January 27, 2020

Written as part of the FreeBSD Project’s 4th Quarter 2019 Status Report, check out the highlights of what we did to help FreeBSD last quarter:

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. In Q4, Ed Maste and Deb Goodkin met with a few commercial users in the US. It’s not only beneficial for the above, but it also helps us understand some of the applications where FreeBSD is used. We were also able to meet with a good number of commercial users at the Bay Area Vendor/Developer Summit and Open Source Summit Europe. These venues provide an excellent opportunity to meet with commercial and individual users and contributors to FreeBSD.

Fundraising Efforts

In 2019, we focused on supporting a few key areas where the Project needed the most help. The first area was software development. Whether it was contracting FreeBSD developers to work on projects like wifi support, to providing internal staff to quickly implement hardware workarounds, we’ve stepped in to help keep FreeBSD innovative, secure, and reliable. Software development includes supporting the tools and infrastructure that make the development process go smoothly, and we’re on it with team members heading up the Continuous Integration efforts, and actively involved in the clusteradmin and security teams.

Our advocacy efforts focused on recruiting new users and contributors to the Project. We attended and participated in 38 conferences and events in 21 countries. From giving FreeBSD presentations and workshops to staffing tables, we were able to have 1:1 conversations with thousands of attendees.

Our travels also provided opportunities to talk directly with FreeBSD commercial and individual users, contributors, and future FreeBSD users/contributors. We’ve seen an increase in use and interest in FreeBSD from all of these organizations and individuals. These meetings give us a chance to learn more about what organizations need and what they and other individuals are working on. The information helps inform the work we should fund.

In 2019, your donations helped us continue our efforts of supporting critical areas of FreeBSD such as:

  • Operating System Improvements: Providing staff to immediately respond to urgent problems and implement new features and functionality allowing for the innovation and stability you’ve come to rely on.
  • Improving and increasing test coverage, continuous integration, and automated testing with a full-time software engineer to ensure you receive the highest quality, secure, and reliable operating system.
  • Security: Providing engineering resources to bolster the capacity and responsiveness of the Security team providing you with peace of mind when security issues arise.
  • Growing the number of FreeBSD contributors and users from our global FreeBSD outreach and advocacy efforts, including expanding into regions such as China, India, Africa, and Singapore.
  • Offering FreeBSD workshops and presentations at more conferences, meetups, and universities around the world.
  • Providing opportunities such as developer and vendor summits and company visits to help facilitate collaboration between commercial users and FreeBSD developers, as well as helping to get changes pushed into the FreeBSD source tree, and creating a bigger and healthier ecosystem.

We’ve accomplished a lot this year, but we are still only a small 501(c)3 organization focused on supporting FreeBSD and not a trade organization like many other open source Foundations.

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 and share with your companies!

OS Improvements

The Foundation supports software development projects to improve FreeBSD through our full time technical staff, contractors, and project grant recipients. They maintain and improve critical kernel subsystems, add new features and functionality, and fix bugs.

Between October and December there were 236 commits to the FreeBSD source repository tagged with FreeBSD Foundation sponsorship. This is about 10% of all commits during this period. Some of these projects have their own entries in the quarterly report, and are not repeated here, while others are briefly described below.

As usual, Foundation staff member Konstantin Belousov committed a large number of UFS, NFS, tmpfs, VM system, and low-level Intel x86 bug fixes and improvements. Kostik also committed improvements to the run-time linker (rtld), and participated in very many code reviews, helping to get changes from other developers integrated into the tree.

Following on from his work to improve debugging tools in the Linuxulator environment, Edward Napierała integrated the Linux Test Project (LTP) with FreeBSD’s CI system, and committed a number of small bug fixes to the Linuxulator itself.

Mark Johnston continued working on infrastructure for the Syzkaller system call fuzzing tool, and committed fixes for many issues identified by it. Mark committed improvements to RISC-V infrastructure, the network stack, performance and locking, and x86 pmap.

Mark also added support for newer Intel WiFi chipsets to the iwm driver, enabling WiFi support for the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th generation, and other contemporary laptops.

Ed Maste committed a number of improvements and cleanups in build infrastructure, vt console fixes including issues with keyboard maps, some blacklistd updates, documentation updates, and other small changes. Ed also committed some work to prepare for the removal of GCC 4.2.1 from the FreeBSD source tree, currently planned for Q1 2020.

Continuous Integration and Quality Assurance

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

During the fourth quarter of 2019, Foundation staff continued to improve the project’s CI infrastructure, worked with contributors to fix the failing build and test cases. We worked with other teams in the project for their testing needs and also worked with many external projects and companies to improve their support of FreeBSD. We added several new CI jobs and brought the FreeBSD Hardware Testing Lab online.

We published 2019 in Review: CI and Testing Advancements on the Foundation’s blog.

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.

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 helping other FreeBSD contributors 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.

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

  • Organized the 2019 Bay Area FreeBSD Vendor and Developers Summit in Santa Clara, CA
  • Presented at COSCON ’19 in Shanghai, China
  • Represented FreeBSD at All Things Open 2019, in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Industry Partner Sponsor for LISA ’19 in Portland, OR
  • Silver Sponsor of OpenZFS in San Francisco, CA
  • Gave a technical presentation at School of Mines in Golden, CO
  • Presenting and representing FreeBSD at Seagl, in Seattle, WA
  • Presented at Open Source Summit Europe in Lyon France
  • Committed to sponsoring LinuxConfAu 2020, in Gold Coast, Australia in addition to holding a FreeBSD Mini-Conf
  • Accepted to present at the BSD Dev Room at FOSDEM ’20, in Brussels, Belgium
  • Accepted to have a stand at FOSDEM ’20, in Brussels, Belgium
  • Committed to sponsoring FOSSASIA 2020, in Singapore
  • Committed to hold FreeBSD Day at SCALE 18x, in Pasadena, CA

We continued producing FreeBSD advocacy material to help people promote FreeBSD. Learn more about our efforts in 2019 to advocate for FreeBSD: https://freebsdfoundation.org/blog/2019-in-review-advocacy/

Our Faces of FreeBSD series is back. Check out the latest post: Mahdi Mokhtari. https://freebsdfoundation.org/blog/faces-of-freebsd-2019-mahdi-mokhtari/

Read more about our conference adventures in the conference recaps and trip reports in our monthly newsletters: https://freebsdfoundation.org/news-and-events/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/.

We have continued our work with a new website developer to help us improve our website. Work has begun to make it easier for community members to find information more easily and to make the site more efficient.

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!