Available: PC-BSD 8.2-RC1

The PC-BSD Team has announced the availability of the first Release Candidate for PC-BSD 8.2.

Version 8.2-RC1 contains a number of enhancements, improvements, and bug fixes in response to previous 8.2 testing snapshots. Some of the notable changes are:

  • Updated to FreeBSD 8.2-RC1
  • Fixed issue detecting the proper video card driver
  • Fixed some crashes when adding new users / groups
  • Added /sbin/nologin as a shell choice in the user manager
  • Let created users have a homedir of /nonexistant via the GUI
  • Fix customizing desktop languages when using a () in the description

Version 8.2-RC1 of PC-BSD is available for download from the mirrors. Everyone is encouraged to test this beta and to report any bugs to the testing mailing list. Instructions for beta testers can be found in the PC-BSD Handbook.

(Free)BSD miscelaneous links and news (week 1)

I. The Perfect Database Server: Firebird 2.5 And FreeBSD 8.1

Here is the guide on installing Firebird 2.5 from FreeBSD 8.1 Ports and creating your first test database; also we show you how to install Flamerobin GUI (administration tool) and the PHP driver for it: The perfect database server: Firebird 2.5 and FreeBSD 8.1

II. Can DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER Compete With Btrfs, ZFS?

The most common Linux file-systems we talk about at Phoronix are of course Btrfs and EXT4 while the ZFS file-system, which is available on Linux as a FUSE (user-space) module or via a recent kernel module port, gets mentioned a fair amount too. When it comes to the FreeBSD and PC-BSD operating systems, ZFS is looked upon as the superior, next-generation option that is available to BSD users. However, with the DragonFlyBSD operating system there is another option: HAMMER. In this article we are seeing how the performance of this original creation within the DragonFlyBSD project competes with ZFS, UFS, EXT3, EXT4, and Btrfs.

HAMMER is a file-system created by the DragonFlyBSD developers themselves and is the default choice when installing this BSD operating system, but UFS remains a choice too. The one sentence description about this file-system is that “[HAMMER] provides instant crash recovery, multi-volume file systems, integrity checking, fine grained history/undo, networked mirroring, and historical snapshots.” HAMMER uses no fsck, can be sized up to one Exabyte, supports up to 256 volumes of four petabytes in size, coarse-grained history provided by snapshots with up to sixty days history, live snapshot access, and data/meta-data is CRC-checked. Like Btrfs, HAMMER snapshots can be taken at any time, can be accessed live, and boasts a similar set of features. Other HAMMER file-system features include the ability to split it up into multiple pseudo file-systems, there is support for back-up pseudo file-systems, NFS-exportable snapshots, and there is support for slave-to-slave mirroring streams: Can DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER Compete With Btrfs, ZFS?

Matt Dillon’s, DragonFlyBSD’s project founder, thoughts on the test: HAMMER Benchmark Fun

III. Get Linux and FreeBSD hardware info with guide to commands

Switching between open source OSs can sometimes be confusing, since they may have different ways of doing things. A common task that may confuse some users when switching systems is getting hardware information. In the case of Linux-based OSs and FreeBSD, the following cheat sheet for figuring out how to do the same things on two different systems can ease some of the pain: Linux vs FreeBSD cheat sheet.

IV. Cost Optimization Through Open Source Software (iXsystems)

The lead article in this month’s edition of the Open Source Business Resource was contributed by iXsystems. It describes some of the business reasons behind the company’s choice to use only FreeBSD and PC-BSD systems in its own infrastructure and provides a cost/savings comparison for both software and maintenance costs. It also contains some good references and percentages if you’re looking for something to show your manager (via)

V. Creating an LVM-backed FreeBSD DomU in a Linux Dom0

As the topic suggests we’re going to play with Xen and set up a FreeBSD DomU inside a Linux Dom0.

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):