FreeBSD Project iPhone app

Edwin Groothuis created a FreeBSD  iPhone app that provides general information about FreeBSD, news, upcoming events, videos from YouTube (BSD conference) and so on. May be useful if you have an iPhone.

But the FreeBSD community is larger than just a map of the committers. There is a Newsflash on the website so you can see what is happening inside the project, there is a list of events related to (Free)BSD on the website, there is of course Planet FreeBSD, an aggregator of the various blogs of people related to the FreeBSD Project and there are videos of conferences on YouTube.

Put all together in a small app which collects all that data and presents it to the person holding the iPhone et voila, the FreeBSD Project app is here. (source)

Personally I don’t like the iPhone (concept), and I’m looking forward to a Android alternative ;-)

FreeBSD 8.1 ports feature freeze starting soon

In preparation for 8.1-RELEASE, the ports tree will be in feature freeze after release candidate 1 (RC1) is released, currently planned for June 11.

If you have any commits with high impact planned, get them in the tree before then and if they require an experimental build, have a request for one in portmgr@ hands within the next few days.

Note that this again will be a feature freeze and not a full freeze. Normal upgrade, new ports, and changes that only affect other branches will be allowed without prior approval but with the extra Feature safe: yes tag
in the commit message. Any commit that is sweeping, i.e. touches a large number of ports, infrastructural changes, commits to ports with unusually high number of dependencies, and any other commit that requires the
rebuilding of many packages will not be allowed without prior explicit approval from portmgr@ after that date.


LLVM Clang integrated into FreeBSD 9-CURRENT

LLVM  Clang, a BSD licenced compiler, is an alternative base compiler, with the general intention of it becoming the official FreeBSD base compiler.

On June 9th, we are importing clang/LLVM into FreeBSD HEAD. We are going to import clang/LLVM sources and put those into contrib/llvm (~45MB) and the build infrastructure for it (lib/clang and usr.bin/clang). There’s also a small patch to hook it into the build.

LLVM Clang will bring some great benefits

More over LLVM Clang on FreeBSD can be heard in an interview with Roman Divácký and Ed Schouten at BSD Can 2010: BSD Talk 191.

FreeBSD Foundation announces jail based virtualization project

The FreeBSD Foundation has selected another project for funding: FreeBSD Jail based virtualisation project, to be undertaken by Bjoern A. Zeeb:

“We are pleased to announce that Bjoern A. Zeeb has been awarded a grant to improve FreeBSD’s jail based virtualization infrastructure and to continue to work on the virtual network stack. His employer, CK Software GmbH is matching the Foundation’s funding with hours.

FreeBSD has been well known for its jail based virtualization during the last decade. With the import of the virtual network stack, FreeBSD’s operating system level virtualization has reached a new level.

This project includes cleanup of two years of import work and development and, more notably, brings the infrastructure for a network stack teardown. Cleanly shutting down a network stack in FreeBSD will be the major challenge in the virtualization area to get the new feature to production ready quality for the 9.x release lifecycle.

Further, the project includes generalization of the virtual network stack framework, factoring out common code. This will provide an infrastructure and will ease virtualization of further subsystems like SYSV/Posix IPC with minimal overhead. All further virtualized subsystems will immediately benefit from shared debugging facilities, an essential
feature for early adopters of the new technology.

“Improved jail based virtualization support, that continues to be very lightweight and as easily manageable as classic jails, will be a killer feature for the next few years,”

said Bjoern A. Zeeb, FreeBSD developer. He also added,

“It will allow people to partition their FreeBSD server, run simulations without racks of hardware, or provide thousands of virtual instances in hosting environments fairly easy and efficiently. While this follows the trend of green computing, it also adds to FreeBSD’s virtualization portfolio with Xen or other more heavyweight hypervisor support, which can be mixed with jails as needed.”

While work in this area will have to continue, the funding for this project will end mid-July 2010.”

I wish Bjoern all the best and hopefully we can try and use his work in FreeBSD 9.

If you want to see the FreeBSD Foundation support and fund more of these sort of projects, you can help them by donating to the Foundation (I’m not affiliated to the Foundation)

I’m a BSD

Rick Jelliffe has written up his experience of installing FreeBSD and tweaking it so he could use it for every day use instead of Windows, Linux or Solaris: “I’m a BSD

This is her verdict:

But so far I am really enjoying it. BSD feels like UNIX, a welcome change from Linux. It seems much snappier than Windows. It doesn’t waste its resources on the zillion pre-loading applications, virus-checkers, etc. that bog Windows systems down. Nor does it have the dumb Windows roaming system enabled by default (my Windows PC would take over 2 hours to restart, recently, because of so-called “Roaming”: it actually prevented roaming!) KDE4 is pretty and seems to work well. The hardware and networking just work. The package system works well. There seem to be up-to-date versions of most applications.

I will be interested to see how well the OS update system works (that was something that killed off Mandriva Community Edition for me, after several years of happy use.) FreeBSD has avoided the issues that I had with earlier versions of Mandriva Linux, Sabayon Linux, Mint Linux and OpenSolaris. However, each of them have a much better out-of-the-box configuration, particularly for the applications I use most: Firefox, Thunderbird, Java and OpenOffice.

So I would see FreeBSD as being useful where you needed to use BSD servers for security, and wanted a SOE that would use the same support staff skills. If you don’t have BSD or UNIX skills on tap, or don’t have security requirements, you may find Linux a better choice: as I wrote at the head, I probably would be better off with a derivative BSD distribution aimed at the desktop, like PC-BSD.

My reason for trying it, is first frustration with Windows (roaming, etc), second a desire for better performance, third I have lost patience with having to run virus checkers (and pay for them) for security which should be part of the base product, fourth just for interest, and fifth because I whinge in this blog a lot about technologies driven by the corporate agendas of vendors rather than by user requirements, and FreeBSD seems unattached to vendors (it has had a lot of funding from DARPA.)

Anyway, I have a workable system on which I can do my normal jobs. But I estimate it will be taking about 3 working days to get it OK. Much of that time is not actual time: when loading from the disks I could attend to other work, of course. I don’t know if O’Reilly have a Missing Manual for FreeBSD, but it would have come in very handy. And I certainly have not worked on a BSD system that had package management like this, so there is a bit of learning there, which is OK. I am pretty excited by it, actually.

FreeBSD has so much that inspires confidence, and it is pretty, robust and secure too, with more than a smattering of convenience: all the right stuff.

Read Rick’s full post: I’m a BSD

Interesting FreeBSD related projects: FreeWDE, mfsBSD and easyBSD

Every now and then when browsing the web and hopping from one link to another you sometimes come across some interesting little projects. Recently I’ve found the following three that I want to share with you:

FreeWDE –

FreeWDE is a “minimal install” FreeBSD image that you can write to a USB stick or SD-card. When booted from, FreeWDE will ask some questions and then create an AES-256 encrypted partition on the same device. It will then copy the operating system there. You call tell FreeWDE to additionally install an unencrypted FAT32 (Windows) partition which will make a USB stick or SD-card seem like a normal storage device to Windows or Mac machines. It can hold your camera’s pictures or be used for files that you want to move in and out of an offline encrypted system. You can set sizes for all these partitions as well as for the encrypted swap. You can also opt to mount /tmp and /var/log as tmpfs ramdisks.


This is a set of scripts that generates a bootable image (and/or ISO file), that creates a working minimal installation of FreeBSD.


EasyBSD is a FreeBSD Post Installation script. Now I can imagine you are asking yourself, ‘What does that mean?’ EasyBSD is a modular automation script designed to assist in the extensive post installation process that is required in FreeBSD. The following are modules that are included with EasyBSD, Checks, Update, Security, Networking, Firewall, Recommended Ports, Tips and Tweaks, Daemon, and Universe.

Are you aware of, or are you working on anything FreeBSD related that you want to share with the BSD Community? Why not announce it on this site?

FreeBSD 7.2 EoL coming soon

On June 30th, FreeBSD 7.2 will reach its End of Life and will no longer be supported by the FreeBSD Security Team. Users of this release are strongly encouraged to upgrade to FreeBSD 7.3 before that date; FreeBSD 7.3 will be supported until the end of March 2012. Please note that since FreeBSD 7.1 has been designated for ‘Extended’ support, it will continue to be supported until the end of January 2011, i.e., FreeBSD 7.1 will be supported longer than FreeBSD 7.2.

The End of Life date for FreeBSD 7.2 was originally announced as May 31, but was delayed by one month in accordance with Security Team policy in order to allow a 3 month window between the release of FreeBSD 7.3 and the End of Life of FreeBSD 7.2 to allow time for systems to be upgraded.

The freebsd-update(8) utility can be used to upgrade i386 and amd64 systems from 7.2-RELEASE (or 7.2-RELEASE-pX for some X) to 7.3-RELEASE using binary updates (i.e., without compiling from source) as described in the 7.3-RELEASE announcement; given an adequate internet connection, this process usually takes 15 minutes or less.

More: FreeBSD 7.2 EoL coming soon

Download FreeBSD 8.1 BETA1

FreeBSD 8.1 BETA1 is available for downloading on (most of) the mirrors, as mentioned on the FreeBSD Stable Mailinglist:

The first of the test builds for the FreeBSD 8.1 release cycle is now available for amd64, i386, ia64, powerpc, pc98, and sparc64 architectures. Files suitable for creating installation media or doing FTP based installs through the network should be on most of the FreeBSD mirror sites by now.

For those who cannot wait, this is the link:

You can change the link to a mirror closer to you by adding your country code, e.g. etc etc

FreeBSD Google SoC Projects started

The FreeBSD Project  received many applications from students  wanting to participate in Google’s Summer of Code program. This year 18 student proposals to work with the FreeBSD Project were accepted as part of this program.

For those with projects that were not accepted this year, the FreeBSD Project is always willing to help mentor students so they can learn more about operating system development through our normal community mailing lists and development forums. The FreeBSD Foundation can also be approached for project funding.

Read the official announcement (FreeBSD GSoC) for more information. The complete list of student projects selected for funding can be found in the FreeBSD Summer of Code wiki.

  • May 24: Start of coding
  • July 12-16: Mid-term Evaluations
  • August 9: End of coding
  • August 16-20: Final Evaluations

(FreeBSD Events Calendar)