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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
_ external ref='freebsd-branches' md5='__failed__'
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.
Understanding FreeBSD culture
To be able to work effectively with the FreeBSD project, you need to understand the project's culture.
Volunteer driven projects operate under different rules than for-profit corporates. A common mistake that companies make when venturing into the open-source world is that of underplaying these differences.
Motivation
Most contributions to FreeBSD are done voluntarily without monetary rewards entering the picture. The factors that motivate individuals are complex, ranging from altruism, to an interest in solving the kinds of problems that FreeBSD attempts to solve. In this environment, <quote>elegance is never optional</quote> <citation>Nor1993</citation>.
The Long Term View
FreeBSD's <link xlink:href="https://svnweb.freebsd.org/">source repository</link> contains a history of the project since its inception, and there are <link xlink:href="http://www.mckusick.com/csrg/">CDROMs available</link> that contain earlier code from the CSRG.
FreeBSD traces its roots back nearly twenty years to the work of the Computer Science Research Group at the University of California Berkeley.<_:footnote-1/> A number of the original CSRG developers remain associated with the project.
The project values long-term perspectives <citation>Nor2001</citation>. A frequent acronym encountered in the project is <acronym>DTRT</acronym>, which stands for <quote>Do The Right Thing</quote>.

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