Exciting future ahead for BSD

FreeBSD LogoTrollaxor has written up an interesting piece about the history and future of the major BSD systems: FreeBSD, netBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD and Darwin.

In the new year the Berkeley Software Distribution family of Unix-like operating systems is growing at a phenomenal rate and excitement over the possibilities for this operating system family is in the air. After unprecedented development and adoption as well as major shifts in the marketplace, it’s time to take a look at what’s new with this demonic family of operating systems.

FreeBSD

FreeBSD 5 was the darkest period in this operating system’s history and morale and marketshare were at an all-time low. The problem originated from merging BSD/OS into FreeBSD; though the two systems shared a lot of code, the difference of just a couple years was staggering. FreeBSD’s virtual memory and multi-processing code was immature, while BSD/OS’s libraries were archaic. Mating the two was a mess that cost FreeBSD face and kept users on an older branch from the Nineties, 4.11.

Now, with FreeBSD 7.0b on the horizon promising to wrap it all up, FreeBSD is once again taking the free Unix world by storm. It’s a tight, efficient codebase leveraging the best of BSD/OS, Darwin, and FreeBSD that users have been clamoring for. FreeBSD users and sites now have a shining future ahead of them.

… [discusses NetBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD & Darwin]

With all of these great improvements to the Berkeley operating system family in the last few years, BSD is clearly where it’s at. Linux is a throwback to when Open Source was a hot buzzword and sharing code was a novel idea. Now, Apple and company use it as standard coding procedure to share and improve the tech they have and leverage their individual strengths.

Even when taking the few commercial Unices that still exist into account, like AIX and Solaris, BSD still owns the arena in its frantic steamroll to the top of the supercomputing mountain. Whether you want the general wholesomeness of FreeBSD, the KGB-like security of OpenBSD, the more experimental NetBSD or DragonFlyBSD, or the utter perfection of Mac OS X, BSD has your bases completely covered with room to grow in the future.

Read the whole article here

FreeBSD news – quick links (week 4)

Some quick links that you may want to check out.

FreeBSD: the rock

FreeBSD is a UNIX-like free operating system descended from AT&T UNIX via the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) operating system. It runs on almost all known hardware architecture, including Microsoft Xbox, and has been called “the unknown giant among free operating systems.” It is generally regarded as being robust, which is why it is often called “the rock.” But what exactly makes this OS rock solid?

This article gives some background information about FreeBSD and BSD in general.

Full article can be read here

FreeBSD 7 will be revolutionary

FreeBSD LogoPinderkent has made a nice summary of why FreeBSD 7.0 release is something to look forward to:

A few weeks back, at the end of December, FreeBSD 7.0-RC1 was released. FreeBSD 7 will no doubt prove to be quite revolutionary. For one thing, this will be the first major FreeBSD release in a number of years. FreeBSD 6.0 was released in November of 2005, so there has been quite some time for the development of FreeBSD 7 to take place.

If you’re unfamiliar with what FreeBSD 7 will bring, I’d suggest that you look over the excellent What’s cooking for FreeBSD 7? Web page. As you can see, the amount of change FreeBSD 7 will bring is quite significant.

He goes on to mention

  • ZFS – Zetabyte File System ported from Sun Solaris
  • the new jemalloc userland memory allocator
  • improvements to the network stack
  • security enhancements, improved audio support, new SCHED_ULE replacement and
  • better support for linux binaries ,

and the article concludes with

It’s time for those of us in the IT profession to start considering the use of FreeBSD 7. The new features and improvements offered by this release will no doubt have a great impact for many of us. We will be getting better support for storing huge amounts of data, networking performance improvements to help us better transmit that data, and userland performance improvements to better let us manipulate it.

Note: bold by me. Whole article can be found here.

FreeBSD and the Xbox (360)

Microsoft Xbox 360In this post I want to have a look at how the Microsoft Xbox (360) can be used in combination with FreeBSD

  1. Xbox running FreeBSD
  2. Xbox 360 as media streaming device
  3. Using FreeNAS with the Xbox 360

1. Xbox running FreeBSD

Some of you may be aware that since the middle of 2005 it is possible to run FreeBSD on the Microsoft Xbox and later also on the Xbox 360. To be honest, I don’t really see the point of porting an OS to a video game device – “are data centres full of Xboxes?” – but I also readily admit that it’s always good to see individuals offering up their time and contributing to make even better and more powerfull. Some may object that the FreeBSD-Xbox combination may be a good thing, for instance, for home-users who can use their old Xbox for PC-BSD / DesktopBSD or for scientists who can use Xboxes for cheap, high-power cluster computing. Anyhow, the opinions are quite divided.

This FreeBSD-Xbox project was originally started by Rink Springer (patching and coding) and Ed Schouten (reviewing patches and provision of details on certain Xbox internals).

FreeBSD/Xbox is supported in FreeBSD 6.x and 7.0. The framebuffer, Ethernet, sound and USB devices (such as an USB keyboard for the console) are all supported.

In order to help people in installing the FreeBSD/Xbox port, a combined install/liveCD has been created which can be downloaded here.

More information can be found on Xbox-Linux project page and on the FreeBSD Xbox platform page.

If interested in running FreeBSD on your Xbox console, these are the Xbox related ports that you may find useful:

2. Xbox 360 as media streaming device

Since Microsoft added Xvid codec support to the Xbox 360 last month (it supported UPnP for streaming already), this console can be turned into a fairly capable media streaming device.

There are many UpnP servers available, but only a few run on FreeBSD, e.g.

  • FUPPES – Free UPnP Entertainment Service
  • MediaTomb – note: doesn’t support Xbox 360 (yet)
  • uShare – Fork of GNU Media Server for GeeXboX

Both FUPPES and uShare have support for the Xbox 360. Whilst the first has more features, the latter is easier to get it up and running. For notes on how to install these two media servers, check out Falz’s howto.

3. Using FreeNAS with the Xbox 360

Want to enable your Xbox 360 to see your FreeNAS server? Easy!

EeeBSD – FreeBSD tweaks for the Asus Eee PC 701

Asus Eee PC 701The Asus Eee PC 701 has made some decent headlines lately. Online Linux media have on the whole been quite positive about this low-cost mini-laptop powered by Linux.The Linux installation comes with a lot of out-of-the-box configuration features on top of a basic Intel platform so one can immediately start working/playing. But, if the laptop is able to run Linux, it’s should also be possible to get it to run FreeBSD…

If you own an Asus Eee PC and prefer FreeBSD over Linux, have a look at this EeeBSD page, for notes describing solutions to problems installing FreeBSD onto the Asus EeePC series of subnotebook computers (installation, wireless networking, wired networking, sound, hotkeys, X11)