Available: PC-BSD 8.2-RC1

The PC-BSD Team has announced the availability of the first Release Candidate for PC-BSD 8.2.

Version 8.2-RC1 contains a number of enhancements, improvements, and bug fixes in response to previous 8.2 testing snapshots. Some of the notable changes are:

  • Updated to FreeBSD 8.2-RC1
  • Fixed issue detecting the proper video card driver
  • Fixed some crashes when adding new users / groups
  • Added /sbin/nologin as a shell choice in the user manager
  • Let created users have a homedir of /nonexistant via the GUI
  • Fix customizing desktop languages when using a () in the description

Version 8.2-RC1 of PC-BSD is available for download from the mirrors. Everyone is encouraged to test this beta and to report any bugs to the testing mailing list. Instructions for beta testers can be found in the PC-BSD Handbook.

FreeBSD quick news and links (week 52)

Below some links to news articles and blog posts relating to FreeBSD, it’s development, howto’s etc, and other interesting bits and bops connected with the FreeBSD operating system.

1. Automatic Install with FreeBSD 64-bit on RootBSD.

All new RootBSD orders are now able to select FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE 64-bit as an option in the order form. Although manual install is still an option, this selection will prompt our new automated installer for FreeBSD 64-bit that allows your VPS to be set up in a matter of minutes like our current 32-bit offering once your order is approved. FreeBSD 32-bit is still recommended for most users.

2. FreeBSD Foundation fund raising drive (2010)

This is a last plea from the FreeBSD Foundaion for 2010 donations. Can you help?

3. FreeBSD on Amazon EC2

FreeBSD 9.0 headed to the cloud as 8.2 nears release (internetnews.com). Related to this is Collin’s updated FreeBSD on Amazon’s EC2 FAQ

4. GhostBSD – Preview for the next release.

New Logo, new theme for GhostBSD 2.0 and plans to make it faster.

5. Running Pinta on FreeBSD (rhyous.com - howto).

Pinta is a drawing/editing program modeled after Paint.NET. It’s goal is to provide a simplified alternative to GIMP for casual users. It is currently early in development.

6. ZFS in Debian

ZFS is coming to Debian! Of course, it will be arriving there via the FreeBSD kernel. ZFS v28 s imminent in FreeBSD. Testers need to check out the new patch (via Ivan Voras’ blog).

7. Oracle highligts Solaris UNIX Plans

The OS will feature next-generation networking capabilities for scalability and performance, said John Fowler, Oracle executive vice president of systems, at a company event in Santa Clara, Calif. “It’s a complete reworking of [the] enterprise OS,” he said. Oracle took over Solaris when the company acquired Sun Microsystems early this year.

Full post:  Oracle highlights Solaris UNIX plans (computerworld.com)

Talking about UNIX, Novell has moved to quell growing concerns that it has sold Linux out to Microsoft as part of its Attachmate deal: Novell keeps Unix copyrights from Microsoft

8. FreeBSD: High Performance Packet Capture
Summary and background information: FreeBSD: High Performance Packet Capture

9. Marketing Assistant for Open Source Hardware Manufacturer

Ever wanted to work for a FreeBSD focused company? If ‘Marketing’ is your thing and you’re at ‘assistant level’, have a look at this vacancy with iXsystems: Marketing Assistant for Open Source Hardware Manufacturer

iXsystems is looking for a Marketing Assistant with developed writing skills and the ability to do some digital graphic work as well. The ideal candidate is both creative and hardworking with the ability to develop innovative ideas for ads and print related to open source servers and software. Applicants will need to be able to work five days a week from 10 am – 6pm. Some flex time is permitted, but minimum amount of time required in the office is 3 full days per week.

10. Trying PC-BSD 8.2-BETA2 (taosecurity). Richard Bejtlich took PC-BSD 8.2-BETA2 for a spin. His feedback here.

11. KDE Software Compilation 4.4.5 in ports

PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1 available for Testing

Following the release of FreeBSD 8.2-BETA1, PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1 is available too:

The PC-BSD Team is pleased to announce the availability of PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1 which is running FreeBSD 8.2-PreRELEASE, Xorg 7.5, and KDE 4.5.4

Version 8.2 contains a number of enhancements and improvements. For a full list of changes, please refer to the changelog . Some of the notable changes are:

  • FreeBSD 8.2-PreRelease
  • KDE 4.5.4
  • Added ability to select file system type and to encrypt partitions during installation
  • * Numerous fixes and improvements to Network Manager, including 3G support and ability to enable/disable the lagg interface

Version 8.2-BETA1 of PC-BSD is available for download from our mirrors. Everyone is encouraged to test this beta and to report any bugs to the testing mailing list. Instructions for beta testers can be found in the PC-BSD Handbook.

Source: pc-bsd website

PC-BSD 9.0 (alpha) available for testing

Kris Moore announced the availability of PC-BSD 9.0 (alpha):

I’m pleased to make available our first 9-Current alpha snapshot for you to begin playing with. This testing snapshot contains MANY new features and improvements that we plan on including in the eventual release of 9.0. However, by no means is this snapshot “feature complete” or to be considered stable. Expect to find bugs and things to change over the coming months as we refine features. Consider yourself warned!

Some of the major changes are:

  • Ability to to customise your installed desktop and choose from KDE4, Gnome2,XFCE4, and LXDE.
  • New PC-BSD Control Panel
  • PBI format has been completely overhauled and reimplemented as CLI

BSDTalk has an interview with Kris done last weekend at the MeetBSD Conference talking about PC-BSD 9  (18 minutes). Will and Kris talk about the following new features:

  • new environments will be available (no longer KDE only)
  • softupdates with journaling and USB 3.0 (new in the underlying FreeBSD 9.0 Head)
  • Re-implementation of the PBI package format. It is now completely shell-driven and the QT4 GUI sits on top of the scripts. To find out more about the new PBI CL utilities, check out the PBI Manager 9.0 section of the PC-BSD Handbook
  • And this is a big one: reduced disk space taken by PBI’s by sharing libraries. Though modern hard drives are large and fairly cheap, it’s been a often-heard complaint that PBI’s are hard drive space waisters.
  • PBIs are now signed by the build server
  • PBI’s can be patched by applying binary diffs, so there won’t be a need to download many megabytes to install a new version of a particular PBI (updating OpenOffice for example is a nightmare)

All in all, PC-BSD 9.0 promises to be one of the best versions so far.

Before downloading/installing this alpha, be aware there are some issues.

Download PC-BSD 9.0 Alpha

FreeBSD news and links (week 40)

I have some  news links an leftovers for you from (the) last (few) week(s):

1. PC-BSD 8.1 [Review]
We always wonder why is it that Microsoft makes us pay to use its OS, so why not shift to Linux or UNIX which are open source and free to use. No doubt Microsoft has made it very easy for lay man to use a PC but we all know Linux is more secure than Windows. Also, off late Linux developers are concentrating on GUI to make Linux easy to use.

FreeBSD – a UNIX like operating system has evolved from AT&T UNIX via Berkely Software Distribution. FreeBSD has a text installer. PC-BSD was founded by FreeBSD professional named Kris Moore in 2005. Kris Moore’s goal was to make FreeBSD easy for everyone to install on desktop. PC-BSD is aimed at users like you and me who are accustomed to Windows but would like a free OS. It has a graphical installation program which uses KDE SC graphical user interface.
Continues (thinkdigit.com)

2. EuroBSDCon Presentation on pc-sysinstal (PDF)
There was a lot of interest about the changes to the pc-sysinstall backend during Kris Moore’s presentation at EuroBSDCon. Continues (Dru’s blog)

There’s an interview with John Hixon from iXsystems on pc-sysinstall (potentially on FreeBSD): bsdtalk199

3. Ten ways Linux and BSD differ

I hear it all the time: people lumping together Linux and any of the BSDs. On occasion, I’ve even done it myself. Of course, there are plenty of similarities. Both are based on Unix and have mostly been developed by non-commercial organisations. They also share a common goal — to create the most useful, reliable operating system available. But there are also significant differences that shouldn’t be ignored, and I thought it would be worth highlighting them here.Continues (zdnet.co.uk)

4. New FreeNAS 0.8 alpha

First and foremost, we have a completely new GUI look and feel. We’ve imported dojango into the GUI to take advantage of Dojo JavaScript Toolkit. The flow of the interface is much nicer, it looks better, and we’ve added additional help to make it easier to use. We think you’ll like this new GUI. We’ve made dozens of improvements over the past few weeks to the GUI. We hope you like the new location for enabling shares. Contiunues (Warner’s blog)

5. Using Clonezilla with FreeNAS or Network Share to Backup a Hard Disk

6. pfSense router setup in VirtualBox

7. Bordeaux Software is looking for testers (and bloggers): Looking for someone to do a review


PC-BSD Q&A in this Week’s DistroWatch Issue

Jesse Smith from DistroWatch recently asked DistroWatch readers to submit questions about PC-BSD.  The questions, with Dru Lavigne’s answers, can be read in this week’s issue of Distrowatch.

The questions asked were:

  • What is your opinion on the differences between the BSD license and the GPL, and how it works for how BSD does things? Why would a developer choose a license which allows a commercial entity to use their code and make money from it without giving anything back (i.e. OS X)?
  • Going back to the basics, it’d be interesting to know why one might choose a BSD operating system over a Linux distro, and vice versa. What is/are the core function(s) of BSD, and what sets it apart from Linux (other than the different licensing schemes)?
  • What are some of the philosophical differences between the BSD kernel and Linux kernel coders? And can things like drivers be shared between the two camps?
  • Could you please compare and contrast BSD Ports and Linux package management?
  • I would appreciate hearing your insight into the Oracle/Google lawsuit, Java and patent issues. I would also love to hear about your perspective on some of the new upstart BSD distros that include installers and GNOME/KDE (PC-BSD, GhostBSD, GNOBSD).
  • I would love to try a BSD distro, and I like the look of PC-BSD, but I don’t want to download the large DVD image. Are there plans for a live CD edition any time soon? Perhaps one with Xfce or LXDE instead of KDE?
  • It is already possible to install ZFS from the GUI installer of PC-BSD. In fact I was able to establish a functioning mirrored “rootpool” using the installer with a minimum of fuss. The problem is that there is no default (suggested) file system layout that is specifically tailored to zpools (like there is in OpenSolaris) and you have to create your own, unlike the default (or suggested) UFS layout provided by the PC-BSD installer. This puts a premium on user knowledge. So I was wondering if future installers will have an even more “user-friendly” approach to ZFS installation, where ideal partition layouts are recommended by the installer?
  • Will there be any attempt to improve on the power and flexibility of the BTX bootloader that PC-BSD uses? Is it even conceivable that PC-BSD might incorporate GRUB 2? Right now it is supposed to be possible to install GRUB on PC-BSD, but I think people have had a lot trouble doing this, with GRUB 2 at any rate.
  • I’ve tried to install PC-BSD, but if it’s not video issues on my new machine it’s boot issues on the old one. What can a relative computer Luddite like myself (who’ll try something but probably never dig that deep into getting it to work) do to encourage better hardware compatibility on future releases?
  • I have been using PC-BSD and plain FreeBSD (with KDE) for quite a while. With FreeBSD you have the option of using it in “rolling-release style” by upgrading your ports on a regular basis. But you can restrict your port upgrades and just upgrade those ports that have security vulnerabilities if you like. Just run portaudit and it will tell you what needs upgrading. Now, as you know, PC-BSD is not a rolling release (unless you use the ports system with it and want to constantly upgrade). But I have noticed that the number of “system updates” in PC-BSD are very few and far between. They seem even fewer then just the security patches provided by FreeBSD (i.e. the portupgrades applied only to the vulnerable ports). So my question is, in light of these fewer system updates, is PC-BSD more insecure then FreeBSD? (I am assuming that one is not using the ports system with PC-BSD.) I realize that a lot of the vulnerabilities that portaudit reports are only relevant if you are using a server, but this is not universally true, and I can’t shake the feeling that PC-BSD is significantly behind the curve when it comes to providing package updates that eliminate security problems. If PC-BSD has a flaw relative to FreeBSD (or most Linux distros) this might be it.
  • Is there anything else you’d like to add about the PC-BSD project or BSD in general?

Read the answers: Interview (by Jesse Smith)

PC-BSD 8.1 review by linuxbsdos

linuxbsdos has a fairly positive review of PC-BSD 8.1, though there is still room for improvement:

“PC-BSD 8.1 was released on July 20, 2010, roughly five months after version 8.0 was released. Some of the suggestions made in the review of PC-BSD 8.0 have been carried out in this latest release. In fact, the changes were made within one month of that review being published. It is an encouraging example of how some distro developers respond to suggestions (or critical reviews).

While I still think that PC-BSD is not yet ready for the masses, it is coming along very well. This review will offer another detailed look at some of the good and bad sides of this FreeBSD-based distribution, with the attendant recommendations and suggestions for improvement.

Let me begin by looking at the bright side of this distribution…. ”

Read more: PC-BSD 8.1 review