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Crippling server 'leccy bill risks sinking OpenBSD Foundation

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The project behind OpenBSD risks going dark after receiving a crippling server electricity bill which it needs help to pay off.

The OpenBSD Foundation has revealed it needs to stump up $20,000 in the second appeal for help it has issued since December. It seems the first appeal didn't net it enough to settle the bill in full.

The Foundation wants somebody to not only pay the bill but also to permanently take on the cost of running its servers – otherwise it risks going out of business.

“OpenBSD will shut down if we do not have the funding to keep the lights on,” OpenBSD developer Bob Beck said in an email to OpenBSD followers on January 14.

“We are looking at a significant short fall for the upcoming year – meaning the project won’t be able to cover 20 thousand dollars in electrical expenses before being able to use money for other things. That sort of situation is not sustainable,” Beck wrote.

The servers are used to develop OpenBSD, with the Foundation has largely been funded through the voluntary contributions until now.

OpenBSD project coordinator Theo de Raadt said, in his first warning of the looming fiscal crisis on 2 December, that OpenBSD had appealed for a Canadian company to permanently “take on” their electrical expenses.

The OpenBSD Foundation is based in Canada, and, according to de Raadt, “a number of logistical reasons prevent us moving the machines to another location which might offer space/power for free.”

De Raadt shied away from saying how much the Foundation owed back then, but with little or no money forthcoming Beck named the figure on January 14.

OpenBSD is widely used in firewall, other edge servers, email, DNS and intrusion detection servers because it’s considered extremely secure. OpenBSD is included in a number of popular third-party packages that include SQL Lite, BIND, Sendmail and the Lynx web browser. ®

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