Tuesday, July 30, 2013

FreeBSD 9.2-BETA2 now available

Glen Barber has announced the availability of BETA2. Details on how to use freebsd-update to upgrade to BETA2 as well as the checksums for the files can be found in the URL of the announcement.

The second BETA build of the 9.2-RELEASE release cycle is now available on the FTP servers for the amd64, i386, powerpc64 and sparc64 architectures.

If you notice problems you can report them through the normal GNATS PRsystem or on the -stable mailing list.

If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing system use "stable/9". Please be aware that cvsup and CVS are both deprecated, and are not supported methods of updating the src/ tree.

Changes between -BETA1 and -BETA2 include:

  • Fix an interoperability problem between FreeBSD NFS Server (version 4) and Linux NFS (version 4) clients. - Fix nvme(4) and nvd(4) to support non 512-byte sector sizes. 
  • Fix freebsd-update(8) for -BETA2 by removing a file with non-POSIX characters in its name. This file is not needed for FreeBSD builds, and caused freebsd-update(8) to error on -BETA1. Fix an XHCI regression. 
  • Fix a bug in ipv6_prefix_IF. 
  • Fix address range specification with various ifconfig(8) options. 
  • Fix Denial of Service vulnerability in named(8). (SA FreeBSD-SA-13:07.bind)

FreeBSD 9.2 Feature Highlight: ZFS LZ4 compression

As part of the continuous improvements to OpenZFS made as a joint effort between FreeBSD, IllumOS and various other developers and vendors, the ZFS version included in FreeBSD 9.2 has been upgraded from the last open source version from Sun/Oracle (v28) to v5000 (Feature Flags). The purpose behind the large large change in the version number is to avoid confusion with the continued proprietary development of ZFS at Oracle (currently at v34), and to ensure compatibility and clarity between the various open source versions of ZFS. Rather than continuing to increment the version number, OpenZFS has switched to 'Feature Flags', as new features are added, the pools are marked with a property, feature@featurename so that only compatible versions of ZFS will import the pool.

One of these new 'Feature Flags' is support for LZ4 Compression. ZFS has long supported transparent compression of datasets (data is automatically compressed as it is written) with a number of algorithms: lzjb, gzip [1-9] and zle. Of the available algorithms, lzjb was the most popular because of its lower CPU consumption, however specific datasets could be compressed with various levels of gzip to gain additional space savings at the cost of more CPU usage.

LZ4 is a new BSD licensed high performance multi-core scalable compression algorithm. In addition to better compression in less time, it also features extremely fast decompression rates. Compared to the default LZJB compression algorithm used by ZFS, LZ4 is 50% faster when compressing compressible data and over three times faster when attempting to compress incompressible data. The performance on incompressible data is a large improvement, this comes from an 'early abort' feature, if ZFS detects that the compression savings is less than 12.5% then compression is aborted and the block is written uncompressed (especially useful for large multimedia files that are already compressed). In addition, decompression is approximately 80% faster; on a modern CPU LZ4 is capable of compression at 500 MB/s and decompression at 1500 MB/s per CPU core. These numbers mean that for some workloads, compression will actually give increased performance, even with the CPU usage penalty, because data can be read from the disks at the same speed as uncompressed data but then once decompressed provides a much higher effective throughput. This also means it is now possible to use dataset compression on file systems that are storing databases, without a heavy latency penalty. LZ4 decompression at 1.5 GB/s on 8k blocks means the additional latency is only 5 microseconds, which is an order of magnitude faster than even the fasted SSDs currently available.

In the end, the gain you get from switching to LZ4 for compression on your dataset will depend on how compressible the data you are writing is.

To enable LZ4 compression on a dataset:
# zfs set compression=lz4 poolname/dataset

In  order to make use of LZ4 your pool will need to be upgraded to v5000 (Note: this means that your pool will only be readable by FreeBSD 8.4 and 9.2 or later).

Saturday, July 27, 2013

FreeBSD 9.2 will make ZFS administration easier

On the heels of Sysadmin Appreciation Day comes news that will make every sysadmin a little bit happier. FreeBSD 9.2 is expected to be released at the end of August 2013, and with it comes a number of improvements to the administrative tools for ZFS

Below are just some of the improvements in ZFS v5000 that will be included in 9.2-RELEASE:
  • zfs destroy is now capable of destroying multiple snapshots in a single command. This includes destroying a range of snapshots. In addition, the noop parameter can be used to calculate how much space will be regained by deleting one or more snapshots.
  • zfs get can now accept a mount point instead of only a dataset name. This makes it easier to look up the properties of a particular dataset.
  • zfs rename can now forcibly unmount the dataset from the old mount point as part of the rename, obviating the need to first forcibly unmount it with a separate command.
  • zfs send now supports the noop parameter which will output the estimated size of a send operation. This is especially useful for incremental replication. This feature can be used to generate a graphical progress bar and estimate a time to completion.
  • zfs send also supports a verbose parameter which will report live progress during the send operation
  • zfs snapshot can now snapshot multiple datasets in a single command. Capturing snapshots of multiple file systems at the same point in time can be important to ensure consistency of backups.
  • zfs list now supports a verbose argument that will display expandable space in a pool and more details about each vdev. The zfs autoexpand feature allows an array to grow if the disks are replaced with larger ones over time.
  • there is also some new zfs property, logicalused and logicalreferenced report the original size of data that is stored with zfs compression

These are just some of the minor features you can look forward to with the release of FreeBSD 9.2. Watch this space for news about some of the major features of both ZFS and the main OS.

Monday, July 22, 2013

FreeBSD 9.2-BETA1 now available

Glen Barber has announced the availability of the first BETA for 9.2. The checksums for each file are at that announcement link. For those of you using Amazon EC2, the list of available AMIs are here.

The first BETA build of the 9.2-RELEASE release cycle is now available on the FTP servers for the amd64, i386, and ia64 architectures.

ISO images and, for architectures that support it, the memory stick images are available here as well as any of the FreeBSD mirror sites.

If you notice problems, report them through the PR system or on the -stable mailing list.

If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing system use "stable/9". Please be aware that cvsup and CVS are both deprecated, and are not supported methods of updating the src/ tree.

Important note to freebsd-update(8) users: Due to a last minute problem found in the 9.2-BETA1 freebsd-update(8) builds, freebsd-update(8) is NOT supported for 9.2-BETA1 upgrades. Please do not use freebsd-update(8) to upgrade to 9.2-BETA1.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July/August FreeBSD Events

FreeBSD will be represented at several conferences in July and August. There is also a FreeBSD Developer Summit planned for August. The events are as follows:

OSCON: Portland, OR, July 23-25. There will be a FreeBSD booth in the expo area. There is a $25 expo-area fee for non-OSCON attendees. The booth will be giving away FreeBSD swag and brochures as well as accepting donations for the FreeBSD Foundation.

Indiana LinuxFest: Indianapolis, IN, July 28-29. This conference is free to attend. There will be a FreeBSD booth in the expo area, presentations on PC-BSD and FreeNAS, and donations to the FreeBSD Foundation will be accepted.

FOSSCON: Philadelphia, PA, August 10. This conference is free to attend. There will be a FreeBSD booth in the expo area, a presentation on FreeNAS, and donations to the FreeBSD Foundation will be accepted.

Cambridge DevSummit: Cambridge, UK, August 25-28. This invitation-only summit is for FreeBSD committers (src, docs, ports). More information will become available at its website.

More upcoming events are available from the BSD Events calendar. There is a submission form if you know of an upcoming conference with FreeBSD related presentations or booths.

FreeBSD Foundation Accepting Travel Grant Applications for EuroBSDCon 2013

The FreeBSD Foundation has announced that they will be providing a limited number of travel grants to individuals requesting assistance. Please fill out and submit  the Travel Grant Request Application by August 19th, 2013 to apply for this grant.

This program is open to FreeBSD developers, kernel hackers,  documentation authors, bugbusters, and system administrators, etc.  In some  cases, the Foundation is also able to fund non-developers, such as active community members and FreeBSD advocates.

If you are a speaker at the conference, the conference will cover your travel costs.

The travel grant program is one of the most effective ways the Foundation can spend money to help support the FreeBSD Project, as it helps developers get together in the same place at the same time, and helps advertise and advocate FreeBSD in the larger community.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report, April-June, 2013

Gabor Pali from the FreeBSD documenation team has announced the availability of the FreeBSD Q2 Status Report.

This report contains 33 entries, including updates on new kernel features, userland programs, and Google Summer of Code projects as well as updates from the Core Team, Postmaster Team, Release Engineering Team, Security Team, Documentation Team, and the FreeBSD Foundation.

CURRENT/STABLE Snapshots and Virtual Images

Each Monday, Glen Barber from the FreeBSD release engineering team announces the availability of new versions of the testing ISOs and virtual images. These snapshots/images are available for:

  • 9.1-STABLE: new drivers and enhancements introduced since 9.1-RELEASE
  • 10.0-CURRENT: the “bleeding-edge” of FreeBSD development where all new changes first enter the system
Testers are encouraged to test these images and to use the PR system to report any found bugs.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

9.2 Release Schedule

The release cycle for the upcoming 9.2 is in full swing, with code freeze being announced to the developers last Friday, July 12. If all goes well, BETA1 should be available for testing in another week or so. Currently the scheduled dates are as follows:

BETA1 build starts:              July 19, 2013
BETA2 build starts:              July 26, 2013
RC1 build starts:                  August 2, 2013
RC2 build starts:                  August 9, 2013
RC3 build starts:                  August 16, 2013
RELEASE build starts:          August 23, 2013
RELEASE announcement:    August 31, 2013

You can learn more about FreeBSD's release engineering process at the Release Engineering Information page of the website.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

FreeBSD 9.2-BETA0 Available on EC2

Colin Percival has tweeted that FreeBSD 9.2-BETA0 (aka. 9.1-STABLE @ 2013-07-07) is now available in all 8 EC2 regions. Details on where to get the AMIs can be found on his website. You can follow Colin on twitter at @cperciva.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Mailing List

There is a new mailing list : FreeBSD-Fortran.

The list is for discussion of Fortran related ports on FreeBSD: compilers, libraries, scientific and engineering applications from laptops to HPC clusters.

Topics for discussion might include:
  • better integration of fortran ports, i.e. compilers
  • libraries and end user applications
  • maintenance of unmaintained fortran related ports
  • user experiences of FreeBSD Fortran environment
  • porting new fortran libraries

More ideas for FreeBSD Fortran are here.

You can subscribe to this list here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Documentation Archive Link

A link to the documentation archive has been added to the side navigation bar on the Documentation page.  I had no idea this site existed until eadler@ mentioned it.

The archive has versions  of the entire documentation tree as it was when a new version of FreeBSD was released.  This gives us the freedom to retire outdated sections without losing that information.  It also serves as a snapshot of what things were like at the time of each release.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Welcome to FreeBSD Now!

This blog is a way of keeping up with what's happening in the world of FreeBSD. Members of the FreeBSD Project can use this blog to post calls for testing, overviews of upcoming features, calls for documentation assistance, and note-worthy news items about FreeBSD.