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This report covers FreeBSD-related projects between October and December 2012. This is the last of four reports planned for 2012.

Highlights from this status report include a very successful EuroBSDCon 2012 conference and associated FreeBSD Developer Summit, both held in Warsaw, Poland. Other highlights are several projects related to the FreeBSD port to the ARM architecture, extending support for platforms, boards and CPUs, improvements to the performance of the pf(4) firewall, and a new native iSCSI target.

Thanks to all the reporters for the excellent work! This report contains 27 entries and we hope you enjoy reading it.

The deadline for submissions covering the period between January and March 2013 is April 21st, 2013.


Userland Programs

FreeBSD Team Reports









Contact: Neel Natu <>
Contact: Peter Grehan <>

BHyVe is a type-2 hypervisor for FreeBSD/amd64 hosts with Intel VT-x and EPT CPU support. The bhyve project branch was merged into CURRENT on Jan 18. Work is progressing on performance, ease of use, AMD SVM support, and being able to run non-FreeBSD operating systems.

Open tasks:

  1. 1. Booting Linux/*BSD/Windows
  2. 2. Moving the codebase to a more modular design consisting of a small base and loadable modules
  3. 3. Various hypervisor features such as suspend/resume/live migration/sparse disk support

Native iSCSI Target


Contact: Edward Tomasz Napierała <>

During the October-December time period, the Native iSCSI Target project progressed to the working prototype stage. Most of this time was spent writing kernel-based part, an iSCSI frontend to the CAM Target Layer. The frontend handles iSCSI Full Feature phase after ctld(8) hands off the connection. The istgt-derived code in ctld(8) was rewritten from scratch; now it's much shorter and more readable. The ctladm(8) utility gained iSCSI-specific subcommands to handle tasks such as listing iSCSI sessions or forcing disconnection. The target works correctly with the FreeBSD initiator.

NFS Version 4

Contact: Rick Macklem <>

The NFSv4.1 client, including support for pNFS for the Files Layout only, has now been committed to head/current. Work on NFSv4.1 server support has just been started and will hopefully be ready for head/current this summer. The client side disk caching of delegated files is progressing and the code is under projects/nfsv4-packrats in the subversion repository. Someone is working on server side referrals and, as such, I hope this might make it into 10.0 as well.

pxe_http -- booting FreeBSD from apache

svn repo of project URL:

Contact: Sean Bruno <>

Currently works with VirtualBox VMs and Apache 2.2 port.

Open tasks:

  1. Lots and lots of compile warnings exist with clang and gcc. This really needs to be investigated.
  2. Better support for other webservers. Currently needs Apache to work.
  3. Needs another pass at basic documentation. Current documentation is actually quite good from the original
  4. Network stack needs audit. I'm not sure if the HTTP/TCP/UDP/IP code is original or based on something else.



Contact: Benno Rice <>

There is code in the projects/uefi branch that can build a working 64-bit loader for UEFI. This loader can load a kernel and boot to a mountroot prompt on a serial console on a system with ≤ 1GB of RAM. Full multiuser has not yet been tested. Work is progressing towards having a working syscons. The issue preventing boot on systems with > 1GB of RAM has not yet been found. UEFI-compatible boot media can be generated using in-tree tools, however there are issues with detecting the CD filesystem and using it as the load default. The 64-bit UEFI loader can load a 32-bit kernel but currently cannot hand over to it due to a lack of code to switch to 32-bit mode. Further research is required into Secure Boot.

Unprivileged install and image creation


Contact: Brooks Davis <>

In order to make it easier to build releases and embedded system disk images I have been adding infrastructure to allow the install and packaging stages to the FreeBSD build progress to run without root privilege. To this end I have added two options to the toplevel build system: The -DDB_FROM_SRC option allows the install to proceed when the required set of passwd and group entires does not match the host system. The -DNO_ROOT option causes files to be installed as the running user and for metadata such as owner, group, suid bits, and file flags to be logged in a ${DESTDIR}/METALOG file.

This work required the import of NetBSD's mtree and the addition of a number of features from NetBSD to install. I have added all FreeBSD features to NetBSD's mtree and imported it as nmtree. Before FreeBSD 10.0 is released I will replace our version. I have also added all required features to install. Changes to makefs were required to parse the contents of the METALOG file.

These new features required importing new versions of the pwcache(3) and vis(3) APIs from NetBSD so those portions of libc.

In addition to modifying build infrastructure to use the new features of mtree and install. I corrected a number of cases of files being installed by programs other than install or being installed more than once. A few known instances of duplicate directories in the output exist, but the results are usable in some contexts.

I plan to MFC these changes as far back as the stable/8 branch to make it possible to build all supported releases without root privilege.

This work was sponsored by DARPA and AFRL.

Open tasks:

  1. Add support for -DNO_ROOT to src/release/Makefile so that releases can be built without root privilege.
  2. Create a tool to install partition tables and file system images in disk image files without the use of mdctl, gpart, and dd.

Userland Programs

BSD-licenced patch(1)

Home for BSD patch (deprecated) URL:

Contact: Pedro Giffuni <>
Contact: Gabor Kovesdan <>
Contact: Xin Li <>

FreeBSD has been using for a while a very old version of GNU patch that is partially under the GPLv2. The original GNU patch utility is based on an initial implementation by Larry Wall that was not actually copyleft. OpenBSD did many enhancements to an older non-copyleft version of patch, this version was later adopted and further refined by DragonFlyBSD and NetBSD but there was no centralized development of the tool and FreeBSD kept working independently. In less than a week we took the version in DragonFlyBSD and adapted the FreeBSD enhancements to make it behave nearer to the version used natively in FreeBSD. Most of the work was done by Pedro Giffuni, adapting patches from sepotvin@ and ed@, and additional contributions were done by Christoph Mallon, Gabor Kovesdan and Xin Li. As a result of this we now have a new version of patch committed in head/usr.bin/patch that you can try by using WITH_BSD_PATCH in your builds. The new patch(1) doesn't support the FreeBSD-specific -I and -S options which don't seem necessary. In GNU patch -I actually means 'ignore whitespaces' and we now support it too.

Open tasks:

  1. Testing. A lot more testing.


Dev Tree URL:
Ports Tree URL:
Dev Depot URL:

Contact: Devin Teske <>

bsdconfig(8) is actively being developed in HEAD under the WITH_BSDCONFIG build-requirement. Snapshots are occasionally taken and made available through the ports system to make testing on 9.0-RELEASE or higher easier on the testers. Currently HEAD is far beyond the version 0.7.3 sitting in ports. Upcoming changes will push this to version 0.8 bringing in the necessary frameworks required for in-depth package management and distribution maintenance (read: one step closer to full 1.0 release).

FreeBSD Team Reports

FreeBSD Core Team

Contact: Core Team <>

In the fourth quarter, the Core Team granted access for 7 new committers, and took 1 commit bit in for safekeeping.

The Core Team oversaw the response to the security incident in November in cooperation with the security team, port managers, and cluster administrators. For more information on the fallouts and response see the official announcement. As a result, 9.1-RELEASE was delayed until late December and was released with a limited set of binary packages. The Core Team continues to work with developers to rebuild, review, and restore the package building infrastructure along with redports/QAT.

FreeBSD Documentation Engineering

Documentation Engineering Team Charter URL:

Contact: Glen Barber <>
Contact: Marc Fonvieille <>
Contact: G�bor K�vesd�n <>
Contact: Hiroki Sato <>

The translations/, projects/ and user/ directories of the doc repository have been opened with the announced policies in effect. These branches are now actively used for translations work, editing the upcoming printed version of the Handbook, and some doc infrastructure improvements.

The next phase of the infrastructure improvements is in progress. It will migrate to real XML tools (with the exception of Jade) for validation and rendering. At the same time, the DocBook schema will be updated to 4.5.

After long discussions, Google Analytics has been enabled on webpages but access to statistical data has to be solicited from the Documentation Engineering Team on an individual and one time basis.

Since July, we have added two doc committers and one translator.

Open tasks:

  1. Help the ongoing work on printed edition of the Handbook.
  2. Finish the migration to XML tools.

FreeBSD Foundation


Contact: Deb Goodkin <>

A strong year-end fundraising campaign led to the raising $770,000 in 2012. Thank you to everyone who made a donation to support FreeBSD!

We published our year-end newsletter that highlighted everything we did to support the FreeBSD Project and community during the second half of the year.

We were a Gold Sponsor for EuroBSDCon. We also attended the conference and developer summit. Erwin Lansing organized and chaired the Ports and Package Summit and Vendor Summit at EuroBSDCon 2012. We attended MeetBSD developer summit November 2012.

George Neville-Neil organized and the Foundation sponsored the Bay Area Vendor Summit November 2012. We were represented at LISA.

Kirk McKusick taught a tutorial and gave a keynote at EuroBSDCon 2012, and Justin Gibbs gave a talk at ZFS Day, October 2012.

We talked to DNS server software vendors and participated in discussions on our DNS implementation, specifically with regard to DNSSEC validation, at CENTR Tech September 2012 (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and EuroBSDCon.

We visited companies to discuss their FreeBSD use and to help facilitate collaboration with the Project.

Robert Watson published ACM Queue and Communications of the ACM: A decade of OS access-control extensibility and Kirk McKusick published ACM Queue and Communications of the ACM: Disks from the Perspective of a File System.

We negotiated/supervised Foundation funded projects: porting FreeBSD to the Efika ARM platform, Capsicum Component Framework, Native iSCSI Target implementation, and EUFI.

We negotiated/supervised/funded hardware needs in FreeBSD co-location centers.

Many board members provided support for recovery efforts following the security compromise of systems in late 2012.

We completed negotiation and provided legal counsel for the new website privacy policy for the FreeBSD Project.

We are now an industrial partner in the Cambridge/Imperial/Edinburgh EPSRC REMS project on the Rigorous Engineering of Mainstream Systems.

We coordinated the Foundation's discussion of Jira/Java; conclusion, will continue to be supportive of OpenJDK and not restart proprietary JDK support.

We implemented a donor management database to help with our fundraising efforts. We also began working on automating the donation process.

We started the Faces of FreeBSD Series where we share the story of a Foundation grant recipient periodically. This allows us to spotlight people who received Foundation funding to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, and advocate for FreeBSD.

We hired two technical staff members.



Contact: David Wolfskill <>

The postmaster team has expanded, with the addition of Florian Smeets (

We have implemented a Mailman "handler" to drop duplicate messages when both copies are sent to the same list (under both the "long" (e.g., "freebsd-current") and "short" (e.g., "current") names).

We have created several new mailing lists:

  • freebsd-course: educational course on FreeBSD
  • freebsd-numerics: Discussions of high quality implementation of libm functions.
  • freebsd-snapshots: FreeBSD Development Snapshot Announcements
  • freebsd-tcltk: FreeBSD-specific Tcl/Tk discussions

We have also removed old mailing lists:

  • freebsd-binup
  • freebsd-www (merged into freebsd-doc)


AMD GPUs kernel-modesetting support

Project status on the wiki URL:
Initial TTM port URL:

Contact: Alexander Kabaev <>
Contact: Jean-S�bastien P�dron <>
Contact: Konstantin Belousov <>

Jean-S�bastien P�dron started to port the AMD GPUs driver from Linux to FreeBSD 10-CURRENT in January 2013. This work is based on a previous effort by Alexander Kabaev. Konstantin Belousov provided the initial port of the TTM memory manager.

As of this writing, the driver is building but the tested device fails to attach.

Status updates will be posted to the FreeBSD wiki.

Common Flash Interface (CFI) driver improvements


Contact: Brooks Davis <>

The Common Flash Interface provides a common programming interface for a wide range of NOR flash devices commonly found in embedded systems. I have developed a number of improvements to the cfi(4) device when used on Intel StrataFlash parts. Unnecessary erase cycles are now avoided, devices that require single word writes only write changed words, and multi-word writes are supported for Intel and Sharp devices. Additionally the timeout code has been reworked and no longer imposes unneeded latency on operations taking less than 100us. With all of these changes streaming write speed has improved by more than an order of magnitude. Once these changes are reviewed they will be committed to HEAD.

This work was sponsored by DARPA and AFRL.

SMP-Friendly pf(4)


Contact: Gleb Smirnoff <>

The project is aimed at moving the pf(4) packet filter out of a single mutex, as well as in general improving of the FreeBSD port. The project has reached its main goal. The pf(4) is no longer covered by single mutex and contention on network stack on pf(4) is now very low. The code is production ready. The projects/pf branch had been merged to the head branch and will be available in 10.0-RELEASE.

Unmapped I/O

The patch. URL:

Contact: Jeff Roberson <>
Contact: Konstantin Belousov <>

A well-known performance problem of FreeBSD on large SMP hardware is the need to invalidate TLB for all CPUs when instantiating and destroying the VMIO buffers. Invalidation is performed by sending inter-processor interrupt broadcast, which disrupts the execution path of each CPU, and induces latency on the request itself. Since most I/O requests processing require creation of the buffers to hold the data in the kernel, TLB invalidation becomes an obstacle for I/O scalability on many-CPU machines.

The work done for flushing the TLBs is especially meaningless since most mappings created are not used for anything but copying the data from the usermode to the kernel page cache forth and back. Most architectures have already established facilities to perform such copies using much faster techniques, for instance, the direct map on amd64, or specially reserved per-CPU page frames or TLB entries on other architectures.

Jeff Roberson unified the machine-specific parts of the busdma(9), making a common set of low-level functions available on each architecture. This was committed as r246713. The end result is that the new types of the load functions can be added in the single, machine-independent place. In particular, it is easy to modify the drivers to accept the 'unmapped' bio requests, which lists the vm pages for the device dma engine, instead of the virtual address of the kernel buffer.

Konstantin Belousov developed the changes for buffer cache which allow the VMIO buffers to not map the referenced pages, and used the feature for UFS. Per-architecture pmap_copy_pages(9) methods were added to facilitate fast copying between user I/O buffers and pages of unmapped buffers. The unmapped buffers create the unmapped bio requests for the drivers, support for which was made possible by Jeff's patch.

Tests show that even on a small 4-core machine, the system time for reading files on UFS is reduced by 30%.

Open tasks:

  1. Test the patch, in particular, on non-x86 architectures.


The FreeBSD Japanese Documentation Project

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

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

The ja_JP.eucJP subtree has constantly been updated since the last status report.

In FreeBSD Handbook, translation work of the "users" section has been completed. "linuxemu" and "serialcomms" were updated and subsection "Subversion mirror site" was newly added to "mirrors" section.

Open tasks:

  1. Further translation work of outdated documents in the ja_JP.eucJP subtree.


Compiler improvements for FreeBSD/ARMv6


Contact: Andrew Turner <>

FreeBSD/ARM architecture is now supported by the in-tree clang compiler. ARM EABI support is now available for both clang and gcc along with the older and less documented OABI. There are several outstanding issues, once they are fixed EABI will be made default.

Open tasks:

  1. Test EABI builds
  2. Fix exception handling for EABI
  3. Test clang builds
  4. Get clang to work natively on EABI-based ARM system. Currently it works only as cross-compiler for ARM EABI.

FreeBSD on AARCH64


Contact: Andrew Turner <>

Work has started on porting FreeBSD to AARCH64, ARM's new 64-bit architecture, using the ARMv8 Foundation Model software. GCC and binutils have been ported to FreeBSD and work started on kernel initialization, including MMU setup.

Open tasks:

  1. Get the MMU working
  2. Get system register documentation from ARM
  3. Port clang AArch64 to FreeBSD
  4. Bring the code into a FreeBSD project branch

FreeBSD on BeagleBone


Contact: Tim Kientzle <>
Contact: Oleksandr Tymoshenko <>
Contact: Damjan Marion <>
Contact: Brett Wynkoop <>

FreeBSD on BeagleBone is benefiting from the general work on ARM stability being done by many people, and is proving to be a nice testbed for our ARMv7 support. All ongoing work is happening now directly in -CURRENT and we expect it to be in pretty good shape by the time 10.0 ships.

The network driver is now pretty stable; the system should be useful as a small network device.

Occasional system snapshots are being built and advertised for people to test. Ask on freebsd-arm@ if you'd like to try the newest one.

Open tasks:

  1. We need someone to finish the USB driver. Ask if you'd like to take this over.
  2. MMCSD performance is still rather poor.
  3. There's been discussion of how to improve the GPIO configuration and pinmux handling to simplify hardware experimentation. If we had more people to help build drivers, we could start supporting some of the BeagleBone capes.
  4. Mostly we just need people to use it and report any issues they encounter.

FreeBSD on Raspberry Pi


Contact: Oleksandr Tymoshenko <>

FreeBSD is running on Raspberry Pi and supports the following peripherals:

  • USB controller
  • SDHC controller
  • Network
  • Framebuffer (HDMI and composite)
  • GPIO
  • VCHI interface

Videocore tests (OpenGL, video decoding, audio, display access) work with current VCHI driver implementation.

Open tasks:

  1. Add DMA mode support to USB driver. Some proof-of-concept code is done but more work required to finish it.
  2. Re-implement VCHI driver with more FreeBSD-friendly locking.
  3. Implement more drivers: SPI, PWM, audio.


FreeBSD Haskell Ports

FreeBSD Haskell wiki page URL:
FreeBSD Haskell ports repository URL:

Contact: G�bor P�LI <>
Contact: Ashish SHUKLA <>

We are proud to announce that the FreeBSD Haskell Team has updated the Haskell Platform to 2012.4.0.0, GHC to 7.4.2 as well as updated existing ports to their latest stable versions. All Haskell ports are also updated to use new OPTIONS framework, and now, building with dynamic libraries (DYNAMIC) is on by default. GHC also uses GCC 4.6 and binutils 2.22 from ports. We also added a number of new Haskell ports, and their count in FreeBSD Ports tree is now 368.

Open tasks:

  1. Test GHC to work with clang/LLVM.
  2. Commit pending Haskell ports to the FreeBSD Ports tree.
  3. Add more ports to the Ports Collection.


KDE/FreeBSD home page URL:
area51 URL:

Contact: KDE FreeBSD <>

The KDE/FreeBSD team have continued to improve the experience of KDE software and Qt under FreeBSD. The latest round of improvements include:

  • Fix handling of Removable property in solid engine
  • Fix management of backlight with UPower (requires acpi_video(4))
  • Installing spell-checking dictionaries with a dependency of KDE-locale ports

The team has also made many releases and upstreamed many fixes and patches. The latest round of releases include:

  • KDE SC: 4.9.2 (area51)
  • PyQt: 4.9.5 (area51); SIP: 4.14 (area51)
  • KDevelop: 4.4.0, 4.4.1 (area51); KDevPlatform: 1.4.0, 1.4.1 (area51)
  • Calligra: 2.5.3, 2.5.4 (area51)
  • CMake:
  • Many smaller ports

The team is always looking for more testers and porters so please contact us at and visit our home page at

Open tasks:

  1. Updating out-of-date ports, see PortScout for a list

Ports Collection


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

The ports tree crossed the threshold of 24,000 ports, while the PR count still is close to 1600.

In Q4 we added five new committers and took in two commit bits for safe keeping.

In the tradition of recruiting new portmgr@ at conferences, we added Bernhard Froehlich to our ranks. He is the one responsible for

Pav Lucistnik stepped down from his role on portmgr, he was one of our principles doing -exp runs and well known for sending failmails.

In the well publicised compromise, the pointyhat machines were broken into and subsequently taken down, isolated and sanitised. As a pre-emptive move redports/QAT were also taken down. Work is under way to restore the services.

Mark Linimon began a from-scratch test install on one of his own spare machines with the purpose of documenting all the missing steps from the portbuild article. While doing so, he further overhauled the codebase to both make it easier to install, and to further refactor it in light of a security review (still ongoing at time of this writing). Once this is complete, the next task will be to reinstall all existing machines from scratch.

Open tasks:

  1. Most ports PRs are assigned, we now need to focus on testing, committing and closing.



Contact: <>

A major update has been made to Thunar (file manager for the Xfce Desktop Environment).

1.6.x series introduce lots of improvements, most noticeably is tabs support, and the performance has been improved.

Open tasks:

  1. Try to fix HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) feature in Midori with Vala 0.12.1 (works fine with Vala ≥ 0.14.x)
  2. Replace libxfce4gui (deprecated and not maintained by upstream) by libxfce4ui in order to enhance support for Xfce ≥ 4.10.
  3. Test core and plugins (panel, Thunar) with GLib ≥ 4.32 (to replace deprecated and removed functions introduced since GLib 2.30).
  4. Fix gtk-xfce-engine with Gtk+ ≥ 3.6.


EuroBSDcon 2012

EuroBSDcon 2012 web site URL:
EuroBSDcon YouTube channel URL:

Contact: EuroBSDcon Organizers <>
Contact: Gabor Pali <>

The 11th European BSD Conference took place in Warsaw, Poland at the Warsaw University of Technology with a large number of visitors. It started up with two tracks of tutorials, featuring FreeNAS, pfSense, DTrace, PF, development of NetBSD drivers, and an overall introduction to the FreeBSD operating system given by Kirk McKusick. There we also had opening and closing keynotes, supplemented with 22 talks on different topics related to FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeNAS and PC-BSD: BHyVe, configuration management with puppet, improvements in the OpenBSD cryptographic framework, tuning ZFS, server load balancing in DNS, running FreeBSD on embedded systems, e.g MIPS and ARM, and challenges in identity management and authentication.

The conference also had a dedicated track presented by the attendees of the FreeBSD developer summit and open to all, where one could learn more about what is happening currently in the Project: results of Google Summer of Code 2012, architectural changes in the FreeBSD documentation tree, ILNP, advancements in package building and development of pkg(8), and a status report on the USB stack.

FreeBSD Developer Summit, Warsaw

Home page of the summit URL:

Contact: Gabor Pali <>

We had 53 FreeBSD developers and invited guests attending the FreeBSD Developer Summit organized as part of EuroBSDcon 2012 in Warsaw, Poland at the Warsaw University of Technology. This year EuroBSDcon organizers again offered us their generous support in helping with keeping the event running smooth, helping with registrations, renting the venue, and providing food for keeping attendees satisfied and happy.

The Warsaw developer summit spanned over 3 days and had 9 working groups on various topics. We improved last year's layout inherited from the Canadian summits because it has worked well earlier but could use some further refinements. On both the first and second days, we ran the working groups, ranging from the standard matters, discussing issues with the USB stack, the compiler toolchain, the Ports Collection, or the documentation to some experimental ones, e.g. arranging an operating systems course focusing on FreeBSD. In addition to this, similarly to last year, one of the working groups was about gathering vendors to present their ideas and engage in discussion with the developers on their needs from the Project. Finally, on the third day, there were a number of exciting work-in-progress reports given in a dedicated Developer Summit track at the main conference.

Photos and slides for the most of the talks are available on the home page of the summit.

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