Andriy Gapon | 18 Jan 11:35 2012

FreeBSD is becoming ... by, and for, FreeBSD developers

on 17/01/2012 00:28 John Kozubik said the following:
> FreeBSD is becoming an operating system by, and for, FreeBSD developers

Just want to express my _personal_ opinion on this statement.

I think that the proper tense for the statement would perfect - "has become".
And I think that that is inevitable at present, because the FreeBSD project is a
purely community driven/developed project.  A project by the community.  And
it's natural that it has become a project for the community.  The community of
the project's developers.
Let's see.  The project has no management.  There is no hierarchy of reporting.
 There are no assignments.  No monetary leverage.  No structure.  No single
vision and will.

Let's omit a discussion of a possibility of a project "by users".

Instead let's try to see how projects perceived to be "for users" typically
work.  My personal observation is that those projects are always commercial
(which can be in a variety of ways).  That is, they are "for users", because
they look to make some money from their user base.  Either via direct sales, or
via support contracts, or via sales of related products and services, or via
monetary deals with other corporations, or via voluntary donations from users
and/or corporate sponsorship, or a combination.
And those projects internally are also based on money.  They are corporations:
they have management, they have hierarchy, they have assignments, they have
plans, they have salaries, they QA teams, etc.

Take for a popular example of Linux.  How much is for users the
Compare it to the most popular distributions which produce the original products
like Red Hat and Ubuntu.  Debian... to me it seems to be more of a "for
developers" thing, not unlike FreeBSD, but with more man-power.

The closest to a corporation that there is now for FreeBSD is the FreeBSD
Foundation.  But it plays a very different role - although it depends on the
donations, it doesn't make any product.  It doesn't direct the FreeBSD project,
it helps it.

I personally do not see a way to make a volunteer project to be for users as
opposed to being for the said volunteers/community.
I do not have any advice for the users here except either becoming an
influential part of the community or getting a deal with a FreeBSD vendor.
It would be cool if the project had enough users to make a commercial
FreeBSD-oriented "for users" entity viable.  Perhaps iXsystems is already it.

P.S. I've just learned a new "word", from the Debian people - "Do-o-cracy" as in
"the doer decides".  Seeing some references to a mythical "FreeBSD leadership"
in this thread I couldn't resist a temptation to mention this word.


Andriy Gapon
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