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2004 started with another exciting two months for the project. FreeBSD 5.2 was released in early January and then quickly followed in February with the 5.2.1 bug-fix release. Looking forward, we are expecting a late-April release date for FreeBSD 4.10, and mid-summer date for FreeBSD 5.3. And don't forget to support the FreeBSD vendors and developers by buying a copy of the latest CD or DVD sets.


Scott Long

Bluetooth stack for FreeBSD (Netgraph implementation)

Contact: Maksim Yevmenkin <>

Not much to report. Bluetooth Service Discovery Procotol daemon sdpd was integrated with existing Bluetooth utilities. From now on users should not use GNU sdpd (Linux BlueZ port).

Bluetooth HID profile implementation is almost complete. Thanks to Matt Peterson < matt at peterson dot org > for giving me Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for development.

Automatic sizing of TCP send buffers

Contact: Andre Oppermann <>

The current TCP send and receive buffers are static and set to a conservative value to preserve kernel memory. This is sub-optimal for connections with a high bandwidth*delay product because the size of the TCP send buffer determines how big the send window can get. For high bandwidth trans-continental links this seriously limits the maximum transfer speed per TCP connection. For example a 170ms RTT and a 32kB send buffer limit the speed to approximately 1.5Mbit per second even thought you might have a 10Mbit pipe.

This project makes the TCP send buffer to automatically adapt to the optimal buffer size for maximal link usage. In the case above this would be a buffer of approximately 220kB. The main challenge is to have a stable and reliable measurement of the link parameters and manage the kernel memory properly and in a fair way. We don't want to have a few connections to monopolize all available socket buffer space and many edge cases have to be considered. The first implementation will be tuned conservatively but even that will provide significantly better performance than the static buffers currently. Work on this project is already in progress.

Compile FreeBSD with Intels C compiler (icc)

Some patches. URL:

Contact: Alexander Leidinger <>

If nothing bad happened, the icc patches got committed around the date of the deadline for submissions of this report. Please search the archives of -current and/or cvs-all for more information.

The next steps in this project are to

  • fix the kernel to also run without problems when compiled with icc v8
  • fix the kernel if some problems surface after more people give it a try
  • get some ports to compile with icc

Disk and device I/O

Contact: Poul-Henning Kamp <>

In the overall area of disk and device I/O, a significant milestone was reached with the implementation of proper reference counting on dev_t. We are now able to properly allocate and free dev_t. Cloning device drivers also had the job made easier for them with the addition of the unit number management routines.

It is not quite decided which will be the next step in the quest for a truly SMPng I/O subsystem, but a leading candidate is to implement the device-access vnode bypass to get more concurrency in the system: Instead of taking the tour through the vnodes for each i/o operation on a device we will go directly from the file descriptor layer to DEVFS/SPECFS. In addition to Giant-less disk I/O, this should enable us to pull the entire tty subsystem and the PTY driver out from under Giant and we expect that to improve the "snappiness" of the system measurably.

FreeBSD GNOME Project Report

FreeBSD GNOME Project Site. URL:

Contact: FreeBSD GNOME Team <>

It has been a year since our last status report, but we haven't slowed down. Since the last report, Alexander Nedotsukov (bland) and Pav Lucistnik (pav) have joined the FreeBSD GNOME team. GNOME 2.4 was released back in September 2003, followed by 2.4.1 and 2.4.2. We are actively working on getting GNOME 2.6.0 out the door at the end of March. GNOME 2.6 Beta releases can be obtained via the project URL above.

To help make GNOME 2.6.0 our best release to date, we have created a script to automate the upgrade from GNOME 2.4. We also have a new GNOME package build server that builds and serves i386 packages for all supported FreeBSD releases. We plan on having the GNOME 2.6.0 packages available the moment 2.6.0 hits the ports tree.

Included in the release of GNOME 2.6 is GTK+ 2.4, the next installment in the GTK+ 2 series. Because GTK+ 2 has become very stable over the past few years, the FreeBSD GNOME Team is pushing for GTK+ 2 support to be included by default in all applications that support it. This has already been done with Mozilla, Firefox, and Thunderbird. A complete GNOME Desktop and application environment can already be built using only GTK+ 2. The ultimate goal is to phase GTK+ 1 out of the ports tree.

FreeBSD Package Grid

Contact: Kris Kennaway <>

Distributed package builds are currently done using a set of home-grown shell scripts for managing, scheduling and dispatching of package builds on the client machines. This has been sufficient for our needs in the past, but has a number of significant shortcomings that limit future growth. I am rewriting the package build scripts to work on top of Sun GridEngine (ports/sysutils/sge), as a client application of a "FreeBSD package grid". Some of the design goals for the new system are:

  • Better robustness against machine failure, and more efficient scheduling of build jobs
  • Support for remote build machines, to make better use of machine resources and clusters that are not on the same LAN as the build master
  • Ability for other committers to submit port build jobs to the system, for testing of changes, new ports, etc.

FreeBSD ports monitoring system

FreeBSD ports monitoring system URL:

Contact: Mark Linimon <linimon_at_lonesome_dot_com>

Thanks to the loan of a box by Will Andrews, the system has been moved into production. The previous installation at now refers you to the new system. As part of the installation, a preliminary FAQ was added.

The database is updated once per hour.

New reports available include ones about ports marked DEPRECATED, since that function has now been incorporated into (The author hopes that this will allow the port deprecation process to be much more visible to the general FreeBSD user community.) In addition, a report for ports marked FORBIDDEN was added (the code was essentially the same).

The next topic of interest is to try to identify ports which are slave ports because the status of these ports is not currently being updated automatically. This problem also affects FreshPorts. PR ports/63683 is an attempt to address this problem. Also, preliminary work has been done on creating some graphs and charts for various statistics, and in creating a tool to browse port dependencies for the entire ports tree.

Some general observations about the trends in ports PRs can be made:

  • In the past 6 months, the amount of time to get ports PRs committed has dropped dramatically. (This is especially true of PRs for new ports.)
  • The queue of PRs for existing ports that are unmaintained has similarly been trimmed. Both of these two items are due in large part to a few very active committers (how do they ever get their "real" work done?) Thanks, guys, you know who you are.
  • There is still a fairly high number of PRs (~400/~750) which apply to existing ports, and have been assigned to a FreeBSD committer. This represents around 370 individual ports. We seem to have a much harder time getting these numbers to go down; basically, we just hold our own most weeks. This is somewhat disappointing.
  • The number of ports marked BROKEN has jumped dramatically, currently standing at over 250 (for i386-current). This represents less a sudden problem as it does Kris' effort to bring existing brokenness to people's attention -- thus, a much larger percentage of ports with build errors are now labeled as BROKEN.
  • Approximately two-thirds of the port build errors are still due to compilation problems, primarily from the gcc3.3 import. Another 10% fail to install correctly. The reasons for the others are more varied.

FreeBSD/arm Status Report

Contact: Olivier Houchard <>

Development goes reasonably fast, right now it boots single user. It is still very simics-centric, and it deserves a huge cleanup and a few bug fixes, but there's already a decent amount of code to work with, mostly taken from NetBSD. I now plan to work on real hardware support (as soon as I can get some), to get the missing userland bits (mainly rtld and the pthread libs) so that I can build a full world.


Home page. URL:

Contact: Marcel Moolenaar <>

Work on the PMAP overhaul has been put into gear. A lot of issues will be addressed, including support for sparse physical memory and of course SMP. Performance will be addressed to the extend possible, but functionality has priority. The redesign will lay the foundation for NUMA support where possible. An example of this is limiting TLB shootdowns to processors that actually have or had TLBs belonging to the PMAP loaded. Of course, without NUMA hardware the implementation of NUMA support is quite limited.


FreeSBIE Home URL:
FreeSBIE Mailing List URL:
FreeSBIE Mirror List URL:

Contact: FreeSBIE Staff <>

The FreeSBIE Project aims to develop a set of scripts that allow anyone to create their own FreeBSD Bootable Cdrom, with their own set of installed packages. The Project releases an ISO builded with FreeSBIE scripts, to show what they can do. On Sunday 29 February 2004, FreeSBIE 1.0 was released and it had a great success, as there were post on, OSnews, DaemonNews and BSDForums. Thanks to the huge amount of feedback they got, FreeSBIE Developers are now developing new features such as support for archs different from i386. Website redesign is on the way too.


Project URL URL:

Contact: Nicholas Souchu <>

Move to Perforce is done. I spent some time on building a common compilation tree with Linux: until now drivers were build in a FreeBSD makefile tree, not compatible with Linux.

The next priorities are ANSI support and keymaps in the KGC Kernel Graphic Console system.



Contact: Tim Kientzle <>

libarchive, with complete documentation, has been committed to -CURRENT. bsdtar should follow soon. For a few months, gtar and bsdtar will both be available in the base system. Once bsdtar is in the tree, I hope to resume work on libpkg and my pkg_add rewrite.

Note that bsdtar is not an exact replacement for gtar: it does some things better (reads/writes standard formats, archive ACLs and file flags, detects format and compression automatically), some things worse (does not handle multi-volume archives or sparse files) and a few things just different (writes POSIX-format archives by default, not GNU-format). The command lines are sufficiently similar that most users should have no problems with the transition. However, people who rely on peculiar options or capabilities of gtar may have to look to ports.

Move ARP out of routing table

Contact: Andre Oppermann <>

The ARP IP address to MAC address mapping does not belong into the routing table (FIB) as it is currently done. This will move it to its own hash based structure which will be instantiated per each 802.1 broadcast domain. With this change it is possible to have more than one interface in the same IP subnet and layer 2 broadcast domain. The ARP handling and the routing table will be quite a bit simplified afterwards. As an additional benefit full MAC address based accosting will be provided. Work on this project is already in progress.


Contact: Poul-Henning Kamp <>

NanoBSD, src/tools/tools/nanobsd, is a tool for stuffing FreeBSD onto small disk media (like CompactFlash) for embedded applications. The disk image is built with three partitions, two for software images and one for configuration files. Having two software partitions means that new software can be uploaded to the non-active partition while running off the active partition.

The first really public version has been committed and many suggestions and offers of patches have started pouring in.

Network interface naming changes


Contact: Brooks Davis <>

The first actual feature related to the if_xname conversion was committed in early February. Network interfaces can now be renamed with "ifconfig <if> name <newname>".

Work is slowly progressing on a new network interface cloning API to enable interesting cloners like auto-configurating vlans. This work is taking place in the perforce repository under: //depot/user/brooks/xname/...

Network Stack Locking


Contact: Sam Leffler <>
Contact: Robert Watson <>

This project is aimed at converting the FreeBSD network stack from running under the single Giant kernel lock to permitting it to run in a fully parallel manner on multiple CPUs (i.e., a fully threaded network stack). This will improve performance/latency through reentrancy and preemption on single-processor machines, and also on multi-processor machines by permitting real parallelism in the processing of network traffic. As of FreeBSD 5.2, it was possible to run low level network functions, as well as the IP filtering and forwarding plane, without the Giant lock, as well as "process to completion" in the interrupt handler.

Work continues to improve the maturity and completeness of the locking (and performance) of the network stack for 5.3. The network stack locking development branch has been updated to the latest CVS HEAD, tracking a variety of FreeBSD changes, including tracking and driving changes in the interface and device cloning APIs, push-down and fixes to locking in the Berkeley Packet Filter, consistency improvements in allocation flags for network objects, diagnosis of excessive acquisition of Giant in various system callouts and timeouts, removal of Giant from several system callouts, "const"-ification of a number of global variables in the network stack (IPv4, IPv6, elsewhere) as part of ananalysis of locking requirements, fine-grain locking of a number of pseudo-interfaces (disc, loopback, faith, stf, gif, tap, tun), IP encapsulation and tunneling, initial review and locking of parts of PPP and SLIP, experimentation with PCB assertions on IPv6, additional socket locking assertions, graphing of the FreeBSD sockets layer to support locking analysis, merging of theMT_TAG to m_tag conversion to improve the ability to queue packets, moving of the debug.mpsafenet tunable to controlling Giant over the forwarding plane to Giant over the entire stack("dual-mode" to support non-MPSAFE protocols), adaption of existing network lock assertions to also assert Giant when running non-MPSAFE, analysis of high cost of select() locking, improved locking and synchronization annotations, TCP callouts run MPSAFE, logtimeout() runs MPSAFE, uma_timeout() runs MPSAFE, callout sampling instrumentation, loadav() runs MPSAFE, AppleTalk locking begun: AARP locked down and DDP analysis, rawcb list locked, locking analysis of mrouter and IP ID code, IGMP locked, IPv6 analysis begun, IPX/SPX analysis begun, PPP timeouts converted to callouts, Netgraph analysis begun. Many of these changes have not yet been merged to the main FreeBSDtree, but this is a work in progress.

In related work on Pipe IPC (not quite network stack locking), substantial time was invested in diagnosing an increase in the cost of pipe allocation since FreeBSD 4.x, as well as coalescing the several allocations needed to create a pipe, as well as moving to slab allocation so as to amortize the cost of pipe initialization. Future work here will include caching the VM structures supporting pipe buffers.

Recent contributors include Robert Watson, Sam Leffler, MaxLaier, Maurycy Pawlowski-Wieronski, Brooks Davis, and many others who are omitted here only by accident.

Porting OpenBSD's pf

PF homepage URL:

Contact: Max Laier <>
Contact: Pyun YongHyeon <>

The sources were imported from OpenBSD 3.4R and patched with diffs obtained from the port. Since March the 8th it is linked to the build and install. There is some more work to be done in order make pf a home inside the tree, but the biggest hunk of work was lifted during the past two month.

OpenBSD 3.5 is scheduled for early May, so we might see an update before 5.3R. Work towards integration of the - often requested - ALTQ framework is in progress also, though it is not yet clear how well it goes along with the ongoing work towards a giant free net stack.

PowerPC Port

Contact: Peter Grehan <>

After a slow time at the end of last year due to a disk crash, the project is moving along rapidly. The loader is fully functional with Forth support. Syscons has been integrated. New Powerbook models are supported. Work is starting on a G5 port.

There's still lots to do, so as usual volunteers are most welcome.

SGI XFS port for FreeBSD

Contact: Alexander Kabaev <>
Contact: Russell Cattelan <>

Not much has changed since last report was submitted. The read-only access XFS volumes is quite stable now. The work is underway to rewrite xfs_buf layer to minimize local changes intrusiveness. Initial attempt to make XFS code to compile and run on amd64 is in progress too.

We really need a care-taker for our userland tools.

Testbed for testing and qualification of TCP performance

Contact: Andre Oppermann <>

The TCP performance test and qualification testbed is an automated environment that simulates various common and uncommon end-to-end network and link characteristics such as delay, bandwidth limitations, congestion, packet drops, packet corruption and out of order arrival. The testbed automatically steps through all link types and tests various TCP optimizations and parameter adjustments. In the end all data is graphically arranged and compared against standard behaviour and each other to judge the positive or negative effects of the modifications. Work on this project has just started and is based on FreeBSDs dummynet.

The FreeBSD Dutch Documentation Project.

Contact: Remko Lodder <>

The Dutch Documentation Project is a ongoing project in translating the handbook and other documentation to the dutch language. Currently there is 1 active person (me) translating the documentation. I am currently working on the handbook/basics section. But i can use some more hands, please drop me an email if you wish to help out so that the dutch translation will speed up and be ready in some time. Contact for information.

The FreeBSD Simplified Chinese Project

The FreeBSD Simplified Chinese Project (In Simplified Chinese) URL:
Translated Website Snapshot URL:
Translated Handbook Snapshot URL:

Contact: Dong LI <>
Contact: Xin LI <>

The project is a joint effort of volunteers, which focus in the internationalization and localization of the FreeBSD Operating System and applications running on FreeBSD. All of the work resulted in this project will be contributed back to the FreeBSD project.

Thanks to many volunteers' help, by this time of writing, we have finished more than 60% of the translation of the FreeBSD Handbook. We plan to submit a preliminary translation of the FreeBSD website as well as the FreeBSD Handbook when most part of them were finished, which is expected to happen in a couple of months. The snapshot of the documentation translation effort could be accessed through the URL listed above.

The project also supported individual efforts on porting applications (especially software that supports Simplified and/or Traditional Chinese) to FreeBSD. We are also doing some research on making FreeBSD kernel and base system more i18n-aware.

Verify source reachability option for ipfw2


Contact: Andre Oppermann <>

The verify source reachability option for ipfw2 checks if the source IP address of a packet entering the machine is reachable at all. Thus if we can't send a packet back because we don't have a route back we don't have to forward it because two way communication isn't possible anyway. It is more than likely that such a packet is spoofed. This option is almost the same as what is known on Cisco IOS as "ip verify unicast source reachable-via [any|ifn]". Using this option only makes sense when you don't have a default route which naturally always matches. So this is useful for machines acting as routers with a default-free view of the entire Internet as common when running a BGP daemon (Zebra/Quagga or OpenBSD bgpd).

One useful way of enabling it globally on a router looks like this: ipfw add xxxx deny ip from any to any not versrcreach or for an individual interface only: ipfw add xxxx deny ip from any to any not versrcreach recv fxp0

vinum + GEOM


Contact: Lukas Ertl <>

The "geomification" of vinum has made some progress. I now have all basic setups working (concatenated plexes, striped plexes, RAID5 plexes, and RAID1), but I still have to implement correct error handling and status change handling.

Still missing is a userland tool, so currently you still have to use "old-style" vinum to configure your setup.

Weekly cvs-src summaries

Polish translations URL:

Contact: Mark Johnston <>

I have been producing weekly summaries of commits and the surrounding discussions as reported on the cvs-src mailing list. These summaries are posted to -current on Sunday evenings and archived on the Web. The reception has been overwhelmingly good. As of the end of February, Polish translations are being produced by Lukasz Dudek and Szymon Roczniak; they are also planning to translate the older summaries.

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