First 9.0 Alpha Snapshot Available for Testing

Kris has just announced that the first testing snapshot is available for download (both 32 and 64 bit versions). You can help us make 9.0 an awesome release by trying out the snapshots (there will be many between now and the first beta some time next spring) and providing feedback about any bugs you find. Since these are testing snapshots, it is recommended that you try them out on a spare system or using a virtual environment such as VirtualBox. If you’re planning on trying out all of the new desktop environments, you should use a virtual machine of at least 20 GB.

From the announcement:

I’m pleased to make available our first 9-Current alpha snapshot for you to begin playing with. This testing snapshot contains MANY new features and improvements that we plan on including in the eventual release of 9.0. However, by no means is this snapshot “feature complete” or to be considered stable. Expect to find bugs and things to change over the coming months as we refine features. Consider yourself warned!

With that being said, here’s a short list of some of the major changes from the 8.x series:

Ability to select system “meta-pkgs” at install / post-install time

This is a huge departure from previous PC-BSD releases. Now you will be able to customize your installed desktop easily, with various window managers such as KDE4, Gnome2, XFCE4, and LXDE. After installation, you can easily add / remove components of these meta-pkgs via the System Manager.

New PC-BSD Control Panel

Due to the new multiple desktop environment support, we have consolidated PC-BSD specific tools and utlities into a central location which can provide a consistent experience across window managers. When you first boot up, you will notice a new “Control Panel” icon on your desktop, which is your gateway to utilities such as Software Management, Network Config,
Firewall settings and more.

PBI format has been completely overhauled and reimplemented as CLI

Our servers are busy cranking out new 9 PBIs for testing, so you will not be able to download them via the Software Manager at the moment. However, you can download 9.0 PBIs which have successfully built directly from the 64-bit and 32-bit build servers

Installing a 9.x PBI is easy: simply double-click the .pbi file from your particular file-manager, or if that fails, use the “runpbi ” command as your regular user account. If you wish to delve deeper, take a look at the /usr/local/sbin/pbi_* scripts. All
the new pbi_* commands have associated man-pages, which should get you started exploring the new features.

Some of the new PBI9 features are digital signing, the ability to share identical libraries between applications, binary patch files, and more.

Code tree cleanup

Along with the new features mentioned, our code tree has been cleaned up, making it much easier to rebuild for testing and development. If you’ve installed the base-devel and kde-sdk meta-pkgs, you’ll have all the tools necessary to checkout the source, and do a rebuild of our PC-BSD specific tools using the instructions below:

# svn co svn:// pcbsd-current
# cd pcbsd-current

Rebuilding the QT4 based gui tools can be done with this command:

# cd src-qt4 ; qmake-qt4 *.pro ; make install

Rebuilding the shell-based toolchain can be done with this command:

# cd src-sh ; make install

Known Issues

There are a couple of known issues with this snapshot. First, the networking utilities may not save your configuration to /etc/rc.conf properly. Checking out the source as described above and rebuilding the src-qt4 tools should fix this issue.

Also, the nvidia drivers included in this snapshot are currently from the 8.x series and will probably not function. We will be updating them in a future snapshot; in the meantime, please use the “nv” or “vesa’ drivers.

Reporting and Fixing Bugs

This snapshot is based upon FreeBSD 9-Current, and testers who find bugs in the base-system can help the FreeBSD team by reporting the issues using FreeBSD’s Gnats PR system. If this is your first PR, please read the instructions for Writing FreeBSD Problem Reports first.

Issues found with the meta-pkg configuration, or from tools within the new PC-BSD control panel, may be reported via the testing mailing list or the PC-BSD forums.

Of course, detailed error reports are appreciated, and any patches to correct the target bug.

Download the Snapshots

The snapshots are currently available for download from our FTP site.

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Written by dru. Posted in testers

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Comments (30)

  • November 4, 2010 at 10:01 am |

    Great! Downloading 🙂

    “(there will be many between now and the first beta some time next spring)”
    So we should expect the final release somewhere in April or mid-May!? isn’t FreeBSD 9 expected at the end of January?

    • November 4, 2010 at 10:05 am |

      No, it is 8.2 that is due out early in the year. FreeBSD 9.0 isn’t due out til June/July, so lots of time for bug fixing 🙂

      • mato
        November 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm |

        So will there be PC-BSD 8.2 in January ?

        • November 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm |

          Yes. We should have testing snapshots for 8.2 ready by the end of November and will announce them here.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by 铁牛, 我们不拆迁 知识分子吃啥, Dru Lavigne, Babak Farrokhi, Oliver Herold and others. Oliver Herold said: RT @bsdevents: First PC-BSD 9.0 Alpha Snapshot Available for Testing […]

  • November 4, 2010 at 3:18 pm |

    Just a quick tip for those who will try this 9.0 alpha snaptshot on VirtualBox OSE 3.2.8 and probably 3.2.10. This snaphot freezes at boot and to solve the issue you need to change the virtual hard disk controller from IDE to SATA.

  • […] has a brand new interview from the just-finished MeetBSD, talking about PC-BSD 9 with Kris Moore.  (18 minutes) Posted by Justin Sherrill     Categories: Conventions, […]

  • Andrew
    November 7, 2010 at 10:43 am |

    Is there any chance of changing display servers?

    • November 8, 2010 at 10:36 am |

      Not quite sure I understand your question, can you please clarify what you would like to see?

  • Andrew
    November 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm |

    Something like wayland… Plainly put, X is outdated and slow.

    • November 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm |

      We were actually discussing that yesterday. Will be a while yet as it requires GEM and KMS support, both of which we hope willbe in the FreeBSD kernel in time for 9.0. By then we can see how stable wayland is looking and how much work it would be to port it.

      • Gustau Pérez
        December 12, 2010 at 5:14 am |

        9 is scheduled to may 2011. That would mean someone is working on KMS&GEM right now. Do you know if anyone working on it ? And in that case, will be there patches to test against HEAD ?

        • December 12, 2010 at 5:22 am |

          We’re still working out who will do the work but hope to have that sorted shortly. Once patches are available for testing on HEAD, we’ll put out a call for testers.

          • John
            December 29, 2010 at 8:35 am |

            I realize that it is just for testing but having tested many different Linux versions I know that when security updates are released that these show up to be installed. I will just have to learn how PCBSD does this.

            • December 29, 2010 at 9:00 am |

              freebsd.orgIn the FreeBSD (PC-BSD) world, the current (unreleased) version is considered to be in flux and only cutting-edge users follow the src changes and apply the ones that interest them.

              Once released, the OS is considered to be “production ready” and SA’s are used to advise of security updates. PC-BSD simplifies that process by automatically notifying the user and allowing the patch to be applied using Software Manager.

              More information about the FreeBSD release engineering process can be found at

          • Gustau Pérez
            February 4, 2011 at 9:31 am |

            Hi Dru,

            I wonder if the port of KMS and GEM is being made by the PCBSD people. And I also wonder if we can help. What is its status ?

            • February 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

              There should be an official announcement in a week or so about this 🙂 Once the work starts, we’ll definitely post links as stuff is ready for testing.

              • Gustau Pérez
                February 15, 2011 at 12:43 am |

                Any progress ?

  • PC-BSD 9.0 (alpha) available for testing | FreeBSD - the unknown Giant
    November 8, 2010 at 3:04 pm |

    […] Moore announced the availability of PC-BSD 9.0 (alpha): I’m pleased to make available our […]

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    November 9, 2010 at 4:43 am |

    […] el anuncio de Kris […]

  • Gustau Pérez
    December 14, 2010 at 12:46 am |

    I saw OpenBSD has support for this. I also saw DragonFlyBSD had a GoC las summer, with something working (not stable). Are you (people at iX Systems/PCBSD) going to pick the work from OpenBSD and port it to FreeBSD ?

    Can we help ? I think having hardware and testing the code while it is being implemented could help.

    • John
      January 10, 2011 at 4:12 am |

      I want to see this as well. I know that others are working on it besides just Ubuntu. The below link is a package that can be changed in arch linux to support ATI or nvidia. I know a lot of work still needs to be done but I would love to be able to test this.

  • John
    December 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm |

    One thing that would be nice is to have a way to update the system. I see fixes all the time in the testing mailing list but when you try and update the system it fails. It goes to custom update but then gets stuck when you try and put some thing in there. If you select one of the mirrors it does not keep that setting. I think I will try the beta and see how that works.

    • December 29, 2010 at 5:38 am |

      This is to be expected in an alpha release as updates aren’t “released” to be made available to Update Manager, but are instead rolled into the next alpha/beta version. In other words, reported bugs are fixed in the trac database.

      However, on a “released” version of PC-BSD, security updates and system patches should work just fine.

      • John
        December 29, 2010 at 5:49 am |

        Thanks for that. I would hope that with updates such as the openssl update that these would be sent out and not have to wait for the next alpha or beta. Some things can wait but some need a fix right away and should be fixed.

        • December 29, 2010 at 5:56 am |

          Keep in mind that alpha/beta versions are meant for testing and not “production” use.

          Also, updates include the FreeBSD SA, meaning users can still manually apply the patch following the SA’s instructions.

  • John
    December 29, 2010 at 8:38 am |

    I know these are just for testing. I have tested many Linux versions before and when security updates are released they are also released for the Alpha and Beta versions of there program. I will just have to learn the way BSD does these things.

    • John
      December 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm |

      My message above was supposed to be a response but I had just installed some software and ran it and it seemed to clear the response and then when I entered in the information again it did not show up in the correct location. I just wanted to say that I was sorry that I forgot about portupgrade. I have not used PCBSD since it was like 1.some thing. I know at some point that they started to number these according to what version of FreeBSD they were using. One thing that would be nice and make it easier for new people is to have all updates done in one location rather then going to the command line. I like the command line myself but it would be helpful for those that come from other operating systems to have all updates done in one location and not make them go the command line to do this.

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