The FreeBSD core team elections are over, and the new core team decided. The nine member team is comprised of five new members (John Baldwin, Jun Kuriyama, Mark Murray, Murray Stokely and Wes Peters) and four returning members (Greg Lehey, Warner Losh, Robert Watson and Peter Wemm). Not returning (now alumni) are David Greenman and Doug Rabson.
A document on the FreeBSD website explains, "The FreeBSD core team constitutes the project's ``Board of Directors'', responsible for deciding the project's overall goals and direction as well as managing specific areas of the FreeBSD project landscape." The new team members take office Monday, July 8th, 2002.
Kenneth Merry recently announced, "I'm planning on checking in the zero copy sockets code Tuesday evening, MDT." He has a web page set up with quite a bit of information for the curious, including a full changelog. The main zero copy patch was written by Drew Gallatin and is mentioned by several of these documents.
The "Zero Copy" patch removes the copying of buffers from the user process into the kernel when sending packets, and the copying of buffers from the kernel into the user process when recieving packets, offering a performance gain. Details on how this is accomplished can be found in the FAQ on the page linked above. The FAQ also explains that there is still another copy that happens, "The DMA or copy from the kernel into the NIC, or from the NIC into the kernel is not the copy that is being eliminated. In fact you can't eliminate that copy without taking packet processing out of the kernel altogether. (i.e. the kernel has to see the packet headers in order to determine what to do with the payload)"
The question of NFS server performance amongst the many server types was raised recently on the FreeBSD hackers mailing list. Terry Lambert pointed out that all client implementations are tuned differently, explaining, "If you're asking about a server and not a client, then you would be better of asking about the particular client by name vs. each of the possible server choices."
Matt Simerson offered another opinion, citing tests he performed two years ago. At that time, he concluded that the FreeBSD NFS implementation "solidly outperformed every other NFS server", though acknowledging that "its NFS is missing locking support".
A request for ideas on possible FreeBSD projects for a graduate student on the FreeBSD hackers mailing list led to an interesting email from Terry Lambert looking at several potential networking projects. He details several, including LRP (Lazy Receiver Processing), TCP Rate Halving (fast congestion recovery), SACK (Selective Acknowledgment), FACK (Forward Acknowledgment), ECN (Explicit Congestion Notification) and (the possibly patent blocked) VRRP (Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol).
A lengthy thread on the stable FreeBSD mailing list discusses problems with the ATA code in the recently released FreeBSD 4.6 [earlier story]. One of the main problems with the ATA code appears to prevent certain fast ATA CD-ROM drives from working properly (AOpen 48x, 52x, and 56x drives were specifically reported with the problem). When hitting this bug, an error such as the following is displayed on the console and the kernel sometimes panics:
acd0: READ_BIG command timeout - resetting
ata1: resetting devices .. done
A workaround is available. The complete thread can be followed in the online stable-FreeBSD archive, starting here. A few relevant messages from the thread follow, including a discussion of the workaround.
Luigi Rizzo recently announced on -current that he "has done an extensive rewrite of the IPFW code (userland + kernel) in an attempt to make it faster and more flexible." His announcement follows, and can also be found on the freebsdforums site.
IPFW, the software supplied with FreeBSD, is a packet filtering and accounting system which resides in the kernel, and has a user-land control utility, called ipfw(8).
The 1394 Trade Association (TA) and Apple today announced that the FireWire trademark, logo and symbol have been adopted as a brand identity for the IEEE 1394 connection standard in a no-fee license agreement between the TA and Apple. In conjuction with the anoucement the moderators of freebsdforums have posted a update on Firewire status on FreeBSD. The full post follows.
FreeBSD 4.6 has entered the release candidate stage, destined for final release around June 1st. The complete FreeBSD release schedule can be found here. The quality assurance testing guide highlights three significant changes in this release: there is a major update for DHCP client support, the i4b SyncPPP driver has been merged with the main sppp driver, and XFree86 has been upgraded from version 3.3.6 to version 4.2.0. Check the release notes for the most up to date information. Though currently only available for i386, the Alpha version is also on its way.
Murray Stokely's 4.6-RC1 announcement email follows.
Update: (5/19/2) RC2 has been released to fix a sysinstall buffer truncation issue that affected the installtion of GNOME. Announcement below.
The question was asked recently on a FreeBSD mailing list, "What will be new in FreeBSD 5.0?" The thread discussed several ways a person could obtain such information, one good source being the latest release notes. The first developer preview of 5.0 was released on April 8th [earlier story]. The final release is targeted for the end of this year.
Robert Watson offered an interesting summary of items to look forward to in FreeBSD 5.0, including: SMPng ("next generation" symmetric multiprocessing), KSE (improved scheduling), devfs (automatic /dev management), Firewire support, and much more. Read on for more details.
The decision was made to remove Perl from the FreeBSD -current base system [earlier story]. Perl will be supported as a port that the user can install after the base installation, however it will no longer be required.
Mark Murray put out a call to the -current mailing list asking for volunteers to port all Perl scripts in the base system to another language, such as sh or C. All critical programs are already being ported, with only a few minor ones left to be claimed.
Michael Smith recently posted his resignation from the FreeBSD core team. His resignation came shortly after the resignation of one of the FreeBSD founder's, Jordan Hubbard [earlier story]. Michael echoed similiar sentiments, with the project no longer being fun for him, "instead [it having] become obsessed with process and mechanics."