Jul
10

9.1 Feature: Multiple Boot Environments">9.1 Feature: Multiple Boot Environments

If you’re using ZFS (or looking for a reason to do so), one of the new features in 9.1 is support for multiple boot environments. Imagine the following scenarios:

  • you upgrade your operating system, hate it, and wish you could go back to the old version
  • you upgrade some software which breaks something else
  • you want to perform some tests without permanently affecting the files on your current operating system

Multiple boot environments make those scenarios do-able in two easy to use commands. Before making changes to your system, simply use the beadm create command to create a copy of the current filesystem. Do your stuff. To go back to what the system used to look like, use the beadm activate command to instruct the system to boot into the copy of the previous boot environment and reboot. It really is as easy as that!

Documentation for multiple boot environments can be found in this page of the upcoming 9.1 PC-BSD Users Handbook. This feature became available with the 9-STABLE 20120622 snapshot and will also be in the upcoming BETA1.

Jun
25

9-STABLE 20120622 Now Available for Testing">9-STABLE 20120622 Now Available for Testing

Kris has announced the availability of the next testing snapshot:

The next 20120622 snapshot in the PC-BSD 9-STABLE branch has just been released for i386 and amd64 architectures.

This snapshot provides both users and developers a means to test out new features in the upcoming PC-BSD 9.1 release. This snapshot may contain buggy code and features, so users are encouraged to run it only on non-critical systems.

Changes since the previous Snapshot:

  • FreeBSD 9-STABLE from 06-15-2012.
  • KDE 4.8.3.
  • Fixed a bug creating a /root ZFS dataset on the Server install.
  • Fixed a crash in install GUI if using custom pkg set, and going back steps.
  • Exclude /etc/pam.d and /usr/local/etc/pam.d from being overwritten during upgrades.
  • Fixed an upgrade bug, causing some files to not get overwritten properly.
  • Change detection for wifi when showing tray application.
  • Set default volume to 100:100 on first boot.
  • Fix displaying static IP addresses in GUI.
  • Improve network restart functionality, should now properly add default route, and fix issue with losing connectivity after restarting with a static IP.
  • Visually improve the AppCafe homescreen layout.
  • Add default configurations for i3 / windowlab WM’s.
  • Add new service manager GUI to warden, allows enabling, and starting / stopping services inside a jail.
  • Add ability to cleanup thinclient installation.
  • Improve the install image to not use MFS root, instead operates 100% identical to early stages of FreeBSD installer.
  • Shrink memory requirements of installation, can now install with UFS on systems with ~256MB of RAM.
  • Add initial support to Warden CLI for creating Linux jails

Highlights for the upcoming 9.1:

  • New system installer! Greatly simplified for desktop and server installs.
  • New “PC-BSD Server” installation option. Includes command-line utilities like pbi-manager, warden, metapkgmanager and more.
  • Support for ZFS mirror / raidz(1,2,3) during installation.
  • Support for SWAP on ZFS, allowing entire disk ZFS installation.
  • Support for setting additional ZFS data-set options, such as compression, noexec, etc.
  • Warden jail management integrated into system. Allows creating jails via GUI, adding packages and other administration.
  • First boot setup wizard allows OEM installs to be easily performed.
  • New Bluetooth paring tray / GUI utilities.
  • New AppCafe improvements and preferences.
  • Improvements to wifi utility.
  • Fixed bug causing untranslated strings to show up empty.
  • Numerous bug-fixes to PC-BSD related utilities.
  • Support for creating PXE boot server for remote desktop and installation.
  • ZFS beadm support
  • And much more!

Errata:

Users running previous snapshots may update now via the online updater. You will first need to apply the “Update Manager” 20120622 update, then the snapshot update will appear.

If you wish to update from 9.0 to this snapshot you may do so by editing the /usr/local/share/pcbsd/pc-updatemanager/conf/sysupdate.conf file and changing the PATCHSET: variable to “pcbsdtest”.

After changing this variable, you may run the updater utility, to download a new update manager. Once this update manager is installed, the online update to the snapshot will appear.

Note: The AMD64 snapshot appears as 20120621 on the mirrors, but it is the same as the 20120622 i386 version.

Download

The DVD & USB images are available via the PC-BSD mirrors. You may select the mirror and files from this URL.

Jun
11

Contest: Name the PC-BSD Server Edition

One of the cool new features coming in PC-BSD 9.1 is the ability to install a FreeBSD server (including ZFS, multiple boot environments using ZFS snapshots, and encryption) that includes the command line versions of all of the PC-BSD utilities. You can try a preview version in the latest snapshot or read up on its features in the draft of this section of the 9.1 Guide.

While we could simply call it the “PC-BSD Server Edition”, we’re pretty sure someone can come up with a more creative name than that. For that reason, we’re launching a naming contest. Can you think of a descriptive yet cool sounding name? If so, see the contest details here. The contest opens tomorrow at 11:00 PST and closes at 23:59 PST on June 26th.

May
04

2 PC-BSD Articles in May Issue of BSDMag">2 PC-BSD Articles in May Issue of BSDMag

The May issue of BSDMag (available for free download here) has two articles about PC-BSD.

Kris Moore has an article “A Fresh Look for the Warden for PC-BSD 9.1″ on pp. 69. Warden is a GUI tool for managing FreeBSD jails and has been rewritten for 9.1. New features include the ability to add multiple jails, the ability to create FreeBSD jails or ports jails (which use nullfs to allow you to safely install and run apps on your PC-BSD system), and the ability to export and import jails.

Jesse Smith has an article “Introducing EasyPBI–Making PBI Modules With a Few Mouse Clicks” on pp. 1819. EasyPBI allows one to convert an existing FreeBSD port into a PC-BSD PBI with an easy-to-use GUI.

Apr
19

9-STABLE-20120418 Testing Snapshot Available">9-STABLE-20120418 Testing Snapshot Available

Kris has just announced the availability of the first testing snapshot for the upcoming 9.1 release. This snapshot can be downloaded from here.

NOTE: This snapshot is only available for 64-bit systems. Also, if you need the new GEM/KMS support provided in the previous snapshot, do not install this new snapshot on your main system as that support has been removed, pending its commital to FreeBSD. If you need that support and would like to test the new snapshot, test it in a virtual environment.

The wiki is gradually being updated with the new installer and Warden information and those sections will change over the next few days to match the capabilities of this snapshot.

From the announcement:

The PC-BSD team is pleased to make available the first public 9-STABLE snapshot for 64bit systems!

This snapshot provides both users and developers a means to test out new features in the upcoming PC-BSD 9.1 release. This snapshot may contain buggy code and features, so users are encouraged to run it only on non-critical systems.

Highlights

  • FreeBSD 9-STABLE from 4-11-2012
  • New system installer! Greatly simplified for desktop and server installs.
  • New “PC-BSD Server” installation option. Includes command-line utilities like pbi-manager, warden, metapkgmanager and more.
  • Support for ZFS mirror / raidz(1,2,3) during installation.
  • Support for SWAP on ZFS, allowing entire disk ZFS installation.
  • Support for setting additional ZFS data-set options, such as compression, noexec, etc.
  • Warden jail management integrated into system. Allows creating jails via GUI, adding packages and other administration.
  • First boot setup wizard allows OEM installs to be easily performed.
  • New Bluetooth paring tray / GUI utilities.
  • New AppCafe improvements and preferences.
  • Improvements to wifi utility.
  • Fixed bug causing untranslated strings to show up empty.
  • Numerous bug-fixes to PC-BSD related utilities.

Errata

  • There is a bug installing to boot-camp partitions which will be fixed in next snapshot.
  • The warden rc.d script is not enabled by default. Add ‘warden_enable=“YES“‘ to /etc/rc.conf to enable.
  • The i386 image was not built for this snapshot, however it will available in the upcoming weeks.
  • The installer will not correctly start on systems with < 512MB of ram, which will be fixed in upcoming snapshots.
  • This snapshot does NOT contain the upcoming Intel GEM/KMS video driver support. This will be available in a future snapshot.
Mar
13

PC-BSD Teams With DuckDuckGo to Provide Enhanced, Secure Web Searches

From the press release:

DuckDuckGo is a general-purpose search engine that offers real privacy, less spam/clutter and instant answers. Well-known and widely acclaimed for its privacy policy, DuckDuckGo does not store or track user information, ensuring a truly private search experience.

The most recent edition of PC-BSD updates the suggestion list of the search bar with DuckDuckGo to provide users with a discreet, clutter-free search option. Additionally, DuckDuckGo offers many benefits including the ability to use shortcuts to directly search many websites and instant answers that provide topic summaries from a variety of web sources.

PC-BSD users concerned with security can be confident in the knowledge that requests submitted through DuckDuckGo will remain confidential. “We are pleased to make DuckDuckGo available to PC-BSD users, providing a reliable, yet completely anonymous search experience,” says Kris Moore, Director of PC-BSD Software Development at iXsystems.

We are delighted to partner with PC-BSD,” says Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo’s founder and CEO. “DuckDuckGo and PC-BSD have a shared philosophy on the value of open source and choice.”

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