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 NetBSD Project is glad to participate in the Google Summer of Code for the third time in a row as a mentoring organization and is pleased to announce the list of projects that have been accepted for this summer (full details in the press release). Development on these projects will begin shortly, so make sure to follow the relevant mailing lists.
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.
The NetBSD Foundation announced that Force10 Networks, the pioneer in building and securing high performance networks, has leveraged NetBSD as the foundation for the Force10 Operating System (FTOS). Based on the open source UNIX-like system, FTOS provides the software scalability and resiliency that powers the Force10 TeraScale E-Series family of switch/routers.
The pkgsrc developers are proud to announce the new pkgsrc-2006Q4 branch. At the same time, the pkgsrc-2006Q3 branch has been deprecated, and continuing engineering starts on the pkgsrc-2006Q4 branch. The NetBSD Packages Collection is a framework for building third-party software on NetBSD and other UNIX-like systems, currently containing over 6400 packages. It is used to enable freely available software to be configured and built easily on supported platforms. Please see the detailed pkgsrc-2006Q4 announcement in Alistair Crooks's email to the pkgsrc-users m-l for more information.
The third NetBSD Hackathon was held on Saturday and Sunday, November 25th and 26th, 2006, where NetBSD users and developers met on IRC to prepare NetBSD for the upcoming re-branching of NetBSD 4.0. Approximately thirty NetBSD developers and more than 140 NetBSD users joined in on the two days, paying particular attention to improving install documentation and ensure build stability. A Wiki page as a TODO list was used for the first time, an approach that is likely to be used in future hackathons. All in all, over 200 bugs have been worked on in those two days and while not all of the critical showstoppers could be fixed, valuable progress was made in identifying root causes.
The NetBSD project has released a live CD with automatic hardware detection and an option to boot into KDE. Called NetBSD Live! 2007, the CD image is available for the i386 platform: "This CD-ROM contains a specially constructed version of NetBSD 4.0_BETA sporting a modified kernel based on NetBSD-CURRENT. Booting is done using an adapted version of the GRUB boot loader. The CD contains the following software packages in addition to the base operating system files: XFree86, KDE 3.4.5 with multiple language sets; joe and kvim text editors; AbiWord word processor, Dia 0.9.4 flow-charting and diagramming application, Inkscape 0.4.2 vector graphic application; The GIMP 2.2; Firefox web browser, and more." See the release notes for more information.
NetBSD 3.0.2 and 3.1 have been released simultaneously. NetBSD 3.0.2 is a critical/security-only update for NetBSD 3.0, while NetBSD 3.1 brings much broader fixes and improvements, including: Xen3 domU support, LFS stability improvements, Postfix 2.2.11, BIND 9.3.2, msdosfs write optimization, addition of scan_ffs/scan_lfs tools, driver updates, and many, many other bug fixes and enhancements. Binaries and ISO's for both releases are available via FTP and BitTorrent.
There is a new release candidate for the NetBSD 3.1 release, due to a series of recent OpenSSL vulnerabilities. There are more interesting improvements however, see the announcement mail for details. You can expect NetBSD 3.1, alongside NetBSD 3.0.2, to be released within two weeks.
The second NetBSD Bugathon was even more successful than the first: three times as much people (both users and developers) showed up, and together they fixed more than 300 PR's on two days. See Elad's report and the Bugathon's homepage for the details.
NetBSD is the oldest and least-used of the three major BSD derivatives. David Chisnall takes a look at how it's survived for so long and where it's going in preparation for the next release.
"Running on almost twenty different architectures, and easily portable to others, NetBSD gained its reputation as the most portable operating system on the planet. While that may indicate high quality code, the ever demanding networked world cares about more than that. Over the past year, NetBSD evolved quite a bit in various areas. This paper will focus on those aspects relating to security."
"The pkgsrc developers are very proud to announce the new pkgsrc-2006Q3 branch, which has support for more packages than previous branches. As well as updated versions of many packages, the infrastructure of pkgsrc itself has been improved for better platform and compiler support, and also for enhanced security. At the same time, the pkgsrc-2006Q2 branch has been deprecated, and continuing engineering starts on the pkgsrc-2006Q3 branch."
NetBSD held a public 'Bugathon' this weekend: developers and users gathered together on a public IRC channel where they discussed and fixed a lot of PR's (270 bugs closed in just two days). It was such a success that the NetBSD developers plan to organize such event regularly. There's also a website (still under construction).
"Although we'd all like it to be otherwise, the process of porting an operating system to new hardware is hardly an instantaneous one, and it is not always easy. You might run into a number of potential difficulties, especially if you are coming to the problem for the first time. This article, and likely the next couple in the Testing and measuring the TAMS 3011 series, details my experience porting NetBSD to the TAMS 3011. These articles are not about the finished port, but about the process of developing it. I can only hope you find the hilarious errors as funny as I found them frustrating at the time."
Geert Hendrickx has announced the third release candidate of NetBSD 3.1. Binaries and .iso's can be found on the ftp site, or on one of the mirrors. "We anticipate this to be the final release candidate for the NetBSD 3.1 release, so, if no serious problems arise, we expect NetBSD 3.1 to be released on October 2."
BSD devcenter at onlamp.com has an interview with Charles M. Hannum, one of the creators of the NetBSD Project and the NetBSD Foundation, about the evolution of the project, funds management, problems with licenses and hardware documentation, the link with vendors, past and current mistakes, and what we can learn from the Linux development process.
Geert Hendrickx has announced the availability of a second release candidate of NetBSD 3.1: Improvements over the first release candidate include: fixed the build of NetBSD-vax; fixed a buffer overflow in PPPoE/ISDN PPP; closed a socket leach in accept(2); removed references to sushi(8) from the afterboot(8) manpage; fixed an integer overflow in FreeType; disabled threading in named(8) to avoid a crash on sparc and sparc64, etc.
Charles Hannum, co-founder of NetBSD posted to 3 major BSD lists saying that "The NetBSD Project has stagnated to the point of irrelevance. It has gotten to the point that being associated with the project is often more of a liability than an asset. I will attempt to explain how this happened, what the current state of affairs is, and what needs to be done to attempt to fix the situation."
"NetBSD runs on more hardware platforms than any other UNIX derivative due to smart design decisions and a commitment to portable code. Whether you're porting an operating system to a proprietary embedded system or looking for stability and compatibility across hardware platforms in the lab, NetBSD and its open license is a compelling alternative to Linux and the GNU Public License."