BSD Windows

Should Microsoft do an Apple? Shwan Tan doesn’t see any reason, apart from pride, why MS can’t use BSD for Windows’ core:


I had this short conversation with several people the other day, where I mentioned about Windows. I wondered why Microsoft has not decided to build the next version of Windows on the BSD kernel. Besides the sin of pride, I really couldn’t think of any technical reason not to.

BSD is a distribution of Unix created by UC Berkeley. Unix is an operating system developed in 1969. Through the years, it has evolved into an extremely secure and stable OS. People who use real computers (not toy computers) use variants of Unix. There is no technical reason why Microsoft cannot just use BSD and rid the whole world of numerous security problems. A company that has finally decided to do exactly that, after going their own way, is Apple. Just in case you didn’t know, Apple uses a BSD operating system. They then designed a ultra cool user interface on top of it. Microsoft could always copy Apple – they do it all the time anyway.

He goes into:

  • Backwards Compatibility
  • Proprietary Software, and
  • Technical Superiority

and concludes

Microsoft should seriously consider doing an Apple. It will end up doing the whole world a favour by introducing ’safe computing’ to the masses instead of introducing new infections with every new version of Windows.

Read the whole article (, 02/03/2009)

Why I still use FreeBSD

Aaron Baugher has a post describing why he’s still using FreeBSD:

I’ve been using FreeBSD for probably ten years now, since discovering it on a client’s servers and deciding I liked it.  We hardly ever need to compile a custom kernel now, but back then we did it a lot, and it was much simpler on FreeBSD.  The ports system was also far better than RPM, the most common software distribution system on Linux at the time, which would gradually develop dependency issues after you’d used it a while.  So I liked FreeBSD better at the software level.

The FreeBSD philosophy also seemed more professional and yet freer than the Linux community.  The FreeBSD license is basically, “Here, take this and do whatever you like with it (including making money); just give the person who created it credit.”  That’s much simpler and more open than the GPL.  There’s an “Information wants to be free!” attitude in a lot of the GNU/Linux camp that I guess I got too old for.

Thanks to the FreeBSD philosophy and design and a lot of hard work by serious people, it’s a rock-solid server platform.  It makes a wonderful web server, and the new stuff you can do with jails means even shared servers can let webmasters run insecure junk PHP scripts without any risk that they’ll hurt each other or the system.  It also works very well with qmail and the whole suite of DJB tools for DNS and other server purposes.

Read the whole post (, 02/03/2009)

DesktopBSD; what’s happened?

It’s been quiet around DesktopBSD the last few months. It’s been a looooong time since the last stable release, and many months since the last publicly available snapshot. There aren’t any blog updates and the subdomain is dead.

The forums are quite quiet; not as busy as they used to be.

I emailed Peter Hofer, the founder of the project,  but have not heard from him since. Others are complaining about this too.

Anybody aware of what’s happening with DesktopBSD? Please let us know in the comments.

FreeBSD 7.1 on VMware Workstation 6.5 (howto)

Last week we wrote about VirtualBSD, a pre-configured vmware appliance that can be used in VMware Workstation or the VMware Player.

If you want to use another window manager, for instance, or want to install a minimal installation, why not do create your own virtual FreeBSD in VMware?

This howto ( shows step-by-step with screenshots how to install FreeBSD 7.1 on VMWare Workstation.

Thanks, Edmondas, for reporting.

FreeBSD Foundation update – February 2009

FreeBSD foundation logoThe FreeBSD Foundation has issued today the following update:

Accepting Project Proposals

Do you have a great idea for improving FreeBSD? Do you need funding to get the job done? We are currently accepting project proposals until March 10. We will consider work relating to any of the major subsystems or infrastructure with the FreeBSD Operating System. A budget of $30,000 was allocated to fund multiple development projects. Click here to find out more.

Conference Travel Grants

Do you want to attend AsiaBSDCon or BSDCan, but don’t have the funds? Take advantage of our travel grant program. We have allocated $22,000 this year for providing travel grants for FreeBSD developers and contributors to attend the various FreeBSD related conferences. Click here to find out more about our travel grant program. If you do want financial assistance for attending AsiaBSDCon, please submit your application soon!

Foundation Provides USB Analyzers

The foundation provided two Beagle 480 USB Analyzers to FreeBSD developers. We are very grateful to TotalPhase for donating one of the analyzers to us. The board believes the analyzers will be a useful tool for our developers to use in diagnosing problems and doing performance analysis.

The analyzer will be used for not only developing the USB framework, including the NEWUSB and USB device drivers, but also debugging problems found by users,

commented Weongyo Jeong, FreeBSD developer.

The Foundation grant for a USB analyzer will help me provide better support for existing devices, profile the USB stack to ensure the bus is fully utilized, and make it easier to add drivers for new hardware,

said Andrew Thompson, FreeBSD developer.

Conference Sponsorship

We were a sponsor for DCBSDCon in February and are a sponsor for AsiaBSDCon in March and EuroBSDCon in September. We allocated $30,000 towards conferences and meetings this year. If you’re planning a conference or meeting, like a FreeBSD developer summit, then you need to submit a grant request application to be considered to receive funding.

Fundraising Update

We set our 2009 fundraising goal to $300,000. This is an ambitious goal considering the economy right now. But, we want to continue the same level of support to the project that we’ve provided for the last few years. One way of achieving our goal is to approach more companies that use FreeBSD. If you know of a company that uses FreeBSD that we should approach please let us know. A contact would be very helpful too.

To make a donation, click here

Thanks again for supporting the Foundation and FreeBSD!

OpenBSM 1.1 beta 1

openbsm-logoRobert Watson has announced the release of OpenBSM 1.1 beta 1; this is a test snapshot of OpenBSM 1.1. The following are the change notes from the OpenBSM NEWS file included with this release:

  •  The filesz parameter in audit_control(5) now accepts suffixes: ‘B’ for Bytes, ‘K’ for Kilobytes, ‘M’ for Megabytes, and ‘G’ for Gigabytes. For legacy support no suffix defaults to bytes.
  • Audit trail log expiration support added. It is configured in audit_control(5) with the expire-after parameter. If there is no expire-after parameter in audit_control(5), the default, then the audit trail files are not expired and removed. See audit_control(5) for more information.
  • Change defaults in audit_control: warn at 5% rather than 20% free for audit partitions, rotate automatically at 2mb, and set the default policy to cnt,argv rather than cnt so that execve(2) arguments are captured if AUE_EXECVE events are audited. These may provide more usable defaults for many users.
  • Use au_domain_to_bsm(3) and au_socket_type_to_bsm(3) to convert au_to_socket_ex(3) arguments to BSM format.
  • Fix error encoding AUT_IPC_PERM tokens.

OpenBSM releases and snapshots can be downloaded from the OpenBSM project web page.

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

FreeBSD wallpapers galore

Feeling like your FreeBSD desktop needs a facelift?

Well, now thanks to Randy Belk (active member of the FreeBSD Forums who goes by the nickname rbelk) we have almost every FreeBSD related wallpaper known to man in a single place:

So .. get in there and beautify your desktop at will !

Go get it at (Beastie Sources) and set your creative spirit free to fly!

Just remember .. the original BSD Daemon is Copyright 1988 by Marshall Kirk McKusick.

Many thanks to Gonzalo Nemmi for reporting this.

If you know of any other FreeBSD/Beastie wallpapers not listed on Randy Belk’s Picasa page, please let me know in the comments below.