March 25, 2024

By Deb Goodkin, Executive Director, FreeBSD Foundation

As we enter another year, I am excited to share our approach to the FreeBSD Foundation’s budget for 2024. Our commitment to supporting the FreeBSD community and project remains steadfast, funded entirely through the generous contributions of donations and grants.

Starting the process early

Our budgeting journey begins in early November when I contact our Advocacy and Technology teams for their budget proposals. These early submissions are crucial as they lay the groundwork for our financial planning. They reflect our aspirations and operational needs, including those “wish list” items that, while not essential for the immediate year, are valuable for the FreeBSD Project’s future.

Also Read: The 2024 FreeBSD Foundation Budget (Approved)

Reflecting on the past, planning for the future

Every year, we analyze our expenses from the previous year. This helps us identify patterns and essential items that will impact the budget for the upcoming year. As part of this, we consider the fluctuating costs of legal services, website management, and hardware procurement. This is crucial in adjusting and allocating funds wisely, and the informed predictions for the upcoming year are based on it.

Refining the details

Our accounting system typically trails our actual expenses by 30 to 45 days. Therefore, refining our budget necessitates patience and precision, ensuring every expense and donation up to mid-February is accounted for and we capture the full financial picture.

Enhancing transparency and understanding

This year, I’ve taken a new approach to presenting our budget by detailing the Program expenses. It’s important that our community sees how we allocate funds across different program areas, such as software development, advocacy, infrastructure, and general operations. This granular breakdown fosters a deeper understanding of our financial priorities and commitments.

For example, we are investing over $1.4M in software development work and almost $723K in FreeBSD advocacy. Two of our main goals this year, which we’ll publicize soon, are improving the desktop experience and increasing the adoption of FreeBSD by commercial users. Both goals require more resources to implement the software to support these goals and to develop content that promotes the value of FreeBSD for the various users and use cases. We’re also working with a public relations firm to help produce more articles for technical publications and generate more interest from journalists to promote FreeBSD to a wider audience.

The multi-faceted nature of compensation

In our budgeting process, we distribute compensation for our employees and contractors based on their diverse roles that often span multiple areas, such as software development, cluster administration, and advocacy. We highlight their multifunctional contributions that power our project and distribute their compensation accordingly.

Closing thoughts

Our budgeting process is more than just numbers; it reflects our strategic planning, commitment to transparency, and dedication to the FreeBSD project. Ultimately, we aim to ensure every dollar spent invests in FreeBSD’s future and stability. I am grateful for the continued support of our community and look forward to another year of growth and success.

Thank you for being a part of our journey.

Deb Goodkin, Executive Director

The FreeBSD Foundation