BSDTalk interview with Josh Paetzel (iXsystems)

BSDTalk has a 12 minute interview with Josh Paetzel, IT director at iXsystems. Will and Josh talk about the recent takeover of the FreeNAS project by iXsystems.

FreeNAS will stay FreeBSD-based, with the ZFS file system and the project will stay open source. The roadmap and some other things are still being thought about and worked on.

BSDTalk 182 – Listen to the podcast: MP3 | OGG

Juniper Networks backs FreeBSD with MIPS port

When it comes to new features in an open source operating system, sometimes features are developed by community developers and other times they are contributed by commercial vendors. The recent FreeBSD 8.0 operating system release benefited from both types of contributions.

juniper_networks_logoIn particular, as part of the FreeBSD 8.0 release, there is new experimental MIPS support which was contributed by networking vendor Juniper Networks

“Juniper has been a longtime supporter of openness in all its forms, open standards in networking, open APIs in our products, and certainly open source software that serves a greater good,”

Mike Bushong, Director of Product Management, Junos Software at Juniper Networks told InternetNews.com.

“Contributing work back to FreeBSD was just one way we could give a little something back to the community that has served us so well for more than 10 years.”

Juniper’s involvement with FreeBSD, goes deeper than just MIPS, as Juniper’s core JUNOS operating system has its roots in FreeBSD. JUNOS is used in nearly every Juniper networking product and is now also being licensed to third party vendors and is also part of the Juniper OEM gear that is sold by Dell and IBM.

Though Juniper does not directly ship FreeBSD in its commercial products today, according to Bushong, Junos continues to benefit from its roots in FreeBSD. Juniper has been updating its Junos operating system every 90 days since the operating system was first released in 1998.

“Today, we still use FreeBSD as our base operating system, Bushong said. “FreeBSD has proven to be quite flexible in supporting vendor innovation, and its proven track record of reliability, performance, and scalability is paramount in the networking world.”

Juniper’s connection to FreeBSD isn’t limited to historical connections either and goes beyond its Junos roots.

“Juniper maintains a strong relationship with the FreeBSD committer community, sponsoring various projects within FreeBSD that will ultimately serve the entire user base, “

said Bushong.

Whole article: Juniper Backs FreeBSD With MIPS Port

First look at FreeBSD 8.0

Jesse Smith from Distrowatch has taken FreeBSD 8.0 for a ride. Below his findings.

freebsd project logo 100x100FreeBSD has long been recognised as a fast, stable and reliable operating system, powering large server farms of some of the biggest web sites and search engines on the Internet. This week Jesse Smith installed the project’s latest release, version 8.0, on his home server to ascertain that it works as advertised. What were his findings? Read on to find out.

Sometimes it feels to me as if Linux distributions overshadow all other aspects of the open source ecosystem. It can be very easy to jump from one flavour of Linux to another, and to yet another, without being aware of the many other options available. This week, I decided to go in a different direction and explore the latest offering from the BSD communities: FreeBSD, version 8.0.

The FreeBSD operating system is very flexible and well-suited to many different environments, including embedded systems and desktop machines. However, as the project’s motto, “The Power To Serve,” indicates, FreeBSD gains most of its strong reputation from running servers. Keeping that in mind, I borrowed an old desktop box with a 1 GHz CPU and 512 MB of RAM and installed the latest version of FreeBSD on it to see how it would function as a home server.

One of the first things that stand out about the FreeBSD project is its web site. The layout is easy to read, the presentation is professional and there is more documentation than you can shake a USB stick at. It is wonderfully easy to find just about any information one needs on this site. When troubles arise or when advice is needed, there is a friendly community forum. The latest version of this operating system comes in several different flavours, including a CD edition, with the basic system, and a DVD edition with all the bells and whistles. The operating system will run on 32-bit and 64-bit x86 architectures, Sparc64 and PowerPC systems, among others. All in all, there’s a wide variety to choose from and likely a download to suite just about everybody. I grabbed the CD image for i386 machines and got to work.


Conclusion:

In the past, I’ve referred to FreeBSD as both stable and powerful and this release confirms that reputation. After spending a week installing, configuring and using the latest version of FreeBSD, I’d like to add that it’s a very mature and polished operating system too. On the surface, the system looks complex and arcane, but great lengths have been taken to make each step of each task smooth for the administrator. This is largely thanks to the FreeBSD Handbook, but credit should also be given to unusually clear man pages. I found the output, error messages and defaults for most commands were helpful, increasing the refined, friendly feel of the system. There are a number of minor surprises for people coming from Linux systems, mostly in small differences in commands and the layout of the file system, but nothing significant. In fact, I found the FreeBSD directories to be clean and well organized. At various points during the week, I visited the project’s forums and always found a friendly community member willing to answer questions. Version 8.0 of the FreeBSD operating system is fast, powerful, well crafted and rock solid; I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in setting up their own server.

Full review

Well, what’s stopping you from installing FreeBSD on your server?

FreeBSD shines while Apple fails

This is an article by Paul Rubens on Serverwatch. Paul analyses the difference between Apple and the FreeBSD (security) Team with regards to tackling security problems:

Apple is making a lot of money these days. The more money it makes, the greater the contempt for its customers it seems to display. A critical bug recently discovered in FreeBSD, and the speed with which this bug was resolved, illustrates this rather well. If you use Apple’s products in your business, be afraid; be very afraid.

Here’s how the sorry story unfolds. FreeBSD 8.0 was released last week, and the latest version of the UNIX-like OS was generally received with approval. FreeBSD enjoys a good reputation with its followers, and many OSes and products contain code based on or borrowed from the OS, including Juniper routers, and — ironically, as we shall see — Mac OS X.

So far so good. Until Monday morning, when researcher Nikolaos Rangos announced he discovered “an unbelievable [sic] simple local r00t bug in recent FreeBSD versions,” along with some exploit code. The vulnerability affected the 8.0 release, as well as the older 7.1 and 7.0 versions of FreeBSD.

All software has bugs, but it’s how people react when things go wrong that you can judge them. Did the FreeBSD folks sit around and do nothing? Did they busy themselves with other things and leave 8.0, 7.1 and 7.0 users vulnerable to pwnage? No, they did not!

Continued

Nvidia 64bit graphics card drivers for FreeBSD

freebsd_nvidia_logoThe NVIDIA Corporation releases an initial BETA version of NVIDIA 195.22 FreeBSD graphics drivers for both i386 and amd64 architectures. The drivers support recent versions of the FreeBSD operating system, i.e. 7.2-STABLE and 8.0-RELEASE and provide support for features like SLI, improved compatibility and performance, especially on systems with 4GB or more of RAM. This marks the first driver release for amd64, as it was previously available only for i386 architecture. Please see the original announcement for more information.

I am pleased to announce the initial release of NVIDIA FreeBSD BETA graphics drivers that take advantage of kernel features (see http://wiki.freebsd.org/NvidiaFeatureRequests) added in FreeBSD 7.3 and 8.0 that enable improved NVIDIA graphics driver support for FreeBSD/i386 and initial support for FreeBSD/amd64.

The binary components of this release are functionally identical to those included with the 195.22 NVIDIA FreeBSD BETA graphics driver release announced earlier (see http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=142095). However, the kernel interface layer updated for FreeBSD 7.3 and 8.0 provides improved compatibility, especially on systems with 4GB or more of RAM, improved performance (mileage will vary between systems) and support for features like SLI. It also introduces support for FreeBSD/amd64.

In order to use this driver release, your system will need to have either FreeBSD 7.3 or FreeBSD 8.0 (or later) installed. Until FreeBSD 7.3 has been released, you can use FreeBSD 7.2 with a current RELENG_7 kernel (__FreeBSD_version__ >= 702106; use of a top-of-tree RELENG_7 kernel is recommended to ensure recent Linux ABI compatibility fixes are picked up). For general installation instructions, please see the README.

Both the FreeBSD/x86 and FreeBSD/x86-64 driver packages include 32-bit Linux ABI compatibility libraries; 64-bit Linux libraries may be included with a future release (when support for Linux/x86-64 compatibility is added to FreeBSD/amd64). The FreeBSD/x86-64 package does not include the FreeBSD/x86 OpenGL libraries; however, the libraries shipped with the FreeBSD/x86 driver package have been tested on FreeBSD/x86-64.

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