The NetBSD Foundation Quarterly Report: October - December 2004
NetBSD is an actively developed operating system. With fifty four different system architectures in total and binary support of over 48 architectures in our last official release (NetBSD 2.0), our widely portable Packages Collection “pkgsrc” and large userbase there is a lot going on within the project. In order to allow our users to follow the most important changes over the last few months, we provide a brief summary in these official status reports on a regular basis. These status reports are suitable for reproduction and publication in part or in whole as long as the source is clearly indicated.
The last three months of 2004 were full of exciting developments within the NetBSD Project. Not only did the new official NetBSD Logo get announced (with all the hoopla and discussions about the choice this bikeshed-prone topic solicits), but we also released the much anticipated NetBSD 2.0 and the Packages Team created a new stable branch, pkgsrc-2004Q4.
But the last quarter also brought some problems: the 2.0 release went through
several Release Candidates in October and November before the final release
was unfortunately held back by a hardware failure of the main release
engineering server. Together with the recent failure of the anoncvs server
this meant significant expenses for this volunteer project. If you would like
to help us out with a tax-deductible donation, please contact
Other development and news during the fourth quarter of 2004 within NetBSD in details:
- New supported platform: DragonFlyBSD 
- Changes to the Packages Collection in October 
- New supported platform: OSF/1 
- Changes to the Packages Collection in November 
- New pkgsrc-2004Q4 branch 
- Dates set for pkgsrcCon '05 
- Changes to the Packages Collection in December 
- Security Advisory 
- ptyfs imported 
- OpenPAM imported 
- bind 9.3, file 4.12, pf 3.6 and postfix 2.1.5 imported
The NetBSD Project runs a machine to continuously build binary snapshots of the latest development version, NetBSD-current, as well as the latest stable branch, currently netbsd-2, on a daily base. The machine is also used during release cycles to assemble releases, but due to hardware failure, the machine was closed down, and the release had to be assembled manually for all 48 binary platforms that NetBSD 2.0 supports. We hope to bring back this service soon, to offer binary updates to users who are either interested in latest development snapshots or snapshots from the stable branch.
The NetBSD anoncvs server, anoncvs.NetBSD.org, suffered random memory
corruption in December and had to be taken offline. The NetBSD Administration
Team is in the process of diagnosing and repairing the problem. The anonymous
CVS server will be unavailable until we can find a replacement machine or
repair the current one. In the meantime, you can download the tar file
available from ftp.NetBSD.org. The tar files of -current (the head of the CVS
tree) are updated daily and are located in:
If you would like to help contribute to the replacement of this essential
service, please consider making a tax-deductible donation using PayPal
through other means by contacting
See http://www.NetBSD.org/donations/ for details.
The NetBSD project is pleased to welcome the following new developers during the third quarter of 2004:
<ups>, who will be working on SMP and threads.
<spz>, who will be working on administration, Documentation and odds & ends.
<peter>, who will be working on pf and the NetBSD Packages Collection.
<hira>, who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection and bug fixing.
EuroBSDCon 2004 took place in Karlsruhe, Germany, from October 29th to October 31st. The NetBSD Project had a strong presence, dominating the conference with a total of 11 (out of 23) papers presented either by NetBSD developers or on NetBSD related topics, with topics including binary compatibility with Mac OS X, cross-compilation of pkgsrc, deploying NetBSD as a scalable desktop solution and handheld Desktop machines (among others).
The NetBSD Project also set up a merchandise booth to advocate NetBSD, inform users, answer questions and sell t-shirts, CDs and other goodies.
The conference website now contains the majority of the talks and papers online at http://2004.eurobsdcon.org/.
For a short report, also see http://mail-index.NetBSD.org/netbsd-advocacy/2004/11/02/0000.html.
The NetBSD Project was, of course, also represented at various other events worldwide, such as Systems (Munich, Germany), BSD Conference (Japan), Kansai-OpenSource (Japan), 21st Chaos Communication Congress (Berlin, Germany)
See http://www.NetBSD.org/gallery/events.html for more information.
On October 30th, the NetBSD Project's new official logo was announced. The logo was selected out of over 400 submissions by 238 artists. The winning logo was submitted by Grant Bissett, a new media designer from Perth, Western Australia.
Members of the NetBSD Foundation voted for the new logo from a short-list of six submitted designs selected by the logo committee. Characteristics important for the new logo were simplicity, appealing form and color choice, and identification with the project.
The new logo, which features a flag, is used on the NetBSD.org website and will be used for software media, apparel, advertisements, promotional materials, and the NetBSD Foundation literature.
As was anticipated, the choice of the logo was surrounded by lengthy discussions and much feedback. It is worth noting, however, that the choice of a new logo does not mean the abandonment of the mascot, the beloved daemon.
NetBSD 2.0, the tenth major release of the NetBSD Operating System, was released on December 9th. This release, which includes binary distributions for 48 architectures continues our long tradition with major improvements in file system and memory management performance, major security enhancements, and support for many new platforms and peripherals.
The addition of a native threads implementation for all platforms and symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) on i386 and other popular platforms were long-standing goals for NetBSD 2.0. Both of these goals have now been met -- SMP support has been added for i386, SPARC, and PowerPC, the SMP support on Alpha and VAX has been improved, and the new port to the 64-bit AMD/Opteron also supports SMP.
Many Open Source projects pride themselves in providing a Live CD to allow users to test their OS without having to install it. Of course NetBSD does also provide such a Live CD, but much more than that, the NetBSD Live CD can easily be customized and be used for many purposes.
A custom NetBSD 2.0-Beta Live CD, developed by Jan Schaumann using the sysutils/mklivecd package was used to run the ACM Greater New York Regional Programming Contest in November, hosted at Stevens Institute of Technology.
See http://mail-index.NetBSD.org/netbsd-advocacy/2004/11/17/0000.html and http://www.cs.stevens.edu/~jschauma/acm/ for details, including instructions on how to re-create this CD as well as the entire setup.
Another, more general purpose NetBSD 2.0 based live CD that may be of interest to a wider base of users, booting into KDE and offering various desktop and networking programs is available from ftp://ftp.NetBSD.org/pub/NetBSD/iso/2.0/i386live.iso or via BitTorrent from ftp://ftp.NetBSD.org/pub/NetBSD/iso/2.0/i386live.iso.torrent.
The NetBSD Packages Collection was ported to yet another platform on October 31st 2004. The newest OS to benefit from pkgsrc is DragonFlyBSD, support for which was provided by Todd Willey on the tech-pkg mailinglist.
At the end of October 2004, there were 5083 packages in the NetBSD
Packages Collection, up from 5011 the previous month, a rise of 72.
The Package of the Month award goes to
audio/daapd, which scans
a directory for mp3 files and makes them available via the Apple
proprietary protocol DAAP. DAAP clients can browse the directory and
retrieve individual files, either by streaming or by downloading them.
There are some DAAP clients in pkgsrc/audio, and iTunes can play the
MP3s served by daapd. My thanks to Nathan Williams for packaging this.
The NetBSD Packages Collection was ported to yet another platform on November 20th, 2004. The newest OS to benefit from pkgsrc is OSF/1, support for which was imported by Grant Beattie.
At the end of November 2004, there were 5190 packages in the NetBSD Packages
Collection, up from 5083 the previous month, a rise of 107. The Package of
the Month award for November 2004 goes to
nominated by a huge number of people including Matt Green, Hubert Feyrer, Nick
Hudson, and, according to Quentin Garnier, "anybody who gave qemu a try".
qemu is a very fast dynamic-translating CPU emulator, which can give you a
number of virtual machines all running at good emulation speeds.
See http://mail-index.NetBSD.org/tech-pkg/2004/12/14/0006.html for details.
After a two week long freeze on the pkgsrc repository, the NetBSD Packages Team cut the pkgsrc-2004Q4 branch, obsoleting pkgsrc-2004Q3 as the currently maintained and stable pkgsrc branch. Among many other things, this new branch includes support for two new platforms (OSF/1 and DragonFlyBSD), an improved infrastructure for non-NetBSD platforms and improved support for non-gcc compilers.
The source tar files for the new branch can be found at:
and you can use the "pkgsrc-2004Q4" tag to check it out yourself from anoncvs.NetBSD.org and any of the mirrors.
After the widely successfull pkgsrcCon '04 last Spring in Vienna, the planning of the upcoming pkgsrcCon '05 immediately begun, and the final time and place were announced in November:
pkgsrcCon '05 will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, from May 6 - May 8, 2005. pkgsrcCon is a technical conference for people working on the NetBSD Packages Collection (pkgsrc), focusing on existing technologies, research projects, and works-in-progress in pkgsrc infrastructure. Developers, contributors, and users are all welcome to attend.
See http://www.pkgsrcCon.org for details.
At the end of December 2004, there were 5266 packages in the NetBSD Packages Collection, up from 5190 the previous month, a rise of 76. Among the many changes, updates and additions are new versions of kde, gnome, and an addition of a wiki. The first annual Alistair Crooks "My Name on All Files" award goes to Grant Beattie for his updates of perl5 packages.
As part of the infrastructure, pkg_install utilities were modified to use a large buffer for full path names, even on operating systems which don't use the Berkeley FFS.
The Package of the Month award goes to:
by many people including Andrew Brown, Dan McMahill, and Alistair Crooks.
See http://mail-index.NetBSD.org/tech-pkg/2005/01/04/0006.html for details.
Due to the large number of supported platforms, this status report will only point out the very significant changes to some of the ports. For a full list of port-specific changes, please refer to http://www.NetBSD.org/changes/changes-2.0.html#port_specific and http://www.NetBSD.org/changes/changes-3.0.html#port_specific.
A very important commit that fixes a long-term stability problem for sparc64 (which due to other changes had become very annoying lately) was committed on December 1st. This commit fixes PRs 24126, 25669 and 27730, and while it unfortunately did not make it into 2.0, the patch applies cleanly.
<gavan@NetBSD.org> has imported a new port into the NetBSD source
tree: NetBSD/iyonix. Iyonix is an ARM based PC.
and http://www.NetBSD.org/ports/iyonix/ for more details on Iyonix or join the
port-iyonix mailing list at http://www.NetBSD.org/mailinglists/#port-iyonix.
<joff@NetBSD.org> has committed support for the TS-7200 into the
NetBSD/evbarm port. The TS-7200 is a low-cost mass-produced PC/104 embedded
single board computer intended as a general purpose core for real embedded
applications. The TS-7200 uses the Cirrus Logic EP9302 ARM9 system-on-chip
and comes with a PC/104 (isa) bus and can either boot to CompactFlash or
onboard flash. The board also has general purpose digital IO and optional
multichannel analog-to-digital converters. More information on the TS-7200 can
be found at http://www.embeddedarm.com/epc/ts7200-spec-h.html.
More information about the porting process and detailed instructions are available online at http://www.embeddedarm.com/~joff/. Also, see http://mail-index.NetBSD.org/netbsd-ports/2005/01/04/0000.html and http://www.NetBSD.org/ports/evbarm/.
The NetBSD Security-Officer team released one security advisory in the fourth quarter of 2004:
- NetBSD-SA2004-010: Insufficient argument validation in compat code
NetBSD 2.0 was not affected by this advisory.
More information on previous Security Advisories is available at http://www.NetBSD.org/support/security/.
Christos Zoulas has committed a ptyfs implementation in November 2004. This was done to get rid of all the tty and pty files in /dev and is needed for COMPAT_LINUX. See Christos' implementation notes in hist message to the tech-kern mailing list at http://mail-index.NetBSD.org/tech-kern/2004/11/08/0016.html.
Christos Zoulas has imported OpenPAM ``Eeelgrass'' into the base system on December 12th, 2004.
OpenPAM is an open source PAM library that focuses on simplicity,correctness, and cleanliness. It is specified in the X/Open Document Number P702.
Among the many significant source changes in the last three months, there were the update of Bind to 9.3 (20041106 by Christos Zoulas), file 4.12 (20041213 by Antti Kantee), pf 3.6 (20041114 by YAMAMOTO Takashi) and postfix 2.1.5 (20041113 by John Heasley).
Of course there were uncountable other changes and additions -- please see http://www.NetBSD.org/changes/.
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