FreeBSD Foundation Quarterly Newsletter, December 21, 2004
The FreeBSD Foundation Quarterly Newsletter
December 21, 2004
In this Edition:
o Letter from the Secretary/Treasurer
o An update on the FreeBSD Foundation's 501(c)3 Status
o A Roundup of Recent Foundation Activities
- Event Sponsorship
- PAE/BusDMA/PCIe Hardware grant
- The FreeBSD Performance Cluster
- FreeBSD Foundation Web Site
o The FreeBSD Foundation acquires the FreeBSD Trademark
o An Update on the Netperf Project
o The State of Java Runtime Licensing
o New Proposal Submission Process
o Future Projects
o Foundation Financial Data
Letter From the Secretary/Treasurer
For almost five years now, the FreeBSD Foundation has been working
quietly to support the FreeBSD project. Many of you may be aware
of the FreeBSD Foundation, but not know much about our activities.
This quarterly newsletter, along with a revamped web site debuting
on January 1st, marks a renewed effort to educate the FreeBSD
community about our efforts.
This first newsletter includes important information about the
FreeBSD Foundation's current status as a public-charity and the
steps you can take to help us keep that status. Even if you don't
have time to read the whole newsletter, please take the time to
read and understand this section.
The remainder of the newsletter is devoted to answering the
question we get most often, "What does the FreeBSD Foundation
do?" From financial data to status updates on recent and planned
projects, we hope you'll find the answer to all of your questions
in the newsletter. If you don't find what you're looking here or
on our web site, please don't hesitate to contact us via email.
Thanks for your support!
Justin T. Gibbs
FreeBSD Foundation Board of Directors
The FreeBSD Foundation's 501(c)3 Status
December 31st of this year will mark the end of the FreeBSD
Foundation's probationary period as a 501(c)3. The IRS requires
all non-profit public charities to prove, at the five year mark,
that they have met the "public support test" or be classified as
a private foundation. For several reasons that are too technical
to go into, it is in the Foundation's interest to remain a public
The easiest way for the Foundation to demonstrate "public support"
is to pass the "1/3rd test":
Limited Donations 1
================== = ===
All Donations 3
For the purposes of this test, no single donor may contribute
more than 2% of the total donation pool to the numerator.
Through good fortune and the extreme charity of a handful of
donors, the FreeBSD Foundation finds itself at risk of failing
the "1/3rd test". As of today, the ratio of limited donations
to total donations stands at 27.9%. While we have every confidence
that our support history will substantiate that the FreeBSD
Foundation is a public charity, going through the appeals process
can be a lengthy and expensive ordeal.
For this reason we are directly appealing to the community to
help us meet the "1/3rd test". To do so, the Foundation will
need to raise $30,400 in donations not affected by the 2%
contribution limit. Given the Foundation's expected donation
balance, the 2% limit for any single person or entity is $8000
given during the Foundation's 5 year probationary period.
If you use FreeBSD and would like the FreeBSD Foundation to
continue its support of FreeBSD, please consider making a donation.
No amount is too small to make a difference.
The FreeBSD Foundation accepts donations via check:
The FreeBSD Foundation
7321 Brockway Dr.
Boulder, CO 80303
Checks must be postmarked by December 31st. to count toward the
advanced ruling period.
Thanks again for your support!
Recent Foundation Activities
o Event Sponsorship
The FreeBSD Foundation has taken an active role in sponsoring
BSD-related and FreeBSD-related events, including the highly
successful AsiaBSDCon conference held in Taipei during March of
2004, and FreeBSD developer summits co-scheduled with major
conferences such as the USENIX Annual Technical Conference (ATC)
in Boston, MA during June 2004, and the EuroBSDCon conference
in Karlsruhe, Germany during November 2004. In addition, the
FreeBSD Foundation has provided limited travel grants to a number
of FreeBSD developers to attend conferences and workshops on
behalf of the FreeBSD Project, including assisting in travel
costs to attend the above events. Both BSD-centered conferences
and FreeBSD-specific developer events play critical roles in
expanding the FreeBSD user community and supporting collaborative
The FreeBSD Foundation would like, in particular, to recognize
the contributions of Michael Wu and the AsiaBSDCon organizers,
Scott Long, the EuroBSDCon program committee, the USENIX ATC BSD
sig program committee, the USENIX board, and the BSDCan organizers
for their outstanding contributions in organizing these and other
important events. The FreeBSD Foundation is committed to
supporting similar future events.
o PAE/BusDMA/PCIe Hardware grant
Typical system configurations continue to gain more memory -- it
is not uncommon to see 2GB or more in a desktop. Recently Scott
Long has taken on the task of polishing up the system components
that handle these large memory configurations. To aid in his
development and testing of the PAE, BusDMA, and new PCI-Express
extended configuration space framework, the Foundation has
purchased 4x2GB DIMMS of DDR3200 ECC memory and a case to house
a donated, large memory capable, system. The fruits of Scott's
efforts are already being seen in the FreeBSD CVS tree. Thanks
o The FreeBSD Performance Cluster
Originally created in support of the Netperf project, our
performance cluster continues to grow. We expect to add 64bit
systems to the cluster early next year as well as simplify the
mechanism for having developers "check-out" the cluster for test
runs. For more details on the FreeBSD Performance Cluster, see
the "Network Performance Work Update" section later in the
o The FreeBSD Foundation Web site Gets a New Look
The members of the Board of the FreeBSD Foundation may be many
things, but certainly not web site designers! After a year of
neglecting the current web site, we finally enlisted some help
in the form of Dag-Erling Smorgrav. Dag-Erling is putting the
finishing touches on our revamped site just in time to ring in
the the new year. Look for the site to debut on January 1.
Thanks Dag-Erling for all your hard work!
The FreeBSD Foundation acquires the FreeBSD Trademark
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce the acquisition of
the FreeBSD trademark.
In October of last year, Wind River Inc. agreed to assign the
FreeBSD trademark to the FreeBSD Foundation. As with most things
involving paperwork and government entities, progress has been
slow, but transfer is now complete in both the U.S. and Germany.
Transfer requests for the United Kingdom and Japan are expected
to complete shortly.
The Foundation would like to thank Wind River for their assistance
with the Trademark transfer, and Murray Stokely for his diligence
and hard work in shepherding the process.
As originally registered by Walnut Creek CDROM, the FreeBSD
trademark applies to "CD ROMs featuring an archive of computer
programs which may be accessed for use archived on a CDROM." With
the trademark transfer complete in two jurisdictions, the Foundation
is now turning its attention to updating the trademark to reflect
its current usage by the FreeBSD project. The new trademark
filing should be submitted to all four jurisdictions in January.
Network Performance Work Update
The defining architectural drive behind FreeBSD 5.x is "SMPng",
the adoption of fine-grained synchronization primitives and
additional threading to improve concurrency and scalability.
During this massive undertaking, kernel components not yet converted
to the new architecture are supported, but suffer a significant
performance penalty. Removing this penalty from the networking
stack was a requirement for FreeBSD 5.x to become the new -STABLE
branch and replace FreeBSD 4.x in Internet server installations.
Through the sponsorship of the FreeBSD Foundation and the support
of many volunteer developers, the initial lock down of the FreeBSD
network stack was completed for the FreeBSD 5.3 release.
The Foundation's initial contribution to the network stack lock
down project ("Netperf") was to award a six-month development
contract to Sam Leffler. Sam, a FreeBSD developer and one of the
original developers of the BSD networking stack, completed locking
of the firewall, Ethernet bridging, DUMMYNET, and socket subsystems.
He also cleaned up existing synchronization work in the routing
code and several areas of the TCP and UDP implementations.
To support the volunteers continuing this work in testing the
robustness and performance of the networking stack, the FreeBSD
Foundation created the "FreeBSD Performance Cluster". Located
in donated space at Sentex Data Systems' Ontario, Canada colocation
center, the cluster has proven an invaluable asset for determining
network stack bottlenecks and performing regression testing.
Through a matching hardware donation from FreeBSD Systems, Inc.
the cluster was christened with three 3.06GHz Dual-Xeon machines.
Recently a Dell 2650, donated by IronPort Systems, was added the
cluster. Permitting full remote management, including network
booting, remote power, and remote console, the cluster provides
an important experimentation resource available for developers
throughout the world.
Even with the great success of the Netperf project, there is still
much to be done to complete the SMPng initiative. The FreeBSD
Foundation plans to continue its work supporting this and other
architecture and performance initiatives through targeted development
grants and improvements to the FreeBSD Performance Cluster. Please
see the "New Proposal Submission Process" section of this newsletter
for details on the Foundation's funding process.
In August of 2003, the FreeBSD Foundation released its first
binary distribution of the Java runtime environment for the FreeBSD
platform. Since that time, the Foundation has funded additional
development to port the Java 1.4.x to FreeBSD, and worked diligently
to simplify the licensing process for "OEM" distribution of our
binaries. Work on the Java 5 port has also recently begun. While
we are pleased to report tremendous success in supporting Java
development initiatives, our negotiations with Sun Microsystems have
yielded few results.
The seemingly constant restructuring at Sun has made it difficult
to find and retain consistent contacts in their licensing program.
The latest blow to our efforts was the recent notification of
Sun's desire to revoke and renegotiate the FreeBSD Foundation's
SCSL license. From what we can determine, Sun is re-negotiating
all SCSL licenses to standardize their Java revenue model.
Even after receiving notice of the termination of our license
attempts to contact Sun to renegotiate the license have gone
unanswered. For now, it is safe to assume that the Foundation
will engage in another lengthy, and potentially costly, licensing
negotiation before our binary distributions can continue.
In the mean time, the FreeBSD Foundation is continuing its support
for Java development. With the recent introduction of Java 5.0,
and FreeBSD 5/6's new KSE thread library, there is still much
work to do. This should ensure that FreeBSD continues to enjoy
excellent Java support while we await resolution of the Java
New Proposal Submission Process
As the Foundation looks on to 2005, the board of directors has
started to develop a more formal proposal review process for
vetting responses to its proposal requests. The new scheme has
many of the same features as a paper review committee for a
technical conference. The Foundation will solicit reviewers from
both inside and outside the BSD community with technical expertise
in fields applicable to proposals. Each member will review a
fixed, small, number of proposals and submit comments on those
proposals for group discussion and ranking. The committee's
recommendations will then be used by the board of directors to
choose the funded proposals.
Our hope is that by limiting the workload and commitment for
volunteers we can attract high caliber reviewers. We also feel
that bringing input from outside the BSD community will increase
the visibility of FreeBSD while also broadening the community's
knowledge of other technologies.
The FreeBSD Foundation is always looking for new ways to enhance
and promote the FreeBSD operating system. Below are a few of our
new initiatives that are just getting started:
o Legal Council on the DMCA, copyright auditing, and code licenses
The SCO lawsuit has heightened the awareness of the Open Source
community to intellectual property issues. In early December,
the FreeBSD Foundation tasked its legal council with exploring
different ways the FreeBSD Foundation, the FreeBSD Project, and
its developers can limit liability for IP infringements without
hobbling the project in paper work. Working closely with the
FreeBSD Core team, the Foundation hopes to provide FreeBSD
developers with accurate and useful information about copyright
law, the DMCA, and software licensing.
o Enterprise Storage Initiative
The first test of the FreeBSD Foundation's new proposal review
process will concentrate on FreeBSD's storage subsystems. From
VFS and file systems to the CAM SCSI framework, this area of the
FreeBSD kernel is one of the largest still lacking the fine-grained
locking of the SMPng architecture. FreeBSD also lacks many
industry standard storage features including a journaling file
system, software RAID support for many vendor's meta-data, and
iSCSI. While the Foundation lacks the resources to fund all of
this work, we hope to address some of these issues via development
grants in 2005. Look for our request for proposals early in the
new year. Monetary donations to the Foundation will help to
make funding for these projects possible!
FreeBSD Foundation Financial Data
Profit/Loss Jul 2004 - Sep 2004
Total Income 1,485.95
Computer Equipment 8,022.00
Conference Fee & Travel Grants 1,668.90
Event Sponsorship - Other 3,622.47
Total Event Sponsorship 5,291.37
PayPal Fees 33.85
Postage and Delivery 39.53
Legal Fees 72.30
Total Professional Fees 522.30
Total Expense 13,909.05
Net Ordinary Income -12,423.10
Net Income -12,423.10
Balance Sheet as of Dec 21, 2004
Total Current Assets 194,605.36
TOTAL ASSETS 194,605.36
LIABILITIES & EQUITY
Retained Earnings 182,803.98
Net Income 11,801.38
Total Equity 194,605.36
TOTAL LIABILITIES & EQUITY 194,605.36