The Evolution of FreeBSD Governance

Kirk McKusick <mckusick@mckusick.com>

This talk describes the evolution of the governance of the FreeBSD project from the time of its conception until the present day.

All open sources projects develop a culture. Often the culture builds organically, but as a project becomes larger and more successful it is necessary to put more formal governance in place to ensure that the culture is robust and welcoming.

This talk studies the evolution of the culture and governance of the FreeBSD project. It begins by looking at the formation of the FreeBSD project and the organizing principles of its founders.

As the project became more successful, it began being used and depended on by companies which in turn required that the adhoc governance become more structured and documented through the adoption of a set of bylaws.

The talk will cover the governance issues that the project has had to handle in recent years including:

  • FreeBSD Source-Code Control
  • FreeBSD Workflow
  • Guidelines on How to Work and Play Together
  • FreeBSD Recruitment
  • FreeBSD Development Model
  • FreeBSD Core Team Interaction with the FreeBSD Committers
  • FreeBSD Security Team

The talk concludes by prognosticating on future governance issues that may have to be handled.