FreeBSD news and links (week 40)

I have some  news links an leftovers for you from (the) last (few) week(s):

1. PC-BSD 8.1 [Review]
We always wonder why is it that Microsoft makes us pay to use its OS, so why not shift to Linux or UNIX which are open source and free to use. No doubt Microsoft has made it very easy for lay man to use a PC but we all know Linux is more secure than Windows. Also, off late Linux developers are concentrating on GUI to make Linux easy to use.

FreeBSD – a UNIX like operating system has evolved from AT&T UNIX via Berkely Software Distribution. FreeBSD has a text installer. PC-BSD was founded by FreeBSD professional named Kris Moore in 2005. Kris Moore’s goal was to make FreeBSD easy for everyone to install on desktop. PC-BSD is aimed at users like you and me who are accustomed to Windows but would like a free OS. It has a graphical installation program which uses KDE SC graphical user interface.
Continues (thinkdigit.com)

2. EuroBSDCon Presentation on pc-sysinstal (PDF)
There was a lot of interest about the changes to the pc-sysinstall backend during Kris Moore’s presentation at EuroBSDCon. Continues (Dru’s blog)

There’s an interview with John Hixon from iXsystems on pc-sysinstall (potentially on FreeBSD): bsdtalk199

3. Ten ways Linux and BSD differ

I hear it all the time: people lumping together Linux and any of the BSDs. On occasion, I’ve even done it myself. Of course, there are plenty of similarities. Both are based on Unix and have mostly been developed by non-commercial organisations. They also share a common goal — to create the most useful, reliable operating system available. But there are also significant differences that shouldn’t be ignored, and I thought it would be worth highlighting them here.Continues (zdnet.co.uk)

4. New FreeNAS 0.8 alpha

First and foremost, we have a completely new GUI look and feel. We’ve imported dojango into the GUI to take advantage of Dojo JavaScript Toolkit. The flow of the interface is much nicer, it looks better, and we’ve added additional help to make it easier to use. We think you’ll like this new GUI. We’ve made dozens of improvements over the past few weeks to the GUI. We hope you like the new location for enabling shares. Contiunues (Warner’s blog)

5. Using Clonezilla with FreeNAS or Network Share to Backup a Hard Disk

6. pfSense router setup in VirtualBox

7. Bordeaux Software is looking for testers (and bloggers): Looking for someone to do a review


FreeBSD quick news and links (04/08/2010)

PC-BSD Blog

Dru Lavigne has joined the PC-BSD team this month. The first thing she did, was setting up another blog: the PC-BSD Blog. She already posts BSD related posts on it.toolbox.com: A year in the life of  a BSD guru.

A new *BSD Planet Website

Edward launched AboutBSD recently as a new *BSD blogs agregating website. It won’t be a copy of blogs.freebsdish.org or news.bsdplanet.net, but it will also have some background info on the different BSD systems.

As for the goal for AboutBSD, I want to turn it into a planet website that aggregates how BSD system admins use BSD. So that new users or system admins can learn that BSD is flexible, powerful, and provides all the freedom one needs to deploy services on BSD.

FreeBSD/Linux Benchmarking (Phoronix)

PC-BSD Review: Strike that: now I’m a PC-BSD!

The review finishes with:

I would have no hesitation in recommending PC-BSD for desktop use. It has definitely been the best install experience for a desktop system I have had. It seems exactly tailored for someone like me, a developer in an office where we have tried to be operating-system-neutral as much as possible: most of our programmers do run PCs but we have weaned ourselves off any PC-only applications long ago (apart from specialist applications). As I mentioned in the previous blog, it is a smooth and pretty OS, and feels solid.

Whole review here

ZFS v15 imported into FreeBSD (head)

As announced before, ZFS v15 was successfuly imported into FreeBSD! For a time there was an option of importing just v15 or proceeding directly to v16 but the community has decided to first import the older version for reasons of stability and compatibility with Solaris 10 Update 8. (via)

Millions of home routers at risk.

According to new research delivered today here at the Black Hat security conference, millions of home routers may have a serious security flaw.

In his presentation at Black Hat, security researcher Craig Heffner detailed how an external attacker could gain full control of a user’s router and use that to gain access to the internal local area network (LAN). Though the implications are ominous, Heffner, also detailed a variety of steps users can take to protect themselves.

You should use pfSense instead:

Heffner also called on router vendors to build in DNS Rebinding mitigations into their routers directly.

“The only router software that I know of that does this now is pfSense

(Whole article here:  Millions of home routers at risk)

Foremay ships world’s largest 2TB SSD

This 2TB SSD should work on FreeBSD:

Foremay has introduced a 1TB 2.5? SATA solid-state drive alongside the industry-leading 2TB 3.5? SATA SSD, as the company expects to see an increased demand in SSD products for the enterprise.

The EC188 M-series model-V includes 200 MB/s read/write speeds, and can be used in the enterprise and workstation PCs.

Ideally, enterprise users will be able to utilize the EC188 M-series model-V, as it includes support for Microsoft Windows, Mac, several versions of Linux, OpenSolaris, Solaris, FreeBSD, HP-UX, Unix, and other operating systems…. Continues

Stopping SSH Brute Force attacks with PF on FreeBSD

Most people know that port 22 is used for SSH communication and due to this common knowledge, you get people using scripts to test for weak passwords. If you look into your /var/log/auth.log and you see tons of fails/errors from users not on your system or from invalid passwords for root, it means you have people trying to break into your system. Truthfully, anyone that puts a system online with port 22 open will see this happen to them.  It’s quite common and not direct attack against you, just scripts looking for IPs with port 22 open.

Now it goes without saying that you should make sure you have a strong password that take use of numbers, upper and low case letters and symbols. Doing this will go along way in preventing someone from breaking into your system. You should also ensure that people can’t remotely log in as root by making sure that you have ‘PermitRootLogin’ set to ‘no’ in your /etc/ssh/sshd_config file. This will ensure that no mater how many passwords they try for root they will never be able to log in.

Now you could just set your SSH server to run on a different port or have your firewall redirect a different port from the outside to the system, but what’s the fun in that when you can use a great tool like PF.

Read the whole howto: Stopping SSH Brute Force attacks with PF on FreeBSD

A Deadly Linux/UNIX Command in Action (Video)

The short and simple “rm -rf /” command is DISASTROUS.


Linux vs BSD with a little focus on OpenBSD

Juraj Sipos, the founder of MaheshaBSD, has published an article listing the difference between Linux and BSD:

“This article is not about the history of Unix; however, Unix is such a complex issue that it deserves few words in this respect: BSD family of Unix systems is based upon the source code of real Unix developed in Bell Labs, which was later purchased by the University of California. Thus, the name of the family of Unix systems called BSD is derived from “Berkeley Software Distribution”. The contemporary BSD systems stand on the source code that was released in the beginning of 1990’s (Net/2 Lite and 386/BSD release).

No one person or any entity owns BSD. Enthusiastic developers create it and many of its components are open-sourced.

BSD is behind the philosophy of TCP/IP networking and the Internet thereof; it is a developed Unix system with advanced features. Except for proprietary BSD/OS, the development of which was discontinued, there are currently four BSD systems available: FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and Mac OS X, which is derived from FreeBSD. There are also various forks of these, like PC-BSD – a FreeBSD clone, or MirOS, an OpenBSD clone. The intention of such forks is to include various characteristics missing in the above BSD systems, on which these (forks), no matter how well they are designed, only strongly depend. PC-BSD, for example, has more graphical features than FreeBSD, but there are no substantial differences between these two. PC-BSD cannot breathe without FreeBSD; FreeBSD or OpenBSD are independent of one another.”

Continues (linuxmagazines.com): Linux vs BSD with a little focus on OpenBSD

Audio presentations: 1 pfSense and 2 BSD for Linux Users

Dru Lavigne has uploaded the audio file of her presentation at SCALE 2010 talk on BSD for Linux Users is now available in mp3 format. Slides are available as PDF

She also mentioned an mp3 of a NYCBUG session on PFSense II, Rocking The Datacenter.

pfSense is a free, open source customized distribution of FreeBSD tailored for use as a firewall and router. In addition to being a powerful, flexible firewalling and routing platform, it includes a long list of related features and a package system allowing further expandability without adding bloat and potential security vulnerabilities to the base distribution.

FreeBSD and the GPL

Every so many months the never ending discussion about the BSD vs GPL license heats up. Supporters for either license have their thoughts and opinions to why one license is better than the other. Some say that these discussions are a waste of time. Whichever license you defend/promote, if you’re interested in reading (and joining in) the discussions, have a look at these two sites:

1 FreeBSD and the GPL (IT Pro – itpro.com)

Linus Torvalds has said Linux wouldn’t have happened if 386BSD had been around when he started up. We trace the history of FreeBSD and how it’s affected the open source world.

The first free Unix-like operating systemavailable on the IBM PC was 386BSD, of which Linus Torvalds said in 1993: “If 386BSD had been available when I started on Linux, Linux would probably never have happened.”

386BSD was a direct descendant of Bill Joy’s Berkeley Software Distribution, which was the core of SunOS and other proprietary Unix distributions. 386BSD and the patchkit for the port to the Intel chip formed the basis for FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD, which have carried the torch for BSD and open source Unix to this day.

Read the whole article (BSD history and BSD/GPL license)

2 osnews.com dissussion

Read the discussion

FreeBSD and Linux (RootBSD)

rootbsd_bsd_hostingThe guys over at RootBSD have updated their blog with a post on the differences between Linux and FreeBSD; partly seen from a hoster’s perspective.

We thought it would be a good idea to help educate our current RootBSD users, and potential users, as to some of the differences between FreeBSD and Linux. We have nothing against Linux at all, we actually like it, however there are very noticeable differences in the two. Without turning this into too much of a religious debate, here are a few points we consider

Let’s start off by looking at, what we believe is, the biggest difference in the two.

First off, Linux itself is a kernel, not an OS! Distributions (Red Hat, Debian, Suse and others) provide the installer and bundle lots of other open source software. There are easily well over 300 different Linux distributions. While this gives you a lot of choices, the existence of so many distributions also makes it difficult to use different distros since they are all a little bit different. Distributions don’t just differ in ease-of install and available programs; they also differ in directory layout, configuration practices, default software bundles, and most importantly the tools and prorcedures for software updates and patches.

FreeBSD is a complete operating system (kernel and userland) with a well-respected heritage grounded in the roots of Unix development. Since both the kernel and the provided utilities are under the control of the same release engineering team, there is less likelihood of library incompatibilities. Security vulnerabilities can also be addressed quickly by the security team. When new utilities or kernel features are added, the user simply needs to read one file, the Release Notes, which is publicly available on the main page of the FreeBSD website.

The post carries on with looking at performance, security and software: FreeBSD and Linux

About RootBSD

RootBSD was established with one goal in mind: provide reliable, flexible, and supported BSD-based hosting services to professionals and businesses.

RootBSD gives you the power to innovate and scale on top of the BSD operating systems. Their services are rock solid; in fact, you could call them the BSD hosting solution.

Website: RootBSD

FreeBSD 8.0 benchmarked against Linux, OpenSolaris

Phoronix has done another benchmark test of FreeBSD against other *nix systems: Fedora and OpenSolaris.

“With the stable release of FreeBSD 8.0 arriving last week we finally were able to put it up on the test bench and give it a thorough look over with the Phoronix Test Suite. We compared the FreeBSD 8.0 performance between it and the earlier FreeBSD 7.2 release along with Fedora 12 and Ubuntu 9.10 on the Linux side and then the OpenSolaris 2010.02 b127 snapshot on the Sun OS side.

FreeBSD 8.0 introduced support for a TTY layer rewrite, network stack virtualization, improved support for the Sun ZFS file-system, the ULE kernel scheduler by default, a new USB stack, binary compatibility against Fedora 10, and improvements to its 64-bit kernel will allow a NVIDIA 64-bit FreeBSD driver by year’s end, among a plethora of other changes. With today’s benchmarking — compared to our initial Ubuntu 9.10 vs. FreeBSD 8.0 benchmarks from September — we are using the official build of FreeBSD 8.0 without any debugging options and we are also delivering a greater number of test results in this article, along with a greater number of operating systems being compared.

The hardware we are using for benchmarking this time was a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 notebook with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor, 2GB of system memory, a 100GB Hitachi HTS72201 7200RPM SATA HDD, and a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M graphics processor powering a 1680 x 1050 LVDS panel.”

Whatever you think of comparing and benchmarking FreeBSD vs Linux, here’s the comparison

Debian pushes development of kFreeBSD port

Debian GNU/kFreeBSD has been around for a while, but now it will be an official part of the distro, combining the strength FreeBSD kernel with the GNU C library and userland utilities.

The Debian Project has announced that it sees the port of the Debian system to the FreeBSD kernel fit to be handled equal with the other release ports. The upcoming release codenamed ‘Squeeze’ is planned to be the first Debian distribution to be released with Linux and FreeBSD kernels.

The kFreeBSD architectures for the AMD64/Intel EM64T and i386 processor architectures are now release architectures. Severe bugs on these architectures will be considered release critical the same way as bugs on other architectures like armel or i386 are. If a particular package does not build or work properly on such an architecture this problem is considered release-critical.

Debian’s main motivation for the inclusion of the FreeBSD kernel into the official release process is the opportunity to offer to its users a broader choice of kernels and also include a kernel that provides features such as jails, the OpenBSD Packet Filter and support for NDIS drivers in the mainline kernel with full support.

As usual some think it’s an odd match and a waste of time and resource, others see it as a nice combination a development.