FreeBSD 8.1 release uses different open source philosophy

This post was written by James Mowery, a computer geek who writes about technology and related topics.

FreeBSD may not receive the attention that Linux does, but its latest upgrade could provide some instruction to the makers of Ubuntu about how to do open source releases. The makers of Ubuntu and the popular Linux Mint usually add new features to every release of these Linux distributions, whether or not these are features that the average users will ever need.

FreeBSD 8.0 was the last large release of the operating system. Like Linux, FreeBSD is known for its security and stability, but it has never captured the imagination of computer users in the same way that Linus Torvald’s operating system has. Instead of introducing new features, 8.1 featured on making certain features released with the 8.0 upgrade more stable and improving the features that the user requested.

Users who upgraded to 8.0 from earlier releases noted that there were problems with certain drivers, particularly those belonging to Network Interface Card manufactured by the Intel corporation. The bug fixes
allowed computers running FreeBSD with Intel NICs to stay connected to the Internet and local area networks more reliably than they could in the previous incarnation.

The developers of FreeBSD 8.1 hope that the design philosophy will lead to a shift where open source developers ave the new features for major releases and use the minor revisions to fix updates. Users of
OpenOffice, whether or not they use the Linux versions, may benefit from such a shift, as the developers usually add features that were not requested with every new release.

About the author: James Mowery is a computer geek that writes about technology and related topics. To read more blog posts by him, go to laptop computers.

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