2013 Project Announcements
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Konstantin Belousov
has been hired as its first full-time member of technical staff, a key
milestone of the Foundation's investment in staff for 2013.
Konstantin has been a FreeBSD committer since 2006, and he recently
implemented support for current-generation Intel graphics controllers
under contract to the FreeBSD Foundation. This new position will
allow him to spend his full working time on supporting and improving
Konstantin's first project brings support for unmapped I/O to FreeBSD.
The unmapped I/O project improves performance by avoiding mapping
buffers in the buffer cache, significantly reducing overhead on
multi-processor systems. The project builds on foundational work to
unify machine-dependent parts of the busdma interface, recently
contributed by Jeff Robertson at EMC's Isilon Storage Division.
EMC became a FreeBSD foundation donor in 2012.
Netflix, another new Foundation donor for 2012, is already making use of
this project. "Netflix partnered closely with Konstantin to provide
design input and testing resources for the unmapped I/O project. The
work helped us realize an immediate 25% increase in system performance
on production workloads. It underscores the immense value of
collaborating and investing in the open source community and FreeBSD
in particular," said Scott Long, Senior Software Engineer at Netflix.
Konstantin has also been working with the release engineering team
since 2008 and his new role with the Foundation will allow him to
focus more time on the tools and process used to make FreeBSD
Konstantin lives in Kiev, Ukraine.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Benno Rice
has been awarded a grant to implement the ability to boot
FreeBSD in the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)
The work to be done includes a new version of the loader,
kernel modifications to support starting from a UEFI environment
and the ability to create install media for pure UEFI systems.
"UEFI support is critical for FreeBSD's future on the amd64
platform and I'm really pleased to be able to ensure that
FreeBSD gains support for it," said Benno.
This project is expected to be completed in March 2013.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Semihalf, an
embedded solutions company, has been awarded a grant to develop
transparent superpages support for the FreeBSD/arm architecture.
Semihalf is co-sponsoring the project with the foundation.
The ARM architecture is already common in the mobile and embedded
markets, and is becoming more prevalent in the server market. Among
the more interesting industry trends emerging recently is the 64-bit
ARMv8 architecture, which as an "ARM server" concept. Many top tier
companies have started developing systems or are announcing products
with this architecture.
One of the features needed for FreeBSD to be successful in this area
is transparent super pages. This provides improved performance and
scalability by allowing TLB translations to dynamically cover large
physical memory regions.
The project is expected to complete in mid July 2013.
2012 Project Announcements
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Aleksandr Rybalko
has been awarded a grant to port FreeBSD to the Genesi Efika MX SmartBook
laptop and SmartTop nettop devices.
Both use the Freescale i.MX515, an ARM Cortex-A8 System-on-Chip (SoC).
These low power devices will provide convenient reference platforms for
FreeBSD on ARM, as they are low-cost complete systems. The Smartbook
includes a 10" display, 3G connectivity and a battery life of 6 to 8
hours for $199.
When this project is completed, it will be possible to run X11 applications
on FreeBSD on the Efika, with full support for sound and networking. It
will also make it much easier to support other devices, such as some Android
tablets, that ship with the i.MX515 SoC.
This project will be completed by the end of 2012.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Pawel Jakub
Dawidek has been awarded a grant to develop a comprehensive
userspace framework for writing Capsicum-based applications,
building on the kernel features originally developed by the University
of Cambridge and Google Research.
This framework will include a Capsicum runtime linker and component
library providing sandboxed versions of key higher-level system libraries.
Components will both be sandboxed, improving resistance to vulnerabilities,
and also easily available for delegation to sandboxed applications, such
as the Chromium web browser. The prototype libcapsicum developed by
Cambridge will be analyzed and updated based on lessons learned in
implementing Capsicumised software packages, such as hastd and auditdistd.
Funding for this project will be provided by the FreeBSD Foundation matched
100% by the Google Open Source Program Office, in support of open source
technology transition of Capsicum.
"A continuing challenge in security is to find solutions that not only
fix the problems but also can be applied to existing technologies:
attractive though the notion is, we are not going to persuade the
world to rewrite everything! This is why we at Google are pleased and
excited to support the continuing development of Capsicum, which
radically improves the security of UNIX based systems whilst allowing
a continuous migration path from today's mechanisms to tomorrow's,"
said Ben Laurie, Google Senior Staff Software Engineer.
"I'm very excited to be able to work on Capsicum. Some of my software is already
using Capsicum, so I'm fully aware of the great potential of this framework.
This technology is so much superior than the current attempts to provide
sandboxing using tools like chroot(2) or unprivileged user credentials.
No matter how corny it sounds, I strongly believe Capsicum can make the
Internet a safer place." said Pawel.
This project will conclude in August, 2012
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Edward Tomasz
Napierala has been awarded a grant to implement the ability to grow
filesystems while they are mounted.
Users of FreeBSD in a virtualized environment will be pleased with
with the increased ease of deployment afforded by the ability to grow
mounted filesystems" said Ed Maste, Director, The FreeBSD Foundation.
This project will add GEOM and filesystem changes that are necessary to
increase the size of both UFS and ZFS filesystems while a filesystem
is mounted read-write. This project will provide the additional
benefit of online provisioning of virtual instances.
The Foundation is pleased to be working with Edward again. He
was previously awarded a grant to implement resource containers
and a simple per-jail resource limits mechanism. This work was
included in FreeBSD 9.0 RELEASE.
This project is expected to be completed by October 2012.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Semihalf, an
embedded solutions company, has been awarded a grant to bring their
comprehensive NAND Flash file system and storage stack to FreeBSD.
This technology enables FreeBSD to natively manage NAND Flash
devices, satisfying a crucial requirement for many applications
needing access to fast, reliable, non-volatile storage.
FreeBSD is widely used as the OS foundation of embedded appliances
both small and large. Semihalf's NAND Flash stack opens new
opportunities for FreeBSD in this space, where size, cost, or
performance, mandate the use of direct attached NAND Flash.
Made possible by matching funds from Juniper Networks, this FreeBSD
Foundation grant covers the costs of transferring technology
developed for Juniper Networks by Semihalf to the FreeBSD
project. This will ensure that the NAND framework meets
community standards and can be easily maintained and enhanced.
Highlighting the return on investment offered by this kind of
technology transfer, FreeBSD Foundation president Justin T. Gibbs,
"Open sourcing enhancements that do not expose 'business critical
intellectual property' reduces the cost of managing a FreeBSD
distribution that has been customized for a product. The NAND
subsystem is a perfect example of how technology transfer
benefits both the FreeBSD community and its commercial users.
We'd like to thank Semihalf and Juniper for partnering with us
to make the code available under a BSD license"
The NAND Flash subsystem consists of a driver framework for NAND
controllers and memory chips, a NAND device simulator and a fault
tolerant, log-structured file system, tailored to meet the unique
challenges of NAND flash storage. The package includes all the
tools, utilities and documentation needed to deploy this technology
in custom applications.
"A reliable file system that supports NAND Flash is critical for
Juniper's ongoing success," said Marcel Moolenaar, Distinguished
Engineer, Juniper Networks. "But since storage isn't Juniper's core
business, we were eager to find a solution that would put the
implementation and support of the file system in the most capable
hands. We reached out to Semihalf and ultimately the Foundation to
help us achieve our goals. Juniper cannot be more pleased to have
the NAND Flash file system and NAND Flash framework present in the
next major FreeBSD version as a standard feature and under the care
of the community."
"We are very glad to have the NAND framework made available for the
general FreeBSD audience, reaffirming the system as a versatile
platform for appliances and other embedded and industrial designs,"
said Rafal Jaworowski of Semihalf.
The Foundation is pleased to be working with Semihalf again. They
were previously awarded a grant to bring "Flattened Device Tree"
support to FreeBSD. This new feature in FreeBSD 9.0 has been
well received by the FreeBSD community.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Paweł Jakub Dawidek has
been awarded a grant to implement auditdistd daemon.
The FreeBSD audit facility provides fine-grained, configurable logging
of security-relevant events. One of the key purposes of logging
security events is postmortem analysis in case of system compromise.
Currently the kernel can push audit records directly into a file or make
them available through /dev/auditpipe device. Because audit logs are
stored locally by the kernel, an attacker has access to them once the
system is compromised, which enables him to remove trails of his
The auditdistd project goal is to securely and reliabily distribute
audit records over the TCP/IP network from a local auditdistd daemon to
a remote auditdistd daemon. In case of source system compromise,
attacker's activity can be analysed using data collected by the remote
system, as only remote system's audit logs can be trusted then.
The project will conclude in February 2012.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded Bjoern
Zeeb a grant to analyze the performance of FreeBSD's IPv6 stack. This
project is jointly sponsored with iXsystems.
Last year, Bjoern improved FreeBSD IPv6 support, allowing the
possibility to build a FreeBSD system without IPv4 support. This project
will continue on this work and concentrate on the kernel, looking at the
performance of FreeBSD's IPv6 stack. Various parties have seen lower
performance when comparing IPv4 to IPv6 on FreeBSD. While the numbers
seem to differ between releases the causes are mostly unknown.
The project will carry out a detailed performance analysis starting with
benchmarking IPv6 to IPv4 to get up-to-date numbers to better understand
where we are. It will then continue to identify the origins of
differences in performance, and where possible, directly address them or
identify areas of future work. Having initial benchmark numbers will
allow changes to be evaluated by re-running the measurements and
quantifying the improvements.
"As the world starts to roll out IPv6 and traffic patterns shift from
IPv4 to IPv6, not only correctness and stability, but also feature
parity and performance matter," said developer Bjoern Zeeb. "Getting the
performance numbers aligning with IPv4 will ensure that our users will
not need more resources when using IPv6."
"ISC uses FreeBSD extensively across our server infrastructure and have
provided IPv6 services to the community since 2002," commented Peter Losher,
ISC Sr. Operations Engineer. "We are excited to support The FreeBSD Foundation
and Bjoern's efforts to improve IPv6 performance in FreeBSD."
Bjoern Zeeb is a consultant based in Germany and has been an active
FreeBSD committer since 2004. He is currently also a member of the
FreeBSD Security and Release Engineering teams.
2011 Project Announcements
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Swinburne University
of Technology's Centre for Advanced Internet Architectures has
been awarded a grant to implement DIFFUSE for FreeBSD.
DIFFUSE (Distributed Firewall and Flow-shaper Using Statistical
Evidence) is an extension to the FreeBSD IPFW firewall subsystem
developed by CAIA. It allows
IPFW to classify traffic based on statistical properties of flows being
observed in realtime, and instantiate network actions across a
distributed set of "action nodes" for particular flows if required.
This project will tidy up and integrate the
prototype into FreeBSD, and incorporate a number of important new
features. Integration of DIFFUSE into FreeBSD will increase FreeBSD's
utility to designers and implementers of FreeBSD-based networking
Network architects frequently require the ability to classify different
traffic types flowing across a network, typically using packet
inspection capabilities of base system tools such as ipfw and pf.
Traffic classification then enables the provision of customized service
levels to different traffic types (such as priority packet queuing and
forwarding, or allocation of specific bandwidth guarantees).
DIFFUSE uses machine learning techniques to enable robust and efficient
classification of IP traffic flows based on their unique statistical
properties in addition to traditional inspection of packet header or
payload contents. DIFFUSE also allows traffic classification to occur in
one place (e.g. in the core of a network) and trigger traffic shaping
and differentiation elsewhere (e.g. at the edges of a network). DIFFUSE
has applications in ISP, residential broadband and large corporate
network scenarios to name a few.
The project will conclude the end of October 2011.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that David Chisnall has been
awarded a grant to implement xlocale APIs to enable porting libc++.
The C standard library (libc) is one of the most important parts of a UNIX
system as most programs interact with the kernel through interfaces written
in C. Porting code between platforms with similar libc implementations is
trivial and if something is supported by libc, higher-level languages can
use it without being reimplemented.
Over time, the C language has slowly evolved to modern multicore systems,
but there are still some places that are problematic. One of these is
localization as C began originally had no localization support. FreeBSD
libc and Darwin libc (used by Mac OS X) are similar, making it much easier
to port code from OS X to FreeBSD than from OS X to Linux. The libc used
by OS X supports a set of extended locale functions (xlocale) that allow
locale to be set on a per-thread basis.
Additionally, libc++, from the LLVM project, was originally developed on
Darwin, so it uses xlocale for most of the C++ locale support. The lack
of this support is the primary obstacle to porting it to FreeBSD.
Once xlocale is supported in FreeBSD libc, we can port libc++ to FreeBSD,
giving us an MIT-licensed C++11 standard library implementation. This, in
conjunction with Clang and libcxxrt, means that the entire C++ stack in
FreeBSD will be free of any GNU code. This leaves the linker as the only
significant obstacle to a GPL-free FreeBSD 10.
The project will conclude the end of September 2011.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded
Bjoern Zeeb a grant to improve the maturity of IPv6 support in FreeBSD
and PC-BSD. This project is jointly sponsored with iXsystems.
FreeBSD's KAME-based reference implementation of IPv6 first appeared
in FreeBSD 4.0, and can be found in a broad range of FreeBSD-derived
commercial products. To date, IPv6 has been an optionally configured
feature present in the default FreeBSD kernel; however, IPv6
configuration has implied configuration of IPv4. With much "IPv6-ready"
application software relying on dual-stack behavior, broken IPv6
applications go unnoticed. Adding support for an IPv6 kernel without
IPv4 will make FreeBSD and PC-BSD an ideal test and development
platform for both open source and proprietary IPv6-aware application software.
"Narrowing down the code base to not rely on legacy IP will help us to
identify OS and application components requiring improvement to work well
in an IPv6 environment. This project will help to ensure a bright IPv6
future, as FreeBSD is used throughout the Internet: root name servers,
storage appliances, routers, firewalls, TVs, desktop and mobile systems,
and many of the world's busiest web sites," said Mr. Zeeb. FreeBSD
Foundation director and FreeBSD core team member Robert Watson described
the project as critical to the future of FreeBSD, "Bjoern's work will
not only improve the maturity of our IPv6 implementation, but also
motivate improvement of applications used in million of deployed FreeBSD
and FreeBSD-derived systems." The project will also improve the quality
and performance of FreeBSD's IPv6 stack.
Bjoern Zeeb is a consultant based in Germany and has been an active FreeBSD
committer since 2004. He is currently also a member of the FreeBSD Security
and Release Engineering teams, and was recently awarded the Itojun Service
Award for his work on IPv6 in FreeBSD.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Konstantin Belousov
has been awarded a grant to implement support of GEM, KMS, and DRI for
Intel Drivers. This project is being co-sponsored by iXsystems.
The project is to implement GEM, port KMS, and write new DRI drivers for
Intel Graphics, including the latest Sandy Bridge generation of integrated
graphic units. The work should allow the latest Intel open-source driver
to run on FreeBSD, expanding the range of hardware where FreeBSD is suitable
for the desktop.
"The Foundation's sponsored project will allow me to spend much more time
on this interesting work, and hopefully resolve the big issue for continuing
use of FreeBSD on the desktop," said Konstantine.
"Adding support for GEM/KMS will allow both FreeBSD and PC-BSD to run with
enhanced native graphic support on forthcoming advanced architectures with
integrated, 3d accelerated graphical capabilities," says Matt Olander, Chief
Technology Officer at iXsystems, Inc. "FreeBSD has long been dominant in
the server market and this is one more step towards making FreeBSD a complete
platform for netbooks, laptops, desktops, and servers. We are very pleased
to be a part of this project."
Konstantine is a software developer, living in Kiev, Ukraine. He was given
a src commit bit in 2006, and since then has spent most of his free time
on the OS, making bug fixes and implementing things he considers interesting.
He currently is also serving the project as release engineerand core team member.
2010 Project Announcements
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Julien Ridoux
and Darryl Veitch at the University of Melbourne have been awarded
a grant to implement support of feed-forward clock synchronization algorithms.
The Network Time Protocol (NTP) is widely used for synchronization over
the network and the ntpd daemon is the current reference synchronization
algorithm. The system clock in FreeBSD is currently designed with ntpd
in mind, leading to strong feedback coupling between the kernel and the
is an example of an alternative class of synchronization algorithms based
on feed-forward principles. This project will provide the core support
for feed-forward algorithms, so that alternatives to ntpd can be
developed and tested. The central motivation for this is the strong
potential of such approaches for highly robust and accurate synchronization.
Beyond this, virtualization is one of the next major challenges faced by
time keeping systems. The current feedback synchronization model is complex
and introduces its own dynamics, an approach that is not suited to the
requirements of virtualization. Feed-forward based synchronization offers
a cleaner and simpler approach, which is capable of providing accurate
time keeping over live migration of virtual machines.
This project will conclude in March 2011.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Swinburne University
of Technology's Centre for Advanced Internet Architectures has been awarded
a grant to implement Five new TCP Congestion Control Algorithms in FreeBSD.
Correctly functioning congestion control (CC) is crucial to the
efficient operation of the Internet and IP networks in general. CC
dynamically balances a flow's throughput against the inferred impact on
the network, lowering throughput to protect the network as required.
The FreeBSD operating system's TCP stack currently utilizes the defacto
standard NewReno loss-based CC algorithm, which has known problems
coping with many aspects of modern data networks like lossy or large
bandwidth/delay paths. There is significant and ongoing work both in the
research community and industry to address CC related problems, with a
particular focus on TCP because of its ubiquitous deployment and use.
Swinburne University of Technology's ongoing work with FreeBSD's TCP
stack and congestion control implementation has progressively matured.
This project aims to refine our prototypes and integrate them into FreeBSD.
The project will conclude in January 2011
Max Khon has been awarded a grant to finish the DAHDI FreeBSD driver port.
The purpose of DAHDI/FreeBSD project is to make it possible to use
FreeBSD as a base system for software PBX solutions.
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 (http://www.asterisk.org/dahdi/). Asterisk is
one of the most popular open-source software PBX solutions
The project includes porting DAHDI framework and HW drivers for E1/T1,
FXO/FXS analog and ISDN digital cards to FreeBSD. This also includes
TDMoE support, software and HW echo cancellation (Octasic, VPMADT032)
and HW transcoding support (TC400B). The work is ongoing in the official
DAHDI SVN repository with the close collaboration with DAHDI folks at
The project is nearing its completion: DAHDI framework and HW drivers
telephony cards has been ported and tested. There are a number of
success stories from early adopters who use E1/T1 and FXO/FXS cards on FreeBSD for several months.
This project will be completed in September 2010.
Edward Tomasz Napierala has been awarded a grant to implement resource
containers and a simple per-jail resource limits mechanism.
Unlike Solaris zones, 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
utilisation, 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 could also be used to provide precise
resource usage accounting for administrative or billing purposes.
"It's great that the Foundation decided to fund this project", Edward noted.
"It will make jail-based virtualization a much better choice in many scenarios,
for example for Virtual Private Server providers."
This project will be completed December, 2010.
Rui Paulo has been awarded a grant to add DTrace userland support to FreeBSD.
DTrace is a general purpose and lightweight tracing framework that
allows administrators, developers and users to investigate causes of
system failure or performance bottlenecks. The FreeBSD operating system
has had support for kernel-only DTrace since FreeBSD 8.0, but DTrace
userland support was missing. Having userland support in DTrace allows
inspection of userland software itself and its correlation with the
kernel, thus allowing a much better picture of what exactly is going on
behind the scenes.
This project will first concentrate on adding libproc support for symbol
to address mapping, address to symbol mapping, breakpoint setup and the
rtld interactions with DTrace. Next it will focus on DTrace process
control, importing the pid provider and adapting it to FreeBSD and
porting the userland statically defined probe provider (usdt). Finally
it will bring in the plockstat provider.
"By having userland DTrace support, companies can make their
products perform much better on FreeBSD due to the fact that they now
have access to this amazing tool," said FreeBSD developer Rui Paulo.
He also said, "When we mix the userland support with the kernel side
DTrace support, we can also make FreeBSD a better operating system because
we can investigate performance bottlenecks much easier."
The project should be completed by September 2010.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Shteryana
Shopova has been awarded a grant to make improvements to BSNMP.
This project includes several enhancements to the existing FreeBSD
SNMP framework, including SNMPv3-compliant user authentication, packet
encryption and view-based access control. In addition, the project
also includes a new module that will allow full SNMP management and
monitoring of the FreeBSD wireless networking stack. When the
project is completed, FreeBSD should be the OS of choice when building
open source-based embedded wireless appliances due to the advanced
capabilities of its wireless network stack, and the light-weight,
secure and complete management solution that bsnmpd(1) will provide
out of the box. Existing FreeBSD installations that use bsnmpd(1) for
monitoring will also benefit from the added security and finer-grained
access-control to SNMP data.
"SNMP is the defacto standard for network monitoring," said Shteryana
Shopova, FreeBSD developer. She also added, "SNMP is used
everywhere - in network servers, switches, routers, firewalls,
workstations, ip phones, printers, UPSs, all sorts of embedded
appliances. I am happy to have the opportunity to work on several
additions to bsnmpd(1) that have been requested by the FreeBSD
This project will be completed in October 2010.
Bjoern A. Zeeb has been awarded a grant to improve FreeBSD's jail based
virtualization infrastructure and to continue to work on the virtual network
stack. His employer, CK Software GmbH is matching the Foundation's funding with hours.
FreeBSD has been well known for its jail based virtualization during the last decade.
With the import of the virtual network stack, FreeBSD's operating system level
virtualization has reached a new level.
This project includes cleanup of two years of import work and development and, more
notably, brings the infrastructure for a network stack teardown. Cleanly shutting
down a network stack in FreeBSD will be the major challenge in the virtualization area
to get the new feature to production ready quality for the 9.x release lifecycle.
Further, the project includes generalization of the virtual network stack framework,
factoring out common code. This will provide an infrastructure and will ease virtualization
of further subsystems like SYSV/Posix IPC with minimal overhead. All further virtualized
subsystems will immediately benefit from shared debugging facilities, an essential feature
for early adopters of the new technology.
"Improved jail based virtualization support, that continues to be very lightweight and as
easily manageable as classic jails, will be a killer feature for the next few years," said
Bjoern A. Zeeb, FreeBSD developer. He also added, "It will allow people to partition their
FreeBSD server, run simulations without racks of hardware, or provide thousands of virtual
instances in hosting environments fairly easy and efficiently. While this follows the trend
of green computing, it also adds to FreeBSD's virtualization portfolio with Xen or other more
heavyweight hypervisor support, which can be mixed with jails as needed."
While work in this area will have to continue, the funding for this project will end mid-July 2010.
2009 Project Announcements
Paweł Jakub Dawidek has been awarded a grant to implement storage
replication software that will enable users to use the FreeBSD operating
system for highly available configurations where data has to be shared
across the cluster nodes. The project is partly being funded by OMCnet
Internet Service GmbH and TransIP BV.
The software will allow for synchronous block-level replication of any
storage media (GEOM providers, using FreeBSD nomenclature) over the
TCP/IP network and for fast failure recovery. HAST will provide storage
using GEOM infrastructure, which means it will be file system and
application independent and could be combined with any existing GEOM
class. In case of a master node failure, the cluster will be able to
switch to the slave node, check and mount UFS file system or import ZFS
pool and continue to work without missing a single bit of data.
"High-availability is the number one requirement for any serious use of
any operating system," said Pawel Jakub Dawidek, FreeBSD Developer.
"Highly available storage is one of the key components in such
environments. I strongly believe there are many FreeBSD users that have
been waiting a long time for this functionality. I'll do my best to
deliver software that matches FreeBSD quality and that will satisfy the
needs of our users."
Pawel has been an active FreeBSD committer since 2003. During this
period, he has touched almost every part of the kernel. But, his main
interest in FreeBSD is storage and security related topics. Pawel is the
author of various GEOM classes (eli, mirror, gate, label, journal, hsec,
etc.), geom(8) utility, various opencrypto improvements as well as port
of the ZFS file system from OpenSolaris to FreeBSD.
The project will complete by February 2010.
Rafal Jaworowski and Semihalf has been awarded a grant to provide FreeBSD
with support for the flattened device tree (FDT) technology. This project
allows for describing hardware resources of a computer system and their
dependencies in a platform-neutral and portable way.
The main consumers of this functionality are embedded systems whose
hardware resources assignment cannot be probed or self-discovered.
The FDT idea is inherited from Open Firmware IEEE 1275 device-tree
notion (part of the regular Open Firmware implementation), and among
other deployments is used as a basis for Power.org's embedded platform
reference specification (ePAPR).
"Thanks to this project, embedded FreeBSD platforms will grow in a
uniform and extensible way of representing hardware devices, compliant
with industry standards (ePAPR, Open Firmware), independent of
architecture and platform (portable across ARM, MIPS, PowerPC etc.),"
said Rafal Jaworowski, FreeBSD Developer.
Semihalf is a privately owned company, based in Krakow, Poland.
They specialize in embedded systems design and development, with expertise
in both software and hardware. Among their portfolio are FreeBSD ports to
high-end embedded processors (including multi-core) with a wide range of
peripheral drivers (storage, networking, pattern matching, security engines
etc.); most of this work is publicly available from the FreeBSD repository.
You can find out more about the project at
This project will complete by February 2010.
Ed Schouten has been awarded a grant to write a new console driver for
the FreeBSD project. We are excited to support Ed in providing a more
efficient and user friendly console driver.
This project will allow Ed to add an additional abstraction layer to the
kernel. This new layer, the terminal layer will be a layer that sits
between the TTY layer, the kernel console (cngetc, cnputc) and the
actual console driver. Right now we have a terminal emulator (libteken)
that is part of Syscons. This terminal emulator will be moved into this
The advantage of having such a layer, is that the console driver itself
does not have to care about any TTY semantics, streams of bytes,
processing escape sequences, etc. It will just receive a set of
character drawing, filling and copying actions. This should also make it
easier to implement Unicode.
"During this project I'm going to continue the work I did with the TTY
layer, by developing a new console driver for the FreeBSD kernel," said
Ed Schouten, FreeBSD Developer. "By moving towards a graphics mode
console driver, it will be much easier to make the boot process look
nice on desktop systems (i.e. PC-BSD). It will also make it possible to
support the industry-standard Unicode character sets by default."
This project will be completed by the end of December.
Mark Linimon has been awarded a grant to prototype a new problem
reporting system for the FreeBSD project. This project will allow Mark
to define the features, look-and-feel, and architecture of a future
replacement of the project's current GNATs based system. Once the
prototype is complete, it will be used to garner input from the FreeBSD
community before a production system is implemented.
"One of the most frequently requested improvements from the FreeBSD
developer community is an improved bug tracking system," said Mark
Linimon. He also added, "The design goals of this prototype are
to incorporate such features as markedly improved workflow, better
categorization, customizable email notifications, and redesigned web
pages to make searching and browsing easier."
"Once the prototype is completed," Mark added, "it will be circulated
amongst the developer community for feedback. I am happy to have the
Foundation's support to work on this project."
"Problem reporting software is a critical tool for getting feedback
from the FreeBSD user community, recording information about defects
and missing features in the system, and making our volunteer developers
productive," said Justin Gibbs, Founder of the FreeBSD Foundation.
"Mark has used manpower and sheer will to overcome the deficiencies
in the current problem reporting system, and to make it work for the
project. But our GNATs isn't fully utilized because of missing features
and a clumsy user interface. We're very excited to help address these
problems in a core piece of the FreeBSD project's infrastructure."
This project will be completed by the end of June.
Arnar Mar Sig has been awarded a grant to develop AVR32 support for FreeBSD. AVR32 is a 32-bit RISC architecture targeted for low power high
throughput embedded applications. The target platform is the NGW100 reference design board from Atmel.
"This work will advance the RISC support in FreeBSD and our capabilities
in building embedded applications," said Sam Leffler, The FreeBSD
"I'm excited to be able to work on bringing FreeBSD to another
architecture and pushing it farther into the embedded market," said
Arnar Mar Sig, FreeBSD developer.
The project will be completed by August 2009.
Rui Paulo will be implementing the forthcoming IEEE 802.11s wireless mesh standard for FreeBSD.
Wireless mesh networks are expected to become widespread as routers and network appliances deploy
them, allowing wireless networks to be built and extended dynamically. Support for the standard
will allow FreeBSD consumers to take advantage of this new technology.
"As well as end-users, FreeBSD-based product vendors will benefit from access to mesh networking technology
in building future versions of their products," said Robert Watson, president of the FreeBSD Foundation.
"I am thrilled to be bringing such an exciting and technically advanced feature to the FreeBSD operating system,"
said FreeBSD Developer Rui Paulo.
The project will be completed by July 2009.
2008 Project Announcements
The project is to make FreeBSD tolerate the removal of active disk
devices, such as when a USB flash device with a mounted filesystems is
physically detached by a user. Currently the system may panic in this
situation. The work involves adding proper reference counting to
strategic portions of the kernel and modifying filesystems to properly
handle "device lost" errors.
Edward Tomasz Napierala is the developer working on this project.
"We are very excited to be able to fund this project, which we know is
of great interest to our users, especially in the desktop space," said
Robert Watson, president of The FreeBSD Foundation.
Robert also said, "The removable USB disk causing a crash turns out to
be our #1 reported bug."
"I am very happy to have the opportunity to work on this exciting
project," said Edward Tomasz Napierala, FreeBSD developer. "It's just
wrong when the system panics because you removed the pendrive!," he added.
The project will be completed by February 2009.
The FreeBSD Foundation is very pleased to announce the next in a series
of developer grants. This grant has been awarded to Lawrence Stewart
and Swinburne University of
Technology's Centre for Advanced Internet Architectures (CAIA) for
improvements to the FreeBSD TCP stack. This three-part project will include implementing
Appropriate Byte Counting (ABC) RFC3465 support, adapting and merging
CAIA's Statistical Information for TCP Research (SIFTR) TCP analysis
tool into FreeBSD, and making improvements to the TCP reassembly queue.
"These changes target both improved performance and improved quality of
the FreeBSD TCP stack through feature enhancements and integrated
testing," said Professor Grenville Armitage, CAIA's Director.
He also added, "We use FreeBSD daily in our IP networking research
testbeds and for our centre's various servers, so we're looking forward
to contributing these TCP improvements to the FreeBSD community."
"Supporting the technology transfer of advanced systems research, such
as CAIA's work on the FreeBSD network stack, is a critically important
role for The FreeBSD Foundation to play," said Robert Watson, president
of The FreeBSD Foundation.
The project will be completed by July 2009.
The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce continued funding of
the network stack virtualization project, made possible by a grant from NLNet.
The virtualized network stack will significantly enhance FreeBSD's jail functionality,
allowing jails to have their own complete and locally administered network stacks,
including firewalls, routing, and IPsec configurations. The Foundation will be sponsoring
Bjoern Zeeb, a FreeBSD network developer, to enhance the existing prototype, now being
merged into FreeBSD 8.x, as well as provide code review.