There was a lot of interest about the changes to the pc-sysinstall backend during Kris’ presentation at EuroBSDCon. For those of you used to FreeBSD’s sysinstall, you’ll appreciate some of the features which are available in pc-sysinstall. For those of you new to pc-sysinstall, it is a scriptable command line utility which drives the PC-BSD GUI installer (and can also be used for system administrators to script custom installs). It has been totally redesigned for PC-BSD 9 and supports modern FreeBSD filesystems (ZFS, UFS+SUJ), gpart, and geli.
The presentation was not recorded, but you can download the PDF of the paper behind the presentation. It describes the design behind the rewrite and offers several configuration examples for creating custom installations. Please note that the svn URL on the last page of the PDF will fail as pc-sysinstall was committed to FreeBSD HEAD after the paper was submitted.
If you would like to try out pc-sysinstall, you can use the following commands, run as superuser, from either a FreeBSD or a PC-BSD system:
setenv CVSROOT :pserver:firstname.lastname@example.org.FreeBSD.org/home/ncvs
cvs login (use password of anoncvs)
cvs checkout -A -P usr.sbin/pc-sysinstall
mkdir -p /usr/share/pc-sysinstall/backend
mkdir -p /usr/share/pc-sysinstall/conf/license
Note to PC-BSD users: PC-BSD 8.x comes with the original installer located in /usr/PCBSD/pc-sysinstall. If you run the commands listed above, you’ll find the new installer backend in /usr/share/pc-sysinstall.
more /usr/share/examples/pc-sysinstall/README is an excellent place to start as it describes each configuration possibility.
One of the new configuration icons that will be in 9.0’s PC-BSD Control Panel is called Service Manager. It is a front-end to rc.conf, allowing users to easily see which services with rc.conf knobs are currently installed; to disable or enable the startup of a service; or to start, stop, or restart a service. Here is a screenshot showing that the system services are listed first alphabetically, followed by an alphabetical list of services that were installed from FreeBSD ports/packages. In this example, cupsd is currently running and enabled at startup. Since it is highlighted, the user can stop, restart, or disable this service:
Service Manager works in PC-BSD 8.x, meaning you don’t have to wait til 9.0 to try it out. If you’d like to install the entire control panel, follow the instructions in this blog post. If you only want to install Service Manager, replace the svn command in those instructions with:
svn co svn://svn.pcbsd.org/pcbsd/current/src-qt4/pc-servicemanager/
and cd to the pc-servicemanager directory to issue your make commands.
To start just this application (rather than the whole control panel), issue this command as a regular user:
There is one known issue: some ports that provide rc scripts do not support the status directive. You will know this is the case if the port installs an rc script into /usr/local/etc/rc.d/ but the service does not appear in pc-servicemanager. We would like to locate as many of these ports as possible so that we can submit a PR to the ports bugs database so the rc script can be corrected. Let us know if you find any and we can either assist you in submitting a PR or submit one for you.
At this week’s DevSummit prior to EuroBSDCon, we had discussions on how to improve communications between end-users (who use software and discover bugs and usability problems) and ports maintainers (who port software and fix bugs). It was agreed that it isn’t always easy for users to submit their feedback and get a response back. It is equally difficult for ports maintainers to find users willing to test new ports.
In response, we’ve created two new PC-BSD forums:
- Ports Requests: where users can request ports for software that is not currently ported to FreeBSD
- Ports Testers: where ports maintainers can put out calls for testers and receive user feedback
Please read the README file in each forum before posting a new thread. If you maintain a FreeBSD port or know any ports maintainers, help us spread the word about these new resources 🙂
The following PBI is now available in Software Manager:
Atomic Tanks: a 2D tank game where small tanks use cartoonishly large weapons to blow up each other. Atomic Tanks is loosely based on the classic DOS game, Scorched Earth. The game is very flexible, allowing anywhere from two to ten players, variable environments and a wide range of weapons and other items.
Thanks to Jesse Smith for creating this PBI.
Recently we blogged about the new pc-controlpanel. For those who would like an early peek, you can install this utility on an 8.x system. As the superuser, cd to an appropriate directory and run the following commands:
svn co svn://svn.pcbsd.org/pcbsd/current/src-qt4
Note: The last command will fail with an error if you chose to not install other languages during the initial PC-BSD installation. You can fix this with:
pkg_add -r qt4-linguist
and rerun the make install command.
This will install an entry into System -> PC-BSD Control Panel. Alternately, you can run the command kdesu pc-controlpanel. Here is a screenshot of the current version:
Note: some of the tools in the control panel will not work on 8.x as their code is specific to 9.0. However, you will get a good idea of the changes that are coming in these utilities. Also, the point of the new control panel is to allow easy access to PC-BSD specific utilities from any window manager or desktop environment.
The Pootle website, used to localize the PC-BSD menus, was successfully migrated yesterday. Translators can now access the website here, and for now, the old URL redirects to the new location. The migration provides the following benefits:
- Faster (memcache and lucene)
- Suggested translations from Google translate
- The bug that was mangling translated strings should be fixed
The Become a Translator section of the Handbook has been updated, but could use more details to get new translators started. If you have used the PC-BSD Pootle system, please skim through this section. If you can think of useful information to add to it, create a login account and update this section. New users would find the following information useful:
- any gotchas to be aware of when working with the translations
- any processes used by the translation teams to coordinate the review of new translations