The Ports Management Team 2014-01-14 17:42:46

The FreeBSD Ports Management team is pleased to announce that Mathieu Arnold (mat@) and Antoine Brodin (antoine@) have been promoted to full voting members of the team after a successful launch of the portmgr-lurkers pilot project.

Each of them brings new skills and vast experience to the team. Please join me in welcoming them aboard.
on behalf of portmgr@

The Ports Management Team 2014-01-14 17:39:18

Joe Marcus Clarke, aka marcus@, has stepped down from his duties on the FreeBSD Ports Management Team.

Joe was our longest serving member of the team. Among his many accomplishments was being the repocopy source of authority, instrumental in championing tinderbox development and maintaining portlint.

On behalf of the Ports Management team, we would like to thank Joe for his many years of service and dedication.
on behalf of portmgr@

Hacking on Mindwave for fun and .. fun

Allison (and others, like a game developer named Lat) showed interest in these Neurosky Mindwave headsets. They're little wireless (bluetooth, almost!) headsets that ship with a cheap USB dongle and expose their data via a binary protocol.

The protocol is not consistently and well documented. It's out there, if you can craft the right search queries. For the USB widget, you need to implement the basic handshake commands to attempt to connect to a given (or any) headset. Then you also need to implement the data decoding for the raw and processed data.

Now, I don't want to go into the details - you can read the documentation and my very bad, hacked up code.

The USB dongle didn't work with FreeBSD-9.x. It's a cheap chipset (CH341) and it just wouldn't transmit. It works fine on FreeBSD-HEAD though.

So, to explore it, I wrote a simple, hackish library to encapsulate pairing, parsing, data gathering. It needs a lot of improvement but it's there. Then, I (re-)learnt enough SDL and OpenGL to plot some data points. Finally, I grabbed a FFT library to poke at the returned data to see if it makes sense.

A few points thus far.

I still haven't found any correlation with the attention / meditation parameters the firmware returns. For the most part, you just have to stop any kind of muscular movements.

The raw values clip very easily with any kind of muscular movement. I can see how to decode say, "blink" as a muscular action though.

I've only started looking at the raw FFT results. Hopefully with a bit of filtering I'll see things that actually look like basic EEG results, or I'll concede these things are expensive muscular reaction devices.

The code:

And the obligatory screenshot:

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest

Bug fixes, code freezes, and PBI speed increases!  There’s lots of exciting news this week in PC-BSD so let’s have a look.

PC-BSD 10.0 Release has entered into the “code freeze� phase of development.   In order to increase stability and focus on prioritizing bug fixing, major feature changes under the hood should no longer be committed for 10.0 Release.  Trac ticket owners are encouraged to finish and submit your cosmetic / general bug fixes as soon as possible.

PC-BSD release candidate 4 (p3) is currently being built and is expected to be finished sometime over the weekend.  Please click here to check and see if the latest image is currently available.  If it is not available please check again later.

The PC-BSD update system has received quite a bit of new stability improvements in the form of additional code.  Users can expect to see an improvement in the form of less errors during updates and an overall smoother update transition between builds.

Here’s a quick recap of some other awesome new features / bug fixes that have been committed over the last week.  Please test and report any problems as quickly as possible so we can make sure 10.0 Release will be ready to roll (no pun intended) when the time comes.

  • Most recent package set for 9.2 is currently being uploaded
  • Improved Nvidia video card detection routines
  •   The PBI format received a substantial upgrade over the course of the week allowing for PBI load times to be reduced in some cases up to 40%.
  • A fix has been implemented for the virtualbox driver
  • New wine PBI’s have just finished testing, and should be available in the next couple of days
  • Fixes have been committed for missing shortcut keys in the PC-BSD installer
  • Keyboard layout issues have been resolved for multiple desktop environments
  • Auto-mount detection has been improved for multiple desktop environments

That’s it for this week folks.  Please keep us informed if you have problems that are persisting in the newest Release Candidate image.

Best Regards,



FreeBSD 10.0-RC5 Now Available

The fifth RC build of the 10.0-RELEASE release cycle is now available on the FTP servers for the amd64, i386, ia64, powerpc, powerpc64 and sparc64 architectures.

This is expected to be the final RC build of the 10.0-RELEASE cycle.

The image checksums follow at the end of this email.

Important note to freebsd-update(8) users:  Please be sure to follow the instructions in the following FreeBSD Errata Notices before upgrading the system to 10.0-RC5:

Pre-installed virtual machine images for 10.0-RC5 are also available for amd64 and i386 architectures.

Changes between -RC4 and -RC5 include:
  • Fix an IPv4 multicast regression.
  • Fixes OpenSSL for CVE-2013-4353, CVE-2013-6449, CVE-2013-6450.
  • Revert a change to the kinfo_file structure to preserve ABI.
  • Fix a race condition which could prevent the file descriptor table from being properly updated.
The freebsd-update(8) utility supports binary upgrades of amd64 and i386 systems running earlier FreeBSD releases.  Systems running earlier FreeBSD releases can upgrade as follows:

# freebsd-update upgrade -r 10.0-RC5

During this process, freebsd-update(8) may ask the user to help by merging some configuration files or by confirming that the automatically performed merging was done correctly.

# freebsd-update install

The system must be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before continuing.

# shutdown -r now

After rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to install the new userland components:

# freebsd-update install

It is recommended to rebuild and install all applications if possible, especially if up grading from an earlier FreeBSD release, for example, FreeBSD 9.x.  Alternatively, the user can install misc/compat9x and other compatibility libraries, afterwards the system must be rebooted into the new userland:

# shutdown -r now

Finally, after rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to remove stale files:

# freebsd-update install

Love FreeBSD?  Support this and future releases with a donation to the FreeBSD Foundation!

FreeBSD 10.0-RC5 Available

The fifth RC build for the FreeBSD-10.0 release cycle is now available. ISO images for the amd64, i386, ia64, powerpc, powerpc64 and sparc64 architectures are available on most of our FreeBSD mirror sites.

bsdtalk237 – The FreeBSD Journal with George Neville-Neil

An interview with George Neville-Neil about the upcoming FreeBSD Journal electronic magazine.  More information at

The interview was recorded using google voice, and I apologize for the low bit rate audio.

File Info: 22Min, 10MB.

Ogg Link:

The Ports Management Team 2014-01-07 00:06:31

In years gone by, and I am thinking of FreeBSD 7.0 specifically, portmgr@
gave some latitude to *ALL* committers to “just fix things” to get a port
into shape. In the case of 7.0, it was making ports build for gcc4.

What we have laying ahead of us is a ports tree in various states of modern
preparedness (new style USES=, stagefication, etc) and the old way of doing
ports (boo!).

We would like committers, and contributors to generate a PR and/or “just
fix” the old ports to update them to the new way of doing things regardless
of maintainership. We are looking for fixes in the following areas

- Convert to LIB_DEPENDS
- stagify ports
- convert things like USE_GMAKE -> USES=gmake USE_DOS2unix -> USES=dos2unix

This can be done with implicit portmgr@ blanket approval, and without
maintainer approval.

Please, however, respect some boundaries, do not change ports belonging to
kde@, gnome@ or x11@. These teams work in private repos that may have
changes pending.

Also, cross reference GNATS, to see if a port has an open PR that you can
factor into the fix. It is important to stress here that we *DO NOT* want
to invalidate existing patches that a maintainer has offered up or already

If the change is very trivial AND has been tested, “just fix it”. One of
the strengths of the Ports Collection is it’s volunteer maintainers, if you
make a change, regardless of how trivial, just send a courtesy email to the

The X Test Suite

In the process of hacking on glamor, I got once again to the point of wondering how to test my changes. Sure, I can run some clients in Xephyr and wiggle windows around and see if things look good, but I'd like to be better than that.

Now, if you talk to any X developer about how to test your changes, they'll tell you to run the X Test Suite. This is them trolling you. Nobody runs the X Test Suite. They certainly don't themselves. While whot, dbn, Peter Harris, Kibi, and others did amazing work getting the ancient tree up to the point that it could be built by mortals, and run with "make run-tests", you ended up with a log saying "a bunch of things failed", and no idea what your implementation actually rendered. Selecting tests is awful, the reports tools are a mystery, and there are a million lame wrappers for executing tests (the best of which on the wikis was lost in the homedir backup failure, and the best keithp knows of lived only on his disk). If you do go looking at the error output, you see crap like this:

100 90 24
100 90 24

Does that look like an image to you? It didn't to me.

On the airplane to LCA, I set about fixing this. I grabbed piglit, which is my hammer for every case of "I've got a bunch of tests to run and compare between commits", and built a little test suite that takes a link to your built X Test Suite repository, finds all the tests in it, sets the environment for running them, and goes about running them. Then you get all the nice test filtering and spawning and results comparison of piglit.

Then, keithp dug into the error log format, and figured out that it's RLE encoded pixel values after a width/height/depth header, with a drawn image and a reference image in each log file (so that snippet above is "you got all 0 pixel values, when you should have had 0s with a 25-pixel-wide rectangle of 1s. Yes, 25."). From that, he built a tool to read those error logs and produce pairs of pngs with color values distributed around HSV. I run that tool on the output of the tests, save them off, and link them in the piglit summaries so you can actually see what your rendering did wrong, right next to the failure report.

I've ripped up our wiki stuff for the X Test Suite, which was full of ancient lies, and replaced it with:

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest

2013 is gone, and a new PC-BSD image is here.  We are now in 10.0 Release Candidate 3 (p2) and are moving very quickly towards final release.  There is still some fine tuning that we are working on, so keep those bug reports coming.  There are some awesome new key features / support features that have been added so let’s have a look at what’s new in PC-BSD land.

The guys and gals at the PC-BSD project continue to push the envelope on cutting edge features.  This week a new detection routine was finished that will offer simple detection on ATI Hybrid Graphics enabled laptop computers.  The new detection system was tested on a Samsung NP350 that would stall during installation because X was not able to detect either graphics card properly during the installation and first start-up respectively.  Now if the first video card fails X detection, a message will be displayed that it could not be started.  It will then try the next one.  More research and development is needed to see if we can apply this same fix to laptops using Nvidia as well.

For any of our testers out there that want to stay as cutting edge as possible and also assist in the current development in PC-BSD 10 Release, please go ahead and upgrade to the newest image by clicking here.  We are in a time crunch now, but we want to make sure we find any major / critical bugs and get them squashed ASAP.  Also I am still looking for testers to help us isolate any issues with the HPLIP package when installed while other printers (i.e brother, epson, etc) are installed as well.   The goal is too possibly add more printer support to PC-BSD, however please understand this is something for down the road and will not be a quick fix.  If you need more specific information about our goals with this side project please send me an e-mail at [email protected]

New logic has been added to handling disk detection during PC-BSD installation.  There was an issue in the gui install as well as text install where the 4k sector size option was causing an installation failure.  If you were experiencing this issue and would like to test out PC-BSD 10.0 please go ahead and download the latest image and give it a go.

Special shout out to our Indonesian translation team for translating PC-BSD entirely into Indonesian Bahasa.  Thanks for the hard work, and…record time for a translation to be completed.  When I said “run with it� I didn’t actually know you were going to be able to finish it in 5 days.  We went from having around 20% translated a few days ago to completely localized now, and we couldn’t be happier at the potential for reaching an entirely new market for us.

Due to the state of upstream support for Linux jails in FreeBSD we are re-classifying Linux jails as unsupported / experimental.  The decision comes after frequent breaks in the way jails are handling the linux scripts and also the inability to handle advanced linux programs.  We are hoping this is something that we can again start supporting in 10.1, but currently it is just too darned clunky to be called a supported feature.  One thing Kris also mentioned to me in passing was that Linux jails were never meant to be pushed as far as they are sometimes pushed.  We will continue to monitor the state of progress on this upstream and keep you informed on any information that comes our way.

That’s it for this week.  You crazy kids stay out of trouble.

- Josh


FreeBSD 10.0-RC4 Now Available

The fourth RC build of the 10.0-RELEASE release cycle is now available on the FTP servers for the amd64, i386, ia64, powerpc, powerpc64 and sparc64 architectures.

This is expected to be the final RC build of the 10.0-RELEASE cycle.

The image checksums follow at the end of this email.

ISO images and, for architectures that support it, the memory stick images are available here.

If you notice problems you can report them through the normal GNATS PR system or here on the freebsd-stable mailing list.

Important note to freebsd-update(8) users:  Please be sure to follow the instructions in the following FreeBSD Errata Notices before upgrading the system to 10.0-RC4:
Pre-installed virtual machine images for 10.0-RC4 are also available for amd64 and i386 architectures.

Changes between 10.0-RC3 and 10.0-RC4 include:
  • Tighten default restrictions for ntpd(8) server.
  • Fix kernel crash discovered with recent Java port update.
Love FreeBSD?  Support this and future releases with a donation to the FreeBSD Foundation!

FreeBSD 10.0-RC4 Available

The fourth RC build for the FreeBSD-10.0 release cycle is now available. ISO images for the amd64, i386, ia64, powerpc, powerpc64 and sparc64 architectures are available on most of our FreeBSD mirror sites.

Last Day to Make 2013 Donation to The FreeBSD Foundation

It's hard to believe that 2014 is just around the corner! We've raised around $660,000 so far as of 7PM Colorado Time December 30. We also have $75,000 in pledges that we should be receiving soon! We only have around 24 hours left to reach our goal of raising $1,000,000. Here is my plea to ask for your help. Please consider making a donation. It is so easy to do. Just click here to make a donation online or to find out where to mail a check. If you file US taxes, most likely your donation will be tax-deductible. If you send a check, please mail it tomorrow (December 31). For the donation to count towards 2013, the envelope has to be postmarked by December 31. Writing 2013 donation on your check doesn't work for our accounting.

This year has been amazing. Because of our successful fundraising campaign last year, we were able to support the FreeBSD Project and community in so many ways. You can read my appeal here to see where we spent the money this year.

There are three areas where we've grown the most. One is our FreeBSD development work. We now have two staff members working on FreeBSD projects, a full-time employee working on FreeBSD System Administration and Release Engineering work, and we have a Project Manager who is not only overseeing all of our funded projects, but also working on project roadmaps and helping facilitating collaboration between our corporate users and FreeBSD developers. This is helping to bring in more corporate sponsors too.

We've also increased our FreeBSD advocacy by producing professional FreeBSD marketing brochures, white papers, literature, and our new FreeBSD Journal that will be debuting in a few weeks!

Lastly, we've spent over $100,000 on hardware to improve the FreeBSD infrastructure. This equipment resides in our four co-location facilities at NYI, Sentex, Yahoo!, and ISC.

Our End-of-Year newsletter highlights everything we supported this last year. Take a few minutes to read up on why we need your donations and how we spend the money.

Thank you for your support!

Deb Goodkin
The FreeBSD Foundation

P.S. Making a donation is quick and easy! Click here to make a donation now.

Faces of FreeBSD – Isabell Long


Each week we are sharing a story from someone involved in FreeBSD. This is our Faces of FreeBSD series. It may be a story from someone who’s received funding from us to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, or advocate for FreeBSD. Or, it may be from someone who gives back to FreeBSD financially or in another way. But, it is always from someone who is making a positive difference in the FreeBSD world.

Here’s a chance to get to know your fellow FreeBSD enthusiast. Sit back and enjoy another 2013 Faces of FreeBSD story.

Isabell's Story

My name is Isabell Long, and I am a 19-year-old living in the south of England. I'm a Ruby on Rails web developer at a social media startup named Gerraroom and a volunteer staff member of the freenode IRC network. I love open data and—on the non-tech side—good food, music (both playing and listening) and learning. Before FreeBSD, I contributed documentation and support for Ubuntu, which was a good introduction into the world of open source.

Friends hinted that I should try FreeBSD by posting me burned CDs of releases. Then in 2011, I decided to participate in the Google Code-In contest, completing documentation-related tasks and becoming heavily involved in the documentation project afterwards. I became a documentation committer in April 2012. The new committer mentoring process proved very useful and that, plus the accepting community of FreeBSD, are reasons why I stay involved.

Thanks to FreeBSD Foundation funding, I was able to attend my first overseas conference at EuroBSDcon 2013 in Malta. Apart from the experience of going to a country I’d never visited before, meeting people who I only knew on IRC and seeing some people I met at the DevSummits in Cambridge was one of the best bits. The documentation sessions were very useful and I completed a few tasks on the website and Handbook during my time there and afterwards. I'm looking forward to having a few similarly productive days in Bulgaria next year.

As a thank you for providing resources to keep FreeBSD going and enabling committers like me to travel to conferences, I donated a small amount in Malta to the FreeBSD Foundation as I strongly believe that giving where possible keeps positivity going and one day, that repays.

Isabell Long

Donate today to help us continue and increase our support of the FreeBSD Project and community worldwide! Making a donation is quick and easy. To make a donation go to:

Weekly Feature Digest 12/27/13

Just a short update today to let you all know what the low down is!

PC-BSD version 10.0 Release Candidate 2 is now live!  Please note this is a beta-test release and NOT an official release.  For more information on RC2 please visit the following blog page:–0-rc2-available/ .   PC-BSD 10.0 Release RC2 can be downloaded from

Quick Note:  Please report any bugs found @  The window is closing to get bug reports in before official release and we need to try to get any “major� or higher priority bugs knocked out before then.

Kris has reported today that he is in the final stages of getting virtualbox working on PC-BSD 10.0.  He has fixed many of the seg fault issues that we were seeing from previous versions and will be looking to have these packages ready in the next week or so hopefully by RC3.

AMD KMS support appears to be improving based on my first interactions with the new 10.0 release RC2 image.  I’ve noticed much less graphical distortion, and better stability all around.

Tons of bugfixes and stability improvements went in today so big thanks to everyone involved for knocking those out.  We are still aware of the issue with the FreeBSD bootloader not functioning, but rest assured Kris is putting in every effort to get this resolved for you quickly.

That’s it for this week folks!

Best Regards,