bsd

Google Summer of Code and LinuxBIOS

LinuxBIOS logo

We're happy to announce that the LinuxBIOS project will have the possibility to take part in this year's Google Summer of Code™ (GSoC) program. coresystems GmbH was accepted as a mentoring organization for the GSoC and will mentor all LinuxBIOS-related projects.

There is a GSoC page in the LinuxBIOS wiki which collects a few ideas for student projects, among others:

  • Booting Windows and other Operating Systems in LinuxBIOS
  • Port Grub2 to work in LinuxBIOS
  • SCSI booting in LinuxBIOS
  • CMOS Config / Device Tree Browser Payload
  • LinuxBIOS graphical port creator
  • Open Firmware payload for LinuxBIOS
  • GNUFI or TianoCore payloads
  • Boot OpenSolaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD or other free OSes
  • Improve Linux as a BIOS

Feel free to post more ideas and wishlist items to the LinuxBIOS mailing list.

If you're interested in applying for a project, you need to hurry up. The deadline is March 24, 2007!

OS Install Experiences - Part 3: PC-BSD [Update]

Note: This article is part of my OS Install Experiences series.

I'll continue with the recently released operating system PC-BSD 1.1, which is based on FreeBSD 6.1.

This is actually the first time I installed a BSD-like OS, so I thought it would be a bit of a hassle. But I was surprised to find that the install was really pretty easy (which is a major goal of PC-BSD, as I understand it). I didn't even read a manual or installation instructions or anything...

Install

  1. First, I downloaded a PC-BSD 1.1 CD #1 image, burned it on a CD, and booted from that.
  2. The first installer screen is text-based (later it's graphical), and allows you to choose between a normal install ("boot FreeBSD"), install "with ACPI", "safe mode", "single user mode", and "with verbose logging". You can also "escape to loader prompt", or "reboot".
  3. While the installer runs, it merely shows a nice desktop background, pressing any key shows you the boot messages.
  4. After a while you can select a screen resolution for the graphical installer, run fdisk, escape into an "emergency shell", chroot into the root partition, or reboot. Default is to start the installation at a pre-selected screen resolution.
  5. You can choose the language and keyboard layout. Although you can click "back" to return to previous steps in the installer, you can not go back to the language/keyboard selection later!
  6. Partitioning. First, you can choose on which disk to install, then choose the partition to use. The list only shows the primary partitions and an "extended DOS" partition. Device names for disks are a bit different in BSD world. /dev/ad0 (counting starts at 0) is the first disk, /dev/ad0s1 (counting starts at 1) the first "partition" (called "slice" in BSD). It doesn't seem to be possible to install PC-BSD on an extended partition (please correct me if I'm wrong), so I installed it on /dev/hda2 (/dev/ad0s2 in BSD-speak), which is a primary partition. To make things more complex and confusing, a BSD slice can contain multiple "partitions" (not the same as Linux partitions!). I now have /dev/ad0s2a, which is the boot partition, and /dev/ad0s2b, the swap partition. Confused? Me too.
  7. Note that changes made to the partition table seem to be effective immediately, there's no way to go back without losing data! Debian's installer is better at this. The default PC-BSD file system is UFS, btw.
  8. The hardware will be automatically detected (worked quite well for me).
  9. You can now choose to either install the BSD bootloader in the MBR, or install no bootloader at all. Not sure what the best thing for me is here, but I decided to install the BSD bootloader (overwriting GRUB). I might have to re-install GRUB (and tell it about PC-BSD) if the BSD bootloader cannot boot the other (Linux) OSes.
  10. Now I must enter the root password, and I can also create another user. I noticed that passwords can only contain alpha-numeric characters (no %$ยง,.#+!? and so on). WTF? They can't be serious... Also, you must enter a real name for the normal user, it won't let you continue until you type something... Pretty annoying. There's a checkbox called "Auto-Login User?" which is enabled by default, but I didn't find out what exactly that does...
  11. The network is successfully auto-configured via DHCP. I was not asked for a hostname, but typed hostname after the install and I got PCBSD.localhost.
  12. Reboot. The CD is not ejected automatically, you have to remove it manually before booting up.
  13. I'm asked to insert CD 2 (language packs), which I don't have (or want), as I only burned CD 1. Clicking "abort" does the trick, and I can continue with English as the default language.
  14. Finally, I'm dropped into a KDE session, and that's it.

Security

Continue reading here...

Update 2006-06-02: Added IPv6 netstat/sockstat output.
Update 2006-06-02: Shortened the length of the article on my main webpage as well as the RSS feed. But you can always read the whole article here, of course.

OS Install Experiences - Introduction

Over the next few days or weeks I intend to install quite a bunch of free (as in beer) operating systems on one of my machines.

This has several reasons and benefits:

  • I want to get an overview of most popular OSes out there and hands-on experiences on how to install them and partly also how to administer and use them.
  • As I intend to not delete the OSes after the install, I'll have a massive-multi-boot system (>= 10 OSes) in the end. Managing to get this alone working might prove to be not exactly trivial... but definately interesting.
  • Recently I started a disussion on the debian-devel mailing list about which system users on a Debian system should get a valid shell (/bin/sh, for example) and which should only get something like /bin/false [1]. While I install all these OSes, I will create a comparison chart of which users have a valid shell and which don't on every other Unix-like OS I install. This will be quite interesting, I guess, and it might help others package maintainers to decide whether or not to give certain system users a valid shell.
  • It's a lot of fun :)

On the list I plan to install are most major (free) Unix-like operating systems, e.g. Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Fedora Core, OpenSuSE, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, PC-BSD, OpenSolaris, and whatever else I can find out there. Basically, if I can download a CD image for free off the net, it's fine.

I'll be writing one small blog article per OS, stating my experiences, gotchas, pros and cons I noticed etc. If you have any suggestions for OSes or distributions I should look at, or ideas about other aspects of the OSes I could compare, please leave a comment.

[1] It has been pointed out that /usr/sbin/nologin or something similar is probably better than /bin/false, because it logs login attempts at these accounts (/bin/false doesn't).

Update: Articles published so far:

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