DesktopBSD Live USB stick

Fusselbaer has posted some instructions on how to set up DesktopBSD running live from a USB memory stick.

The instructions are in German and can’t unfortunately be automatically translated with Google Translate since the link is https. The steps and commands are easy to follow, but if you’re not altogether sure, copy the (part of the) text and paste it in Google Translate.

I’ve not tried it but I assume this can easily be adapted to make PC-BSD and FreeBSD live USB sticks.

Setting up a FreeBSD ZFS-only system

“After loader support for ZFS was imported into FreeBSD around a month ago, I’ve been thinking of installing a ZFS-only system on my laptop. I also decided to try out using the GPT layout instead of using disklabels etc.

The first thing I started with was to grab a snapshot of FreeBSD CURRENT. Since sysinstall doesn’t support setting up ZFS etc, it can’t be used, so one have to use the Fixit environment on the FreeBSD install cd to set it up. I started out by removing the existing partition table on the disk (just writing zeros to the start of the disk will do). If you’re reading this before the january 2009 snapshot of CURRENT comes out , you have to create your own iso image in order to get loader with the latest fixes. Look in src/release/Makefile and src/release/i386/mkisoimages.sh for how to do this.

Then, the next step was to setup the GPT with the partitions that I wanted to have. Using gpt in FreeBSD, one should create one partition to contain the initial gptzfsboot loader. In addition, I wanted a swap partition, as well as a partition to use for a zpool for the whole system.

To setup the GPT, I used gpart(8) and looked at examples from the man-page. The first thing to do is to setup the GPT partition scheme, first by creating the partition table, and then add the appropriate partitions”

Step-by-step instructions can be found here (Lost in volumes – 16/12/2008)

Software licensing; GPL, BSD or public domain?

The discussion on GPL vs BSD  licensing will probably never end, unless one or both licenses cease to exist.

There’s an interesting post about the GPL license and BSD license, and the writer’s suggests that the public domain license is the license to be chosen for real freedom, as the other two lay restrictions on the user.

About the GPL license he notes:

That’s what the GPL really is. A binding contract : That is a set of restrictions on those who use, develop or modify content licensed under it. It is not now or has ever been a formula on “freedom”. The GPL is not the definition of “generocity” that is giving without expecting any return. I hope all you GPL advocates would stop treating it as such and call it what it is. A license and a binding contract. Nothing more.

I.e. GPL restrictions are there to keep the freedom to change, modify, and share the code.

With regards to the BSD license he remarks:

Unlike the GPL, the BSD license doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t and users of BSD license are well aware that, like all licenses, it is a binding contract between developers, distributors, and users. They have no delusions about how much “freedom” both licenses afford however the BSD still being a license it still has usage restrictions. Namely the copyright and disclaimer.

Developers using the BSD license don’t care nor want to police the actions of users once the source is copied. They’re not interested in “freedom” through coersion, which is actually slavery. They just want to make sure their products and sources are available from them regardless of need or future availability. If the users want to share their own modifications, then more power to them. But they’ll be damned if it’s by force.

I.e. the BSD license lets users do whatsoever they want with the software, even using it commercially (in closed source).

If real freedom is to be chosen, the author suggests going down the public domain route. This license places basically no restrictions whatsoever on your software. Anybody can use the software, may sell it or do with it what (s)he wants.

Read the post in its entirity.

Talking about blog posts discussing GPL vs BSD, here’s another recent one: BSD vs GPL (nevali.net – 30/12/2008)

Released: PC-BSD PBI Builder 2.0

Version 2.0 of the PBI Builder Software has been released today for systems running PC-BSD 7.x.

The PBI Builder is a development tool used to create PBI files from applications in the FreeBSD ports tree. This version implements PBI Schema Version 2, which drastically improves the self-containment of PBIs, and reduces the need for sym-links to be created outside of a PBIs directory structure. This improvement greatly enhances the reliability of PBI files, while at the same time preventing potential conflicts with a PBI and user-installed applications from FreeBSD ports. 

FreeBSD Forums; some useful howto’s

The FreeBSD Forums seem to be getting more and more popular and it’s also starting to  become a useful source of information with howto’s, suggestions, advice etc

Some useful ones are:

 These are just a few; there are many more.

Links: FreeBSD Forums | Howtos & FAQs

Released: FreeNAS 0.69 Kwisatz Haderach

FreeNAS LogoThe FreeNAS Team has released FreeNAS 0.69 Kwisatz Haderach (revision 4276) today. Congratulations to the team for their hard work!

Links: Release Announcement | Full changelog | Download | Website

The following additions and changes have been made since 0.686.4. 

Majors changes:

  • Add TFTP service. It is accessible via ‘Services|TFTP’ in the WebGUI.
  • Add Samba patch CVE-2008-4314.
  • Upgrade nano to 2.0.9.
  • Upgrade PHP to 5.2.8.
  • Add WOL support for misc NIC’s. Thanks to Tobias Reber for porting WOL patch to FreeBSD 6.4.
  • Upgrade nfe driver. 
  • Finally fixed Samba lock file problem (they are located in /var/db/samba now).  You can increase the memory filesystem size for /var for LiveCD and ‘embedded’ installations by modifying the rc.conf variable named ‘varsize’. This is necessary if you are running out of file space for *.tdb files (this normally happens on heavy Samba share usage with many users). The default size is 32MB.
  • Replace FTP server pure-ftpd 1.0.21 with proftpd 1.3.2rc3. Please note that there can be set additional options via rc.conf variables which are not displayed in the service WebGUI. Please have a look into /etc/rc.d/proftpd script for a detailed list of options.
  • Add TCP Wrappers. All applications linked against libwrap support this feature, for example services like FTP, TFTP, SSH, NFS… The rules can be configured via WebGUI ‘Network|Hosts’.
  • Upgrade ATAidle to 2.4.
  • Upgrade transmission to 1.42.
  • Upgrade rsync to 3.0.5.
  • Upgrade cdialog to 1.1.20080316.
  • Upgrade msmtp to 1.4.17.
  • Add ability to create a SWAP partition during installation.
  • Enhance the ‘System|Advanced|Swap’ page to select a file or disk device as swap space.

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