August 4, 2020

Written as part of the FreeBSD Project’s 2nd Quarter 2020 Status Report, check out the highlights of what we did to help FreeBSD last quarter:

COVID-19 Impact on the Foundation

Like other organizations, we put policies in place for all of our staff members to work from home. We also put a temporary ban on travel for staff members. We are continuing our work supporting the community and Project, but some of our work and responses may be 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 Q2 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.

Fundraising Efforts

Last quarter we raised $268,400! Thank you to the individuals and organizations that stepped in to help fund our efforts. We’d like to thank Netflix, employees of Nginx, Beckhoff Automation, and Mozilla Foundation for their large contributions last quarter, which helped bring our 2020 fundraising effort to $339k. We hope other organizations will follow their lead and give back to help us continue supporting FreeBSD.

These are trying times, and we deeply appreciate every donation that has come in from $5 to $150,000. We’re still here giving 110% to supporting FreeBSD!

We are 100% funded by donations, and those funds go towards software development work to improve FreeBSD, FreeBSD advocacy around the world, keeping FreeBSD secure, continuous integration improvements, sponsoring BSD-related and computing conferences (even the virtual events!), legal support for the Project, and many other areas.

Please consider making a donation to help us continue and increase our support for FreeBSD.

We also have the Partnership Program, to provide more benefits for our larger commercial donors. Find out more information about the partnership program and share with your companies!

OS Improvements

A number of FreeBSD Foundation grant recipients started, continued working on, or completed projects during the second quarter. These include:

  • WiFi improvements
  • Linuxulator application compatibility
  • DRM / Graphics driver updates
  • Zstd compression for OpenZFS
  • Online RAID-Z expansion
  • if_bridge performance improvements

You can find more details about most of these projects in other quarterly reports.

Staff members also worked on a number of larger projects, including:

  • Run-Time Dynamic Linker (rtld) improvements
  • Improved FreeBSD support on Microsoft HyperV and Azure
  • Fine-grained locking for amd64 pmap
  • 5-level paging structures for amd64
  • Non-transparent superpages
  • Migration to a Git repository
  • Tool chain modernization

Many of these projects also have detailed entries in other quarterly report entries.

Staff members also put in significant effort in many ways other than larger, individual projects. These include assisting with code reviews, bug report triage, security report triage and advisory handling, addressing syzkaller reports, and ongoing maintenance and bug fixes in functional areas such as the tool chain, developer tools, virtual memory kernel subsystem, low-level x86 infrastructure, sockets and protocols, and others.

University of Waterloo Co-op

Foundation co-op students Colin, Tiger, and Yang completed their winter 2020 work term during the second quarter, and continued on with the next school term in their respective programs. Although COVID-19 presented a unique challenge and prompted an abrupt transition to remote work just over half way through the term, all three learned a lot and provided positive contributions to the FreeBSD Project and to the Foundation.

A few projects that were in progress or completed during the work term were committed to the FreeBSD tree in the second quarter.

Continuous Integration and Quality Assurance

The Foundation provides a full-time staff member who is working on improving continuous integration, automated testing, and overall quality assurance efforts for the FreeBSD project.

During the second quarter of 2020, Foundation staff continued improving the Project’s CI infrastructure, monitoring regressions and working with contributors to fix the failing build and test cases. The setting up of VM host for CI jobs and staging environment is in progress. We are also working with other teams in the Project for their testing needs. For example, we added jobs for running full tests on non-x86 architectures. We are also working with many external projects and companies to improve their support of FreeBSD.

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 FreeBSD infrastructure. Last quarter, we continued supporting FreeBSD hardware located around the world. We started working on getting the new NYI Chicago colocation facility prepared for some of the new FreeBSD hardware we are planning on purchasing. NYI generously provides this for free to the Project.

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. As is the case for most of us in this industry, COVID-19 has put our in-person events on hold. In addition to attending 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.

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

  • Silver sponsor of BSDCan 2020. The event was held virtually, June 2-6, 2020
  • Community Sponsor of Rootconf 2020. The event was held virtually, June 19-20, 2020
  • Annual FreeBSD Day, June 19. This year’s celebration was postponed in support of Juneteeth. However the activities surrounding FreeBSD Day have been transformed into an ongoing series of online sessions. See FreeBSD Fridays below for more information.
  • Presented 27 Years of FreeBSD and Why You Should Get Involved as part of a Linux Professional Institute series of webinars on June 24, 2020.
  • Attended and presented at the virtual Open Source Summit 2020.
  • Announced FreeBSD Fridays: A series of 101 classes designed to get you started with FreeBSD. Find out more in the announcement
  • Participated as an Admin for Google Summer of Code 2020
  • Participated in the new FreeBSD Office Hours series including holding our own Foundation led office hours. Videos from the one hour sessions can be found on the Project’s YouTube Channel. You can watch ours here.

In addition to the information found in the Development Projects update section of this report, take a minute to check out the latest update blogs:

Keep up to date with our latest work in our Bi-Monthly newsletters.

Mellanox provided an update on how and why they use FreeBSD in our latest Contributor Case Study.

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 on the Journal site.

You can find out more about events we attended and upcoming events.

We have continued our work with a new website developer to help us improve our website. Work is nearly complete to make it easier for community members to find information more easily and to make the site more efficient. We look forward to unveiling the refreshed site in Q3.

Foundation Board Meeting

Our annual board meeting was held on Tuesday June 2, 2020. We normally hold this meeting the Tuesday before BSDCan, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, but with the company travel ban, and the conference going virtual, our meeting went virtual for the first time. The purpose of the annual board meeting is to hold our board director and officer elections, review work accomplished over the past year, and put together strategic goals for the upcoming 12 months.

The board generally has two all-day board meetings each year, this one, and a more informal one in January, typically held in Berkeley. Both meetings allow us to connect, reevaluate and discuss new ideas, while assessing what we should do to help the Project.

Some of our longer-term goals include Growing User and Developer Communities, Developing Training and OS Course Content, Improving desktop/laptop experience, Promoting FreeBSD (as you can see in all the advocacy work listed above), and Improving Testing Capabilities.

Results of the director and officer elections were:

  • Justin Gibbs (President)
  • Benedict Reuschling (Vice President)
  • Kirk McKusick (Treasurer)
  • Philip Paeps (Secretary)
  • Deb Goodkin (Assistant Secretary)
  • Robert Watson (Director)
  • Hiroki Sato (Director)
  • George Neville-Neil (Director)

Find out more about the FreeBSD Foundation Board of Directors on our website.

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 the FreeBSD Foundation’s web site to find out how we support FreeBSD and how we can help you!