FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report, First Quarter of 2007
brd at FreeBSD.org
Tue Apr 10 04:05:42 UTC 2007
This report covers FreeBSD related projects between January and March
2007. This quarter ended with a big bang as a port of Sun's critically
acclaimed ZFS was added to the tree and thus will be available in the
upcoming FreeBSD 7.0 release. Earlier this year exciting benchmark
results showed the fruits of our SMP work. Read more on the details in
the "SMP Scalability" report.
During the summer, FreeBSD will once again take part in Google's
Summer of Code initiative. Student selection is underway and we are
looking forward to a couple of exciting projects to come.
BSDCan is approaching rapidly, and will be held May 16-19th in Ottawa.
Thanks to all the reporters for the excellent work! We hope you enjoy
* FreeBSD and ZFS
* SMP Scalability
FreeBSD Team Reports
* FreeBSD Security Officer and Security Team
* Problem Report Database
* Release Engineering
* The FreeBSD Foundation
* Building Linux Device Drivers on FreeBSD
* Update of the Linux compatibility environment in the kernel
* FAST_IPSEC Upgrade
* Importing trunk(4) from OpenBSD
* Intel 3945ABG Wireless LAN Driver: wpi
* Multi-link PPP daemon (MPD)
* GCC 4.1 integration
* Ports Collection
* X.Org 7.2 integration
* BSDCan 2007
* EuroBSDCon 2007
Contact: Dan Langille <dan at langille.org>
The Schedule and the Tutorials have been released. Once again, we have
a very strong collection of Speakers .
BSDCan: Low Cost. High Value. Something for Everyone.
Everyone is going to be there. Make your plans now.
Building Linux Device Drivers on FreeBSD
Contact: Luigi Rizzo <rizzo at icir.org>
The above URL documents some work done around January to build an
emulation layer for the Linux kernel API that would allow Linux device
driver to be built on FreeBSD with as little as possible
modifications. Initially the project focused on USB webcams, a
category of devices for which there was basically no support so far.
The emulation layer, available as a port ( devel/linux-kmod-compat )
simulates enough of the Linux USB stack to let us build, from
unmodified Linux sources, two webcam drivers, also available as ports
( multimedia/linux-gspca-kmod and multimedia/linux-ov511-kmod ), with
the former supporting over 200 different cameras.
While some of the functions map one-to-one, for others it was
necessary to build a full emulation (e.g. collecting input from
various function calls, and then mapping sets of Linux data structures
into functionally equivalent sets of FreeBSD data structures). But
overall, this project shows that the software interfaces are
reasonably orthogonal to each other so one does not need to implement
the full Linux kernel API to get something working. More work is
necessary to cover other aspects of the Linux kernel API, e.g. memory
mapping, PCI bus access, and the network stack API, so we can extend
support to other families of peripherals.
1. Implement more subsystems (e.g. the network interface API; the
memory management/pci bus access API).
2. Address licensing issues. In the current port, the C code is
entirely new and under a FreeBSD license. Many of the headers have
been rewritten (and documented) from scratch (and so under a
FreeBSD license as well). Some of the other headers are still
taken from various Linux distributions and need to be rewritten to
generate BSD-licensed code that can be imported in the kernel
instead of being made available as a port. While this is not a
concern with GNU drivers, it may be an important feature for
drivers that are available under a dual license.
Contact: EuroBSDCon 2007 Organizing Committee <info at EuroBSDCon.dk>
The sixth EuroBSDCon will take place at Symbion in Copenhagen, Denmark
on Friday the 14th and Saturday 15th of September 2007.
The estimated price for the two day conference is 200EUR, excluding
Legoland trip and social event. The whole-day trip to Legoland is
expected to cost around 130EUR including transportation, some food on
the way, and entry fee. Arrangements have been made with a newly
renovated Hostel which offers beds for 23EUR per night and 10EUR
breakfast. A lounge with sponsored Internet connection will be
available at the Hostel. Staying at the hostel is of course entirely
optional and several Hotels exists in the area. Reservation for the
conference and exact prices are expected to be ready no later than 1st
As of this writing 10 presentations have been accepted and more are in
the process of being evaluated.
For FreeBSD Developers, a by invitation Developers summit will be held
in connection with the conference. Exactly when this will take place
has not yet been decided.
We are still looking for more sponsors.
A public IRC channel #eurobsdcon on EFnet has been created for
discussion and questions about the conference.
More details will follow on the EuroBSDCon 2007 web site as they
Contact: George Neville-Neil <gnn at freebsd.org>
Contact: Bjoern Zeeb <bz at freebsd.org>
There are currently two p4 branches being used for this work:
gnn_fast_ipsec: a dual stack branch which contains both Kame and
FAST_IPSEC with v6 enabled. gnn_radical_ipsec: a single stack branch,
still in progress, where Kame IPsec has been removed and only FAST
1. Test the patch!
FreeBSD and ZFS
Contact: Pawel Jakub Dawidek <pjd at FreeBSD.org>
The ZFS file system in now part of the FreeBSD operating system. ZFS
was ported from the OpenSolaris operating system and is under CDDL
license. As an experimental feature ZFS will be available in FreeBSD
FreeBSD Security Officer and Security Team
Contact: Security Officer <security-officer at FreeBSD.org>
Contact: Security Team <security-team at FreeBSD.org>
In the time since the last status report, one security advisory has
been issued concerning a problem in the base system of FreeBSD; this
problem was in "contributed" code maintained outside of FreeBSD. In
addition, several Errata Notices have been issued in collaboration
with the release engineering team, including one concerning FreeBSD
Update. The Vulnerabilities and Exposures Markup Language (VuXML)
document has continued to be updated by the Security Team and Ports
Committers documenting new vulnerabilities in the FreeBSD Ports
Collection; since the last status report, 21 new entries have been
added, bringing the total up to 890.
The following FreeBSD releases are supported by the FreeBSD Security
Team: FreeBSD 5.5, FreeBSD 6.1, and FreeBSD 6.2. Of particular note,
FreeBSD 4.11 and FreeBSD 6.0 are no longer supported. The respective
End of Life dates of supported releases are listed on the web site.
GCC 4.1 integration
Contact: Alexander Kabaev <kan at FreeBSD.org>
Contact: Kris Kennaway <kris at FreeBSD.org>
A version of GCC 4.1 is being prepared for inclusion into FreeBSD
7.0-CURRENT. Work was started late in 2006 but progress on certain
technical points (e.g. correctly integrating and bootstrapping a
shared libgcc_s into the build) was slow due to lack of developer
time. The remaining outstanding issue is that compiling with -O2 is
shown to lead to runtime failures of certain binaries (e.g. some port
builds); it is not currently known whether these are due to
application errors or GCC miscompilations. It is believed that the
current snapshot is otherwise ready for inclusion, and this will
likely happen within a week or two.
Importing trunk(4) from OpenBSD
Contact: Andrew Thompson <thompsa at FreeBSD.org>
Work has completed to port over trunk(4) from OpenBSD and this also
includes merging 802.3ad LACP from agr(4) in NetBSD. This driver
allows aggregation of multiple network interfaces as one virtual
interface using a number of different protocols/algorithms.
* failover - Sends traffic through the secondary port if the master
* fec - Supports Cisco Fast EtherChannel.
* lacp - Supports the IEEE 802.3ad Link Aggregation Control Protocol
(LACP) and the Marker Protocol.
* loadbalance - Static loadbalancing using an outgoing hash.
* roundrobin - Distributes outgoing traffic using a round-robin
scheduler through all active ports.
This will be committed shortly, further testing is welcome.
Intel 3945ABG Wireless LAN Driver: wpi
Contact: Benjamin Close <benjsc at freebsd.org>
Work is slowly continuing on this driver, focusing mainly on dealing
with the newly released firmware for the card. The old firmware was
not redistributable, the new firmware can be redistributed but has a
completely different API. With the new firmware changes almost
complete, the driver is approaching a state ready for -CURRENT.
1. Fix mbuf leakage (potential fix pending).
2. Integrate s/w control of radio transmitter.
Contact: Jason Evans <jasone at freebsd.org>
malloc(3) has recently been enhanced to reduce memory overhead,
fragmentation, and mapped memory retention. As an added bonus, it
tends to be a bit faster. See the above URL for my email to the
-current mailing list for a more detailed description of the
Multi-link PPP daemon (MPD)
Contact: Alexander Motin <mav at alkar.net>
Stable release 4.1 of mpd4 branch was released in February providing
many new features and fixes. Mpd3 branch was declared legacy.
Since the release several new features have been implemented in CVS:
* Link repeater functionality (aka L2TP/PPTP Access Concentrator),
* Per-interface traffic filtering using ng_bpf,
* Very fast traffic shaping/rate-limiting using ng_car.
ng_car node has been updated, to support shaping and very fast
Cisco-like rate-limiting. ng_ppp node has been completely re-factored
to confirm to the protocol stack model.
1. LAC/PAC testing.
2. Traffic filtering/shaping/rate-limiting testing.
3. PPTP modification for multiple bindings support.
4. Dynamic link/bundle creation.
Contact: Mark Linimon <linimon at FreeBSD.org>
The ports count is nearing 17,000. The PR count has been stable at
around 700. The 'new port' PR backlog is at a multi-year low. We
appreciate all the hard work of our ports committers.
Since the long 6.2 release cycle ended, portmgr has once again been
able to do experimental ports runs. As a result of six run/commit
cycles, the portmgr PR count is now the lowest in quite some time.
Please see the CHANGES and UPDATING files for details. Many thanks to
Pav among others for keeping the build cluster busy.
We have received new hardware, resulting in a significant speedup of
our package building capability: the AMD64 package builds now use 4
8-core machines (and one lonely UP system), which means a full AMD64
build is about 5 times faster than it was. Also, the i386 cluster
gained an 8-core and roughly doubled its performance too. Two of the
sparc64 build machines have recently brought back online, so package
builds there have been restarted there after a long period offline.
linimon continues to work on improvements to portsmon to allow
graphing of the dependent ports of ignored/failed ports. This work
will be presented at BSDCan. In addition, pages that show the state of
port uploads on ftp*.FreeBSD.org have been added, as well as ports
that have NO_PACKAGE set. Also, the individual port overview page now
shows the latest package that has been uploaded to the ftp servers for
A number of absent maintainers have been replaced by some new
volunteers who had been sending PRs to update and/or fix their ports.
Welcome! This helps to spread the workload.
Since the last report, support for FreeBSD 4.X has been dropped from
the Ports Collection. Anyone still using RELENG_4 should have stayed
with the ports infrastructure as of the RELENG_4_EOL tag, as later
commits remove that support. 4.X served us long and well but the
burden of trying to support 4 major branches finally became too much
to ask of our volunteers. Use of 4.X, even with the RELENG_4_EOL tag,
is no longer recommended; we recommend either 6.2-RELEASE or RELENG_6,
depending on your needs.
There have been new releases of the ports tinderbox code, the
portmaster update utility, and portupgrade. A new utility, pkgupgrade,
has been introduced by Michel Talon, which appears interesting.
KDE was updated to 3.5.6.
GNOME was updated to 2.18.
XFree86 version 3 was removed as being years out of date.
We have added 3 new committers since the last report.
1. Most of the remaining ports PRs are "existing port/PR assigned to
committer". Although the maintainer-timeout policy is helping to
keep the backlog down, we are going to need to do more to get the
ports in the shape they really need to be in.
2. Although we have added many maintainers, we still have many
unmaintained ports. The number of buildable packages on AMD64 lags
behind a bit; sparc64 requires even more work.
Problem Report Database
Contact: Mark Linimon <bugmeister_at_freebsd_dot_org>
We have added Remko Lodder to the bugmeister team. Remko has been
doing a great deal of work to go through antique PRs, especially in
the i386 category, and it was time to recognize that hard work. As a
result of his work the i386 count is at a multi-year low.
Remko has also been instrumental in working with some new volunteers
who are interested in finding out how they can contribute. Our current
plans are to ask them to look through the PR backlog and, firstly, ask
for feedback from the submitters, and secondly, identify PRs that need
action by committers. We also have some committers who have
volunteered to review those PRs. If you are interested in helping,
please subscribe to bugbusters at FreeBSD.org. Our thanks to our current
helpers, including Harrison Grundy.
The overall PR count has dropped to around 5100, a significant
Contact: Release Engineering Team <re at FreeBSD.org>
During the past quarter, the Release Engineering team has begun
planning and preparing for FreeBSD 7.0, which is scheduled for release
later in 2007. The HEAD codeline has been placed in a "slush" mode,
meaning that large changes should be coordinated with the Release
Engineering team before being committed.
The RE team also produced snapshots of FreeBSD 6.2-STABLE and
7.0-CURRENT for February and March 2007, corresponding roughly to the
state of those development branches at the start of the respective
months. While they have not had the benefit of extensive testing, and
should not be used in production, they can be useful for experimenting
with or testing new features.
Contact: Kris Kennaway <kris at FreeBSD.org>
Contact: Jeff Roberson <jeff at FreeBSD.org>
Contact: Attilio Rao <attilio at FreeBSD.org>
Contact: Robert Watson <rwatson at FreeBSD.org>
Over the past few months there has been a substantially increased
focus on improving scalability of FreeBSD on large SMP hardware. This
has been driven in part by the new availability of 8-core hardware to
the project, which allows easy profiling of scalability bottlenecks
and benchmarking of proposed changes. Significant progress has been
made on certain application workloads such as MySQL and PostgreSQL,
with the result that FreeBSD 7 now has excellent scaling to at least
8-CPU systems with prospects for further improvements. Progress with
other application workloads has been limited by the need to set up a
suitable test case; please contact me if you are interested in
helping. As part of this general effort, work is progressing steadily
on removing the last remaining Giant-locked code from the kernel. A
complete list of remaining Giant-locked code is found here:
http://wiki.freebsd.org/SMPTODO Many of these sub-tasks have owners,
but some do not. The major remaining Giant-locked subsystem with no
owner is the TTY subsystem. In parallel, profiling of contention and
bottlenecks in other subsystems has lead to a number of experimental
changes which are being developed. Work is in progress by Jeff
Roberson and Attilio Rao to break up the global scheduler spinlock in
favor of a set of per-CPU scheduling locks, which is expected to
improve performance on systems with many CPUs. Experimental changes by
Robert Watson to allow for multiple netisr threads show good promise
for improving loopback IP performance on large SMP systems, which can
otherwise easily saturate a single netisr thread. A variety of other
changes are being profiled and evaluated to improve SMP performance
under various workloads. The majority of these changes are collected
in the //depot/user/kris/contention/ Perforce branch.
The FreeBSD Foundation
Contact: Deb Goodkin <deb at FreeBSD.org>
The FreeBSD Foundation ended Q1 raising over $65,000. We're a quarter
of the way to our goal of raising $250,000 this year. We continued our
mission of supporting developer communication by helping FreeBSD
developers attend AsiaBSDCon. We are a sponsor of BSDCan and are
currently accepting travel grant applications for this conference.
The foundation provided support that helped the ZFS file system
development. We continued working to upgrade the project's network
testbed with 10Gigabit interconnects. We attended SCALE where we
received an offer from No Starch Press to include a foundation ad in
their BSD books. Our first ad will appear in the book "Designing BSD
For more information on what we've been up to, check out our website
at http://www.freebsdfoundation.org .
Update of the Linux compatibility environment in the kernel
Contact: Alexander Leidinger <netchild at FreeBSD.org>
Contact: Roman Divacky <rdivacky at FreeBSD.org>
Contact: Emulation Mailinglist <emulation at FreeBSD.org>
Since the last status report AMD64 was feature synced with i386.
Notably TLS and futexes are now available on AMD64. Many thanks to
Jung-Uk Kim for doing the TLS work.
Currently the focus is to implement the *at() family of linux syscalls
and to find and fix the remaining futex problems.
We need some more testers and bug reporters. So if you have a little
bit of time and a favorite linux application, please play around with
it on -CURRENT. If there is a problem, have a look at the Wiki if we
already know about it and report on emulation at . We are specially
interested in reports about the 2.6 compatibility (sysctl
compat.linux.osversion=2.6.16), but only with the most recent -current
and maybe with some patches we have in the perforce repository
(available from the wiki).
We would like to thank all the people which tested the changes /
submitted patches and thus helped improve the linux compatibility
Contact: Hans Petter Sirevaag Selasky <hselasky at freebsd.org>
During the last three months not too much has changed. Here is a quick
list of changes:
1. There has been some cleanups in the UCOM layer, generally to to
create a context for all the callbacks so that they can call
sleeping functions. This is achieved using the USB config thread
system. The reason for this is that the code becomes simpler when
synchronous operation is applied versus asynchronous. But
asynchronous behavior is the most secure, hence then all USB
resources are preallocated for each transfer. After the change,
only data transfers are done asynchronously. All configuration is
now done synchronously. This makes the USB device drivers look
more like in the old USB stack.
2. moscom.c has been imported from OpenBSD. It is called umoscom.c
3. ugensa.c has been imported from NetBSD.
4. f_axe.c has now has support for Ax88178 and Ax88772, which is
derived from OpenBSD.
In my last status report I asked for access to Sparc64 boxes with
FreeBSD installed. Testing is ongoing and some problems remain with
EHCI PCI Cards. I am not exactly sure where the problem is, but it
appears that DMA-able memory does not get synced properly.
Markus Brueffer is still working on the USB HID parser and support.
Nothing has been committed yet.
Several people have reported success with my new USB stack. Some claim
2x improvements, others have seen more. But don't expect too much.
If you want to test the new USB stack, checkout the USB perforce tree
or download the SVN version of the USB driver from my USB homepage. At
the moment the tarballs are a little out of date.
Ideas and comments with regard to the new USB API are welcome at
freebsd-usb at freebsd.org .
X.Org 7.2 integration
Contact: Florent Thoumie <flz at FreeBSD.org>
Contact: Dejan Lesjak <lesi at FreeBSD.org>
Contact: Kris Kennaway <kris at FreeBSD.org>
X.Org 7.2 is now on final approach for landing into the ports tree.
Work had proceeded at a slow pace for the first few months of the year
due to reduced availability of flz@, the single developer working on
integration. Recently lesi@ was recruited back into the task and
readiness of the ports collection was pushed to completion (i.e. there
are no major regressions apparent on package builds). The remaining
tasks which need to be completed are a review of the diff to make sure
no unintentional changes or regressions slip in to the CVS tree in the
big merge, and completion of an upgrade script to manage the migration
from X.Org 6.9 (X.Org 7.2 is so fundamentally different that it cannot
be upgraded "automatically" using the existing tools like
portupgrade). We hope to have these finished within a week or two, at
which stage the ports collection will be frozen for the integration,
and we will likely remain in a ``mini-freeze'' for a week or two in
order to focus committer attention on resolving the inevitable
undetected problems which will emerge from this major change.
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