Status update for KDE4 on FreeBSD & PC-BSD

KDE4.1 on FreeBSD

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There’s been quite a bit of noise recently about the usefulnes of KDE4, its inferiority compared to 3.5, and some are even suggesting to fork KDE4. However, Martin Wilke is in the meanwhile doing a great job porting KDE4 to FreeBSD.

Read the latest status update about the progress (incl screenshots).

Kris Moore from the PC-BSD project is now assisting with the porting of KDE4 to FreeBSD. Alpha versions of PC-BSD7 with KDE4 can be downloaded here. Please help us with the testing, and remember this is still so called alpha quality.

Flaws found in BSD, Linux software updaters

Though Linux and the BSD are considered to be very safe and secure operating systems, they are the products of human beings and hence not perfect:

The software update mechanisms used by most BSD and Linux operating systems can be tricked into installing buggy or known-to-be-compromised software on users’ systems, creating serious security risks, according to new research.

The study Package Management Security, to be published in a forthcoming issue of the university of Arizona Tech Report, analysed 10 package managers and found that all were vulnerable to exploits, allowing attackers to install unsafe software on target systems.

Package managers are designed to automatically keep software up-to-date and thus safe from known vulnerabilities. The packages analysed in the study were APT, APT-RPM, Pacman, portage, Ports, Slaktool, Stork, Urpmi, Yast and YUM.

Read the rest of the article here.

Securing FreeBSD’s update system could be a nice project for which funding could be requested. The FreeBSD Foundation is now requesting project proposals to improve FreeBSD. If there’s anybody out there with ideas on building in better security measures read on:

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce we are soliciting the submission of proposals for work relating to any of the major subsystems or infrastructure within the FreeBSD operating system.  A budget of $80,000 was allocated for 2008 to fund multiple development projects.

Proposals will be evaluated based on desirability, technical merit and cost-effectiveness.

To find out more about the proposal have a look here.

UNIX history family tree

unix_family_history_tree_1600x1200

This is an interesting picture (or desktop background 1600×1200) showing the history of UNIX, incl Linux and the BSD’s

Unfortunately I can’t remember where I found this. If you know, please let me know and I add the source.

Click to enlarge

m0n0wall beta 12 and FreeBSD 7.0 based pfSense

The m0n0wall and the pfSense projects have released a beta and 2 alpha versions respectively.

m0n0wall 1.3 beta 12 is out, containing a new feature: IPv6 support (routing and firewalling). The change log and the download link can be found on the beta page.

pfSense has a 1.2.1 alpha snapshot available for testing. This version contains a few bug fixes and the base OS has changed to FreeBSD 7.0. There’s also a 1.3 alpha snapshot available for testing. This version brings significant changes from 1.2 and brings all the great new features that have been added to pfSense over the past 8 months.

For the pfSense download links, upgrade instructions and more information visit the pfSense blog.

FreeBSD based systems – what would you call them?

The number of FreeBSD related operating systems is fortunately not as as high as the number of Linux distributions.

Most of you, if not all, will agree there are no FreeBSD distributions/distro’s due to the fact that FreeBSD is developed as a coherent operating system with a kernel and userland applications.

Existing FreeBSD based operating systems use the FreeBSD base and specialise in a certain field, e.g. DesktopBSD & PC-BSD concentrate on desktop use, pfSense and m0n0wall on routing/firewalling, AskoziaPBX on PBX systems etc etc. For more examples, check out this page.

Since these systems aren’t distro’s what would you call them? Please let me know on the poll below.

What would you call FreeBSD based operating systems?

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RootBSD – FreeBSD based VPS hosting (Xen & Jails)

RootBSD.com logoFreeBSD is one of the most stable server operating systems available today and is very well suited for a hosting environment. Many tools and software  packages are available on FreeBSD to create and run (Web 2.0) websites, including Apache, Lighttpd, Perl, Python, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Ruby on Rails etc. Used for powering many established websites such as Yahoo!, FreeBSD has proven to be an ultra-reliable platform for companies hosting sites with high hosting demands.

RootBSD is such a hosting provider that offers dedicated server hosting and virtual private servers (VPS) running on FreeBSD servers.

RootBSD was established with one simple goal in mind: to provide reliable BSD-based hosting services to hobbyists, advanced professionals and businesses. RootBSD has achieved this and much more as it has become the hosting provider of choice for many and has started to gain somewhat of a following over the past year in the FreeBSD community. RootBSD also sponsors many FreeBSD developers with free hosting services.

A few highlights of the RootBSD service:

  • Virtual hosting (Xen-based and Jail-based) and dedictated hosting
  • RootBSD deploys VPSs on Xen which is fully virtualised, unlike jail-based hosting that most providers use. RootBSD also offers jails-based VPS hosting.
  • Most recent stable FreeBSD release available; currently FreeBSD 7.0, while other providers are still using FreeBSD 6.3 (e.g. Verio)
  • Entry-level packages aimed at hobbyists start at only $20/month
  • Clean and attractive website. The geeky, black-’n-green looking website was replaced by a much more professional looking “FreeBSD coloured” website last May.

The benefits of full virtualisation under Xen are that

  • the VPS envrionment is separated from the host system which lets customers fully customise their environment. In a jail the guest VPS runs off the kernel of the host system, meaning you cannot change the kernel.
  • jails use a virtualised network stack that works fine for most services but doesn’t let the user do some more advanced things like firewalling, virtual network devices, VPN tunnels, etc.

As far as I’m aware, RootBSD is the only FreeBSD hosting provider that is offering a VPS service virtualized under Xen. If you or your business requires a flexible, cheap and fully-controlled webhosting, RootBSD should definitely be considered.

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.