. It basically says you can take the code and nothing in return is expected, which is exactly what they get.

        I know from personal experience that at least some big mega-corps do give stuff back to the BSD's.

        I worked at a place that spent loads of money improving one of the BSDs. They gave back everything for the purely selfish reason that they could either keep maintaining their changes at a high cost or send the changes to the project and get maintance for free. The improvements to the BSD were publicly known but who funded them never was.

      • by imp (7585) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:07PM (#42237989) Homepage

        Having worked on FreeNAS and its commercial counterpart, I can tell you that iX Systems, the folks behind FreeNAS, give quite a lot back to FreeBSD. There is much code flowing back into the project from them, they sponsor many FreeBSD developers to attend various events, they leverage their buying power to get cheap/free servers for the project.

        Juniper Networks did a port of FreeBSD to mips, and contributed it back, as well as substantial support for different arm and PowerPC platforms.

        Yahoo has contributed many things back to the project over the years.

        And the lest goes on and on. There is a mutually beneficial relationship between the community, the corporations that use it and the project. To speak otherwise shows a woeful ignorance of reality.

    • by Cinder6 (894572) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:56PM (#42235659)

      Obviously you've never met me (well, most likely you haven't), but I used to use FreeBSD in the early-to-mid-2000s, back before I went to OS X. I always liked it a lot--more than any of the *nixes I used, with the possible exception of Arch.

    • FreeBSD was very popular 10 years ago. In my opinion those were its golden days.

      BSD Unix golden days were 4.2 - 4.4 where TCP/IP was developed back in the early 1980s and Sun's Gossling worked on the kernel. Its freeBSD counterpart golden days were 4.0 - 4.12 before it went to shit and Linux/Ubuntu took over.

      10 years ago FreeBSD was ahead of Linux and it drove me nuts to see slashdot down all the time (not so common now) as Linux couldn't scale for more than 2 cpus and crashed or halted when it had a shitlo

      • Example man /etc would talk about that directory where no such entry was in Linux.

        Maybe it just isn't necessary. Even BSDs get some things completely wrong:

        $ man woman
        No manual entry for woman
        $

      • by donaldm (919619)

        FreeBSD 4.0 - 4.12 will always have a place in my heart right there with the Windows fan boys loving XP as its golden age.

        Yes I do remember installing MS Windows XP when it first came out and getting a virus when I forgot I was connected to the Corporate network although I never had any issues when installing a distribution of Linux. :)

        Today Linux has suceeded it and can now scale to 64 processors.

        With the 3 kernel Linux can scale to 512 processors.

        Linux has a journaling file system now

        Linux has had a journaling file-system for many years now such as ext3 (approx 2001). Of course I should also mention ext4, JFS, XFS and even BtrFS to name a few.

        • by KiloByte (825081)

          Today Linux has suceeded it and can now scale to 64 processors.

          With the 3 kernel Linux can scale to 512 processors.

          Try bumping the setting and recompiling, m'kay?

          Linux has had a journaling file-system [...]and even BtrFS to name a few.

          Actually, btrfs doesn't use band-aids like a journal (except for the fsync log): copy on write means you don't need to write the same thing many times. Take a look at log-structured filesystems for an even cooler solution.

    • I had to programming jobs that used freebsd. and one that used netbsd. but that was many years ago. these days, all I'm seeing are linux this and linux that.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      I have never met anyone in person who uses it. I know some must.

      Dammit. I use it, I was using it 10 minutes ago. I can't be alone.

      I store lots of data on FreeBSD 9.0 using ZFS because I really like ZFS. I also run BackupPC for my personal stuff on it.

      I also really like the handbook. One simple accessible document for most of everything is so much easier than the Linux distros.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Beetjebrak (545819)
      FreeBSD? Right here on my laptop, my media center, my personal web and mail servers, and a hell of a lot of servers (est. 400 or so) at work. But we probably haven't met. If we have, I generally don't use my preference for FreeBSD as a conversation starter.
    • by m6tt (263581)

      I use it all the time. I also use Linux variants.

      FreeBSD is really a powerful, well-documented system that brings a lot of stuff to the table that's not possible, not production ready, or simply broken in Linux.

      Off the top of my head: standardized networking commands, ZFS (in kernel), GEOM framework, devd, pf firewall is huge, RAID trim support, lagg (link aggregation/hot failover) and CARP (common address redundancy protocol...share IP for multiple servers).

    • by toejam13 (958243)

      Not only have I used BSD, but I'd say that it shaped my adult life.

      As a teen, I signed up for a UNIX timeshare service that utilized a Sun SPARCstation running SunOS 4 (4.3BSD based). You got a Csh and a T1 to the 'Net. When they started offering SLIP service, I installed AmiTCP, an Amiga port of the NetBSD network stack which also included many /bin commands and /etc conf files.

      I eventually took the plunge and installed NetBSD 0.9 on my Amiga 3000. Later, it was FreeBSD 2.x on my 486/66. While most peo

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Well, most large ISPs use it for multiple things. It's the base used for most firewalls and load balencers. It is the fastest TCP/IP implementation on the planet.

    • by rycamor (194164)

      Currently using FreeBSD (in the form of PCBSD [pcbsd.org]) on my home workstation. It works quite well with the latest KDE, Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, etc... Nvidia card gets perfect 3D acceleration via the FreeBSD driver, audio works great (I much prefer FreeBSD audio to Linux audio).

      Also using FreeBSD on my cloud hosted webserver: one main instance of FreeBSD hosted via KVM, running several jails, so I essentially get VMs inside my VM. Performance is great, and I sleep much better at night managing a FreeBSD

  • by butlerm (3112) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:49PM (#42235603)

    My first instinct is to think so what? Shouldn't non-profit foundations have ambitious fund raising targets that they fall short of most of the time? Is FreeBSD in danger of ceasing to be a viable operating system because the target wasn't met?

    • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:42PM (#42236051) Homepage

      My first instinct is to think so what? Shouldn't non-profit foundations have ambitious fund raising targets that they fall short of most of the time? Is FreeBSD in danger of ceasing to be a viable operating system because the target wasn't met?

      Last year their target was $400k and they reached $426k so they're not intentionally making too ambitious targets. That this is an annual campaign and they're $146k short of matching last year indicates interest has dropped significantly. Looking at their donors it's now practically run by Netapp that's moved up to double platinum ($100k+), accounting for more than a third of their total donations. The more disturbing part for them should be that the donor [freebsdfoundation.org] list is much, much shorter than last year.

    • by stephanruby (542433) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:45PM (#42236085)

      Also considering that the year is not over yet, and that a third of the money usually gets raised during the last month of the year, I'd say their fundraising effort is still going pretty smoothly.

      For 2011, we set a fundraising goal of $400,000 with a spending budget of $350,000. As of this publication we have raised $210,000. By this time last year, we had raised $195,000, but ended the year raising a total of $325,000. We are hoping that you, the FreeBSD community, will help us finish the year strong by making a donation this month. http://www.freebsdfoundation.org/press/2011Dec-newsletter.shtml#Fundraising [freebsdfoundation.org]

      Who wants to bet that this year, they'll have fundraised $400,000 by the deadline, and that for next year -- they'll raise the target to $650,000.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      no, but less bsd nerds will get to travel on that dime.

      I'm thinking maybe freebsd should add a huge banner to appear! think wikipedia.

    • My first instinct is to think so what? Shouldn't non-profit foundations have ambitious fund raising targets that they fall short of most of the time?

      Actually, the FreeBSD Foundation has never missed a funding target and, given late donations in previous years and unannounced pledges by a few companies looks like it should meet it this year too (which is nice, as it's 25% higher than the goal for last year).

      Is FreeBSD in danger of ceasing to be a viable operating system because the target wasn't met?

      No. The project lasted for a long time without the Foundation and could continue to do so. The Foundation does a number of useful things for the project,

  • by urbanriot (924981) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:52PM (#42235621)
    Since we made the switch to FreeBSD in 2004, providing various services such as proxying web usage or web access logging for corporations, we've never even considered another OS as it's been a rock solid performer. Thousands of users in various locations are relying on our systems and despite inept people accidentally unplugging some of them, failed UPS', failed hard drives, they ruggedly truck on without issue.

    Hopefully the front page posting will encourage other FreeBSD users to donate. There's certainly more servers in production, especially some of the more reliable ones, that are using FreeBSD according to Netcraft.
    • I currently use FreeBSD on a student run server, but will be switching back to Linux because a lot of the ports are getting a little long in the tooth. I have otherwise enjoyed the stability of the system, but for our needs having an up to date php and apache are very useful things.
      • by adri (173121)

        .. FreeBSD person here.

        Which ports in question? I was under the impression that PHP/apache ports are kept up to date in the ports tree.

        • by urbanriot (924981)
          He may be referring to Apache HTTP Server 2.4.x, discussion concerning what he's referring to can be found on forums.freebsd.org - http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.php?t=34310 [freebsd.org]

          ... of course, at the end of the day he can always compile from source or follow blog postings which provide a considerable amount of detail to complete this simple task. We've compiled from source many of our applications so we can customize the compiled experience to a finer degree. I may have made some ports contributions alo
          • he may also just be referring to how easier it is to install on Ubuntu just small things like installing a server will have it properly configured already meanwhile I'll install some things from a port then need to edit for what seems like forever to get things up and running assuming I can find the conf files as they aren't necessarily put in a logical place like in ubuntu

            • by rgbrenner (317308)

              Care to give an example of conf files being placed illogically in FBSD?

              the directory structure is explained here:
              http://www5.us.freebsd.org/doc/handbook/dirstructure.html [freebsd.org]
              and every port is required to follow that structure.

            • by urbanriot (924981)
              If you're finding it difficult to find .conf files in /etc and properly constructing a sentence, then it's possible that Ubuntu Server is perfect for him or you. Especially you.
            • I never recommend compiling from source in 2012!

              SOmething complex with lots of dependencies are just going to cause problems as who the hell knows what .config files will change and crap being spewed all over the file system.

              The official ports patch everything and it has to pass the FreeBSD QA and integrates with it well into the system. .deb files are similiar

            • by 1s44c (552956)

              The conf files are in absolutely logical and consistent places, they are merely not in the place where you expect them nor in the same place they would be on ubuntu.

              Like someone else said, read the handbook.

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        ..but for our needs having an up to date php and apache are very useful things.

        You might want to lookup nginx. Apache is so 2000-late.

  • Not to late (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    You know it is not too late to chip in. Fortunately 2012 isn't over yet.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:06PM (#42235739)

    ...the FreeBSD project has sought $500,000 by year end to allow it to continue to offer to fund and manage projects, sponsor FreeBSD events, Developer Summits and provide travel grants to FreeBSD developers.

    Hmm...

    • manage projects: YES
    • sponsor FreeBSD events: NO
    • sponsor Developer Summits: NO
    • provide travel grants to FreeBSD developers: NO

    Problem solved.

    • Oh certainly, that can probably solve things for a year or two, depending on just how they were gonna allocate that 500k, but long term you have to remember that FreeBSD is a community project and, in the long term, sponsoring those things is part of how you make the community grow and thrive.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        Oh certainly, that can probably solve things for a year or two, depending on just how they were gonna allocate that 500k, but long term you have to remember that FreeBSD is a community project and, in the long term, sponsoring those things is part of how you make the community grow and thrive.

        just spend the money on beer for the summits.
        people will come if you promise them free hats and beer.

        have them in the summer, so you'll save on rent on a warm place(outdoor drinking in the arctic in the winter sucks, even if the beer is cold).

    • Agreed, this is management 101. I'm not sure the funding gap reflects a loss in relevance for the platform. I chose it specifically as a platform and its suited my needs and even met them. I've never managed a better put-together *nix system. Nice when the man pages all match the software and are up to date, and the ports system is lovely. I'm not sure I'll build another Linux server again after the good experience I had with BSD (It's dictatorshandbook.net by the way, a VPS run by rockvps.com - also

    • I can understand this in terms of setting a top priority but wouldn't each element being removed affect the short and long term viability of the project? If funding can't be provided what would be the short term and long term effects of less/no events/summits be and even if some were to be held what would be the effect of developers whose personal situation, or company support, wouldn't otherwise allow them to go then not getting a grant and, thus, not attending?
      • by iggymanz (596061)

        get real, no need for travel. summit can be held online. meetings and forums can be done online. development can be done online.

        I just saved FreeBSD a cool half million.

  • by unixisc (2429386) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:27PM (#42235919)

    Technically, FBSD seems to have done a fine job, but they need to be more proactive in proliferating the market. For one, they could partner w/ server manufacturers of various platforms. One that comes straight to mind is HP w/ the Itanium, and here, FBSD's only competition would be Debian and HP/UX. Given all the OSs that have abandoned the platform, this is one golden opportunity for FBSD. Others would be to get into the AVL of major server manufacturers, be it HP, Dell, IBM and so on.

    The other thing FBSD can do is try selling itself against Linux. Here, they can adapt a 2 pronged strategy - offer FBSD to any server vendor considering Linux as a server, and offer other alternatives, based on the target applications. If it requires good SMP support or a special file system, consider DragonFly BSD. If it's for routers and firewalls, promote pFsense or m0n0wall. If it's for desktop or laptop use, promote PC-BSD. If it is for embedded applications, consider Minix, or maybe one of the other BSDs. The main marketing strategies should focus on all technical advantages of FBSD and FBSD based distros over Linux based distros. Things like backwards compatibility, stable APIs and ABIs, and so on. Use the licensing advantage only as icing on the cake. While some Linux shops may be dug in, others may be more open to such alternatives.

    One thing I wonder - if FBSD, heaven forbid, goes under, what would be the effect on all the other projects - pFsense, m0n0wall, PC-BSD, et al? Will they automatically fold, or will they just be forks from 9.1? I do think a less onerous alternative to GPL is needed, which is why I'd hate to see BSD go under.

  • by Zenin (266666) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:28PM (#42235925) Homepage

    http://www.freebsd.org/donations/ [freebsd.org]

    Great start! The home page has a Donate link at the top, it takes you to a clear, simple URL.

    Then it all falls apart...

    95% of the page is about everything other then cash donations. The simple PayPal Donate button? No where to be found. The Network For Good Donate link? Again, AWOL. In fact there is only one small paragraph buried 2/3rds of the way down the page about cash donations...and it just tells you to visit the FreeBSD Foundation page. Even worse, it doesn't link you to the Foundation's Donation page...it links you to the home page where you again, need to dig down and find the real donations page.

    Stick the PayPal Donate box (found here [freebsdfoundation.org]) on the top of the main FreeBSD.org page and I guarantee they'll easily quadruple their donations without doing anything else whatsoever.

    I love, love, LOVE FreeBSD, but yah...they've never been particularly good at tooting their own horn. :-/

  • I've been using FreeBSD on my home servers since 2.1 until recently when I tried Ubuntu on the new server I was building. It's just drastically better at initial configuration. Most of the servers I would want to use are either installed by default or are very easy to install or configure with little intervention. There are too many hoops to jump through on FreeBSD.

    • Agreed. I've been using FreeBSD off and on since 2.2.2. Despite some really eye watering bugs with Ubuntu (especially their ec2 instances), FreeBSD is just more tedious and more frustrating to use. But... FreeBSD has the one killer feature for me: ZFS. It's portable in a pinch and ensure a decent amount of data integrity. Hammer, BTRFS, etc don't offer that kind of flexibility.

      For the upgrade from 7.x to 8.x I used "freebsd-update". I forgot to disable the cron task, so after falling asleep the machin

    • Most of the servers I would want to use are either installed by default or are very easy to install or configure with little intervention.

      From a security standpoint, I prefer the FreeBSD model. Nothing extra running, and very secure by default. Anything that's running is there because I made it to do so, and nothing more. The hoops are generally there to make sure the system stays secured.

  • Misleading Story (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zamphatta (1760346) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:48PM (#42236117) Homepage
    A quick Google reveals that FreeBSD's "Year-End Fundraising Campaign" was only recently announced, on December 5th [twitter.com]. So, naturally, they won't be all that close to their goal by December 9th.
  • Apparently the FreeBSD developers have seldom met their own schedule estimates. They don't really think it's important to do so. They estimate October, by December if you ask them when it will be released, they answer, "when it's ready". Their setting of fund raising goals may be similar to their scheduling. They're not good at managing expectations. I don't think FreeBSD will be going away any time soon. How many Linux distributions have failed to meet their fund raising goals from time to time and yet are

  • by laffer1 (701823)

    FreeBSD tends to do a funding push for short iterations. I don't think this one has been going long. I've only seen posts on it recently. Often, they get many donations from a few select companies that use it. For example, ixsystems, cisco, and juniper.

    As someone that runs a very small project, I think they're lucky to have the funding support that they get. Several of the regulars have gotten day jobs or contract work out of their involvement too. I think FreeBSD is a great example of a successful op

    • The real problem is many folks don't donate to open source projects. I've donated to OpenSSH via OpenBSD in the past as I use it all the time. If everyone donated even a few dollars to their favorite projects, it would make a huge difference.

      I don't know if that's a real problem. There are a lot of ways you can help a project. Contributing code. Using it and filing bug reports and feature requests. Even just talking about it can be helpful.

      As for donations, I think there have been cases where getting more money into the project has hurt rather than helped (sorry, I don't have links and don't remember the specifics). At the very least, that means it's not clear that donating money is the best way to help a project. Of course, some things cost mo

  • I split my Unix derivative loyalties between Arch and FreeBSD, usually with the lNeverputt runs smoother on it than it did on my Arch install.

    atter for servers on really old hardware. Recently, I've found Arch upgrading has become more and more of a pain in the ass, especially on rigs with ATI cards. I carried on with it, but the recent removal of the awesome little installation program (I'm lazy when it comes to installers) made me think twice about switching.

    So I went with FreeBSD on an old ThinkPad A31.

    • I split my Unix derivative loyalties between Arch and FreeBSD, usually with the lNeverputt runs smoother on it than it did on my Arch install.

      God, I fucked that up.

  • FreeBSD and Debian (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dgharmon (2564621)
    How about merging with Debian?
    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Debian already has a project called kFreeBSD, where they combine Debian userland w/ a FreeBSD kernel. They also have a new Clang project. Long term, given Debian's strained relations w/ the FSF, it may not be such a bad idea. It would enable Debian to de-emphasize Linux and push their FBSD instead, and make all their software, such as apt, available for FBSD as well.
  • Last year they aimed at $300k and got over $400k. This year, they asked for $500k and got $250k thus far...

    Except that every year, sponsors hold out until the end of the year. Seeing 50% of goal before the major corporate donations is great. Last year they were far from their goal at this time.

    Sorry, but this is a bit of doom saying by a Linux fanboi. There isn't even an article attached, just the donation link (thanks for spreading the word) and a some conjecture about what being only half way implies.

    The

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