Build your own FreeBSD/EC2 images

Colin Percival has an interesting post (how to build FreeBSD/EC2 images) explaining how you can bake your own FreeBSD  images for Amazon EC2, and build them just the way you want them.

I have been building FreeBSD/EC2 images for the past three years, and based on the email I have been receiving, most people have been either using these images directly or modifying them to create images which suit their needs. However, there are some people who want to build their own images ab initio — most often, companies which have products built on “customized” versions of FreeBSD — and while I have helped a few people do this, it’s better if my help is not needed. To this end, earlier today I published my code for building FreeBSD AMIs. At its core, this process has two steps: First, building a disk image; and second, turning it into an AMI.

It would be now nice if somebody could make creating FreeBSD images for Google Cloud Engine real easy ;-)

 

Set up BitTorrent Sync in FreeNAS with Plugin (howto)

freenas-ixsystems-new-logoBen Milman from iXsystems has put together a tutorial (How to Set Up FreeNAS with BitTorrent Sync Using a Plugin) showing step-by-step how to install and set up BitTorrent Sync on FreeNAS.

BitTorrent Sync is a free, unlimited, secure file-syncing app which can be easily installed through the BitTorrent Sync plugin for FreeNAS. FreeNAS enables users to build network-attached-storage (NAS) on nearly any hardware platform of their choosing. There is an old tutorial on the BitTorrent blog showing how to configure BitTorrent Sync yourself, but with Josh Ruehlig’s plugin it’s a lot easier now.

If you are using FreeNAS and you need to sync and share large files with anybody via secure, distributed technology, try out the BitTorrent Sync plugin with these install notes.

Links: FreeNAS website | BitTorrent Sync

About FreeNAS: FreeNAS is a FreeBSD-based (nanobsd) and BSD licensed open source Network Attached Storage (NAS) Platform developed by iXsystems, optimised to support file storage and files sharing across Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems.

First impressions of FreeBSD 10.0

freebsd project logo 100x100Jesse Smith has written a review of FreeBSD 10.0 in this week’s Distrowatch Weekly: First impressions of FreeBSD 10.0.

Overall it is a fair and balanced review with some points of critique. Jess is impressed with FreeBSD 10 and its many new features, but there are still some points that should be addressed in FreeBSD 10.1, especially around package management (pkgng). I guess this should be adressed later this year, when backwards compatibility with the old pkg_ tools is dropped and developers can focus on pkgng only.

What most of my problems with FreeBSD came down to was the repeating issue that software installed using pkg did not also install all required dependencies. Some immediate dependencies might be installed, but not all the items further down the dependency chain. The above example of installing Xfce without getting X was one instance, installing WordPress without getting a database or web server in the process was another example.

[...]

Largely due to the dependency gaps and troubles with getting third-party software up and running my impressions of FreeBSD came down to two main points. The first is that FreeBSD — the command line tools, the kernel, the ZFS file system and installer — is a great operating system. In both test environments FreeBSD was fast, stable and ran smoothly. I really like the work which has gone into the system installer for this release and I like that ZFS is so easy to enable and use. The documentation which comes with FreeBSD is detailed and helpful. The new package manager is fast and friendly when compared next to its predecessors. All of this means it is pretty easy to install FreeBSD, explore the system and, once it is up and running, an administrator is unlikely to encounter a broken system.

On the other hand, I got the impression that FreeBSD’s ports collection does not receive the same level of care as the base operating system. Some of the available ports obviously have not been tested against a clean installation of FreeBSD to make sure all dependencies have been met. The state of the X port is, in short, unfortunate. This gap between the quality of the base FreeBSD operating system and its available ports is made all the more evident now that a quality package manager like pkg is present. It is easier than ever before to search for and install new software, but too much effort is required to hunt down dependencies and tweak the configuration of key ports. What this results in is a wonderful base operating system that is plagued by trouble once we try to add third-party functionality to it.

Jesse also brings up an interesting point about a possible missed opportunity with jails as a deployment platform.

You can read the whole review here: First impressions of FreeBSD 10.0.

Thanks Jesse for reviewing FreeBSD 10.0

The FreeBSD Journal is now available

freebsd_journalThough the FreeBSD Journal was announced and a few printed copies were distributed at last week’s NYCBSDCon, the FreeBSD Foundation has now officially announced the Journal on their blog:

“We are pleased to announce the FreeBSD Journal is now available! This is a new, FreeBSD focused, online publication.

You can find out how to subscribe to the Journal by going to www.freebsdjournal.com. Or, go to the following links for the device you’d like to download to:

Here’s the letter the editorial board wrote for this inaugural issue.”

I hope feedback from the FreeBSD Community will make future issues and distribution even better. How about a FreeBSD-friendly reader, or, even better, a PDF based version, just like the BSD Mag? DRM won’t stop somebody taking screenshots on his tablet and sharing these…

This is another good initiative by the Foundation to give FreeBSD more exposure.

BSD Now Episode 24: The Cluster and the Cloud (video)

bsd_now_logoThe bsdnow.tv team has uploaded a new weekly episode, The Cluster and the Cloud, featuring an interview with Luke Marsden from HybridCluster, a recap of NYCBSDCon’s event and a chrooted SFTP tutorial. Watch the video below.

In this episode the two hosts, Allan Jude and Kris Moore, chat about the following topics:

rootbsd_banner1This post is sponsored by our partner RootBSD, an expert in BSD style web hosting : stable, secure, flexible and friendly.

NYCBSDCon 2014 and FreeBSD Journal

nycbsdconNYCBSDCon is a bi-annual, one-day conference in New York organised by the NYCBUG BSD users group, with the theme of “The BSDs in Production.” The focus of the presentations is on the critical roles the BSDs do and can play in infrastructures.

Some may think the BSDs are slowly dying, but presentations given at this conference show quite the opposite. It’s interesting to see what Netflix has achieved with FreeBSD!

Last Saturday (8 Feb) NYCBSDCon 2014 took place, which according to the “My NCYBSDCon Trip” write-up by Justin Sherill (DragonFlyBSD), was a successful event.

It was nice the talks were broadcast live, and hopefully these will be published later.

The FreeBSD Journal was also announced by the FreeBSD Foundation last Saturday, and some paper issues (the only ones ever) handed out. The only way to get the Journal from now on is electronically via Google Play, Amazon Kindle or Apple iTunes.

I think the FreeBSD Journal website could do with an update to make this clearer, explain what the Journal is about, how to get it, and to take away some confusion. There has been a lot of useful information in recent interviews (BSD Now Episode 22, BSD Talk 237), but nothing of this is on the website (yet).

If I come across any pictures or other write-ups, I’ll share them here.

FreeBSD OpenStack, FOSDEM, NetApp, EdgeRouter, Google Cloud Engine and more

Freebsd newsWelcome to the latest (Free)BSD news round-up in which we have a mix of news snippets and links. Just a round-up of those miscellaneous (Free)BSD related links that are newsworthy and which you may find interesting, but are yet too small to package as individual posts.

Some of the links below have already appeared in our Google Plus +FreeBSD Central and Twitter feeds.

FreeBSD on OpenStack
There has not been a complete solution to run FreeBSD instances on OpenStack, until now.
github – 3 Feb 2014

OpenSSH 6.5 has been released
openssh.ort – 30 Jan 2014

Crazed Ferrets in a Berkeley Shower – 2014 edition
Michael Lucas Blog – 29 jan 2014

FOSDEM 2014 Photos
Pictures from the first conference of the year, FOSDEM. Photo credits go to John Hixson from iXsystems.
iXsystems Google+ page – 8 Feb 2014

NetApp and Microsoft: We’re ‘close’ to virtual ONTAP on Azure
The seed for this approach was sown in May 2012, when Microsoft, Citrix and +NetApp announced they would work together to make FreeBSD run as a guest OS under Hyper-V.
The Register – 05 Feb 2014

Time to bid farewell to the old pkg_ tools
Bye bye PKG
freebsdish.org - 3 Feb 2014

Strength of FreeNAS Project Sets iXsystems Apart
Interview with iXsystems CTO Jordan Hubbard
dcig.com – 04 Feb 2014

FreeBSD support in Google Cloud Engine (GCE)
FreeBSD kind of runs on the +Google Cloud Platform,  but there are still a couple of issues, and the process isn’t that straight forward at the moment.

FreeBSD Foundation and iXsystems Collaborate to Further the Cause of High Performance Computing on FreeBSD
Remember MEGACORE, the 1TB of RAM beast? Check out how the FreeBSD Foundation plans to use the powerful machine!

FreeBSD Guides
Screencast tutorials about how to get things done with FreeBSD

FreeBSD 10.0 on Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite
The Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite is a neat little device that costs less than US$100, has three Ethernet ports, and can run FreeBSD/mips.

Clang Is Now Self-Hosting On Linux/FreeBSD SPARC64
Thanks to Jakob’s work on Sparcv9 ABI in Clang and recent changes to Sparc code generator
LLVMDev – 02 Feb 2014

FreeBSD Open-Source OS Comes to the PC-BSD Desktop
While FreeBSD itself could potentially be used as a desktop system, the PC-BSD open-source project is the home base for FreeBSD as a desktop operating system. PC-BSD 10, based on FreeBSD 10 at its core, was officially released on Jan. 29.
Eweek.com – 31 Jan 2014

FreeBSD to support secure boot by mid-year
Support for secure boot will be available in the FreeBSD 10.1 release which is due to be made later this year, according to Marshall Kirk McKusick.
itwire.com – 20 Jan 2014

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 16
Big news this week for the PBI format. Kris has confirmed that a patch has been implemented for the way PBI’s are being built that will shrink the size of PBI’s by approximately 50%.
PC-BSD Blog – 7 Feb 2014

FreeNAS 9.2.1-RELEASE announced

freenas-ixsystems-new-logoAfter one BETA, two Release Candidates, and many nightly builds, The FreeNAS team has announced FreeNAS 9.2.1-RELEASE.

Jordan Hubbard writes: “FreeNAS 9.2.0 was a great release, and we’re pleased to say that FreeNAS 9.2.1 is even better. Since 9.2.0 was released, we have fixed over 189 bugs, added new features, polished the UI, and improved the performance of FreeNAS even further. The documentation has also been updated for 9.2.1, though the source code is still a useful reference for features like the web API, which comes with several examples in the source tree. For the first time, we are also publishing an errata list for 9.2.1 so people will know about known issues that were not deemed severe enough to be ‘show stoppers’ for this release.”

Links: FreeNAS website | Announcement | Download | FreeNAS Forums

About FreeNAS: FreeNAS is a FreeBSD-based (nanobsd) and BSD licensed open source Network Attached Storage (NAS) Platform developed by iXsystems, optimised to support file storage and files sharing across Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems.