Jordan Hubbard, co-founder of FreeBSD, talks about FreeNAS’s beginnings and its transformation to a new product — TrueNAS.
The FreeNAS project got its start way back in 2005, when Olivier Cochard-Labbé wanted to turn his old PC into a home server. There wasn’t an open source project that fit all of his needs, so he did what any self-respecting software developer would do: he sat down and wrote his own. Just like that, the software that would eventually become the world’s most popular open source software defined storage was born.
Development continued until 2009, when one of the project developers proposed moving FreeNAS to a Debian Linux based system. This move would have meant losing access to the FreeBSD community and the overall quality of its software, and FreeNAS would also lose its native ZFS support, since the ZFS On Linux project didn’t even exist at that time. iXsystems had used FreeNAS for many years and sold servers specifically made for FreeNAS, so Matt Olander, one of the iXsystems founders, reached out to Olivier and offered to take over FreeNAS development on FreeBSD. Olivier gave his blessing, and iXsystems started immediately working on FreeNAS 8. In order to modernize FreeNAS, the development team at iXsystems rewrote almost all the code and replaced the m0n0wall PHP code with a full featured, easy-to-use webGUI.