FreeBSD 8.1 ports feature freeze starting soon

In preparation for 8.1-RELEASE, the ports tree will be in feature freeze after release candidate 1 (RC1) is released, currently planned for June 11.

If you have any commits with high impact planned, get them in the tree before then and if they require an experimental build, have a request for one in portmgr@ hands within the next few days.

Note that this again will be a feature freeze and not a full freeze. Normal upgrade, new ports, and changes that only affect other branches will be allowed without prior approval but with the extra Feature safe: yes tag
in the commit message. Any commit that is sweeping, i.e. touches a large number of ports, infrastructural changes, commits to ports with unusually high number of dependencies, and any other commit that requires the
rebuilding of many packages will not be allowed without prior explicit approval from portmgr@ after that date.

Source

LLVM Clang integrated into FreeBSD 9-CURRENT

LLVM  Clang, a BSD licenced compiler, is an alternative base compiler, with the general intention of it becoming the official FreeBSD base compiler.

On June 9th, we are importing clang/LLVM into FreeBSD HEAD. We are going to import clang/LLVM sources and put those into contrib/llvm (~45MB) and the build infrastructure for it (lib/clang and usr.bin/clang). There’s also a small patch to hook it into the build.
http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-current/2010-June/017650.html

LLVM Clang will bring some great benefits

More over LLVM Clang on FreeBSD can be heard in an interview with Roman Divácký and Ed Schouten at BSD Can 2010: BSD Talk 191.

FreeBSD Foundation announces jail based virtualization project

The FreeBSD Foundation has selected another project for funding: FreeBSD Jail based virtualisation project, to be undertaken by Bjoern A. Zeeb:

“We are pleased to announce that Bjoern A. Zeeb has been awarded a grant to improve FreeBSD’s jail based virtualization infrastructure and to continue to work on the virtual network stack. His employer, CK Software GmbH is matching the Foundation’s funding with hours.

FreeBSD has been well known for its jail based virtualization during the last decade. With the import of the virtual network stack, FreeBSD’s operating system level virtualization has reached a new level.

This project includes cleanup of two years of import work and development and, more notably, brings the infrastructure for a network stack teardown. Cleanly shutting down a network stack in FreeBSD will be the major challenge in the virtualization area to get the new feature to production ready quality for the 9.x release lifecycle.

Further, the project includes generalization of the virtual network stack framework, factoring out common code. This will provide an infrastructure and will ease virtualization of further subsystems like SYSV/Posix IPC with minimal overhead. All further virtualized subsystems will immediately benefit from shared debugging facilities, an essential
feature for early adopters of the new technology.

“Improved jail based virtualization support, that continues to be very lightweight and as easily manageable as classic jails, will be a killer feature for the next few years,”

said Bjoern A. Zeeb, FreeBSD developer. He also added,

“It will allow people to partition their FreeBSD server, run simulations without racks of hardware, or provide thousands of virtual instances in hosting environments fairly easy and efficiently. While this follows the trend of green computing, it also adds to FreeBSD’s virtualization portfolio with Xen or other more heavyweight hypervisor support, which can be mixed with jails as needed.”

While work in this area will have to continue, the funding for this project will end mid-July 2010.”

I wish Bjoern all the best and hopefully we can try and use his work in FreeBSD 9.

If you want to see the FreeBSD Foundation support and fund more of these sort of projects, you can help them by donating to the Foundation (I’m not affiliated to the Foundation)

I’m a BSD

Rick Jelliffe has written up his experience of installing FreeBSD and tweaking it so he could use it for every day use instead of Windows, Linux or Solaris: “I’m a BSD

This is her verdict:

But so far I am really enjoying it. BSD feels like UNIX, a welcome change from Linux. It seems much snappier than Windows. It doesn’t waste its resources on the zillion pre-loading applications, virus-checkers, etc. that bog Windows systems down. Nor does it have the dumb Windows roaming system enabled by default (my Windows PC would take over 2 hours to restart, recently, because of so-called “Roaming”: it actually prevented roaming!) KDE4 is pretty and seems to work well. The hardware and networking just work. The package system works well. There seem to be up-to-date versions of most applications.

I will be interested to see how well the OS update system works (that was something that killed off Mandriva Community Edition for me, after several years of happy use.) FreeBSD has avoided the issues that I had with earlier versions of Mandriva Linux, Sabayon Linux, Mint Linux and OpenSolaris. However, each of them have a much better out-of-the-box configuration, particularly for the applications I use most: Firefox, Thunderbird, Java and OpenOffice.

So I would see FreeBSD as being useful where you needed to use BSD servers for security, and wanted a SOE that would use the same support staff skills. If you don’t have BSD or UNIX skills on tap, or don’t have security requirements, you may find Linux a better choice: as I wrote at the head, I probably would be better off with a derivative BSD distribution aimed at the desktop, like PC-BSD.

My reason for trying it, is first frustration with Windows (roaming, etc), second a desire for better performance, third I have lost patience with having to run virus checkers (and pay for them) for security which should be part of the base product, fourth just for interest, and fifth because I whinge in this blog a lot about technologies driven by the corporate agendas of vendors rather than by user requirements, and FreeBSD seems unattached to vendors (it has had a lot of funding from DARPA.)

Anyway, I have a workable system on which I can do my normal jobs. But I estimate it will be taking about 3 working days to get it OK. Much of that time is not actual time: when loading from the disks I could attend to other work, of course. I don’t know if O’Reilly have a Missing Manual for FreeBSD, but it would have come in very handy. And I certainly have not worked on a BSD system that had package management like this, so there is a bit of learning there, which is OK. I am pretty excited by it, actually.

FreeBSD has so much that inspires confidence, and it is pretty, robust and secure too, with more than a smattering of convenience: all the right stuff.

Read Rick’s full post: I’m a BSD

Interesting FreeBSD related projects: FreeWDE, mfsBSD and easyBSD

Every now and then when browsing the web and hopping from one link to another you sometimes come across some interesting little projects. Recently I’ve found the following three that I want to share with you:

FreeWDE – http://rop.gonggri.jp/?p=269

FreeWDE is a “minimal install” FreeBSD image that you can write to a USB stick or SD-card. When booted from, FreeWDE will ask some questions and then create an AES-256 encrypted partition on the same device. It will then copy the operating system there. You call tell FreeWDE to additionally install an unencrypted FAT32 (Windows) partition which will make a USB stick or SD-card seem like a normal storage device to Windows or Mac machines. It can hold your camera’s pictures or be used for files that you want to move in and out of an offline encrypted system. You can set sizes for all these partitions as well as for the encrypted swap. You can also opt to mount /tmp and /var/log as tmpfs ramdisks.

mfsBSDhttp://mfsbsd.vx.sk/

This is a set of scripts that generates a bootable image (and/or ISO file), that creates a working minimal installation of FreeBSD.

easyBSDhttp://www.fbsd-dev.org/v2/

EasyBSD is a FreeBSD Post Installation script. Now I can imagine you are asking yourself, ‘What does that mean?’ EasyBSD is a modular automation script designed to assist in the extensive post installation process that is required in FreeBSD. The following are modules that are included with EasyBSD, Checks, Update, Security, Networking, Firewall, Recommended Ports, Tips and Tweaks, Daemon, and Universe.

Are you aware of, or are you working on anything FreeBSD related that you want to share with the BSD Community? Why not announce it on this site?

PC-BSD 8.1-BETA1 Released

Hot on the heels of the FreeBSD 8.1-BETA1, Kris Moore has now prepared and released PC-BSD 8.1-BETA1. As most of you will now PC-BSD follows the FreeBSD release cycle and is pure FreeBSD, not a fork, clone or anything like that.

The PC-BSD Team is pleased to announce the availability of PC-BSD 8.1-BETA1 (Hubble Edition), running FreeBSD 8.1-PRERELEASE, and KDE 4.4.4

Version 8.1 contains a number of enhancements and improvements. For a full list of changes, please refer to the changelog. Some of the notable changes are:

  • FreeBSD 8.1-PreRelease
  • KDE 4.4.4
  • Numerous fixes to the installation backend
  • Support for creating dedicated disk GPT partitioning
  • Improved ZFS support
  • Bugfixes to desktop tools / utilities

Please help us with the testing and leave any feedback on the Testing Mailinglist.

PC-BSD Website | Download | Changelog | Release Notes

New BSD Magazine issue: BSD firewalls

A new issue of the BSD Magazine is available. This time the main subject is BSD firewalls.

From the table of contents:

  • WebHostingBuzz: Matthew Russell, Dennis Arkhangelski
  • Introduction to Nano BSD: Daniel Gerzo
  • Secure Your Wireless with IPsec: Dan Langille
  • Redundant firewalls with OpenBSD, CARP and pfsync: Daniele Mazzocchio
  • Easier WINE Installation on amd64: Slawomir Wojtczak
  • Configuring IP-Based SSL: Skip Evans
  • BSD File Sharing – Part 4. SSH: Peter Topiaz
  • BSD Opinion: Rob Sommerville
  • SAP over BSD: Joseba Mendez

It would be interesting to see what you, readers, think of Webhostingbuzz, as I’ve not heard from them. I for one have very positive experience with RootBSD, the experts in BSD Hosting. They’re very efficient and customer-friendly.

Creating PBI packages for PC-BSD (howto)

Jesse Smith from Distrowatch has published an howto showing how you can create step-by-step PBIs (software package format used on the PC-BSD operating system (.pbi filename extension)) for PC-BSD:

“A few months ago when I reviewed PC-BSD 8.0, some people mentioned the reason they weren’t attracted to the FreeBSD-based operating system was the lack of available PBI packages. The PC-BSD system can make use of the large FreeBSD Ports collection, but for people who want to access their software in a point-n-click manner, they need Push Button Installer (PBI) files. This strikes me as a classic chicken and egg problem: more people would be attracted to PC-BSD if it had a greater number of pre-built packages and additional packages would get built if there were more people running PC-BSD. In an effort to help break that vicious cycle, I set out to learn how to make PBI packages and I want to pass on the knowledge I gained along the way.

Before we get into the details, I’m going to assume in this walk-through that you already know how to compile software. You don’t need to have previous experience packaging software into other formats, such as DEB or RPM files, but you should feel comfortable compiling programs from source code. To get started, we’ll need to have a copy of PC-BSD 8 installed on our computer or in a virtual machine. The first thing we will want to do is install the PBI Creator program, which can be downloaded from here.”

Continues [...]

Jesse concludes this guide with:

Though it may seem like a lot at first, the bulk of the work is in making sure the software compiles before it’s packaged. Most of the steps after that are handled in a friendly fashion by the PBI Creator wizard. Personally, I found creating PBI packages much faster and more intuitive than the first times I tackled building DEB or RPM files. There’s very little command-line work, only one packaging tool to install and no editing of cryptic specification files.

For those interested in creating PBI’s, there’s something is in the oven and it’s going to be nice…..