FreeBSD Foundation announces new technical staff member

The FreeBSD Foundation has announced that Konstantin Belousov has been hired as its first full-time member of technical staff, a key milestone of the Foundation’s investment in staff for 2013.

Konstantin has been a FreeBSD committer since 2006, and he recently implemented support for current-generation Intel graphics controllers under contract to the FreeBSD Foundation.  This new position will allow him to spend his full working time on supporting and improving FreeBSD.

Konstantin’s first project brings support for unmapped I/O to FreeBSD. The unmapped I/O project improves performance by avoiding mapping buffers in the buffer cache, significantly reducing overhead on multi-processor systems.  The project builds on foundational work to unify machine-dependent parts of the busdma interface, recently contributed by Jeff Robertson at EMC’s Isilon Storage Division. EMC became a FreeBSD foundation donor in 2012.

Netflix, another new Foundation donor for 2012, is already making use of this project.

“Netflix partnered closely with Konstantin to provide design input and testing resources for the unmapped I/O project.  The work helped us realize an immediate 25% increase in system performance on production workloads.  It underscores the immense value of collaborating and investing in the open source community and FreeBSD in particular,”

said Scott Long, Senior Software Engineer at Netflix.

Konstantin has also been working with the release engineering team since 2008 and his new role with the Foundation will allow him to focus more time on the tools and process used to make FreeBSD releases. (via)

DesktopBSD brought back to live

desktopbsd logo 100x100The DesktopBSD project is in the process of being revived. EchoD has brought the website and the forums back to live.

DesktopBSD 1.7 was released back in 2009 and Peter Hofer announced that would be the last release baked up by himself. Some German deve;opers took over the project, but nothing came to fruition and the website went offline.

Let’s see  what the new developers have in stock and when DesktopBSD 2.0 will be out.

GhostBSD 3.0 released

ghostbsd_logoEric Turgeon, lead developer of the GhostBSD project, has announced the release of GhostBSD 3.0. The latest version includes a lot of enhancements and new features, such as an improved system installer, Openbox window manager, and more.

Some of the highlights of GhostBSD 3.0 are:

  • Openbox window manager is now fully supported;
  • Improvements for the auto configuration wireless networking script have been implemented;
  • Auto configuration of Xorg is now possible;
  • Nvidia drivers have been added by default;
  • 3D acceleration is now supported on some Intel graphics cards;
  • Numerous bug-fixes have been added to the GhostBSD related utilities;
  • Openbox and Lxde AMD64 ISO only fit on DVD;
  • New Intel GPU driver with GEM/KMS support has been made available;
  • ZFS improvements from the illumos project have been implemented;
  • Kernel support has been added for the AVX FPU extension.

GhostBSD is a FreeBSD-based operating system for the desktop with support for the GNOME2, LXDE and Openbox desktop environments.

MaheshaBSD-2.0 Server Released

Juraj Sipos has announced the release of MaheshaBSD Server 2.0. This version comes with WordPress running on a USB memory stick.

This is the only distro in the World with WordPress running immediately without any installation process. Many poor people will have a quick FTP server with WordPress and they may open it also to the world.

Some brief notes on this release:

  • With phpMyAdmin installed in MaheshaBSD Server many tasks with MySQL will be easy as a breeze.
  • phpMyAdmin runs also remotely via TightVNC.
  • The USB image is writable.
  • MaheshaBSD Server has an educational purpose, too. It is also a social project. Many people in the Third World need money for education and many institutions fail to provide the valuable infrastructure (software, paying for development of software, etc.).
  • The SERVER was tested over the Internet;
  • tightvnc worked,
  • WordPress worked.

The Mahesha Project is hosted by RootBSD. You may download the documentation (pdf) or download the MaheshaBSD Server 2.0 (rar).

MaheshaBSD Server can be downloaded and used for free by individuals; companies are expected to donate to the project:

The price is 200/150/100/50/25, but only for institutions; it is free for personal use. Institutions may choose any price, thus the software will be valuable also for institutions in very poor countries. Anybody can write and use it for free.

Thanks Juraj for the heads up. I will be testing this release over the next few days and will give you feedback.

New FreeBSD Foundation Funded Project: FreeBSD/ARM Architecture Superpages Support

FreeBSD foundation logoFollowing the successful 2012 Year-End Fundraising Campaign the FreeBSD Foundation has announced that Semihalf, an embedded solutions company, has been awarded a grant to develop transparent superpages support for the FreeBSD/ARM architecture. Semihalf is co-sponsoring the project with the Foundation.

The ARM architecture is already common in the mobile and embedded markets, and is becoming more prevalent in the server market. Among the more interesting industry trends emerging recently is the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture, which is an “ARM server” concept. Many top tier companies have started developing systems or are announcing products with this architecture.

One of the features needed for FreeBSD to be successful in this area is transparent super pages.  This provides improved performance and scalability by allowing TLB translations to dynamically cover large physical memory regions.

As you will remember, Semihalf has been involved in FreeBSD Foundation funded projects before. They worked on the flattened device tree (2009) and NAND flash support (2012).

The project is expected to complete in mid July 2013.

Introducing fbsdmon (fbsdmon.org)

There are some websites that keep track of new FreeBSD ports, such as the FreeBSD ports page or Freshports, and some that track (Free)BSD installations, such as bsdstats.

I was not aware, but there’s also fbsdmon that measures ports popularity and lets you submit statistics of your system (if you have installed the fbsdmon port). The website, maintained by FreeBSD developer Grzegorz Blach,  also shows links to the FreeBSD RSS feeds.

Does anybody use fbsdmon.org? If you have any feedback, feel free to contact Grzegorz.

Thanks Grzegorz for contacting me and making me aware. If you have a FreeBSD related product, service or website that you want featuring, let me know.