DS BSD, The pocket sized BSD

headerimage.jpgOn the first of December 2007 a very tiny FreeBSD-based flavour was launched: D*mn Small BSD (DSBSD). It’s weighing in only under 50mb and comes with a Fluxbox desktop.

There are many Linux distros like this, the most popular distro being D*mn Small Linux (DSL Linux). This must have been the inspiration for Damn Small BSD

Damn Small BSD is a small (50mb or less) FreeBSD live-CD desktop environment geared toward developers and system administrators, but we also include applications that the average user may find handy.

DSBSD comes with everything you need in a basic desktop environment. We include the fluxbox window manager, firefox, xmms, and many other applications. We also include tools to help you get work done, such as an ssh server, a mini httpd, xvncviewer, and more.

The goal of the DSBSD project is to provide a FreeBSD based disto that is able to run on both older hardware with little memory, as well as modern machines, while providing a responsive desktop. SMP and uniprocessor machines are supported and support for more architectures may be provided in the future.

Development is still in a very early initial stage, so there’s no official release yet.

UPDATE:
First pilot, 0.1P1, has been released. This is merely a test of concepts, rather than a real ‘preview’ of what D*mnSmall BSD is. This version doesn’t include any X system yet or any of the goals listed on the website.

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.

PC-BSD added to Vietnam BSD/Linux Mirror

The Saigon Linux Group (SLG) added PC-BSD to the Vietnam BSD/Linux Mirror in it’s continuing effort to promote and support open source technology in Vietnam.

The Vietnam BSD/Linux Mirror is the only public mirror available in Vietnam and is currently managed by the Saigon Linux Group with the bandwidth and IP address donated by GHP Far East Co., Ltd.

Source: Saigon Linux (18/12/2007)

M0n0wall 1.3 BETA6 released

The M0n0wall project has released BETA6 (22/12/2007). This release adds support for IPsec filtering and tunnels with (dynamic) remote host names. It also allows up to 256 concurrent PPTP VPN clients (instead of only 16) and contains fixes for the filtering bridge and the captive portal. An ipfilter update also corrects the lockup issues experienced by some users with 1.3b5.

Full list of changes:

  • added support for IPsec tunnels with (possibly dynamic) remote host names (instead of fixed IP addresses); the host name is polled at regular intervals (default 60 seconds), and if the IP address that it maps to changes, IPsec is reconfigured. Note that this will also cause other (non-dynamic) tunnels to be briefly interrupted.
  • added firewall support for decapsulated IPsec packets (new pseudo-interface “IPsec” in firewall rule editor); this is on by default, but the default configuration contains a “pass all” rule on the new IPsec pseudo- interface (and this is also added automatically for existing configurations), which can then be deleted to actually filter IPsec VPN traffic
  • enabled larger client subnet sizes (= more concurrent connections) for PPTP VPN server (up to 256); change subnet size on PPTP VPN setup page if desired
  • fixed filtering bridge when used in conjunction with traffic shaper
  • captive portal reliability fixes
  • updated timezone data
  • stop discriminating against nge(4) (National Semiconductor PCI Gigabit Ethernet) adapters
  • fix DHCP release button on interface status page
  • updated FreeBSD to 6.2-RELEASE-p9
  • updated ipfilter to 4.1.28 (fixes lockup issues from 1.3b5)

DesktopBSD – day 30 – the verdict

Jan Stedehouder has finished his series on “Desktop BSD – 30 days”. Read the verdict here.

On November 1st I started with this series about DesktopBSD and we are now six weeks later. Six weeks in which I played, wrestled and worked with DesktopBSD almost every day. If there was only one conclusion I was allowed to draw it would be this: after a while I kind of forgot I was working with a FreeBSD-based operating system. Yes, there have been quirks. Yes, there were problems with my hardware but I seem to be one of the few to have those problems, which indicates it can’t be blamed on DesktopBSD. Yes, it took some more time to install new software. But the overall conclusion has to be that I could do everything I needed to do on a day to day basis.

Conclusions

This series was started with defining the key requirements for any open source desktop that wants to be a serious contender on the market for end-users, both at home and in organizations. I will repeat them here:

1. the open source desktop needs to a recognizable and easily understandable graphical work environment;
2. the open source desktop should have a complete set of graphical tools for systems- and software management that can be used intuitively;
3. the open source desktop should support multimedia activities and peripheral devices without too much hassle, even if this can only be achieved by a pragmatic approach towards non-free software components;
4. the users of the open source desktop should have access to business-grade professional support if that is desired;
5. maintaining and developing the open source desktop should not be dependent on a single person or a relatively small group of developers and maintainers;
6. migration to the open source desktop will require re-training of end users and some level of real time support during the process. This means that good and accessible documentation should be at hand as well as easy access to end user support;
7. the open source desktop should have a solid track record for quality, stability and solid progress over the last few years.

DesktopBSD easily meets requirements 1, 2, 3 and 7. I know that work has commenced on providing a DesktopBSD handbook that no doubt complements the excellent FreeBSD handbook. When looking at the feedback provided on-screen, the team is really making an effort to provide the user with the information he/she needs at the time of actually using a specific function.

Both the team and the community are quite small. Support for novice users leans heavily on a small group of very active people. At this stage this isn’t such a bad thing, but it will get complicated if and when a new group of novice users without prior experience in BSD starts to use DesktopBSD.

Though -at the time of writing- DesktopBSD is still working towards it’s final version of 1.6, I can only conclude that this is a stable and mature operating system that really lowers the threshold to get started with FreeBSD on the desktop. I am still in doubt whether DesktopBSD has progressed far enough to be accessible for end-users with Windows-only experience right now. Linux users should have little or no problems getting off with DesktopBSD and do whatever they used to do with their Linux desktop. I can only encourage them to do so, as it would expand the user base of DesktopBSD and provide the team with more feedback and assistance to make the final leap. The strong focus on stability for the operating system, the development and maturity of the current set of DesktopBSD tools and the clear and concise on-screen information are solid building blocks for a future DesktopBSD release that will be easy to use for people with Windows-only experience.

The post can be read in its entirity here.

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.