FreeBSD Foundation sponsors BSNMP enhancements

The FreeBSD Foundation has announced that Shteryana Shopova has been awarded a grant to make improvements to Bsnmp (snmp category).

This project includes several enhancements to the existing FreeBSD SNMP framework, including SNMPv3-compliant user authentication, packet encryption and view-based access control. In addition, the project also includes a new module that will allow full SNMP management and monitoring of the FreeBSD wireless networking stack. When the
project is completed, FreeBSD should be the OS of choice when building open source-based embedded wireless appliances due to the advanced capabilities of its wireless network stack, and the light-weight, secure and complete management solution that bsnmpd(1) will provide out of the box. Existing FreeBSD installations that use bsnmpd(1) for
monitoring will also benefit from the added security and finer-grained access-control to SNMP data.

“SNMP is the defacto standard for network monitoring,”

said Shteryana Shopova, FreeBSD developer. She also added,

“SNMP is used everywhere – in network servers, switches, routers, firewalls, workstations, ip phones, printers, UPSs, all sorts of embedded appliances. I am happy to have the opportunity to work on several additions to bsnmpd(1) that have been requested by the FreeBSD community.”

This project will be completed in October 2010.

Source: Bsnmp enhancements announcement (FreeBSD Announcement List)

FreeBSD Foundation announces jail based virtualization project

The FreeBSD Foundation has selected another project for funding: FreeBSD Jail based virtualisation project, to be undertaken by Bjoern A. Zeeb:

“We are pleased to announce that Bjoern A. Zeeb has been awarded a grant to improve FreeBSD’s jail based virtualization infrastructure and to continue to work on the virtual network stack. His employer, CK Software GmbH is matching the Foundation’s funding with hours.

FreeBSD has been well known for its jail based virtualization during the last decade. With the import of the virtual network stack, FreeBSD’s operating system level virtualization has reached a new level.

This project includes cleanup of two years of import work and development and, more notably, brings the infrastructure for a network stack teardown. Cleanly shutting down a network stack in FreeBSD will be the major challenge in the virtualization area to get the new feature to production ready quality for the 9.x release lifecycle.

Further, the project includes generalization of the virtual network stack framework, factoring out common code. This will provide an infrastructure and will ease virtualization of further subsystems like SYSV/Posix IPC with minimal overhead. All further virtualized subsystems will immediately benefit from shared debugging facilities, an essential
feature for early adopters of the new technology.

“Improved jail based virtualization support, that continues to be very lightweight and as easily manageable as classic jails, will be a killer feature for the next few years,”

said Bjoern A. Zeeb, FreeBSD developer. He also added,

“It will allow people to partition their FreeBSD server, run simulations without racks of hardware, or provide thousands of virtual instances in hosting environments fairly easy and efficiently. While this follows the trend of green computing, it also adds to FreeBSD’s virtualization portfolio with Xen or other more heavyweight hypervisor support, which can be mixed with jails as needed.”

While work in this area will have to continue, the funding for this project will end mid-July 2010.”

I wish Bjoern all the best and hopefully we can try and use his work in FreeBSD 9.

If you want to see the FreeBSD Foundation support and fund more of these sort of projects, you can help them by donating to the Foundation (I’m not affiliated to the Foundation)

FreeBSD Google SoC Projects started

The FreeBSD Project  received many applications from students  wanting to participate in Google’s Summer of Code program. This year 18 student proposals to work with the FreeBSD Project were accepted as part of this program.

For those with projects that were not accepted this year, the FreeBSD Project is always willing to help mentor students so they can learn more about operating system development through our normal community mailing lists and development forums. The FreeBSD Foundation can also be approached for project funding.

Read the official announcement (FreeBSD GSoC) for more information. The complete list of student projects selected for funding can be found in the FreeBSD Summer of Code wiki.

  • May 24: Start of coding
  • July 12-16: Mid-term Evaluations
  • August 9: End of coding
  • August 16-20: Final Evaluations

(FreeBSD Events Calendar)

FreeBSD Foundation accepting project proposals

Love FreeBSD? Love coding, taking FreeBSD to new hights and getting paid for your work?

If this is you, why not submit a proposal to the FreeBSD Foundation?

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce we are soliciting the submission of proposals for work relating to any of the major subsystems or infrastructure within the FreeBSD operating system. Proposals will be evaluated based on desirability, technical merit and cost-effectiveness.

To find out more about the proposal process please download the application document (pdf).

Note, the deadline for submitting project proposals is March 1.

If you need some inspiration as to where you can help out, take a look at the FreeBSD Ideas page to see where FreeBSD can be improved and extended.

FreeBSD related appointments

Erwin Lansing has joined the FreeBSD Foundation board of Directors (announcement)

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Erwin Lansing has joined the Board of Directors. For those of you who haven’t met Erwin, here is his bio:

Erwin previously worked for an rapidly expanding webhosting startup and now holds a position as Network Systems Engineer at the Danish incumbent ISP, TDC. He joined the FreeBSD Ports Development Team in 2003 and has been a member of the Ports Management Team since 2005. He is mainly working on the package building cluster, creating and distributing ready-to-install binary packages of 3rd party software for FreeBSD, in addition to regression testing the integration of FreeBSD with 3rd party software projects.

Thomas Abthorpe is the new FreeBSD portmgr secretary (source)

On behalf of portmgr, I am pleased to announce that portmgr has found a new secretary: Thomas Abthorpe. Thomas has been a FreeBSD ports committer since 2007 and has made more than 1000 commits since. He has previously served on the ports-security team and is currently a member of the KDE and donation teams. He has also mentored several new ports committers over the years.

In his role as portmgr secretary, Thomas will help portmgr keep track of ongoing issues, keeps the portmgr, and other bookkeeping work like organizing votes and stay in touch with other FreeBSD teams.

FreeBSD HAST project completed

Pawel Jakub Dawidek was awarded a grant by the FreeBSD Foundation last year to implement storage replication software that will enable users to use the FreeBSD operating system for highly available configurations where data has to be shared across the cluster nodes.

The HAST (High Availability Storage Project) is now completed. Pawel reports:

I’m very happy to report to FreeBSD users that the HAST project I was working on for the last three months is ready for testing and already committed to the HEAD branch.

I’ll describe what HAST does in few words. HAST allows for synchronous block-level replication of any storage media (called GEOM providers, using FreeBSD nomenclature) over a TCP/IP network for fast failure recovery. HAST provides storage using the GEOM infrastructure, meaning it is file system and application independent and can be combined with any existing GEOM class. In case of a primary node failure, the cluster will automatically switch to the secondary node, check and mount the UFS file system or import the ZFS pool, and continue to work without missing a single bit of data.

I must admit the project was quite challenging, not only from the technical point of view, but also because it was sponsored by the FreeBSD Foundation. The FreeBSD Foundation has a great reputation and is known to select the projects it funds very carefully. I felt strong pressure that should I fail, the FreeBSD Foundation’s reputation might be hurt. Of course, not a single dollar would be spent on a failed project, but the FreeBSD community’s expectations were very high and I really wanted to do a good job.

During the work a number of people contacted me privately offering help, explaining how important HAST is for FreeBSD and giving me the motivation to soldier on.

I hope that HAST will meet the community’s expectations and I myself am looking forward to using it

The final commit notice from Pawe? Jakub Dawidek briefly describes the project. A detailed discussion of the project is available form the FreeBSD Wiki.

This is a good example of how the wider FreeBSD community can financially support further development of FreeBSD, and it also shows the value that the FreeBSD Foundation brings to the community. To see more of these sort of projects started, funded and completed, why not support and donate to the Foundation so they can continue sponsoring more projects. (disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the FreeBSD Foundation)

How the FreeBSD Project’s Processes help companies build products

George Neville-NeilGeorge Neville-Neil has written the lead article for the January 2010 issue of the Open Source Business Resource (OSBR) and the FreeBSD Foundation is the sponsor for this month’s issue. The entire issue is available as a PDF and George’s article is also available in HTML.

From the article’s abstract:

The processes that open source projects use to produce new work and maintain the quality of their code base is a subject that comes up infrequently in discussions of open source. One reason for this is that engineers and programmers are usually loathe to deal with issues that are not directly related to the piece of code or technology that they are working on.

Successful businesses know that good processes lead to continued success. The attributes that attract a business to an open source project are stability, reliability, and longevity. Stability gives a business the confidence to invest time into developing products on the project’s platform, safe in the knowledge that the next incremental step in development won’t be torpedoed by some unforeseen change. Reliability is often not associated with open source and many projects are perceived as being too cutting edge for a business to build upon. Longevity is of value as many businesses are inherently conservative in their approaches, attempting to reduce the risks of adopting any technique or technology. One way to reduce risk is to work with an open source project that has a proven track record of delivering quality products, on schedule.

This article attempts to dispel the myth of the perceived tension between a formally run business and the apparently less formally run open source projects with which a business interacts. We describe how one particular open source project has developed processes which provide its users, customers, and partners with a product that is stable, reliable, and long lived.

Read George’s articlle in full