New Sound Management
Work has began to fully port pulse audio into PC-BSD for 10.1, and we are quite pleased so far with the results. Kris has been making headway this week getting pulse audio and it’s related utilities working. In the meantime Ken has been working on an all new utility pc-mixer. pc-mixer is a complete front-end to the FreeBSD “mixer” utility that will allow users a simple to use GUI and volume control for every day tasks. There will also be an advanced tab allowing for more specific audio setups and control.
*New PBIs for 9.x versions and 10.x versions were released this week, so be sure to check out the AppCafe and see what’s new.
*Gnome 3 and Cinnamon 2.0 desktops have received updates this week. These desktops are not 100% fully supported yet and as such we can not make any guarantee on functionality.
*Grub 2.02 has been fully ported over and updated to GRUB 2.02-prerelease.
*Lastly The PC-BSD ports tree has been frozen in preparation for our quarterly package update.
Improvements for Life-Preserver
* Add new “Classic” backup dialog for custom exclusions and status updates
* Fix bug with restoring a file/dir into a missing directory on the main system.
* Clean up the restore tab
* Bugfixes to the FUSE “pbifs” file-system
* Fix bug showing HPLIP drivers in the main CUPS Manager.
* Fix seg-fault crash in EasyPBI when removing a non-selected item.
Changes to PBI’s
As many of you know there was an issue with PBI’s causing them to freeze at random times during use. Kris went into full-blown hermit programmer mode to track down the issue and you’ll be glad to know a fix was committed that addresses this issue. Kris said of the fix: “it’s faster, cleaner, and allows proper access to all of the filesystem data. It can even be used by FreeBSD users who want to run different sets of packages in a location other than /usr/local”. To test out the new changes you will want to rebuild the pbi-manager backend. For those of you that may not know the pbi-manager utility is a backend that you never see, but is always there managing system interactions when running PBI’s. Follow the instructions below to grab the pc-bsd source and rebuild the pbi-manager to apply the fix.
1. Open a new terminal and paste: git clone https://github.com/pcbsd/pcbsd.git
This will create a directory for the PC-BSD source code
2. type: cd pcbsd/src-sh/pbi-manager/
This will browse directly to the pbi-manager source directory
3. type: sudo make install
4. Restart your system
And you’ve done it! Don’t forget to reset your system! PBI’s will not work until the system is reset. For more information, questions, or thoughts please post below.
Changes to Life Preserver
Life preserver has been updated to bring in some exciting new changes. New automatic snapshot schedules have been added along with new replication schedule options that will allow users more flexibility and control over their Life Preserver snapshot schedules (i.e. Hourly, 30 minutes, 10 minutes). New code has been added to allow the user to change the pop-up notification policy (all, only errors, none). A minor bug was also fixed that was causing non-error messages in the “Message” dialog.
Unifying PC-BSD Utility Chain
Work is continuing on standardizing the PC-BSD utility chain. More information has been added @ (http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/Become_a_Developer/10.1). The changes will also bring in some new keyboard accessibility through hot keys and shortcut keys. There are currently several opportunities available to help update the tool chain, so if you’d like to lend a hand please let us know!
Important changes to Appcafe and PCDM (Release Notes)
* Finish overhaul of the UI
* Add ability to email the port maintainer
* Add right-click action shortcuts for individual applications
* Add new browser home page with recommended applications
* Move the category browser to a seperate page
* Add ability to install custom PBI’s from your system via File->Add PBI (no internet/repository required)
* General improvements/bugfixes to the backend functions
* Fix backend detection of LDAP/Active Directory users (still needs verification/testing by people with this special type of setup)
* Add option to show an auto-login delay (in which time the user can cancel the auto-login if necessary)
* Add option to disable showing the system users and require that the username also have to be typed in.
Login Manager Configuration Utility (pc-dmconf)
* Update to reflect the new PCDM configuration options
* Fix a bug where a blank auto-login username could be set
Big news this week! Kris has finished re-writing the code for handling how PC-BSD handles major updates. The general consensus was that there were still many users out there that were having difficulty when upgrading to a new version (i.e 9.2 > 10). For more information on the new PC-BSD update system, check out the article here. To view Kris’ address to the testing mailing list click here. Our goal is and has always been to have a reliable system to push out updates, and we think you will all be very pleased with the results!
Basic guidelines for PC-BSD utilities are continuing to evolve and we want your input! If you have ideas for the development team on what should become standard practice we want to hear from you. You can join the discussion on the the PC-BSD developer mailing list if you’d like to submit your ideas. To check out Guidelines for PC-BSD utilities visit the PC-BSD 10.1 wiki’s “Become a Developer” section @ http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/Become_a_Developer/10.1
A moderate batch of fixes for trac tickets were committed this week addressing minor issues with the warden. Appcafe has also received a big update to it’s user interface allowing for a smoother experience for users. If you want to give the 2 newest versions of these programs a try grab the PC-BSD source and let us know what you think!
That’s it for this week! See you all next time!
Kris just posted a call for testers for a new methodology for major system upgrades (such as 9.2 -> 10.0 -> 10.1, etc..) and we are looking for people who are still running 9.2 to try it out. The full text of the call for testers is at the bottom of the post, but to give a bit of background we have been generally unimpressed with the reliability of the “standard” FreeBSD update tools (freebsd-update and pkg) when it comes to fetching uncorrupted update files through the internet. This new methodology takes those two utilities out of the general preparations for an update (download/verification of files), as well as a couple other upgrade steps so that there should no longer be an issue with starting an upgrade when only some of the upgrade files were actually retrieved successfully.
Please test it out and let us know how it goes!
Remember, always backup your data before doing any major upgrade like this! The new methodology should automatically create a boot environment for you before doing the upgrade, but better safe than sorry!
Here is the full text of request from Kris to the developer mailing list:
I've just finished up some work on a major re-write of our updating system when "upgrading" between major releases, I.E. 9.2 -> 10.0, 10.0 -> 10.1. https://github.com/pcbsd/pcbsd/commit/b95e8a83c73511568ae4291a54e0f93f6c67ef30 https://github.com/pcbsd/pcbsd/commit/9a8b3d1945fa67db8e99b0e4e82280b5626aa895 It seems to work well here, but it needs some additional testing from any users still running 9.2 who want to update to 10. To test this, first grab the latest from git: # git clone https://github.com/pcbsd/pcbsd.git pcbsd # cd pcbsd/src-sh/pc-updatemanager # make install Then run: # pc-updatemanager install fbsd-10.0-RELEASE This should start the download / upgrade process. If anything fails during the process, logs are kept in /root, which will assist me in debugging. Thanks!
The PC-BSD development team has been abuzz this week with awesome suggestions on how we can standardize the way we write PC-BSD utilities and software. One thing we’ve begun to realize is that as more people are contributing to the project, it is ever more important to make sure that there are clear standards for development. Even our primary developers will admit it’s easy to forget to use the same icon pack, or file menu layout when you get busy writing the main program. Going forward you can expect these standards to impact most of the PC-BSD utilities and programs you use everyday, although in a relatively minor way. Everything will still function the exact same, but whether or not you are using AppCafe or the Warden you can expect the file menu layout / program layout to follow the same general rules. For more information please check out “Becoming a Developer” in the PC-BSD 10.1 wiki. If you’d like to join the discussion you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve seen some discussion lately about the life cycle of PC-BSD branches. I sat down with Kris Moore in IRC and asked if he wouldn’t mind clarifying the release cycle for our users. Kris answered the general rule of thumb you can use is a branch will continue to be supported for 6 months after the next branch is released. The updates include all of the things you would expect like new PBI and security updates. So for users of 9.2 you can expect support to continue through June of 2014. 9 Stable was a “experimental” branch and is no longer supported at this time. Users of 9 Stable are encouraged to upgrade to 9.2 or 10.0 Release to continue to receive important updates.
You can expect to see tons of improvements coming up for PC-BSD 10.1. One of the biggest being Kris and Yuri have been working to fix Linux jail support in the Warden. A handful of commits went into the tree today that will address the previous problems users have been having with Linux jails. Kris has continued to refine the Warden and PBI systems to fix some bugs that were causing major stability issues in certain scenarios. Minor cosmetic changes are coming for most PC-BSD utilities to bring them up to the same standards outlined in the “Become a Developer” section in the PC-BSD 10.1 wiki.
That’s it for this week folks. Lots of good things in the works so stay tuned to the blog for more important PC-BSD news!
Just a quick update for you fine folks this week! The bulk of the last week was spent fixing many smaller bugs that were still stuck in the PC-BSD trac database. Our primary goal now that 10.0 has hit release status is to fine tune the PC-BSD experience to allow for the smoothest experience possible. Users are encouraged to submit even the most trivial bugs during this “fine tuning phase”.
Among the programs that received updates the Warden received a patch fixing some issues with warnings, creating jails, and fixing user interface inconsistencies. Also the Package Manager received updates to fix some issues with how it interacts with pkgng. This should eliminate some of the minor inconsistencies some of you were seeing that was leading to communication issues between the two. Package manager and the User manager also received minor improvements to fix issues relating to their user interface.
Big news this week for the PBI format. Kris has confirmed that a patch has been implemented for the way PBI’s are being built that will shrink the size of PBI’s by approximately 50%. The patch has just been implemented and is currently in a testing phase, but stay tuned to the blog for more updates on how and when this patch will begin benefiting you in the very near future!
Thats it for this week folks. As always thanks for being loyal PC-BSD users!