FreeBSD News – quick links (week 27)

These are a few links to FreeBSD howtos published this week that may be of interest to those who don’t mind “getting their hands dirty”.

Managing jails

This document is an introduction to basic FreeBSD jails also called ‘fat jails’. We discuss an easy jail installation process. We will do some basic jail configuration and show you how to manage the jail environment. This document wil not cover building ‘chroot jails’ in a jail.

Link

Step by step install WordPress Multi Users (WPMU) in FreeBSD

A client need to install wordpress multi user to teach their employee about blog. They want it installed in their server, running FreeBSD 7 stable.

Here’s a step by step to install wpmu in FreeBSD, might be useful for someone

Link

How FreeBSD makes vulnerability auditing easy: portaudit

There are a number of things I like about FreeBSD, more than any Linux distribution I’ve ever used. Some of those are advantages shared by no Linux distribution I’ve used, and some are advantages shared by a few Linux distributions but not others — but no Linux distribution shares all of these advantages (even discounting things no Linux distribution has, like a BSD-licensed kernel).

Link

alpha3 release: PC-BSD 7.0 with KDE 4.1

PC-BSD LogoAfter several weeks of porting and hard work by KDE on FreeBSD and PC-BSD teams,  PC-BSD is pleased to make the first PC-BSD 7 Alpha with KDE 4.1 (beta2) available! This release is quite a bit different from our previous alphas, as the jump from KDE 3.5 to KDE 4.1 is very significant, and required the entire codebase to be ported over to compile / run with QT 4. As such, it is expected that many bugs appear in this alpha, and we appreciate your help in finding and fixing them.

Please note, as the 4.1 version of KDE is in beta, and there is still porting to be done on the BSD side of things, you may be able to help in this area as well. First, if you find bugs in the install + setup of PC-BSD, please let us know via the testing list, and we’ll begin working on them right away. However, if you find bugs in the KDE desktop itself, please be sure to check out the KDE bug database first, and determine if the bug should be reported there, or to the kde-freebsd porting team.

For example, we are already aware of a bug preventing Konsole from working. TIP: Use Alt-F2 to launch xterm instead.

Download links: CD1 (652Mb) | CD2 (578Mb)
MD5 CD1 = 96bc8de9771e28770268eab65889718a
MD5 CD2 = 59993ce3182b0ff4b541cb233c328cce

NOTES:

  • You will need to download BOTH CD’s to install PC-BSD from now on. KDE4 is quite a bit larger than 3.x, and one CD wont fit it anymore, even with LZMA compression.
  • Also, the porting of the PBI system over to KDE 4.1 is finished as well, and the build server is due to start working on the new 7 series PBIs sometime early next week. This should allow everybody to test a more complete desktop with our entire PBI catalog very soon.

Please remember this is a alpha snapshot so don’t complain when you find problems or errors but report them to the testing list instead.

Gnome PBI available for PC-BSD 1.5 Edison

Gnome Desktop environment logoPC-BSD is a straight-forward and easy-to-install KDE based operating system. However, on the PC-BSD forums a number of users have been saying they prefer the Gnome desktop environment over KDE and would welcome a Gnome based version of PC-BSD.

It is possible to install Gnome on PC-BSD from ports, but doing this can cause problems and take a lot of time.

For the time being there won’t be a Gnome based PC-BSD version, but Gnove lovers will be delighted to learn that Marcus from the FreeBSD Gnome Team has now created a Gnome PBI.

Download the Gnome PBI (413Mb)

OS X Snow Leopard to use FreeBSD ULE Scheduler?

MAC OSX snow leopard desktop When Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, first unveiled the next version of OS X, 10.6 Snow Leopard, there have been a lot of rumours on the internet and blogosphere about the proposed evolutionary nature of 10.6 over 10.5. What did Steve exactly mean? Snow Leopard will take a break from adding new features but will be streamlined and its core improved for enhanced performance instead.

“Grand Central,” a new set of technologies built into Snow Leopard, brings unrivaled support for multicore systems to Mac OS X. More cores, not faster clock speeds, drive performance increases in today’s processors. Grand Central takes full advantage by making all of Mac OS X multicore aware and optimizing it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors. Grand Central also makes it much easier for developers to create programs that squeeze every last drop of power from multicore systems. (source: apple.com)

It’s well known that Apple’s OS X has strong FreeBSD roots and still borrows from ongoing FreeBSD developments.

The history of OS X and the XNU Kernel, the features promised in Snow Leopard, and the design and architecture of the ULE scheduler all point to a high likelihood of Apple using a redesigned thread scheduler that is either an implementation of the ULE scheduler or at least based around it in OS X 10.6.

On Neosmart.net we read:

The FreeBSD project has long been working on alternative scheduler intended to replace the default and aging 4BSD scheduler: the ULE scheduler. ULE is now scheduled to become the default scheduler in the upcoming FreeBSD 7.1 release. ULE has shown significant improvements in multi-core environments, and was designed from the ground up to provide increased SMP scalability. Most importantly is ULE’s overhauled support for per-processor queuing of tasks and the ability to set CPU affinity per-processor-per-thread.

If Apple were to implement a form of the ULE scheduler in OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard would be a formidable OS indeed. Using ULE guarantees huge performance benefits for multi-threaded applications, and would help address the second point listed above: the SMT affinity options provided in ULE would make creating an SDK intended to allow developers to use multiple cores efficiently and evenly quite easy. OS X has always been close to the FreeBSD project, and something like this is a natural fit for an OS looking for improvements to SMP/SMT performance.

What do you think? Is it likely Apple will adapt the ULE scheduler or is this complete nonsense?

Link: ULE Scheduler (scribd.com)

Firefox 3 for FreeBSD

firefox logoMozilla Firefox 3 is now available for FreeBSD.

Firefox is an award winning, free, open-source web browser for many platforms and is based on the Mozilla codebase. It is small, fast and easy to use, and offers many advanced features:

  • Popup Blocking
  • Tabbed Browsing
  • Live Bookmarks (ie. RSS)
  • Extensions
  • Theme
  • FastFind
  • Improved Security

To install Firefox3 from the commandline in FreeBSD, PC-BSD or DesktopBSD enter:

portsnap fetch extract (if this is the first time you're using portsnap)
portsnap fetch update
cd /usr/ports/www/firefox3 && make install clean

Blogs for “the other BSDs”: NetBSD, OpenBSD and DragonFlyBSD

This blog, FreeBSD – the unknown Giant, as the title suggests, covers only FreeBSD related stories and updates. However, over the last few months, I have received emails from my some readers asking why I don’t write about the “other BSDs”, such as OpenBSD, NetBSD and DragonflyBSD.

Well, the answer is quite simple: “There’s no need to!” No, not because they’re not worth writing about, they certainly are, but because there are already some quality blogs dedicated to each of these BSD operating systems.  Hence my reason for not, or only occasionally, writing about then. Since these blogs are regularly updated with news, howtos and information on made progress, I’ve decided not to just copy, paste and republish what’s on those blogs.

To find out more about OpenBSD, visit the OpenBSD Journal. The DragonflyBSD digest is updated regularly with news relating to DragonflyBSD, and lately a lot on the progress of the newly created and much promising Hammer File System (HammerFS), whilst Hubert’s NetBSD blog brings the latest and greatest with regards to NetBSD.

Of course there are more many blogs and websites tracking the “big four”, but these are the best as far as I’m aware.

Configure a professional firewall using pfSense

pfSense project logoThe Free Software Magazine has a good howto on installing and setting up pfSense.

This guide was written for Linksys, Netgear, and D-link users with no firewall or router experience. No experience is needed with FreeBSD or GNU/Linux to install and run pfSense. When you are finished, management of pfSense will be from a web interface just like any of the SOHO firewall/router appliances.

pfSense is a web-based firewall project that is similar, in terms of functionality, to the software in firewall appliances sold by Linksys, Netgear and D-Link. pfSense covers all the basic requirements offered by those appliances but offers so much more—in fact, it is really in a class by itself since it would be very difficult to find a commercial alternative that would provide what pfSense has to offer (or, anything cheaper than $2,000–$5,000).

Two good reasons to use pfSense

1. pfSense is a very powerful and stable project with advanced features. Users of pfSense have reported that it performs well even with hundreds of computers operating behind the firewall. pfSense has all the features of the SOHO units and much more. You can have multiple network subnets separate from each other using firewall rules. For example, you could have separate subnets for each business function; or separate Accounting, Marketing, Sales, and R&D from each other, while giving each one access to the Internet; or set up a HotSpot for your business, allowing users to access the Internet but not the company LAN (which usually contains a POS (Point Of Sale) system and/or proprietary information and non public computer systems).

2. If you are an experienced FreeBSD, GNU/Linux or Unix user you may wish to add applications from the FreeBSD repository. While running additional applications on a firewall can increase your exposure to potential risk of being hacked, it can still be extremely useful to add a few applications to pfSense. Once you get pfSense installed you can find a list of authorized ports under the System Packages tab. These can be installed with one click. The FreeBSD.org packages are added by the user via the shell the way it has been done for years. These FreeBSD.org packages are not officially supported by pfSense.

Not directly related to pfSense, but if you’re interested in professional qualifications maintaining and supporting firewall and routing platforms, have a look at the InfoSec Institute. InfoSec can help you receive your CISSP Certification and become an IT professional.

Read the howto or download the howto as PDF

Links: Free Software Magazine | pfSense howto | pfSense Project