April 1, 2021

Written as part of the FreeBSD Project’s 1st Quarter 2021 Status Report, check out the highlights of what we did to help FreeBSD last quarter:

COVID-19 Impact to the Foundation

Like most organizations, our team continued to work from home. Our temporary ban on travel for staff members remains in effect, but continues to not affect our output too much, since most conferences are still virtual. We continued supporting the community and Project, even though some of our work and responses may have been delayed because of changes in some of our priorities and the impact of limited childcare for a few of our staff members.

Partnerships and Commercial User Support

We help facilitate collaboration between commercial users and FreeBSD developers. We also meet with companies to discuss their needs and bring that information back to the Project. Not surprisingly, the stay at home orders, combined with our company ban on travel during Q1 made in-person meetings non-existent. However, the team was able to continue meeting with our partners and commercial users virtually. These meetings help us understand some of the applications where FreeBSD is used.

We were thrilled for the opportunity to work with AMD early on to ensure FreeBSD worked on their recently released third generation EPYC series. You can read more about that here: https://freebsdfoundation.org/news-and-events/latest-news/freebsd-well-prepared-for-amd-epyc-7003-series-processors/.

Fundraising Efforts

First, we’d like to say thank you to everyone who has given us a financial contribution this year! Last quarter we raised $88,237, which includes donations from organizations like Facebook and Tarsnap, as well as many individuals. We also have a few donation commitments for this quarter.

Going forward this quarter, we will be reaching out to FreeBSD commercial users to help support our growing efforts. At the beginning of 2021, we opened two job positions in our software development team, to increase the amount of support we are able to provide in this area. That includes increasing the amount of code reviews and bug fixes we do and adding some major features to FreeBSD, to help keep FreeBSD the innovative, secure, and reliable operating system you rely on.

You’ll find out how we used your donations for Q1 in our report, as well as individual reports throughout this status report.

We are excited about our plans for 2021, which include more FreeBSD online advocacy and training, operating system course content, and the software development work mentioned above. While we are still in this pandemic, we’re working hard to help connect folks within the community with more virtual opportunities.

Please consider making a donation to help us continue and increase our support for FreeBSD in 2021: https://www.freebsdfoundation.org/donate/.

We also have the Partnership Program, to provide more benefits for our larger commercial donors. Find out more information and share with your companies! https://www.freebsdfoundation.org/FreeBSD-foundation-partnership-program/

OS Improvements

Over the quarter a total of 264 base system commits, 63 ports commits, and 10 doc tree commits were tagged as sponsored by the FreeBSD Foundation. The Foundation also sponsored work that was committed to third-party repositories, including 26 commits to LLDB (the LLVM project debugger). This includes work from staff members, interns, and grant recipients. In other quarterly report entries you can read more about some of these sponsored projects, such as LLDB and other kernel debugging improvements, and kernel sanitizers.

As usual, staff members committed numerous bug fixes, minor improvements, and security patches. Focus areas in the kernel included virtual memory, x86 pmap, uma, tmpfs, nullfs, ffs and ufs, and job control improvements.

User space work included changes to the libc, libcasper, and libthr libraries, the run-time linker, as well as the ldd, cmp, diff, makefs, elfctl, growfs, and bhyve utilities.

Foundation staff also participated in many Phabricator code reviews, supported bug triage, integrated a number of submissions from third parties, and supported the Git transition working group.

Foundation staff also supported the promotion of the AArch64 (arm64) architecture to Tier-1 status. Work included additions to freebsd-update, integration of various bug fixes, and test run issue triage.

Continuous Integration and Quality Assurance

The Foundation provides a full-time staff member and funds projects on improving continuous integration, automated testing, and overall quality assurance efforts for the FreeBSD Project.

During the first quarter of 2021, the work was focused on pre-commit tests and building release artifacts in the CI staging environment.

The other main working item is following the VCS migration to change the src source from Subversion to Git and doc changed to AsciiDoc format.

See the FreeBSD CI section of this report for completed work items and detailed information.

Supporting FreeBSD Infrastructure

The Foundation provides hardware and support to improve the FreeBSD infrastructure. Last quarter, we continued supporting FreeBSD hardware located around the world. We coordinated efforts between the new NYI Chicago facility and clusteradm to start working on getting the facility prepared for some of the new FreeBSD hardware we are planning on purchasing. NYI generously provides this for free to the Project. We also worked on connecting with the new owners of the NYI Bridgewater site, where most of the FreeBSD infrastructure is located.

FreeBSD Advocacy and Education

A large part of our efforts are dedicated to advocating for the Project. This includes promoting work being done by others with FreeBSD; producing advocacy literature to teach people about FreeBSD and help make the path to starting using FreeBSD or contributing to the Project easier; and attending and getting other FreeBSD contributors to volunteer to run FreeBSD events, staff FreeBSD tables, and give FreeBSD presentations.

The FreeBSD Foundation sponsors many conferences, events, and summits around the globe. These events can be BSD-related, open source, or technology events geared towards underrepresented groups. We support the FreeBSD-focused events to help provide a venue for sharing knowledge, to work together on projects, and to facilitate collaboration between developers and commercial users. This all helps provide a healthy ecosystem. We support the non-FreeBSD events to promote and raise awareness of FreeBSD, to increase the use of FreeBSD in different applications, and to recruit more contributors to the Project. While we were still unable to attend in-person meetings due to covid-19, we were able to attend virtual events and began planning for the online Spring FreeBSD Developer Summit. In addition to attending and planning virtual events, we are continually working on new training initiatives and updating our selection of how-to guides to facilitate getting more folks to try out FreeBSD. https://www.freebsdfoundation.org/freebsd/how-to-guides/

Check out some of the advocacy and education work we did last quarter:

  • Presented a workshop at Apricot 2021
  • Staffed a virtual stand at FOSDEM 2021 and created a what’s new in 13.0 video to accompany the stand
  • Staffed a virtual booth and was a community sponsor for FOSSASIA 2021
  • Participated as an Industry Partner for USENIX FAST ‘21
  • Committed to be an Industry Partner for USENIX Annual Tech, USENIX OSDI, USENIX Security and USENIX LISA
  • Continued to promote the FreeBSD Office Hours series Videos from the one hour sessions can be found on the Project’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/FreeBSDProject. See the Office Hours section of this report for more information.
  • Worked with the organizing committee to begin planning the Spring FreeBSD Developers Summit.
  • Continued recruiting for the FreeBSD Fridays series. The series will return in May.
  • Participated in an interview with The Register about FreeBSD 13.0 highlights. https://www.theregister.com/2021/03/10/the_state_of_freebsd/

Keep up to date with our latest work in our newsletters: https://freebsdfoundation.org/our-work/latest-updates/?filter=newsletter

We help educate the world about FreeBSD by publishing the professionally produced FreeBSD Journal. As we mentioned previously, the FreeBSD Journal is now a free publication. Find out more and access the latest issues at https://www.freebsdfoundation.org/journal/.

You can find out more about events we attended and upcoming events at https://www.freebsdfoundation.org/news-and-events/.

Legal/FreeBSD IP

The Foundation owns the FreeBSD trademarks, and it is our responsibility to protect them. We also provide legal support for the core team to investigate questions that arise.

Go to http://www.freebsdfoundation.org to find out how we support FreeBSD and how we can help you!