October 27, 2023

Written as part of the FreeBSD Project’s 3rd Quarter 2023 Status Report, check out the highlights of what we did to help FreeBSD last quarter:

The FreeBSD Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the FreeBSD Project and community worldwide. Donations from individuals and corporations fund and manage software development projects, conferences, and developer summits. We also provide travel grants to FreeBSD contributors, purchase and support hardware to improve and maintain FreeBSD infrastructure, and provide resources to improve security, quality assurance, and cluster administration efforts. We publish marketing material to promote, educate, and advocate for FreeBSD, facilitate collaboration between commercial vendors and FreeBSD developers, and finally, represent the FreeBSD Project in executing contracts, license agreements, and other legal arrangements that require a recognized legal entity.

Last quarter we helped FreeBSD celebrate its 30th anniversary! This excitement has propelled us to accelerate our efforts to move FreeBSD forward in growth and innovation, which has focused us on identifying key areas we can invest our resources. At our board meeting in September, we refined our goals to focus on increasing FreeBSD adoption and visibility, diversifying our funding stream, and investing in the community health and long-term stability of Project. We are in the process of identifying the key audiences and markets we are targeting, while putting measurable outcomes to these goals.

In this status report, you’ll read more about our work to help further FreeBSD’s growth and innovation. We’ll highlight all the technical work we are doing to improve FreeBSD, both by our internal staff of software developers, as well as external project funding efforts. You’ll read about our advocacy work to promote FreeBSD to audiences outside of our community. Finally, you’ll see the great efforts made to connect with current and potential commercial users.


We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who generously donated to support our work. In addition to numerous individual contributions, we are especially grateful for the significant donations from NetApp, Netflix, and ARM. In Q3 alone, we received $183,842, bringing our total for the year to $375,000. This year our budget is around $2,230,000, which includes increased spending toward FreeBSD advocacy and software development. More than half of our budget is allocated toward work directly related to improving FreeBSD and keeping it secure. By providing a dedicated individual focused on partnerships, we can effectively emphasize the significance of investing in our efforts and underscore the long-term viability of FreeBSD to companies. Your support is crucial to our mission, and we deeply appreciate your commitment to the FreeBSD community. Please consider making a donation toward our 2023 fundraising campaign! https://www.freebsdfoundation.org/donate/ For our larger commercial donors, check out our updated FreeBSD Foundation Partnership Program.

Partnerships and Research

For Partnerships and Research this quarter, progress was made in three key areas:

First, the Enterprise working group started to gather steam with growth up to 58 participants and active projects in four work streams. These are Cloud Native, Samba, bhyve manageability, and support for AI workloads. There is interest in several additional areas and I expect that by the end of this year and Q1 of next year, we will see meaningful feature updates in multiple areas of focus.

Second, we made good progress working with other open source community members and organizations, notably the Open Source Initiative, to advance proposals and technology from the FreeBSD community. Working with the Open Source Initiative’s Open Policy Alliance, we are submitting a response to the US government’s request for information on how the US government can support open source security and sustainability. As part of this, I participated on a panel organized by the open policy Alliance at the recent all things open conference in Raleigh North Carolina. I have also been tracking how the US government incorporates CHERI into its policy recommendations for security by default, such as this recent report from US and global government security agencies. On Page 28, CHERI is listed right after RUST as a key Secure by Design tactic.

Finally, we continue to strengthen partnerships with a growing number of companies using FreeBSD. Several conferences aided these relationships, including EuroBSDCon, Open Source Summit, and All Things Open. We have also developed a new program to support vendor/cloud users that work with the US government. The program details will be announced at the FreeBSD Vendor Summit.


Much of our effort is dedicated to the FreeBSD Project advocacy. This may involve highlighting interesting FreeBSD work, producing literature and video tutorials, attending events, or giving presentations. The goal of the literature we produce is to teach people FreeBSD basics and help make their path to adoption or contribution easier. Other than attending and presenting at events, we encourage and help community members run their own FreeBSD events, give presentations, or staff FreeBSD tables.

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, working together on projects, and facilitating 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. We continue to add new events to our yearly roster. This July, we held a workshop and staffed a table at FOSSY, a new open source conference in Portland. In addition to attending and planning conferences, 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 our advocacy work:

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/.

OS Improvements

During the third quarter of 2023, 282 src, 652 ports, and 24 doc tree commits identified The FreeBSD Foundation as a sponsor. Some of this Foundation-sponsored work is described in separate report entries:

  • Enabling Snapshots on Filesystems Using Journaled Soft Updates
  • Login Classes Fixes and Improvements
  • OpenSSL 3 in base – improved
  • OpenStack on FreeBSD
  • Process Visibility Security Policies
  • SIMD enhancements for amd64

Members of the Technology Team attended EuroBSDCon 2023 in Coimbra, Portugal. Li-Wen Hsu gave a tutorial to help newcomers contribute to FreeBSD. Before the conference, the FreeBSD Developer Summit took place, where the team presented a short update on their recent work.

Six summer internships or projects wrapped up.

For more information about current and past Foundation-contracted work, visit the Foundation Projects page.

Here is a sampling of other Foundation-sponsored work completed over the last quarter:

  • Improved riscv64 CPU identity and feature detection
  • Rewrote man:intro[9] man page from scratch
  • Performed code maintenance and fixed bugs in the man:hwpmc[4] module and the man:pmc[3] library and tools
  • Committed various man:freebsd-update[8] fixes in preparation for FreeBSD 14.0
  • Committed many (37) updates and fixes to the LinuxKPI, iwlwifi, and net802.11 code
  • Updated SSH first to OpenSSH 9.3p2, then 9.4p1
  • Patched ssh-keygen to generate Ed25519 keys when invoked without arguments
  • Added a clean-room implementation of the Linux man:membarrier[2] system call
  • Increased MAXCPU to 1024 on amd64 and arm64
  • Committed fixes for automatic Zenbleed misbehavior/data leaks prevention on affected machines (via chicken bit)
  • Reviewed the use of scheduling priorities throughout the kernel for work in progress to harden the rtprio() system call and make it more useful in some cases

Supporting FreeBSD Infrastructure

The Foundation provides hardware and two staff members to help support the FreeBSD cluster. With your donations, the Foundation, in coordination with the Cluster Administration Team, purchased five new package builders, three new web servers, a new firewall/router, two package mirrors, and two new servers for continuous integration. With the exception of one of the package mirrors, all the new hardware will be located on the east coast of the USA.

Continuous Integration and Quality Assurance

The Foundation provides a full-time staff member and funds projects to improve continuous integration, automated testing, and overall quality assurance efforts for the FreeBSD project. You can read more about CI work in a dedicated report entry.

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 https://www.freebsdfoundation.org to find more about how we support FreeBSD and how we can help you!