Feb
28

19">PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 19

Changes to PBI’s

As many of you know there was an issue with PBI’s causing them to freeze at random times during use. Kris went into full-blown hermit programmer mode to track down the issue and you’ll be glad to know a fix was committed that addresses this issue. Kris said of the fix: “it’s faster, cleaner, and allows proper access to all of the filesystem data. It can even be used by FreeBSD users who want to run different sets of packages in a location other than /usr/local”. To test out the new changes you will want to rebuild the pbi-manager backend. For those of you that may not know the pbi-manager utility is a backend that you never see, but is always there managing system interactions when running PBI’s. Follow the instructions below to grab the pc-bsd source and rebuild the pbi-manager to apply the fix.

1. Open a new terminal and paste: git clone https://​github​.com/​p​c​b​s​d​/​p​c​b​s​d​.​git
This will create a directory for the PC-BSD source code

2. type: cd pcbsd/src-sh/pbi-manager/
This will browse directly to the pbi-manager source directory

3. type: sudo make install

4. Restart your system

And you’ve done it! Don’t forget to reset your system! PBI’s will not work until the system is reset. For more information, questions, or thoughts please post below.

Changes to Life Preserver

Life preserver has been updated to bring in some exciting new changes. New automatic snapshot schedules have been added along with new replication schedule options that will allow users more flexibility and control over their Life Preserver snapshot schedules (i.e. Hourly, 30 minutes, 10 minutes). New code has been added to allow the user to change the pop-up notification policy (all, only errors, none). A minor bug was also fixed that was causing non-error messages in the “Message” dialog.

Unifying PC-BSD Utility Chain

Work is continuing on standardizing the PC-BSD utility chain. More information has been added @ (http://​wiki​.pcbsd​.org/​i​n​d​e​x​.​p​h​p​/​B​e​c​o​m​e​_​a​_​D​e​v​e​l​o​p​e​r​/​10.1). The changes will also bring in some new keyboard accessibility through hot keys and shortcut keys. There are currently several opportunities available to help update the tool chain, so if you’d like to lend a hand please let us know!

Important changes to Appcafe and PCDM (Release Notes)

AppCafe -

* Finish overhaul of the UI
* Add ability to email the port maintainer
* Add right-click action shortcuts for individual applications
* Add new browser home page with recommended applications
* Move the category browser to a seperate page
* Add ability to install custom PBI’s from your system via File->Add PBI (no internet/repository required)
* General improvements/bugfixes to the backend functions

PCDM -

* Fix backend detection of LDAP/Active Directory users (still needs verification/testing by people with this special type of setup)
* Add option to show an auto-login delay (in which time the user can cancel the auto-login if necessary)
* Add option to disable showing the system users and require that the username also have to be typed in.

Login Manager Configuration Utility (pc-dmconf)
* Update to reflect the new PCDM configuration options
* Fix a bug where a blank auto-login username could be set

Feb
21

18">PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 18

Big news this week!   Kris has finished re-writing the code for handling how PC-BSD handles major updates.  The general consensus was that there were still many users out there that were having difficulty when upgrading to a new version (i.e 9.2 > 10).  For more information on the new PC-BSD update system, check out the article here.  To view Kris’ address to the testing mailing list click here.  Our goal is and has always been to have a reliable system to push out updates, and we think you will all be very pleased with the results!

Basic guidelines for PC-BSD utilities are continuing to evolve and we want your input!  If you have ideas for the development team on what should become standard practice we want to hear from you.  You can join the discussion on the the PC-BSD developer mailing list if you’d like to submit your ideas.  To check out Guidelines for PC-BSD utilities visit the PC-BSD 10.1 wiki’s “Become a Developer” section @ http://​wiki​.pcbsd​.org/​i​n​d​e​x​.​p​h​p​/​B​e​c​o​m​e​_​a​_​D​e​v​e​l​o​p​e​r​/​10.1

A moderate batch of fixes for trac tickets were committed this week addressing minor issues with the warden.  Appcafe has also received a big update to it’s user interface allowing for a smoother experience for users.  If you want to give the 2 newest versions of these programs a try grab the PC-BSD source and let us know what you think!

That’s it for this week!  See you all next time!

Feb
20

Call For Testers: New Major Upgrade Methodology

Hello everyone!

Kris just posted a call for testers for a new methodology for major system upgrades (such as  9.2 -> 10.0 -> 10.1, etc..) and we are looking for people who are still running 9.2  to try it out. The full text of the call for testers is at the bottom of the post, but to give a bit of background we have been generally unimpressed with the reliability of the “standard” FreeBSD update tools (freebsd-update and pkg) when it comes to fetching uncorrupted update files through the internet. This new methodology takes those two utilities out of the general preparations for an update (download/verification of files), as well as a couple other upgrade steps so that there should no longer be an issue with starting an upgrade when only some of the upgrade files were actually retrieved successfully.

 

Please test it out and let us know how it goes!

Remember, always backup your data before doing any major upgrade like this!  The new methodology should automatically create a boot environment for you before doing the upgrade, but better safe than sorry!

 

Here is the full text of request from Kris to the developer mailing list:

I've just finished up some work on a major re-write of our updating
system when "upgrading" between major releases, I.E. 9.2 -> 10.0, 10.0
-> 10.1.

https://github.com/pcbsd/pcbsd/commit/b95e8a83c73511568ae4291a54e0f93f6c67ef30
https://github.com/pcbsd/pcbsd/commit/9a8b3d1945fa67db8e99b0e4e82280b5626aa895

It seems to work well here, but it needs some additional testing from
any users still running 9.2 who want to update to 10. To test this,
first grab the latest from git:

# git clone https://github.com/pcbsd/pcbsd.git pcbsd
# cd pcbsd/src-sh/pc-updatemanager
# make install

Then run:

# pc-updatemanager install fbsd-10.0-RELEASE

This should start the download / upgrade process. If anything fails
during the process, logs are kept in /root, which will assist me in
debugging.

Thanks!

Feb
14

17">PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 17

The PC-BSD development team has been abuzz this week with awesome suggestions on how we can standardize the way we write PC-BSD utilities and software.  One thing we’ve begun to realize is that as more people are contributing to the project, it is ever more important to make sure that there are clear standards for development.  Even our primary developers will admit it’s easy to forget to use the same icon pack, or file menu layout when you get busy writing the main program.  Going forward you can expect these standards to impact most of the PC-BSD utilities and programs you use everyday, although in a relatively minor way.  Everything will still function the exact same, but whether or not you are using AppCafe or the Warden you can expect the file menu layout / program layout to follow the same general rules.  For more information please check out “Becoming a Developer” in the PC-BSD 10.1 wiki.  If you’d like to join the discussion you can email dev@lists.pcbsd.org.

I’ve seen some discussion lately about the life cycle of PC-BSD branches.  I sat down with Kris Moore in IRC and asked if he wouldn’t mind clarifying the release cycle for our users.   Kris answered the general rule of thumb you can use is a branch will continue to be supported for 6 months after the next branch is released.  The updates include all of the things you would expect like new PBI and security updates.  So for users of 9.2 you can expect support to continue through June of 2014.  9 Stable was a “experimental” branch and is no longer supported at this time.  Users of 9 Stable are encouraged to upgrade to 9.2 or 10.0 Release to continue to receive important updates.

You can expect to see tons of improvements coming up for PC-BSD 10.1.   One of the biggest being Kris and Yuri have been working to fix Linux jail support in the Warden.  A handful of commits went into the tree today that will address the previous problems users have been having with Linux jails.  Kris has continued to refine the Warden and PBI systems to fix some bugs that were causing major stability issues in certain scenarios.   Minor cosmetic changes are coming for most PC-BSD utilities to bring them up to the same standards outlined in the “Become a Developer” section in the PC-BSD 10.1 wiki.

That’s it for this week folks.  Lots of good things in the works so stay tuned to the blog for more important PC-BSD news!

 

Feb
07

16">PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest 16

Just a quick update for you fine folks this week!  The bulk of the last week was spent fixing many smaller bugs that were still stuck in the PC-BSD trac database. Our primary goal now that 10.0 has hit release status is to fine tune the PC-BSD experience to allow for the smoothest experience possible. Users are encouraged to submit even the most trivial bugs during this “fine tuning phase”.

Among the programs that received updates the Warden received a patch fixing some issues with warnings, creating jails, and fixing user interface inconsistencies. Also the Package Manager received updates to fix some issues with how it interacts with pkgng.  This should eliminate some of the minor inconsistencies some of you were seeing that was leading to communication issues between the two. Package manager and the User manager also received minor improvements to fix issues relating to their user interface.

Big news this week for the PBI format. Kris has confirmed that a patch has been implemented for the way PBI’s are being built that will shrink the size of PBI’s by approximately 50%. The patch has just been implemented and is currently in a testing phase, but stay tuned to the blog for more updates on how and when this patch will begin benefiting you in the very near future!

Thats it for this week folks.  As always thanks for being loyal PC-BSD users!

Jan
17

PC-BSD Weekly Feature Digest

PC-BSD 10.0 is hurtling towards the finish line, and the big news this week of course is that the PC-BSD 10.0 RC-4 image is now live!  If you want to be on the cutting edge of PC-BSD development please follow the link here and download the latest version of PC-BSD version 10.0 RC-4.  Please be aware this is still an early RC image and is not an official release.

We are aware a small number of users reported that Grub is behaving slowly during RC2 and RC3 initial startups, and at the time I was able to duplicate the issue on two of my test machines.  I have not been able to duplicate the issue with RC4.  If anyone is still experiencing slow Grub boot times it is imperative you download the test grub text image @ http://web.pcbsd.org/~kris/PCBSD-10.0-RC4-grubtext.iso , and see if this helps and / or fixes your problem.  Also it is beneficial to enable debug mode in your grub.cfg file and report anything that may look like it’s choking the system.  This is the last critical issue we are looking into for PC-BSD 10.0 Release, and we’d love to track this down and get it taken care of.

NOTE:  This is only for testing and booting purposes and is not appropriate to install from.  Much of the PC-BSD image has been removed.

The wine PBI is now available in the AppCafe for PC-BSD version 10.0. I’ve tested the wine PBI with a number of different windows programs, and it appears to be functioning normally. Wine has a couple of kinks that will hopefully get ironed out over the course of the next couple of months, but for now it is usable.  A couple things to remember if you want to use wine: The icons wine creates currently do not display the correct icons for the program, and would not execute the programs in my testing in KDE.  I had to browse to the appropriate program directory and execute the program through wine’s run command.  I have also been told that running the programs from the command line + wine also works just fine.

Remember: if you want to have a stable system, wine can lead to a number of freezes and or crashes especially with improper settings.  This does not mean PC-BSD has a bug.

PC-BSD 9.2 Release systems will now be able to upgrade to PC-BSD version 10.0 Release and keep their PBI library.  Kris has designed an upgrade feature that will allow PC-BSD to uninstall the user’s 9.2 PBIs (while keeping the PBI’s settings) during the update, and then reinstall the correct 10.0 PBI’s after the system update.

That’s it for this week folks.   Catch you later!

–Josh

 

 

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