Kris has just announced that the first testing snapshot is available for download (both 32 and 64 bit versions). You can help us make 9.0 an awesome release by trying out the snapshots (there will be many between now and the first beta some time next spring) and providing feedback about any bugs you find. Since these are testing snapshots, it is recommended that you try them out on a spare system or using a virtual environment such as VirtualBox. If you’re planning on trying out all of the new desktop environments, you should use a virtual machine of at least 20 GB.
From the announcement:
I’m pleased to make available our first 9-Current alpha snapshot for you to begin playing with. This testing snapshot contains MANY new features and improvements that we plan on including in the eventual release of 9.0. However, by no means is this snapshot “feature complete” or to be considered stable. Expect to find bugs and things to change over the coming months as we refine features. Consider yourself warned!
With that being said, here’s a short list of some of the major changes from the 8.x series:
Ability to select system “meta-pkgs” at install / post-install time
This is a huge departure from previous PC-BSD releases. Now you will be able to customize your installed desktop easily, with various window managers such as KDE4, Gnome2, XFCE4, and LXDE. After installation, you can easily add / remove components of these meta-pkgs via the System Manager.
New PC-BSD Control Panel
Due to the new multiple desktop environment support, we have consolidated PC-BSD specific tools and utlities into a central location which can provide a consistent experience across window managers. When you first boot up, you will notice a new “Control Panel” icon on your desktop, which is your gateway to utilities such as Software Management, Network Config,
Firewall settings and more.
PBI format has been completely overhauled and reimplemented as CLI
Our servers are busy cranking out new 9 PBIs for testing, so you will not be able to download them via the Software Manager at the moment. However, you can download 9.0 PBIs which have successfully built directly from the 64-bit and 32-bit build servers
Installing a 9.x PBI is easy: simply double-click the .pbi file from your particular file-manager, or if that fails, use the “runpbi
the new pbi_* commands have associated man-pages, which should get you started exploring the new features.
Some of the new PBI9 features are digital signing, the ability to share identical libraries between applications, binary patch files, and more.
Code tree cleanup
Along with the new features mentioned, our code tree has been cleaned up, making it much easier to rebuild for testing and development. If you’ve installed the base-devel and kde-sdk meta-pkgs, you’ll have all the tools necessary to checkout the source, and do a rebuild of our PC-BSD specific tools using the instructions below:
# svn co svn://svn.pcbsd.org/pcbsd/current pcbsd-current
# cd pcbsd-current
Rebuilding the QT4 based gui tools can be done with this command:
# cd src-qt4 ; qmake-qt4 *.pro ; make install
Rebuilding the shell-based toolchain can be done with this command:
# cd src-sh ; make install
There are a couple of known issues with this snapshot. First, the networking utilities may not save your configuration to /etc/rc.conf properly. Checking out the source as described above and rebuilding the src-qt4 tools should fix this issue.
Also, the nvidia drivers included in this snapshot are currently from the 8.x series and will probably not function. We will be updating them in a future snapshot; in the meantime, please use the “nv” or “vesa’ drivers.
Reporting and Fixing Bugs
This snapshot is based upon FreeBSD 9-Current, and testers who find bugs in the base-system can help the FreeBSD team by reporting the issues using FreeBSD’s Gnats PR system. If this is your first PR, please read the instructions for Writing FreeBSD Problem Reports first.
Of course, detailed error reports are appreciated, and any patches to correct the target bug.
Download the Snapshots
The snapshots are currently available for download from our FTP site.
As part of the application process for Google Code-In, we’ve put together a list of tasks that are looking for people. We won’t know til November 5 if we’re eligible for this program–regardless, the list contains ongoing tasks that need your help.
If you’re interested in helping in the ongoing process of improving PC-BSD, browse through the list and let us know if you can assist with anything on the list. And, let us know if you think of something that needs doing that is not on the list.
At this week’s DevSummit prior to EuroBSDCon, we had discussions on how to improve communications between end-users (who use software and discover bugs and usability problems) and ports maintainers (who port software and fix bugs). It was agreed that it isn’t always easy for users to submit their feedback and get a response back. It is equally difficult for ports maintainers to find users willing to test new ports.
In response, we’ve created two new PC-BSD forums:
- Ports Requests: where users can request ports for software that is not currently ported to FreeBSD
- Ports Testers: where ports maintainers can put out calls for testers and receive user feedback
Please read the README file in each forum before posting a new thread. If you maintain a FreeBSD port or know any ports maintainers, help us spread the word about these new resources
Bordeaux is looking for PC-BSD and FreeBSD testers who are willing to write a review. From the Bordeaux website:
The Bordeaux Technology Group is a software services and development company specializing in Windows compatibility software. Users of Linux, FreeBSD, PC-BSD, Solaris, OpenSolaris and Mac OSX systems from time to time find themselves in the need to run specialized Windows software. The Bordeaux suite enables access to these programs and data in a seamless and low cost manner without requiring licensing of Microsoft Technology.
In return for the review, they will give the reviewer a free copy of Bordeaux and a link back to the review site. If you’re interested, check out this forum thread.
The PC-BSD translation team uses Pootle to manage its translations. Josh has just finished a test upgrade to Pootle and is looking for testers’ feedback before initiating the actual migration:
I have a new version of pootle and translate toolkit up. There were some issues with the migration, some of the strings were mangled in the database, I think this is the bug that has been causing regressions in the pootle engine, but I’m not sure.
The new version should be quite a bit faster, and also it adds support for translation suggestions from google.
This is a test migration, I’ll be doing the real migration this weekend unless people have issues with this that I can’t easily fix between now and this weekend. Please please don’t do large translations on this instance, as it will be resynced from the live site this weekend and all changes will be lost.
I’m also taking suggestions for a new URL, the current one is pretty lame. Maybe translations.pcbsd.org?
LXDE is the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment and will be one of the window managers available for selection during a PC-BSD 9.0 install. You can see screenshots at this page of the LXDE website.
The existing FreeBSD port was quite out of date so Kris spent some time last week updating the port and adding some missing components. Since LXDE will be a desktop environment option in PC-BSD 9.0, we encourage as many people as possible to test this desktop environment and report any bugs on the PC-BSD LXDE forum.
Early testers can install the port using pkg_add –r lxde-meta on a FreeBSD system or from within Ports Jail on a PC-BSD system. A PBI request was submitted this morning and we’ll announce once a PBI is ready for testing.