FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots, and Some Suggestions

freenas-ixsystems-new-logoFreeNAS 9.1 has been released. We have read the blog posts, the press releases, and we probably all agree that this FreeBSD based NAS is becoming better and better with each release. FreeNAS is still ‘growing up’ and new features are added to each new version.

Since FreeNAS is still changing so much, maybe be developers can do something about the GUI side of things, i.e. the Web Interface.

The goal of FreeNAS is to simplify complex admin tasks in the underlying FreeBSD (nanobsd) base through a poin-and-click Web Interface: volumes can be created, permissions changed, data sharing turned on/off, music/video streaming set up, and most, if not all, ZFS features are included.

All this makes FreeNAS a powerful network attached system (NAS), especially if you consider it is open source and free to download, but I think the Web Interface can still do with some TLC as it can be confusing and is not always newbie friendly.

  • There are 6 menu buttons (top left) linking to “System”, “Network”, “Storage”, “Sharing”, “Services”, “Plugins” and “Jails”. In the Menu tree, under this bar, you will see the same (and more) links, unnecessary duplication. If “Account” is one of the main menus, why is this then one on the right hand top side, and not on the left with the others?
  • When you close / log out of the FreeNAS Web Interface and go back in, the menu tree is left expanded as it was left. It looks nicer if the tree was collapsed each time you open up the GUI.
  • Every time options are saved or when you cancel a screen, the whole menu tree is reloaded/refreshed, which takes about 1-2 seconds. This could be due to some settings or limitation in the Django framework, but it is annoying.
  • When you go into some of the (sub)menus and make changes, a tab gets added to the tab bar (top right), next to “Reporting” | “Settings” | “System Information”. What is the point of this? You’re not going to use your NAS GUI for hours (usually). You make the changes and come out of it. There’s no need for these shortcuts.
  • For new users of FreeNAS, it would be helpful if there was a short introduction with some step-by-step instruction on the first screen to help them set up the basic things (User, Volume, Privileges etc). Yes, there’s the FreeNAS handbook with everything set out step-by-step, but judging from questions on the FreeNAS forums I guess there are more users that don’t read through the manual than those who do.

Conclusion

Personally, I prefer the old FreeNAS 0.7 horizontal menu. It was, and is now in NAS4Free, easy to use and straightforward, with no duplication. The other thing I like in NAS4Free, is that you can make all changes on the opened screen, i.e. there are no pop-up windows with yet more settings. 

I appreciate a NAS GUI is not something you need every day. In an ideal world you install and set up your NAS and let it then run (headless), but there are still some areas where FreeNAS should improve to avoid confusion and duplication.

 

Screenshots

If you have no need to install or use FreeNAS, but are still interested to see what it looks like, have a look at the screenshots below (click on the pictures to magnify).

Main Screen

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Account Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

System Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Network Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Storage Information

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Sharing Protocols

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

FreeNAS Services

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Plugins Administration

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

FreeNAS Jails

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

System Processes (Running)

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Add Duplication Task

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

ZFS Volume Manager

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

Add Replication (rsync) Task

FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter – August 2013

The FreeBSD Foundation has published its Semi-Annual Newsletter with the following subjects:

This newsletter give a nice overview of what projects the Foundation has been supporting and what direction the FreeBSD project is moving at.

FreeBSD 9.2-RC1 available

freebsd_logo_textGlen Barber has announced the first release candidate build for the FreeBSD 9.2:

The first release candidate builds of the 9.2-RELEASE release cycle
are now available on the FTP servers for the amd64, i386, ia64, powerpc,
powerpc64, and sparc64 architectures.

Changes between -BETA2 and -RC1 include:

  • Expand the list of devices claimed by cxgbe(4).
  • Fix a panic in the racct code when munlock(2) is called with incorrect values.
  • Remove ctl(4) from GENERIC. ctladm(8) now automatically loads the corresponding module as necessary. This reduces the default memory footprint and allows FreeBSD to work on i386 machines with 128 MB of RAM out of the box.
  • Fix zfs send -D hang after processing requiring a CTRL+C to interrupt.

Announcement | FreeBSD 9.2 Release Schedule | FreeBSD Website

FreeBSD 9.2-BETA2 available

Glen Barber has announced the availability of the second BETA build for the FreeBSD-9.2 release cycle.

The second BETA build of the 9.2-RELEASE release cycle is now available
on the FTP servers for the amd64, i386, powerpc64 and sparc64
architectures.

ISO images and, for architectures that support it, the memory stick images
are available here.

If you notice problems you can report them through the normal GNATS PR
system or here on the -stable mailing list.

Changes between -BETA1 and -BETA2 include:

  • Fix an interoperability problem between FreeBSD NFS Server
  • (version 4) and Linux NFS (version 4) clients.
  • Fix nvme(4) and nvd(4) to support non 512-byte sector sizes.
  • Fix freebsd-update(8) for -BETA2 by removing a file with non-POSIX
  • characters in its name. This file is not needed for FreeBSD
  • builds, and caused freebsd-update(8) to error on -BETA1.
  • Fix an XHCI regression.
  • Fix a bug in ipv6_prefix_IF.
  • Fix address range specification with various ifconfig(8) options.
  • Fix Denial of Service vulnerability in named(8). (SA FreeBSD-SA-13:07.bind)

NodePaint for FreeBSD

NodePaint is a new and commercial image editing software which will officially support FreeBSD / PC-BSD.

NodePaint is a new application for creating and editing images with nodes. Nodes are small operations that you can combine to achieve unlimited flexibility and creativity in your work. At any time you can go back and change any parameter in your node chain, which updates everything connected automatically.

ColorizingOnPCBSD

NodePaint is in an early state of development, but has already usable for basic
image editing tasks. More features are added on a weekly basis.

The basic features are:

  • Node based workflow for maximum flexibility
  • Multi-core processing
  • Automation features
  • Runs on FreeBSD, Linux and Windows. Mac OSX port available soon

This video gives an overview of some of the possibilities NodePaint offers.

If you’re interested in this project, you can visit the website or contribute to development costs (indiegogo).

Thanks Heiko for your email to let me know about your project. If you’re working on a FreeBSD related project or offer a FreeBSD related service and want the world to know about it, let me know.

FreeBSD 9.2 Beta Released

FreeBSD LogoGlen Barber has announced the availability of the initial beta build of FreeBSD 9.2.

The first BETA build of the 9.2-RELEASE release cycle is now available on the FTP servers for the amd64, i386, and ia64 architectures.

If you notice problems you can report them through the normal GNATS PR
system or here on the -stable mailing list. If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing system use “stable/9″.

Please be aware that cvsup and CVS are both deprecated, and are not
supported methods of updating the src/ tree.

Important note to freebsd-update(8) users: Due to a last minute problem
found in the 9.2-BETA1 freebsd-update(8) builds, freebsd-update(8) is
NOT supported for 9.2-BETA1 upgrades. Please do not use
freebsd-update(8) to upgrade to 9.2-BETA1.

If all goes well and according to the release schedule FreeBSD 9.2 should be released around 31 August 2013.