Robert Watson | 18 Jan 12:47 2012

Re: FreeBSD has serious problems with focus, longevity, and lifecycle

On Tue, 17 Jan 2012, Doug Barton wrote:

> The other thing I think has been missing (as several have pointed out in 
> this thread already) is any sort of planning for what should be in the next 
> release. The current time-based release schedule is (in large part) a 
> reaction to the problems we had in getting 5.0 out the door. However I think 
> the pendulum has swung *way* too far in the wrong direction, such that we 
> are now afraid to put *any* kind of plan in place for fear that it will 
> cause the release schedule to slip. Aside from the obvious folly in that 
> (lack of) plan, it fails to take into account the fact that the release 
> schedules already slip, often comically far out into the future, and that 
> the results are often worse than they would have been otherwise.

Agreed entirely.  There's been an over-swing caused by the diagnosis "it's 
like herding cats" into "cats can't be herded, so why try?".  Projects like 
FreeBSD don't agree if there's no consensus on interesting problems to solve, 
directions to run in, etc.  The history of FreeBSD is also full of examples of 
successful collaborative development in which developers decide, together, on 
a direction and run that way.  Sure, it's not the same as "we are paying you 
to do X", but I think many FreeBSD developers like the idea that they are 
working on something larger than just their own micro-project, and would 
subscribe (and contribute) to a sensible plan.  In fact, I think we'd find 
that if we were a bit more forthcoming about our plans, we'd have an easier 
time soliciting contributions from people less involved in the project, as it 
would be more obvious how they could get involved.

It strikes me that the first basic plan would be a release schedule, however. 

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