Gerard van Essen of FreeBSD News has a blog post about PC-BSD’s plans for this year:
Today Kris Moore, the project’s founder, announced PC-BSD 8.2RC1 and with regards to his plans for 2011 he writes:
“For 8.2, it is mainly a release to include the latest FreeBSD 8.2 / KDE 4.5.4. Also some bug fixes are present for advanced partitioning, letting the user select between MBR/GPT, and easily toggle between UFS+S/ZFS.
On the 9.0 front, we’ve implemented a new system of “meta-pkgs” which will let users customize their particular desktop based upon the available packages in the release. This means we can now select alternative desktop environments, such as Gnome/KDE/LXDE/XFCE and others. In order to accomplish this, all of our tools have been re-written in pure QT4, removing any requirements for KDE4 to be present.
You can read the rest of his post here.
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:email@example.com.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.
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.
John has been working on enhancements to the backend of pc-sysinstaller. He describes his progress so far and brainstorms possible future features with Will Backman on today’s issue of BSDTalk. John hopes to have testing snapshots that include his changes in time for MeetBSD in early November and we’ll announce them here when they are available so you can check them out.