FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter, December 23, 2006

In this Edition:

Letter From the Secretary/Treasurer

Improve. Nurture. Protect. These three words succinctly describe the guiding principles of the FreeBSD Foundation. As we close out our sixth year, reflect on our accomplishments, and plan for the year ahead, we renew our dedication to improving the FreeBSD operating system, and nurturing and protecting the FreeBSD community. This newsletter chronicles some of our recent achievements.

Along with an update on Java support for FreeBSD, we are pleased to announce the first of what is hoped to be many collaborative development projects (see Network Stack Virtualization Project). Partnerships with educational institutions, non-profits, and businesses have the potential to increase the scope and number of development projects we can fund annually. As always, we invite individuals as well as potential partners to contact us with their ideas for future projects.

Sponsoring development projects is only part of the FreeBSD Foundation's mission. This year we have again increased our investments in FreeBSD related conferences and our conference travel grant program. Conferences play a crucial role in promoting FreeBSD. They also provide an unrivaled opportunity for our community to present its work and collaborate. Through these and other programs, the FreeBSD Foundation is constantly working to support the FreeBSD community.

While our development projects and grant programs are perhaps the most visible signs of our activity, it is our commitment to protecting the FreeBSD project and its ideas that is the FreeBSD Foundation's most important mission. From the DMCA to patent issues, the laws that impact our community are complex and changing. For this reason, the FreeBSD Foundation has always provided the FreeBSD core team with access to legal counsel. Our status as a 501(c)3 charity further enables us to serve as a trusted steward of the FreeBSD project's trademarks and to negotiate contracts on the project's behalf. For 2007, we will continue to protect FreeBSD in the ways that only a legally recognized entity can.

2006 has been a year of tremendous growth for the FreeBSD Foundation. I want to thank all of our donors for their generous support. As a 100% donor supported organization, we could not exist without you! Looking forward, we have yet to meet our funding target needed to support our programs for early 2007. If you are not already a donor, I encourage you to learn more about the FreeBSD Foundation through this newsletter and our website. I hope you'll reach the same conclusions as our large rank of existing donors by participating in our End of Year Fundraising Campaign.

Sincerely,

Justin T. Gibbs
Secretary/Treasurer
gibbs@FreeBSDFoundation.org

End of Year Fundraising Campaign

We are in the final week of our 2006 End of Year Fundraiser. Though we haven't reached our goal of $200,000 yet, the response has been overwhelming. As of this publication, we have raised around $87,000, plus we have another $45,000 in donation commitments from three companies. We are asking the community to help us continue our support of the FreeBSD project and community by making a donation to the foundation now. We can't say it enough, the success of this effort will have a large impact on our budget for next year. We have spent around $180,000 this year covering such things as:

  • Sponsoring major FreeBSD-related conferences, like EuroBSDCon, AsiaBSDCon, and BSDCan.
  • Sponsoring several FreeBSD Developer summits associated with these conferences.
  • Supporting developer travel to a variety of conferences and developer summits.
  • Supporting Java development and certification on the FreeBSD Platform, as well as associated trademark and OEM licensing for the project.
  • Supporting storage, network stack, and multiprocessor development work, including building a multiprocessor test cluster to provide a remote "check out" high speed network test environment for network developers.
  • Legal support, including trademark work, license review, and other areas of legal involvement and protection for the project.
  • Acquiring hardware for developers, acquiring everything from ARM embedded development hardware for volunteers to coordinating the donations of major pieces of hardware, including NetApp filers and 10gbps switches for the FreeBSD.org cluster systems.

To recognize our generous donors, we have added a donors page to our website. Though some have requested to remain anonymous, we wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. We did add a note field on the PayPal page to allow contributors to indicate if they wish to remain anonymous. Some people have taken it upon themselves to leave special notes for us in this field. From messages like "FreeBSD Rocks!" to "Thanks for your work!", we appreciate all of the comments.

The work of the foundation is entirely supported by donations. We are a 501(c)(3) corporation, based in Colorado, and your donation may be tax-deductible.

Network Stack Virtualization Project

The FreeBSD Foundation has negotiated a joint technology development agreement with NLNet and the University of Zagreb to develop virtualized network stack support for FreeBSD. With the generous sponsorship of NLNet, the FreeBSD Foundation has contracted Marko Zec at the University of Zagreb with the goal of producing a prototype implementation on FreeBSD 7-CURRENT in early 2007. Network stack virtualization allows complete networking independence between jails on a system, including giving each jail their own firewall, virtual network interfaces, rate limiting, routing tables, and IPSEC configurations. This powerful tool extends jails toward full operating system virtualization and addresses many of the known limitations of jails.

Network stack virtualization offers great value to production hosting environments, promising FreeBSD system virtualization at a far lower performance cost than full hardware virtualization, as well as supporting strong isolation for overlay networks and complex virtual network topologies. This will also be a powerful tool in network research environments allowing virtual networks and systems to be created dynamically at low cost and overhead. The FreeBSD Foundation and University of Zagreb are collaborating to produce an early prototype in the FreeBSD Perforce repository; while an initial prototype is now up and running, significant work lies ahead. We hope to bring this work to the larger FreeBSD development community in 2007.

Java Update

The FreeBSD Foundation continues to bring the latest Java technology to the FreeBSD community. With a new year approaching Sun has again renewed our license for Java technology and support. With the volunteer work of Greg Lewis, we released new binaries in September supporting the latest security fixes from Sun. We are now in the process of testing the latest updates from Sun with FreeBSD 6.2. These binaries should be available soon after 6.2 is available. We are also looking into adding support for Java™ SE 6 JDK 6.

Sun4V Project

Last July the foundation assisted the project with a donation of 2 Sun T1000 servers from Sun. Since then, the port to the sun4v architecture has been going well. FreeBSD 7.0 is running multi-user with full hardware support and a number of test users. There are two T1000 machines in the FreeBSD cluster. There is a boot/install ISO image freely available (online), and John Birrell is working on a DVD that will boot into a running system and that contains a large number of ports pre-built for use on sun4v machines. In addition to John, Kip Macy continues to be actively involved in the project; he plans on adding machine-dependent support for Alan Cox's forthcoming transparent superpages support in the near term.

EuroBSDCon

The FreeBSD Foundation was the leading sponsor for EuroBSDCon 2006, which took place in Milan, Italy in November. The two-day conference featured a variety of BSD and FreeBSD-related presentations, including tutorials:

  • VoIP and FreeBSD (Massimiliano Stucchi)
  • Firewalling with PF (Peter Hansteen)
  • Building Clusters with FreeBSD (FreeBSD Core Team member Brooks Davis)
and conference presentations such as:
  • Writing User-land File-systems for the BSDs (FreeBSD Foundation travel grant recipient Kristaps Johnson)
  • Third-Party Software Management under BSD (FreeBSD Developer, Google Summer of Code Student Andrew Pantyukhin)
  • How the FreeBSD Ports Collection Works (FreeBSD Port Manager Team member Mark Linimon)
  • Adding IPv6 Support for IPFW2 Firewall and DUMMYNET Traffic Shaper (Raffaele De Lorenzo, FreeBSD Developer Luigi Rizzo, Mariano Tortoriello)
  • Building and Running an Open-Source Community: The FreeBSD Project (FreeBSD Developer Kirk McKusick)
  • How the FreeBSD Project Works (FreeBSD Core Team member Robert Watson)
  • The Kylin Operating System (Qingbo Wu)
  • Interrupt Filtering (FreeBSD Developer, Google Summer of Code Student Paolo Pisati)
  • CAPP-Compliant Security Event Audit System for Mac OS X and FreeBSD (FreeBSD Core Team member Robert Watson)

The conference was preceded by a two-day FreeBSD developer summit attended by over two dozen FreeBSD developers, largely from Europe. The developer summit involved detailed technical discussions and presentations on an array of topics, including:

  • Network and full system virtualization
  • Wear-leveling file systems for compact flash
  • In-kernel IPFW libalias and NAT support
  • gcc4 security features
  • The future of revision control systems on FreeBSD
  • The PR system
  • Live demonstration of Sun's ZFS file system on FreeBSD 7
  • GJournal UFS journaling
  • TrustedBSD audit and privilege framework
  • Interrupt filters

Especially impressive were the demonstrations by Pawel Dawidekof of his ZFS and gjournal filesystem projects running on FreeBSD 7.0. Pawel made extensive use of the FreeBSD Foundation's netperf test cluster during his development and testing. The FreeBSD Foundation was also able to financially help several non-developer FreeBSD advocates who spoke at the conference, as well as Google Summer of Code students, attend the conference.

AsiaBSDCon

The FreeBSD Foundation is proudly sponsoring AsiaBSDCon in Tokyo, Japan, in March 2007. It's been two years since the last BSD conference in Asia. The organizers believe there is a need to have a BSD conference in Asia to fill in the gap between BSDCan in Canada, and EuroBSD in Europe.

"Japan is one of the largest per capita users of BSD operating systems, and is one place where BSD is on par, or even ahead, of Linux in usage by individuals and companies. Several consumer electric companies are using BSD in their products, including a well known series of printers," said George Neville-Neil, AsiaBSDCon program committee chair.

One goal of the conference is to make the cost of attending low, to ensure a large number of people can attend from the developing nations of Asia.

The foundation will be providing a few travel grants to FreeBSD developers to attend this conference. An announcement will be sent out after January 1 with the dates for submitting travel grant applications.

2006 Grant and Travel Grant Recipients

A large portion of our budget is allocated to sponsoring FreeBSD related conferences and financially helping developers attend these conferences. We believe that BSD-centered and FreeBSD-specific conferences play critical roles in expanding the FreeBSD user community and supporting collaborative development. This year we sponsored some individuals to attend new conferences to represent the FreeBSD Project. Soon we will be adding a grants page so we can let the community know who we have chosen to fund as well as include trip reports for travel grant recipients.

2006 Grant Recipients:

  • BSDCan 2006 Conference
  • FreeBSD Developer Summit at BSDCan
  • EuroBSDCon 2006 Conference
  • AsiaBSDCon 2007 Conference
  • BSD Certification Group

Travel Grant recipients for this year were:

  • LinuxWorld - Dru Lavigne
  • UKUUG - David Malone
  • BSDCan - Peter Hansteen, Jason Evans, Attilio Rao, Max Laier, Poul-Henning Kamp, Colin Percival, Murray Stokely, Ruslan Ermilov
  • EuroBSDCon - Peter Hansteen, Brooks Davis, Kristaps Johnson, Salvatore Albanese, Mark Linimon, Robert Watson

ARM Project

In June we worked with Netgate to provide ARM-based development boards at a reduced cost. This was done to accelerate development of FreeBSD support for the ARM architecture and to set forth at least one board as a reference platform for ARM support. This worked well with a dozen developers receiving Gateworks Avila 2348 boards that have an XScale processor, dual-port Ethernet, an IDE compact flash slot, and flash memory. FreeBSD is now running multi-user on these boards and being evaluated by several companies for deploying products. Gateworks has also joined in supporting this work providing additional boards to developers to enable support for more board configurations.

10Gigabit Network Testbed

The FreeBSD project has a development environment for doing network testing and performance analysis. This testbed is hosted by Sentex Corp in Ontario, Canada and has been setup using Gigabit Ethernet adapters. The Foundation is working to upgrade this environment with 10Gigabit interconnects through donations by vendors. We have received network adapters from Myricom, Neterion, and Intel, and Cisco has generously donated a 10Gigabit switch to connect the various adapters. Adapters from other vendors are being solicited so that we can do interoperability testing in addition to the driver development and network performance tuning already being done.

Financials

Our 2006 YTD Profit/Loss and Balance Sheet are now posted on our website.