Wed, 4 Jan 2012

9:29 AM - State of the BSD: January 2012

2011 was a good year for the MidnightBSD project. We released MidnightBSD 0.3 in January, and began work on 0.4.  The mport(1) tool was written to allow users to manipulate ports using the new package management system. Work finally began on replacing sysinstall(8), the MidnightBSD installer with a new replacement.

MidnightBSD gained the ability to boot from GPT partitions.  We've created our own partition types: midnightbsd, midnightbsd-ufs, midnightbsd-vinum, midnightbsd-zfs, etc. for GPT.

Several critical flaws with CAM were addressed from the 0.3 release.

MidnightBSD can now read ELF notes and understands both FreeBSD and MidnightBSD notes. Legacy FreeBSD 7.0 and lower binaries will continue to run, but also MidnightBSD binaries can be distinguished by the kernel.  Eventually, we'll create a compatibility option as things diverge further. An effort to update binutils has started.  The freebsd vector hack will be removed, and we'll go standard like DragonFly. This was a kludge to get Linux binaries working, but elf notes should solve that problem for us.  This means we may see the end of brandelf for Linux executables. 

GIANT lock has been removed from many sysctls.  A few locking problems are still getting sorted out, but the kernel is running fine on most systems.

MidnightBSD gained a new search tool, msearch(1), that uses a sqlite3 database with a full text index of text files on the system.  The indexer is off by default due to the space requirements.  It supports some globbing for queries.

For a complete list of improvements, read UPDATING in CURRENT (0.4).

MidnightBSD now has pages on Google + and a twitter account.  Expect a new release this year.