Press Release: Results of NetBSD's 2007 Fundraising Campaign

NetBSD is an open source operating system project that depends on funding for its operation. A generous donation by Google has enabled us to fund development in the area of symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), and a fundraising drive was started to extend this activity. The goal of $50,000US of the 2007 fundraising campaign was met thanks to a lot of support from companies, users, and our community as a whole.

NetBSD is an open source project run by volunteers, and offers an operating system that scales well from embedded devices via commodity PCs and appliances to modern server hardware. In order to maintain project infrastructure and complete high profile tasks, NetBSD has always depended on contributions from its corporate and individual benefactors.

NetBSD had support for SMP since the NetBSD 2.0 release in 2004. Currently, this support is being changed to use fine grained kernel locking. This will allow better overall CPU time utilization in multiprocessor / multicore machines, which are becoming increasingly popular. The work was made possible by a generous donation from Google. Leslie Hawthorn, Program Manager Open Source from Google, Inc. says:

``NetBSD is one of the earliest open source projects around, and working with NetBSD during several iterations of our Google Summer of Code program has been a great pleasure.''

Chris DiBona, Manager of the Open Source Programs office also from Google, Inc. adds:

``At Google, we use a fair amount of open source and we look for opportunities to help important projects like NetBSD whenever we can, so when we had the chance to fund this development work, we jumped at the chance to do so. It is our hope that our example will encourage other companies to further their support of Open Source projects like NetBSD.''

After initial funding of the SMP project had been arranged, NetBSD decided to raise funds to extend the ongoing projects, and fund additional new work. The goal of our 2007 fundraising drive was to raise $50,000US, which we are happy to say was met! Numerous small and medium size donations from all over the world have reached us, and we owe great gratitude to our donors.

Why do companies donate to the NetBSD Project? Stephen Borrill from Precedence Technologies in the United Kingdom tells us:

``We use NetBSD as the basis for ThinIT, our embedded thin-client OS, and NetManager, our Internet security server. NetBSD delivers the flexibility and reliability we require combined with a clean, easily extensible codebase. ThinIT needs bulletproof consumer-facing reliability and the ability to run on virtually any hardware as well as a small memory and storage footprint. NetManager requires security, throughput and scalability coupled with the latest Internet application development tools. NetBSD ticks all the boxes even though these requirements are at different ends of the spectrum.''

On a similar note, Jukka Marin from Embedtronics in Finland explains:

``Embedtronics are specialized in embedded hardware and software design. We work with security, data communication, industrial and medical applications using 8- to 32-bit microcontrollers and multi-tasking software. We have been using NetBSD since version 0.9c in 1994 on multiple architectures for practically everything from common office work to software development and embedded systems. We value the code quality, multi-platform support and portability, and completely free BSD licensing.''

Metrum Institute uses run their modeling and simulation grid. Jeff Hane, Ph.D. Executive Director of Metrum Institute explains:

``The clean and modular NetBSD design gives us unrestricted control of the OS and package versions, enabling us to adapt to our changing operational needs.''

US-based Coyote Point Systems recently selected NetBSD as the base operating system for its next generation of load balancing and acceleration appliances. According to Bill Kish, Coyote Point's Alpha Coyote,

``Our engineering team studied commercial and Open Source options, and we chose NetBSD because of strong support from the NetBSD developers and NetBSD's commitment to cross platform support.'' Kish adds, ``A flexible and highly scalable SMP architecture was foremost in our minds when we reviewed our options. NetBSD will give us the tools we need to scale our product to 10Gb/s.''

Major new features of NetBSD 4.0 include support for Xen version 3, Bluetooth, many new device drivers and embedded platforms based on ARM, PowerPC and MIPS CPUs. New network services include iSCSI target (server) code and an implementation of the Common Address Redundancy Protocol (CARP). System security has been further enhanced with restrictions of mprotect(2) to enforce W^X policies, the kauth Kernel Authorization framework, and improvements to the Veriexec file integrity subsystem, which can be used to harden the system against trojan horses and virus attacks.

Work that was done after the NetBSD 4.0 release was to make the kernel use modern synchronization mechanisms and apply fine-grained locking to support SMP. Furthermore, a framework for running file system code in userland -- the Runnable Userspace Meta Program (rump) -- and a general framework for power management were added, the latter includes suspend to RAM on x86 with ACPI-capable machines. Also, general support as well as SMP for many new embedded PowerPC, MIPS and modern ARM platforms was added.

With the great results of NetBSD's 2007 fundraising campaign, we have several options for future work in NetBSD. Besides the usual costs for hardware, hosting and legal fees, we intend to continue and increase funded development. Areas where such work can be expected after our NetBSD 4.0 release include SMP, hardware RAID drivers and power management.

About NetBSD

NetBSD is a free, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system available for many platforms, from large-scale server systems to powerful desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent in both production and research environments, and the source code is freely available under a business-friendly license. NetBSD is developed and supported by a large and vivid international community. Many applications are easily available through pkgsrc, the NetBSD Packages Collection.




Back to the NetBSD Foundation Inc. page