gotbsd.net for BSD torrents

There’s a great BSD torrent website that I want to bring to your attention. It’s gotbsd.net where you can download FreeBSD 7.0, PC-BSD 1.5 and FreeSBIE 2.0.1 CD images via the Bittorrent protocol.

This site was originally started in 2007 shortly after the FreeBSD Project took their official server off-line. We originally ran on a dedicated server which ran its own tracker and a seeder. The Project recently started up a new official torrent server. So, we now run on a web host and link to official torrents (FreeBSD and others).

Consistent with our original goals, we’ll still put up torrents for FreeBSD-based OS’s that need it by using a third-party tracker. PC-BSD and FreeSBIE are both in this category now. Seeders for those torrents are greatly needed! If you’re able to contribute to the community by seeding, it will be even better if you are able to have an open, listening port for your torrent client.

Check it out and help seeding: gotbsd.net

FreeBSD Projects for Google SoC 2008

The FreeBSD Project was again accepted as a mentoring organisation into the Google Summer of Code. The Project is now looking for potential students, mentors and projects. If you have an idea for a potential FreeBSD related summer of code project that isn’t already listed here then please contact Murray Stokely (murray at freebsd dot org). Likewise, if you are interested in mentoring a student this year then please get in touch. Students can find all the details about applying for FreeBSD related Summer of Code projects on the FreeBSD Summer of Code web pages.

FreeBSD 7.0 VMWare image available

FreeBSD LogoGreg Larkin has put together a FreeBSD 7.0 VMware image. The zipped image can be found on the SourceHosting.net BitTorrent tracker. Some notes about the image:

  • The VM has been configured with 768Mb of memory.
  • The root password is “password”
  • ZFS is enabled by default
  • The /usr/ports filesystem is located in a ZFS pool
  • The Ethernet interface is bridged to the host and uses DHCP

So, if you’ve been wanting to play with or try out FreeBSD 7.0 or ZFS “safely”, download it and give it a whirl.

FreeNAS 0.7 progress

FreeNAS LogoThe FreeNAS maintenance release 0.686.3 was released last week. This will be probably the last stable release based on FreeBSD 6.2.The following changes have been made:

Some of the changes:

  • Remove consolehm sensor support because it doesn’t work/recognize up-to-date hardware.
  • WebGUI uses NiftyCubes for rounded corners with CSS and Javascript.
  • Validate minutes/hours/days/months/week days configuration on misc WebGUI pages

The more exciting news is that work on FreeNAS 0.7 which will be based on FreeBSD 7.0 has started. According to Volker it’s going smoothly and the migration to FreeBSD 7.0 is going easier than expected. This is the current state:

  • Migrate to FreeBSD 7.0: 80% done
  • Migrate the internal disk/geom management and config file: 40% done (lot’s of internals function to change)
  • Review all the disk/mount point management WebGUI: 0%
  • Adding gjournal, ZFS and gvistor: 0%

FreeNAS also announced that Vault Networks has offered a server for FreeNAS development. This server hosts a FreeNAS Virtual Machine for online demonstration. If you’re interested in trying out FreeNAS, but don’t have any hardware available yet, have a play with the online demo. Really cool.

The arrival of FreeBSD 7.0 has set set FreeBSD based projects on fire: FreeNAS 0.7 , PC-BSD 1.6 and pfSense 1.3 are all planning to have a new version based on FreeBSD 7.0 available soon. I’d expect DesktopBSD 1.7 (or will it be 2.0?) to be based on 7.0 too.

pfSense 1.3 – what’s coming?

pfSense logoThe pfSense Team have outlined their development plans for version 1.3 which will be base on FBSD 7.0. It’s the plan to release the next version within the next month.

This release already contains some significant new features. Among them are:

  • Traffic shaper completely rewritten – now supports any number of internal interfaces and multiple WAN interfaces. This work is 99% finished and is working exceptionally well in our testing.
  • User manager – multiple administrative users can be created, with varying levels of access. Access groups can be defined to easily grant identical access rights to multiple users. Rights can be defined individually for each page in the web interface.
  • LDAP authentication – LDAP is integrated into the user manager so pfSense can authenticate from any LDAP server. Microsoft Active Directory and Novell eDir have been thoroughly tested, though any LDAP server should work. You can even define groups in your directory and assign rights in pfSense to those groups.
  • Significant OpenVPN improvements
  • Routing improvements

Keep up the good work, Chris (and the other team members). Looking forward to trying out 1.3.

PC-BSD 1.5 – review (fosswire)

PC-BSD LogoFosswire has a nice write up about PC-BSD 1.5, with a 8 out of 10 mark. The installation is straight forward and installation of PBIs is easy.

Experienced Linux and BSD users might moan and groan about the Windows-ness of it, but it really is slick.

Although package installation resembles very much the Windows way” it works, and that’s most important for “casual user” who doesn’t have experience with Linux or BSD.

Conclusion: PC-BSD is a very capable general purpose desktop operating system. It is certainly as capable as any of the major Linux distributions out there. The particular thing that makes it stand out is its novel approach to software management, which makes it easier for the newbie to use.

The major issue I see is lack of support. PC-BSD is very niche and that is likely to cause some issues when it comes to support. There is an active forum-based community, which I am sure is very helpful, but the level of support simply can’t compete with the communities built around other operating systems, such as Ubuntu.

Apart from that, I really am struggling to find criticism for PC-BSD, aside from the minor quirks and some of the rather irritating installation restrictions.

Sure, it might be an unusual choice, but for the standard web/productivity tasks it does as good a job as anything else that’s out there. And isn’t that what really matters?