NetBSD Archive

Interview: Alistair Crooks, President of the NetBSD Foundation

For a couple of months, the french speaking NetBSD advocacy group, NetBSDfr has started a series of interviews called "Discussing with a NetBSD developer". The first developer that has been interviewed was Soren Jacobsen, NetBSD 5.0 release engineer, shortly after NetBSD 5.0 was released. In July, we had the opportunity to talk to Adam Hamsik, known for porting LVM and ZFS to the NetBSD OS. S.P. Zeidler was our third victim, one of the Project's admins and member of the pkgsrc-releng team. This month, we had the chance to interview Alistair G. Crooks, actual president of The NetBSD Foundation. Alistair gave us a unique historical point of view as one of NetBSD's early hackers. He also shared with us his thought about the future of NetBSD and explained what makes this operating system so special. The interviews can be read in english at by clicking on the links above, and in french at

NetBSD Starts Desktop Project

Andrew Doran and Jared D. McNeill have announced in a mailing list post that they are starting a NetBSD Desktop Project with the goal of: "Given a NetBSD CD and a reasonably modern x86 computer, make it possible to install a useful desktop system in under 15 minutes, responding to only a few prompts in the process." Initial plans are being formulated on the project wiki page.

NetBSD 5.0 RC1 Released

From the announcement email: "On behalf of the NetBSD Release Engineering team, I am proud to announce that the first release candidate of NetBSD 5.0 is now available for download. Those of you who have been paying close attention will have noticed that RC1 was tagged on Sunday. A few hiccups delayed the availability of binaries, but they can now be downloaded from here."

NetBSD: Metadata Journaling Support Added to FFS

Today, support for metadata journaling has been added to NetBSD's implementation of the Berkeley Fast File System (FFS), eliminating the need for lengthy file system checks after a crash or power failure. Support for converting existing file systems to use the new journaling capabilities is provided as well. See the official announcement for all the details.

Waving the Flag: NetBSD Developers Speak About Version 4.0

"The NetBSD community announced last month the official release of NetBSD 4.0, the latest version of the Unix-like open-source operating system. Version 4.0 includes significant new features like Bluetooth support, version 3 of the Xen virtual machine monitor, new device drivers, and improvements to the Veriexec file integrity subsystem. NetBSD, which is known for its high portability, is capable of running on 54 different system architectures and is suitable for use on a wide range of hardware, including desktops, servers, mobile devices, and even kitchen toasters. To commemorate the NetBSD 4.0 launch, enthusiast Federico Biancuzzi communicated with 21 developers to produce this expansive interview with loads of insightful information about the NetBSD 4.0 development process."

NetBSD 4.0 Released

"The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce that release 4.0 of the NetBSD operating system is now available. NetBSD is a free, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system available for many platforms, from 64-bit Opteron machines and desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent in both production and research environments, and it is user-supported with complete source. Many applications are easily available through pkgsrc, the NetBSD Packages Collection."

NetBSD 4.0 RC3 Released

NetBSD 4.0 RC3 has been released. "On behalf of the NetBSD Release Engineering team, I am happy to announce the availability of NetBSD 4.0 Release Candidate 3. The list of changes from the 3.0 release is available in the release notes. This release candidate has several bug fixes and other changes since the previous release candidate."

NetBSD’s Google Summer of Code 2007 Summary

"NetBSD has been involved in the Google Summer of Code since its conception in 2005. This year we were glad to once again have the oppertunity to introduce a number of students to our operating system, to Open Source software development and get them sponsored by Google to work on projects defined by the NetBSD developers. The students working on this year's projects were mentored by various NetBSD developers with extensive experience in the respective work areas."

NetBSD 4.0 RC1 Released

The NetBSD Release Engineering Team announced the release of NetBSD 4.0 RC1 today. The release candidate is directly available from the project's FTP server. A list of significant changes and features can be found here. "The NetBSD4.0 release provides numerous significant functional enhancements, including support for many new devices, integration of hundreds of bug fixes, new and updated kernel subsystems, and many user-land enhancements. The result of these improvements is a stable operating system fit for production use that rivals most commercially available systems."

NetBSD Hires Andrew Doran for Full-Time SMP Development

"The NetBSD Foundation announces that it has hired Andrew Doran to work full-time on improving symmetrical multi-processing in NetBSD. This work is made possible through a generous donation by Force10 Networks and internal funding by The NetBSD Foundation. Andrew Doran is an independent, Dublin based Unix systems consultant with special interest in building scalable systems. He has been a NetBSD developer since 1999 and is currently working on the transition from a big-lock SMP implementation to a fine-grained model, which allows multiple CPUs to execute code in kernel context simultaneously. Hiring Andrew full-time will boost work in this area, with the final result of a SMP implementation that is ready for tomorrow's multi-core-CPUs."

NetBSD ‘Quarterly’ Status Report Published

The NetBSD Project has published the first 'quarterly' status report in 2007, covering the months January through June of 2007. "NetBSD is an actively developed operating system. With 54 different system architectures in total and binary support of 53 architectures in our last official release (NetBSD 3.1), our widely portable Packages Collection 'pkgsrc' and large userbase there is a lot going on within the project. In order to allow our users to follow the most important changes over the last few months, we provide a brief summary in these official status reports, released with irregular regularity. These reports are suitable for reproduction and publication in part or in whole as long as the source is clearly indicated. This status report summarizes the changes within NetBSD from January until June 2007."

pkgsrc-2007Q1 Branched

The pkgsrc developers are very proud to announce the new pkgsrc-2007Q1 release. Pkgsrc is the primary package management system for NetBSD and DragonFlyBSD, but also supports AIX, BSD/OS, Darwin, FreeBSD, IRIX, Interix, Linux, OSF1, OpenBSD, and SunOS. Apart from a lot of new and updated packages, the infrastructure of pkgsrc itself has been improved for better platform and compiler support, and also for enhanced security.

The Multiboot Specification and NetBSD

Multiboot is a specification that defines a protocol between boot loaders and operating system kernels. The idea behind it is to let any compliant boot loader load and execute any compliant OS kernel, decoupling these two system components. This way, boot loaders can be simpler by only having to know a single load protocol, and OS development is easier because there is no need to write a custom boot loader. This article details how NetBSD was made Multiboot-compliant, allowing it to be booted directly from within GRUB, and thus making it easier to install NetBSD alongside a Linux system in a single machine.