PC-BSD and pfSense books

Authored by pfSense co-founder Chris Buechler and pfSense developer Jim PingleThe Definitive Guide to pfSense covers installation and basic configuration through advanced networking and firewalling of the popular open source firewall and router distribution.

This book is designed to be a friendly step-by-step guide to common networking and security tasks, plus a thorough reference of pfSense’s capabilities. The Definitive Guide to pfSense covers the following topics:

  • An introduction to pfSense and its features.
  • Hardware and system planning.
  • Installing and upgrading pfSense.
  • Using the web-based configuration interface.
  • Backup and restoration.
  • Firewalling fundamentals and defining and troubleshooting rules.
  • Port forwarding and Network Address Translation.
  • General networking and routing configuration.
  • Bridging, Virtual LANs (VLANs), and Multi-WAN.
  • Virtual Private Networks using IPsec, PPTP, and OpenVPN.
  • Traffic shaping and load balancing.
  • Wireless networking and captive portal setups.
  • Redundant firewalls and High Availability.
  • Various network related services.
  • System monitoring, logging, traffic analysis, sniffing, packet capturing, and troubleshooting.
  • Software package and third-party software installations and upgrades.

The first review of the book is out now.

Congratulations to pfSense for their 5 year anniversary.

pc-bsd logo 100x100Dru Lavigne is currently working on a book on PC-BSD: Definitive Guide to PC-BSD

I’m about 2/3 of the way through book #3 on BSD, tentatively titled “The Definitive Guide to PC-BSD”. This book will be through Apress, and I’m excited that it will include a live DVD of PC-BSD 8.0 so you can follow along as you read it. The book is designed for users new to BSD up to existing PC-BSD/FreeBSD power users. Think of it as the type of book new users can grow into while existing users can still find nuggets of “I didn’t know that”. I’ve also concentrated on the importance of community–a concept new users aren’t used to and most tech books never mention.

Here is the Table of Contents:

Using the Condensed DejaVu Font-Family Variant by Default

Keramidas talks about font substitution in Firefox and other GTK+ base programs.

The DejaVu font family is a very popular font collection for Linux and BSD systems. The font package of DejaVu includes a condensed variant; a variation of the same basic font theme that sports narrower characters.

The difference between the two font variants is very easy to spot when they are displayed side by side. The following image shows a small part of a Firefox window, displaying news articles as part of a Google Reader session:

Using the Condensed DejaVu Font-Family Variant by Default

FreeBSD FIFO resource leak

Researches Chitti Nimmagadda and Dorr H. Clark of Santa Clara University seem to have discovered and reported a bug in usr/src/sys/fs/fifofs/fifo_vnops.c of FreeBSD 8.0-STABLE release as reported on the FreeBSD bugs mailinglist.

We believe we have identified a significant resource leak present in 6.x, 7.x, and 8.x. We believe this is a regression versus FreeBSD 4.x which appears to do the Right Thing ™.

We have a test program (see below) which will run the system out of sockets by repeated exercise of the failing code path in the kernel.

Our proposed fix is applied to the file usr/src/sys/fs/fifofs/fifo_vnops.c

If interested in (FreeBSD) code, have a look here for more info.

LIOKS’ FreeBSD tutorials & tips for beginners

Liok has put 3 tutorials together for FreeBSD novices:

I often hear from people who don’t use FreeBSD that it’s an operating system only dedicated to server/production purposes.
In a way, yes, FreeBSD is not as user-friendly than popular Linux distributions and it’s sometimes hard to get what you want working the way you want but I don’t think that people who use FreeBSD would be satisfied with an apt-get everything_you_need-any-version ;)
Computers are now expected to browse the web correctly, allowing you to watch youtube video, play flash games and be flooded by plugin-based ads..
Of course, FreeBSD can!

On taking FreeBSD seriously

freebsd_logo-100x100Pongoewin found himself frustrated with Windows 7 at work and decided to take FreeBSD for a spin:

I found myself frustrated with Windows 7 at work. It’s a fairly decent system, and a craptonne better than Vista in both performance and resource usage on the old desktop I have (a Pentium 4/2.66 with a gig of RAM). But it was still slow, and I had heard that FreeBSD was fast approaching the ‘usable’ state for a desktop role. So, I decided to take it for a spin.

Firstly, your experience may vary wildly from mine; I spent the entire weekend compiling everything (including the kernel and all of KDE) to my own liking (and optimisation). And disclaimer: this is on a new ATA-133 drive that actually beats older SATA drives on sustained speed (the very definition of ‘win’).

He goes on comparing Windows – FreeBSD with regards to the following topics:

  • Installation
  • Productivity
  • Office Stuff
  • Email
  • Media
  • IM
  • Other stuff

He concludes by saying:

It’s not really different from Windows, but it’s free and you have more options.

Windows has buggy apps. OS X has buggy apps. FreeBSD has buggy apps. It’s all really a matter of preference. Windows is more tweaked for the beginning computer user, and as such has a lot of safeguards built-in. This is a Good Thing(TM) for new users, but it gets dreadful and annoying to people like me. OS X has its strong points, but it can be wildly random. And randomness is one thing all IT people hate — because it’s nigh-on-impossible to pin down exactly where the problem lies. FreeBSD…what can I say. It’s grown so much from the days of 5.x when I started to run it on servers. And overall, though it may not be as user-friendly as Ubuntu, it certainly packs a mean punch, and anyone who isn’t afraid to learn, is able to devote a bit of time to read the FreeBSD Handbook and other interesting manuals, and get their hands a bit “dirty” with computer knowledge should seriously consider using it as a desktop — especially Linux users looking for more. I’d liken running FreeBSD on a computer to performing maintenance on your car; most people don’t want to do it, but the ones who do save time, money, and have the feeling of a job well done.

Well, that’s Pongoewin’s verdict. What are your experiences with FreeBSD on the desktop, or with PC-BSD, that’s especially geared for desktop use?

Released: FreeNAS 0.7 (Khasadar)

freenas logo 100x100FreeNAS 0.7  (Khasadar) has been released. Volker announced:

Today i’m proud to announce the release of FreeNAS 0.7. I want to say thanks to all contributors for their help. Please see below the changes done in this version.

You can download the ISO and image files here:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/freenas/files/stable/0.7

Majors changes:

  • ability to configure the login shell for a user.
  • Upgrade Samba to 3.0.37.
  • Upgrade transmission to 1.72.
  • Local users must join the group ‘ftp’ to be able to login via FTP if ‘Local users only’ in ‘Services|FTP’ is enabled.
  • Upgrade lighttpd to 1.4.23.
  • Add a user portal. This allows a local user to login and change it’s password. The user must have access permissions to login to the user portal. This can be configured in the user configuration WebGUI. Please note that the administrator needs to apply changes done by the local users because there have to be restarted several services (which is not allowed to be done by a user).
  • Upgrade ProFTPD to 1.3.2a.
  • Upgrade iSCSI initiator to 2.2.3.
  • Upgrade fusefs-ntfs/ntfs-3g to 2009.4.4.
  • Announce AFP shares using Bonjour/ZeroConf (FR 2839592).
  • Add AFP FP_SYNCFORK command support (FR 2836955).
  • Upgrade e2fsprogs to 1.41.8.
  • Add Adaptec AACRAID 32/64-bit driver to v5.2.0 Build 17517.
  • Upgrade inadyn-mt to 02.14.10.
  • Upgrade fuppes to SVN-0.640.

Changelog | Download | FreeNAS website

Evoke 0.2 Project Update

Dylan Cochran posted  an update as  to where he is with the developement of Evoke and what we can expect to come:

I’ve been working on portions of what will become 0.2. We’ve replaced init with nexusd (a hybrid of init, watchdogd, and eventually powerd and devd). This means that now evoke has a ‘single user mode’, to bypass systart. You will probably never need to do this, however, now if you accidentally select it, the system won’t panic, it will just drop you into a shell.

I’ve also added 8.0 to the image, and added a ‘kernel only’ option, so 0.2 will be released with 8.0 and 7.2 as kernels, but will share the 7.2 userland. There are also some cluster related additions in the works, but they will probably not be usable for this release.

Autologin commands, which finally allow evoke to be used outside the ‘administrator’s toolkit’, are now supported. in your user directory, just add an ‘autologin’ file, chmod +x it, and sysconfig commit current /mem/sysconfig a few times (yes, I’ll fix that before release). Right now evoke can be used as an evoke bootserver, if you set up the autologin file by hand. Before 0.2 release, we will make this part ‘automagic’ (within reason).

As for X.org, well, with recent changes to Xorg (and some changes, which are not in ports, but will also be a massive shakeup), it is difficult to build X into the image without overflowing the boot time size limit for memory disks. Unfortunately, Linux based systems have the luxory of KDrive/TinyX, which on FreeBSD, does not work too well. Unless someone wants to assist with finding a solution to either problem (getting kdrive Xvesa working, or fixing the memory disk overflow), I don’t see X being on 0.2. One of our biggest strengths come from using a memory disk in all environments for the base system. While we could cheat and mount the cd for X support, it’s something I’d rather not do. We would lose a lot, just to get a GUI environment. This is considering that in all cases, we would be running unaccelerated, it’s just not worth it.

Read the whole  post here: The leaves are falling