Google SoC 2010: FreeBSD Projects

Google has just announced the projects it will be funding this summer during its annual Summer of Code Event :

6 FreeBSD related Projects are included :

  • Jacub Klama : Generic DMA engine framework for FreeBSD

The aim of this project is to provide a generic, flexible framework for initiating and controlling DMA transfers using General Purpose DMA engines, found in most of embedded SoCs – along with tests and documentation. There are analogous frameworks for NetBSD (dmover(4)) and Solaris (ddi_dmae(9F)), but they are not well suited for embedded targets and don’t offer all required features.

  • Alexandre Fiveg: Ringmap Capturing Stack for High Performance Packet Capturing in FreeBSD

The ringmap project has drawn a lot of interest from several research groups. I would like to continue my work on this project in order to improve and extend the developed software for production use in the open source community. I also would like to establish contacts to other software developers and use the opportunity to take part in GSoC for further development of ringmap.

  • Volodymyr Serbinenko: Port FreeBSD to Yeeloong

Yeloong, also known as “rms laptop” is a Chinese-designed netbook based on Loongson 2F CPU. It’s popular among Free Software enthusiasts and people who want a small yet powerful netbook and don’t care about windows being available. FreeBSD could profit much from thismips relaunch. When this port is done porting to other Loongson-based device should be relatively easy.

  • Mohammed Farrag : Reduced FreeBSD kernel size for embedded devices
  • Zheng Liu: Enhance FreeBSD ext2fs to support preallocation and update ext2fs to able to read ext4 file systems

This project implement preallocation in ext2fs and update ext2fs to be able to read ext4 file systems and possibly add other functionality, such as write ext4 file systems.

  • Benjamin Fiedler: BSD-licensed Text-Processing Tools

I will write or complete BSD-licensed replacements for the tools man, diff, sdiff, and sort. The rewrite of man will be necessarily be accompanied by integrating the FreeBSD mdocml port into the system base and configuring it as a replacement for the entire groff suite of tools.

Wishing all students the best. More details to follow.

FreeBSD 8.1 Release Date: 9 July 2010

Ken Smith wrote to the freebsd-stable mailing list that FreeBSD 8.1 is scheduled to be released on 9 July 2010:

For those of you who are wondering when 8.1-RELEASE might arrive, we have discussed it and come up with the initial target schedule.
The highlights are:

Freeze		May 24th, 2010
BETA1		May 28th, 2010
RC1		June 11th, 2010
RC2		June 25th, 2010
RELEASE		July 9th, 2010

As usual, that's subject to change but it's at least our current target.

As most of you will know, PC-BSD’s release cycle is closely linked to FreeBSD’s, so we will see PC-BSD 8.1 arrive (shortly) after that date.

According to the PC-BSD 8.1 todo list, most items are  implemented, and we are always looking for testers;

The next 8-Stable PC-BSD snapshot is now available at the usual place:

This version fixes numerous issues with partitioning, switches us to using gpart for pretty much everything, and also adds the ability to delete slices / create new slices on MBR setups. It also has some enhancements to the PC-BSD boot-loader splash screen, which allows us to set a variety of boot options.

We need volunteers to test the further improved PC-BSD Installer.

The PC-BSD 8.0 installer is so good that some use it now to install FreeBSD:

So today, I need to install FreeBSD clean in a VM for testing. I thought, I am going to use the PCBSD 8 install disk because it is faster.
I am sorry, but I am a Sysinstall hater.
Thanks PC-BSD for the much faster installer. (source)

FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report (Jan – Mar 2010)

FreeBSD’s quarterly status report for 2010 Q1 is now available.

This report covers FreeBSD related projects between January and March 2010. Being the first of the four reports planned for 2010 with 46 entries, it shows a good progress of the FreeBSD Project and proves that our committers are keeping up with the latest trends in the OS development. During this period, a new minor version of FreeBSD, 7.3-RELEASE, has been released, while the release process for 8.1-RELEASE is soon to begin and is planned to be released later this summer.

Table of Contents

Google Summer of Code

  • Google Summer of Code 2010


  • Chromium web browser
  • Clang replacing GCC in the base system
  • EFI support for FreeBSD/i386
  • mfsBSD
  • Modular Congestion Control
  • NAND Flash framework for embedded FreeBSD
  • Out of Tree Toolchain
  • PC-BSD PC-SysInstall Backend
  • The tbemd branch
  • webcamd

FreeBSD Team Reports

  • FreeBSD Bugbusting Team
  • Release Engineering Team
  • The FreeBSD Foundation

Network Infrastructure

  • (Virtual) Network Stack resource cleanup
  • 802.11n support
  • Atheros AR9285 support
  • Enhancing the FreeBSD TCP Implementation
  • Experimental NFS subsystem (NFSv4)
  • ipfw and dummynet enhancements
  • net80211 rate control framework
  • TCP/UDP connection groups


  • CAM-based ATA implementation
  • Dynamic Ticks in FreeBSD
  • geom_sched
  • IPv6 without legacy IP kernel
  • Multichannel playback in HDA sound driver (snd_hda)
  • Rewrite of FreeBSD read/write path using vnode page
  • SUJ: Journaled Softupdates
  • ZFS


  • The FreeBSD German Documentation Project
  • The FreeBSD Hungarian Documentation Project

Userland Programs

  • FreeBSD port for libunwind
  • LDAP support in base system


  • FreeBSD/arm port for TI DaVinci
  • FreeBSD/ia64
  • FreeBSD/mips on D-Link DIR-320
  • FreeBSD/powerpc
  • FreeBSD/powerpc64 port
  • FreeBSD/sparc64


  • Portmaster
  • Ports Collection
  • QAT


  • BSDCan 2010 — The BSD Conference
  • meetBSD 2010 — The BSD Conference

FreeBSD status report for 2010 Q1

(Free)BSD quick news and links (week 16)

Welcome to the (Free)BSD leftovers for week 6. In this post we have a mix of news snippets, quick links, howto’s, links ’n software/package updates. Just a round up of those little things I saved up this week. Previous weeks’ roundups can be found here.

FreeBSD News

  1. FreeBSD & Google Summer of Code 2010
    FreeBSD Project is participating in Google’s Summer of Code programme for a sixth year. Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply for a grant to spend the summer improving the FreeBSD operating system! More information available on the FreeBSD Summer of code page.
    Students may now apply to participate at Before applying you may wish to discuss your project ideas on the freebsd-hackers mailing list or on the #freebsd-soc IRC channel on EFNet. Project ideas can be found at:
  2. Have you ever expressed your gratitude to a FreeBSD developer?
    You like FreeBSD and/or operating systems based on it, but have you have ever dropped that developer that maintains/implemented the feature that’s so important to you a note, saying “thank you”?
    Brandon Gooch, a system administrator at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, recently wrote the FreeBSD Foundation to express his gratitude towards FreeBSD developers in general and the recent wireless work in particular.

FreeBSD 9 developments (via):

  1. UFS journalling committed
    Jeff Roberson has committed soft-updates journalling to 9-CURRENT. It enables a small file system journal which works in combination with soft-updates to eliminate boot fsck’s. It is different from most other implementations of file system journalling in that it doesn’t journal raw blocks but sort of meta-data about meta-data
  2. GEOM disk IO scheduler framework
    A GEOM IO scheduler framework has been committed! The framework allows for multiple IO schedulers to be installed on top of GEOM providers (usually disk drives). As a consequence, potentially different schedulers can be installed on different drives. The work was done by Luigi Rizzo and Fabio Checconi.
  3. FreeBSD PowerPC 9.0 snapshot available (for testing)

FreeBSD Ports

  1. Can the current Ports directory and building of it be improved?
    “There has been some discussion lately about if and how to “revamp” the ports system to make it more usable by general users. (…) Unfortunately there has been very little feedback from users themselves – which is probably a mistake, but also – there was very little feedback from the population (not a particularily small one) that is the cross-section of users and developers. Some ideas were presented, but at the end it all started revolving around banding the gaps and smaller improvements that will, I think, be practically invisible to the end-users.”
    Ivan Voras has noted down his ideas in this post: of ports and of men.


  1. m0n0wall
    m0n0wall 1.32 is out, and it finally fixes the annoying Ethernet link state bug on ALIX boards (and others that use VIA network chips). Some more work has been done on IPv6 support, the DNS forwarder and the hardware monitor.
  2. NanoBSD
    NanoBSD on ALIX in iX 05/2010. This article  ago will appear on page 146 of ix magazine (DE) issue 05/2010

Websites / Social Media

  1. PC-BSD
    As far as i’m aware this page is not officially supported by PC-BSD  / iXsystems, but there is a Facebook PC-BSD page. There’s already quite a popular and active Facebook PC-BSD Group.
  2. iXsystems website
    As of this week iXsystems has a new website. I like the new version as it’s a lot cleaner and makes finding the right server easier. iXsystems is the corporate sponsor behind PC-BSD and FreeNAS.

Guides & Howto’s

  1. Setting up a headless torrent daemon in FreeBSD
    “I have FreeBSD running as a home server for a while now. One of the things I wanted the server to take care of is downloading torrents, so I could shut down my PC whenever I am downloading stuff. With transmission-daemon (net-p2p/transmission-daemon from ports) this is really simple.”  (
  2. Run FreeNAS in Windows for Network Serving and Sharing
    Many of the popular servers are open source and usually are more widely supported for Linux and other Unix-like systems. However, most can be run right inside Windows. This is especially great for temporary solutions or for new or amateur administrators (

(Free)BSD Events

  1. Solution Linux 2010
    Last month   “Solutions Linux” took place in Paris, one of the major professional open source events in France. Here are some pictures of the BSD booths :
  2. A new BSDA Certification session will be held in Nantes, France on 1 June 2010 at BSDay Nantes. Check the BSD Certification calendar for events near you.
  3. BSD Professional Certification Exam Update
    A short progress report on what’s happening with the BSD

New FreeBSD Committers

Over the last few weeks a few more people have been given commit rights. It’s always good to see more people join the FreeBSD project.

  1. Ports
  • Sahil Tandon
  • Rene Ladan
  • Giuseppe Pilichi
  • Bernhard Fröhlich
  1. Source Code
  • Randi Harper
  • Ryan Stone
  • Ana Kukec

BSD / Unix Family News

  1. DragonFly BSD 2.6: towards a free clustering operating system
    This article gives in introduction into the background and history of DragonFlyBSD, its HAMMER filesystem, new features etc
    “The ultimate goal of DragonFly BSD is to allow programs to run across multiple machines as if they are running on one system. The operating system is still far from that goal, but Dillon has done a great deal of rewriting in nearly every subsystem of the kernel to lay the foundations for future work. Much of the rationale behind the design goals is explained on the project’s web site. It’s an interesting read, because it shows how they want to tackle an ambitious vision with a realistic plan…” continues (
  2. DragonFly BSD 2.6.1 with new swapcache released
    DragonFly BSD, the FreeBSD fork, has been updated to version 2.6.1 and incorporates a added a number of new features whilst updating the components of the clustering oriented operating system. A new swapcache has been incorporated which allows the swap space to also retain clean filesystem data and meta-data rather than just memory. (more)
  3. Why OpenBSD’s Release Process Works
    “Twelve years ago OpenBSD developers started engineering a release process that has resulted in quality software being delivered on a consistent 6 month schedule — 25 times in a row, exactly on the date promised, and with no critical bugs. This on-time delivery process is very different from how corporations manage their product releases and much more in tune with how volunteer driven communities are supposed to function. Theo de Raadt explains in this presentation how the OpenBSD release process is managed (video) and why it has been such a success”  (via)

  4. AIX 7.1 is coming
    IBM plans to deliver the next version of the AIX® operating system, AIX 7, and new releases of PowerVM™ and PowerHA SystemMirror for AIX. These new offerings are designed to help companies reduce cost, improve service and lower the risk of deploying and migrating applications to AIX on Power® Systems.The new capabilities planned for AIX 7 are designed to expand the scalability, reliability and manageability of AIX and the applications running on AIX. Key features will provide greater vertical scalability of up to 1024 threads or 256 cores in a single partition, a clustering infrastructure designed to provide highly availability applications with PowerHA SystemMirror and to simplify management of scale-out workloads. Additional AIX 7 will include new management capabilities based on IBM Systems Director that are designed to simplify the management of AIX system configuration. Finally AIX 7 will support the ability to run AIX 5.2 inside of a Workload Partition to allow consolidation of old workloads on new systems (source & more)
  5. IBM Prunes Low-Cost AIX Rev
    IBM has radically improved the bang for the buck on its Power7-based Power Systems 701 and 702 blade servers this week, and is expected to soon deliver similarly priced entry rack and tower servers. And now it has a new, lower-cost AIX 6.1 Express Edition that will match the less expensive hardware and therefore help Big Blue’s AIX platform better compete against Windows, Linux, HP-UX, and Solaris alternatives. The new AIX Express Edition takes the special low-cost pricing that was available only on JS series blade servers and now makes it available across the Power Systems line, including logical partitions on the largest Power 595 (and before too long Power 595) servers.

Development of Chromium (Chrome) for FreeBSD

A new and alternative open source business model.

Chromium / Google Chrome

Google Chrome does not need much introduction any more, especially not to those interested in open source software. It is the best browser available. It is fast, secure, supports bookmark sync and extensions. The Chromium project is the open-source core of the Chrome Browser, and as we reported before, it is also available on FreeBSD.

As Google doesn’t create FreeBSD builds (as yet?), porting Chromium to FreeBSD has to be done by volunteers, e.g. developers is Sprewell and Ben Laurie.

Chromium is Linux based, but it is possible to get it running on FreeBSD by applying some patches. However, more work is needed to stabilise and to include it in the ports tree, which Sprewel says may happen this month.

I’d like to get the last free build 42139 into ports sometime in the coming month.  It will only take that long because I’ve never submitted to ports before, so the packaging and submission process is all new to me.

Subscription based development

Instead of asking for donations to support his work, Sprewel has recently started offering subscriptions for Chromium development. If you are interested in Chrome and want to both continue running it on FreeBSD and its future development, consider supporting the development with a subscription.

Sprewell emailed me this week about this new open source business model:

The idea is to get paid for development by developing closed-source patches on a BSD-licensed, mostly open codebase, and contracting with subscribers that they will receive those patches within a time limit from the date they got that build, in my case 1 year.  I think linux has raced ahead of BSD largely because of the support/consultingware business model they’ve used with the GPL, but I think this type of mixed, time-limited business model could vault BSD-licensed software far ahead, to the point where it could compete with fully proprietary software.

All code for a particular build will be released to subscribers under the BSD license, within 1 year of a build being released. If the development costs for a particular issue are paid off before 1 year, the patch for that feature will be opened earlier. The goal is to keep pushing code back upstream within a year

According to Sprewell there are already a few subscribers. Let’s see how this model takes off.


Introducing MaheshaBSD

Juraj Sipos contacted me earlier this week about a project he has been working on and now available for downloading: MaheshaBSD

What is MaheshaBSD

MaheshaBSD is a Live CD/DVD/USB version of FreeBSD based on FreeBSD 8.0 RELEASE (i386) with the IceWM window manager.

What does Mahesha mean or who is (s)he?

Mahesha is one of the 1008 names of Lord Shiva -‘ Supreme god’ of the universe who stands above all ‘gods’. I use this name deliberately, as I think that BSD code stands supreme above all operating systems. Shiva’s weapon is the same as the FreeBSD’s one – the trident.

Purpose of MaheshaBSD

The purpose MaheshaBSD is to bring (Free)BSD closer to those users who are scared of Unix and consider BSD harder than Linux. BSD systems are not so difficult to understand if you can recognize how control (of the world) works.

You may  ask why MaheshaBSD was created. Well, according to Juraj it is not there to compete with PC-BSD and DesktopBSD. He says:

“It has the same goal as PC-BSD or DesktopBSD – that is, to open horizons of the (Free)BSD world to users not yet familiar with (Free)BSD. The MaheshaBSD’s purpose is to bring FreeBSD closer to users but keep FreeBSD untouched. (…)

PC-BSD and DesktopBSD require at least half an hour of time for basic installation and 2 or 3 more for installation of software that users may need. Some users may spend even days learning how to configure the system.”

DesktopBSD had a live CD, but the project is dead now, and PC-BSD has a live DVD version as of version 8.0 and has had vmware images for a long time for people to test-drive it. People have been and are able to test DesktopBSD and PC-BSD.

Goals of MaheshaBSD

MaheshaBSD has four goals:

  1. It will boot from a CD or a USB stick and users may immediately start browsing the Internet with a possibility to watch youtube videos, write documents, watch films, be anonymous (TOR), or listen to music.
  2. To easily (without need for an installation) demonstrate the power of FreeBSD both on a CD and USB medium.
  3. To bring some useful system utilities to people – like TestDisk (which will recover lost partitions), PhotoRec (which will undelete files), Clamav (Antivirus), NTFS RW functionality (ntfs-3g), and many other things, too.
  4. To be modular and easy. This distribution is deliberately kept small – no distro can satisfy thousands of users’ needs

If you like to try a(nother) FreeBSD Live CD, you may want to give this one a try. I have not had a chance to try MaheshaBSD yet, so I can’t say anything about its speed, ease of use  etc, but IceWM is not for me really.

It’s good to see new BSD initiatives, but one should remember that FreeBSD’s strength (apart from technical reasons) is  in its unity of the user community and its dedicated developers. We don’t really want to end up like Linux with 1001 different ‘distros’, some of which only differ by a few included programs. Let’s see how MaheshaBSD will develop in the future.


MaheshaBSD | Screenshots | Download (hosted by RootBSD)

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)