Ubuntu vs. OpenSolaris vs. FreeBSD benchmarks (Phoronix)

In this article, the 64-bit performance of Ubuntu 8.10 is compared against the latest test releases of OpenSolaris 2008.11 and FreeBSD 7.1.

The tests included LAME MP3 encoding, 7-Zip Compression, Gzip compression, GnuPG, BYTE Unix Benchmark, Tandem XML, Bork File Encryption, Java SciMark, Bonnie++, OpenSSL, and Sunflow Rendering System. 

For our Ubuntu run we were using Ubuntu 8.10 (x86_64) with the Linux 2.6.27 kernel, X Server 1.5.2, GCC 4.3.2, GNOME 2.24, the EXT3 file-system, and Java build 1.6.0_0-b12. OpenSolaris 2008.11 RC2 is based upon Solaris Nevada Build 101b with the Sun 5.11 kernel, X Server 1.3, GNOME 2.24, GCC 3.4.3, the ZFS file-system, and Java build 1.6.0_10-b33. Lastly, we were using FreeBSD 7.1 Beta 2 (AMD64) with X Server 1.4.2, GNOME 2.22, the UFS file-system, GCC 4.2.1, and Java 1.6.0_07-b02. Aside from changes made by the Phoronix Test Suite (and adding the GNOME packages to FreeBSD), all operating systems were left in their default configuration.


If simply counting which operating system was in first place most frequently, it would be Ubuntu. Ubuntu 8.10 x86_64 was in first place eight times, OpenSolaris 2008.11 RC2 was in first place seven times, and FreeBSD 7.1 Beta 2 AMD64 was in first just three tests. Depending upon your system usage, one operating system may appear more favorable, like OpenSolaris with the greater disk performance. To reiterate though, all of the testing was done on a single workstation-oriented system with dual quad-core processors and 4GB of RAM. FreeBSD and OpenSolaris were also using their latest testing builds while Ubuntu was using a final release copy

Full test results and diagrams can be found on the Phoronix website.

FreeBSD Security Advisory (FreeBSD-SA-08:11.arc4random)


arc4random(9) is a generic-purpose random number generator based on the key stream generator of the RC4 cipher. It is expected to be cryptographically strong, and used throughout the FreeBSD kernel for a variety of purposes, some of which rely on its cryptographic strength.

arc4random(9) is periodically reseeded with entropy from the FreeBSD kernel’s Yarrow random number generator, which gathers entropy from a variety of sources including hardware interrupts. During the boot process, additional entropy is provided to the Yarrow random number generator from userland, helping to ensure that adequate entropy is present for cryptographic purposes.

Problem description

When the arc4random(9) random number generator is initialized, there may be inadequate entropy to meet the needs of kernel systems which rely on arc4random(9); and it may take up to 5 minutes before arc4random(9) is reseeded with secure entropy from the Yarrow random number generator.

Read further to find out about the impact, solution and workaround

Speed up installing from ports (howto)

There is a port under ports-mgmt called fastest_sites. This the MASTER_SITE definitions depending on the round-trip time for the tcp connections. The results are sorted by fastest response time and in a format suitable for Makefile.

# cd /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/fastest_sites

# make install

Now let’s generate the sorted list of master sites:

# fastest_sites > /usr/local/etc/ports_sites.conf &

This step may take some time as quite a number of sites have to be checked. In the meantime you can add the following line to /etc/make.conf:

.include "/usr/local/etc/ports_sites.conf"

From: arnolds.se. Originally published by the writer of this python script on semicomplete.com.

FreeBSD Foundation update – November 2008

FreeBSD foundation logoThe FreeBSD Foundation November 2008 update:

New Projects
As most of you know, we put out a request for project proposals last July. We were pleasantly surprised when we received more proposals than we expected. Unfortunately, we couldn’t accept all of the proposals. One reason, is that we didn’t have the funds in our budget. If we reach our fundraising goal this year, then we will be putting out a new call for project proposals in early 2009.

We are pleased to announce the first project that has started. The project is to make FreeBSD tolerate the removal of active disk devices, such as when a USB flash device with a mounted filesystems is physically detached by a user. Currently the system may panic in this situation. The work involves adding proper reference counting to strategic portions of the kernel and modifying filesystems to properly handle “device lost” errors. Edward Tomasz Napierala is the developer working on this project.

Click Here to find out more about this project. We will be announcing the other projects once we receive the signed contracts.

NYCBSDCon, EuroBSDCon, and MeetBSD
We were pleased to sponsor EuroBSDCon, NYCBSDCon, and MeetBSD. We wanted to share a gracious note that NYCBSDCon sent after their successful conference.

Now that NYCBSDCon 2008 has concluded, we would like to express our deepest appreciation to the FreeBSD Foundation. It’s your vital role that allows us to provide a great line-up of BSD speakers and extras to a strong technical conference, at an accessible fee. We are proud of the accomplishments of the conference this year.

We will have more on the conferences in our end-of-year newsletter.

Travel Grants
We continue to provide travel grants for various conferences. This year we didn’t always get an announcement out in time. We want to make sure everyone is aware that we fund FreeBSD developers of all sorts (kernel hackers, documentation authors, bugbusters, system administrators, etc). We are also open to fund non-developers, such as active community members and FreeBSD advocates. Click Here to see the travel grant application.

This year we’ve provided 10 travel grants for BSDCan, 3 for AsiaBSDCon, and 2 for the Cambridge Developer Summit. We also have approved 2 travel grants for MeetBSD.

Just remember, if we don’t send out an announcement that we are accepting applications, you may still submit one as long as it is three weeks before the conference. You may need to submit it earlier, if you need a Visa or are traveling a great distance. It does take the board some time to review the applications.

Fundraising Update
So far this year we have raised over $187,000. We are very pleased to report we received a very generous donation from NetApp. We want to thank everyone who has made a donation this year. Big and little, they all help.

To reach our goal of $300,000 and to help keep us a public charity, we added a donor goal. Our goal this year is to reach 1,000 donors. By setting this goal, we hope to add many new donors this year. Click here to find out more.

You can also help by approaching your employer and asking them to donate to the foundation!

Thanks again for supporting the Foundation and FreeBSD!