Contributed by Katie McMillan on from the Puffy and the moose dept.
Bringing up the subject, Katie McMillan wrote in, saying
(more after the fold)
I am looking for Canadian OpenBSD contributors for a Q&A, and they haven't been easy to find. You would think that they would be, considering that the person who started the project is from Canada, but it hasn't been. Does this mean that OpenBSD is dead in Canada?
According to Theo de Raadt, we only have 4 active OpenBSD developers in Canada. Theo de Raadt and Bob Beck, both Canadian citizens and long-time OpenBSD developers, make a case that Canada isn't special with regards to OpenBSD. But that just isn't true, historically or currently.
Like all open source software projects, OpenBSD is inherently an international collaboration. Yet, a nation can still stand out in an international project, and can certainly have its history and contributions highlighted, without comparing these to the history and contributions of another country. Comparisons are not obligatory, and there's no hierarchy being created here. But a special history and contributions can nonetheless be recognized and highlighted.
It's surprising that the person who "gave birth" to OpenBSD, who is himself a Canadian citizen and has given back and benefited from Alberta's tech scene (even acquiring a degree in CS from the University of Alberta) doesn't feel that Canada is special with regards to OpenBSD. Even with holding one of the most popular international annual BSD conferences (BSDCan), according to Theo de Raadt, Canada doesn't stand out. Considering this perspective, it's not all that surprising that the project appears to have taken a nose dive in Canada over the years, according to some.
The person who runs BSDCan, Dan Langille, is himself from Canada, and the OpenBSD Foundation is based in Canada. In fact, I met Ken Westerback (member of the Board of Directors for the OpenBSD Foundation) at the last EuroBSDCon in 2022 when I introduced his presentation there. He formerly worked for St. Michael's hospital in Toronto, and was an advocate of open source technologies then.
Currently, I am a graduate researcher using OpenBSD for my thesis work at the University of Ottawa, collaborating with a national organization that is itself an open source software advocate and research facilitator, the Digital Research Alliance of Canada.
The person that created the research images is also Canadian. He's really nice, and is a specialist with cloud-init, which is helpful for my Proof of Concept. He has made some wonderful *BSD images available to researchers in Canada.
In fact, there are many more people working on the OpenBSD project in Canada than Theo de Raadt thinks, and those people may have not made themselves known to him or Bob Beck. This is a shame from multiple angles, but no blame here.
All I ask, as a Canadian, is to please not bulldoze the many important contributions Canada has made, and is still making, to the OpenBSD project. No comparisons needed.
The editors would like to add, to the initial question ('is OpenBSD in Canada dead?'), we are almost certain the answer is a resounding NO.
We would very much like to encourage Canadians and others to look into OpenBSD and get involved.
If you're Canadian and either are or would like to be involved in OpenBSD things, please leave a comment or get in touch by other means!
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