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FreeBSD supports a number of filesystems, and its native UFS2 filesystem supports soft updates, snapshots and very large filesystem sizes (16TB per filesystem) <citation>McKu1999</citation>.
FreeBSD's in-kernel <acronym>GEOM</acronym> (<citerefentry><refentrytitle>geom</refentrytitle><manvolnum>4</manvolnum></citerefentry>) framework allows kernel storage modules to be composed in flexible ways.
Over 24,000 ported applications, both commercial and open-source, managed via the FreeBSD ports collection.
Organizational Structure
FreeBSD's organizational structure is non-hierarchical.
There are essentially two kinds of contributors to FreeBSD, general users of FreeBSD, and developers with write access (known as <firstterm>committers</firstterm> in the jargon) to the source base.
There are many thousands of contributors in the first group; the vast majority of contributions to FreeBSD come from individuals in this group. Commit rights (write access) to the repository are granted to individuals who contribute consistently to the project. Commit rights come with additional responsibilities, and new committers are assigned mentors to help them learn the ropes.
FreeBSD Organization
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Conflict resolution is performed by a nine member <quote>Core Team</quote> that is elected from the group of committers.
FreeBSD does not have <quote>corporate</quote> committers. Individual committers are required to take responsibility for the changes they introduce to the code. The <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/committers-guide">FreeBSD Committer's guide</link> <citation>ComGuide</citation> documents the rules and responsibilities for committers.
FreeBSD's project model is examined in detail in <citation>Nik2005</citation>.
FreeBSD Release Engineering Processes
FreeBSD's release engineering processes play a major role in ensuring that its released versions are of a high quality. At any point of time, FreeBSD's volunteers support multiple code lines (<xref linkend="fig-freebsd-branches"/>):
New features and disruptive code enters on the development branch, also known as the <firstterm>-CURRENT</firstterm> branch.
<firstterm>-STABLE</firstterm> branches are code lines that are branched from HEAD at regular intervals. Only tested code is allowed onto a -STABLE branch. New features are allowed once they have been tested and stabilized in the -CURRENT branch.
<firstterm>-RELEASE</firstterm> branches are maintained by the FreeBSD security team. Only bug fixes for critical issues are permitted onto -RELEASE branches.
FreeBSD Release Branches
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Code lines are kept alive for as long as there is user and developer interest in them.
Machine architectures are grouped into <quote>tiers</quote>; <firstterm>Tier 1</firstterm> architectures are fully supported by the project's release engineering and security teams, <firstterm>Tier 2</firstterm> architectures are supported on a best effort basis, and experimental architectures comprise <firstterm>Tier 3</firstterm>. The list of <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/committers-guide/archs.html">supported architectures</link> is part of the FreeBSD documentation collection.
The release engineering team publishes a <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/releng/">road map</link> for future releases of FreeBSD on the project's web site. The dates laid down in the road map are not deadlines; FreeBSD is released when its code and documentation are ready.
FreeBSD's release engineering processes are described in <citation>RelEngDoc</citation>.
Collaborating with FreeBSD
Open-source projects like FreeBSD offer finished code of a very high quality.
While access to quality source code can reduce the cost of initial development, in the long-term the costs of managing change begin to dominate. As computing environments change over the years and new security vulnerabilities are discovered, your product too needs to change and adapt. Using open-source code is best viewed not as a one-off activity, but as an <emphasis>ongoing process</emphasis>. The best projects to collaborate with are the ones that are <emphasis>live</emphasis>; i.e., with an active community, clear goals and a transparent working style.
FreeBSD has an active developer community around it. At the time of writing there are many thousands of contributors from every populated continent in the world and over 300 individuals with write access to the project's source repositories.
The goals of the FreeBSD project are <citation>Hub1994</citation>:
To develop a high-quality operating system for popular computer hardware, and,
To make our work available to all under a liberal license.
FreeBSD enjoys an open and transparent working culture. Nearly all discussion in the project happens by email, on <link xlink:href="http://lists.FreeBSD.org/mailman/listinfo">public mailing lists</link> that are also archived for posterity. The project's policies are <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/internal/policies.html">documented</link> and maintained under revision control. Participation in the project is open to all.

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a year ago
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