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Operating Systems Upgrades BSD

FreeBSD 8.0 Released 235

An anonymous reader writes "The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 8 stable release. Some of the highlights: Xen DomU support, network stack virtualization, stack-smashing protection, TTY layer rewrite, much improved ZFS v13, a new USB stack, multicast updates including IGMPv3, vimage — a new virtualization container, Fedora 10 Linux binary compatibility to run Linux software such as Flash 10 and others, trusted BSD MAC (Mandatory Access Control), and rewritten NFS client/server introducing NFSv4. Inclusion of improved device mmap() extensions will allow the technical implementation of a 64-bit Nvidia display driver for the x86-64 platform. The GNOME desktop environment has been upgraded to 2.26.3, KDE to 4.3.1, and Firefox to 3.5.5. There is also an in-depth look at the new features and major architectural changes in FreeBSD 8.0, including a screenshot tour, upgrade instructions are posted here. You can grab the latest version from FreeBSD from the mirrors (main ftp server) or via BitTorrent. Please consider making a donation and help us to spread the word by tweeting and blogging about the drive and release."
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FreeBSD 8.0 Released

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  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @03:36PM (#30239094) Homepage

    I should also add that one link the submitter didn't include was instructions for upgrading to FreeBSD 8.0-RELEASE from a previous release: [] (obviously, apply s/8.0-BETA1/8.0-RELEASE/ to the instructions).

    Before anyone asks, yes, that link is on my personal website -- but no, I'm not just posting it here to drive traffic in my direction. That link is going to be in the official release announcement too.

  • by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @03:42PM (#30239138) Journal

    Why on earth would a desktop user run FreeBSD instead of Linux, when it doesn't add a single feature available on Linux?

    FreeBSD is a very nice, clean system which is a pure joy to use as a server or desktop -- especially if you like to build your own software. But to each her own. :)

    What? You can emulate Linux binaries?

    For quite a few years now we've had the ability to run linux binaries via a kernel module called the linuxulator. Handy for flash and a few other things.

  • by NoYob ( 1630681 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @03:55PM (#30239218)

    Most Linux distributions just can't provide the high level of quality that the FreeBSD project manages to offer.

    Wow - your impeccable logic has convinced me! Where do I sign up?

    Right here! []

  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @04:12PM (#30239328) Homepage

    Are you running into the "need to create wlan0 instead of using the wifi device directly in 8.0" change? This has tripped up a lot of people.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @04:30PM (#30239424) Journal

    Sound works. That's why I switched for FreeBSD. Back in the 4.x days (around 2001) multiple applications could write to /dev/dsp (back then they needed to have /dev/dsp.1 and so on, but that was fixed with FreeBSD 5), and all could play sound even though my cheap AC97 on-board sound didn't support mixing in hardware. On Linux, apps needed to be rewritten with ALSA to take advantage of mixing, or needed to use sound daemons which gave horrific latency. Meanwhile, I was playing music with XMMS, getting sound effects in BZFlag, and having my mail and IM clients go bing in the background when I got a message. FreeBSD 8 improves this with a full OSSv4 implementation, including per-application volume channels. Unlike the 4Front OSS implementation, there are some hacks that let apps that use the old OSS 3 API (and ABI) use these by faking a mixer device for each app. It also has the highest-performance mixing algorithm around and supports a few things like encoded digital pass through (for AC3 and similar on an external decoder) without disabling the in-kernel mixing.

    ZFS is pretty useful to a desktop user. Run hourly / daily snapshots as cron jobs to guard against accidental deletion and then use zfs send to transmit them to your backup server.

    The ULE scheduler originally provided better performance on latency-sensitive workloads (a typical desktop) at the cost of throughput. As a result, it wasn't enabled by default. With FreeBSD 8, it's been improved and now does better on all workloads (including beating Linux on MySQL SMP benchmarks) and scales linearly to 8 cores (I've not seen tests beyond that).

    Jails probably aren't useful to most desktop users, but they are to power users. With ZFS, creating a new fail filesystem is just a matter of cloning a fresh install, which is an O(1) operation (and very fast) and that gives you an isolated install to work with. Great for running untested or untrusted apps; just install them in a jail and they can't get out. With FreeBSD 8, you can now assign a CPU to a jail and each jail has a complete virtualised instance of the network stack, so FreeBSD jails are effectively very lightweight VMs.

    DTrace, again, is more useful to developers than end users. It lets you insert probes into running applications (using binary rewriting tricks, where function prologs are replaced with unconditional jumps to JIT-compiled code that does the profiling). This is by far the most powerful profiling and debugging framework I've come across.

    So, I guess, the real question is why you'd use Linux over FreeBSD?

  • by 1s44c ( 552956 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @04:33PM (#30239442)

    Agreed, installing openbsd and packet filter has been on my to do list for years and I swear it is only the lack of time that prevented me to do so, I am still using Linux netfilter.

    Linux is more multi-purpose (desktop for instance), has a wider audience hence more functionality available, a little like Windows ;-))

    P.S. No, I am not confusing freebsd and openbsd but I assume freebsd also has neat functionalities ;-)

    FreeBSD has ported pf from OpenBSD.

    Pf is nice.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Thursday November 26, 2009 @05:45PM (#30239886)

    Gentoo fills the same niche with the Linux kernel. And since when is Slackware not a complete distro? Perhaps you meant “Linux From Scratch”...

    P.S.: Please get your spelling right. It’s “niche”, “distros”, “BSDs” (second one only), and “develop for their developers”. Be happy that no grammar Nazi is close. With that amount of errors he would have ripped you to shreds. ^^

  • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) * on Thursday November 26, 2009 @06:38PM (#30240246) Homepage

    Given that any sysadmin worth his salt knows that Linux and FreeBSD offer different tradeoffs between "completeness" and "rigorous quality", it's not unreasonable for him to point out that FreeBSD has a "higher quality", even if the actual words he uses are subjective. Everyone familiar with FreeBSD and several Linux distros would know what he's saying and agree.

    Unfortunately, I can't say that your "nuh-uh" also resounds with common experience in this way, so I disagree with your contention that it is a valid response under these circumstances.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Informative)

    by necrostopheles ( 865577 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @07:09PM (#30240482)
    There are derivative desktop distros based on *bsd, like pc-bsd (see here [] and here, []). There's also a corporation based around providing enterprise support for pc-bsd, [].
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Informative)

    by smash ( 1351 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @08:48PM (#30241256) Homepage Journal
    If i'm running a free unix desktop, its usually freebsd. Give it a shot if you're a linux person, and give your head a little while to get around to the unix way of doing things (rather than the bastardised linux way) and you may like it.

    I used to use Linux, but found FreeBSD to be easier to configure from the command line, more consistent in its filesystem layout, more responsive under load, and generally "smoother" in terms of process scheduling. I gave up linux desktop use (for FreeBSD, and later, OS X) after having been a linux desktop user for about 5 years.

    The fact that the userland tools are shared with MacOS X is a bonus.

  • by Galactic Dominator ( 944134 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @09:36PM (#30241592)

    The maintainer of the freebsd port of pf is the same person as the openbsd author. FreeBSD current usually lags a few weeks in patchset from openbsd in regards to pf, and in either release you're generally running the same version.

  • Re:No XFS support (Score:3, Informative)

    by Opyros ( 1153335 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @09:38PM (#30241602) Journal
    From Wikipedia []:

    FreeBSD gained read-only support for XFS in December 2005 and in June 2006 experimental write support was introduced; however this is supposed to be used only as an aid in migration from Linux, not to be used as a "main" filesystem.

  • Re:if only... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Galactic Dominator ( 944134 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @09:58PM (#30241726)

    Linux emulation is broken and has been broken for ages.

    Works for me.

    Live UFS dump is broken.

    Works for me.

    USB mass storage support is broken.

    Wine is not supported;

    And this is FreeBSD's fault why? []

    ZFS in double parity mode is broken

    Haven't move to zfs yet, but given your pattern I'm guessing you're wrong again.

    MTRR for older ATI cards is broken

    If you're referring to bug I think you are, it was fixed awhile ago and was non-serious in first place. As with the rest of you're statements it's hard to know what you're talking about without referencing a bug report.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 27, 2009 @03:38AM (#30243390)

    I disagree.

    *BSD is so much behind the current state, that it's almost useless as a modern desktop system. No inotify support in the kernel, etc.

    I think *BSD doesn't have any developers left which can rewrite the kernel to support a modern desktop environment. Bugs like [] don't get fixed for more than three years, even though this ack delay can be fixed easily (see John Nagle's comment here on slashdot: []).

    The BSD licence is the root of this problem. Look at how much code RedHat, Oracle, etc *must* contribute to linux and compare that with the code contributed to *BSD (by Apple for example)

  • by funky womble ( 518255 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @06:10AM (#30244126)
    If you run FreeBSD, having PF ported gives you a more sane choice of firewall there, but if you're setting out specifically to run PF, OpenBSD gives some major benefits. The code is several years ahead of FreeBSD's port. Watch some of the recent presentations to see what's changed - see links to a couple of related videos at []
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @09:50AM (#30244988) Journal

    It's not quite true to say that there is no corporate backing for FreeBSD. There are no major companies that heavily back the project, but Yahoo! used to employ six developers full time to work on the kernel (not sure if they employ anyone now - do they have any money left?), Apple's Darwin team often contributes code, Juniper sends patches back, and a few other companies contribute financially. You may remember a couple of years ago that the FreeBSD foundation was in danger of losing its non-profit status because too high a proportion of the donations came from corporate entities, rather than individuals.

    OpenBSD, on the other hand, gets very little corporate support, in spite of the fact that everyone ships OpenSSH.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 27, 2009 @02:53PM (#30247634)

    > (in 10 years of using BSD, both in an ISP and a 13 site international company, i've never encountered or heard of it).

    Most ISPs have migrated to Linux anyway. Even *BSD-friendly companies move away from it because features which most users expect simply don't work right.

    Example: Zend, the PHP company doesn't support FreeBSD anymore. The reason is simple, instead of fixing the bugs in the FreeBSD kernel, the FreeBSD maintainers forced the Zend engeneers to invent workarounds for kernel bugs in FreeBSD.

    In PHP you can't switch off the Nagle Algorithm "NDELAY", so fragmented packets are *VERY* slow if you use the streams API.

    Response from the FreeBSD maintainers: "Use unix domain sockets." -- Bleh! unix domain sockets are not available on Windows. Instead of dropping windows support, they have removed FreeBSD builds and moved to Solaris.

    > As far as BSD being useless as a modern desktop system, apple don't seem to think so

    BS! Apple uses Mach with a tiny BSD personality layer and a mixture of BSD and GNU userland. The GUI is proprietary anyway.

    OSX is neither BSD nor based on it.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson