May 3, 2024

The FreeBSD Foundation is excited to share the progress of its diverse software development projects for the first quarter of 2024. These projects demonstrate our ongoing commitment to advancing the FreeBSD operating system through various enhancements and new initiatives to enrich the ecosystem.

Quarterly project overview and commits

During the first quarter of 2024, the Foundation was recognized as the sponsor for a substantial number of code commits across various components of the FreeBSD project: 180 src, 65 ports, and 18 doc tree commits. These contributions highlight our active role in maintaining and enhancing FreeBSD’s core functionalities.

Q1: New initiatives launched

Three new projects were initiated this quarter, reflecting our focus on both foundational improvements and innovative expansions:

  • Audio Stack Enhancements: Christos Margiolis spearheaded efforts to improve FreeBSD’s audio stack, aiming to provide audio developers with enhanced tools and frameworks, facilitating easier sound development on FreeBSD.
  • Unionfs Stabilization: Olivier Certner commenced his second contract focusing on making unionfs stable and functional on FreeBSD. His project scope also includes revamping VFS lookups, improving out-of-memory handling, and implementing a notification system for detecting filesystem changes en-masse, similar to inotify.
  • Hierarchical Rate Limits for OpenZFS: Pawel Dawidek started a project to add hierarchical rate limits to the OpenZFS file system, allowing for configurable limits on read/write operations and bandwidth, similar to quotas.

Ongoing projects and developments

Several projects continued from previous quarters, with significant progress reported:

  • OpenStack on FreeBSD: Led by Chih-Hsin Chang, this project has successfully transitioned OpenStack to physical machines running FreeBSD 14.0-STABLE, with ongoing efforts to enhance and integrate further components.
  • Cloud-init as a Tier 1 Platform: Mina Galić’s project to improve cloud-init support for FreeBSD is making strides towards establishing FreeBSD as a Tier 1 cloud-init platform.
  • FreeBSD AMD IOMMU Driver: In collaboration with AMD, Konstantin Belousov is developing a comprehensive IOMMU driver to support systems with over 256 cores, incorporating features like CPU mapping and bhyve integration.
  • Graphical Installer Development: Pierre Pronchery is leading efforts to develop a new graphical installer for FreeBSD to enhance the user experience during system setup.
  • Vector Packet Processor (VPP): Tom Jones continues to adapt VPP for FreeBSD, enhancing its capabilities for high-performance networking applications.
  • Wireless Stack Improvements: Björn Zeeb and Cheng Cui continue their wireless work. This quarter was mostly focused on bug fixes and stability improvements to LinuxKPI 802.11 and net80211. Much of this work made it into the 13.3 release.

Infrastructure and continuous integration enhancements

The Foundation has also made substantial investments in infrastructure and continuous integration:

  • New Cluster Site in Chicago: A new cluster site was established at NYI Chicago, significantly enhancing our infrastructure capabilities with new servers and technology.
  • Continuous Integration Improvement: Supported by a dedicated full-time staff member, our continuous integration system and test infrastructure have seen important upgrades to support the development process more efficiently.

Miscellaneous updates, engagement, and community support

In addition to our larger project initiatives, the FreeBSD Foundation has implemented several crucial updates that underscore our ongoing commitment to enhancing FreeBSD’s core capabilities and ensuring its security and compatibility with modern hardware.

  • OpenSSH has been updated to version 9.7p1, ensuring that FreeBSD remains aligned with the latest in secure shell communications. This update is part of our routine efforts to maintain robust security standards and provide the community with the latest improvements in secure connectivity.
  • The arm64 version of bhyve has also been updated, reflecting our commitment to supporting a broader range of hardware architectures. This update enhances the performance and scalability of virtualization on arm64 systems, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in enterprise and cloud environments.
  • Deprecation of bsdlabel represents a strategic move to streamline FreeBSD’s storage management tools, making way for more modern and versatile solutions that can better meet the needs of today’s users and developers.
  • RISC-V improvements have been a focus, showcasing our dedication to expanding FreeBSD’s support for this rapidly evolving open-standard instruction set architecture. These enhancements help ensure that FreeBSD remains at the forefront of adopting new and emerging technologies, facilitating developers and users who wish to explore RISC-V’s potential.

Lastly, our involvement in the Google Summer of Code 2024 has generated significant enthusiasm and participation. We have received numerous innovative proposals promising to infuse the FreeBSD community with fresh ideas and creative solutions. This program not only helps bring new developers into the FreeBSD project but also invigorates our community with projects that challenge and expand the capabilities of the FreeBSD operating system.