Kubuntu v.s. PC-BSD

Dru Lavigne has posted a short Kubuntu vs. PC-BSD comparison on her blog

I played a bit with Kubuntu this morning in preparation for the article “PC-BSD for Ubuntu Users”. It made sense to me to compare the two operating systems if they were both running the same window manager (KDE) so I wouldn’t be distracted by Gnome v.s. KDE issues. That was my first mistake….

I wanted to test on the same hardware to get an idea of performance/responsiveness (I have other PC-BSD systems in my home lab for side-by-side comparisons). So yesterday I did a fresh install of the latest snapshot of PC-BSD 1.4 (which is still in beta) on my test system. Took about 15 minutes. This morning I did a fresh install of Kubuntu 7.04 on the same system, this one took over an hour. And it was one boring install, but I digress as those who have installed both know what I mean.

With the conclusion/rant:

If I’m sounding fiesty (pun intended) it is because installing software shouldn’t be rocket science, even for new users. It’s the job of the package manager to properly handle dependencies, not the user, not even the superuser. And having software repositories spread all over *** half-acre is a lousy way to distribute software. Give me pbidir.com or freshports.org anyday.

Interview with Jeff Starkweather, Chris Buechler and Scott Ullrich

Centipede Networks has recently entered a partnership with BSD Perimeter to offer commercial support for two important free software projects, pfSense and m0n0wall.

The Free Software Magazine talked to Jeff Starkweather (CEO of Centipede Networks), Chris Buechler (BSD Perimiter’s CTO) and Scott Ullrich (Chief Architect at BSD Perimiter).

TM: Hello everybody, and thank you for answering my questions! Jeff, Chris, Scott please introduce yourselves and your companies to our readers.

JS: My name is Jeff Starkweather and I am the CEO of Centipede Networks. Centipede Networks is a dba of S4F, Inc. in Tulsa, OK, U.S.A. The company started out about 10 years ago as an ISP providing dialup access that had content filtering bundled with the service. As time progressed we branched out into products which included an internet security appliance that provides firewall, content filter and spam and virus filtering services.

CB: My name is Chris Buechler and I am the CTO of BSD Perimeter, a co-founder of the pfSense project, and a long time m0n0wall contributor. I’m not a developer on either project, but possess a deep understanding of networks and security that has enabled me to contribute heavily to both projects in project direction, testing, documentation and support.

BSD Perimeter was founded in Louisville, KY, U.S.A. by Chris Buechler and I to provide commercial backing and support for the pfSense and m0n0wall projects.

SU: My name is Scott Ullrich, and I am the Chief Architect of BSD Perimeter, the other co-founder of pfSense, and its primary developer.

Read the whole interview here

Trying out PC-BSD

Feedback from a happy PC-BSD user.

I’ve been getting that itch to go back to Unix again lately. So I went and grabbed PC-BSD, the pre-configured version of FreeBSD. I used to log a bit of time in BSD but always hated tweaking X to get it the way I liked it. This takes a lot of the work out of that and gets you going ala Linux, but without having to deal with actually having Linux when you’re done.

Anyhow, I slapped it on a laptop today (dual booting with XP of course) and I’ve been able to get all the hardware working, even the wireless card. I haven’t been digging through .conf files like this since I made a PPP dial-on-demand server out of a Pentium 75 back in high school. It feels good to be back.

Now to get started slapping apache and python and all that other good stuff on it. Programming for the web in windows just seemed wrong.

Source: richhosler.com

1.3TB FreeNAS box built & corked

FreeNASI built a 1.3TB freeNAS box a while back. I used 4 x 250GB drives in one array, and 3 x 120GB drives in the 2nd array, with an old 80GB for the freeNAS OS.

The case and IDE controller card was purchased for the project, but the PSU, mobo etc, and all the drives were stuff I had laying around.

It’s an old Gigabyte board with an AMD Athlon XP 2600+ running at 1919 MHz, plus 1.5GB of RAM (which is stupid over-powered for a freeNAS box, but hey, it was left over stuff). On the upside, the system is *never* sweating for CPU power. It’s got a built in 10/100 NIC. There’s a video card in there, but only because the thing won’t boot w/out a video card in the slot.

The OS is freeNAS 0.684b, which I’m pretty happy with. This thread isn’t about setting it up, but that’s not really hard to do. If this board would have booted off USB (which I just could NOT get it to do) the freeNAS OS would have been running of a 64MB USB flash drive I had lying about. Since the thing wouldn’t boot of USB, I threw in an 80GB drive and ran the OS off that.

Roughly 34MB of the drive is in use, lol….

Anyway. I stuffed 1.3TB of drives in there, and then created 2 separate RAID 5 arrays. The reason for that is that freeNAS can use different size drives in one array, but it’ll pick the smallest to set the stripe size with, and you end up with 7 x 120GB drives instead of 3 120′s and 4 250′s (because it pretends the 250′s are 120′s, which is a huge waste).

Read further (incl lots of pictures)

M0n0wall 1.3 BETA3 released

The third beta release of m0n0wall 1.3, a FreeBSD-based firewall, is now available for download.

From the changelog:

added voucher support to captive portal (mwiget); wireless LAN improvements; allow dashes in alias names; added hidden option to disable auto-generation of PPTP rules on WAN; fixed ATA hard disk spin down feature; ipfilter TCP window scaling bug fix; synced with changes from 1.23 branch; increased mfsroot size to 14 MB (from 13 MB); updated base system to FreeBSD 6.2-RELEASE-p6; updated PHP to 4.4.7, ipsec-tools to 0.6.7, isc-dhcpd to 3.0.5, Dnsmasq to 2.39; added kernel patch for fragment bug in ipfilter; modified kernel patch to handle ipnat+dummynet in ip_input….

Check the changelog for full details

Internet access & time slots (pre)defined with pfSense

pfSense logoHave you ever wasted too much time online? Right, so posting this on my blog imparts some selection bias to the answers to that question. But have you really wasted time to the point of not getting work done, or letting other things fall by the wayside?

We’re going to block some sites that sing their siren song to us, calling like the blue light inside the bug zapper. I’ll use four that friends have suggested.

Now, it’s simply no good to just cut off your access to these sites. The goal here is to get you back to work, not to make it so that you have to go find a way around an all-encompassing block to get your fix. So, we’re going to block access to problem sites during parts of the day when you think you ought not be accessing them.

This can now be easily done with pfSense

To implement this we need to break down the problem into two parts:

1. What do we want to block?
2. When do we want to block it?

Read the complete howto here.

FreeNAS week; 6 FreeNAS Tutorials

hddrives.jpgBack in 2006 Daily Cup of Tech had a FreeNAS week. If you’re not altogether comfortable getting FreeNAS up and running, why not have a look at FreeNAS Week series of howtos?

Have you seen the “FreeNAS, how it works” video?

FreeNAS Week – day 1: System and Skill Requirements
FreeNAS Week – day 2: Installation HowTo
FreeNAS Week – day 3: Basic Configuration
FreeNAS Week – day 4: Configuring Disks
FreeNAS Week – day 5: Windows Shares
FreeNAS Week – day 6: Setting up FTP access in FreeNAS