Episode 4: Interview with George Neville Neil, President of The FreeBSD Foundation

July 6, 2017


Pramod HS

George Neville-Neil is a computer scientist, software engineer, and author. He is FreeBSD Core Team Member and President of The FreeBSD Foundation.

He is the co-author (with Marshall Kirk McKusick) of the textbook The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System.

He has coded and published several pieces of open source software, including work on the FreeBSD Operating System, Precision Time Protocol daemon, Conductor, Packet Construction Set and Packet Debugger. He also specializes in building High-speed, low-latency systems for customers in the financial services sector.

For the last 10 years, Neville-Neil has served on ACM Queue’s magazine editorial board, where he developed the column Kode Vicious, which has been a regular feature in both Queue and Communications of the ACM for the last 10 years. He is also Editor in Chief at The FreeBSD Journal.

  1. Just to put all the listeners on the same page, give us a quick intro on FreeBSD OS.
  2. Your introduction to FreeBSD when was it?
    • You are a FreeBSD developer since 2000 and now you also serve as a director. What is the experience like?
  3. You were part of Yahoo at its best days. Part of its famous Paranoid Group. If I am not wrong you were in Japan. What were you working on?
    • You also became proficient in Japanese Language right ?
  4. I have few questions to ask you about FreeBSD.
    • Apple N/W stack, file storage companies and Email processing companies runs FreeBSD. FreeBSD is also used to power some of the biggest sites on the Internet. What makes FreeBSD preferable for running high performing systems?
    • When we think of Operating Systems today, its Windows, mac or linux? Why isn’t FreeBSD part of that group? Whats Other OS has done that FreeBSD did not?
    • Why FreeBSD is not used more in Academics?
    • When I hear about FreeBSD its mostly servers. I know this is not true. Buy why this assumption among engineers?
    • Do you think there are fewer number of FreeBSD experts today? I was having a chat with one of the senior engineers, he was like it is hard to find freeBSD experts?
    • With virtualization and dockers. What is the future of FreeBSD? Also
  5. Next you worked as Kernel programmer for Investments firm Hudson River Trading to speedup trading. That must be quite an experience.
    • You actually specialize in High-speed, low-latency systems for customers in the financial services sector
  6. You are the top contributor for Precision Time Control Daemon, PTP daemon. What go you involved with PTPD?
  7. You and Marshall Kirk McKusick authored two books on FreeBSD Design and implementation.
    • How was it working with McKusick? Best book on FreeBSD, Tell us more about it, how did it happen?
  8. Your are part of Editorial board of ACM’s Queue Magazine and also FreeBSD Journal. Something you enjoy.
    • Kode Vicious column you developed for ACM magazine. How did this start?
  9. Last Question, How do you keep motivated to work on open source software

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