FreeBSD Foundation is soliciting submission of project proposals (2013)

freebsd_foundation 100.x100The FreeBSD Foundation annually (200920102011, 2012) asks the FreeBSD (developers) community for any project proposals that they’d like to work on, and, this is the interesting part, get funding for from the Foundation.

The Foundation has invited the Community again this year:

The FreeBSD Foundation is soliciting the submission of project
proposals for funded development grants. Proposals may be related to any of the major subsystems or infrastructure within the FreeBSD operating system, and will be evaluated based on desirability, technical merit, and cost-effectiveness.

Key dates for this proposal solicitation:

  • Call for proposals: 27th March 2013
  • Deadline for submissions: 26th April 2013
  • Notifcation of accepted proposals: 17th May 2013

Proposals must include the following:

* A detailed description of what is being proposed, how it will
benefit the FreeBSD Project, and why the work is needed.
* A timeline and costing for the project.
* One or more people that will act as technical reviewers for the work.

Proposals are open to all developers, including non-FreeBSD
committers, but developers without access to commit to the source tree must provide details about how the completion guidelines will be achieved. (source)

All details on the proposal submission process can be found on the Project Proposal Procedures page.

There are many projects and loose ends to pick up, so if you’re interested, have al look at the FreeBSDD ideas page or hang out on the FreeBSD Forums.

Porting FreeBSD to Efika Platforms Project Completed

freebsd_foundation 100.x100The FreeBSD Foundation announced in November 2012 that Aleksandr Rybalko had been awarded a grant to port FreeBSD to the Genesi Efika MX SmartBook laptop and SmartTop nettop devices.

The Foundation updated its blog today to say the project is now completed.

You’ve already seen or at least heard about ARM systems running FreeBSD. In most cases it’s routers, firewalls, network storage, etc. Why doesn’t anyone use FreeBSD on an ARM based desktop or laptop? It is because no one had implemented Xorg support for boards supported by FreeBSD. Now you have a way to do just that!

I’m glad to introduce an Xorg driver for ARM, and not only ARM but for syscons framebuffer devices. It’s called xf86-video-scfb. The driver is very simple, and has been tested and works on the Efika MX and Raspberry Pi devices. I hope it w ll work with other devices, including those not based on ARM.

FreeBSD Efika Project completed

FreeBSD 8.4-BETA1 available for testing

The FreeBSD developers have announced the availability of the first BETA build for the FreeBSD-8.4 release . ISO images for the amd64, i386 and pc98 architectures are available on most of our FreeBSD mirror sites.

Since the stable/8 branch is relatively mature we hope there will only be one BETA build for this release cycle. If testing does not turn up any show-stopper caliber problems the next test build will be RC1.

FreeBSD Foundation announces new technical staff member

The FreeBSD Foundation has announced that Konstantin Belousov has been hired as its first full-time member of technical staff, a key milestone of the Foundation’s investment in staff for 2013.

Konstantin has been a FreeBSD committer since 2006, and he recently implemented support for current-generation Intel graphics controllers under contract to the FreeBSD Foundation.  This new position will allow him to spend his full working time on supporting and improving FreeBSD.

Konstantin’s first project brings support for unmapped I/O to FreeBSD. The unmapped I/O project improves performance by avoiding mapping buffers in the buffer cache, significantly reducing overhead on multi-processor systems.  The project builds on foundational work to unify machine-dependent parts of the busdma interface, recently contributed by Jeff Robertson at EMC’s Isilon Storage Division. EMC became a FreeBSD foundation donor in 2012.

Netflix, another new Foundation donor for 2012, is already making use of this project.

“Netflix partnered closely with Konstantin to provide design input and testing resources for the unmapped I/O project.  The work helped us realize an immediate 25% increase in system performance on production workloads.  It underscores the immense value of collaborating and investing in the open source community and FreeBSD in particular,”

said Scott Long, Senior Software Engineer at Netflix.

Konstantin has also been working with the release engineering team since 2008 and his new role with the Foundation will allow him to focus more time on the tools and process used to make FreeBSD releases. (via)

MaheshaBSD-2.0 Server Released

Juraj Sipos has announced the release of MaheshaBSD Server 2.0. This version comes with WordPress running on a USB memory stick.

This is the only distro in the World with WordPress running immediately without any installation process. Many poor people will have a quick FTP server with WordPress and they may open it also to the world.

Some brief notes on this release:

  • With phpMyAdmin installed in MaheshaBSD Server many tasks with MySQL will be easy as a breeze.
  • phpMyAdmin runs also remotely via TightVNC.
  • The USB image is writable.
  • MaheshaBSD Server has an educational purpose, too. It is also a social project. Many people in the Third World need money for education and many institutions fail to provide the valuable infrastructure (software, paying for development of software, etc.).
  • The SERVER was tested over the Internet;
  • tightvnc worked,
  • WordPress worked.

The Mahesha Project is hosted by RootBSD. You may download the documentation (pdf) or download the MaheshaBSD Server 2.0 (rar).

MaheshaBSD Server can be downloaded and used for free by individuals; companies are expected to donate to the project:

The price is 200/150/100/50/25, but only for institutions; it is free for personal use. Institutions may choose any price, thus the software will be valuable also for institutions in very poor countries. Anybody can write and use it for free.

Thanks Juraj for the heads up. I will be testing this release over the next few days and will give you feedback.

New FreeBSD Foundation Funded Project: FreeBSD/ARM Architecture Superpages Support

FreeBSD foundation logoFollowing the successful 2012 Year-End Fundraising Campaign the FreeBSD Foundation has announced that Semihalf, an embedded solutions company, has been awarded a grant to develop transparent superpages support for the FreeBSD/ARM architecture. Semihalf is co-sponsoring the project with the Foundation.

The ARM architecture is already common in the mobile and embedded markets, and is becoming more prevalent in the server market. Among the more interesting industry trends emerging recently is the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture, which is an “ARM server” concept. Many top tier companies have started developing systems or are announcing products with this architecture.

One of the features needed for FreeBSD to be successful in this area is transparent super pages.  This provides improved performance and scalability by allowing TLB translations to dynamically cover large physical memory regions.

As you will remember, Semihalf has been involved in FreeBSD Foundation funded projects before. They worked on the flattened device tree (2009) and NAND flash support (2012).

The project is expected to complete in mid July 2013.

Introducing fbsdmon (fbsdmon.org)

There are some websites that keep track of new FreeBSD ports, such as the FreeBSD ports page or Freshports, and some that track (Free)BSD installations, such as bsdstats.

I was not aware, but there’s also fbsdmon that measures ports popularity and lets you submit statistics of your system (if you have installed the fbsdmon port). The website, maintained by FreeBSD developer Grzegorz Blach,  also shows links to the FreeBSD RSS feeds.

Does anybody use fbsdmon.org? If you have any feedback, feel free to contact Grzegorz.

Thanks Grzegorz for contacting me and making me aware. If you have a FreeBSD related product, service or website that you want featuring, let me know.