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Another busy two months have passed in the FreeBSD project. With 5.0 released, attention is focusing on making it faster via more fine-grained locking, adding more high-end features like large memory (PAE) support for i386, and further progress on many other projects. FreeBSD 5.1 is expected to ship in late May or early June, with 5.2 following at the end of summer. A roadmap for the push to 5-STABLE is available at Although the 5.x series isn't expected to fully stabilize until the 5.2 release, 5.1 promises to be an exciting release and a significant improvement over 5.0 in terms of speed and stability.

Not to be forgotten, FreeBSD 4.8, the latest in the 4-STABLE series, is nearing release. Lots of last minute work is going into to it to deliver features like XFree86 4.3.0, Intel HyperThreading(tm) support, and of course many more bug fixes. Don't forget to support the FreeBSD vendors and developers by buying a copy of the CD set when it comes out!.


Scott Long, Robert Watson

Bluetooth stack for FreeBSD (Netgraph implementation)

Latest snapshot URL:
Linux BlueZ stack URL:

Contact: Maksim Yevmenkin <>

I'm very pleased to announce that another release is available for download at

This release features new in-kernel RFCOMM implementation that provides SOCK_STREAM sockets interface. This makes old user-space RFCOMM daemon obsolete. People should not use old user-space RFCOMM daemon any longer. The release features new RFCOMM PPP daemon that supports DUN and LAN profiles. Note: PPP patch (support for chat scripts in -direct mode) is required for DUN support. Look for it in the mailing list archive or contact me directly. People with Bluetooth enabled cell phones can now use them to access Internet.

The Bluetooth sockets layer has been cleaned up. People should not see any WITNESS complaints with new code. Locking issues have been revisited and code in much better shape now, although it probably is not 100% SMP ready just yet. The code should work on SMP system anyway because sockets layer is still under Giant.

The simple OBEX server and client (based on OpenOBEX library) is complete. OBEX File Push and OBEX File Transfer profiles work and have been tested with Sony Ericsson T68i cell phone and Bluetooth 3COM stack on Windows2K. It is now possible to send pictures, address book and calendar entries from the cell phone via Bluetooth. Minor bug in OpenOBEX library has been fixed and OPEX Put-Empty command now works.

Due to changes in API userland tools must be in sync with the kernel. People should install new include files, recompile and reinstall all userland tools as part of upgrade. I'm sorry about that.

BSDCon 2003

BSDCon 2003 Call For Papers URL:

Contact: Gregory Shapiro <>

The BSDCon 2003 Program Committee invites you to contribute original and innovative papers on topics related to BSD-derived systems and the Open Source world. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Embedded BSD application development and deployment
  • Real world experiences using BSD systems
  • Using BSD in a mixed OS environment
  • Comparison with non-BSD operating systems; technical, practical, licensing (GPL vs. BSD)
  • Tracking open source development on non-BSD systems
  • BSD on the desktop
  • I/O subsystem and device driver development
  • SMP and kernel threads
  • Kernel enhancements
  • Internet and networking services
  • Security
  • Performance analysis and tuning
  • System administration
  • Future of BSD

Submissions in the form of extended abstracts are due by April 1, 2003. Be sure to review the extended abstract expectations before submitting. Selection will be based on the quality of the written submission and whether the work is of interest to the community.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

Buffer Cache lockdown

Contact: Jeff Roberson <>

Most of the file system buffer cache has been reviewed and protected. The vnode interlock was extended to cover some buffer flag fields so that a separate interlock was not required. The global buffer queue data structures were locked and counters were converted to atomic ops. The BUF_*LOCK functions grew an interlock argument so that buffers could be safely removed from the vnode clean and dirty lists. The lockmgr lock is now required for all access to buf fields. This was not strictly followed before because splbio provided the needed protection.

There are a few areas of code that need to be protected and cleaned up before giant can be pushed down. Most notably the background write code is currently unsafe without giant. Also, many of the VM bits that the buffer cache relies on are not safe. This work has been done with the expectation that the VM and VFS subsystems will be giant free soon.

Disk I/O improvements


Contact: Poul-Henning Kamp <>

We have the first disk device driver (aac) out from under Giant now, and in certain scenarios it gives improvements up to 20%. The device driver API was pruned to reflect that NO_GEOM compatibility is unnecessary, this resulted in approx 1000 lines less source code, the majority of which were removed from the device drivers. The new API for cdevsw is a lot simpler and hopefully less likely to confuse people. The ability to automatically allocate a device major number has been introduced and is already used by a handful of drivers. Checks introduced with this facility has shown that the uniqueness of manually allocated major numbers had already broken down.

Work continues on the statistics collection API and on a unified API for manual configuration of GEOM nodes.

FreeBSD 4.8 Release Engineering

FreeBSD 4.8 Release Schedule. URL:

Contact: Murray Stokely <>

The FreeBSD 4.8 Release Process is well underway. The RELENG_4 branch has been under code freeze since February 15, and the first release candidates were made available in early March. A testing guide has been put together and is available from

Developers should coordinate with about any changes they would like to include in this release, and users are encouraged to try out the release candidates and help find as many bugs as possible now, before the final release is made.

FreeBSD 4.8 represents the newest production release from the stable '4.X' branch. It does not include all of the features that were made available in the "new technology" 5.0 release in January.

FreeBSD C99 & POSIX Conformance Project


Contact: Mike Barcroft <>
Contact: FreeBSD-Standards Mailing List <>

January and February were quiet months that saw with them the addition of some C99 math functions and macros, which include: fpclassify(), isfinite(), isgreater(), isgreaterequal(), isinf(), isless(), islessequal(), islessgreater(), isnan(), isnormal(), and signbit(). Additional C99 math library support is in the works.

FreeBSD GNOME Project

FreeBSD GNOME Project Homepage. URL:

Contact: Joe Marcus <>
Contact: Maxim Sobolev <>
Contact: Adam Weinberger <>

FreeBSD 4.8-RELEASE will continue in the tradition of 5.0-RELEASE, and include GNOME 2 as the default GNOME desktop. This means that 4.8 will ship with GNOME 2.2.

Following on the heels of the recent GNOME 2.2 release, GNOME 2.3 snapshots are gearing up. The development schedule is available from Ports will be made available the same way they were for the 2.1 development releases. Stay tuned to freebsd-gnome@ for more details.

We are currently in another ports freeze in preparation for 4.8-RELEASE. Following the freeze, a new will be committed that effectively removes the USE_GNOMENG macro. This new version will add support for GNOME 2 as well as setup backward compatibility for ports that have not yet been converted to the new GNOME infrastructure. People interested in testing this new Mk file, can check out the ``ports'' module following the instructions at

FreeBSD Security Officer Team


Contact: Jacques Vidrine <>

In the period from September 2002 through February 2003, the FreeBSD Security Team email aliases saw 1297 messages, a much smaller volume than over the summer (remember the Apache and OpenSSL worms? 4.6.1 oops I mean 4.6.2-RELEASE?).

Also during this period: 95 items were added to the SO issue-tracking database; 39 of these involved the FreeBSD base system while the rest involved ports. 9 new Security Advisories were published, 2 of which covered issues unique to FreeBSD.

In January, the SO published a new PGP key (ID 0xCA6CDFB2, found on the FTP site and in the Handbook). This aligned the set of those who possess the corresponding private key with the membership of the security-officer alias published on the FreeBSD Security web site. It also worked around an issue with the deprecated PGP key being found corrupted on some public key servers.

In February, Mike Tancsa of Sentex donated two machines to the Security Officer. These have been a great help already in testing the security branches, preparing patches, and generating updated binaries. Thank you very much, Mike!

FreeBSD/MIPS Status Report

FreeBSD/MIPS project page. URL:
FreeBSD/MIPS platform page. URL:

Contact: Juli Mallett <>

Large portions of headers have been filled in, all have been stubbed out. Minimal functions and data elements have been stubbed out or filled in. Machinery added to support some requisite tunables for building real kernels. GCC fixed to generate correct local label prefixes making it possible to link real kernels. Work begun on providing enough to create and boot real kernels, on real hardware. Decision to only support MIPS-III and above made.

jpman project

jpman project URL:
package ja-man-doc-5.0.tbz URL:

Contact: Kazuo Horikawa <>

We have released Japanese translation of 5.0-RELEASE online manual pages on February 2nd. Most of entries which did not exist on RELENG_4 were not yet translated. I hope we can finish such entries soon.

KGI/FreeBSD Status Report


Contact: Nicholas Souchu <>

The later months have been very busy on KGI. Most of the framework has been debugged for typical usage (fb, no accel). I got KII (the input interface) connected to syscons through atkbd. Opening /dev/graphic works and framebuffer resource access is permitted. Finally, the KGIM (KGI module) framework has a better building tree for board / monitor drivers and board drivers are now loading with resource allocation.

Most important on the TODO list: 5.0-RELEASE move (I currently work with a May-2002 5.0-current). Most of debug is now done. Let's validate!

Note that KGI project homepage has changed since the last report.

New Doceng Body Formed


Contact: Murray Stokely <>

The doceng@ team is a new body to handle some of the meta-project issues associated with the FreeBSD Documentation Project. The main responsibilities of this team are to grant approval of new doc committers, to manage the doc release process, to ensure the documentation toolchains are functional, to maintain the doc project primer, and to maintain the sanctity of the doc/ and www/ trees. The current members of this team are Nik Clayton, Ruslan Ermilov, Jun Kuriyama, Bruce A. Mah, and Murray Stokely.

PowerPC Port

Contact: Peter Grehan <>

Work on PowerPC is progressing steadily. The system can now boot multi-user from the net and disk. ATA-DMA is being integrated with the ATAng code, and support for older G3 machines is being added.

Read-ahead performance

Contact: Jeff Roberson <>

Some improvements have been made to the clustered read ahead code. They allow for many more outstanding IO requests when an application does sequential access. This has a larger impact on RAID systems than on single disk systems. The maximum number of file system blocks that we will read ahead is tunable via the 'vfs.read_max' sysctl. This optimization has shown a 20% improvement in simple tests.

SMP locking for network stack


Contact: Jeffrey Hsu <>

The list of subsystems locked up include IP, UDP, TCP, ifaddr reference counting, syncache, the ifnet list, routing radix trees, and ARP. These have already been committed into the tree. In addition, SMP locking for raw IP, divert socket processing, and Unix domain sockets have also recently been completed and tested. Work is currently being done in some of the subsystems required to make parallel networking processing SMP-safe.

Status Report for Newbus lockdown

Contact: Warner Losh <>

Locking of the non-obj parts of newbus is nearing completion. A single lock is used for the device tree. Minimal changes to subr_bus have so far been necessary to make this work, however some lock order issues remain. After this work, it will no longer be necessary to hold Giant to call device_* routines safely. kobj work is being done by others and will likely require more extensive design work to make SMP friendly.

Support for PAE and >4G ram on x86

Contact: Jake Burkholder <>

Support for PAE is mostly complete, and has been checked into the jake_pae branch. The approach that is being taken to add support for PAE is to allow the pmap module to view the page table directory as 4 pages instead of 1, and to avoid using the 3rd level structure, the page directory pointer table, as much as possible. Due to its small size, 32 bytes, the PDPT cannot be uniformly recursively mapped, and as such does not provide a regular multi level structure like the page tables used by the alpha or x86-64 architectures. What remains to be done for PAE support is to develop an API for manipulating page table entries which will allow idempotent 64 bit loads and stores to be used where necessary.

Experimental support for >4G ram using PAE has been developed and checked into the jake_pae_test branch in Perforce. This involved adding a physical address type separate from virtual addresses, for use by the vm system and bus code which needs to use physical addresses directly. Initial testing has shown good results with device drivers that can dma to 64 bit physical addresses.

Funding for this project is being provided by DARPA and Network Associate Laboratories, and hardware support by FreeBSD Systems.

TCP congestion control


Contact: Jeffrey Hsu <>

The objective of this effort is to improve the performance, stability, and correctness of the BSD networking stack by adding support for new standards and standards track proposals while maintaining compliance with existing specifications. The upcoming 4.8 and 5.1 releases will be the first ones using the new NewReno logic. Recently, we implemented the Limited Transmit algorithm (RFC 3042) which benefits connections with small congestion windows, as happens, for example, on many short web connections. We also recently added support for larger sized starting congestion windows as described in RFC 3390. This helps short TCP connections as well as those with large round-trip delays, such as those over satellite links.

ULE Scheduler

Contact: Jeff Roberson <>

The ULE scheduler has been committed to the 5.0-CURRENT branch. Early adopters and experimenters are welcome to try it and submit bug reports. It has shown noticeable performance improvements over the old scheduler under some workloads. There are currently problems with nice fairness but otherwise the interactive performance is very good. More work to improve the load balancing algorithm is required as well. This should be ready for use by the general FreeBSD user base in the next month or so.

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