Committer's Guide

The FreeBSD Documentation Project

Revision: 49872

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Last modified on 2017-01-19 15:37:18Z by mat.

This document provides information for the FreeBSD committer community. All new committers should read this document before they start, and existing committers are strongly encouraged to review it from time to time.

Almost all FreeBSD developers have commit rights to one or more repositories. However, a few developers do not, and some of the information here applies to them as well. (For instance, some people only have rights to work with the Problem Report database). Please see Section 20, “Issues Specific to Developers Who Are Not Committers” for more information.

This document may also be of interest to members of the FreeBSD community who want to learn more about how the project works.

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Table of Contents
1. Administrative Details
2. OpenPGP Keys for FreeBSD
3. Kerberos and LDAP web Password for FreeBSD Cluster
4. Commit Bit Types
5. Subversion Primer
6. Setup, Conventions, and Traditions
7. Commit Log Messages
8. Preferred License for New Files
9. Keeping Track of Licenses Granted to the FreeBSD Project
10. Developer Relations
11. If in Doubt...
12. Bugzilla
13. Phabricator
14. Who's Who
15. SSH Quick-Start Guide
16. Coverity® Availability for FreeBSD Committers
17. The FreeBSD Committers' Big List of Rules
18. Support for Multiple Architectures
19. Ports Specific FAQ
20. Issues Specific to Developers Who Are Not Committers
21. Information About Google Analytics
22. Miscellaneous Questions
23. Benefits and Perks for FreeBSD Comitters

1. Administrative Details

Login Methodsssh(1), protocol 2 only
Main Shell
src/ Subversion Rootsvn+ssh:// (see also Section 5.2.3, “RELENG_* Branches and General Layout”).
doc/ Subversion Rootsvn+ssh:// (see also Section 5.2.4, “FreeBSD Documentation Project Branches and Layout”).
ports/ Subversion Rootsvn+ssh:// (see also Section 5.2.5, “FreeBSD Ports Tree Branches and Layout”).
Internal Mailing Listsdevelopers (technically called all-developers), doc-developers, doc-committers, ports-developers, ports-committers, src-developers, src-committers. (Each project repository has its own -developers and -committers mailing lists. Archives for these lists can be found in the files /local/mail/repository-name-developers-archive and /local/mail/repository-name-committers-archive on the cluster.)
Core Team monthly reports/home/core/public/monthly-reports on the cluster.
Ports Management Team monthly reports/home/portmgr/public/monthly-reports on the cluster.
Noteworthy src/ SVN Branches stable/8 (8.X-STABLE), stable/9 (9.X-STABLE), stable/10 (10.X-STABLE), head (-CURRENT)

ssh(1) is required to connect to the project hosts. For more information, see Section 15, “SSH Quick-Start Guide”.

Useful links:

2. OpenPGP Keys for FreeBSD

Cryptographic keys conforming to the OpenPGP (Pretty Good Privacy) standard are used by the FreeBSD project to authenticate committers. Messages carrying important information like public SSH keys can be signed with the OpenPGP key to prove that they are really from the committer. See PGP & GPG: Email for the Practical Paranoid by Michael Lucas and for more information.

2.1. Creating a Key

Existing keys can be used, but should be checked with doc/head/share/pgpkeys/ first.

For those who do not yet have an OpenPGP key, or need a new key to meet FreeBSD security requirements, here we show how to generate one.

  1. Install security/gnupg. Enter these lines in ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf to set minimum acceptable defaults:

    keyid-format 0xlong
    personal-digest-preferences SHA512 SHA384 SHA256 SHA224
    default-preference-list SHA512 SHA384 SHA256 SHA224 AES256 AES192 AES CAST5 BZIP2 ZLIB ZIP Uncompressed
    verify-options show-uid-validity
    list-options show-uid-validity
    cert-digest-algo SHA512
  2. Generate a key:

    % gpg --full-gen-key
    gpg (GnuPG) 2.1.8; Copyright (C) 2015 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
    This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
    There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
    Warning: using insecure memory!
    Please select what kind of key you want:
       (1) RSA and RSA (default)
       (2) DSA and Elgamal
       (3) DSA (sign only)
       (4) RSA (sign only)
    Your selection? 1
    RSA keys may be between 1024 and 4096 bits long.
    What keysize do you want? (2048) 2048  1
    Requested keysize is 2048 bits
    Please specify how long the key should be valid.
             0 = key does not expire
          <n>  = key expires in n days
          <n>w = key expires in n weeks
          <n>m = key expires in n months
          <n>y = key expires in n years
    Key is valid for? (0) 3y  2
    Key expires at Wed Nov  4 17:20:20 2015 MST
    Is this correct? (y/N) y
    GnuPG needs to construct a user ID to identify your key.
    Real name: Chucky Daemon 3
    Email address:
    You selected this USER-ID:
        "Chucky Daemon <>"
    Change (N)ame, (C)omment, (E)mail or (O)kay/(Q)uit? o
    You need a Passphrase to protect your secret key.


    2048-bit keys with a three-year expiration provide adequate protection at present (2013-12). describes the situation in more detail.


    A three year key lifespan is short enough to obsolete keys weakened by advancing computer power, but long enough to reduce key management problems.


    Use your real name here, preferably matching that shown on government-issued ID to make it easier for others to verify your identity. Text that may help others identify you can be entered in the Comment section.

    After the email address is entered, a passphrase is requested. Methods of creating a secure passphrase are contentious. Rather than suggest a single way, here are some links to sites that describe various methods:,,,

Protect your private key and passphrase. If either the private key or passphrase may have been compromised or disclosed, immediately notify and revoke the key.

Committing the new key is shown in Procedure 1, “Steps for New Committers”.

3. Kerberos and LDAP web Password for FreeBSD Cluster

The FreeBSD cluster requires a Kerberos password to access certain services. The Kerberos password also serves as the LDAP web password, since LDAP is proxying to Kerberos in the cluster. Some of the services which require this include:

To create a new Kerberos account in the FreeBSD cluster, or to reset a Kerberos password for an existing account using a random password generator:

% ssh


This must be done from a machine outside of the cluster.

A Kerberos password can also be set manually by logging into and running:

% kpasswd


Unless you have used the Kerberos-authenticated services of the cluster previously, Client unknown will be shown. This error means that the ssh method shown above must be used first to initialize your Kerberos account.

4. Commit Bit Types

The FreeBSD repository has a number of components which, when combined, support the basic operating system source, documentation, third party application ports infrastructure, and various maintained utilities. When FreeBSD commit bits are allocated, the areas of the tree where the bit may be used are specified. Generally, the areas associated with a bit reflect who authorized the allocation of the commit bit. Additional areas of authority may be added at a later date: when this occurs, the committer should follow normal commit bit allocation procedures for that area of the tree, seeking approval from the appropriate entity and possibly getting a mentor for that area for some period of time.

Committer TypeResponsibleTree Components
srccore@src/, doc/ subject to appropriate review
docdoceng@doc/, ports/, src/ documentation

Commit bits allocated prior to the development of the notion of areas of authority may be appropriate for use in many parts of the tree. However, common sense dictates that a committer who has not previously worked in an area of the tree seek review prior to committing, seek approval from the appropriate responsible party, and/or work with a mentor. Since the rules regarding code maintenance differ by area of the tree, this is as much for the benefit of the committer working in an area of less familiarity as it is for others working on the tree.

Committers are encouraged to seek review for their work as part of the normal development process, regardless of the area of the tree where the work is occurring.

4.1. Policy for Committer Activity in Other Trees

  • All committers may modify base/head/share/misc/committers-*.dot, base/head/usr.bin/calendar/calendars/calendar.freebsd, and ports/head/astro/xearth/files.

  • doc committers may commit documentation changes to src files, such as man pages, READMEs, fortune databases, calendar files, and comment fixes without approval from a src committer, subject to the normal care and tending of commits.

  • Any committer may make changes to any other tree with an "Approved by" from a non-mentored committer with the appropriate bit.

  • Committers can aquire an additional bit by the usual process of finding a mentor who will propose them to core, doceng, or portmgr, as appropriate. When approved, they will be added to 'access' and the normal mentoring period will ensue, which will involve a continuing of Approved by for some period.

  • "Approved by" is only acceptable from non-mentored src committers -- mentored committers can provide a "Reviewed by" but not an "Approved by".

5. Subversion Primer

It is assumed that you are already familiar with the basic operation of Subversion. If not, start by reading the Subversion Book.

5.1. Introduction

The FreeBSD source repository switched from CVS to Subversion on May 31st, 2008. The first real SVN commit is r179447.

The FreeBSD doc/www repository switched from CVS to Subversion on May 19th, 2012. The first real SVN commit is r38821.

The FreeBSD ports repository switched from CVS to Subversion on July 14th, 2012. The first real SVN commit is r300894.

Subversion can be installed from the FreeBSD Ports Collection by issuing these commands:

# pkg install subversion

5.2. Getting Started

There are a few ways to obtain a working copy of the tree from Subversion. This section will explain them.

5.2.1. Direct Checkout

The first is to check out directly from the main repository. For the src tree, use:

% svn checkout svn+ssh:// /usr/src

For the doc tree, use:

% svn checkout svn+ssh:// /usr/doc

For the ports tree, use:

% svn checkout svn+ssh:// /usr/ports


Though the remaining examples in this document are written with the workflow of working with the src tree in mind, the underlying concepts are the same for working with the doc and the ports tree. Ports related Subversion operations are listed in Section 19, “Ports Specific FAQ”.

The above command will check out a CURRENT source tree as /usr/src/, which can be any target directory on the local filesystem. Omitting the final argument of that command causes the working copy, in this case, to be named head, but that can be renamed safely.

svn+ssh means the SVN protocol tunnelled over SSH. The name of the server is, base is the path to the repository, and head is the subdirectory within the repository.

If your FreeBSD login name is different from your login name on your local machine, you must either include it in the URL (for example svn+ssh://, or add an entry to your ~/.ssh/config in the form:

	User jarjar

This is the simplest method, but it is hard to tell just yet how much load it will place on the repository.


The svn diff does not require access to the server as SVN stores a reference copy of every file in the working copy. This, however, means that Subversion working copies are very large in size.

5.2.2. Checkout from a Mirror

Check out a working copy from a mirror by substituting the mirror's URL for svn+ssh:// This can be an official mirror or a mirror maintained by using svnsync.

There is a serious disadvantage to this method: every time something is to be committed, a svn relocate to the master repository has to be done, remembering to svn relocate back to the mirror after the commit. Also, since svn relocate only works between repositories that have the same UUID, some hacking of the local repository's UUID has to occur before it is possible to start using it.

The hassle of a local svnsync mirror probably is not worth it unless the network connectivity situation or other factors demand it. If it is needed, see the end of this chapter for information on how to set one up.

5.2.3. RELENG_* Branches and General Layout

In svn+ssh://, base refers to the source tree. Similarly, ports refers to the ports tree, and so on. These are separate repositories with their own change number sequences, access controls and commit mail.

For the base repository, HEAD refers to the -CURRENT tree. For example, head/bin/ls is what would go into /usr/src/bin/ls in a release. Some key locations are:

  • /head/ which corresponds to HEAD, also known as -CURRENT.

  • /stable/n which corresponds to RELENG_n.

  • /releng/n.n which corresponds to RELENG_n_n.

  • /release/n.n.n which corresponds to RELENG_n_n_n_RELEASE.

  • /vendor* is the vendor branch import work area. This directory itself does not contain branches, however its subdirectories do. This contrasts with the stable, releng and release directories.

  • /projects and /user feature a branch work area, like in Perforce. As above, the /user directory does not contain branches itself.

5.2.4. FreeBSD Documentation Project Branches and Layout

In svn+ssh://, doc refers to the repository root of the source tree.

In general, most FreeBSD Documentation Project work will be done within the head/ branch of the documentation source tree.

FreeBSD documentation is written and/or translated to various languages, each in a separate directory in the head/ branch.

Each translation set contains several subdirectories for the various parts of the FreeBSD Documentation Project. A few noteworthy directories are:

  • /articles/ contains the source code for articles written by various FreeBSD contributors.

  • /books/ contains the source code for the different books, such as the FreeBSD Handbook.

  • /htdocs/ contains the source code for the FreeBSD website.

5.2.5. FreeBSD Ports Tree Branches and Layout

In svn+ssh://, ports refers to the repository root of the ports tree.

In general, most FreeBSD port work will be done within the head/ branch of the ports tree which is the actual ports tree used to install software. Some other key locations are:

  • /branches/RELENG_n_n_n which corresponds to RELENG_n_n_n is used to merge back security updates in preparation for a release.

  • /tags/RELEASE_n_n_n which corresponds to RELEASE_n_n_n represents a release tag of the ports tree.

  • /tags/RELEASE_n_EOL represents the end of life tag of a specific FreeBSD branch.

5.3. Daily Use

This section will explain how to perform common day-to-day operations with Subversion.

5.3.1. Help

SVN has built in help documentation. It can be accessed by typing the following command:

% svn help

Additional information can be found in the Subversion Book.

5.3.2. Checkout

As seen earlier, to check out the FreeBSD head branch:

% svn checkout svn+ssh:// /usr/src

At some point, more than just HEAD will probably be useful, for instance when merging changes to stable/7. Therefore, it may be useful to have a partial checkout of the complete tree (a full checkout would be very painful).

To do this, first check out the root of the repository:

% svn checkout --depth=immediates svn+ssh://

This will give base with all the files it contains (at the time of writing, just ROADMAP.txt) and empty subdirectories for head, stable, vendor and so on.

Expanding the working copy is possible. Just change the depth of the various subdirectories:

% svn up --set-depth=infinity base/head
% svn up --set-depth=immediates base/release base/releng base/stable

The above command will pull down a full copy of head, plus empty copies of every release tag, every releng branch, and every stable branch.

If at a later date merging to 7-STABLE is required, expand the working copy:

% svn up --set-depth=infinity base/stable/7

Subtrees do not have to be expanded completely. For instance, expanding only stable/7/sys and then later expand the rest of stable/7:

% svn up --set-depth=infinity base/stable/7/sys
% svn up --set-depth=infinity base/stable/7

Updating the tree with svn update will only update what was previously asked for (in this case, head and stable/7; it will not pull down the whole tree.


Decreasing the depth of a working copy is not possible.

5.3.3. Anonymous Checkout

It is possible to anonymously check out the FreeBSD repository with Subversion. This will give access to a read-only tree that can be updated, but not committed back to the main repository. To do this, use the following command:

% svn co /usr/src

More details on using Subversion this way can be found in Using Subversion.

5.3.4. Updating the Tree

To update a working copy to either the latest revision, or a specific revision:

% svn update
% svn update -r12345

5.3.5. Status

To view the local changes that have been made to the working copy:

% svn status

To show local changes and files that are out-of-date do:

% svn status --show-updates

5.3.6. Editing and Committing

Unlike Perforce, SVN does not need to be told in advance about file editing.

To commit all changes in the current directory and all subdirectories:

% svn commit

To commit all changes in, for example, lib/libfetch/ and usr/bin/fetch/ in a single operation:

% svn commit lib/libfetch usr/bin/fetch

There is also a commit wrapper for the ports tree to handle the properties and sanity checking your changes:

% /usr/ports/Tools/scripts/psvn commit

5.3.7. Adding and Removing Files


Before adding files, get a copy of auto-props.txt (there is also a ports tree specific version) and add it to ~/.subversion/config according to the instructions in the file. If you added something before reading this, use svn rm --keep-local for just added files, fix your config file and re-add them again. The initial config file is created when you first run a svn command, even something as simple as svn help.

Files are added to a SVN repository with svn add. To add a file named foo, edit it, then:

% svn add foo


Most new source files should include a $FreeBSD$ string near the start of the file. On commit, svn will expand the $FreeBSD$ string, adding the file path, revision number, date and time of commit, and the username of the committer. Files which cannot be modified may be committed without the $FreeBSD$ string.

Files can be removed with svn remove:

% svn remove foo

Subversion does not require deleting the file before using svn rm, and indeed complains if that happens.

It is possible to add directories with svn add:

% mkdir bar
% svn add bar

Although svn mkdir makes this easier by combining the creation of the directory and the adding of it:

% svn mkdir bar

Like files, directories are removed with svn rm. There is no separate command specifically for removing directories.

% svn rm bar

5.3.8. Copying and Moving Files

This command creates a copy of foo.c named bar.c, with the new file also under version control:

% svn copy foo.c bar.c

The example above is equivalent to:

% cp foo.c bar.c
% svn add bar.c

To move and rename a file:

% svn move foo.c bar.c

5.3.9. Log and Annotate

svn log shows revisions and commit messages, most recent first, for files or directories. When used on a directory, all revisions that affected the directory and files within that directory are shown.

svn annotate, or equally svn praise or svn blame, shows the most recent revision number and who committed that revision for each line of a file.

5.3.10. Diffs

svn diff displays changes to the working copy. Diffs generated by SVN are unified and include new files by default in the diff output.

svn diff can show the changes between two revisions of the same file:

% svn diff -r179453:179454 ROADMAP.txt

It can also show all changes for a specific changeset. The following will show what changes were made to the current directory and all subdirectories in changeset 179454:

% svn diff -c179454 .

5.3.11. Reverting

Local changes (including additions and deletions) can be reverted using svn revert. It does not update out-of-date files, but just replaces them with pristine copies of the original version.

5.3.12. Conflicts

If an svn update resulted in a merge conflict, Subversion will remember which files have conflicts and refuse to commit any changes to those files until explicitly told that the conflicts have been resolved. The simple, not yet deprecated procedure is the following:

% svn resolved foo

However, the preferred procedure is:

% svn resolve --accept=working foo

The two examples are equivalent. Possible values for --accept are:

  • working: use the version in your working directory (which one presumes has been edited to resolve the conflicts).

  • base: use a pristine copy of the version you had before svn update, discarding your own changes, the conflicting changes, and possibly other intervening changes as well.

  • mine-full: use what you had before svn update, including your own changes, but discarding the conflicting changes, and possibly other intervening changes as well.

  • theirs-full: use the version that was retrieved when you did svn update, discarding your own changes.

5.4. Advanced Use

5.4.1. Sparse Checkouts

SVN allows sparse, or partial checkouts of a directory by adding --depth to a svn checkout.

Valid arguments to --depth are:

  • empty: the directory itself without any of its contents.

  • files: the directory and any files it contains.

  • immediates: the directory and any files and directories it contains, but none of the subdirectories' contents.

  • infinity: anything.

The --depth option applies to many other commands, including svn commit, svn revert, and svn diff.

Since --depth is sticky, there is a --set-depth option for svn update that will change the selected depth. Thus, given the working copy produced by the previous example:

% cd ~/freebsd
% svn update --set-depth=immediates .

The above command will populate the working copy in ~/freebsd with ROADMAP.txt and empty subdirectories, and nothing will happen when svn update is executed on the subdirectories. However, the following command will set the depth for head (in this case) to infinity, and fully populate it:

% svn update --set-depth=infinity head

5.4.2. Direct Operation

Certain operations can be performed directly on the repository without touching the working copy. Specifically, this applies to any operation that does not require editing a file, including:

  • log, diff

  • mkdir

  • remove, copy, rename

  • propset, propedit, propdel

  • merge

Branching is very fast. The following command would be used to branch RELENG_8:

% svn copy svn+ssh:// svn+ssh://

This is equivalent to the following set of commands which take minutes and hours as opposed to seconds, depending on your network connection:

% svn checkout --depth=immediates svn+ssh://
% cd base
% svn update --set-depth=infinity head
% svn copy head stable/8
% svn commit stable/8

5.4.3. Merging with SVN

This section deals with merging code from one branch to another (typically, from head to a stable branch).


In all examples below, $FSVN refers to the location of the FreeBSD Subversion repository, svn+ssh:// About Merge Tracking

From the user's perspective, merge tracking information (or mergeinfo) is stored in a property called svn:mergeinfo, which is a comma-separated list of revisions and ranges of revisions that have been merged. When set on a file, it applies only to that file. When set on a directory, it applies to that directory and its descendants (files and directories) except for those that have their own svn:mergeinfo.

It is not inherited. For instance, stable/6/contrib/openpam/ does not implicitly inherit mergeinfo from stable/6/, or stable/6/contrib/. Doing so would make partial checkouts very hard to manage. Instead, mergeinfo is explicitly propagated down the tree. For merging something into branch/foo/bar/, the following rules apply:

  1. If branch/foo/bar/ does not already have a mergeinfo record, but a direct ancestor (for instance, branch/foo/) does, then that record will be propagated down to branch/foo/bar/ before information about the current merge is recorded.

  2. Information about the current merge will not be propagated back up that ancestor.

  3. If a direct descendant of branch/foo/bar/ (for instance, branch/foo/bar/baz/) already has a mergeinfo record, information about the current merge will be propagated down to it.

If you consider the case where a revision changes several separate parts of the tree (for example, branch/foo/bar/ and branch/foo/quux/), but you only want to merge some of it (for example, branch/foo/bar/), you will see that these rules make sense. If mergeinfo was propagated up, it would seem like that revision had also been merged to branch/foo/quux/, when in fact it had not been. Selecting the Source and Target Branch When Merging

Merging to stable/ branches should originate from head/. For example:

% svn merge -c r123456 ^/head/ stable/11
% svn commit stable/11


Note the sections below which outline changes to the target location of the stable/ branch starting with stable/10.

Merges to releng/ branches should always originate from the corresponding stable/ branch. For example:

% svn merge -c r123456 ^/stable/11  releng/11.0
% svn commit releng/11.0


Committers are only permitted to commit to the releng/ branches during a release cycle after receiving approval from the Release Engineering Team, after which only the Security Officer may commit to a releng/ branch for a Security Advisory or Errata Notice. Selecting the Source and Target for stable/10 and Newer

Starting with the stable/10 branch, all merges should be merged to and committed from the root of the branch. All merges should look like:

% svn merge -c r123456 ^/head/ checkout
% svn commit checkout

Note that checkout should be a complete checkout of the branch to which the merge occurs. Selecting the Source and Target for stable/9 and Older

For stable/9 and earlier, a different strategy was used, distributing mergeinfo around the tree so that merges could be performed without a complete checkout. This procedure proved extremely error-prone, with the convenience of partial checkouts for merges significantly outweighed by the complexity of picking mergeinfo targets. The below describes this now-obsoleted procedure, which should be used only for merges prior to stable/10.

Because of mergeinfo propagation, it is important to choose the source and target for the merge carefully to minimise property changes on unrelated directories.

The rules for selecting the merge target (the directory that you will merge the changes to) can be summarized as follows:

  1. Never merge directly to a file.

  2. Never, ever merge directly to a file.

  3. Never, ever, ever merge directly to a file.

  4. Changes to kernel code should be merged to sys/. For instance, a change to the ichwd(4) driver should be merged to sys/, not sys/dev/ichwd/. Likewise, a change to the TCP/IP stack should be merged to sys/, not sys/netinet/.

  5. Changes to code under etc/ should be merged at etc/, not below it.

  6. Changes to vendor code (code in contrib/, crypto/ and so on) should be merged to the directory where vendor imports happen. For instance, a change to crypto/openssl/util/ should be merged to crypto/openssl/. This is rarely an issue, however, since changes to vendor code are usually merged wholesale.

  7. Changes to userland programs should as a general rule be merged to the directory that contains the Makefile for that program. For instance, a change to usr.bin/xlint/arch/i386/ should be merged to usr.bin/xlint/.

  8. Changes to userland libraries should as a general rule be merged to the directory that contains the Makefile for that library. For instance, a change to lib/libc/gen/ should be merged to lib/libc/.

  9. There may be cases where it makes sense to deviate from the rules for userland programs and libraries. For instance, everything under lib/libpam/ is merged to lib/libpam/, even though the library itself and all of the modules each have their own Makefile.

  10. Changes to manual pages should be merged to share/man/manN/, for the appropriate value of N.

  11. Other changes to share/ should be merged to the appropriate subdirectory and not to share/ directly.

  12. Changes to a top-level file in the source tree such as UPDATING or Makefile.inc1 should be merged directly to that file rather than to the root of the whole tree. Yes, this is an exception to the first three rules.

  13. When in doubt, ask.

If you need to merge changes to several places at once (for instance, changing a kernel interface and every userland program that uses it), merge each target separately, then commit them together. For instance, if you merge a revision that changed a kernel API and updated all the userland bits that used that API, you would merge the kernel change to sys, and the userland bits to the appropriate userland directories, then commit all of these in one go.

The source will almost invariably be the same as the target. For instance, you will always merge stable/7/lib/libc/ from head/lib/libc/. The only exception would be when merging changes to code that has moved in the source branch but not in the parent branch. For instance, a change to pkill(1) would be merged from bin/pkill/ in head to usr.bin/pkill/ in stable/7. Preparing the Merge Target

Because of the mergeinfo propagation issues described earlier, it is very important that you never merge changes into a sparse working copy. You must always have a full checkout of the branch you will merge into. For instance, when merging from HEAD to 7, you must have a full checkout of stable/7:

% cd stable/7
% svn up --set-depth=infinity

The target directory must also be up-to-date and must not contain any uncommitted changes or stray files. Identifying Revisions

Identifying revisions to be merged is a must. If the target already has complete mergeinfo, ask SVN for a list:

% cd stable/6/contrib/openpam
% svn mergeinfo --show-revs=eligible $FSVN/head/contrib/openpam

If the target does not have complete mergeinfo, check the log for the merge source. Merging

Now, let us start merging! The Principles

Say you would like to merge:

  • revision $R

  • in directory $target in stable branch $B

  • from directory $source in head

  • $FSVN is svn+ssh://

Assuming that revisions $P and $Q have already been merged, and that the current directory is an up-to-date working copy of stable/$B, the existing mergeinfo looks like this:

% svn propget svn:mergeinfo -R $target
$target - /head/$source:$P,$Q

Merging is done like so:

% svn merge -c$R $FSVN/head/$source $target

Checking the results of this is possible with svn diff.

The svn:mergeinfo now looks like:

% svn propget svn:mergeinfo -R $target
$target - head/$source:$P,$Q,$R

If the results are not exactly as shown, assistance may be required before committing as mistakes may have been made, or there may be something wrong with the existing mergeinfo, or there may be a bug in Subversion. Practical Example

As a practical example, consider the following scenario. The changes to netmap.4 in r238987 are to be merged from CURRENT to 9-STABLE. The file resides in head/share/man/man4. According to Section 5.4.3, “Merging with SVN, this is also where to do the merge. Note that in this example all paths are relative to the top of the svn repository. For more information on the directory layout, see Section 5.2.3, “RELENG_* Branches and General Layout”.

The first step is to inspect the existing mergeinfo.

% svn propget svn:mergeinfo -R stable/9/share/man/man4

Take a quick note of how it looks before moving on to the next step; doing the actual merge:

% svn merge -c r238987 svn+ssh:// stable/9/share/man/man4
--- Merging r238987 into 'stable/9/share/man/man4':
U    stable/9/share/man/man4/netmap.4
--- Recording mergeinfo for merge of r238987 into
 U   stable/9/share/man/man4

Check that the revision number of the merged revision has been added. Once this is verified, the only thing left is the actual commit.

% svn commit stable/9/share/man/man4 Merging into the Kernel (sys/)

As stated above, merging into the kernel is different from merging in the rest of the tree. In many ways merging to the kernel is simpler because there is always the same merge target (sys/).

Once svn merge has been executed, svn diff has to be run on the directory to check the changes. This may show some unrelated property changes, but these can be ignored. Next, build and test the kernel, and, once the tests are complete, commit the code as normal, making sure that the commit message starts with Merge r226222 from head, or similar. Precautions Before Committing

As always, build world (or appropriate parts of it).

Check the changes with svn diff and svn stat. Make sure all the files that should have been added or deleted were in fact added or deleted.

Take a closer look at any property change (marked by a M in the second column of svn stat). Normally, no svn:mergeinfo properties should be anywhere except the target directory (or directories).

If something looks fishy, ask for help. Committing

Make sure to commit a top level directory to have the mergeinfo included as well. Do not specify individual files on the command line. For more information about committing files in general, see the relevant section of this primer.

5.4.4. Vendor Imports with SVN


Please read this entire section before starting a vendor import.


Patches to vendor code fall into two categories:

  • Vendor patches: these are patches that have been issued by the vendor, or that have been extracted from the vendor's version control system, which address issues which in your opinion cannot wait until the next vendor release.

  • FreeBSD patches: these are patches that modify the vendor code to address FreeBSD-specific issues.

The nature of a patch dictates where it should be committed:

  • Vendor patches should be committed to the vendor branch, and merged from there to head. If the patch addresses an issue in a new release that is currently being imported, it must not be committed along with the new release: the release must be imported and tagged first, then the patch can be applied and committed. There is no need to re-tag the vendor sources after committing the patch.

  • FreeBSD patches should be committed directly to head. Preparing the Tree

If importing for the first time after the switch to Subversion, flattening and cleaning up the vendor tree is necessary, as well as bootstrapping the merge history in the main tree. Flattening

During the conversion from CVS to Subversion, vendor branches were imported with the same layout as the main tree. This means that the pf vendor sources ended up in vendor/pf/dist/contrib/pf. The vendor source is best directly in vendor/pf/dist.

To flatten the pf tree:

% cd vendor/pf/dist/contrib/pf
% svn mv $(svn list) ../..
% cd ../..
% svn rm contrib
% svn propdel -R svn:mergeinfo .
% svn commit

The propdel bit is necessary because starting with 1.5, Subversion will automatically add svn:mergeinfo to any directory that is copied or moved. In this case, as nothing is being merged from the deleted tree, they just get in the way.

Tags may be flattened as well (3, 4, 3.5 etc.); the procedure is exactly the same, only changing dist to 3.5 or similar, and putting the svn commit off until the end of the process. Cleaning Up

The dist tree can be cleaned up as necessary. Disabling keyword expansion is recommended, as it makes no sense on unmodified vendor code and in some cases it can even be harmful. OpenSSH, for example, includes two files that originated with FreeBSD and still contain the original version tags. To do this:

% svn propdel svn:keywords -R .
% svn commit Bootstrapping Merge History

If importing for the first time after the switch to Subversion, bootstrap svn:mergeinfo on the target directory in the main tree to the revision that corresponds to the last related change to the vendor tree, prior to importing new sources:

% cd head/contrib/pf
% svn merge --record-only svn+ssh:// .
% svn commit Importing New Sources

With two commits—one for the import itself and one for the tag—this step can optionally be repeated for every upstream release between the last import and the current import. Preparing the Vendor Sources

Unlike in CVS where only the needed parts were imported into the vendor tree to avoid bloating the main tree, Subversion is able to store a full distribution in the vendor tree. So, import everything, but merge only what is required.

A svn add is required to add any files that were added since the last vendor import, and svn rm is required to remove any that were removed since. Preparing sorted lists of the contents of the vendor tree and of the sources that are about to be imported is recommended, to facilitate the process.

% cd vendor/pf/dist
% svn list -R | grep -v '/$' | sort >../old
% cd ../pf-4.3
% find . -type f | cut -c 3- | sort >../new

With these two files, comm -23 ../old ../new will list removed files (files only in old), while comm -13 ../old ../new will list added files only in new. Importing into the Vendor Tree

Now, the sources must be copied into dist and the svn add and svn rm commands should be used as needed:

% cd vendor/pf/pf-4.3
% tar cf - . | tar xf - -C ../dist
% cd ../dist
% comm -23 ../old ../new | xargs svn rm
% comm -13 ../old ../new | xargs svn --parents add

If any directories were removed, they will have to be svn rmed manually. Nothing will break if they are not, but they will remain in the tree.

Check properties on any new files. All text files should have svn:eol-style set to native. All binary files should have svn:mime-type set to application/octet-stream unless there is a more appropriate media type. Executable files should have svn:executable set to *. No other properties should exist on any file in the tree.

Committing is now possible, however it is good practice to make sure that everything is OK by using the svn stat and svn diff commands. Tagging

Once committed, vendor releases should be tagged for future reference. The best and quickest way to do this is directly in the repository:

% svn cp svn+ssh:// svn+ssh://

Once that is complete, svn up the working copy of vendor/pf to get the new tag, although this is rarely needed.

If creating the tag in the working copy of the tree, svn:mergeinfo results must be removed:

% cd	vendor/pf
% svn cp dist 4.3
% svn propdel svn:mergeinfo -R 4.3 Merging to Head
% cd head/contrib/pf
% svn up
% svn merge --accept=postpone svn+ssh:// .

The --accept=postpone tells Subversion that it should not complain because merge conflicts will be taken care of manually.


The cvs2svn changeover occurred on June 3, 2008. When performing vendor merges for packages which were already present and converted by the cvs2svn process, the command used to merge /vendor/package_name/dist to /head/package_location (for example, head/contrib/sendmail) must use -c REV to indicate the revision to merge from the /vendor tree. For example:

% svn checkout svn+ssh://
% cd sendmail
% svn merge -c r261190 ^/vendor/sendmail/dist .

^ is an alias for the repository path.


If using the Zsh shell, the ^ must be escaped with \. This means ^/head should be \^/head.

It is necessary to resolve any merge conflicts.

Make sure that any files that were added or removed in the vendor tree have been properly added or removed in the main tree. To check diffs against the vendor branch:

% svn diff --no-diff-deleted --old=svn+ssh:// --new=.

The --no-diff-deleted tells Subversion not to complain about files that are in the vendor tree but not in the main tree, i.e., things that would have previously been removed before the vendor import, like for example the vendor's makefiles and configure scripts.

Using CVS, once a file was off the vendor branch, it was not able to be put back. With Subversion, there is no concept of on or off the vendor branch. If a file that previously had local modifications, to make it not show up in diffs in the vendor tree, all that has to be done is remove any left-over cruft like FreeBSD version tags, which is much easier.

If any changes are required for the world to build with the new sources, make them now, and keep testing until everything builds and runs perfectly. Committing the Vendor Import

Committing is now possible! Everything must be committed in one go. If done properly, the tree will move from a consistent state with old code, to a consistent state with new code. From Scratch Importing into the Vendor Tree

This section is an example of importing and tagging byacc into head.

First, prepare the directory in vendor:

% svn co --depth immediates $FSVN/vendor
% cd vendor
% svn mkdir byacc
% svn mkdir byacc/dist

Now, import the sources into the dist directory. Once the files are in place, svn add the new ones, then svn commit and tag the imported version. To save time and bandwidth, direct remote committing and tagging is possible:

% svn cp -m "Tag byacc 20120115" $FSVN/vendor/byacc/dist $FSVN/vendor/byacc/20120115 Merging to head

Due to this being a new file, copy it for the merge:

% svn cp -m "Import byacc to contrib" $FSVN/vendor/byacc/dist $FSVN/head/contrib/byacc

Working normally on newly imported sources is still possible.

5.4.5. Reverting a Commit

Reverting a commit to a previous version is fairly easy:

% svn merge -r179454:179453 ROADMAP.txt
% svn commit

Change number syntax, with negative meaning a reverse change, can also be used:

% svn merge -c -179454 ROADMAP.txt
% svn commit

This can also be done directly in the repository:

% svn merge -r179454:179453 svn+ssh://


It is important to ensure that the mergeinfo is correct when reverting a file in order to permit svn mergeinfo --eligible to work as expected.

Reverting the deletion of a file is slightly different. Copying the version of the file that predates the deletion is required. For example, to restore a file that was deleted in revision N, restore version N-1:

% svn copy svn+ssh://
% svn commit

or, equally:

% svn copy svn+ssh:// svn+ssh://

Do not simply recreate the file manually and svn add it—this will cause history to be lost.

5.4.6. Fixing Mistakes

While we can do surgery in an emergency, do not plan on having mistakes fixed behind the scenes. Plan on mistakes remaining in the logs forever. Be sure to check the output of svn status and svn diff before committing.

Mistakes will happen but, they can generally be fixed without disruption.

Take a case of adding a file in the wrong location. The right thing to do is to svn move the file to the correct location and commit. This causes just a couple of lines of metadata in the repository journal, and the logs are all linked up correctly.

The wrong thing to do is to delete the file and then svn add an independent copy in the correct location. Instead of a couple of lines of text, the repository journal grows an entire new copy of the file. This is a waste.

5.4.7. Setting up a svnsync Mirror

You probably do not want to do this unless there is a good reason for it. Such reasons might be to support many multiple local read-only client machines, or if your network bandwidth is limited. Starting a fresh mirror from empty would take a very long time. Expect a minimum of 10 hours for high speed connectivity. If you have international links, expect this to take 4 to 10 times longer.

A far better option is to grab a seed file. It is large (~1GB) but will consume less network traffic and take less time to fetch than a svnsync will. This is possible in one of the following three ways:

% rsync -va --partial --progress freefall:/home/peter/svnmirror-base-r179637.tbz2 .
% rsync -va --partial --progress rsync:// .
% fetch

Once you have the file, extract it to somewhere like home/svnmirror/base/. Then, update it, so that it fetches changes since the last revision in the archive:

% svnsync sync file:///home/svnmirror/base

You can then set that up to run from cron(8), do checkouts locally, set up a svnserve server for your local machines to talk to, etc.

The seed mirror is set to fetch from svn:// The configuration for the mirror is stored in revprop 0 on the local mirror. To see the configuration, try:

% svn proplist -v --revprop -r 0 file:///home/svnmirror/base

Use propset to change things.

5.4.8. Committing High-ASCII Data

Files that have high-ASCII bits are considered binary files in SVN, so the pre-commit checks fail and indicate that the mime-type property should be set to application/octet-stream. However, the use of this is discouraged, so please do not set it. The best way is always avoiding high-ASCII data, so that it can be read everywhere with any text editor but if it is not avoidable, instead of changing the mime-type, set the fbsd:notbinary property with propset:

% svn propset fbsd:notbinary yes

5.4.9. Maintaining a Project Branch

A project branch is one that is synced to head (or another branch) is used to develop a project then commit it back to head. In SVN, dolphin branching is used for this. A dolphin branch is one that diverges for a while and is finally committed back to the original branch. During development code migration in one direction (from head to the branch only). No code is committed back to head until the end. Once you commit back at the end, the branch is dead (although you can have a new branch with the same name after you delete the branch if you want).

As per, work that is intended to be merged back into HEAD should be in base/projects/. If you are doing work that is beneficial to the FreeBSD community in some way but not intended to be merged directly back into HEAD then the proper location is base/user/your-name/. This page contains further details.

To create a project branch:

% svn copy svn+ssh:// svn+ssh://

To merge changes from HEAD back into the project branch:

% cd copy_of_spif
% svn merge svn+ssh://
% svn commit

It is important to resolve any merge conflicts before committing.

5.5. Some Tips

In commit logs etc., rev 179872 should be spelled r179872 as per convention.

Speeding up svn is possible by adding the following to ~/.ssh/config:

Host *
ControlPath ~/.ssh/sockets/master-%l-%r@%h:%p
ControlMaster auto
ControlPersist yes

and then typing

mkdir ~/.ssh/sockets

Checking out a working copy with a stock Subversion client without FreeBSD-specific patches (OPTIONS_SET=FREEBSD_TEMPLATE) will mean that $FreeBSD$ tags will not be expanded. Once the correct version has been installed, trick Subversion into expanding them like so:

% svn propdel -R svn:keywords .
% svn revert -R .

This will wipe out uncommitted patches.

It is possible to automatically fill the "Sponsored by" and "MFC after" commit log fields by setting "freebsd-sponsored-by" and "freebsd-mfc-after" fields in the "[miscellany]" section of the ~/.subversion/config configuration file. For example:

freebsd-sponsored-by = The FreeBSD Foundation
freebsd-mfc-after = 2 weeks

6. Setup, Conventions, and Traditions

There are a number of things to do as a new developer. The first set of steps is specific to committers only. These steps must be done by a mentor for those who are not committers.

6.1. For New Committers

Those who have been given commit rights to the FreeBSD repositories must follow these steps.

  • Get mentor approval before committing each of these changes!

  • The .ent and .xml files mentioned below exist in the FreeBSD Documentation Project SVN repository at

  • New files that do not have the FreeBSD=%H svn:keywords property will be rejected when attempting to commit them to the repository. Be sure to read Section 5.3.7, “Adding and Removing Files” regarding adding and removing files. Verify that ~/.subversion/config contains the necessary auto-props entries from auto-props.txt mentioned there.

  • All src commits should go to FreeBSD-CURRENT first before being merged to FreeBSD-STABLE. The FreeBSD-STABLE branch must maintain ABI and API compatibility with earlier versions of that branch. Do not merge changes that break this compatibility.

Procedure 1. Steps for New Committers
  1. Add an Author Entity

    doc/head/share/xml/authors.ent — Add an author entity. Later steps depend on this entity, and missing this step will cause the doc/ build to fail. This is a relatively easy task, but remains a good first test of version control skills.

  2. Update the List of Developers and Contributors

    doc/head/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/contributors/contrib.committers.xml — Add an entry to the Developers section of the Contributors List. Entries are sorted by last name.

    doc/head/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/contributors/contrib.additional.xml — Remove the entry from the Additional Contributors section. Entries are sorted by first name.

  3. Add a News Item

    doc/head/share/xml/news.xml — Add an entry. Look for the other entries that announce new committers and follow the format. Use the date from the commit bit approval email from .

  4. Add a PGP Key

    doc/head/share/pgpkeys/pgpkeys.ent and doc/head/share/pgpkeys/pgpkeys-developers.xml - Add your PGP or GnuPG key. Those who do not yet have a key should see Section 2.1, “Creating a Key”.

    Dag-Erling C. Smørgrav has written a shell script (doc/head/share/pgpkeys/ to make this easier. See the README file for more information.

    Use doc/head/share/pgpkeys/ to verify that keys meet minimal best-practices standards.

    After adding and checking a key, add both updated files to source control and then commit them. Entries in this file are sorted by last name.


    It is very important to have a current PGP/GnuPG key in the repository. The key may be required for positive identification of a committer. For example, the FreeBSD Administrators might need it for account recovery. A complete keyring of users is available for download from

  5. Update Mentor and Mentee Information

    base/head/share/misc/ — Add an entry to the current committers section, where repository is doc, ports, or src, depending on the commit privileges granted.

    Add an entry for each additional mentor/mentee relationship in the bottom section.

  6. Generate a Kerberos Password

    See Section 3, “Kerberos and LDAP web Password for FreeBSD Cluster” to generate or set a Kerberos for use with other FreeBSD services like the bug tracking database.

  7. Optional: Enable Wiki Account

    FreeBSD Wiki Account — A wiki account allows sharing projects and ideas. Those who do not yet have an account can contact to obtain one.

  8. Optional: Update Wiki Information

    Wiki Information - After gaining access to the wiki, some people add entries to the How We Got Here, Irc Nicks, and Dogs of FreeBSD pages.

  9. Optional: Update Ports with Personal Information

    ports/astro/xearth/files/freebsd.committers.markers and src/usr.bin/calendar/calendars/calendar.freebsd - Some people add entries for themselves to these files to show where they are located or the date of their birthday.

  10. Optional: Prevent Duplicate Mailings

    Subscribers to svn-src-all, svn-ports-all or svn-doc-all might wish to unsubscribe to avoid receiving duplicate copies of commit messages and followups.

6.2. For Everyone

  1. Introduce yourself to the other developers, otherwise no one will have any idea who you are or what you are working on. The introduction need not be a comprehensive biography, just write a paragraph or two about who you are, what you plan to be working on as a developer in FreeBSD, and who will be your mentor. Email this to the FreeBSD developers mailing list and you will be on your way!

  2. Log into and create a /var/forward/user (where user is your username) file containing the e-mail address where you want mail addressed to to be forwarded. This includes all of the commit messages as well as any other mail addressed to the FreeBSD committer's mailing list and the FreeBSD developers mailing list. Really large mailboxes which have taken up permanent residence on freefall may get truncated without warning if space needs to be freed, so forward it or read it and you will not lose it.

    Due to the severe load dealing with SPAM places on the central mail servers that do the mailing list processing the front-end server does do some basic checks and will drop some messages based on these checks. At the moment proper DNS information for the connecting host is the only check in place but that may change. Some people blame these checks for bouncing valid email. If you want these checks turned off for your email you can place a file named .spam_lover in your home directory on to disable the checks for your email.


Those who are developers but not committers will not be subscribed to the committers or developers mailing lists. The subscriptions are derived from the access rights.

6.3. Mentors

All new developers have a mentor assigned to them for the first few months. A mentor is responsible for teaching the mentee the rules and conventions of the project and guiding their first steps in the developer community. The mentor is also personally responsible for the mentee's actions during this initial period.

For committers: do not commit anything without first getting mentor approval. Document that approval with an Approved by: line in the commit message.

When the mentor decides that a mentee has learned the ropes and is ready to commit on their own, the mentor announces it with a commit to conf/mentors. This file is in the svnadmin branch of each repository:


7. Commit Log Messages

This section contains some suggestions and traditions for how commit logs are formatted.

As well as including an informative message with each commit you may need to include some additional information.

This information consists of one or more lines containing the key word or phrase, a colon, tabs for formatting, and then the additional information.

The key words or phrases are:

PR:The problem report (if any) which is affected (typically, by being closed) by this commit. Only include one PR per line as the automated scripts which parse this line cannot understand more than one.
Submitted by:

The name and e-mail address of the person that submitted the fix; for developers, just the username on the FreeBSD cluster.

If the submitter is the maintainer of the port to which you are committing, include "(maintainer)" after the email address.

Avoid obfuscating the email address of the submitter as this adds additional work when searching logs.

Reviewed by:The name and e-mail address of the person or people that reviewed the change; for developers, just the username on the FreeBSD cluster. If a patch was submitted to a mailing list for review, and the review was favorable, then just include the list name.
Approved by:

The name and e-mail address of the person or people that approved the change; for developers, just the username on the FreeBSD cluster. It is customary to get prior approval for a commit if it is to an area of the tree to which you do not usually commit. In addition, during the run up to a new release all commits must be approved by the release engineering team.

While under mentorship, get mentor approval before the commit. Enter the mentor's username in this field, and note that they are a mentor:

Approved by: username-of-mentor (mentor)

If a team approved these commits then include the team name followed by the username of the approver in parentheses. For example:

Approved by: re (username)
Obtained from:The name of the project (if any) from which the code was obtained. Do not use this line for the name of an individual person.
MFC after:If you wish to receive an e-mail reminder to MFC at a later date, specify the number of days, weeks, or months after which an MFC is planned.
Relnotes:If the change is a candidate for inclusion in the release notes for the next release from the branch, set to yes.
Security:If the change is related to a security vulnerability or security exposure, include one or more references or a description of the issue. If possible, include a VuXML URL or a CVE ID.
Differential Revision:The full URL of the Phabricator review. This line must be the last line. For example:
Example 1. Commit Log for a Commit Based on a PR

You want to commit a change based on a PR submitted by John Smith containing a patch. The end of the commit message should look something like this.


	    PR:                    12345
	    Submitted by:	   John Smith <>

Example 2. Commit Log for a Commit Needing Review

You want to change the virtual memory system. You have posted patches to the appropriate mailing list (in this case, freebsd-arch) and the changes have been approved.


	    Reviewed by:       -arch

Example 3. Commit Log for a Commit Needing Approval

You want to commit a port. You have collaborated with the listed MAINTAINER, who has told you to go ahead and commit.


	    Approved by:	    abc (maintainer)

Where abc is the account name of the person who approved.

Example 4. Commit Log for a Commit Bringing in Code from OpenBSD

You want to commit some code based on work done in the OpenBSD project.


	    Obtained from:      OpenBSD

Example 5. Commit Log for a Change to FreeBSD-CURRENT with a Planned Commit to FreeBSD-STABLE to Follow at a Later Date.

You want to commit some code which will be merged from FreeBSD-CURRENT into the FreeBSD-STABLE branch after two weeks.


MFC after:      2 weeks

Where 2 is the number of days, weeks, or months after which an MFC is planned. The weeks option may be day, days, week, weeks, month, months.

In many cases you may need to combine some of these.

Consider the situation where a user has submitted a PR containing code from the NetBSD project. You are looking at the PR, but it is not an area of the tree you normally work in, so you have decided to get the change reviewed by the arch mailing list. Since the change is complex, you opt to MFC after one month to allow adequate testing.

The extra information to include in the commit would look something like

Example 6. Example Combined Commit Log
PR:                 54321
Submitted by:       John Smith <>
Reviewed by:        -arch
Obtained from:      NetBSD
MFC after:          1 month
Relnotes:           yes

8. Preferred License for New Files

Currently the FreeBSD Project suggests and uses the following text as the preferred license scheme:

 * Copyright (c) [year] [your name]
 * All rights reserved.
 * Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
 * modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
 * are met:
 * 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
 *    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
 * 2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
 *    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the
 *    documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
 * [id for your version control system, if any]

The FreeBSD project strongly discourages the so-called "advertising clause" in new code. Due to the large number of contributors to the FreeBSD project, complying with this clause for many commercial vendors has become difficult. If you have code in the tree with the advertising clause, please consider removing it. In fact, please consider using the above license for your code.

The FreeBSD project discourages completely new licenses and variations on the standard licenses. New licenses require the approval of the Core Team to reside in the main repository. The more different licenses that are used in the tree, the more problems that this causes to those wishing to utilize this code, typically from unintended consequences from a poorly worded license.

Project policy dictates that code under some non-BSD licenses must be placed only in specific sections of the repository, and in some cases, compilation must be conditional or even disabled by default. For example, the GENERIC kernel must be compiled under only licenses identical to or substantially similar to the BSD license. GPL, APSL, CDDL, etc, licensed software must not be compiled into GENERIC.

Developers are reminded that in open source, getting "open" right is just as important as getting "source" right, as improper handling of intellectual property has serious consequences. Any questions or concerns should immediately be brought to the attention of the core team.

9. Keeping Track of Licenses Granted to the FreeBSD Project

Various software or data exist in the repositories where the FreeBSD project has been granted a special licence to be able to use them. A case in point are the Terminus fonts for use with vt(4). Here the author Dimitar Zhekov has allowed us to use the "Terminus BSD Console" font under a 2-clause BSD license rather than the regular Open Font License he normally uses.

It is clearly sensible to keep a record of any such license grants. To that end, the Core Team has decided to keep an archive of them. Whenever the FreeBSD project is granted a special license we require the Core Team to be notified. Any developers involved in arranging such a license grant, please send details to the Core Team including:

  • Contact details for people or organizations granting the special license.

  • What files, directories etc. in the repositories are covered by the license grant including the revision numbers where any specially licensed material was committed.

  • The date the license comes into effect from. Unless otherwise agreed, this will be the date the license was issued by the authors of the software in question.

  • The license text.

  • A note of any restrictions, limitations or exceptions that apply specifically to FreeBSD's usage of the licensed material.

  • Any other relevant information.

Once the Core Team is satisfied that all the necessary details have been gathered and are correct, the secretary will send a PGP-signed acknowledgement of receipt including the license details. This receipt will be persistently archived and serve as our permanent record of the license grant.

The license archive should contain only details of license grants; this is not the place for any discussions around licensing or other subjects. Access to data within the license archive will be available on request to the Core Team .

10. Developer Relations

If you are working directly on your own code or on code which is already well established as your responsibility, then there is probably little need to check with other committers before jumping in with a commit. If you see a bug in an area of the system which is clearly orphaned (and there are a few such areas, to our shame), the same applies. If, however, you are about to modify something which is clearly being actively maintained by someone else (and it is only by watching the repository-committers mailing list that you can really get a feel for just what is and is not) then consider sending the change to them instead, just as you would have before becoming a committer. For ports, you should contact the listed MAINTAINER in the Makefile. For other parts of the repository, if you are unsure who the active maintainer might be, it may help to scan the revision history to see who has committed changes in the past. An example script that lists each person who has committed to a given file along with the number of commits each person has made can be found at on freefall at ~eadler/bin/whodid. If your queries go unanswered or the committer otherwise indicates a lack of interest in the area affected, go ahead and commit it.


Avoid sending private emails to maintainers. Other people might be interested in the conversation, not just the final output.

If you are unsure about a commit for any reason at all, have it reviewed by -hackers before committing. Better to have it flamed then and there rather than when it is part of the repository. If you do happen to commit something which results in controversy erupting, you may also wish to consider backing the change out again until the matter is settled. Remember – with a version control system we can always change it back.

Do not impugn the intentions of someone you disagree with. If they see a different solution to a problem than you, or even a different problem, it is not because they are stupid, because they have questionable parentage, or because they are trying to destroy your hard work, personal image, or FreeBSD, but simply because they have a different outlook on the world. Different is good.

Disagree honestly. Argue your position from its merits, be honest about any shortcomings it may have, and be open to seeing their solution, or even their vision of the problem, with an open mind.

Accept correction. We are all fallible. When you have made a mistake, apologize and get on with life. Do not beat up yourself, and certainly do not beat up others for your mistake. Do not waste time on embarrassment or recrimination, just fix the problem and move on.

Ask for help. Seek out (and give) peer reviews. One of the ways open source software is supposed to excel is in the number of eyeballs applied to it; this does not apply if nobody will review code.

11. If in Doubt...

When you are not sure about something, whether it be a technical issue or a project convention be sure to ask. If you stay silent you will never make progress.

If it relates to a technical issue ask on the public mailing lists. Avoid the temptation to email the individual person that knows the answer. This way everyone will be able to learn from the question and the answer.

For project specific or administrative questions you should ask, in order:

  • Your mentor or former mentor.

  • An experienced committer on IRC, email, etc.

  • Any team with a "hat", as they should give you a definitive answer.

  • If still not sure, ask on FreeBSD developers mailing list.

Once your question is answered, if no one pointed you to documentation that spelled out the answer to your question, document it, as others will have the same question.

12. Bugzilla

The FreeBSD Project utilizes Bugzilla for tracking bugs and change requests. Be sure that if you commit a fix or suggestion found in the PR database to close it. It is also considered nice if you take time to close any PRs associated with your commits, if appropriate.

Committers with Bugzilla accounts can have the old account merged with the account by entering a new bug. Choose Supporting Services as the Product, and Bug Tracker as the Component.

You can find out more about Bugzilla at:

13. Phabricator

The FreeBSD Project utilizes Phabricator for code review requests. See the CodeReview wiki page for details.

14. Who's Who

Besides the repository meisters, there are other FreeBSD project members and teams whom you will probably get to know in your role as a committer. Briefly, and by no means all-inclusively, these are:

Documentation Engineering Team

doceng is the group responsible for the documentation build infrastructure, approving new documentation committers, and ensuring that the FreeBSD website and documentation on the FTP site is up to date with respect to the subversion tree. It is not a conflict resolution body. The vast majority of documentation related discussion takes place on the FreeBSD documentation project mailing list. More details regarding the doceng team can be found in its charter. Committers interested in contributing to the documentation should familiarize themselves with the Documentation Project Primer.

Bruce Evans

Bruce is the Style Police-Meister. When you do a commit that could have been done better, Bruce will be there to tell you. Be thankful that someone is. Bruce is also very knowledgeable on the various standards applicable to FreeBSD.

Glen Barber , Konstantin Belousov , Bryan Drewery , Marc Fonvieille , Xin Li , Hiroki Sato , Gleb Smirnoff , Marius Strobl , Robert Watson

These are the members of the Release Engineering Team . This team is responsible for setting release deadlines and controlling the release process. During code freezes, the release engineers have final authority on all changes to the system for whichever branch is pending release status. If there is something you want merged from FreeBSD-CURRENT to FreeBSD-STABLE (whatever values those may have at any given time), these are the people to talk to about it.

Hiroki is also the keeper of the release documentation (src/release/doc/*). If you commit a change that you think is worthy of mention in the release notes, please make sure he knows about it. Better still, send him a patch with your suggested commentary.

Xin Li

Xin Li is the FreeBSD Security Officer and oversees the Security Officer Team .

Garrett Wollman

If you need advice on obscure network internals or are not sure of some potential change to the networking subsystem you have in mind, Garrett is someone to talk to. Garrett is also very knowledgeable on the various standards applicable to FreeBSD.

FreeBSD committer's mailing list

svn-src-all, svn-ports-all and svn-doc-all are the mailing lists that the version control system uses to send commit messages to. You should never send email directly to these lists. You should only send replies to this list when they are short and are directly related to a commit.

FreeBSD developers mailing list

All committers are subscribed to -developers. This list was created to be a forum for the committers community issues. Examples are Core voting, announcements, etc.

The FreeBSD developers mailing list is for the exclusive use of FreeBSD committers. In order to develop FreeBSD, committers must have the ability to openly discuss matters that will be resolved before they are publicly announced. Frank discussions of work in progress are not suitable for open publication and may harm FreeBSD.

All FreeBSD committers are expected not to not publish or forward messages from the FreeBSD developers mailing list outside the list membership without permission of all of the authors. Violators will be removed from the FreeBSD developers mailing list, resulting in a suspension of commit privileges. Repeated or flagrant violations may result in permanent revocation of commit privileges.

This list is not intended as a place for code reviews or for any technical discussion. In fact using it as such hurts the FreeBSD Project as it gives a sense of a closed list where general decisions affecting all of the FreeBSD using community are made without being open. Last, but not least never, never ever, email the FreeBSD developers mailing list and CC:/BCC: another FreeBSD list. Never, ever email another FreeBSD email list and CC:/BCC: the FreeBSD developers mailing list. Doing so can greatly diminish the benefits of this list.

15. SSH Quick-Start Guide

  1. If you do not wish to type your password in every time you use ssh(1), and you use keys to authenticate, ssh-agent(1) is there for your convenience. If you want to use ssh-agent(1), make sure that you run it before running other applications. X users, for example, usually do this from their .xsession or .xinitrc. See ssh-agent(1) for details.

  2. Generate a key pair using ssh-keygen(1). The key pair will wind up in your $HOME/.ssh/ directory.


    Only ECDSA, Ed25519 or RSA keys are supported.

  3. Send your public key ($HOME/.ssh/, $HOME/.ssh/, or $HOME/.ssh/ to the person setting you up as a committer so it can be put into yourlogin in /etc/ssh-keys/ on freefall.

Now you should be able to use ssh-add(1) for authentication once per session. This will prompt you for your private key's pass phrase, and then store it in your authentication agent (ssh-agent(1)). If you no longer wish to have your key stored in the agent, issuing ssh-add -d will remove it.

Test by doing something such as ssh ls /usr.

For more information, see security/openssh, ssh(1), ssh-add(1), ssh-agent(1), ssh-keygen(1), and scp(1).

For information on adding, changing, or removing ssh(1) keys, see this article.

16. Coverity® Availability for FreeBSD Committers

All FreeBSD developers can obtain access to Coverity analysis results of all FreeBSD Project software. All who are interested in obtaining access to the analysis results of the automated Coverity runs, can sign up at Coverity Scan.

The FreeBSD wiki includes a mini-guide for developers who are interested in working with the Coverity® analysis reports: Please note that this mini-guide is only readable by FreeBSD developers, so if you cannot access this page, you will have to ask someone to add you to the appropriate Wiki access list.

Finally, all FreeBSD developers who are going to use Coverity® are always encouraged to ask for more details and usage information, by posting any questions to the mailing list of the FreeBSD developers.

17. The FreeBSD Committers' Big List of Rules

Everyone involved with the FreeBSD project is expected to abide by the Code of Conduct available from As committers, you form the public face of the project, and how you behave has a vital impact on the public perception of it. This guide expands on the parts of the Code of Conduct specific to committers.

  1. Respect other committers.

  2. Respect other contributors.

  3. Discuss any significant change before committing.

  4. Respect existing maintainers (if listed in the MAINTAINER field in Makefile or in MAINTAINER in the top-level directory).

  5. Any disputed change must be backed out pending resolution of the dispute if requested by a maintainer. Security related changes may override a maintainer's wishes at the Security Officer's discretion.

  6. Changes go to FreeBSD-CURRENT before FreeBSD-STABLE unless specifically permitted by the release engineer or unless they are not applicable to FreeBSD-CURRENT. Any non-trivial or non-urgent change which is applicable should also be allowed to sit in FreeBSD-CURRENT for at least 3 days before merging so that it can be given sufficient testing. The release engineer has the same authority over the FreeBSD-STABLE branch as outlined for the maintainer in rule #5.

  7. Do not fight in public with other committers; it looks bad.

  8. Respect all code freezes and read the committers and developers mailing lists in a timely manner so you know when a code freeze is in effect.

  9. When in doubt on any procedure, ask first!

  10. Test your changes before committing them.

  11. Do not commit to anything under the src/contrib, src/crypto, or src/sys/contrib trees without explicit approval from the respective maintainer(s).

As noted, breaking some of these rules can be grounds for suspension or, upon repeated offense, permanent removal of commit privileges. Individual members of core have the power to temporarily suspend commit privileges until core as a whole has the chance to review the issue. In case of an emergency (a committer doing damage to the repository), a temporary suspension may also be done by the repository meisters. Only a 2/3 majority of core has the authority to suspend commit privileges for longer than a week or to remove them permanently. This rule does not exist to set core up as a bunch of cruel dictators who can dispose of committers as casually as empty soda cans, but to give the project a kind of safety fuse. If someone is out of control, it is important to be able to deal with this immediately rather than be paralyzed by debate. In all cases, a committer whose privileges are suspended or revoked is entitled to a hearing by core, the total duration of the suspension being determined at that time. A committer whose privileges are suspended may also request a review of the decision after 30 days and every 30 days thereafter (unless the total suspension period is less than 30 days). A committer whose privileges have been revoked entirely may request a review after a period of 6 months has elapsed. This review policy is strictly informal and, in all cases, core reserves the right to either act on or disregard requests for review if they feel their original decision to be the right one.

In all other aspects of project operation, core is a subset of committers and is bound by the same rules. Just because someone is in core this does not mean that they have special dispensation to step outside any of the lines painted here; core's special powers only kick in when it acts as a group, not on an individual basis. As individuals, the core team members are all committers first and core second.

17.1. Details

  1. Respect other committers.

    This means that you need to treat other committers as the peer-group developers that they are. Despite our occasional attempts to prove the contrary, one does not get to be a committer by being stupid and nothing rankles more than being treated that way by one of your peers. Whether we always feel respect for one another or not (and everyone has off days), we still have to treat other committers with respect at all times, on public forums and in private email.

    Being able to work together long term is this project's greatest asset, one far more important than any set of changes to the code, and turning arguments about code into issues that affect our long-term ability to work harmoniously together is just not worth the trade-off by any conceivable stretch of the imagination.

    To comply with this rule, do not send email when you are angry or otherwise behave in a manner which is likely to strike others as needlessly confrontational. First calm down, then think about how to communicate in the most effective fashion for convincing the other person(s) that your side of the argument is correct, do not just blow off some steam so you can feel better in the short term at the cost of a long-term flame war. Not only is this very bad energy economics, but repeated displays of public aggression which impair our ability to work well together will be dealt with severely by the project leadership and may result in suspension or termination of your commit privileges. The project leadership will take into account both public and private communications brought before it. It will not seek the disclosure of private communications, but it will take it into account if it is volunteered by the committers involved in the complaint.

    All of this is never an option which the project's leadership enjoys in the slightest, but unity comes first. No amount of code or good advice is worth trading that away.

  2. Respect other contributors.

    You were not always a committer. At one time you were a contributor. Remember that at all times. Remember what it was like trying to get help and attention. Do not forget that your work as a contributor was very important to you. Remember what it was like. Do not discourage, belittle, or demean contributors. Treat them with respect. They are our committers in waiting. They are every bit as important to the project as committers. Their contributions are as valid and as important as your own. After all, you made many contributions before you became a committer. Always remember that.

    Consider the points raised under 1 and apply them also to contributors.

  3. Discuss any significant change before committing.

    The repository is not where changes should be initially submitted for correctness or argued over, that should happen first in the mailing lists or by use of the Phabricator service and the commit should only happen once something resembling consensus has been reached. This does not mean that you have to ask permission before correcting every obvious syntax error or manual page misspelling, simply that you should try to develop a feel for when a proposed change is not quite such a no-brainer and requires some feedback first. People really do not mind sweeping changes if the result is something clearly better than what they had before, they just do not like being surprised by those changes. The very best way of making sure that you are on the right track is to have your code reviewed by one or more other committers.

    When in doubt, ask for review!

  4. Respect existing maintainers if listed.

    Many parts of FreeBSD are not owned in the sense that any specific individual will jump up and yell if you commit a change to their area, but it still pays to check first. One convention we use is to put a maintainer line in the Makefile for any package or subtree which is being actively maintained by one or more people; see for documentation on this. Where sections of code have several maintainers, commits to affected areas by one maintainer need to be reviewed by at least one other maintainer. In cases where the maintainer-ship of something is not clear, you can also look at the repository logs for the file(s) in question and see if someone has been working recently or predominantly in that area.

    Other areas of FreeBSD fall under the control of someone who manages an overall category of FreeBSD evolution, such as internationalization or networking. See for more information on this.

  5. Any disputed change must be backed out pending resolution of the dispute if requested by a maintainer. Security related changes may override a maintainer's wishes at the Security Officer's discretion.

    This may be hard to swallow in times of conflict (when each side is convinced that they are in the right, of course) but a version control system makes it unnecessary to have an ongoing dispute raging when it is far easier to simply reverse the disputed change, get everyone calmed down again and then try to figure out what is the best way to proceed. If the change turns out to be the best thing after all, it can be easily brought back. If it turns out not to be, then the users did not have to live with the bogus change in the tree while everyone was busily debating its merits. People very rarely call for back-outs in the repository since discussion generally exposes bad or controversial changes before the commit even happens, but on such rare occasions the back-out should be done without argument so that we can get immediately on to the topic of figuring out whether it was bogus or not.

  6. Changes go to FreeBSD-CURRENT before FreeBSD-STABLE unless specifically permitted by the release engineer or unless they are not applicable to FreeBSD-CURRENT. Any non-trivial or non-urgent change which is applicable should also be allowed to sit in FreeBSD-CURRENT for at least 3 days before merging so that it can be given sufficient testing. The release engineer has the same authority over the FreeBSD-STABLE branch as outlined in rule #5.

    This is another do not argue about it issue since it is the release engineer who is ultimately responsible (and gets beaten up) if a change turns out to be bad. Please respect this and give the release engineer your full cooperation when it comes to the FreeBSD-STABLE branch. The management of FreeBSD-STABLE may frequently seem to be overly conservative to the casual observer, but also bear in mind the fact that conservatism is supposed to be the hallmark of FreeBSD-STABLE and different rules apply there than in FreeBSD-CURRENT. There is also really no point in having FreeBSD-CURRENT be a testing ground if changes are merged over to FreeBSD-STABLE immediately. Changes need a chance to be tested by the FreeBSD-CURRENT developers, so allow some time to elapse before merging unless the FreeBSD-STABLE fix is critical, time sensitive or so obvious as to make further testing unnecessary (spelling fixes to manual pages, obvious bug/typo fixes, etc.) In other words, apply common sense.

    Changes to the security branches (for example, releng/9.3) must be approved by a member of the Security Officer Team , or in some cases, by a member of the Release Engineering Team .

  7. Do not fight in public with other committers; it looks bad.

    This project has a public image to uphold and that image is very important to all of us, especially if we are to continue to attract new members. There will be occasions when, despite everyone's very best attempts at self-control, tempers are lost and angry words are exchanged. The best thing that can be done in such cases is to minimize the effects of this until everyone has cooled back down. That means that you should not air your angry words in public and you should not forward private correspondence or other private communications to public mailing lists, mail aliases, instant messaging channels or social media sites. What people say one-to-one is often much less sugar-coated than what they would say in public, and such communications therefore have no place there - they only serve to inflame an already bad situation. If the person sending you a flame-o-gram at least had the grace to send it privately, then have the grace to keep it private yourself. If you feel you are being unfairly treated by another developer, and it is causing you anguish, bring the matter up with core rather than taking it public. Core will do its best to play peace makers and get things back to sanity. In cases where the dispute involves a change to the codebase and the participants do not appear to be reaching an amicable agreement, core may appoint a mutually-agreeable third party to resolve the dispute. All parties involved must then agree to be bound by the decision reached by this third party.

  8. Respect all code freezes and read the committers and developers mailing list on a timely basis so you know when a code freeze is in effect.

    Committing unapproved changes during a code freeze is a really big mistake and committers are expected to keep up-to-date on what is going on before jumping in after a long absence and committing 10 megabytes worth of accumulated stuff. People who abuse this on a regular basis will have their commit privileges suspended until they get back from the FreeBSD Happy Reeducation Camp we run in Greenland.

  9. When in doubt on any procedure, ask first!

    Many mistakes are made because someone is in a hurry and just assumes they know the right way of doing something. If you have not done it before, chances are good that you do not actually know the way we do things and really need to ask first or you are going to completely embarrass yourself in public. There is no shame in asking how in the heck do I do this? We already know you are an intelligent person; otherwise, you would not be a committer.

  10. Test your changes before committing them.

    This may sound obvious, but if it really were so obvious then we probably would not see so many cases of people clearly not doing this. If your changes are to the kernel, make sure you can still compile both GENERIC and LINT. If your changes are anywhere else, make sure you can still make world. If your changes are to a branch, make sure your testing occurs with a machine which is running that code. If you have a change which also may break another architecture, be sure and test on all supported architectures. Please refer to the FreeBSD Internal Page for a list of available resources. As other architectures are added to the FreeBSD supported platforms list, the appropriate shared testing resources will be made available.

  11. Do not commit to anything under the src/contrib, src/crypto, and src/sys/contrib trees without explicit approval from the respective maintainer(s).

    The trees mentioned above are for contributed software usually imported onto a vendor branch. Committing something there, even if it does not take the file off the vendor branch, may cause unnecessary headaches for those responsible for maintaining that particular piece of software. Thus, unless you have explicit approval from the maintainer (or you are the maintainer), do not commit there!

    Please note that this does not mean you should not try to improve the software in question; you are still more than welcome to do so. Ideally, you should submit your patches to the vendor. If your changes are FreeBSD-specific, talk to the maintainer; they may be willing to apply them locally. But whatever you do, do not commit there by yourself!

    Contact the Core Team if you wish to take up maintainership of an unmaintained part of the tree.

17.2. Policy on Multiple Architectures

FreeBSD has added several new architecture ports during recent release cycles and is truly no longer an i386™ centric operating system. In an effort to make it easier to keep FreeBSD portable across the platforms we support, core has developed the following mandate:

Our 32-bit reference platform is i386, and our 64-bit reference platform is amd64. Major design work (including major API and ABI changes) must prove itself on at least one 32-bit and at least one 64-bit platform, preferably the primary reference platforms, before it may be committed to the source tree.

The i386 and amd64 platforms were chosen due to being more readily available to developers and as representatives of more diverse processor and system designs - big versus little endian, register file versus register stack, different DMA and cache implementations, hardware page tables versus software TLB management etc.

We will continue to re-evaluate this policy as cost and availability of the 64-bit platforms change.

Developers should also be aware of our Tier Policy for the long term support of hardware architectures. The rules here are intended to provide guidance during the development process, and are distinct from the requirements for features and architectures listed in that section. The Tier rules for feature support on architectures at release-time are more strict than the rules for changes during the development process.

17.3. Other Suggestions

When committing documentation changes, use a spell checker before committing. For all XML docs, verify that the formatting directives are correct by running make lint and textproc/igor.

For manual pages, run sysutils/manck and textproc/igor over the manual page to verify all of the cross references and file references are correct and that the man page has all of the appropriate MLINKs installed.

Do not mix style fixes with new functionality. A style fix is any change which does not modify the functionality of the code. Mixing the changes obfuscates the functionality change when asking for differences between revisions, which can hide any new bugs. Do not include whitespace changes with content changes in commits to doc/ . The extra clutter in the diffs makes the translators' job much more difficult. Instead, make any style or whitespace changes in separate commits that are clearly labeled as such in the commit message.

17.4. Deprecating Features

When it is necessary to remove functionality from software in the base system the following guidelines should be followed whenever possible:

  1. Mention is made in the manual page and possibly the release notes that the option, utility, or interface is deprecated. Use of the deprecated feature generates a warning.

  2. The option, utility, or interface is preserved until the next major (point zero) release.

  3. The option, utility, or interface is removed and no longer documented. It is now obsolete. It is also generally a good idea to note its removal in the release notes.

17.5. Privacy and Confidentiality

  1. Most FreeBSD business is done in public.

    FreeBSD is an open project. Which means that not only can anyone use the source code, but that most of the development process is open to public scrutiny.

  2. Certain sensitive matters must remain private or held under embargo.

    There unfortunately cannot be complete transparency. As a FreeBSD developer you will have a certain degree of privileged access to information. Consequently you are expected to respect certain requirements for confidentiality. Sometimes the need for confidentiality comes from external collaborators or has a specific time limit. Mostly though, it is a matter of not releasing private communications.

  3. The Security Officer has sole control over the release of security advisories.

    Where there are security problems that affect many different operating systems, FreeBSD frequently depends on early access in order to be able to prepare advisories for coordinated release. Unless FreeBSD developers can be trusted to maintain security, such early access will not be made available. The Security Officer is responsible for controlling pre-release access to information about vulnerabilities, and for timing the release of all advisories. He may request help under condition of confidentiality from any developer with relevant knowledge in order to prepare security fixes.

  4. Communications with Core are kept confidential for as long as necessary.

    Communications to core will initially be treated as confidential. Eventually however, most of Core's business will be summarized into the monthly or quarterly core reports. Care will be taken to avoid publicising any sensitive details. Records of some particularly sensitive subjects may not be reported on at all and will be retained only in Core's private archives.

  5. Non-disclosure Agreements may be required for access to certain commercially sensitive data.

    Access to certain commercially sensitive data may only be available under a Non-Disclosure Agreement. The FreeBSD Foundation legal staff must be consulted before any binding agreements are entered into.

  6. Private communications should not be made public without permission.

    Beyond the specific requirements above there is a general expectation not to publish private communications between developers without the consent of all parties involved. Ask permission before forwarding a message onto a public mailing list, or posting it to a forum or website that can be accessed by other than the original correspondents.

  7. Communications on project-only or restricted access channels should be treated as private.

    Similarly to personal communications, certain internal communications channels, including FreeBSD Committer only mailing lists and restricted access IRC channels should be considered as private communications. You need permission in order to publish material from these sources.

  8. Core may approve publication.

    Where it is impractical to obtain permission due to the number of correspondents or where permission to publish is unreasonably withheld, Core may approve release of such private matters that merit more general publication.

18. Support for Multiple Architectures

FreeBSD is a highly portable operating system intended to function on many different types of hardware architectures. Maintaining clean separation of Machine Dependent (MD) and Machine Independent (MI) code, as well as minimizing MD code, is an important part of our strategy to remain agile with regards to current hardware trends. Each new hardware architecture supported by FreeBSD adds substantially to the cost of code maintenance, toolchain support, and release engineering. It also dramatically increases the cost of effective testing of kernel changes. As such, there is strong motivation to differentiate between classes of support for various architectures while remaining strong in a few key architectures that are seen as the FreeBSD target audience.

18.1. Statement of General Intent

The FreeBSD Project targets "production quality commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) workstation, server, and high-end embedded systems". By retaining a focus on a narrow set of architectures of interest in these environments, the FreeBSD Project is able to maintain high levels of quality, stability, and performance, as well as minimize the load on various support teams on the project, such as the ports team, documentation team, security officer, and release engineering teams. Diversity in hardware support broadens the options for FreeBSD consumers by offering new features and usage opportunities (such as support for 64-bit CPUs, use in embedded environments, etc.), but these benefits must always be carefully considered in terms of the real-world maintenance cost associated with additional platform support.

The FreeBSD Project differentiates platform targets into four tiers. Each tier includes a specification of the requirements for an architecture to be in that tier, as well as specifying the obligations of developers with regards to the platform. In addition, a policy is defined regarding the circumstances required to change the tier of an architecture.

18.2. Tier 1: Fully Supported Architectures

Tier 1 platforms are fully supported by the security officer, release engineering, and toolchain maintenance staff. New features added to the operating system must be fully functional across all Tier 1 architectures for every release (features which are inherently architecture-specific, such as support for hardware device drivers, may be exempt from this requirement). In general, all Tier 1 platforms must have build and Tinderbox support either in the cluster, or be easily available for all developers. Embedded platforms may substitute an emulator available in the FreeBSD cluster for actual hardware.

Tier 1 architectures are expected to be Production Quality with respects to all aspects of the FreeBSD operating system, including installation and development environments.

Tier 1 architectures are expected to be completely integrated into the source tree and have all features necessary to produce an entire system relevant for that target architecture. Tier 1 architectures generally have at least 6 active developers.

Tier 1 architectures are expected to be fully supported by the ports system. All the ports should build on a Tier 1 platform, or have the appropriate filters to prevent the inappropriate ones from building there. The packaging system must support all Tier 1 architectures. To ensure an architecture's Tier 1 status, proponents of that architecture must show that all relevant packages can be built on that platform.

Tier 1 embedded architectures must be able to cross-build packages on at least one other Tier 1 architecture. The packages must be the most relevant for the platform, but may be a non-empty subset of those that build natively.

Tier 1 architectures must be fully documented. All basic operations need to be covered by the handbook or other documents. All relevant integration documentation must also be integrated into the tree, or readily available.

Current Tier 1 platforms are i386 and amd64.

18.3. Tier 2: Developmental Architectures

Tier 2 platforms are not supported by the security officer and release engineering teams. Platform maintainers are responsible for toolchain support in the tree. The toolchain maintainers are expected to work with the platform maintainers to refine these changes. Major new toolchain components are allowed to break support for Tier 2 architectures if the FreeBSD-local changes have not been incorporated upstream. The toolchain maintainers are expected to provide prompt review of any proposed changes and cannot block, through their inaction, changes going into the tree. New features added to FreeBSD should be feasible to implement on these platforms, but an implementation is not required before the feature may be added to the FreeBSD source tree. New features that may be difficult to implement on Tier 2 architectures should provide a means of disabling them on those architectures. The implementation of a Tier 2 architecture may be committed to the main FreeBSD tree as long as it does not interfere with production work on Tier 1 platforms, or substantially with other Tier 2 platforms. Before a Tier 2 platform can be added to the FreeBSD base source tree, the platform must be able to boot multi-user on actual hardware. Generally, there must be at least three active developers working on the platform.

Tier 2 architectures are usually systems targeted at Tier 1 support, but that are still under development. Architectures reaching end of life may also be moved from Tier 1 status to Tier 2 status as the availability of resources to continue to maintain the system in a Production Quality state diminishes. Well supported niche architectures may also be Tier 2.

Tier 2 architectures have basic support for them integrated into the ports infrastructure. They may have cross compilation support added, at the discretion of portmgr. Some ports must built natively into packages if the package system supports that architecture. If not integrated into the base system, some external patches for the architecture for ports must be available.

Tier 2 architectures can be integrated into the FreeBSD handbook. The basics for how to get a system running must be documented, although not necessarily for every single board or system a Tier 2 architecture supports. The supported hardware list must exist and should be relatively recent. It should be integrated into the FreeBSD documentation.

Current Tier 2 platforms are arm, arm64, ia64 (through FreeBSD 10), pc98, powerpc, and sparc64.

18.4. Tier 3: Experimental Architectures

Tier 3 platforms are not supported by the security officer and release engineering teams. At the discretion of the toolchain maintainers, they may be supported in the toolchain. Tier 3 platforms are architectures in the early stages of development, for non-mainstream hardware platforms, or which are considered legacy systems unlikely to see broad future use. Initial support for Tier 3 platforms should be worked on in external SCM repositories. The transition to FreeBSD's subversion should take place after the platform boots multi-user on hardware; sharing via subversion is needed for wider exposure; and multiple developers are actively working on the platform. Platforms that transition to Tier 3 status may be removed from the tree if they are no longer actively supported by the FreeBSD developer community at the discretion of the release engineer.

Tier 3 platforms may have ports support, either integrated or external, but do not require it.

Tier 3 platforms must have the basics documented for how to build a kernel and how to boot it on at least one target hardware or emulation environment. This documentation need not be integrated into the FreeBSD tree.

Current Tier 3 platforms are mips, and riscv.

18.5. Tier 4: Unsupported Architectures

Tier 4 systems are not supported in any form by the project.

All systems not otherwise classified into a support tier are Tier 4 systems. The ia64 platform is transitioning to Tier 4 status in FreeBSD 11.

18.6. Policy on Changing the Tier of an Architecture

Systems may only be moved from one tier to another by approval of the FreeBSD Core Team, which shall make that decision in collaboration with the Security Officer, Release Engineering, and toolchain maintenance teams.

19. Ports Specific FAQ

19.1. Adding a New Port
19.1.1. How do I add a new port?
19.1.2. Any other things I need to know when I add a new port?
19.2. Removing an Existing Port
19.2.1. How do I remove an existing port?
19.3. Re-adding a Deleted Port
19.3.1. How do I re-add a deleted port?
19.4. Repository Copies
19.4.1. When do we need a repository copy?
19.4.2. What do I need to do?
19.5. Ports Freeze
19.5.1. What is a “ports freeze”?
19.6. Quarterly Branches
19.6.1. What is the procedure to request authorization for merging a commit to the quarterly branch?
19.7. Creating a New Category
19.7.1. What is the procedure for creating a new category?
19.7.2. What do I need to do to implement a new physical category?
19.7.3. What do I need to do to implement a new virtual category?
19.8. Miscellaneous Questions
19.8.1. How do I know if my port is building correctly or not?
19.8.2. I added a new port. Do I need to add it to the INDEX?
19.8.3. Are there any other files I am not allowed to touch?
19.8.4. What is the proper procedure for updating the checksum for a port's distfile when the file changes without a version change?
19.8.5. How can an experimental test build of the ports tree (exp-run) be requested?

19.1. Adding a New Port

19.1.1. How do I add a new port?
19.1.2. Any other things I need to know when I add a new port?


How do I add a new port?

First, please read the section about repository copies.

The easiest way to add a new port is the addport script located in the ports/Tools/scripts directory. It adds a port from the directory specified, determining the category automatically from the port Makefile. It also adds an entry to the port's category Makefile. It was written by Michael Haro , Will Andrews , and Renato Botelho . When sending questions about this script to the FreeBSD ports mailing list, please also CC Chris Rees , the current maintainer.


Any other things I need to know when I add a new port?

Check the port, preferably to make sure it compiles and packages correctly. This is the recommended sequence:

# make install
# make package
# make deinstall
# pkg add package you built above
# make deinstall
# make reinstall
# make package

The Porters Handbook contains more detailed instructions.

Use portlint(1) to check the syntax of the port. You do not necessarily have to eliminate all warnings but make sure you have fixed the simple ones.

If the port came from a submitter who has not contributed to the Project before, add that person's name to the Additional Contributors section of the FreeBSD Contributors List.

Close the PR if the port came in as a PR. To close a PR, change the state to Issue Resolved and the resolution as Fixed.

19.2. Removing an Existing Port

19.2.1. How do I remove an existing port?


How do I remove an existing port?

First, please read the section about repository copies. Before you remove the port, you have to verify there are no other ports depending on it.

  • Make sure there is no dependency on the port in the ports collection:

    • The port's PKGNAME should appear in exactly one line in a recent INDEX file.

    • No other ports should contain any reference to the port's directory or PKGNAME in their Makefiles


      When using Git, consider using git grep, it is much faster than grep -r.

  • Then, remove the port:

    1. Remove the port's files and directory with svn remove.

    2. Remove the SUBDIR listing of the port in the parent directory Makefile.

    3. Add an entry to ports/MOVED.

    4. Remove the port from ports/LEGAL if it is there.

Alternatively, you can use the rmport script, from ports/Tools/scripts. This script was written by Vasil Dimov . When sending questions about this script to the FreeBSD ports mailing list, please also CC Chris Rees , the current maintainer.

19.3. Re-adding a Deleted Port

19.3.1. How do I re-add a deleted port?


How do I re-add a deleted port?

This is essentially the reverse of deleting a port.


Do not use svn add to add the port. Follow these steps. If they are unclear, or are not working, ask for help, do not just svn add the port.

  1. Figure out when the port was removed. Use this list, or look for the port on freshports, and then copy the last living revision of the port:

    % cd /usr/ports/category
    % svn cp 'svn+ssh://' portname

    Pick the revision that is just before the removal. For example, if the revision where it was removed is 269874, use 269873.

    It is also possible to specify a date. In that case, pick a date that is before the removal but after the last commit to the port.

    % cd /usr/ports/category
    % svn cp 'svn+ssh://{YYYY-MM-DD}' portname
  2. Make the changes necessary to get the port working again. If it was deleted because the distfiles are no longer available, either volunteer to host the distfiles, or find someone else to do so.

  3. If some files have been added, or were removed during the resurrection process, use svn add or svn remove to make sure all the files in the port will be committed.

  4. Restore the SUBDIR listing of the port in the parent directory Makefile, keeping the entries sorted.

  5. Delete the port entry from ports/MOVED.

  6. If the port had an entry in ports/LEGAL, restore it.

  7. svn commit these changes, preferably in one step.


The addport script mentioned in Q & A 19.1, “Adding a New Port” now detects when the port to add has previously existed, and attempts to handle all except the ports/LEGAL step automatically.

19.4. Repository Copies

19.4.1. When do we need a repository copy?
19.4.2. What do I need to do?


When do we need a repository copy?

When you want to add a port that is related to any port that is already in the tree in a separate directory, you have to do a repository copy. Here related means it is a different version or a slightly modified version. Examples are print/ghostscript* (different versions) and x11-wm/windowmaker* (English-only and internationalized version).

Another example is when a port is moved from one subdirectory to another, or when you want to change the name of a directory because the author(s) renamed their software even though it is a descendant of a port already in a tree.


What do I need to do?

With Subversion, a repo copy can be done by any committer:

  • Doing a repo copy:

    1. Verify that the target directory does not exist.

    2. Use svn up to make certain the original files, directories, and checkout information is current.

    3. Use svn move or svn copy to do the repo copy.

    4. Upgrade the copied port to the new version. Remember to add or change the PKGNAMEPREFIX or PKGNAMESUFFIX so there are no duplicate ports with the same name. In some rare cases it may be necessary to change the PORTNAME instead of adding PKGNAMEPREFIX or PKGNAMESUFFIX, but this should only be done when it is really needed — e.g., using an existing port as the base for a very similar program with a different name, or upgrading a port to a new upstream version which actually changes the distribution name, like the transition from textproc/libxml to textproc/libxml2. In most cases, adding or changing PKGNAMEPREFIX or PKGNAMESUFFIX should suffice.

    5. Add the new subdirectory to the SUBDIR listing in the parent directory Makefile. You can run make checksubdirs in the parent directory to check this.

    6. If the port changed categories, modify the CATEGORIES line of the port's Makefile accordingly

    7. Add an entry to ports/MOVED, if you remove the original port.

    8. Commit all changes on one commit.

  • When removing a port:

    1. Perform a thorough check of the ports collection for any dependencies on the old port location/name, and update them. Running grep on INDEX is not enough because some ports have dependencies enabled by compile-time options. A full grep -r of the ports collection is recommended.

    2. Remove the old port and the old SUBDIR entry.

    3. Add an entry to ports/MOVED.

  • After repo moves (rename operations where a port is copied and the old location is removed):

    • Follow the same steps that are outlined in the previous two entries, to activate the new location of the port and remove the old one.

19.5. Ports Freeze

19.5.1. What is a “ports freeze”?


What is a ports freeze?

A ports freeze was a restricted state the ports tree was put in before a release. It was used to ensure a higher quality for the packages shipped with a release. It usually lasted a couple of weeks. During that time, build problems were fixed, and the release packages were built. This practice is no longer used, as the packages for the releases are built from the current stable, quarterly branch. For more information on how to merge commits to the quarterly branch, see Q: 19.6.1.

19.6. Quarterly Branches

19.6.1. What is the procedure to request authorization for merging a commit to the quarterly branch?


What is the procedure to request authorization for merging a commit to the quarterly branch?

When doing the commit, add the branch name to the MFH: line, for example:

MFH:	2014Q1

It will automatically notify the Ports Security Team and the Ports Management Team . They will then decide if the commit can be merged and answer with the procedure.

If the commit has already been made, send an email to the Ports Security Team and the Ports Management Team with the revision number and a small description of why the commit needs to be merged.

A script is provided to automate merging a specific commit: ports/Tools/scripts/mfh. It is used as follows:

% /usr/ports/Tools/scripts/mfh 380362
 U   2015Q1
Checked out revision 380443.
A    2015Q1/security
Updating '2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit':
A    2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit
A    2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/Makefile
A    2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/distinfo
A    2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/pkg-descr
Updated to revision 380443.
--- Merging r380362 into '2015Q1':
U    2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/Makefile
U    2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/distinfo
--- Recording mergeinfo for merge of r380362 into '2015Q1':
 U   2015Q1
--- Recording mergeinfo for merge of r380362 into '2015Q1/security':
 G   2015Q1/security
--- Eliding mergeinfo from '2015Q1/security':
 U   2015Q1/security
--- Recording mergeinfo for merge of r380362 into '2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit':
 G   2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit
--- Eliding mergeinfo from '2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit':
 U   2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit
 M      2015Q1
M       2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/Makefile
M       2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/distinfo
Index: 2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/Makefile
--- 2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/Makefile     (revision 380443)
+++ 2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/Makefile     (working copy)
@@ -2,7 +2,7 @@
 # $FreeBSD: head/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/committers-guide/article.xml 49872 2017-01-19 15:37:18Z mat $

 PORTNAME=      sshkit
 CATEGORIES=    security rubygems

Index: 2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/distinfo
--- 2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/distinfo     (revision 380443)
+++ 2015Q1/security/rubygem-sshkit/distinfo     (working copy)
@@ -1,2 +1,2 @@
-SHA256 (rubygem/sshkit-1.6.1.gem) = 8ca67e46bb4ea50fdb0553cda77552f3e41b17a5aa919877d93875dfa22c03a7
-SIZE (rubygem/sshkit-1.6.1.gem) = 135680
+SHA256 (rubygem/sshkit-1.7.0.gem) = 90effd1813363bae7355f4a45ebc8335a8ca74acc8d0933ba6ee6d40f281a2cf
+SIZE (rubygem/sshkit-1.7.0.gem) = 136192
Index: 2015Q1
--- 2015Q1      (revision 380443)
+++ 2015Q1      (working copy)

Property changes on: 2015Q1
Modified: svn:mergeinfo
   Merged /head:r380362
Do you want to commit? (no = start a shell) [y/n]

At that point, the script will either open a shell for you to fix things, or open your text editor with the commit message all prepared and then commit the merge.

The script assumes that you can connect to with SSH directly, so if your local login name is different than your FreeBSD cluster account, you need a few lines in your ~/.ssh/config:

Host # Can be *
    User freebsd-login


The script is also able to merge more than one revision at a time. If there have been other updates to the port since the branch was created that have not been merged because they were not security related. Add the different revisions in the order they were committed on the mfh command line. The new commit log message will contain the combined log messages from all the original commits. These messages must be edited to show what is actually being done with the new commit.

% /usr/ports/Tools/scripts/mfh r407208 r407713 r407722 r408567 r408943 r410728


The mfh script can also take an optional first argument, the branch where the merge is being done. It does, however, select the latest branch, so specifying the branch is discouraged.

% /usr/ports/Tools/scripts/mfh 2016Q1 r407208 r407713

19.7. Creating a New Category

19.7.1. What is the procedure for creating a new category?
19.7.2. What do I need to do to implement a new physical category?
19.7.3. What do I need to do to implement a new virtual category?


What is the procedure for creating a new category?

Please see Proposing a New Category in the Porter's Handbook. Once that procedure has been followed and the PR has been assigned to the Ports Management Team , it is their decision whether or not to approve it. If they do, it is their responsibility to do the following:

  1. Perform any needed moves. (This only applies to physical categories.)

  2. Update the VALID_CATEGORIES definition in ports/Mk/

  3. Assign the PR back to you.


What do I need to do to implement a new physical category?

  1. Upgrade each moved port's Makefile. Do not connect the new category to the build yet.

    To do this, you will need to:

    1. Change the port's CATEGORIES (this was the point of the exercise, remember?) The new category should be listed first. This will help to ensure that the PKGORIGIN is correct.

    2. Run a make describe. Since the top-level make index that you will be running in a few steps is an iteration of make describe over the entire ports hierarchy, catching any errors here will save you having to re-run that step later on.

    3. If you want to be really thorough, now might be a good time to run portlint(1).

  2. Check that the PKGORIGINs are correct. The ports system uses each port's CATEGORIES entry to create its PKGORIGIN, which is used to connect installed packages to the port directory they were built from. If this entry is wrong, common port tools like pkg_version(1) and portupgrade(1) fail.

    To do this, use the tool, as follows: env PORTSDIR=/path/to/ports sh -e /path/to/ports/Tools/scripts/ This will check every port in the ports tree, even those not connected to the build, so you can run it directly after the move operation. Hint: do not forget to look at the PKGORIGINs of any slave ports of the ports you just moved!

  3. On your own local system, test the proposed changes: first, comment out the SUBDIR entries in the old ports' categories' Makefiles; then enable building the new category in ports/Makefile. Run make checksubdirs in the affected category directories to check the SUBDIR entries. Next, in the ports/ directory, run make index. This can take over 40 minutes on even modern systems; however, it is a necessary step to prevent problems for other people.

  4. Once this is done, you can commit the updated ports/Makefile to connect the new category to the build and also commit the Makefile changes for the old category or categories.

  5. Add appropriate entries to ports/MOVED.

  6. Update the documentation by modifying the following:

    • the list of categories in the Porter's Handbook

    • doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/htdocs/ports. Note that these are now displayed by sub-groups, as specified in doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/htdocs/ports/categories.descriptions.

    (Note: these are in the docs, not the ports, repository). If you are not a docs committer, you will need to submit a PR for this.

  7. Only once all the above have been done, and no one is any longer reporting problems with the new ports, should the old ports be deleted from their previous locations in the repository.

It is not necessary to manually update the ports web pages to reflect the new category. This is done automatically via the change to en_US.ISO8859-1/htdocs/ports/categories and the automated rebuild of INDEX.


What do I need to do to implement a new virtual category?

This is much simpler than a physical category. You only need to modify the following:

19.8. Miscellaneous Questions

19.8.1. How do I know if my port is building correctly or not?
19.8.2. I added a new port. Do I need to add it to the INDEX?
19.8.3. Are there any other files I am not allowed to touch?
19.8.4. What is the proper procedure for updating the checksum for a port's distfile when the file changes without a version change?
19.8.5. How can an experimental test build of the ports tree (exp-run) be requested?


How do I know if my port is building correctly or not?

The packages are built multiple times each week. If a port fails, the maintainer will receive an email from

Reports for all the package builds (official, experimental, and non-regression) are aggregated at


I added a new port. Do I need to add it to the INDEX?

No. The file can either be generated by running make index, or a pre-generated version can be downloaded with make fetchindex.


Are there any other files I am not allowed to touch?

Any file directly under ports/, or any file under a subdirectory that starts with an uppercase letter (Mk/, Tools/, etc.). In particular, the Ports Management Team is very protective of ports/Mk/bsd.port*.mk so do not commit changes to those files unless you want to face their wra(i)th.


What is the proper procedure for updating the checksum for a port's distfile when the file changes without a version change?

When the checksum for a port's distfile is updated due to the author updating the file without changing the port's revision, the commit message should include a summary of the relevant diffs between the original and new distfile to ensure that the distfile has not been corrupted or maliciously altered. If the current version of the port has been in the ports tree for a while, a copy of the old distfile will usually be available on the ftp servers; otherwise the author or maintainer should be contacted to find out why the distfile has changed.


How can an experimental test build of the ports tree (exp-run) be requested?

An exp-run must be completed before patches with a significant ports impact are committed. The patch can be against the ports tree or the base system.

Full package builds will be done with the patches provided by the submitter, and the submitter is required to fix detected problems (fallout) before commit.

  1. Go to the Bugzilla new PR page.

  2. Select the product your patch is about.

  3. Fill in the bug report as normal. Remember to attach the patch.

  4. If at the top it says Show Advanced Fields click on it. It will now say Hide Advanced Fields. Many new fields will be available. If it already says Hide Advanced Fields, no need to do anything.

  5. In the Flags section, set the exp-run one to ?. As for all other fields, hovering the mouse over any field shows more details.

  6. Submit.

  7. When the Ports Management Team replies, fix the fallout. The fallout might be a bug in the original patch or other ports that need to be fixed. Both need to be addressed. Update the patch to repair all the fallout and repeat.

20. Issues Specific to Developers Who Are Not Committers

A few people who have access to the FreeBSD machines do not have commit bits. Almost all of this document will apply to these developers as well (except things specific to commits and the mailing list memberships that go with them). In particular, we recommend that you read:

21. Information About Google Analytics

As of December 12, 2012, Google Analytics was enabled on the FreeBSD Project website to collect anonymized usage statistics regarding usage of the site. The information collected is valuable to the FreeBSD Documentation Project, in order to identify various problems on the FreeBSD website.

21.1. Google Analytics General Policy

The FreeBSD Project takes visitor privacy very seriously. As such, the FreeBSD Project website honors the Do Not Track header before fetching the tracking code from Google. For more information, please see the FreeBSD Privacy Policy.

Google Analytics access is not arbitrarily allowed — access must be requested, voted on by the Documentation Engineering Team , and explicitly granted.

Requests for Google Analytics data must include a specific purpose. For example, a valid reason for requesting access would be to see the most frequently used web browsers when viewing FreeBSD web pages to ensure page rendering speeds are acceptable.

Conversely, to see what web browsers are most frequently used (without stating why) would be rejected.

All requests must include the timeframe for which the data would be required. For example, it must be explicitly stated if the requested data would be needed for a timeframe covering a span of 3 weeks, or if the request would be one-time only.

Any request for Google Analytics data without a clear, reasonable reason beneficial to the FreeBSD Project will be rejected.

21.2. Data Available Through Google Analytics

A few examples of the types of Google Analytics data available include:

  • Commonly used web browsers

  • Page load times

  • Site access by language

22. Miscellaneous Questions

22.1. Why are trivial or cosmetic changes to files on a vendor branch a bad idea?
22.2. How do I add a new file to a branch?
22.3. How do I access to put up personal or project information?
22.4. Where are the mailing list archives stored?
22.5. I would like to mentor a new committer. What process do I need to follow?


Why are trivial or cosmetic changes to files on a vendor branch a bad idea?

  • From now on, every new vendor release of that file will need to have patches merged in by hand.

  • From now on, every new vendor release of that file will need to have patches verified by hand.


How do I add a new file to a branch?

To add a file onto a branch, simply checkout or update to the branch you want to add to and then add the file using the add operation as you normally would. This works fine for the doc and ports trees. The src tree uses SVN and requires more care because of the mergeinfo properties. See the Subversion Primer for details on how to perform an MFC.


How do I access to put up personal or project information? is the same as Just create a public_html directory. Anything you place in that directory will automatically be visible under


Where are the mailing list archives stored?

The mailing lists are archived under /local/mail on


I would like to mentor a new committer. What process do I need to follow?

See the New Account Creation Procedure document on the internal pages.

23. Benefits and Perks for FreeBSD Comitters

23.1. Recognition

Recognition as a competent software engineer is the longest lasting value. In addition, getting a chance to work with some of the best people that every engineer would dream of meeting is a great perk!

23.2. FreeBSD Mall

FreeBSD committers can get a free 4-CD or DVD set at conferences from FreeBSD Mall, Inc..

23.3. IRC

In addition, developers may request a cloaked hostmask for their account on the Freenode IRC network in the form of freebsd/developer/freefall name or freebsd/developer/NickServ name. To request a cloak, send an email to with your requested hostmask and NickServ account name.


Gandi provides website hosting, cloud computing, domain registration, and X.509 certificate services.

Gandi offers an E-rate discount to all FreeBSD developers. Send mail to using your mail address, and indicate your Gandi handle.