Over the next few months new versions of the major operating systems will be released: Mac OS X v10.6 (Snow Leopard) sometime in September, Windows 7 on 22 October, and Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala), also in October.
Many post have already been written about these upcoming releases, but let’s not forget about FreeBSD. FreeBSD 7 was released on 27 February 2008 and developers have been working hard ever since, and even before, on the next major release, FreeBSD 8, which is scheduled to be released late September.
FreeBSD 8 was initially intended to be a more or less evolutional release with few major changes. Remember the article “FreeBSD 8 won’t rewrite the book“? It’s now obvious that the 8.0 release will be another major release with groundbreaking changes (release notes).
The traditional code freeze was announced on 26 June to concentrate on streamlining the code and bug fixing, and less on adding new features. FreeBSD is shaping up nicely: Beta1 and Beta2 have now seen the light, and Ken Smith created the RELEN_8 branch on 3 August to prepare for the final 8.0 release. After Beta3, scheduled for 17 August, no more new features will be added to 8.0.
Developers are now working hard to make the final changes, amendments and fixes. Due to a problem with the SVN to CVS export, the release process has been a little delayed. Most jobs, tasks and issues have been solved, with a number of patches now waiting to be approved (more about the release engineering).
So what improvements and new features can we expect in FreeBSD 8? Many. The following are the ones I’m really looking forward to:
- Jail improvements
- Virtual IEEE 802.11 fixes & network stack virtualisation
- Xen DomU support
- stack-smashing protection
- TTY layer rewrite
- much improved ZFS support
- new USB stack
- rewritten NFS client/server introducing NFSv4
- Improved device mmap() extensions will allow the technical implementation of a 64-bit Nvidia display driver for the amd64 platform
Apart from these new/improved features, there are many more features, stability tweaks and code improvements.