FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter, December 16, 2010
In this Edition:
Pounding the Pavement
During this time of the year I expect to be bombarded with marketing
messages aimed at getting me to open my wallet.
Considering the FreeBSD Foundation's own financial needs, I
understand and tolerate the pledge drives and postal mail pleas
from charities. Whether due to the tradition of giving espoused
by the holidays at the end of the year, the cycle of corporate
budgets and bonuses, or some other unknown force, half of donations
for most non-profits occur in the last two months of the year.
Similarly, many businesses only turn a profit with their December
sales. These organizations are most active in November and December
because that is when their messages are, based on observed consumer
behavior, best received.
My sympathies, however, can be tried when marketing knocks on my
front door. Just this past week we were visited by a traveling
vacuum salesman. Curiosity overtook my immediate urge to politely
refuse his advances and shut the door. These salesman only pound
the pavement because they are effective. How do they manage to get
a consumer to willingly part with their hard earned cash for an
over priced vacuum cleaner? Perhaps some lessons could be learned
here? If not, the demo might be entertaining. I allowed him to
Salesman: “Did you know that the carpets in your house harbor
dangerous allergens that your typical vacuum cleaner can't
Me: “Carpet harbors allergens that no vacuum cleaner can
extract. That’s why we have no wall to wall carpet in our
house and our area rugs are sent out to be professionally cleaned
several times a year.”
Salesman: “What a cute dog you have there! Extracting pet
dander from furniture is one of the toughest challenges in a home.
The Blue Max here has twice the sucking power of any other vacuum
allowing it to pull pet odors out of couches and pet beds.”
Me: “My dog is 15 years old. We love her, but she stinks.
Unless you’re advocating sucking her away, there's nothing
you or your machine can do to change how she impacts the smell of
We talked about how the canister was bagless allowing it to safely
suck up sharp objects like glass, how most floor brushes use synthetic
fibers that can mar a floor’s finish, and spent another 10
minutes covering arcane vacuum cleaner facts. As was a forgone
conclusion (in my mind at least) from the start - no sale. But
there were several things I took away from the experience.
The salesman didn’t know in advance what features of his
product would be most compelling to his sales prospect. Instead
of making assumptions about my needs, he asked questions designed
to help him hone his sales pitch down from every possible product
differentiator to just those that fit my situation. His arsenal
of positive attributes was also large enough that, should one avenue
of attack fail (“You’re right sir. There’s nothing
anyone can do to help with your dog problem.”) a backup
strategy was easy to devise.
What does this have to do with FreeBSD? In my youth, I saw and
appreciated the quality in FreeBSD and thought others would discover
this same trait, find it valuable, and then start using FreeBSD.
Even if this didn’t happen, the system seemed sufficient for
my needs: a place to experiment with system programming and to
absorb the best practices of large scale software development. Over
time, however, I realized that without constant maintainence and
enhancement, my FreeBSD environment would become unsustainable due
to the never ending changes in technology. It’s impossible
to experiment with the power saving features of the latest processors
if these processors aren’t supported by the OS. Testing a
new I/O scheduler doesn’t make sense if the only drivers
support legacy controllers. And without ports of third party
software and the infrastructure to install them, I could spend
almost all of my time just making the system function rather than
work on the features or projects that interest me. Our ability to
use FreeBSD for our own goals requires a large, healthy, and diverse
base of users and contributors. Sustaining that base takes marketing
and frankly our “competitors” do a much better job of
marketing than the FreeBSD project.
I’m not proposing we all strap on flashing daemon horns for
a door-to-door campaign for FreeBSD. But we must create situations
where we talk about the wide-ranging benefits of our favorite OS,
tailor our message to attract new members to our community, and
understand that simply being a “better product”
technologically only matters when we work to make that value
externally visible. We also have to listen, and feed back what we
learn into the development process so that FreeBSD continues to be
a compelling OS choice. Marketing FreeBSD is a responsibility that
needs to be shared by our entire community. Know that, just as is
true for a traveling vacuum salesman, the face to face discussions
you have promoting FreeBSD can be the most effective marketing of
Here at the FreeBSD Foundation, we continue to tailor both our
marketing message and the capabilities of
FreeBSD to encourage the growth of the FreeBSD community.
Through our conversations with developers, educators, and the wide
range of FreeBSD users, we are constantly
looking for ways to maximize our beneficial impact on the FreeBSD
Project. If you have ideas on where we should focus next, or want
to share what you've learned from your own marketing efforts, please
contact us. Your feedback is a vital component of keeping the
FreeBSD Foundation working in the best interests of the FreeBSD
Justin T. Gibbs
President and Founder
The FreeBSD Foundation
For 2010, the FreeBSD Foundation more than doubled it's planned
spending. Our $350,000 budget included $100,000 for funded
development projects, $80,000 for much needed improvements to the
project's current computer clusters and bringing a third co-location
site online, and greatly increasing our support of new and existing
BSD related conferences. We are pleased to announce that we have
hit our target on development project spending,
and come in under budget for the overhead and equipment purchasing
portions of our plan. Our current projections show us spending a
little over $260,000 this year.
Why was the equipment budget so far off? The FreeBSD Project
experienced an unprecedented level of support in the form of
hardware donations that offset many of the capitol expenses we
had factored into our budget. Also, our plan to further expand
the Project's package building infrastructure has been pushed
into next year to allow for the infrastructure needs to be better
Even though our end of year spending projections have come in well
below target, we have left our fundraising goal at $350,000.
This reflects our expectation to more than consume this surplus
by completing the deferred infrastructure projects and directing
the remainder of these funds to projects we originally pushed out
of 2010 due to budget limits. The FreeBSD Project sorely needs
more enterprise hardware with high CPU core counts and larger
amounts of block storage to verify and enhance the scalability
of FreeBSD and the performance of its port of ZFS. These are just
two of the many areas we hope to focus on in 2011. In short, we
see this as an opportunity to accelerate our investments in
As of this writing, we are $140,000 from our fundraising goal.
While reviewing the FreeBSD Foundation’s achievements in our
newsletter, please consider the value that FreeBSD represents to
you. Know that
donating to the FreeBSD Foundation is the
most cost effective way you can insure the future of FreeBSD.
With your help, we look forward to not only meeting our fundraising
goal, but increasing our investment in FreeBSD for 2011.
DTrace, which originated on Solaris 10, is a comprehensive tracing
framework that allows the instrumentation of software. FreeBSD
has had DTrace support since 7.0, but until now tracing userland
programs was not possible. Now that this project is complete,
anyone can use DTrace with userland programs.
Tracing and instrumenting userland programs is very important
because it allows the understanding of what's going on, especially
on highly complex systems such as databases, web servers, and
language interpreters. Since DTrace on FreeBSD now has the ability
to instrument both the kernel and the userland program, you can
get very meaningful data on how your program is behaving and why.
Companies building products on FreeBSD now have the ability to
create better products and find about problems faster then before.
This project focused on allowing the creation of DTrace pid probes,
userland statically defined probes (aka USDT), importing plockstat
(a DTrace utility to measure lock contention in the pthread library),
importing dtruss (a system call tracing utility similar to ktrace)
and enabling FreeBSD DTrace support on MySQL and PostgreSQL.
contributed by Rui Paulo
SNMP is a standard protocol used by network management systems to
monitor and manage various network elements. Under FreeBSD so far
there have been two options for users that want to monitor their
systems with SNMP - the net-snmp package from ports and the built
in bsnmpd(1) daemon with each having its advantages and disadvantages.
The net-snmp package includes numerous modules for monitoring various
subsystems and supports all versions of the SNMP protocol, including
the security enhancements introduced with SNMPv3, however it is
heavy as sources, maintained outside the FreeBSD project and depends
on the perl package. The built in bsnmpd(1) daemon only supported
earlier versions 1 and 2 of the SNMP protocol, lacking message
authentication and encryption, but provides modules for monitoring
FreeBSD/BSD-specific subsystems such as netgraph(4) and pf(4) and
is more lightweight, entirely written in C and maintained as part
of the FreeBSD base system. Many users used a combination of both
to monitor all aspects of the system.
The BSNMP enhancements project's main goals were to develop several
additions that should make bsnmpd(1) the top choice for SNMP monitoring
on embedded wireless appliances, firewalls, routers and servers
running FreeBSD. The project includes a module that allows monitoring
the wireless networking stack of FreeBSD, and support for version 3 of
the SNMP protocol, including the security features it introduced -
message authentication, packet encryption and finer-grained access
control to data. The bsnmptools(1) SNMP client implementation so far
available via the ports was also extended with the above additions and
is now included in the base system. The code developed during the project
was recently committed to FreeBSD
9-CURRENT and is now available for further testing by FreeBSD users.
Once the code proves to be stable and
well tested, it will also be merged to FreeBSD-STABLE branch.
contributed by Shteryana Shopova
Unlike Solaris zones or Linux OpenVZ, the current implementation
of FreeBSD Jails does not provide per-jail resource limits. As a
result, users are often forced to replace jails with other
virtualization mechanisms. The goal of this project is to create
a single, unified framework for controlling resource utilization,
and to use that framework to implement per-jail resource limits.
In the future, the same framework might be used to implement more
sophisticated resource controls, such as Hierarchical Resource
Limits, or to implement mechanisms similar to AIX WLM. It can also
be used to provide precise resource usage accounting for administrative
or billing purposes.
Most of the functionality is done. Work is ongoing on debugging
and cleaning up remaining issues. It should be ready for testing
early January and released as part of FreeBSD 9.0 this summer.
contributed by Edward Napierala
TCP is a crucial part of any modern operating system. Standard NewReno
congestion control is not able to fully utilize the high capacity links
available today. This project introduces two new high speed TCP variants into
FreeBSD: CUBIC and HTCP. Significant research in recent years has explored the
use of delay as a more timely indication of network congestion. To this end
three new delay-based congestion control algorithms are also being introduced
into FreeBSD: Vegas, HD, and CHD.
Each congestion control algorithm is implemented as a loadable kernel
module. Algorithms can be selected to suit the network characteristics and
requirements of the host's installation. The modular congestion control
framework also makes it much easier for developers to implement new algorithms,
allowing FreeBSD's TCP to be at the forefront of advancements in this area,
while still maintaining the stability of its network stack.
FreeBSD Foundation sponsorship has allowed Swinburne University of Technology's
Centre for Advanced Internet Architectures to bring this TCP work into the
DAHDI (Digium/Asterisk Hardware Device Interface) is an open-source
device driver framework and a set of HW drivers for E1/T1, ISDN
digital and FXO/FXS analog cards.
The main goal of this funded project was to make it possible to use
FreeBSD as a base system for software PBX solutions.
Currently, most of the DAHDI bits have been ported, including the
DAHDI framework itself, HW drivers, TDMoE drivers, drivers for software
and HW echo cancellation (Octasic, VPMADT032) and HW transcoding (TC400B).
The project is hosted in the official DAHDI SVN repository.
misc/dahdi in the FreeBSD ports collection now contains the most
recent bits of DAHDI/FreeBSD and also some stuff that is not
available in DAHDI/FreeBSD SVN due to licensing and copyright
restrictions. These include the OSLEC echo canceller and the
experimental zaphfc driver.
Now that the project has completed, periodic merges will continue
from DAHDI/Linux SVN on a regular basis and new DAHDI/FreeBSD
releases will be rolled out. These will most likely be synchronized
with DAHDI/Linux releases.
contributed by Max Khon
KyivBSD was the second installment in a newly created series of
BSD-related conferences held in Ukraine. The conference was
attended by people from Ukraine as well as Russia, Belarus, and
Kazakhstan. The Foundation's financial support helped to make both
this and last year's conference possible.
This year we were able to attract new partners and sponsors. Last
year it was difficult to attract local companies as many were
unfamiliar with BSD. This year, having last year's success as an
example, was a lot easier. The local branch of D-Link was interested
in sponsoring the conference and gave away three brand new WiFi
routers. We received proposals from a few companies to place
advertisements at the conference for money, but at the moment, we
have no need for additional funds. We saw first-hand that many
companies, individuals, and users have become more aware of FreeBSD
and believe that the conference played a role in raising this
During the conference we ran a lottery with donated placards, books
and routers for prizes. The funds raised from the lottery will be
donated back to the Foundation at the end of this year.
The day after the conference we proctored the BSDA certification,
which was the nearest certification event this fall for exam
candidates from Russia and Kazakhstan. We were happy to provide
them with the opportunity to take the exam.
Looking forward to next year, we hope to attract even more companies
contributed by Alexander Yerenkow
Again this year, preceding the EuroBSDCon conferece, a FreeBSD
Developer Summit was held. Over 40 FreeBSD developers and guests
gathered for two days full of presentations, discussions, hacking
sessions and socializing at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
A wide variety of topics was touched upon: USB, toolchain,
documentation project, nanoBSD, pf, jails, PC-BSD, FreeNAS, event
timers, bug busting and PRs, ports tinderbox, auditing NFS,
kernel feature registration, libnetstat, ringmap, Google
Summer of Code, and the FreeBSD.org cluster management team.
More information on the developer summit, including slides for many
of the sessions, may be found on the FreeBSD project wiki:
The FreeBSD Foundation was pleased to sponsor EuroBSDCon 2010, which
took place at the Best Western Queens Hotel in Karlsruhe, Germany
along side a FreeBSD developer summit at the Karlsruhe Institute of
The conference, 8-10 October, 2010, included one day of tutorials
and two days of technical programme, as well as a social event.
The tutorial day featured the following FreeBSD-related sessions:
- Kirk McKusick's introduction to the FreeBSD open-source
- Adrian Steinmann's introduction to NETGRAPH on FreeBSD systems
Talks in the main technical programme covered a variety of topics
spanning the BSDs, including the following FreeBSD-related talks:
- FreeBSD Jails - notes jotted on the prison wall
- Running the new FreeBSD jails
- VPS - Virtual Private Systems for FreeBSD
- The new USB stack in FreeBSD 8/9
- FreeBSD on Latest ARM Processors - EABI and Toolchain Approach
- Qmail in the FreeBSD universe
- What Functional Programming Can Do for FreeBSD and Vice Versa?
- Hacking NanoBSD for fun and profit - building a manageable
- PC-SYSINSTALL - A new installer backend for PC-BSD & FreeBSD
- From Mainframe to FreeBSD
- Binary Package Management and Object Oriented Shell Scripting
- Quo vadis ZFS
- Journaled Soft-updates
- Using FreeBSD in a Commercial Environment
More information about the conference, including slides from many
BSD conferences are a vital venue for the BSD user and developer
communities, and the FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to be able to
support EuroBSDCon and similar conferences around the world.
BSDday Argentina is a technical conference on BSD systems and
philosophy organized by and for developers, sysadmins, users and
people interested in BSD issues. BSDday Argentina was held on
November 5 and 6 at the University of Buenos Aires, in Buenos Aires
City, and admission was free. The conference was held for a second
consecutive year in Argentina and attracted attendees from other
countries such as Uruguay and Chile. We hope that in the coming
years more attendees from several Latin American countries will
During the conference it was possible to listen to 8 different
speakers delivering 10 talks, most of which were FreeBSD-related.
The conference also had a time slot for the BSDA certification exam.
In the end, 2 lighting talks which arose spontaneously were added
to the schedule.
This year the conference took a huge step forward by adding
international speakers and developers such as Brooks Davis (FreeBSD),
Alex Hornung (DragonFlyBSD) and Daniel Braniss (FreeBSD), to whom
we are very grateful for taking part in the conference.
Although a few electrical problems arose at the University -the
conference opened with emergency power and some tango music played
by one of the organizers- it was immediately solved by delivering
the talks at the bar while having cool beers.
As a result of the conference, ideas for several projects emerged
and other projects were formally announced. Attendees began
discussions about the possibility of creating a BSD user group for
areas that lack a local FreeBSD, NetBSD or PCBSD user group, and
including their respective local mirrors. At this time, there is
only one OpenBSD local user group and official mirror (OpenBSDeros.org)
in Argentina. The idea is to repeat the experiences of this group
for the other BSD systems. Another issue that was discussed was the
possibility of using FreeBSD for the computer cluster at the
University of Buenos Aires, which is currently using GNU/Linux.
Finally, the "Cluster Bicentenario" project was formally announced;
this is a free cluster created with recycled hardware running
Due to the FreeBSD Foundation it was possible to take a huge step
with regards to the quality of the speakers and the talks delivered,
and to have first-line international participation by BSD developers.
This spread great enthusiasm throughout the local community, and
also attracted new people to the BSD world. With the help of the
FreeBSD Foundation it was possible to afford air tickets and hotel
fees for foreign speakers. This gave the conference a considerable
step in quality, thus consolidating BSDday as a BSD meeting to be
added to the list of annual BSD conferences.
You will find conference photos and videos at the official website,
contributed by Hernan Costante
MeetBSD California was a dynamic entity driven by a passion for BSD.
The MeetBSD "Unconference2 format featured break-out sessions,
informal discussions, and 5-10 minute "speedgeeking" talks,
as well as longer talks from well-seasoned BSD experts.
There were approximately 125 attendees representing DragonFly BSD,
OpenBSD, NetBSD, and FreeBSD at MeetBSD California. A FreeBSD
Developer Summit was led by Warner Losh on the first day,
consisting mostly of local FreeBSD committers but with a handful
of international developers also in attendance.
With the help of the FreeBSD Foundation's generous sponsorship, we
were able to keep registration costs to a minimal fee of $25, while
still offering an impressive assortment of schwag, talks, promotional
materials, and snacks/meals. The FreeBSD Foundation had a sponsor
table at the conference staffed by Dru Lavigne.
A significant advantage of MeetBSD's Unconference format was the
ability to discuss relevant BSD-related topics in a dynamic group
setting, without the need for months of email and phone conversations.
For instance, an attendee-driven virtualization discussion led to
virtualization breakout sessions and an examination of VNET and its
limitations. Potential solutions were discussed, and a working DomU
solution for FreeBSD was prioritized. These issues will be revisited
in follow-up sessions at the BSDCan 2011 Dev Summit.
All in all the event was a huge success. Attendees were able to talk
about the topics of greatest interest and relevance to them, and
enjoyed the lunchtime BBQ consisting of burgers, hot dogs, and
assorted condiments. The after party was also a big hit. Conference
organizers and attendees were able to unwind after a productive
two days of BSD interaction. The party highlight took place when
our mascot, Beastie, came out on the dance floor and jammed on the
We were pleased by the overwhelmingly positive response to our
Survey Question: Would you attend MeetBSD California again?
Why or why not?
"Yes. Chance to meet with awesome hackers and discuss interesting
things." -James E. Pace
"Sure. It's a nice opportunity to discuss a lot of topics
face-to-face." - Stanislav Sedov
"Yes, as a center of BSD development its good to keep this
conference going." - Sean Bruno
"DEFINITELY." - David O'Brien
"Of course! But only if you make Theo come. j/k" - Vivek Ayer
Thank you to the FreeBSD Foundation for helping ensure the success
of MeetBSD California 2010.
contributed by Denise Ebery of iXsystems
NYCBSDCon 2010 was a success with over 150 attendees from around the world.
2010 was a year of firsts for us. This was our first time at Cooper
Union and the first year we used The BSD Fund as a fiscal steward for
With the financial support of the FreeBSD Foundation, we were able to
bring together the BSD developer community, the students of Cooper
Union and various end users from various parts of the globe.
NYCBSDCon 2010 was the bridge to learning more about BSD that it
always strives to be. Showing that the BSD community is approachable,
down to earth and active in both commercial and research ventures.
We would like to thank the Cooper Union for the advancement of science
and art, for allowing us to use 41 Cooper Square for the convention.
The Cooper Union is a college who admits undergraduates solely on
merit and awards full scholarships to all enrolled students.
contributed by Mark Saad
Every year we sponsor FreeBSD related conferences, projects, and
developer travel. We believe that BSD-centered and FreeBSD-specific
conferences play critical roles in expanding the FreeBSD user
community and supporting collaborative development. Our grants may
be for something as little as performance software to large projects
like Network Stack Virtualization.
To find out how to apply for a travel grant, please visit
To get information on how to apply for a grant, please visit
Here is a list of projects, developers, and conferences we have
sponsored for 2010.
2010 Conference Grant Recipients:
- AsiaBSDCon 2010 Conference
- BSDCan 2010 Conference
- MeetBSD Poland 2010 Conference
- MeetBSD California 2010 Conference
- NYCBSDCon 2010 Conference
- KyivBSD 2010 Conference
- EuroBSDCon 2010 Conference
- BSDDay Argentina 2010 Conference
2010 Project Grant Recipients:
University of Swinburne - Five New TCP Congestion Control Algorithms Project
Edward Tomasz Napierala - Resource Containers
Shteryana Shopova - BSNMP Improvements
Rui Paulo - Userland DTrace
Pawel Jakub Dawidek - High Available Storage Project
Rafal Jaworowski - Flattened Device Tree Project
Bjoern Zeeb - FreeBSD jail based virtualization
Max Khon - DAHDI FreeBSD driver port
Murray Stokely - Closed Captioning for FreeBSD Technical Videos
2010 Travel Grant Recipients:
- BSDCan - Ivor Prebeg, Renato Botelho do Couto,
Giovanni Trematerra, Barry Steyn, Lawrence Stewart, Daichi Goto,
Attilio Rao, Richard Macklem, Florent Thoumie, Christian Brueffer,
Jonathan Anderson, and Gavin Atkinson.
- AsiaBSDCon - Andrew Turner
EuroBSDCon - Daihi Goto, Efstratios Karatzas, Lars Engels, and
Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) creates, enhances and integrates technology and
services customers count on to provide them reliable, long-term
value. Dell provides system-management solutions for customers of
all sizes and system complexity. The award-winning Dell KACE family
of appliances delivers easy-to-use, comprehensive, and affordable
systems management capabilities. For more information, visit http://www.dell.com/KACE or
follow the conversation at http://twitter.com/DellKACE.
We're grateful to you for creating the best, most reliable open
operating system available today. At KACE, we've depended on
FreeBSD for over 7 years as an essential component in the development
of our leading systems management appliances. We initially chose
FreeBSD because it is robust, scalable and offered under an
unencumbered open source license that allowed KACE to freely develop
software without the limitations imposed by other licenses. Moving
forward, we'll continue to use FreeBSD for those very same
reasons. As an integral part of our solution, and because FreeBSD
continues to work so well, our products have developed a reputation
for reliability that has helped fuel our company's success.
Based on our experience, we plan to expand our use of FreeBSD
within KACE, as well as to evangelize its benefits throughout the
In addition to the robustness and scalability of the OS, we also value
the immense support offered by the community and the FreeBSD ecosystem.
FreeBSD truly exemplifies the way that the open source community is
meant to work - a meritocracy in which the sum of the parts is
greater than the individual pieces. Working with the community is
continually a pleasure, and only enhances our ability to creatively
develop our products. KACE continues to recognize the importance of
the community through our enthusiastic support, and as we grow, we
hope to develop more community members and participate in ways that
deliver even greater benefits to all.
Simply put, FreeBSD makes this world a better place.
-Marty Kacin, Dell KACE CTO, Dell KACE
2010 Q1-Q3 Profit/Loss
2010 Q1-Q3 Balance Sheet
are posted on our website.