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This report covers FreeBSD-related projects between October and December 2010. It is the last of the four reports planned for 2010. The work on the new minor versions of FreeBSD, 7.4 and 8.2, has been progressing well and they should be released around the end of this month.

Thanks to all the reporters for the excellent work! This report contains 37 entries and we hope you enjoy reading it.

Please note that the deadline for submissions covering the period between January and March 2011 is April 15th, 2011.


FreeBSD Team Reports

Network Infrastructure



Userland Programs






    BSDInstall Wiki Page URL:

    Contact: Nathan Whitehorn <>

    BSDInstall is a replacement for the venerable sysinstall installer. It is designed to be modular and easily extensible, while being fully scriptable and streamlining the installation process. It is mostly complete, and installs working systems on i386, amd64, sparc64, powerpc, and powerpc64, with untested PC98 support.

    New Features:

    • Allows installation onto GPT disks on x86 systems
    • Can do installations spanning multiple disks
    • Allows installation into jails
    • Eases PXE installation
    • Virtualization friendly: can install from a live system onto disk images
    • Works on PowerPC
    • Streamlined system installation
    • More flexible scripting
    • Easily tweakable
    • All install CDs are live CDs

    Open tasks:

    1. Wireless networking configuration wizard.
    2. ZFS installation support.
    3. Itanium disk setup.

    Non-executable Stacks

    Contact: Konstantin Belousov <>

    The support for non-executable stacks, using the approach identical to one used by GNU toolchain and Linux'es, is implemented for amd64 and PowerPC. The support is already committed to HEAD. For now, non-executable stacks are turned off by default.

    I plan to provide a detailed information to ports@ and switch the knob after port tree is unfrozed for 7.4/8.2 releases.



    Contact: Hans Petter Selasky <>

    Webcamd is a small daemon that enables about 1500 different USB based webcam, DVB and remote control USB devices under the FreeBSD-8.0 and later operating system. The webcam daemon is basically an application which is a port of Video4Linux USB drivers into userspace on FreeBSD. The daemon currently depends on libc, pthreads, libusb and libcuse4bsd.

    During Q3 2010 webcamd got manpages thanks to Dru Lavigne.

    Open tasks:

    1. I hope to get a Google summer of code project this year building the default Linux Kernel 2.6.37+ and allowing use of relevant Linux USB device drivers under FreeBSD. Webcamd is not a replacement for native FreeBSD kernel drivers and will only be used when no existing FreeBSD drivers exist for a given device staying clear of any GPLv2 issues. If you are a student and/or is interested in participating in such a project feel free to send an e-mail to

    xz Compression for Packages and Log Files

    Contact: Martin Matuska <>

    Creating and processing xz-compressed packages is now supported by pkg_create(1), pkg_add(1) and bsdtar(1) in both 9-CURRENT and 8-STABLE. Users can test working with .txz packages by adding "PKG_SUFX=.txz" into /etc/make.conf.

    The ports-mgmt/portupgrade utility supports .txz packages from version 2.4.8 and a patch for ports-mgmt/portmaster has been submitted but not yet accepted by the author.

    A patch for newsyslog(8) with a rewrite of the use of compression tools supporting xz compression is under maintainer review.

    Open tasks:

    1. Import xz(1) compression support into newsyslog(8).
    2. Add .txz package support to ports-mgmt/portmaster.
    3. Add .txz package support to the FreeBSD port building cluster (pointyhat).
    4. Test building all packages in .txz format and compare results with .tbz.

    ZFS pool version 28


    Contact: Pawel Jakub Dawidek <>
    Contact: Martin Matuska <>

    A new version of the ZFS pool v28 patch was released for testing, this time for 9-CURRENT and 8-STABLE. Compared to the previous patch it does include updated boot support, improved sendfile(2) handling, a compatibility layer with older ZFS and several other bugfixes.

    If there are no major issues we can expect ZFS v28 imported into the FreeBSD-CURRENT after 8.2 is released.

    Open tasks:

    1. Import of ZFS v28 into FreeBSD-CURRENT.

    FreeBSD Team Reports

    FreeBSD Bugbusting Team Status Report


    Contact: Gavin Atkinson <>
    Contact: Mark Linimon <>
    Contact: Remko Lodder <>
    Contact: Volker Werth <>

    The number of non-ports PRs has held relatively steady over the last three months, with a slightly improved resolution rate being offset by a slightly increased rate of new arrivals. Ports PRs have increased slightly in numbers, due in part to the ports freeze in the lead up to the release of FreeBSD 7.4 and FreeBSD 8.2. The numbers traditionally drop quickly again once the freeze is lifted.

    In October, Gavin Atkinson and Mark Linimon held a session at the FreeBSD Developers' Summit at EuroBSDCon, which led to some productive discussions, and a number of people expressing interest in becoming more involved with PR triaging and resolution.

    The bugbusting team continue work on trying to make the contents of the GNATS PR database cleaner, more accessible and easier for committers to find and resolve PRs, by tagging PRs to indicate the areas involved, and by ensuring that there is sufficient info within each PR to resolve each issue.

    Reports continue to be produced from the PR database, all of which can be found from the links above. Committers interested in custom reports are encouraged to discuss requirements with bugmeister@ - we are happy to create new reports where needs are identified.

    As always, anybody interested in helping out with the PR queue is encouraged to do so, the easiest way being to join us on IRC in #freebsd-bugbusters on EFnet. We are always looking for additional help, whether your interests lie in triaging incoming PRs, generating patches to resolve existing problems, or simply helping with the database housekeeping (identifying duplicate PRs, ones that have already been resolved, etc). This is a great way of getting more involved with FreeBSD!

    Open tasks:

    1. Try to find ways to get more committers helping us with closing PRs that the team has already analyzed.
    2. Try to get more non-committers involved with the triaging of PRs as they come in, and generating patches to fix reported problems.

    Release Engineering Team Status Report


    Contact: Release Engineering Team <>

    The Release Engineering Team reports the joint release of FreeBSD 7.4 and 8.2 has been delayed slightly but should be completed within a week or two of the original schedule:

    The FreeBSD Foundation Status Report


    Contact: Deb Goodkin <>

    We raised $325,000 towards our goal of $350,000 for 2010! This will allow us to increase our project development and equipment spending for 2011.

    We were proud to be a sponsor for EuroBSDCon 2010, BSDDay Argentina 2010, MeetBSD California 2010, and NYBSDCon 2010.

    Completed the Foundation funded projects: DAHDI Project by Max Khon and BSNMP Improvements by Shteryana Sotirova.

    We kicked off a new project by the University of Melbourne called Feed-Forward Clock Synchronization Algorithms Project. The Five New TCP Congestion Control Algorithms for FreeBSD Project by Swinburne University also officially started.

    We continued our work on infrastructure projects to beef up hardware for package-building, network-testing, etc. This includes purchasing equipment as well as managing equipment donations.

    Stop by and visit with us at FOSDEM (Feb 5-6), SCALE (Feb 26), AsiaBSDCon (March 17-20), and Indiana Linuxfest (March 26).

    Read more about how we supported the project and community by reading our end-of-year newsletter at:

    We are fund-raising for 2011 now! Find out more at

    Network Infrastructure

    DIstributed Firewall and Flow-shaper Using Statistical Evidence (DIFFUSE)


    Contact: Sebastian Zander <>
    Contact: Grenville Armitage <>

    DIFFUSE is a system enabling FreeBSD's IPFW firewall subsystem to classify IP traffic based on statistical traffic properties.

    With DIFFUSE, IPFW computes statistics (such as packet lengths or inter-packet time intervals) for observed flows, and uses ML (machine learning) techniques to assign flows into classes. In addition to traditional packet inspection rules, IPFW rules may now also be expressed in terms of traffic statistics or classes identified by ML classification. This can be helpful when direct packet inspection is problematic (perhaps for administrative reasons, or because port numbers do not reliably identify applications).

    DIFFUSE also enables one instance of IPFW to send flow information and classes to other IPFW instances, which then can act on such traffic (e.g. prioritise, accept, deny, etc) according to its class. This allows for distributed architectures, where classification at one location in your network is used to control fire-walling or rate-shaping actions at other locations.

    In December 2010 we released DIFFUSE v0.1, a set of patches for FreeBSD-CURRENT. It can be downloaded from the project's web site. The web site also contains a more comprehensive introduction, including application examples, links to related work and documentation describing the software design.

    We hope to release DIFFUSE v0.2 soon. Keep an eye on the freebsd-ipfw and freebsd-net mailing lists for project-related announcements.

    Ethernet Switch Framework


    Contact: Luiz Otavio O. Souza <>

    Implementation of a framework for ethernet switch control (directly connected to the ethernet MAC controller) usually found on embedded systems. Currently based on ifconfig keywords, adds the vlan control (filter/pass) on each switch port and adds the possibility for the management of media state on interfaces with multiple PHYs.

    Currently, the code supports the IP175D (from some mikrotik routerboards) and AR8316 (from Ubiquiti RSPRO) switches.

    Open tasks:

    1. Finish the IP175C driver (and maybe IP178x).
    2. Better integration with miibus (rewrite of switchbus).
    3. Fix (some) ifconfig keywords (better keywords, better usage compatibility).
    4. Export the ports statistics through SNMP (if available on switch chip).
    5. Add a swctl tool (?) for global settings management.
    6. Write usage examples and the man page information about the new ifconfig(8) keywords.

    Five New TCP Congestion Control Algorithms for FreeBSD


    Contact: David Hayes <>
    Contact: Lawrence Stewart <>
    Contact: Grenville Armitage <>
    Contact: Rui Paulo <>
    Contact: Bjoern Zeeb <>

    The project is nearing completion, with the following code already available in the svn head branch:

    • Modular congestion control framework.
    • Modularised implementations of NewReno, CUBIC and HTCP congestion control algorithms.
    • Khelp (Kernel Helper) and Hhook (Helper Hook) frameworks.
    • Basic Khelp/Hhook integration with the TCP stack.

    The ERTT (Enhanced Round Trip Time) Khelp module is days away from being imported, which will then pave the way for the delay based congestion control algorithms to follow. Finally, a large documentation dump will be committed in the form of new and updated man pages.

    We anticipate the project will conclude around the end of January 2011.

    Open tasks:

    1. Import the ERTT Khelp module.
    2. Import the VEGAS, HD and CHD delay based congestion control algorithm modules.
    3. Import the documentation dump for all the code contributed/developed as part of the project.

    FreeBSD 802.11n


    Contact: Adrian Chadd <>

    • Net80211 station mode works in 2.4ghz HT/20 mode. HT/40 and 5ghz do not currently work.
    • Basic 802.11 TX and RX on the AR9160 works, from MCS0 to MCS15
    • TX A-MPDU and A-MSDU do not currently implemented - so no aggregate TX will happen
    • RX A-MPDU and A-MSDU is implemented and is supposed to work but does not — this needs to be debugged
    • 802.11n RTS/CTS protection for legacy packets does not currently work. There is some magic required to fix the TX packet length. This is in progress.
    • WPA2 now works - a commit which enabled the hardware multicast broke AES-CCMP encryption on at least the AR9160. Further investigation is needed to fix this (and any other hardware encryption bugs that are lurking.

    FreeBSD VirtIO Network Driver


    Contact: Bryan V. <>

    VirtIO is a device framework offered by KVM/Qemu and Virtualbox to allow guests to achieve better I/O performance. A beta network driver was made available earlier this month, and work continues on completing the block device and refinements the existing network driver.

    Generic IEEE 802.3 annex 31B full duplex flow control support for Ethernet in mii(4)


    Contact: Marius Strobl <>

    In r213878 a NetBSD-compatible mii_attach() was added to mii(4) as an replacement for mii_phy_probe() and subsequently all Ethernet device drivers in the tree which use this framework were converted to take advantage of the former. This allowed to considerably clean up mii(4) as well as the converted MAC and PHY drivers and get rid of quite a few hacks, amongst others the infamous "EVIL HACK". However, the main motivation of this change was to allow the addition of generic IEEE 802.3 annex 31B full duplex flow control support to mii(4), which was ported from NetBSD but also enhanced and fixed quite a bit and committed in r215297. Along with this bge(4), bce(4), msk(4), nfe(4) and stge(4) as well as brgphy(4), e1000phy(4) and ip1000phy(4), which previously all implemented their own flow control support based on mostly undocumented special media flags separately, were converted to take advantage of the generic support. At least for CURRENT this means that these drivers now no longer unconditionally advertise support for flow control but only do so if flow control was selected as media option. The reason for implementing the generic flow control support that way was to allow it to be switched on and off via ifconfig(8) with the PHY specific default to typically being off in order to protect from unwanted effects. Subsequently support for flow control based on the generic support was added to alc(4), fxp(4), cas(4), gem(4), jme(4), re(4) and xl(4) as well as atphy(4), bmtphy(4), gentbi(4), inphy(4), jmphy(4), nsgphy(4), nsphyter(4) and rgephy(4). For several of the remaining Ethernet drivers it also would only require minor changes to enable flow control support if supported by the respective MAC. Due to the fact that each implementation should be thoroughly tested and tuned this was only done for drivers were hardware was available though.

    An example for identifying support for flow control based on the generic implementation in the dmesg-output for a certain MAC-PHY-combination would be:

    bge0: <Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet Controller, ASIC rev. 0x002003> mem 0 xfe010000-0xfe01ffff,0xfe000000-0xfe00ffff irq 25 at device 2.0 on pci2
    bge0: CHIP ID 0x00002003; ASIC REV 0x02; CHIP REV 0x20; PCI-X
    miibus0: <MII bus> on bge0
    brgphy0: <BCM5704 10/100/1000baseTX PHY> PHY 1 on miibus0
    brgphy0: 10baseT, 10baseT-FDX, 100baseTX, 100baseTX-FDX, 1000baseT, 1000baseT-master, 1000baseT-FDX, 1000baseT-FDX-master, auto, auto-flow

    or in the output of ifconfig -m for a given device:

    supported media:
    media autoselect mediaopt flowcontrol

    The latter also is what one would use to enable flow control for such a device, i.e.:

    ifconfig bge0 media autoselect mediaopt flowcontrol

    or in order to turn it off again:

    ifconfig bge0 media autoselect -mediaopt flowcontrol

    Note that some PHY drivers, currently only rgephy(4) though, also support enabling flow control support when using manual media configuration like in the following example:

    ifconfig re0 media autoselect mediaopt full-fuplex,flowcontrol

    In CURRENT this can also be further abbreviated (support for this will eventually be merged back into the supported stable branch(es) but not be present in 7.4-RELEASE or 8.2-RELEASE) as:

    ifconfig re0 media auto mediaopt fdx,flow

    For a device which has successfully negotiated flow control support with its link partner will report it in the output of ifconfig along with the available directions like in the following example:

    media: Ethernet autoselect <flowcontrol> (100baseTX <full-duplex, flowcontrol,rxpause,txpause>)

    Another thing that was introduced with r215297 was generic support for setting 1000baseT master mode via a media option when using manual media configuration. Consequently, brgphy(4), ciphy(4), e1000phy(4) as well as ip1000phy(4) have been converted to take advantage of this generic support. At least for CURRENT this means that these drivers now no longer take the link0 parameter for selecting master mode but the master media option has to be used instead like in the following example:

    ifconfig bge0 media 1000baseT mediaopt full-duplex,master

    Selection of master mode now is also available with all other PHY drivers supporting 1000baseT.

    With the exception of the media option abbreviations all of the above mentioned changes were merged into 7-STABLE in r215879 and into 8-STABLE in r215881 respectively. This means that they will be part of 7.4-RELEASE and 8.2-RELEASE. In order to no break POLA, unlike as in CURRENT bge(4), bce(4), msk(4), nfe(4) and stge(4) were changed to continue to always advertise support of flow control to their link partners in these stable branches with no way to turn that off as they also did before with their custom implementations. Additionally, brgphy(4), ciphy(4), e1000phy(4) as well as ip1000phy(4) were changed to still also accept the link0 parameter in addition to the master media option for setting master mode.

    Open tasks:

    1. We actually miserably fail to properly document the available media types and options in manual pages. For example several of the media lists in manual pages of MAC drivers like bge(4) already were outdated and with the addition of generic flow control and 1000baseT master mode support these are now even more outdated. Yet worse is the fact that for MAC drivers which use the mii(4) framework it is technically just plain wrong to include these lists in their manual page as the PHY drivers actually are responsible for handling the media types and options. However, given that the PHY drivers determine the available media types and options mostly dynamically at run-time it generally makes no sense to have static documentation of these in their manual pages (apart from the fact that we currently have no manual pages for PHY drivers). One good way out of this should be to replace the media lists in MAC drivers using mii(4) with just a note to check the output of ifconfig -m to get a list of the media types and options actually supported by a given device and to add a generic ifmedia(4) manual page which provides some general background information about media types and options similar to what NetBSD and OpenBSD also have.

    IPv6 and VIMAGE

    NAT64 patches for pf URL:

    Contact: Bjoern A. Zeeb <>

    During the last quarter a lot of work was spent on quality time hunting down and fixing open bugs and races in the network stack, mostly IPv6, as well as testing and getting virtualized network stack parts more stable. Tests for the pf(4) firewall update were started with VIMAGE. In addition Viagenie's NAT64 patch was ported over.

    TCP SMP scalability project

    Contact: Robert Watson <>

    A long-running TCP SMP scalability project is beginning to wrap up, with the goal of committing a large outstanding patch to the FreeBSD 9.x tree in the next month. This work implements a derivative of Willman, Rixner, and Cox's TCP connection group model, blended with support for hardware load distribution features in contemporary NICs (including RSS). Additional software distribution support can do work redistribution based on new notions of CPU affinity for individual TCP connections.

    On-going work is refining performance on non-RSS supporting configurations, and adding APIs to allow socket affinity to be queried (and where supported) set by applications. These changes significantly improve network scalability by reducing global lock contention, encouraging CPU affinity for connections, and avoiding cache line contention. The goal is to allow steady-state TCP connections to use only CPU-local cache lines, with work distributed to all CPUs. Current performance results are extremely promising.

    This project has been sponsored by Juniper Networks.

    Open tasks:

    1. Allow the hash model to be selected at boot-time or run-time rather than compile-time; currently "options RSS" enables RSS support unconditionally — for systems without RSS NICs, this leads to a small one-time performance penalty at the creation of each call to bind() or connect().
    2. Add missing socket options to query (and override) default CPU affinity for connections, which is derived from the active software or hardware hash model.
    3. Teach the network stack and appropriate NIC drivers to propagate software-overridden connection affinity to hardware using new device driver ioctls for managing TCAMs and hardware hash tables.
    4. Refine software redistribution of work in the event that there are fewer hardware queues than available CPU threads in which to process packets; the current prototype is able to do this with significant performance benefits, but the model requires refining.
    5. Experiment with (and measure) software work redistribution at run-time based on RSS bucket rearrangement. This will require a new event notification to device drivers so that they can update hardware caches of the network stack's authoritative table.
    6. Commit.


    Resource Containers

    Contact: Edward Tomasz Napierala <>

    The goal of this project is to implement resource containers and a per-jail resource limits mechanism, so that system administrators can partition resources like memory or CPU between jails and prevent users from DoS-ing the whole system. Project is close to completion. One big item that needs to be fixed before releasing a patch for people to test is %CPU accounting; initial idea of just using %CPU calculated by the scheduler turned out to be useless. Implementing it cleanly will also make it easier to support other similar resources (e.g. writes-per-second) in the future.

    SYSCTL Type Safety

    Contact: Matthew Fleming <>

    I started upstreaming a patch from Isilon that adds type-checking to the various SYSCTL_FOO and SYSCTL_ADD_FOO macros for various scalar types, which has turned into quite the discussion on the src mailing list. The type-checking macros are committed to sys/sysctl.h but under #if 0.

    Open tasks:

    1. As of right now, it looks like I will be rolling a new sysctl macro for the kernel that detects they type at compile time and does the Right Thing. Existing uses of the legacy SYSCTL_FOO and SYSCTL_ADD_FOO for scalar types can be replaced, and will probably turn into invocations of the new interface via preprocessor macro.

    TRIM support for UFS

    Contact: Kirk McKusick <>
    Contact: Konstantin Belousov <>

    TRIM support for UFS is implemented in HEAD. Potentially, this may increase the steady speed and longevity of SSDs.

    Due to concerns with the speed of TRIM operations on many SSDs, and not a lot of experience with the real-world behaviour, the support is off by default, and should be enabled on the per-filesystem basis.


    mdocml Replacing groff For manpage Rendering


    Contact: Ulrich Spörlein <>

    Kristaps' groff-replacement (only for rendering manual pages) is already available in NetBSD and OpenBSD, and used to render the base system manpages for the latter. This project aims to do similar things for FreeBSD. Since the last status report, mdocml has grown rudimentary tbl(1) support and a whole lot of bugfixes have gone in. A groff port has been created and needs some more testing before it can be committed to the tree. Also the WITHOUT_GROFF support in base has been fleshed out and is awaiting review before commit.

    Open tasks:

    1. Get ru@ to review WITHOUT_GROFF changes.
    2. Get textproc/groff tested and committed.
    3. Push more mdoc fixes into the tree.
    4. Import mandoc(1), switch to catpages for base. Discuss future of groff in base wrt. share/doc.
    5. Supply necessary ports infrastructure to opt-in to mandoc(1).

    The FreeBSD German Documentation Project Status Report

    Website of the FreeBSD German Documentation Project. URL:

    Contact: Johann Kois <>
    Contact: Benedict Reuschling <>

    The committers to the German Documentation Project managed to update the German documentation just in time to get the changes included into the next FreeBSD releases. The website translations were also kept in sync with the ones on

    We tried to re-activate committers who did not contribute for some time but most of them are currently unable to free up enough time. We hope to gain fresh contributor blood as we are getting occasional reports about bugs and grammar in the german translation.

    Open tasks:

    1. Submit grammar, spelling or other errors you find in the german documents and the website.
    2. Translate more articles and other open handbook sections.

    The FreeBSD Japanese Documentation Project

    Japanese FreeBSD Web Pages URL:
    The FreeBSD Japanese Documentation Project Web Page URL:

    Contact: Hiroki Sato <>
    Contact: Ryusuke Suzuki <>

    Although there is no radical change in this effort since the last report, the www/ja and doc/ja_JP.eucJP/books/handbook have constantly been updated. During this period, generating translated RSS feed for newsflash was started and links to the manual pages were fixed in the Books and Articles documentation. Some more progress has been made in the Porter's Handbook and Contributing to FreeBSD as well.

    Open tasks:

    1. Further translation of the FreeBSD Handbook and contents of the website to the Japanese language.
    2. Pre-/post-commit review of the translation.

    Userland Programs

    FreeBSD Services Control (fsc)


    Contact: Tom Rhodes <>

    FreeBSD Services Control is a mix of binaries which integrate into the rc.d system and provide for service (daemon) monitoring. It knows about signals, pidfiles, and uses very little resources.

    The fscd utilities will be set up as a port and, hopefully, dropped into the ports collection in the coming weeks. This will allow easier testing by everyone and it should make migration into -CURRENT much easier.

    GEOM-based ataraid(4) Replacement — geom_raid

    General design description. URL:
    Project SVN branch. URL:

    Contact: Alexander Motin <>
    Contact: M. Warner Losh <>

    New project started to create GEOM-based replacement for ataraid(4) — software RAID, that will be obsoleted by migration to the new CAM-based ATA implementation.

    This implementation planned with accent to modular design, that includes common core and two sets of modules, handling data transformations (RAID levels) and on-disk metadata formats specifics. Such design should make further extension easier.

    At this moment work focused around RAID0/RAID1 transformations and Intel metadata format. Module is now able to read, write and create Intel volumes. Error recovery and rebuild work is now in progress. Support for other RAID levels and metadata formats, supported by ataraid(4), planned later.

    This project is sponsored by Cisco Systems, Inc.

    Open tasks:

    1. Complete error recovery/rebuild work and stabilize modules API.
    2. Implement metadata modules for other formats.
    3. Implement transformation modules for other RAID levels.

    gpart Improvements

    Contact: Andrey V. Elsukov <>

    GEOM class PART is the default disk partitioning class since FreeBSD 8.0. Compared to 8.1 now it does have several new features: Partition resizing. New "gpart resize" subcommand was implemented for all partitioning schemes but EBR. GPT recovering. Guid Partition Table does have redundant metadata and it can be recovered when some of them is damaged. New "gpart recover" subcommand was implemented for that purpose. Ability to backup/restore of partition table. New "gpart backup" and "gpart restore" subcommands were implemented.


    Bringing up OMAP3

    an old patch for arm URL:

    Contact: Warner Losh <>
    Contact: Mohammed Farrag <>

    The attached file is an old patch for ARM. We are developing new patch and then we are going toward Porting OMAP3.

    FreeBSD on the Playstation 3

    Contact: Nathan Whitehorn <>

    On January 5, support for the Playstation 3 was imported into FreeBSD 9.0-CURRENT. This port is still somewhat raw (only netbooting is supported, no access to the SPUs, etc.), but hardware support should be more fleshed out by the time FreeBSD 9.0 is released. The port uses the OtherOS mechanism, and so requires a "fat" console with firmware earlier than 3.21.

    Open tasks:

    1. SATA driver.
    2. Sound support.
    3. SPU driver.


    FreeBSD/EC2 status page URL:

    Contact: Colin Percival <>

    FreeBSD is now able to run on t1.micro instances in the Amazon EC2 cloud. FreeBSD 9.0 is not very stable, but it seems likely that FreeBSD 8.2-RELEASE will approach the stability normally expected of FreeBSD.

    A list of available FreeBSD AMIs (EC2 machine images) appears on the FreeBSD/EC2 status page.

    Open tasks:

    1. Bring FreeBSD to a wider range of EC2 instance types.
    2. Completely rework the locking in head/sys/i386/xen/pmap.c to eliminate races and make 9.0-CURRENT stable under paravirtualization.
    3. Track down several possibly-related problems with scheduling and timekeeping.
    4. Fix other issues shown on the FreeBSD/EC2 status page.


    Contact: Marius Strobl <>

    CPUTYPE support for sparc64 has been added to CURRENT in r216820. The three flavors currently supported are "ultrasparc", "ultrasparc3" and "v9". So it is now possible to let the compiler produce code optimize for the family of UltraSPARC-III CPUs by setting CPUTYPE to "ultrasparc3". Setting it to "ultrasparc" as well as omitting it completely optimizes for UltraSPARC-I/II family CPUs as before. Support for generating generic 64-bit V9 code was mainly added for reference purposes. As it turned out, at least for SPARC64-V CPUs running code optimized for UltraSPARC-III CPUs does not perform measurably better than UltraSPARC-I/II one though so the default is just fine for these. This change was merged into 7-STABLE in r217005 and into 8-STABLE in r217004 respectively, neither 7.4-RELEASE nor 8.2-RELEASE will include it though.

    Support for a certain feature available with UltraSPARC-III+ and greater, i.e. with all sun4u CPUs following the original UltraSPARC-III, has been added to CURRENT in r216803. The net effect of this change is that we now can use a kernel TSB and thus a kernel address space of virtually any size up to the full 64-bit address space on machines equipped with these CPUs, apart from the fact that 1GB of address space still takes up 4MB worth of data structures. Before, the theoretical limit was 16GB due to the fact that the MMUs of these UltraSPARC CPUs only have 16 lockable TLB slots (UltraSPARC-I/II have 64 and SPARC64 CPUs again have at least 32), with the actual limit being several GB below that because we need some of these slots also for mapping the PROM, the kernel itself and in MP-systems the per-CPU page. Currently, the kernel TSB and thus the kernel virtual address space is now always sized one time the physical memory present in these machines with the plan being to actually allow to it extend beyond the size of the RAM as this helps especially ZFS. Most of this is implemented by patching the instructions used to access the kernel TSB based on the CPU present, so the run-time overhead of this change is rather low. Once it is also enabled and successfully tested with SPARC64 CPUs this change will be merged back into the supported stable branch(es).

    Theoretically it should be also possible to use the same approach for the user TSB, which already is not locked into the TLB but can cause nested traps. However, for reasons I do not understand yet, OpenSolaris only does this with SPARC64 CPUs. On the other hand I think that also using it for the user TSB and thus avoiding nested traps would get us closer to running the FreeBSD/sparc64 code on machines equipped with sun4v CPUs, which only supports trap level 0 and 1, too, so eventually we could have a single kernel which runs on both sun4u and sun4v machines (as does Linux and OpenBSD).

    Work on adding support for Sun Fire 3800 and similar models has begun but still is in its early stages.



    Chromium homepage URL:
    Screenshot URL:

    Contact: René Ladan <>

    We are working on updating the Chromium web browser in our ports to stay up to date with the latest supported release. We currently have the Chromium 9 beta running, but not all features are fully implemented and the port still needs some polish before it can be committed to the Ports Collection. We have also been making arrangements with Google to merge our work with their upstream, which should ease the number of features and fixes we have to maintain for ourselves in the future. Our first release should be in a few weeks and coincide with the official release of Chromium 9.

    FreeBSD as Home Theater PC


    Contact: Bernhard Froehlich <>
    Contact: Juergen Lock <>

    FreeBSD could be a much better platform for a Home Theater PC than it currently is. We are focusing on improving support for media center applications. Extending the major ports (MythTV, VDR, XBMC) and create some documentation to guide interested people.

    Open tasks:

    1. Improve remote control support in webcamd and with lirc.
    2. Port more Media Center applications (Enna, me-tv, ...).
    3. Create a small guide on how to build a great FreeBSD Home Theater PC.


    A little bit about URL:
    Source URL:
    Screenshots URL:

    Contact: Marcelo Araujo <>

    Port-Sandbox now works properly and it is able to run by itself through an embedded web server and bring a lot of information about the port build process and all dependencies related. Currently Port-Sandbox is in the final stage and needs only only a few code changes, more tests and should also be included in the ports tree.

    Open tasks:

    1. Change the way how it connects to database, fix it to maintain a persistent connection.
    2. Remove any kind of internal configuration from source code to an external file configuration.
    3. Create a Port-Sandbox port with all dependencies related to it and test it in a clean system.
    4. Create some documentation to let other people to keep helping Port-Sandbox to grow up.
    5. Finally, release it.



    Contact: Doug Barton <>

    Portmaster version 3.6.1 is now in the ports tree, and the emphasis in the last year has been on improving the stability and performance of existing features, with a few new features sprinkled in. A lot of work has gone into error handling, both for unexpected states in the ports system and for user input. For example, all prompts are now wrapped in code to verify that what was entered was one of the valid options.

    Perhaps the most interesting new element is that for the features -e, -s, --clean-distfiles, --clean-packages, --check-depends and --check-port-dbdir you can now specify either -y or -n to automatically provide the corresponding answer to the yes/no questions. The -o, -r, and --index-only options have received major overhauls, and now either work better or at least as advertised.

    There has also been a lot of work put into reducing the memory footprint, especially in the environment variables that are shared between the parent and child processes. And for those operating without a local ports tree (--index-only/--packages-only) all of the features that can work without the ports tree now do.

    Significant support for the upgrading of operating without a ports tree was provided by GridFury, LLC. Their support, as well as the support received from other members of the community continues to be greatly appreciated.

    Open tasks:

    1. There are still interesting features that have been suggested by users listed on the page above that I have not been able to work on, but would like to be able to.

    Ports Additions


    Contact: Josh Paetzel <>

    Bigbluebutton has joined the list of ready to run applications in the ports tree. Dru Lavigne has been instrumental on getting it to run, as well as offering suggestions for improvements to the port.

    smb4k was updated to the latest release version, which requires kde4. This was enough of a change that a new port was created, net/smb4k-kde4. the initial port went through a number of quick changes, including a patch to the source code to fix a FreeBSD source code submitted by PC-BSD's Kris Moore. This application greatly eases the task of working with samba shares in a FreeBSD environment.

    Freeswitch is the result of 3 Asterisk developers working on a VoIP package that fulfills their goals. They have switched away from a release model to a "just run latest SVN checkout" model. With the help of Richard Neese and Eric Crist, static snapshots of their SVN repo have been taken, the port has been modified to use the newer version, and extensive build and run testing has been done.

    Ports Collection


    Contact: Thomas Abthorpe <>
    Contact: Port Management Team <>

    The ports tree slowly moves up closer to 23,000. The PR count still remains at about 1000.

    In Q4 we added 2 new committers, took in 2 commit bit for safe keeping, and welcomed back 4 returning committers.

    The Ports Management team bid farewell to Kris Kennaway in November 2010. Kris was the root of krismail, the mail we all got from time to time when ports broke on pointyhat. Kris did a lot of work benchmarking and testing FreeBSD for stability, scalability and usability.

    Mark Linimon has put a lot of effort into refactoring and refining the code that runs the 'pointyhat' package build dispatch system. In 2010, the FreeBSD Foundation purchased for portmgr a pair of new machines, pointyhat-west and pointyhat-east, to take over from the existing machine. (The new machines have much greater RAM, CPU, and disk capacity.) However, to properly utilize them, the existing code needed to be generalized.

    Persistent bugs, and some hardware troubles, have delayed the rollout far beyond what was originally planned, but there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. (And, this time, it does not appear to be an oncoming train.)

    A document entitled "Mentoring Guidelines" as been circulated among ports developers, and has been greeted with a lot of positive feedback, and updates have been included. In the short term, updated copies will be maintained at

    The Ports Management team have been running -exp runs on an ongoing basis, verifying how base system updates may affect the ports tree, as well as providing QA runs for major ports updates. Of note, -exp runs were done for:

    • ade: multiple runs for autotools refactoring
    • ed: test to replace libgcc.a with libcompiler_rt.a
    • jiles: test sh(1) against r212508
    • kde: Qt 4.7.0 update
    • kde: KDE 4.5.4 updte
    • kwm: Gnome 2.32 update
    • ports/144164: ensure package-noinstall target include rc.d scripts
    • ports/145598: include etc/devd in mtree
    • ports/145955: silence make fetch-required-list
    • ports/147701: perform DESKTOP_ENTRIES sanity check
    • ports/149657: removal of MD5 checksums
    • ports/149670: remove checks in _OPTIONSFILE
    • ports/150303: for INSTALL_LIBS
    • ports/150337: for PLIST_DIRSTRY
    • ports/151047: pass CPP to CONFIGURE/MAKE_ENV
    • ports/151799: fix PLIST_DIRSTRY
    • ports/151806: remove 2004 legacy hack
    • ports/152055 and ports/152059: for pear infrastructure
    • ports/152558: boost update
    • ports/152626: fix pkg-message display if installed from package
    • ports/152964: embed LICENSE name for STDOUT
    • ports/153018: implement variables in Mozilla dependencies
    • ports/153033: fix un-escaped shell metacharacters
    • ports/153041: clean up ruby plists
    • ports/153132: autotools cleanup
    • ports/153318: set PGSQL default to 8.4

    Open tasks:

    1. Looking for help fixing ports broken on CURRENT.
    2. Looking for help with Tier-2 architectures.
    3. Most ports PRs are assigned, we now need to focus on testing, committing and closing.

    Robot Operating System

    ROS website URL:
    Presentation URL:

    Contact: René Ladan <>

    Porting ROS to FreeBSD started in March 2010. In May 2010, it was possible to build devel/ros without needing to apply patches, but some more changes were necessary to be able to write a port for it. Currently this and several other ports related to ROS are available, most notably devel/ros-tutorials to get up and running with ROS and devel/ros-nxt to use LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots with ROS and FreeBSD.

    Open tasks:

    1. Port the software required for nxt-rviz-plugin, which is part of devel/ros-nxt but currently excluded from the build.


    FOSDEM 2011


    Contact: Marius Nuennerich <>
    Contact: Daniel Seuffert <>

    FOSDEM 2011 will be held from Saturday, February 5th to Sunday February 6th in Brussels, Belgium. We will have a FreeBSD booth and a developers room. At the booth there will be friendly supporters and a FreeBSD Foundation member answering questions. The devroom will have 6 1-hour long talks about different topics, technical and social. FOSDEM is one of the biggest open-source events in Europe. It is completly free and no registration is required.

    Open tasks:

    1. Get more people involved as helpers for the booth and the devroom are still needed. Please contact Daniel or Marius if you want to help out.

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