Debian meets FreeBSD: Debian 6.0 debuts FreeBSD version

After two years in the making, Debian 6.0, code-named “Squeeze”, was announced earlier this week. It features the KDE Desktop and Applications, the GNOME, Xfce, and LXDE desktop environments.

Debian GNU/Linux supports a number of nice architectures which include: 32-bit PC / Intel IA-32, 64-bit PC / Intel EM64T / x86-64, Motorola/IBM PowerPC, Sun/Oracle SPARC, MIPS, Intel Itanium, IBM S/390, and ARM EABI.

Debian 6.0 is different in two ways from previous versions: 1) all non-open source firmware modules have been taken from the kernel and can be downloaded seperately, permitting completely “free” installations, i.e. it comes with a completely free-as-in-freedom Linux kernel, and 2) in addition to Debian GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is introduced as a technology preview with a version of the FreeBSD kernel in the Debian userspace.

FreeBSD, meet Debian

The Debian GNU/kFreeBSD technology previews are currently available only on x86 platforms: 32-bit PC (kfreebsd-i386) and 64-bit PC (kfreebsd-amd64). The FreeBSD releases offer “strong” support for common server software, combining “the existing features of Linux-based Debian versions with the unique features known from the BSD world,” says the project. However, the project goes on to note that “some advanced desktop features are not yet supported.”

It would be interesting to see when the GNU/kFreeBSD versions comes out with ZFS and those sort of goodies.

I’ll install and test Debian GNU/kFreeBSD over the next few weeks and let you know. In the meantime, Gary Sims, from Learning FreeNAS, as posted some screenshots.

Maybe the developers can make the name a bit simpler. Debian GNU/kFreeBSD technology preview or Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is such a mouth full. What about Debian 6.0 (FreeBSD)?

The release notes and installation manual have been posted, and installation images may be downloaded right now via bittorrent or HTTP.

Link: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD website

Ports update: KDE 4.6, OpenOffice and LibreOffice

KDE 4.6

A new update for KDE came out recently: KDE 4.6. Miwi, one of the guys porting KDE to FreeBSD, mentioned on his blog that a FreeBSD port of KDE 4.6 will come out after FreeBSD 8.2 has been released.

The FreeBSD KDE Team is happy to let you know that KDE SC 4.6.0 has been released a few Days ago, and the Release is ready for a public test. Before you ask, no, we do not want to put KDE 4.6.0 in the ports tree before FreeBSD 8.2/7.4 is released.

4.6 comes with a lot of bugfixes, is faster and more responsive. If you can’t wait for the official port, go over to the post (KDE SC 4.6 for FreeBSD) for update instructions.

LibreOffice

As most of you will be aware there was a rift between Oracle and OpenOffice developers, so a number of ex-OpenOffice developers forked OpenOffice and set up LibreOffice, with support from Google, Redhat, Ubuntu etc.

What is the exact difference between OpenOffice and LibreOffice? At the moment, LibreOffice 3.3 is based on OpenOffice 3.3 with some additions, tweaks and improvements, but it is expected that the projects will grow further apart in the future. These are two links comparing OpenOffice and LibreOffice:

LibreOffice 3.3 was released and is now available as FreeBSD port: /usr/ports/editors/libreoffice/. OpenOffice 3.3. can be installed from /usr/ports/editors/openoffice.org-3

LibreOffice is the free power-packed Open Source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base.

Oracle doesn’t have a good track record with regards to supporting open source projects (MySQL, OpenOffice, it’s not clear what’s going to happen to VirtualBox (paid extensions?) etc). Personally I think we should support LibreOffice. What do you think?

FreeBSD News WordPress Template (free)

Recently I came across this free ‘FreeBSD-themed’ WordPress Template (WordPress is a web-based platform creating a websites or blogs):

Features:

  • 2 columns,
  • black, red and white colours
  • Pages in header
  • RSS Feed button in footer
  • free WordPress template
  • Sidebar  on right hand side

If you want to set up a FreeBSD themed blog with standard FreeBSD colours, but without having to do much/any tweaking, have a look at this theme: FreeBSD News Free WordPress Template

Available: FreeBSD 8.2-RC3 and 7.4-RC3

Ken Smith has announced the 3rd Release Candidate of FreeBSD 8.2 (production version) and FreeBSD 7.4 (legacy version). This release is slightly delayed (planned for 24 January) and there are still a few outstanding items on the todo lists (8.2, 7.4).

FreeBSD 8.2-RC3 is available for AMD64, i386, IA64, PC98, PowerPc and Sparc64, while FreeBSD 7.4-RC3 only runs on AMD64, i386, Pc98 and Sparc64. Instructions how to update to the release candidate versions can be found in the announcement.

Links:

McKusick tells of the BSD days as only he can

Marshall McKusick is a great public speaker (some youtube videos) and recently he did again a great presentation at LCA 2011:

“The drought of those who speak without depending on slides has ended at the 12th Australian national Linux conference.

“Last evening, Marshall Kirk McKusick, a well-known BSD hacker, took those assembled down a slightly different track – after all, this is a Linux conference – with his narrative history of BSD. And what a rollicking ride it was!

“McKusick was, rather unfortunately, put down for the last slot of the day, 4.45pm, when many tired and footloose souls had vended their way homewards to charge their batteries for the next day. And the venue for his talk could hold only 100 people.”

Read more: McKusick tells of the BSD days as only he can

FreeBSD or Debian Linux? FreeBSD or Linux?

This is an often asked question in newsgroups and forums. The reason for this, is that there is no easy answer. If a straight forward answer could be given, it could have been found on Wikipedia. The fact is, that it is not a yes-or-no-answer question.

Often you will see this ‘political’ answer “It depends”. It depends how you’re planning to use the operating system (desktop, server) and where (home, data center, server room, embedded etc).

Both Linux and FreeBSD have their strong and weak points, but overall, they can do almost anything you ask it to do, but when one wants an answer to the question “FreeBSD or (Debian) Linux?” one needs to find an answer to the following questions first to see which operating system suits one’s needs best:

1) Is your current hardware supported? If the purchase of new hardware is planned, is it supported by either/both?

2) Which operating system is supported by the third party commercial applications vendors that you use? If it is not supported, is there an acceptable equivalent available for the operating system your preference goes out to?

3) Are your current networking hardware (and appliances) supported by the O/S?

4) Are any new third party system management and monitoring tools required? If so, are they supported by the “new” OS?

5) Is  your storage hardware and servers supported by your preferred O/S? think of Network Attached Storage, SAN’s RAID, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).

5) Is the IT department capable of maintaining (and further developing) the new system, or is there a need to hire new staff? Or, can you get consulting services and/or third party support for your operating system?

There are plenty more questions that can be asked before deciding whether it’s Linux or FreeBSD that fits your needs best.

Have you been in a (work / home) situation where you had to make the choice? It would be nice to find out about your experience. Please share via the comments.

FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report (Oct – Dec 2010)

Another quarter, another FreeBSD status report: FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report (Oct – Dec 2010).

Once again, there are some interesting updates which show FreeBSD 9 is shaping up nicely with many features to look forward to. Some of the highlights: ZFS v28, Chromium Port, DIFFUSE, FreeBSD on Amazon EC2, Trim for USF.

Table of Contents:

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Available: FreeBSD 7.4-RC2

The second Release Candidate build for the FreeBSD-7.4 release cycle is available from the FreeBSD website for testing. ISO images fcan be downloaded from most of the FreeBSD mirror sites. Check out the official announcement for further details about this release.

The original release date 24/1/2010 – today) won’t be achieved as per the 7.4 releng page. There’s yet a RC-3 to be announced, but quality is more important than sticking to dates and releasing an unfinished product with bugs.

Links: FreeBSD | FreeBSD 7.4 todo