You probably know that the FreeBSD Foundation provides travel assistance for developers to attend conferences. If you’ve ever attended a BSD conference yourself, you have experienced first hand the value in networking with both committers and BSD users.
It is an over used and abused saying, and I will invoke it, “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt”. On the back of the shirt I received at registration it said “FreeBSD it’s all about the people, from all around the world”. For me, attending BSDCan was an opportunity to meet the people behind FreeBSD face to face. Email and IRC are great ways to collaborate with other developers, ideas can be shared, and projects brought to fruition, but in the end, the opportunity to get together with like minded people and just brainstorm in person is still the best way to get the job done.
I live in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a small city in central Canada, just north of the Minnesota border. My day job is as a Systems & Networks technician for the Canadian Grain Commission. FreeBSD is what I do for “fun” on my own time. Where I live, there are no local/user groups for any form of open source software. I have to rely on Internet technologies to reach out to others interested in FreeBSD. My interests in FreeBSD ports are quite varied; I maintain approximately 40 ports of various descriptions. Before I became a ports committer, I participated regularly in ports related bug busting weekends. Since becoming a committer,I worked with the FreeBSD KDE team that was instrumental in introducing KDE 4.x to the ports tree. I have also worked actively with the donations@ team, and have mentored other ports committers up through the ranks…
You can read the rest of Thomas’ writeup in this PDF.