Oct
14

2">New PBIs: Synergy+ and Heyu2

The following PBIs have been added to Software Manager:

Synergy+: lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, without special hardware. All you need is a LAN connection. It’s intended for users with multiple computers, where each system uses its own display.

Heyu2: a text-based console program for remotely controlling lights and appliances in the home or office. Heyu uses the CM11A computer interface to send and receive X10 control signals over the AC power lines to modules which can turn On, Off, or Dim attached lamps or appliances. It can store a schedule of timed events in the CM11A memory for execution when the computer is turned off or disconnected.

Thanks to Jesse Smith for taking the time to create these PBIs and to billksun and kevin for suggesting them on the PBI Requests forum.

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Oct
12

EuroBSDCon Presentation on pc-sysinstall

There was a lot of interest about the changes to the pc-sysinstall backend during Kris’ presentation at EuroBSDCon. For those of you used to FreeBSD’s sysinstall, you’ll appreciate some of the features which are available in pc-sysinstall. For those of you new to pc-sysinstall, it is a scriptable command line utility which drives the PC-BSD GUI installer (and can also be used for system administrators to script custom installs). It has been totally redesigned for PC-BSD 9 and supports modern FreeBSD filesystems (ZFS, UFS+SUJ), gpart, and geli.

The presentation was not recorded, but you can download the PDF of the paper behind the presentation. It describes the design behind the rewrite and offers several configuration examples for creating custom installations. Please note that the svn URL on the last page of the PDF will fail as pc-sysinstall was committed to FreeBSD HEAD after the paper was submitted.

If you would like to try out pc-sysinstall, you can use the following commands, run as superuser, from either a FreeBSD or a PC-BSD system:

setenv CVSROOT :pserver:anoncvs@anoncvs.fr.FreeBSD.org/home/ncvs
touch /root/.cvspass
cvs login
(use password of anoncvs)
cvs checkout –A –P usr.sbin/pc-sysinstall
cd usr.sbin/pc-sysinstall
rm Makefile.inc
make
mkdir –p /usr/share/pc-sysinstall/backend
mkdir /usr/share/pc-sysinstall/backend-partmanager
mkdir /usr/share/pc-sysinstall/backend-query
mkdir –p /usr/share/pc-sysinstall/conf/license
mkdir /usr/share/pc-sysinstall/doc
mkdir /usr/share/examples/pc-sysinstall
make install

Note to PC-BSD users: PC-BSD 8.x comes with the original installer located in /usr/PCBSD/pc-sysinstall. If you run the commands listed above, you’ll find the new installer backend in /usr/share/pc-sysinstall.

more /usr/share/examples/pc-sysinstall/README is an excellent place to start as it describes each configuration possibility.

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Oct
09

Sneak Peek: First Look at Service Manager

One of the new configuration icons that will be in 9.0’s PC-BSD Control Panel is called Service Manager. It is a front-end to rc.conf, allowing users to easily see which services with rc.conf knobs are currently installed; to disable or enable the startup of a service; or to start, stop, or restart a service. Here is a screenshot showing that the system services are listed first alphabetically, followed by an alphabetical list of services that were installed from FreeBSD ports/packages. In this example, cupsd is currently running and enabled at startup. Since it is highlighted, the user can stop, restart, or disable this service:

Service Manager works in PC-BSD 8.x, meaning you don’t have to wait til 9.0 to try it out. If you’d like to install the entire control panel, follow the instructions in this blog post. If you only want to install Service Manager, replace the svn command in those instructions with:

svn co svn://svn.pcbsd.org/pcbsd/current/src-qt4/pc-servicemanager/

and cd to the pc-servicemanager directory to issue your make commands.

To start just this application (rather than the whole control panel), issue this command as a regular user:

kdesu pc-servicemanager

There is one known issue: some ports that provide rc scripts do not support the status directive. You will know this is the case if the port installs an rc script into /usr/local/etc/rc.d/ but the service does not appear in pc-servicemanager. We would like to locate as many of these ports as possible so that we can submit a PR to the ports bugs database so the rc script can be corrected. Let us know if you find any and we can either assist you in submitting a PR or submit one for you.

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Oct
09

2 New Forums Dealing with FreeBSD Ports">2 New Forums Dealing with FreeBSD Ports

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 :-)

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Oct
08

New PBI: Atomic Tanks

The following PBI is now available in Software Manager:

Atomic Tanks: a 2D tank game where small tanks use cartoonishly large weapons to blow up each other. Atomic Tanks is loosely based on the classic DOS game, Scorched Earth. The game is very flexible, allowing anywhere from two to ten players, variable environments and a wide range of weapons and other items.

Thanks to Jesse Smith for creating this PBI.

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Oct
08

First Look at New Control Panel

Recently we blogged about the new pc-controlpanel. For those who would like an early peek, you can install this utility on an 8.x system. As the superuser, cd to an appropriate directory and run the following commands:

svn co svn://svn.pcbsd.org/pcbsd/current/src-qt4
cd src-qt4
qmake-qt4 *.pro
make
make install

Note: The last command will fail with an error if you chose to not install other languages during the initial PC-BSD installation. You can fix this with:

pkg_add –r qt4-linguist

and rerun the make install command.

This will install an entry into System -> PC-BSD Control Panel. Alternately, you can run the command kdesu pc-controlpanel. Here is a screenshot of the current version:

Note: some of the tools in the control panel will not work on 8.x as their code is specific to 9.0. However, you will get a good idea of the changes that are coming in these utilities. Also, the point of the new control panel is to allow easy access to PC-BSD specific utilities from any window manager or desktop environment.

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