FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter, July 28, 2006
In this Edition:
- Letter From the Secretary/Treasurer
- New Website
- New Foundation Logo
- Java Binaries Available for FreeBSD 5.5 and 6.1
- Foundation Helps With Sun4V Donation
- Coverity Update
- Foundation Arranged Purchase of XScale-Based Boards
- Conferences and Developers Sponsored
- BSDCan and Developer Summit
- How to Apply for a Grant
- New Board Members
- Foundation Priorities
The FreeBSD Foundation recently marked its sixth anniversary. How does it feel to be six? For a youngster we're showing some pretty amazing capabilities, but we're still striving for maturity. This newsletter outlines many of the areas where we are growing as an organization.
Financially, the FreeBSD Foundation is working hard to secure its future for the next six years. To that end, we have started a program to conservatively invest our cash reserves to gain interest income, and we will shortly begin a more aggressive campaign to raise funds for our future work. You don't need to be an accountant to notice from the financial statements included in this newsletter that fundraising will have to improve for the FreeBSD Foundation to continue to provide the same level of service it does today.
As the founder of the FreeBSD Foundation I'm somewhat biased, but I'm constantly amazed by our achievements. This newsletter shows our continued efforts to support FreeBSD in new and creative ways. The future holds even more exciting opportunities. I hope you'll consider joining the hundreds of donors that have made our work possible, so the FreeBSD Foundation can be part of that future.
Thanks for your support!
Justin T. Gibbs
If you haven't noticed already, we have a new look. We have grown considerably over the past year and wanted to improve how we communicate and provide information to the FreeBSD community. We will keep you informed on what we are doing in the News section. And soon, we will add donation tracking on our homepage to keep you up to date on our fundraising goals. We will also be adding information on donors, grant recipients, and trademark FAQs.
We were fortunate to be able to hire the web design services of Emily Boyd, who designed the FreeBSD Project's new website as a Summer of Code 2005 participant. She helped us with the new design look and was very responsive to changes and questions.
Early in the year, the Foundation unveiled its new logo. First, we'd like to give a big thank you to Kirk McKusick for giving us permission to modify the BSD daemon, as well as allowing us to register our logo as a trademark. We were fortunate to find a local artist who had a great time with the design. And, a graphic artist who put up with our continuous modifications. We have received positive feedback from the community on our new logo. If fact, we put the logo on shirts for BSDCan, so people would know who we were. We never realized how popular these shirts would be, until we were repeatedly being asked how someone might get one for themselves. We're sorry to say, these will only be available to board members. So, if you're interested in helping us...
We are proud to announce we have available certified Java Runtime Environment(JRE) and Java Development Kit (JDK) binaries for the FreeBSD 5.5 and 6.1 operating systems. These were built on the latest J2SE 5.0 Update 7 release from Sun Microsystems.
When we released the last binaries, only three months ago, we received many requests to add support for the AMD64 platform. In showing our commitment to the FreeBSD community and making FreeBSD a fully capable Java platform, we have provided certified binaries for FreeBSD 6.1/AMD64.
The cost of this project was just under $20,000. This paid for a developer to work full-time on the project. This was much less than the $37,000 paid for the FreeBSD 5.4 and 6.0 versions. We were able to leverage the legal work from the first release, so we didn't incur legal costs this time around.
Support for OEMs was added in June. Sun worked with us to provide licensing and trademark requirements for OEMs. OEMs must agree to the OEM license agreement including Exhibit A, before downloading the binaries. Exhibit A will help you understand if you will need a commercial license from Sun and how to get a trademark license with Sun.
We are committed to bringing the latest Java technology to the FreeBSD community. But, we can't continue to fund the projects without receiving some significant donations. This project was mostly funded from our reserves. When you look at our financial data, you'll see we've received around $8000 in donations this year. We hope if you benefit from this project or FreeBSD in general, that you will consider donating to The FreeBSD Foundation. We'd like to note that this work could not have been completed without the hard work of volunteers that include Greg Lewis, Kurt Miller, and Foundation members. We'd also like to mention that Yahoo! donated an AMD64 system for this project.
The Foundation was pleased to support the Sun4v project by assisting with a donation from Sun of 2 Sun T1000 servers. The servers will be setup at Yahoo. The goals of the project are:
- Offer Sun4v as a viable deployment platform for users of FreeBSD in the data center.
- Scale FreeBSD to 32 cpus for common applications.
There are currently 3 developers working with the platform, and this donation will allow the project to add two more developers to work directly with the platform.
In our December newsletter, the FreeBSD Foundation announced that a agreement had been negotiated with Coverity, Inc., to license the Coverity Prevent software for free for use by the FreeBSD Project. We are pleased to update the FreeBSD community on the status of this project. The FreeBSD Coverity server has now been up and running since January, 2006, with over 100 FreeBSD developers registered to use this service, as well as receiving nightly updates on new and fixed bugs. So far, over 350 bugs have been fixed in collaboration with Coverity. Robert Watson, FreeBSD Foundation president, met with Coverity for a day in May, 2006, during a visit to the Bay Area to discuss plans for future work. The FreeBSD Foundation and FreeBSD Project are grateful to Coverity for their generous donation, as well as their continued support.
With the help of Jim Thompson of Netgate (www.netgate.com) the FreeBSD Foundation arranged a purchase of xscale-based boards for folks interested in ARM support. Netgate reduced the cost of the board to allow developers to purchase boards at a discounted price. The goals were to accelerate and/or improve support for the ARM platform and to set forth at least one board as a reference platform for the ARM support. Netgate will be stocking lower-cost models of the board later in the year (a special order was made for boards with only 2 mini-pci slots).
The FreeBSD Foundation continues to sponsor BSD related conferences. This year we were a proud sponsor of BSDCan 2006 and the FreeBSD Developer Summit. We also provided a number of travel grants to help offset the cost of travel, accommodations, and conference fees for developers to attend BSD related conferences. It has been an incredible honor to use part of our funding to help FreeBSD developers attend these conferences. The grant recipients have shown a tremendous amount of appreciation for the support.
We sponsored individuals to attend some new conferences (for FreeBSD) this year. We sponsored Dru Lavigne to attend the Boston LinuxWorld and help with the BSD booth. She met John Walker of IDG, the coordinator of LinuxWorld. She said he wants to see more BSD content in the LinuxWorld talks. He asked her to submit a "FreeBSD for Linux Users" talk for LinuxWorld San Francisco.
We also sponsored David Malone to attend the UKUUG LISA/Spring Conference in Durham, UK. David gave a talk on lesser-known security features of FreeBSD.
Grant recipients for this year were:
- LinuxWorld - Dru Lavigne
- UKUUG - David Malone
- BSDCan - Peter Hansteen, Jason Evans, Attilio Rao, Max Laier, Poul-Henning Kamp, Colin Percival, Murray Stokely, Ruslan Ermilov
Sponsorship by the FreeBSD Foundation helped BSDCan to rent the facilities and to bring in speakers that we otherwise could not afford. This sponsorship is very beneficial to us because it allows for planning and commitments that otherwise could not be done. One of our primary goals for BSDCan is to be a high value conference with low prices. Sponsorship helps us to meet these goals.
The BSD community derives many direct benefits from BSDCan. It provides a venue to present new and interesting work and a great place to meet and talk, face to face, with people you have only previously known through emails. All this helps to develop sound working relationships, which is a vital component of any project. BSDCan has become the place to go and has quickly become a large event and it is well attended by the FreeBSD community. Users, developers, and committers come together in a very social and friendly atmosphere.
You are a developer and have a great idea on how to improve FreeBSD. The FreeBSD community could highly benefit from this idea. You would love to implement this, but have no funds to support yourself while you do this. Where do you go to get funding? Or, you're organizing a BSD conference. You want BSD developers from all over the world to attend. Even though you are very cost efficient, you need sponsors to help defray the costs and minimize the registration fee for the attendees. How can you find a sponsor?
The Foundation wants you to know that part of our charter is to support development of FreeBSD and financially support developer summits, conferences, and developer travel. We have two types of grants that you can apply for. The above examples would require you to use the Grant Request Form. If you are a developer who needs financial assistance to attend a conference, then use the Travel Grant Request Form.
When applying for a travel grant, submit your application at least 2-3 months before the conference. Because of limited funds, we can only provide grants for a few developers per conference. We will give preference to developers who are conference speakers, and have limited resources for travel. We also suggest you approach your company first for assistance. We look forward to receiving your grant applications.
The FreeBSD Foundation held its annual board meeting on May 31, 2006. At this meeting officers and directors were elected. Robert Watson, Jonathan Bresler, and Justin Gibbs were all re-elected for their current positions as officers of the company. Two new directors were added to the board.
The Board is pleased to announce the addition of Sam Leffler to the board of directors. Sam has been actively working with UNIX since 1975 when he first encountered it at Case Western Reserve University. While working for the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) at the University of California at Berkeley he helped with the 4.1BSD release and was responsible for the release of 4.2BSD. He has contributed to almost every aspect of BSD systems; most recently working (again) on the networking subsystem. For the past five years he has been an independent consultant, doing everything from system design to expert witness work.
Deb Goodkin was elected as Assistant Treasurer to the board. Deb was hired back in August, 2005 to help run the day-to-day operations as Director of Operations for the foundation. Prior to joining the foundation, she ran her own consulting business. This included 10 years of working as an independent consultant in the design of data storage devices. She also ran a successful home-based business in the education industry. She started working with UNIX in 1980 at the University of California at San Diego. For the last 20+ years she has worked in Marketing, Sales, and Development of data storage devices.
We stated earlier that the Foundation has been more productive in the last year than in its 6-year history. At the beginning of the year we created a budget to help determine how much money we would need to raise over the year. We looked at how much we would like to spend in the different areas of supporting the FreeBSD Project and community. Some of our expenses that directly benefit the FreeBSD community are conference sponsorship, developer travel, project funding, and developer equipment.
With the current level of funding, we have had to prioritize how we spend our funds. Our highest priority is what we call our core maintenance work. This includes protecting the trademarks, working on licensing issues, and handling other legal issues that come up. We also have to cover expenses of running the business. This includes a part-time staff member, general office expenses (telephone, postage, paper...), and bank/PayPal fees.
Our budget included funding more projects and providing equipment to developers. But, this is an area we have to hold off on until we receive more funding. Look at our last year's vs. this year's profit/loss comparison. This will help you see how much more we have spent this year on legal fees, project funding (consulting fees), conference sponsorship, and developer travel.
We're asking the FreeBSD community to help us reach our fundraising goal so we can continue to support you. Go to the donate page to find out how you can help.