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OpenBSD Looking At Funding Shortfall In 2014 277

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the netcraft-confirms-this-joke-will-appear dept.
Freshly Exhumed writes "Today the OpenBSD mailing list carried a plea from Theo de Raadt for much needed financial aid for the OpenBSD foundation: 'I am resending this request for funding our electricity bills because it is not yet resolved. We really need even more funding beyond that, because otherwise all of this is simply unsustainable. This request is the smallest we can make.' Bob Beck, of the OpenBSD Foundation, added: 'the fact is right now, OpenBSD will shut down if we do not have the funding to keep the lights on.'" The electricity bill in question is $20,000 a year for build servers located in Canada.
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OpenBSD Looking At Funding Shortfall In 2014

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  • by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @01:16PM (#45967533) Homepage
    1. the nature of OpenBSD means build servers are the word of god on the lips and hearts of every developer and user. their physical verifiability and integrity is sacrosanct. finding a remote build location in this the year of our NSA 2014 would prove difficult if not impossible.

    2. this is controversial. its not an attempt to stoke a flamewar, but it i feel must be said. the BSD license itself hinders the visibility of the projects its designed to protect. It allows corporations, the very entities that theo wants his electric bill 'on their books' to ignore the project entirely and slurp down releases whenever a security hole shows up on their product. Other than a README most corporations arent required to think twice about the code, let alone where it comes from, under the BSD. IMHO only when openbsd.org starts returning srvfail will these companies know what theyve lost. GPLvN remind companies on a per-release basis where the bread for which their butter goes comes from. code must face the scrutiny of developers, engineers, legal teams, managers and a multitude of other stakeholders.
  • Fuck this industry (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @01:18PM (#45967565)

    this shows just how irresponsible we all are. openbsd is arguably the most relevant/important OSS project after the linux kernel.

  • Host a Kickstarter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai.gmail@com> on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @01:27PM (#45967695) Homepage

    Theo et. al. might turn up their noses at the idea, but a $40,000 kickstarter to keep OpenBSD going might not be a bad idea.

    Rewards might include: kudos for contributions, limited edition (kickstarter only) t-shirts/posters/soundtracks, CD sets (duh), and for big contributors ($2500-$5000) a customized VDD set up for whatever purposes you want, yours to keep or share as you like.

  • Did this last year (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rahvin112 (446269) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @01:45PM (#45967953)

    Didn't they do this last year as well? I seems Theo isn't drawing the dollars anymore and has to have a funding drives every few months.

    But I agree with others, turning down offers of free hosting for the build servers then refusing and begging for money doesn't engender sympathy.

  • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @02:06PM (#45968191) Journal

    Well, you know I was a fan of OpenBSD until I had to interact with the mailing list.

    I figured they're all professionals and giving their time for free. The best way to show respect is to not waste their time. So, I carefully read up on the things I was asking about. I documented what I had read in the message and which questions remained unanswered. Actually during this process, I actually answered some of my questions, simply by being more careful.

    So, I then posted.

    And I got polite, helpful responses, even though I was compiling a custom kernel which is strongly discouraged. But then Theo himself weighed in and... gave polite, helpful responses.

    I remained a fan of OpenBSD.

    Maybe you did get on his bad side, but much of the hostility I've seen in the OSS community is people getting grumpy because someone comes along and would rather the professionals help them for free than take the time to use google.
     

  • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpottedKuh (855161) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @03:02PM (#45968799)

    I had the pleasure of having beer with Theo when he was in Edmonton, AB several years ago. He even refused to let me go to the ATM to grab cash; he bought the beer for me.

    My only complaint about the guy was that he was way too smart, and I struggled to keep up with all the computing security things we discussed. Hardly the worst complaint to have about him :)

    He just has zero patience for bullshit, and I think that's why people complain about his personality. If you ever get the opportunity to meet him in person, I believe you'd rethink this meme about him being an ass.

  • by Nightshade (37114) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @03:23PM (#45968979)

    I tried to do the math on this too. First of all, I'm not sure if the number is 20,000 USD or CAD (Since OpenBSD is based in Canada not the US). Next up is the fact that many of the machines are older non x86 machines that are not power efficient. For example when the SGI/AlphaStations/VAX/SparcStations were produced, focus was on MHz not power utilization. Finally, I think the project might use some type of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) as well as network switches, etc.

    So by your math you're looking at CAD 20,000 = EUR 13,500 which at EUR 0.20 per kWh would buy you 67500 kWh = 7.7 kWh.

    Now the project has supports about 20 architectures [openbsd.org]. And there are dedicated machines used to build the base system and dedicated machines used to build ports so at least 2 of each machine. On top of that there's probably an NFS server to host the source code, some UPS, network switches, etc, etc. So say about 50 machines total.

    So 7.7kWh / 50 machines gets you to 154 watts per machine. I do believe they are on 24x7 as there are daily builds for many architectures, etc, etc. 150 watts is not unreasonable power consumption in my opinion.

  • by bloodhawk (813939) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @04:53PM (#45969877)

    I tried to do the math on this too. First of all, I'm not sure if the number is 20,000 USD or CAD (Since OpenBSD is based in Canada not the US). Next up is the fact that many of the machines are older non x86 machines that are not power efficient. For example when the SGI/AlphaStations/VAX/SparcStations were produced, focus was on MHz not power utilization. Finally, I think the project might use some type of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) as well as network switches, etc.

    So by your math you're looking at CAD 20,000 = EUR 13,500 which at EUR 0.20 per kWh would buy you 67500 kWh = 7.7 kWh.

    Now the project has supports about 20 architectures [openbsd.org]. And there are dedicated machines used to build the base system and dedicated machines used to build ports so at least 2 of each machine. On top of that there's probably an NFS server to host the source code, some UPS, network switches, etc, etc. So say about 50 machines total.

    So 7.7kWh / 50 machines gets you to 154 watts per machine. I do believe they are on 24x7 as there are daily builds for many architectures, etc, etc. 150 watts is not unreasonable power consumption in my opinion.

    Not only is 150 watts not unreasonable, it is actually far better than I would expect. average server draw for some of the older stuff I would expect to be double that. People don't seem to realise how quickly power consumption adds up when you need to run a whole bunch of computers, switches and UPS to support them and most likely some cooling on top of that.

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