Wanted: SpreadFreeBSD.org community leaders

SpreadFreeBSD.org has been around for a couple of months now. So far I’ve added most of the content together with Matt Olander from iXsystems.

However, now the site gets more and more visitors, we’re looking for community leaders, forum admins and content providers to make this site a little bit more interactive where BSD lovers can “meet” and find out more about BSD operating systems.

If you’re interested in helping us, please get either in touch with myself of Matt Olander (matt at ixsystems dot com).

Many thanks in advance.

Never been on SpreadFreeSD.org?

Status update for KDE4 on FreeBSD & PC-BSD

KDE4.1 on FreeBSD

Click to magnify

There’s been quite a bit of noise recently about the usefulnes of KDE4, its inferiority compared to 3.5, and some are even suggesting to fork KDE4. However, Martin Wilke is in the meanwhile doing a great job porting KDE4 to FreeBSD.

Read the latest status update about the progress (incl screenshots).

Kris Moore from the PC-BSD project is now assisting with the porting of KDE4 to FreeBSD. Alpha versions of PC-BSD7 with KDE4 can be downloaded here. Please help us with the testing, and remember this is still so called alpha quality.

Flaws found in BSD, Linux software updaters

Though Linux and the BSD are considered to be very safe and secure operating systems, they are the products of human beings and hence not perfect:

The software update mechanisms used by most BSD and Linux operating systems can be tricked into installing buggy or known-to-be-compromised software on users’ systems, creating serious security risks, according to new research.

The study Package Management Security, to be published in a forthcoming issue of the university of Arizona Tech Report, analysed 10 package managers and found that all were vulnerable to exploits, allowing attackers to install unsafe software on target systems.

Package managers are designed to automatically keep software up-to-date and thus safe from known vulnerabilities. The packages analysed in the study were APT, APT-RPM, Pacman, portage, Ports, Slaktool, Stork, Urpmi, Yast and YUM.

Read the rest of the article here.

Securing FreeBSD’s update system could be a nice project for which funding could be requested. The FreeBSD Foundation is now requesting project proposals to improve FreeBSD. If there’s anybody out there with ideas on building in better security measures read on:

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.  A budget of $80,000 was allocated for 2008 to fund multiple development projects.

Proposals will be evaluated based on desirability, technical merit and cost-effectiveness.

To find out more about the proposal have a look here.

UNIX history family tree

unix_family_history_tree_1600x1200

This is an interesting picture (or desktop background 1600×1200) showing the history of UNIX, incl Linux and the BSD’s

Unfortunately I can’t remember where I found this. If you know, please let me know and I add the source.

Click to enlarge

FreeBSD based systems – what would you call them?

The number of FreeBSD related operating systems is fortunately not as as high as the number of Linux distributions.

Most of you, if not all, will agree there are no FreeBSD distributions/distro’s due to the fact that FreeBSD is developed as a coherent operating system with a kernel and userland applications.

Existing FreeBSD based operating systems use the FreeBSD base and specialise in a certain field, e.g. DesktopBSD & PC-BSD concentrate on desktop use, pfSense and m0n0wall on routing/firewalling, AskoziaPBX on PBX systems etc etc. For more examples, check out this page.

Since these systems aren’t distro’s what would you call them? Please let me know on the poll below.

What would you call FreeBSD based operating systems?

View Results

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RootBSD – FreeBSD based VPS hosting (Xen & Jails)

RootBSD.com logoFreeBSD is one of the most stable server operating systems available today and is very well suited for a hosting environment. Many tools and software  packages are available on FreeBSD to create and run (Web 2.0) websites, including Apache, Lighttpd, Perl, Python, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Ruby on Rails etc. Used for powering many established websites such as Yahoo!, FreeBSD has proven to be an ultra-reliable platform for companies hosting sites with high hosting demands.

RootBSD is such a hosting provider that offers dedicated server hosting and virtual private servers (VPS) running on FreeBSD servers.

RootBSD was established with one simple goal in mind: to provide reliable BSD-based hosting services to hobbyists, advanced professionals and businesses. RootBSD has achieved this and much more as it has become the hosting provider of choice for many and has started to gain somewhat of a following over the past year in the FreeBSD community. RootBSD also sponsors many FreeBSD developers with free hosting services.

A few highlights of the RootBSD service:

  • Virtual hosting (Xen-based and Jail-based) and dedictated hosting
  • RootBSD deploys VPSs on Xen which is fully virtualised, unlike jail-based hosting that most providers use. RootBSD also offers jails-based VPS hosting.
  • Most recent stable FreeBSD release available; currently FreeBSD 7.0, while other providers are still using FreeBSD 6.3 (e.g. Verio)
  • Entry-level packages aimed at hobbyists start at only $20/month
  • Clean and attractive website. The geeky, black-’n-green looking website was replaced by a much more professional looking “FreeBSD coloured” website last May.

The benefits of full virtualisation under Xen are that

  • the VPS envrionment is separated from the host system which lets customers fully customise their environment. In a jail the guest VPS runs off the kernel of the host system, meaning you cannot change the kernel.
  • jails use a virtualised network stack that works fine for most services but doesn’t let the user do some more advanced things like firewalling, virtual network devices, VPN tunnels, etc.

As far as I’m aware, RootBSD is the only FreeBSD hosting provider that is offering a VPS service virtualized under Xen. If you or your business requires a flexible, cheap and fully-controlled webhosting, RootBSD should definitely be considered.

FreeBSD News – quick links (week 27)

These are a few links to FreeBSD howtos published this week that may be of interest to those who don’t mind “getting their hands dirty”.

Managing jails

This document is an introduction to basic FreeBSD jails also called ‘fat jails’. We discuss an easy jail installation process. We will do some basic jail configuration and show you how to manage the jail environment. This document wil not cover building ‘chroot jails’ in a jail.

Link

Step by step install WordPress Multi Users (WPMU) in FreeBSD

A client need to install wordpress multi user to teach their employee about blog. They want it installed in their server, running FreeBSD 7 stable.

Here’s a step by step to install wpmu in FreeBSD, might be useful for someone

Link

How FreeBSD makes vulnerability auditing easy: portaudit

There are a number of things I like about FreeBSD, more than any Linux distribution I’ve ever used. Some of those are advantages shared by no Linux distribution I’ve used, and some are advantages shared by a few Linux distributions but not others — but no Linux distribution shares all of these advantages (even discounting things no Linux distribution has, like a BSD-licensed kernel).

Link

OS X Snow Leopard to use FreeBSD ULE Scheduler?

MAC OSX snow leopard desktop When Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, first unveiled the next version of OS X, 10.6 Snow Leopard, there have been a lot of rumours on the internet and blogosphere about the proposed evolutionary nature of 10.6 over 10.5. What did Steve exactly mean? Snow Leopard will take a break from adding new features but will be streamlined and its core improved for enhanced performance instead.

“Grand Central,” a new set of technologies built into Snow Leopard, brings unrivaled support for multicore systems to Mac OS X. More cores, not faster clock speeds, drive performance increases in today’s processors. Grand Central takes full advantage by making all of Mac OS X multicore aware and optimizing it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors. Grand Central also makes it much easier for developers to create programs that squeeze every last drop of power from multicore systems. (source: apple.com)

It’s well known that Apple’s OS X has strong FreeBSD roots and still borrows from ongoing FreeBSD developments.

The history of OS X and the XNU Kernel, the features promised in Snow Leopard, and the design and architecture of the ULE scheduler all point to a high likelihood of Apple using a redesigned thread scheduler that is either an implementation of the ULE scheduler or at least based around it in OS X 10.6.

On Neosmart.net we read:

The FreeBSD project has long been working on alternative scheduler intended to replace the default and aging 4BSD scheduler: the ULE scheduler. ULE is now scheduled to become the default scheduler in the upcoming FreeBSD 7.1 release. ULE has shown significant improvements in multi-core environments, and was designed from the ground up to provide increased SMP scalability. Most importantly is ULE’s overhauled support for per-processor queuing of tasks and the ability to set CPU affinity per-processor-per-thread.

If Apple were to implement a form of the ULE scheduler in OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard would be a formidable OS indeed. Using ULE guarantees huge performance benefits for multi-threaded applications, and would help address the second point listed above: the SMT affinity options provided in ULE would make creating an SDK intended to allow developers to use multiple cores efficiently and evenly quite easy. OS X has always been close to the FreeBSD project, and something like this is a natural fit for an OS looking for improvements to SMP/SMT performance.

What do you think? Is it likely Apple will adapt the ULE scheduler or is this complete nonsense?

Link: ULE Scheduler (scribd.com)