FreeBSD Foundation EOY fund-raise drive

The FreeBSD Foundation has kicked off its annual end-of-year fund-raise drive, and is calling happy (Free)BSD users make a small donation to help the FreeBSD Project fund new initiatives, sponsor FreeBSD Conferences, grant travel grants etc.

The Foundation has received some large (corporate) donations already, but the number of last year’s individual donations hasn’t been matched yet. More than half of the £350k goal has been given. If you want and can help, you can donate here (I am not affiliated with the FreeBSD Foundation).

FreeBSD Foundation president Justin Gibbs writes:

As the year is winding down I’m writing this note to remind you of the motivation behind the FreeBSD Foundation’s work, its benefits to you, and to ask for your financial assistance in making our work possible.

Ten years ago, I created the FreeBSD Foundation to repay a debt I owe to the FreeBSD project. While working on FreeBSD I learned the fundamentals of sound software design, how to successfully manage a large code base, and experienced the challenges of release engineering. Beyond the benefits of this education, FreeBSD has provided a robust platform that has allowed me to build several successful commercial products while being well paid to work on an operating system I love.

Today, through my volunteer work with the FreeBSD Foundation, I’m still paying down this debt.

This year, despite the slow pace of the economic recovery, the FreeBSD Foundation has an impressive list of accomplishments:

Provided $100,000 in grants for projects that improve FreeBSD in the areas of:

  • DTrace support
  • High availability storage
  • Enhanced SNMP reporting
  • Virtualization and resource partitioning
  • Embedded device support
  • Networking stack improvements

Allocated $50,000 for equipment to enhance FreeBSD project infrastructure.

Sponsored 8 FreeBSD related conferences.

Funded 16 travel grants giving increased community and developer access to conferences.

Provided legal support to the FreeBSD project.

How do our activities benefit you? If you are a company using FreeBSD, our work to strengthen the FreeBSD community ensures the continued viability of FreeBSD and a large pool of developers to tap into. If you are an end user, our work brings you new features and access to conferences. And if you are a FreeBSD developer, the FreeBSD Foundation is providing the resources needed to make your next innovation possible.

The FreeBSD project thrives through the hard work of our community, but it also requires financial backing. This year we set a fund-raising goal of $350,000. We are pleased to report that we are half way there, but we need your help to reach our goal. Every donation, no matter its size, helps to make our work possible. As a non-profit with very low overhead, your donation is the best way to invest in FreeBSD. Please make that investment today.

Source: FreeBSD Foundation blog

Released: FreeNAS 8 (Beta)

Warner Losh, of iXsystems, announced last week the availability of FreeNAS 8. Since there were some issues with the initial beta, ensure you’re downloading the latest version (r5605).

Warner writes:

“iXsystems is pleased to announced FreeNAS 8.0 Beta. FreeNAS 8.0 has undergone a complete rewrite. We’ve redesigned the GUI to be easier to use and extend. We’ve upgraded many technologies in the system for improved hardware support, faster I/O, better modularity, and easier upgrades. We trust that you’ll find the system easier to use and, in time, much more feature rich than the current FreeNAS offering.

The base system has migrated from FreeBSD 7.x and the m0m0wall build system to FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE and NanoBSD. The system startup has migrated from the older php scripts to the standard FreeBSD rc.d boot system. We’ve pushed many of the bug fixes and system improvements back into FreeBSD.

We’ve rewritten the GUI using Python and Django. We’ve completely removed the old php system. In addition to Django, we’re using Dojango and Dojo to implement AJAX features. The new system is much more modular than the old system. We will use this modularity in a future version for easy integration of custom features into your FreeNAS box.

The installer has been rewritten using pc-sysinstall, the future FreeBSD installation technology. The scripts have a similar feel to the old PHP scripts for users of the current system. The ISO now is only an installer. You can no longer run in live mode from a CDROM.

The installation types have changed; there’s no longer an embedded or full install, nor can the image be installed on a data disk. You must now install FreeNAS onto a dedicated device. FreeNAS supports USB flash, CompactFlash, hard drives, ssd or any other mass storage device supported by FreeBSD.”

Full announcement: FreeNAS 8 Beta released

The Beta can be downloaded from Source Forge and the release notes can be found on the FreeNAS wiki.

FreeNAS is an embedded open source NAS (Network-Attached Storage) distribution based on FreeBSD, supporting the following protocols: CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI (initiator and target) and UPnP.

It supports Software RAID (0,1,5), ZFS, disk encryption, S.M.A.R.T/email monitoring with a WEB configuration interface

FreeBSD Security Advisory (pseudofs)

The FreeBSD Security Team has identified a little bug in FreeBSD with speudofs:

I. Background

pseudofs offers an abstract API for pseudo file systems which is utilized by procfs(5) and linprocfs(5). It provides generic file system services such as ACLs, extended attributes which interface with VFS and which are otherwise onerous to implement. This enables pseudo file system authors to add this functionality to their file systems with minimal effort.

II. Problem Description

The pfs_getextattr(9) function, used by pseudofs for handling extended attributes, attempts to unlock a mutex which was not previously locked.

To find out more about the impact, a work-around and solution, check out the advisory page:

FreeBSD Security Advisory (pseudofs)

New theme

Since I’m having a few issues with the current theme and I’m in favour of something lighter, I’m going to update the theme based on your suggestions and feedback next week.

Apart from being lighter, the new theme will have more integration with social networks and link sharing websites.

freebsdnews.net will soon be accessible through another (yet to be announced) URL too. I’ll let you know.

NYI Sponsors NYCBSDCon 2010

New York Internet (NYI) is sponsoring NYCBSDCon 2010 which is taking place this weekend. NYCBSDCon is a bi-annual BSD conference held at Manhattan’s prestigious Cooper Union.

NYI has a long history of supporting open source projects, particularly the BSDs. It has sponsored NYCBSDCon since its inception in 2005, as well as recently announcing that it now oversees the day-to-day hosting operations of the East Coast U.S. mirror for the FreeBSD Foundation, a deployment consisting of more than 23,000 pieces of Project software.

“NYI has been with us since the beginning. Their unflagging enthusiasm, along with their operational precision and technical intelligence, have been invaluable to the growth of this community in the New York area. If ticket sales are any indication, we expect NYCBSDCon 2010 to be our most successful to-date.”

said George Rosamond, an organizer of NYCBSDCon 2010.

“NYCBSDCon is one of the most important events on our calendar,” added Phillip Koblence, VP Operations, NYI. “Not only is it an excellent opportunity to stay current with the latest developments in BSD, it also allows us to maintain direct, strategic ties with the thought-leaders of a community that has contributed so much to the advancement of open source software.”

NYCBSDCon 2010 aims to build on the success of past events, with a wide array of speakers and topics and an exciting and diverse crowd representing all current BSD projects. Topics will include IPv6, pfSense, PC-Sysinstall and LDAP.

Continue reading

November 2010 – a month of FreeBSD conferences

Last weekend MeetBSD 2010 took place in California. If you were not able to attend or if you want to ‘see’ the conference again, check out Will Backman pictures and the two videos he took (day 1, day 2). Some of the presentation slides are available too.

LISA 2010 will take place from November 10–11 in San Jose, CA. PC-BSD will be represented.

The bi-annual NYCBSDCon will be held 12-14 November. Check out the to-be-held presentations.

BSD-Day 2010 will be held in Budapest (Hungary) at Eötvös Loránd University on 20 November.

 

 

PC-BSD 9.0 (alpha) available for testing

Kris Moore announced the availability of PC-BSD 9.0 (alpha):

I’m pleased to make available our first 9-Current alpha snapshot for you to begin playing with. This testing snapshot contains MANY new features and improvements that we plan on including in the eventual release of 9.0. However, by no means is this snapshot “feature complete” or to be considered stable. Expect to find bugs and things to change over the coming months as we refine features. Consider yourself warned!

Some of the major changes are:

  • Ability to to customise your installed desktop and choose from KDE4, Gnome2,XFCE4, and LXDE.
  • New PC-BSD Control Panel
  • PBI format has been completely overhauled and reimplemented as CLI

BSDTalk has an interview with Kris done last weekend at the MeetBSD Conference talking about PC-BSD 9  (18 minutes). Will and Kris talk about the following new features:

  • new environments will be available (no longer KDE only)
  • softupdates with journaling and USB 3.0 (new in the underlying FreeBSD 9.0 Head)
  • Re-implementation of the PBI package format. It is now completely shell-driven and the QT4 GUI sits on top of the scripts. To find out more about the new PBI CL utilities, check out the PBI Manager 9.0 section of the PC-BSD Handbook
  • And this is a big one: reduced disk space taken by PBI’s by sharing libraries. Though modern hard drives are large and fairly cheap, it’s been a often-heard complaint that PBI’s are hard drive space waisters.
  • PBIs are now signed by the build server
  • PBI’s can be patched by applying binary diffs, so there won’t be a need to download many megabytes to install a new version of a particular PBI (updating OpenOffice for example is a nightmare)

All in all, PC-BSD 9.0 promises to be one of the best versions so far.

Before downloading/installing this alpha, be aware there are some issues.

Download PC-BSD 9.0 Alpha

Of EoL, GSoC, paid development and why I love UNIX

FreeBSD 6.4 and 8.0 EoLs coming soon

On November 30th, FreeBSD 6.4 and FreeBSD 8.0 will have reached their End of Life and will no longer be supported by the FreeBSD Security Team. Since FreeBSD 6.4 is the last remaining supported release from the FreeBSD 6.x stable branch, support for the FreeBSD 6.x stable branch will also cease at the same point. Users of either of these FreeBSD releases are strongly encouraged to upgrade to either FreeBSD 7.3 or FreeBSD 8.1 before that date.

The FreeBSD Ports Management Team wishes to remind users that November 30 is also the end of support for the Ports Collection for both FreeBSD 6.4 RELEASE and the FreeBSD 6.x STABLE branch. Neither the infrastructure nor individual ports are guaranteed to work on these FreeBSD versions after that date. A CVS tag will be created for users who cannot upgrade for some reason, at which time these users are advised to stop tracking the latest ports CVS repository and use the RELEASE_6_EOL tag instead. (source)

FreeBSD at GSoC Mentor Summit

As in previous years, Google held a “Mentor Summit” to bring together representatives from the open source organizations that participated in the Google Summer of Code to share experiences of what worked, what didn’t, and generally learn from each other about shepherding students through the program. The mentor summit is always run Unconference-style and it is a great opportunity to meet, learn, and socialize with the many other open source organization… continues (Murray’s FreeBSD Notes)

FreeBSD Will Pay for Some KMS, GEM Love

“The good news, however, is that the FreeBSD Foundation is willing to finance a developer to work on bringing kernel mode-setting and Graphics Execution Manager support over to the FreeBSD kernel.”

Source & full story: FreeBSD Will Pay for Some KMS, GEM Love (phoronix.com)

Why I Love Unix

I love Unix because of all the wonderful things that I can do on the command line. When I first used Unix in 1983, it was love on first sight. With a list of the most basic commands by my side, I quickly discovered how much I could accomplish with several command strings strung together. Unix was nothing like what I’d been using up to that point in my brief data processing career. It was clever, modular and logical. With tools like grep and languages like awk, it was quite a bit of fun to discover how easily I could make the system do my bid. My ability to capture sequences of commands easily into scripts made it possible for me to encapsulate my clever commands, even share them with coworkers. The Unix culture seemed innovative, inviting my participation in creating an environment that really worked for me.

Full blog post: Why I love UNIX (itworld.com)

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