FreeBSD roundup – week 30

FreeBSD quick news, links ‘n howtos (week 30)

Welcome to the FreeBSD leftovers for week 30. In this post we have a mix of news snippets, howtos and links. Just a round up of those little things I saved up this week. Previous Friday roundups can be found here.


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FreeBSD foundation newsletter – July 2008

From the July 2008 FreeBSD Foundation newsletter:

  • Letter From the Vice President
  • Fundraising Update
  • Java 1.6 available for FreeBSD 7.0 and 6.3
  • NetApp Filer donation
  • BSD Certification Project
  • Accepting Project Proposals
  • AsiaBSDCon 2008
  • BSDCan 2008
  • BSDCan Developer Summit
  • 2008 Grant and Travel Grant Recipients
  • FreeBSD Testimonial from Juniper
  • Board of Directors Update
  • Financials

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FreeBSD embedded systems

Talking about FreeBSD as an embedded operating system, did you know there are quite a few devices out there that use FreeBSD inside?

A variety of products are directly or indirectly based on FreeBSD. For instance, Juniper Networks routers (JUNOS), Ironport network security appliances (AsyncOS), Nokia’s firewall operating system (IPSO), NetApp’s OnTap GX, Panasas’s and Isilon Systems‘s cluster storage operating systems, NetASQ security appliances and St Bernard iPrism web filtering appliance.

If you’re aware of any more FreeBSD based appliances, please let us all know in the comments.

Juniper’s JUNOS FreeBSD based router operating system

Open, but not open source

JUNOS is the operating system running Juniper‘s routing and switching devices and has it’s roots in the open source FreeBSD operating system. The first version of JUNOS was available on 7 July 1998 and since then Juniper has been updating it with new features every quarter. The release of JUNOS 9.1 in May this year was the 38th consecutive release. Though Juniper is based on the open source FreeBSD, yet, JUNOS itself is not open source.

JUNOS software is, indeed, based on FreeBSD. Probably the most obvious benefit of using FreeBSD in our software is the Unix-like environment that comes with it. Customers can access a Unix shell and perform normal Unix commands that can be quite helpful with the regular upkeep of our routing platforms.

Almost everyone I talk to wants to know how we can continue to ship feature-rich releases every 90 days,” Bushong said. “Really, the biggest enabler is the fact that we focus our resources on a single operating system for our routing and switching platforms. We made a decision on day one that we wanted to develop and maintain a single operating system. By focusing on that one OS, we gain efficiency on both the development and the test sides of our R&D efforts, allowing us to implement something once, deploy it everywhere, test it once, qualify it everywhere.”

For our high-performance business customers, the network is critical to their success. Specifically, the performance and functionality of the operating system underlying the network is essential to delivering against their business goals.

More information and quotes can be found in a recent article on (18/07/2008)

Video for BSD Project

FreeBSD was (and mainly still is) developed with server use in mind. Due to this and the fact that FreeBSD has only a relatively small market share, there’s a lack of multimedia device drivers for this operating system. This is unfortunate for projects such as PC-BSD and DesktopBSD that focus on desktop use.

The Video4Linux (V4L) project has produced a large number of device drivers available for multimedia cards, digital cameras, and USB devices. FreeBSD doesn’t support V4L, so much work will have to be repeated in re-writing new hardware drivers to make them run on FreeBSD. Most hardware which just ‘plugs-n-plays’ on Linux will never work on FreeBSD.

On 10 July 2008 the Video for BSD project was created on SourceForge. This project will implement a V4L compatible API and device drivers for the BSD systems, enabling FreeBSD users to run Linux video applications. The project’s goal is to provide an emulation layer that would let you recompile the Linux source code on FreeBSD, and provide a sufficiently complete emulation of the Linux kernel APIs so that device drivers can be used without significant modifications to their source code.

Similar to the Video for BSD project is the FreeBSD HDTV project.

More information on the Video for BSD project page or the SourceForge page

Build your own NAS with FreeNAS (video)

If you’re just itching for an excuse to reuse that retired desktop PC or laptop sitting in your closet there here’s your chance:  the basics of installing FreeNAS, an open-source DIY NAS. So instead of spending money on off the shelf options why not save yourself some cash and make use of the stuff you already have and get a super customizable network storage device to boot.

This video from Revison3 explains the theory behind NAS and shows how to set up a FreeNAS server.

FreeBSD on the Openmoko

New systems and architectures running Linux, will run sooner of later NetBSD or FreeBSD. The now well-known Asus Eee PC is an example of this. When launched it ran Linux, but soon developers were offering up their night’s sleep to get FreeBSD to run on it. And with success.

Openmoko is a project that aims to develop 1) a Linux based open source operating system designed for mobile phones (similar to Google’s Android) and 2) open source hardware devices on which Openmoko Linux runs. Unlike most other mobile phone platforms, these phones are designed to provide end users with the ability to modify the operating system and software stack.

Openmoko shipped its first product, the Neo 1973 mobile phone on 9 July 2007; and then turned into a start-up company with one aim: create great mobile products using open source Openmoko Linux.

Openmoko uses the Linux kernel, together with a graphical user environment using the X.Org server, GTK+ toolkit, and the Matchbox window manager.

In addition to Linux, the NetBSD and FreeBSD kernels have been adapted to run on the platform or are under development.

For the latest information and FreeBSD installation instructions visit the Openmoko FreeBSD page.

iXsystems offers professional FreeBSD and PC-BSD support

iXsystems announced  on 08/07/08 the launch of its Professional Services Division for FreeBSD and PC-BSD. The new Professional Services Division will provide Professional Enterprise Grade support, consulting, and development for FreeBSD and PC-BSD.

Service offerings include desktop support such as installation and basic customization of the operating system. Software application support is also offered and includes assistance configuring and installing third-party applications, either through the FreeBSD ports and packages system or via Push-Button Installers (PBIs), graphical utilities to remove and install PC-BSD software in a simple to use, self-contained format.

Also included are more customized support offerings across a wide range of server-related issues such as kernel tuning and system optimization, device driver creation, kernel, userland, and embedded systems development, and a host of other services. iXsystems offers 8×5 PC-BSD and FreeBSD OS support and has a devoted Service Support Office and US-based Call Center to assist with technical support issues.

We feel that offering Enterprise Grade Support for FreeBSD and PC-BSD will remove one of the main barriers that the platforms face to expanding adoption. While there may be some companies that are capable of supporting them, there are none, to my knowledge, currently offering services and support on an Enterprise level specific to FreeBSD and PC-BSD

says Matthew Olander, CTO of iXsystems.

For more information, read the announcement or head over to the iXsystems Support page.

Did you know you can buy workstations with PC-BSD pre-installed from iXsystems?

FreeBSD servers uptime Poll

FreeBSD is known to be a very reliable and rock-solid server operating system; You only need to check for systems with the longest uptime, and you’ll notice that in today’s top there are 7 servers running FreeBSD out of the top 10 (stats correct 21/07/08).

Just out of interest, if you run a FreeBSD server, how long has your server been running without reboot? If you have more than 1 servers, let’s know about the server with the longest uptime.

When was your FreeBSD server rebooted last?

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