PC-BSD Repo Switches to Github

Last week, Kris announced on the developers mailing list that the PC-BSD source repo has switched from subversion to github.

For those of you who like to compile new features in order to test them before they are incorporated into a release or a rolling release, the instructions for getting source have been updated. Any references to svn in the wiki version of the Handbook will also be switched to the git equivalent. If you have installed subversion before from System Manager -> System Packages -> Development -> Development VCS, you already have git as it is included in that meta-package.



PC-BSD Announces Package Repository for PC-BSD and FreeBSD 9.1

The PC-BSD Project is pleased to announce the details on how to access their new PKGNG repository, for PC-BSD and FreeBSD 9.1-Release systems.

This package repository is frequently updated, usually bi-weekly, with the latest and greatest from the FreeBSD ports tree. We will be using this repository for the PC-BSD rolling release edition, but it can also be used anywhere else you need packages on a PC-BSD or FreeBSD 9.1-RELEASE system. This can include FreeBSD, TrueOS, PC-BSD, Jails and more. Getting setup to use this new repository is easy, and only requires minimal configuration. For detailed instructions, take a look at the step-by-step directions on the PC-BSD wiki.


First Rolling Release Upgrade Available

Kris has announced the availability of the first rolling release upgrade on the testing mailing list. Check that list’s archives before applying the upgrade to be aware of any found bugs. If you find a bug, post the details to the list.

Anybody who want to help us out testing a system update from the original 9.1 -> 9.1-RollingRelease can now do so!

To start the process on your system edit the file:


Change the line:



PATCHSET: pcbsdtest

After this is done you can just run the update manager gui, or pc-updatemanager command to apply the update as normal.

Please let us know any feedback you have with the patch, so we can bugfix and improve it.

Known Issues:

Once the desktop is re-installed, there is a bug in the online update tray notifier which isn’t showing if new packages are available. I’m currently investigating.


First Rolling Release ISOs Available

Kris has announced the availabiity of the first rolling release:

As a few of you have already noticed, we have some new ISOs now up on the mirrors.

These are the first images built of PC-BSD Rolling Release, based upon FreeBSD 9.1-RELEASE, which use PKGNG as the backend for keeping your desktop and base-system packages up to date. You are welcome to download and give them a spin if you want to help us beta-test them.

They include updated packages from about 2 weeks ago, which includes KDE 4.9.5 among others. Our build server is still finishing up building the entire package repository and I hope to have all ~20,000 pkgng packages online in another week or so, with weekly updates after that. The weekly updates will include all the latest PC-BSD / TrueOS utilities, so you can expect to see much more frequent bug fixes & enhancements.

For users running on the original PC-BSD / TrueOS 9.1 release, I also have an online system update in the works. This update will convert your existing install to PKGNG and allow you to start tracking the rolling release, the same as if you installed a fresh copy from our new ISOs. Once I’ve finished a bit more testing & bugfixing with it, I will post back with details on how to try it out. I’m hopeful it will be sometime next week.

Lastly, I also wanted to let you know that with this change, it will be possible convert an existing “FreeBSD” 9.1-Release into a PC-BSD or TrueOS system. I’ve started writing instructions on this PC-BSD wiki page with details.

Last but not least, we have some new hardware coming in soon which I will quickly get working on building a PC-BSD -STABLE release, and then -CURRENT. More details as they arrive 🙂

Happy testing, and please post your feedback to the testing mailing list so we can get to work quashing bugs.


Article in February Issue of BSD Mag

Kris has an article in the February issue of BSD Magazine entitled “What’s around the Corner: A Look at Upcoming PC-BSD Changes”.  This article describes the reasons for and the design of the upcoming rolling release model. BSD Magazine is free to download as a PDF. The article starts on page 8.


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!

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