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Context English State
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.
<citation>GoldGab2005</citation> examines the business reasons for using open-source in greater detail. For organizations, the benefits of using FreeBSD components in their products include a shorter time to market, lower development costs and lower development risks.
Building with FreeBSD
Here are a few ways organizations have used FreeBSD:
As an upstream source for tested code for libraries and utilities.
By being <quote>downstream</quote> of the project, organizations leverage the new features, bug fixes and testing that the upstream code receives.
As an embedded OS (for example, for an OEM router and firewall device). In this model, organizations use a customized FreeBSD kernel and application program set along with a proprietary management layer for their device. OEMs benefit from new hardware support being added by the FreeBSD project upstream, and from the testing that the base system receives.
FreeBSD ships with a self-hosting development environment that allows easy creation of such configurations.
As a Unix compatible environment for the management functions of high-end storage and networking devices, running on a separate processor <quote>blade</quote>.
FreeBSD provides the tools for creating dedicated OS and application program images. Its implementation of a BSD unix API is mature and tested. FreeBSD can also provide a stable cross-development environment for the other components of the high-end device.
As a vehicle to get widespread testing and support from a worldwide team of developers for non-critical <quote>intellectual property</quote>.
In this model, organizations contribute useful infrastructural frameworks to the FreeBSD project (for example, see <citerefentry><refentrytitle>netgraph</refentrytitle><manvolnum>3</manvolnum></citerefentry>). The widespread exposure that the code gets helps to quickly identify performance issues and bugs. The involvement of top-notch developers also leads to useful extensions to the infrastructure that the contributing organization also benefits from.


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(itstool) path: sect1/para
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String age
a year ago
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a year ago
Translation file
articles/building-products.pot, string 36