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)

Other BSD related news

FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report (Jul – Sep 2010)

Another quarter, another FreeBSD status report: FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report (Jul – Sep 2010).

With 55 entries, this is the longest report so far, and it’s a good indication of how FreeBSD is thriving and how the community is involved in its development.

Table of contents:

Google Summer of Code

Projects

FreeBSD Team Reports

Network Infrastructure

Kernel

Documentation

Userland Programs

Architectures

Ports

Miscellaneous

Read the report in its entirety: FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report (Jul – Sep 2010)

CloudSigma launches FreeBSD 8.1 and ZFS in the Cloud

CloudSigma AG has announced the addition of FreeBSD and by extension ZFS to its cloud computing platform. A FreeBSD 8.1 pre-installed cloud server is now available for instant deployment from CloudSigma’s public drives library:

“Patrick Baillie, CEO commented

‘We’ve had many requests for FreeBSD over the last few months so I’m very happy to be able to offer its latest iteration directly from our drives library. We are continuing our strategy of keeping an open software layer and expanding the number of ready cloud server choices we offer over time.’

FreeBSD has a number of key differentiating factors from competing Linux and Windows platforms and is not generally available for deployment from other leading cloud vendors. As with all cloud servers from CloudSigma, customers have full software level control and sole root access to their FreeBSD servers.

Advanced technology needs an advanced cloud

Customers of CloudSigma are able to create customised infrastructure with emphasis given to performance and control in a way not possible from other competing platforms. The ability to deploy FreeBSD and use ZFS is just one example of the freedom available on CloudSigma’s platform.

ZFS is an ideal tool for use in clustered server environments where high availability is critical. Some of important characteristics are:

  • pooled data storage across multiple servers and drives
  • configurable data snapshots with time slider
  • RAIDZ available with high integrity data writing

As a company CloudSigma does not subscribe to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy for delivering cloud computing services preferring to give its customers the tools and power to tune-in their cloud infrastructure; the result is higher performance, greater efficiency and greater security for customers.

Hybrid Web Cluster Choose CloudSigma with FreeBSD

Hybrid Web Cluster has chosen CloudSigma to from part of its multi-cloud next generation Platform-as-a-Service offering. Hybrid Web Cluster is a cloud web hosting platform with no single point of failure which delivers the benefits of redundancy and scalability to web agencies, developers and ISPs of all sizes.

Luke Marsden of Hybrid Web Cluster commented

‘In order to deliver the kind of next generation web hosting platform that we have built, we needed a public cloud vendor that gave us the ability to choose our operating system and applications without restriction. The CloudSigma product was easily moulded to our needs without us having to change our approach or vision – a task not easily achieved with the large incumbent cloud vendors.’

Hybrid Web Cluster leverages the advantages of FreeBSD and ZFS to deliver a web hosting solution that includes automatic load balancing, instant failover-recovery and auto-scaling.

Performance and Control

CloudSigma has concentrated on building a product that addresses two of the key concerns of many prospective cloud computing users, performance and control.

Luke Marsden continued,

‘CloudSigma offers full API control over cloud servers which allowed us to build the sort of integration we use implicitly in our platform offering – enabling automatic provision of entire clusters as well as automatic real-time cluster scaling to keep up with changes in demand. We had wondered how performance would stack up on cloud infrastructure but have been very impressed with the results so far. Our cloud servers have been exceeding our expectations, particularly with respect to storage which so often suffers in the cloud’.

CloudSigma are offering a 14-day free trial (open to all) whilst Hybrid Web Cluster have beta testing slots available for suitable applicants (ISPs and web agencies looking for the manageability wins of complete failure-tolerance, automatic load balancing and auto-scaling).

Source