(Free)BSD miscelaneous links and news (week 1)

I. The Perfect Database Server: Firebird 2.5 And FreeBSD 8.1

Here is the guide on installing Firebird 2.5 from FreeBSD 8.1 Ports and creating your first test database; also we show you how to install Flamerobin GUI (administration tool) and the PHP driver for it: The perfect database server: Firebird 2.5 and FreeBSD 8.1

II. Can DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER Compete With Btrfs, ZFS?

The most common Linux file-systems we talk about at Phoronix are of course Btrfs and EXT4 while the ZFS file-system, which is available on Linux as a FUSE (user-space) module or via a recent kernel module port, gets mentioned a fair amount too. When it comes to the FreeBSD and PC-BSD operating systems, ZFS is looked upon as the superior, next-generation option that is available to BSD users. However, with the DragonFlyBSD operating system there is another option: HAMMER. In this article we are seeing how the performance of this original creation within the DragonFlyBSD project competes with ZFS, UFS, EXT3, EXT4, and Btrfs.

HAMMER is a file-system created by the DragonFlyBSD developers themselves and is the default choice when installing this BSD operating system, but UFS remains a choice too. The one sentence description about this file-system is that “[HAMMER] provides instant crash recovery, multi-volume file systems, integrity checking, fine grained history/undo, networked mirroring, and historical snapshots.” HAMMER uses no fsck, can be sized up to one Exabyte, supports up to 256 volumes of four petabytes in size, coarse-grained history provided by snapshots with up to sixty days history, live snapshot access, and data/meta-data is CRC-checked. Like Btrfs, HAMMER snapshots can be taken at any time, can be accessed live, and boasts a similar set of features. Other HAMMER file-system features include the ability to split it up into multiple pseudo file-systems, there is support for back-up pseudo file-systems, NFS-exportable snapshots, and there is support for slave-to-slave mirroring streams: Can DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER Compete With Btrfs, ZFS?

Matt Dillon’s, DragonFlyBSD’s project founder, thoughts on the test: HAMMER Benchmark Fun

III. Get Linux and FreeBSD hardware info with guide to commands

Switching between open source OSs can sometimes be confusing, since they may have different ways of doing things. A common task that may confuse some users when switching systems is getting hardware information. In the case of Linux-based OSs and FreeBSD, the following cheat sheet for figuring out how to do the same things on two different systems can ease some of the pain: Linux vs FreeBSD cheat sheet.

IV. Cost Optimization Through Open Source Software (iXsystems)

The lead article in this month’s edition of the Open Source Business Resource was contributed by iXsystems. It describes some of the business reasons behind the company’s choice to use only FreeBSD and PC-BSD systems in its own infrastructure and provides a cost/savings comparison for both software and maintenance costs. It also contains some good references and percentages if you’re looking for something to show your manager (via)

V. Creating an LVM-backed FreeBSD DomU in a Linux Dom0

As the topic suggests we’re going to play with Xen and set up a FreeBSD DomU inside a Linux Dom0.

FreeBSD quick news: Amazon EC2, OpenBSD and FBI

Some exciting and eyebrow raising news items:

FreeBSD on Amazon EC2

FreeBSD developer Colin Percival announced on his blog that FreeBSD 9-CURRENT now runs on Amazon EC2:

One of my largest complaints about Amazon EC2 ever since it launched has been my inability to run FreeBSD on it. Judging from the feedback I received to two earlier blog posts, I haven’t been alone. The problems keeping FreeBSD out of EC2 have always been more FreeBSD-related than Amazon-related, however, and over the past month I’ve been hacking away at FreeBSD’s Xen code, to the point where I can say something I’ve been waiting to say for a long time: FreeBSD now runs on Amazon EC2.

There are some caveats to this. First, at the moment only FreeBSD 9.0-CURRENT can run under EC2; I haven’t merged bug fixes back to the stable branches. Second, at the moment FreeBSD only runs on t1.micro instances, for reasons I can’t discuss (NDA) but hope will be resolved soon. Third, this code hasn’t received very much testing and is almost certain to have more serious bugs, so it should be approached as an experimental, not-ready-for-production-use system for now. Full post

OpenBSD & the FBI

Theo de Raadt, project leader of the OpenBSD project, has made an email public that reveals that the FBI built a backdoor into OpenBSD’s ipsec about a decade ago.

As of yet it’s not known if any of the revelations/allegations are true and if any other operating systems are affected. We will have to wait until developers have reviewed the code. What do you think about all this? Please drop a comment at the bottom.

This subject has been picked up by many websites and blogs. Here’s a selection:

  • FBI Poked Spy Hole in OpenBSD, Says Former Contractor – technewsworld.com
  • FBI ‘planted backdoor’ in OpenBSD – theregister.com
  • FBI Accused Of Decade-Old Cryptography Code Conspiracy – forbes.com
  • Developer claims FBI implemented backdoors in OpenBSD – itwire.com


(Free)BSD Events (November)

Below some links, photos and videos for some BSD related events in the last few weeks:

NYCBSDCon

NYCBSDCon took place on 14 Nov. Justin Sherill has summarised the 2 days: NYCBSDCon Notes. Will Backman, the man behind bsdtalk, has uploaded a short video showing off the facilities, food and talks:


BSD Day 2010

Some pictures of BSDDay 2010 (Budapest, Hungary, 20 Nov 2010) can be found here.

For the slide, check out the wiki page.

DragonFlyBSD

DragonFlyBSD is taking part in Google Code-In. Several Google Code-In tasks for DragonFlyBSD have already been claimed and finished.

There’s a 15 minutes interview on BSDTalk with Matthew Dillon about the recent 2.8 release of DragonFlyBSD. This interview was done at MeetBSD California 2010. Download/Listen: MP3OGG

NetBSD

Soren Jacobsen has announced the release of NetBSD 5.1: “The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce that version 5.1 of the NetBSD operating system is now available. NetBSD 5.1 is the first feature update of the NetBSD 5.0 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed critical for security or stability reasons, as well as new features and enhancements. Please note that all fixes in security/critical updates are cumulative, so the latest update contains all such fixes since the corresponding minor release. Some highlights include:

  • RAIDframe parity maps, which greatly improve parity rewrite times after unclean shutdown;
  • X.Org updates;
  • support for many more network devices;
  • Xen PAE dom0 support;
  • Xen PCI pass-through support.”

Zafer Aydogan announced Jibbed 5.1, a NetBSD-based live CD featuring automatic hardware detection and the Xfce desktop.

Of EoL, GSoC, paid development and why I love UNIX

FreeBSD 6.4 and 8.0 EoLs coming soon

On November 30th, FreeBSD 6.4 and FreeBSD 8.0 will have reached their End of Life and will no longer be supported by the FreeBSD Security Team. Since FreeBSD 6.4 is the last remaining supported release from the FreeBSD 6.x stable branch, support for the FreeBSD 6.x stable branch will also cease at the same point. Users of either of these FreeBSD releases are strongly encouraged to upgrade to either FreeBSD 7.3 or FreeBSD 8.1 before that date.

The FreeBSD Ports Management Team wishes to remind users that November 30 is also the end of support for the Ports Collection for both FreeBSD 6.4 RELEASE and the FreeBSD 6.x STABLE branch. Neither the infrastructure nor individual ports are guaranteed to work on these FreeBSD versions after that date. A CVS tag will be created for users who cannot upgrade for some reason, at which time these users are advised to stop tracking the latest ports CVS repository and use the RELEASE_6_EOL tag instead. (source)

FreeBSD at GSoC Mentor Summit

As in previous years, Google held a “Mentor Summit” to bring together representatives from the open source organizations that participated in the Google Summer of Code to share experiences of what worked, what didn’t, and generally learn from each other about shepherding students through the program. The mentor summit is always run Unconference-style and it is a great opportunity to meet, learn, and socialize with the many other open source organization… continues (Murray’s FreeBSD Notes)

FreeBSD Will Pay for Some KMS, GEM Love

“The good news, however, is that the FreeBSD Foundation is willing to finance a developer to work on bringing kernel mode-setting and Graphics Execution Manager support over to the FreeBSD kernel.”

Source & full story: FreeBSD Will Pay for Some KMS, GEM Love (phoronix.com)

Why I Love Unix

I love Unix because of all the wonderful things that I can do on the command line. When I first used Unix in 1983, it was love on first sight. With a list of the most basic commands by my side, I quickly discovered how much I could accomplish with several command strings strung together. Unix was nothing like what I’d been using up to that point in my brief data processing career. It was clever, modular and logical. With tools like grep and languages like awk, it was quite a bit of fun to discover how easily I could make the system do my bid. My ability to capture sequences of commands easily into scripts made it possible for me to encapsulate my clever commands, even share them with coworkers. The Unix culture seemed innovative, inviting my participation in creating an environment that really worked for me.

Full blog post: Why I love UNIX (itworld.com)

Other BSD related news

BSD Magazine (Oct-2010) issue: VPN and BSD

There’s another (free) issue available of the BSD Managzine: VPN and BSD (Oct 2010) (link)

Some of the articles are:

bsd magazine Oct 2010

Commissioning FreeBSD with the Drupal Content Management Framework – Part 1

With nearly 6000 modules and PHP support Drupal offers a sophisticated web development platform as well as a thriving community. Drupal, originally conceived by Dries Buytaert, has a reputation of being an extremely capable DContent Management System (CMS) albeit with a steep learning curve. While many criticisms concerning the complexity of the interface will be addressed in the forthcoming Drupal 7 release (which is currently in the alpha stage), Drupal 6 excels in stability, flexibility and high quality code. The developers also subscribe to a transparent policy towards security issues, and have a dedicated security team which ensures that core modules remain high quality. Used as the basis of many high profile sites.

Building VPNs on OpenBSD

A VPN is a network made up of multiple private networks situated at different locations, linked together using secure tunnels over a public (insecure) network, typically the Internet. VPNs are becoming increasingly popular, as they allow companies to join the LANs of their branches or subsidiaries into a single private network (site-to-site VPNs) or to provide mobile employees, such as sales people, access to their corporate network from outside the premises (remote-access VPNs), thus making accessing and sharing internal information much easier.

Closed-source and unsupported drivers with FreeBSD

Sooner or later you come to a conclusion that you need to have an enhanced mobility throughout your home place. And you decide to purchase an Wi-Fi card and put it into a home gate-keeper. Do you know about troubles that could bring this simple transaction like WiFi network card purchase?Some might ask – is it necessary to buy a WiFi-card instead of a simple AccessPoint (AP)? At first glance you can figure out that there exist the fine models of ADSL-modems with wireless capabilities and that could work as AP. However, it should be noticed that: a) not all home connections to an Internet-provider go through a „copper” like phone- or cable-line; b) you simply need to add a WiFi-capability to an already working gate; c) a WiFi-card itself costs several times cheaper of AP.

Download issue: VPN and BSD

BSD Magazine issue 2010-09: BSD and Linux

The BSD Mag September issue is about BSD and Linux

The following articles can be found in this issue:

Installing a Citrix Client on FreeBSD

As our computing needs change, so does our criteria for selecting an operating system. Today, my job and my family are in different cities.

Writing shellcode for Linux and *BSD

A shellcode is a sequence of machine language instructions which an already-running program can be forced to execute by altering its execution flow through software vulnerabilities (e.g. stack overflow, heap overflow or format strings).

How To Convert Text to Voice Using Festival and Lame in FreeBSD

In 2007 I built a web-based IM/ Chat Service which was later launched as an iPhone web app. Making a long story short I retired the service in 2008 and that was that.

FreeBSD Squid proxy with Parental Controls How-To

Traditionally, web pages were served via a webserver such as Apache and transmitted via the network on port 80 to a web-browser.

Network monitoring with Nagios and OpenBSD PART 2

So our OpenBSD-based network now includes redundant firewalls, domain name servers, a mail gateway  and a web proxy cache .

The Difference Between FreeBSD and Ubuntu in a Not So Technical Way

As a system administrator, I have been using various distributions of Linux and FreeBSD. I am comfortable in a mixed environment of *nix operating systems to provide network services.

Download: BSD Magazine 2010-09 (Linux and BSD)

BSD Magazine 08/2010: BSD as Operating System

The BSD Magazine editors have uploaded a new issue: BSD as Operating System (download PDF).

According to Olga Kartseva, the Magazine’s chief editor, there are already more than 22.000 subscribers:

BSD Magazine is growing, it has already around 22,000 subscribers all over the world. Comparing to 10,000 printed copies which were distributed in USA before January – this number has really grown! We are looking for the new ways to promote our magazine all the time and we are very grateful for every help you give us! Thank you for spreading a word about BSD Mag!

Encouraged by this success, BSD Mag is planning to launch a Russian version in September.  The editors are looking for authors, betatesters and proofreaders with Russian as a native language:

At the moment we are planning to open russian version of BSD Magazine in September. The magazine will be also free online publication.

And we are looking for authors, betatesters and proofreaders with russian as a native language.
Please contact olga.kartseva[at]bsdmag.org in case you want to contibute or have an idea where we should announce this news.

Table of contents of the BSD Mag Aug issue:

Introduction to MidnightBSD

MidnightBSD was founded in 2006 by Lucas Holt. The project is a FreeBSD 6.0 fork with an emphasis on creating a desktop focused BSD. While there are other BSD desktop projects (most notably PC-BSD and DesktopBSD), we wanted to create an entire desktop centered BSD from the kernel all the way up to the standard applications. We want a BSD that a grandmother could install and use.

The FreeBSD Ubuntu challenge

FreeBSD makes a great server, but can it rise to the challenge of running Compiz as a workstation? One of the many criticisms of Open Source software (indeed even FreeBSD) is that it is not ready for the desktop.

Network monitoring with Nagios and OpenBSD PART 1

So our OpenBSD-based network now includes redundant firewalls, domain name servers, a mail gateway and a web proxy cache. (Read previous issues of BSD Magazine) All the services provided by these machines are particularly critical and can’t afford even minimal downtime. Redundancy may give us the time to recover a failure before having angry users trying to knock down our door, but it doesn’t free us from the responsibility to detect and solve ongoing problems.

Replacing Microsoft Exchange Server

Installing set of open-source programs without lack of functionality Instead of Microsoft Exchange Server. This way Groupware-part will be replaced on Horde Groupware.

Maintenance Systems over BSD

I was talking in previous articles about how to run applications widely used in the Industry that can be supported by BSD apart of classical IT services. As clear example of this is SAP Suite. SAP covers all possible asset management to control the cost related to production and also maintenance but as per tighted cost in investments today, the Plants must run 24/7 with maximum reliability and productivity possible.

Low Resource PCs with FreeBSD

FreeBSD is my pick for best modern operating system to use on older PCs. I can’t believe how many used PCs end up as landfill while students, educators, low income families and others go without a computer at all.

Making the Unknown Giant Visible and Known

FreeBSD has the moniker Unknown Giant. I confirm that it is true in my place. I have asked system administrators, computer enthusiasts, and hobbyist about FreeBSD and they didn’t even know what I’m talking about.

Download this issue here

BSD Magazine 2010/07: OpenBSD

July’s issue of the BSD Magazine can now be downloaded: BSD magazine 2010/07: OpenBSD.

Olga Kartseva, chief editor, wrote that the BSD Magazine archives are available now for freebsd-announce mailinglist subscribers without having to subscribe to the BSD Mag newsletter.

This is the table of contents of the OpenBSD issue:

Building a Desktop Firewall with pf and fwbuilder

This article is an excerpt from the Firewalls and VPNs chapter of the book The Best of FreeBSD Basics (ISBN 9780979034220), published by Reed Media Publishing.
- Dru Lavigne

OpenBSD Some Interesting One Floppy Systems

One floppy systems are very practical, as they usually have a specific goal, which cannot be said about all Live CD’s.
- JURAJ SIPOS

Remote Installation of the FreeBSD Operating System without a Remote Console

This article documents the remote installation of the FreeBSD operating system when the console of the remote system is unavailable. The main idea behind this article is the result of a collaboration with Martin Matuska mm@FreeBSD.org with valuable input provided by Pawel Jakub Dawidek jd@FreeBSD.org.
- DANIEL GERZO

OpenBSD as a Mail Server

In a previous document, we built redundant firewalls using the CARP and PFSYNC protocols; these were the first building blocks of a hypothetical, penBSD-based, small private networkthat we are going to build step by step across several documents.
- DANIELE MAZZOCCHIO

Performance Comparison ITTIA DB and SQLite

ITTIA DB SQL and SQLite are used by software developers to manage information stored in applications and devices. Designed to be hidden from the end-user, these embedded relational database management systems are linked into the application or firmware as self-contained software libraries.
- Sasan Montaseri

Interview with Jeff Roberson
- Jesse Smith

FreeBSD Experience and Success Story
- JOSHUA EBARVIA