Wednesday, 01 May 2013 11:25

FreeBSD expands activities as funds flow in

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The FreeBSD Foundation was so successful in raising funds last year that it has been able to considerably expand its activities.

The foundation supports the FreeBSD open source operating system and its community worldwide. Last year it aimed to raise $500,000 and ended up with $770,000.

Veteran FreeBSD developer Marshall McKusick (pictured) told iTWire that for starters, three new technical staff had been recruited to the foundation. Two more will be recruited during the course of the year

McKusick said work on five new TCP congestion control algorithms for FreeBSD had been already completed. "Each congestion control algorithm is implemented as a loadable kernel module. Algorithms can be selected to suit the application/network characteristics and requirements of the host's installation," he said.

"The modular framework also makes it much easier for developers to implement new algorithms, allowing FreeBSD's TCP to be at the forefront of advancements in this area, while still maintaining the stability of its network stack."

Additionally, work had been also completed to bring the IPv6 subsystem to performance parity with its IPv4 counterpart.

McKusick said a third completed project was the auditdistd daemon. "(It) distributes audit records collected locally with minimal latency to another system. This helps in postmortem analysis, as we know that audit logs stored on a separate machine can be trusted. This is very important, because once the system is compromised, we cannot trust any of its local files."

Other projects are on the anvil. McKusick said these included transparent superpages support for the FreeBSD/arm architecture.

Also planned is "a native in-kernel iSCSI stack (both target and initiator) for this increasingly popular block storage protocol.

McKusick said the development of a comprehensive userspace framework for writing Capsicum-based applications was another item on the to-do list. Capsicum sandboxes modules for which one has limited trust.

This year, the fund-raising has already begun. Under the slogan "Raise a million, spend a million", the foundation is running a campaign between April 16 and May 30 to raise $100,000 from 1000 donors. The goal for the year is to raise $1,000,000.

"Historically we have raised nearly all the money in the last two months of the year," McKusick said. "So, to the extent that we manage to raise $100,000 now, that makes it that much easier to raise the balance in the frantic final two months."

He said the plan this year was to have two early fundraisers of about $100,000 each. "That, along with the usual $50,000 in the first 10 months, gets us to the point where we 'only' need to do as well at the end of this year as we did at the end of last year."

McKusick said this also had the benefit of getting some of the larger donors planning a bit earlier which he hoped would lead them to being able to make bigger contributions.

"It would be nicer to have an even set of donations through the year. But in every non-profit with which I have ever been involved, the bulk of donations came in at the end of the year," he said.

FreeBSD and the other two operating systems derived from the BSD which was developed at the University of California in Berkeley - OpenBSD and NetBSD - enjoy a very good reputation for security and run some of the internet servers with the longest uptimes.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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