FreeBSD Projects for Google SoC 2008

The FreeBSD Project was again accepted as a mentoring organisation into the Google Summer of Code. The Project is now looking for potential students, mentors and projects. If you have an idea for a potential FreeBSD related summer of code project that isn’t already listed here then please contact Murray Stokely (murray at freebsd dot org). Likewise, if you are interested in mentoring a student this year then please get in touch. Students can find all the details about applying for FreeBSD related Summer of Code projects on the FreeBSD Summer of Code web pages.

FreeBSD in 2007 – a review

2007 is over. It was a very successful year for open source software and another 12 interesting months have passed for FreeBSD. In this post I want to look back at 2007 and see how FreeBSD faired, what happened in “FreeBSD land” and how FreeBSD based operating systems have developed. This post will be a sort of summary of the messages I posted during 2007.

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We’ll be looking at:

Start of this blog

Around April last year I was toying with the idea of starting a FreeBSD related news blog with the view to raise more awareness of FreeBSD and show it’s a perfect alternative to Linux. My first post was on 17 May 2007 and since then visitor numbers have rapidly gone up and feedback from visitors indicates that there’s definitely interest in such a blog. With the continuing growth of my WordPress.com hosted blog, I wanted to get some more flexibility and the ability to install plugins and scripts. Hence my move to Bluehost/FreeBSDOS (BTW, if you’re looking for cheap and reliable webhosting, I can really recommend them).

FreeBSD in 2007

FreeBSD LogoUnfortunately 2007 didn’t see the final release of FreeBSD 7.0; just 4 beta’s and a RC1. Well, maybe not “unfortunately”, because a top-quality product is better than a rushed-out flaky one that needs to be fixed and patched soon after its release. FreeBSD 7.0 incorporates some new and exciting technologies which will put this version a-par with, if not ahead of, Linux. Exciting stuff.

The FreeBSD Foundation have issued their quarterly newsletters (Q2, Q3, Q4), keeping the world up-to-date with the latest developments and news. The Foundation received a lot of coverage online and in the blogosphere with their Absolute FreeBSD book auction and their fund raising drive. The 2007 fundraising goal was $250.000, but a total of $403,511 was achieved. Well done.

There are already a couple of Linux related magazines for sale in stores, but BSD magazines aren’t available currently. “An interesting opportunity“, Software Media LLC/LP Magazine must have thought. They will issue first issue at the beginning of Q2 2008 and will contain an article by Dru Lavigne and Jan Stedehouder (Jan used and reviewed both PC-BSD and DesktopBSD for a month in his PC-BSB: the first 30 days and DesktopBSD: the first 30 days series).

Conference-wise, the ‘normal’ BSD conferences (BSDCan, EuroBSD, MeetBSD) were held, with a new one in Turkey (BSDConTR).
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Google Docs updates

Google has made two interesting updates to the Docs Suite.

  • Google Docs is now available on mobile phones
  • Google Spreadsheets supports now conditional formatting

I’ve been missing this last feature and it’s an important one to make Spreadsheets even more accepted in businesses. However, a lot still needs to be done to make it a power app. I’m waiting for pivot tables to be introduced… ;-)

Google Docs is continually evolving and improving, but it’s still catching up with companies like Zoho and ThinkFree. Is either of the two one of Google’s next acquisitions? What do you think?

Google ups Gmail storage space

gmailGoogle is increasing the amount of storage it provides as part of its Gmail service.

Rob Siemborski, an engineer on Google’s webmail service, made the announcement on the company’s official Gmail blog.

Google originally started increasing Gmail’s storage in April 2005 as part of the company’s Infinity+1 storage plan. Siemborski:

At that time, we realised we’d never reach infinity, but we promised to keep giving Gmail users more space as we were able. That said, a few of you are using Gmail so much that you’re running out of space, so to make good on our promise, we are speeding up our counter and giving out more free storage.

More

Google Sponsors Improvements to FreeBSD

Google Sponsors Improvements to FreeBSD’s Performance Measurement Toolkit

Google BSD SearchRecently, Google sponsored the development of an oft requested enhancement to FreeBSD’s PmcTools: that of capturing the call chains leading to “hot” locations in the code. Call chains provide additional insight into the behavior of the system; in addition to determining the “hot” locations in the code, developers gain insight into why these locations became “hot” in the first place.

HWPMC and associated userland tools have been invaluable to the FreeBSD community in improving the scalability and performance of the upcoming FreeBSD 7 release. Kris Kennaway of the FreeBSD Project notes that

hwpmc is one of our most powerful tools for measuring and understanding CPU performance on FreeBSD. Support for profiling of call graphs was an important missing piece that will simplify the ability of developers to analyze performance bottlenecks in the kernel and in application code.

More on the Google Code Blog.

FreeBSD Google Summer of Code

A few weeks ago the Google Summer

of Code finished. This is the update from FreeBSD with regards to the FBSD projects:

“The FreeBSD Project is proud to have taken part in the Google

Summer of Code 2007. We received more high quality applications this year than ever before. In the end it was a very tough decision to narrow it down to the

25 students selected for funding by Google. These student projects included security research, improved installation tools, new utilities, and more. Many of

the students have continued working on their FreeBSD projects even after the official close of the program.

We are happy to report that all students made

some progress towards their goals for the summer, and the 22 students listed below completed the program successfully.

Information about the student

projects is available from our Summer of Code wiki and all of the code is checked into Perforce. The

summaries below were submitted by the individual students and their mentors with minor editing for consistency.”

href="http://www.freebsd.org/projects/summerofcode-2007.html">These are the FBSD 2007 Summer of Code projects (Project, Student, Mentor, Summary of

project)