I’ve contacted the lead developers of different FreeBSD based projects and asked them about their development plans and ideas for 2011. Let’s start with PC-BSD today.
As you all know, PC-BSD is a free, open-source operating system based on rock-solid FreeBSD, focusing on ease-of-use and and double-click package installation (PBI). The PC-BSD project is now part of iXsystems, a company that builds storage solutions, pre-configured servers, and customised servers utilizing open source hardware and software.
Today Kris Moore, the project’s founder, announced PC-BSD 8.2RC1 and with regards to his plans for 2011 he writes:
“For 8.2, it is mainly a release to include the latest FreeBSD 8.2 / KDE 4.5.4. Also some
bug fixes are present for advanced partitioning, letting the user select between MBR/GPT,
and easily toggle between UFS+S/ZFS.
On the 9.0 front, we’ve implemented a new system of “meta-pkgs” which will let users customize their particular desktop based upon the available packages in the release. This means we can now select alternative desktop environments, such as Gnome/KDE/LXDE/XFCE and others. In order to accomplish this, all of our tools have been re-written in pure QT4, removing any requirements for KDE4 to be present.
Related to this, we’ve re-implemented our PBI system to be 100% shell, allowing it to run on native FreeBSD and not be particular about the window-manager being used. This newer PBI format also includes features to reduce the duplication of library files, digital signatures, repository management, binary patching and more. For the non-technical end user the PBI system will appear mostly the same, but for advanced users a whole set of command-line utilities will make the managing of PBI files easier and more powerfull than before.
Also on 9, we’ve switched to using UFS+SUJ (Soft-Updates Journaled) file-system by default, which is a great way to eliminate the need for a long fsck after a crash / power-loss, while not having the heavy requirements of ZFS.” (Bold by GvE)
I’ve used PBI’s since version 0.7.8. Though they worked, it was evident that PBI technology was only just born, but it’s now growing up and maturing nicely.
You’re doing a great job, Kris, and we’re all looking forward to PC-BSD 9.0, and beyond. Thanks to iXsystems for providing the support and hardware to make PC-BSD better with every release.
To check progress of PC-BSD 9.0, you may have a look at the PC-BSD 9.0 todo and the PBI 9 and beyond sections of the wiki.