Linked by Trent Townsend on Wed 18th Jan 2006 22:03 UTC
BSD and Darwin derivatives DragonFly BSD 1.4 is the third major release of Matthew Dillon's fork of the FreeBSD operating system, and significant progress has been made towards reaching many of the project's numerous goals. New in this release include a more up to date version of the GNU Compiler Collection (required due to the incread use of thread local storage in DragonFly), an import of NetBSD's Citrus code (Comprehensive I18N Framework Towards Respectable Unix Systems), major reworking of all core subsystems in preparation for removing the MP lock, rewrites of various VFS related code and many updated drivers, frameworks and contributed programs.
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"I think DFly is an an amazing project. It's good to see it getting reviewed and reported on. I suspect it's also beneficial for the developers to be able to see what the top niggles are for a newcomer to the OS - allowing them to smooth the initial experience for experimenters."

One of the reasons I wrote it.

"I do think, however, that it would be very beneficial at this point to see a technical overview (perhaps even written by the project developers...) of all the new stuff in there at this point. Their restructuring of the kernel for scalability and simplicity is progressing well from what I hear."

Yes, I would love for them to do so as well, but they are too busy at the moment working on the system to generally do such things. I am very happy for them that they are making considderable progress in reaching their larger goals, but as they intend DragonFly to be a production system moreso than a research system, the progress they've made to date means little in a real world setting, as very few applications natively run on it. Once the pkgsrc problems have been dealt with, real work and testing can be done.

"Also, they have some almost magical sounding functionality arriving in there, like:
* freeze running processes to a disk file and resume them later (this is in early stages, but it's pretty cool they can do it at all!)

* high level journalling (this is *not not not* journalling like ReiserFS and friends do, it's filesystem independent allows stuff like continuous backups, historical backups where you can rewind to *any* point in history, etc, etc, etc)

Exciting stuff isn't it?! It was mentioned on the mailing lists recently that more work needs to be done in order to use the process checkpointing for migrating processes to other nodes in a cluster, and currently the checkpointing can only be done as root. Supposedly the journaling is essentially feature complete, but they need more testing to ensure its robustness. It should be fantastic by the next release once they've finished their port of Sun's ZFS to go with it.

"The continuing scalability and eventual plans for full cluster-awareness will make this an amazing OS. However, I do get the impression that most of the (limited) development resources are going into improving the foundations of the system, with the user experience largely being for later work."

This seems to be the case yes. Matt himself seems as focussed as ever on the guts of the system, and Joerg seems to be spreading his efforts all over the place, with few areas getting his full attention for too terribly long. Regardless, I don't think that DragonFly would have progressed as it has without his efforts. I'm just selfishly left wishing that he would focus his attention on the pkgsrc mess until it largely works so that I can get back to actually using DragonFly as I have in the past ;^)

"I think part of the reason people are sometimes upset about DFly reviews which (entirely correctly) report it as being unfriendly, is that the developers haven't really been "trying" to make it friendly at this time, even though it's an eventual intent."

I wouldn't say that. One of the things I liked about DragonFly early on was that it was much less irritating than was FreeBSD at the time, due to many small things the DragonFly folks had done to make the system "more friendly." It's the lack of pkgsrc developers that is causing most of the grief I am having with the system here and now. Well, that and documentation.

Edited 2006-01-20 02:54

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