Supporting FreeBSDAs a FreeBSD user and developer, I obviously care about the success of FreeBSD. I make a small contribution towards this success via my role as Security Officer; but the time I spend working on my Tarsnap online backup service prevents me from making as much of a direct contribution as I would like. Fortunately the FreeBSD Foundation does an excellent job of supporting FreeBSD development; but like most such organizations, they are funded entirely by donations and are always in need of more. In light of this, I am pleased to announce that I will be donating all of the profits made by Tarsnap for the month of December to the FreeBSD Foundation.
Much of the work done by the FreeBSD Foundation is done behind the scenes, but the importance of the work they do is undeniable. They sponsor a range of important FreeBSD development which would likely not get done otherwise; in the past year this has included
- Improvements to the TCP stack,
- Addition of IEEE 802.11s mesh networking,
- A new console driver,
- Support for removal of active disk devices (i.e., to be able to yank out a USB disk without causing a FreeBSD kernel panic),
- Flattened Device Tree support,
- AVR32 platform support, and
- A new highly-available (clustered) storage layer.
In addition to directly sponsoring FreeBSD development, the FreeBSD Foundation plays an important role in indirectly supporting development work by bringing developers together: They sponsor BSD conferences such as BSDCan, EuroBSDCon, and AsiaBSDCon, and provide funding to allow FreeBSD developers to attend (they paid for my travel to and from BSDCan'06, for instance). Further, although the FreeBSD Project runs mostly on donated computer hardware, there are instances where it is necessary to purchase equipment for development purposes, and here too the Foundation plays a critical role.
Finally, the FreeBSD Foundation plays a vital role in taking care of legal matters, whether it be handling the FreeBSD trademarks, making recommendations on how FreeBSD should handle new licenses (e.g., GPLv3), or representing FreeBSD in dealings with organizations which will only deal with official legally-constituted entities. Much of this work falls into areas where every FreeBSD developer has an opinion yet none of us are qualified to have an opinion; having the Foundation get actual legal advice from one or more actual lawyers not only increases the chance of getting things right, but also cuts out the large amount of developer time which would otherwise be wasted by having everybody express their opinions... and their opinions of everybody else's opinions.
If you use FreeBSD, please join me in donating to the FreeBSD Foundation; and if you're not already using Tarsnap, how about starting to use Tarsnap today, thereby supporting FreeBSD and getting yourself some highly secure backups at the same time?