Netflix Is An Example Of A Great Open-Source Corporate Patron To FreeBSD

Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 5 November 2019 at 12:36 PM EST. 47 Comments
With yesterday's article about the NUMA improvements to FreeBSD's network stack made by Netflix in their quest to serve 200Gb/s encrypted video content per server, in no time the forum comments were quick to theorize whether those changes would work their way back upstream to all FreeBSD users or due to the BSD license would be held as a guarded secret by the company. Fortunately, Netflix continues to impress when it comes to their open-source contributions.

Deb Goodkin, the executive director of the FreeBSD Foundation, reached out to reaffirm that Netflix is good to the FreeBSD project. As laid out in the Netflix presentation, the network changes are either upstreamed or in the process of being reviewed for upstream acceptance. Netflix ends up upstreaming most of their changes/optimizations where it makes sense having those changes in the upstream code-base.

In fact, Netflix tracks FreeBSD-CURRENT in their data centers to have the recent FreeBSD code-base and to minimize the patches they have to carry compared to upstream. The NUMA networking optimizations are far from their first rodeo with upstream FreeBSD and their foundation while their engineers continue to speak highly of FreeBSD powering their CDN at numerous conferences.

Besides code contributions, Netflix does contribute financially to the FreeBSD Foundation and has done so since 2012. Last year they engaged at the "platinum" level with contributing more than $50,000+ USD to the foundation. So while the BSD license does afford them more liberties about what they do with their own code and that of FreeBSD, they do support upstream very well both financially and with their technical achievements. There have also been other exemplary supporters like WhatsApp's big contribution, Intel regularly contributing a lot, etc.
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