Released: PC-BSD 8.2 (Hubble Edition)

Following the release of FreeBSD 8.2, iXsystems has now released PC-BSD 8.2.

As you will know, PC-BSD closely follows FreeBSD’s release cycle (on which it is based) but makes it easier for use on the desktop. As a sidenote, Dru Lavigne, PC-BSD’s Community Manager, is doing a presentation this weekend at Scale 2011 on how PC-BSD compares to Linux and FreeBSD. This is her presentation outline:


With regards to the release of PC-BSD 8.2 (Hubble Edition), this version contains a number of enhancements and improvements. For a full list of changes, have a look at the changelog.

Some of the notable changes are:

  • FreeBSD 8.2-Release
  • KDE 4.5.5
  • Added ability to select file-system type and encryption during auto-partitioning
  • Able to toggle between MBR/GPT partitioning
  • Various bug fixes to the wireless / network managers

Version 8.2 of PC-BSD is available for download from the mirrors, as well as via torrent from gotbsd.net.

Build your own FreeBSD update server (howto)

This article describes building an internal FreeBSD Update Server.

Experienced users or administrators are often responsible for several machines or environments. They understand the difficult demands and challenges of maintaining such an infrastructure.

Running a FreeBSD Update Server makes it easier to deploy security and software patches to selected test machines before rolling them out to production. It also means a number of systems can be updated from the local network rather than a much slower Internet connection.

This article outlines the steps involved in creating an internal FreeBSD Update Server.

Full article (via, originally published on experts exchange)

Available: FreeNAS 8.0-RC1

iXsystems has released FreeNAS 8.0 RC1. This RC provides a number of enhancements over previous Beta snapshots that have been released.

The files can be downloaded from the SourceForge FreeNAS-8 page.
More than just a huge jump in version numbers.

FreeNAS 8.0 blends FreeBSD 8.x technology, production ready ZFS, and a web-based GUI with x86/amd64 based hardware to make a NAS device available with a lower barrier to entry.

Some goodies:

1. There is a volume wizard allowing for creating ZFS volumes with cache, log, or spare devices.

2. The GUI now allows creating users without login privileges, as well as removing
passwords from accounts. This is useful for creating an FTP anonymous user, or
removing passwords from system accounts that were previously set. Additionally,
/sbin/nologin is now a valid shell. Useful for adding samba users where you need
a password but don’t want them to have shell access.

3. Numerous fixes to the CLI that runs on the console, including feedback to database
changes, feedback when it restarts parts of the system, sanitation of input so that
only valid information can be entered, better help as to what input is expected, and
also output of what IP the web GUI can be accessed at.

4. Firmware upgrades via the GUI are now possible. Future releases will include a firmware
upgrade file that can be used via the GUI to perform upgrades.

Check out the 8.0RC1Release Notes for a full overview.

Upgrades from previous .8 beta snapshots are supported.  Upgrades from 0.7 or earlier versions of FreeNAS are not yet supported.

FreeNAS has always been the best home/SMB NAS server, but it’s now going be even better.

Links: FreeNAS website |Release Notes (8.0RC1)

What kind of FreeBSD Installer do you like? (Poll)

We wrote about the latest developments with regards to FreeBSD’s default installer (sysinstall).

It would be interesting to see what kind of installer you prefer. GUI or text/ncurses based?

Feel free to leave any comments below.

What kind of FreeBSD installer do you prefer?

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Available: GhostBSD 2.0 x86 beta

The GhostBSD developers have released a new version of GhostBSD: GhostBSD 2.0 beta:

This release is a Live CD with out an installer.The reason we do that is so we can offer out a working version to find bugs before the final release. Some great news for this release of GhostBSD 2.0 will now be support auto mount of USB Devices! [...]

Some of the new changes to the release: was our logo(tell us if you like), bug fixes, New live file system, and more improvements to GDM(no more white screens during booting).GhostBSD is based upon FreeBSD 8.2 rc3. On the Ghostbsd 2.0 release you will find Gnome 2.32, Rhythmbox 0.12.8_3, Pidgin 2.7.7, Firefox 3.6 and Thunderbird 3.0.11.(source)

GhostBSD will be using the bxPKG package installed. Bxpkg is package manager developed by Kostas Petrikas that let’s you install uninstall and manage pkg packages.

Jared Barneck has written a quick review: GhostBSD 2.0 Beta 2 – A FreeBSD LiveCD.

BSD Magazine 2011/02: ZFS and FreeBSD

A new issue of the free BSD Magazine is available: ZFS and FreeBSD

Table of contents:

ZFS and FreeBSD

The Zettabyte Filesystem (ZFS) is one of the most advanced open source filesystems available today. Its design implements several revolutionary ideas with focus on data consistency, performance and ease of use.

FreeNAS

FreeNAS is a very interesting project with a history spanningapproximately 5 years. It’s a fusion of FreeBSD with a webgui andembedded device framework, which creates a NAS device basedon FreeBSD, fully manageable from a web-browser out of a PCwith an x86 or AMD64 architecture.

Network transparent rate limitation with ipfw

In this article I will explain how to setup a transparent bridge between your LAN and your Firewall/router. With “transparent” I mean that you won’t need to do any change on your network in order to use it.

Building an iSCSI storage with BSD

Highly loaded databases need a fast and reliable storage solution, something like a big server with many hard drives, probably with 4, 8, or 16 drives. Also, many 1U servers do not have the necessary storage capacity to offer services that need it.

How to setup a USB Memory stick for installing a pfSense SoHo Firewall/Router

This article covers the installation and initial configuration of a pfSense Firewall / Router on a small form factor PC.

Mutt On OS X

Whenever my boss walks by my desk, he can’t help but ask, „Why do you insist on using the command line for everything? Are you stuck in the 1970’s or something?”…

The Missing Links to Strategic Implementation

In regards to growth and strategy, the father of management and strategy, Peter Drucker was wont to say, “Everything must degenerate into work if anything is to happen.”

Browser Wars

With the rise of the Internet, there has been a considerable increase in the number of web browsers available for BSD platforms.

Interview with Dan Langille

BSDCan 2011 – An interview with Dan Langille, who will give you a closer look at the upcoming conference.

PC-SYSINSTALL – A new system installer backend for PC-BSD & FreeBSD

A presentation from BSDCan 2010 is an example of what you can expect from this years Conference.

Download BSD Magazine 2011/02: FreeBSD & ZFS

FreeBSD installers. BSDInstall and pc-sysinstall to merge

Most readers here will agree that FreeBSD would benefit from an updated installer with more functionalities. One of many reasons e.g. is support for the Zetabyte File System (ZFS). A number of FreeBSD users even think that FreeBSD can do with a more attractive installer (me included).

I’m aware of the reasons why many FreeBSD users prefer a text-based installer, but I think a GUI installer is nicer. Please don’t start a flame war ;-) Remember, for new users, first impressions count…..

FreeBSD sysinstall

Over the last couple of  years there have been a few projects endeavouring to create a user friendly graphical installer for FreeBSD. As far as I’m aware these have now been discontinued. Two of which are:

Kris Moore, the founder of the PC-BSD Project, saw the need for an alternative installer for his project and created pc-sysinstall, a visually more pleasing installer with more advanced features than FreeBSD’s sysinstall. There’s an article in this month’s BSD Magazine (FreeBSD and ZFS) with some background and technical details of pc-sysinstall.


Last year work was undertaken by iXsystems to port PC-BSD’s graphical pc-sysinstall to a text-based installer as a replacement for the current sysinstall FreeBSD installer: txt-sysinstall, but this hasn’t been worked on for the last nine months. Will Backman has an interview with John Hixson on this: bsdtalk 199.

I was somewhat disappointed when Nathan Whitehorn (nwhitehorn@) announced his BSD Install project. Instead of working with the guys from iXsystems/PC-BSD and improving pc-sysinstall/txt-sysinstall he deciced to create BSD Install to replace FreeBSD’s current installer:

This project started because we have never, in three major releases, shipped an installer on PowerPC capable of installing a booting system without absurd amounts of handholding and use of external tools. This is especially galling when we have tools in the base (gpart, newfs, and tar) fully capable of doing this. As it turns out, by the time you’ve written a shell script to combine these things, you’re well on your way to deciding to write a new installer.

The goal of this project then, was to maximally reuse existing tools and to make the installer a chain of easily modifiable or replaceable components so that future installer-tinkerers will not run away in terror as quickly as I and many others have from sysinstall and libdisk.

PC-BSD pc-sysinstall

Choice and competion are a good thing, but sometimes cooperation towards a common goal is the better option.

Nathan recently emailed (FreeBSD Installer Roadmap) that he is now together with Josh Paetzel and  Warner Losh, both from iXsystems, and it was agreed to merge the BSD Install frontend with the pc-sysinstall backend:

After some discussion with M. Warner Losh and Josh Paetzel of iXsystems, we’ve come up with the following roadmap for an installer for 9.0. Over the next month, we intend to try to adapt bsdinstall as the front-end for the more featureful, but lacking a terminal-compatible user interface, pc-sysinstall. This implies that the user interface and installation flow for the hybrid installer will be extremely similar to what is currently available in bsdinstall, so please continue sending feedback and bug reports on it. What will be different is the backend code, which will allow use of additional features not currently present in bsdinstall, such as ZFS installation.

I’m happy that the two teams/projects are working together now to create the best installer for the upcoming FreeBSD 9.0.

It is my personal opinion, but I think FreeBSD should come with a graphical installer by default. However, when launched there should be an option to exit the GUI and continue with the text based installer for those who prefer this.

As most of you will know there’s also a BSD Installer which is used by pfSenseDragonflyBSD and previously by FreeNAS.

If you want, please take part in the “what FreeBSD Installer do you like” poll.

Virtualbox 4.0.4 for FreeBSD (CFT)

A call for testing has gone out for VirtualBox 4.0.4.  The latest version in ports is 3.2.12 (/usr/ports/emulators/virtualbox-ose) so it’s nice a number of devs working to get this port updated. 4.0.4 is the most recent stable version, released on 17 Feb.

A few of you have probably wondered what happened to our VirtualBox efforts for FreeBSD. Well it took a bit longer then expected and a few problems were found that needed to be resolved first but most of the things are looking fine now and almost all patches have been pushed upstream with 4.0.4 so here we are now.

We will continue to work on VirtualBox for FreeBSD and upstream is also very helpful to us but we could need a few more hands to better keep up with the work and especially improve and fix the Guest Additions. So if you want to help please contact us or have a look at our Todo list.

If you have a spare PC, please let the devs have your feedback.

More info and a list with current developers can be found on: VirtualBox 4.0.4 for FreeBSD

About VirtualBox: VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use maintained by Oracle.