FreeBSD 8.0 – What to look forward to

Over the next few months new versions of the major operating systems will be released: Mac OS X v10.6 (Snow Leopard) sometime in September, Windows 7 on 22 October, and Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala), also in October.

Many post have already been written about these upcoming releases, but let’s not forget about FreeBSD. FreeBSD 7 was released on 27 February 2008 and developers have been working hard ever since, and even before, on the next major release, FreeBSD 8, which is scheduled to be released late September.

freebsd_logo-100x100FreeBSD 8 was initially intended to be a more or less evolutional release with few major changes. Remember the article “FreeBSD 8 won’t rewrite the book“? It’s now obvious that the 8.0 release will be another major release with groundbreaking changes (release notes).

The traditional code freeze was announced on 26 June to concentrate on streamlining the code and bug fixing, and less on adding new features. FreeBSD is shaping up nicely: Beta1 and Beta2 have now seen the light, and Ken Smith created the RELEN_8 branch on 3 August to prepare for the final 8.0 release. After Beta3, scheduled for 17 August, no more new features will be added to 8.0.

Developers are now working hard to make the final changes, amendments and fixes. Due to a problem with the SVN to CVS export, the release process has been a little delayed. Most jobs, tasks and issues have been solved, with a number of patches now waiting to be approved (more about the release engineering).

So what improvements and new features can we expect in FreeBSD 8? Many. The following are the ones I’m really looking forward to:

  • Jail improvements
  • DTtrace
  • Virtual IEEE 802.11 fixes & network stack virtualisation
  • superpages
  • Xen DomU support
  • stack-smashing protection
  • TTY layer rewrite
  • much improved ZFS support
  • new USB stack
  • rewritten NFS client/server introducing NFSv4
  • Improved device mmap() extensions will allow the technical implementation of a 64-bit Nvidia display driver for the amd64 platform

Apart from these new/improved features, there are many more features, stability tweaks and code improvements.

[Read more…]

FreeBSD 8.0 – New Release Date

FreeBSD 8.0 currently available as Beta 2. Most, if not all, planned items on the 8.0-to-do list have been completed, but the release process has been slightly delayed due to a problem withthe SVN -> CVS exporter when creating the stable/8 branch. Fixes  and patches for bugs and other issues are now being reviewed and implemented if accepted.

The next snapshot, BETA3, is planned for 17 August, RC1 for 31 August, RC2 for 14 Sept, with the 8.0 release for the end of September. These slightly changed dates have also been updated on the BSD Calendar (www.bsdevents.net)

Accelerating Secure Storage on FreeBSD

Intel has put together a whitepaper on Secure Storage and FreeBSD

It goes without saying that Information Security is extremely important in today’s connected world. Protecting the vast quantities of digital information stored by companies is critical to maintaining business integrity and reducing the risk related to the unintentional disclosure of private information. Storing data securely is one mechanism that can help reduce the risk of attackers gaining access to sensitive information. This paper examines some of the secure storage solutions that are available on the FreeBSD operating system and discusses options for the acceleration of processor-intense cryptographic operations.

Update: Direct link now attached. Thanks to Edmondas and Alexander Leidinger

Source: NAS, SANs and Storage Server Technologies

FreeBSD RELENG_8 created

Yesterday Ken Smith created the RLENG_8, which is required before being able to release any 8.x version at all. This is the first step that will finally lead up to BETA3, after which RC1 is planned. Beta3 also marks the end of the “liberal” ‘ok we still allow some new features if they had previously been discussed’. No more new features will be inserted when BETA3 becomes live.

Source

FreeBSD Foundation call for donations

FreeBSD foundation logoWe’re over half way through 2009, but the FreeBSD Foundation has not reached half of their 2009 fundraising goal. Justin Gibbs, founder and president of the FreeBSD Foundation, is calling on people’s generosity to support.

The Foundation is (part)funding some of the (Free)BSD conferences, sends developers to attend and funds new projects.

Justin writes:

Millions of systems run FreeBSD.  Hundreds of volunteers contribute to FreeBSD’s success.  But what is the size of FreeBSD’s user base?  This simple question is very hard to answer, but its answer is vital to the cause of promoting FreeBSD.  It is extremely difficult to convince
businesses to invest time and money to add FreeBSD support to their products based solely on vague estimates of the size of our community.
We should know – working to make FreeBSD a more widely supported platform is a task the FreeBSD Foundation has worked on since its inception.

Please help us in our fight to promote FreeBSD.  A donation to the FreeBSD Foundation helps fund our work, but it also gives us strength in numbers.  Our count of unique donors is a vital indication of the size and buying power of our community.  However, we have never broken even one thousand donors in any year.  We know in our hearts that this is a small fraction of our user base and of those who want to help expand FreeBSD’s presence.

So stand up and be counted!  Make a donation.  Encourage other FreeBSD users to donate as well.  No donation amount is too large or too small.  Just by becoming a donor you are making a powerful statement about the strength of FreeBSD!

You can make a donation by going to: http://www.freebsdfoundation.org/donate/.

To find out more about The FreeBSD Foundation, please visit http://www.freebsdfoundation.org.

KDE 4.3.0 for FreeBSD available


The KDE 4.3 Desktop

The KDE Community released today KDE 4.3 ( “Caizen”), bringing many improvements to the user experience and development platform. KDE 4.3 continues to refine the unique features brought in previous releases while bringing new innovations. With the 4.2 release aimed at the majority of end users, KDE 4.3 offers a more stable and complete product for the home and small office.

Read on for an overview of the changes in the KDE 4.3 Desktop Workspace, Application Suites and the KDE 4.3 Development Platform.

Desktop Improves Performance And Usability

The KDE Desktop Workspace provides a powerful and complete desktop experience that features excellent integration with Linux and UNIX operating systems. The key components that make up the KDE Desktop Workspace include:

  • KWin, a powerful window manager that provides modern 3D graphical effects
  • The Plasma Desktop Shell, a cutting-edge desktop and panels system that features productivity enhancements and online integration through customizable widgets
  • Dolphin, a user-friendly, network- and content-aware file manager
  • KRunner, a search and launch system for running commands and finding useful information
  • easy access to desktop and system controls through SystemSettings.

Martin Wilke has successfully ported over KDE 4.3 to FreeBSD

Links:

FreeBSD foundation newsletter – June 2009

The FreeBSD Foundation have released their quarterly update. It gives a nice overview of the projects and conferences that are funded by the Foundation.
Table of contents:
  • Letter From the President
  • 2009 Fundraising Drive
  • Dru Lavigne Helping Foundation
  • Safe Removal of Active Disk Devices
  • Wireless Mesh Support
  • Improvements to the FreeBSD TCP Stack
  • AVR32 Support
  • Problem Reporting Prototype
  • FreeBSD Powers Long Distance Wireless Link
  • DCBSDCon 2009
  • AsiaBSDCon 2009
  • Foundation at BSDCan and Developer Recognition
  • 2009 Grant and Travel Grant Recipients
  • BSDCan Spotlight
  • Financials

Read the whole issue here.

The foundation is still way away from their donation target. To support FreeBSD and the FreeBSD Foundation, why not make a donation on their website? If you ever decide to support my website, 10% of your donation will be given to the Foundation.

Since recent times, the Foundation have their own blog and twitter account.

RANCID on FreeBSD (howto)

Bruno put together a useful tutorial for setting up RANCID on FreeBSD:

RANCID is an application that allows you to track changes to network devices using a CVS tree. It will email you any changes made at scheduled intervals. You can read more about it here.

I’m going to implement RANCID on a FreeBSD box at work to track changes to my Cisco network devices. I’ve tested these directions on FreeBSD 6.3 and 7.2 and they should work on FreeBSD in general.

From the RANCID website:

RANCID monitors a router’s (or more generally a device’s) configuration, including software and hardware (cards, serial numbers, etc) and uses CVS (Concurrent Version System) or Subversion to maintain history of changes.

RANCID does this by the very simple process summarized here:

  • login to each device in the router table (router.db),
  • run various commands to get the information that will be saved,
  • cook the output; re-format, remove oscillating or incrementing data,
  • email any differences (sample) from the previous collection to a mail list,
  • and finally commit those changes to the revision control system

RANCID also includes looking glass software. It is based on Ed Kern’s looking glass which was once used for http://nitrous.digex.net/, for the old-school folks who remember it. Our version has added functions, supports cisco, juniper, and foundry and uses the login scripts that come with rancid; so it can use telnet or ssh to connect to your devices(s).Rancid currently supports Cisco routers, Juniper routers, Catalyst switches, Foundry switches, Redback NASs, ADC EZT3 muxes, MRTd (and thus likely IRRd), Alteon switches, and HP Procurve switches and a host of others.

Full howto here

Thanks Bruno for letting me know about your post.

FreeBSD Release Engineering Explained

freebsd project logo 100x100Murray Stokely has released the FreeBSD Release Engineering paper detailing the different phases of the release engineering process leading up to the actual system build as well as the actual build process and very important discussion on the future directions of development:

This paper describes the approach used by the FreeBSD release engineering team to make production quality releases of the FreeBSD Operating System. It details the methodology used for the official FreeBSD releases and describes the tools available for those interested in producing customized FreeBSD releases for corporate rollouts or commercial productization.

The development of FreeBSD is a very open process. FreeBSD is comprised of contributions from thousands of people around the world. The FreeBSD Project provides anonymous CVS[1] access to the general public so that others can have access to log messages, diffs (patches) between development branches, and other productivity enhancements that formal source code management provides. This has been a huge help in attracting more talented developers to FreeBSD. However, I think everyone would agree that chaos would soon manifest if write access was opened up to everyone on the Internet. Therefore only a “select” group of nearly 300 people are given write access to the CVS repository. These committers[5] are responsible for the bulk of FreeBSD development. An elected core-team[6] of very senior developers provides some level of direction over the project.

The rapid pace of FreeBSD development leaves little time for polishing the development system into a production quality release. To solve this dilemma, development continues on two parallel tracks. The main development branch is the HEAD or trunk of our CVS tree, known as “FreeBSD-CURRENT” or “-CURRENT” for short.

A more stable branch is maintained, known as “FreeBSD-STABLE” or “-STABLE” for short. Both branches live in a master CVS repository in California and are replicated via CVSup[2] to mirrors all over the world. FreeBSD-CURRENT[7] is the “bleeding-edge” of FreeBSD development where all new changes first enter the system. FreeBSD-STABLE is the development branch from which major releases are made. Changes go into this branch at a different pace, and with the general assumption that they have first gone into FreeBSD-CURRENT and have been thoroughly tested by our user community.

In the interim period between releases, monthly snapshots are built automatically by the FreeBSD Project build machines and made available for download fromftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/snapshots/. The widespread availability of binary release snapshots, and the tendency of our user community to keep up with -STABLE development with CVSup and “make world”[7] helps to keep FreeBSD-STABLE in a very reliable condition even before the quality assurance activities ramp up pending a major release.

Full Paper here