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If my memory serves me, during the development of the FreeBSD 5-series, there were many architectural decisions that the lead developer of DFBSD disagreed with, and he decided to start his own fork based on the 4-series code. Since the advent of the 6-series, and now the 7-series, FreeBSD has undergone many, many corrections to the (perceived) inferiorities which plagued the 5-series. I know I'm painting with broad strokes, but I do remember specifically the reasons the DFBSD project was created. What is the reason nowadays, assuming the perceived inferiorities have been acknowledged and corrected, for the continued existence of the DFBSD project? Having seen the benchmarks, I'd say that there's a great difference between the 5-series and the 7-series, especially in the areas which originally prompted the fork, namely SMP scalability, and the threading model.
Do the two projects benefit from a synergistic benefit that the organizational overhead of incorporating all the developers into one project would otherwise cancel out? Is DFBSD intended as a testbed for experimental OS technologies, without the pressure of having to keep your code in sync with a mainline branch? Is development carried out in order to compete with, and spur innovation in the two products, or is DFBSD developed for the sheer joy of having your own OS? (A very reasonable and I'm sure unique joy that's not available to lesser mortals such as myself.)
I like to see variety in OSS projects as much as anyone else, but given that there are finite resources behind the development of OSS, I'm genuinely curious whether the benefit is intended to be public or private, or a mix of both.
(NOTE: If you read this as me telling anyone else how to spend their time or efforts, you will surely and rightly think I'm a presumptuous asshole, but it's in no way my intent to tell others what to do. I'm just curious, that's all. Any answer, even personal ones, or "no particular reason," would satisfy me.)
If anyone knows, please let me know!
Oh, and congratulations to the DFBSD team for their 2.0 release! Edited 2008-07-26 04:06 UTC