Five years ago today, reader J.J. Ramsey asked what's keeping you off Windows (itself a followup to this question about the opposite situation). With five years of development time gone by for Windows as well as all the alternative OSes, where does Windows stand for you today? (Is it the year of Linux on the Desktop yet?)
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kthreadd writes "The FreeBSD project has released version 8.4 of the free operating system with the same name. Highlights of this version include GNOME 2.32.1, KDE 4.10.1. In this release, focus has been put on improving stability and storage capability. The ZFS filesystem has been updated to support feature flags for ZFS pools, asynchronous destruction of ZFS datasets, LZ4 compression and ZIO NOP-write optimization. Also, support has been added for all shipping LSI storage controllers."
Madwand writes "The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 6.1, the first feature update of the NetBSD 6 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons, as well as new features and enhancements. NetBSD is a free, fast, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system. It is available for a wide range of platforms, from large-scale servers and powerful desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent for use in both production and research environments, and the source code is freely available under a business-friendly license. NetBSD is developed and supported by a large and vibrant international community. Many applications are readily available through pkgsrc, the NetBSD Packages Collection."
An anonymous reader writes "Today, OpenBSD 5.3 has been released. It has many improvements, updates, and new stuff. Also, OpenSMTPD 5.3 is included. This is the first version of OpenSMTPD considered to be ready for production. Many pre-built packages are available for many architectures. OpenBSD 5.3 ships with various Desktop Environments, including Gnome 3.6, KDE 3.5, and XFCE 4.10." And don't forget the release song, "Blade Swimmer."
An anonymous reader writes "DragonFly BSD has released version 3.4. This version is the first BSD to support GCC 4.7, and contains a new experimental Aptitude-like binary package installed called DPorts, which uses the FreeBSD ports collection as a base."
Professor_Quail writes "Following a successful 2012 fundraising campaign, the FreeBSD Foundation is soliciting the submission of project proposals for funded development grants. Proposals may be related to any of the major subsystems or infrastructure within the FreeBSD operating system, and will be evaluated based on desirability, technical merit, and cost-effectiveness. The proposal process is open to all developers (including non-FreeBSD committers), and the deadline for submitting a proposal is April 26th, 2013." The foundation is currently funding a few other projects, including UEFI booting support.
An anonymous reader writes "NetBSD 7.0 will support the Lua scripting language within its kernel for developing drivers and new sub-systems. A Lua scripting interpreter is being added to the NetBSD kernel along with a kernel API so developers can use this scripting language rather than C for developing new BSD kernel components. Expressed reasons for supporting a scripting language in a kernel were rapid application development, better configuration, and "modifying software written in C is hard for users." In a presentation it was said that Lua in the kernel will let users explore their system in an easy way."
badger.foo writes "You thought you had successfully avoided the tiresome password guessing bots groping at your SSH service by moving the service to a non-standard port? It seems security by obscurity has lost the game once more. We're now seeing ssh bruteforce attempts hitting other ports too, Peter Hansteen writes in his latest column." For others keeping track, have you seen many such attempts?
An anonymous reader writes "NetBSD developer Julian Djamil Fagir provides a nice briefing on what the big three BSD projects have been working on, and explains/reminds us of their cultural differences. Stick a fork in them? Yes, Djamil Fagir mentions a couple of those, too. The recent releases from FreeBSD and NetBSD were covered by Slashdot."
An anonymous reader writes "The Arch Linux distribution has been modified to run off the FreeBSD 9.0 kernel as an alternative to using Linux. The developer of Arch BSD explained his reasoning as enjoying FreeBSD while also liking the Arch Linux philosophy of a 'fast, lightweight, optimized distro,' so he sought to combine the two operating systems to have FreeBSD at its core while being encircled by Arch. The Arch BSD initiative is similar to Debian GNU/kFreeBSD."
tearmeapart writes "The teams at FreeBSD have reached another great achievement with FreeBSD 9.1, with improvements to the already fantastic zfs features, more VM improvements (helping bringing FreeBSD to the next generation of VMs), and improvements in speed to many parts of the network system. Support FreeBSD via the FreeBSD mall or download/upgrade FreeBSD from a mirror. Unfortunately, the torrent server is still down due to the previous security incident." And new submitter northar writes "The other day the NetBSD project released their first update to the 6.x series, 6.0.1. They also (rather discreetly) announced a fund drive targeting 60.000 USD before the end of 2012 in the release notes. They better get going if their donation page is anything like recently updated."
mbadolato writes "On December 9, 2012, Slashdot reported that the FreeBSD Foundation was falling short of their 2012 goal of $500,000 by nearly 50%. For all of those that continued to echo about how FreeBSD is dying, it's less than three weeks later and the total is presently nearing $200,000 OVER the goal. Netcraft continues to be wrong." And reader hypnosec adds another crowdfunding success story: "The Wikimedia Foundation has announced at the conclusion of its ninth annual fund-raiser that it has managed to raise a whopping $25 million from 1.2 million donors in just over a week's time. ... As compared to last year's fund-raiser, which got completed in 46 days, this year's was completed in just nine days."
TrueSatan writes "Perhaps a sign of our troubled times or a sign that FreeBSD is becoming less relevant to modern computing needs: the FreeBSD project has sought $500,000 by year end to allow it to continue to offer to fund and manage projects, sponsor FreeBSD events, Developer Summits and provide travel grants to FreeBSD developers. But with the end of this year fast approaching, it has raised just over $280,000, far short of its target."
An anonymous reader writes "Following recent compromises of the Linux kernel.org and Sourceforge, the FreeBSD Project is now reporting that several machines have been broken into. After a brief outage, ftp.FreeBSD.org and other services appear to be back. The project announcement states that some deprecated services (e.g., cvsup) may be removed rather than restored. Users are advised to check for packages downloaded between certain dates and replace them, although not because known trojans have been found, but rather because the project has not yet been able to confirm that they could not exist. Apparently initial access was via a stolen SSH key, but fortunately the project's clusters were partitioned so that the effects were limited. The announcement contains more detailed information — and we are left wondering, would proprietary companies that get broken into so forthcoming? Should they be?"
An anonymous reader writes "Brooks Davis has announced that the FreeBSD Project has now officially switched to Clang/LLVM as C/C++ compiler. This follows several years of preparation, feeding back improvements to the Clang and LLVM source code bases, and nightly builds of FreeBSD using LLVM over two years. Future snapshots and all major FreeBSD releases will ship compiled with LLVM by default!"
An anonymous reader writes "Dragonfly BSD recently announced the release of version 3.2 of their operating system. Improvements include: USB4BSD, a second-generation USB stack; merging of a GSoC project to provide CPU topology awareness to the scheduler, giving a nice boost for hyperthreading Intel CPUs; and last but not least, a new largely rewritten scheduler. Some background is in order for the last one. PostgreSQL 9.3 will move from SysV shared memory to mmap for its shared memory needs. It turned out that the switch much hurts its performance on the BSDs. Matthew Dillon was fast to respond with a search for bottlenecks and got the performance up to par with Linux."
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."
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.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The release of OpenBSD 4.9 has been announced. New highlights included since 4.8: enabled NTFS by default (read-only), the vmt(4) driver by default for VMWare tools, SMP kernels can now boot on machines with up to 64 cores, support for AES-NI instructions found in recent Intel processors, improvements in suspend and resume, OpenSSH 5.8, MySQL 5.1.54, LibreOffice 184.108.40.206, and bug fixes." Also in BSD news, an anonymous reader writes "DragonFly BSD 2.10 has been released! The latest release brings data deduplication (online and at garbage-collection time) to the HAMMER file system. Capping off years of work, the MP lock is no longer the main point of contention in multiprocessor systems. It also brings a new version of the pf packet filter, support for 63 CPUs and 512 GB of RAM and switches the system compiler to gcc 4.4."
meta coder writes with word of the release of FreeBSD 8.2: "This is the third release from the 8-STABLE branch which improves on the functionality of FreeBSD 8.1 and introduces some new features. Some of the highlights includes improvements in Xen support and various bugfixes."
An anonymous reader writes "One week after Sony's PlayStation 3 private cryptography key was obtained, FreeBSD is up and running on the PS3. Nathan Whitehorn writes: '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.'" Update: 01/10 15:04 GMT by KD : As several commenters have pointed out, the submission was misleading in that BSD runs in OtherOS, making no use of the cracked keys.
itwbennett writes "In follow-up to last week's controversy over allegations that the FBI installed a number of back doors into the encryption software used by the OpenBSD operating system, OpenBSD lead developer Theo de Raadt said on a discussion list Tuesday, that he believes that a government contracting firm that contributed code to his project 'was probably contracted to write backdoors,' which would grant secret access to encrypted communications. But that he doesn't think that any of this software made it into the OpenBSD code base."
jfruhlinger writes "Theo de Raadt has made the shocking claim that OpenBSD includes a backdoor that the FBI paid coders to build. Brian Proffitt has tracked down one of the programmers named as being on the FBI payroll (actually, he tracked down two programmers with the same name). Both deny working with the FBI."
Aggrajag and Mortimer.CA, among others, wrote to inform us that Theo de Raadt has made public an email sent to him by Gregory Perry, who worked on the OpenBSD crypto framework a decade ago. The claim is that the FBI paid contractors to insert backdoors into OpenBSD's IPSEC stack. Mr. Perry is coming forward now that his NDA with the FBI has expired. The code was originally added ten years ago, and over that time has changed quite a bit, "so it is unclear what the true impact of these allegations are" says Mr. de Raadt. He added: "Since we had the first IPSEC stack available for free, large parts of the code are now found in many other projects/products." (Freeswan and Openswan are not based on this code.)
dmbkiwi writes "The first beta release of KDE SC 4.6 was released yesterday. OpenSUSE had packages up almost immediately, so being curious as to what's new, I've downloaded and upgraded to the new release. These are my impressions thus far."
jschauma writes "NetBSD 5.1 has been released. NetBSD 5.1 is the first feature update of the NetBSD 5.0 release branch. It includes security and bug fixes, as well as improved hardware support and new features. Some highlights include: RAIDframe parity maps, which greatly improve parity rewrite times after unclean shutdown; X.Org updates; Support for many more network devices; Xen PAE dom0 support; Xen PCI pass-through support. For a full list of all changes, please see the release announcement. NetBSD 5.1 is dedicated to the memory of Martti Kuparinen, who was the victim of a traffic accident in June 2010."
Mortimer.CA writes "The release of OpenBSD 4.8 has been announced. Highlights include ACPI suspend/resume, better hardware support, OpenBGPD/OpenOSPFD/routing daemon improvements, inclusion of OpenSSH 5.5, etc. Nothing revolutionary, just the usual steady improving of the system. A detailed ChangeLog is available, as usual. Work, of course, has already started on the next release, which should be ready in May, according to the steady six-month release cycle."
Julie188 writes "GNOME 3.0 was scheduled to be released in September but during the developers conference, GUADEC 2010 in Den Haag, the organization had to face facts: the much ballyhooed GNOME Shell really wasn't ready. The Shell is supposed to bring 'a whole new user experience to the desktop.' So now, in September, what users will see is GNOME 2.32, distributed as a new stable release. Next target date for 3.0: March 2011."
hsn and other readers pointed out that FreeBSD 8.1 has been released. "This is the second release from the 8-STABLE branch which improves on the functionality of FreeBSD 8.0 and introduces some new features. Some of the highlights: zfsloader added; zpool version of ZFS subsystem updated to version 14; NFSv4 ACL support in UFS and ZFS; support added to cp(1), find(1), getfacl(1), mv(1), and setfacl(1) utilities; UltraSPARC IV/IV+, SPARC64 V support; SMP support in PowerPC G5; BIND 9.6.2-P2..." ... and much more. See the release notes summary and the details.
dmbkiwi writes "The latest in the 4.x series of the KDE Software Compilation is due to be released in early August 2010. With the first beta of this release recently unleashed, I thought I'd download the openSuse packages and see what 4.5's got in store for us."
omlx writes "KDE SC 4.5 is in feature freeze right now. Therefore, I decided to share some early screenshots with you. In general there are no major changes; it's all about polishing and fixing bugs. There are a lot of under-the-hood changes in libs, which as end users we cannot see. KDE SC will be released in August 2010." Note: you can also try out a beta of the release now, if you'd like.