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FreeBSD Core Developer Thrown Out 681

Posted by chrisd
from the maybe-good-maybe-bad dept.
SlashChick writes "From a discussion on the freebsd-chat mailing list, it appears that one of the FreeBSD core developers, Matt Dillon, has been barred from committing any changes to the FreeBSD kernel. Dillon was one of the developers 'responsible for making FreeBSD 4.x the most rugged and stress-proof free operating system in existence,' and also contributed to fixing the Linux VM. Unfortunately, there has been little explanation from the FreeBSD core team about why Dillon was thrown out, leading to speculation and worries about the future of the FreeBSD kernel. Does the Slashdot community have any more insight into this situation? Would someone from the FreeBSD team care to elaborate and assuage our worries?" CD Update: Greg Lehey from the core team has infact elaborated in this comment.
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FreeBSD Core Developer Thrown Out

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  • by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb.gmail@com> on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:22PM (#5218952) Homepage Journal
    but I would think that the reason he was barred would be for the same reason most people are:

    Differences in opinion. Maybe I am wrong (NEVER!) but that would be my guess.
  • by Zeppelingb (609128) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:22PM (#5218955)
    The devil made them do it.
  • by angio (33504) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:23PM (#5218960) Homepage
    From the mail archive:
    The short of it is that Matt was unable to treat many of his fellow developers with the civility and respect that they deserve.

    I think that's fairly clear. There are many strong, good hackers in this world who wouldn't be able to work together. While it's unfortunate that Matt and the rest of -core weren't able to resolve it, it's a fact of life in a big project...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I don't know anything about Matt or the BSD core so I'm only talking generally.

      In my mind an unwritten requirement for most jobs is "smart and friendly." If you rub people the wrong way you're limiting yourself to small, one-person projects. Not the end of the world if you (or your manager) recognize this and play to your strengths. -IT
    • This is kind of nice of them. Just as 5.0 was coming out and there seemed to be this general quietness about freedom and the GPL and RMS bashing seemed to be at an acceptable high point the good lads at FreeBSD go and remind us all again what open and freedom is all about.

      I've read some hella good flames and wars on the linux kernel dev list, I never recall someone being invited not to take part though. Al Viro is especially good and reading your code and then telling you exactly how incompentent your are.

      If this guy is the master hacker everyone makes him to be, this isn't enough explanation. Shouldn't the users have some say? Perhaps the mistreated developers should move on to other projects or maybe grow into adults and learn to take the heat, it's just software, it's not like you should be taking the flames seriously.

      • by BaldingByMicrosoft (585534) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:51PM (#5219197)
        Perhaps the mistreated developers should move on to other projects or maybe grow into adults and learn to take the heat, it's just software, it's not like you should be taking the flames seriously.
        This is wrong in so many ways, I don't know where to begin.
        Suffice to say, the ends do not justify the means.
        • by AxelTorvalds (544851) on Monday February 03, 2003 @07:16PM (#5219387)
          You're right the ends don't justify the means. That's why they shouldnt' take themselves so damn seriously. I'm not advocating abuse, but at the same time, it's software and it's not personal. What is important is what the end users do with it. It's far more important than the egos of a few developers. This guy had better be a raging prick, a few arguements or some abrasive characteristics doesn't cut it. In contrast their have been some amazing flames in Linux land and the guys who take part are amazing in their ability to not take it personally and the whole keeps improving.

          Of course that's the whole BSD movement, 2 developers get their panties in a bunch and instead of either one of them being big enough to compromise they fork. You can't tell me that the OpenBSD folks aren't doing things that all BSDs benefit from, same for FreeBSD and their amazing accomplishments. FreeBSD has been strong so far but it's sad to see them drop to that same level.

      • by robbo (4388) <slashdot@@@simra...net> on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:51PM (#5219200)
        I don't know how the core team manages its repositories, or what their submission policy is, but I would interpret this move as analogous to revoking MD's write access to cvs. I'm sure he's 'welcome' to continue to submit patches, just like any other schmoe. And of course, he's always free to fork..
      • by RevAaron (125240) <revaaron&hotmail,com> on Monday February 03, 2003 @07:20PM (#5219426) Homepage
        Just as 5.0 was coming out and there seemed to be this general quietness about freedom and the GPL and RMS bashing seemed to be at an acceptable high point the good lads at FreeBSD go and remind us all again what open and freedom is all about.

        What does this have to do with GPL or its attitude? Linus could just as easily bar kernel patch submission from some individual who he thought was causing problems.

        This problem individual could just as easily keep on running with his own special kernel, with all these swell changes Linux kept rejecting. Same goes for FreeBSD- you can get the source, and this guy, or anyone, could keep on writing new code, patching their setup and giving the away the code.

        Just because a project is GPL doesn't mean that it'll take code from anyone, or have a CVS server to which anyone could commit. From where would you get this silly idea?
      • I've read some hella good flames and wars on the linux kernel dev list, I never recall someone being invited not to take part though. Al Viro is especially good and reading your code and then telling you exactly how incompentent your are.

        Apples, oranges.

        Matt Dillon is not banned from any mailing lists. He's only been removed as a "committer". In linux there's only one "committer", Linus himself. Others send patches, to the mailing list or to their pet maintainer upstream. Matt can still do both with FreeBSD, or simply use the send-pr command. What he can't do now is make changes directly to the source tree.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:23PM (#5218963)
    Wow, actor and leet BSD Developer! Who'd have thunk?
  • Politics (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's all about office politics.
  • Splitter! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:23PM (#5218970)
    Hey probably wanted to make a new variant, like ExpensiveBSD or UltraFreeBSD or CoolBSD
  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:23PM (#5218973) Homepage
    I guess his acting career [imdb.com] interefered with his coding too much.

    Or maybe he admitted to owning a copy of Windows XP?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:24PM (#5218983)
    Miguel de incaza gets chucked out of gnome, helps kde instead.
  • Another Branch? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:25PM (#5218998) Journal
    Great, as if there aren't enough BSD branches, here's another disgruntled deveoper that might pull a De Raadt and roll his own.

    On that note, it's more likely would get adopted by one of the other BSDs, and not really need to start his own. I'm sure OpenBSD can use the help.
  • Politiburo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jericho4.0 (565125) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:25PM (#5218999)
    Ain't OpenSource great? This kind of reminds me of the old power struggles in the U.S.S.R, when Krushchev was outed and the only official word was his obiturary 20 years later. (the obit simply said a pensioner named Krushchev died.).

    One thing the BSD developers need to know is that they have no justification in keeping this secret. It is aboput the users after all.

    • by VarmintCong (151154) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:36PM (#5219079)
      I didn't know Krushchev was gay.

      Is that is why he kept banging his shoes against tables all the time? Because they were such horrible fashion statements?
    • by msgmonkey (599753) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:36PM (#5219086)
      And what makes you think these kind of things don't happen in non-OSS projects? If this was a situation within a corporation where a member of a team was causing disruption they'd be sacked regardless how good they where.
      • by Stephen VanDahm (88206) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:53PM (#5219218) Homepage
        The difference is that, in the Open Source Community, all the juicy dirt gets posted on the front page of Slashdot. Basically, it's a real-life soap opera, but without all the hot women.

        Wait...maybe that's not cool after all....
    • FreeBSD isn't a company. Their product doesn't have to be about the users. Using the BSD license, it could just as well be for themselves or for the fun of coding it. Which would give credence to the claim that he was kicked out because he was not treating the other developers with respect.
  • by DenOfEarth (162699) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:26PM (#5219004) Homepage
    yeh, I'm marking c++ lab exercises now, and I can tell ya, people that don't comment enough surely don't make it easy on those people that have to understand their code.
  • by kwoo (641864) <kjwcode@@@gmail...com> on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:30PM (#5219039) Homepage Journal

    Oddly enough, it was a very similar event that led to the creation of the OpenBSD project. Theo started it after a (rather extended, IIRC) tiff with the rest of the NetBSD core team.

    If Matt decides to fork the code and start his own project, I think the technical world would be a better place for it. A fifth open source BSD might seem excessive to some, but there are still many ways for such a project to differentiate itself.

  • by Space_Nerd (255762) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:34PM (#5219069)
    ... Gossip for Nerds, Stuff that chatters.

    I know, its not even funny.
  • FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BattleBlow (633941) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:36PM (#5219081)
    This has to be one of the most FUD ridden articles that have been posted in a while.

    Firstly, the FreeBSD Core team (the use of "core developer" in the title of the article could be misleading) have given a lengthy explanation of this decision on the developers private list. This is where the explanation belongs and where it should stay. The reasons and the action are internal to the project and don't need to be aired in public.

    Secondly, Matt is not the first, nor the last I dare say, high profile developer to leave the project. It didn't mean the death of FreeBSD then, it doesn't now. No single developer, no matter how talented and hard working, is irreplaceable. While Matt's technical contributions will certainly be missed, the claims of "imminent death, film at 11" are the same baseless FUD that came out when Mike Smith left or would have come out when John Dyson left (had Slashdot been around).

    Thirdly, Matt is still free to contribute should he so wish. The only difference is that he will now have to contribute through PRs, at least for the near future, just as every other contributor started off doing, rather than directly committing himself. Whether he chooses to do this once the dust has settled is, of course, up to Matt.

    Finally, long live FreeBSD! Can we please get back to worthwhile stories now :).

    • Re:FUD (Score:4, Interesting)

      by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:45PM (#5219162) Homepage
      the use of "core developer" in the title of the article could be misleading

      No, actually it's indicative of elitism. It separates the haves from the have nots in the worst way possible. "You're not a member of the core team, you can't commit" as opposed to the way it's done in Linux, where the lines are well-defined but not labeled.

      Any projects needs leadership, but even avoiding dumb lofty titles and meaningless labels go a long way towards improving what is, in the end, a communist-type dictatorship that runs largely on good will (and I make no judgement regarding that, that's just what it is).

    • Re:FUD (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The reasons and the action are internal to the project and don't need to be aired in public.


      Thank you for providing, in a single sentence, the best reason to use Linux rather than FreeBSD. With FreeBSD, you basically have a bunch of whiny elitest developers writing code behind closed doors and releasing periodic snapshots for the dirty masses to consume. With Linux, you have a bunch of whiny, elitest developers writing code in the open, warts and all. Since pretty much all developers are whiny and elitest, I'd much much rather have the second situation when I am using code for important tasks.

      • Re:FUD (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BattleBlow (633941)
        With FreeBSD, you basically have a bunch of whiny elitest developers writing code behind closed doors and releasing periodic snapshots for the dirty masses to consume.

        Please explain how a public CVS repository (and CVS commit mailing list) is "writing code behind clsoed doors".

        While you are at it, you may want to explain the logical leap from internal developer politics to code openness.

    • by thrillbert (146343) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:52PM (#5219214) Homepage
      ... film at 11.
    • by Eneff (96967)
      Sorry, doesn't work like that in high publicity cases.

      It will come out precisely because people don't keep their mouths shut.

      The best way to avoid the controversy is to be honest without being blunt. If you want something to stay unknown, put out a press release. If you want the news spread, divulge the information as a secret.

      I'll put the over/under of the email at 5 days.
  • 'cause he'll go and work for Apple. He and Steve can work together, and when they have a disagreement, they can play bloody knuckles 'til someone gives in.

    Sounds like crappy politics - ruins more stuff than it should. Why can't people just shut up and code?

    Reminds me of a certain someone, a certain website, and a certain -1 Offtopic Mod.

    But what do I know? Until you get two people together to talk it out while being moderated, you'll never get anywhere once the lines of communication break down.

    • i wonder why you post on Slashdot, why not shut up and code something ?

      err... people like to hear them selfes, by talking people can give there mind some rest and by talking crap they thought over and over again they get some small comment from someone that they then add to there idea and make it a little bit better and so it goes on until you need to talk again...

      its life face it :)
  • by Bingo Foo (179380) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:41PM (#5219128)
    Come on, Slashdot. Matt Dillon [imdb.com] has been one of The Outsiders [imdb.com] for at least 20 years.
  • by unitron (5733) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:41PM (#5219129) Homepage Journal
    What about Doc, Miss Kitty, and Chester? Are they the next to be kicked to the curb?
  • Good, let them kick him out, he is needed more elsewhere. Looks like he will be an awesome kernel developer now that he has more time to work on Linux. IMHO, The freebsd group has been edgy all along anyways and their inability or wishes to tell the community why they canned him is both unacceptable and plain silly.

  • by snowpuppy (153096) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:46PM (#5219167) Homepage
    Theo de Raadt Version 2.0

    "FreeBSD Core Developer Guy: A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just ...

    FreeBSD Core Developer Girl: How much
    like it, was it the same cat? ... A deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix"

    Theo de Raadt Version 2.0

    Snowdog
  • by AgTiger (458268) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:49PM (#5219191) Homepage
    Um, Matt? There's a small problem... You forgot to put a cover sheet on your last TSP report, I'm afraid we're going to have to kick you off the development team.

  • by NanoGator (522640) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:51PM (#5219196) Homepage Journal
    "Does the Slashdot community have any more insight into this situation? "

    I caught a bit of the conversation about this man's departure. I can't remember details, just something about a red stapler.
  • by linuxislandsucks (461335) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:52PM (#5219204) Homepage Journal
    Maybe he got hired by Apple and is praticing his new Steve Jobs impressions?
  • I've been using FreeBSD since before April of 1995 when I signed up as a customer of Best Internet. Best Internet was an ISP Matt helped start in San Francisco that used FreeBSD, and was one of the first ISPs in SF to offer PPP and web hosting.

    About the only good thing that came out of the downfall of Best was Matt dedicating so much time to FreeBSD development. Whatever personality conflicts there were, I can't help but believe that this is a very bad thing for the future of the FreeBSD. Sure, it is an open source project and others will probably fill the void, but Matt was certainly making a big difference as an individual.

    -Chris
  • Well, BSD is up his alley and it seems that all those who can't behave end up on that project.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So what? My girlfriend has said I can't commit for a long time now.
  • Damn. Is this the same Matt Dillon of Dillon UUCP on the Amiga? That was ten years ago.

    His stuff filled many a directory back in days before my newsreader started logging into a server instead of pointing to a spool directory.
  • by westfirst (222247) on Monday February 03, 2003 @07:11PM (#5219345)
    Well, not exactly the same, but the purged contributor, Theo de Radt, went on to form OpenBSD [openbsd.org]. It was a net win, if you ask me.

    There's a long discussion in Peter Wayner's Free for All [wayner.org], a book that's now free as in beer.
  • by Jboy_24 (88864) on Monday February 03, 2003 @07:18PM (#5219403) Homepage
    then the FreeBSD project isn't worth keeping around.

    If they let this project revolve around one guy then the project was doomed from the beginning.

    Actually this is a good test of FreeBSD, if it survives its because its bigger then this one guy, which is the way projects should be.
  • by groggy-P (206965) on Monday February 03, 2003 @07:27PM (#5219480) Homepage
    The information you have is from the open FreeBSD-chat mailing list. The thread was started by people in the project who are not on the closed developers@FreeBSD-org mailing list, and some of the statements are wide of the mark:
    • Matt Dillon was never a "core developer". The FreeBSD project doesn't use that term, but it looks like a reference to the core team [freebsd.org]. Matt has never been a member of the core team.
    • Matt has done some very good work over the years. His contribution to FreeBSD release 4 was invaluable, but it would be wrong to suggest that he single-handedly made the difference. Commit statistics on the orginal list show that he has not been very active over the last 12 months.
    • I was not aware of his involvement with Linux VM. Nothing we have done will change this, though.
    • The FreeBSD core team has informed the development community in detail about the reasons for Matt's removal. We don't think it's appropriate, nor fair to Matt, to wash dirty linen in public.
    • Matt has very little influence on the future of the FreeBSD kernel. That work which he has done over the last two years or so was mainly maintenance.
    It's always sad to have to make these decisions. It's even more difficult to defend them when our hands are tied behind our backs.
    • Maybe it's dirty laundry, maybe not. It doesn't matter. The Linux kernel can always use someone of his talents.
    • >The FreeBSD core team has informed the development community in detail about the reasons for Matt's removal. We don't think it's appropriate, nor fair to Matt, to wash dirty linen in public.

      Um, then what the hell was the point of this whole article?

      Oh and I see the FreeBSD team has their hands tied behind their backs. Freedom counts folks...
      • by Asmodai (13932) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @02:22AM (#5221233) Homepage
        You missed the subtle idea that perhaps the person posting this story wasn't one of the developers.

        So whatever the original poster's idea behind this was, I have no idea about.

        Freedom counts, yes, just not at the expense of someone's person. Learn some social skills and think for a change more along the lines of: what if I were in that position, would I like to have the nitty-gritty about my/their behaviour displayed in full? (There are times when you definately _are_ wrong about what you've done, you know.)
    • Not all slashdotters are trolls bud. I am sure this wasn't an easy decision to make -- kind of like kicking someone out of the Peace Corps or United Way. There's no easy way to do it. I don't envy the deciding group's situation, but moreso, I don't envy the mixed feelings involved in having to wave goodbye to someone who has provided an invaluable contribution to such a monumental project. FreeBSD will go on though, and Matt Dillon's talent will certainly provide invaluable contributions for other projects. Sorry things have to happen for the bad though.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @09:37PM (#5220169)

      The FreeBSD core team has informed the development community in detail about the reasons for Matt's removal. We don't think it's appropriate, nor fair to Matt, to wash dirty linen in public.

      When it comes to Free software, isn't "the development community" the same as "the public"?

      This stuff raises more questions than it answers. Granted, I really don't care about the precise names behind FreeBSD, and I'll forget about this promptly I'm sure, but I hate to think the influential folks in the BSD community aren't engaging in some kind of power play or the keeping of dirty little secrets. There should be openness in the mechanics of the BSD as project, just like the code is open.

      I'd like to think Free software is above the stuff that goes on in corporate boardrooms, but maybe not?

      • by t0ny (590331) on Monday February 03, 2003 @11:00PM (#5220530)
        im sure 'the public' has very little to do with it, just like 'the public' has very little to do with linux.

        very few people, especially on this board, contribute to any open source projects (I would say far less than 1%).

        So its hardly like the great unwashed masses are making linux what it is; the unwashed masses DO, however, make Slashdot what it is...

      • by mikemcc (4795) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @01:42AM (#5221105)
        You wrote, 'When it comes to Free software, isn't "the development community" the same as "the public"?'

        The two are not the same. I am a consumer of FreeBSD, by virtue of having a Virtual BSD Server from aplus.net. My use of that operating system in no way entitles me to know what transpires between the developers of that OS.

        If I want to know the nitty gritty details of OS development, then I need to subscribe to the general mailing lists, read the code, and submit my own work.

        Since I'm not prepared to do the above - I am quite happy to be a mere consumer in this case - I don't have any objection to people saying "this is a private matter, it doesn't concern you."

        That the source code is available for your perusal is completely unrelated to the behavioral dynamics which govern the production of that code.
      • by Jimithing DMB (29796) <dfeNO@SPAMtgwbd.org> on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @01:44AM (#5221112) Homepage

        Free Software is not necessarily developed publicly. Every project is going to involve at the very least a few e-mails back and forth in private between people. And maybe that evolves into a more formal core team.

        So what? Not everything is meant to be aired in public. You act as though you have some "right to know." Who or what twisted your mind into thinking that it is your "right" to stick your nose in everybody's business?

        I think you need to go turn off the television and stop reading Slashdot for a while.

        NOTE: Of course I was hoping someone kindly leaked the details in the comments, but I'm just curious. I don't expect to be given the details just because I have a pulse.

    • by otuz (85014) on Monday February 03, 2003 @09:40PM (#5220184) Homepage
      It seems to have started when Dillon made a clever hack and people got arguing over API problems:

      The problem [freebsd.org]
      The solution [freebsd.org]
      NOT another solution [freebsd.org] ...

      The flamewar starts.. [freebsd.org] ...

      and continues [freebsd.org].
    • by brass1 (30288) <SlrwKQpLrq1FM@whCHEETAHat.net minus cat> on Monday February 03, 2003 @09:56PM (#5220280) Homepage
      Matt has very little influence on the future of the FreeBSD kernel. That work which he has done over the last two years or so was mainly maintenance.

      I'm sure this will get modded down, but that's a pretty gutless statement to make, and really isn't supported by the commit logs. Though, when it's time for Core to toss someone under the bus...

      To be sure, there is plenty of history with Matt, much of it not great. He's simply not a team developer. However, I honesty hope there's more to this [freebsd.org] and this [freebsd.org] than there appears to be.

      One wonders when Core is going to stop acting parents and start acting like leaders.

    • Jeez, as if being able to commit changes is something special. What is it with some people to value status/position/rank so much, isn't it the talent that should be valued? He can still code stuff and suggest changes, help others, use his talent. I don't see anything really important changed here.

      Now you make it sound like you are friends ("It's always sad to have to make these decisions.") and this move is something radical and/or important ("It's even more difficult to defend them when our hands are tied behind our backs.") when coding for free distros is freetime hobby for most of us. "..hands are tied behind our backs." yeah, right. Your hands are never tied behind your back unless you do it to yourself. Just do what you like and explain why if you want, but don't come out telling that your hands are tied. That's lame attempt to put the blame on "the system". We have enough people around already weeping that same I'm-doing-my-job, my-hands-are-tied song.

      "Nothing is as important as gardening and even that isn't very important" -some wiseguy somewhere

    • Quick summary. (Score:5, Informative)

      by fidget (46220) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @09:19AM (#5222489)
      (oversimplified, as all summaries must be)

      Matt has a holy cow, and has been acting
      like a USENET-troll. It's far too easy to send nasty email, still, people.

      Reading all the relevant threads in the freebsd lists, here's a quick run-down, with names (other than Matt's removed)

      Matt: I have a patch
      freeBSDer1: better to fix the ipfw ABI issues (which are in the update log anyway)
      Matt: This is bullshit! I'm going to core.
      freeBsder2: I have a non-reboot way to fix the prob with an environ var.
      Matt: I don't want any !*&&!@ env var! I'm going to core.
      freeBSDer1: patch is a security risk, *and* send it through the security officer (SO)
      Matt: It's not a *&!*@ risk *&*!@. I want it in.
      freeBSDer1: SO established the current ipfw defaults, so changes to that must go through him.
      Matt: *!&&^@@ You are being unreasonable.
      multiple freeBSDers: No, you are.
      Matt: *@$#@!!!
      freeBSDer1: Matt, if you can't be civil to your fellow developers (as it states in the conventions), then find another project.
      Matt: (rails on about how he shouldn't have to re-write someone else's API just because he's unhappy, when his hack fixes the problem. With expletives, insults, and other nonsense)
      freeBSDer3: Matt, send the patch to technical review instead of core.
      Matt: This is *&#@%! It's already to core. Why should I have to rewrite the API when this hack is fine?

      (more of the same follows, with Matt insulting a larger number of developers every time, and getting more personal by the moment)

      Looks like Matt had a couple of very bad days, and vented when he shouldn't.

      Is it too late for apologies?
    • by evilpenguin (18720) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @11:00AM (#5223119)
      The one thing I don't see mentioned here is that FreeBSD has always been more "controlled" than Linux. There always was a "core" group. Because this is so, they should not have to justify their decision to include or exclude anybody for any reason. If this offends your sensibilities, then move to a different FreeOS. It doesn't offend my sensibilities.

      The Linux kernel developed in a more "freewheeling" way. Some say that Linux had no formal "core," but it did. A core of one. Linus himself. He used to maintiain the kernel himself (without version control, I might add).

      Different development groups do things differently. We can bicker and argue all day over whether we would have included or excluded a given developer for doing a given thing. It doesn't matter. Dillon did what he did. The "core" did what they did. That's all there is to it. If this really offends you, take the FreeBSD source code and launch your own BSD project (it has happened before). I doubt you will succeed, but you may. And someday people will be talking about OpenBSD and GeekBSD or SlashBSD and no one will remember FreeBSD. Until then, all us slashbots carping do not mean a thing.
    • by imp (7585) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @12:28PM (#5223975) Homepage
      What Greg forgets to mention was that this action was taken due to Matt's interdeveloper relation skills, not due to Matt's technical skills. FreeBSD has a code of conduct between developers that the core team is charged with enforcing. Without going into the details of this mess, at Matt Dillon's prior request, Matt violated the code many times over the years. Core tried to bring him into compliance with this code of conduct. After a recent incident, core felt that his future compliance would not be sufficient. His failure to comply to that code was causing damage to the project in excess of his contribution. Core felt it had no choice but to remove his commit bit for the good of the project.

      A copy of the committers code of conduct can be found in our handbook [freebsd.org]

      Warner Losh
      FreeBSD core team
      Speaking ex-offcia

  • by sawilson (317999) on Monday February 03, 2003 @08:21PM (#5219806) Homepage

    "To the grandstanders, the prima donnas, and anyone that thinks that they can hold the project to ransom for their own agenda - give it a break, if you can. When the current core were elected, we took a conscious stand against vigorous sanctions, and some of you have exploited that. A new core is going to have to decide whether to repeat this mistake or get tough. I hope they learn from our errors."

    Perhaps the core "got tough" and "learned from
    their errors" on this one. That's probably what's
    going to come out in the wash.
  • by stienman (51024) <adavis@ubasi c s .com> on Monday February 03, 2003 @08:48PM (#5219960) Homepage Journal
    KernelTrap [kerneltrap.com] had an informative interview with Matt Dillon [kerneltrap.com] last year about this time, in which he talks of many things including how he got into FreeBSD, what he contributed which convinced the core team to give him commit capabilites, and the friction in earlier years (from his point of view), along with the tidbit that he did lose his commit priviledges previously for a period of time.

    It appears (from his perspective) that he did a great deal of work on the VM portion of FreeBSD, but it was (as asserted by members of core) primarily maintenence and bug fixes.

    It does seem to give some view of what Matt is like.

    -Adam

    See Slashdot [slashdot.org]. See Slashdot Google [google.com]. Google, Slashdot, Google!
  • by cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @01:29AM (#5221062)
    I've read a few posts here talk about elitism, saying that it's "elitist" to have a core team. I don't quite get this... Where some people see "elitism", I see stability. I don't want to be flamebait, but a piece of it sounds like "Yo l33t d00d, I can't commit to main on FreeBSD, it sux!!" I don't have a problem with that, it keeps a consistent system image, one of its strengths. From the one interaction I saw in the mailing list, Dillon seemed a maverick, saying "to hell with cohesiveness, I'm putting this in even though someone told me no it's a hack and keep it local only" and he got bumped. FreeBSD is bigger than Matt, much as Linux is bigger than Linus. This is news to some people I guess.

    I kind of read the "elitist" things as assuming a bit much of the FreeBSD core developers as well. Did someone catch a member of the core team slipping and admitting "(Evil maniacal laugh) I have POWER I can commit to CVS, and YOU CANNOT!!! The world is MINE!!" I think you're reading too much; a core developer is just someone who can be trusted to code right and keep things consistent. I don't know were these assumptions of ego trips are coming from. If you want ego trips in BSD, I think OpenBSD with the one guy at the top who started it because he didn't work and play well with others and rather take his ball and play on his own court is a better place to look.

    Oddly enough, I didn't see one post about Apache. Apache has pretty much the same development style, with a core of developers that have to approve or can veto a patch. Why isn't anyone complaining about the way that Apache is managed? It's usually held as the shining star of OpenSource, so why is the model for Apache good when a very similar model for FreeBSD is "elitist" and needs to be changed? Hmm, I'd say that some folks say this because FreeBSD is "competition" for Linux and Apache is not, but that would mean I think people waste their times battling one free stable x86 Unix workalike against another free stable x86 Unix workalike and I'd like to assume better than that.

    One reason I like FreeBSD is because of that cohesiveness. You lose some speed in getting new features, but you also don't get some of the hiccups. In the 2.4, stable kernel, there's been a VM switch, a scheduler switch, and a change to the VFS subsystem that caused a corruption in the default journaling filesystem (though not with the default configuration of it). You get new features (Linux has had better SMP for forever) but you might bump into problems. The choice is yours. Who the hell said it was a zero-sum game? Oddly enough I haven't read "If you run FreeBSD on any of your servers you can't run Linux and RMS is going to come over to kick your ass" in the GPL, nor have I read "download one RedHat .iso and I fry your hard drive" in the FreeBSD license. Pick what's best for you. Hell, ftp.cdrom.com, a FreeBSD machine, used to host 2 or three different distros.

    And if anyone says that the Linux model has proven itself better by virtue of it's success, I'd just say: 1) what's your definition of success, the FreeBSD developers seem quite happy thank you and 2) Linux didn't have to fight a licensing suit (and win it) against ATT/Novel just when it was picking up steam.

How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb? Let's see, can you use a shell script for that or does it need a C program?

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