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One of the benefits of the FreeBSD development model is a focus on centralized design and implementation, in which the operating system is maintained in a central repository, and discussed on centrally maintained lists. This allows for a high level of coordination between authors of various components of the system, and allows policies to be enforced over the entire system, covering issues ranging from architecture to style. However, as the FreeBSD developer community has grown, and the rate of both mailing list traffic and tree modifications has increased, making it difficult even for the most dedicated developer to remain on top of all the work going on in the tree.

The FreeBSD Monthly Development Status Report attempts to address this problem by providing a vehicle that allows developers to make the broader community aware of their on-going work on FreeBSD, both in and out of the central source repository. This is the first issue, and as such is an experiment. For each project and sub-project, a one paragraph summary is included, indicating progress since the last summary (in this case, simply recent progress, as there have been no prior summaries).

This status report may be reproduced in whole or in part, as long as the source is clearly identified and appropriate credit given.

Future Editions

Assuming there is some positive feedback on this idea, and that future submissions get made such that there is content for future issues, the goal is to release a development status report once a month. As such, the next deadline will be July 31, 2001, with a scheduled publication date in the first week of August. This will put the status report on a schedule in line with the calendar, as well as providing a little over a month until the next deadline, which will include a number of pertinent events, including the Annual USENIX Technical Conference in Boston, MA. Submissions should be e-mailed to:

Many submitters will want to wait until the last week of July so as to provide the most up-to-date status report; however, submissions will be accepted at any time prior to that date.

-- Robert Watson < >

Binary Updater Project


Contact: Eric Melville <>
Contact: Murray Stokely <>

The FreeBSD Binary Updater Project aims to provide a secure mechanism for the distribution of binary updates for FreeBSD. This project is complementary to the Open Packages and libh efforts and there should be very little overlap with those projects. The system uses a client / server mechanism that allows clients to install any known "profile" or release of FreeBSD over the network. Where a specific profile might contain a specific set of FreeBSD software to install, additional packages, and configuration actions that make it more ideal for a specific environment (ie FreeBSD 4.3 Secure Web Server Profile)

The system can currently be used to install a FreeBSD system or perform the most simple of upgrades but many features are absent. In particular, the client is in its infancy and much work remains to be done. We need additional developers so please get in touch with us at if you are interested in spending some cycles on this.

CVSROOT script rewrite/tidy

Contact: Josef Karthauser <>

I'm in the process of rewriting the CVSROOT/scripts to make them more clean and configurable. A lot of other projects also use these and so it makes sense to make them as easy to use in other environments as possible.

Status: work in progress. There is now a configuration file, but not all the scripts use it yet.


Contact: Poul-Henning Kamp <>

Work is progressing on implementing true cloning devices in DEVFS. Brian Somers and Poul-Henning Kamp are working to make if_tun the first truly cloning driver in the system. Next will be the pty driver and the bpf driver.

From July 1st DEVFS will be standard in -current.

digi driver

Contact: Brian Somers <>

Added the digi driver. Initial work was done by John Prince <>, but all the modular stuff was done by me and initial work on supporting Xe and Xi cards (ala dgb) was done by me. I'm now awaiting an Xe card being sent from joerg@ (almost a donation) so that I can get that side of things working properly.



Contact: Poul-Henning Kamp <>

Ben Smithurst has written a "diskcheckd" daemon which will read all sectors on the disks over a configured period. With recent increases in disksizes it is by no means a given that disk read errors will be discovered before they are fatal. This daemon will hopefully result in the drive firmware being able to relocate bad sectors before they become unreadable. This code is now committed to 5.0-CURRENT.

if_fxp driver

Contact: Jonathan Lemon <>

In the last month (May-June), the new fxp driver was brought into -stable. This new driver uses the common MII code, so support for new PHYs is easy to add. Support for the new Intel 82562 chips was added. The driver was updated to add VLAN support and a workaround for a bug affecting Intel 815-based boards.

Java Project

Contact: Greg Lewis <>

The FreeBSD Java Project has continued its "behind the scenes" work over the last month. Progress was made both technically, with the help of Bill Huey (of Wind River), on a port of JDK 1.3.1 and legally, with Nate Williams continuing negotiations with Sun on a mutually acceptable license to release a binary Java 2 SDK under. The JDK 1.2.2 port has also seen some development, with a new patchset likely to be released soon which includes JPDA and NetBSD support (the latter courtesy of Scott Bartram).

Kernel Graphics Interface port


Contact: Nicolas Souchu <>

The Kernel Graphics Interface project has worked for several years to provide a framework for graphic drivers under Linux receiving input from other groups like the UDI project. Currently the KGI core implementation is quite settled, as is the driver coding model as a whole. Work is being done to newbussify KGI and produce a kld, as part of a future redesign of the graphics subsystem in FreeBSD. KGI will be an alternative for graphic card producers that don't accept the XFree86 model of userland graphic adapters and will also provide accelerated support for any other graphic alternative.

libh Project


Contact: Alexander Langer <>
Contact: Nathan Ahlstrom <>

The libh project is a next generation sysinstall. It is written in C++ using QT for its graphical frontend and tvision for its console support. The menus are scriptable via an embedded tcl interpreter. It has been growing functionality quite a bit lately, including a new disklabel editor. Current work is on installation scripts for CDROM, FTP, ... installs as well as a fully functional standalone disk-partition and label editor. The GUI API was extended a little and many bugs were fixed. There seems to be some interest in i18n work.

Mount(2) API

Contact: Poul-Henning Kamp <>

Maxime Henrion is working on implementing a new and more extensible mount(2) systemcall, mainly to overcome the 32 bits for mountoptions limit, secondary goal to make it possible to mount filesystems from inside the kernel.

OLDCARD pccard implementation

Contact: Warner Losh <>

In the last two months, the OLDCARD pccard implementation was rototilled to within an inch of its life. Many new pci cardbus bridges were added. Power handling was improved. PCI Card cardbus bridges are nearly supported and should be committed in early June to the tree. This will likely be the last major work done on OLDCARD. After pci cards are supported, work will shift to improving NEWCARD.

PowerPC Port

Contact: Benno Rice <>

The PowerPC port is proceeding well. All seems to be working in pmap.c after a number of problems encountered where FreeBSD passes a vm_page_t to a NetBSD-derived function that expects a vm_offset_t. Then after debugging the atomic operations code, I'm now at the point where VM appears to be initialized and it's now hanging while in sys/kern/kern_malloc.c:kmeminit(). Progress continues. =)


Contact: Brian Somers <>

Developing full MPPE support for Andre Opperman @ Monzoon in Switzerland. Work is now complete and will eventually be brought into -current, but no dates are yet known.

Problem Reports


Contact: Poul-Henning Kamp <>

Poul-Henning Kamp kicked off a drive to get our GNATS PR database cleaned up so the wheat can be sorted from the chaff. Progress is good, but there is still a lot of work to do. Give a hand if you can. Remember: every unhandled PR is a pissed off contributor or user.


Contact: Dag-Erling Smorgrav <>

Pseudofs is a framework for pseudo-filesystems, like procfs and linprocfs. The goal of pseudofs is twofold:

  • eliminate code duplication between (and within) procfs and linprocfs
  • isolate procfs and linprocfs from the complexities of the vfs system to simplify maintenance and further development.

Pseudofs has reached the point where it is sufficiently functional and stable that linprocfs has been almost fully reimplemented on top of it; the only bit that's missing is the proc/<pid>/mem file.

The primary to-do item for pseudofs right now is to add support for writeable files (which are required for procfs, and are quite a bit less trivial to handle than read-only files). In addition, pseudofs needs either generic support for raw (non-sbuf'ed, possibly mmap'able) files, or failing that, special-case code to handle proc/<pid>/mem.



Contact: Bruce A. Mah <>

RELNOTESng is the name I've given to the rewrite of the *.TXT files that typically accompany a FreeBSD release. The information from these files (which include, among other things, the release notes and the supported hardware list) have been reorganized and converted to SGML. This helps us produce the documentation in various formats, as well as facilitating the maintenance of documentation for multiple architectures. This work was recently committed to -CURRENT, and I intend to MFC it to 4-STABLE before 4.4-RELEASE.

SMPng mbuf allocator


Contact: Bosko Milekic <>

mb_alloc is a new specialized allocator for mbufs and mbuf clusters. Presently, it offers various important advantages over the old (status quo) mbuf allocator, particularly for MP machines. Additionally, it is designed with the possibility of future enhancements in mind.

Presently in initial review & testing stages, most of the code is already written.

SMPng Project


Contact: John Baldwin <>
Contact: Jake Burkholder <>
Contact: SMP Mailing list <>

The SMPng project aims to provide multithreaded support for the FreeBSD kernel. Currently the kernel still runs almost exclusively under the Giant kernel lock. Recently, progress has been made in locking the process group and session structures as well as file descriptors by Seigo Tanimura-san. Alfred Perlstein has also added in a giant lock around the entire virtual memory (VM) subsystem which will eventually be split up into several smaller locks. The locking of the VM subsystem has proved tricky, and some of the current effort is focused on finding and fixing a few remaining bugs in on the alpha architecture.

Sparc64 Port

Contact: Jake Burkholder <>

Work has (re)started on a port of FreeBSD to the UltraSPARC architecture, specifically targeting PCI based workstations. Jake Burkholder will be porting the kernel, and Ade Lovett has expressed an interest in working on userland. Recent work on the project includes:

  • built a gnu cross toolchain targeting sparc64
  • obtained remote access to an ultra 5 development machine (thanks to emmy)
  • developed a minimal set of headers and source files to allow the kernel to be compiled and linked
  • implemented a mini-loader which relocates the kernel, maps it into the tlbs and calls it
  • nabbed Benno Rice's openfirmware console driver which allows printf and panic to work

At this point the kernel can be net-booted and prints the FreeBSD copyright before calling code that is not yet implemented. I am currently working on a design for the pmap module and plan to begin implementation in the next few days.



Contact: Robert Watson <>

The TrustedBSD Project seeks to improve the security of the FreeBSD operating system by adding new security features, many derived from common trusted operating system requirements. This includes Access Control Lists (ACLs), Fine-grained Event Logging (Audit), Fine-grained Privileges (Capabilities), Mandatory Access Control (MAC), and other architecture features, including file system extended attributes, and improved object labeling.

Individual feature status reports are documented separately below; in general, basic features (such as EAs, ACLs, and kernel support for Capabilities) will be initially available in 5.0-RELEASE, conditional on specific kernel options. A performance-enhanced version of EAs is currently being targeted at 6.0-RELEASE, along with an integrated capability-aware userland, and MAC support.

TrustedBSD Capabilities

Contact: Thomas Moestl <>

The kernel part of the capability implementation is mostly finished; all uses of suser() and suser_xxx() and nearly all comparisons of uid's with 0 have been converted to use the newly introduced cap_check() call. Some details still need clarification. More documentation for this needs to be done.

POSIX.2c-compatible getfcap and setfcap programs have been written. Experimental capability support in su(1), login(1), install(1) and is being tested.

Support for capabilities, ACL's, capabilities and MAC labels in tar(1) is being developed; only the capability part is tested right now. Generic support for extended attributes is planned, this will require extensions to the current EA interface, which are written and will probably be committed to -CURRENT in a few weeks. A port of these features to pax(1) is planned.

TrustedBSD MAC and Object Labeling


Contact: Robert Watson <>

An initial prototype of a Mandatory Access Control implementation was completed earlier this year, supporting Multi-Level Security, Biba Integrity protection, and a more general jail-based access control model. Based on that implementation, I'm now in the process of improving the FreeBSD security abstractions to simplify both the implementation and integration of MAC support, as well as increase the number of kernel objects protected by both discretionary and mandatory protection schemes. Generic object labeling introduces a structure not dissimilar in properties to the kernel ucred structure, only it is intended to be associated with kernel objects, rather than kernel subjects, permitting the creation of generic security protection routines for objects. This would allow the easy extension of procfs and devfs to support ACLs and MAC, for example. A prototype is underway, with compiling and running code and simple protections now associated with sysctl's.

TrustedBSD: ACLs

Contact: Chris D. Faulhaber <>

Patches are now available to add ACL support to cp(1) and mv(1) along with preliminary support for install(1). Ilmar's i18n patches for getfacl(1) and setfacl(1) need to be updated for the last set of changes and committed. Some other functional improvements are also in the pipeline.

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