FreeBSD 9 BETA1 available for testing

There’s no official announcement, but just over 2 years after FreeBSD 8.0 BETA1 became available, the FreeBSD Project is uploading version 9 BETA1..

According to the FreeBSD release page, BETA1 was scheduled for 20 July, so a delay of just over a week is a great result. Hopefully the final release hits the streets in sometime in  September.

Some of the news features that can be found in FreeBSD 9 are:

  • SSD TRIM support
  • 802.11n high throughput support
  • ATA/CAM improvements
  • PCI hot-plug support
  • S4 hibernation support
  • Xen Dom0 support
  • Linux 64-bit binary support in FreeBSD/amd64
  • Better EFI booting support
  • Better support for LLVM (the Low-Level Virtual Machine)
  • user-land D-Trace support,
  • Improved Oracle VM VirtualBox support
  • faster reboot

For more (technical) features check out Ivan Voras’ What’s cooking for FreeBSD 9 page or the FreeBSD 9 wiki.

You can download the ISO images from the links below.

Please note, since there’s no official announcement, these images may contain show stoppers and/or may be removed without any notice.

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FreeBSD news leftovers: BSD isn’t relevant, UNIX data center darling (week 28)

The following are some interesting FreeBSD related news bits from this week:

I.  Testing the (new) FBFS scheduler

The FBFS Scheduler (Google Summer of Code 2011) project aims to bring an experimental light-weight scheduler to FreeBSD and has now come to a state it can be tested: FreeBSD FBFS live DVD image is available now. There are many differences between Linux which is the original scheduler’s initial implementation platform and FreeBSD, so the port will be more like an reimplementation of some of the ideas. This project (FAQ) is brings a new perspective to the problem of scheduling – namely how would a simplified scheduler (without expensive tracking of process performance) behave for modern workloads (via).

II.  BSD isn’t relevant anymore (Lennart Poettering)

This is a typical anti-BSD story that gets featured on Slashdot: BSD Isn’t Relevant Anymore. The author is clearly out of touch with reality. The BSD community may be small compared to Windows and Linux, but that doesn’t mean BSD operating systems are not relevant anymore.

Maybe I shouldn’t even mention and refer to this piece of rubbish here ;-)

“In an interview with LinuxFr.org, Lennart Poettering speaks freely about his creations, PulseAudio, Avahi and systemd among other things. Naturally, what has stirred up most of the discussions online is Lennarts opinions on BSD. Following the recent proposal to make Gnome a Linux exclusive desktop, Lennart explains that he thinks BSD support is holding back a lot of Free Software development. This while also taking a stab at Debian kFreeBSD: ‘Debian kFreeBSD is a toy OS, people really shouldn’t misunderstand that.’”

III.  UNIX still data center darling

Unix systems may not be all the rage that they were two decades ago, but in nearly eight out of 10 data centers based on them, their use is either holding steady or increasing.

That’s the assessment of a recent survey of the HP, IBM, and Oracle Unix customer bases by Gabriel Consulting Group, which has just finished up its fifth annual slicing and dicing of Unix customer sentiments.

Unix systems have successfully colonized their neighborhoods in the data centers of the world, and are resisting the onslaught of Windows and Linux on those systems’ relatively inexpensive x64 iron. The Unix colonists are also resisting all of the marketing muscle and money that is dedicated to evicting them.

Full article: UNIX still data center darling

IV.  GhostBSD – New installer

The GhostBSD developers are working on a graphical installer. Previously, installation was done through a Python script, but a GUI installer “sells better” these days and will probably result in more people trying this O/S.

V.  BSD News in Russian

There are already a number of good Russian (Free)BSD related websites, but F-Andrey decided that this could be improved and launched http://bsdnir.blogspot.com. If you’re Russian or if Russian is a language you can read, have a look at bsdnir, or alternatively, you can use Google Translate.

BTW, if you’re interested in setting up a non-English FreeBSD related section on this website, please get in touch with me.

VI.  New ports committer

Ryan Steinmetz has been accepted as a new FreeBSD ports committer (15 July)

FreeNAS videos, FreeBSD on Amazon EC2 and Intel GPU FreeBSD driver update

Three noteworthy links today to FreeBSD related news:

I. FreeBSD on Amazon’s EC2

Colin Percifal mentioned on his blog that he managed to successfully run FreeBSD on Amazon’s EC2 via defenestration, tricking EC2 to think Windows is running.

How can we trick EC2? Take advantage of the fact that Elastic Block Store disks can be detached from EC2 instances and reattached to different instances, and replace the boot disk of a “Windows” instance with a disk containing FreeBSD. In other words, defenestrate the EC2 instance. (Note to pedants: While “defenestrate” usually means “to throw out of a window”, etymologically it could equally mean “to throw windows out” — and the Oxford English Dictionary does show a recorded use in this sense dating from 1927.)

II. Intel GPU FreeBSD Kernel Driver project update

The FreeBSD Foundation announced on 16 Feb that it had awarded Konstantin Belousov a grant to implement support of GEM, KMS, and DRI for Intel Drivers.

The project is to implement GEM, port KMS, and write new DRI drivers for Intel Graphics, including the latest Sandy Bridge generation of integrated graphic units. The work should allow the latest Intel open-source driver to run on FreeBSD, expanding the range of hardware where FreeBSD is suitable for the desktop.

Kostik has now uploaded (part of) his code for review, comments and feedback: Intel GPU Kernel Driver:

I created the first code drop for the ongoing GEM/KMS project. Please note that this is not an end-user release, and even _not_ a call for testing. The project is not finished yet, and I expect quite more efforts from me even after the scheduled project end, and from ports/x11 people, before the driver and usermode infrastructure will be ready for the general public consumption.

That said, the patch is only of use for you now if you want to review, debug or otherwise help the project. The driver is known to be unstable, some parts are missing, some (esp. VM changes) are under the discussion and propably will be changed.

III. FreeNAS 8 videos

iXsystems has done a great job rewriting FreeNAS and making a great enterprise ready NAS system, but it is also providing good documentation and videos showing stp-by-step how different FreeNAS features can be set up and used.

Install FreeNAS 8 in VMWare
Learn how to work through a basic installation of FreeNAS 8, with the added bonus of VMWare specific options.

System Configuration Overview
A brief look at how to configure the basic systems settings under FreeNAS 8, and a quick look at some of the more popular and helpful options to enable

Volumes Overview
After configuring your system, setting up your volumes is an important next step towards sharing files and using FreeNAS in any environment

Shares Overview
Learn to set up shares on your FreeNAS installation in order to enable access for users on different systems and protocols.

Network Configuration Overview
A brief overview of FreeNAS 8′s Network Configuration options, and a look at what each of the options means.

Active Directory Overview
A very quick look at how to get started with active directory under FreeNAS 8, and an overview of the options

You can watch the videos over at http://www.freenas.org/community/resources/videos

BSD Security (BSD Magazine 2011-06)

A new issue of the free BSD Magazine is available: BSD Security (pdf).

From the table of contents:

Larger scale FreeBSD

I’ve often joked that it’s quite easy to manage one FreeBSD machine or one thousand, but if you have ten machines it can be quite a bit of work.

DragonflyBSD news: Testing Hammer Deduplication on Real-world Data

If you’ve been in the market for storage devices lately, you may have noticed a trend. Prices for various storage devices are generally determined by size, then speed, and then the whole price is increased by the features that come with that disk appliance.

PC-BSD’s New Control Panel

This article introduces the new Control Panel that will ship with PC-BSD 9.0. Readers are encouraged to try out the Control Panel prior to release by downloading a PC-BSD 9.0 testing snapshot or building the Control Panel on a PC-BSD 8.x system or a FreeBSD 8.x system that has Xorg configured.

Using POSTGIS tabular and geographic data with FreeBSD

In this article, we will look at extending our GIS server to use PostGIS.

Collectd – A look at the Systems Statistics Collection Daemon

Systems Administrators need a variety of tools to properly monitor and tune their systems to the various loads…

Using Memcached for High Scalability Web Services

Been creating web services/ applications for 6 years and until recently decided to try out memory caching technology instead of hitting up the ole SQL server for the same records over and over again.

LDAP Authentication and Authorization of Unix Users Under OpenBSD

Unlike most Unix-like operating systems, OpenBSD does not come with PAM nor nsswitch which made it tedious to authenticate local users against a remote database like LDAP. That was until ypldap(8) came along.

Building a complete intrusion detection system with Snorby on BSD

FreeBSD and OpenBSD are a popular choice for installing the open-source Snort intrusion detection. Documents have been written in the past for popular analysis tools such as BASE and Sguil, however nothing extensive has been created for Snorby.

Full Disk Encryption on FreeBSD

On systems (for instance laptop computers) that may be physicaly accessed or stolen by untrusted persons, encrypting sensitive pieces of data should be mandatory.

What It Takes: Starting and Running an Open Source Certification Program, Part II

Last month, in the first article in this series, we discussed the People aspect of running an Open Source certification program such as the BSD Certification Group (BSDCG). We discussed the types of people you’ll need in your program- SMEs, Writers, Translators, Technical Experts, Managers, the Advisory Group, and your Psychometrician.

Interview with Paul Shekenveld

Paul has participated in all nine EuroBSDcon editions so far and visited BSDcan and AsiaBSDcon several times. Today he is a member of EuroBSDcon 2011 comitee. In this months issue he will answer a few of our questions about the upcoming European BSD conference.

GEM/KMS working on FreeBSD (for testing and code review)

Kostik Belousov, who is paid by the FreeBSD Foundation to port the Linux graphics code, provided a status update on the freebsd-x11 mailing list.

The project aims to implement GEM, port KMS, and write new DRI drivers for Intel Graphics, including the latest Sandy Bridge generation of integrated graphic units. The work should allow the latest Intel open-source driver to run on FreeBSD, expanding the range of hardware where FreeBSD is suitable for the desktop.

On the 30th of June Kostik provided a code drop for the GEM/KMS code. While the code is now publicly available, it’s far from ready for integration into the mainline tree. Kostik writes,

“Please note that this is not an end-user release, and even _not_ a call for testing. The project is not finished yet, and I expect quite more efforts from me even after the scheduled project end, and from ports/x11 people, before the driver and usermode infrastructure will be ready for the general public consumption.”

The current FreeBSD code is unstable and is missing some parts. This GEM/KMS code will also only work with the Intel DRM driver and not the Nouveau or Radeon DRM drivers, which would also require porting TTM (the Translation Table Maps memory manager) and other changes to be made to support under FreeBSD. This FreeBSD effort right now is only focused on bringing up Intel hardware support.

More info on Phoronix: GEM/KMS On FreeBSD Is Working, But Not Ready

Quick news: Firewalls, VirtualBSD, pfSense

Below three links to posts on pfSense and VirtualBSD

Techsource has an overview of 5 firewalls, one of which is the FreeBSD based pfSense.

If you’re having a small computer network at home or a huge office with hundreds of desktops, cyber security is something you can never compromise on. One thing that is a quintessential part of security is something we call a firewall.

A firewall is like the security guard at your door who keeps a watch on everyone who goes in and out. By allowing only legitimate connections to pass through and blocking connections based on a certain set of rules, the firewall secures the network from most kinds of threats that lurk around on the Internet. … continues

VirtualBSD review – Sneak a peak at FreeBSD

FreeBSD is a UNIX-like operating system, designed to be super stable and super secure. As such, it is probably not the simplest one to tame and run on a daily basis. Unfortunately, reliability and robustness do not always fully align with the mass-usage model of friendliness.

BSD developers realize this. So they released VirtualBSD, a VMware virtual appliance built using Xfce desktop with a very pretty theme and lots of programs and utilities preinstalled. VirtualBSD is intended for people who have never tried BSD or never dared try, did not have the right hardware for the task, or former users struck by nostalgia. Whatever the motives, testing VirtualBSD has never seen easier.

The article concludes with:

While the virtual machine test is far from being a real-life example of how simple or difficult or well-integrated a desktop is, VirtualBSD is a pleasant, refreshing diversion from the mainstream of free operating systems. It is an excellent technology demonstrator. The appliance testdrive proves that BSD is not a monster. Far from it; it’s a witty, charming, highly useful platform that anyone could use.

Even if you never intend on using BSD on your machine as the primary desktop, VirtualBSD could shatter some of your fears and misconceptions about the dreadful UNIX. It may not eclipse the Linux just yet, and probably never will, and it does not have to. What it can do is become another alternative should you need it, should you seek it. Overall, VirtualBSD delivers a handsome punch of good quality in all aspects of the desktop usage, aesthetics, availability of programs, codecs, everything. Quite a surprise and a breath of fresh air.

Looking back at my flirtations with the BSD family, things are getting better, significantly. The critical turning point is not there yet, but in time, this operating system might stir the flames of competition in the software world. For the time being, you have the perfect appliance to play with and sharpen your UNIX skills.

Read the whole article: VirtualBSD review – Sneak a peak at FreeBSD

FreeBSD PF updated to 4.5 for FreeBSD 9

Bjoern Zeeb committed PF 4.5 into FreeBSD HEAD for the 9 release (which will be the basis of pfSense 2.1), ported by Ermal Luci with help from Bjoern and Max Laier. Much of this work was funded by pfSense / BSDPerimeter, aside from volunteer efforts from Bjoern and Max providing some guidance along the way and Bjoern especially for review and assistance. (full post: FreeBSD PF updated to 4.5 for FreeBSD 9)