OpenBSD Journal

Call for donations - Nick lays down the law

Contributed by johan on from the buy-moar-cds dept.

Nick Holland (nick@) has submitted a mail to the misc@ mailinglist to point out that sales of the OpenBSD CD sets have been dropping rapidly this release. This note is a worthwhile read so please go get a cup of your favourite drink and dedicate a minute to reading this - it is important.

List:       openbsd-misc
Subject:    Supporting OpenBSD
From:       Nick Holland 
Date:       2009-09-09 3:54:12

What makes OpenBSD unique?  Everyone's got their own list, but here's
mine:

* Good work is unacceptable, great work is expected.
* Quality is the #1 goal, it takes a back seat to NOTHING else.
* Freedom for the users to use OpenBSD without question and without
  lawyers having to be involved, again without compromise.
* Strong leadership.  Not a "core team", or an elected committee
  that blows in the wind of public opinion, but one person who
  sets direction and policy for the project.  You may not always
  agree with Theo, but you never wonder where he stands on an
  issue, or what direction the project will go.
* Commitment to doing it right in one way, not twenty different
  ways ("pick one, maybe you get lucky").
* Refusal to accept the damned "all programs have bugs" chant as
  an excuse for making crap
* No fear of retaining things that work, and trashing things
  that are broke or inferior to newer (or older!) alternatives.
* The "Just Works" philosophy.

Please read on for the rest of Nick's mail:

But...a project like OpenBSD doesn't just run on volunteer effort,
it takes real money.  Hardware, infrastructure, Internet services,
and if you are going to have ONE PERSON in charge, you need to
keep them focused on the project, not "in their spare time", and
give them the money to live in reasonable comfort.

I just had a talk with Theo, and he shared some numbers with me.
There's a digit missing from the current CD pre-orders from where
we were hoping to be now.  There's a trailing zero missing from
what we'd really like to have.

Long ago, while waiting for customers to hand me money, my first
boss told me, "The hardest thing to do, but the most important,
is to ask for the sale".  I've never been very good at that, but
here it is...

People, it is time to get your browsers over to
  http://www.openbsd.org/orders.html
and start running some money into the project.

Do you use OpenBSD for fun?  Contribute.
Do you use OpenBSD for work?  Contribute.
Does OpenBSD allow you to worry about the problem you are trying
to solve rather rather than the tools?  Contribute.
Do you wish your employer used the OpenBSD quality standard in
your work?  Contribute.
Does your employer use OpenBSD?  Ask them to contribute (after
you do, of course).
Do you bundle OpenBSD or subprojects like OpenSSH into your
product?  Contribute big! (you won't, you rarely do, but hey,
I'll ask anyway)
Do you find yourself wondering why so few take computer software
quality seriously?  Contribute!

CDs are our favorite way to get contributions.  The price is well
within what the average person can easily pay for, they are a lot
more educational than a month of cable TV (and maybe even more fun).
Sure, the CD itself is not something everyone needs anymore, but
it is about much more than the data recorded on it.  It is the mark
of being an active OpenBSD supporter, and it provides a nice, neat
count of "this many people care".

Don't get me wrong, Theo likes big cash contributions, too, but
(ok, my life flashes before my eyes every time I try to put words
in Theo's mouth) while a $10000 donation from BIGCORP Inc., is
nice, it is probably more satisfying to see two hundred $50
contributions from private people and small businesses who
appreciate and put a value not only the work OpenBSD does, but
the KIND of work, the "Quality and Freedom Second to NOTHING"
philosophy.  Don't wait and hope for a big company to speak for
you, speak your thanks directly for the work and effort that
goes into OpenBSD by buying a CD set.


I'm going to answer a question that comes up periodically: "What
about T-shirts and mugs and ...?"  Well, those are profit points,
too, but CDs are dirt cheap to make, they store easily, and one
size fits all.  T-shirts have a higher manufacturing cost, take
up more space, and must be stocked in multiple sizes, all of which
must be kept accessible.  Certainly, buy a t-shirt, buy a mug,
poster, whatever..but buy a CD set, too.


Thanks to those that contribute money and buy CDs.
Thanks to the OpenBSD team, I can't tell you what an honor
it is to work (in my small way) with some of the worlds best
programmers and software DESIGNERS.
Thanks to Theo de Raadt for the years of showing that it IS
possible to hold one's ideals up high and proud, never
compromise them, and never give in, in spite of the pressures
from those that will trade their ideals for a little temporary
"expediency".

And thanks to you for reading my rant.

Nick.

Undeadly urges you to do what you can to help OpenBSD. Get a CD set, tell your friend to buy a t-shirt or make your company donate to OpenBSD. Be creative!

If you managed to make your company or organization donate a large sum, please write a comment and tell the rest of us how you did it.

(Comments are closed)


  1. By Noryungi (noryungi) noryungi@yahoo.com on

    My, my... I did not think OpenBSD donations would be affected by the economic downturn.

    Anyway, I just pre-ordered a 4.6 CD set, a t-shirt, a mug AND threw in a little donation (50 Euros) in the pot as well.

    Then, I saw this article. I think it's pretty much spot-on: if you use OpenBSD, it's only fair to contrbute - I am glad I buy a CD set every time. And, most of the time, I throw in a donation as well, for good measure.

    And the t-shirts add to the geek creds, too! ;-)

  2. By Clever Monkey (clvrmnky) clvrmnky@gmail.com on http://clevermonkey.org

    I gave 'em $50 and bought a t-shirt (as usual.) This way I don't have to store the CD sets (after several years, they start to stack up) but still help out. I don't get a copy before other folks anymore for pre-ordering, but I rarely get around to installing before the actual release date anyway.

  3. By Renaud Allard (renaud) renaud@allard.it on

    That's not nice indeed.
    I preordered like any other release for years now. But I must admit, although people at ordering were helpful and very nice, I found it harder to order this release than former ones when Wim was still active. Maybe this is something to think about, an official EU shop simplified things quite a bit.

    1. By Jeff Quast (dingo) on

      > I found it harder to order this release than
      > former ones when Wim was still active.

      I'm afraid the lack of PR on either end of the Wim vs. Theo battle may have caused many people to look into the OpenBSD funding situation with more scrutiny. The general population of donors were shown many details of the funding process filled with half-truths and conflicting stories leaving them skeptical.

      1. By Noryungi (noryungi) on

        > I'm afraid the lack of PR on either end of the Wim vs. Theo battle may
        > have caused many people to look into the OpenBSD funding situation with
        > more scrutiny. The general population of donors were shown many details
        > of the funding process filled with half-truths and conflicting stories
        > leaving them skeptical.

        Errr... Which details? Which half-truths?

        To me funding is simple: I like OpenBSD. I support it with my money. End of story.

        Theo-vs-Wim was certainly regrettable. However, OpenBSD is still great. So I still support it. Given his track record, I don't think Theo is blowing the whole lot on 'wine, women and songs'...

    2. By tedu (udet) on

      > That's not nice indeed.
      > I preordered like any other release for years now. But I must admit, although people at ordering were helpful and very nice, I found it harder to order this release than former ones when Wim was still active. Maybe this is something to think about, an official EU shop simplified things quite a bit.

      www.openbsdeurope.com

      1. By Magic carpet (bodie) on http://www.openbsd.org

        > > That's not nice indeed.
        > > I preordered like any other release for years now. But I must admit, although people at ordering were helpful and very nice, I found it harder to order this release than former ones when Wim was still active. Maybe this is something to think about, an official EU shop simplified things quite a bit.
        >
        > www.openbsdeurope.com

        Not useful because too much expensive in comparison with prices in Canada or USA.CD set from Canada is 800 CZK without shipping.CD set from EU is 910 CZK without shipping.

        That's why people use Ebay and other pages because it's cheaper to buy some stuff in China,USA or similar places then in own country/region.Especially stupid are rules of some companies -> 1 USD = 1 EUR

  4. By Matthew McCowan (mccoma) mccoma@well.com on

    so how does the recurring paypal donations fit into this?

    1. By Cameron Simpson (cameron) cs@zip.com.au on http://www.cskk.ezoshosting.com/cs/

      > so how does the recurring paypal donations fit into this?

      I do the recurring paypal thing. It is, for me, more reliable; I can easily afford the recurring (small) cost, whereas my perverse form of frugality sometimes makes it had for me to fork out the "larger" cost
      for a CD and some t-shirts.

      In short, it's easier to make a decent commitment this way.
      - Cameron

  5. By Howard Pepper (HowiPepper) on

    Ordered my CD set, T-Shirt and mug as soon as I saw the announcement for pre-orders.

    Btw, this will make my ninth CD set in a row. I've purchased 'em all, since 3.8, and I have plenty of storage space for many, many more CD sets!

    Keep up the great work, OpenBSD developers!

  6. By Anonymous Coward (3jane) on

    Hi, I don't need that much the CD set at all, but well, I'm probably disabled in some fashion, but I can't figure out for the love of god howto donate real money to Theo instead of buying something. Is there a paypal account I can wire money to? I mean, I have every single freaking release and T-shirt, but I feel that Theo&co. don't need to give me anything extra, and I can afford to spend money on a good damned cause. So please, provide us with a link to the paypal account or something, I'd much rather send pure money than to buy stuff that I don't really need. Ofcourse it's nice to have the CD, but it's not that important. Thanks.

    1. By J. Random Hacker (3jane) on

      > Hi, I don't need that much the CD set at all, but well, I'm probably disabled in some fashion, but I can't figure out for the love of god howto donate real money to Theo instead of buying something. Is there a paypal account I can wire money to? I mean, I have every single freaking release and T-shirt, but I feel that Theo&co. don't need to give me anything extra, and I can afford to spend money on a good damned cause. So please, provide us with a link to the paypal account or something, I'd much rather send pure money than to buy stuff that I don't really need. Ofcourse it's nice to have the CD, but it's not that important. Thanks.

      Oh, and while I'm on the subject, that is, as a contributor to the new CVS server and the redundant internet connection to the infrastructure that Theo maintains, I would really like to see some hardware porn if you may. :) That is, I'd like to see what makes OpenBSD tick these days.

    2. By Paul 'WEiRD' de Weerd (weerd) on http://www.weirdnet.nl/openbsd/

      > Hi, I don't need that much the CD set at all, but well, I'm probably disabled in some fashion, but I can't figure out for the love of god howto donate real money to Theo instead of buying something. Is there a paypal account I can wire money to? I mean, I have every single freaking release and T-shirt, but I feel that Theo&co. don't need to give me anything extra, and I can afford to spend money on a good damned cause. So please, provide us with a link to the paypal account or something, I'd much rather send pure money than to buy stuff that I don't really need. Ofcourse it's nice to have the CD, but it's not that important. Thanks.

      How about http://www.openbsd.org/donations.html ? There's a whole list of options given there (including Paypal).

    3. By Clever Monkey (clvrmnky) on http://clevermonkey.org

      > Hi, I don't need that much the CD set at all, but well, I'm probably disabled in some fashion, but I can't figure out for the love of god howto donate real money ...

      https://https.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/order has a "Make a Donation" option you can choose instead of a t-shirt or a CD set.

  7. By Larry A. Barr (lbarr) southpacificsoft@isomedia.com on sps-c.net

    Perhaps I will burn through some of my OBSD geek points, but here goes...

    Before I get started let me start by saying that I have already pre-ordered my 4.6 set, the second day it after it became available...

    I fully appreciate what Nick is saying, but, I would respectfully like to offer a slightly different perspective. I run my business webserver on OpenBSD. Have ever since day one. I love OpenBSD. I love the cleanness of it. The way it works as I expect it will. The quality that is second to none. I love the man pages that are up-to-date. I love looking at the logfiles and watching all that pro-active security foiling the hackers each and every day. I appreciate the hard word the OpenBSD teams puts into every release. On boards such as slashdot.org I proclaim my love at any opportunity. I proudly wear my OpenBSD t-shirts and have even bought some them for my non-geek friends. I am wearing the one that came with 4.2 as I type this.

    That said, I came really really close to not ordering this 4.6 set and here is why...

    As I said I run my business's webhosting server on OpenBSD. I have ordered every even CD set since 3.4. To compensate for not ordering the odd numbered sets I would supplement my orders with t-shirts, etc.

    My main reason for only purchasing the even sets is that it is a pain to upgrade each year and I often dread doing it. I really don't have time to do it twice a year. Since the policy is to only upgrade from one set to the next, each year I must backup for transfer the data and configuration files, then install the new version. Then the config's and data must be copied back. The problems that invariably crop up worked out. Then the ports must be installed. Which you must wait until after the "official" release to even get. Then I have to work through getting years worth of custom scripts, tested and the bugs worked out of those. Frankly, it's a pain in the ass. When you are running a one man business and customers with no tolerance for down time this is usually an all-nighter down at the data center.

    Why must the release cycle be every six months? Would it be really that terrible if it was only once a year? And why must the end of the supported life cycle be just one year back? I realize that the main motivation is to force buying the new CD's but for some of us it is a major drawback. I have been working around this for years and frankly it's getting old.

    I would love it if the OpenBSD team came up with an annual subscription model that came with a CD set. I don't care if the software packages that go with a particular older version are no longer supported, but I would really like to be able to at least log in and get access the version of ports I am still using in production, whether it's the current version or not. Call it privileged access to archives, whatever. Same goes for seeing the patches maintained for at least another year back, if it would not put an undue burden on the team. If you want people to use OpenBSD, you have to give them a longer life-cycle than just one year. It sounds as if the forcing them to buy CD's isn't working, maybe it's time to re-think this policy.

    I read somewhere that the installed OpenBSD base is somewhere around 7 or 8 thousand and more or less steady and stable. i.e. this number is neither significantly increasing nor decreasing. (To be honest I have no idea if that claim is either accurate or true) I am happy to contribute to the OpenBSD project, for their work, their sweat, their time, but at the same time what I am paying for is something from a business point of view must make sense.

    I hear Nick when he says he'd really like to see that extra zero tacked on when it comes to CD orders. How about modifying the model or offering additional options rather than just depending on the CD sales? How about thinking at how people are using the software and looking for ways to help them find more uses for it? In other words figure out how to help expand the installed base. Like I said I would gladly pay for an annual subscription to have access to the older versions of the ports. If the hardware is unchanged from year-to-year, then there isn't a lot of incentive to be compelled to upgrade, unless there is some new feature in the new release you are dying to have.

    To my way of thinking OpenBSD project needs to at least consider looking for ways of seriously expanding the user base, so there doesn't have to be so much pressure put on the people that already showing their support for the project to support the project as a whole.

    To add to that thought, we don't need every exotic wireless card under the sun supported as one example. I love all the laptop support. I would use OpenBSd on my laptop and make it my only OS if I could. But without flash support I can't test websites, as retarded as that sounds. I am fine with sticking with mainstream, proven and tested hardware. If the company doesn't want to play when it comes to documentation and license issues, I am fine with modifying my buying habits accordingly to stay aligned with the project.

    I realize that this rant may not sit well with some. For that I am truly sorry. I have no desire to any shape or form to be on the outside looking in, but I feel this needs to be at least brought up and discussed. The team wants and needs more donations. Fine, I agree. But we need more people making the donations that aren't already also.

    If it's a matter of more of us needing to volunteer our for testing, or editing man pages or whatever to help out, then I'll find time somewhere to help contribute. But financially I am tapped out and I suspect I am not the only one.

    Sorry for my rant and I will gladly get down off the soapbox now and go back to my seat in the bleachers.

    1. By wim wauters (unisoftdesign) on www.unisoftdesign.co.uk


      I kind of agree, and I skip many release cycles for 'internal' servers,
      but I love the OpenBSD project for ignoring their opinionated customers and doing what they think is the right thing to do :-)

      That's how we ended up with this secure and robust operating system (and its ports) in the first place :-)

    2. By Joel Dinel (kint) on

      > My main reason for only purchasing the even sets is that it is a pain to upgrade each year and I often dread doing it. I really don't have time to do it twice a year. Since the policy is to only upgrade from one set to the next, each year I must backup for transfer the data and configuration files, then install the new version. Then the config's and data must be copied back. The problems that invariably crop up worked out. Then the ports must be installed. Which you must wait until after the "official" release to even get. Then I have to work through getting years worth of custom scripts, tested and the bugs worked out of those. Frankly, it's a pain in the ass. When you are running a one man business and customers with no tolerance for down time this is usually an all-nighter down at the data center.

      Install the new release in a VM machine, test all your config / scripts there. Once that's all worked out, plan your reinstall as efficiently as possible. You can easily do this on a tiny VM (128mb RAM) with VMWare Server (free) installed on your desktop.


      > And why must the end of the supported life cycle be just one year back?

      Manpower? I can only imagine how much of a pain it must be to backport patches and packages more than a release back.

    3. By tedu (udet) on

      If releases only came out once a year, that'd mean between any two releases there would be more config changes, more broken drivers, more incompatibilities and more whatever it is you do after an upgrade.

      If you want to keep running 4.4, download the patches from 4.5. If they don't work, pay someone to make them work.

      If you want to run the latest version of ports on old releases, pay someone to build new ports on old releases.

      If you don't like paying for services like that, wait for someone to volunteer. What, nobody's volunteering? I wonder why.

      But you are dead wrong about the release cycle being designed to sell CDs. Projects that don't release have terrible releases. I could name some, but I'm sure you can think of a project that took two years to release the latest and greatest, and then when it was finally out people hated it. Release early, release often is the only model that works.

      The goals of the OpenBSD project are to move forward. Sitting still and shining the same old turd is not a priority.

      1. By Larry A. Barr (lbarr) on

        >
        > The goals of the OpenBSD project are to move forward. Sitting still and shining the same old turd is not a priority.
        >
        >

        This is not was I was asking for nor am I advocating this in any shape or form.

        I don't wish to have the project waste ANY time polishing the same old turd. Just what I would like to see is that the old turd not get flushed down the toilet while I am still taking the crap and reading the sports section.

        If, for whatever reason you can't or don't need to keep upgrading to keep pace with the OpenBSD team's development efforts, it would be kinda nice to have access to the ports collection that went with the version you are using currently. That is all that I am saying. A snap shot, if you will, of the ports collection as it existed before the next release forces the ports to be updated. Then making those snap shots available in the form of an archive to the installed user base.

        Tell me that the OpenBSD team doesn't have the time, manpower, disk space or bandwidth or whatever for this. Fine, I'll buy that. But if it could be done and some of those considerations are not software development in nature then I will even go so far as to put my money where my mouth is and set it up. An independent "Archives" of the OpenBSD project, on my own server, my own bandwidth, etc. and I will charge money for this service. If I am willing to pay for this service, I am guessing others will be as well.

        I'll even regularly kick back a portion of the proceeds to the project.

        But what I won't do is set all of this up without the minimal support of Theo and the development team. And that support really should at a bare minimum include patch support that goes back at least another year. Now I am no software developer, and if you tell me that is too much work or it can't be done, --I will believe you wholeheartedly and without question.

        All I am trying to do is offer up suggestions to help the project continue on. My belief is that to help the project, it needs to have a longer life cycle per release. If I am wrong, I am wrong. But ask me as a small business man using OBSD to donate $100 bucks plus shipping and upgrade it twice a year and then tell me that investment is only good for one year is a hard pill to keep swallowing year after year.

        1. By tedu (udet) on

          > I don't wish to have the project waste ANY time polishing the same old turd. Just what I would like to see is that the old turd not get flushed down the toilet while I am still taking the crap and reading the sports section.
          >
          > If, for whatever reason you can't or don't need to keep upgrading to keep pace with the OpenBSD team's development efforts, it would be kinda nice to have access to the ports collection that went with the version you are using currently. That is all that I am saying. A snap shot, if you will, of the ports collection as it existed before the next release forces the ports to be updated. Then making those snap shots available in the form of an archive to the installed user base.

          I have no idea what you're talking about then. ftp.usa.openbsd.org has releases going back to 3.9. You want the ports tree for 4.2 or 4.0? Go ahead and download it. 4.2 is even still on the main ftp site.

          1. By Larry A. Barr (lbarr) on

            >
            > I have no idea what you're talking about then. ftp.usa.openbsd.org has releases going back to 3.9. You want the ports tree for 4.2 or 4.0? Go ahead and download it. 4.2 is even still on the main ftp site.

            Perhaps what I am really doing here is just showing my own ignorance on this subject. While it has been a while now, I do recall struggling to find the ports that went with I believe it was either 4.0 or 4.2. Obviously it must have been my fault for not looking around hard enough to find the correct ports tree. Please forgive my oversight on this subject and forget I brought it up.

        2. By Anonymous Coward (anon) on

          > If, for whatever reason you can't or don't need to keep upgrading to keep pace with the OpenBSD team's development efforts, it would be kinda nice to have access to the ports collection that went with the version you are using currently. That is all that I am saying. A snap shot, if you will, of the ports collection as it existed before the next release forces the ports to be updated. Then making those snap shots available in the form of an archive to the installed user base.

          Eh? Any of the ports collections (as in, /usr/ports/*) are available by CVS, as described in the FAQ. Packages are also available, ftp.openbsd.org carries (currently) 4 versions worth, some mirrors have less, some have more (at least one right back to 2.3).

          > Since the policy is to only upgrade from one set to the next, each year I must backup for transfer the data and configuration files, then install the new version. Then the config's and data must be copied back.

          You have several alternatives here. IMHO what you are doing is a huge amount of extra effort and it's no wonder you don't like upgrading.

          - when you decide to upgrade, upgrade to v+.1, then upgrade to v+.2. Really, what's the benefit in doing a fresh install every time?

          - when you decide to upgrade, skip the v+.1 release and go right to v+.2, if it fails you can revert to your backups. But in my experience it won't fail..some boxes I've jumped 3 or 4 releases, you have to read all the upgrade notes between, but really, no problem.

          - upgrade more often. it's usually a 10-20 minute job if you have good connectivity to a mirror *and do it reasonably often*. Upgrade the base OS, upgrade packages, sysmerge, reboot. (if you run certain software from packages which has had a major update, it might be a bit longer to deal with configuration for that software).

          I usually upgrade the whole base OS on my personal machines every week or two, and various production servers probably every 2-3 months or so. I'm sure this is not unusual. If this was painful there's /no way/ I'd do it.

          > But what I won't do is set all of this up without the minimal support of Theo and the development team. And that support really should at a bare minimum include patch support that goes back at least another year.

          If developers start having to test, validate, fix and verify code in two more places on top of the three they already do for major problems (-current + 2 releases), I think it's likely that there would be quite a few important but non-critical fixes that just wouldn't get pushed back.

          1. By Larry A. Barr (lbarr) on

            > > If, for whatever reason you can't or don't need to keep upgrading to keep pace with the OpenBSD team's development efforts, it would be kinda nice to have access to the ports collection that went with the version you are using currently. That is all that I am saying. A snap shot, if you will, of the ports collection as it existed before the next release forces the ports to be updated. Then making those snap shots available in the form of an archive to the installed user base.
            >
            > Eh? Any of the ports collections (as in, /usr/ports/*) are available by CVS, as described in the FAQ. Packages are also available, ftp.openbsd.org carries (currently) 4 versions worth, some mirrors have less, some have more (at least one right back to 2.3).
            >
            > > Since the policy is to only upgrade from one set to the next, each year I must backup for transfer the data and configuration files, then install the new version. Then the config's and data must be copied back.
            >
            > You have several alternatives here. IMHO what you are doing is a huge amount of extra effort and it's no wonder you don't like upgrading.
            >
            > - when you decide to upgrade, upgrade to v+.1, then upgrade to v+.2. Really, what's the benefit in doing a fresh install every time?
            >
            > - when you decide to upgrade, skip the v+.1 release and go right to v+.2, if it fails you can revert to your backups. But in my experience it won't fail..some boxes I've jumped 3 or 4 releases, you have to read all the upgrade notes between, but really, no problem.
            >
            > - upgrade more often. it's usually a 10-20 minute job if you have good connectivity to a mirror *and do it reasonably often*. Upgrade the base OS, upgrade packages, sysmerge, reboot. (if you run certain software from packages which has had a major update, it might be a bit longer to deal with configuration for that software).
            >
            > I usually upgrade the whole base OS on my personal machines every week or two, and various production servers probably every 2-3 months or so. I'm sure this is not unusual. If this was painful there's /no way/ I'd do it.
            >
            > > But what I won't do is set all of this up without the minimal support of Theo and the development team. And that support really should at a bare minimum include patch support that goes back at least another year.
            >
            > If developers start having to test, validate, fix and verify code in two more places on top of the three they already do for major problems (-current + 2 releases), I think it's likely that there would be quite a few important but non-critical fixes that just wouldn't get pushed back.

            Thank you for your insight and tips. Clearly I don't know enough about this topic to be bringing it up here.

            1. By Anonymous Coward (anon) on

              > Thank you for your insight and tips. Clearly I don't know enough about this topic to be bringing it up here.

              Hopefully, by bringing it up and getting some suggestions, you'll find upgrades simpler in the future. Maybe it will help others too.

              fwiw, I have to do some admin on a couple of Linux systems too, with their longer-term support within a release. Within that period I never know what to expect if I fire off an upgrade. And to stand a chance of getting the important fixes in, I have to do that multiple times between OS releases. With OpenBSD I can look at faq/current.html and/or the per-release upgrade notes, know in advance what I'll be letting myself in for, and plan accordingly.

              1. By Magic carpet (bodie) on http://www.openbsd.org

                > > Thank you for your insight and tips. Clearly I don't know enough about this topic to be bringing it up here.
                >
                > Hopefully, by bringing it up and getting some suggestions, you'll find upgrades simpler in the future. Maybe it will help others too.
                >
                > fwiw, I have to do some admin on a couple of Linux systems too, with their longer-term support within a release. Within that period I never know what to expect if I fire off an upgrade. And to stand a chance of getting the important fixes in, I have to do that multiple times between OS releases. With OpenBSD I can look at faq/current.html and/or the per-release upgrade notes, know in advance what I'll be letting myself in for, and plan accordingly.


                But small business are totaly different story.You upgrade/update a lot servers/desktops/laptops either with BSD or Linux,Windows,MacOsX.On this front is for me the best OpenBSD.Or network protected with OpenBSD and inside OpenSolaris/Solaris with their ZFS for data storage.

                Big companies are some type of magic world.There are mostly no updates/upgrades.I work with servers which were not upgraded for 5 years or so (but they haven't direct connection to Internet).Sometimes it's real hell to work with similar machines,but gues what.Customers don't want to pay for updates/upgrades if it works and they don't want break in service even for 20 minutes or so.And API's are another part of this problem.Solaris has stable API for 10 years or so.This is not true for OpenBSD.I know that OpenBSD is much more better from many points,but there is no official support from some big company,applications aren't certified for this OS and so on.

    4. By Otto Moerbeek (otto) on http://www.drijf.net

      The longer you wait with doing an upgrade, the more pain it will be.

      Upgrading each half year is supported and in my (biased of course) opinion the least painful method. Yo do not need to do a full re-install, am upgrade will work fine almost always.

      If you wait longer, the steps become bigger, and the amount of potential trouble gets larger.

      So skipping releases is often not a smart thing to do.

  8. By Rich (TechyNerd42) shopping1@jezitski.co.uk on

    I have no wish to drag the whole sorry saga up again, but I do wonder if the whole Theo/Wim CD-revenue shit-slinging episode has something to do with this? I value my life far too much to take sides or offer an opinion on something that I don't really understand and know even less about, but it certainly can't have done the project's reputation any good at all.

    One thing that did come out of that episode and which sticks in my mind though is the revelation (well, a revelation to me, and I suspect to many of us on the 'outside'!) of just how ad-hoc the project is in terms of its business status (or not). There seems to be no visible accounting, little evidence that the project income is used as it should be (and I am NOT suggesting for a moment that funds are not used appropriately - let me make that QUITE clear), and very little confidence in the future direction and status of the project.

    How many people will think twice about donating to a project when there is basically no real and public idea of what's really happening financially? It's never going to happen (because ideas and suggestions to the project are never taken up, quite frankly) but maybe the project should be brought into a company structure. The cost of doing this is trivial, and it would give the project a legitimacy that it currently seems to lack. And without it, the chances of getting funds from companies that may otherwise donate are much diminished, especially after the details that came out in the Theo/Wim episode became much more widely known.

    -----

    On a separate note, I also pretty agree with much of what Larry A. Barr is saying above. I started using OBSD from 3.5 and I have CDs for most of the versions since then. However, this is mostly out of loyalty to the project - most of them have gone completely unused.

    My main machine is still running on 3.6 because updating it from 3.5 to 3.6 was a most painful and time consuming exercise despite (what I thought) was some good prep my me (clearly not good enough!). I now need to update it again to 4.* which will, of course, involve a complete re-install by now.

    1. By Richard Toohey (richardtoohey) on

      > I have no wish to drag the whole sorry saga up again, but I do wonder if the whole Theo/Wim CD-revenue shit-slinging episode has something to do with this? I value my life far too much to take sides or offer an opinion on something that I don't really understand and know even less about, but it certainly can't have done the project's reputation any good at all.
      >
      > One thing that did come out of that episode and which sticks in my mind though is the revelation (well, a revelation to me, and I suspect to many of us on the 'outside'!) of just how ad-hoc the project is in terms of its business status (or not). There seems to be no visible accounting, little evidence that the project income is used as it should be (and I am NOT suggesting for a moment that funds are not used appropriately - let me make that QUITE clear), and very little confidence in the future direction and status of the project.
      >
      > How many people will think twice about donating to a project when there is basically no real and public idea of what's really happening financially? It's never going to happen (because ideas and suggestions to the project are never taken up, quite frankly) but maybe the project should be brought into a company structure. The cost of doing this is trivial, and it would give the project a legitimacy that it currently seems to lack. And without it, the chances of getting funds from companies that may otherwise donate are much diminished, especially after the details that came out in the Theo/Wim episode became much more widely known.

      -----------------
      But why would a company necessarily structure make things better? Enron? Madoff?

      When you buy a music CD or a film DVD, are you concerned about what Sony/EMI are doing with your money? Are you concerned about what the artists/actors are going to do with your money? Or are you paying for their creative efforts on a physical medium? I don't follow gossip columns because you usually end up disappointed in the personal lives of the musicians/actors who's work you like/admire.

      1. By Rich (TechyNerd42) on

        It matters because at the moment the project looks like a bunch of amateur nerdy types having a bit of fun! That's not a great recipe for encouraging investment in either time or money; especially the latter.

        As for your analogy with music CDs and DVDs (I'll ignore the Enron reference because that's just plain silly and not at all helpful), well, let me turn the argument around. I was talking to my mate Bill the other day. He has a fantastic idea. You'll love it. He just needs some money to make it work. Why don't you send him some cash? He'll even take credit cards if you like. What? You don't know who Bill is? And he's not being very forthcoming with what his idea is? And you're not convinced about what he'll do with your money or even that you'll ever see any kind of a return on your investment? ...or even whether he'll still be around in a couple of months? But that doesn't matter. It's a great idea! Honest! Trust me :-)

        Like it or not, a business identity DOES add legitimacy. No question about it (that's why most people would still rather buy their TVs and HiFis from the shop down the road rather than the dodgy geezer in the pub). And with that legitimacy you get people prepared to invest. It would be a start if the presently opaque funding issues were cleared up and made much more transparent.

        The issue of funding OBSD comes up every other week. Maybe if the project started acting a bit more seriously and responsibly, it might just get somewhere.

        1. By Richard Toohey (richardtoohey) on

          > It matters because at the moment the project looks like a bunch of amateur nerdy types having a bit of fun! That's not a great recipe for encouraging investment in either time or money; especially the latter.
          >
          > As for your analogy with music CDs and DVDs (I'll ignore the Enron reference because that's just plain silly and not at all helpful), well, let me turn the argument around. I was talking to my mate Bill the other day. He has a fantastic idea. You'll love it. He just needs some money to make it work. Why don't you send him some cash? He'll even take credit cards if you like. What? You don't know who Bill is? And he's not being very forthcoming with what his idea is? And you're not convinced about what he'll do with your money or even that you'll ever see any kind of a return on your investment? ...or even whether he'll still be around in a couple of months? But that doesn't matter. It's a great idea! Honest! Trust me :-)
          >
          > Like it or not, a business identity DOES add legitimacy. No question about it (that's why most people would still rather buy their TVs and HiFis from the shop down the road rather than the dodgy geezer in the pub). And with that legitimacy you get people prepared to invest. It would be a start if the presently opaque funding issues were cleared up and made much more transparent.
          >
          > The issue of funding OBSD comes up every other week. Maybe if the project started acting a bit more seriously and responsibly, it might just get somewhere.

          I was trying to make two separate points:

          1. Being a company doesn't *necessarily* make things more respectable - Enron and Madoff are (perhaps extreme) examples of that. I understand what your point is, and I'm not saying that it's right or wrong - just that it's not that black and white, is it? Yes, it might help give some people confidence that their money is going somewhere "safe." But this has been discussed many a time before, and we got the OpenBSD Foundation.

          2. I'm not giving OpenBSD money for their *ideas*. I'm giving them money for their operating system that I can download or purchase on a CD. What they then choose to do with that money is neither here nor there. If your mate Bill has an operating system or music that I like and I can try it - then yes, I'd give him money if I wanted to use the OS or listen to his music. If your mate just wants money for a "great idea" - no, thanks. They develop and fund OpenBSD their way, they have made OpenBSD available to the general public, they've asked the same to contribute by buying CDs ... no-one is forced to use OpenBSD, no-one is forced to buy a CD - it's your choice. (Guess that reads a bit like a fan-boy thing, but to me it's like music - band A makes a song, releases it for sale - I can choose to buy it or not, can't I?)

          Anyway, guess we can argue all day long to no useful end.

          1. By Rich (TechyNerd42) on

            Well we agree then, up to a point :-)

            And you're right - it's certainly not black and white. And yes, there's the foundation, but as far as I am aware, this is almost a separate entity from the core OBSD development funding thing. I'm happy to be corrected on this though.

            "They develop and fund OpenBSD their way, they have made OpenBSD available to the general public, they've asked the same to contribute by buying CDs ... no-one is forced to use OpenBSD, no-one is forced to buy a CD - it's your choice."

            You are spot on, but that's exactly why the project needs to act a bit more professionally. It's not the only show in town and when nobody has to contribute, quite often (and demonstrably) they don't! The OBSD project seems to have an ethos of "we are making this. You can have it if you like, but if you don't want it then we don't care - it's your loss. And by the way, we have a good track record of not listening to anybody". That's absolutely fine ...but stop bleating and blaming everyone else when nobody buys into it.

            1. By Larry A. Barr (lbarr) on

              > > You are spot on, but that's exactly why the project needs to act a bit more professionally. It's not the only show in town and when nobody has to contribute, quite often (and demonstrably) they don't! The OBSD project seems to have an ethos of "we are making this. You can have it if you like, but if you don't want it then we don't care - it's your loss. And by the way, we have a good track record of not listening to anybody". That's absolutely fine ...but stop bleating and blaming everyone else when nobody buys into it.
              >

              As painful and as sad as it is for me to admit this, I tend to agree with this train of thought.

              There is also a metaphor that goes something like this...

              You know what you call a leader that no one follows? Just a guy out taking a walk.


  9. By Veg (veg) veg@fatsquirrel.org on http://fatsquirrel.org/

    Even when I'm not currently using OpenBSD, I still like to contribute and I often buy CDs - I even bought the audio CD!

    So, I was going to buy 4.5 and then noticed that it's $50! That's a lot of bread - especially as a Snow Leopard upgrade is $29. OK it didn't include a dubious audio track but it did have stickers. Of the many OpenBSD CDs I own, not one has ever been used - do people still use install CDs ?

    In truth, I suspect that proportionally few buy the CD to actually install the OS - they buy it for the same reasons some people still buy music CDs even if they already have the MP3s - they want to "buy in" to OpenBSD and get something tangible for it. And the artwork *is* really lovely.

    Knock the price down to $30 and you'll easily make up the money by increased orders. If that means you have to stop including the dodgy songs then we'll just have to deal with that loss.

    1. By pwolk (pwolk) on

      ... my preferred install medium today would be a USB stick. Not sure whether they are available as ROM.

  10. By Kenneth C. Ferguson (escapenguin) escapenguin@gmail.com on

    Pain or no pain during upgrades, I wouldn't have the stability and confidence I have in my systems without OpenBSD. I very rarely have to throw in the towel and do a fresh install during said upgrades, and if I do, it's usually my own goddamn fault. Not having to deal with CALs, entitlements, and all that bullshit is a big plus. I hope it stays that way for a long time. Kudos to the devs. I wish I could donate more.

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