Chromium 7.0 FreeBSD builds available (1 week only)

Ruben from the FreeBSD Chromium porting team emailed me to say that for this week only the latest Chromium 7.0 for FreeBSD subscriber builds will be available for free (excluding HTML 5 video).

The subscriber builds are largely open source and funded by a hybrid model. If you like what you see, you may consider subscribing to the weekly builds and fund further development on this port.

Download Chromium 7 for FreeBSD 8 (i386amd64) or FreeBSD 9 (amd64)

Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all users to experience the web. This site contains design documents, architecture overviews, testing information, and more to help you learn to build and work with the Chromium source code.

FreeBSD Project iPhone app

Edwin Groothuis created a FreeBSD  iPhone app that provides general information about FreeBSD, news, upcoming events, videos from YouTube (BSD conference) and so on. May be useful if you have an iPhone.

But the FreeBSD community is larger than just a map of the committers. There is a Newsflash on the website so you can see what is happening inside the project, there is a list of events related to (Free)BSD on the website, there is of course Planet FreeBSD, an aggregator of the various blogs of people related to the FreeBSD Project and there are videos of conferences on YouTube.

Put all together in a small app which collects all that data and presents it to the person holding the iPhone et voila, the FreeBSD Project app is here. (source)

Personally I don’t like the iPhone (concept), and I’m looking forward to a Android alternative ;-)

Google changes WebM License, now pure BSD

When Google first unveiled its WebM project, there were quite some concerns over its license. This license was incompatible with version 2 and 3 of the GPL, and was effectively a new license, causing unnecessary confusion. Google has now cleared everything up by switching to a regular BSD license.

The WebM project is dedicated to developing a high-quality, open video format for the web that is freely available to everyone. The WebM launch is supported by Mozilla, Opera, Adobe, Google and more than forty other publishers, software and hardware vendors.

The original license for the WebM project had a clause that if you brought patent action against Google, the patent license was terminated. This isn’t unusual in open source licenses (the second Apache license and version 3 of the GPL have something similar), but the WebM license had an additional problem.

“The twist was that ours terminated ‘any’ rights and not just rights to the patents, which made our license GPLv3 and GPLv2 incompatible,” explains Google’s Chris DiBona, “Also, in doing this, we effectively created a potentially new open source copyright license, something we are loath to do.”

They’ve resolved the issue by decoupling patents from copyright, meaning the copyright part is now a pure BSD license. They’ve used “patent language borrowed from both the Apache and GPLv3 patent clauses” for their own patent clause. They’re no longer creating a new license, and the patent clause can stand on its own. Additionally, they have updated the patent grant language to make it clear that it includes the right to modify the code and give it away to others.

It’s good to see that Google is making the internet more open and making multimedia patent free.


FreeBSD Google SoC Projects started

The FreeBSD Project  received many applications from students  wanting to participate in Google’s Summer of Code program. This year 18 student proposals to work with the FreeBSD Project were accepted as part of this program.

For those with projects that were not accepted this year, the FreeBSD Project is always willing to help mentor students so they can learn more about operating system development through our normal community mailing lists and development forums. The FreeBSD Foundation can also be approached for project funding.

Read the official announcement (FreeBSD GSoC) for more information. The complete list of student projects selected for funding can be found in the FreeBSD Summer of Code wiki.

  • May 24: Start of coding
  • July 12-16: Mid-term Evaluations
  • August 9: End of coding
  • August 16-20: Final Evaluations

(FreeBSD Events Calendar)

Google SoC 2010: FreeBSD Projects

Google has just announced the projects it will be funding this summer during its annual Summer of Code Event :

6 FreeBSD related Projects are included :

  • Jacub Klama : Generic DMA engine framework for FreeBSD

The aim of this project is to provide a generic, flexible framework for initiating and controlling DMA transfers using General Purpose DMA engines, found in most of embedded SoCs – along with tests and documentation. There are analogous frameworks for NetBSD (dmover(4)) and Solaris (ddi_dmae(9F)), but they are not well suited for embedded targets and don’t offer all required features.

  • Alexandre Fiveg: Ringmap Capturing Stack for High Performance Packet Capturing in FreeBSD

The ringmap project has drawn a lot of interest from several research groups. I would like to continue my work on this project in order to improve and extend the developed software for production use in the open source community. I also would like to establish contacts to other software developers and use the opportunity to take part in GSoC for further development of ringmap.

  • Volodymyr Serbinenko: Port FreeBSD to Yeeloong

Yeloong, also known as “rms laptop” is a Chinese-designed netbook based on Loongson 2F CPU. It’s popular among Free Software enthusiasts and people who want a small yet powerful netbook and don’t care about windows being available. FreeBSD could profit much from thismips relaunch. When this port is done porting to other Loongson-based device should be relatively easy.

  • Mohammed Farrag : Reduced FreeBSD kernel size for embedded devices
  • Zheng Liu: Enhance FreeBSD ext2fs to support preallocation and update ext2fs to able to read ext4 file systems

This project implement preallocation in ext2fs and update ext2fs to be able to read ext4 file systems and possibly add other functionality, such as write ext4 file systems.

  • Benjamin Fiedler: BSD-licensed Text-Processing Tools

I will write or complete BSD-licensed replacements for the tools man, diff, sdiff, and sort. The rewrite of man will be necessarily be accompanied by integrating the FreeBSD mdocml port into the system base and configuring it as a replacement for the entire groff suite of tools.

Wishing all students the best. More details to follow.

Development of Chromium (Chrome) for FreeBSD

A new and alternative open source business model.

Chromium / Google Chrome

Google Chrome does not need much introduction any more, especially not to those interested in open source software. It is the best browser available. It is fast, secure, supports bookmark sync and extensions. The Chromium project is the open-source core of the Chrome Browser, and as we reported before, it is also available on FreeBSD.

As Google doesn’t create FreeBSD builds (as yet?), porting Chromium to FreeBSD has to be done by volunteers, e.g. developers is Sprewell and Ben Laurie.

Chromium is Linux based, but it is possible to get it running on FreeBSD by applying some patches. However, more work is needed to stabilise and to include it in the ports tree, which Sprewel says may happen this month.

I’d like to get the last free build 42139 into ports sometime in the coming month.  It will only take that long because I’ve never submitted to ports before, so the packaging and submission process is all new to me.

Subscription based development

Instead of asking for donations to support his work, Sprewel has recently started offering subscriptions for Chromium development. If you are interested in Chrome and want to both continue running it on FreeBSD and its future development, consider supporting the development with a subscription.

Sprewell emailed me this week about this new open source business model:

The idea is to get paid for development by developing closed-source patches on a BSD-licensed, mostly open codebase, and contracting with subscribers that they will receive those patches within a time limit from the date they got that build, in my case 1 year.  I think linux has raced ahead of BSD largely because of the support/consultingware business model they’ve used with the GPL, but I think this type of mixed, time-limited business model could vault BSD-licensed software far ahead, to the point where it could compete with fully proprietary software.

All code for a particular build will be released to subscribers under the BSD license, within 1 year of a build being released. If the development costs for a particular issue are paid off before 1 year, the patch for that feature will be opened earlier. The goal is to keep pushing code back upstream within a year

According to Sprewell there are already a few subscribers. Let’s see how this model takes off.


Google’s Go programming language

Google’s Go is now supported under FreeBSD (source)

“Go, Google’s programming language, has now been with us for four months. Ridiculed at first, then named Programming Language of the Year 2009 by TIOBE for its rapid climb up its language index, Go has continued on its way with rather less fanfare. But that is definitely not symptomatic of a lack of progress – on the contrary, the current state of activity shows that Go is edging ever closer to maturity.”

Read more about the current state of Go (Google’s Go programming language - H-Online)

Google SoC 2009 FreeBSD projects announced

google-bsdGoogle announced yesterday the students selected to participate in the Google Summer of Code 2009. Among the 1,000 students, 20 will be working on FreeBSD related projects.

The list with students, mentors and projects can be found here

We wish all the students the best and hopefully a lot/all of their coding will find their way into future FreeBSD releases.


FreeBSD Wiki (GSoC2009) | Announcement | FreeBSD Project SoC 2009 |