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.