In the spotlight: HamFreeSBIE

Ham amateur radioHamFreeSBIE is a live CD based on FreeSBIE and contains utilities specifically tailored to fit the needs of amateur radio operators. HamFreeSBIE is developed and maintained since February 2007 by Diane Bruce, a well-known FreeBSD developer.

Diane has created a presentation that gives a great introduction into the various available ham utilities (incl screenshots & descriptions). She has also assisted in the creation of the Hamradio ports category and has become the maintainer of over 20 of the hamradio ports.

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Thank you and feedback request

Thank youThank you to those guys who have been promoting my blog recently: Dru Lavigne, Oliver Herold, Justin Sherrill and Steven Rosenburg. It was especially kind of Justin Sherrill from the DragonFlyBSD team to refer to my site since I don’t track the development of DragonFlyBSD on this blog. If you want to know more about DragonFlyBSD have a look at the project’s website, Wikipedia or listen to these podcasts. If I have forgotten to mention your name here, please accept my sincere apologies and email me the link to your page and I’ll update this post.

If you have a FreeBSD related product or website that you wish to promote, contact me and I’ll blog about it (for free!). The whole purpose of this site is promoting FreeBSD. The other day I received an email from Diane from the HamFreeSBIE project if I could write a little bit about HamFreesBIE and give it some attention. This I will do later today.

We have now more than the 100 readers that have subscribed to RSS and hundreds visiting each day. Can you do me a favour and tell all those interested in BSD and open source software in general about my site?

If you like this blog, “FreeBSD – the unknown Giant”, please let me know. If there are things that you don’t like or would like to see changed, I’d love to hear from you too. Feel free to contact me with suggestions to make this site even better.

Many thanks

Gerard

DesktopBSD 1.6 reviewed

raiden.net has a pretty nice review of the latest version of DesktopBSD, 1.6

DesktopBSD logoDesktopBSD, a derivative of Freebsd designed for desktop use, has come a long way since its early inception back in late 2005. Originally created as a way to bring the power of Freebsd as a desktop OS to new users, it has now blossomed into a desktop experience even the most hardened geek, or greenest novice can love. Back in April of last year we reviewed version 1.3 and gave it great marks overall, but with some need for improvement. So how does version 1.6 stack up against its predecessor? Has it improved any? Let’s find out.

…. cont.

and he concludes the article with:

So how do I rate DesktopBSD 1.6? I’d say it’s a lot better than previous versions. It strikes just the right balance between being friendly to the new user, and yet powerful and geek enough to satisfy the more seasoned user. The developers did a good job this time around and I think they should pat themselves on the back. There’s still room for improvement, but isn’t that true with any distro? But it’s not improvements to make it good, or even great. It’s already great. The next step up will be to make it exceptional. A hard rung to climb, but not if you’re determined to be the best there is out there, and DesktopBSD is easily on its way towards that goal!

The review can be read in its entirety here.

m0n0wall, an open source lightweight firewall

M0n0wall logo Jeff Goldman has done an interview with Manual Kasper, the creator of m0n0wall. Here it is: Manuel Kasper developed the embedded firewall software package m0n0wall back in 2002, he says, while experimenting with embedded x86-based computers.

Having just succeeded at stripping down FreeBSD enough to make it run on a Soekris net4501 board… and deploying it for use as a home firewall/NAT router, I wanted to go one step further, I wanted a nice, web-based interface to configure it, just like the commercial firewall boxes.

Kasper says he chose the name m0n0wall simply because “Mono” was his nickname in school.

I’m not sure why I replaced the o’s for zeros—perhaps because all domain names with normal o’s were already taken—and when I look at it now, it seems a bit silly/’31337′—but it has become a trademark anyway,

he says. And what started as a home project to make it easier to configure FreeBSD on the Soekris net4501 has grown rapidly.

At some point, I decided that it had become good enough that other people might want to have a look at it, so I posted a note about the first version on a mailing list,” Kasper says. “The interest in the project turned out to be big, so I created a dedicated web page and started releasing new versions with new features every few weeks.

Looking at the solution as a whole, Kasper says the best way to explain m0n0wall’s strengths is to look at the stability and reliability of FreeBSD.

m0n0wall, owing to the fact that it’s based on FreeBSD, inherits those qualities

Read the whole interview on isp-planet.com

Note: Manuel Kasper’s embedded FreeBSD-based firewall software package is especially attractive to WISPs and small ISPs.

Exciting future ahead for BSD

FreeBSD LogoTrollaxor has written up an interesting piece about the history and future of the major BSD systems: FreeBSD, netBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD and Darwin.

In the new year the Berkeley Software Distribution family of Unix-like operating systems is growing at a phenomenal rate and excitement over the possibilities for this operating system family is in the air. After unprecedented development and adoption as well as major shifts in the marketplace, it’s time to take a look at what’s new with this demonic family of operating systems.

FreeBSD

FreeBSD 5 was the darkest period in this operating system’s history and morale and marketshare were at an all-time low. The problem originated from merging BSD/OS into FreeBSD; though the two systems shared a lot of code, the difference of just a couple years was staggering. FreeBSD’s virtual memory and multi-processing code was immature, while BSD/OS’s libraries were archaic. Mating the two was a mess that cost FreeBSD face and kept users on an older branch from the Nineties, 4.11.

Now, with FreeBSD 7.0b on the horizon promising to wrap it all up, FreeBSD is once again taking the free Unix world by storm. It’s a tight, efficient codebase leveraging the best of BSD/OS, Darwin, and FreeBSD that users have been clamoring for. FreeBSD users and sites now have a shining future ahead of them.

… [discusses NetBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD & Darwin]

With all of these great improvements to the Berkeley operating system family in the last few years, BSD is clearly where it’s at. Linux is a throwback to when Open Source was a hot buzzword and sharing code was a novel idea. Now, Apple and company use it as standard coding procedure to share and improve the tech they have and leverage their individual strengths.

Even when taking the few commercial Unices that still exist into account, like AIX and Solaris, BSD still owns the arena in its frantic steamroll to the top of the supercomputing mountain. Whether you want the general wholesomeness of FreeBSD, the KGB-like security of OpenBSD, the more experimental NetBSD or DragonFlyBSD, or the utter perfection of Mac OS X, BSD has your bases completely covered with room to grow in the future.

Read the whole article here

FreeBSD news – quick links (week 4)

Some quick links that you may want to check out.

m0n0wall-CMI project


Stumbled upon m0n0wall-CMI today, a web-based centralised management interface to manage m0n0wall devices remotely.

It’s the result of an internal needs inside the TI Automotive firm that is now given to open source community; This work is licensed under the BSD license.
This project is developed in PHP5 Oriented Object and packaged together with a developer documentation to ease the work of someone who would like to contribute to the code.

Current features:

    m0n0wall-CMI

  • Centralized interface to manage m0n0wall devices
  • m0n0wall version supported: 1.231;
  • Fetch/Restore m0n0wall configuration through HTTPS;
  • Manage Users/Groups;
  • Manage Aliases of m0n0wall;
  • Manage Global aliases common to all m0n0wall devices managed;
  • Manage Interfaces and VLANs;
  • Manage Firewall rules;
  • Manage NAT entries;
  • Manage ProxyARP;
  • Manage Static Routes;
  • Manage Syslog and SNMP settings;
  • Dump XML configuration from interface;
  • Import existing m0n0wall devices into database;

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Especially if you administer a couple of m0n0wall firewalls remotely. Check out the online demo version