February 3, 2017

Faces of FreeBSD

Welcome to the first 2017 edition of the Faces of FreeBSD series. We’re again sharing a story from someone involved in FreeBSD. It may be a story from someone who’s received funding from us to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, or advocate for FreeBSD. Or, it may be from someone who gives back to FreeBSD financially or in another way.  Regardless, it is always from someone who is making a positive difference in the FreeBSD world.

Here’s a chance to get to know your fellow FreeBSD enthusiasts. Sit back and enjoy the next Faces of FreeBSD story.

Joseph Kong’s Story


Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m the author of “Designing BSD Rootkits” and “FreeBSD Device Drivers” and I’ve been involved with FreeBSD, in some form or another, since 2003. I’m also on the editorial board for the “FreeBSD Journal.” Currently, I work for Dell EMC on the OneFS Networking Team. (OneFS is based on FreeBSD.)

How did you learn about FreeBSD?

In 2003 I was working for the City of Toronto as a system administrator. One day my manager asked me if I knew anything about FreeBSD. My response: “Never heard of it.” He then promptly gave me three FreeBSD machines to admin. After spending far too long figuring out how to install FreeBSD on a personal machine, I fell in love with its coherent, minimalistic, and clean nature. I’ve been a fan ever since.

What is your involvement in FreeBSD?

Certain members of the FreeBSD community, namely George V. Neville-Neil and Michael W. Lucas, coerce me to write about FreeBSD and submit patches (mostly networking related).

Why do you like FreeBSD?

From a non-technical standpoint, I enjoy the freedom the 3-clause BSD license affords me and the community. My past three employers have all built network appliances based on FreeBSD and the license is one of the reasons FreeBSD was chosen. The community is wonderful. I’ve learned a great deal about systems programming from this community and for that I am forever grateful.

From a technical standpoint, I enjoy the coherent, minimalistic, and clean nature of FreeBSD. For example, to allocate a kernel resource you simply call bus_alloc_resource() and pass it the type of resource you want, whereas with some other operating systems there’s a completely different function with completely different parameters for each type of resource.

Have you been helped by the FreeBSD Foundation?

The FreeBSD Foundation contracted me to write a series of white papers about FreeBSD. You can find the first one here.

The white papers are designed to increase FreeBSD’s awareness within the greater tech community. They explain how FreeBSD is used in a variety of products and applications.

This project is still ongoing.

Any final thoughts? 

The FreeBSD Foundation is dedicated to building the FreeBSD community. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve learned a great deal about programming from this community and with that knowledge I’ve been able to build a career in the high tech industry without any formal training. This community has helped me and that’s why I give back. If possible, I ask that you do too (if only to help another poor soul like me).