FreeBSD Status Reports January - March, 2009

Brad Davis brd at
Sat May 9 19:40:34 UTC 2009

FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report


   Since the last Status Reports there has been interesting progress in
   FreeBSD Development. FreeBSD 7.2 was released just a few days ago. Some
   of the highlights include: Support for superpages in the FreeBSD
   Virtual Memory subsystem. The FreeBSD Kernel Virtual Address space has
   been increased to 6GB on amd64. An updated jail(8) subsystem that
   supports multi-IPv4/IPv6/noIP and much more. Lots of FreeBSD Developers
   are in Ottawa, Canada attending the FreeBSD Developer Summit that is
   before BSDCan. BSDCan officially starts tomorrow and should cover lots
   of interesting topics, see the BSDCan Website for more information.

   Thanks to all the reporters for the excellent work! We hope you enjoy


     * Clang replacing GCC in the base system
     * Device mmap() Extensions
     * OpenBSM
     * Release Engineering
     * Sysinfo - a set of scripts which document your system
     * TrustedBSD MAC Framework in GENERIC
     * VFS/NFS DTrace Probes
     * VirtualBox on FreeBSD

FreeBSD Team Reports

     * FreeBSD BugBusting Team


     * FreeBSD/powerpc G5 Support
     * FreeBSD/sparc64 UltraSPARC III support


     * Dutch Documentation Project
     * German Documentation Project
     * Hungarian Documentation Project

Google Summer of Code

     * BSD-licensed text-processing tools

BSD-licensed text-processing tools


   Contact: Gábor Kövesdán <gabor at>

   Currently, grep is finished and is only waiting for a portbuild test.
   It is known to be more or less feature complete, while it is much
   smaller than the GNU version.

   As for sort, there has been some progress with the complete rewrite and
   it is lacking few options. Performance is to be measured, as well.

Open tasks:

    1. Test grep on pointyhat.
    2. Complete sort with the missing features.
    3. Do performance measurements for sort and look for possible
       optimization opportunities.
    4. Test sort on pointyhat.

Clang replacing GCC in the base system


   Contact: Ed Schouten <ed at>
   Contact: Roman Divacky <rdivacky at>
   Contact: Brooks Davis <brooks at>
   Contact: Pawel Worach <pawel.worach at>

   The last 3-4 months we've been working together with the LLVM
   developers to discuss any bugs and issues we are experiencing with
   their Clang compiler frontend. The FreeBSD project is looking at the
   possibility to replace GCC with Clang as a system compiler. It can
   compile 99% of the FreeBSD world and can compile booting kernel on
   i386/amd64 but it still contains bugs and its C++ support is still

   Ed is maintaining a patchset for the FreeBSD sources to replace cc(1)
   by a Clang binary and bootstrap almost all sources with the Clang

   The LLVM developers are very helpful fixing most of the bugs we've
   reported (over 100). Unfortunately we are currently blocked on some bug
   reports that prevent us from building libc, libm, libcrypto and various
   CDDL libraries with Clang but the FreeBSD kernel itself compiles and

Open tasks:

    1. Testing Clang with compilation of various applications and
       reporting bugs.
    2. Testing the llvm-bmake branch to find more bugs.
    3. Arranging an experimental ports build.

Device mmap() Extensions


   Contact: John Baldwin <jhb at>

   GPU device drivers are increasingly requiring more sophisticated
   support for mapping objects into both userland and the kernel. For
   example, memory used for textures often needs to be mapped
   Write-Combining rather than Write-Back. I have recently created three
   patches to provide several extensions.

   The first patch allows device drivers to use a different VM object to
   back specific mmap() calls instead of always using the device pager.
   The second patch introduces a new VM object type that can map an
   arbitrary set of physical address ranges. This can be used to let
   userland mmap PCI BARs, etc. The third patch allows memory mappings to
   use different caching modes (e.g. Write-Combining or Uncacheable).

   Together I believe these patches provide the remaining pieces needed
   for an Nvidia amd64 driver. They will also be useful for future Xorg
   DRM support as well. The current set of patches can be safely merged
   back to 7.x as well.

   Currently I am waiting for review and feedback from several folks. I am
   hopeful that these patches will be in HEAD soon, prior to the 8.0

Dutch Documentation Project


   Contact: Remko Lodder <remko at>
   Contact: René Ladan <rene at>

   The FreeBSD Dutch Documentation Project is an ongoing project to
   translate FreeBSD Documentation into the Dutch language.

   The translation of the Handbook was completed last January. It is kept
   up-to-date with the English version. Furthermore five articles and the
   flyer have been translated.

   Some initial work has been done to translate the website, but most
   likely more translators are needed to fully realize it.

Open tasks:

    1. Recruit more translators.
    2. Keep the translations up-to-date with the English versions.
    3. Finish the translation of the FAQ.
    4. Translate more articles and maybe some books.

FreeBSD BugBusting Team


   Contact: Mark Linimon <bugmeister@>
   Contact: Remko Lodder <bugmeister@>

   We continue to classify PRs as they arrive, with 'tags' corresponding
   to the kernel subsystem, or man page references for userland PRs. These
   tags, in turn, produce lists of PRs sorted both by tag and by manpage

   Mark Linimon (linimon@) has created special reports for the Release
   Engineering Team to help focus on regressions and other areas of
   interest relating to the release of FreeBSD 7.2 in the coming weeks.
   This is a refinement of the 'customized reports for developers'
   announced in the last status report.

   A full list of all the automatically generated reports is also
   available. Any recommendations for reports which do not currently exist
   but which would be beneficial are welcomed.

   Mark Linimon also continues attempting to define the general problem
   and investigating possible new work flow models, and will be presenting
   on the subject at BSDCan.

   The list of PRs recommended for committer evaluation by the BugBusting
   team continues to receive new additions. This list contains PRs, mostly
   with patches, that the BugBusting team feel are probably ready to be
   committed as-is, or are probably trivially resolved in the hands of a
   committer with knowledge of the particular subsystem. All committers
   are invited to take a look at this list whenever they have a spare 5
   minutes and wish to close a PR.

   Since the last status report, the number of open bugs continued to
   hover around the 5600 mark, although has began to rise with the 7.2
   ports freeze.

   As always, more help is appreciated, and committers and non-committers
   alike are invited to join us on #freebsd-bugbusters on EFnet and help
   close stale PRs or commit patches from valid PRs.

Open tasks:

    1. Try to find ways to get more committers helping us with closing PRs
       that the team has already analyzed.
    2. Think of some way for committers to only view PRs that have been in
       some way 'vetted' or 'confirmed'.
    3. Generate more publicity for what we've already got in place, and
       for what we intend to do next.
    4. Define new categories, classifications, and states for PRs, that
       will better match our work flow (in progress).

FreeBSD/powerpc G5 Support

   Contact: Nathan Whitehorn <nwhitehorn at>

   FreeBSD 8.0-CURRENT now has support for PowerPC CPUs operating in the
   64-bit bridge mode. This includes the PowerPC 970 (G5) as well as the
   POWER3 and POWER4. Currently only Apple systems are known to work.

Open tasks:

    1. IBM systems currently are not supported due to missing northbridge
    2. Software fan control on SMU-based Apple G5 systems (G5 iMac, later
       Powermac G5) is not available.

FreeBSD/sparc64 UltraSPARC III support

   Contact: Marius Strobl <marius at>

   Like announced in the previous status report, support for
   sun4u-machines based on UltraSPARC III and beyond has been MFC'ed to
   stable/7 (the last missing piece was r190297) and thus will be present
   in the upcoming 7.2-RELEASE and can be already tested with 7.2-RC1.
   Additionally, as of r191076 machfb(4) has been fixed to work with
   UltraSPARC III and beyond, that fix unfortunately did not make it into
   7.2-RC1 but will be in the final version. The X.Org 7.4 and Firefox
   ports as well as some other gecko-based ones like Seamonkey once again
   have been fixed to also work and package on sparc64, including on
   UltraSPARC III and UltraSPARC IIIi based machines equipped with cards
   driven by creator(4) or machfb(4). The driver for the Sun
   Cassini/Cassini+ as well as National Semiconductor DP83065 Saturn
   Gigabit NICs found on-board for example in Fire V440 and as add-on
   cards is coming along nicely, the last thing which needs to be
   implemented before it can hit CURRENT is support for jumbo frames.

German Documentation Project


   Contact: Johann Kois <jkois at>
   Contact: Martin Wilke <miwi at>

   In February 2009 the German version of the FreeBSD Developer's handbook
   went online. Additionally we managed to update large areas of the FAQ
   thanks to the contributions of Benedict Reuschling.

   The website (at least the areas we see as relevant for a translation)
   is translated and updated constantly.

   More volunteers are always welcome of course, as there is still plenty
   of work to be done.

Open tasks:

    1. Update the existing documentation set (especially the handbook).
    2. Read the translations. Check for problems/mistakes. Send feedback.

Hungarian Documentation Project


   Contact: Gábor Kövesdán <gabor at>
   Contact: Gábor Páli <pgj at>

   We are proud to announce that the FreeBSD Hungarian web pages have been
   extended by the following items:
     * Project news entries, staring from 2009 (HTML, RSS, RDF)
     * Press releases, starting from 2008 (HTML, RSS)
     * Events, starting from 2009 (HTML, RSS)
     * Security advisories (HTML, RSS)

   We are still hoping that having the FDP Primer translated will
   encourage others to help our work. Feel free to contribute, every
   submitted line of translation or feedback is appreciated and is highly
   welcome. For more information on how to contribute, please read the
   project's introduction (in Hungarian).

Open tasks:

    1. Translate news entries, press releases.
    2. Translate Release Notes for -CURRENT and 8.X.
    3. Translate articles.
    4. Translate web pages.
    5. Read the translations, send feedback.



   Contact: Robert Watson <rwatson at>
   Contact: TrustedBSD audit mailing list
   <trustedbsd-audit at>

   The TrustedBSD Project has now released OpenBSM 1.1, the second
   production release of the OpenBSM code base. OpenBSM 1.1 has been
   merged to FreeBSD 8-CURRENT, and will be merged to 7-STABLE before
   FreeBSD 7.3. Major changes since OpenBSM 1.0 include:
     * Trail files now include the host where the trail is generated.
       Crash recovery has been improved. Trail expiration based on size
       and date is now supported; by default trail files will be expired
       after 10MB of trails. The default individual trail limit is now
     * Mac OS X Snow Leopard is now a fully supported platform; launchd(8)
       can now be used to launchd auditd(8). Command line tools and
       libraries are now supported on Mac OS X Leopard.
     * Extended header tokens are now supported, allowing audit trails to
       be tagged with a host identifier. IPv6 addresses are now supported
       in subject tokens. BSM token and record types have been further
       synchronized to OpenSolaris; support for many new system calls has
       been added. Local errors and socket types are mapped to and from
       BSM values.

   Since the last test release, OpenBSM 1.1 beta 1, 32/64-bit
   compatibility has been fixed for the auditon(2) system call. A default
   "expire-after" of 10MB is now set in audit_control(5). Local fcntl(2)
   arguments are now mapped to wire BSM versions using new APIs. The
   audit_submit(3) man page has been fixed. A new audit event class has
   been added for post-login authentication and access control events.

Open tasks:

    1. Migrate to sbufs in token-encoding.
    2. Support for auditing NFS RPCs.

Release Engineering


   Contact: Release Engineering Team <re at>

   The Release Engineering Team (with lots of help from lots of other
   people) released FreeBSD 7.2 on May 4th, 2009. During this period we
   have also begun reminding developers of the upcoming FreeBSD 8.0
   release cycle which is scheduled to begin in early June 2009 with
   release targeted at early September 2009.

Sysinfo - a set of scripts which document your system


   Contact: Daniel Gerzo <danger at>

   Sysinfo a shell script which purpose is to automatically gather system
   information and document hardware and software configuration of the
   given host system. The goal is to provide a system operator with
   descriptive information about an unknown FreeBSD installation.

   It consists of several modules (also shell scripts), thus is easily
   extensible and provides an easy way to inspect overall system

   It has been written as part of my Bachelor thesis and its development
   is a work in progress. Therefore, I would appreciate if you could
   provide me with some feedback as I will defend my thesis soon. Your
   feedback is welcome at the forums , or alternatively you can send me a
   private email.

   The tool itself can now be installed using the Ports tree from the
   sysutils/sysinfo port.

Open tasks:

    1. Receive additional feedback.
    2. Perform more testing.
    3. Extend and improve the tool.

TrustedBSD MAC Framework in GENERIC


   Contact: Robert Watson <rwatson at>
   Contact: TrustedBSD discussion mailing list
   <trustedbsd-discuss at>

   There is on-going work to allow "options MAC" to be included in the
   GENERIC kernel for 8.0. This primarily consists of performance work to
   reduce overhead when policies are used, and eliminate when none are
   configured. Work to date includes:
     * The MAC Framework now detects which object types are labeled by
       policies, and MAC label storage is not allocated when it won't be
     * Add MAC Framework DTrace probes so allow more easy analysis of MAC
       Framework and policy interactions.
     * Eliminate mutex-protected reference count used to prevent module
       unload during entry point invocation, and replace with an sx lock
       and an rwlock, respectively for long-sleepable and short-sleepable
       entry points, significantly lowering the overhead of entering the
       MAC Framework. If no dynamic policies are loaded, no locking
       overhead is taken.

Open tasks:

    1. Move to rmlocks for non-sleepable entry points to reduce cache line
       thrashing under load.
    2. Macroize invocation of MAC Framework entry points from the kernel,
       and perform caller-side determination of whether MAC is enabled in
       order to avoid additional function call overhead in the caller path
       if MAC is disabled.

VFS/NFS DTrace Probes

   Contact: Robert Watson <rwatson at>

   A new DTrace provider, dtnfsclient, has been added to the FreeBSD 8.x
   kernel, and will be merged to 7.x before 7.3. The following probes are
     * nfsclient:{nfs2,nfs3}:{procname}:start - NFSv2 and NFSv3 RPC start
     * nfsclient:{nfs2,nfs3}:{procname}:done - NFSv2 and NFSv3 RPC done
     * nfsclient:accesscache:: - NFS access cache flush/hit/miss/load
     * nfsclient:attrcache:: - NFS attribute cache flush/hit/miss/done

   In addition, a number of VFS probes have been added:
     * vfs:vop:{vopname}:entry - VOP entry probe
     * vfs:vop:{vopname}:return - VOP return probe
     * vfs:namei:lookup:entry - VFS name lookup entry probe
     * vfs:namei:lookup:return - VFS name lookup return probe
     * vfs:namecache:*:* - VFS namecache
       negative/purgevfs/zap/zap_negative probes

   These probes make it much easier to trace NFS and VFS events.

Open tasks:

    1. Add VFSOP tracing.
    2. Add RPC-layer tracing, such as RPC retransmits.
    3. Provide decoded NFS RPCs in order to expose transaction IDs and
       file handles.

VirtualBox on FreeBSD


   Contact: Beat Gaetzi <beat at>
   Contact: Bernhard Froehlich <decke at>
   Contact: Dennis Herrmann <dhn at>
   Contact: Martin Wilke <miwi at>

   After the first mail from Alexander Eichner on the vbox-dev
   mailinglist, we started the work on a VirtualBox port. 6 Days was
   needed to get VirtualBox to start with over 20 patches. We'd like to
   say thanks to Alexander Eichner, all the VirtualBox Developers, Gustau
   Perez and Ulf Lilleengen. If you like to play with the current port you
   can checkout the port here. Please do not ping us about any problems,
   we know about a lot and are still working to get them all solved before
   we do an official call for testing.

Open tasks:

    1. Fix kernel crashes on 7.2-RELEASE.
    2. Code cleanup.
    3. Fix errors on AMD64.
    4. Fix user/permission problems.

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