Firefox 3 with FreeBSD technologies

firefox logoFirefox 3 is released and got off to a fantastic start: more than 8 million downloads within 24 hours, peaking at 17.000 downloads a minute.

Everybody browsing the internet uses (unconsciously) FreeBSD technology, such as TCP/IP, and a few only know that Firefox 3 comes integrated with some exciting FreeBSD technologies.

Murray Stokely has summarised:

The most widely publicized is probably the addition of Jason Evan’s memory allocator, jemalloc (link 1, link 2) written for FreeBSD 7.0 which has been included into Firefox to reduce memory fragmentation.

Another FreeBSD technology widely adopted by other products utilizing binary updates is Colin Percival’s bspatch client-side binary patching code. Kris Kennaway also notes that the ISC is hosting its FireFox mirrors on FreeBSD 7.0 machines to handle the unprecedented download demand as the Mozilla Foundation attempts to break a world record for downloads in a day.

FreeBSD press release and congratulations of Mozilla:

One of the FreeBSD technologies used by Firefox 3 is the new memory allocator, “jemalloc”, hich was written by FreeBSD developer Jason Evans for the FreeBSD 7 operating system. jemalloc is a fast, efficient memory allocator with excellent performance on multiprocessor machines. Though already a part of the FreeBSD 7 operating system, the Mozilla project has chosen to also incorporate it directly inside the Firefox 3 browser to improve memory performance and reduce memory use on other operating systems with legacy memory allocators. According to the blog of Firefox developer Stuart Parmenter, “Our automated tests on Windows Vista showed a 22% drop in memory usage when we turned jemalloc on.” Commenting on the Linux version of the browser, he wrote, “We saw a good performance increase and a drop in memory.”

BSDFund – supporting BSD related projects

BSDFund LogoThe FreeBSD Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting the FreeBSD Project. This reasonably well-known foundation in the BSD world supports projects which further the development of the FreeBSD operating system (conferences, grants, hardware etc).

Also NetBSD and OpenBSD have their own foundation. These foundations tend to support bigger projects (although they do give travel grants), but there’s also a smaller, lesser known, US non-profit organisation whose mission is to assist and fund BSD-related open source projects, events and travel: BSD Fund.

To be honest I had never heard of this fund until I read about it on Oliver H’s blog. The man behind the BSD Fund is Michael Dexter who’s also one of the guys behind BSD Talk.

Despite the excellent work of the FreeBSD and NetBSD Foundations, there are still individuals and cross-BSD projects that do not have the legal infrastructure to receive tax-deductible donations.

The BSD Fund is negotiating to fund a variety of broad and specific projects but is beginning with conference and travel grants. The Fund raises money through direct donations, grant applications and reward credit cards.

The BSD Fund’s partner organization has given over half a million dollars to open source projects, events and travel over the past seven years. The BSD Fund gives new focus and drive to this effort to help the next thirty years of BSD software development be as successful as the first.

BSD Fund website

BSDTalk Interview with Michael W. Lucas

Podcast LogosBSDTalk has a 12 minute interview with Michael W. Lucas. Mr Lucas is writer of the Big Scary Daemons column at OnLAMP and has written a number of BSD books, of which “Absolute BSD: The Ultimate Guide to FreeBSD” is maybe one of the best known.

In this interview he talks about some of his books and strategies for writing technical publications.

Listen to the podcast as MP3 or OGG.

BSD conferences – presentations, videos and photos

I’ve collected for you some links to presentations, recordings and pictures of recent BSD conferences.

MeetBSD 2007MeetBSD 2007

  • Matt Olander – PC-BSD: FreeBSD on the Desktop – AVI
  • Christian Brüffer – Protecting your Privacy with FreeBSD and Tor – AVI
  • Pawel Solyga – Meet BSD projects from Google Summer of Code 2007 – AVI | MOV | PDF
  • Philip Paeps – Detangling and debugging: friends in unexpected places – AVI
  • Brooks Davis – Reflections on Building a High-Performance Computing Cluster Using FreeBSD – AVI | PDF
  • Kris Kennaway - New features and improvements in FreeBSD 7 – AVI | PDF

FOSDEM 2008 - FOSDEM

Robert Watson – How a large scale opensource project works (OGG)

The FreeBSD Project is one of the oldest and most successful open source operating system projects, seeing wide deployment across the IT industry. From the root name servers, to top tier ISPs, to core router operating systems, to firewalls, to embedded appliances, you can’t use a networked computer for ten minutes without using FreeBSD dozens of times.

Part of FreeBSD’s reputation for quality and reliability comes from the nature of its development organization — driven by a hundreds of highly skilled volunteers, from high school students to university professors. And unlike most open source projects, the FreeBSD Project has developers who have been working on the samesource base for over twenty years.

But how does this organization work? Who pays the bandwidth bills, runs the web servers, writes the documentation, writes the code, and calls the shots? And how can developers in a dozen time zones reach agreement on the time of day, let alone a kernel architecture?

This presentation will attempt to provide, in 45minutes, a brief if entertaining snapshot into what makes FreeBSD run.

BSDCan 2008 pictures – BSDCan 2008

Developers Summit
zabbadoz.net

FreeBSD review and howtos from a Linux user

I recently decided to give the new 7.0 release of FreeBSD ago and was fairly impressed. I did use BSD along time ago on a home server for a few months but pretty much forgot everything about it from back then.

Firstly FreeBSD refers to both a kernel and userspace tools making it a whole operating system (userspace tools being the basic programs like shells and copy/move commands), this is different to Linux which is just a kernel and distros are technically called GNU/Linux to show that it is using the GNU userspace tools.

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