December 18, 2023
Yet another year is coming to an end and we’re taking a look back at how we advocated for FreeBSD in 2023. Highlights include a return to regularly attending in-person events, celebrating 30 years of FreeBSD, increasing the number of FreeBSD interns, and increasing our PR efforts. All of these efforts combined work towards a goal of increasing the visibility of FreeBSD to a broader audience.
Advocating for FreeBSD is a key part of the Foundation’s mission. We want to make sure FreeBSD is always part of the operating system conversation. We want to help folks get started and ensure that commercial and academic users are aware of FreeBSD as a solution for their IT stack, products, and research. We want to keep the community informed on the important and interesting FreeBSD work, and ensure that companies using FreeBSD have a place to be heard among developers. That is why we spend time talking about advocacy, and why we want you to be aware of our efforts. Please take a minute to review FreeBSD Advocacy in 2023.
We were excited to get back to attending and sponsoring in-person events on a regular basis. We made our first appearance at the State of Open Conference in February and at Fossy in July. At Fossy, we led a FreeBSD workshop and gave a talk as part of the community track. The talk focused on how FreeBSD has managed to endure and thrive for over 30 years. Overall, we were able to sponsor, present and organize 16 events in 2023 including the in-person June 2023 FreeBSD Developer Summit and the November 2023 FreeBSD Vendor Summit. Videos from the Summits can be found on the Project’s YouTube channel. Trip reports can be found here.
Webinars, How-To Guides, Blogs, and News
We have continued to expand our collection of how-to guides to help folks get started using FreeBSD. The new guides include a quick-start guide to binary package management on FreeBSD, a comprehensive introduction to the Z File System (ZFS) and some of its features, using VirtualBox to host virtual machines on FreeBSD, and a guide to setting up and configuring Packet Filter. Guides that had been made obsolete due to updates were also brought up to date.
One of our goals for 2023 was to expand the coverage of FreeBSD in the media. We partnered with a PR firm earlier in the year to help us highlight the importance of FreeBSD in the open source landscape, the 30th Anniversary, and how companies are using FreeBSD with great success. Some of the 2023 coverage includes:
We also continued to highlight the work the Foundation software development team and members of the community have been doing to support the Project, via the Foundation. Blogs such as A Sneak Peek: SIMD-Enhanced String Functions for AMD64 and, of course, the Software Development Project Updates like this one: July 2023 Software Development Projects Update help keep you in the know about what we’re working on. We also shared interesting FreeBSD related work done by the community at large such as FreeBSD for Research: CHERI/Morello and Why FreeBSD: Metify to Showcase How Moving to FreeBSD Enhanced Two New Products.
Whether through Google Summer of Code, the University of Waterloo co-op program, or just through the Foundation itself, we introduced you to many of the students working with the Project and Foundation over the past year. Be sure to check out the blog or newsletter to learn more about their experiences with FreeBSD. Working with students was a priority for the Foundation this year, and it will be an even bigger focus in 2024.
We also provided conference trip reports, tips on connecting with the community, and announcements about new initiatives like the SSDF Attestation. You’ll hear more about the latter from our new Director of Partnerships and Research, Greg Wallace.
It’s safe to say, we covered a lot of areas in 2023, and we hope you’ll take the time to check out all the latest updates you may have missed.
Happy 30th Birthday FreeBSD!
June 19, 2023 marked the 30th Birthday of FreeBSD and we had such fun celebrating with the community. The celebration kicked off at the June FreeBSD Developer’s Summit with a 30th birthday FreeBSD Timeline cake, special swag, commemorative t-shirt, and the printed 30th birthday issue of the FreeBSD Journal. Starting the week of FreeBSD Day (June 19th), we began highlighting the features of FreeBSD. Some of the articles included:
We’re also very proud to say that you can still access the FreeBSD Journal for Free. Recently, we’ve also transitioned to offering each article in HTML format. By transitioning to the HTML format, we can now bring all the informative articles to the community in multiple ways. We can also more easily promote individual articles for greater visibility and track the views to get a pulse on what the community finds interesting and valuable. Being able to provide this kind of FreeBSD information, at no cost to the reader, is just one of the ways we’re continuing to advocate for the Project. If you haven’t read it yet, please take a look and share with your friends and colleagues.
Newsletter and Quarterly Status Reports
Both the FreeBSD Newsletter and the Project’s Quarterly Status Reports are an excellent way to find out about upcoming grant and CFP submission deadlines, get ongoing updates from our software development team, and find out more about where we’re going and where we’ve been to promote FreeBSD around the world. Our newsletters are back to a monthly cadence, and, this year we showcased a different focus area of the Foundation for most of the year. If you haven’t yet signed up to receive the newsletter from us, please do so at the bottom of this page. Check out past issues of the newsletter and our quarterly status reports for 2023.
This year we continued to expand our presence on social media, increasing the number of articles and technical content that we shared. We also created a Mastodon profile to reach a new audience. As an advocacy tool, social networks are key in building awareness for the project, as well as connecting with our most valuable resource, the community. Continuing to build a dialog with the community remained a focus in 2023.
The expanded social media presence led to nearly 1 million post impressions in 2023, growing global awareness of FreeBSD. Engagement on these posts also increased by 38% from 2022. Not only did we promote more FreeBSD content, but the community was more engaged with the content we shared. Even with multiple social networks losing large portions of their user base in 2023, we continued to steadily grow our followers, more than doubling our new follower rate from 2022.
We’re excited to continue improving our social media presence in 2024, focusing on promoting technical content. We hope that social media can continue to provide a glimpse into our work to support the community. In order to better serve the project, offering high-quality content to the global FreeBSD community remains one of our main priorities. Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest in FreeBSD and our work to support the project.
In collaboration with the FreeBSD Core team, we recently launched the FreeBSD 2024 Community Survey. The purpose of this survey is to collect quantitative data from the public in order to help guide the Project’s priorities and efforts. It will remain open for only a limited time so we encourage you to participate promptly. Your feedback is very important to us. Thank you for your help!
As you can see, the Foundation advocacy team had a very productive 2023. We were able to accomplish so much this year, in part, because of the financial support from the FreeBSD community. Your commitment to the Project is truly inspiring. Thank you for your investment into the success of FreeBSD and if you’re able, please consider making a donation today. We can’t do this without you!
— Contributed by Anne Dickison and Drew Gurkowski