FreeBSD in 2007 – a review

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.

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We’ll be looking at:

Start of this blog

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).

FreeBSD in 2007

FreeBSD LogoUnfortunately 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).

Conference-wise, the ‘normal’ BSD conferences (BSDCan, EuroBSD, MeetBSD) were held, with a new one in Turkey (BSDConTR).
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FreeNAS Tutorials

Rob Lagesse has created two easy FreeNAS tutorials. These howto’s are aimed at Windows users wanting to set up a NAS server but having no or little experience with alternative operating systems. All step-by-step with many screenshots.

If you’re an advanced FreeNAS/FreeBSD user you may find these two post interesting: FreeNAS & online snapshot backups, with a script how to backup your data to an online hoster, e.g. Bluehost, or this post: Diy NAS + Xbox 360 = R0X.

FreeNAS 0.686 (stable) released

FreeNASAfter more than 1 year FreeNAS 0.686 (a FreeBSD-based operating system which provides free Network-Attached Storage (NAS) services) has been released. A lot of hard work has been put into it, bugs have been fixed and new features have been implemented.

Volker, the project leader wants to thank those who have helped out on the forums, the translators, the webmaster and those who have contributed code to improve FreeNAS.

For the future multiple branches have to be mananged, a 0.686x to fix bugs in stable (no new features) and a 0.7 to upgrade FreeBSD to 7.0 + new features.

Majors changes:

  • Refactor port makefiles.
  • Upgrade netbsd-iscsi (iscsi-target) to 20071221, fusefs-ntfs to 1.1120.

Minors changes:

  • Disable firmware upgrade via WebGUI for ‘full’ installations. Use the ‘full’ upgrade mode from LiveCD instead.
  • Changed boot splashscreen and WebGUI logo images.
  • Try to fix AFP Time Machine problem.

Bug fixs:

  • Fix bug in ‘full’ upgrade/install routine (LiveCD).
  • Do not delete log files during boot process on ‘full’ installations.

Permanent restrictions:

  • It is not possible to format a SoftRAID disk with MSDOS FAT16/32.
  • It is not possible to encrypt a disk partition, only complete disks are supported.

Download here & or read the announcement.

FreeNAS 0686c (BETA3) released

Volker Theile has announced the third and final beta release of FreeNAS 0.686, a FreeBSD-based operating system which provides free Network-Attached Storage (NAS) services.

This will hopefully the last beta to become stable.

Majors changes

  • Add file system check support during boot process.
  • Add attribute ‘Store DOS attributes’ to Samba/CIFS WebGUI. It will be enabled by default. Thanks to pascal666.
  • Modify idmap syntax in smb.conf. Thanks to Zythan.
  • Upgrade Adaptec AACRAID driver to v5.2.0 Build 15317.
  • Upgrade WOL patch to version from 25.11.2007.
  • Add AFP share support. Thanks to Gerard Hickey.
  • Upgrade netbsd-iscsi (iscsi-target) to 20071130.
  • Upgrade PHPMailer to 2.0.0.
  • Modify rsync client/local WebGUI to define individual source/destination paths.
  • Modify rsync server WebGUI and rc-script. Now it is possible to manage rsync shares.
  • Modify rc scripts. Mount points and GEli providers will be detached correctly during shutdown process.

Minors changes

  • Add command ‘/usr/bin/nice’.
  • Send hostname only on DHCP request.
  • Update translation files.
  • Add misc patches to Samba 3.0.26a.
  • Modify iscsi-target WebGUI.
  • Add ‘ro’ (read only) flag for iscsi targets.
  • Add ‘compression’ checkbox to enable/disable it for SSH.
  • Add ushare mime patch to fix avi playback on X360. Also add video support for avc and hdmov and audio support for 3gp and flac.

And some bugfixes.

The lasted BETA can be downloaded from SourceForge.

FreeNAS 0.686b2 released

Over the weekend FreeNAS 0.686b2 was released. Download link

Majors changes:

  • Set correct sysid when formating disks with FAT32(0x0b) and EXT2(0×83).
  • Enable user to set volume label when formating disk using EXT2.
  • Refactor complete disk/RAID initialization/management/encryption PHP code && WebGUI.
  • Refactor API for better maintenance and feature enhancement.
  • Upgrade PHPMailer to 2.0.0 rc1.
  • Upgrade PHP to 5.2.5.
  • Upgrade netbsd-iscsi (iscsi-target) to 20071025.
  • Add GNU General Public License (GPL), GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), Apple Public Source License and PHP License text (located in usr/local/www).

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FreeNAS 0.686b1 Released

FreeNASToday the release of FreeNAS 0.686b1 has been anounced via the mailinglist. Version o.685RC2 has been skipped because all its improvements and fixes are also included in 0.686b1.

Download here

Majors changes:

  • Upgrade fusefs-ntfs to 1.1004.
  • Upgrade lighttpd to 1.4.18.
  • Upgrade netbsd-iscsi (iscsi-target) to 20070925.
  • Refactor GEOM-Eli implementation + WebGUI. Now it is possible to add existing encrypted disks and change passwords for a encrypted disk.
  • Improve device detection for configuration storage when booting from LiveCD.
  • Update zoneinfo files.
  • Add ‘System/Packages’ WebGUI page to administrate packages (only available in ‘full’ install mode).
  • Add LDAP Authentication.
  • Add email status report.
  • Add ‘Status/Report’ WebGUI page to administrate email status report.
  • Upgrade iSCSI Target to version 20070925.
  • Update ‘iSCSI Target’ WebGUI + services. Now it is possible to expand existing targets and define RAID0 and RAID1 devices. It is also possible to use disk devices as extents.
  • Refactor complete user/group management (code, services & WebGUI).
  • Add scheduled reboot feature.
  • Add ‘System/Advanced/Cron’ WebGUI to administrate additional cron jobs.

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