PC-BSD 9.1 Isotope Edition Installer (video)

Historically Installing FreeBSD was hard, text-based and not always intuitive for the new *BSD user. PC-BSD has changed this once and for all.

Did you know installing PC-BSD is almost as easy as 123? Have a look at this video, uploaded by the PC-BSD Project.

Did you know you can install FreeBSD from the PC-BSD Installation DVD?

FreeBSD 9.1-RC2 available (and PC-BSD 9.1-RC2)

The second RC build for the FreeBSD-9.1 release cycle was released last week (due to a busy break abroad I’m posting this only now). ISO images for the amd64, i386, ia64, powerpc, and powerpc64 architectures are available.

Remember, this is not the final release version, so only use for testing purposes.

The FreeBSD 9.1 Release Schedule may be of interest, though the release is slightly delayed, as well as the FreeBSD 9.1 ToDo Wiki.

Following this FreeBSD release, the PC-BSD Project has announced PC-BSD 9.1-RC2.

FreeNAS 8 Plugins

FreeNAS 8.2 and newer versions have support for plugins, i.e. extentions in the form of PC-BSD‘s PBIs (Push Button Install).

There’s some good plugin documentation available on the FreeNAS website explaining how to use the plugins, how to install the plugins jail, how to create, find, install, and configure PBIs, such as Firefly, miniDLNA and Transmission. If there’s no PBI available (yet), the page shows how you can create your own PBIs, and how to install non-PBI software using the FreeBSD ports and packages collections.

Plugin support is still a bit crude in FreeNAS 8.2, but it is looking a lot more polished in the upcoming FreeNAS 8.3.

FreeNAS 8 Plugins

FreeNAS 8.2.0 Plugins Part 1: Installing

FreeNAS 8.3.0 Plugins Part 2: Plugins Configuration

 

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