Author Archives: Josh Smith

PC-BSD Feature Digest 31 — Warden CLI upgrade + IRC Announcement

Hey everyone!  After a brief hiatus from feature updates we are back!  We’ve switched from Fridays to Mondays and rather than trying to get an update out every week we aren’t on a specific schedule.  We will continue to push out these feature updates when we have some cool new features come out we think you’ll want to know about.

The Warden and PBI_add backend (CLI)  management tools have received some exciting new features we’d like to tell you about.  You can now create jails on the fly when adding a new PBI to your application library.  For instance say you’re adding a PBI using the “pbi_add” command and you want to install the PBI into a new jail that you haven’t created yet.  You would specify:  “sudo pbi_add –J apache” without the quotes to create a default named jail with the PBI apache installed directly into it.  The –J being the new flag that specifies the creation of the new jail.

There’s also a new option now to do a bulk jail creation.  By simply using the new –bulk and –ip4pool flag you can easily roll out your preset number of jails quickly and efficiently.  To use this cool new feature just type:  “warden create <jailname> –bulk 5 –ip4pool 192.168.0.2″ and voila you’ve got 5 brand spanking new jails created in no time starting at IP address 192.168.0.2 .

The PC-BSD team is now hanging out in IRC!  Get involved in the conversation and come  visit us on Freenode in channel #pcbsd.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Weekly Feature Digest 30

Hey PC-BSDers!  This week we’ve been gearing up for the next release of PC-BSD version 10.0.2.   In preparation for the next release we have been fine tuning some of the new features and making sure the loose ends are tied up.   We were also able to close out a good amount of trac tickets this week and commit the fixes for 10.0.2.

In other news / updates this week:

AppCafe

  • Fix a bug where the orphan package filter was also filtering out some base apps.
  • Randomize the browser home page so that it only show 10 random “recommended” and “highlighted” applications.
  •  Add a ton more recommended/highlighted applications to the repo file.
  • Fix some minor display bugs
  • Add menu option to view the recent vulnerability information for ports through freshports.
  • Fix the sizing information for installed meta-pkgs (will show the combined sizes of the direct dependencies instead)
  • Fix the sizing information for available applications (will now show the combined size of all the packages that need to be downloaded/installed for that app)

EasyPBI

  •  Add the ability to fetch/read the pkg-plist for a given pkg.
  • Add a “bulk” module creation side to EasyPBI which allows for creating PBI modules for an entire FreeBSD category at a time (with all sorts of filters and options)
  • Make EasyPBI automatically create up to 5 desktop/menu entries for graphical applications.
  • Make the application binaries detected/usable within the module editor for creating new desktop/menu entries.

Lumina

  • Quick fix for filenames that have spaces in them
  • Quick fix for making sure that when launching an app it is in the same general system environment. This allows apps like firefox/thunderbird to see other instances of themselves and act appropriately.
  • lumina-config - Make sure the menu options actually work

Miscellaneous Fixes / improvements

  • Fixed several warden bugs relating to new jail creation / package management
  • Imported the latest ports and Gnome3 / Cinnamon for 10.0.2
  • Fixed some issues prompting for GELI password from GRUB and then mountroot
  • Fixed a critical bug with new CUPS 1.7.0 breaking foomatic-rip and associated print drivers
  • Imported the latest PEFS code into 11-CURRENT and backported it to our 10-STABLE branches
  • Fixed bugs with system update tray notifier not showing freebsd-update” notifications
  • Migrated one of my build systems to 11-CURRENT and got it setup for doing PKG/ISO builds
  • Misc other trac tickets fixed / closed in cleanup process
  • Many other cosmetic / doc bugs fixes as Dru submitted them
  • Started investigating bug with BE/GRUB failing if the first dataset is destroyed

Weekly Feature Digest 29 — PBING

We’ve been seeing a lot of confusion and questions about the PBI changes that were recently pushed out those of you running the Edge package sets, and Ken Moore was nice enough to break the changes down in this week’s PC-BSD weekly digest.

First, a little history about the PBI system.
It was initially created when the only/primary application distribution method for FreeBSD was the ports system — meaning that any FreeBSD user who wanted frequent updates to their applications needed to manually compile/install any application through the FreeBSD ports tree on a fairly regular schedule. The PBI system was designed as an alternative to provide simple application packages that could easily be downloaded and installed without the need for the user to compile any source code at all. As an added benefit, the PBI system installed these applications into a seperate container on the system — leaving all the “complicated” system configuration and integration to still be run through the FreeBSD ports system. This allowed PC-BSD to have a stable base system for a release (because the base system packages would almost never get touched/updated), while at the same time provide the ability to keep the main end-user applications up to date between releases.

Now fast-forward a bit to the PC-BSD 10 series.
At this time the FreeBSD ports system, while still existing for the “hardcore” users, has mainly been replaced by the pkgng distribution system for general system/application usage. This has provided quite a bit of confusion for PC-BSD users, because they now had two different ways to install applications, and each application on the system would behave differently depending on how that particular application was installed. To make the distibution model simpler for PC-BSD, the PBI files were already being created from pkgng packages (ensuring that there was a lot less compiling done on the build servers), and those packages were simply being collected into “fat files” with a few compatibility scripts and such thrown in for good measure.This meant that there was a lot of duplication between the pkg and PBI systems, resulting in a lot of effort to maintain compatibility between the two systems. The main problem however, was that the special PBI runtime container itself was causing all sorts of system stability issues. Since the release of PC-BSD 10.0 we have actually tried 3 or 4 different types of application runtime containers, each of which was designed to solve a critical flaw in the previous version, but always kept running into large limitations/problems with each new type of container.

At this point we decided to take a step back and refocus on what the PBI system was originally intended to do — provide a “Push Button Installer” to install and run applications while keeping things as simple as possible for the end user. With this definition for the PBI system, it makes perfect sense that the pkgng system should be chosen  as our default application installation method for a couple reasons:
1) Integration with the system environment for things like setting up and running default applications works a lot better (mimetype integration/use).
2) Startup/runtime speed. Applications installed to the base system simply startup and run a lot faster than the ones that are installed into the containers.
3) User Confusion. Lots of people simply did not understand that the “contained” application libraries/files were not installed to the normal location on the system, and that an application in a container could not easily see or use the system-installed applications.

The next-generation PBI system.
This re-implementation is designed so that it no longer uses the “PBI Containers” exclusively and instead returns to its original goal — to provide a simple interface for the end user to install/use applications of all types and in all ways. This means that it is now a system that uses the pkgng packages as it’s basis — but provides all sorts of other information/functionality that the pkgng system does not fully support yet (such as mimetype integration, desktop/menu entries, and graphical information like icons for applications). Additionally, it also provides a number of enhancements to how the user can utilize the different pkgng packages, mainly through how the packages get installed.

1) Standard pkgng installation to the base system.
This allows the user a simple interface to install/remove application on the base system while providing a number of additional safety checks to prevent random “foot-shooting”.

2) Jail management.
By running the AppCafe on the base system, you can now manage all the applications/packages in any of the running jails on your system. Combined with the Warden for creating/managing different kinds of jails, the user now has a simple way to manage and run applications that (for security reasons) should never be installed/used from the base system (such as web servers or network-facing services).

3) Application containers with plugins!
By using the “portjail” creation options in the Warden, you now have a method to safely contain a graphical application while also allowing for a system of installing/removing optional packages into that jail for plugin support without touching your base system packages (very similar to our previous container system, but with a few more layers of separation between the jail and the system).

4) Other installation methods.
Because the PBI system is now installation-method agnostic (almost), we can provide support for alternate types of installation methods (such as into specialized containers like our previous PBI versions have had). While we do not have any other installation methods included at the moment, we can add new methods relatively easy in the future if those installation methods do not break system stability.

So what does this mean for a PC-BSD user?
1) Access to thousands more applications and plugins by default through the AppCafe. The “PBI” applications will show up with things like screenshots, available plugins, nice looking icons, user ratings/tips, and more while you also have the ability to install and use the “raw packages” (which will always have the icon of a box/package) even if the nicer recommendations and information is not available for that raw package.

2) Less confusion about application installations. Since applications will always be installed/integrated into the local system by default, this will prevent a lot of confusion in people who are used to the standard FreeBSD/Linux/Unix installation methods and file locations for applications.

3) Greater flexibility for different installation methods to suite your specific needs. System installation, traditional jail installation, portjail installation, additional future types of installations, it give the user freedom to truly run the system as you need, rather than forcing you to use a particular system that might not be what you were looking for.

Weekly Feature Digest 28 — Photos of the new AppCafe re-design.

Hey everyone just a quick update tonight as much of the work has been the same as last week :).   I’ve uploaded a couple of pics to show how the new AppCafe integration with pkgng will look.  In the first picture below you’ll see a similar looking app information screen with some sweet new features.  The biggest thing you might notice right away is the 5 star rating system in the top left corner under “Firefox”.  In the new AppCafe clicking the stars will immediately pop-up the app’s wiki page allowing you to rate the program.  We are also looking into the ability to add comments as well that will also populate into AppCafe.  Also many programs (especially GUI based applications) will have screenshots in AppCafe to allow you to check them out before you download them to your system.

Notice below right this is the main “installed applications” screen.  Here you’ll be able to view all of your installed apps and also filter them based on a few presets built into AppCafe.   Similar to the package manager, the new AppCafe will pull more information from the package repository about installed packages for you to review.

Important Correction:  I realized after talking with Kris and Ken that I was slightly confused over the new role of pkgng and how it will affect PC-BSD going forward.  pkgng is replacing the PBI system in future versions of PC-BSD and AppCafe.  PBI’s will be immediately  & automatically converted over to use pkgng instead once users update to the next big PC-BSD release.  If you have any further questions we will be glad to answer them for you, and I aplogize for the information discrepancy!

appcafe1       appcafe2

 

 

Weekly Feature Digest 27 — Software System Redesign

PC-BSD has long been very flexible about how you can install software. You have PBI’s, packages, and ports available with just a couple clicks or via a couple of simple terminal commands. For a long time the PBI format has served as an excellent solution for people who may need an offline package install, or just simply prefer the ease and simplicity the PBI format has to offer especially via the AppCafe. Perhaps the “Achilles’ Heel” of this situation is that we have also been severely limited on the amount of software that the AppCafe has to offer as packages had to first be converted into the PBI format.

This week we are announcing a radical change that we think will benefit all PC-BSD users in ways that were previously unthinkable. The PC-BSD team has begun work during the last couple of weeks redesigning our PC-BSD utilities (AppCafe, Update Center) to work with our pkgng software repository that we are currently building to contain detailed information about all the software available through packages and PBIs. What this means for you is that in the near future PC-BSD will have a much broader software pool to pull from, and will not be limited anymore by only having a small subset of PBI’s. You will now be able to install packages and PBI’s in one place, while also being able to update and manage both in one place.

You may be asking yourself “why the change?”. Over the last several months we have noticed a considerable amount of our time has been going into compatibility and fixes for PBIs. So much time in fact that other important development had to be postponed and / or sidelined while we worked on bringing PBIs up to speed. We are hoping by adopting appcafe and the PBI format to work in tandem with pkgng, that we will be able to refocus our efforts on other important endeavours.

We will have more information available soon as development continues on how you can get involved with testing out the new features and submitting ideas to help the project along. Let us know what you think about the changes. Are we headed in the right direction? Do you have ideas related to the redesign that you’d like to contribute? Let us know!

Key Features:

Much larger software library. Instead of 800 available appcafe applications think more like 10000+
Detailed information on all the software available including packages in one place
Ability to search and filter your results to show
Improved compatibility across desktop environments
New rating system is being developed for grading the quality of packages in the AppCafe library

Weekly Feature Digest 26 — The Lumina Project and preload

This week the PC-BSD team has ported over preload, which is an adaptive readahead daemon. It monitors applications that users run, and by analyzing this data, predicts what applications users might run, and fetches those applications and their dependencies to speed up program load times. You can look for preload in the next few days in edge packages and grab it for testing on your own system.

There is an early alpha version of the Lumina desktop environment that has been committed to ports / packages. Lumina is a lightweight, stable, fast-running desktop environment that has been developed by Ken Moore specifically for PC-BSD. Currently it builds and runs, but lacks many other features as it is still in very early development. Grab it from the edge packageset and let us know what you think, and how we can also improve it to better suit you as a user!

Other updates this week:

* Fixed some bugs in ZFS replication causing snapshot operations to take
far longer than necessary
* Fixed an issue with dconf creating files with incorrect permissions
causing browsers to fail
* Added Lumina desktop ports / packages to our build system
* PC-BSD Hindi translation 100% complete
* improvements to the update center app
* Update PCDM so that it will use “pw” to create a user’s home directory if it is missing but the login credentials were valid. This should solve one of the last reported issues with PCDM and Active Directory users.
* Bugfix for pc-mounttray so that it properly ignores the active FreeBSD swap partition as well.
* Another small batch of 10.x PBI updates/approvals.

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 25

Most of you have already heard of the Heartbleed vulnerability, the flaw in OpenSSL encryption. For any of you that may not be aware (which is probably precious few), the Heartbleed vulnerability is basically a flaw that may allow a malicious user to gain access to information that is supposed to be kept safe through OpenSSL. The good news is that the FreeBSD project and PC-BSD have both released fixes that will apply to versions 10.x. If you are currently running a machine with PC-BSD 9.x you are using an earlier version of openSSL that does not have the vulnerability, so no action is necessary to protect yourself from this. If you are running PC-BSD version 10.x make sure to use the “system updater” to apply the security patch to openSSL. After applying the fix reboot your computer and you should be good to go.

Kris has finished a new PBI run-time that will fix a number of stability issues users may have been experiencing while using PBI’s. The fix has also subsequently helped speed up load times for some of the larger PBI’s that may have been hanging or taking a long time to load.

Update Center is moving foward, and has received some fine-tuning this week to help bring it into PC-BSD as the one-stop utility for managing updates. We’d like to add a special thanks to the author Yuri for primary design and layout for the update center. Ken will also be working to help smooth out GUI design elements and help with integrating it fully into PC-BSD.

Other Updates / Bug Fixes:

* Updated openssl packages for 10.0 PRODUCTION/EDGE
* Patched issue with KRDC using FreeRDP version in ports
* A new 9.2 server has been spun up and building PBIs for 9.2 again. (Server failed earlier this week)
* Started work on PBI runtime for Linux compat applications
* Another large chunk of work on Lumina
* Bugfixes for pc-mixer (showing the proper icons)
* Life-Preserver bugfixes
* Large update to the available 10.x PBIs. All updates are finished, a few new applications were also added.
* Bugfixes on a number of PBI’s (waiting on rebuilds to test/approve the new fixed apps)
* Hindi translation project now about 75% complete

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 24

Another week bites the dust and we’ve got some fantastic new features heading your way. Just a quick update this week so let’s get right to it. The FreeBSD mailing list has put a call out to the community to know if you are interested in having some custom DirectX patches applied to wine. You can view the e-mail here if it interests you. If you’d like to respond directly to the e-mail list you can do so @ [email protected]

New Features:

* Tons of new PBI updates for 10.0
* Committed the new PBI runtime implementation for 10.x
* Fixed some edge cases with new runtime and particular apps
* Added support for running 32bit apps in new PBI runtime
* Patched RTLD and pushed out freebsd-update to prepare systems
* Added improved callback functionality for PBIs to run system commands
* Added umplayer as the new out-of-box default CD audio / DVD video player
* Merged latest FreeBSD ports and Gnome3 / Cinnamon ports
* Added options to set exec= and suid= options on ZFS datasets to installer
* Added “vagrant” development environment utility to PC-BSD base system
* Began builds of EDGE packages with all the above fixes

Bug Fixes:

* Fixed issue with missing English dictionary in KDE text-processing apps
* Fixed bug with Life-Preserver which was pruning snapshots too
aggressively with replication enabled
* Don’t provide localization option to FAT mounting routine for english locales
* Clean up the usage of ntfslabel to make sure that extra outputs don’t get included in the name for Win8 NTFS devices.

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 23

Hey PC-BSDers! This week we’re coming at you with some pretty sweet updates to PC-BSD. The mount tray has seen some significant improvement and is now able to mount most audio / dvd formats without a problem. Also windows partition types are now showing up correctly on my test system after building the new mount tray from source. The mount tray will also prompt you to open your disc with a program and will offer you correct suggestions based on the proper package / PBI. Ultimately the mount tray will most likely replace the built in mounting systems in the desktop environments. This is still a little ways off in the future, but the direction we are heading in.

We heard that there were some users that were experiencing problems upgrading and believe we have found the guilty party. I was able to duplicate the same package upgrade problem that was causing updates to 10.0.1 to fail, and asked Allan over at Scale Engine to give us a hand. Allan was able to track down the issue to a faulty distribution server that was interrupting connections and preventing the upgrades randomly. This server has been removed from service at this time and further work is going into preventing this from happening again in the future.

Work has begun to localize PC-BSD into the Hindi language. We’d like to give a shout out to the newest member of our translation team Simran. Thanks for your help and we are excited at the prospect for even more people to be able to use PC-BSD. Our estimated date of completion is 3 weeks from now. If you have an interest in this language please help us spread the word!

Other News / Projects for this week:

* Merged latest ports and gnome3 patches into ‘master’
* Merged in latest VirtualBox versions
* Wrote a userland replacement for the FUSE module to execute PBIs in a faster and less unstable manner (about 90% complete)
* Kicked off new –STABLE builds
* Update 9.x PBI’s
* Add new XDG-compatibility classes in libpcbsd (scanning/listing/filtering system applications)
* New Utility: pc-systemflag (shell) — pc-systemflag is used to set a flag/message on the system for cross-application communication
* Rewrite the pc-systemupdatertray utility to use the new SystemFlagWatcher. Is much simpler and more streamlined now.
* Add system flag usage to pc-softwaremanager for PBI update availability
* Add system flag usage to the pbi-manager (“pbi_update –check-all” usage only)
* Add system flag usage to pc-updatemanager (for all package and system updates/checks)

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 22

The week is finally almost over and we’re back for another update on PC-BSD! The majority was spent squashing bugs and performing minor updates to PC-BSD utilities (as well as recovering from the Jet lag from AsiaBSDcon for Kris and Dru)! To check out pictures from the big event have a look at IXsystem’s facebook page here. For a list of some of the changes and updates this week have a look below.

Bug Fixes
* Fixed missing RDP support for krdc
* Fixed issue installing src / ports for server installs
* Enabled “lz4” compression on root FS by default
* Disabled some FUSE file-cache functionality in PBIFS
* Investigated issues with calls to “vflush” causing fuse to never finish unmounting
* Imported latest stable/10 and started builds
* Imported latest gnome3 / cinnamon changes
* Finished building next Edge package set
* Finished GUI updates and changes to bring them up to our new / current standards
* Added accessibility / shortcut keys for PC-BSD utilities

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 21 — PCBSD 10.0.1 Released!

PC-BSD 10.0.1 Has been released! Check out the release notes from Kris below. Kris is currently out in the field attending AsiaBSDCon so make sure to stop by the FreeBSD booth if you’re in the area and show your support! Work has continued this week on the development of the new PC-BSD mixer although our primary goal this week was to get a bunch of trac tickets fixed, closed, or assigned to someone to take care of them. Thanks as always and enjoy the new updates!

- Josh

———————————————

The first PC-BSD 10.0 quarterly update is upon us, and 10.0.1 is now
available.

This update includes a number of important bugfixes, as well as newer
packages and desktops, such as KDE 4.12.2, Cinnamon 2.0 and more. For
more details and updating instructions, refer to the notes below.

Changes
———————————————

* KDE 4.12.2
* Cinnamon 2.0
* Samba 4.1.4
* Stability improvements to PBI subsystems
* Updated GRUB loader, fixing issues related to slow / hanging startup
* Updated AppCafe UI
* Updates to Life-Preserver, including “Classic” backup mode and
automatic snapshots
* Updated control panel with desktop settings buttons
* PulseAudio 5.0 integration
* Improved Video display auto-detection
* Bugfixes to mouse auto-detection
* Improved LDAP / AD support for login manager
* Misc other bugfixes

Updating
———————————————

Desktop users already running 10.0 can update via Control Panel ->
Package Manager -> Updates.
Server users can update via the “pc-updatemanager” utility.

If package updating fails due to conflict errors, please be sure to
apply all system updates first before trying again.

Installing
———————————————

10.0.1 DVD/USB media can be downloaded from the following URL:

http://www.pcbsd.org/en/download.html

Reporting Bugs
———————————————

Found a bug in 10.0.1? Please report it (in as much detail as possible)
to our Trac Database.

https://trac.pcbsd.org

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 20

New Sound Management

Work has began to fully port pulse audio into PC-BSD for 10.1, and we are quite pleased so far with the results.   Kris has been making headway this week getting pulse audio and it’s related utilities working.  In the meantime Ken has been working on an all new utility pc-mixer.  pc-mixer is a complete front-end to the FreeBSD “mixer” utility that will allow users a simple to use GUI and volume control for every day tasks.  There will also be an advanced tab allowing for more specific audio setups and control.

Other News

*New PBIs for 9.x versions and 10.x versions were released this week, so be sure to check out the AppCafe and see what’s new.

*Gnome 3 and Cinnamon 2.0 desktops have received updates this week.  These desktops are not 100% fully supported yet and as    such we can not make any guarantee on functionality.

*Grub 2.02 has been fully ported over and updated to GRUB 2.02-prerelease.

*Lastly The PC-BSD ports tree has been frozen in preparation for our quarterly package update.

Improvements for Life-Preserver
* Add new “Classic” backup dialog for custom exclusions and status updates
* Fix bug with restoring a file/dir into a missing directory on the main system.
* Clean up the restore tab

Bug Fixes
* Bugfixes to the FUSE “pbifs” file-system
* Fix bug showing HPLIP drivers in the main CUPS Manager.
* Fix seg-fault crash in EasyPBI when removing a non-selected item.

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 19

Changes to PBI’s

As many of you know there was an issue with PBI’s causing them to freeze at random times during use. Kris went into full-blown hermit programmer mode to track down the issue and you’ll be glad to know a fix was committed that addresses this issue. Kris said of the fix: “it’s faster, cleaner, and allows proper access to all of the filesystem data. It can even be used by FreeBSD users who want to run different sets of packages in a location other than /usr/local”. To test out the new changes you will want to rebuild the pbi-manager backend. For those of you that may not know the pbi-manager utility is a backend that you never see, but is always there managing system interactions when running PBI’s. Follow the instructions below to grab the pc-bsd source and rebuild the pbi-manager to apply the fix.

1. Open a new terminal and paste: git clone https://github.com/pcbsd/pcbsd.git
This will create a directory for the PC-BSD source code

2. type: cd pcbsd/src-sh/pbi-manager/
This will browse directly to the pbi-manager source directory

3. type: sudo make install

4. Restart your system

And you’ve done it! Don’t forget to reset your system! PBI’s will not work until the system is reset. For more information, questions, or thoughts please post below.

Changes to Life Preserver

Life preserver has been updated to bring in some exciting new changes. New automatic snapshot schedules have been added along with new replication schedule options that will allow users more flexibility and control over their Life Preserver snapshot schedules (i.e. Hourly, 30 minutes, 10 minutes). New code has been added to allow the user to change the pop-up notification policy (all, only errors, none). A minor bug was also fixed that was causing non-error messages in the “Message” dialog.

Unifying PC-BSD Utility Chain

Work is continuing on standardizing the PC-BSD utility chain. More information has been added @ (http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/Become_a_Developer/10.1). The changes will also bring in some new keyboard accessibility through hot keys and shortcut keys. There are currently several opportunities available to help update the tool chain, so if you’d like to lend a hand please let us know!

Important changes to Appcafe and PCDM (Release Notes)

AppCafe -

* Finish overhaul of the UI
* Add ability to email the port maintainer
* Add right-click action shortcuts for individual applications
* Add new browser home page with recommended applications
* Move the category browser to a seperate page
* Add ability to install custom PBI’s from your system via File->Add PBI (no internet/repository required)
* General improvements/bugfixes to the backend functions

PCDM -

* Fix backend detection of LDAP/Active Directory users (still needs verification/testing by people with this special type of setup)
* Add option to show an auto-login delay (in which time the user can cancel the auto-login if necessary)
* Add option to disable showing the system users and require that the username also have to be typed in.

Login Manager Configuration Utility (pc-dmconf)
* Update to reflect the new PCDM configuration options
* Fix a bug where a blank auto-login username could be set

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 18

Big news this week!   Kris has finished re-writing the code for handling how PC-BSD handles major updates.  The general consensus was that there were still many users out there that were having difficulty when upgrading to a new version (i.e 9.2 > 10).  For more information on the new PC-BSD update system, check out the article here.  To view Kris’ address to the testing mailing list click here.  Our goal is and has always been to have a reliable system to push out updates, and we think you will all be very pleased with the results!

Basic guidelines for PC-BSD utilities are continuing to evolve and we want your input!  If you have ideas for the development team on what should become standard practice we want to hear from you.  You can join the discussion on the the PC-BSD developer mailing list if you’d like to submit your ideas.  To check out Guidelines for PC-BSD utilities visit the PC-BSD 10.1 wiki’s “Become a Developer” section @ http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/Become_a_Developer/10.1

A moderate batch of fixes for trac tickets were committed this week addressing minor issues with the warden.  Appcafe has also received a big update to it’s user interface allowing for a smoother experience for users.  If you want to give the 2 newest versions of these programs a try grab the PC-BSD source and let us know what you think!

That’s it for this week!  See you all next time!

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 17

The PC-BSD development team has been abuzz this week with awesome suggestions on how we can standardize the way we write PC-BSD utilities and software.  One thing we’ve begun to realize is that as more people are contributing to the project, it is ever more important to make sure that there are clear standards for development.  Even our primary developers will admit it’s easy to forget to use the same icon pack, or file menu layout when you get busy writing the main program.  Going forward you can expect these standards to impact most of the PC-BSD utilities and programs you use everyday, although in a relatively minor way.  Everything will still function the exact same, but whether or not you are using AppCafe or the Warden you can expect the file menu layout / program layout to follow the same general rules.  For more information please check out “Becoming a Developer� in the PC-BSD 10.1 wiki.  If you’d like to join the discussion you can email [email protected]

I’ve seen some discussion lately about the life cycle of PC-BSD branches.  I sat down with Kris Moore in IRC and asked if he wouldn’t mind clarifying the release cycle for our users.   Kris answered the general rule of thumb you can use is a branch will continue to be supported for 6 months after the next branch is released.  The updates include all of the things you would expect like new PBI and security updates.  So for users of 9.2 you can expect support to continue through June of 2014.  9 Stable was a “experimental� branch and is no longer supported at this time.  Users of 9 Stable are encouraged to upgrade to 9.2 or 10.0 Release to continue to receive important updates.

You can expect to see tons of improvements coming up for PC-BSD 10.1.   One of the biggest being Kris and Yuri have been working to fix Linux jail support in the Warden.  A handful of commits went into the tree today that will address the previous problems users have been having with Linux jails.  Kris has continued to refine the Warden and PBI systems to fix some bugs that were causing major stability issues in certain scenarios.   Minor cosmetic changes are coming for most PC-BSD utilities to bring them up to the same standards outlined in the “Become a Developer� section in the PC-BSD 10.1 wiki.

That’s it for this week folks.  Lots of good things in the works so stay tuned to the blog for more important PC-BSD news!

 

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 16

Just a quick update for you fine folks this week!  The bulk of the last week was spent fixing many smaller bugs that were still stuck in the PC-BSD trac database. Our primary goal now that 10.0 has hit release status is to fine tune the PC-BSD experience to allow for the smoothest experience possible. Users are encouraged to submit even the most trivial bugs during this “fine tuning phase�.

Among the programs that received updates the Warden received a patch fixing some issues with warnings, creating jails, and fixing user interface inconsistencies. Also the Package Manager received updates to fix some issues with how it interacts with pkgng.  This should eliminate some of the minor inconsistencies some of you were seeing that was leading to communication issues between the two. Package manager and the User manager also received minor improvements to fix issues relating to their user interface.

Big news this week for the PBI format. Kris has confirmed that a patch has been implemented for the way PBI’s are being built that will shrink the size of PBI’s by approximately 50%. The patch has just been implemented and is currently in a testing phase, but stay tuned to the blog for more updates on how and when this patch will begin benefiting you in the very near future!

Thats it for this week folks.  As always thanks for being loyal PC-BSD users!

whoami? I’m PC-BSD 10.0! — Weekly Feature Digest 15

The PC-BSD team has announced version 10.0 Joule Edition is now in official release status and is available for mass distribution. If you’ve used PC-BSD in the past you haven’t seen anything yet! PC-BSD 10.0’s feature rich front end runs beautifully without sacrificing the stability we all know and love from FreeBSD’s base system. This week we’re going to look back and highlight some of best new features now available in PC-BSD Version 10.0 — Joule Edition.

AMD / ATI graphics are now officially supported under PC-BSD. Although in the past AMD Radeon users have suffered from lack-of-driver-itis, those days are passed and a new age is upon us. I’m currently running PC-BSD on 3 different types of AMD graphics based systems and the performance is arguably better than some of my nvidia based test systems (sorry Nvidia fanboys :D). I was even more surprised when ATI hybrid graphics worked out of the box on my Samsung NP-350 Notebook computer.  Especially considering this laptop was designed for…Windows 8…*BARF*

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You will notice there are a couple of quirks to be aware of with the new Radeon drivers that we are currently aware of. Firstly the CTRL F keys do not bring up the console. This is being actively remedied by FreeBSD and we expect there will be a fix committed in the near future. Also KDE support for Radeon is there, but i’ve noticed that I experience random freeze ups from time to time on any of my Radeon systems. Using any other desktop environment seemed to fix the issue for me.

More of your favorite Desktop Environments! We’ve now added Gnome 3, Cinnamon, and mate to the list of desktops available under PC-BSD 10.0. Mate has officially replaced Gnome 2 in version 10.0, but Gnome 3 and Cinnamon will remain as “unsupported� desktops currently until further development and additional testing are done to bring them up to speed in PC-BSD. That being said feel free to report issues with these desktops with the understanding that they are currently in a “beta� stage and are offered without any guarantee. For best results with your PC-BSD experience use supported desktops!

The Grub and FreeBSD boot loaders have both received updated support to work with PC-BSD version 10.0. Have your choice now during installation for whatever boot loader works best for you. As we continue to work with the Grub boot loader our support is evolving simultaneously to give you even better compatibility.

In other news this week if any users are still using RC’s 1–5 please update to PC-BSD 10.0 — Release before reporting bugs so we can make sure we aren’t duplicating tickets for issues that have already been submitted and /or resolved.

Special thanks to the entire PC-BSD team including our testers, committers, and administrators. Without you guys this release wouldn’t be what it is today and we sincerely thank you all for your dedication in making PC-BSD Joule Edition a success.

Best Regards,

Josh

 

 

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest

For those of you waiting for PC-BSD 10 to become a reality, the wait is almost over.  The PC-BSD team announced last Thursday that the project is now in 10.0 Release Candidate 5 (p4), and is available for mass consumption.  There are a couple of important things to remember when upgrading to the latest RC.  Kris announced that all users upgrading from RC4 or previous versions, will unfortunately have to upgrade all of their packages and PBI’s due to a recent ABI change in FreeBSD.  For more information on how this will impact you and what you can do to have a smooth transition, please see the PC-BSD 10.0 RC5 release notes here.

Also due to the ABI change and the inability to use our previously approved PBI’s for PC-BSD 10.0 RC5, PBI’s had to be completely rebuilt and re-approved for use in the version 10.0 AppCafe.  The PC-BSD team was able to get nearly 500 PBI’s rebuilt and re approved at the end of Friday the 24th, but there are still many more that will begin to show up in the AppCafe very soon.

 

Builds have started for final release, so keep your eyes peeled for the official release announcement over the next couple of weeks.  We do not have an exact date at this moment for when  the build will be finished so please wait patiently and allow us to finish testing to make sure that PC-BSD 10.0 release will be the best and most stable version yet.

  • Joe Maloney has been working tirelessly to get Gnome 3 into PC-BSD, and has been a huge help getting this Behemoth DE into a usable state.  Anyone who is interested in using / testing gnome 3 (it is still unsupported at this time) make sure to thank Joe for all the hard work he’s been putting in.
  • PBI’s have undergone even more detailed optimization further increasing their startup times.
  •  More tweaks and optimizations have been committed to PCDM, Firewall Manager, and ATI Hybrid graphics laptops.

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest

PC-BSD 10.0 is hurtling towards the finish line, and the big news this week of course is that the PC-BSD 10.0 RC-4 image is now live!  If you want to be on the cutting edge of PC-BSD development please follow the link here and download the latest version of PC-BSD version 10.0 RC-4.  Please be aware this is still an early RC image and is not an official release.

We are aware a small number of users reported that Grub is behaving slowly during RC2 and RC3 initial startups, and at the time I was able to duplicate the issue on two of my test machines.  I have not been able to duplicate the issue with RC4.  If anyone is still experiencing slow Grub boot times it is imperative you download the test grub text image @ http://web.pcbsd.org/~kris/PCBSD-10.0-RC4-grubtext.iso , and see if this helps and / or fixes your problem.  Also it is beneficial to enable debug mode in your grub.cfg file and report anything that may look like it’s choking the system.  This is the last critical issue we are looking into for PC-BSD 10.0 Release, and we’d love to track this down and get it taken care of.

NOTE:  This is only for testing and booting purposes and is not appropriate to install from.  Much of the PC-BSD image has been removed.

The wine PBI is now available in the AppCafe for PC-BSD version 10.0. I’ve tested the wine PBI with a number of different windows programs, and it appears to be functioning normally. Wine has a couple of kinks that will hopefully get ironed out over the course of the next couple of months, but for now it is usable.  A couple things to remember if you want to use wine: The icons wine creates currently do not display the correct icons for the program, and would not execute the programs in my testing in KDE.  I had to browse to the appropriate program directory and execute the program through wine’s run command.  I have also been told that running the programs from the command line + wine also works just fine.

Remember: if you want to have a stable system, wine can lead to a number of freezes and or crashes especially with improper settings.  This does not mean PC-BSD has a bug.

PC-BSD 9.2 Release systems will now be able to upgrade to PC-BSD version 10.0 Release and keep their PBI library.  Kris has designed an upgrade feature that will allow PC-BSD to uninstall the user’s 9.2 PBIs (while keeping the PBI’s settings) during the update, and then reinstall the correct 10.0 PBI’s after the system update.

That’s it for this week folks.   Catch you later!

–Josh