Series on 2011 development of FreeBSD based O/S

Next week I’ll be posting a number of posts on what project founders and developers are planning this year for some FreeBSD based operating systems.

I’ll be posting on PC-BSD, pfSense, m0n0wall, HeX, MaheshaBSD, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD and maybe a few more.

Stay tuned.

FreeBSD on Sony Playstation 3 (PS3)

Following reports (e.g. Hackers bust PS3 DRM wide open with private key hack)  that hackers had found a way to obtain Sony PlayStation 3‘s private cryptography key, it was only a matter of time of FreeBSD would be run on Sony’s latest gaming station.

The latest hack to come out of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) Congress being held in Berlin comes from the fail0verflow hacking squad, who say they’ve found a way to obtain the PS3′s private cryptography key, which is used to sign code.

With an exploit of this type, people could sign, and thus run any PS3 program. The system would then run it as though it were a valid PS3 game, and firmware upgrades won’t be able to stop it, either.

In fact, The team claims: “We only started looking at the PS3 after Other OS was killed.” OtherOS was a feature available in the first versions of the PS3. It allowed other operating systems, such as Linux or FreeBSD, to be installed on the system.

One week after the hack, FreeBSD is running indeed on PS3. There are still a few problems and rough edges, but they should be ironed out when FreeBSD 9.0 is released:

Yesterday, I imported support for the Sony Playstation 3 into our 64-bit PowerPC port, expanding our game console support into the current generation. There are still a few rough edges due to missing hardware support, but the machine boots and runs FreeBSD stably. These rough edges should be smoothed out in time for the 9.0 release.

For further instructions, check out the announcement post: Playstation 3 support now in HEAD

Top 15 Posts and Search Terms in 2010

I thought I’d share the 15 most popular posts of 2010.

Interestingly, people were looking for ways to use FreeBSD as a desktop operating system: posts on FreeNAS (4) and Google Chrome (3)  and “live systems” (2) were very popular:

  1. FreeBSD will continue supporting ZFS
  2. Install FreeBSD 8.0 from USB memory stick
  3. Differences between BSD and Linux
  4. Flash 9 for FreeBSD 7.1 (howto)
  5. FreeNAS Tutorials
  6. Chromium (Google Chrome) for FreeBSD
  7. Running Google Chrome on FreeBSD
  8. Creating a Network Attached Storage VMware using FreeNAS
  9. FreeNAS supports Bittorrent
  10. DesktopBSD Live USB stick
  11. Embedded FreeBSD systems
  12. UNIX history family tree
  13. FreeNAS 0.8 Roadmap
  14. Open source NAS device using FreeNAS and iSCSI drives (howtos & video)
  15. Google Chrome on FreeBSD 7.0 (howto)

FreeNAS is in good shape and hopefully FreeNAS 8.0 will be with us soon. Unfortunately, there’s no native FreeBSD Flash player, but with the world moving to (or are we pushed to?) using HTML5, this should be no problem. A new maintainer is now looking after the Chromium (Google Chrome) port, so a more up-to-date version (10?) will be released soon.

A similar pattern can be seen from Google search terms when landing on freebsdnews.net:

  1. freebsd
  2. freebsd news
  3. freebsd vs linux
  4. freenas vmware
  5. bsd news
  6. freenas 0.8
  7. chrome freebsd
  8. freebsd flash
  9. google chrome freebsd
  10. freenas bittorrent
  11. freebsd live usb
  12. freebsd usb install
  13. freebsd chrome
  14. freebsd embedded
  15. install freebsd from usb

FreeBSD quick news and links (week 52)

Below some links to news articles and blog posts relating to FreeBSD, it’s development, howto’s etc, and other interesting bits and bops connected with the FreeBSD operating system.

1. Automatic Install with FreeBSD 64-bit on RootBSD.

All new RootBSD orders are now able to select FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE 64-bit as an option in the order form. Although manual install is still an option, this selection will prompt our new automated installer for FreeBSD 64-bit that allows your VPS to be set up in a matter of minutes like our current 32-bit offering once your order is approved. FreeBSD 32-bit is still recommended for most users.

2. FreeBSD Foundation fund raising drive (2010)

This is a last plea from the FreeBSD Foundaion for 2010 donations. Can you help?

3. FreeBSD on Amazon EC2

FreeBSD 9.0 headed to the cloud as 8.2 nears release (internetnews.com). Related to this is Collin’s updated FreeBSD on Amazon’s EC2 FAQ

4. GhostBSD – Preview for the next release.

New Logo, new theme for GhostBSD 2.0 and plans to make it faster.

5. Running Pinta on FreeBSD (rhyous.com - howto).

Pinta is a drawing/editing program modeled after Paint.NET. It’s goal is to provide a simplified alternative to GIMP for casual users. It is currently early in development.

6. ZFS in Debian

ZFS is coming to Debian! Of course, it will be arriving there via the FreeBSD kernel. ZFS v28 s imminent in FreeBSD. Testers need to check out the new patch (via Ivan Voras’ blog).

7. Oracle highligts Solaris UNIX Plans

The OS will feature next-generation networking capabilities for scalability and performance, said John Fowler, Oracle executive vice president of systems, at a company event in Santa Clara, Calif. “It’s a complete reworking of [the] enterprise OS,” he said. Oracle took over Solaris when the company acquired Sun Microsystems early this year.

Full post:  Oracle highlights Solaris UNIX plans (computerworld.com)

Talking about UNIX, Novell has moved to quell growing concerns that it has sold Linux out to Microsoft as part of its Attachmate deal: Novell keeps Unix copyrights from Microsoft

8. FreeBSD: High Performance Packet Capture
Summary and background information: FreeBSD: High Performance Packet Capture

9. Marketing Assistant for Open Source Hardware Manufacturer

Ever wanted to work for a FreeBSD focused company? If ‘Marketing’ is your thing and you’re at ‘assistant level’, have a look at this vacancy with iXsystems: Marketing Assistant for Open Source Hardware Manufacturer

iXsystems is looking for a Marketing Assistant with developed writing skills and the ability to do some digital graphic work as well. The ideal candidate is both creative and hardworking with the ability to develop innovative ideas for ads and print related to open source servers and software. Applicants will need to be able to work five days a week from 10 am – 6pm. Some flex time is permitted, but minimum amount of time required in the office is 3 full days per week.

10. Trying PC-BSD 8.2-BETA2 (taosecurity). Richard Bejtlich took PC-BSD 8.2-BETA2 for a spin. His feedback here.

11. KDE Software Compilation 4.4.5 in ports

Announced: FreeBSD 8.2-RC1 and 7.4-RC1

Ken Smith has announced the availability of the first release candidates for FreeBSD 8.2 and 7.4

The first Release Candidate for the FreeBSD 7.4/8.2 release cycle is now available. For 7.4-RC1 the amd64, i386, pc98, and sparc64 architectures are available, for 8.2-RC1 those architectures plus ia64 and powerpc are available.

Full Announcement: FreeBSD 7.4/8.2-RC1 Available

Released: VirtualBSD 8.1

It’s been awhile since the last release of VirtualBSD, but Reece Tarbert has announced the availability of VirtualBSD 8.1.

VirtualBSD is a desktop ready FreeBSD 8.1 RELEASE, in the form of a VMware appliance, based on the Xfce 4.6 Desktop Environment. Many of the most common and useful applications are ready to run, and the desktop has been styled to resemble a certain OS from Cupertino.

Due to the nature of VirtualBSD being a virtual machine, there are a few issue with regards to upgrading, updating and adding software, as Reece mentions. These may be some shortcoming, but, hey, it’s a great way to explore FreeBSD.

FreeBSD Foundation End-of-Year Newsletter (2010)

The FreeBSD Foundation has published its annual End-of-Year Newsletter which contains examples of how they have supported and funded the FreeBSD Project and community in 2010.

Table of contents:

Full newsletter: FreeBSD Foundation end-of year newsletter (2010)

It’s not too late to make a donation to the Foundation for 2010. The Foundation thanks everyone for their support so far and any donations made.

BSD Fund has announced it is contributing $3,600 (twitter @bsdfund)

New FreeBSD Foundation Project: Feed-Forward Clock Synchronization

The FreeBSD Foundation has announced that Julien Ridoux and Darryl Veitch at the University of Melbourne have been awarded a grant to implement support of feed-forward clock synchronization algorithms.

“The Network Time Protocol (NTP) is widely used for synchronization over the network and the ntpd daemon is the current reference synchronization algorithm. The system clock in FreeBSD is currently designed with ntpd in mind, leading to strong feedback coupling between the kernel and the synchronization daemon.

The RADclock is an example of an alternative class of synchronization algorithms based on feed-forward principles. This project will provide the core support for feed-forward algorithms, so that alternatives to ntpd can be developed and tested. The central motivation for this is the strong potential of such approaches for highly robust and accurate synchronization.

Beyond this, virtualization is one of the next major challenges faced by time keeping systems. The current feedback synchronization model is complex and introduces its own dynamics, an approach that is not suited to the requirements of virtualization. Feed-forward based synchronization offers a cleaner and simpler approach, which is capable of providing accurate time keeping over live migration of virtual machines.” (source: FreeBSD Foundation Blog)

If you want to see FreeBSD prosper further in 2011, why not make a donation to the FreeBSD Foundation to help them fund more projects? Currently there are roughly 280 less donors than last year and the Foundation is still $136.000 away from the set $350.000 goal. Any donation, however small will make a difference. (I am not affiliated with the Foundation)