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This article examines the issues in using FreeBSD code in appliances and software products. It highlights the characteristics of FreeBSD that make it an excellent substrate for product development. The article concludes by suggesting a few <quote>best practices</quote> for organizations collaborating with the FreeBSD project.
FreeBSD today is well-known as a high-performance server operating system. It is deployed on millions of web servers and internet-facing hosts worldwide. FreeBSD code also forms an integral part of many products, ranging from appliances such as network routers, firewalls, and storage devices, to personal computers. Portions of FreeBSD have also been used in commercial shrink-wrapped software (see <xref linkend="freebsd-intro"/>).
In this article we look at the <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/">FreeBSD project</link> as a software engineering resource—as a collection of building blocks and processes which you can use to build products.
While FreeBSD's source is distributed freely to the public, to fully enjoy the benefits of the project's work, organizations need to <emphasis>collaborate</emphasis> with the project. In subsequent sections of this article we discuss effective means of collaboration with the project and the pitfalls that need to be avoided while doing so.
Caveat Reader
The author believes that the characteristics of the FreeBSD Project listed in this article were substantially true at the time the article was conceived and written (2005). However, the reader should keep in mind that the practices and processes used by open-source communities can change over time, and that the information in this article should therefore be taken as indicative rather than normative.
Target Audience
This document would be of interest to the following broad groups of people:
Decision makers in product companies looking at ways to improve their product quality, reduce their time to market and lower engineering costs in the long term.
Technology consultants looking for best-practices in leveraging <quote>open-source</quote>.
Industry observers interested in understanding the dynamics of open-source projects.
Software developers seeking to use FreeBSD and looking for ways to contribute back.
Article Goals
After reading this article you should have:
An understanding of the goals of the FreeBSD Project and its organizational structure.
An understanding of its development model and release engineering processes.
An understanding of how conventional corporate software development processes differ from that used in the FreeBSD project.
Awareness of the communication channels used by the project and the level of transparency you can expect.
Awareness of optimal ways of working with the project—how best to reduce engineering costs, improve time to market, manage security vulnerabilities, and preserve future compatibility with your product as the FreeBSD project evolves.
Article Structure
The rest of the article is structured as follows:
<xref linkend="freebsd-intro"/> introduces the FreeBSD project, explores its organizational structure, key technologies and release engineering processes.
<xref linkend="freebsd-collaboration"/> describes ways to collaborate with the FreeBSD project. It examines common pitfalls encountered by corporates working with voluntary projects like FreeBSD.
<xref linkend="conclusion"/> concludes.
FreeBSD as a set of building blocks
FreeBSD makes an excellent foundation on which to build products:
FreeBSD source code is distributed under a liberal BSD license facilitating its adoption in commercial products <citation>Mon2005</citation> with minimum hassle.
The FreeBSD project has excellent engineering practices that can be leveraged.
The project offers exceptional transparency into its workings, allowing organizations using its code to plan effectively for the future.
The culture of the FreeBSD project, carried over from the Computer Science Research Group at The University of California, Berkeley <citation>McKu1999-1</citation>, fosters high-quality work. Some features in FreeBSD define the state of the art.


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(itstool) path: listitem/simpara
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a year ago
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a year ago
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articles/building-products.pot, string 25