A Prediction: 2020 the year of PC-BSD on the desktop

kde_logo_3d_by_ilnannyLuke Wolf, a developer of KDE, foreshadows the future of PC-BSD as being a dominant open-source platform within 5 years. He mentions its offerings as a desktop system, compared with the Linux desktop share.

I am going to make a prediction right now that FreeBSD is going to take off in a big way on or before 2020, perhaps even to the point where it threatens Linux Desktop share.
This is of course a bold claim, however before you automatically dismiss me, consider this: where was LLVM/CLang 5 years ago? Now today it’s almost a foregone conclusion that it’s the future, to the point where RMS thinks there’s a conspiracy against GNU by the LLVM folks.

Alright so change happens and those we might consider untouchable can in fact be dethroned. Hasn’t FreeBSD had more than enough chance that it’s unlikely for the status quo to be disrupted though? I would agree, but for two things: PC-BSD, and the KMS linux-shim.

First off what is this KMS shim? It’s an adapter between a BSD kernel and the linux Kernel Mode Setting drivers, this is important because instead of having to port the Intel and AMD drivers over to how a BSD thinks they should be written, they will be able to just take the drivers as they are, thus reducing maintenance burden and allowing BSDs to have up to date graphics drivers (as opposed to the current state of being at ~ Linux 3.8 equivalence). As someone who uses all-AMD hardware this is kind of important, but this will more or less permanently solve the graphics hardware compatibility issue.

Now with the hardware compatibility issues out of the way, what is so special about PC-BSD?

The answer is that unlike Linux distributions, it’s not stagnant, and it’s truly focused on being a desktop offering. Consider this: In the past 10 years has the distribution you run changed significantly in what it offers over other distributions? I think you’ll find the answer is largely no. I do have to give a shout out to openSUSE for the OBS, but otherwise I’ve used my desktop in the same exact way that I have always used it within the continuity of distribution X,Y, or Z since I started using them. Distributions simply aren’t focused on desktop features, they’re leaving it up to the DEs to do so.

PC-BSD on the other hand in fitting with the BSD mindset of holistic solutions is focused on developing desktop features and is moving rapidly to implement them. Check out http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/PC-BSD%C2%AE_Roadmap for a feel of their direction.

Already PC-BSD sets itself apart with power-user features like being able to easily install a package with it’s dependencies into a jail, integration with FreeNAS using ZFS as a backup solution, and 100% OS encryption, as well as niceties such as utilizing a Solaris idea called Bootable Environments where updates don’t touch the running system instead it creates a new snapshot and installs the updates there, and you boot into this new snapshot the next time you reboot, with capability to go back to an older snapshot in case an update borked your system but also preventing say KDE Applications from stopping running after you ran an update that touched the KDE version number (In theory openSUSE should be able to modify Snapper to do something similar as an option). Quite frankly, to me this is a breath of fresh air.

PC-BSD’s offering is only going to become stronger as time goes on, while I fear Linux desktop distros in 5 years will be much the same as they are now. The development of Really Neat Features ™ on top of the advantages that FreeBSD itself provides (better documentation, source and binaries as first class citizens, etc…) has convinced me that I should switch to it when my hardware is finally adequately supported (FreeBSD 11?), but what about other people? The FreeBSD and PC-BSD crowds are actually working on that problem, raising awareness at conventions and on the internet, thus doing the much needed footwork to effect a change.

With a large enough desktop feature gap, and appropriate marketing I have a strong feeling that PC-BSD will pose a serious threat to Linux desktop distributions within the next 5 years, what happens then? Who knows?

if you want to try out PC-BSD it’s available here http://www.pcbsd.org/ In my opinion they’re still in a relatively rough state right now, and here there be dragons and all that, but with enough polish it’s going to become a real gem.

Original post: http://lukewolf.blogspot.com/2015/02/a-prediction-2020-year-of-pc-bsd-on.html

13th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies

FAST ’15, also known as File and Storage Technologies, is currently here at Santa Clara, CA. Kirk McKusick will be giving a keynote presentation on BSD.


Join us in Santa Clara, CA, February 16–19, 2015, for the 13th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies. FAST ’15 brings together storage-system researchers and practitioners to explore new directions in the design, implementation, evaluation, and deployment of storage systems.

The FAST ’15 Keynote Address, “A Brief History of the BSD Fast Filesystem,” will be given by Dr. Marshall Kirk McKusick. The 3-day technical sessions program also includes Work-in-Progress (WiP) reports; two Poster sessions; the SNIA Industry Track, and 28 refereed paper presentations, on topics including:

  • Scaling for Future Systems
  • Big Systems
  • Write-Optimized File Systems
  • Benchmarking and Workloads
  • Mobile and Social-Networking Systems

FAST ’15 also offers in-depth training in the latest techniques, effective tools, and best strategies. The four half-day sessions will focus on software-defined storage, cluster-based parallel storage system technologies, flash memory, and Hadoop. Check out the full training program and register soon to guarantee your first choice—seating is limited.

Find out more here: https://www.usenix.org/conference/fast15

Getting to know the pkg audit command on PC-BSD and FreeBSD

This guide by linuxbsdos will help you get familiar with the pkg audit command available on PC-BSD and FreeBSD.

pkg auditIf you’re new to FreeBSD and PC-BSD, you might not yet be aware of all their package manager’s many commands. Nobody expects you to, at least not initially.

Pkg is that package manager and one of the its many commands I think you should get to know asap is the audit command. It’s used to audit installed packages against known vulnerabilities. I could be wrong, but I don’t think your favorite Linux distribution’s package manager has an equivalent command.

The command is very simple. Just pass the -F flag to pkg audit and it will output installed packages with outstanding vulnerabilities. By running pkg audit -F on a fresh installation of PC-BSD 10.1 KDE, for example, it reported the following vulnerable packages.

Full article: http://www.linuxbsdos.com/2015/02/08/getting-to-know-the-pkg-audit-command-on-pc-bsd-and-freebsd/

How To Install and Configure OSSEC on FreeBSD 10.1

This tutorial by finid shows us how to get OSSEC running on FreeSBD 10.1.

ossec-hidsOSSEC is an open source, host-based intrusion detection system (HIDS) that performs log analysis, integrity checking, Windows registry monitoring, rootkit detection, time-based alerting, and active response.

It’s one of the most important security applications you could install on your server and it can be used to monitor one machine or thousands in a client/server or agent/server fashion. If properly configured, OSSEC can give you a view into what’s happening on your server via email alerts to any number of configured email addresses.

This tutorial will show you how to install and configure OSSEC to monitor a DigitalOcean Droplet running FreeBSD 10.1. In addition to OSSEC’s default rulesets for user access and integrity checking, we will configure additional rules so that if a file is modified or added to the system, OSSEC will notify you by email.

Full tutorial: https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-install-and-configure-ossec-on-freebsd-10-1

[FreeBSD] How to Install FreeBSD OS, Step by step guide using a virtual machine

This guide by InfySim shows us how to get FreeBSD set up in a virtual machine.

Take a deep breathe and be sure that you have at least an hour of time.
We have to go a long way towards an important step.

Before going into any administration or any driver development guide, you must know how to install FreeBSD and configure it.

Just to stay in the safe side I will take the help of Virtualization software to install the FreeBSD OS.

So here goes the details about what all things you have to be with you before we start:
1.) FreeBSD OS ISO image or a DVD containing the bootable FreeBSD OS.
2.) A virtualization software
3.) A Host PC
4.) Enough time and confidence

View the full tutorial: http://www.infysim.org/2015/02/how-to-install-freebsd-os-step-by-step-guide-using-a-virtual-machine.html

Fed up with systemd and Linux? Why not try PC-BSD?

The folks at iTWire spoke to PC-BSD developer Kris Moore about his project and what Linux users can expect from it.

With the growing adoption of systemd, dissatisfaction with Linux has reached proportions not seen in recent years, to the extent that people have started talking of switching to FreeBSD.

Talk is all very well as a means of making a threat, but how difficult is it to actually make the move? Has Linux moved so far ahead that switching systems will mean one has to do without many applications that one has gotten used to?

iTWire spoke to Kris Moore, one of those deeply involved with the PC-BSD project. Moore also works with iXsystems, a company that sells hardware loaded with FreeBSD and PC-BSD.

Moore said initially there should be an understanding of what PC-BSD actually was. “First of all, I’m going to reference PC-BSD a lot here, but you need to understand that PC-BSD isn’t a fork per se, it’s just vanilla FreeBSD kernel/world with some unique installation options and a slew of graphical or command-line utilities to make FreeBSD on the desktop ‘easy’,” he said.

Full article: http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/open-source/66900-fed-up-with-systemd-and-linux

BSDNow.TV – Episode 075: From the Foundation (Part 1)

This week on the show, we’ll be starting a two-part series detailing the activities of various BSD foundations. Ed Maste from the FreeBSD foundation will be joining us this time, and we’ll talk about what all they’ve been up to lately. All this week’s news and answers to viewer-submitted questions, coming up on BSD Now – the place to B.. SD.


FreeBSD Unix Show Mounted File Systems

This tutorial by shows us how to show mounted file systems in FreeBSD.

I recently switched from MS-Windows server to a FreeBSD Unix server. How can I see list of mounted file systems on a FreeBSD based Unix server using command line options?

Tutorial details
Difficulty Easy (rss)
Root privileges No
Requirements FreeBSD
Estimated completion time 1m

The command to view mounted files systems, to mount or add any local devices such USB,DVD/CD or remote file systems such asNFS, SAMBA shares or files is the mount command on a FreeBSD operating systems.

How can I list mounted local and remote file systems?

This will list mounted remote and local file systems, run:
$ mount
Sample outputs:

/dev/ada0p2 on / (ufs, local, journaled soft-updates)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, multilabel) on /mnt/nfs (nfs)

The first field displays the special device such as /dev/ada0p2 or remote file system such as mounted on second field. The second field is the mount point for the file system displayed in the first field. Adding the -v flag will add IDs too:
$ mount -v

Check out the full tutorial: http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/freebsd-unix-show-mounted-file-systems/

[FreeBSD-Announce] Changes to the FreeBSD Support Model


Changes to the FreeBSD Support Model

Over the past several months, the teams responsible for supporting the
FreeBSD operating system discussed the current support model, and how
that model can be improved to provide better support for FreeBSD users
and consumers.

The changes below greatly improve FreeBSD support, reduce turnaround time
for Errata Notices and Security Advisories, provide consistency between
binary package sets and the underlying FreeBSD base system version, and
reduce the amount of time before new features are included in the official
FreeBSD binary package sets.

Changes Proposed in a New FreeBSD Support Model

The proposed changes include:

– Moving from a point release-based support model to a set of releases
from a branch with a guaranteed support lifetime.

– Resolving our arbitrary (and unofficial) 5-year branch lifetime
guarantee. The support policy is that the stable/X branch will be
supported for 5 years (minimum) from the point X.0-RELEASE is released.
We now guarantee a 5-year lifetime on the branch, regardless of how many
releases are built from the branch. Additionally, a “last minute”
release from the stable/X branch does not constitute expanding the support
lifetime for the branch as a whole for an additional two years.

– The Security Officer or Ports Management Team may extend support for any
individual numbered release or branch at their discretion, in
exceptional cases.

– A new stable/ branch release will not occur before two years after the
X.0-RELEASE from the prior branch. This limits the number of
simultaneous supported branches, which will greatly reduce the overall
number of branches that must be maintained and build-tested for
Security Advisories and Errata Notices, reducing turnaround time.

– Each new release from the stable/X branch deprecates the previous
release on the branch, providing a three-month window within which
consumers are urged to upgrade to the latest release. During this
three-month window, Security Advisories and Errata Notices will still
be issued for the previous release, as necessary.

Full announcement: https://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-announce/2015-February/001624.html