2007 is over. It was a very successful year for open source software and another 12 interesting months have passed for FreeBSD. In this post I want to look back at 2007 and see how FreeBSD faired, what happened in “FreeBSD land” and how FreeBSD based operating systems have developed. This post will be a sort of summary of the messages I posted during 2007.
[if you like this post, please digg it, add it to your favorites or share it]
We’ll be looking at:
- Start of this blog
- FreeBSD in 2007
- New versions, releases and ‘distros’
- FreeBSD and Google
- FreeBSD and Wine
- iXsystems, and
- some interesting/useful posts
Around April last year I was toying with the idea of starting a FreeBSD related news blog with the view to raise more awareness of FreeBSD and show it’s a perfect alternative to Linux. My first post was on 17 May 2007 and since then visitor numbers have rapidly gone up and feedback from visitors indicates that there’s definitely interest in such a blog. With the continuing growth of my WordPress.com hosted blog, I wanted to get some more flexibility and the ability to install plugins and scripts. Hence my move to Bluehost/FreeBSDOS (BTW, if you’re looking for cheap and reliable webhosting, I can really recommend them).
Unfortunately 2007 didn’t see the final release of FreeBSD 7.0; just 4 beta’s and a RC1. Well, maybe not “unfortunately”, because a top-quality product is better than a rushed-out flaky one that needs to be fixed and patched soon after its release. FreeBSD 7.0 incorporates some new and exciting technologies which will put this version a-par with, if not ahead of, Linux. Exciting stuff.
The FreeBSD Foundation have issued their quarterly newsletters (Q2, Q3, Q4), keeping the world up-to-date with the latest developments and news. The Foundation received a lot of coverage online and in the blogosphere with their Absolute FreeBSD book auction and their fund raising drive. The 2007 fundraising goal was $250.000, but a total of $403,511 was achieved. Well done.
There are already a couple of Linux related magazines for sale in stores, but BSD magazines aren’t available currently. “An interesting opportunity“, Software Media LLC/LP Magazine must have thought. They will issue first issue at the beginning of Q2 2008 and will contain an article by Dru Lavigne and Jan Stedehouder (Jan used and reviewed both PC-BSD and DesktopBSD for a month in his PC-BSB: the first 30 days and DesktopBSD: the first 30 days series).
During 2007 some projects released a new version, whereas other have been in beta/RC state all year.
PC-BSD released version 1.4, Da Vinci, About 20 months have passed since DesktopBSD released version 1.0.1 and with 1.6RC3 released last July we’re still waiting for 1.6 final. DBSD is only a small project and the main developer is a student, hence the slow release cycle. [note: DBSD 1.6 is now available]
FreeSBIE released their last version back in January (2.0) with a little update in February (2.0.1). The RoFreeSBIE project released version 1.3 in November.
M0n0wall 1.232 was released back in December 2006 and the current version has been in beta state all of 2007, with no less than 7 beta releases. pfSense 1.0 was born in October 2006 and version 1.2 has been under active developments ever since, with the final release imminent.
Portable admin toolkit
The Frenzy Project has been quiet with releases: just one beta version this year (1.1). However, the project is not dead; I received an email from the main developer promising that the next version will be based on FreeBSD 7.0 and to be made available shortly after that one is released.
Although FreeNAS still hasn’t reached the 1.0 version number, it’s already a very useful and stable product. Versions 0.685 and 0.686 were released during 2007.
It’s widely known that Google is a great supporter and promoter of open source software, including FreeBSD. Google, for instance, sponsored improvements to FreeBSD’s performance measurement toolkit and funded (Free)BSD projects at the Google Summer of Code. Robert Watson, one of the FreeBSD Core Team members, did a great presentation at Google’s HQ “How the FreeBSD Project works”.
Not a few BSD users would love to have a Microsoft-software-free computer, but alas, there aren’t always open source equivalents available for Windows software or, if it’s available, the quality and features may not match those of Microsoft’s equivalents. The solution to this is either dual-booting, using an emulator (Win4BSD) or running Wine to use Windows software on top of FreeBSD. Wine has improved a lot recently and it has become a lot more stable. The FreeBSD Wine Porting Team has put a lot of time and effort into making it work on FreeBSD. The last version of PC-BSD includes all the latest updates and patches, making it possible to run, for instance, World-of-Warcraft and Flash9 without any tweaks or configuration editing.
iXsystems, 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, SpreadFreeBSD.org. To further strengthen their position in the BSD market, iXsystems acquired BSDMall.com and has an agreement with Fry Electronics and Micro Centro to distribute copies of PC-BSD in their stores.
In summary, 2007 has been a great year for FreeBSD and FreeBSD based operating systems. Lots of progress and development. We hope that with the release of 7.0, FreeBSD will receive a lot more interest and attention. May FreeBSD, the unknown giant, be widely known in 2008.