FreeBSD 7 will be revolutionary

FreeBSD LogoPinderkent has made a nice summary of why FreeBSD 7.0 release is something to look forward to:

A few weeks back, at the end of December, FreeBSD 7.0-RC1 was released. FreeBSD 7 will no doubt prove to be quite revolutionary. For one thing, this will be the first major FreeBSD release in a number of years. FreeBSD 6.0 was released in November of 2005, so there has been quite some time for the development of FreeBSD 7 to take place.

If you’re unfamiliar with what FreeBSD 7 will bring, I’d suggest that you look over the excellent What’s cooking for FreeBSD 7? Web page. As you can see, the amount of change FreeBSD 7 will bring is quite significant.

He goes on to mention

  • ZFS – Zetabyte File System ported from Sun Solaris
  • the new jemalloc userland memory allocator
  • improvements to the network stack
  • security enhancements, improved audio support, new SCHED_ULE replacement and
  • better support for linux binaries ,

and the article concludes with

It’s time for those of us in the IT profession to start considering the use of FreeBSD 7. The new features and improvements offered by this release will no doubt have a great impact for many of us. We will be getting better support for storing huge amounts of data, networking performance improvements to help us better transmit that data, and userland performance improvements to better let us manipulate it.

Note: bold by me. Whole article can be found here.

FreeBSD and the Xbox (360)

Microsoft Xbox 360In this post I want to have a look at how the Microsoft Xbox (360) can be used in combination with FreeBSD

  1. Xbox running FreeBSD
  2. Xbox 360 as media streaming device
  3. Using FreeNAS with the Xbox 360

1. Xbox running FreeBSD

Some of you may be aware that since the middle of 2005 it is possible to run FreeBSD on the Microsoft Xbox and later also on the Xbox 360. To be honest, I don’t really see the point of porting an OS to a video game device – “are data centres full of Xboxes?” – but I also readily admit that it’s always good to see individuals offering up their time and contributing to make even better and more powerfull. Some may object that the FreeBSD-Xbox combination may be a good thing, for instance, for home-users who can use their old Xbox for PC-BSD / DesktopBSD or for scientists who can use Xboxes for cheap, high-power cluster computing. Anyhow, the opinions are quite divided.

This FreeBSD-Xbox project was originally started by Rink Springer (patching and coding) and Ed Schouten (reviewing patches and provision of details on certain Xbox internals).

FreeBSD/Xbox is supported in FreeBSD 6.x and 7.0. The framebuffer, Ethernet, sound and USB devices (such as an USB keyboard for the console) are all supported.

In order to help people in installing the FreeBSD/Xbox port, a combined install/liveCD has been created which can be downloaded here.

More information can be found on Xbox-Linux project page and on the FreeBSD Xbox platform page.

If interested in running FreeBSD on your Xbox console, these are the Xbox related ports that you may find useful:

2. Xbox 360 as media streaming device

Since Microsoft added Xvid codec support to the Xbox 360 last month (it supported UPnP for streaming already), this console can be turned into a fairly capable media streaming device.

There are many UpnP servers available, but only a few run on FreeBSD, e.g.

  • FUPPES – Free UPnP Entertainment Service
  • MediaTomb – note: doesn’t support Xbox 360 (yet)
  • uShare – Fork of GNU Media Server for GeeXboX

Both FUPPES and uShare have support for the Xbox 360. Whilst the first has more features, the latter is easier to get it up and running. For notes on how to install these two media servers, check out Falz’s howto.

3. Using FreeNAS with the Xbox 360

Want to enable your Xbox 360 to see your FreeNAS server? Easy!

EeeBSD – FreeBSD tweaks for the Asus Eee PC 701

Asus Eee PC 701The Asus Eee PC 701 has made some decent headlines lately. Online Linux media have on the whole been quite positive about this low-cost mini-laptop powered by Linux.The Linux installation comes with a lot of out-of-the-box configuration features on top of a basic Intel platform so one can immediately start working/playing. But, if the laptop is able to run Linux, it’s should also be possible to get it to run FreeBSD…

If you own an Asus Eee PC and prefer FreeBSD over Linux, have a look at this EeeBSD page, for notes describing solutions to problems installing FreeBSD onto the Asus EeePC series of subnotebook computers (installation, wireless networking, wired networking, sound, hotkeys, X11)

PC-BSD vs DesktopBSD; similarities & differences


Similar to my m0n0wall vs pfSense; similarities & differences post, I thought I’d also post a “PC-BSD vs DesktopBSD; similarities & differences” overview since I get so much trafic from people trying to find out what the similarities and differences are.

A common misconception about DesktopBSD is that it is intended as a rival to PC-BSD as a BSD-based desktop distribution. Neither the DesktopBSD nor the PC-BSD project intend to rival each other; the two projects are completely independent with distinctive features and goals. PC-BSD has introduced a new package management (PBI) that lets you easily install packages, whereas DesktopBSD has developed a graphical utility that makes installing standard FreeBSD packages and ports easy. Let’s have a look at the similarities and the differences.

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FreeBSD 6.3 Released

FreeBSD LogoCongratulations to the FreeBSD developers! FreeBSD 6.3-RELEASE is available now. This release continues the development of the 6-STABLE branch providing performance and stability improvements, many bug fixes, new features, new drivers, better hardware support, new commands/options and major bug fixes. Some of the highlights:

  • KDE updated to 3.5.8, GNOME updated to 2.20.1, Xorg updated to 7.3
  • BIND updated to 9.3.4
  • sendmail updated to 8.14.2
  • lagg(4) driver ported from OpenBSD/NetBSD
  • unionfs file system re-implemented
  • freebsd-update(8) now supports an upgrade command

For a complete list of new features and known problems, please see the online release notes and errata list.

Check out the announcement page for availability, downloading, upgrading, acknowledgments, MD5 checksums etc.

Cheers to the FreeBSD developers! Many thanks, guys, for all your hard work and (free) time. Waiting for FreeBSD 7.0 to be released ;-)