Support the FreeBSD Foundation (& FreeBSD)

FreeBSD Foundation is a non-profit organisation supporting the FreeBSD Project by part-funding some BSD conferences, by giving traveling grants to FreeBSD developers so they can go to conferences, by paying some developers etc etc.

The Foundation is some $33.000 off their 2008 goal ($300,000), so if you want to show your appreciation of the work the Foundation and the Project have done so far, why not donate in order to support their work and help fund future progress?

Tomorrow, 31/12 is the last day you can do this in 2008…

Evoke (formerly D*mnSmallBSD)

It’s been quiet around D*mnSmallBSD the last 12 months. Progress is slow as it’s only a small project and there has been a leadership change.

The project has moved their website to Google Code and changed it’s name to Evoke on request of the D*mn Small Linux team who said there was confusion amongst their users who thought the 2 projects were related.

There were some reasons for choosing for Evoke:

  • It has a ‘blank’ connotation. D*mnSmallBSD has a connotation of small size over everything, or worse, a connotation that we are exactly the same as D*mnSmallLinux, except for BSD.
  • It deliberately lacks the ‘BSD’ postfix. This is due to the fact that from a technical standpoint, we are not bound to a BSD kernel. Given infinite resources we could be using NT as our primary kernel, along with Linux, FreeBSD, and Darwin…
  • It also lacks a ‘OS’ postfix, common to a lot of systems. This is done purely for aesthetics.
  • There is a low number of syllables, making it easy to remember.
  • It’s different.

Evoke is a small (50mb or less) live FreeBSD environment geared toward developers and system administrators, but we also include applications that the average user may find handy.

Our goal is to be able to run on older hardware, as well as modern machines, while providing a responsive system. We support both SMP and uniprocessor machines.

Dylan is putting a quite some thought in how to build and develop Evoke. For instance:

sysconfig

Conventionally, most UNIX’s store their configuration information in the /etc directory on the root filesystem. This has numerous downsides:

  • The system configuration is accessed like a conventional root filesystem, meaning that if the disk drive fails, or the controller/bridge, the system configuration is unusable.
  • There is little to no redundancy, and rarely will you be able to recover from obvious consistency problems. As well, there’s no way of rolling back to a previous version.
  • The system configuration info is almost always required to exist on the same filesystem as the boot system. This means that you have to implement hacks such as unionfs to have a running system from a read-only root, for files that are normally modified, such as /etc/resolv.conf, or /etc/mtab on SYSV systems.

userconfig

Originally, sysconfig was going to extract everything, and to have more then one user, you would have more then one sysconfig partition. However, I realized that this was adding unnecessary inflexibility, and user’s may wish to have multiple ‘users’, which they can log in as at will.

What do you think of these changes? Should this be considered by the FreeBSD devs, or should sysconfig be left as it is? Please leave your feedback below in the comments.

Hopefully I’ll have some more info on the project and it’s progress over the next few days.

Most reliable hosting companies – November 2008

Guess what operating system the number 1 on Netcraft’s most reliable hosting companies (November 2008) runs. No, guess what operating system the number 1 and 2 use…

Correct, FreeBSD ;-)

… the top two by average connection time (DataPipe and Aplus.net) both use FreeBSD to run their main websites. In November, DataPipe was named among New Jersey’s fastest growing companies.

In the top 10: FreeBSD: 4, Linux: 4, Windows: 2

Released: pfSense 1.2.1

pfSense project logo

pfSense project logo

The pfSense project have announced the availability of version 1.2.1:

This is a strictly a maintenance release, meaning it contains only bug fixes in the pfSense code, no new features. Though we also upgraded the base OS from FreeBSD 6.2 to 7.0, which necessitated numerous changes in how things are configured. The change to FreeBSD 7.0 brings improved performance and more hardware support.

AnnouncementChangelog | Downloads

If you’re interested in pfSense or if you’re using it in a production environment, you may be interested in the Network Perimeter Redundancy with pfSense presentation that Chris Buechler will be doing at the DCBSDCon 2009.

What do you get when you cross an enterprise-class packet filtering subsystem with a graphical front-end for easy configuration and maintenance?  A throbbing headache for commercial vendors like SonicWALL, that’s what.

More details on the presentation can be found here.

To find the details of other 2009 FreeBSD related events and conferences, check my FreeBSD Events calendar.

FreeBSD foundation newsletter – December 2008

FreeBSD foundation logoPlease find below the FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter for December 2008.

In this Edition:

  • Letter From the Vice President
  • End-of-Year Fundraising Drive
  • Safe Removal of Active Disk Devices
  • Improvements to the FreeBSD TCP Stack
  • Network Stack Virtualization Project
  • FreeBSD Advocacy in Ticino 2008
  • NYCBSDCon 2008
  • EuroBSDCan 2008
  • meetBSD 2008
  • Foundation at meetBSD and Developer Recognition
  • 2008 Grant and Travel Grant Recipients
  • Travel Grant Recipient Spotlight
  • FreeBSD Testimonial from Hobnob, Inc.
  • Financials

Full newsletter below.

[Read more…]

The circle of technology and FreeBSD

Ivan Voras writes he read the release notes of FreeBSD 1.1 and it struck him how many developers have joined the Core Team and then moved on, i.e. there’s a lot of fresh blood and no “tsar” heading up the project. Additionally there are also technical and organisational problems that in some way seem to be returning every now and then.

Two things are interesting to me here:

  • The only name in the old core team I recognize is Jordan Hubbard, and he’s not a FreeBSD developer any more (joined Apple for Mac OS X)
  • Some problems, both technical and organizational, are always repeating themselves.
    Full post here

What do you think? Do you agree with this or do you see things differently?

BSDTalk interview with Michael Lauth, CEO of iXsystems

FreeBSD Podcasts

Will Backman from BSDTalk has a 17 minutes interview with Michael Lauth, CEO of iXsystems.

They talk about how iXsystems has build its business model around open source software and how open source software is being used internally as much as possible.

iXsystems offer PC-BSD laptops and desktops, FreeNAS base NAS servers etc

As a sidenote, BSDTalk is celebrating its 3rd birthday. Congratulations, Will. Keep this going!

BSDTalk 168 – Listen to the podcast: MP3 | OGG

OpenBSM 1.1 (alpha 4)

openbsm-logoRobert Watson has announced a test snapshot of OpenBSM 1.1 (alpha 4)  The following are the change notes from the OpenBSM NEWS file included with this release:

  • With the addition of BSM error number mapping, we also need to map the local error number passed to audit_submit(3) to a BSM error number, rather than have the caller perform that conversion.
  • Reallocate user audit events to avoid collisions with Solaris; adopt a more formal allocation scheme, and add some events allocated in Solaris that will be of immediate use on other platforms. 
  • Add an event for Calife. 
  • Add au_strerror(3), which allows generating strings for BSM errors directly, rather than requiring applications to map to the local error space, which might not be able to entirely represent the BSM error number space.
  • Major auditd rewrite for launchd(8) support. Add libauditd library that is shared between launchd and auditd. Add AUDIT_TRIGGER_INITIALIZE trigger (sent via ‘audit -i’) for (re)starting auditing under launchd(8) on Mac OS X.
  • Add ‘current’ symlink to active audit trail.
  • Add crash recovery of previous audit trail file when detected on audit startup that it has not been properly terminated.
  • Add the event AUE_audit_recovery to indicated when an audit trail file has been recovered from not being properly terminated. This event is stored in the new audit trail file and includes the path of recovered audit trail file.
  • Mac OS X and FreeBSD dependent code in auditd.c is separated into auditd_darwin.c and auditd_fbsd.c files.
  • Add an event for the posix_spawn(2) and fsgetpath(2) Mac OS X system calls.
  • For Mac OS X, we use ASL(3) instead of syslog(3) for logging.
  • Add support for NOTICE level logging.

This test release is known to build and run (to varying degrees) on FreeBSD 4.x, 5.x, 6.x, 7.x, 8.x, Mac OS X Leopard, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, and OpenSuse Linux.

OpenBSM releases and snapshots can be downloaded from the OpenBSM website

Thanks Robert for emailing me.

FreeBSD 6.4 CDs/DVDs now shipping from FreeBSDMall

iXsystems have announced the availability of FreeBSD 6.4-based products through FreeBSD Mall, one of their subsidiaries. In addition to CD and DVD products, there’s a large collection of FreeBSD shirts, hats, jackets, boxer shorts, stickers, case-plates, coffee mugs, mouse pads, and other promotional materials.

FreeBSD is a free operating system developed by many volunteers. To help iXsystems promote FreeBSD, why not buy some of their product?

Announcement here

FreeBSD 7.1 RC2 available

FreeBSD LogoThe FreeBSD Project has announced the availability of FreeBSD 7.1 Release Candidate 2.

FreeBSD 7.1-RC2 is now available, the second of the Release Candidates. Unless an as yet undiscovered show-stopper comes along the release itself will be anywhere from a week to two weeks from now. We might be doing it next week since the release test cycle has gone on for quite a while now and the latest thing that delayed the release was a Security Advisory (SAs don’t typically get or need much in the way of public testing). The traffic we’re seeing on the lists and in Gnats is certainly stuff we’ll pay attention to and deal with but isn’t quite severe enough to warrant further delaying an already severely delayed release. Continued…

The ISO images and FTP install trees are available on the FreeBSD Mirror sites.

Full release Announcement

Many thanks Prudvi for submitting this story.