Aleksandr Rybalko continues to make good progress on the FreeBSD-Foundation sponsored Newcons project. This project will provide a replacement for the legacy syscons system console. Newcons provides a number of improvements, including better integration with graphics modes, and broader character set support.
FreeBSD's introduction of Kernel Mode Setting (KMS)-enabled graphics drivers for X11 produced a regression when combined with syscons: it was no longer possible to switch back to a console after starting X. Newcons integrates with KMS and restores this ability.
Newcons adds UTF-8 support and currently includes Latin and Cyrillic characters; additional ones will be added over time. Aleksandr has an example of Cyrillic display and keyboard input in his blog posting at http://raybsd.blogspot.com/2013/10/newcons-international-keyboard-input.html.
I have switched my laptop, a Thinkpad X220, to a Newcons kernel. In addition to the improved X11 integration mentioned above, a happy side effect is that suspend and resume again works.
Newcons has a small number of outstanding issues which are currently being fixed, with integration into FreeBSD HEAD to follow shortly. More details on the project can be found on the FreeBSD wiki, at https://wiki.freebsd.org/Newcons.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Edward Tomasz NapieraÅ‚a has joined as its second member of technical staff. This is a continuation of the Foundation's plan to invest in staff in 2013.
A FreeBSD committer since 2007, Edward previously completed a number of projects under Foundation grants, including safe device removal with mounted filesystems, growing mounted filesystems, and resource containers.
Edward is currently implementing a native in-kernel iSCSI stack (both target and initiator) for this increasingly popular block storage protocol. "Although there are a number of iSCSI target implementations that support FreeBSD, the project lacks a high performance and reliable in-kernel target. As iSCSI gains favor, this stack will be a key element in maintaining FreeBSD's competitive position in enterprise and open-source deployments" said Justin T. Gibbs, president of the FreeBSD Foundation. The project is expected to be completed in October 2013.
Another part of Edward's responsibilities will be assisting the FreeBSD Security Team in preparing security advisories and patches.
Edward lives in Warsaw, Poland.