December 29, 2009
From the December Foundation Newsletter:
In 2009, the FreeBSD project had the misfortune of losing two long time contributors: John Birrell and Jean-Marc Zucconi. I chatted with John recently, during this year’s BSDCAN, so his death was all the more shocking. It forced me to recognize my own mortality and to consider what contributions from our lives remain after we pass away. Reviewing the heritage of FreeBSD it becomes clear that our work on this project takes on a life of its own. John and Jean-Marc’s efforts live on in FreeBSD.
The value of the FreeBSD legacy has become even more apparent to me with my return, after an almost 10 year break, to working on FreeBSD during my day job. The kernel has the familiarity of an old friend, even though it has been improved in countless ways by dozens of new contributors. Although the principles and best practices engendered by the FreeBSD project have changed little in the last decade, they are no less relevant today. The faces and challenges may have changed, but the qualities of FreeBSD – solid design, high performance, stability – have not.
Trying to communicate this real value of FreeBSD can be difficult. Valuations typically take current features into account, but neglect to consider the community that created and will support those features. And what value can you place on future, community driven, improvements to FreeBSD? There is no guarantee that every feature you need will be added to the system in the time frame you need it, but the collaborative environment created by the FreeBSD project makes it very likely. The greatest asset of FreeBSD is our community. If we continue to invest in the FreeBSD community, I have every confidence that the FreeBSD legacy will endure.
The FreeBSD Foundation is doing its part to continue FreeBSD’s legacy. Through conservative management and careful planning we have improved our financial position even when faced with the most severe recession in 50 years. Our growing strength and capabilities, all made possible by your generous donations, are proof that the FreeBSD Foundation will be a faithful supporter of FreeBSD for many years to come. Together, building on the legacy left by John, Jean-Marc, and the countless contributors before them, we will ensure the future of FreeBSD.