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Date:      Sat, 21 Apr 2001 00:25:20 -0600
From:      Wes Peters <>
To:        Ted Mittelstaedt <>
Cc:        Szilveszter Adam <>, freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG
Subject:   Re: Funding large Open Source projects (was Windriver, Slackware)
Message-ID:  <>
References:  <000101c0c95f$3d083cc0$>

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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
> Apparently Szilveszter Adam blathered:
> >
> >But without which your project will not gain wide-spread
> >acceptance, for a number of factors. See below.
> Should gaining widespread acceptance be the goal of every open
> source project?  That's a commercial, not a personal, goal.
> I think the goal of any Open Source project should be to be the
> best-of-breed, that's my major difference of opinion with the Linux
> camp.  While certainly some Linux distributions do have being the
> best distribution as their goal, it appears to me that the overall
> goal of the entire Linux movement is to get on as many systems as
> possible.  Being the best UNIX-like OS is secondary.

I think OpenBSD embodies this ethos better than any other "open
source" project I've encountered.  They have a firm idea of what they
want out of the system, they pursue it with zeal, and they pretty much
do not care what others think.  If you like the system, fine.  If you
use the system, fine.  If you want to contribute, fine.  If you don't,
then just go away and stop wasting their time.

While not my favorite system to use, or to hack on, it is an ethos I
resonate with.  Anyone who's read the FreeBSD lists for long will
probably recognize my rantings about this in the FreeBSD community.
FreeBSD is built by its contributors to be what THEY want it to be.
It is not driven by marketing "genuises", or by "customer" demands, it
is driven by people who use it in their daily lives.  FreeBSD does pay
attention to "market share" and "mind share" issues, but not enough to
worry me (yet).

> I've found that in life, it is usually the top-quality products that
> don't have the greatest numbers of sales.  Usually, the bestsellers
> are not as good quality as many other products.

A few years ago I left Intel, who had acquired my employer, to go work
on high-speed IP switches for Xylan.  On the way out, one of the
hardware engineers said "how can you leave Intel for a tiny company
like that?"  My reply was "Gee, Woody, you're right, I bet those
Ferrari engineers kick themselves every day on the way to work for not
working for GM."

Life is a tradeoff, nothing is perfect.  FreeBSD developers decide
daily if they're making a Ferrari, or perhaps a Terex truck.  I for
one am glad they never settle for making a Chevette.

The OpenBSD gang are building armored trucks with encrypted
gearshifts, because that's what they want.  They're doing a pretty
good job of it.  Ditto for NetBSD, who're building the BSD to run in

> Here in Portland OR, the misguided tree-huggers that apparently
> control city government all hate automobiles...
> Their belief is that if they make the roads as uncomfortable as
> possible to drive on (ie: as congested as possible) that people will
> give up their cars and ride busses.  I assume that this idea
> actually does work, in a limited fashion, or they wouldn't keep
> doing it.

What, you assume they're NOT crazy?  That's a bad assumption.

            "Where am I, and what am I doing in this handbasket?"

Wes Peters                                                         Softweyr LLC                                 

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