BSDers at the Googleplex

Matt Olander and Murray Stokely have written up a summary of the MeetBSD Conference last month:

The meetBSD 2008 conference recently held at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, USA brought together more than 150 users and developers of the various flavors of the BSD operating system. The conference featured some great speakers, including talks by Robert Watson, Philip Paeps, Kris Moore and many others. There was also a panel to discuss the Google Summer of Code™ program, hosted by Murray Stokely and Leslie Hawthorn of Google. They were joined on stage by former mentors and students from the FreeBSD and NetBSD projects to give an overview of the program, some of the amazing results, and some tips and stories about participating. Saturday’s content wrapped up with impromptu breakout sessions to discuss PC-BSD, FreeBSD, security issues, and other topics.

After the first day of the conference, attendees were taken by bus to the Zen Buddha Lounge in Mountain View for a private party to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the FreeBSD operating system. A great time was had by all and, like most birthday parties, this one included a cake! We went a step further though: our cake was shaped like the FreeBSD logo in 3D, complete with horns. Dr. Kirk McKusick had the honors of cutting the cake and handing out a few pieces.

Full blogpost here (Google Open Source Blog – 10/12/2008).

Man thanks to Google for making this conference possible!

Are you supporting FreeBSD?

Richard Bejtlich has been using FreeBSD in production environments since early 2000, and he continues to rely on it at home and at work. Even though he can download the operating system for free, he still subscribes through FreeBSDMall.com to support the project.

The FreeBSD Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and building the FreeBSD Project and community worldwide. You can see all the good work they are doing on their Web site. 

The Foundation set a $300,000 goal for 2008 fundraising, and it’s 2/3 of the way there.

It would be nice to find out how you’re supporting FreeBSD. Are you donating, coding, advocating, blogging?

FreeBSD 6.4 Released

FreeBSD 6.4, a new stable version of the project’s legacy 6.x branch, has been released:

The FreeBSD Release Engineering team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 6.4-RELEASE. At this time 6.4-RELEASE is expected to be the last of the 6-STABLE releases.

Some of the highlights:

  • new and much-improved NFS Lock Manager (NLM) client;
  • support for the Camellia cipher;
  • boot loader changes allow, among other things, booting from USB devices and booting from GPT-labeled devices with GPT-enabled BIOSes;
  • DVD install ISO images for amd64 and i386;
  • KDE updated to 3.5.10,
  • GNOME updated to 2.22.3;
  • updates for BIND, Sendmail, OpenPAM, and other packages.

LinksRelease announcement | Release notes | Download | FreeBSD.org

BSDTalk interview with John Todd (Asterisk)

Podcast LogosBSDTalk has a 23 minutes interview with John Todd, Open Source community director at Asterisk

BSDTalk 166 – Listen to the podcast: MP3 | OGG

For those interested in Asterisk on FreeBSD with a lot of preconfiguring already done and a lot of extras, try AskoziaPBX.

Askozia®PBX aims to make the power of Asterisk® available to the average user in a slimmed down, embedded PC friendly form. AskoziaPBX is more than another GUI for Asterisk. It is an embedded PBX solution which eases system upgrades, backups and provisioning.

Ubuntu vs. OpenSolaris vs. FreeBSD benchmarks (Phoronix)

In this article, the 64-bit performance of Ubuntu 8.10 is compared against the latest test releases of OpenSolaris 2008.11 and FreeBSD 7.1.

The tests included LAME MP3 encoding, 7-Zip Compression, Gzip compression, GnuPG, BYTE Unix Benchmark, Tandem XML, Bork File Encryption, Java SciMark, Bonnie++, OpenSSL, and Sunflow Rendering System. 

For our Ubuntu run we were using Ubuntu 8.10 (x86_64) with the Linux 2.6.27 kernel, X Server 1.5.2, GCC 4.3.2, GNOME 2.24, the EXT3 file-system, and Java build 1.6.0_0-b12. OpenSolaris 2008.11 RC2 is based upon Solaris Nevada Build 101b with the Sun 5.11 kernel, X Server 1.3, GNOME 2.24, GCC 3.4.3, the ZFS file-system, and Java build 1.6.0_10-b33. Lastly, we were using FreeBSD 7.1 Beta 2 (AMD64) with X Server 1.4.2, GNOME 2.22, the UFS file-system, GCC 4.2.1, and Java 1.6.0_07-b02. Aside from changes made by the Phoronix Test Suite (and adding the GNOME packages to FreeBSD), all operating systems were left in their default configuration.

Conclusion

If simply counting which operating system was in first place most frequently, it would be Ubuntu. Ubuntu 8.10 x86_64 was in first place eight times, OpenSolaris 2008.11 RC2 was in first place seven times, and FreeBSD 7.1 Beta 2 AMD64 was in first just three tests. Depending upon your system usage, one operating system may appear more favorable, like OpenSolaris with the greater disk performance. To reiterate though, all of the testing was done on a single workstation-oriented system with dual quad-core processors and 4GB of RAM. FreeBSD and OpenSolaris were also using their latest testing builds while Ubuntu was using a final release copy

Full test results and diagrams can be found on the Phoronix website.

FreeBSD Security Advisory (FreeBSD-SA-08:11.arc4random)

Background

arc4random(9) is a generic-purpose random number generator based on the key stream generator of the RC4 cipher. It is expected to be cryptographically strong, and used throughout the FreeBSD kernel for a variety of purposes, some of which rely on its cryptographic strength.

arc4random(9) is periodically reseeded with entropy from the FreeBSD kernel’s Yarrow random number generator, which gathers entropy from a variety of sources including hardware interrupts. During the boot process, additional entropy is provided to the Yarrow random number generator from userland, helping to ensure that adequate entropy is present for cryptographic purposes.

Problem description

When the arc4random(9) random number generator is initialized, there may be inadequate entropy to meet the needs of kernel systems which rely on arc4random(9); and it may take up to 5 minutes before arc4random(9) is reseeded with secure entropy from the Yarrow random number generator.

Read further to find out about the impact, solution and workaround