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The FreeBSD Project made substantial progress in the month of August, 2001, both on continuing the development of the RELENG_4 line (4.x-STABLE and 4.x-RELEASE), and on 5.0-CURRENT, the main development branch. During this month, the decision was made to push the release of 5.0-CURRENT back so that KSE (support for fine-grained user threads) could be completed in time for the release, rather than postponing that support for 6.0. As such, the lifespan of the RELENG_4 line will be extended, with new features continuing to be backported to that branch. 4.4-RELEASE went into final beta during this month, and will also be available shortly.

This month's edition of the status report has been written with the assistance of Nik Clayton and Chris Costello.

Future submissions

For next month, the submission procedures remain the same: reports should be between one and two paragraphs long, sent by e-mail, and in a format approximately that of this month's submissions (Project, Contact, URL, and text). Reminders will be mailed to the and mailing lists at least a week before the deadline; complete submission instructions may be found in those reminders.

-- Robert Watson

aac driver


Contact: Scott Long <>

The aac driver has been given a lot of attention lately and is now nearly feature complete. Changes include crashdump support, correct handling of controller initiated commands, and more complete management interface support. The Linux RAID management tool available from Dell and HP now fully works; a FreeBSD native version of the tool is also in the works. These changes have been checked into -current, and will appear in -stable once 4.4 has been released.

ARM port


Contact: Stephane Potvin <>

Basic footbridge support is now functional and the kernel is now able to probe the pci bus. Access primitives for the bus are still missing so I can't attach any drivers yet.

BSDCon Europe

Contact: Paul Richards <>

Planning for BSDCon Europe is going well. We're still accepting proposals for talks but the schedule is starting to fill up so we may not be for much longer.

An update of the site that includes accommodation information, a preliminary schedule, a list of speakers and an online payment page will be launched on Wednesday 19 September.

The fee will be �150 for individuals and �250 for corporations. The individual pricing is valid only until the end of September, the price will rise to �200 for October and late registrations in November will be �250.

The updated website will include a list of sponsorship options, we're still looking for more sponsorship.


Contact: Matthew Jacob <>
Contact: Justin Gibbs <>
Contact: Kenneth Merry <>

No change since last status. Some discussion amongst all of us occurred, but lack of time and commitment to FreeBSD has meant little has actually been committed to the tree. SMPng work will be left to those who seem to have a notion about what needs to be done.

Compressed TCP state

Contact: Jonathan Lemon <>

State information for TCP connections is primarily kept in the TCP/IP control blocks in the kernel. Not all of the TCP states make use of the entire structure, and significant memory savings can be had by using a cut-down version of the state in some cases. The first phase of this project will address connections that are in the TIME_WAIT state by moving them into a smaller structure.

This project has completed the initial research and rough design phases, with actual code development starting immediately.

CVSROOT script rewrite/tidy

Contact: Josef Karthauser <>

Work is still progressing to make all of the perl scripts run using perl's 'strict' mode, and to migrate all FreeBSD specific options into the configuration file (CVSROOT/ I'll be looking for help soon to write a guide on how to make use of these scripts for use in your own repository. Anyone interested in helping should contact me at the above email address.

Documentation Project


Contact: Nik Clayton <>
Contact: Documentation Project <>

The Handbook has been the main focus of activity this month. Due to go to the printers on the 15th a vast amount of new content has been submitted and committed. This includes a complete rewrite of the "Installing FreeBSD", which massively expands the amount of information available to people new to FreeBSD. It even includes screenshots.

Comments, and contributions are, of course, welcome.



Contact: Erik Greenwald <>
Contact: Joel Willson <siigorny@linuxsveeden.borkborkbork>

NVIDIA Corporation releases Linux drivers by using a combination of binary object files and source (under a constrictive license). The FreeBSD NVIDIA driver project aimed to completely replace the source component of the driver using code targeting FreeBSD 4.3 and released under the BSD license. The binary module provided is supposedly the same module used on Windows, BeOS, and OS/2, so it should be portable between different i80x86 based OS's.

The project is currently on indefinite hold. Our contact at NVIDIA seemed enthusiastic about the project, and was fairly quick about returning email, but when we discovered issues that prevented porting without changes to the binary component or error codes we needed deciphered, Nick (the contact) said he'd look into it and never got back. The first major problem was the ioctl interface, the NVIDIA driver passes a pointer and depends on the kernel side to copyout the right amount, where FreeBSD expect the parameters to be correct and the copyout is performed by the subsystem. This was worked around using Dave Rufinos "ioctl tunnel" idea. After that, we found that X refused to load and traced it down to an ioctl defined in the binary component erroring. We cannot tell what that ioctl is, were told that we could not sign an NDA for source to that component, and have been waiting a month for Nick to "look into it". Therefore progress is impossible (without breaking the license) and we believe that the flaws make the driver unportable to any *nix other than Linux.

Fibre Channel Support


Contact: Matthew Jacob <>

2 Gigabit support was integrated on 8/31/2001 (QLogic 2300/2312 cards). Because of the author's shrinking time commitment for FreeBSD, the previously planned "next step" which would have been more complete new CAM Transport integration is now probably just the addition of an FC-IP adjunct (as this can benefit many platforms simultaneously).

floppy driver overhaul

Contact: Joerg Wunsch <>

As part of some ongoing development activity, the floppy driver (fdc(4)) enjoyed some overhaul in the past which is part of an ongoing process. Automatic density selection will come next, something i meant to implement for years now. As part of that, the entire density selection stuff has been rewritten. 2.88 MB floppies are on the wishlist as well, but I need a working 2.88 drive before attempting to implement that.

FreeBSD core-secretary

Contact: Alan Clegg <>
Contact: <>

The position of Core Secretary was filled by Alan Clegg <> The first core-secretary report should be available the second week in September and will cover the issues discussed by core during August 2001.

FreeBSD Java Project


Contact: Greg Lewis <>

Most of the work this month has focused on development of the native JDK 1.3.1 patchset. The 3rd patchset is out and has been accompanied with the creation of a FreeBSD "port". This has allowed early adopters much easier access to the code and naturally resulted in a number of bugs being found. Development work has mostly focused on fixing these problems and the project is now set to release fourth patchset over the weekend, which should see the JDK in a reasonably usable state. One of the big challenges left is producing a working HotSpot JVM, which looks like it will require some heavy hacking.

We also welcome OpenBSD's Heikki Korpela to the porting team :)


Contact: Mark Murray <>

Development is continuing; pam_unix has gained the ability to change passwords, login(1) has had PAM made compulsory (and is going to have more PAM-capable features handed over to PAM).

FreeBSD Release Engineering

Contact: FreeBSD Release Engineer Team <>

The FreeBSD release engineering process for FreeBSD 4.4 started to ramp up around August 1st when the "code slush" took affect. During this time all commits to the RELENG_4 branch were reviewed by (over 250 code snippets had to be reviewed). After the first release candidate on August 15th, all submissions were scrutinized under a more strict potential risk vs benefit curve. The best way to help get involved with the release engineering process is to simply follow the low volume freebsd-qa mailing list, help out with the neverending supply of PRs related to our installation tools (sysinstall), or to work on a possible next-generation replacement for our installation technology, such as the libh or OpenPackages projects.

Many companies donated equipment, network access, or paychecks to finance these activities. Including Compaq, Yahoo!, Wind River Systems, and many more.

FreeBSD/sparc64 port

Contact: Jake Burkholder <>
Contact: Thomas Moestl <>
Contact: Robert Drehmel <>

Sparc64 development is still continuing rapidly and we're making some excellent progress. Of note, some problems with the way the pmap module implements copy-on-write mappings have been fixed and fork() now works as expected, support for signals has been added, and the port has been updated for KSE in the perforce repository. Thomas Moestl has begun work on pci bus support, and a basic nexus bus for sparc64 has been written. The driver for the Sun `Psycho' and `Sabre' UPA-to-PCI bridges and associated code has been ported from NetBSD (the Sabre is the on-chip version found in the UltraSparc IIi and IIe). PCI configuration, I/O and memory space accesses do already work, as well as interrupt assignment and delivery for devices attached directly to the bridge, and the first PCI device drivers can attach and seem to work mostly. Interrupt routing and busdma support still need much work.

GNOME Desktop for FreeBSD

Contact: Maxim Sobolev <>
Contact: FreeBSD GNOME Team <>

Getting GNOME Fifth-Toe metaport ready for 4.4-RELEASE was the main focus of activity this month. In the process many components were updated, many bugs were tracked down and solved, which allowed to make this 97-component meta-package building and working properly.

Next month the project will be focused on organizing work of the FreeBSD GNOME Team as well as on attempts to increase amount of people participating in the team (anybody who is willing to participate is welcome to drop a note to gnome@FreeBSD with a short explanation of how he/she could help).

ia64 Port

Contact: Doug Rabson <>

Current status is that the ia64 kernel builds and runs in a simulator environment up to single user mode and has been tested lightly in that environment. My current focus is on completing the ia64 loader so that I can start to get kernels working on the real hardware. The loader is coming along well and I expect to be able to load kernels (but not necessary execute them) soon.

Improved TCP Initial Sequence Numbers

Contact: Mike Silbersack <>

In mid March, 2001, Tim Newsham of Guardent identified an attack possible against the initial sequence number generation scheme of FreeBSD (and other OSes.) In order to guard against this threat, a randomized sequence number generation scheme was ported over from OpenBSD and included in 4.3-release. Unfortunately, non-monotonic generation was found to cause major problems with applications which initiate continuous, rapid connections to a single host.

In order to restore proper operation under such circumstances while still providing strong resistance against sequence number prediction, FreeBSD 4.4 uses the algorithm specified in RFC 1948. This algorithm hashes together host and port information with a piece of secret data to generate a unique sequence number space for each connection. As a result, outgoing initial sequence numbers are again monotonic, but also unguessable by an attacker.

Intel Gigabit Ethernet

Contact: Matthew Jacob <>

No new status to report. This driver will be worked on again soon and cleaned up to work better.

IP Multicast Routing support

Contact: Bill Fenner <>

FreeBSD's IP Multicast Routing support was recently updated in several ways. One big change is that it's now able to be loaded as a KLD instead of statically compiled into the kernel; this is especially useful for experimentation or updating of an existing system. It also now coexists nicely with the kernel IP encapsulation infrastructure, so that multicast tunnels can better coexist with MobileIP, certain IPSec tunnels and generic IPv4-in-IPv4 tunnels.

jpman project


Contact: Kazuo Horikawa <>
Contact: <>

Targeting 4.4-RELEASE, one team has been translating newly MFC'ed section [125678] manpages. The other team has been updating section 3 since May and one third (1/3) is finished. The port ja-groff is updated to be groff-1.17.2 based, and now it has the same functionality as base system does. The port ja-man is updated to have the search capability under an architecture subdirectory, as base system does. The doc/ja_JP.eucJP/man hierarchy update (adding architecture subdirectories) is planned after 4.4-RELEASE.



Contact: Munechika Sumikawa <>

The KAME project ( has merged its IPv6 and IPsec implementation as of July 2001 to FreeBSD CURRENT and STABLE, in cooperation with some contributors of the project. The latest code includes a number of bug fixes, has been fully tested in FreeBSD STABLE, and will appear in FreeBSD 4.4 RELEASE. Thus, the new RELEASE version will be quite stable in terms of IPv6 and IPsec.

The project has assigned a talented guy to be responsible for merge from KAME to FreeBSD, so future merge efforts will be smoother.


Contact: Julian Elischer <>
Contact: Peter Wemm <>
Contact: Matt Dillon <>

Work in adding supporting infrastructure to the kernel for KSE threading support has reached "milestone 2".

Milestone 2 is where the kernel source consistently refers to its resources in terms of per-thread and per-process resources, in the way that it will need to when there are > 1 threads per process, but the LOGICAL changes to such things as the scheduler, and fork and exit, have not yet been made to allow more than one thread to be created. (nor have new threading syscalls been added yet). This is an important milestone as it represents the last point where the kernel has only "mechanical" changes. To go further we must start adding new algorithms and functions.

The kernel for milestone 2 is reliable and has no noticeable performance degradations when compared to a matching -current kernel. (the differences are less than the margin of error, so that sometimes the new kernel actually fractionally beats the unaltered kernel).

We hope that by the time this is published, the KSE patches will have been committed. The Major effect for most developers will be only that the device driver interface requires a 'thread' pointer instead of a Proc pointer in the open, close and ioctl entrypoints.

I'm sure there will be small teething problems but we are not expecting great problems at the commit.

libh Project

Contact: Alexander Langer <>
Contact: Nathan Ahistrom <>

I have access to the libh CVS repo again and am testing a new, OBJDIR capable build structure at the moment. Done that, I'm going to continue testing the package library and implement the missing functionality. Currently, import of libh into the base system is under discussion (arch mailinglist). Now that 5.0-RELEASE has been shifted, I want 5.0 ship with a libh installer and package system. We can really need people who are good in C++, are able to understand what the current implementation does and also feel that working on libh is fun and thus are willing to help.


Contact: Brian Feldman <>

The port of LOMAC to FreeBSD is progressing well, and already has a very high level of stability (no known outstanding bugs!). Aspects which have already been implemented include a stacking filesystem overlay with fully-functional access controls (for files and directories) based on path names, access controls for sending signals, and file-backed-memory revocation for processes.

Mbuf SMPng allocator


Contact: Bosko Milekic <>

The allocator appears to be stable. Mbtypes statistics have been re-activated thanks, in part, to Jiangyi Liu <> although the diff has not yet been committed (I'm just in the process of cleaning it up a little and final testing). More work to come: cleanups, follow TODO from the original commit, and perhaps an eventual generalization of the allocator for various network-related allocations (in a more distant future).

Netgraph ATM

Contact: Hartmut Brandt <>

The ATM stack has been tested with a number of FreeBSD machines and a Marconi ATM switch and seems to be quite stable running CLIP. Multi port support for the native ATM API has been implemented but needs some testing.

network device cloning

Contact: Brooks Davis <>

Support for cloning vlan devices via ifconfig has been committed to -current and will be MFC'd after further testing. Additionally, Maksim Yevmenkin submitted code to allow cloning of tap and vmnet devices on devfs systems. Code for faith and stf should be committed shortly.

Network device nodes

Contact: Jonathan Lemon <>

Currently, all network devices (fxp0, lo0, etc) exist in their own namespace, and are accessed through a socket interface. This project creates device nodes in /dev for network devices, and allows control and access in that fashion.

This is experimental work, and suggestions for APIs and functionality are strongly encouraged and welcomed. In is not clear whether it will be possible (or desirable) to provide the exact same set of operations that can be done through the socket interface.

Benefits of approach include the fact that a kqueue filter can be attached to a network device for monitoring purposes. Initial code exists to send a kq event whenever the network link status changes. Other benefits may include better access control by using filesystem ACLs to control access to the device.

Network SMP locking

Contact: Jonathan Lemon <>

For 5.0, the goal is for the network stack to run without the Giant lock. Initial development in this area may focus on partitioning the code and data structures into distinct areas of responsibilities. A first pass of locking may involve using a several smaller mini-giant code locks in order to reduce the problem to a manageable size.

Progress for this month includes the creation of a perforce repository to officially track the locking changes, and the initial submission of locks for the &ifnet list. Some code cleanup has also been done to the main tree in order to better support future locking additions.

OLDCARD improvements

Contact: Warner Losh <>

The OLDCARD improvements have been completed, except for a few edge cases for older laptops with CL-PD6729/30 chips and some pci bios issues. Some minor work will continue, but after 4.4R is released, only a few remaining bugs will be fixed before the author moves on to greener fields of NEWCARD development.

Porting ppp to hurd & linux

Contact: Brian Somers <>

Status is unchanged since last month. Patches have been submitted to get ppp working under HURD, and mostly under Linux. There are GPL copyright problems that need to be addressed. Many conflicts are expected after the commit of IPv6 support in ppp.

PPP IPv6 Support

Contact: Brian Somers <>

The software has been committed to -current and seems functional. Outstanding issues include dealing with IPV6CP events (linkup & linkdown scripts) and allocating site-local and global addresses (currently, ``iface add'' is the only way to actually use the link).


Contact: Brian Somers <>

I looked at bringing PPPoA into the base system, but could not because of an overly restrictive distribution license on the Alcatel Speedtouch modem firmware. It has been committed as a port instead and is running live at a FreeBSD Services client site.


Contact: Brian Somers <>

Making pppoed function in a production environment. All known problems have been fixed and committed.

PRFW - hooks for the FreeBSD kernel


Contact: Evan Sarmiento <>

PRFW is a set of hooks for the FreeBSD kernel. It allows users to insert code into system calls, for such purposes as creating extended security features. Last week, PRFW reached 0.1.0, with many bugfixes and cleaning. I urge anyone who is interested to please visit the site, join the mailing list. Also take a peek at, the Linux hooks. It will be a good contrast.

Problem Reports


Contact: Poul-Henning Kamp <>

We are making some progress, we are now down to 2170 open PR's down from an all time high of 3270 just 3 months ago. The aim is still to get rid of all the dead-wood in the PR database so only relevant PRs in the database. A big thanks from me to the people who have made this happen!

RAIDframe for FreeBSD


Contact: Scott Long <>

After two months of little progress, RAIDframe work is gearing up again. The port to -stable has some known bugs but is fairly stable. The port to -current was recently completed and patches will be released soon. RAIDframe is a multi-platform RAID subsystem designed at CMU. This is a port of the NetBSD version by Greg Oster.



Contact: Bruce Mah <>

RELNOTESng, the DocBook-ified set of release documentation files, has been merged to the RELENG_4 branch. 4.4-RELEASE will be the first release of FreeBSD with the new-style release notes, hardware list, etc. Some of these documents are being translated by the Japanese and Russian translation teams.

Snapshots of RELNOTESng for CURRENT and 4-STABLE in HTML, text, and PDF are available at the above URL and are updated irregularly but frequently. Dima Dorfman <> and Nik Clayton <> have been working to have automatically-generated snapshots on the main FreeBSD web site.

On my TODO list: 1) Resynchronize the FreeBSD installation document with the installation chapter in the Handbook. 2) Update the hardware lists (with particular emphasis on PCCARD and USB devices). 3) Update the infrastructure to allow the architecture-dependent parts of RELNOTESng to scale to more hardware platforms.

SCSI Tape Support

Contact: Matthew Jacob <>

A major update to error handling was done on 8/28/2001 which should correct most of the EOM detection problems that have been around for a while. There are several things to fix. The principle thing to fix next is the establishment of a loader(8) mediated device quirks method.



Contact: John Baldwin <>
Contact: Peter Wemm <>

Updates to things from last month:

  • The ast() fixes were committed last month.
  • The work on the preemptive kernel is stalled for the time being. It is still unstable on Alpha and SMP systems.

New stuff since last month:

  • sx locks now support upgrades and downgrades.
  • Witness now supports lock upgrades and downgrades.
  • Jason Evans has committed a semaphore implementation.
  • Matt Dillon has pushed Giant down into all of the syscalls.
  • John Baldwin has been working on proc locking in a p4 'jhb_proc' branch.
  • John is also currently working on making the ktrace code use a work thread to asynchronously write trace data out to the trace file. This will make ktrace safe almost completely MP safe with the exception that a few ktrace events need Giant in order to call malloc(9) and that ktrgenio() is still synchronous. Specifically, however, ktrpsig(), ktrsysret(), and ktrcsw() no longer need Giant.
  • Jonathan Lemon has started work on locking the network stack in a p4 'netlock' branch.

sppp(4) merge

Contact: Joerg Wunsch <>

sppp(4) should be merged with the ISDN4BSD offspring variant. This will merge some features and bugfixes from the i4b branch (like VJ compression), and eventually end up in a single sppp(4) in the tree. While being at that, incorporating many changes and bugfixes from NetBSD is considered as well.

SYN cache implementation for FreeBSD

Contact: Jonathan Lemon <>

The syncache implementation is completed, and currently under testing and review. The code should be committed to -current in the near future, and a patchset for -stable made available.



Contact: Robert Watson <>
Contact: <>

The TrustedBSD project continues to move ahead, with progress made in the ACL, Capability, and MAC implementations. In addition, support from DARPA is permitting new work to improve the extended attribute code, improve security abstractions, and work on security documentation. Due to the push-back of the FreeBSD 5.0 release, it should now be possible to include a complete MAC implementation in that release. Specific status reports appear for components where substantial progress is being made.

TrustedBSD Capabilities

Contact: Robert Watson <>
Contact: Thomas Moestl <>
Contact: <>

Capabilities support is currently being committed to the base FreeBSD tree--userland libraries are now fully committed, and kernel infrastructure is being integrated.

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