There were definitely some attractive features in FreeBSD 11.0. I especially enjoyed the changes to the system installer. The ability to set up UFS and ZFS through a series of guided steps was a welcome feature. I also really appreciate that the installer will allow us to enable certain security features like PID randomization and hiding the processes of other users. Linux distributions allow the administrator to set these options, but they often require digging through documentation and setting cryptic variables from the command line. FreeBSD makes enabling these features as straight forward as checking a box during the initial installation.
I also like how pkg has progressed. I think it has become faster in the past year or two and handled dependencies better than it did when the new package manager was introduced. In addition, FreeBSD's documentation is as good as ever, though I feel it has become more scattered. There were times I would find what I wanted in the Handbook, but other times I had to switch to the wiki or dig through a man page. The information is out there, but it can take some searching to find.
Other aspects of running FreeBSD were more disappointing. For example, I had hoped to find boot environments working and accessible from the boot menu. However, progress seems to have reversed in this area as switching boot environments prevented the system from loading. There were some other issues, for example I was unable to login from the graphical login screen, but I could access the Lumina desktop by signing into my account from the command line and launching an X session.
Hardware was a weak point in my experiment. FreeBSD did not work on my desktop machine at all in BIOS mode and failed to boot from installation media in UEFI mode. When running in a VirtualBox environment, the operating system did much better. FreeBSD was able to boot, play sound and run smoothly, but screen resolution was limited, even after VirtualBox modules had been installed and enabled.
Perhaps my biggest concern though while using FreeBSD 11.0 was that I could not update the base operating system, meaning it would be difficult to keep the system patched against security updates. Even once I had manually created a /boot directory to fix the boot environment creation issue, freebsd-update and freebsd-version continued to fail to detect the running kernel. This leaves the system vulnerable and means our best chance for keeping up with security updates is to manually install them from source code, not an ideal situation.
All in all, FreeBSD 11.0 does have some interesting new features, but it also has several bugs which make me want to hold off on using the operating system until a point release has been made available to fix the existing issues.
The BSD-focused, Qt-powered Lumina Desktop Environment is out with its version 1.1 update.
The developers behind the Lumina Desktop Environment consider it a "significant update" with both new and reworked utilities, infrastructure improvements, and other enhancements.
Lumina 1.1 adds a pure Qt5 calculator, text editor improvements, the file manager has been completely overhauled, system application list management is much improved, and there is a range of other improvements.
October 10, 2016, Boulder, CO. – The FreeBSD Project, in conjunction with the FreeBSD Foundation, is pleased to announce the release of the much anticipated FreeBSD 11.0. The latest release continues to pioneer the field of copyfree-licensed, open source operating systems by including new architecture support, performance improvements, toolchain enhancements and support for contemporary wireless chipsets. The new features and improvements bring about an even more robust operating system that both companies and end users alike benefit greatly from using.
FreeBSD 11.0 was also released today for those who think Linux is just too dang easy. The announcement said this is the first release in the stable 11.0 branch. Some of the listed highlights include:
* OpenSSH DSA key generation has been disabled by default.
* Wireless support for 802.11n has been added
* ifconfig(8) utility will set the default regulatory domain to FCC on wireless interfaces
* Up to 40% improvement in performance
* Support for the AArch64 (arm64) and RISC-V architectures
* Native graphics support has been added to the bhyve(8) hypervisor
* Support for Raspberry Pi, Raspberry Pi 2 and Beaglebone Black peripherals
Version 11 also features GNOME 3.18.4, LibreOffice 5.0.6, NVIDIA 346.96, Xorg X Server 1.17.4, GCC 4.8.5, GIMP 18.104.22.168, and Firefox 47.0.1. See the release announcement for download information.
Following the recent delays, FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE is now officially available.
FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE was announced this morning as the latest major update to this BSD operating system.
Among the many changes for FreeBSD 11 is 802.11n WiFi support, better WiFi/wireless support in general, native graphics support for the Bhyve hypervisor, official support for ARM 64-bit / AArch64, vastly improved/updated DRM graphics driver code, and much more.
FreeBSD 11.0 can be downloaded from the FreeBSD.org announcement.
The OpenBSD project is well known for its strong focus on security and for its precise documentation. The OpenBSD operating system generally gives preference to security and properly behaving software over features. OpenBSD is lightweight, sparse and relatively locked down by default. This makes the platform particularly popular among administrators who need a firewall or other minimal and stable platform.
OpenBSD 6.0 introduces many small changes and a handful of important ones. Looking through the release notes we find support for the VAX platform has been dropped. There have been several security updates to the OpenSSH secure shell service. Perhaps one of the more interesting security features in the operating system is strict enforcement of W^X: "W^X is now strictly enforced by default; a program can only violate it if the executable is marked with PT_OPENBSD_WXNEEDED and is located on a file system mounted with the wxallowed mount option. Because there are still too many ports which violate W^X, the installer mounts the /usr/local file system with wxallowed. This allows the base system to be more secure as long as /usr/local is a separate file system. If you use no W^X violating programs, consider manually revoking that option."
I decided to play with the 64-bit x86 build of OpenBSD which is 226MB in size. Booting from this ISO presents us with a text console where we are asked if we would like to install OpenBSD, upgrade an existing copy of the operating system or perform an auto-install. I chose to perform a normal installation.
Yesterday I published some macOS 10.2 vs. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS benchmarks from a Mac Mini and MacBook Air systems. For those curious if BSDs can outperform macOS Sierra on Apple hardware, I tested the MacBook Air with FreeBSD 11.0 compared to the Linux and macOS results on that Core i5 system. Here are those results.
The delayed FreeBSD 11.0 release just suffered another last-minute set-back. While "FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE images" were distributed to FTP mirrors and the official announcement expected today, these images need to be re-spun to contain some security fixes and thus pushing back the official release.
Glen Barber noted today on the mailing list, "Although the FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE has not yet been officially announced, many have found images on the Project FTP mirrors. However, please be aware the final 11.0-RELEASE will be rebuilt and republished on the Project mirrors as a result of a few last-minute security fixes we feel are imperative to include in the final release."
A few minutes ago, Glen Barber informed the FreeBSD community that they should not hurry and install the ISO images of the FreeBSD 11.0 operating system made available a few days ago on the official FTP mirrors.
These images aren't safe to use and contain various security vulnerabilities that need to be fixed before the FreeBSD Project will officially unveil the final release of the FreeBSD 11.0 operating system in the coming days. According to the release schedule, FreeBSD 11.0 should hit the streets later today, September 29, 2016.
However, until then the FreeBSD development team is hard at work patching those nasty security issues and rebuilding the final ISO images, which will be made available on the respective FTP mirrors later today as FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE-p1. If you're already running FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE, you will soon be provided with instructions to safely update your system
For over one year there's been talk of LLVM pursuing a mass relicensing from its University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License, which is similar to the three-clause BSD license, to the Apache 2.0 license with explicit mention of GPLv2 compatibility. As mentioned in that aforelinked article, this re-licensing is moving ahead.