Status Update and Future Plans

2013 will be an exciting year for PC-BSD, Kris gives a sneak peek into his plans:

If you’ve been following the trac commit list with any regularity, you’ve seen a lot of commits go by in the past months, all having to do with pkgng, and a lot of internal churn to how we do our updates and such. I’ve written an article for the upcoming BSD Magazine detailing some of the reasons for this, and the “new direction” we are taking with regard to PC-BSD releases, but I also want to post here to give everybody a heads up.

First of all, I want to let you know, that I’ve personally not been satisfied with the frequency of PC-BSD releases and updates. With us tracking the upstream FreeBSD releases, it has really tied our hands getting new releases out to the public. The past couple of releases had a delay of almost a year between them, which is WAY too long in my opinion. To further compound the problem, our build system wasn’t designed to do frequent updates of packages and our utilities, which made getting updates out to the community a long and tedious process. This is all going to change. What we are looking at going to now is more of a “Rolling-Release” model, first for our utilities & system packages, and eventually for the FreeBSD base itself.

So what benefits will this change bring? Well, for starters, we will now be able to quickly get new features and bugfixes in our core utilities out to PC-BSD & TrueOS users. Instead of having to wait for the next point release, or some specific targeted bugfix, we can get you running new features in a timely manner. In addition to the PC-BSD utilities, we will also be able to keep your system packages (I.E. any FreeBSD binary package) updated and in sync with the ports tree. This means when the next KDE release hits, or NVIDIA driver, apache, etc, we can now make it available to you within a matter of a few days.

To facilitate all this new rolling-release-goodness, I’ve been neck-deep in converting our build framework into heavily using pkgng. Even all of our PC-BSD utilities and system-modifications will now be distributed as a pkgng package. What this means is not only do you get access to quick updates, but it’ll be possible for the first time to take a vanilla FreeBSD system, switch to our pkgng repo, and turn your system into a PC-BSD or TrueOS box. And this will not be some partial repository, the plan is to offer a *complete* binary package repository, so if you now want to install package X,Y, or Z you can do so without ever having to touch the ports tree or compile by hand. PBI’s will not be affected, so you can run either depending upon personal preference. Plus this keeps us independent from whats happening upstream with FreeBSD packages.

As for the base system, I am also looking to set us up running our own “freebsd-update” server. This will allow us to create and run two additional “branches” of PC-BSD, based upon FreeBSD –STABLE and –CURRENT. This is a bit farther out, but I’m already moving bits and pieces around to make this happen. This means when you go to the PC-BSD website, you will now be able to download from three sets of images, –RELEASE, –STABLE, –CURRENT, and these ISO’s will be frequently updated with new installer features and packages.

So what if you want to run the same set of packages for a long period of time? Well, the good news is that we aren’t going to force this on you. So if you want to grab an ISO, and run a particular desktop environment version forever, then you can do so. The PBI system will still operate independently, so you can keep running those releases without touching your base system packages.

With all this said, what’s the timeframe? I’m hoping to get the first testing ISO out in the next several weeks, so we can begin beating up the new updating system. I’ll also make available an online update for existing 9.1 users to switch to pkgng and jump on the new repository.

Thanks for reading, and looking forward to an exciting 2013 for PC-BSD!


2 Available for Testing">EasyPBI Version 2 Available for Testing

Ken Moore has announced the availability of EasyPBI2:

I am pleased to announce that EasyPBI version 2.0 is now  available!

This has been a complete re-write of the original program code. It has a
more streamlined process for working with PBI modules, as well as a
brand new interface and many new features/abilities. See the bottom of
this post for simple instructions on how to get the new version of
EasyPBI, and also how to upgrade your pbi-manager tools (to utilize some
of the new abilities of EasyPBI).

New Features

  • Packaging a local directory into a PBI (not using FreeBSD ports)
  • New Logo (Thanks to Jennifer Rosenburg!)
  • Build 32-bit PBI’s on 64-bit systems (Additional build option)
  • Complete support for editing installation/wrapper scripts (as well as a basic template for creating new binary wrapper scripts)
  • Complete support for XDG desktop/menu entries with easy MIME type integration (full creation/editing of entries with a number of new options available for entries)
  • Switch to using the OptionsNG format for setting port build options by default (as well as using a multiple-line format for build options)

UI Improvements

  • New “Settings” dialog for setting/changing default directory paths, PBI build settings, and any external utilities.
  • New “Ports” dialog for downloading/updating the FreeBSD ports tree.
  • Displays the last time the ports tree was updated, and simplifies the process of using portsnap (or svn if previously setup that way) to update the system ports tree.
  • New “About” dialog for quickly viewing information about EasyPBI (like license information and development history)

Important Warnings

  • Make sure you are using the latest version of the pbi-manager tools before using the new “local sources” PBI build options (the default PC-BSD 9.1 tools do not have the proper version).
  • One of the install scripts (pre​-pbicreate​.sh) will also not be used unless you have the latest version of the pbi-manager tools.
  • Saved settings from earlier versions are not converted into the new format, you will need to reset all of your settings manually from the new “EasyPBI  Settings” menu option.
  • Desktop/Menu entries and external-links are no longer automatically generated on module creation. These can now be easily added from the module editor afterwards.
  • Since it has been added to SVN so recently, most of the translations have not been done yet. Translation is an ongoing process for the  PC-BSD sources and the current status can be checked on http://​pootle​.pcbsd​.org

Updating Instructions

To get EasyPBI 2.0, you will need to have the Development-Qt system
package installed, as well as either the Subversion PBI or the Development-VCS system package. To build and install EasyPBI2, run the following commands as the superuser:

svn co svn://svn.pcbsd.org/pcbsd/current/src-qt4/EasyPBI EasyPBI-source

cd EasyPBI-source

qmake-qt4 *.pro

make install clean

Then, to update your version of the pbi-manager tools, run these commands:

svn co svn://svn.pcbsd.org/pcbsd/current/src-sh/pbi-manager


cd pbi-manager-source

make install


Linux Jails in PC-BSD

Patrick Allen has an article on “Linux Jails in PC-BSD” in the December issue of BSD Magazine. The article starts on page 8 and the magazine is available for free download.


Automating the Deployment of FreeBSD and PC-BSD Systems

Kris has an article entitled “ Automating the Deployment of FreeBSD and PC-BSD Systems” on pages 1013 of the November issue of BSD Magazine. A PDF of this magazine is available for free download.

The article demonstrates how to use the pc-sysinstall backend to automate the deployment of FreeBSD servers and PC-BSD desktops using a PXE boot environment.


PC-BSD and ownCloud

Kris has an article on pages 1417 of the September issue of BSDMag on how to setup a private cloud using ownCloud and Warden. The magazine is available for free download.

If you are already testing the upcoming 9.1, instructions for using ownCloud on Warden or TrueOS have been added to this section of the Handbook.

This issue of BSDMag also has an article on What’s New in PC-BSD 9.1, on pages 1013.


9.1 Feature: Sound Configuration and Hardware Compatibility GUIs">9.1 Feature: Sound Configuration and Hardware Compatibility GUIs

While PC-BSD is pretty good at detecting the sound card and the default audio device, occasionally a user needs to use sysctl to change the default audio device.

Beginning with 9.1, two GUIs have been added to Control Panel to assist in configuring sound from any logged in desktop. The first is a Hardware Compatibility GUI which provides a quick indication if that system’s video card, sound card, and wireless device are compatible with PC-BSD. This GUI is also displayed as the installer starts, meaning that you can tell ahead of time if these devices will be supported. An example can be seen here.

The Sound Configuration icon can be used to view the detected audio inputs and to change the default. Instructions for using it are here.

If you would like to try these before BETA1, use the instructions in New Features for the Impatient. You will also need to download:

  • http:// ​trac​.pcbsd​.org/​b​r​o​w​s​e​r​/​p​c​b​s​d​/​c​u​r​r​e​n​t​/​o​v​e​r​l ​a​y​s​/​d​e​s​k​t​o​p​-​o​v​e​r​l​a​y​/​u​s​r​/​l​o​c​a​l​/​e​t​c​/​s​u ​d​o​e​r​s​?​r​e​v​=​17651 (download link is at bottom of page) and copy it to /usr/local/etc/sudoers.
  • http:// ​trac​.pcbsd​.org/​b​r​o​w​s​e​r​/​p​c​b​s​d​/​c​u​r​r​e​n​t​/​o​v​e​r​l ​a​y​s​/​d​e​s​k​t​o​p​-​o​v​e​r​l​a​y​/​u​s​r​/​l​o​c​a​l​/​s​h​a​r​e​/ ​s​o​u​n​d​s​/​t​e​s​t​s​o​u​n​d​.​o​g​g​?​r​e​v​=​17652 and copy it to /usr/local/share/sounds/

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