FreeBSD News – quick links (week 17)

I News & Articles

FreeBSD for Web and E-Mail Servers

I’m not touting FreeBSD over Linux. Within the Unix-like community, and even within the Linux world, it’s easy to find heated arguments over the various versions of operating systems. It seems that no matter what software or computer system some people use, they will fight to the death to prove theirs is the best. I can only tell you that FreeBSD works well for us. For years, ran well on a Linux box. The only reason that we didn’t continue was concerns for the age of the hardware. When we brought in new servers, we installed FreeBSD. Once Apache—the same Web server we used on the Linux computer—was installed, the movement of the site to the new machine was fairly simple.

I had to learn to use FreeBSD, but now I’ve developed a certain comfort level. I could go to a Linux computer and do many of the same things I do now, but there are just enough differences for it to feel foreign to me. I’m sure that this is true to some extent even when moving between versions of Linux.

The Linux world is taking many more steps toward making the individual user more comfortable with using it as a replacement for Windows. If I were looking to do that, then I would probably start with Linux. However, if your primary objective is to build a server—for the Web, e-mail, or another intensive application—it would be difficult to go wrong with FreeBSD. More…

pfSniffer? A non-firewall use for pfSense

Several years ago my company looked into getting Distributed Sniffer Appliances, made by Network General. These are devices that attach to an Ethernet segment (at a branch office) and allow you to remotely connect and pull traces. Ideally, we would have loved to have these in each remote location so that we could more easily troubleshoot problems that seemed to crop up regularly. They looks like very nice appliances, but Network General wanted an arm and a leg for each one, so we passed.

We recently had a need for this sort of thing and I had a great idea. Many months ago, I noticed that pfSense had added a very nifty feature called Packet Capture. Essentially, the pfSense WebGUI has an interface to tcpdump, allowing you to put in some simple filter criteria (source/destination IP Address) and have a trace executed on a particular interface. This is a really nice feature for troubleshooting your firewall, but I thought that this could be used to make a distributed “pfSniffer”. More…

II Releases

New PC-BSD PBI Builder released

The PBI builder is a powerful command-line script system, which can be used to convert a FreeBSD port into a PBI file. The configuration for this process is stored as a module, which can then be used to rebuild the PBI automatically. Developers can then submit these finished modules to PC-BSD Software, where they will be added to a build server, which rebuilds the PBI every time the underlying port is updated. More…

Portscout Services Started!

Time to make my Portscout public for all.

What is Portscout? Portscout is a tool which looks for new versions of software in the
FreeBSD ports tree and potentially other software repositories. More…

III Howto

SpamAssassin Installed in 10 minutes.

In our example we are going to install SpamAssassin from the ports. This example is suitable for a small company with up to few dozen of mailboxes. More…

Blog layout update

Over the last few days I’ve made a few layout changes to the blog. I’ve added darkgrey sides, made the subject lines stand out more (bold and a line underneath), added a lightgrey background colour to the side panel and a (dark grey) background to side panel headers.

There’s still one thing I’d like to change: the dark red top header background. I want to use the background of the FreeBSD logo (below) as the background , but I don’t know how to create it myself.

I’ve emailed the FreeBSD logo creator, Anton Gural, if he still had the background but he hasn’t come back to me. I’ve tried to increase the image seize in Gimpshop but the image gets too grainy then :-(

FreeBSD logo - the Power to Serve

Are there any artists among my readers who’d be willing to recreate the same background (950x200px) for me?

What do you think of the new blog layout? Has the page become clearer and visually more attractive? Please let me know if there are any things you like to see changed.

Embedded Monowall: Installation (video tutorial)

This tutorial will guide you through copying the m0n0wall image to a compact flash card and the initial configuration of the m0n0wall on the ALIX embedded board. I will be using a VPN accelerator card since I will have about 10 IPsec tunnels actively running at one time. I would only recommend using the VPN accelerator card if you plan on maintaining several VPN tunnels at one time, otherwise it is overkill.

Read the step-by-step howto & watch the video here

iXsystems partners with NetCraft (Versiera)

iXsystems, Inc. announced on 23/04/2008 a partnership with NetCraft Communications. The agreement will make NetCraft’s Versiera Remote System Management and Monitoring Software available on PC-BSD. PC-BSD is a fully functional open source desktop operating system based on FreeBSD 6.3-STABLE. Versiera is a web-based system that simplifies the common routine tasks required for system administrators, thus reducing the total cost of ownership and enabling your company to focus on your business.

A PBI has been released that will enable quick and easy deployment of the Versiera Software on PC-BSD. Any PC-BSD user can download the Versiera PBI from and run it on PC-BSD Version 1.4 Da Vinci Edition or PC-BSD Version 1.5 Edison Edition. Versiera gives you a real-time view of all of your hardware and software assets and can be used to consolidate management software.

Read full press release (23/04/2008)

BSD Magazine – update

Just a quick update with regards the BSD Magazine post that I put on yesterday.

Dru Lavigne has received the BSD magazine today and posted the contents of this issue on her blog:

  • Dru Lavigne, FreeBSD 7.0 Installation and Configuration
  • Michael Lucas, FreeBSD’s bsnmp
  • Jan Stedehouder, Pushing BSD an an Open Source Desktop
  • Svetoslav Chukov, PC-BSD Overview
  • Richard Bejtlich, Sguil 0.7.0 on FreeBSD 7.0
  • Jay Kruizenga, How to Dual-Boot Vista with BSD
  • Peter Hansteen, Keep Smiling, Waste Spammers’ Time
  • Henrik Lund Kramshoj, Defense in Depth and FOSS
  • Donald Hayford, NetBSD on the NSSSSLU2
  • Girish Venkatachalam, OpenBSD pf
  • Eric Schnoebelen, Instant Messaging with jabber/XMPP
  • Federico Biancuzzi, Interview with FreeBSD Developer Jeff Roberson
  • Mikel King, What is in a Certification
  • Henrik Lund Kramshoj, Review of the Book of PF

The FreeBSD Foundation April update

The following is taken from the FreeBSD Foundation update for April 2008:

FreeBSD foundation logo

Java Update

We are pleased to announce we have hired Kurt Miller to provide Java 1.6 binaries for FreeBSD 7. He has begun working full-time on this project. Kurt did the Java 1.5 binaries for FreeBSD 5.5 and 6.1. We are happy to have him back on board again to provide this needed support quickly! We also have Jung-uk Kim working on Java 1.6 binaries for FreeBSD 6.3.

AsiaBSDCon 2008

The foundation was proud to be a sponsor of AsiaBSDCon in March. One way we support the project and community is by sponsoring FreeBSD related conferences. These conferences allow developers to meet with other developers to discuss and work on their projects. It also gives them a chance to see what other developers are doing.

We were pleased to provide travel grants to 3 FreeBSD people to attend this conference. We sponsored Zhouyi Zhou and Dongmei Liu both Google Summer of Code students. And, Prakash Poudyal from Kathmandu University. Soon, we will include reports from travel grant recipients on our website.

BSDCan 2008

We are pleased to sponsor BSDCan this year. We are also the sponsor of the BSDCan Developer Summit. We have approved travel grants for 10 FreeBSD people to attend this conference. With the increase in our budget, we have been able to provide more travel grants!

We are excited that most of the board members will be attending this conference. We will have a table and giving away cool items when you make a donation. Please stop by to introduce yourself and tell us how you would like to see us help the project and community.

Fundraising Update

So far this year we have raised $32,000. You can help by approaching your employer and asking them to donate to the foundation!

PC-BSD 1.5.1 available

PC-BSD version 1.5.1 is now available for download as both ISO and updates from version 1.5. This version provides updates to the default port set, as well as numerous bug fixes to the system tools & utilities.

Also, additional translations have been added to provide a more complete localized experience. Users currently running 1.5 may download a standalone PBI patch, or may simply check for updates via the System Update tool.

1.5.1 changelog:

[Read more…]

BSD Magazine #1 published

BSD Magazine issue #1 is out. Really good to see that the first BSD Magazine has come out and is being distributed. Congratulations to the team!

There are several types of subscriptions for this magazine, i.e. print subscription, electronic subscription and the corporate subscription for companies.

More than 60 pages full of news, great articles, tutorials, how-tos and extras:

1. what’s new (section for news: new releases, upcoming events, latest products)
2. get started (installation and configuration articles)
3. how-tos (tutorials, how-tos, guides on various topics)
4. admin (articles about system administration and security)
5. mms (multimedia section)
6. tips & tricks (useful tips for beginners and advanced)
7.let’s talk (section where BSD users and professionals can share their general thoughts about BSD and Open Source)

For more details or subscribing, visit the website.

Don’t miss your chance to explore BSD world !

Update – 24/04/2008

BSD Magazin #1 published