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Looking at FreeBSD 6 and Beyond 273

Provataki writes "OSNews published an interview with core FreeBSD developers John Baldwin, Robert Watson and Scott Long. They discuss about the upcoming FreeBSD 6 and its new features, the competition, TrustedBSD, Darwin and much more."
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Looking at FreeBSD 6 and Beyond

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  • by dancpsu ( 822623 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:35PM (#12896600) Journal
    From the article:

    The TrustedBSD Audit support originated in large part from Mac OS X, and we really appreciate Apple's work with us to develop audit support, and their support in getting it out into open source. One of the outcomes of this will be our (TrustedBSD's) continuing maintainership of OpenBSM, a bundling of the libraries, documentation, and command line tools, which will be portable across a host of operating systems including FreeBSD, Darwin, and Linux. This sort of arrangement can be a strong motivator for companies like Apple to release software under open source -- we're already preparing bundles of documentation and feature enhancements that we hope they will be able to adopt back into Mac OS X.

    I'm glad Apple is helping out, but I was hoping they would go more into the BSD kernel api that's appearing in Tiger.
    • They're separate projects. While Darwn may have started out with FreeBSD roots, that was several years ago. Both projects have moved on and changed considerably since then. At this point, having FreeBSD developers discuss Darwin's API is little more relevant than having Steve Ballmer discuss the BSD kernel API in Tiger.
      • by DECS ( 891519 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:31AM (#12897629) Homepage Journal

        When Apple aquired NeXT, NeXTSTEP for Mach was Mach+4.2 BSD. Apple used their experience with mkLinux (which was also a Mach kernel combined with a *nix userland) to modernize the kernel.

        Part of this effort involved bringing 4.2 BSD up to date with more modern developments from all of the BSD projects, but primarily FreeBSD. Apple continues to incorporate technologies from *BSD projects, despite Darwin being separately maintained.

        Clearly, FreeBSD has a lot more in common with OS X / Darwin than Windows NT does, even if some parts (the kernel obviously, and Darwin's driver IO Kit) are significantly different.

        • Changing the subject here.

          mkLinux doesn't use Linus's kernel so is it correct to even call it mkLinux?

          I have a second hand Apple performa which I know can run mkLinux but at this late stage I can't find a working mirror to download it from. Any suggestions would be welcome.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:36PM (#12896605)
    Yet another sickening blow has struck what's left of the Linux community, as a soon-to-be-released report by the independent Commision for Technology Management (CTM) after a year-long study has concluded: Linux is already dead. Here are some of the commission's findings:

    Fact: Linux has balkanized yet again. There are now no less than 140 separate, competing Linux distros, each of which has introduced fundamental incompatibilities with the other distros, and frequently with Unix standards. Average number of developers in each project (except for Redhat and Novell/Suse): fewer than five. Average number of users per project: there are no definitive numbers, but reports show that all projects are on the decline.

    Fact: The trivial issue os what to call Linux continues to hound Linux. At a recent Linux conference in San Francisco, a fight broke out between RMS (Richard M. Stallman) who says Linux should be called GNU/Linux and Linus Torvalds who created Linux and says that Linux should be called Linux. This led to a massive barroom style brawl involving at least 150 Linux geeks. The SFPD was called out to break up the melee, and arrested 150 people. It was estimated that at least 2 to 3 times that many were involved in the brawl, but there wasn't enough police on hand to arrest or count all of them. Sixty one people were hospitalized as a result of this brawl, and one person is still in a coma. Another three people had to get their jaws wired shut.

    Fact: Linux is plagued by a lack of professionalism. The stereotype of Linux users being fat unwashed dateless geeks who still live in their parents' basements and refuse to shower more than once a month is all too true. The best example of this is RMS who claims to have a "water phobia" and thus rarely bathes. RMS also looks like he has been living in a cave for the last 5 years. In fact, RMS has been arrested twice because he has been mistaken for Osama Bin Laden. While RMS has always been found to not be Osama Bin Laden, it has created a perception of that Linux is the "terrorist operating system". Linus Torvalds has been forced to spend a great deal of time correcting this perception instead of working on the Linux kernel. Alan Cox quit Linux kernel development since he got tired of everyone saying that he was a terrorist.

    Fact: There are almost no Connectiva developers left, and its use, according to Netcraft, is down to a sadly crippled .005% of internet servers. This led to Mandrakesoft, makers of another troubled distro, to purchase Connectiva and become Mandriva. However, industry anaylists say that this will not help since Mandriva is already a shell of its former self.

    Fact: will not include support for Redhat's Fedora project. The newly formed group believes that Fedora has strayed too far from Unix standards and have become too difficult to support along with other Linux distros and Solaris x86. "It's too much trouble," said one anonymous developer. "If they want to make their own standards, let them doing the porting for us."

    Fact: Ubuntu Linux, yet another offshoot of the beleaguered Debian "distro", is already collapsing under the weight of internal power struggles and in-fighting. "They haven't done a single decent release," notes Mark Baron, an industry watcher and columnist. "Their mailing lists read like an online version of a Jerry Springer episode, complete with food fights, swearing, name-calling, and chair-throwing. It also doesn't help that most people think the word, "Ubuntu", is an obscure term for a homosexual orgy." Netcraft reports that Ubuntu Linux is run on exactly 0% of internet servers. An attempt to save Ubuntu by creating a derivative distro called Kubuntu has also failed.

    Fact: Debian Linux, which claims to focus on "being free" (whatever that is supposed to mean), is slow, and cannot take advantage of multiple CPUs. "That about drove the last nail in the coffin for Linux use here," said Michael Curry, CTO of "We took our Debian boxes ou
  • Cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by phaetonic ( 621542 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:37PM (#12896618)
    There should be a special FreeBSD 6.6.6 release with the demon/daemon emphasized.
  • by raistphrk ( 203742 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:43PM (#12896644)
    FreeBSD 5 was the first FreeBSD major version that actually worked properly on my laptop. I'm really excited about FreeBSD 6. Possibly the best feature will be the inclusion of WPA for 802.11. Everything seemed to work on my Thinkpad when I was hardwired, but wireless support was TERRIBLE in FreeBSD 5. Having native drivers for wireless adapters, as well as WPA support will make a transition to FreeBSD full-time on my laptop possible. The only other thing I could really ask for would be an easy-to-use DVD transcoder. I've used most of the packages out there for *nix, but they're still in their infancy. It won't be too long before they're ready for prime-time.
    • by debilo ( 612116 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:50PM (#12896693)
      My experiences with wireless support have been great. But I run a Centrino, which isn't really uncommon hardware. I have used both NDISulator and Damien Bergaminis excellent ipw driver []. I recommend using the latter to anyone using a Centrino-based laptop, it works flawlessly.
      • For video transcoding and rough editing with a GUI check out Avidemux. Runs on all the various *nixes.
      • I've messed with ipw a bit, and it has promise. However, since I use WPA on my network for wireless security, the lack of WPA compatibility in 5-STABLE renders ipw pretty useless for me. The other thing that would be useful would be a good gui-based wifi monitor. I've messed with the few available for KDE, but nothing seems to be user-friendly. I'm fine making calls to ifconfig or whatever cli tool I need to use for configuration, but sometimes I just like the convenience of having a graphical tool to d
    • It works great for me; I have an HP5600, and the only hardware not supported is the modem; Wireless works with NDIS (though I have a prism cardbus card as well). I have already backported the VESA drivers for a 1400x1050 console, and processor scaling for the P4M from 6, and it works great. I still love FreeBSD, and hope that it only gets better in the future.
    • "The only other thing I could really ask for would be an easy-to-use DVD transcoder."

  • FreeBSD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by debilo ( 612116 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:44PM (#12896650)
    I enjoy FreeBSD a lot, it is a great OS and it's fun to use, and I'd like to thank everyone involved.

    Having said that, there are a few areas where FreeBSD sadly lacks behind Linux. For example, support for USB 2.0 is flakey, devices often don't work or behave oddly, and if you have atapicam compiled into the kernel, good luck with your iPod (firewire works flawlessly, though).

    Another thing is WPA, there's no support for it in the stable branches, only in -CURRENT. I find support for USB 2.0 and WPA to be very important for an OS 2005, and frankly, support for both should be taken for granted, I think.

    Other than that, it's a great OS and I am looking forward to 6.0. And I encourage everyone who is unfamiliar with FreeBSD to try it out - you might love it. :)
    • Re:FreeBSD (Score:5, Funny)

      by Not The Real Me ( 538784 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:15PM (#12896855)
      Everyone knows that BSD is dying...Oh, wait a second! I mean OpenBSD is dying. FreeBSD is alive and well.

      • I resent that statement. While your beloved FreeBSD was adding these "features" such as "scalability", I'll have you know that NetBSD has been ported to three new architectures that nobody has ever heard of, and OpenBSD has fixed a very important sercurity flaw which happens when a cosmic ray passes through the earth and hits the MMU on an Intel Pentium 3. "Preparation for fine-grained locking" doesn't look so cool now, does it?
    • Re:FreeBSD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by _merlin ( 160982 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:36PM (#12896976) Homepage Journal
      You see, that's *why* it's not in stable. In BSD, something has to work properly before it moves from current to stable.

      OTOH, Linux pushes things in as soon as possible, without extensive testing. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just a different attitude.
      • Re:FreeBSD (Score:3, Insightful)

        by debilo ( 612116 )

        I wasn't complaining about the fact that it hasn't been MFC'ed yet, I was expressing my worries about the fact that overall support for things I consider essential (like USB 2.0, WPA, and even the possibility of a higher console resolution) has been started rather late compared to other OS's.
        • FreeBSD is a server OS first. Things that make a great server get priority, things that make a great desktop are done whenever.

          I use FreeBSD on my desktop and I love it. In large part because all that automatic stuff that makes for a great desktop gets in my way.

      • You see, that's *why* it's not in stable. In BSD, something has to work properly before it moves from current to stable.

        OTOH, Linux pushes things in as soon as possible, without extensive testing. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just a different attitude.

        And this is why some of us risk being seen as overly pedantic by insisting on using words properly. Linux is not an OS, it's a kernel.

        What OS you're referring to with the word Linux I can only guess, but I can tell you right now that, for i

        • Re:FreeBSD (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hawk ( 1151 )
          Yes, but there's also a very good chance that the version in Debian stable dates to the Reagan administration . . .



    • I heartily agree with that. The instant-workstation port is dead and unbuildable, which is a damn shame, as it can come in handy if you want a quick and easy desktop-user system. FreeBSD can be a great desktop distro...if you want to install all that stuff yourself -- linux distros in general have a more user friendly way to do that (which isn't FreeBSD's priority, which I understand, but still...)

      I wound up making a script to add the packages that I wound up using the most (see it here []).

  • This reminds me: I recently got a shiny new hard drive and am going to put a bunch of partitions at the end. I was recently reminded of FreeBSD, and I'm gonna include that alongside Mandrake and Ubuntu (and whatever BeOS is left these days).

    Are there any other major BSD distros, or is it just these guys? And what non-linux, non-BSD OSes are around now? (I hear OS X is due to be leaked for x86 any day now).

    Are Linux and Free/OpenBSD the only real options now?
    • by debilo ( 612116 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:59PM (#12896750)
      Are Linux and Free/OpenBSD the only real options now?

      I don't know if you left it out on purpose or merely forgot to add it to your list, and I hardly ever use it, but NetBSD [] is a damn fine BSD variant too. It just doesn't get the press it deserves, focus seems to be on Linux and Free/OpenBSD mainly.

      Well, then there's The Hurd, but it's barely usable. So, yes, I guess those are the only real options now. :)
      • I think Linux and FreeBSD are the most popular. Can't say much about Open, but I agree with the NetBSD comment. Of all the OS's out there now, I think NetBSD is the most underrated.

        Linux and FreeBSD tend to be the best choices because they have more up-to-date hardware support. NetBSD has great hardware support too in everything except multimedia. In general, NetBSD doesn't support any 3D hardware acceleration. It also only supports the basic SoundBlaster audio. No 3D surround sound stuff that I'm a

    • by GuruBuckaroo ( 833982 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:39PM (#12896995) Homepage

      As another poster noted, there's also NetBSD. I'm a former/current NetBSD user, although I'm moving away from it to FreeBSD.

      NetBSD is great it you have obscure systems - I ran it on my VAX collection, and it worked great. However, it doesn't seem to stand up as far as new hardware support goes next to FreeBSD.

      One thing to note - when you hear of people breaking transfer records, it's almost always NetBSD - they have a great network stack. I currently use FreeBSD for my file servers (nss_ldap/pam_ldap support is lacking from NetBSD), and use NetBSD for my VPN/IPSec routers. I'm probably going to switch over to FreeBSD just to keep things consistant, though.

    • And what non-linux, non-BSD OSes are around now?

      There's Plan 9 [] and Inferno []. I haven't had much opportunity to experiment with either one, but they both look really interesting. There's also Hurd, but as far as I can tell (which admittedly isn't very far) it's currently about where it was in the nineties in terms of actually working.

    • Darwin? (Score:4, Informative)

      by LFS.Morpheus ( 596173 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:06AM (#12897499) Homepage
      I'm not sure if this is even worth mentioning, but there is Apple's Darwin. I know nothing about it so I can't tell you more, but the site seems to be [] and it does have install CDs.

      Maybe someone else can tell us ups and downs of using Darwin?
    • And what non-linux, non-BSD OSes are around now? (I hear OS X is due to be leaked for x86 any day now).

      Well, there's always Windows. You did say non-Linux, non-BSD, right?

      Other than that, for the x86, there is Solaris, Plan 9, Hurd, MS-DOS, DR-DOS, FreeDOS, BeOS, Darwin x86, NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP, Apple Rhapsody (there's a beta floating around somewhere for the x86, closest thing we're going to get to Mac OS for Dells other than NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP), and Minix.

      If you have access to emulation, you have eve

  • Why Should... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:09PM (#12896818) Journal
    Why should I use FreeBSD over Solaris 10?
    • Re:Why Should... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DAldredge ( 2353 )
      Has the quality of /. users sunk so low that questions like the above are marked as trolls?

      • Ok, I'll stop fooling and try to give a serious answer. One that I can think of immediately is the licensing if that's important to you (Hey, for some people it is.) Two, if you need to have a *nix on some platform other than x86 or SPARC. Three, (possibly, I haven't personally compared) driver support especially on the x86 platform.

        That's what I can think of off the top of my head.

      • The mistreatment of such a respected and glorious veteran such as yourself is an utter mockery.
      • Not the users, but the moderation system. But then, can you not fault yourself for asking a vague potentially religious question? Were you to be more specific as to WHAT you wanted comparison on, then it would not have appeared so.

        If I were to toss out "which is better, a motorcycle or a minivan?" without qualification such as in terms of seating capacity, miles per gallon, top speed, acceleration, safety / accident ratings, then yes, I would expect to me marked a troll.

        Let me ask a question in reply to y

    • Can't answer that one. Can you go out, do some research, and then come back to me on that? Now we'll need that answer by Monday so you'll have to come in on Saturday. Oh, and we lost a couple of "BSD is dying" ACs so we'll probably need you to work on this Sunday too. That'd be great.


    • Re:Why Should... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:41PM (#12897015) Homepage Journal
      Well I can give you reasons why you should use Linux instead of Solaris 10, and I can give you reasons why you should use Linux instead of FreeBSD, but I can't really say very much when it comes to Solaris vs FreeBSD.

      Both OS's are certainly making progress, Solaris 10 in particular represents major progress over the previous versions, but neither is quite there yet and the weaknesses of one tend to be shared by the other.

      The things I'm thinking of are related to the UI for both systems. Neither uses bash (or even tcsh) as the default shell. Neither uses gnu coreutils for things like ls, cp, rm, etc. These things may not matter to some, but they do matter to me. I'm sure the core OS of each is a very strong and capable system, but the same can be said of Linux and I don't have to fight with it to beat the UI into something usable.

      • Re:Why Should... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Badanov ( 518690 )
        The things I'm thinking of are related to the UI for both systems. Neither uses bash (or even tcsh) as the default shell. Neither uses gnu coreutils for things like ls, cp, rm, etc.

        You feeling okay? Last I checked (about a minute ago) I could run a whole BASh language script on BSD just as well as Linux. In fact, you can invoke sh and BASh alternately to run the same script on FreeBsd.

        The 'default' shell can be reset to BASh or any other shell, if you prefer ( As I do ) the BASh shells, and the base

      • Re:Why Should... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ded Bob ( 67043 )
        Neither uses bash (or even tcsh) as the default shell.

        Huh? csh is the default shell on FreeBSD. It also happens to be tcsh. Personally, I use zsh for my shell on all Unix systems I run.
      • One of the nicest things about the BSDs is that they have good userlands, instead of the horrible mess of GNU crap that you get stuck with on linux. And the userland utilities all have real documentation, and in the same format even!
      • Re:Why Should... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Cochonou ( 576531 )
        You've heard about chsh, haven't you ?
    • Why should I use FreeBSD over Solaris 10?

      Nobody asked you to do that, right? As far as I can see nobody tells you "use BSD" they just inform you of what freebsd 6 will have, so why do you question yourself what OS you have to use?
    • Re:Why Should... (Score:3, Informative)

      by bofkentucky ( 555107 )
      Pro FBSD: Better old and new x86 HW support, better FS (ZFS is still vapor at this point), Better Package/Port management
      Con FBSD: Support contracts may not be what your sun platinum has provided, supposedly the instant-workstation port is broken.
      Pro S10: Sun JDS makes mass *nix workstation rollouts a breeze, kick ass tech support if you want to pay for it
      Con S10: JDS costs lots of cash, per workstation, for some rollout and management interfaces for free software (OpenOffice, GNOME), HW support might no
    • Solaris 10 and FreeBSD serve different needs and user bases, so you gennerally, wouldn't need to ask that question.
  • by puzzled ( 12525 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:17PM (#12896858) Journal

    Linux and the associated cloud of distros are like an English garden - mad experiments in all corners, and a mostly clear middle.

    FreeBSD is like the lawn of the commanding officer at Camp Pendleton. Each blade the same distance from the blades around it, all the same height, and if one should slip out of place someone comes and corrects this quickly.

    I love the flow of cool GPL stuff ending up in /usr/ports, but the FreeBSD crew keeps my grounds in order so I've got time to play.

  • "Late" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ( 653730 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:54PM (#12897070)
    The SMPVFS work is a task to add fine-grained locking to the VFS layer of the kernel as well as the UFS and nullfs filesystems.

    I don't hate FreeBSD, but this is one proof of how bad has been the 5.x release. 5.x was suposed to be the SMP-friendly version, but a piece of code so important as the VFS is, is still under a single-lock kind of locking. I mean, I can imagine how BAD freebsd 5.x must be in filesystem-intesive workloads in SMP systems

    I mean, what have they been doing all those years? Freebsd 5.x took a lot of time, this kind of optimization should have been done already.
    • Yes, mistakes were made and things have gone less than well. But have no fear! Ex-FreeBSD developer Matt Dillon to the rescue! For a fellow like yourself can use DragonflyBSD [] instead of FreeBSD 5.0. It offers the SMP capabilities you crave and need, without the Giant Lock syndrome of FreeBSD 5.0.
    • Re:"Late" (Score:2, Informative)

      by 0x000000 ( 841725 )
      FreeBSD 5.x certainly does not shine when it comes to I/O intensive stuff. Especially if you have multiple procs, so i am happy to see it move away from the singe lock, to something that is more useful.

      5.x however was still more SMP friendly, in the fact that most of the other kernel code could be run on the other CPU's if available, while the IO code was run on a single CPU. So the trade off was not that bad. As FreeBSD still performed better with 5.x on servers with multiple CPU's vs 4.x. Just IO was sti
  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:58PM (#12897095)
    There is a PC operating system revolution in the making. In the next few years we will see a display of software battlery like never before. Mac OS X will be available on x86-based PCs, and FreeBSD 6.0 will be released. Solaris 11 promises to be perhaps the greatest true UNIX workstaton release ever. The new offerings from Mandriva, based on Debian rather than RedHat, will surely be amongst the top of their class. And of course there will (maybe) be the release of Longhorn.

    With the advent of multicored CPUs, the level of concurrent performance will explode. OSes like Linux, FreeBSD 6.0, Solaris 10 and 11, and Mac OS X will be prepared for that change. They will be able to effectively take advantage of the first generation of multicore PC CPUs. There are questions as to whether Longhorn will be able to cut it in the New Computing Order that will soon be upon us.
  • 1. Tell us more about SMPVFS and its significance.

    Yeah, nice warm entry into this want more? more than? I feel the sleep fairys pulling down my eyelids!

    Robert Watson John Baldwin: The SMPVFS work is a task to add fine-grained locking to the VFS layer of the kerne....

    At this point I would simulate key presses synonymous with my head hittin the keyboard after falling asleep, however, I realised this may be too subtle for the slashdot crowd, and I fear I am verging on troll/redundant as i
  • In the article I noticed this:

    "The issue found with HT is that the two logical CPUs on a single core share the same caches "

    Thats a seriously nasty hardware "bug"! Didn't anyone at intel even consider the security implications with this or were they just beaten over the head by the marketing guys who were desperate to get one over AMD??
  • When... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mnemonic_ ( 164550 )
    will FreeBSD be as easy to install as Mac OS X? Or am I the only one who cares?

The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom.