I was perusing some not-too-recent-nor-old messages on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list when I entered a thread based on an interest in the subject—OpenBSD Project—where after reading the original message I would have normally passed on the rest but fortuitously didn't, and was pleased to read a contribution that reminded me of one of OpenBSD's most compelling merits:
"If your choice of operating system depends on any kind of formalities rather than on technical quality, OpenBSD is not the project you are looking for."
The entire message deserves a read but this key point made by author Ingo Schwarze—an OpenBSD developer—underscores the driving force behind the OpenBSD operating system and all that goes into the development of this free product—the developers, their ideals, ideas, goals, their innovation, and the resultant ethos and objectivity that coalesced into the OpenBSD community. The kind of view that doesn't extenuate technical problems for the sake of convenience or subjective rationalisations, and places the pursuit of quantifiable technical quality at its forefront. Twenty five years ago, I wouldn't have thought it noteworthy that a software development project prioritises technical correctness over any other. It's like the Unix philosophy of doing one thing and doing it well has universal utility; such that a spanner is used for one thing, and a hammer another. While a Leatherman can be generally useful for minor fixes, for any real work, a tradesman is going to use a variety of specialised tools—each designed to do a specific job. And just like I don't look to athletes for role models, I don't expect operating systems, nor developer cohorts, to fix the planet; but I will expect and appreciate prioritising clean code and correctness—technical solutions to technical problems, based on technical merit. By what other metric should a product be measured but by the merit of its applicability to the purpose its intended to accomplish? And a development project that rates user experience, security, openness, and performant and punctual reliability, coheres with my idea of good software—and what I think the software development tool is designed to do: produce good software. And given that, in my and most every other use case, my and most every other piece of software runs on top of the operating system, it's critically important that technical excellence is the goal. Such as the words of the post that inspired this one conveyed, and which evince the qualities I desire in every tool that I use, and was further exemplified by Theo de Raadt—the founder of OpenBSD—in his reponse to the thread:
"People who care about anything besides our results have make [sic] an incorrect assessment of which kind of farm animal they are."
Knowing that the impetus behind OpenBSD is delivering results through good, clean, correct, and secure code, is the reason I #RUNBSD—what about you?