9.1 Feature: Linux Jails

PC-BSD’s jail management GUI, Warden®, has been completely redesigned for 9.1. It now supports the management of three types of jails:

Traditional Jail: FreeBSD jail used to install and run network services such as a web server or a database which is accessible to other systems on a network or over the Internet.

Ports Jail: allows you to safely install software using FreeBSD packages or ports (without touching the packages that came with the OS) while providing access to that software from your PC-BSD system.

Linux Jail: allows you to install a Linux operating system within a jail.

Yup, that’s right, you can install Linux (at this time, Debian Squeeze) into a FreeBSD jail. And, since a jail uses the filesystem of the host, if the PC-BSD system is formatted with ZFS, a Linux jail can take advantage of ZFS features such as snapshots. Details can be found in the Warden® section of the upcoming 9.1 Users Guide.

If you’d like to try out this feature before BETA1 is available, use the instructions in New Features for the Impatient. If /usr/local/share/warden/linux-installs/debian-6-squeeze does not exist on your system, you can download it from here (download link at bottom of page). You will also need to install the debootstrap utility using pkg_add -r debootstrap.

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Written by dru. Posted in 9.1, new features

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Comments (18)

  • Gábor Kövesdán
    July 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm |

    It’s nothing new. There has been emulators/linux_dist-stage3 for several years, which also creates a full environment and you can chroot/jail into.

    • Gábor Kövesdán
      July 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

      I was about to write ports/linux_dist-gentoo-stage3, sorry.

    • July 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm |

      Correct. The ability to easily manage installation and snapshots within a GUI is new. Also, those emulation ports have licensing distribution restrictions whereas debootstrap does not.

  • July 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm |

    dru, would you please elaborate on what the licensing distribution restrictions of ports/linux_dist-gentoo-stage3 are? Feel free to email me about this at my gentoo.org email. My handle is ryao.

    On a related note, I have Gentoo Linux running in a jail on Gentoo FreeBSD. I was telling people about it and then someone told me about this blog post. 🙂

    • July 13, 2012 at 10:13 am |

      Thanks to Ryao’s help, a Gentoo script is also now available.

    • July 14, 2012 at 5:16 am |

      Cool, Thanks Ryao. 🙂

  • user001
    July 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm |

    Interesting. What sort of limitations apply to these jails, ie could you get X up and running inside a linux jail?

    • July 18, 2012 at 5:40 am |

      Warden is designed primarily for installing servers into jails (i.e. the assumption of a server == no X). Each jail runs with an IP, so you can run network services. They most likely will run X apps but running a full X server is not the intent and an exercise left to the curious user.

      • November 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm |

        Yes, it would be nice if someone explains about installation of x inside a jail and then forward to the host’s console.

        I am aware that forwarding X to a console is possible in Linux with:

        $xinit -e ssh -XCc blowfish user@ip_address_of_guest “/usr/bin/startlxde &” — :1 & disown

        The above command opens up xserver in vt7.

        Any pointer of the same in pcbsd or freebsd or freenas8?

  • anonymous
    July 23, 2012 at 3:24 am |

    do we have to jailbreak PCBSD before installing APPS?
    am i missing something?

    • July 24, 2012 at 7:12 am |

      Shouldn’t have to. I know apt-get works on Debian. Haven’t tried the Gentoo one yet.

  • […] home/office users and administrators. There’s better sound configuration, support for running Linux in jails, multiple boot environments […]

  • dpa078
    July 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

    Hi, is it possible to run pfsense or FreeNAS within these jails via Warden?
    or install it in a similar way as you would Linux?

    • July 30, 2012 at 8:05 am |

      Not at this time as each is an operating system and there currently isn’t an installation script for either. I’ll mention it as a feature request. In the mean time, if you come up with a working installation script, let us know.

  • November 1, 2012 at 8:18 am |

    […] again once the final version is released.  The biggest new feature I’m looking forward to:  Gentoo Jails – running a full Gentoo Linux operating system on top of the FreeBSD […]

  • November 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

    Just wondering what pkgs needs to be added to run x inside pcbsd jail? xorg and lightweight DE like lxde?

    Tried with pkg_add -r xorg (ref to http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.php?t=16038), but reportedly got errors with some packages not found.

    Thanks in advance for any pointers!

  • John
    January 1, 2013 at 10:40 am |

    I know this is old but it would be nice to be able to install software from Linux inside PCBSD. What I mean is that the citrix client has not been updated in a long time on freshports. It would be nice to be able to get the software from else where and install it in a jail so it does not affect the PCBSD system but can still be used when it is needed.

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