Author Archive

Dec
20

12/20/13">PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 12/20/13

In the words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory TV Show), “i’m not insane…my mother had me tested”.  That’s the way i’m sure many of the devs felt at the end of this week.  While fending off the impending insanity caused by lack-of-flash-itis, the reason for our package issues with version 10.0 finally have started to come into focus.  For more information on the package / pkgng debacle please see this blog post: http://​blog​.pcbsd​.org/​2013​/​12​/​e​n​d​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​p​k​g​-​w​o​es/.  Though we typically just recommend users just upgrade to new package sets, I personally opted to do a complete reinstall of 10.0 Beta P6.  The primary issue myself and many other developers kept running into was issues with the centOS linux compatibility layer that was just too buggy to make good use of at this time.

In other similar news PC-BSD is likely to begin starting a new version naming system to help differentiate the different types of releases and hopefully offer a little more clarity to users that may be less than familiar with the conventional FreeBSD naming system.  Along with the new naming system a new package release schedule will also be added to help users maintain more stability by not having to update their packages every couple of weeks.  Stay tuned for more information on this as it develops.

Flash is now working in both firefox and chromium as well as many other internet browsers.  The new PBI’s have been approved and include the fixes to make sure flash works with all the recent changes in version PC-BSD 10.0.  For Chromium look for the version of 31 ending in .63.  For Firefox look for version 25_01.  I’m not sure if the issue is widespread but there was an additional step needed to make flash work in firefox on one of my primary test systems.  If flash is working in other browsers, but not firefox run the command nspluginwrapper –v –a –i.  For some reason flashpluginctl on / off was not running the script as it was supposed to.  From most mainstream testing this looks to be a fairly minor and isolated issue.

PBI’s continue to be added to the PC-BSD AppCafe as well as tons of new compatibility updates for current 10.0 PBI’s.   Total PBI’s ready for PC-BSD’s 10.0 release are now in excess of 720.   PC-BSD version 9.2 has also been receiving tons of PBI updates so make sure to check those out as well!

Special thanks to Ken and Kris both as well for all the bug fixes you guys have committed this week (and for listening to my non-stop rants on why flash is so important).  The schedule has been insane, but the light at the end of the tunnel is near.

As we go into the new year soon we’d like to tell everyone thank you and wish you the best during the holidays.  I will now leave you with a bit of holiday cheer for all of who have or will experience that inevitable holiday computer failure.

Best Regards and Happy Holidays,

–Josh

On the twelfth day I left it, my PC gave to me:

Twelve programs stalling;
Eleven chips a-smoking;
Ten ports a-jamming;
Nine jails a-frying;
Eight times i’m crying;
Seven blown partitions;
Six bad controllers;
Five seeeeeeg faults; (singer should hold out seg just FYI)
Four bad blocks;
Three bad controllers;
Two faulty pools;
And a burnt-out CPU fan.

 

Dec
06

12/6/13">PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 12/6/13

It’s finally here!!  Earlier this week the PC-BSD team released a new test image for version 10.0.  Some of the exciting highlights were the addition of mate / gnome3/ cinnamon into the installer and package manager.   The linux compatibility layer has also been upgraded to the Linux Centos 6 compatibility layer which will be fantastic for the long run, but right now you may notice your internet browsers are not handling video properly in version 10.0.  We have new PBI’s on the way that should solve this problem and get your Youtube watching experience back up and running…I mean who wants to live in a world without Justin Bieber…am I right…??  OK put your hands down people that wasn’t a literal question!   Anyways I digress!  here is what’s going on in the PC-BSD universe this week.

We are trying to collect information on how all of you feel about the ease of use of installing a printer on PC-BSD.  We want to know the Good, the bad, and the ugly of your printer installation experience, including if you are having trouble finding a driver for your particular model of printer.   To participate in our poll for the next 2 weeks please go to: http://​forums​.pcbsd​.org/​s​h​o​w​t​h​r​e​a​d​.​p​h​p​?​t​=​21460

I am looking for users that are willing to test functionality of HPLIP (in package manager under drivers) while using non-HP printers.  More specifically if you have any brand of printer besides HP i’m looking for users that will add this package and see if it breaks or conflicts with your current printer’s setup.  Understand this is strictly volunteer and advanced users are recommended in case of any potential breakage.  PLEASE NOTE:  There is a known issue I ran into with Mate and the HPLIP package.  DO NOT install HPLIP right now while running mate or it will nuke your taskbar leaving you helpless to accomplish anything.  We are looking into a fix on this and hope to have one shortly.

We are well aware of the bugs corresponding to users with Grub as their boot manager for versions of 9.0 and 10.0.  While we believe we have isolated the issue we are still tracking down the root cause of the problem.  If you are experiencing problems with Grub please go to: http://​trac​.pcbsd​.org/​t​i​c​k​e​t​/​748 and add any thoughts or diagnostic information that might help us locate the problem.

On a similar note some of you will be glad to know that the ability to pick between the FreeBSD bootloader or the Grub boot loader has now been added back into the installer for version 10.0.  This may be especially helpful on systems that Grub is whining about booting from.

Many 10.0 PBI’s are finishing building over the weekend so you should see a pretty big influx of new PBI’s in the appcafe soon.  We will be systematically testing and working our way through them starting early next week.  EasyPBI is also receiving a big update for version 10, so some functionality may be missing or altogether not working for the time being.  Ken is planning on the updates being finished in the next week to be fully compatible with the 10.0 PBI system.

That’s it for this week folks.  Thanks for being a part of the PC-BSD community, and tune in next week for more exciting PC-BSD news!

P.S.  Just kidding on the date before the edit…Just wanted to make sure everyone was paying attention ;).

 

Nov
23

11/23/13">Weekly Feature Digest 11/23/13

You can feel it in the air can’t you?  That time when we gather with family and friends, sit down to eat a great meal, and let the dog eat half the turkey.  Oh wait maybe that was just Kris last year…doh!   All kidding aside Check out all these amazing gifts that have been neatly placed under our  “ports tree” (pun intended).

10.0 PBI Approvals have been moving allowing at a quick pace and the appcafe should now be populated with approximately 400 PBI’s for public consumption.   Please report any issues you are having directly to trac and we will work on fixing individual PBI’s after approvals are finished.

In some exciting news Kris has announced that we are merging the GNOME3 / MATE /Cinnamon desktops into our 10.0 ports tree.  Be advised we are still working to resolve issues with these desktops in the base system and they are more than likely not fully functional at this time.   We will be testing and resolving issues as quickly as possible to try to get these ready for all of you.

FreeBSD will be releasing a security update that applies to SSH in the next few days.  If you are not a SSH user this bugfix won’t necessarily do anything for you, but it never hurts to be fully up to date just in case.  For more information on how to work around this issue please see the article at http://​forums​.freebsd​.org/​s​h​o​w​t​h​r​e​a​d​.​p​h​p​?​p​=​240933 for a detailed list of things you can do to secure your system.

Bug fixes galore this week!  PCDM has been updated now to correctly display the correct language chosen during selection, however it is still being tested and should officially be ready sometime in the very near future.  Kris has added a ZFS dataset options to PC-BSD’s new text-installer front-end for greater flexibility for power users.

That’s it for this week folks, and remember feeding thanksgiving leftovers to your dog makes everyone sad.   See you guys next week!

Best Regards,

Josh

Nov
15

11/15/13">PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 11/15/13

When Kris told me he wanted me to help act as a QA for the PC-BSD project it never occurred to me that someone had to test all those nifty PBI’s in the appcafe when there’s a big release.  Let me tell you after a week of testing PBI’s I have a whole new appreciation for what Ken does on a weekly basis.  Thankfully the weekend is finally here, and it’s time to look at what else has been going on over this last week.

Over 200 PBI’s have been populated in to the PC-BSD 10 Stable Appcafe.  We are plugging away at approving and testing more, but it is hard to know just how long it will take.   Most of what I would consider the “important” PBI’s have been approved.  Firefox, Chromium, and Thunderbird being just a handful.

Many of you will be excited to find out that adobe flash is working perfectly on chromium in my 10.0 KDE box.  I listen to youtube playlists all week and didn’t find a single video that wouldn’t load.  Other sites that appear to be working include Vimeo, Hulu, and Amazon.  I have not heard if this fix is being backported to 9.3, but I will let you guys know when we find out.

This week many PC-BSD programs received some necessary bug fixes and updates.   Some of the updates include network detection in package / update manager, nvidia graphic detection, as well as security updates for PCDM.  If you are experiencing an annoying bug that you’ve just been ignoring in version 10.0 now is the time to create a bug ticket on trac.   Keep in mind the newest 10.0 iso is the “stable” branch not “current” when reporting bugs.

If you are still experiencing any difficulty with extremely slow download speeds, or downloads that continue to fail after multiple tries,  make sure to send me an e-mail at joshms@pcbsd.org.   The information we are looking for is the output of the host command in pc-bsd, or if you are not using PC-BSD as your primary desktop we can use your IP address assigned by your ISP to try and search for the log file of the failed download.  I’m sure it gos without saying, but please keep your IP confidential and send it directly to me if you can help us with that information.

Enjoy your weekend!

Nov
08

11/8/13">PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 11/8/13

There’s a bone-numbing chill in the air, and that could only mean one thing.  Time for a PC-BSD weekly feature digest!  OK ok, I get it.  The cold has nothing to do with PC-BSD, but it could be used to describe how cool the new PC-BSD features are we are going to talk about. ( Ba — Dum — Ching! ).  You guys see what I did there right??  Bad jokes aside there are plenty of things to talk about so let’s get right to it.

PCDM has officially replaced GDM as the default login manager for PC-BSD in version 10.0.  It offers PAM session / authentication, and is sleek and simple to use.   PCDM will also provide language and locale selectors for login as well as a keyboard layout selector.  For more on PCDM see the PC-BSD wiki @ http://​wiki​.pcbsd​.org/​i​n​d​e​x​.​p​h​p​/​P​CDM

Kris has put together some awesome new ISO build scripts that will allow users to build their own iso images from source.  On a multi-core box you can estimate anywhere from a 6 to 12 hour build depending on the type of computer, amount of cores, memory, etc.    The new scripts are simple to use and are literally only a couple of commands to start.

New Images for 9.2 and 10.0 are on the way to the CDN for all you testers out there that want to be on the very tip of development.  If you don’t see the new images available you may need to give it some more time before they will be available.

We are now aware that there is a rogue node out there somewhere causing problems with CDN downloads.  If you are experiencing downloads that are stopping after a few minutes, not completing, or other various download related issues, please send me an email @ joshms@pcbsd.org with the output of the host command on the PC-BSD download URL.  This should give us an idea of where to look for the problem child and get this resolved as quickly as possible.

And of course it wouldn’t be a new release without plenty of bug fixes!  The PBI back-end, PBI integration with AppCafe, and the Warden have all received tons of bug fixes in the last week.  We were hoping to have more 10.0 PBI’s finished by now, but because of some bugs in how FreeBSD 10.0 acts with the PBI format some updating / fine tuning had to be done.  It looks like most of the work has been finished to restore our ability to test 10.0 PBI’s so keep a look out on the 10.0 AppCafe for more awesome PBI’s.

That’s all I have for you guys this week.  See you guys again next time!

Nov
01

11/1/13">PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 11/1/13

 This week the PC-BSD team has been busy working their magic pushing version 10.0 ahead at lightning speed, and some big things are starting to take shape.  The PBI 10 format is about ready and we will begin populating the 10.0 appcafe starting next week.  There are still a few small things to iron out with the approval system, but nothing too big that Kris and Ken can’t work their BSD magic on!  Much of this last week was spent fine-tuning and improving the PBI format for 10.0, and I think you will all be very happy with the product of that hard work.

The PCDM login manager is back and is ready to undergo rigorous security testing in preparation for its introduction into PC-BSD 10.0.  Ken has been fine tuning the new login manager, and has seen a number improvements taking shape from security to stability.

We have had a handful of users reporting problems with the .iso downloads from PC-BSD’s CDN network.  If you have been experiencing problems with downloads not completing / resetting multiple times, then please let me know @ joshms@pcbsd.org.   I’m specifically trying to see if we have a broader problem, or if we are simply experiencing minor intermittent download quality during off-peak hours.

This week I’d like to shine the spotlight on the new PC-BSD Disk Manager Utility (DM).  The new DM Utility is a power user’s dream come true.  Not only does the DM utility allow you to manage / maintain your ZFS pools, but you can also start scrubs, add ARC / ZIL devices, attach disks and much more.  One of the most notable features are the ability to, like life preserver, make snapshots and revert back to them via a GUI interface.  The disk manager will also include the ability to make new slices / partitions on disks.  You will be able to add, remove, and modify slices with relative ease, although caution should be issued as you can very easily delete a system slice as well.

Stay tuned folks, there’s more great things coming next weekend!

Image1

 

Best Regards,

Josh Smith

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