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OpenBSD Project in Financial Danger

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the show-me-the-money dept.

610

DieNadel writes "In an entry to the OpenBSD Journal, Marco, from the OpenBSD project, warns about the somewhat disturbing financial situation in which they are now. The OpenBSD team is the one that also develops the OpenSSH suite, used nowadays almost everywhere. From the entry: 'What I want to point out what a lot of people don't seem to realize is that OpenSSH development is paid from the same pool of money as OpenBSD. OpenSSH is in use by millions around the world however the revenue stream just simply isn't there. This is where other projects could help. Without naming entities or projects by name there are others out there that are sitting on some cash. It would be wonderful if these entities could share some of the wealth to keep us going.'"

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610 comments

Just waiting (3, Funny)

gregarican (694358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14964990)

...for Netcraft to weigh in on this one :-)

You Must Have Missed the Memo (0, Troll)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14964993)

You are living in a world controlled by capitalist America. If you want money, then you need to sell stuff to get it. Work hard. Get a job. Shave your head. Or something like that.

Open Source Funding... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965141)

What you said may sound troll-ish to some, but it just goes to show how little support there is for open source projects - especially money wise. Everyone here seems to think everything should be F/OSS, and that you should live off support contracts and such. But in reality, 99.9% of the time, it just doesn't work out (and I don't know many coders who want to do a living off answering the phone instead of coding).

There are some great and very useful OSS projects, but I don't make a living that way. My money comes off closed source/proprietary software - on the hugely popular closed platform. It's already hard enough making a living this way, I can't imagine how "easier" it would be if I gave the app away with the source code and let people fork it. I have enough money now to retire at 30, put my kids thru university, etc. Had I gone the open source way, I don't think this would be true.

It's just like websites and newspapers lately. Besides some advertizing (that we block in any way we can like using AdBlock), there just isn't much of a revenue stream. Nobody's really figured it out yet... Yet there are so many bright folks who've been scratching their heads for a while. This could be the 2nd "dotcom" crash - money has to come from somewhere to fund all this.

Re:Open Source Funding... (-1, Flamebait)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965245)

Hmmm... maybe I should have said:

1. Skip out on the national guard
2. Do lots of coke
3. ??? ---(ie. become the president of the U.S.)
4. Profit!!!

Re:Open Source Funding... (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965347)

I have enough money now to retire at 30, put my kids thru university, etc.

While this is nice for you, it's also an exception to the rule. A very small percentage of the population will ever reach that point. I know I have no way of getting there no matter how hard I work. It has nothing to do with how hard you work. It has everything to do with either, how lucky you are, or how ethically dodgy you can comfortably live. For instance, I refuse to shop at Walmart no matter how low their prices are because I believe that by doing so, I am cutting myself deeply. That's an ethical choice. Others are apparently very comfortable buying at Walmart regardless of what they think of the company. Or as another example, there are companies that I refuse to buy much from at all (Microsoft being one of them) simply because I disagree with their way of doing business. All they have to do is change a few things, and I'd gladly buy from them. But they won't, and so I avoid their products. The same goes for investment. Being ethical about how you live and getting into investing is VERY difficult and expensive. You can ignore the impact you are having on others and just focus on yourself (which I can't bring myself to do) and make some money with investing. Or, you can chose to avoid getting into the tangle of funding inappropriate but profitable behaviors and wind up living like I do: with less money than most. At least I feel my conscience is cleaner. Not perfect, just cleaner.

Re:You Must Have Missed the Memo (1)

compass46 (259596) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965243)

FreeBSD survives mostly through donated money (to the FreeBSD Foundation) and donated equipment. Much of it from companies. Considering how prevalent OpenSSH is, there are a lot of large companies with a vested interest in what OpenBSD puts out and should be doing more to support the project.

(This is not a Free vs. Open flame, I work on Free.)

Mojirra (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965003)

Without naming entities or projects by name there are others out there that are sitting on some cash. It would be wonderful if these entities could share some of the wealth to keep us going.'"

Pro tip: He's talking about Mozilla.

Re:Mojirra (0)

TravisWatkins (746905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965186)

Or Ubuntu.

Sad (2)

r2q2 (50527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965008)

This is really sad. I used to use openbsd and it is a great project. Very easy to install and a nice fast text based installer. Hopefully someone can pick up the slack and donate to this great project.

Re:Sad (2, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965077)

Do they have a page with info on how to donate? I don't use OpenBSD but I do use some of their other work so I'd be willing to toss in a few bucks here and there.

Re:Sad (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965120)

Absolutely.. the url is here: http://www.openbsd.org/donations.html [openbsd.org]

Re:Sad (5, Insightful)

danielk1982 (868580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965116)

Hopefully someone can pick up the slack and donate to this great project.

You?

Re:Sad (1, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965220)

And you, my friend, have hit on the reason that open source will always be a fringe movement. Despite its technical merits, it runs up against the most powerful force ever -- human greed and stupidity.

We are always worried about #1. Take your average workplace. If everyone is pulling their weight, people do their job. If one person slacks off and gets away with it, the rest of the staff immediately drops to the level of the slacker. The mindset is "If HE can get away with murder and still get paid, I can do the same thing" Never mind that we are still getting paid by our employer... we feel some snse of entitlement when one person is getting off scot free.

Now, return to OSS. Companies who use OSS don't donate. They see it as throwing money away. People don't contribute to OSS respositories at nearly the rate they use it. And people hardly ever donate money either.

Bottom line: OSS is a wonderful idea... like communism. You will find pockets where it works. But overall it falls on its face.

Re:Sad (1)

danielk1982 (868580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965311)

Now, return to OSS. Companies who use OSS don't donate. They see it as throwing money away. People don't contribute to OSS respositories at nearly the rate they use it. And people hardly ever donate money either.

Thats a good point. The last company I worked at used OSS throughout the entire development cycle. From CVS repositories, to bugzilla for bug tracking, to eclipse for development, plus a host of other apps (of course Linux on servers and workstations). Do you know how much they contributed to any OS project? Yep - $0. (although since RH Linux came with our Dell servers and workstations, RH probably got some money).

They used to shell out thousands of dollars 15 years ago to proprietary vendors (Unix and MS) for the same applications they get for free now.

[OT] Your sig (0, Offtopic)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965228)

Why yes, my UID is prime also.

free software? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965012)

this wouldn't be a problem if they actually charged money for their products

Sorry, Theo (2, Insightful)

bellers (254327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965023)

Dear Theo:

Maybe people are deciding you're just too much of a douche to put up with.

I'm sure if you run out of money and cant work on openssh anymore that someone with the time and resources will pick up the ball and run with it. Such is the nature of OSS.

Love,

the Free Software Community.

Re:Sorry, Theo (1)

5foot2 (24971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965088)

yeah, the guy is a king size asshole, but he and the people working with him get the job done and done well. all the people who have or who will reply to this post should step up and buy a copy of OBSD. I try and buy a copy every few releases.

Re:Sorry, Theo (0, Troll)

ormandj (956774) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965205)

Sorry, but I don't reward nearly intolerable behavior with my hard earned money. You feel free to do so, but where I come from, we pay people who do good work, do it well, and do it with a smile. I don't care if you cure cancer, if you're an ass to EVERYONE about it, you won't ever see a dime from me. I'll wait for an implementation from somebody who understands society is important, and is how you progress. Screw Theo, screw his piss poor attitude. I hope he has to get a job at McDonalds. Maybe that'll teach him some manners. Actually, just lock him and RMS up in a room and let them fight it out for a year or so. They should both come out pretty decent people in the end.

Re:Sorry, Theo (1)

hahiss (696716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965321)

``I don't care if you cure cancer, if you're an ass to EVERYONE about it, you won't ever see a dime from me. "

Well, at least until you get cancer and need the cure. ;)

Kidding aside, I do appreciate your sentiments about this; it is very hard to support free software projects when those in charge spew vinegar rather than honey. (Though, in fairness, I'm a fan of free software divas myself.) However, the work of the OpenBSD project does deserve support for its contributions (IMHO, YMMV).

Re:Sorry, Theo (1)

justins (80659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965167)

I'm sure if you run out of money and cant work on openssh anymore that someone with the time and resources will pick up the ball and run with it. Such is the nature of OSS.

Wow. That sounds a lot like holding companies and vulture capitalists. I thought we were all trying to get away from that horseshit.

Re:Sorry, Theo (1)

flithm (756019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965314)

It really is true. While it may be a good project, Theo is an absolute ass. I graduated from the same school as him (U of C) and they're still telling stories about how much an ass he was while he was there.

I really hope OpenBSD doesn't die, because despite Theo the project obviously still has a lot of merit.

But, having said that, it doesn't surprise me one bit to hear that it's in trouble... and the reason is completely self explanitory: Theo de Raadt.

Seperate the openBSD & openSSH projects? (4, Insightful)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965024)

I know some large companies (cough*apple*microsoft*redhat*cough*) can certainly afford to support openSSH, and need the project to continue running.

These companies however would not want to give to an operating system project that competes with them.

Maybe the openBSD & openSSH projects should seperate?

Re:Seperate the openBSD & openSSH projects? (1)

RichiP (18379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965091)

Good Lord, not Microsoft! (Not being an anti-MS junkie here but) From their history, whenever they buy out companies, they usually just strip out the technologies they can use and abandon those that help competing products (there's that antivirus and another piece of software I can't seem to recall). Since they own the product, they can also be more restricting with anyone who wants to pick up development. Developers would have to fork the code as it exists prior to the purchase.

Oh Come on! (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965189)

It is not about purchasing, it is just about making a donation to the cause. I mean, it is *not* Linux and I am 100% sure any of the BSDs distros are aimed to go against Windows. And, it is not like anyone of them can (and had) used any of this code!

As someone (who will probably be moded down) said before in the thread, the way this capitalist world is "profit or die". Companies that have used this software should donate some money to give a push to the software.

Re:Seperate the openBSD & openSSH projects? (1)

joshmccormack (75838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965157)

I can't imagine Apple or Microsoft would be the least bit concerned about losing users to OpenBSD.

Re:Seperate the openBSD & openSSH projects? (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965180)

Why does Microsoft need OpenSSH? I think they would be thrilled if OpenSSH were to die. Microsoft's command line is terrible, port forwarding doesn't work nearly as well with their products as Unix.... I'm not trying to be argumentative I just don't see any net benefit (I'm sure there are some minor ways Microsoft uses OpenSSH but...)

Re:Seperate the openBSD & openSSH projects? (1)

compass46 (259596) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965324)

Run strings against Windows Services for Unix and look for OpenBSD.

Re:Seperate the openBSD & openSSH projects? (4, Insightful)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965293)


Maybe the openBSD & openSSH projects should seperate?

This is exactly the first thing I thought when I read this story. It sounds like the developers are yelling: "OH NOES, OPENSSH IS DYING, WE NEED MONEY!!!!11", and then honest people, who want to support openssh, ask "How can I support OpenSSH?". The answer given is "Give money to OpenBSD."

To me, that's unacceptable. It's classic bait-and-switch. I use OpenSSH every day of my life and if you count scripts and cronjobs, probably every hour of my life. But I could give a shit about OpenBSD. So, while I'd be willing to help OpenSSH out, I want to know that my money is being spent on OpenSSH. I don't want the overhead going to OpenBSD. There, I admit it - I expect something in return for the money I donate - it's my money so sue me.

You want to get support for OpenSSH? Fork off the legal entity and make an OpenSSH foundation which can accept donations directly. We're not going to solve your OpenBSD problems for you, though.

~Will

Re:Seperate the openBSD & openSSH projects? (1)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965330)

Don't worry, that's exactly what happens if Theo doesn't get enough money.

Re:Seperate the openBSD & openSSH projects? (1)

TechnologyX (743745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965333)

Why the fuck should they? Just because they aren't fucking morons and actually work AND GET PAID for a living, they shouldn't have to help some other open source project.

Get a real job fuckheads.

Re:Seperate the openBSD & openSSH projects? (1)

wirah (707347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965348)

I'm sorry, in what world does OpenBSD compete with Windows XP, Apple OSX, etc... Sure on the server side there is slight competition, but OpenBSD is so niche, it hardly counts.

What Some Fanatics Wanted (1)

RichiP (18379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965031)

I think that when some people post of how good their competing project is (ie. Gnome vs. KDE, Linux vs. *BSD), most are secretly hoping that the people reading it would abandon the project for their own. Though I doubt the decrease in funds of the OpenBSD project is significantly caused by naysayers, I'm wondering now how these people feel when it actually comes to pass.

As for the OpenBSD programmers, I wonder if at the very end, if no change happens, they will decide to create a different entity to handle OpenSSH and see if that will receive funding that OpenBSD cannot attract.

BSD is dying... (5, Funny)

ichin4 (878990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965041)

...oh wait, I guess it really is!

Do what you can. (5, Interesting)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965042)

As Maddog put it [slashdot.org] :
"I believe it was at a conference in Australia (also in the 1996-1998 time frame) that I ran into a rather despondent Theo de Raadt, who told me that for lack of $300. his ISP was going to turn off the project's servers. I took out my checkbook and immediately wrote him a personal check for $300., to keep the OpenBSD servers alive. My comment to Theo was that "your project is too valuable to let die over a measly $300.""

If you're really poor, just donate 5$.

Re:Do what you can. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965227)

"I believe it was at a conference in Australia (also in the 1996-1998 time frame) that I ran into a rather despondent Theo de Raadt, who told me that for lack of $300. his ISP was going to turn off the project's servers. I took out my checkbook and immediately wrote him a personal check for $300., to keep the OpenBSD servers alive. My comment to Theo was that "your project is too valuable to let die over a measly $300.""

Ah, so Theo's been running out of money since 1996.

Re:Do what you can. (4, Funny)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965272)

Two days later, I saw Theo with a new iPod and he was not despondant at all.

Nice of Maddog -- but this is one for Google (1)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965299)

That was a fantastic response from Maddog, but personal charity is not what OpenBSD/OpenSSH needs. It needs a patron for whom a regular $300 is not even pocket change.

Google, you know this is a worthy cause. Do the right thing.

Re:Nice of Maddog -- but this is one for Google (1)

SteeldrivingJon (842919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965331)

"It needs a patron for whom a regular $300 is not even pocket change."

No, clearly it needs to get a clue about fundraising, which appears to have long been little more than an afterthought.

And maybe they need to adjust their burn rate to suit their lack of interest in fundraising.

Re:Do what you can. (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965335)

$5 dollar donation....done!

Momma always said... (2, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965341)

"Don't give money to beggers." But I've got a few granola bars and juice drinks I would be willing to donate.

-Rick

Does it matter? (2, Insightful)

MrChom (609572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965044)

The SSH project will stay in development with or without BSD, there's no issue here of what would happen if OpenBSD ceased to exist. It's kinda like when most apps on Linux die, or simply cease development...if it's important then someone is there to pick up the pieces.

I have no sympathy for them at all. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965048)

The OpenBSD group is simply spewing more of their self-centered arrogance. They should get off their high horse and merge anything they have of value (which probably isn't much) with NetBSD and FreeBSD.

Re:I have no sympathy for them at all. (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965093)

The trouble is, what they have that is of value is well-audited, high-security code. You can't 'merge' that into NetBSD or FreeBSD (both of which I use) without basically rewriting (or reviewing to such an extent that you understand it as well as if you wrote it, which may take longer) the stuff.

Re:I have no sympathy for them at all. (2, Interesting)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965345)

It's funny how arrogance and bitterness go so frequently hand-in-hand.

Theo goes around (as seen in these pages) lambasting Linux for basically being popular and successful, and then laments how his "far superior" OS is not as highly regarded. (Compare this to the utterly humble Linus Torvalds.) Now there is the implied threat that if others (read: Linux companies) don't cough up the dough, he's going to yank OpenSSH away from us. He seems like quite a bitter man...

order an OpenBSD CD (5, Informative)

lotzmana (775963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965049)

Brother, improving your security is as easy as ordering a CD: http://www.openbsd.org/orders.html [openbsd.org]

The CDs that OpenBSD project sells is their main source of revenue and support.

OpenBSD 3.8 (1)

fa_king (952336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965054)

I recently purchased 3.7 and now I just might purchase 3.8 for shits and giggles!

How to get the money (4, Interesting)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965055)

Somebody needs to set up a site where we can donate money to the OpenBSD project through PayPal or some other convenient method. This is an important project, and I think that a lot of people in the community realize that, but take for granted that development happens "for free."

I also think that the OpenBSD project needs to start operating a bit more like a business. Services need to be offered that bring in a healthy revenue stream. Two areas where the OpenBSD development team excel are cryptography and code auditing. Both are related to security, which is a good industry these days. The OpenBSD site could offer paid services, such as code auditing for other projects to enhance security, etc. The OpenBSD developers should also set up a consulting business that performs setup and maintainance of OpenBSD installations, perhaps primarily for small businesses that aren't in the IT business, such as clinics, legal offices, automotive repair facilities, family operated stores, etc. These are relatively simple setups for those familiar with OpenBSD and projects from the larger open source community, and the effort would be minimal. These small businesses would be willing to pay a reasonable price for the service, since they would save greatly on software licensing.

All of those methods could be used to bring in a healthy revenue stream for the OpenBSD project. But in the meantime, please get a PayPal account set up!

Re:How to get the money (5, Informative)

dkaplowitz (248055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965086)

"Somebody needs to set up a site where we can donate money to the OpenBSD project through PayPal or some other convenient method."

http://www.openbsd.org/orders.html [openbsd.org]

Operating like a business. (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965171)

People either support a project or they don't. Please to come to the rescue give a false sense of value. Sure, you may get a temporary injection of funds, but then people will go back to ignoring it. If a project is dying from lack of funds, maybe the community really doesn't value it and perhaps it just needs to die.

Re:How to get the money (1)

3n1gm4 (689083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965187)

You can just go to their site and use Paypal to donate. I just did.

Re:How to get the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965211)

http://www.openbsd.org/donations.html [openbsd.org]

click paypal

How you can help (5, Funny)

karmawarrior (311177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965064)

Software development costs money. When people like Theo work their asses off to get us high quality programming, like OpenBSD, OpenSSH, PF, and a host of other excellent operating system level tools and frameworks that most of us use every day without thinking about it, they need to be rewarded, not just because they've done a good job, but because every minute they devote to making these things for us, is a minute they can't spend on work that puts food on their plates and roofs over their tables.

Unfortunately, they know that the best value they can give to the tools they provide is to make them free. But as long as the tools are free, there will always be those parts of society that do not contribute to the costs of their creation. And, unfortunately, that's not a minority of people. When was the last time YOU gave money to OpenBSD?

This quagmire of people being unable to develop that that should be free will not disappear by itself. Resources need to be devoted, and unless people are prepared to actually act, not just talk about it on Slashdot, nothing will ever get done. Apathy is not an option.

You can help by getting off your rear and writing to your congressman [house.gov] or senator [senate.gov] . Tell them that critical free software is important to you. Tell them that you appreciate the work being done by the OpenBSD and GNU teams to support you with the software you need in your life but that if cheapskates keep refusing to contribute to the projects, ensuring people like Theo are not forced to hold down proper jobs, you will be forced to use less and less secure and intelligently designed alternatives. Explain the concerns you have about freedom, openness, and choice, and how a lack of money for Free Software harms all three. Let them know that this is an issue that effects YOU directly, that YOU vote, and that your vote will be influenced, indeed dependent, on their policies on funding Free Software.

You CAN make a difference. Don't treat voting as a right, treat it as a duty. Remember, it was thanks to ordinary people like YOU that we are now seeing such innovations as SMP in OpenBSD. Keep informed, keep your political representatives informed on how you feel. And, most importantly of all, vote.

Re:How you can help (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965193)

Socialist. Why should the State support free software? Isn't OpenBSD based in Canada? Let the cannucks fund it.

This whole story reminds me of the homeless crack addicts pan handling on the street. "Man, I just need 5 dollars to feed my baby." Then they go off and buy more rock.

If you give it away free, why do expect people should pay for it?

Wow (1, Flamebait)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965235)

Did you notice your comment was modded funny? I'm not sure you meant it as a joke but thats how people are seeing it. The number of voters who would vote based on OSS issues alone is extremely small. There is a way for a software writer to stay out of bankrtuptcy, its known as charging for your work via proprietary methods. What Open Source is, is a failed business model. If you want to make money, don't be an idiot and release the fruits of your labor under the GPL or BSD license. If you don't mind starving and being taken advantage of, then go right ahead.

Re:How you can help (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965242)

Tell them that critical free software is important to you. Tell them that you appreciate the work being done by the OpenBSD and GNU teams to support you with the software you need in your life but that if cheapskates keep refusing to contribute to the projects, ensuring people like Theo are not forced to hold down proper jobs, you will be forced to use less and less secure and intelligently designed alternatives. Explain the concerns you have about freedom, openness, and choice, and how a lack of money for Free Software harms all three. Let them know that this is an issue that effects YOU directly, that YOU vote, and that your vote will be influenced, indeed dependent, on their policies on funding Free Software.

There is an organization that does that. The NSF [nsf.gov] . But it wouldn't matter. Theo is not an American he is very unlikely to get the grant.

Re:How you can help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965328)

OpenBSD had a DOD grant, and Theo couldn't resist antagonizing them...

Re:How you can help (2, Insightful)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965344)

Software development costs money ... Unfortunately, they know that the best value they can give to the tools they provide is to make them free.

In order words, we're discovering that handing out quality products and begging for money in return doesn't work. Is anybody really surprised?

When was the last time YOU gave money to OpenBSD?

When I bought OpenBSD 3.2 and it took them 4 months to ship it to me, and it arrived in broken jewel cases and the source CD was scratched beyond readability. That's why they aren't getting any more money out of me.

You can help by getting off your rear and writing to your congressman [house.gov] or senator [senate.gov]. Tell them that critical free software is important to you. Tell them that you appreciate the work being done by the OpenBSD and GNU teams to support you with the software you need in your life but that if cheapskates keep refusing to contribute to the projects, ensuring people like Theo are not forced to hold down proper jobs, you will be forced to use less and less secure and intelligently designed alternatives. Explain the concerns you have about freedom, openness, and choice, and how a lack of money for Free Software harms all three. Let them know that this is an issue that effects YOU directly, that YOU vote, and that your vote will be influenced, indeed dependent, on their policies on funding Free Software.

Are you kidding? You want me to encourage my congressman to publically fund open source software? You want the state to get involved in software development? Because you do you realize that the government doesn't just write blank checks. Not even Halliburton gets a blank check, there's strings attached to all this shit. Do you really, seriously think it's a good idea to turn open source software funding over to the government? Because you know what's goign to happen. We get fat sucking off the public teat and when the government wishes to change something in how that software works because our reps are getting lobbied by the RIAA, they threaten to cut that funding out unless we incorporate (or don't incorporate, or stop development on) some specific feature or package that a lobbyist finds to be inconvenient. Like p2p technology.

You CAN make a difference. Don't treat voting as a right, treat it as a duty. Remember, it was thanks to ordinary people like YOU that we are now seeing such innovations as SMP in OpenBSD. Keep informed, keep your political representatives informed on how you feel. And, most importantly of all, vote.

No, sir, you can shove your socialized software up your ass. I want my government staying as far away from OSS as possible.

Their community (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965069)

I've never wanted to use OpenBSD. The reason? Their community is filled with assholes. Sure, every group has its problem members, but it seems to be a requirement for OpenBSD users to be complete dicks to everybody. Have you ever read undeadly [undeadly.org] ? Every chance they get they respond to posters with vitriol and bash other projects. Not to mention the leader, Theo.

Perhaps if the OpenBSD users were a bit less arrogant and a bit more kind toward people I would be tempted to give it a look. But not as of now, and since I've never used it, I feel no need to contribute to the project (yes, I use OpenSSH, maybe I'll send a nickel some day).

Re:Their community (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965121)

I second that motion. A lot of time I will choose my software solutions based on the user community that backs it. For example, it's obvious reading a few newsgroup postings that there is a difference between say a Java programmers group and a Ruby one. In terms of friendliness, arrogance, etc. Same with OpenBSD compared to one of the other BSD's. Makes a difference for sure...

Re:Their community (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965124)

"I've never wanted to use OpenBSD. The reason? Their community is filled with assholes."

And yet, here you are on Slashdot. How does that work?

Consider going GPL? (3, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965070)

OK, I apologize in advance because I already know this is going to piss some people off, but why don't they try going all GPL. That would make it so that proprietary development couldn't fork off the code base and so would probably make the project leads a center point for support, services, and custom jobs. Lots of other people like Red Hat are making money this way, I don't see why the OpenBSD team couldn't do it too. The fact that the free software movement is exploding in cash while Open BSD is suffering - shouldn't that be telling us something?

Re:Consider going GPL? (1, Insightful)

CuttingEdge (953061) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965281)

Switching the license of OpenBSD would compromise the integrity of the team and the quality of the software as well as the most important aspect, freedom.

Switching would also be in violation of the rights of those who contributed code under the assumption of BSD; switching thus isn't legally viable.

The GPL isn't free software - it's communal software as in communistic communes or hippie communes.

The BSD style license enables true freedom for authors and users alike. Freedom to fork. Freedom to contribute. Freedome to use.

The GPL is so complicated how many of you have actually taken the time to read it? It bases is communistic society on rules that restrict your freedom by putting limits on what you can and can't do with it. For example, you are not free to develop with it and sell your modified versions without contributing your source code back to the commune. That's not freedom. That's communism.

Be FREE, Be BSD (or equlivant).

Old Joke (5, Funny)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965071)

Linus Torvalds and Bill Gates briefly saw Theo de Raadt in the Gents' toilets at an important computer show; Theo left the trough and walked away without washing his hands. A bit later, they saw him again and decided to take him to task over his indiscretion.

"At Microsoft, we always wash our hands when we've been to the toilet!" said Bill, smugly.
"I'm sure all the Linux developers wash and dry their hands when they've been to the toilet!" said Linus, determined to outdo Bill.
"Fuck off, the pair of you," said Theo, "OpenBSD people don't piss on their fingers!"

Duh! Free Software (1)

DisprinDirect (755967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965074)

Free Software isn't Free then? I'm soooooo disillusioned

When OSS Fails Itself (1)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965082)

This is the perfect example of what happens when OSS fails itself. The OpenSSH source is open to anyone, and under the BSD license, anyone can use it for any reason. So what's happening? You have a great software product used by millions of people and they are running into financial hardships. This could result in this great software product being at risk of being undeveloped and unsupported in the near future.

Would it be too much for OpenSSH to go to a model that requires people to spend a meer $1 per server installation per year? That's at least $1 million in anual income which is more than enough to cover expenses and development.

Re:When OSS Fails Itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965115)

I think their problem is the License they use and not the OSS development model as a whole..

Re:When OSS Fails Itself (1)

Packet Pusher (231564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965139)

This isn't OSS failing, this is the OSS model succeeding. If they stop developing it due to cash problems someone else can take over. Had this been a commercial product cash problems could effectively take it off the market.

Re:When OSS Fails Itself (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965255)

Thats great in theory, but whats the probability of that actually happening? Not too many people find the prospect of donating and volunteering labor to something which will not support you to be that attractive.

WORK FOR NETBSD OR FREEBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965083)

If THEO wasnt such a hard head, he would help
his former employees and stop being a hardhead

else get a real job working for MicroSoft!

Free beer (1)

ricepudd (960850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965085)

It's only fair that those with lots of free beer share it with those who have given away all their free beer. Keeping it to yourself just gives you a hangover, whilst sharing it makes for a great night out...

Hmm.... (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965087)

Isn't SCO using the OpenSSH code? Maybe they could kick in a few dollars to help maintain it... after all, won't they be getting several billion from IBM any day real soon now?

Reasonable enough... (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965089)

Plenty of OSS projects use OpenSSH, and it's obviously far less sexy and able to get donations as some of the projects that rely on it. It doesn't seem right that only OpenBSD should finance it. However, I've not heard of projects helping out the stuff they depend on before.
Would it be a good thing if big projects with lots of money started to be expected to financially help the libraries they use? It might help with the development of good, reusable frameworks and libraries and maybe even help deal with one of the major problem of OSS, namely that in some areas there far too many mediocre frameworks and few good ones. If this became the norm, it would allow the most used ones to develop faster.

Re:Reasonable enough... (1)

RichiP (18379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965118)

Goes to show people how monetary figures give value to a product. In the case of OpenSSH, it's free so many people take it for granted. The truth is, OpenSSH is extremely important for a lot of people who administer these boxes. Even regular users may use it (SecureFTP) without knowing.

Someone has to say it (-1)

Dreamland (212064) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965094)

I'm going to be modded down for this, but...

Theo de Raadt is an arrogant asshole. Not exactly the type you're falling all over yourself to support with donations.

Re:Someone has to say it (1)

RichiP (18379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965147)

In the interest of understanding things (and to avoid actually getting modded down), could you (or anyone else) post actual examples of his arrogance or assholiness? Google [google.ca] has a bit to say, but I'm sure I'm limited by my keysearch terms.

Re:Someone has to say it MOD PARENT DOWN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965161)


I'm going to be modded down for this, but...

Theo de Raadt is an arrogant asshole. Not exactly the type you're falling all over yourself to support with donations.


Slashdot Editors:Please add this link to the story (5, Informative)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965101)

OpenBSD's Donations [openbsd.org] :
OpenBSD has no wealthy sponsors, nor a business model.

Naturally, the OpenBSD project requires funds to operate, due to electrial costs, Internet line costs and the same hardware upgrades that everyone must experience. For this reason, the project sells CDROMs and T-shirts and posters. Thus, when you buy an OpenBSD CD, whether at a conference, from any sales site, or from our CDROM ordering page [openbsd.org] , you are helping to increase the chance that OpenBSD will continue to make future releases.

It is also possible to donate funds or hardware [openbsd.org] , in which case your name ends up on our Donations page [openbsd.org] .

OSS can't make money on its own (1)

cecom (698048) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965137)

Sadly this shows once again that "pure" OSS cannot make money on its own. By "pure" I mean not relying on hardware sales and support contracts. Don't get me wrong - I use OSS, love OSS and I want OSS to be able to make money - but I cannot understand how that could possibly happen. Especially with the BSD license.

OpenBSD offended their sugardaddy (3, Insightful)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965138)

OpenBSD is a vital project that is lead by an amateur. OpenBSD had a sugardaddy [computerworld.com] in Darpa, but apparently offended them with negative comments. My question, who does he think will be most interested in his super secure OS?

Re:OpenBSD offended their sugardaddy (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965310)

FTA: "In that story, the resident of Calgary, Alberta, said the U.S.-led war against Iraq "sickens" him. De Raadt also said he was uncomfortable taking money from the U.S. military, but 'I try to convince myself that our grant means a half of a cruise missile doesn't get built.'"

He should have thanked the U.S. Military for solving his moral dilemma for him.

Re:OpenBSD offended their sugardaddy (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965325)

in reality he probably pissed off his contact person at darpa, well because he has the personality of an asshole. He tried to pretend anyone cares what he says. It wasnt some big conspiracy, hell if i was giving him money and he acted like he does, well it simply wouldnt be worth the headache.

The price of success (1)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965142)

Soon Mozilla/Firefox will have every failing opensource project BEGGING them for cash. They will become the OpenSource gravy train target if they give in and contribute.

Damned if they do, damned if they dont!

"Other projects" not the problem... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965143)

What I want to point out what a lot of people don't seem to realize is that OpenSSH development is paid from the same pool of money as OpenBSD. OpenSSH is in use by millions around the world however the revenue stream just simply isn't there

Okay, to explain why I consider that sooooo wrong, I present an analogy...

The US space program costs billions of dollars per year, and really doesn't "do" all that much - aside from the occasional high-profile exploration mission, it primarily launches satellites for the US military. Yet, it has given us, as a side benefit of solving the problems inherent in getting to and living in space, countless synthetic materials and advanced manufacturing techniques.

Even if the space program ended tomorrow, we'd still have the results of all its work. We can even keep researching ideas such as nanotubes, completely independant of the possibility of a space elevator.


If OpenSSH does well while OpenBSD teeters on the edge of collapse, perhaps a reprioritization of the larger group seems in order?


Ditch the shuttle, but keep the weather satellites.

Obligatory Monty Python aside (2, Funny)

phaxkolumbo (572192) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965145)

The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead.
[a man puts a body on the cart]
Man: Here's one.
The Dead Collector: That'll be ninepence.
OpenBSD: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Man: Nothing. There's your ninepence.
OpenBSD: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Man: Yes he is.
OpenBSD: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Man: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.

Just joking, here's to hoping OpenBSD gets better (financing) soon. (and you can change "Linux Zealot" to "Man" if you're so inclined...)

DARPA project dead? (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965148)

I suppose that reopening conversations with DARPA is out of the question? I was very hopeful when I heard about this, but disappointed when the support was withdrawn. I don't know the reason, but if it was for some idealistic plan on Theo on how to position OpenBSD, I support it. I don't know how to remedy this situation, but can only think of offering paid support (shudder) to companies utilizing OpenSSH. Either that or a grass roots tshirt campain! Let's see some better designs on some nice American Apparel shirts to get the ball rolling. The posted ideas about using some kind of embarassment campain against no paying corporations harks back to the bitter taste in my mouth when you were shunned if you didn't belong to the 'Mandrake Club'. That is the wrong avenue.

Apple Users This stuff-as does Micro$oft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965168)

They both could contribute-instead of just being leaches.

Yet another bombshell for beleaguered *BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965183)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent 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 fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.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. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

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.

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 dilettante 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 dying

Are many people really using OpenBSD? (1, Flamebait)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965184)

How many businesses are actually using OpenBSD in production anymore? Not counting the people unknowingly using OpenBSD based appliances. I can't remember the last time I heard of someone running production stuff on OpenBSD - at least in part because so many of the OpenBSD teams ideas being adopted by other *nix variants or freely available lockdown scripts.

Maybe the reason OpenBSD isn't getting support from businesses is that the most IT shops never have an OpenBSD box doing anything but acting as someone's pet project in a test lab.

Re:Are many people really using OpenBSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965313)

I for one have 3 Internet facing DNS servers running OpenBSD 3.8. One had been running since January of 2001 nonstop until it was upgraded late last year. Tons of queries, no worries.

I also have DHCP servers for main segments of our 10,000 user network, network taps to watch/troubleshoot Internet traffic, web servers, mySQL servers.

Oh wait, you are trolling.....

Got mine ordered today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965185)

I just ordered mine for work. More CDs than we need for our OpenBSD servers, but it is such a simple way to funnel money to the project. Getting some corporations to donate to a charitable project is tough, but purchases are easy. I have no problem with that.

There, put your money where your mouth is.

Sorry, wrong answer (3, Insightful)

schnell (163007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965200)

"It would be wonderful if these entities could share some of the wealth to keep us going."

Wow, that's a weak response. It sounds like they're basically asking other F/OSS projects to fork over cash because OpenBSD can't raise money. And it makes F/OSS groups look like the business-challenged hippies that some people think they are.

If you are going to have an OpenBSD organization, then that means that part of your job is raising funds to keep yourself a going concern. Let me repeat: your job is no longer just to write code, but to bring cash in the door so that you can continue to get paid. If you are building products that world + dog are using, then that should be pretty easy. If you are not capable of raising funds, then you need to find someone who is good at it to help you out. There are plenty of those people out there - any semi-competent second-year marketing student should be able to significantly increase their funding channels over what they have now.

I'm sorry but I just don't think you can say, "hey, other open source organizations have done a good job working with the public and the press, and they raised funding, so why can't we have it?" It just hacks me off when programmers complain about the business-types at an organization, then discover it's actually harder than they think. And in this case they have taken the additional step of not trying to remedy the problem, but actually glomming off other groups that have maintained done great work with fundraising and marketing their products.

I have supported OpenBSD myself in the past by buying install discs and T-shirts. I think OpenBSD is a fantastic OS and I will contribute my few bucks here and there to keep them going. But if OpenBSD's answer to their money problems is not to fix their own house but rather to ask others to fork over - it probably means they'll just get in this same hole again later! I think they need to have a better answer to this question if my support (or anyone else's) isn't just going to be money down the drain.

I'd be willing to chip in... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965206)

...to an escrow account for making OpenSSH have the GPL-compatible BSD license. Or if he insists on having his name on closed source software, a BSD/GPL dual license. It seems everyone and his mother (except debian-legal) link it anyway on a don't ask, don't tell basis but that's not what the license says. Yes, I'm talking about the attribution clause.

Realize OpenSSH (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14965252)

It is now official. Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent 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 fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.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. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

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.

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 dilettante 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 dying

I gave OpenBSD a chance (2, Interesting)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965253)

After my Linux box got hacked for the 3rd time, I switched to OpenBSD. Here's about how it went. (1) Go to web site, pay for CDs (2) Wait 2 weeks (3) Wait 3 more weeks (4) Contact webmaster, ask what's going on, receive no response (5) Wait another month (6) Try again to contact somebody at OpenBSD, receive no response (7) Wait two more months, give up on trying to contact anybody, write off OpenBSD as a bust (8) CDs arrive in mail almost 4 months after I ordered them in cracked, broken jewel cases with one CD scratched beyond the ability of my drive to read it. Luckily it was the source CD and I didn't need it. (9) Write to OpenBSD people to say I got my CDs but the quality was god-awful, the delay was ridiculous, and one of them was busted. Receive no response. Regardless, my OpenBSD box is going on 3 years hack-free with minimal effort on my part to keep it that way. Regardless, I'm unlikely to go through OpenBSD again. When I order a product, waiting over a quarter of the year is unreasonable, and it could at least arrive NOT broken and all screwed up. And they could at least acknowledge that they receive my email, even if only to tell me to piss off.

the flip side to all this (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965298)

No one's made this observation yet, so I figure I should: the flip side to OpenBSD not having enough money to maintain operations means that the software they make, especially OpenSSH, is in danger of being no longer supported. Yes, yes, I know, it's free software, so someone else can pick up the pieces after Theo is forced to take his toys and go home. But the reality is that no business in the world should trust software who's creator is about to implode.

What happens in six months when OpenSSH is no longer actively supported by the team that created it and a new exploit is discovered/released? What responsible IT manager is going to let his employer get into the potential problem in the first place?

I say, rather than begging for donations, the OpenBSD team needs to get their act together and find a way to keep the lights on, or they're going to see fewer and fewer people trusting the use of their software in large corporate environments. If that means the leader of the team needs to keep his mouth shut about his anti-war views when he's depending on a grant from the US Defense Department to keep his operation going, then that's what he needs to do. Being an adult means doing things you don't neccessarily want to do, like eating your peas and broccoli.

Donate at openssh.com (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965339)

They have a nice convenient PayPal link.

But it's $45.00 (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14965349)

The CD-ROM is $45.00. I can't afford that.
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