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Why OpenBSD's Release Process Works

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the those-slides-are-a-bit-dense dept.

Operating Systems 310

An anonymous reader writes "Twelve years ago OpenBSD developers started engineering a release process that has resulted in quality software being delivered on a consistent 6 month schedule — 25 times in a row, exactly on the date promised, and with no critical bugs. This on-time delivery process is very different from how corporations manage their product releases and much more in tune with how volunteer driven communities are supposed to function. Theo de Raadt explains in this presentation how the OpenBSD release process is managed (video) and why it has been such a success."

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Summary? (-1, Flamebait)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724543)

I am NOT sitting through a 30 minute video. Can someone please summarize?

Re:Summary? (5, Funny)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724555)

Basically, they only allow developers who are willing to sit through a 30-minute video to work on their software.

Re:Summary? (-1, Flamebait)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724575)

Well that counts me out. Maybe its because the only people who can stand to deal with Theo are people who do exactly what they are told (by Theo).

Re:Summary? (5, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724807)

Not that that would be a bad thing. The majority of people in the world are average, by definition. When a truly extraordinary person tells them what to do, and they shut up and do it, the collective ability of the group is far greater than the mere sum of its parts. If the extraordinary person happens to be a bit of a knob, that's irrelevant if they are all focused on the desired result and not their own silly little egos.

"Oh noes, he told me my code was stupid and wants me to to it again! Cry cry cry!"

If Theo tells you your code is stupid, then it is. End of story. Do it again. Yes, there are better ways to deal with people, but seriously, Theo gets knocked for his personality not because it's really that big a deal, but more because ordinary people are jealous of his enormous capacity.

Get over it people. Theo's good at what he does, OpenBSD could and would not exist without him, and the world is a better place for it.

Re:Summary? (0, Flamebait)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724887)

The majority of people in the world are average, by definition.

Excuse the pedantry, but you're making a big assumption when you're considering that the majority are in the average. For all you know half of people could be extremely bad and the other half extremely bright, leaving no one anywhere near the average.

Re:Summary? (0)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724917)

mode != mean

Re:Summary? (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724951)

mode != mean

first post getting -1 redundant mod == mean

Re:Summary? (3, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724921)

It really isn't that big of a leap to implicitly assume that intelligence is normally distributed.

Re:Summary? (4, Funny)

brusk (135896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725303)

No, but assuming you can operationalize 'intelligence', it's a testable hypothesis. And it's always better to explicitly and not implicitly assume. Otherwise people think you're hiding something, 644bd346996 -- if that is even your real name.

Re:Summary? (2, Insightful)

drerwk (695572) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724939)

I think you mean envious .

Re:Summary? (0, Redundant)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725247)

Not that that would be a bad thing. The majority of people in the world are average, by definition

I cringe every time I see this statement. Your statement may be reasonable, but it's not correct 'by definition.'

Let's take a small group of numbers:

1, 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 0.

If we average and round those numbers, we can say that that the average number is '4.'

However, only 1/8th of those numbers are actually 4, and MOST of those numbers are not 4. In fact, it would be more correct to say that 'most of those numbers are 1' even though the numbers are not 1 on average.

It would be technically correct to say 'By definition, most people are not exceptional.' I highly doubt that you'll find a lot of truly average people in the world.

Re:Summary? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725367)

Well, if we're being pedantic, there is no value held by "most" of those numbers, since "most" requires that at least half have the specified property.

Re:Summary? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725253)

Suck some more cock, won't you? People like you are pathetic. You wallow about on the floor kissing the feet of the "great people" instead of standing up and being just as "great". Worst of all, you apply your own resignations of being a lesser person to everyone else.

Re:Summary? (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725413)

The problem with your statement is that you assume that Theo is perfect. If he's not (and he's definitely not, just like all of us), then "shut up and do what I say, and I don't need you trying to explain me why I'm wrong, cause I'm never wrong!" mentality will lead to a disaster when he gets something wrong. You could say that it's alright so long as, on average, he's right more often than he's wrong; however, the real problem with mistake combined with arrogance is that mistakes often tend to become grave in such circumstances. It's the "fuhrer problem" - it's very tempting to put a brilliant guy in complete control with no backup, but it only works for limited time in practice.

Theo's good at what he does, OpenBSD could and would not exist without him, and the world is a better place for it.

Who knows; perhaps, if OpenBSD didn't exist, NetBSD would be better?

Re:Summary? (2, Funny)

Theolojin (102108) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725261)

Basically, they only allow developers who are willing to sit through a 30-minute video to work on their software.

...during which Theo tells them if they don't hit their release deadlines, he'll eat their children.

Re:Summary? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28724631)

Sabotage

Re:Summary? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28724669)

Here is the executive summary:

  • OpenBSD is dying
  • OpenBSD is incapable of supporting Beowulf clustering
  • it runs Linux, but only in compatibility mode
  • Netcraft has confirmed all of these items

Re:Summary? (5, Insightful)

nacredata (761540) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724675)

What I got out of it was that the core developers, not some other group, do the testing. Rather than hand the task of quality control/testing to some other group just prior to release, all developers are held to a high level of participation in this regard. Theo and other developers use nightly builds in their day-to-day work and the entire system compiles most every night.

Netcraft confims: *BSD is Dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28724703)

It is now official - Netcraft has confirmed: *BSD is dying

Yet another crippling bombshell hit the beleaguered *BSD community when recently IDC confirmed that *BSD accounts for less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of the latest Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as further exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amdest.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

Recently, Slashdot confirmed that FreeBSD has been bucked away by WindRiver to FreeBSD Mall, for a carton of Winston's and a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. This only serves to confirm the fact that FreeBSD is unwanted, doomed to be passed around like a harelipped orphan from one foster parent to another.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS hobbyist dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dead

Re:Netcraft confims: *BSD is Dying (0, Troll)

floodo1 (246910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725519)

7000 users? WOW, thats terrifically small :(

Re:Summary? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724735)

Two points:

1) they do not create a separate branch for a release. The release stays in TRUNK until it is released. This has the advantage that ALL developers are working towards a release. Introduction of features is slowed as a release approaches. He does not address the disadvantage of this system: that many developers sit around idle when their work is completed early during this phase.

2) Everyone tests. There is no test team. All developers test things before a release. He does not talk about agile and how everyone should be testing their own stuff anyways.

Point 1) was interesting. It works for them because they are volunteer based. They are not paying the salaries of the idle developers during the release phase. It would not work in a corporate environment because those people are to valuable to be underutilized.

NOTE: I did not listen to him talk... just read his slides.

Re:Summary? (2, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724823)

If everyone tests, the developers who are "sitting idle" are spending that idle time testing, no?

Re:Summary? (3, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725113)

If everyone tests, the developers who are "sitting idle" are spending that idle time testing, no?

It would be pointless to test prior to integration of all submitted components. From the time the first component is completed and submitted and the last, those developers can test, but it's not meaningful if the goal is to evaluate the integrated product as a whole.

Re:Summary? (2, Interesting)

brusk (135896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725345)

That assumes that all developers are roughly equivalent. But if, says, the filesystem is basically in feature lock whereas active development is going on in the networking system, the fs developers are likely to be sitting on their hands. Sure they can test networking features, but that's not their expertise and their time might be much better spent working on the next generation fs, which is not going to be in the next release but might be a couple of releases away. A branch/trunk split would allow them to work on those experimental, too-rough-to-release features. That could make for a more efficient allocation of human resources in some respects.

Re:Summary? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724861)

Good point about their work towards the project being idle. However, I would also like to point out that although idle to the committed code, they do involve themselves with side-projects that will possibly be integrated into openbsd.

I'm not an openbsd pro, but I think a two of those recent examples would be opensmtpd and the improved malloc()

Re:Summary? (3, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725279)

As a developer, I think I'd work faster/better if I knew a quality product would let me work on side projects in the end. If I knew that I'd never have time to experiment and play then I'd just trudge along and get depressed. It would be a tremendous moral boost. Developing has downtime unless you work for a slave trade.

Re:Summary? (1)

floodo1 (246910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725529)

Google agrees with you.

Re:Summary? (4, Interesting)

darthwader (130012) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724879)

To translate to the "agile" buzwords of the day, they use a 2 week sprint cycle, and at the end of each sprint, the features for that sprint are complete and working, and the product is stable. They ensure this by doing daily builds and testing on those builds. Everyone runs the current build (he implies they run the daily build, but I expect that is too much hassle to upgrade every day, so in fact everyone runs the last sprint build (which is less than 2 weeks old, and has had a brief stabalizaiton period).

It's not rocket science, the notion of small "sprints" and a releasable product ready at the end of each sprint is fairly well known. All it requires is more discipline than 99% of development teams have. :-) Kudos to them for having the discipline to make it work.

Video DOES suck for certain applications (2, Insightful)

Weedhopper (168515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725509)

Why was parent modded down as flamebait/offttopic? That's not fair.

While there are uses for which video is king, video as a way conveying certain types of information DOES suck. I think most people on here can read MUCH faster and process information more comprehensively in written form than some talking head on a video. This vid has slides, so it's better but I'd still prefer to read the slides and attached notes than basically be lectured to at someone else's pace. It does more for my comprehension and it saves time.

Christ, you'd think people thought the parent post was personally attacking Theo or something.

Is there a transcript? (Don't have time to watch) (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724547)

Is there a transcript? (Don't have time to watch a video...zzz.)

Re:Is there a transcript? (Don't have time to watc (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724945)

Long story short: Theo rules with an iron fist and springs releases like pop quizzes.
 

Re:Is there a transcript? (Don't have time to watc (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725109)

Summary: people who can sit through that video and can program well without crying if Theo thinks your code sucks are good enough for OpenBSD.

Theo de Raadt may be an asshole (5, Insightful)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724563)

but at least he is stubbornly consistent. Without it, openBSD would not exist in its current fine form.

That video can serve as a lesson to others on how to manage a project for an extended period of time and keep things consistent and predictable.

No Bearded GNU Freaks Why BSD Is So Good (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724745)

No wacky and nutty GPL kooks.

No screaming diatribes over 'purity' of ideology.

No foaming at the mouth tantrums that someone is using your code and not kissing your fat ugly ass in reverence.

Over the years I've learned that BSD developers are engineers while GPL developers are ideologues - ie. wackos and nutcases.

Thank god BSD is well on their way to ridding themselves of GCC and already have the amazing LLVM compiler tech building the system. The efforts the GNU crowd has done to keep open source developers locked into their compiler is sickening from anyone who likes to believe the open source world is some sort of technological marketplace of ideas compared to the Microsoft world.

Every BSD project I've followed or participated with has been a positive experience due to those types of licensed projects attracting engineers who just want to write good code and want their code to be available and free to everyone to make good use of it.

Re:No Bearded GNU Freaks Why BSD Is So Good (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724779)

Hi Theo!

Aww, Teh Liddle GPL Nut Tried To Make A Funny (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724931)

Shouldn't you be off screaming about some possible "GPL violation' loser?

Or trolling stories about non-GPL software retard?

Re:Aww, Teh Liddle GPL Nut Tried To Make A Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725101)

quit being a trolling retard.

Re:Aww, Teh Liddle GPL Nut Tried To Make A Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725115)

Shouldn't you be throwing a hissy fit about how much RMS sucks? Using 'bearded' as a slur? Saying BSD developers are better?

His joke was kinda funny. Maybe only GPL guys are funny?

Re:No Bearded GNU Freaks Why BSD Is So Good (1, Troll)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725121)

No foaming at the mouth tantrums that someone is using your code and not kissing your fat ugly ass in reverence.

Oh, really? [kerneltrap.org]

Re:No Bearded GNU Freaks Why BSD Is So Good (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725353)

Wow, just wow. First, that is not a tantrum. Second, he is 100% correct. Trying to alter someone else's copyright notice is a gigantic legal fuckup. Third, all he asks is a lack of modification of copyright notice, no ass-kissing. Fourth, you are a troll.

Wow, Talks About Getting Owned By Your Own Link (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725453)

Way to go Hatta. You just made a fool of yourself.

Now everyone is actually reading you link and realizing what a pathetic Karam troll your post was. Hey, but at least you got a couple of knee jerk GNU fans with mod points to mod you up...

LLVM Is A Key Turning Point In Open Source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725255)

Having followed LLVM for the past couple years and seen the amazing things companies and projects are doing with already, I couldn't figure where all these angry flames on Slashdot stories were coming from.

It's the GNU/GPL crowd. LLVM is direct threat to their attempts to trap all open source development in GPL licensed code. All those 'BSD is Dying' posts weren't/aren't just unfunny Gay Nigger or Natatlie Portman trolls, they were are concerted effort by the crazies GNU crowd doing their best to try to get the open source world to equate 'Open Source' with 'GNU' and 'GPL'.

GCC was the last thing that the GNU crowd had to lock the rest of the open source world into using their tech. It is understandable that they have been fighting it the same way Microsoft is fighting to hold on to their monopoly over office software document formats.

LLVM means that open source developers now have a truly free state of the art compiler and compiler tech that is free of ideology and license lock in.

Re:LLVM Is A Key Turning Point In Open Source (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725347)

How exactly does GCC "lock in" anyone into using "GNU tech"? How exactly is GCC "not truly free"? The only way in which GCC limits you in licensing your code is that you can't build your own shiny new proprietary compiler on top of GCC, and that is a good thing. The "document format" in question here is C. GNU is not claiming ownership of C.

And yes, LLVM is nice, for many thing. By the same toke, it's no panacea, either.

Re:LLVM Is A Key Turning Point In Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725423)

Clueless. Absolutely clueless...

Re:LLVM Is A Key Turning Point In Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725433)

If you've dealt with anything since GCC-2.95.3 especially regarding C++ code, it really *IS* a form of vendor lockin, and especially on linux, between it and glibc and the linux kernel, you run into all sorts of nightmares regarding how you HAVE to upgrade in order to get bugfixes, and keep your supporting software functional.

Re:No Bearded GNU Freaks Why BSD Is So Good (5, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725393)

No wacky and nutty GPL kooks.

But in return you get wacky and nutty BSD kooks.

No screaming diatribes over 'purity' of ideology.

You don't know who Theo de Raadt is?

No foaming at the mouth tantrums that someone is using your code and not kissing your fat ugly ass in reverence.

You definitely don't know Theo de Raadt.

The efforts the GNU crowd has done to keep open source developers locked into their compiler is sickening from anyone who likes to believe the open source world is some sort of technological marketplace of ideas compared to the Microsoft world.

Yeah, how dare they make a superior product, couldn't they have made GCC suck a bit more so the alternatives wouldn't look so bad?

Every BSD project I've followed or participated with has been a positive experience due to those types of licensed projects attracting engineers who just want to write good code and want their code to be available and free to everyone to make good use of it.

Same here, and the same goes for GPL'ed projects. In all cases, its the users (and the ocassional Slashdot troll) who make them look bad. Well, except for Theo's yearly foaming-at-the-mouth, but he's such a talented engineer we're ready to let that one pass.

J.delanoy is a fucking bastard (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28724583)

slides (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28724591)

Geez, guys, it didn't take me even two minutes to find these:

http://www.openbsd.org/papers/asiabsdcon2009-release_engineering/

Re:slides (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724853)

Hey dude, there's this awesome new tech that allows you to make text or addresses clickable so that people don't have to copy and paste addresses. It's called "magic clicky text" and you can see it in use on the so-called "Global Wide Thatchwork".

No critical bugs? BS. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28724605)

While OpenBSD does have an outstanding security record, with good design & separation of privileges, they aren't perfect.

As they say on their website, "Only two remote holes in the default install, in a heck of a long time!" [openbsd.org]

Re:No critical bugs? BS. (5, Funny)

nethenson (1093205) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724659)

They should try to do it in the Microsoft way.

MS-DOS: zero remote holes in the default install.

Re:No critical bugs? BS. (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724709)

The first 10 megs of /dev/zero have no local or remote holes...

Re:No critical bugs? BS. (5, Funny)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725059)

The first 10 megs of /dev/zero have no local or remote holes...

...or ones. ;)

Re:No critical bugs? BS. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724727)

They really need a new slogan. 'Only two remote holes...' sounds lame. It doesn't matter whether it is technically impressive or not; it sounds lame. And even then, it's only two remote holes because the default install is almost empty and sets up almost no services.

Re:No critical bugs? BS. (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724855)

2 vs ? This is just the count of kernel vulnerabilities right? obviously this varies by distro but what sort of record do debian/redhat have?

Its not... (2, Funny)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724613)

Its not a success until Netcraft confirms it.

Slashdotted??? (2, Funny)

jsewell (86485) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724679)

Is it possible to slashdot youtube? I tried to watch but the video had these annoying pauses...

Re:Slashdotted??? (5, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724733)

That was a William Shatner video.

Congratulations! (1)

jeffliott (1558799) | more than 4 years ago | (#28724693)

Most of the respectable security consultants I've worked with have raved about OpenBSD. Unfortunately, all 7 of my computers have some kind of hardware issues with it. I suppose in a way that really puts the BSDs in a similar boat as Apple, regardless of OS X's roots. Less hardware support = stability? Suddenly I'm less impressed.

Re:Congratulations! (2, Insightful)

chriscappuccio (80696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724717)

you should try a recent version (like the 4.6-current snapshots)
compatibility with most PC hardware is very good these days, even better than the 4.5 release

3d X acceleration (for slightly older cards) is out-of-the-box as well

Re:Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724747)

Some of my computers were pretty stubborn with installing, but I don't think I've had any that I couldn't get to work at all.

Re:Congratulations! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724787)

That is the secret of its security! OpenBSD is carefully crafted to ensure it either won't run at all, or at the very least won't run long enough for someone to exploit the server. It's really rather clever when you think about it.

Re:Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724941)

I've never had a machine refusing (or even giving anything remotely resembling trouble) to play ball with OpenBSD. I've worked with it since 1998, and I use it on a very wide range of machines. Then again, I never tried OBSD 1.0 which seems to be what you base your experience on.

Why OpenBSD's Release Process Works (1)

milatchi (694575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724777)

What's an OpenBSD?

It works? (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724785)

Let's compare --

Linux (1991--present): The code base has never forked. The release process has remained largely in the hands of Alan Cox and Linus Torvalds throughout its history, and except for some cosmetic differences, patch submission and integration has been handled the same way. Most people consider the two head developers and various major contributors to be, on the whole, pretty nice guys, though the snafu with loading binary blobs, and the driver architecture supporting 'non-free' elements in kernel-space was notable for the high level of frustration on all sides.

OpenBSD (1994--present): Forked from NetBSD (1993--present), who forked from 386BSD (1992--1994), that originally derived its codebase from BSD4 (1977--1995). The history of BSD is a blood-bath of politics leading to forks; Most of the developers of the *BSDs are variously referred to as "difficult, abrasive, etc.," although Theo, to his credit, has had a major change in reputation over the past several years.

Historically, the BSD variants have enjoyed a smaller uptake in the market and casual open source contributors find it difficult to get involved because of cultural/political differences. They also tend to fragment, as noted by the number of variants, which further weakens their position. Linux, on the other hand, likely enjoys a much broader userbase and more contributions due to its more relaxed community standards and the general approachability of its core team. I would say the "release process works", but by feature count, contributions, and hardware support, the process is full of fail. Does that mean it's a failed project? No--I'm just saying that the differing priorities and political/cultural values held by the core developers has had an overwhelming impact. Businesses might appreciate the consistency of the release schedule and the relatively bug-free nature of those releases, but looking at market share it's pretty clear those are not the priorities for most businesses.

Re:It works? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724837)

Alan Cox hasn't really been an important figure in Linux for like 10 years.

Sometimes I think most of the people on this site got laid off after the dotcom boom and are just mindlessly repeating a view of the IT world circa 2001.

Re:It works? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724877)

Your red thread between Linux never having been forked and BSD as a foundation having been forked many times is completely pointless - OpenBSD itself has never been forked, and that's the only valid comparison you can do in this context.

And Linux dev's not being abrasive and anal? N****h, please... Go follow any forum Mr. Torvalds regularly post in...

Re:It works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724993)

You post as AC and bother censoring anything?

Nigga, please. This is Slashdot.

Re:It works? (5, Insightful)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724929)

They have different philosophies. I really don't know where you're going with that post because isn't very accurate. You can't compare the "Linux Kernel" with OpenBSD's whole. A kernel is pretty much useless without a "userland." OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD are all operating systems. Linux, sorry to say, is not.

If you want to compare BSD versions to Linux versions, then you'd have to compare with (in no particular order):
-Gentoo
-Debian - Ubuntu - Xubuntu - Xandros - (how many more are there?)
-Slackware
-RedHat
-Ubuntu .... because I can't even keep track

So, you have a million confusion projects going on based on the code all, called "Linux". How many versions of "OpenBSD" are there out there? Umm, ONE. Sure, someone could go and make their own userland and such, but it cannot be called OpenBSD. So, before you go on a rant about how many times BSD has been forked, please get your facts straight.

Thanks,

Re:It works? (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725071)

They have different philosophies. I really don't know where you're going with that post because isn't very accurate.

You just said it: They have different philosophies. I'm answering the question of why, and what's come out of those approaches historically.

OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD are all operating systems. Linux, sorry to say, is not.

I think you're confusing the terms "operating system" and "distribution".

So, you have a million confusion projects going on based on the code all, called "Linux".

No, I believe they call themselves things like "Redhat" or "Gentoo", etc.

So, before you go on a rant about how many times BSD has been forked, please get your facts straight.

Sir, a full exploration of all of the facts and an exhaustive comparison between all the Unix variants has been the subject of many books, panel discussions, conventions, and academic discourses, and has yet to be fully explored. I think that a high-level overview is both more productive, and better suited, for a humble posting on an electronic forum.

Re:It works? (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725251)

explain the difference between an operating system and a distribution? oh i c there isn't any.

and redhat still calls itself redhat LINUX you spastic.

Re:It works? (2, Insightful)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725285)

He's not confusing operating system and distribution. The D in BSD is for "Distribution", they practically invented the term.

It's a new idea, though, to have a distribution that wasn't responsible for the kernel. And several terms, like platform, and operating system, were inveted to differentiate from distribution as a result. IMHO, companies(corporate clients) do not confuse platform, operating system, or distribution, they can only evaluate(assign a value to) a distribution, a set of software tested together that works as a whole and was tested, validated. Third party software gains value by similarly, being written for a coherent set of software tested to work together.

Windows isn't a platform, it's a of distro(each edition, home, professional, ultimate is one distro actually, which share enough code to actually have some third party software that works across distros). Linux isn't a platform, but you can get many distros based on it. Operating System and Platform are useful theoretical concepts, and can be of use, usually outside the business context, but when it comes to corporate clients, and business environments, openbsd is a distro.

Each unix variant is a distro, and some variants(like trusted solaris) vary enough from the main distro to be considered a distro in its own right. I posit that seeing things this way reduces confusion.

That software like alien allows some(well written, or limited-enough) software to work across distros is an accident, and detracts from this simple, can explain it to grandma definition.

"Can I buy solitaire for windows vista ultimate edition?" gets an unequivocal Yes/No answer, and she can know if she has ultimate edition straight on the box.

The term platform should be restricted to software like java or lua, that's (mostly) interpreted, and works across distros, by bypassing the distro entirely, and usually reinventing the wheel quite a bit.

Re:It works? (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725287)

A kernel is pretty much useless without a "userland." OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD are all operating systems. Linux, sorry to say, is not.

Stop trying to redefine the term "Operating System". The rest of what you said might have merit, but once you tried to force your (wrong) interpretation of "Operating System" onto others I lost interest. Please explain to me and others how Linux is not an operating system.

 

So, before you go on a rant about how many times BSD has been forked, please get your facts straight.

How about you following your own advice?

Re:It works? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725431)

a kernel, (in the past also called a "nucleus: or "core"), is the central part of the operating system that manages resources and allows other programs to use those resources. In operating systems, say OS for the IBM mainframe or VMS for VAX, not only is there included that core but also utility programs for systems administration tasks. So Linux by itself is just a nucleus or kernel or core, while FreeBSD, DragonFly, NetBSD, and Mac OSX include not only a core but utilties to form a complete OS easy for anyone older than any operating system to know the difference.

Re:It works? (5, Insightful)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725025)

Your post is off-topic from the video and the Slashdot article. This isn't a comparison about how Linux compares versus OpenBSD. The video, if you watch it, is about how the OpenBSD team manages their releases, meets their agreed upon release dates, and makes sure that each release is a quality product.

The points he discusses in his video revolve around conducting adequate testing of the product and having the developers use the to-be-released system rather than throwing something out as a release and moving on. His points about managing the release process are just as valid if they were applied to manufacturing and releasing cars, paper products, or skateboards as they are to operating systems.

MOD PARENT UP!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725037)

Mod parent up.. please..

Re:It works? (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725099)

The video, if you watch it, is about how the OpenBSD team manages their releases, meets their agreed upon release dates, and makes sure that each release is a quality product.

Yes, and I'm noting that various cultural and political influences that come from the core developers have a substantial impact on all of the above, and then comparing those influences in similar projects (ie, Linux).

His points about managing the release process are just as valid if they were applied to manufacturing and releasing cars, paper products, or skateboards as they are to operating systems.

And I don't think anyone's going to argue there's a different corporate culture at Ford than Toyota and it translates directly to the products those respective brands produce.

Re:It works? (4, Informative)

Troy (3118) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725057)

This is somewhat of an apples/oranges comparison. Linux proper is principally the kernel, while the development teams for most *BSD variants manage both the BSD kernel and the userland. While it may be the case (and I don't know for sure honestly) that there are no viable forks of the Linux kernel, that really doesn't provide a fair basis for comparison.

I would suggest that a BSD variant (OpenBSD, FreeBSD, etc) is much more analogous to a Linux distribution than just the Linux kernel. When you frame it that way, I think it is safe to say that there is much more fragmentation in the Linux world than the BSD world.

Re:It works? (1)

lokiomega (596833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725213)

Mod parent up, and hope that girlintraining doesn't have anything else senseless and snarky to say.

Re:It works? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725065)

Businesses might appreciate the consistency of the release schedule and the relatively bug-free nature of those releases, but looking at market share it's pretty clear those are not the priorities for most businesses.

And? The article is about how/why they have a consistent release schedule. Since Linux already has a different process, why should BSD adopt the same? If a consistent, stable release schedule is important, use BSD. If Linux is better for your needs use it.

Re:It works? (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725087)

Most of the developers of the *BSDs are variously referred to as "difficult, abrasive, etc.," although Theo, to his credit, has had a major change in reputation over the past several years.

I've never heard that referring to anyone in the BSDs but Theo himself. When was the last time you heard complaints about NetBSD or the FreeBSD core team?

They also tend to fragment, as noted by the number of variants, which further weakens their position. Linux, on the other hand [...]

...is even more fragmented. How many Debian derivatives are there? RedHat? What about Gentoo, LFS, etc.? There's probably more similarity (and shared code) between FreeBSD and OpenBSD than between Ubuntu and Slackware.

Cut the BSDs some love. They deserve it, and there's plenty to go around.

Re:It works? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725131)

The original BSD code base was maintained by UC Berkeley and a bare bones system that was used as the basis for many industrial operating systems (e.g. SunOS). It was never meant to be a full fledged operating system for all usages, so different groups forked in order to target special niches. Similarly System-V would be considered forked (e.g. Solaris). Generally one considers both a base design, as neither were mature enough or managed in way to solve all of the purposes that were spawned.

386BSD was a port of 4.3BSD to x86 and when development ceased then NetBSD and FreeBSD were created simultaniously to continue development.

It was only the NetBSD/OpenBSD clash that was a political/cultural difference. All others were natural progressions given the maturity of the industry, communication technology, and specializations required. The primary reasons that Linux became successful was (a) the BSD lawsuit, (b) IBM. The SVLUG was one of the earliest user groups and its archives site members stating that they switched communities due to concerns at the time. Still, both were equally popular until IBM became involved in the late 90s promoting it with their illegal spray painting all over San Francisco. As IBM was a hardware company, the GPL was more attractive than the BSD license due to restricting competitors (Sun) from leveraging IBM's contributions. Before IBM's commitment and promotion of Linux, which was followed by other big vendors like SGI for similar reasons, FreeBSD was arguably more popular (e.g. it was adopted by EBay, Yahoo!, and other startups).

Re:It works? (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725137)

Marketshare? What does market share have to do with this? OpenBSD is for security. Secure out of the box. Joe six pak has no need for security. So OpenBSD is not for them. FreeBSD has stability, standardization and has been consistent since almost it's inception. If you like BSD and need it to run on obscure hardware then NetBSD is for you. If you wish a stable desktop Linux or one of it's flavors. Linux is also a good server. Mac OS X is great if you want user friendly and can be customized if need be. Windows is great because everyone thinks they can support it and it runs a lot of business software.

Each and every one has its pros and cons and I'm glad that I CAN choose which I will use for a specific task. I couldn't see myself committing to any one in particular for all of my computing needs.

As for people who choose the OS based on market share, all I have to say is good luck with that...

Re:It works? (5, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725333)

I disagree. The "forks" from original BSD weren't really forks. They were Berkeley giving up on it and letting others take over.

Most of the various BSD's are "forks" because they have different purposes. OpenBSD is security oriented, NetBSD is intended to run on vritually everything that has a CPU, FreeBSD was intended for more mainstram use.

The only real "schism" I can think of is when Matt Dillon broke off and formed DragonFly BSD. Everything else was pretty much some guys saying "I'm gonna go off and do this instead".

There may not be any real Linux "forks", but that's because Linus has tried very hard to make Linux "one size fits all", and that has resulted in its own set of problems (see the various scheduler wars, for instance.. they were bloody). There are also any number of "branches" in which different patches are applied to the mainline kernel for different purposes.

Re:It works? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725501)

Another schism was when de Raadt was booted from the NetBSD team and formed OpenBSD back in the mid '90s.

Similar to Ruby... (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724851)

...at least, in that Matz releases a new version at Christmas each year. For example, here's his Christmas post from Dec 2004 for Ruby 1.8.2 [nagaokaut.ac.jp] . Way back when!

Re:Similar to Ruby... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28724913)

As in, no one really uses it?

Debian (0, Offtopic)

kabloom (755503) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724903)

This sounds a lot like Debian's release process. Debian's primary release delays in the past have been infrastructure issues rather than software stability issues -- things like getting the right set of architectures on their mirrors, or getting security infrastructure set up for the new release.

I may very well be that the thing that makes this work is not only the release management practices, but also whatever they do to avoid security problems in the first place.

Is the OS as good as the Art? (0, Offtopic)

Sir Hossfly (1575701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724907)

I couldn't finishing watching the video...(sorry guys...I bet there was some great info in there tho)...I'm not as developie. Anyways...Check the freaking art on their site! Developer Dudes...You change your marketing style just a bit...You'll get people asking for your disk...and then they might even install and try out your OS. Make the two forms of art work together. Developing + Painting...merge the right combination...then...\m/()\m/

Why is Theo trying to help Microsoft? (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28724911)

The reasons, mechanics and social workings of our process have never been detailed outside the project, but now will be, hopefully providing some insight to others who face delays and quality issues with their own product lines.

He's clearly talking about Microsoft here, but why would he want to help them?

Re:Why is Theo trying to help Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725143)

He's not talking about MS, you tool. Fedora Core fits that description.

Re:Why is Theo trying to help Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725203)

He's not talking about MS, you tool. Fedora Core fits that description.

Hell, I'd say at least 80% of software projects (and a good many non-software endeavors) fit that description.

- T

*Two* critical bugs, actually (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725063)

both with SSH. That's still damned impressive.

god i hate wanky titles. (5, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725185)

the poster is making the assertion that it works, a lot of people would say their release cycle is a terrible burden on the project.

1. code freeze happens every six months meaning you don't get to finish off features and fixes which might have been of huge benefit. it would make much more sense to base your release cycle around features and improvements, then some arbitary number of days.

2. openBSD EOL's it's releases so quickly, that only in the very rare instance that a business is willing to pay through the nose for inhouse support will you be able to see your system patched.

3. 6 months is way WAY too short of a time for a whole new release. 12 months (if you have to go with the retarded time based release) would be much less of a drain on resources as there is a certain amount of work that must go into a release wether it's got useful upgrades or not.

i've used openbsd in production environment, and it doesn't cut it in hardware support or speed. it's firewall was nice, but i've got that in freebsd now which is a far better OS.

WHY does OpenBSD's release process work? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725219)

LOW EXPECTATIONS.

I'm srs. OpenBSD is as useless as a bag of rocks, and the developers grind away at either obscure (but easy) features, wasting time duplicating already-existing programs (CVS) when the rest of the world has move on (GIT) and generally taking a half-assed easy route to developing. The suggestion that they implement anything original or useful is met with general derision.

OpenBSD is NOT a serious operating system. When it comes to security, Solaris has it beat, when it comes to performance even VMS works better. The only thing I can honestly credit OpenBSD with is OpenSSH -and that was a decade ago! In that time the rest of the BSDs have made major contributions to the computing world (NetBSD was the first OS to incorporate USB, FreeBSD gave us two new file systems AND developed a free software port of Dtrace).

OpenBSD only works if your metric is based on how prone supposedly adult devlopers to flaming on mailing lists for no reason. They're neither competent, nor professional.

Talk to us about a REAL development community -not the sad myopic joke that is the OpenBSD community.

Re:WHY does OpenBSD's release process work? (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725341)

Daarrin Reed, is that you?

Re:WHY does OpenBSD's release process work? (4, Funny)

brusk (135896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725379)

OpenBSD is as useless as a bag of rocks

**hits anonymous cowardon the head with a bag of rocks
**thinks that was actually pretty useful.

Re:WHY does OpenBSD's release process work? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28725465)

hahaha, what a farce, Solaris through version 9 could never be hooked straight to the internet in default install or it would be pwn3d. Who runs a Solaris router or firewall? no one, that's who. Not even Sun marketing droids are dumb enough to spout the shit you just did. VMS is slower than OpenBSD on a comparable platform running the same code because of the more complicated file system. And running DCL is slower than bash scripts.

Comic Sans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28725487)

makes me sad.
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