It is hard to believe that September is over. The Foundation team had a busy month promoting FreeBSD all over the globe, bug fixing in preparation for 12.0, and setting plans in motion to kick off our 4th quarter fundraising and advocacy efforts. Take a minute to see what we’ve been up to and please consider making a donation to help us continue our efforts supporting FreeBSD!
We can’t do this without you!
September 2018 Development Projects Update
In preparation for the release of FreeBSD 12.0, I have been working on investigating and fixing a backlog of kernel bug reports. Of course, this kind of work is never finished, and we will continue to make progress after the release. In the past couple of months I have fixed a combination of long-standing issues and recent regressions. Of note are a pair of UNIX domain socket bugs which had been affecting various applications for years. In particular, Chromium tabs would frequently hang unless a workaround was manually applied to the system, and the bug had started affecting recent versions of Firefox as well. Fixing these issues gave me an opportunity to revisit and extend our regression testing for UNIX sockets, which, in turn, resulted in some related bugs being identified and fixed.
Of late I have also been investigating reports of issues with ZFS, particularly, those reported on FreeBSD 11.2. A number of regressions, including a kernel memory leak and issues with ARC reclamation, have already been fixed for 12.0; investigation of other reports is ongoing. Those who closely follow FreeBSD-CURRENT know that some exciting work to improve memory usage on NUMA systems is now enabled by default. As is usually the case when new code is deployed in a diverse array of systems and workloads, a number of problems since have been identified. We are working on resolving them as soon as possible to ensure the quality of the release.
I’m passionate about maintaining FreeBSD’s stability and dependability as it continues to expand and grow new features, and I’m grateful to the FreeBSD Foundation for sponsoring this work. We depend on users to report problems to the mailing lists and via the bug tracker, so please try running the 12.0 candidate builds and help us make 12.0 a great release.
— contributed by Mark Johnston
Fundraising Update: Supporting the Project
It’s officially Fall here at Foundation headquarters and we’re heading full-steam into our final fundraising campaign of the year. We couldn’t even have begun to reach our funding goal of $1.25 million dollars without the support from the companies who have partnered with us this year. Thank you to Verisign for becoming a Silver Partner. They now join a growing list of companies like Xiplink, NetApp, Microsoft, Tarsnap, VMware, and NeoSmart Technologies that are stepping up and showing their commitment to FreeBSD!
Funding from commercial users like these and individual users like yourself, help us continue our efforts of supporting critical areas of FreeBSD such as:
Operating System Improvements: Providing staff to immediately respond to urgent problems and implement new features and functionality allowing for the innovation and stability you’ve come to rely on.
Security: Providing engineering resources to bolster the capacity and responsiveness of the Security team providing your users with piece of mind when security issues arise.
Release Engineering: Continue providing a full-time release engineer, resulting in timely and reliable releases you can plan around.
Quality Assurance: Improving and increasing test coverage, continuous integration, and automated testing with a full-time software engineer to ensure you receive the highest quality, secure, and reliable operating system.
New User Experience: Improving the process and documentation for getting new people involved with FreeBSD, and supporting those people as they become integrated into the FreeBSD Community providing the resources you may need to get new folks up to speed.
Training: Supporting more FreeBSD training for undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduates. Growing the community means reaching people and catching their interest in systems software as early as possible and providing you with a bigger pool of candidates with the FreeBSD skills you’re looking for.
Face-to-Face Opportunities: Facilitating collaboration among members of the community, and building connections throughout the industry to support a healthy and growing ecosystem and make it easier for you to find resources when questions emerge .
We can continue the above work, if we meet our goal this year!
If your company uses FreeBSD, please consider joining our growing list of 2018 partners. If you haven’t made your donation yet, please consider donating today. We are indebted to the individual donors, and companies listed above who have already shown their commitment to open source.
Thank you for supporting FreeBSD and the Foundation!
— contributed by Deb Goodkin
September 2018 Release Engineering Update
The FreeBSD Release Engineering team continued working on the upcoming 12.0 RELEASE. At present, the 12.0 schedule had been adjusted by one week to allow for necessary works-in-progress to be completed.
Of note, one of the works-in-progress includes updating OpenSSL from 1.0.2 to 1.1.1, in order to avoid breaking the application binary interface (ABI) on an established stable branch.
Due to the level of non-trivial intrusiveness that had already been discovered and addressed in a project branch of the repository, it is possible (but not yet definite) that the schedule will need to be adjusted by another week to allow more time for larger and related updates for this particular update.
I’d like to start by thanking the FreeBSD Foundation for sponsoring my trip to BSDCam(bridge) 2018. I wouldn’t have managed to attend otherwise. I’ve used FreeBSD in both personal and professional deployments since the year 2000, and over the last few years I have become more involved with development and documentation.
I arrived in Gatwick, London at midnight. On Monday, August 13, I took the train to Cambridge, and decided to do some touristy activities as I walked from the train station to Churchill College. I ran into Allan outside the hotel right before the sky decided it was time for a heavy rainfall. Monday was mostly spent settling in, recouping after travel, and hanging out with Allan, Brad, Will and Andy later in the afternoon/evening. Read more…
Continuous Integration Update
The FreeBSD Foundation has sponsored the development of the Project’s continuous integration system, available at https://ci.FreeBSD.org, since June. Over the summer, we improved both the software and hardware infrastructure, and also added some new jobs for extending test coverage of the -CURRENT and -STABLE branches. Following are some highlights.
The Foundation purchased 4 new build machines for scaling up the computation power for the various test jobs. These newer, faster machines substantially speed up the time it takes to test amd64 builds, so that failing changes can be identified more quickly. Also, in August, we received a donation of 2 PINE A64-LTS boards from PINE64.org, which will be put in the hardware test lab as one part of the continuous tests.
CI Staging Environment
We used hardware from a previous generation CI system to build a staging environment for the CI infrastructure, which is available at https://ci-dev.freebsd.org. It executes the configurations and scripts from the “staging” branch of the FreeBSD-CI repository, and the development feature branches. We also use it to experiment with the new version of the jenkins server and plugins. Having a staging environment avoids affecting the production CI environment, reducing downtime.
In July, we turned on failure notification for all the kernel and world build jobs. Committers will receive email containing the build information and failure log to inform them of possible problems with their modification on certain architectures. For amd64 of the -CURRENT branch, we also enabled the notification on failing regression test cases. Currently mail is sent only to the individual committers, but with help from postmaster team, we have created a dev-ci mailing list and will soon be also sending notifications there.
New Test Job
In August, we updated the embedded script of the virtual machine image. Originally it only executed pre-defined tests, but now this behavior can be modified by the data on the attached disk. This mechanism is used for adding new ZFS tests jobs. We are also working on analyzing and fixing the failing and skipped test cases.
Work in Progress
In August and September, we had two developer summits, one in Cambridge, UK and one in Bucharest, Romania. In these meetings, we discussed running special tests, such as ztest, which need a longer run time. We also planned the network testing for TCP/IP stack
— contributed by Li-Wen Hsu
Submit Your Work: SCALE 17x and FOSDEM ’19 CFPs
Presenting at a conference is an excellent way to spread the word about the work you’re doing, while raising awareness for FreeBSD. Check out the latest opportunities at SCALE 17x and FOSDEM ’19
SCALE 17x: March 7-10, 2019, Pasadena, CA
The Call for Presentations for SCALE 17x is now open. The SCALE organizers invite you to share your work on FOSS programs and open hardware projects with the rest of the community, as well as exchange ideas with some leading experts in these fields.
Submission Deadline: October 31, 2018
Below is a sample of just some of the tracks at SCALE 17x
Open Source in Enterprises – Both small businesses & large enterprises are adopting Open Source to reduce costs, for higher agility and improving quality. This will be the focus of this newly introduced track with an emphasis on on real world examples.
Open Data – This track will focus on the use of Open Data, data sets that are freely, readily, and easily available to the public. Talks in this track will seek to answer such questions as: What can be done with Open Data? What are the societal implications of Open Data? What are some interesting questions that can be answered through the use of Open Data in science, government, education, or other fields? What are some specific techniques to manipulate these data sets?
Security – Covering all topics in realm of open source security. These include Security research, innovative security designs, cool tools, topical issues, “How to’s” to cost effective open source security solutions and everything in-between.
The Call for Participation for FOSDEM ’19 is now open. FOSDEM offers open source and free software developers a place to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Renowned for being highly developer-oriented, the event brings together some 8000+ geeks from all over the world.
Submission Deadline: November 3, 2018
Previous editions have featured main tracks centered around security, operating system development, community building, and many other topics. Presentations are expected to be 50 minutes long (including audience questions) and should cater to a varied technical audience. The conference covers reasonable travel expenses agreed in advance and arranges accommodation for accepted main track speakers if needed.
In addition, the event also features developer rooms, an exhibition, and lightning talks.
Verisign provides critical Internet infrastructure for users world-wide. Not only does Verisign operate two of the Internet’s 13 root name servers, we also operate the name servers that resolve the .com and .net top level domains. If you use global Domain Name System (DNS) then you are probably relying on Verisign’s infrastructure.
The Verisign .com and .net name servers answer 111 billion queries per second, and at times, much higher loads during high traffic events or due to high bandwidth Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks. These name servers are deployed at about 80 locations around the globe to ensure that no matter where you are, you can get DNS responses with low latency and high reliability.
One of the ways we ensure resilient DNS service is through the use of diverse operating systems. FreeBSD comprises a significant portion of the mix of operating systems that serve the root zone, and the .com and .net zones. Multiple operating systems are just one component of a layered design that incorporates redundancy and diversity across the system’s architecture.
When we decided to change the mix of operating systems we conducted a thorough survey of the alternatives. After reviewing all of these operating systems, FreeBSD was selected for the .com and .net and root name servers based primarily on six considerations:
1. System Code Diversity: The BSD kernel and network stack is sufficiently diverse from the Linux kernel and network stack to provide mitigation against zero-day exploits. We reviewed the source code, as well as the development philosophy used by the FreeBSD developers.
2. Network Performance: FreeBSD provides performance for the name server workloads that are similar to Linux. It is encouraging to see the continued awareness and effort put into improving network performance on FreeBSD.
3. Hardware Support: Verisign regularly refreshes the hardware that comprises our name server footprint. FreeBSD is typically available for the commodity server hardware that Verisign chooses during a hardware refresh cycle. It is important to know that there will be reasonably short latency between the introduction of new server hardware and support for that hardware in FreeBSD.
4. Demonstrated History of Reliability: FreeBSD’s reputation as a reliable server was a critical factor for us. The services hosted on FreeBSD have very high availability requirements, and along with FreeBSD’s track record of rock solid operation directly addresses this criteria.
5.Demonstrated History of Secure Operation: The FreeBSD development community has a long track record of taking security seriously. When vulnerabilities are discovered, we typically see rapid disclosure and patches available almost immediately.
6. Licensing: The attention that the community pays to providing quality open source, without encumbering its use, is important to Verisign.
One of the many ways Verisign “gives back” to the community is through the biennial vBSDcon conference. The conference is typically scheduled for a weekend in the October/November time frame.
Since making the change to FreeBSD, we have been pleased to see it live up to our expectations. The FreeBSD development community should be proud to have critical Internet infrastructure served on FreeBSD; their hard work makes the Internet safer and more reliable. Verisign is proud to participate in the FreeBSD development community and to have employees who contribute work back to FreeBSD as well.