(Free)BSD myths dispelled

FreeBSD myths dispelledAs the BSD projects (DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD) have grown in size, a number of persistent myths have grown up around them. Some of these are perpetuated by well meaning but misguided individuals, others by people pursuing their own agendas.

This page aims to dispel those myths while remaining as dispassionate as possible.

FreeBSD in 2007 – a review

2007 is over. It was a very successful year for open source software and another 12 interesting months have passed for FreeBSD. In this post I want to look back at 2007 and see how FreeBSD faired, what happened in “FreeBSD land” and how FreeBSD based operating systems have developed. This post will be a sort of summary of the messages I posted during 2007.

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We’ll be looking at:

Start of this blog

Around April last year I was toying with the idea of starting a FreeBSD related news blog with the view to raise more awareness of FreeBSD and show it’s a perfect alternative to Linux. My first post was on 17 May 2007 and since then visitor numbers have rapidly gone up and feedback from visitors indicates that there’s definitely interest in such a blog. With the continuing growth of my WordPress.com hosted blog, I wanted to get some more flexibility and the ability to install plugins and scripts. Hence my move to Bluehost/FreeBSDOS (BTW, if you’re looking for cheap and reliable webhosting, I can really recommend them).

FreeBSD in 2007

FreeBSD LogoUnfortunately 2007 didn’t see the final release of FreeBSD 7.0; just 4 beta’s and a RC1. Well, maybe not “unfortunately”, because a top-quality product is better than a rushed-out flaky one that needs to be fixed and patched soon after its release. FreeBSD 7.0 incorporates some new and exciting technologies which will put this version a-par with, if not ahead of, Linux. Exciting stuff.

The FreeBSD Foundation have issued their quarterly newsletters (Q2, Q3, Q4), keeping the world up-to-date with the latest developments and news. The Foundation received a lot of coverage online and in the blogosphere with their Absolute FreeBSD book auction and their fund raising drive. The 2007 fundraising goal was $250.000, but a total of $403,511 was achieved. Well done.

There are already a couple of Linux related magazines for sale in stores, but BSD magazines aren’t available currently. “An interesting opportunity“, Software Media LLC/LP Magazine must have thought. They will issue first issue at the beginning of Q2 2008 and will contain an article by Dru Lavigne and Jan Stedehouder (Jan used and reviewed both PC-BSD and DesktopBSD for a month in his PC-BSB: the first 30 days and DesktopBSD: the first 30 days series).

Conference-wise, the ‘normal’ BSD conferences (BSDCan, EuroBSD, MeetBSD) were held, with a new one in Turkey (BSDConTR).

Continue reading

New book: “The Best of FreeBSD Basics”

Dru Lavigne FreeBSD BasicsDru Lavigne’s popular column has been updated, improved, and compiled into a new book, The Best of FreeBSD Basics.

Dru wrote over 110 articles (over 250 web pages) documenting her (Free)BSD experiences starting in early 2000.

Being the meticulous sort, I had a journal of all of the attempts, error messages, and successes I had encountered since stumbling upon freebsd.org through an Internet search (from the book preface.)

It says ‘FreeBSD’ in the title, but I’d think everything that isn’t specifically related to FreeBSD ports applies to every BSD OS. The book is available at Amazon.com.

OSS 4.0 Released under BSD Lisence

Open Sound System OSS4Front Technologies is proud to announce the release of the source code to Open Sound System (OSS) v4.0 under the BSD license for FreeBSD and other BSD compliant operating systems.

OSS is a cross platform API that provides drivers for most consumer and professional audio devices for UNIX® and POSIX based operating systems, including Linux. Owing to its open architecture, applications developed on one supporting operating system platform can be easily recompiled on any other platform.

Full details and release notes available here.

Bounty announced for Flash9 in Opera in FreeBSD

John Kozubik has announced that he will pay $200 to anyone who succeeds in can geting Adobe Flash9 to work on FreeBSD 6.x:

… I will pay $200 to whoever can compose a working and stable recipe for running Adobe Flash 9 inside of the FreeBSD native version of Opera 9 on FreeBSD 6.x. This shouldn’t be that hard – in fact, there is already a linux-flashplugin9 port. The trouble is, even if you do convince your browser to use the plugin, it crashes frequently and generally “doesn’t work”. I think a good proof of success would be the ability to play arbitrary content on YouTube without complication, or perhaps use all of google maps / google finance without crashing.

Interested? Read further here

New life for the Dutch FreeBSD Doc Project

Remco Lodder who is responsible for the Dutch Documentation Project has been updating the handbook

Since somewhat more than a week ago I decided to give a burst of energy back to the FreeBSD Dutch Documentation project again by making the current translations up to date and submitting them towards the main project. As you could have seen there were a lot of commits because of this lately, and I also setup a personal p4 workspace for this so that I can better maintain the documentation at hand…


Als u geïnteresseerd bent in het bijdragen aan de Nederlandse vertaling van het Handboek, dan kunt u hier meer informatie vinden. Veel hoofdstukken bestaan nog niet en op een aantal plaatsen moet de vertaling bijgewerkt worden.

Help a FreeBSD committer get away (and back)

One of FreeBSD’s most active ports committers, Martin Wilke, is in desperate need of a break; away from computers and  human beings. Alaska doesn’t sound too bad a place for it. If you appreciate his work, please consider giving a donation to recharge his mental batteries and to carry on with his FreeBSD commitments in the new year.

I’m ready for a holiday. I have no motivation at the moment and it’s hard to stand up in the morning to see the pain in Germany.

I want to do a 14 day trip to Alaska, away from human civilisation. The problem is that everyone whom I told this laughed at me and they are thinking I’m mad. I am not! Anywhere you go there is tourism.

I would do it alone without wife, children and computers. Just enjoying some free time without any stress *dream*. If someone would sponsor me 2000 euro I would be very happy. The flight is about 1500 Euro for 2 weeks with about 28 hours flight time and 8600 km away from everything.

Read Martin Wilke’s complete post here.

FreeBSD 6.3-RC2 released

Apart from FreeBSD 7.0 RC1, RC2 of version 6.3 has been released too.

Sorry for the delay with this phase of the 6.3 release. A few glitches were found during testing of the 6.3-RC2 ISOs that included pre-built packages. The 6.3-RC2 builds for amd64 and i386 should now be available on the majority of the FreeBSD mirror sites. I just finished loading the sparc64 build so that will take a little while to propagate to the mirrors. This is the last planned RC for 6.3. Unless a major show-stopper problem is found the release of 6.3 should happen in about two weeks.

Release message, installation and upgrade notes can be found here.

Sun ZFS filesystem on FreeBSD

ZFS – the breakthrough file system in FreeBSD 7 (ported from Sun’s Solaris 10 Operating System) delivers virtually unlimited capacity, provable data integrity, and near-zero administration. However, FreeBSD’s sysinstall(8) does not yet support installing the system onto anything more exotic than a commonly used UFS partition scheme.

Read how to implement the solution on coolrat.org.

Back in April Pawel Jakub Dawidek created a useful a step-by-step tutorial how to install ZFS on FreeBSD.

Want to see ZFS on FreeBSD in action? Have a look at these two videos:

Video 1: FreeBSD/ZFS – compression example


Video 2: FreeBSD/ZFS – self-healing example


FreeBSD 7.0-RC1 released

FreeBSD 7.0-RC1 has been released:

“The ports team has gotten the release package sets built for most of the architectures (sparc64 is still a long way off) so we have begun including the pre-built packages on the ISOs. Even a very basic post-build test turned up one latent bug in sysinstall, and once that was fixed a more extensive test (load both kde and gnome) turned up two more latent bugs. The 7.0-RC1 builds have one of the three bugs fixed in them. The other two bugs aren’t fatal to installs on 7.0-RC1 (they were fatal to installs on 6.3-RC2) and we have more 7.0-RCs coming so I went ahead with making 7.0-RC1 available as-is.”

Read the whole release message here.

For those not too familiar with FreeBSD 7.0, have a look at these pages to see why we’re so excited about version 7.0: