Google Sponsors Improvements to FreeBSD

Google Sponsors Improvements to FreeBSD’s Performance Measurement Toolkit

Google BSD SearchRecently, Google sponsored the development of an oft requested enhancement to FreeBSD’s PmcTools: that of capturing the call chains leading to “hot” locations in the code. Call chains provide additional insight into the behavior of the system; in addition to determining the “hot” locations in the code, developers gain insight into why these locations became “hot” in the first place.

HWPMC and associated userland tools have been invaluable to the FreeBSD community in improving the scalability and performance of the upcoming FreeBSD 7 release. Kris Kennaway of the FreeBSD Project notes that

hwpmc is one of our most powerful tools for measuring and understanding CPU performance on FreeBSD. Support for profiling of call graphs was an important missing piece that will simplify the ability of developers to analyze performance bottlenecks in the kernel and in application code.

More on the Google Code Blog.

3rd pfSense hackaton this weekend

pfsense.gifThe third annual pfSense Hackathon starts this coming weekend through the following weekend, in Louisville, KY US. Two developers (Holger and Seth) will be coming in from Europe, as well as Bill from the Chicago area, Gary with Centipede Networks from Tulsa, and Scott and I who both live in Louisville.

This is the longest hackathon yet, at 8 days from start to finish time.

If you’re interested, have a look at the ideas page with a list of things that may/may not be worked on. If you know of something you’d like to see, please contact Chris and it may get added to the list.

For contact details and more details, read the full post here.

FreeBSD Google Summer of Code

A few weeks ago the Google Summer

of Code finished. This is the update from FreeBSD with regards to the FBSD projects:

“The FreeBSD Project is proud to have taken part in the Google

Summer of Code 2007. We received more high quality applications this year than ever before. In the end it was a very tough decision to narrow it down to the

25 students selected for funding by Google. These student projects included security research, improved installation tools, new utilities, and more. Many of

the students have continued working on their FreeBSD projects even after the official close of the program.

We are happy to report that all students made

some progress towards their goals for the summer, and the 22 students listed below completed the program successfully.

Information about the student

projects is available from our Summer of Code wiki and all of the code is checked into Perforce. The

summaries below were submitted by the individual students and their mentors with minor editing for consistency.”

href="">These are the FBSD 2007 Summer of Code projects (Project, Student, Mentor, Summary of


FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report (Q3/2007)

This report covers FreeBSD related projects between July and October 2007. The sixth EuroBSDCon was held in Denmark in September. The Google Summer of Code project came to a close and lots of participants are working getting their code merged back into FreeBSD. (link to FBSD update on GSoC here).

The bugs in the FreeBSD HEAD branch are being shaked out and it is being prepared for the FreeBSD 7 branching. If your are curious about what’s new in FreeBSD 7.0 we suggest reading Ivan Voras’ excellent summary here .

Thanks to all the reporters for the excellent work! We hope you enjoy reading.

Read the whole report here

Desktop FreeBSD Series

A few years ago, Ed Hurst, an Associate Editor of Open for Business, began what would become an extremely popular series of articles on getting started with desktop BSD (i.e. FreeBSD on the desktop, not DesktopBSD ;-) Because of the continuing popularity of this series, Ed had revised the articles to apply to the latest and greatest versions of FreeBSD.

This series is very useful if you want to lear how FreeBSD works if you want to get your feet wet and set up a Desktop BSD system by installing FreeBSD and configuring it to your (desktop) needs, instead of installing PC-BSD or DesktopBSD.

Previous article in this series are:

He has now written the eighth delivery “Updating the core systems“:

Continue reading

A basic FreeBSD server install

Yesterday we wrote about Penguin Pete installing FreeBSD from scrach. Today I have a link to Greg’s (Sparks, Nevada) blog who shows step-by-step (with screenshots) how to install FreeBSD:

When it comes to servers, I have always preferred FreeBSD as my operating system of choice. Maybe it’s the cute mascot, maybe it’s the amazing stability it offers, maybe it’s just what I’m used to, but I love it! In this article, I’ll discuss how to set up a very basic, bare-bones FreeBSD server installation.

The first thing you need, obviously, is FreeBSD itself! FreeBSD is free, open-source software licensed under the BSD License. You can obtain a copy at I will be using the version 6-2-RELEASE boot-only ISO. This ISO will boot into the FreeBSD kernel and start the sysinstall utility. A direct link is available here: You can choose to use the full ISOs available in the same directory on the FTP site. Go ahead and burn your ISO(s) using whichever software you prefer and boot the computer with the CD.

Read the post here

SpreadBSD Campaign

ixsystemslogo.jpgiXsystems, the company behind the PC-BSD Project and supporter of the FreeBSD Project is currently developing a community web site to promote FreeBSD and PC-BSD. The site will look pretty much like SpreadFirefox.

We will need banner ads such as the Firefox ones for the BSD community to use on their web sites. If you like to design artwork, feel free to email me your creations and I’ll make sure it gets to the right person at iXsystems. We will use the best submissions. Please respect the standard dimensions. Use png/gif for images, or jpeg for photos (lots of colors). This aside, you’re fairly free to design what you want to promote FreeBSD or PC-BSD.
Firefox 2

30 Days with PC-BSD and DesktopBSD

Jan Stedehouder used PC-BSD for thirty days to see what living with it is like. On day thirty, he concludes:

Does PC-BSD have the potential to be a serious contender for the open source desktop? I answered that question with a yes, because the potential is there. The solid FreeBSD roots, the very strong and very accessible information, the friendly and mature community and the PBI system provide the foundations for that potential. I don’t think it is ready now and I couldn’t recommend it yet to someone in the early stages of moving away from Windows to an open source desktop. But I do think that the PC-BSD team has the right target audience in mind and is building an system and a support system that addresses it’s needs.

He has now finished that journey and he’s going to do the same with DesktopBSD from Nov 1st.

Check his website for the daily updates.

The Penguin Grows Horns: Installing FreeBSD

Penguin Pete installing FreeBSD. I’d just suggest to Penguin Pete, if he reads this, to either install PC-BSD or DesktopBSD next time and he would save himself a lot of head-banging, unless he really wants to understand and know how FreeBSD works ;-) Here is his (extracted) feedback:

FreeBSD Logo (big)It has always bothered me that this site and my experiences stay inside of Linux so much, when the whole site is about “free and open source software”. I’ve only dabbled in non-Linux FOSS with live CDs and such, but I’m ready to install a real BSD and stick with it for awhile. So, the recently-acquired box with Windows-XP will now be sharing space with a daemon. Windows on the first hard drive, BSD on a second, exactly as I did with Windows and Red Hat almost a decade ago.

First impressions: FreeBSD is hard to install. I am the veteran of some 50 to 100 operating system installs in my lifetime, and I blew FreeBSD five amazing times and had to start over. It is well-documented and everything, but I still fumbled around with it. One misfire was the result of filling the 4.1 gig hard drive to capacity by selecting “all” for install options, reasoning that it couldn’t get that big. It could. It would help if somewhere it told you how much space each installed module would take up.

My chief hassle was disk partitioning. It might be argued that it’s more difficult to come from Windows to BSD than it is to come from Linux to BSD, because when you came from Windows you’re a blank slate and can learn Unix the BSD way. Come from Linux, and you already have Linux-based ideas about Unix, and BSD is only about 75% similar to Linux. You get comfortable with BSD, thinking you can handle this, and then it throws a partition named “/dev/ad2s3b” at you.

Anyway, Linux users trying to grok BSD will have to throw away their definition of ‘partition’. In BSD, what you call a partition is actually a slice, and the slice is divided into partitions.

Wandering around and coming back, I was surprised to find that the FreeBSD text-mode screensaver had kicked in. There, before me, was the cutest colored-ASCII drawing of the daemon mascot I’d ever seen, happily bouncing around the screen. A text-mode screensaver – something you never see in Linux. It looked at me with it’s soulful puppy eyes. I melted.

How I finally did it: I threw all caution to the wind in the partition-label part and just made a 256MB swap partition and the rest is / ! Ha! After that, I picked the base “X-User” install and added some packages after that (Emacs, Window Maker, rxvt, and such). Clean install, room to spare, works like a charm. I know there are partition-zealots out there fainting at this, but this box isn’t even going online or fooling with ports – just a test-install to get ready to dual-boot it on my Slackware box, perhaps, someday.

I also chose not to install a boot manager, because we’re sharing this computer with you-know-who. When it comes to dual-booting with Microsoft, I like to just slap in a second hard drive, put the other OS there, and boot to it from a floppy, leaving Windows in the only known condition in which it cannot possibly cause trouble.

I found no obvious way to make a FreeBSD boot floppy. Instead, I used my handy-dandy all-purpose GRUB floppy. At GRUB’s prompt it was a simple matter of typing:

* root (hd1,a)
* kernel /boot/loader
* boot

…and FreeBSD lives and breathes! The daemon is back to frolicking happily on the screen while I run /usr/libexec/locate.updatedb in the background to begin exploring. All is right with the world!

Read Penguin Pete’s full post here