Putting Beastie back in the boot menu (howto)

If you’ve used FreeBSD in the past you’re likely familiar with the mascot, Beastie.  In the past Beastie was part of the boot menu, but recently he was replaced with a simple FREEBSD text image.  To put Beastie back in the menu you can add the following to your /boot/loader.conf:

loader_logo=”beastiebw”

Source: http://blog.zelut.org (21/10/2008)

Speed up installing from ports (howto)

There is a port under ports-mgmt called fastest_sites. This the MASTER_SITE definitions depending on the round-trip time for the tcp connections. The results are sorted by fastest response time and in a format suitable for Makefile.

# cd /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/fastest_sites

# make install

Now let’s generate the sorted list of master sites:

# fastest_sites > /usr/local/etc/ports_sites.conf &

This step may take some time as quite a number of sites have to be checked. In the meantime you can add the following line to /etc/make.conf:

.include "/usr/local/etc/ports_sites.conf"

From: arnolds.se. Originally published by the writer of this python script on semicomplete.com.

FreeBSD Foundation update – November 2008

FreeBSD foundation logoThe FreeBSD Foundation November 2008 update:

New Projects
As most of you know, we put out a request for project proposals last July. We were pleasantly surprised when we received more proposals than we expected. Unfortunately, we couldn’t accept all of the proposals. One reason, is that we didn’t have the funds in our budget. If we reach our fundraising goal this year, then we will be putting out a new call for project proposals in early 2009.

We are pleased to announce the first project that has started. The project is to make FreeBSD tolerate the removal of active disk devices, such as when a USB flash device with a mounted filesystems is physically detached by a user. Currently the system may panic in this situation. The work involves adding proper reference counting to strategic portions of the kernel and modifying filesystems to properly handle “device lost” errors. Edward Tomasz Napierala is the developer working on this project.

Click Here to find out more about this project. We will be announcing the other projects once we receive the signed contracts.

NYCBSDCon, EuroBSDCon, and MeetBSD
We were pleased to sponsor EuroBSDCon, NYCBSDCon, and MeetBSD. We wanted to share a gracious note that NYCBSDCon sent after their successful conference.

Now that NYCBSDCon 2008 has concluded, we would like to express our deepest appreciation to the FreeBSD Foundation. It’s your vital role that allows us to provide a great line-up of BSD speakers and extras to a strong technical conference, at an accessible fee. We are proud of the accomplishments of the conference this year.

We will have more on the conferences in our end-of-year newsletter.

Travel Grants
We continue to provide travel grants for various conferences. This year we didn’t always get an announcement out in time. We want to make sure everyone is aware that we fund FreeBSD developers of all sorts (kernel hackers, documentation authors, bugbusters, system administrators, etc). We are also open to fund non-developers, such as active community members and FreeBSD advocates. Click Here to see the travel grant application.

This year we’ve provided 10 travel grants for BSDCan, 3 for AsiaBSDCon, and 2 for the Cambridge Developer Summit. We also have approved 2 travel grants for MeetBSD.

Just remember, if we don’t send out an announcement that we are accepting applications, you may still submit one as long as it is three weeks before the conference. You may need to submit it earlier, if you need a Visa or are traveling a great distance. It does take the board some time to review the applications.

Fundraising Update
So far this year we have raised over $187,000. We are very pleased to report we received a very generous donation from NetApp. We want to thank everyone who has made a donation this year. Big and little, they all help.

To reach our goal of $300,000 and to help keep us a public charity, we added a donor goal. Our goal this year is to reach 1,000 donors. By setting this goal, we hope to add many new donors this year. Click here to find out more.

You can also help by approaching your employer and asking them to donate to the foundation!

Thanks again for supporting the Foundation and FreeBSD!

Encrypting your laptop with ELI and ZFS

Some time ago, I’ve given my laptop yet another FreeBSD reinstall – mostly beause I wanted to encrypt its contents (hey, you never know!). It turns out the best way to do this is to use GEOM_ELI. Of course, I can’t quite live without ZFS, so the idea was that I have a minimal /boot paritition and everything else lives on ZFS, which is encrypted using ELI.

Step-by-step instructions on rink.nu (14/11/2008)

FreeBSD as a desktop OS

Saying that FreeBSD is an excellent choice to build a server upon would be stating the blatantly obvious. Sadly though, FreeBSD as a desktop OS is a  much less common sight. This is a shame, particularly for developers who could have a desktop that closely mimics the configuration of FreeBSD servers in a remote datacenter. Very useful if you need to test things locally!

Since FreeBSD is a UNIX-like OS like Linux, just about all the software you can get for Linux is also available for FreeBSD. Significant exceptions are parts that are very closely linked to the OS kernel. Hardware support differs between OS’es so make sure you check the Hardware Notes that accompany every FreeBSD release to make sure your system is compatible.

Read further about Software Management

Source: kompasmedia.nl (17/11/2008)