PC-BSD, FreeBSD & the Google SoC

The subject sounds more exciting than it is ;-) Google has selected 21 FreeBSD related projects for the annual Google Summer of Code (Soc). It would have been nice if Google had selected 21 PC-BSD projects, but, hey, who knows what the future holds ;-)

Kris Moore, the founder of PC-BSD, will be mentoring Eric Durbin who will be working on optimising Wine for FreeBSD.

The FreeBSD Project received over 100 applications for Google’s Summer of Code program, amongst which 21 were selected for funding. Unfortunately, there were far more first rate applications than available spots for students. However, we encourage students to work together with us all year round. The FreeBSD Project is always willing to help mentor students learn more about operating system development through our normal community mailing lists and development forums. Contributing to an open source software project is a valuable component of a computer science education and great preparation for a career in software development.

The following projects have been selected for funding:

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CrossOver Games announced

CodeWeavers, the makers of CrossOver Office, have announced a new product: CrossOver Games

CodeweaversNow gamers can play the games they want, on whatever platform they want! With CrossOver Games, you can run many popular Windows games on your Intel OS X Mac or Linux PC (or FreeBSD, PC-BSD and DesktopBSD, GvE) Whatever your tastes — first-person shooters, fantasy, strategy, MMORPGs — CrossOver Games provides the capability to run many popular games titles. CrossOver comes with an easy to use, single click interface, which makes installing your games simple and fast. Once installed, your game integrates seamlessly into your Desktop. Just click and run! Best of all, you do it all easily and affordably, without needing a Microsoft operating system license.

CrossOver Games is built on the latest versions of Wine, based on contributions from both CodeWeavers and the open-source Wine community… Unlike other CrossOver products, which are aimed primarily at office productivity applications (and hence maximum stability), CrossOver Games aims to bring you the latest, greatest, bleeding edge improvements in Wine technology. This means that the newest games run faster and better under CrossOver than under other versions of CrossOver, or other version of free Wine, for that matter.

Jeremy White from CodeWeavers has made the announcement that an experimental build of CrossOver Games is now available for PC-BSD users. However, this unsupported edition should also work on FreeBSD or DesktopBSD, allowing users to play Windows games on their desktop.

The FreeBSD version of CrossOver Games can be downloaded here (registration required).

Notes

  • Remember this is an experimental build!
  • If you are on FreeBSD 6.x, you will need to apply a system patch from http://wiki.freebsd.org/Wine to enable wine to function properly. Users of FreeBSD 7.0 and higher do not need this patch

First look at PC-BSD 1.5

PC-BSD 1.5 Featured Story on Distrowatch.

I’ve followed the development of PC-BSD with enthusiasm since my first test drive three years ago of version 0.6. I was highly impressed with the developers’ ability to provide a free BSD that was easy to install and even easier to use. Truthfully, I thought it was just amazing. I’ve tested various versions since, including 1.0 and 1.4, and was never severely disappointed. So, when 1.5 was released, I expected things to only be better. In many ways they were, but in the most significant way they weren’t.

Continued here

gotbsd.net for BSD torrents

There’s a great BSD torrent website that I want to bring to your attention. It’s gotbsd.net where you can download FreeBSD 7.0, PC-BSD 1.5 and FreeSBIE 2.0.1 CD images via the Bittorrent protocol.

This site was originally started in 2007 shortly after the FreeBSD Project took their official server off-line. We originally ran on a dedicated server which ran its own tracker and a seeder. The Project recently started up a new official torrent server. So, we now run on a web host and link to official torrents (FreeBSD and others).

Consistent with our original goals, we’ll still put up torrents for FreeBSD-based OS’s that need it by using a third-party tracker. PC-BSD and FreeSBIE are both in this category now. Seeders for those torrents are greatly needed! If you’re able to contribute to the community by seeding, it will be even better if you are able to have an open, listening port for your torrent client.

Check it out and help seeding: gotbsd.net

pfSense 1.3 – what’s coming?

pfSense logoThe pfSense Team have outlined their development plans for version 1.3 which will be base on FBSD 7.0. It’s the plan to release the next version within the next month.

This release already contains some significant new features. Among them are:

  • Traffic shaper completely rewritten – now supports any number of internal interfaces and multiple WAN interfaces. This work is 99% finished and is working exceptionally well in our testing.
  • User manager – multiple administrative users can be created, with varying levels of access. Access groups can be defined to easily grant identical access rights to multiple users. Rights can be defined individually for each page in the web interface.
  • LDAP authentication – LDAP is integrated into the user manager so pfSense can authenticate from any LDAP server. Microsoft Active Directory and Novell eDir have been thoroughly tested, though any LDAP server should work. You can even define groups in your directory and assign rights in pfSense to those groups.
  • Significant OpenVPN improvements
  • Routing improvements

Keep up the good work, Chris (and the other team members). Looking forward to trying out 1.3.

PC-BSD 1.5 – review (fosswire)

PC-BSD LogoFosswire has a nice write up about PC-BSD 1.5, with a 8 out of 10 mark. The installation is straight forward and installation of PBIs is easy.

Experienced Linux and BSD users might moan and groan about the Windows-ness of it, but it really is slick.

Although package installation resembles very much the Windows way” it works, and that’s most important for “casual user” who doesn’t have experience with Linux or BSD.

Conclusion: PC-BSD is a very capable general purpose desktop operating system. It is certainly as capable as any of the major Linux distributions out there. The particular thing that makes it stand out is its novel approach to software management, which makes it easier for the newbie to use.

The major issue I see is lack of support. PC-BSD is very niche and that is likely to cause some issues when it comes to support. There is an active forum-based community, which I am sure is very helpful, but the level of support simply can’t compete with the communities built around other operating systems, such as Ubuntu.

Apart from that, I really am struggling to find criticism for PC-BSD, aside from the minor quirks and some of the rather irritating installation restrictions.

Sure, it might be an unusual choice, but for the standard web/productivity tasks it does as good a job as anything else that’s out there. And isn’t that what really matters?

PC-BSD 1.5 Edison final – released

PC-BSD LogoThe PC-BSD Team is happy to announce the availability of PC-BSD 1.5 Edison. Some of the highlights of this version are:

  • Xorg 7.3
  • KDE 3.5.8
  • Based on FreeBSD 6.3 release (next version will be based on 7.0)
  • NEW System Updater tool – Keeps system & PBIs up to date – Allows override variables, so admins can use their own mirrors / servers to roll out updates to users.
  • Improvements to WiFi tool, BSSID support and better SSID support
  • Improvements to the PBI Removal tool – Remove a list of PBIs at a time
  • NEW sound detection program! Uses XML backend to identify and load modules
  • NEW amd64 build of 1.5, including PBI that are on our auto-build server
  • NEW PBI icon preview library, now a PBI file shows the icon embedded in it on your desktop, not the generic “PBI” format icon

PC-BSD is a complete desktop operating system, designed with the “casual” computer user and offers the stability and security that only a BSD-based operating system bring.

This release is now available to be downloaded from mirrors around the world. Additionally for users who are running PC-BSD 1.4 or 1,3, a installable update will be released in the next few days which migrates a system to version 1.5. Please watch www.pcbsd.org for more information!