PC-BSD: From C*p to Critical

Michael Dexter has written up a review of PC-BSD 9.1.

He thinks PC-BSD is a great system with many window managers to choose from, has a good package manager and great jails management.

However, FreeBSD’s weak point is PC-BSD‘s: hardware support.

“It took time but PC-BSD is really shaping up nicely and teaches quite a few lessons about holistic OS design. I haven’t even explored its “Life Preserver” backup/FreeNAS option but the developers are clearly are focusing on adding the missing tools of the highest value. They are also focused on creating a complete client/server ecosystem and PC-BSD 9.1 users can look forward to expanded command line alternatives to the GUI tools. PC-BSD also has quite a few invisible features such as the unified base OS .txz it uses for jail creation that I may end up using for building BHyVe images. PC-BSD 9.0 and newer is truly worth a try and I applaud the progress its developers have made.”

PC-BSD 9.1 Review (Jupiter Broadcasting – video)

Jupiter Broadcasting has an episode reviewing PC-BSD

The PC-BSD 9.1 review starts at 39:50.

Notes and Summary

  • Your choice of Desktop Environments, Installer automatically adjusts the defaults depending on how much ram you have installed
  • Your options: KDE, Gnome, LXDE or XFCE
  • Another option is TrueOS, a console based server, FreeBSD with the CLI version of Warden, the PBI system, ZFS Boot Environments and other utilities
  • The install also offers vanilla FreeBSD Server
  • PC-BSD allows you to do a full ‘root on ZFS’ install (only recommended if you have 4 or more GB of ram), including creating many different datasets with different settings such as compression for optimal use of space
  • You have the option of the Basic Wizard, the Advanced Wizard, or the FreeBSD CLI partitioning system
  • The advanced Wizard also allows you to setup more complex ZFS mirror or RAIDZ
  • You can choose to optionally encrypt your hard disk using GELI
  • Warden is a Graphical and Command Line based manager for FreeBSD’s Jails feature
  • In FreeBSD a jail is a secondary installation of the OS files, which is then started in a chroot, and the processes, network and user/group IDs are separate
  • Allows you to manage three types of jails:
  • Traditional Jail – run internet applications in a container, if compromised, the attacker only gains access to the jail, not the host OS
  • Ports Jail – less secure version if jails, allows you to install applications from the FreeBSD ports tree without interfering with the PBI package manager in the host OS
  • Linux Jail – install Debian or Gentoo in a jail, and run your linux applications in a full linux environment
  • Warden also allows you to stop a jail, pack it up, and move it to a different physical machine
  • Warden also allows you to install meta-packages into the jails with a single click, allowing you to deploy apache+php+mysql in no time
  • Warden can back your jails storage with ZFS, allowing you to take advantage of ZFS features such as snapshots, clones (writable snapshots), revert to a previous snapshot, etc

PC-BSD 9.1-BETA1 available for testing

The PC-BSD Team has announced BETA1 of the upcoming PC-BSD 9.1 and the images have been uploaded.

This beta provides both users and developers a way to test out the new features in the upcoming PC-BSD 9.1 release.

PC-BSD 9.1 comes with some exciting new features that will make things a lot easier for home/office users and administrators. There’s better sound configuration, support for running Linux in jails, multiple boot environments etc.

Other highlight are:

  • FreeBSD 9.1
  • KDE 4.8.4
  • New system installer! Greatly simplified for desktop and server installs.
  • New “PC-BSD Server” installation option. Includes command-line utilities like pbi-manager, warden, metapkgmanager and more.
  • Support for ZFS mirror / raidz(1,2,3) during installation.
  • Support for SWAP on ZFS, allowing entire disk ZFS installation.
  • Support for setting additional ZFS data-set options, such as compression, noexec, etc.
  • Warden jail management integrated into system. Allows creating jails via GUI, adding packages and other administration.
  • Support for Warden to create Linux Jails
  • New “Hardware compatibility” GUI
  • First boot setup wizard allows OEM installs to be easily performed.
  • New Bluetooth paring tray / GUI utilities.
  • New AppCafe improvements and preferences
  • Improvements to wifi utility
  • Fixed bug causing untranslated strings to show up empty.
  • Numerous bug-fixes to PC-BSD related utilities
  • Support for creating PXE boot server for remote desktop and installation.
  • ZFS beadm support

Happy testing.

FreeNAS 8.2 Released

After four beta releases and one release candidate (RC), iXsystems has announced the release of FreeNAS 8.2.0, a FreeBSD-based operating systems for Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems.

This new release is the first 8.x branch release support plugins or extensions. These were available in the 0.7.x brach, prior to the project was taken over by iXsystems, but were temporarily left out of  FreeNAS 8.0 so the developers could focus on making the new base (based on FreeBSD 8) sound and solid before adding advanced features.

Plugins and other extensions are now available as optional PBI (Push Button Installer) packages that run in a FreeBSD jail. This means that plugins are running separate from the FreeNAS and sandboxed for security, but can be controlled via the FreeNAS web-based user interface. If you have used PC-BSD, you will realise the potential and the usability of these PBIs. Plugins are currently available for Roku and iTunes (Firefly) streaming, and DLNA (MiniDLNA), as well as BitTorrent (Transmission).

The FreeNAS development team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of FreeNAS 8.2.0-RELEASE.

FreeNAS 8.2.0-RELEASE is the first release on new branch of code that incorporates tighter integration between the ZFS command line and the FreeNAS GUI. This release also features the ability to run arbitrary services and interact with them through the FreeNAS GUI in a FreeBSD jail. This jail allows a wide range of third party software to be run on top of FreeNAS, using the PBI format from PC-BSD or FreeBSD packages or ports, as well as official FreeNAS plugins.

Apart from PBI plugin support there are many other new features:

  • Support for iSCSI target reload.
  • GUI support for SAS and FC multipath hardware.
  • Webshell accessible from the FreeNAS web interface.
  • ZFS scrubs are configurable from the GUI.
  • A newer web toolkit is used in the GUI, enabling use of mobile browsers.
  • An autotuning script tunes ZFS for the hardware it’s running on.

Read the press release, the release notesannouncement or download FreeNAS 8.2.0

Unixmen Interview: BSD For Human Beings?

Continuing his BSD summer interviews, Bill Toulas conducted an interview with Kris Moore, the founder and current leader of development of the desktop user-friendly PC-BSD project.

The questions asked and answered are:

  • As the founder of PC-BSD, what can you tell us about your decision to start this project? How did you get involved with BSD systems, and what drove you into creating one?
  • What is your current role in PC-BSD?
  • Why did you choose Free-BSD as the basis for your system?
  • What goodies from Free-BSD can be found on PC-BSD? Are all the innovative security tools of Free-BSD available on PC-BSD too?
  • I found the installer and the AppCafe very user-friendly. What else is there making user’s life easier, while also confirming PC-BSD’s desktop aiming?
  • Ubuntu is considered to be the most user-friendly and most well-supported free operating system out there. Why would one choose PC-BSD instead of Ubuntu?
  • For a desktop OS, apart from user-friendliness and user-support, it is also important to offer as better hardware and software compatibility as possible. How are you doing on this sector?
  • Although using PC-BSD was generally a relaxed and nice experience for me, I was kind of disappointed by the use of GNOME 2 in your latest version. Is this a decision of yours for usability purposes, or are you planning to port GNOME 3 on the next release?
  • When are we going to see the next release, and what will be the highlights of it?

BSD For Human Beings? | Interview

pc-bsd logo 100x100

New PC-BSD development snapshot – 2012/06/22

Yet it seems there is no official announcment for this snapshot, but you can find on PC-BSD mirrors page a new release !

It’s the release of the 2012-06-22, there is no changelog/readme so I can’t tell what’s new exactly in, but I’m sure there is a lot of bug fixes !

You can get the iso/usb images by choosing a mirror on this page : http://www.pcbsd.org/getmirrors.php?url=9-STABLE-20120622

There is a lot of work done from the PC-BSD 9.0 release ! The installer is now easier and cleaner, the AppCafé has been modifed too, and each new snapshot include the latest userland and kernel.

Miscelaneous FreeBSD news updates (KDE, PC-BSD, Raspberry Pi, FBSD Foundation, OSI)

Below some miscelaneous links to FreeBSD related news and updates:

KDE/FreeBSD Bulletin with recent FreeBSD KDE ports related updates.

PC-BSD 20120605 Snapshot now available for testing. There’s also a BSD Talk interview (BSDTalk 2016) with Kris Moore, founder of the PC-BSD project, which was recorded during BSDCan 2012. Kris talks about the features going into PC-BSD 9.1.

There are some FreeBSD developers that are trying to get FreeBSD running on the Raspberry Pi, a $25 ARM Linux/GNU box: Porting FreeBSD to the Raspberry Pi.

FreeBSD, a world apart (translatedfrom Spanish with Google Translate) – interesting blog post with some FreeBSDD background information. I like the collection of open source logos.

FreeBSD Foundation prepares launch of East Coast Mirror at NYI (announement)

Simon Phipps is the new OSI President:

Phipps has already been spearheading an OSI reform process, working with the rest of the board to open up the organisation. That process has led to the creation of Open Source Initiative affiliation, bringing the Apache Software Foundation, FreeBSD, Eclipse, Mozilla, Debian, and Creative Commons, along with other organisations, on board as affiliates.