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Old 2nd August 2010
rpindy rpindy is offline
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Question OpenBSD Financial Situation

I'm asking since I have heard before about troubles with OpenBSD generating sufficient funds and I think it is a shame when so many servers use software from the team, especially OpenSSH. The first was in 2006:

http://www.undeadly.org/cgi?action=a...20060321034114

It also was mentioned on a HNNcast in Sep. 2009 ("OpenBSD in Financial Straits"):

http://www.hackernews.com/2009/09/12/hnncast091109/

I'm wondering if anyone knows specifics on the matter. In any case, I'm sure it would be great to get something going to help them out. I'm a college student myself but bought the 4.7 CDs and donated some extra hardware, and am hoping others also consider doing the same.
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Old 2nd August 2010
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpindy View Post
I'm wondering if anyone knows specifics on the matter.
All any of the regulars here will know is what we read on misc@. Searching through the misc@ archives is your best bet if you are truly curious.

Of the major *BSD variants, OpenBSD is the smallest. At one time, Theo had a DARPA grant several years back, but this was revoked after he boldly stated some anti-military opinions. In general, the project gets by asking for specific donations from the user base when specific hardware is needed (just as some developers are asking for donations now to purchase some HP laptops which appear to implement suspend/resume outside of the ACPI specification...) or additional funds are needed for hackathon reasons (flying specific developers). This also follows the project's goals placing the developers in complete control not having to kowtow to any particular benefactor.

There was a period of time when -stable ports were held hostage by stating that developer resources were few, & keeping the -stable ports tree up-to-date was stopped in the name of continuing development on -current. The hope was that someone(s) would pony up funds. It didn't really work. Updating -stable ports has resumed to a degree as more people have joined in the porting effort. This is still a sore point with the community, & more information can be found in the misc@ archives.

Would it be nice if major corporations contributed for such efforts as OpenSSH? Perhaps, & on occasion there will be some grumblings on misc@ about it, but by remaining small & by flying beneath the consciousness of most, the developers can do as they please, & that appears to be perfectly fine by them.

The developers are not particularly interested in world domination, nor stamping out the competition. In fact, OpenBSD isn't for everyone, & by remaining small, the developers don't have to answer to demands for new features, policy, or spoon-feeding. The developers understand the ramifications of the BSD license philosophy, & this allows them to do as they please. They set their own agenda.

OpenBSD is an engineer's operating system where engineers call all the shots. The project's policies aren't agreeable to many, but there are other alternatives. OpenBSD isn't the only game in town, & the developers will freely point the disgruntled to other operating systems.
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Old 2nd August 2010
rpindy rpindy is offline
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Thanks ocicat for a great reply. I looked through the mailing list and the donations are, as they say, pathetic for everything other than CDs- and even that is low. One thing you said stood out:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocicat View Post
Of the major *BSD variants, OpenBSD is the smallest.
Is it smaller than NetBSD? From what I've seen OpenBSD gets about 3x the usage that NetBSD does, and OpenBSD has offshoot products that are widely used like OpenSSH and PF.
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Old 2nd August 2010
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpindy View Post
Is it smaller than NetBSD?
The OpenBSD project has fewer project developers than NetBSD.

The NetBSD project has had corporate sponsorship in the past by companies such as Wasabi & Wind Rivers who both were trying to capitalize on the name (& code base) in the embedded market. The OpenBSD project has never had corporate sponsorship throughout its lifetime outside of the DARPA grant.

Having watched the NetBSD Website fairly consistently for quite some time, it appears that they add new developers monthly. It can be surmised that with corporate sponsorship, the various corporations wanted a number of their staff to be able to commit code to the repository. My understanding is that NetBSD does not have currently have a corporate sponsor, but the project still adds to its ranks frequently.

The OpenBSD project doesn't duplicate this frequency. In fact, it appears that substantial code contributions have to be made before the OpenBSD project extends an invitation to join its ranks. Is one style better than the other? No, the projects just manage themselves differently.
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