FreeBSD News – quick links (week 17)

I News & Articles

FreeBSD for Web and E-Mail Servers

I’m not touting FreeBSD over Linux. Within the Unix-like community, and even within the Linux world, it’s easy to find heated arguments over the various versions of operating systems. It seems that no matter what software or computer system some people use, they will fight to the death to prove theirs is the best. I can only tell you that FreeBSD works well for us. For years, ComputorEdge.com ran well on a Linux box. The only reason that we didn’t continue was concerns for the age of the hardware. When we brought in new servers, we installed FreeBSD. Once Apache—the same Web server we used on the Linux computer—was installed, the movement of the site to the new machine was fairly simple.

I had to learn to use FreeBSD, but now I’ve developed a certain comfort level. I could go to a Linux computer and do many of the same things I do now, but there are just enough differences for it to feel foreign to me. I’m sure that this is true to some extent even when moving between versions of Linux.

The Linux world is taking many more steps toward making the individual user more comfortable with using it as a replacement for Windows. If I were looking to do that, then I would probably start with Linux. However, if your primary objective is to build a server—for the Web, e-mail, or another intensive application—it would be difficult to go wrong with FreeBSD. More…

pfSniffer? A non-firewall use for pfSense

Several years ago my company looked into getting Distributed Sniffer Appliances, made by Network General. These are devices that attach to an Ethernet segment (at a branch office) and allow you to remotely connect and pull traces. Ideally, we would have loved to have these in each remote location so that we could more easily troubleshoot problems that seemed to crop up regularly. They looks like very nice appliances, but Network General wanted an arm and a leg for each one, so we passed.

We recently had a need for this sort of thing and I had a great idea. Many months ago, I noticed that pfSense had added a very nifty feature called Packet Capture. Essentially, the pfSense WebGUI has an interface to tcpdump, allowing you to put in some simple filter criteria (source/destination IP Address) and have a trace executed on a particular interface. This is a really nice feature for troubleshooting your firewall, but I thought that this could be used to make a distributed “pfSniffer”. More…

II Releases

New PC-BSD PBI Builder released

The PBI builder is a powerful command-line script system, which can be used to convert a FreeBSD port into a PBI file. The configuration for this process is stored as a module, which can then be used to rebuild the PBI automatically. Developers can then submit these finished modules to PC-BSD Software, where they will be added to a build server, which rebuilds the PBI every time the underlying port is updated. More…

Portscout Services Started!

Time to make my Portscout public for all.

What is Portscout? Portscout is a tool which looks for new versions of software in the
FreeBSD ports tree and potentially other software repositories. More…

III Howto

SpamAssassin Installed in 10 minutes.

In our example we are going to install SpamAssassin from the ports. This example is suitable for a small company with up to few dozen of mailboxes. More…

iXsystems partners with NetCraft (Versiera)

iXsystems, Inc. announced on 23/04/2008 a partnership with NetCraft Communications. The agreement will make NetCraft’s Versiera Remote System Management and Monitoring Software available on PC-BSD. PC-BSD is a fully functional open source desktop operating system based on FreeBSD 6.3-STABLE. Versiera is a web-based system that simplifies the common routine tasks required for system administrators, thus reducing the total cost of ownership and enabling your company to focus on your business.

A PBI has been released that will enable quick and easy deployment of the Versiera Software on PC-BSD. Any PC-BSD user can download the Versiera PBI from http://www.pbidir.com and run it on PC-BSD Version 1.4 Da Vinci Edition or PC-BSD Version 1.5 Edison Edition. Versiera gives you a real-time view of all of your hardware and software assets and can be used to consolidate management software.

Read full press release (23/04/2008)

PC-BSD 1.5.1 available

PC-BSD version 1.5.1 is now available for download as both ISO and updates from version 1.5. This version provides updates to the default port set, as well as numerous bug fixes to the system tools & utilities.

Also, additional translations have been added to provide a more complete localized experience. Users currently running 1.5 may download a standalone PBI patch, or may simply check for updates via the System Update tool.

1.5.1 changelog:

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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