The Trouble with FreeBSD

Presented by Benno Rice
Thursday 1:20 p.m.–2:05 p.m.
Target audience: Community


An open source project’s community is what makes it a living thing. Without its community the project is a static lump of code. FreeBSD is one of the largest and longest continuously running open source projects around. Not only that, it comes from an even longer lineage before it via the original BSD work at the University of California, Berkeley. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is without its problems.

While FreeBSD isn’t in any danger of disappearing any time soon, it does have issues with attracting new contributors, keeping its existing contributors and keeping its community healthy. These issues are not always unique to FreeBSD but FreeBSD provides an interesting case study.

This presentation will cover:

  • How FreeBSD’s community and its processes have evolved over the years and how this compares to other, often newer, projects.
  • What FreeBSD could learn from other projects.
  • How this all fits into broader issues around open source development communities and things that do and don’t work.

Presented by

Benno Rice

Benno is a longtime FreeBSD committer and now Core Team member. He's also been part of the Python community for a fair old while. He kicked off FreeBSD's port to the PowerPC architecture a long time ago, co-created Python's behave project and is the creator of

He currently works at EMC's Isilon division on their FreeBSD-based clustered storage appliance.

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