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This report covers FreeBSD related projects between January and March 2007. This quarter ended with a big bang as a port of Sun's critically acclaimed ZFS was added to the tree and thus will be available in the upcoming FreeBSD 7.0 release. Earlier this year exciting benchmark results showed the fruits of our SMP work. Read more on the details in the "SMP Scalability" report.

During the summer, FreeBSD will once again take part in Google's Summer of Code initiative. Student selection is underway and we are looking forward to a couple of exciting projects to come.

BSDCan is approaching rapidly, and will be held May 16-19th in Ottawa.

Thanks to all the reporters for the excellent work! We hope you enjoy reading.


FreeBSD Team Reports


Network Infrastructure

Userland Programs




FreeBSD and ZFS

Source code. URL:
OpenSolaris ZFS site. URL:
ZFS commit announce. URL:
ZFS - Quick Start. URL:

Contact: Pawel Jakub Dawidek <>

The ZFS file system in now part of the FreeBSD operating system. ZFS was ported from the OpenSolaris operating system and is under CDDL license. As an experimental feature ZFS will be available in FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE.

SMP Scalability

MySQL scaling URL:
Remaining Giant-locked code URL:

Contact: Kris Kennaway <>
Contact: Jeff Roberson <>
Contact: Attilio Rao <>
Contact: Robert Watson <>

Over the past few months there has been a substantially increased focus on improving scalability of FreeBSD on large SMP hardware. This has been driven in part by the new availability of 8-core hardware to the project, which allows easy profiling of scalability bottlenecks and benchmarking of proposed changes. Significant progress has been made on certain application workloads such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, with the result that FreeBSD 7 now has excellent scaling to at least 8-CPU systems with prospects for further improvements. Progress with other application workloads has been limited by the need to set up a suitable test case; please contact me if you are interested in helping. As part of this general effort, work is progressing steadily on removing the last remaining Giant-locked code from the kernel. A complete list of remaining Giant-locked code is found here: Many of these sub-tasks have owners, but some do not. The major remaining Giant-locked subsystem with no owner is the TTY subsystem. In parallel, profiling of contention and bottlenecks in other subsystems has lead to a number of experimental changes which are being developed. Work is in progress by Jeff Roberson and Attilio Rao to break up the global scheduler spinlock in favor of a set of per-CPU scheduling locks, which is expected to improve performance on systems with many CPUs. Experimental changes by Robert Watson to allow for multiple netisr threads show good promise for improving loopback IP performance on large SMP systems, which can otherwise easily saturate a single netisr thread. A variety of other changes are being profiled and evaluated to improve SMP performance under various workloads. The majority of these changes are collected in the //depot/user/kris/contention/ Perforce branch.


Current USB files URL:
My USB Homepage URL:
Code reference for the new USB stack and USB device drivers URL:

Contact: Hans Petter Sirevaag Selasky <>

During the last three months not too much has changed. Here is a quick list of changes:

  1. There has been some cleanups in the UCOM layer, generally to to create a context for all the callbacks so that they can call sleeping functions. This is achieved using the USB config thread system. The reason for this is that the code becomes simpler when synchronous operation is applied versus asynchronous. But asynchronous behavior is the most secure, hence then all USB resources are preallocated for each transfer. After the change, only data transfers are done asynchronously. All configuration is now done synchronously. This makes the USB device drivers look more like in the old USB stack.
  2. moscom.c has been imported from OpenBSD. It is called umoscom.c under FreeBSD.
  3. ugensa.c has been imported from NetBSD.
  4. f_axe.c has now has support for Ax88178 and Ax88772, which is derived from OpenBSD.

In my last status report I asked for access to Sparc64 boxes with FreeBSD installed. Testing is ongoing and some problems remain with EHCI PCI Cards. I am not exactly sure where the problem is, but it appears that DMA-able memory does not get synced properly.

Markus Brueffer is still working on the USB HID parser and support. Nothing has been committed yet.

Several people have reported success with my new USB stack. Some claim 2x improvements, others have seen more. But don't expect too much.

If you want to test the new USB stack, checkout the USB perforce tree or download the SVN version of the USB driver from my USB homepage. At the moment the tarballs are a little out of date.

Ideas and comments with regard to the new USB API are welcome at .

FreeBSD Team Reports

FreeBSD Security Officer and Security Team


Contact: Security Officer <>
Contact: Security Team <>

In the time since the last status report, one security advisory has been issued concerning a problem in the base system of FreeBSD; this problem was in "contributed" code maintained outside of FreeBSD. In addition, several Errata Notices have been issued in collaboration with the release engineering team, including one concerning FreeBSD Update. The Vulnerabilities and Exposures Markup Language (VuXML) document has continued to be updated by the Security Team and Ports Committers documenting new vulnerabilities in the FreeBSD Ports Collection; since the last status report, 21 new entries have been added, bringing the total up to 890.

The following FreeBSD releases are supported by the FreeBSD Security Team: FreeBSD 5.5, FreeBSD 6.1, and FreeBSD 6.2. Of particular note, FreeBSD 4.11 and FreeBSD 6.0 are no longer supported. The respective End of Life dates of supported releases are listed on the web site.

Problem Report Database


Contact: Mark Linimon <bugmeister_at_freebsd_dot_org>

We have added Remko Lodder to the bugmeister team. Remko has been doing a great deal of work to go through antique PRs, especially in the i386 category, and it was time to recognize that hard work. As a result of his work the i386 count is at a multi-year low.

Remko has also been instrumental in working with some new volunteers who are interested in finding out how they can contribute. Our current plans are to ask them to look through the PR backlog and, firstly, ask for feedback from the submitters, and secondly, identify PRs that need action by committers. We also have some committers who have volunteered to review those PRs. If you are interested in helping, please subscribe to Our thanks to our current helpers, including Harrison Grundy.

The overall PR count has dropped to around 5100, a significant reduction.

Release Engineering


Contact: Release Engineering Team <>

During the past quarter, the Release Engineering team has begun planning and preparing for FreeBSD 7.0, which is scheduled for release later in 2007. The HEAD codeline has been placed in a "slush" mode, meaning that large changes should be coordinated with the Release Engineering team before being committed.

The RE team also produced snapshots of FreeBSD 6.2-STABLE and 7.0-CURRENT for February and March 2007, corresponding roughly to the state of those development branches at the start of the respective months. While they have not had the benefit of extensive testing, and should not be used in production, they can be useful for experimenting with or testing new features.

The FreeBSD Foundation

The FreeBSD Foundation URL:

Contact: Deb Goodkin <>

The FreeBSD Foundation ended Q1 raising over $65,000. We're a quarter of the way to our goal of raising $250,000 this year. We continued our mission of supporting developer communication by helping FreeBSD developers attend AsiaBSDCon. We are a sponsor of BSDCan and are currently accepting travel grant applications for this conference.

The foundation provided support that helped the ZFS file system development. We continued working to upgrade the project's network testbed with 10Gigabit interconnects. We attended SCALE where we received an offer from No Starch Press to include a foundation ad in their BSD books. Our first ad will appear in the book "Designing BSD Rootkits."

For more information on what we've been up to, check out our website at .


Building Linux Device Drivers on FreeBSD


Contact: Luigi Rizzo <>

The above URL documents some work done around January to build an emulation layer for the Linux kernel API that would allow Linux device driver to be built on FreeBSD with as little as possible modifications. Initially the project focused on USB webcams, a category of devices for which there was basically no support so far. The emulation layer, available as a port ( devel/linux-kmod-compat ) simulates enough of the Linux USB stack to let us build, from unmodified Linux sources, two webcam drivers, also available as ports ( multimedia/linux-gspca-kmod and multimedia/linux-ov511-kmod ), with the former supporting over 200 different cameras.

While some of the functions map one-to-one, for others it was necessary to build a full emulation (e.g. collecting input from various function calls, and then mapping sets of Linux data structures into functionally equivalent sets of FreeBSD data structures). But overall, this project shows that the software interfaces are reasonably orthogonal to each other so one does not need to implement the full Linux kernel API to get something working. More work is necessary to cover other aspects of the Linux kernel API, e.g. memory mapping, PCI bus access, and the network stack API, so we can extend support to other families of peripherals.

Open tasks:

  1. Implement more subsystems (e.g. the network interface API; the memory management/pci bus access API).
  2. Address licensing issues. In the current port, the C code is entirely new and under a FreeBSD license. Many of the headers have been rewritten (and documented) from scratch (and so under a FreeBSD license as well). Some of the other headers are still taken from various Linux distributions and need to be rewritten to generate BSD-licensed code that can be imported in the kernel instead of being made available as a port. While this is not a concern with GNU drivers, it may be an important feature for drivers that are available under a dual license.

Update of the Linux compatibility environment in the kernel

Wiki page about the linux compatibility environment. URL:
Wiki page about the linux test project testsuite success reports. URL:

Contact: Alexander Leidinger <>
Contact: Roman Divacky <>
Contact: Emulation Mailinglist <>

Since the last status report AMD64 was feature synced with i386. Notably TLS and futexes are now available on AMD64. Many thanks to Jung-Uk Kim for doing the TLS work.

Currently the focus is to implement the *at() family of linux syscalls and to find and fix the remaining futex problems.

We need some more testers and bug reporters. So if you have a little bit of time and a favorite linux application, please play around with it on -CURRENT. If there is a problem, have a look at the Wiki if we already know about it and report on emulation@. We are specially interested in reports about the 2.6 compatibility (sysctl compat.linux.osversion=2.6.16), but only with the most recent -current and maybe with some patches we have in the perforce repository (available from the wiki).

We would like to thank all the people which tested the changes / submitted patches and thus helped improve the linux compatibility environment.

Network Infrastructure


Latest patch against CURRENT URL:

Contact: George Neville-Neil <>
Contact: Bjoern Zeeb <>

There are currently two p4 branches being used for this work: gnn_fast_ipsec: a dual stack branch which contains both Kame and FAST_IPSEC with v6 enabled. gnn_radical_ipsec: a single stack branch, still in progress, where Kame IPsec has been removed and only FAST remains.

Open tasks:

  1. Test the patch!

Importing trunk(4) from OpenBSD


Contact: Andrew Thompson <>

Work has completed to port over trunk(4) from OpenBSD and this also includes merging 802.3ad LACP from agr(4) in NetBSD. This driver allows aggregation of multiple network interfaces as one virtual interface using a number of different protocols/algorithms.

  • failover - Sends traffic through the secondary port if the master becomes inactive.
  • fec - Supports Cisco Fast EtherChannel.
  • lacp - Supports the IEEE 802.3ad Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) and the Marker Protocol.
  • loadbalance - Static loadbalancing using an outgoing hash.
  • roundrobin - Distributes outgoing traffic using a round-robin scheduler through all active ports.

This will be committed shortly, further testing is welcome.

Intel 3945ABG Wireless LAN Driver: wpi


Contact: Benjamin Close <>

Work is slowly continuing on this driver, focusing mainly on dealing with the newly released firmware for the card. The old firmware was not redistributable, the new firmware can be redistributed but has a completely different API. With the new firmware changes almost complete, the driver is approaching a state ready for -CURRENT.

Open tasks:

  1. Fix mbuf leakage (potential fix pending).
  2. Integrate s/w control of radio transmitter.

Multi-link PPP daemon (MPD)

Project home URL:
ChangeLog URL:

Contact: Alexander Motin <>

Stable release 4.1 of mpd4 branch was released in February providing many new features and fixes. Mpd3 branch was declared legacy.

Since the release several new features have been implemented in CVS:

  • Link repeater functionality (aka L2TP/PPTP Access Concentrator),
  • Per-interface traffic filtering using ng_bpf,
  • Very fast traffic shaping/rate-limiting using ng_car.

ng_car node has been updated, to support shaping and very fast Cisco-like rate-limiting. ng_ppp node has been completely re-factored to confirm to the protocol stack model.

Open tasks:

  1. LAC/PAC testing.
  2. Traffic filtering/shaping/rate-limiting testing.
  3. PPTP modification for multiple bindings support.
  4. Dynamic link/bundle creation.

Userland Programs

GCC 4.1 integration


Contact: Alexander Kabaev <>
Contact: Kris Kennaway <>

A version of GCC 4.1 is being prepared for inclusion into FreeBSD 7.0-CURRENT. Work was started late in 2006 but progress on certain technical points (e.g. correctly integrating and bootstrapping a shared libgcc_s into the build) was slow due to lack of developer time. The remaining outstanding issue is that compiling with -O2 is shown to lead to runtime failures of certain binaries (e.g. some port builds); it is not currently known whether these are due to application errors or GCC miscompilations. It is believed that the current snapshot is otherwise ready for inclusion, and this will likely happen within a week or two.


malloc(3) (hopefully) set for 7.0 URL:

Contact: Jason Evans <>

malloc(3) has recently been enhanced to reduce memory overhead, fragmentation, and mapped memory retention. As an added bonus, it tends to be a bit faster. See the above URL for my email to the -current mailing list for a more detailed description of the enhancements.


Ports Collection

The FreeBSD Ports Collection URL:
Contributing to the FreeBSD Ports Collection URL:
FreeBSD ports unfetchable distfile survey (Bill Fenner's report) URL:
FreeBSD ports monitoring system URL:
The FreeBSD Ports Management Team URL:
marcuscom tinderbox URL:

Contact: Mark Linimon <>

The ports count is nearing 17,000. The PR count has been stable at around 700. The 'new port' PR backlog is at a multi-year low. We appreciate all the hard work of our ports committers.

Since the long 6.2 release cycle ended, portmgr has once again been able to do experimental ports runs. As a result of six run/commit cycles, the portmgr PR count is now the lowest in quite some time. Please see the CHANGES and UPDATING files for details. Many thanks to Pav among others for keeping the build cluster busy.

We have received new hardware, resulting in a significant speedup of our package building capability: the AMD64 package builds now use 4 8-core machines (and one lonely UP system), which means a full AMD64 build is about 5 times faster than it was. Also, the i386 cluster gained an 8-core and roughly doubled its performance too. Two of the sparc64 build machines have recently brought back online, so package builds there have been restarted there after a long period offline.

linimon continues to work on improvements to portsmon to allow graphing of the dependent ports of ignored/failed ports. This work will be presented at BSDCan. In addition, pages that show the state of port uploads on ftp* have been added, as well as ports that have NO_PACKAGE set. Also, the individual port overview page now shows the latest package that has been uploaded to the ftp servers for each buildenv.

A number of absent maintainers have been replaced by some new volunteers who had been sending PRs to update and/or fix their ports. Welcome! This helps to spread the workload.

Since the last report, support for FreeBSD 4.X has been dropped from the Ports Collection. Anyone still using RELENG_4 should have stayed with the ports infrastructure as of the RELEASE_4_EOL tag, as later commits remove that support. 4.X served us long and well but the burden of trying to support 4 major branches finally became too much to ask of our volunteers. Use of 4.X, even with the RELEASE_4_EOL tag, is no longer recommended; we recommend either 6.2-RELEASE or RELENG_6, depending on your needs.

There have been new releases of the ports tinderbox code, the portmaster update utility, and portupgrade. A new utility, pkgupgrade, has been introduced by Michel Talon, which appears interesting.

KDE was updated to 3.5.6.

GNOME was updated to 2.18.

XFree86 version 3 was removed as being years out of date.

We have added 3 new committers since the last report.

Open tasks:

  1. Most of the remaining ports PRs are "existing port/PR assigned to committer". Although the maintainer-timeout policy is helping to keep the backlog down, we are going to need to do more to get the ports in the shape they really need to be in.
  2. Although we have added many maintainers, we still have many unmaintained ports. The number of buildable packages on AMD64 lags behind a bit; sparc64 requires even more work.

X.Org 7.2 integration


Contact: Florent Thoumie <>
Contact: Dejan Lesjak <>
Contact: Kris Kennaway <>

X.Org 7.2 is now on final approach for landing into the ports tree. Work had proceeded at a slow pace for the first few months of the year due to reduced availability of flz@, the single developer working on integration. Recently lesi@ was recruited back into the task and readiness of the ports collection was pushed to completion (i.e. there are no major regressions apparent on package builds). The remaining tasks which need to be completed are a review of the diff to make sure no unintentional changes or regressions slip in to the CVS tree in the big merge, and completion of an upgrade script to manage the migration from X.Org 6.9 (X.Org 7.2 is so fundamentally different that it cannot be upgraded "automatically" using the existing tools like portupgrade). We hope to have these finished within a week or two, at which stage the ports collection will be frozen for the integration, and we will likely remain in a ``mini-freeze'' for a week or two in order to focus committer attention on resolving the inevitable undetected problems which will emerge from this major change.


BSDCan 2007

BSDCan 2007 URL:

Contact: Dan Langille <>

The Schedule and the Tutorials have been released. Once again, we have a very strong collection of Speakers .

BSDCan: Low Cost. High Value. Something for Everyone.

Everyone is going to be there. Make your plans now.

EuroBSDCon 2007


Contact: EuroBSDCon 2007 Organizing Committee <>

The sixth EuroBSDCon will take place at Symbion in Copenhagen, Denmark on Friday the 14th and Saturday 15th of September 2007.

The estimated price for the two day conference is 200EUR, excluding Legoland trip and social event. The whole-day trip to Legoland is expected to cost around 130EUR including transportation, some food on the way, and entry fee. Arrangements have been made with a newly renovated Hostel which offers beds for 23EUR per night and 10EUR breakfast. A lounge with sponsored Internet connection will be available at the Hostel. Staying at the hostel is of course entirely optional and several Hotels exists in the area. Reservation for the conference and exact prices are expected to be ready no later than 1st of May.

As of this writing 10 presentations have been accepted and more are in the process of being evaluated.

For FreeBSD Developers, a by invitation Developers summit will be held in connection with the conference. Exactly when this will take place has not yet been decided.

We are still looking for more sponsors.

A public IRC channel #eurobsdcon on EFnet has been created for discussion and questions about the conference.

More details will follow on the EuroBSDCon 2007 web site as they become available.

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