(Free)BSD Code Commits Catch Up – Week 39

C++ FreeBSD

This is a weekly post linking to interesting updates, additions or changes in the FreeBSD code or in the code of the following FreeBSD-based flavours: PC-BSD, FreeNAS or pfSense.

If I have missed out any updates that you’re excited about, please share with us all in the comments.

pc-bsd logo 100x100PC-BSD

  • New pc-thinclient WebUI (link)
  • Beginnings of a new Life Preserver main GUI (Link)
  • Life Preserver UI updates and new icons (link1, link2)
  • Replication functionality in the tray watcher finished (link)
  • Work on PBI10 format started (incl ability to run PBIs without installing them) (link)
  • PBI10 will use LZMA compression instead of uzip (link)
  • PC-BSD 10 PBI manager receiving pkgng updates (link)

FreeBSD LogoFreeBSD

  • Import a new libcxxrt (link)
  • LSI MegaRAID Invader cards now work (link)
  • UNBOUND has replaced Bind (link)
  • FreeBSD 9.2 RELEASE (link)


  • HAST related updates (link1, link2)
  • Auditdisd updates (link)
  • Plugin updated brought back (link)

pfsense logo 100x100pfSense

Update to include GratisDNS dynDNS service (link)

OpenZFS – Communities co-operating on ZFS code and features

OpenZFS is a new community founded around open-source, cross-platform ZFS projects. 

open-zfs freebsdZFS is arguably the world’s most advanced file-system and has been in active development for over a decade. It is the popular and highly-advanced 128-bit file-system with enhanced error detection and correction capabilities designed for Solaris during the Sun Microsystems days.

Different projects have continued developing ZFS, such as illumos, FreeBSD and Oracle, but to avoid further fragmentation a number of companies and communities with an interest in ZFS have joined forces and set up OpenZFS.

Prior to the formation of OpenZFS there was little or no co-ordination [1] between the different ZFS related projects and the implementations on different operating system, but OpenZFS is to change that and to promote collaboration between cross-project developers and stakeholders.

The high-level goals of OpenZFS are:

  • to raise awareness of the quality, utility, and availability of open source implementations of ZFS
  • to encourage open communication about ongoing efforts to improve open source ZFS
  • to ensure consistent reliability, functionality, and performance of all distributions of ZFS.

OpenZFS has been founded by members of the Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and illumos communities, including Matt Ahrens, one of the two original authors of ZFS.

The OpenZFS community brings together over a hundred software developers and companies with the aim to improve and further develop ZFS. Some well known companies taking part are iXsystem, HybridCluster, Nexenta and PogoLinux.

The notion “open” in OpenZFS should to be stressed. Oracle has further developed ZFS (e.g. v35) but hasn’t made the code changes public, but the OpenZFS project will be open, share and encourage co-operation.

 “The goals of the project are to raise awareness, encourage open communication and to ensure consistent reliability, functionality and performance across multiple platforms.”

Ahrens said.

This is what Justin Gibbs, president of the FreeBSD Foundation, had to say:

freebsd_foundation 100.x100This is a cross-platform effort to ensure the continued evolution of the ZFS file system. For developers and users of FreeBSD, the formation of OpenZFS clarifies the future of ZFS support for our platform.  The FreeBSD project is now an equal partner in defining the course for ZFS. OpenZFS combines the man power of the FreeBSD, Illumos, Linux, and MacOS communities to provide a level of test coverage, feature development, documentation, and support that wasn’t possible with our separate efforts.  Most importantly, OpenZFS will improve platform interoperability and reduce fragmentation of ZFS implementations. Today is an exciting day for ZFS and the FreeBSD platform.  I encourage you to browse http://www.open-zfs.org and to get involved. You are officially invited to help make the future of OpenZFS!

Matt Ahrens will co-present with Martin Matuska a presentation on OpenZFS at the upcoming EuroBSDCon 2013: OpenZFS:  Upcoming Features and Performance Enhancements with Illumos and FreeBSD joining Forces.

All in all, this is a very welcome development in the future of ZFS.


[1] With the exception of the illumos – FreeBSD co-operation.

BSD Conference: vBSDcon, October 25 – 27, 2013

A reminder for the upcoming vBSDcon 2013 has gone out today:


“Registrations for vBSDcon 2013 remain open until October 23rd, 2013. Register now for this BSD conference scheduled to take place at the Dulles Hyatt in Herndon, VA from October 25 – 27, 2013. Registrations are being accepted at www.vbsdcon.com.

Users and developers from across the BSD communities are encouraged to attend the event intended bring together members of the BSD community for a series of roundtable discussions, educational sessions, best practice conversations, and exclusive networking opportunities. Those interested in such an opportunity to learn, experience, and meet others involved in the BSD communities should plan to attend vBSDcon 2013.

vBSDcon is proud to bring prolific speakers such as:

  • David Chisnall, a member of FreeBSD’s Core Team which is charged with deciding FreeBSD’s overall goals and directions, speaking on the migration from GCC to LLVM/CLANG within the FreeBSD project.
  • Luigi Rizzo, FreeBSD source committer and project developer for netmap, speaking on the Evolution of the Netmaps Framework.
  • Baptiste Daroussin, FreeBSD source committer and project developer for PkgNG, speaking on the topic of PkgNG.
  • Henning Brauer & Reyk Floeter, OpenBSD developers, speaking on deep packet inspection with OpenBSD and PF.
  • Scott Long, FreeBSD source committer, speaking on “Disspelling the Stigma of the “Dot-oh” Release.
  • Devin Teske, FreeBSD source committer, with “A Comprehensive Look at bsdconfig”.
  • Kris Moore, PC-BSD Director of Development, speaking on automating deployment of FreeBSD and PC-BSD systems.
  • John Hixson, of iXsystems, speaking on the topic of FreeNAS plugins.

vBSDcon is being hosted at the Dulles Hyatt in Herndon, VA making it extremely convenient for attendees who book their room at the venue. The venue is also just minutes from Dulles International Airport with regular shuttles to/from the hotel and airport terminal during the day. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided on-site by the hotel’s on premise restaurant.

The schedule includes a reception dinner at the Dulles Hyatt on the evening of October 25th provided by Verisign and a mid-conference social the following evening celebrating 20 years of FreeBSD. Space for off hours hacker lounges and doc sprints will be available in the conference facilities with complimentary wireless internet access. The BSD Certification Group will also be hosting a BSDA certification exam on Saturday evening following the completion of conference activities for the day.

All are invited to take part in this event and are encouraged to register at the vBSDcon web site at www.vbsdcon.com. Simply click the “Register now” button to begin your registration! We look forward to meeting you all there!”

BSDnow.tv Episode 002: Engineering and Powder Kegs

Allan Jude (@AllanJude) and Kris Moore (@pcbsdkris), founder of the PC-BSD project, have set up and are hosting a weekly video podcast at bsdnow.tv.

The show is dedicated to spreading the word about the BSD family of operating systems, and keeping those who are already aware up to date with the latest news and developments.

The second episode is now available. Allan and Kris discuss the following subjects:

  • 64bit time in OpenBSD
  • AESNI pipelining gets a speed boost
  • OpenBSD 5.4 Preorders
  • GCC no longer built by default on FreeBSD -CURRENT
  • Patch to update Xorg and MESA on FreeBSD
  • Interview – Glen Barber
  • Making your own binary repository
  • iXsystems hosts FreeBSD Anniversary party
  • NetBSD gets basic support for the cubieboard 1 & 2
  • Rayservers ditches Linux for BSD
  • HPN for OpenSSH 6.2
  • Call for testing: OpenSSH-6.3
  • pkgsrc gets signing support
  • FreeBSD vs. Linux: 10 points of superiority

FreeBSD Security Advisories (sendfile, ifioctl, nullfs)

software-bug-signThe FreeBSD Security Team has identified some issues in sendfile, ifioctl and nullfs, and has issued the following security advisories:

Please read the advisories and take the recommended action(s) if you’re system is affected.

Relating to security and cryptography is a post worth reading by Colin Percival, a former FreeBSD Security Officer, who wrote today about Trust/NSA/Tarsnap: Don’t trust me: I might be a spook.

iXsystems to host FreeBSD Anniversary Celebration once again

ixsystems logoiXsystems has announced the upcoming 20th Anniversary Celebration for the FreeBSD operating system. This momentous occasion will take place on Saturday, November 2nd at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco.

iXsystems®, then called “OffMyServer”, organized the FreeBSD 10th Anniversary Party (also at DNA Lounge) in 2003. In 2008, iXsystems hosted the 15th Anniversary Party as part of the biennial MeetBSD conference in Mountain View, California. We look forward to bringing the FreeBSD community together once again for this latest celebration.

Party sponsors include Google®, Netflix®, NetApp®, and the FreeBSD Foundation. No Starch Press and O’Reilly® Media are donating books to raffle off at the event. Notable FreeBSD figures will contribute words of wisdom on the past, present, and future of FreeBSD.

FreeBSD began in 1993 as a set of patches to 386BSD, a derivative of BSD UNIX®. The three coordinators, Nate Williams, Rod Grimes and Jordan Hubbard, facing a lack of support for their efforts in that project, soon decided to turn it into a complete operating system under the name “FreeBSD” with the help of a growing number of other volunteers. Walnut Creek CD-ROM (now FreeBSD Mall, a part of iXsystems), was approached and stepped up to help distribute FreeBSD and provided computer hardware and a fast internet connection to assist with development. The FreeBSD 1.0 release came out late in 1993, and this year we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of that historic event.


VeriSign Embraces Open-Source FreeBSD for Diversity

eWeek has done an interview with Burt Kaliski, CEO of Verisign. The talk about FreeBSD and the upcoming vBSDCon.

“Relying on more than one OS helps ensure the online availability and reliability of the Internet’s global DNS infrastructure, according to Verisign.

The open-source FreeBSD operating system is often in the shadow of its open-source cousin, Linux. FreeBSD is, however, a mature and stable operating system that is now quite literally at the very core foundation of what makes the Internet work. Global DNS and dot-com Top Level Domain operator VeriSign is among FreeBSD’s users and is now aiming to help advance the open-source project through new sponsorship.”

“We use both FreeBSD as well as Linux, and we do that so we have diversity across the global infrastructure that we operate,”

Burt Kaliski, CTO of VeriSign told eWEEK.

Read more


Miscellaneous FreeBSD news and links (FreeBSD, CloudSigma, DEF CON, Apple, vBSDCon)

These are a number of links to interesting news items and links you may want to check out:

FreeBSD 9.2 Feature Highlight: ZFS General Improvements

Along with the many user facing changes discussed previously, there are also a number of internal changes to ZFS that will be available with the release of FreeBSD 9.2. [freebsdnow]


FreeBSD Can Compete With Ubuntu Linux, Windows 8

The NVIDIA BSD performance is very good for OpenGL as shown in this article with a comparison of Windows 8 vs. Ubuntu 13.10 vs. FreeBSD 9.1. In fact, for some OpenGL workloads the Linux games are running faster on FreeBSD/PC-BSD 9.1 than Ubuntu!  [Phoronix]


CloudSigma’s new website

CloudSigma, which based in Zurich (Switzerland) and provide FreeBSD VPS services in Europe, has announced it has a new and more intuitive website. CloudSigma was founded to meet the growing need for a pure IaaS that places little or no restrictions on how its users deploy their computing resources.


Apple’s Operating System Guru Goes Back to His Roots

Hubbard left Apple last month to return to the world of open source UNIX, taking the chief technology officer post at a iXsystems, a company that offers servers and other data center hardware that runs FreeBSD. Apple was quite an education, and now, he wants to bring the “Apple approach” back to the open source game. [wired.com].


vBSDcon 2013 Registrations Open

In these most recent months, we have been developing the vBSDcon conference website hosted at www.vbsdcon.com.  It includes full details surrounding the schedule, agenda, and speakers for vBSDcon.  The most recent addition to the conference website is that registrations are now open!  [Announcement].

There’s also a new interview with Verisign CTO Burt Kaliski on BSDTalk (bsdtalk230).


DEF CON 21 Recap

Mike Biehn, an iXsystems employee and a veteran of DEF CON attended DEF CON 21  a few weeks ago. DEF CON 21 Recap.


 JabirOS 1.0.1 released

We’re pleased to announce new release of “The new JabirOS” after a long time! This version is based on FreeBSD 9.2-RC1. In this version , we’ve added  ”OpenBox” as default window manager and “SLiM” as default display manager. [jabirproject.org]



Michael W. Lucas’s talk about DNSSEC (about 20 mins into the video).

FreeBSD Powering Open-Source Wearable Computing: Viking OS

“Are you still clinging on to your Smartphone? Embrace the future with Viking. Smartphones are outdated.”



We have all heard of Google Glass and many geeks are eagerly waiting for the announcement when these glasses will be available to all.

You may not have heard about a software company called Brilliant Service which is based in Osaka, Japan, and has developed a new operating system dubbed Viking OS, designed for use in glasses. The company’s goal is to completely replace the cellphone.

The company calls smartphones outdated and their app development is in Objective-C, which in their eyes is “elegant, fun, and easy to program.” (PDF pamphlet)

However cool all this may sound, the most interesting fact about Viking OS (this is the current project name and will likely change in the future), and this is the reason why I post this: Viking OS is an head-mounted display (HMD) operating system for wearable computing, including smart glasses and is based on FreeBSD.

The company describes Viking OS as follows:

“Viking OS allows users to operate applications with ease by simple gestures and voice control. Users will experience stress-free AR (Augmented Reality) such as natural searching and navigating to a destination that they could not do with Smartphones. This hands-free interface will utilize information provision for active users who enjoy the outdoors and sports. The programming language for app development is Objective-C. This will invite developers world wide to participate in creating new content and user experiences for Viking OS.”

There has been some confusion, and so far Brilliant Service have not confirmed or denied whether or not Viking OS is based on BSD and in particular on FreeBSD.


I have contacted Brilliant Service and Johannes Lundberg has confirmed that Viking OS is indeed based on FreeBSD and the reasons why:

A big factor is the BSD license. We want to keep some parts proprietary and also sell our operating system bundled with hardware. However, the business model is not yet fully decided. If we are going for OEM or if we also will control the hardware.

Among the different BSD derivatives FreeBSD seemed liked the logical choice. Other companies seem to wanna put Android in their smart glasses / HMD and even try to run Android smartphone apps on a HMD. We don’t want to depend on previous technology that will provide a lesser user experience but rather re-think from scratch, create a new system with new user experiences made possible by smart glasses with gesture control.

Interestingly, Viking OS is not based on FreeBSD 9, but on FreeBSD Current:

From version 10.0 there seem to be some big changes that make it the natural choice when thinking in the long perspective. Like for example the default compiler shifting to clang/llvm. Also, we are interested in alternatives to X11 like Wayland which I think will be included in future version of FreeBSD.
We are selling a prototype of our Viking OS + hardware now but the final product is scheduled for 2016 so by then FreeBSD 10 should be stable enough I think.

Embedded below is a demo of the FreeBSD-based Viking OS in action on a head-mounted display

A prototype of the Smart Glasses “Project VIKING” is now available for purchase through BTO (build to order).
This looks certainly like an interesting product.

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots, and Some Suggestions

freenas-ixsystems-new-logoFreeNAS 9.1 has been released. We have read the blog posts, the press releases, and we probably all agree that this FreeBSD based NAS is becoming better and better with each release. FreeNAS is still ‘growing up’ and new features are added to each new version.

Since FreeNAS is still changing so much, maybe be developers can do something about the GUI side of things, i.e. the Web Interface.

The goal of FreeNAS is to simplify complex admin tasks in the underlying FreeBSD (nanobsd) base through a poin-and-click Web Interface: volumes can be created, permissions changed, data sharing turned on/off, music/video streaming set up, and most, if not all, ZFS features are included.

All this makes FreeNAS a powerful network attached system (NAS), especially if you consider it is open source and free to download, but I think the Web Interface can still do with some TLC as it can be confusing and is not always newbie friendly.

  • There are 6 menu buttons (top left) linking to “System”, “Network”, “Storage”, “Sharing”, “Services”, “Plugins” and “Jails”. In the Menu tree, under this bar, you will see the same (and more) links, unnecessary duplication. If “Account” is one of the main menus, why is this then one on the right hand top side, and not on the left with the others?
  • When you close / log out of the FreeNAS Web Interface and go back in, the menu tree is left expanded as it was left. It looks nicer if the tree was collapsed each time you open up the GUI.
  • Every time options are saved or when you cancel a screen, the whole menu tree is reloaded/refreshed, which takes about 1-2 seconds. This could be due to some settings or limitation in the Django framework, but it is annoying.
  • When you go into some of the (sub)menus and make changes, a tab gets added to the tab bar (top right), next to “Reporting” | “Settings” | “System Information”. What is the point of this? You’re not going to use your NAS GUI for hours (usually). You make the changes and come out of it. There’s no need for these shortcuts.
  • For new users of FreeNAS, it would be helpful if there was a short introduction with some step-by-step instruction on the first screen to help them set up the basic things (User, Volume, Privileges etc). Yes, there’s the FreeNAS handbook with everything set out step-by-step, but judging from questions on the FreeNAS forums I guess there are more users that don’t read through the manual than those who do.


Personally, I prefer the old FreeNAS 0.7 horizontal menu. It was, and is now in NAS4Free, easy to use and straightforward, with no duplication. The other thing I like in NAS4Free, is that you can make all changes on the opened screen, i.e. there are no pop-up windows with yet more settings. 

I appreciate a NAS GUI is not something you need every day. In an ideal world you install and set up your NAS and let it then run (headless), but there are still some areas where FreeNAS should improve to avoid confusion and duplication.



If you have no need to install or use FreeNAS, but are still interested to see what it looks like, have a look at the screenshots below (click on the pictures to magnify).

Main Screen

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Account Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


System Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Network Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Storage Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Sharing Protocols

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


FreeNAS Services

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Plugins Administration

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


FreeNAS Jails

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


System Processes (Running)

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Add Duplication Task

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


ZFS Volume Manager

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots


Add Replication (rsync) Task

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots