Ghosts in the machine: GhostBSD 3.5

ghostbsd_logoJesse Smith has reviewed GhostBSD 3.5 in a feature story on Distrowatch and he likes what he has seen and used so far.

I was fairly happy with my experience with GhostBSD this week. In the past I have enjoyed GhostBSD because of the project’s ability to showcase what a FreeBSD-based operating system looks like running on a live disc with a functional desktop environment. There are not a lot of live discs available in the BSD communities and I was happy to see GhostBSD take on the challenge.

An interesting comment in the article (please don’t start a flamewar here ;-) is, that the more exciting developments these days seem to be happening in the BSD world. Think of ZFS, PKG-NG, Jails etc:

The second reason for my shift in focus is I feel the BSD communities, especially the FreeBSD-based projects, are where the interesting developments are happening these days. Over in FreeBSD land we have efficient PBI bundles, a mature advanced file system in the form of ZFS, new friendly and powerful system installers, a new package manager (PKG-NG), a powerful jail manager and there will soon be new virtualization technology coming with the release of FreeBSD 10.0. Meanwhile, over in the Linux camp, I feel as though things have reached a plateau. We are seeing small improvements and an increase in polish.

New PC-BSD 10.0 test image available

Kris Moore, leader of the PC-BSD project, has just announced a new test image of the upcoming PC-BSD 10.0.

Some of the cool, new features included are:

  • Includes FreeBSD 10-STABLE / 10.0-BETA3 from 11/20/2013
  • Includes the Gnome3 / Mate / Cinnamon desktops, replacing Gnome2.
  • Updated installer options for text-mode, including ZFS options
  • Improved PBI support
  • Updated our Linux compatibility layer to Centos 6
  • Numerous bug-fixes

If you come across any bugs or issues, please let the team know.

FreeNAS 9.2.0-BETA is now available

The FreeNAS team has announced freenas-ixsystems-new-logothe availability of FreeNAS 9.2.0-BETA. As will be evident from the name tag, this version is for testing purposes only. Should you come across any issues, please get in touch with the team and file a bug report.

We have also made a number of enhancements to the UI and generally done our best to bring more polish to the FreeNAS system, both in usability and performance.  Those doing benchmarks against 9.1.1 and 9.2.0-BETA should notice some measurable improvements on any reasonably capable hardware.

Some of the changes are from the Release Notes for FreeNAS 9.2.0-BETA are:

  • Version 9.2-RELEASE of FreeBSD with performance improvements, bug fixes, and updated software packages.
  • The Kernel UMA allocator is now the default for ZFS. This results in higher ZFS performance.
  • Avahi (multicast DNS, aka Bonjour) registration of all services, include the web service, means you no longer need to have a head on the box to know its IP address, even for initial configuration. freenas.local is the default (or freenas-n.local, where n is the # of freenas.local machines already on the local network). This can be changed by changing the hostname.
  • The built-in admin user account is no longer used and the Admin Account removed. The first time the FreeNAS graphical interface is accessed, a pop-up menu will prompt for the root password. Subsequent logins to the graphical interface will require this password.
  • A complete REST API has been created for FreeNAS, allowing a FreeNAS instance to be controlled remotely.
  • The “Permit Sudo” field has been added to the add and edit screens for Users and Groups. A column in View Groups and View Users now indicates whether or not “Permit Sudo” has been set.
  • HTTP and HTTPS access to the FreeNAS graphical interface are no longer mutually exclusive. The fields “WebGUI HTTP Port” and “WebGUI HTTPS Port” have been added to System Settings -> General.
  • An “Edit” button has been added to the “Hostname” field of System Information to make the hostname easier to change.
  • The results from the latest ZFS scrub now appear in Volume Status.
  • Netatalk has been updated to version 3.1.0.
  • The AIO options have been removed from CIFS.
  • Fourteen TLS-related fields have been added to the Advanced Mode of FTP.
  • An “IPv4 Address” column has been added to the View Jails screen.
  • A shell button has been added to Jails, making it easy to access the command line of the selected jail.
  • A “Create directory” checkbox has been added to the Add Storage function of a jail so that the user does not have to first access the jail’s shell to make sure that the directory already exists. A “Read-Only” checkbox has also been added to this screen.
  • A jails templating system has been added, allowing the quick deployment of new jails from existing templates and the ability to create custom templates. Linux jail support has also been added and installation templates are included for Debian-7.1.0, Gentoo-20130820, Ubuntu-13.04, Centos-6.4, Fedora-19, and Suse-12.3.
  • A link to the online FreeBSD manual pages has been added to Help.
  • Added bxe(4) driver for Broadcom NetXtreme II Ethernet 10Gb PCIe adapter.
  • Added padlock(4) driver which provides cryptographic hardware acceleration for VIA C3, C7 and Eden processors.

GhostBSD 3.5 “Levi” released

Eric Turgeon has announced, on behalf of the GhostBSD team, GhostBSD 3.5 Levi. Levi is the third release of the 3.* branch which improves GhostBSD 3.1 and introduces some new features.

Some of the new features are included in the last stable version are:

  • OpenSSL has been updated to version 0.9.8y.
  • DTrace hooks have been enabled by default in the GENERIC kernel.
  • DTrace has been updated to version 1.9.0.
  • OpenSSH has been updated to version 6.2p2.
  • Gnome 2.32 has been replace by Mate 1.6.
  • Xfce 4.10 is now part of desktop choice.
  • GhostBSD BSM theme with custom Faenza icon.
  • Mate, Xfce and LXDE contain a more uniform set of software.
  • Gimp is now install by default.
  • Shotwell is now install by default.
  • The installer GBI as been updated to 1.3.

The Coding Studio has a number of GhostBSD 3.5 screenshots, should you be interested to see how it looks without having to install it.

GhostBSD 3.5 RC3 (Levi) available for testing

Eric Turgeon has announced release candidate 3 for GhostBSD 3.5, a FreeBSD-based operating system that supports Xfce LXDE, MATE, and OpenBox desktop environments out of the box.

There is still a problem with the Bxpkg Update Manager causing it to not work properly. Should not all known issues be solved before releasing RCs?

Anyway, here’s the announcement with the download links

GhostBSD 3.5 RC2 is now available

ghostbsd_logoEric Turgeon has announced release candidate 2 for GhostBSD 3.5, a FreeBSD-based operating system that supports Xfce LXDE, MATE, and OpenBox desktop environments out of the box.

Some of the highlights are:

  • FreeBSD 9.2 RC4 has been updated to FreeBSD 9.2 REALEASE
  • i386 Openbox Menu has been fixed and it’s now working properly
  • The Installer “Customize Partitioning” option windows title has been changed

There are still some outstanding issues to be fixed, so check the release announcement before installing.

PC-BSD 9.2-RELEASE now available

PC-BSD LogoThe PC-BSD development team have announced the availability of PC-BSD 9.2-RELEASE

Some of te 9.2-RELEASE Highlights are

  • Based on FreeBSD 9.2-RELEASE.
  • Bootable ZFS Boot Environments: using GRUB2, any new ZFS boot-environments created via the “beadm” command will be added to the boot-loader and available at boot-time.
  • Re-written Life-Preserver utility: allows you to instantly create ZFS snapshots, restore files, and replicate data to a remote system or mirror to an additional local disk drive.
  • Updated installer allows restoring the entire system from a replicated ZFS backup.
  • New Boot Manager GUI: allows managing ZFS boot-environments and GRUB menus in a single location.
  • PNGNG support: in addition to PBIs and the AppCafe, system admins and power users will now have access to a full PKGNG repository with frequent updates.
  • New version of AppCafe with new streamlining and PBI management functionality.
  • Warden updates
  • Graphical Package Manager: GUI supports basic or advanced mode, which allows full package management / upgrades.
  • Home directory encryption: PEFS based encryption allows users to encrypt their home-directory contents with their login password, which is only unencrypted while logged in.
  • Boot times improved substantially
  • Binary “freebsd-update” server implemented allowing updates to different PC-BSD branches without re-compiling.

Check the Release Announcement for more details and upgrade/installation instructions.