FreeBSD on Sony Playstation 3 (PS3)

Following reports (e.g. Hackers bust PS3 DRM wide open with private key hack)  that hackers had found a way to obtain Sony PlayStation 3‘s private cryptography key, it was only a matter of time of FreeBSD would be run on Sony’s latest gaming station.

The latest hack to come out of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) Congress being held in Berlin comes from the fail0verflow hacking squad, who say they’ve found a way to obtain the PS3′s private cryptography key, which is used to sign code.

With an exploit of this type, people could sign, and thus run any PS3 program. The system would then run it as though it were a valid PS3 game, and firmware upgrades won’t be able to stop it, either.

In fact, The team claims: “We only started looking at the PS3 after Other OS was killed.” OtherOS was a feature available in the first versions of the PS3. It allowed other operating systems, such as Linux or FreeBSD, to be installed on the system.

One week after the hack, FreeBSD is running indeed on PS3. There are still a few problems and rough edges, but they should be ironed out when FreeBSD 9.0 is released:

Yesterday, I imported support for the Sony Playstation 3 into our 64-bit PowerPC port, expanding our game console support into the current generation. There are still a few rough edges due to missing hardware support, but the machine boots and runs FreeBSD stably. These rough edges should be smoothed out in time for the 9.0 release.

For further instructions, check out the announcement post: Playstation 3 support now in HEAD

Top 15 Posts and Search Terms in 2010

I thought I’d share the 15 most popular posts of 2010.

Interestingly, people were looking for ways to use FreeBSD as a desktop operating system: posts on FreeNAS (4) and Google Chrome (3)  and “live systems” (2) were very popular:

  1. FreeBSD will continue supporting ZFS
  2. Install FreeBSD 8.0 from USB memory stick
  3. Differences between BSD and Linux
  4. Flash 9 for FreeBSD 7.1 (howto)
  5. FreeNAS Tutorials
  6. Chromium (Google Chrome) for FreeBSD
  7. Running Google Chrome on FreeBSD
  8. Creating a Network Attached Storage VMware using FreeNAS
  9. FreeNAS supports Bittorrent
  10. DesktopBSD Live USB stick
  11. Embedded FreeBSD systems
  12. UNIX history family tree
  13. FreeNAS 0.8 Roadmap
  14. Open source NAS device using FreeNAS and iSCSI drives (howtos & video)
  15. Google Chrome on FreeBSD 7.0 (howto)

FreeNAS is in good shape and hopefully FreeNAS 8.0 will be with us soon. Unfortunately, there’s no native FreeBSD Flash player, but with the world moving to (or are we pushed to?) using HTML5, this should be no problem. A new maintainer is now looking after the Chromium (Google Chrome) port, so a more up-to-date version (10?) will be released soon.

A similar pattern can be seen from Google search terms when landing on freebsdnews.net:

  1. freebsd
  2. freebsd news
  3. freebsd vs linux
  4. freenas vmware
  5. bsd news
  6. freenas 0.8
  7. chrome freebsd
  8. freebsd flash
  9. google chrome freebsd
  10. freenas bittorrent
  11. freebsd live usb
  12. freebsd usb install
  13. freebsd chrome
  14. freebsd embedded
  15. install freebsd from usb

New tabs: News Feeds and Contribute

I’ve added to two new tabs in the menu above:

News Feeds – RSS feeds from regularly updated FreeBSD sites. If you want yours adding, let me know.

Contribute. If you have any stories please submit them here. If you want to post a guest post you’re most welcome. (apart from English, German, French and Spanish contributions are also accepted.

post about new tabs (feeds & contribute)

Kylin OS – more details and download links

My last post on Kylin, China’s secure, FreeBSD based operating system, has raised quite a bit of interest and people have been asking for download links.

I’ve done some more research into Kylin, and came across the main Kylin website: kylin-os.com (Chinese). The government seems to have set up a company, Kyrin,  to research, develop, promote, educate and deploy Kylin in government departments and commercial enterprices, e.g.

  • China Construction Bank
  • North China Electric Power
  • Xiangcai Securities
  • Shanghai Unicom

Kirin also develops load balancing servers, NAS storage systems,  secure network storage (SecStor) and a Linux based Kylin version.

It’s interesting to note that NeoKylin, or any replacement for Kylin, is developed by China Standard Software and the National University of Defense Technology, and not by Kirin.

What is the reasoning (for the government) to begin developing a new product? Was Kylin with its proprietary security layer not secure enough? Or, is NeoKylin just another domestic Chinese product built with government sponsorship and funding like redflag-linux?

For the record, Kylin 2.1 is Freebsd 5.3 + linux_base-fc4. If you’re familiar with Chinese, you may download Kylin 2.1 from freebsdcentral.com:

I’ve not been able to get my fingers on Kylin 3.0 (yet).

More on Kylin OS (use Google Translate):

Considering FreeBSD Jails

Jon Buys has a blog post on ostatic.com about FreeBSD Jails. He goes into the different approaches of Linux and FreeBSD and how this becomes clear in virtualistion. He also goes into operating virtualisation vs application virtualisation.

In a traditional virtual machine, built the way VMware, Xen, and VirtualBox do VMs, the virtualization application runs an entire operating system as an independent entity. This requires the application to virtualize the hardware, producing CPU, RAM, and storage in software. The application then boots a new kernel in the virtualized environment, and runs specialized drivers, like VMware tools, inside of the newly booted operating system to allow communication between the two systems.

FreeBSD jails are very different. The jail does not boot its own kernel, and does not run a full version of the operating system. A jail is comprised of a filesystem, a hostname, an IP address, and an application. Jails can be seen as the logical successor to the older chroot environment, which restricted an applications access to the filesystem by providing the application it’s own root. Jails expand on this concept by further separating the host operating system and the application they are running. The difference between virtual machines and jails can be summed up by saying that virtual machines are for operating systems, jails are for applications.

Jon really likes Jails and concludes his post with:

FreeBSD jails allow an administrator to use a single operating system on a single physical machine, and then partition that machine into logical application entities that are no more than an IP address, a name, and the files absolutely necessary to run the application. I’ve been running the FreeBSD jails in a development environment for a while, and I’ve been very happy with them so far. You trade off some of the high-availability aspects that comes with the higher-priced VMware licenses, but what you get is a simple, reliable system.

Read the whole post: Considering FreeBSD Jails

NeoKylin. China’s new domestic FreeBSD based desktop O/S

Two respected Chinese software companies of two operating systems used in China are said to be joining forces (20/12/2010) to create a domestic operating system called NeoKylin.

China Standard Software and the National University of Defense Technology have signed a strategic partnership to launch an operating system brand known as “NeoKylin” that will be used for national defense and all sectors of the country’s economy.

China Standard Software said via a spokesman that the agreement was meant to pave the way for a stronger domestic operating system environment for China. No information has been offered on a timetable for any product launches under the new brand.

China Standard is the maker of the NeoShine Linux desktop series, which includes operating systems built to run in government organisations, business and personal computers.

Academics at the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), on the other hand, are responsible for the Kylin operating system, a secure and FreeBSD based alternative to foreign software such as Microsoft Windows.

The Chinese government seems to be in favour of developing domestic operating systems and being less dependent on the West, i.e Microsoft Windows, out of security considerations (CIA/FBI backdoors??) and as a way to support the local economy. They are determined to kick Windows out of government departments and to make NeoKylin China’s new preferred O/S.

It is not clear whether Kylin will be used as server O/S and NeoKylin as desktop system, or whether NeoKylin will be deployed for both server and desktop use. Neither is it yet known when NeoKylin OS will be released in China.

Do you know have any information on NeoKylin? It would be great if you could share them with us all.

(via pcw)

Kylin, a Chinese FreeBSD based, secure O/S

The Kylin operating system is a server operating system focusing on high performance, availability and security. Its initial developement was  funded by a Chinese government-sponsored Research and Development (R&D) program in 2002. The first public version of Kylin was released in 2007.

Kylin is based on FreeBSD 5.3 with some proprietary security extensions to add an extra level of security to that operating system. Kylin, named after qili, a mythical beast, has been organised in a hierarchy model, including the basic kernel layer which is responsible for initializing the hardware and providing basic memory management and task management, the system service layer which is based on FreeBSD providing UFS2 and BSD network protocols, and the desktop environment which is similar to Windows. It has been designed to comply with the UNIX standards and is compatible with Linux binaries.

Operating systems currently used in China are mainly developed overseas, and it seems to become clearer that it is a national strategy to develop China-owned computer software to replace proprietary software produced in the West. Kylin is approved for use by the People’s Liberation Army and has apparently been deployed in Chinese military, national defence and sensitive government organisations since 2007. Kylin is also being used in finance, governance and education.

(sources used: EuroBSDCon 2005 lecture and Wikipedia)