[FreeBSD-Announce] FreeBSD Status Report Jan-Mar 2005

Scott Long scottl at samsco.org
Thu Apr 21 10:49:54 PDT 2005

January-April 2005 Status Report


   The first quarter of 2005 has been extremely active in both
   FreeBSD-CURRENT and -STABLE. With FreeBSD 5.4 in the final RC stage
   and an anticipated branch of FreeBSD-6 this summer we have seen a lot
   of performance improvements in 5 and a couple of exciting new features
   in 6.

   The report turnout was extremely good and it seems that the webform
   provided by Julian Elischer has made it more enjoyable to write
   reports. Many thanks to Julian for providing this. We also like to get
   your attention to the open tasks section provided in some reports.

   On special note, please take a look at the report about the upcoming
   BSDCan in Ottawa. There will be lots of interesting FreeBSD related
   talks and activities. If you enjoy reading these reports, you will
   love the conference. See you there!

   Thanks to all the reporters, we hope you enjoy reading.


     * Common Address Redundancy Protocol - CARP
     * FreeBSD Java Project
     * FreeBSD Release Engineering
     * GELI - GEOM class for providers encryption
     * GSHSEC - GEOM class for handling shared secret
     * Secure Updating


     * FreeBSD Dutch Documentation Project


     * ATAPI/CAM
     * Coverity Code Analysis
     * cpufreq
     * drm
     * Filesystem journalling for UFS
     * Infrastructure Cleanup
     * Interrupt Latency
     * Low-overhead performance monitoring for FreeBSD
     * Many subdirs for UFS
     * Status Report for FreeBSD ATA driver project
     * Storage driver SMPng locking

  Network infrastructure

     * Dingo
     * IPv6 Support for IPFW
     * Move ARP out of routing table
     * netgraph(4) status report
     * Removable interface improvements.
     * Support for telephone hardware (aka Zaptel)
     * Wireless Networking Support

  Userland programs

     * libthread
     * Pipe namespace added to portalfs


     * ARM Support for TS-7200
     * PowerPC Port
     * XenFreeBSD - FreeBSD on Xen


     * FreshPorts
     * Ports Collection
     * Update of the Linux userland infrastructure

  Vendor / 3rd Party Software

     * OpenBSD packet filter - pf
     * twa driver


     * BSDCan
     * FreeBSD Security Officer and Security Team
     * IMUNES - a FreeBSD based kernel-level network topology emulator

ARM Support for TS-7200

   URL: http://www.embeddedarm.com/epc/ts7200-spec-h.html
   URL: http://people.freebsd.org/~jmg/dmesg.ts7200

   Contact: John-Mark Gurney <jmg at FreeBSD.org>

   I have been working on getting FreeBSD/arm running on the TS-7200. So
   far the board boots, and has somewhat working ethernet (some
   unexplained packet loss). I can netboot from a FreeBSD/i386 machine,
   and I can also mount msdosfs's on CF.

  Open tasks:

    1. Figuring out why some small packets transmit with error
    2. EP93xx identification information to properly attach various
       onboard devices


   Contact: Thomas Quinot <thomas at freebsd.org>

   ATAPI/CAM integration with the new ATA (mkIII) framework is now
   completed. ATAPI/CAM is now available as a loadable module
   (atapicam.ko). It is also independant from the native ATAPI drivers
   again, as was the case before mkIII.

   Thanks to Scott Long and Søren Schmidt for their participation in the
   integration work.


   URL: http://www.bsdcan.org/

   Contact: Dan Langille <dan at langille.org>

   BSDCan made a strong debut in 2004 . The favorable reception gave us a
   strong incentive for 2005 . We have been rewarded with a very
   interesting program and a higher rate of registrations.
   Percentage-wise, we have more Europeans than last year as they have
   decided that the trip across the Atlantic is worth taking. We know
   they won't be disappointed. See you at BSDCan 2005!

  Open tasks:

    1. volunteers needed for the conference

Common Address Redundancy Protocol - CARP

   URL: http://people.freebsd.org/~mlaier/CARP/

   Contact: Max Laier <mlaier at FreeBSD.org>

   Contact: Gleb Smirnoff <glebius at FreeBSD.org>

   CARP is an alternative to VRRP. In contrast to VRRP it has full
   support for IPv6 and uses crypto to protect the advertisements. It was
   developed by OpenBSD due to concerns that the HSRP patent might cover
   VRRP and CISCO might defend its patent. CARP has, since then, improved
   a lot over VRRP.

   CARP has been committed to HEAD and MFCed to RELENG_5. It will be
   available in upcoming 5.4-RELEASE.

   Big thanks to all users who provided testing and reported bugs to Max
   and Gleb. Daniel Seuffert has donated hardware to Max for this
   project. Gleb's work was sponsored by Rambler .

  Open tasks:

    1. Improve vlan(4) support. Test ng_eiface(4).
    2. Improve locking, consider removing interface layer.

Coverity Code Analysis

   URL: http://www.coverity.com/

   Contact: Sam Leffler <sam at freebsd.org>

   There has been an ongoing effort to review the kernel source code
   using Coverity's source code analysis tools (http://www.coverity.com).
   These tools check for a variety of problems such as null pointer
   dereference, use-after-free of allocated variables, invalid array
   references, etc. This work is a joint project between FreeBSD and

   Two passes have been completed over the 6-current kernel source code
   base and all significant problems have been corrected. These runs were
   done in February and March of this year. A few reports of minor
   problems await response from outside groups and will be resolved in
   time for the first 6.x release. Another analysis run over the kernel
   will happen soon. We are looking for a way to use these tools on a
   regular basis as they have been helpful in improving the code base.

   Thanks to Coverity for their help and especially Ted Unangst. Several
   developers have been especially helpful in resolving reports:
   Poul-Henning Kamp, David Schultz, Pawel Jakub Dawidek, George V.
   Neville-Neil, and Matthew Dodd.



   Contact: Nate Lawson <njl>

   The cpufreq project was committed to 6-CURRENT in early February and
   has undergone bugfixes and updates. It will soon be MFCd to 5-STABLE.

   The cpufreq driver provides a unified kernel and user interface to CPU
   frequency control drivers. It combines multiple drivers offering
   different settings into a single interface of all possible levels.
   Users can access this interface directly via sysctl(8), by indicating
   to power_profile that it should switch settings when the AC line state
   changes, or by using powerd(8).

   For example, an absolute driver offering frequencies of 1000 Mhz and
   750 Mhz combined with a relative driver offering settings of 100% and
   50% would result in cpufreq providing levels of 1000, 750, 500, and
   375 Mhz.

   Colin Percival helped with powerd(8), which provides automatic control
   of CPU frequencies. The adaptive mode is especially interesting since
   it attempts to respond to changes in system load while reducing power

   Current hardware drivers include acpi_perf (ACPI CPU performance
   states), est (Intel Enhanced SpeedStep for Pentium-M), ichss (Intel's
   original SpeedStep for ICH), and powernow (AMD Powernow! K7 and K8
   support). Other drivers for relative hardware include acpi_throttle
   (ACPI CPU throttling) and p4tcc (Pentium 4 Thermal Control Circuitry)

   Thanks to Bruno Ducrot for the powernow driver, Colin Percival for the
   est driver, and the many testers who have sent in feedback.

  Open tasks:

    1. We'd appreciate someone with a Transmeta CPU converting the
       existing longrun driver to the cpufreq framework. It would also be
       good if someone wrote a VIA Longhaul driver. See the Linux
       arch/i386/kernel/cpu/cpufreq directory for examples.
    2. Various other architectures, including ARM, have CPU power control
       that could be implemented as a cpufreq driver.
    3. The powerd(8) algorithm is rather simple and we'd appreciate more
       help in testing it and alternative algorithms with various
       workloads. The -v flag causes powerd to report frequency
       transitions and print a summary of total energy used upon
       termination. This should help testers profile their algorithms.


   URL: http://people.freebsd.org/~gnn/Dingo/notebook/60.html
   URL: http://zoo.unixdaemons.com/index.php?blog=7

   Contact: George Neville-Neil <gnn at neville-neil.com>

   On the protocol conformance tool I have finally made some progress
   getting a scriptable packet library using libnet, and SWIG. This will
   hopefully become a port that can then be used to do conformance
   testing on protocol stack changes. Qing Li has separately taken up the
   ARP rewrite and that will be taken out of the Dingo project pages.

  Open tasks:

    1. Many :-)


   URL: http://r300.sourceforge.net/

   Contact: Eric Anholt <anholt at FreeBSD.org>

   A DRM update was finally committed to -current on 2005-04-15, after
   jhb@ did the necessary fix to vm_mmap. New development drivers were
   added for mach64 and r300 (see URL for info). The nearly-finished code
   for savage and i915 were also added, but left disconnected from the
   build. However, the most visible change is likely the support for
   texture tiling, color tiling, and HyperZ on Radeons, which (with
   updated userland) likely provide a 50-75% framerate increase in many

  Open tasks:

    1. Find someone with newbus knowledge to figure out why the i915
       won't attach to drmsub0.
    2. Finish porting the savage driver.
    3. Integrate busdma code from Tonnerre (NetBSD).

Filesystem journalling for UFS


   Contact: Scott Long <scottl at freebsd.org>

   It's time to bite the bullet and admit that fsck is no longer scalable
   for modern storage capacities. While a healthy debate can still be had
   on the merits and data integrity guarantees of journalling vs.
   SoftUpdates, the fact that SoftUpdates still requires a fsck to ensure
   consistency of the filesystem metadata after an unclean shutdown means
   uptime is lost. While background fsck is available, it saps system
   performance and stretched the fsck time out to hours.

   Journalling provides a way to record transactions that might not have
   fully been written to disk before the system crashed, and then quickly
   recover the system back to a consistent state by replaying these
   transactions. It doesn't guarantee that no data will be lost, but it
   does guarantee that the filesystem will be back to a consistent state
   after the replay is performed. This contrasts to SoftUpdates that
   re-arranges metadata updates so that inconsistencies are minimized and
   easy to recover from, though recovery still requires the traditional
   full filesystem scan.

   Journalling is a key feature of many modern filesystems like NTFS,
   XFS, JFS, ReiserFS, and Ext3, so the ground is well covered and the
   risks for UFS/FFS are low. I'm aware that groups from CMU and RPI have
   attempted similar work in the past, but unfortunately the work is
   either very outdates, or I haven't had any luck in contacting the
   groups. Is this absence, I've decided to work on this project myself
   in hopes of having a functional prototype in time for FreeBSD 6.0.

   The approach is simple and journals full metadata blocks instead of
   just deltas or high-level operations. This greatly simplifies the
   replay code at the cost of requiring more disk space for the journal
   and more work within the filesystem to identify discreet update
   points. An important design consideration is whether to make the
   journal data and code compatible with the UFS2 filesystem, or to start
   a new UFS3 derivative. Since the latter presents a very high barrier
   to adoption for most people, I'm going to try to make it a compatible
   option for UFS2. This means that the journal blocks will likely appear
   as an unlinked file to legacy filesystem and fsck code, and will be
   treated as such. This will allow seamless fallback to using fsck,
   though once the unlinked journal data blocks are reclaimed by fsck,
   the user will have to take action to re-create the journal file again.

   One key piece of journalling is ensuring that each journal transaction
   is fully written to disk before the associated metadata blocks are
   written to the filesystem. I plan to adopt the buffer 'pinning'
   mechanism from Alexander Kabaev's XFS work to assist with this. This
   will allow the journalling subsystem fine-grained control over which
   blocks get flushed to disk by the buffer daemon without having to
   further complicate the UFS/FFS code. One consideration is how
   Softupdates falls into this and whether it is multually exclusive of
   journalling or if it can help provide transaction ordering
   functionality to the journal. Research here is on-going.

   Some preliminary work can be found in Perforce in the
   //depot/user/scottl/ufsj/... tree or at the URL provided. Hopefully
   this will quickly accelerate.

FreeBSD Dutch Documentation Project

   URL: http://www.freebsd.org/doc/nl/books/handbook
   URL: http://www.evilcoder.org/freebsd_html/
   URL: http://www.evilcoder.org/content/section/6/39/

   Contact: Remko Lodder <remko at FreeBSD.org>

   The FreeBSD Dutch Documentation Project is a ongoing project in
   translating the English documentation to the Dutch language. Currently
   we have translated almost the entire handbook, and more to come. If
   you want to help out by review the Dutch documents, or you want to
   help translating the remainders of the handbook or other documents,
   feel free to contact me at remko at FreeBSD.org

  Open tasks:

    1. Translate the English handbook, then review the Dutch handbook
    2. Translate the English FAQ, then review the Dutch FAQ
    3. Translate the English Articles, then review the Dutch Articles

FreeBSD Java Project

   URL: http://www.FreeBSD.org/java/

   Contact: Greg Lewis <glewis at FreeBSD.org>
   Contact: Alexey Zelkin <phantom at FreeBSD.org>

   The FreeBSD Java Project released its initial support for JDK 1.5.0
   with patch set 1 "Sabretooth" in January. The initial release featured
   support for both FreeBSD 5.3/i386 and 5.3/amd64. Since then
   preliminary support for FreeBSD 4.11/i386 has been added and several
   bug fixes have been made. Updates in the coming months will add
   support for the browser plug in and Java Web Start, which were not in
   the initial release.

  Open tasks:

    1. Volunteers to look into some serious problems with JDK 1.5.0 on
       FreeBSD 4.x

FreeBSD Release Engineering

   URL: http://www.freebsd.org/releng

   Contact: RE Team <re at freebsd.org>

   FreeBSD 4.11, the final formal release of the 4.x series, was released
   on 25 Jan 2005. Many thanks to the all of the developers and users
   over the past 5 years who made it successful. While no more releases
   are planned, the security team will continue to support it through
   security update patches until 2007. Developers are also free to commit
   bug fixes and low-risk features to the RELENG_4 branch for the
   foreseeable future.

   FreeBSD 5.4 is going through its final release candidate stages and is
   expected to be released in late April. Its focus is mostly bug fixes
   and minor feature and performance improvements, so it is an excellent
   target for those looking to upgrade from previous versions or to give
   FreeBSD a try for the first time. FreeBSD 5.5 will be release in about
   4-6 months after 5.4.

   FreeBSD 6.0 is rapidly approaching also. In contrast to FreeBSD 5.0,
   the goal is to take a more incremental approach to major changes, and
   not wait for years to get as many features in as possible. FreeBSD 6.0
   will largely be an evolutionary change from the 5.x series, with the
   largest changes centered around multi-threading and streamlining the
   filesystem and device layers. Feature freeze and code freeze for 6.0
   are coming up in May and June, and we hope to have 6.0 stable and
   ready for release in July or August.

   The release engineering team has also started doing monthy informal
   snapshots of the 6-CURRENT and 5-STABLE trees. These are intended to
   increase the exposure of new features and get more users involved in
   testing and providing feedback. Snapshots can be found at

FreeBSD Security Officer and Security Team

   URL: http://www.freebsd.org/security/
   URL: http://vuxml.freebsd.org/

   Contact: Security Officer <security-officer at FreeBSD.org>
   Contact: Security Team <security-team at FreeBSD.org>

   In January 2005, Warner Losh (Security Officer Emeritus) stepped down
   from the FreeBSD Security Team in order to better devote his time to
   other projects. In March, Colin Percival was named as a second Deputy
   Security Officer, joining Dag-Erling Smørgrav in that position. The
   current Security Team membership is published on the web site.

   So far in 2005, four security advisories have been issued concerning
   problems in the base system of FreeBSD, three of which were specific
   to FreeBSD. The Vulnerabilities and Exposures Markup Language (VuXML)
   document has continued to be updated by the Security Team and the
   Ports Committers documenting new vulnerabilities in the FreeBSD Ports
   Collection. As of April 17, 127 entries have been added in 2005
   bringing the FreeBSD VuXML file up to a total of 422 entries.

   In the past months both the VuXML web site and the FreshPorts VuXML
   integration have been improved. The VuXML web site has had a face lift
   and, among other things, each package now has a separate web page
   which lists all documented vulnerabilities for the particular package.
   CVE information is now also included directly on the VuXML web site.

   Finally, the first few months of 2005 also saw FreeBSD 4.8 -- the
   first release to be offered "extended support" -- reach its designated
   End of Life. The currently supported releases are FreeBSD 4.10, 4.11,
   and 5.3.


   URL: http://www.freshports.org/

   Contact: Dan Langille <dan at langille.org>

   This is the first status report for FreshPorts. FreshPorts started in
   early 2000 and now contains over 170,000 commits. FreshPorts is
   primarily concerned with port commits, but actually processes and
   records all commits to the FreeBSD source tree. Its sister site,
   FreshSource uses the same database as FreshPorts but has a wider
   reporting scope. In recent months, FreshPorts has been enhanced to
   process and include VuXML information. In addition, RESTRICTED and
   NO_CDROM have been added to list of things that FreshPorts keeps track
   of. For unmantained ports, we recently added this message:

   There is no maintainer for this port.
   Any concerns regarding this port should be directed to the FreeBSD
   Ports mailing list via ports at FreeBSD.org
   FreshPorts, with direct and indirect support from the FreeBSD
   community, continues to evolve and to provide a great tool for users
   and developers alike.

  Open tasks:

    1. Provide a copy/paste method for updating watch lists
    2. improvement of query times for "People watching this port, also
    3. pagination of commits within a port
    4. pagination of watch lists
    5. create an RSS feed for individual watch lists

GELI - GEOM class for providers encryption


   Contact: Pawel Jakub Dawidek <pjd at FreeBSD.org>

   GELI is a GEOM class used for GEOM providers encryption. I decided to
   work on this, as I needed some feature, which cannot be found in
   similar projects. Here is the list of features, I found interesting:
     * makes use of crypto(9)
     * if there is a crypto hardware available, GELI will run
       cryptography on it automatically; if not, it starts dedicated
       kernel thread and do crypto software work in there
     * supports many cryptographic algorithms (AES, Blowfish, 3DES)
     * is able to take key components from many sources at once (user
       entered passphrase, random bits from a file, etc.)
     * allows to encrypt root partition
     * user will be asked for the passphrase before root file system is
     * uses "PKCS #5: Password-Based Cryptography Specification Version
       2.0" for user passphrase protection (optional)
     * allows to use two independent keys (e.g. "user key" and "company
     * is fast
     * GELI does simple sector-to-sector encryption
     * allows to backup/restore Master Keys, so when user have to quickly
       destroy keys, it is able to get the data back by restoring keys
       from the backup
     * provider can be configured at attach time to automatically detach
       on last close (so user don't have to remember to detach after
       unmounting file system)
     * allows to attach provider with a random, one-time keys
     * useful for swap partitions and temporary file systems

  Open tasks:

    1. Code audit/review is more than welcome!

GSHSEC - GEOM class for handling shared secret


   Contact: Pawel Jakub Dawidek <pjd at FreeBSD.org>

   GSHSEC is a GEOM class used for handling shared secret data between
   multiple GEOM providers. For every write request, SHSEC class splits
   the data using XOR operation with random data, so N-1 providers gets
   just random data and one provider gets the data XORed with the random
   data from the other providers. All of the configured providers must be
   present in order to reveal the secret. The class is already committed
   to HEAD and RELENG_5 branches.

if_bridge from NetBSD

   URL: http://www.fud.org.nz/~andy/if_bridge.diff

   Contact: Andrew Thompson <andy at fud.org.nz>

   This project aims to import the bridging code and interface from
   NetBSD and OpenBSD. The bridge is a cloned interface which can be
   modified by ifconfig and brconfig. It supports assigning an IP address
   directly to the bridge (e.g. bridge0) instead of one of the member
   interfaces, and can be used with tcpdump to inspect the bridged
   packets. The code also supports spanning tree (802.1D) for loop
   detection and link redundancy. Any pfil(9) packet filter can be used
   to filter the bridged packets.

  Open tasks:

    1. Testing performance and functionality against the existing bridge
       code. Testers welcome!

IMUNES - a FreeBSD based kernel-level network topology emulator

   URL: http://www.imunes.net/

   Contact: Miljenko Mikuc <miljenko at tel.fer.hr>
   Contact: Marko Zec <zec at tel.fer.hr>

   IMUNES is a scalable kernel-level network topology emulator based on
   FreeBSD. In IMUNES each virtual node operates on its private instance
   of network stack state variables, such as routing tables, interface
   addresses, sockets, ipfw rules etc. Most if not all existing FreeBSD
   application binaries, including routing protocol daemons such as
   quagga or XORP, can run unmodified within the context of virtual nodes
   with no noticeable performance penalty. Complex network topologies can
   be constructed by connecting the virtual nodes through netgraph-based
   link-layer paths. A GUI tool allows for simple and intuitive network
   topology specification, deployment and management. The current version
   of IMUNES is based on FreeBSD 4.11-RELEASE and supports IPv4.

Infrastructure Cleanup

   Contact: Warner Losh <imp at freebsd.org>
   Contact: Takahashi Yoshihiro <nyan at freebsd.org>

   Unglamorous cleanup of the code base continues. The focus of recent
   efforts have been to reduce the number of machine #ifdefs that are in
   the machine independent code. In addition, we're also trying to
   increase code sharing between pc98 and i386 ports and reduce the
   number of #ifdef PC98 instances in the tree.

   In addition, a number of cleanup tasks are underway for different
   parts of the kernel that are more complicated than necessary.
   Recently, the pccard code's allocation routines were simplified to
   reassign ownership of resources more directly than before. The search
   is on for other areas that can benefit from cleanup.

  Open tasks:

    1. On pc98, there's no such thing as an ISA bus. It is desirable to
       move to having cbus appear in the probe messages. This would also
       allow for additional segregation of pc98 specific code in the
       drivers and eliminate many ifdefs. Ideally, isa and cbus would
       share a common newbus ancestor class so their similarities can be
       exploited (they both have PNPBIOS enumeration methods, for
    2. cbus devices can have complicated resources. There's support for
       vectors of resources. Yet there's no support for populating a
       vector of resources from the plug and play information. Doing so
       would help the complex world of pc98 a lot, and the odd edge cases
       in i386 (floppy, ata) a little.
    3. The hints mechanism provides a way to associate hardware with
       drivers and resource that would otherwise be completely unknown to
       the system. A refinement in the hints mechanism to allow matching
       of driver instances to resources is desirable. This would allow
       one to hardwire sio0 to 0x2f8, even when the serial device in the
       plug and play resource list (or acpi resource list) is listed
       second. A further refinement could also be wiring sio0 to "port B"
       as defined by acpi or some other enumeration method. Chances are
       good that these seemingly related concepts may need separate
       implementations due to the decision points for unit assignment.
    4. Pccard, cardbus and usb probe their devices after interrupts are
       enabled. It would be desirable to hook into new kernel APIs to
       allow the mounting of root to be put off until those systems know
       that they are done with their initial probe of the devices present
       at boot.

Interrupt Latency

   Contact: Warner Losh <imp at freebsd.org>

   I've setup a test system to measure interrupt latency on FreeBSD 5.3
   and current. So far I've measured the baseline latency for a 300MHz
   embedded cyrix based single board computer. I've tried a number of
   different strategies to optimize the interrupt path. Most of these
   strategies resulted in some improvement of the time it takes to get
   from the start of the interrupt servicing to the driver's ISR. These
   improvements turned out to be about 1-2% of the processing times on
   this single board computer, but a wash on faster machines. However,
   the time between when the interrupt should happen, and when FreeBSD
   starts to service the interrupt is the dominant factor in these
   measurements. Despite the fact that these are fast interrupt handlers
   (so the scheduler is out of the loop), I routinely see average
   latencies of 18us, with large variations (on the order of 5us standard

  Open tasks:

    1. I need to measure the latencies with 4.x and current to
       characterize the differences more precisely. I'm especially
       interested in the effects on interrupt latency that the
       elimination of mixed mode will cause.
    2. I need to characterize different parts of our ISR routines to see
       if some of the variation I've seen so far can be reduced by
       improved coding techniques.
    3. I need to re-run my tests with 5.4 and summarize my results in a

IPv6 Support for IPFW

   URL: http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/cvs-all/2005-April/116671.html

   Contact: Brooks Davis <brooks at FreeBSD.org>

   In April 18th, I committed support for IPv6 to IPFW. This support was
   written by two student of Luigi's, Mariano Tortoriello and Raffaele De
   Lorenzo. I updated it to use PFIL_HOOKS and fixed a few minor issues.
   As of this commit, IP6FW should be considered deprecated in favor of
   IPFW. It should be possible to MFC this change to 5.x, but that is not
   currently planned.

  Open tasks:

    1. Testing.
    2. IP6FW to IPFW migration guide.
    3. Patches relative to 5-STABLE.


   Contact: David Xu <davidxu at freebsd.org>

   libthread is a pure 1:1 threading library, it had stayed in my
   perforce branch for a long time, recent it was imported into source
   tree and replaced libthr. The purpose of the work is to improve 1:1
   threading on FreeBSD, the library is designed in mind that simplest is
   best, currently it can run almost all of the applications libpthread
   can run, but gives you better SMP performance. The library size is
   smaller than libpthread.

   Currently it supports i386, AMD64, sparc64 and ia64 and may support
   alpha, powerpc and arm. I didn't do many tests on sparc64 and ia64, I
   only tested it on FreeBSD cluster machines. For i386, I always used
   LDT, but know that Peter committed GDT code, and now there is no 8191
   threads limitation anymore.

   libthread_db was updated to support debugging the new libthr. It is an
   assistant library used by gdb to debug threaded process, that
   understands internal detail of thread libraries. I have improved it a
   bit to support event reports for libthr, currently it can report
   thread creation and death events. That means a thread that was created
   and died will be reported to the user regardless if you are tracking
   it or not.

  Open tasks:

    1. I am working on thread creation performance, currently it needs
       considerable number of libc functions and syscalls to create a
       thread, I would like to introduce a syscall to create a thread in
       atomicaly. That means one syscall will setup thread entry, tls,
       and signal mask and PTHREAD_SCOPE_PROCESS/SYSTEM; in future maybe
       even CPU affinity masks, when userland entry code is executed, the
       thread is already fully setup.
    2. Process shareable synchronization objects. In Current FreeBSD does
       not support this specification. The idea about the shareable mutex
       and others is like other systems did, one can use mmap() to create
       a shared memory page, and put a pthread synchronization object in
       the page, multiple processes use the shared object to control
       resource access. I am not working on it, if someone is interested,
       please let me know.

Low-overhead performance monitoring for FreeBSD

   URL: http://people.freebsd.org/~jkoshy/projects/perf-measurement

   Contact: Joseph Koshy <jkoshy at FreeBSD.org>

   Many modern CPUs have on-chip performance monitoring counters (PMCs)
   that can be used to count low-level hardware events like instruction
   retirals, branch mispredictions, cache and TLB misses and the like.
   PMC architectures and capabilities vary between CPU vendors and
   between CPU generations from the same vendor, making the creation of
   portable applications difficult. This project attempts to provide a
   uniform API for applications to use, and the necessary infrastructure
   to "virtualize" and manage the available PMC hardware resources. The
   creation of performance analysis tools that use this infrastructure is
   also part of the project's goals.

   Work since the last status report:
     * Support for Intel
       Pentium-Pro/Pentium-II/Pentium-III/Pentium-M/Celeron style PMCs
       has been added.
     * The Pentium-4/HTT machine dependent layer has been overhauled.
     * A Python language interface to the C library interface pmc(3) has
       been written.
     * Many bugs have been fixed and documentation has been updated.

  Open tasks:

    1. The code needs to be tested on Intel Pentium-M, Celeron, Pentium
       II and Pentium Pro CPUs.

Many subdirs for UFS


   Contact: David Malone <dwmalone at freebsd.org>

   I'm currently looking at the limit on the number of subdirectories a
   directory can have in UFS. There is currently a limit of 32K
   subdirectories because of the 16 bit link count field in both struct
   stat and the on-disk inode format. The thread above shows that dirhash
   provides acceptable performance for directories with 100k
   subdirectories using a prototype patch. Two options for allowing many
   subdirectories seem to exist: changing the link counting scheme for
   directories and expanding the link count field. The prototype patch
   implements the first scheme and there are plans to investigate the
   second scheme (which may require an ABI change).

Move ARP out of routing table

   URL: http://people.freebsd.org/~qingli/

   Contact: Qing Li <qingli at freebsd.org>

   I have finished the basic functionality for both IPv4 and IPv6. The
   userland utilities ("arp" and "ndp") have been updated. I have tested
   the changes with "make buildworld". I have been testing the new code
   in a production environment and things appear to be stable. Gleb
   Smirnoff (glebius at FreeBSD.org) has provided review comments and I have
   incorported these feedback into the patch. I have discussed the IPv6
   changes with two of the core KAME developers during the last IETF
   meeting in March 2005. They indicated that these changes may result in
   divergence from the KAME project but that is not necessarily a bad

  Open tasks:

    1. I am waiting for review feedback from my mentor Andre. I need
       locking experts to help me fix my giant-lock shortcut. I am hoping
       to send out the code for wider review soon.

netgraph(4) status report

   URL: http://people.freebsd.org/~glebius/totest/ng_nat/

   Contact: Gleb Smirnoff <glebius at FreeBSD.org>

   This report covers period since August 2004 until April 2005.

   New nodes. Two new nodes have been added to base FreeBSD distribution.
   ng_netflow(4) node, which implements NetFlow version 5 accounting of
   IPv4 packets. ng_ipfw(4) node, which diverts packets from ipfw(4) to
   netgraph(4) and back. A well known ng_ipacct node has been added to
   ports tree.

   SMP. Nodes, which need to allocate unique names have been protected
   with mutex in RELENG_5, and subr_unit allocator in HEAD. Nodes, which
   need to run periodical jobs were reworked to use mpsafe ng_callout()
   API. ng_tty(4) node has been overhauled to be compatible with
   debug.mpsafenet=1. NetGraph ISR and callout are now declared MPSAFE in

   NetGraph flow control. Two nodes ng_ether(4) and ng_cisco(4) have been
   improved to emit flow control messages to upstream node, when state of
   link changes. New link failure detection method have been introduced
   in ng_one2many(4) node - listening to these flow control messages from

  Open tasks:

    1. more SMP testing of many nodes
    2. review locking of graph restructuring
    3. ng_nat node - an in-kernel natd(8)
    4. make ng_bridge(4) multithreaded

OpenBSD packet filter - pf

   URL: http://pf4freebsd.love2party.net/
   URL: http://people.freebsd.org/pf37/

   Contact: Max Laier <mlaier at freebsd.org>

   OpenBSD is about to release version 3.7 . There are patches available
   to catch up with the development done in OpenBSD 3.6 and 3.7. These
   patches are in an early stage, but ready for testing, please help.

   Otherwise there was not much activity on pf, as it already is quite
   stable. Other work, such as CARP and if_bridge are having impact on pf
   in FreeBSD however, please see the respective reports.

  Open tasks:

    1. Alpha/Betatesting of the 3.7 import
    2. Testing with if_bridge

Pipe namespace added to portalfs

   URL: http://www.spinellis.gr/blog/20050413/index.html

   Contact: Diomidis Spinellis <dds at FreeBSD.org>

   A new sub-namespace, called pipe, has been added to portalfs. The pipe
   namespace executes the named command, starting back at the root
   directory. The command's arguments can be provided after the command's
   name, by separating them with spaces or tabs. Files opened for reading
   in the pipe namespace will receive their input from the command's
   standard output; files opened for writing will send the data of write
   operations to the command's standard input. The pipe namespace allows
   us to perform scatter gather operations without using temporary files,
   create non-linear pipelines, and implement file views using symbolic

Ports Collection

   URL: http://www.freebsd.org/ports/
   URL: http://portsmon.firepipe.net/index.html
   URL: http://www.freebsd.org/portmgr/index.html

   Contact: Mark Linimon <linimon at FreeBSD.org>

   As this report was being written, the 5.4 release was ongoing.

   A new charter for the Ports Management (portmgr) team was approved by
   core and has been posted at the URL above. In addition, two other new
   pages describe the policies of the team, and the range of QA
   activities both during and between releases.

   Due to being absent from email discussions for some time, Oliver
   Eikemeier (eik) was moved to non-voting status on portmgr.

   We have added several new and very active committers recently; this is
   helping us to keep the PR count low even with the large numbers of new
   ports that have been added.

   Several more iterations of infrastructure changes have been tested on
   the cluster and committed; see /usr/ports/CHANGES for details.

   Updates have occurred to x.org, GNOME, KDE, and perl.

   There have been some updates to the Porter's Handbook, but more
   sections are still in need of updates to include recent changes in

   The ports collection now contains almost 12,750 ports.

  Open tasks:

    1. Further progress has been made in cracking down on ports that
       install files outside the approved directories and/or do not
       deinstall cleanly (see "Extra files not listed in PLIST" on
       pointyhat ) and this will remain a focus area. We appreciate
       everyone who has sent in PRs or committed fixes.
    2. Demand for new features and revisions for bsd.port.mk is still
       very high and the portmgr team is trying to work through them all.
    3. We still have a large number of PRs that have been assigned to
       committers for some time (in fact, they constitute the majority).
       One goal of portmgr in the coming months is to try to reduce this
       number, and we would like to ask our committers to help us out as
       much as possible.

PowerPC Port

   Contact: Peter Grehan <grehan at FreeBSD.org>

   Progress continues. X.Org 6.8.1 server has been up and running on a
   number of different Macs, and the work is being merged into 6.8.2.
   There have been successful installs on Mac Minis

Removable interface improvements.

   URL: http://people.freebsd.org/~brooks/pubs/eurobsdcon2004/
   URL: http://www.freebsd.org/projects/dingo/

   Contact: Brooks Davis <brooks at FreeBSD.org>

   This project is an attempt to clean up handling of network interfaces
   in order to allow interfaces to be removed reliably. Current problems
   include panics if Dummynet is delaying packets to an interface when it
   is removed.

   I am currently working to remove struct ifnet's from device driver
   structures to allow them to be managed properly upon device removal. I
   believe I have removed all known instances of casting a struct ifnet
   pointer to something else (except that that are just magic values and
   not real struct ifnets.) I will begin committing these changes to the
   tree shortly and will then add a new function if_alloc() that will
   allocate struct ifnets. if_detach() will be modified to destroy them.

Secure Updating

   URL: http://www.daemonology.net/portsnap/
   URL: http://www.daemonology.net/freebsd-update/

   Contact: Colin Percival <cperciva at FreeBSD.org>

   Shortly before the ports freeze for FreeBSD 5.4, I released a new
   version of Portsnap. In addition to being secure and more efficient
   than CVSup, this latest version distributes INDEX, INDEX-5, and
   INDEX-6 files, thereby eliminating the need to run "make fetchindex"
   and ensuring that the ports INDEX will match the existing ports tree.
   In addition, portsnap builds have now moved onto hardware managed by
   the FreeBSD project, thereby sharply increasing portsnap's chances of
   survival if I get hit by a bus.

   In early February hardware problems caused both FreeBSD Update and
   Portsnap to stop functioning for a few days, but those were resolved
   thanks to a server donated by layeredtech.com.

   I intend bring Portsnap into the FreeBSD base system before the end of
   the month, followed by FreeBSD Update a few months later.

Status Report for FreeBSD ATA driver project

   Contact: Søren Schmidt <sos at FreeBSD.org>

   ATA mkIII has been committed to -current after a couple of month
   testing as patches post on -current and 5-stable. I will continue to
   provide patches for 5-stable for those that need up-to-date ATA
   support there.

   Here a short rehash of what mkIII brings:

   ATA is now fully modular so each part can be loaded/unloaded at will
   to provided the wanted functionality.

   Much improved SATA support that support hotplug events on controllers
   that support it (Promise, SiS, nVidia so far) ie the system will
   automagically detect when SATA devices come and go and add/delete
   device entries etc.

   Much improved ATA RAID support. The ata-raid driver has been largely
   rewritten to take advantage of the features the improved
   infrastructure provides, including composite ATA operations etc. The
   rebuild functionality has been changed to rebuild on userland reads,
   so a simple dd of the entire array will get it rebuild (what
   atacontrol now does). This means that the resources used for this can
   be better tailored to the actualy usage pattern if needed. ATA RAID
   now supports 10+ different RAID metadata formats, so most BIOS defined
   ATA RAID arrays can be picked up and used. The number of metadata
   formats that can be created from within FreeBSD is still limitted
   though and is not a high priority feature right now.

   The lowlevel infrastructure of the ATA driver has been refined even
   further to support "strange" chipsets much more easily and in most
   case transparent to the higher levels. This to easy ports to new
   platforms where ATA controllers doesn't necessarily have the x86
   legacy layout.

   Lots of bug fixes and corrections all over the driver proper. The
   rework of the infrastructure has revealed bugs and deficiencies that
   has been fixed in the process of modulerising ATA and making the
   infrastructure more generic, and hopefully easier to understand.

   The work continues to keep ATA on top of new chipsets and other
   advancements in the ATA camp. SATA ATAPI support is in the works and
   so are support for NCA/TCQ (tags). Donations of unsupported hardware
   is the way to get it supported as I'm way out of my budget for new
   hardware for the next decade or so according to my wife :)

  Open tasks:

    1. Lots of testing wanted, especially SATA and RAID support

Storage driver SMPng locking

   Contact: Scott Long <scottl at freebsd.org>

   Several storage drivers have been taken out from under the Giant mutex
   in the past few months. Thanks to sponsorship from FreeBSD Systems,
   Inc and ImproWare, AG, Switzerland , the LSI MegaRAID (AMR) and
   IBM/Adaptec ServeRAID (IPS) drivers have been locked. SMPng locking is
   a key step in improving the performance of system drivers in FreeBSD
   5.x and beyond, and both of these drivers are showing the benefits of
   this. FreeBSD 5.4 will contains these improvements when it is

   Similar work is ongoing with the 3WARE Escalade (TWE) driver, and
   preliminary patches have been made available to testers. I hope to
   have this driver complete in time for the next FreeBSD release.

   Unfortunately, most benefits can only be gained from pure block
   storage drivers such as the ones mentioned here due to the SCSI
   subsystem in FreeBSD (CAM) not be locked itself at this time. It is
   possible, however, to lock a CAM sub-driver and bring the driver's
   interrupt handler out from under Giant for a partial gain. The Sun
   FAS366 SCSI driver (ESP) operates like this. Volunteers to lock other
   drivers or to tackle locking CAM are gladly accepted, so please
   contact me if you are interested.

Support for telephone hardware (aka Zaptel)

   URL: http://www.digium.com/index.php?menu=hardware_products

   Contact: Maxim Sobolev <sobomax at FreeBSD.org>
   Contact: Oleksandr Tymoshenko <gonzo at pbxpress.com>
   Contact: Max Khon <fjoe at FreeBSD.org>

   During the last 2 months lot of progress has been made. Existing
   support for TDM400 (FXO/FXS) has been significantly improved. Drivers
   for PRI and BRI cards have been added and now should be considered

  Open tasks:

    1. More testing of PRI/BRI drivers.
    2. Add support for channelized DS3 card(s).

twa driver

   URL: http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/cvsweb.cgi/src/sys/dev/twa/
   URL: http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/cvsweb.cgi/src/sys/modules/twa/

   Contact: Vinod Kashyap <vkashyap at amcc.com>

   A newly re-architected twa(4) driver was committed to 6 -CURRENT on
   04/12/2005. Highlights of this release are:
    1. The driver has been re-architected to use a "Common Layer" (all
       tw_cl* files), which is a consolidation of all OS-independent
       parts of the driver. The FreeBSD OS specific portions of the
       driver go into an "OS Layer" (all tw_osl* files). This
       re-architecture is to achieve better maintainability, consistency
       of behavior across OS's, and better portability to new OS's
       (drivers for new OS's can be written by just adding an OS Layer
       that's specific to the OS, by complying to a "Common Layer
       Programming Interface (CLPI)" API. If there's interest in porting
       the 3ware driver to any other OS, you may contact ctchu at
       amcc.com to get a copy of the CLPI specifications.
    2. The driver takes advantage of multiple processors. It does not
       need to be Giant protected anymore.
    3. The driver has a new firmware image bundled, the new features of
       which include Online Capacity Expansion and multi-lun support,
       among others. More details about 3ware's 9.2 release can be found

Update of the Linux userland infrastructure

   Contact: Alexander Leidinger <netchild at FreeBSD.org>
   Contact: Emulation Mailinglist <freebsd-emulation at FreeBSD.org>

   The update to RedHat 8 as discussed in the last status report went
   smoothly (just some minor glitches which got resolved fast).

   As a next step a cleanup/streamlining and the possibility of
   overriding the default linux base is in progress. This depends on
   changes which need at least one testrun on the ports build cluster, so
   the final date for those changes depends upon the availability of the
   cluster resources.

  Open tasks:

    1. Refactoring the common RPM code into bsd.rpm.mk.
    2. Determining which up-to-date Linux distribution to use as the next
       default linux base. Important criteria:
          + RPM based (to be able to use the existing infrastructure)
          + good track record regarding availability of security fixes
          + packages available from several mirror sites
          + available for several hardware architectures (e.g. i386,
            amd64, sparc64; Note: not all architectures have a working
            linuxolator for their native bit with, but as long as there
            are no userland bits available, no motivation regarding
            writting the kernel bits will arise)
    3. Moving the linuxolator userland to an up-to-date version (see

Wireless Networking Support

   Contact: Sam Leffler <sam at freebsd.org>

   Several new drivers by by Damien Bergamini were brought into the tree:
   iwi, ipw, ral, and ural.

   WPA-PSK support for the ndis driver was contributed by Arvind

   A new tx rate control algorithm for the ath driver was contributed by
   John Bicket. It will become the default algorithm shortly.

   Work on multi-bss support is going on outside the cvs tree. A
   presentation on this work will be given at BSDCan 2005 and the slides
   for the talk will be made available after.

  Open tasks:

    1. Drivers other than ath and ndis need updates to support the new
       security protocols.
    2. hostapd needs work to support the IAPP and 802.11i
       preauthentication protocols (these are simple conversions of
       existing Linux code).
    3. The openbsd dhclient program has been ported but needs a developer
       that will maintain it once it is brought into cvs.

XenFreeBSD - FreeBSD on Xen

   URL: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/netos/xen/
   URL: http://xen.bkbits.net/

   Contact: Kip Macy <kmacy at fsmware.com>

   FreeBSD 5.3 runs on the stable and the development branches of xen and
   is now checked into both trees. Over the next couple of weeks I will
   be adding improvements for better batching of page table updates and
   SMP support.

  Open tasks:

    1. FreeBSD support for running as Domain 0, i.e. running as the
       hosting operating system.
    2. FreeBSD support for VM checkpoint and migration.

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