It was a really great conference! I have so many good impressions it’s just hard to sort them all out and write them down. Instead of that, here’s a treat for the geeky-minded
In accordance with the specification expressed here:
… I’ve created a device driver that implements the functionality in kernel. In honour of the operating system by which this work was inspired, I name the driver random.debian. The kernel module creates a device entry (/dev/random.debian) which is a infinite source of random data with entropy compatible with the above specification. The source code tarball for the Debian-like random data source is of course available under the BSD license. This will work on any recent version of FreeBSD.
As much as I would like to have though of this first, the idea was actually put out by PHK or Robert Watson while we were waiting for dinner, so that part of the credit goes to them.
This DevSummit+BSDCan was very fun and educational and will definitely try to be here in the next years also.
It was a nice day in Ottawa, Canada today, though judging by the clouds tomorrow might not be. Not that we noticed, spending all the time within the conference room. Various talks kept developers interested, and the lack of Internet connectivity (web is not the Internet…) kept them focused on the issues at hand. I gave my talk about finstall among the first in the morning and gathered very positive feedback and many new ideas. It’s unfortunate that the project isn’t sponsored any more (Google SoC for it was not extended to this year) so this might encourage people or organizations to support the project financially. Among other interesting talks (my personal, unobjective choice) were presentations on VImage (network virtualization) by my colleague from University, Marko Zec, the DTrace talk by John Birrell, and various talks about the ongoing network stack optimizations (many people here). Unfortunately the Release packaging BoF didn’t happen due to lack of interest apparently, so there’s one missed chance to discuss finstall.
All together, it was a very nice spent day with many opportunities to learn new things and speak to like-minded people working on interesting things.
Here’s another build of finstall, alpha4. The most important change this time is native support for remote / headless installs via systoold network daemon.
This enables headless installs of FreeBSD in the following fashion:
- Insert the CD with the finstall in the server (obviously, the server needs to have a CD/DVD reader; USB ones are mostly fine). The server can be headless, i.e. without a monitor, a keyboard or a mouse.
- Connect the server to a LAN. No remote-network hops (routing) are allowed since UDP broadcasts are used to locate the headless nodes. Boot off the finstall CD.
- On another machine (one that has monitor+keyboard+mouse or equivalent X11 devices) start the installer front-end.
- In the front-end, opt to connect to a remote finstall node, choose the one you want. At this point you can see boot-time dmesg data from the nodes so you can locate the right one in case there are many of them.
- Proceed to use the front-end GUI just like it was a local install.
- Reboot, configure, use the server, etc.
As described, the primary usage for this is to setup headless servers.
PXE is supported in theory, but not tried. The idea is that, since the whole finstall setup is actually a live FreeBSD system, PXE can be configured manually once the CD is booted somewhere (possibly on a virtual machine), and remote systems can be booted from this CD-based file system, then installed as if they are booted locally. This is experimental and untried.
This mode of installation has many side-effect uses, such as scripting the remote install, etc.
More about this and other features of finstall will be presented on BSDCan 2008.
Update: The original ISO image posted above had a trivial but unfortunate bug. Download the new ISO image with MD5 fingerprint a9eebbdc546565a9eb9c6622bb948d75.