"Congratulations to the successful students and their FreeBSD Project mentors for participating in another productive Google Summer of Code," Murray Stokely noted on the -announce FreeBSD mailing list. He offered an interesting summary of all of this year's student projects, adding:
"This program encourages students to contribute to an open source project over the summer break with generous funding from Google. We have had a total of over 50 successful students working on FreeBSD as part of this program in 2005, 2006, and 2007. These student projects included security research, improved installation tools, filesystems work, new utilities, and more. Many of the students have continued working on their FreeBSD projects even after the official close of the program. We have gained many new FreeBSD committers from previous summer of code projects already, and more are in the process."
Matthew Dillon created DragonFly BSD in June of 2003 as a fork of the FreeBSD 4.8 codebase. KernelTrap first spoke with Matthew back in January of 2002 while he was still a FreeBSD developer and a year before his current project was started. He explains that the DragonFly project's primary goal is to design a "fully cross-machine coherent and transparent cluster OS capable of migrating processes (and thus the work load) on the fly."
In this interview, Matthew discusses his incentive for starting a new BSD project and briefly compares DragonFly to FreeBSD and the other BSD projects. He goes on to discuss the new features in today's DragonFly 1.10 release. He also offers an in-depth explanation of the project's cluster goals, including a thorough description of his ambitious new clustering filesystem. Finally, he reflects back on some of his earlier experiences with FreeBSD and Linux, and explains the importance of the BSD license.
A bit of an odd situation. I recently purchased $99/mth dedicated hardware from Cedant. It is running FreeBSD 6.1. The system seems to have no root user, and no way to access it. All of the following fail:
"su" - FAILS (sorry)
"sudo" - FAILS (command not found)
"passwd root" - FAILS (passwd: permission denied)
A recent security advisory announced today by Rapid7 explains, "the NVIDIA Binary Graphics Driver for Linux is vulnerable to a buffer overflow that allows an attacker to run arbitrary code as root. This bug can be exploited both locally or remotely (via a remote X client or an X client which visits a malicious web page). A working proof-of-concept root exploit is attached to this advisory." The advisory goes on to note that the FreeBSD and Solaris binary drivers are also likely vulnerable to the same flaw and cautions, "it is our opinion that NVIDIA's binary driver remains an unacceptable security risk based on the large numbers of reproducible, unfixed crashes that have been reported in public forums and bug databases."
Chad Loder [bio], Rapid7's Manager of Engineering, explained that NVIDIA has known about this bug in their binary driver for some time, "the link in the advisory is the earliest thread in which we could find an NVIDIA employee publicly acknowledging the bug, although it was reported back in 2004 and has probably existed even longer." Regarding the decision to announce the exploit to the public Chad explained, "I expect (or hope) that NVIDIA will fix the defect in their binary drivers quickly. I don't know anything about their development process or where their Linux drivers fit into their priority list. It seems that the majority of Linux users are perfectly willing to accept bugs in binary blob drivers from hardware vendors, so there is little incentive for NVIDIA to change their process."
Alexander Kabaev announced that GCC 3.3.1 [story] is being merged into the -current source tree.
The upcoming release of OpenBSD 3.3 on May 1'st will include, among many other improvements, a notably enhanced version of PF, OpenBSD's stateful packet filter. Some of the more significant enhancements to PF include: 'queues', allowing for per-rule bandwidth control [story]; 'pool options', allowing one to utilize multiple uplinks and to intelligently redirect traffic to multiple servers; 'anchors', which allow one to divide packet filtering rule lists into logical pieces; 'tables', efficiently allowing for very large lists; and other parser improvements that make an already friendly syntax more human readable.
PF replaced its predecessor, IPF, with the release of OpenBSD 3.0 in December of 2001. Since that time, this impressive and relatively new packet filter has grown a faithful following (myself included), and continues to evolve rapidly with each new OpenBSD release. Perhaps the greatest compliment, developers have begun to port PF to other operating systems. Back in January, Joel Wilsson announced his effort to port PF to NetBSD. And more recently, Pyun YongHyeon announced his port for FreeBSD.
I approached Pyun to learn more about his recent porting efforts. In the following article he explains why he began working on this port, and what FreeBSD users can expect from the project. Additionally, I spoke with PF creator Daniel Hartmeier [interview], PF developer Henning Brauer, and OpenBSD creator Theo de Raadt [interview]. They all reflect on these recent porting efforts, as well as the exciting new features found in OpenBSD's PF.