FreeBSD 7.2: Awesomeness of Ports

freebsd project logo 100x100ashgtx has written up his experience of his now successfull FreeBSD installation and use of the FreeBSD ports:

The elusive *nix. Nobody knows about it yet it is one of the most widely used server operating systems. The wikipedia entry mentions it as the unknown giant of the internet. Huge internet portals like Yahoo! run on it. Why is it that no one knows about this widely used OS?

Please remember that I am no *nix guru. I have used a lot of Linux distributions (mostly Debian based) in the past two and a half years. I don’t know anything about programming but I don’t mind messing around at the command line. In fact I am a medical student whose main hobby is Linux. Weird but true.

I have tried at least three times before to get FreeBSD installed on my laptop (a three year old Think Pad R60) but failed spectacularly all three times. I didn’t like the ncurses like installation interface nor did I like the unfriendly options I had to select through. But this time I did it. OK, it’s in a Virtual Box environment but still, come on, I’ve got a working FreeBSD 7.2 install.


I like FreeBSD now. I have fell in love with Ports. Compiling from source has its own advantages as you can specify several compile time options and the compiled program is better optimized for your particular system. And it feels so damn geeky! I love it.

I’ve been running FreeBSD for more than 10 hrs now and I haven’t had a single crash other than the initial trouble with getting GNOME to work.

There are several features in FreeBSD which make it a server guy’s best friend (like jails and stuff) but this is just the beginning for me. I hope I learn more about this great operating system which has stood the test of time and M$.

I’m looking forward to a great experience from FreeBSD. Kudos to the FreeBSD team for creating Ports. :)

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FreeBSD 8.0 BETA1 Released

The first public test build of the FreeBSD 8.0-RELEASE test cycle is now available, 8.0-BETA1.  Through the next week or so more information about the release will be posted but here is the current target schedule for the other ‘major events':

  • BETA2: July 13, 2009
  • BETA3: July 20, 2009
  • RC1: July 27, 2009
  • RC2: August 17, 2009
  • RELEASE:August 31, 2009

People with the resources to do so (test machines…) are encouraged to give 8.0-BETA1 a try.  At this point it is not quite ready for production systems but mostly because there is still some ongoing work in a few areas that may cause some changes in things like ABI/API. Debugging support (WITNESS, malloc debugging, etc.) are also still turned on and those tend to cause a performance hit.  As far as we know there are no known issues that would cause data corruption or anything like that, just the issues with performance and potential for changes caused by ongoing work.  If you find problems they can be reported through the normal Gnats based PR system or posted to the mailing lists.

More details van MD5 checksums can be found on the release statement

The future release dates of FreeBSD 8.0 can be found on the BSD Calender on bsdevents.net

Released: FreeBSD 8.0 – Beta1

freebsd_logo-100x100Ken Smith announced the availability of the first beta release of FreeBSD 8.0:

“The first public test build of the FreeBSD 8.0-RELEASE test cycle is now available, 8.0-BETA1. Through the next week or so more information about the release will be posted but here is the current target schedule for the other ‘major events': BETA2 July 13, 2009; BETA3 July 20, 2009; RC1 July 27, 2009; RC2 August 17, 2009; RELEASE August 31, 2009. At this point it is not quite ready for production systems but mostly because there is still some ongoing work in a few areas that may cause some changes in things like ABI/API. Debugging supports (WITNESS, malloc debugging, etc.) are also still turned on and those tend to cause a performance hit. As far as we know there are no known issues that would cause data corruption or anything like that, just the issues with performance and potential for changes caused by ongoing work.”

Read the complete release announcement for further details.

Download:

Freebsd – Backup & restore for disaster recovery

Data are all around servers. To name a few, file server, email server, LDAP server, web server, DNS server and these are just a few essential servers that make up part of IT section of your company. ERP, CRM, financial projection system, database server, accounting & payroll system are the example of business application. Imagine, what if “some” of these data are loss. It is also worth mentioning that data is so valuable to the company, that partial loss of it might lead to breaking your business continuity !!!

Most of the company operation are depending on these data in the server to make decisions. Data in the servers have never been so important.

Server data disaster recovery planing is a vital process in system administration. It directly shows how much the system administrators understand the importance their role in the business. Reason for data loss can be classified into 2 main categories, natural disaster and man made disaster. Natural disaster that causes data loss includes flood, earthquake, fire hazard and etc. Man made disaster (aka PBKC which denodes Problem Between Keyboard and Chair) examples, hacking activities, accidental data deletion or over written and server maintenance e.g. patching, upgrades, developments, moving to a bigger size of hard disk & etc.

Disaster recovery involves planning, backup & restore. Planning will need identify which are the crucial data to backup and how frequent should it be backup. The next consideration will be what media should the data be save to. Generally, external hard disk (e.g USB) or network based storage (e.g. file server, ssh server, NAS, SAN) are the cheapest & fastest way to store the data. But if the data is to archive, it should go into media e.g. tape, CD, DVD and other optical media. Lastly, all planning and backup of the data should always test against restoration, or else why even plan to save it.

This post will concentrate on how to prepare for Server disaster recovery on a FreeBSD server.

BSDTalk 175 – Michael Dexter and BSDFund

Will Backman has uploaded BSDTalk 175 , a 23 minute interview with Michael Dexter of BSD Fund.

This is an interview with Michael Dexter about BSD Fund. They talk about the release of the BSD Fund Visa Credit Card, PCC, and various other projects.

Download as OGG | MP3

Michel Dexter has now announced the Beastie Visa Card. Every time the BSD Fund Visa is used, a small donation is made to BSD Fund to support its programs. Note, that currently the card is only available to US residents.

Announcement: Two new projects funded by the FreeBSD Foundation

The FreeBSD Foundation has announced they have accepted two project proposals!

AVR32 – 32-bit MIPS Architecture

Arnar Mar Sig has been awarded a grant to develop AVR32 support for FreeBSD. AVR32 is a 32-bit MIPS architecture targeted for low power high throughput embedded applications. The target platform is the NGW100 reference design board from Atmel.

“This work will advance the MIPS support in FreeBSD and our capabilities in building embedded applications,”

said Sam Leffler, The FreeBSD Foundation, Director.

“I’m excited to be able to work on bringing FreeBSD to another architecture and pushing it farther into the embedded market,”

said Arnar Mar Sig, FreeBSD developer.

The project will be completed by August 2009.

FreeBSD Problem Reporting System

Mark Linimon has been awarded a grant to prototype a new problem reporting system for the FreeBSD project.  This project will allow Mark to define the features, look-and-feel, and architecture of a future replacement of the project’s current GNATs based system.  Once the prototype is complete, it will be used to garner input from the FreeBSD community before a production system is implemented.

Mark holds two positions within FreeBSD: one on the Ports Management team (portmgr) and one on the Problem Report Database administration team (bugmeister). He has also written the Ports Monitoring System to correlate data from the package building cluster, the Problem Report Database, the source control repository check-ins, and other sources.

“One of the most frequently requested improvements from the FreeBSD developer community is an improved bug tracking system,”

said Mark Linimon. He also added,

“The design goals of this prototype are to incorporate such features as markedly improved workflow, better categorization, customizable email notifications, and redesigned web pages to make searching and browsing easier. Once the prototype is completed,” Mark added, “it will be circulated amongst the developer community for feedback. I am happy to have the Foundation’s support to work on this project.”

“Problem reporting software is a critical tool for getting feedback from the FreeBSD user community, recording information about defects and missing features in the system, and making our volunteer developers productive,”

said Justin Gibbs, Founder of the FreeBSD Foundation.

“Mark has used manpower and sheer will to overcome the deficiencies in the current problem reporting system, and to make it work for the project.  But our GNATs isn’t fully utilized because of missing features and a clumsy user interface. We’re very excited to help address these problems in a core piece of the FreeBSD project’s infrastructure.”

This project will be completed by the end of June.

I’m sure everybody will join me to congratulate Mark and Arnar on their successful applications. We’re looking forward to AVR32 support for FreeBSD and a new FreeBSD bug reporting system.

Setup FreeBSD Jail with ezjail

PC-BSD has the Warden GUI to install and maintain jails. Setting these up can also, and I’m sure many would prefer this way, be set up from the console.  Cyberciti.biz has published a useful and extensive guide:

How do I setup operating system-level virtualization that allows me to partition my FreeBSD-based server system into several independent mini-systems called jails.? I’d like to set one jail for mail and another for web server via 2 public IP address.

Each jail under FreeBSD virtual environment runs on the host machine with its own files, processes, user and superuser accounts. From within a jailed process, the environment is almost indistinguishable from a real system. The easiest way to set, create and modify jails is using a framework called ezjail.

Setup FreeBSD Jail with ezjail