BSDTalk interview with Dru Lavigne

BSDTalk has a 28 minutes interview with Dru Lavigne.

Dru and Will  talk about her new book, The Definitive Guide to PC-BSD, and also about the new BSD Professional Certification exam.

BSDTalk 188 – Listen to the podcast: MP3 | OGG

There is now a PC-BSD Book Forum where readers can share their errata, requests for second editions, discuss book pages they found useful or which need improvement, and provide book reviews.

FreeBSD/CLANG compiler ready for testing

Currently FreeBSD uses GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) as its system compiler. Since the GCC project has moved to the GPLv3 license, the FreeBSD Project is forced to use version 4.2.1 or earlier.

However, an alternative compiler to GCC has emerged recently as a new possible candidate to become FreeBSD’s new system compiler, the BSD licensed CLANG (based on LLVM). License problems are not the only reason why developers have been working on porting this C compiler to FreeBSD, but it’s also clang’s features and performance that make it an interesting candidate.

The whole package of LLVM+clang has now reached a state that it can compile basically all of FreeBSD and a branch of FreeBSD integrating clang into it has been established.

Roman Divácký on behalf of the ClangBSD team announced this new milestone and called for testers:

“ClangBSD is a branch of FreeBSD that aims at integrating clang into FreeBSD, replacing GCC as a system compiler. Recently, we’ve achieved the state when clang can compile all of FreeBSD world on i386/amd64 platforms (including all the C++ apps we have and itself) and a bootable kernel. Thus we feel that the time has come to ask the FreeBSD community for wider testing on i386/amd64 (you sure can help with other platforms too”

At BSD Can 2010 (May 2010) Roman Divácký will do a  presentation on clang. (This event is in my FreeBSD Events & Conference Calendar). The talk aims to describe the history, current status and future possibilities of clang in FreeBSD as presented in the clangbsd branch.

I think that switching FreeBSD to Clang would be a good idea and I’m excited to see the clangbsd project is moving so fast. It would be great to see FreeBSD 9.0 or 8.x compiled with Clang, making FreeBSD GCC independent and we may see further improvements in speed.


Some Panasonic TVs running FreeBSD

Android is becoming more and more popular. It is used in mobiles/cell phones, runs e-book readers, can be found in tablet computers etc etc, but Android is not just for smartphones anymore. A Swedish company has  unveiled the first Android-based TV and there’s been an announcement recently that it will be used in TVs.

But, don’t forget about FreeBSD. There are some indications that some Panasonic TVs use FreeBSD for the firmware for some of it’s plasma televisions (series VIERA G20 , G25 and VT).

Check the license agreement:

The Software (defined below) contains a number of individual copyrighted open source software programs, such as FreeBSD. Please refer to "Software Licence" menu on Product for applicable license terms.

Some users have also noticed that a UFS file system is created on external drives when recording videos to them.

If you have more details about this, please share via the comments below. (via)

FreeBSD supported branches update

The branches supported by the FreeBSD Security Officer have been updated to reflect the EoL (end-of-life) of FreeBSD 6.3.

Users of FreeBSD 6.3 are advised to upgrade promptly to a newer release, either by downloading an updated source tree and building updates manually, or (for i386 and amd64 systems) using the FreeBSD Update utility as
described in the relevant release announcement.

I have updated my FreeBSD Events & Conference Calendar to reflect these updates.

More info about security and supported branches: FreeBSD Security

FreeBSD Foundation accepting project proposals

Love FreeBSD? Love coding, taking FreeBSD to new hights and getting paid for your work?

If this is you, why not submit a proposal to the FreeBSD Foundation?

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce we are soliciting the submission of proposals for work relating to any of the major subsystems or infrastructure within the FreeBSD operating system. Proposals will be evaluated based on desirability, technical merit and cost-effectiveness.

To find out more about the proposal process please download the application document (pdf).

Note, the deadline for submitting project proposals is March 1.

If you need some inspiration as to where you can help out, take a look at the FreeBSD Ideas page to see where FreeBSD can be improved and extended.

FreeBSD related appointments

Erwin Lansing has joined the FreeBSD Foundation board of Directors (announcement)

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Erwin Lansing has joined the Board of Directors. For those of you who haven’t met Erwin, here is his bio:

Erwin previously worked for an rapidly expanding webhosting startup and now holds a position as Network Systems Engineer at the Danish incumbent ISP, TDC. He joined the FreeBSD Ports Development Team in 2003 and has been a member of the Ports Management Team since 2005. He is mainly working on the package building cluster, creating and distributing ready-to-install binary packages of 3rd party software for FreeBSD, in addition to regression testing the integration of FreeBSD with 3rd party software projects.

Thomas Abthorpe is the new FreeBSD portmgr secretary (source)

On behalf of portmgr, I am pleased to announce that portmgr has found a new secretary: Thomas Abthorpe. Thomas has been a FreeBSD ports committer since 2007 and has made more than 1000 commits since. He has previously served on the ports-security team and is currently a member of the KDE and donation teams. He has also mentored several new ports committers over the years.

In his role as portmgr secretary, Thomas will help portmgr keep track of ongoing issues, keeps the portmgr, and other bookkeeping work like organizing votes and stay in touch with other FreeBSD teams.

AsiaBSDCon 2010 Videos

Some AsiaBSDCon 2010 videos are available on

Moving on from Debian to FreeBSD

Steven Rosenberg has written up his experience with installing, tweaking and running FreeBSD 8.0:

Dru Lavigne made me do it: I killed Debian, installed an unbootable Ubuntu, now I’m running FreeBSD 8.0 with GNOME

I was listening to Dru Lavigne’s talk on BSD for Linux users (from SCALE I believe).

I first met Dru at SCALE 8x – that was last year’s show; I didn’t go this year. I’ve just been working too much, dropped my print column last October, and I’ve been running Debian Lenny since December and haven’t been in the distro hunt and done little but complain about Xorg sucking the very soul from anybody using Intel video chips that haven’t been made in the past year or so. (I have three such laptops, and the damage done by Xorg to uptake of X-based GUI-using operating systems among those with “older” Intel video-equipped laptops must be staggeringly high.)

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New Nvidia AMD64 Beta drivers

Nvidia has made new Beta drivers available for FreeBSD AMD64:

“I am pleased to announce the release of updated NVIDIA FreeBSD beta graphics drivers that take advantage of kernel features (feature requests) added in FreeBSD 7.3 and 8.0 that enable improved NVIDIA graphics driver support for FreeBSD/i386 and initial support for FreeBSD/amd64.

FreeBSD-specific changes since 195.22:

  • fixed a bug that could result in crashes, such as kernel panics, after shutting down X on recent NVIDIA GPUs.
  • updated state tracking in the kernel-interface files (improves e.g. event delivery, see the NVIDIA feature requests link above).
  • made miscellaneous improvements (dropped GIANT dependency, etc.)

Read the full announcement and installation instructions: New Nvidia AMD64 Beta drivers

Thanks, Dave, for dropping me a note advising of the new release.