First impressions of FreeBSD 10.0

freebsd project logo 100x100Jesse Smith has written a review of FreeBSD 10.0 in this week’s Distrowatch Weekly: First impressions of FreeBSD 10.0.

Overall it is a fair and balanced review with some points of critique. Jess is impressed with FreeBSD 10 and its many new features, but there are still some points that should be addressed in FreeBSD 10.1, especially around package management (pkgng). I guess this should be adressed later this year, when backwards compatibility with the old pkg_ tools is dropped and developers can focus on pkgng only.

What most of my problems with FreeBSD came down to was the repeating issue that software installed using pkg did not also install all required dependencies. Some immediate dependencies might be installed, but not all the items further down the dependency chain. The above example of installing Xfce without getting X was one instance, installing WordPress without getting a database or web server in the process was another example.

[...]

Largely due to the dependency gaps and troubles with getting third-party software up and running my impressions of FreeBSD came down to two main points. The first is that FreeBSD — the command line tools, the kernel, the ZFS file system and installer — is a great operating system. In both test environments FreeBSD was fast, stable and ran smoothly. I really like the work which has gone into the system installer for this release and I like that ZFS is so easy to enable and use. The documentation which comes with FreeBSD is detailed and helpful. The new package manager is fast and friendly when compared next to its predecessors. All of this means it is pretty easy to install FreeBSD, explore the system and, once it is up and running, an administrator is unlikely to encounter a broken system.

On the other hand, I got the impression that FreeBSD’s ports collection does not receive the same level of care as the base operating system. Some of the available ports obviously have not been tested against a clean installation of FreeBSD to make sure all dependencies have been met. The state of the X port is, in short, unfortunate. This gap between the quality of the base FreeBSD operating system and its available ports is made all the more evident now that a quality package manager like pkg is present. It is easier than ever before to search for and install new software, but too much effort is required to hunt down dependencies and tweak the configuration of key ports. What this results in is a wonderful base operating system that is plagued by trouble once we try to add third-party functionality to it.

Jesse also brings up an interesting point about a possible missed opportunity with jails as a deployment platform.

You can read the whole review here: First impressions of FreeBSD 10.0.

Thanks Jesse for reviewing FreeBSD 10.0

FreeBSD OpenStack, FOSDEM, NetApp, EdgeRouter, Google Cloud Engine and more

Freebsd newsWelcome to the latest (Free)BSD news round-up in which we have a mix of news snippets and links. Just a round-up of those miscellaneous (Free)BSD related links that are newsworthy and which you may find interesting, but are yet too small to package as individual posts.

Some of the links below have already appeared in our Google Plus +FreeBSD Central and Twitter feeds.

FreeBSD on OpenStack
There has not been a complete solution to run FreeBSD instances on OpenStack, until now.
github – 3 Feb 2014

OpenSSH 6.5 has been released
openssh.ort – 30 Jan 2014

Crazed Ferrets in a Berkeley Shower – 2014 edition
Michael Lucas Blog – 29 jan 2014

FOSDEM 2014 Photos
Pictures from the first conference of the year, FOSDEM. Photo credits go to John Hixson from iXsystems.
iXsystems Google+ page – 8 Feb 2014

NetApp and Microsoft: We’re ‘close’ to virtual ONTAP on Azure
The seed for this approach was sown in May 2012, when Microsoft, Citrix and +NetApp announced they would work together to make FreeBSD run as a guest OS under Hyper-V.
The Register – 05 Feb 2014

Time to bid farewell to the old pkg_ tools
Bye bye PKG
freebsdish.org - 3 Feb 2014

Strength of FreeNAS Project Sets iXsystems Apart
Interview with iXsystems CTO Jordan Hubbard
dcig.com – 04 Feb 2014

FreeBSD support in Google Cloud Engine (GCE)
FreeBSD kind of runs on the +Google Cloud Platform,  but there are still a couple of issues, and the process isn’t that straight forward at the moment.

FreeBSD Foundation and iXsystems Collaborate to Further the Cause of High Performance Computing on FreeBSD
Remember MEGACORE, the 1TB of RAM beast? Check out how the FreeBSD Foundation plans to use the powerful machine!

FreeBSD Guides
Screencast tutorials about how to get things done with FreeBSD

FreeBSD 10.0 on Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite
The Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite is a neat little device that costs less than US$100, has three Ethernet ports, and can run FreeBSD/mips.

Clang Is Now Self-Hosting On Linux/FreeBSD SPARC64
Thanks to Jakob’s work on Sparcv9 ABI in Clang and recent changes to Sparc code generator
LLVMDev – 02 Feb 2014

FreeBSD Open-Source OS Comes to the PC-BSD Desktop
While FreeBSD itself could potentially be used as a desktop system, the PC-BSD open-source project is the home base for FreeBSD as a desktop operating system. PC-BSD 10, based on FreeBSD 10 at its core, was officially released on Jan. 29.
Eweek.com – 31 Jan 2014

FreeBSD to support secure boot by mid-year
Support for secure boot will be available in the FreeBSD 10.1 release which is due to be made later this year, according to Marshall Kirk McKusick.
itwire.com – 20 Jan 2014

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 16
Big news this week for the PBI format. Kris has confirmed that a patch has been implemented for the way PBI’s are being built that will shrink the size of PBI’s by approximately 50%.
PC-BSD Blog – 7 Feb 2014

BSD Now Episode 23: Time Signatures (video)

bsd_now_logoThe bsdnow.tv team has uploaded a new weekly episode, Time Signatures, featuring an interview with Ted Unangst.

In this episode the two hosts, Allan Jude and Kris Moore, chat about the following topics:

This post is sponsored by our partner CloudSigma who cares about your cloud stored data. CloudSigma leaves data stored in Europe, in Europe. No data sharing with the US, and vice-versa.

20131216123155-cloudsigmapoweredbybanner

FreeBSD Foundation Announces 2013 Fundraising Results

FreeBSD foundation logoThe FreeBSD Foundation has announced the fundraising results for 2013. In total, $768,562 was raised from 1659 donors, slightly under 2012′s achievement of $771,193 from 1855 donors.

The Foundation’s 2013 financial report and the 2014 budget are expected to be available soon. I’m sure we’ll also find out soon which new project(s) will be funded in 2014.

To support the Foundation funding different FreeBSD related conferences and projects, you can donate here – and you don’t have to wait until December. (I am not affiliated with the FreeBSD Foundation).

Read the announcement here (includes a picture of some of the Foundation’s members):
FreeBSD Foundation Announces 2013 Fundraising Results

iXsystems announces PC-BSD 10: Propelling the BSD Desktop

ixsystems logo

Following the announcement of PC-BSD 10.0 on the PC-BSD blog, iXsystems has released a press release to announce the new achievement: PC-BSD 10: Propelling the BSD Desktop Experience to New Heights

From the PR release:

iXsystems, Inc. is delighted to announce the release of PC-BSD 10: Joule Edition! This major new version of the PC-BSD desktop operating system brings in a wide variety of improvements to both its own tools and software from the wider open source community. Most users will notice the replacement of GNOME 2 with MATE, as well as the revamped Life Preserver backup utility that makes use of ZFS replication. The underlying operating system has been updated to FreeBSD 10, which brings in many performance and driver improvements, including updated AMD video drivers.

The largest change since PC-BSD 9 is the replacement of GNOME 2 with its successor desktop, MATE. MATE is a fork of GNOME 2 that seeks to preserve the traditional desktop metaphor. GNOME 3 and Cinnamon are also available as unsupported desktops – GNOME 3 is the latest desktop from the GNOME project, and Cinnamon provides a variant on the GNOME desktop experience from Linux Mint. With these additions and the latest versions of XFCE, LXDE, and KDE, PC-BSD offers a complete array of modern desktop environments for users to choose from.

PC-BSD provides an incredible array of custom tools and utilities, and most of them have been improved with this release. The biggest change is to the PC-BSD Life Preserver, which now operates via ZFS snapshots and offers the ability to quickly retrieve files from previous versions of the filesystem. Your entire disk of data can also be automatically replicated to a remote system using the same ZFS revision, such as FreeBSD 10 or FreeNAS 9.2. Should your existing disk drive crash, it is possible to recover directly from the remote replication using the PC-BSD DVD/USB installer. A new disk management tool for managing ZFS volumes after installation has also been added in this release as well as a new Qt based graphical login manager (PCDM), replacing the legacy GDM login manager.

The PC-BSD installation process has been improved as well. There is now a single file to download, which can be used for either a USB or DVD installation. The installer now offers a choice of graphical or text mode, making it just as easy to use for server installation as for desktops. The installer now offers GRUB as the recommended bootloader, with support for ZFS boot environments. This allows users to backup the entire boot environment of PC-BSD before attempting upgrades or hazardous operations, and boot back into them later if something goes wrong.

Joe Maloney, an Assistant Network Administrator with Sumner Communications who runs pkgdemon.com and recently joined the PC-BSD project as a volunteer developer, told iXsystems about his experience using PC-BSD at his day job.

“Currently four out of five of us in our Internet Technical Support Department use PC-BSD. Recently I’ve implemented EasyPBI to create installers for our work applications. I run PC-BSD 10; I’d say each release keeps getting better and better. My favorite PC-BSD features are Ports Jail, the Warden, and ZFS support for RAID-Z, snapshots, and rollbacks.””

FreeBSD Status Report – 2013-Q4

freebsd project logo 100x100The FreeBSD Project has released its fourth status report for 2013 (October to December 2013). It comes with 37 entries and gives a nice insight on what developers have been working on.

“The last quarter of 2013 was very active for the FreeBSD community, much like the preceding quarters. Many advances were made in getting FreeBSD to run on ARM-based System-on-Chip boards like Cubieboard, Rockchip, Snapdragon, S4, Freescale i.MX6, and Vybrid VF6xx. FreeBSD is also becoming a better platform for Xen and the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. There are plans for FreeBSD to become a fully supported compute host for OpenStack. The I/O stack has again received some performance boosts on multi-processor systems through work touching the CAM and GEOM subsystems, and through better adaptation of UMA caches to system memory constraints for ZFS. The FreeBSD Foundation did an excellent job in this quarter, and many of their sponsored projects like VT-d and UEFI support, iSCSI stack, Capsicum, and auditdistd are about to complete. At the same time, new projects like Automounter and Intel GPU updates have just been launched. The Newcons project has been merged into -CURRENT, which will make it possible to finally move to the latest version of X.Org in the Ports Collection. Efforts are also under way to improve testing with Jenkins and Kyua. It is an exciting time for users and developers of FreeBSD!”

From the table of contents:

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m0n0wall 1.8.1 released

m0n0wall logo 100x100Manuel Kasper has announced the release of m0n0wall 1.8.1. This version is based on FreeBSD 8.4 and will thus give better support for newer hardware than m0n0wall 1.34.

Some of the change highlights are

  • add scheduler (“Croen”) service with many different job types (enable/disable interface or shaper rule, Wake on LAN, reboot, reconnect WAN, execute command etc.)
  • improved IPv6 support, including IPsec, DHCPv6-PD, RDNSS and DNSSL, and NDP info on the ARP diagnostic page
  • major overhaul of wireless LAN support. On some cards, it is now also possible to create multiple APs at the same time. To reflect this change, the wireless settings have moved to the Interfaces: assign page, where WLAN subinterfaces can be created much like for VLANs.
  • DNS forwarder: add option to log DNS queries, add aliases (CNAMEs) and MXs
  • Add AES-256, SHA-256/384/512 and additional DH group options to IPsec
  • Make rule moving and deletion on shaper rules page work like for firewall rules.
  • Initial support for USB modems
  • enable CPU hardware crypto support
  • automatically reassign available physical network interfaces if none of the assigned interfaces in the configuration can be found on the system (i.e. for a new installation, or when moving an existing config to new hardware)
  • the “embedded” image is gone; generic-pc-serial should now be used for PC Engines and Soekris boards
  • console speed for serial images is fixed to 9600 baud (no longer tries to use BIOS preset value)
  • introduction of an automated build system that allows one to build m0n0wall from scratch with almost no manual intervention on a standard FreeBSD 8.4 system
  • countless bug fixes and improvements in UI and system configuration code

Links: Website | Downloads | Change Log | Upgrade Instructions

About M0n0wall: M0n0wall is an embedded firewall distribution based on FreeBSD, and provides a small image which can be put on and run from CF cards, CD-Roms and hard disks. It also runs on a number of embedded platforms and virtual PCs.