FreeBSD Project Reorganization

I’m pleased to be the first to announce that the FreeBSD Project is reorganizing. This will appear on the FreeBSD home page next week, but journalistic ethics decree that I must act when I get a scoop.

FreeBSD has always been something of a meritocracy, where the respect given to committers is directly proportional to the amount and quality of code they commit. This is tracked in the commit statistics. For many years, Poul-Henning Kamp (phk@) was the undisputed leader, but in 2010 his total was exceeded by relative newcomer John Baldwin (jhb@). Baldwin’s commits show no sign of slowing, and if he continues at this pace, he will soon overtake the combined totals of Foundation President Robert Watson and embedded emeritus Warner Losh.

The FreeBSD Project has a variety of leadership roles and teams, such as the Core Team, the Ports Management team portmgr, and so on. These teams have helped FreeBSD’s broad developer base coordinate their efforts, work together, and streamline FreeBSD’s internal processes.

Effective immediately, all such teams are disbanded.

John Baldwin is to be henceforth known as The Great Committer. He alone will dictate the FreeBSD Project’s direction and where its resources will be allocated. All commits will be credited to The Great Committer, as all commits will touch his work in some way and hence would not be possible without His knowledge, experience, and all-around wisdom.

“It’s clear that our current model just doesn’t work,” said Robert Watson. “In the sixteen years the FreeBSD Project has existed, and the decades BSD had before it, we’ve had at least four distinct generations of leadership. We’ve developed processes for mentoring and grooming our own leaders, letting people move on when they wanted. Frankly, it’s a lot of work, and I don’t know how many more decades we could keep that up. The Great Committer won’t put up with that sort of churn, I’m sure. Once you’re a FreeBSD committer, you’re in for life. However long that is.”

“I’m really glad that The Great Committer has taken this step,” said Wilko Bulte, FreeBSD core team member. “People think that the FreeBSD Core Team made all these high-level decisions, when really we broke up fights and inducted new members. All that email and discussion took a lot of time. Now that The Great Committer has condescended to claim his rightful place, we can get back to doing what’s important — namely, doing everything we can to increase the already bounteous glory of The Great Committer.”

Security Officer Colin Percival said, “We’ve worked tirelessly to ensure FreeBSD’s security. I don’t even know how many man-months I’ve spent auditing code and investigating reports, let alone other members of the FreeBSD Security Team. But now, The Great Committer has decreed that FreeBSD is secure. All praise to The Great Committer!”

The Public FreeBSD Developer Track at BSDCan 2011 will now alternate between technical talks and praising The Great Committer. In addition to learning about exciting features such as Capcisum, attendees will practice making index-finger-and-pinky “Beastie Horns” to salute The Great Committer. Attendees will also witness the unveiling of the official The Great Committer banners, forty feet tall and hand-painted on silk.

No active OpenBSD developers could be bothered to comment, but Jason Dixon, OpenBSD slacker, stated “It’s about time the FreeBSD bums realized that they needed a benevolent despot. Maybe they’ll do something useful now.” A phone call to the NetBSD Foundation got a recording that the Board of Directors could be reached at the pub.

The FreeBSD Foundation is raising funds for a 200-foot golden statue of The Great Committer, to be erected near the University of California Berkeley campus. Its stern visage will remind the university denizens of their second-greatest three-letter claim to fame. The Great Committer has declared that there are no rumors that the statue’s eyes will be lasers that will automatically target users of lesser operating systems.

Meanwhile, The Great Committer has ordered that someone bring him a sandwich. And a beer. And Bill Gates’ lunch money.

You can contribute to the Foundation through DonateNow or in person at BSDCan. There’s no guarantee that the Foundation will use your particular donation to fund the statue, but they will assuredly use it for FreeBSD.

NOON UPDATE: It seems that The Great Committer has declared that HAMMER will be the new default filesystem.

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