Jan
03

Cost Optimization Through Open Source Software

The lead article in this month’s edition of the Open Source Business Resource was contributed by iXsystems. It describes some of the business reasons behind the company’s choice to use only FreeBSD and PC-BSD systems in its own infrastructure and provides a cost/savings comparison for both software and maintenance costs. It also contains some good references and percentages if you’re looking for something to show your manager.

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Dec
22

Looking for Tester Who Can Dual-Boot Between Windows and PC-BSD

We’re looking for someone who can test the EasyBCD page of the Handbook. To do so, you’ll need an installation of Windows and PC-BSD.

I’ve verified that the instructions work if you check the “Install PC-BSD bootloader” in the disk setup screen during PC-BSD installation. What needs to be tested is if the Windows boot loader can still find PC-BSD if that box is not checked during the PC-BSD installation. Please leave a comment posting your results and I’ll finish up this page of the Handbook to indicate whether or not this box needs to be checked.

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Dec
20

8.2-BETA1 Available for Testing">PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1 Available for Testing

The PC-BSD Team is pleased to announce the availability of PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1 which is running FreeBSD 8.2-PreRELEASE, Xorg 7.5, and KDE 4.5.4

Version 8.2 contains a number of enhancements and improvements. For a full list of changes, please refer to the changelog . Some of the notable changes are:

* FreeBSD 8.2-PreRelease
* KDE 4.5.4
* Added ability to select filesystem type and to encrypt partitions during installation
* Numerous fixes and improvements to Network Manager, including 3G support and ability to enable/disable the lagg interface

Version 8.2-BETA1 of PC-BSD is available for download from our mirrors. Everyone is encouraged to test this beta and to report any bugs to the testing mailing list. Instructions for beta testers can be found in the PC-BSD Handbook.

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Dec
17

260.19.29 (1214-2010)">Driver Update: Nvidia 260.19.29 (1214-2010)

If you’re using the NVIDIA video driver, an update is now available in Update Manager. This update adds support for the following GPUs:

  • GeForce GTX 460 SE
  • GeForce GTX 570
  • Quadro 5000M
  • NVS 300

It also fixes a bug that caused some OpenGL applications to become unresponsive for up to a minute on some GPUs when changing the resolution or refresh rate.

Instructions for using Update Manager are here. Simply apply the update on your PC-BSD system, and reboot. When the bootup starts, select option7 — run display setup wizard at the boot-splash screen, and you will then be able to select the new driver.

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Dec
15

New PBI: GMT

The following PBI is now available from Software Manager:

GMT: Generic Mapping Tools is a collection of public-domain Unix tools that allows you to manipulate x,y and x,y,z data sets (filtering, trend fitting, gridding, projecting, etc.) and produce PostScript illustrations ranging from simple x-y plots, via contour maps, to artificially illuminated surfaces and 3-d perspective views in black/white or 24bit color. Linear, log10, and power scaling is supported in addition to 25 common map projections. The processing and display routines within GMT are completely general and will handle any (x,y) or (x,y,z) data as input.

Thanks to Jesse Smith for creating this PBI and P202 for requesting it.

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Dec
14

Webcamd Now Has Many Man Pages

Webcamd is a port of the Video4Linux USB webcam and DVB drivers into userspace. It’s been available as a FreeBSD port since January and comes installed with PC-BSD. When Hans Petter Selasky ported these drivers he knew there “were a lot of them, probably many hundreds”. However, it was hard to quantify exactly how many existed and exactly what hardware was supported as this information is scattered throughout thousands of src files and dozens of websites and wiki pages (possibly containing incomplete or outdated information).

It took a while to research what hardware is (in theory) supported by the various drivers; in doing so, I ended up with a spreadsheet that currently contains 1396 entries. That information was used to create 46 man pages (45 driver man pages and 1 for webcamd itself) which have now been added to the port. If you already have webcamd installed and are comfortable updating FreeBSD ports, you can upgrade to the latest version of webcamd. If you’re using PC-BSD, you can wait for next month’s 8.2 release as the latest version of webcamd will be installed with it. Or, if you’re impatient and want to check out the man pages now, you can uninstall the current version and install the new version as the superuser:

pkg_delete –x webcamd && pkg_add –rf webcamd

Once you have the latest version of webcamd, try these commands to see which man pages interest you:

makewhatis /usr/local/man
apropos webcamd | more

The driver man pages contain the VendorID:ProductIDs of previously documented known devices. To determine the ID of a device, use one of the following commands on either a FreeBSD or PC-BSD system:

usbconfig dump_all_config_desc | grep vendor (if the device is an inserted USB device)

Here is an example for when I insert a USB camera:

usbconfig dump_all_config_desc | grep vendor
ugen3.3: product 0x0991 vendor 0x046d at usbus3, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=HIGH (480Mbps) pwr=ON

I could then quickly check to see if that ID is known to be supported from the webcamd man pages:

cd /usr/local/man/man4/
gzcat * | grep “046d:0991

Since I just get my prompt back, support for this particular device isn’t currently documented, so I’ll check just the VendorID:

gzcat * | grep “046d”

This will provide an ordered list of all known to be working Logitech products. From the list, the last documented ID is 046d:08dd.

I know that the information from existing resources is out-of-date. You can help to improve the man pages by letting us know the VendorID:ProductID of any cameras that work for you and which currently aren’t listed in the man pages. Also, if you come across an ID that is supposed to work but does not, please send us the details so we can update that information in the man pages.

For now, leave a comment or send me an email with the information about the device. If it turns out to be useful to do so, we’ll throw up a wiki page where needed changes can be posted and addressed.

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