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FreeBSD 4.8-RELEASE Status Update

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  • Who's "We"? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mattrix2k (632351)
    The engineering team supports themselves? Slashdot editors support them? All slashdot readers support them?
  • So will this be the last non-merged release?
  • BSD is cool (Score:4, Funny)

    by mao che minh (611166) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @02:08PM (#5654071) Journal
    But does it run Linux?
  • by arvindn (542080) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @02:16PM (#5654136) Homepage Journal
    What's the point of linking to Bruce Mah's email in the article?? It doesn't give any information about him, so it's pointless. And I'd be very surprised if it doesn't have the effect of filling his inbox with both spam and other random mail he doesn't want to see. Please, this is not a troll. I've seen this done a few times, and I can't imagine why. Anyone?
    • There is no reason to do it. The submitter and the editors are just rude!
      • Actually, Hemos is the dick. He doesn't post his own email addy. In the original article, Bruce kindly asks that people don't email them because it will slow things down.

        PS. This may sound rude, for which I apologize in advance: The less time that the RE team has to spend replying to various emails (particularly those that are not relevant to the immediate goal of shipping 4.8-RELEASE), the faster the release is probably going to be finished.

        What does Hemos do? Posts his email address.

        Nice going He

    • But there is information given about him: he's a member of FreeBSD Release Engineering Team. If you've got a serious inquiry related to the postponed release date, he might be the guy to mail. And, of course, FreeBSD freaks probably can associate something with the name itself, they don't require additional information.

      However, I'd agree that putting his email address there isn't incredibly helpful to anyone, because there are usually better places to mail inquiries to, like a mailing list.
      • PS. This may sound rude, for which I apologize in advance: The less time that the RE team has to spend replying to various emails (particularly those that are not relevant to the immediate goal of shipping 4.8-RELEASE), the faster the release is probably going to be finished.

      • Yea, if some one wants to email this guy they should at least go through the trouble of tracking down his email address. But, nope his email is basically on the frontpage of /. so he is going to get 300 emails about how *BSD is dying.
    • Links are always good. Period. No matter what they link to. In any text, the more shit you have underlined, or in color, the better.
  • neat (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lxy (80823)
    I kinda like this. Basically, the release is held up because the needed files don't fit on a floppy.

    Rather than just reformat the floppy as a 1.722MB, they'd rather just get everything fitting onto a 1.44MB. Kudos to you, FreeBSD team!
    • But for all of us who need not install from a floppy, can cvsup the RELENG_4_8_0_RELEASE tag, and buildworld without waiting for the floppy issue to be resolved, am I correct?
      • by Lxy (80823)
        That's what it sounds like, but you won't have the officially blessed version of 4.8. Besides the differences in the MFS disk, it shouldn't really matter.
      • Re:neat (Score:2, Informative)

        by and by (598383)
        Yes, yes you can. I'm running 4.8 right now, although I'd recommend using the RELENG_4_8 tag so that you get any patches made.
      • I don't think that correct. AFAIK, the tag is there in the CVS tree, and it will still be there after the release, by which time it will include changes to the floppy disk images, which are built with make release in /usr/src.
    • Re:neat (Score:3, Insightful)

      by t0ny (590331)
      "We fully support FreeBSD RE's approach to fixing necessary problems before officially releasing the product."

      However, that doesnt stop us from making fun of a major For Profit software company for doing similiar things. This in no way makes us feel like hypocrits, strangely enough.

      • by Lxy (80823)
        Which company are you referring to?

        Microsoft DOESN'T test things very well before releasing, that's why we make fun of them.
        • by t0ny (590331)
          and which product are you refering to? Windows 2000 is incredibly stable, and has been since it was released. Likewise for Office 2000.

          This would lead one to believe that you are just spreading anti-MS FUD, rather than giving a credible opinion...

          • Re:neat (Score:2, Interesting)

            by LordWoody (187919)
            Whether or not you consider Office 2K stable is a point of view. From an admin point of view I find it rather irritaing that export from Great Plains to Excel only works if I give "Everybody" write access to the excel binary and the MAPI interface to Outlook is not only a moving target between patches because of bad security design, but as of SP3 randomly drops MAPI generated emails. So in this case "stable" really depends on what parts of it you use.

            Does it cause blue screens of death or "crash" often?
            • by t0ny (590331)
              show me an office product (or any product) that doesnt have annoying bugs. Also, I have no problems with Outlook 'randomly' dropping emails. In my experience, when someone claims a computer does something randomly, it means they dont know what they are talking about. Computers will product repeatable results, so you just havent done proper troubleshooting.

              Also, i find it rather silly that you are claiming the whole package is flawed because you dont like the way it imports something.

              What you are talking

          • by Lxy (80823)
            Windows 2000 that's on SP3, soon to be SP4?
            Office 2000 that's now on SP3, soon to be SP4?
            That Office and Windows?
            • by t0ny (590331)
              Oh, thats right. There is only ONE version of Linux, because when they wrote it, it was perfect right off the bat. Also, Word Perfect (the buggy piece of shit) is on which version? And StarOffice has how many 'Patch Clusters'?

              At least MS is nice enough to put all the patches into one SP, and not cover up the fact that the software isnt perfect by obfuscating their fixes.

              And thats mighty tough talk considering the fact that Linux just had two root exploits exposed, as well as a shitload of Sendmail exploi

    • Pretty funny. Kind of like the old story [] about how our train tracks are spaced the way they are because of the size of Roman chariot wheels.
    • Microsoft: Where do you want to go today?
      Linux: Telling M$ where to go since 1991.
      FreeBSD: Hey, are you guys coming, or what?
  • by toadf00t (593835) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @02:17PM (#5654148)
    FreeBSD Release Engineering Team's Bruce Mah provides the latest status of what's holding up the official release of FreeBSD 4.8. Our take: we fully support FreeBSD RE's approach to fixing necessary problems before officially releasing the product. Thanks mezz, our forums moderator for the newstip.

    [Read full announcement]

    Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2003 16:23:25 -0800
    From: "Bruce A. Mah"
    Subject: 4.8-RELEASE status


    A number of you have been (rightfully) wondering what's up with
    the i386 4.8-RELEASE. Here's the current state:

    The files that are as of this moment tagged as RELENG_4_8_0_RELEASE
    can't be used to build a release because the MFSROOT kernel (that goes
    on the kern.flp) overflows a the size of a 1440K floppy disk.

    This bug was masked by another problem that happened to be present on
    the machines used by the RE team to build releases...namely, that they
    didn't have the cvsroot-all collection in their local repositories.
    To make a long story short, the $FreeBSD$ tags didn't get expanded in
    the source files, thus (I am not making this up) causing the MFSROOT
    kernel to be just a *little* bit smaller so that it could fit on a
    floppy. I think this was the world's April Fool's joke to the RE

    We're currently trying to fix this by finding some other driver we can
    move to a module on the mfsroot.flp image (or maybe just eliminate).
    After we finish some tests, we'll need to commit whatever change is
    required, re-tag the affected files, and then rebuild the base system.

    I'm not in a position to comment on a timeline for these happenings.

    Thanks for your continued patience!


    PS. This may sound rude, for which I apologize in advance: The less
    time that the RE team has to spend replying to various emails
    (particularly those that are not relevant to the immediate goal of
    shipping 4.8-RELEASE), the faster the release is probably going to be

  • A floppy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by repetty (260322) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @02:45PM (#5654372) Homepage
    "The files that are as of this moment tagged as RELENG_4_8_0_RELEASE can't be used to build a release because the MFSROOT kernel (that goes on the kern.flp) overflows a the size of a 1440K floppy disk."

    It's 2003 and a sparkling new Unix OS is being held up by... a floppy?

    I remember floppies... I used them back in the 80's and very early 90's.

    I'm glad that they are sticking by their principles on this. I just wonder if they are principles worth sticking to.

    • Re:A floppy? (Score:5, Informative)

      by questionlp (58365) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @02:53PM (#5654421) Homepage
      Although floppies are antiquated, but there are still machines that will not boot off of bootable CDs and require a boot floppy (I have several Toshiba laptops that just will not boot from CD no matter what setting is used or how the ISO is burned)... but it's also useful to get a machine booted to either do a re-install or install from an FTP or an NFS server.

      Anyway, most bootable CDs use floppy images (be it 1.44MB or 2.88MB) as the boot section of the CD... primarily for legacy/compatibility purposes. With that, you still have to deal with the size limitation of either 1.44MB or 2.88MB.
      • Re:A floppy? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by stratjakt (596332)
        The "sbootmgr" floppy image that slackware (and no doubt others) gets around this. It basically boots a software bios that can boot from a CD (like the software bioses for large HDD support on old machines)

        Of course, if you have no CD drive at all you're boned. Some of us (like me) put together boxes with no CD drive, my gateway machine was done by hand from the floppy drive.

        Oh well. So the premier of Night of the Assisted Living BSD has been delayed.
      • Re:A floppy? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Also, most manufacturers systems with their own BIOS (alas Toshiba etc) don't follow the El Torito standard (I think only Award and AMI does infact!), so they can't actually boot from a CD where the first image file isn't 1.44Mb; despite the FACT that the El Torito standard CLEARLY STATES that it MUST support 2.88Mb images also.

        So, for people to be able to boot from CD's on non-Award and AMI BIOS motherboards, the floppy image must fit in 1.44Mb.

        This is why I will never buy a fricking PC again, I'm sticki
      • by Anonymous Coward
        You've probably forgotten to enable the automatic notification of the insertion of a CD

        Go to Control panel, System...
    • I love this method, it's a big "selling" point for me. Made me like Debian, they do this as well. Even though I use Gentoo, I was disapointed to find that the smallest install that had was a 40MB iso.
    • Re:A floppy? (Score:3, Informative)

      by dills (102733)
      Oh, they're definitely principles worth sticking to.

      I don't put CD-ROMs in the servers I build. It's stupid, why would they need CD-ROMs? I just install a floppy drive, because it needs one of those regardless (hardware bios updates, emergency recovery, etc.).

      I boot off the install floppies and install via FTP (takes LESS time than via CD when doing so on a T3).

      The floppies are extremely important. Many shops rely on them.

  • Download or Buy a cd for Newbies ?
    • depends on your network connection speed... now that I have dsl I download... b-4 I would buy from cheapbytes or someplace like that...

      It also depends if you have a cd burner... since I have one I download the smallest cd iso for freebsd and do a very basic install and then add to that...

    • I download the ISO for CD1 (or even the mini-install ISO since I always use Ports to install software and portupgrade to maintain them) so that I can mount it as a virtual file system for internal FTP installs. I also have a FreeBSD (as well as NetBSD and OpenBSD) CD subscription to help out the respective projects.
    • The various CD's you buy are generally identical to the ISOs you download. If you want to support the project, it is recommended you buy from one of the vendors who supports the project. I have subscriptions with both FreeBSD Mall [] and BSD Mall [] (Part of Daemonnews []).

      Other options are listed in the Handbook [].

      I definatly recommend downloading rather then buying from people like cheapbytes.

      -- Brooks
  • Resolved already... (Score:4, Informative)

    by oneiric (603250) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @02:53PM (#5654423)
    This is good slashdot fodder, but the issue has been resolved. The awi driver (wireless prism card) is being removed from the floppy and the space problem is solved. Move along nothing to see here...
  • Could it be problems with its merger with NetBSD & GNU/OpenBSD? I imagine that would take some time. Or are they going to have a few more releases separately?
  • Funny reason (Score:1, Insightful)

    I don't even have a floppy disk drive in my computers anymore. Why is making the file fit a floppy that important? They are pretty much obsolete at this point.
    • Re:Funny reason (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @03:07PM (#5654516) Journal
      Because everyone is not you.

      There are a lot of headless 'nix based gateway boxes around with a floppy, and no CD-ROM.

      I love the "i dont need it so therefore noone possibly could" attitude slashbots have.
      • no reason for you to ba a jackass. I didn't have the "i donm't need it so why would any one else" attitude. Hell I don't need BSD at all. I was actually curious as to why that would halt a release. Seemed odd to me.
      • My firewall has no floppy or CDROM. Nah nah ni nah na... May be I should see if I can get its 400MB disks out next. I already know at least one of them is failing.
    • Alright. Say you need a firewall right and have an old p133 lying around but the BIOS dont support booting from CD ?
    • Why is making the file fit a floppy that important? They are pretty much obsolete at this point.

      Not so.

      There are, after all, machines without or with a broken CD drive. I actually do have a couple of 1U servers without one, and use the following method:

      The floppies will let you boot into the install "manager" that will give you the option to install FreeBSD (not sure about the other various *BSD versions) from a _different_ machine's CD drive.

    • When you're doing a network install of Linux or BSD, you need to boot the machine somehow. Using a floppy is nicer than burning a CD just for that purpose. Not every machine has a bootable CD drive anyway. And when you're doing some bleeding edge testing, you may need a boot floppy to fix your system.

      If you're installing the same OS on several machines, it might be better to burn a whole CD of the OS. But it's kind of pointless to do for one machine, if you can do it directly over the net.

      The floppy may

      • I just installed 4.7 using a couple floppies and NFS.

        I often download the 2.88mb image and burn it to a CD. You don't have to burn the "whole" OS to make a bootable CD. I use both methods depending on the machine and what is handy.
    • It's actually pretty cool... You boot off a floppy, configure your network card to get an internet connection up, and then it downloads and installs FreeBSD. It's nice whey you're setting up a firewall/router and don't have a cdrom drive to install from.
    • My CD drive is actually SCSI and the card doesn't support booting from SCSI, so I only have floppy as an option to boot from. I can't see why the world doesn't see things like I do, I mean doesn't everyone have the same setup I have?
    • As mentioned by others, many server machines don't have a CD-ROM, but do have a floppy drive. Perhaps more importantly, many people don't have a CD-R writer, but do have a floppy drive.

  • It seems to me that this problem could be solved with better data compression on the floppy. Right now, they're using gzip, which is many, many years old. Perhaps if they moved to something modern (and non-GPLed, in keeping with the BSD philosophy) such as bzip, it'd fit.
  • I thought freeBSD had joined forces with netBSD and openBSD....

    ah my dreams are foiled.. pf in a bsd distro that people "support"

  • We fully support FreeBSD RE's approach to fixing necessary problems before officially releasing the product.

    I mean, like, aren't you going on a limb there expressing your opinion?

    You're just not afraid of controversy!

  • This despite that 4.8 is available on 4. 8-RELEASE
  • Wait a second.... I'm confused. Didn't they just release 5.0 a few months ago? []
    • Re:confused (Score:4, Informative)

      by Just Some Guy (3352) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @04:09PM (#5655123) Homepage Journal
      In an almost exact parallel, there are versions of the Linux 2.4.x kernel that are newer than versions of the Linux 2.5.x kernel.

      In other words, 5.0 is not production-ready, although it is a complete release. It's still being actively debugged and stabilized in preperation for 5.1, which will probably be the first in the series that I'd put on a production server. The 4.x line is incredibly stable and still being actively maintained in the mean time.

      • 5.0 may have a few kinks like my Microsoft USB keyboard not working in the release that needs to be fixed. A production server can not go offline. However I would like to add that I find FreeBSD generally more mature and stable then Linux during recent releases. In Linux a new kernel may come out but a few kinks are usually left in. In FreeBSD they are usually ironed out.

      • My understanding is that FBSD 5.0 is a lot like Linux 2.4.0. The developers decided it was good enough to release, but you still need a big can of Raid!
  • by swb (14022) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @04:00PM (#5655053)
    Sysinstall is functional, but it's kind of creaky as an installer IMHO. There's a bunch of functionality that seems to belong more inside of an installed and running system (such as a lot of the configuration bits) than in an installer.

    If you're going to require all your installation tools to fit on a floppy, then an installer should have just the tools necessary to get the install files onto a system such that the system can be booted and then used. While it might be nice to have a bunch of post-install configuration options available, the technical constraints of boot media make this kind of prohibitive.

    Perhaps one idea might be a meta-installer that installs the installation files onto the computer, and then reboots into a bigger environment where you can do more extensive system configuration and package management as well as providing a richer, more user-friendly tool. I hate to say this, but as annoyingly slow as Win2k's installer is, they use a very similar kind of bootstrap installation.

    The other idea is to merge the two-stage install with a single stage install on a CD and just give up on the floppy.

    I'm sure none of these ideas are terribly original, but they seem that way relative to sysinstall. I've only used FreeBSD over the past 3 years, so I have no idea what the Linux distros do. Do they do anything interesting with multistage installations?
    • > have no idea what the Linux distros do.

      Linux distros have become bloatware so frickin' bloated, that some require up to 4 (or more!) CDs to install - makes XP and ilk look small and efficient...

  • What's up with posting FreeBSD committer's email addresses on the front page of /. ?
  • Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2003 21:43:09 -0800
    From: Murray Stokely
    Subject: [FreeBSD-Announce] FreeBSD 4.8 Now Available

    Hash: SHA1

    I am happy to announce the availability of FreeBSD 4.8-RELEASE, the
    latest release of the FreeBSD -STABLE development branch. Since
    FreeBSD 4.7-RELEASE in October 2002, we have made conservative updates
    to a number of software programs in the base system, dealt with known
    security issues, and added initial support for Firewire,
  • It's a few hours later. Well, maybe more like ten to twelve. FreeBSD 4.8-RELEASE is official.

    Much ado about nothing.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.