PC-BSD 9.1 Review (Jupiter Broadcasting – video)

Jupiter Broadcasting has an episode reviewing PC-BSD

The PC-BSD 9.1 review starts at 39:50.

Notes and Summary

  • Your choice of Desktop Environments, Installer automatically adjusts the defaults depending on how much ram you have installed
  • Your options: KDE, Gnome, LXDE or XFCE
  • Another option is TrueOS, a console based server, FreeBSD with the CLI version of Warden, the PBI system, ZFS Boot Environments and other utilities
  • The install also offers vanilla FreeBSD Server
  • PC-BSD allows you to do a full ‘root on ZFS’ install (only recommended if you have 4 or more GB of ram), including creating many different datasets with different settings such as compression for optimal use of space
  • You have the option of the Basic Wizard, the Advanced Wizard, or the FreeBSD CLI partitioning system
  • The advanced Wizard also allows you to setup more complex ZFS mirror or RAIDZ
  • You can choose to optionally encrypt your hard disk using GELI
  • Warden is a Graphical and Command Line based manager for FreeBSD’s Jails feature
  • In FreeBSD a jail is a secondary installation of the OS files, which is then started in a chroot, and the processes, network and user/group IDs are separate
  • Allows you to manage three types of jails:
  • Traditional Jail – run internet applications in a container, if compromised, the attacker only gains access to the jail, not the host OS
  • Ports Jail – less secure version if jails, allows you to install applications from the FreeBSD ports tree without interfering with the PBI package manager in the host OS
  • Linux Jail – install Debian or Gentoo in a jail, and run your linux applications in a full linux environment
  • Warden also allows you to stop a jail, pack it up, and move it to a different physical machine
  • Warden also allows you to install meta-packages into the jails with a single click, allowing you to deploy apache+php+mysql in no time
  • Warden can back your jails storage with ZFS, allowing you to take advantage of ZFS features such as snapshots, clones (writable snapshots), revert to a previous snapshot, etc

Clang’ed FreeBSD: Builds quicker, uses way less RAM

Dimitry Andric, a FreeBSD developer, has carried out some performance tests to explore the impact that LLVM/Clang as the default FreeBSD compiler has on FreeBSD 10, compared to GCC 4.2.1 and GCC 4.7.1. He concludes that  to build FreeBSD with Clang less RAM is used and the compilation finishes quicker. Clang comes out in the benchmarks mostly ahead of GCC on FreeBSD.

I recently performed a series of compiler performance tests on FreeBSD 10.0-CURRENT, particularly comparing gcc 4.2.1 and gcc 4.7.1 against clang 3.1 and clang 3.2.

The attached text file[1] contains more information about the tests,
some semi-cooked performance data, and my conclusions. Any errors and omissions are also my fault, so if you notice them, please let me know.

The executive summary: clang compiles mostly faster than gcc sometimes much faster), and uses significantly less memory.

Finally, please note these tests were purely about compilation speed,
not about the performance of the resulting executables. This still
needs to be tested.

You can check the benchmarks here: Clang/llvm performance tests on FreeBSD 10.0-CURRENT

 

Announcing the end of port CVS

The development of FreeBSD ports is done in Subversion nowadays. Fy February 28th 2013 the FreeBSD ports tree will no longer be exported to CVS. Therefore ports tree updates via CVS or CVSup will no longer available after that date. All users who use CVS or CVSup to update the ports tree are encouraged to switch to portsnap(8) or for users which need more control over their ports collection checkout use Subversion directly.

Read the full announcement.

Installing and configuring Squid and DansGuardian under FreeBSD

Installing and configuring FreeBSD as router is something most of us won’t do daily. It’s one of those jobs you do once, and when it’s up and running, you let your server / router do its work and you don’t touch it – unless there’s a problem.

Squid and DansGuardian are some excellent tools for caching and content filtering. Squid is a caching proxy  supporting HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, and more. It reduces bandwidth and improves response times by caching and reusing frequently-requested web pages. DansGuardian is a web content filter. It filters the actual content of pages based on many methods including phrase matching, PICS filtering and URL filtering.

Since configuring Squid and DansGuardian is not something we daily do, the following tutorial may be useful: Installing and configuring Squid and DansGuardian under FreeBSD.

If you run pfSense, you can install Squid and DansGuardian too.

Another interesting tutorial is the one on creating plugins for FreeBSD’s new pkgng package management: Writing plugins for pkgns.

 

BSD Mag (Sep 2012): What’s new in PC-BSD 9.1

September’s issue of the BSD Magazine is now available: What’s new in PC-BSD 9.1 (free PDF download).

We are now living in an age of cloud computing and sharing content and news, privately and publicly. However, it seems cloud companies struggle to keep our data private and don’t seem to always respect users’ privacy, so why not set up your own cloud?

If you want to stay in control of your own data and share it only with those you want to share it with, have a look at ownCloud. Kris Moore from the PC-BSD Project has an article showing how to set up ownCloud on PC-BSD. Very useful.

You’ll find the following subjects inside the latest issue of BSD Mag:

What’s New in PC-BSD 9.1

PC-BSD 9.1 adds many new features, ranging from more graphical utilities available within Control Panel, a redesigned installer, a server installation wizard, and improved jail management. This article introduces these new features. PC-BSD 9.1 is expected to be released during September, 2012. This article introduces some of the new features of this release.

Setting up Your OwnCloud Instance via the Warden™

In this article we will be taking a look at the OwnCloud software, specifically how to do the initial installation and configuration inside a jail run by PC-BSD’s® jail management utility, the Warden™. First we will take a look at a setup done from a PC-BSD graphical interface, and then explore the same setup from the command-line using TrueOS™, the server version of PC-BSD.

Nmap: The Network Swiss Army Knife

Nmap (“Network Mapper”) is a GPL utility for network discovery and security auditing. Many systems and network administrators find it very useful for network inventory, monitoring hosts and services uptime, debugging network related problems, and many other tasks. From this article you will learn the basic functionalities of Nmap 6.

Unix IPC with Pipes

This article explains one of the earliest forms of inter-process communication (IPC) in Unix. Pipes were the original form of Unix IPC and were present in Third Edition of Unix (1973). They can only be used to communicate between related processes, but despite this limitation they still remain one of the most frequently employed mechanisms for IPC.

FreeBSD Enterprise Search with Apache Solr

Back office integration and cross platform search has always posed major challenges especially in large organizations with many legacy systems. With Apache Solr these barriers can be overcome and the power of enterprise search realised. In this new series the author will show you step by step how to commission an Apache Solr search engine.

Hardening FreeBSD with TrustedBSD and Mandatory Access Controls (MAC)

Most system administrators understand the need to lock down permissions for files and applications. In addition to these configuration options on FreeBSD, there are features provided by TrustedBSD that add additional layers of specific security controls to fine tune the operating system for multilevel security. By reading this article you will learn the configuration of the mac_bsdextended module and how to use the ugidfw utility

Interview with Jeroen van Nieuwenhuizen

Jeroen van Nieuwenhuizen was the chair of the EuroBSDcon 2011 organizing committee. Currently, he is one of the members of the EuroBSDcon Foundation board. He came in contact with Unix in 1997 and started to work with the BSDs in 2002. In his daily life Jeroen works as a Unix Consultant for Snow B.V. BSD Magazine asked him some questions regarding event organization and opportunities to participate in organizing EuroBSDcon.

BSD Magazine has also a “Best of 2011? issue available for purchase.

Messaging 10bn Whatsapps a day with FreeBSD

Whatsapp, the popular messaging startup, managed to record 10 billion messages in one day, comprising 6 billion outbound messages and 4 billion inbound messages.

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia!

Whatsapp tweeted about their new milestone last week:

“new daily record: 4B inbound, 6B outbound = 10B total messages a day! #freebsd #erlang.”

The hashtags are references to the technology behind WhatsApp: the app was developed largely on the open source platform FreeBSD using the Erlang programming language originally written by Ericsson.

FreeBSD proves again it’s a great operating system for high demand services.