An anonymous reader writes "ACM Queue interviews Cambridge researcher (and FreeBSD developer) Robert Watson on why processor designs need to change in order to better support security features like Capsicum — and how they change all the time (RISC, GPUs, etc). He also talks about the challenge of building a research team at Cambridge that could actually work with all levels of the stack: CPU design, operating systems, compilers, applications, and formal methods. The DARPA-sponsored SRI and Cambridge CTSRD project is building a new open source processor that can support orders of magnitude greater sandboxing than current designs."
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New submitter Madwand sends this quote from the NetBSD Project's announcement that NetBSD 6.0 has been released: "Changes from the previous release include scalability improvements on multi-core systems, many new and updated device drivers, Xen and MIPS port improvements, and brand new features such as a new packet filter. Some NetBSD 6.0 highlights are: support for thread-local storage (TLS), Logical Volume Manager (LVM) functionality, rewritten disk quota subsystem, new subsystems to handle flash devices and NAND controllers, an experimental CHFS file system designed for flash devices, support for Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) protocol, and more. This release also introduces NPF — a new packet filter, designed with multi-core systems in mind, which can do TCP/IP traffic filtering, stateful inspection, and network address translation (NAT)."
With the goal of bringing more experimental development to the OpenBSD code base, a few developers have announced a fork named Bitrig. According to their FAQ, Bitrig aims to build a small system targeting only modern hardware and "be a very commercially friendly code base by using non-viral licenses where possible." Their first step toward that goal was removing GCC in favor of LLVM/Clang. The project roadmap shows their future goals as adding FUSE support, improving multiprocessing, porting the system to ARM, and replacing the GNU C++ library with LLVM's.
An anonymous reader writes "Shared in last quarter's FreeBSD status report are developer plans to have LLVM/Clang become the default compiler and to deprecate GCC. Clang can now build most packages and suit well for their BSD needs. They also plan to have a full BSD-licensed C++11 stack in FreeBSD 10." Says the article, too: "Some vendors have also been playing around with the idea of using Clang to build the Linux kernel (it's possible to do with certain kernel configurations, patches, and other headaches)."
An anonymous reader writes "Today the 5.1 release of OpenBSD has surfaced. As usual, it includes improved hardware support, but also OpenSSH 6.0 and over 7000 ports, with major performance and stability improvements in the package build process (and some really cool stickers). Here's the changelog, the download page, and the CD-ordering page. "
An anonymous reader writes "Matt Dillon of DragonFly BSD just announced that AMD confirmed a CPU bug he found. Matt quotes part of the mail exchange and it looks like 'consecutive back-to-back pops and (near) return instructions can create a condition where the processor incorrectly updates the stack pointer.' The specific manifestations in DragonFly were random segmentation faults under heavy load."
An anonymous reader writes "MINIX 3.2.0 was released today (alternative announcement). Lots of code has been pulled in from NetBSD, replacing libc, much of the userspace and the bootloader. This should allow much more software to be ported easily (using the pkgsrc infrastructure which was previously adopted) while retaining the microkernel architecture. Also Clang is now used as a default compiler and ELF as the default binary format, which should allow MINIX to be ported to other architectures in the near future (in fact, they are currently looking to hire someone with embedded systems experience to port MINIX to ARM). A live CD is available." The big highlight is the new NetBSD based userland — it replaces the incredibly old fashioned and limited Minix userland. There's even experimental SMP support. Topping it all off, the project switched over to git which would make getting involved in development a bit easier for the casual hacker.
An anonymous reader writes with word of the release earlier this week, after eight months of development, of DragonFly BSD 3.0. The release includes improved scalability through finer-grained locking, improvements to the HAMMER file system in low-memory configurations, and a TrueCrypt-compatible disk encryption system. DragonFly is an installable system, but it can also be run live from CD, DVD, or USB key.
An anonymous reader writes "Communications of the ACM is carrying two articles promoting the Capsicum security model developed by Robert Watson (FreeBSD — Cambridge) and Ben Laurie (Apache/OpenSSL, ChromeOS — Google) for thin-client operating systems such as ChromeOS. They demonstrate how Chrome web browser sandboxing using Capsicum is not only stronger, but also requires only 100 lines of code, vs 22,000 lines of code on Windows! FreeBSD 9.0 shipped with experimental Capsicum support, OpenBSD has patches, and Google has developed a Linux prototype." While the ACM's stories are both paywalled, the Capsicum project itself has quite a bit of information online in the form of various papers and a video, as well as links to (BSD-licensed) code and to various subprojects.
ReeceTarbert writes "VirtualBSD 9.0 is a desktop-ready FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE built around the XFCE Desktop Environment for good aesthetics and usability, and is distributed as a VMware appliance (that can also be made to work with VirtualBox) so even non techies can be up and running in minutes. The most common applications, plugins and multimedia codecs are ready since the first boot and chances are that you'll find VirtualBSD very functional right out of the box. However, it should be noted that VirtualBSD is more a technology demonstrator than a fully fledged distribution, therefore is squarely aimed at people that heard about FreeBSD but have never tried it, didn't have enough time to build the system from scratch, or have since moved to a different OS but still need their FreeBSD fix from time to time."
PuceBaboon writes "It's worth noting that, in addition to the main FreeBSD release covered here recently, PC-BSD has also released their 'Isotope' edition, based on FreeBSD 9.0. Why would you be interested? Well, PC-BSD, while not the first, is certainly the most current version of FreeBSD aimed squarely at the desktop user. Pre-configured for the desktop and using a graphical installer, the 9.0 release includes KDE, GNOME, XFCE and LXDE desktop environments, an update manager, WiFi 'quick connect,' BootCamp support and auto-configuration for most common hardware. Live-CD, VirtualBox and VMware release images for 32- and 64-bit architectures also make it easier than ever for users to test the release before committing to a full install. Check out the torrents (scroll down), main download page and the PC-BSD 9.0 manual pages."
An anonymous reader writes "FreeBSD 9.0 has been released. A few highlights include: A new installer, bsdinstall(8) has been added and is the installer used by the ISO images provided as part of this release, The Fast Filesystem now supports softupdates journaling, and Kernel support for Capsicum Capability Mode, an experimental set of features for sandboxing support."
An anonymous reader points out an interesting, detailed interview with Andrew Tanenbaum at Linuxfr.org; Tanenbaum holds forth on the current state of MINIX, licensing decisions, and the real reason he believes that Linux caught on just when he "thought BSD was going to take over the world." ("I think Linux succeeded against BSD, which was a stable mature system at the time simply because BSDI got stuck in a lawsuit and was effectively stopped for several years.")
snydeq writes "Deep End's Paul Venezia wonders why more folks aren't using FreeBSD on the desktop. 'There used to be a saying — at least I've said it many times — that my workstations run Linux, my servers run FreeBSD. Sure, it's quicker to build a Linux box, do a "yum install x y z" and toss it out into the wild as a fully functional server, but the extra time required to really get a FreeBSD box tuned will come back in spades through performance and stability metrics. You'll get more out of the hardware, be that virtual or physical, than you will on a generic Linux binary installation.'"
First time accepted submitter tearmeapart writes "A new version of the operating system that most of us would love to love, but probably hardly ever directly use, has been released. As scheduled, release 5.0 brings support for more hardware, network improvements, and OpenSSH 5.9. The links: changelog; download; main 5.0 page; and how to order your OpenBSD products!"
An anonymous reader writes "It's that time of the year again: when we all unite regardless of the (free) licenses we cherish and go out into the streets to let people know how Free Software has changed our lives. With over 425 events in 80+ countries, communities as diverse as Joomla!, FreeBSD and The OpenDisc, to name just a few, will be celebrating all over the world. Don't wait; grab your best arguments and join the wild masses of freedom lovers to the software freedom parties. Where will you be partying today?"
An anonymous reader writes "The developers behind the Mesa 3D graphics library, which provides the default graphics driver support for most hardware on Linux (and BSD/Solaris), has ended their support for older hardware. Being removed from Mesa (and therefore versions of Linux distributions) is support for hardware like the 3Dfx Voodoo, Intel i810, ATI Rage, and S3 Savage graphics processors. Also drivers being dropped were for Matrox and VIA graphics. Mesa developers also decided it's time to end support for the BeOS operating system. Dropping this code lowered the developers' responsibility by some 100k L.O.C., so maybe we will see GL3 support and OpenCL in Linux a bit sooner."
badger.foo writes "OpenBSD-current just turned 5.0-beta, providing us a preview of what the upcoming release (slated for November 1st) will look like. Peter Hansteen takes us through the main new features and explains the development process that has consistently turned out high-quality releases on time, every six months for more than a decade."
halfaperson writes "In an interview with LinuxFr.org, Lennart Poettering speaks freely about his creations, PulseAudio, Avahi and systemd among other things. Naturally, what has stirred up most of the discussions online is Lennart's opinions on BSD. Following the recent proposal to make Gnome a Linux-exclusive desktop, Lennart explains that he thinks BSD support is holding back a lot of Free Software development. He says this while also taking a stab at Debian kFreeBSD: 'Debian kFreeBSD is a toy OS, people really shouldn't misunderstand that.'"
Moderator writes "Could Gnome drop support for non-Linux operating systems? That was a recent proposal on the Gnome mailing list, although there were significant objections in response. Quoting: 'It is harmful to pretend that you are writing the OS core to work on any number of different kernels...the time has come for GNOME to embrace Linux a bit more boldly.'"