Archive for the ‘FreeBSD’ Category.

Getting Java to work in Firefox 3.6 in FreeBSD or PC-BSD 8.2

Firefox 3.6 no longer works with the Java versions in PBIs. Instead the OpenJDK6 must be installed. However, as of writing this document there is not a PBI for OpenJDK6, so we must install it from the ports jail.

  1. Install ports on your system as follows: How to install ports on FreeBSD?
  2. Open the command prompt.
  3. su to root.
    $ su
  4. As root, get the latest ports.# portsnap fetch extract
  5. Install openjdk6.Note: There is an openjdk7 but it didn’t appear to have a web option yet, so hold off until it has one, use openjdk6.
    cd /usr/ports/java/openjdk6
    make WITH_WEB=yes BATCH=yes install
  6. Run this link command to link the library for the java plugin to your plugins directory.
    # ln -s /usr/local/openjdk6/jre/lib/ ~/.mozilla/plugins/

Testing the Java plugin

You may want to verify that java is working in your Firefox install. You want to know two things:

  1. Is the plugin detected by Firefox?
  2. Does a java application work?
      1. Open Firefox. If Firefox is open already, close it, and re-open it.
      2. In the URL enter: about:pluginsYou should now see the IcedTea-Web Plugin (using IcedTea-Web 1.0.1).
      3. In Firefox, go to the following URL: 
    1. Here are steps to make those two verifications. 

      Note; This is pretty much exactly like the handbook states.

Opening konsole and a Ports Jail konsole can be confusing on PC-BSD

If I open Ports Jail, then a regular konsole, the regular konsole gets the Ports Jail icon.  I can’t really tell the konsole sessions apart.

The same things happens if I do it the other way around.  If I open a regular konsole, then Ports Jail, the Ports Jail gets the konsole icon. Again, I can’t really tell the konsole sessions apart.

This causes me some confusion.  Which konsole am I running?  I have to take a moment to verify or close them both.

Solution: Opening the Ports Jail with a different konsole profile

One solution is to have the Ports Jail konsole session use its own konsole profile that uses a custom konsole profile.

Here is how I configured that:

  1. I created a LavenderOnBlack color scheme, which is a copy of the GreenOnBlack with Lavender instead of Green. Normally I use the GreenOnBlack color scheme.~/kde4/share/apps/konsole/LavenderOnBlack.colorscheme
  2. Next I created a copy of the shell.profile named PortsJail.profile.

    [Cursor Options]
    RemoteTabTitleFormat=%h : %u
    [Terminal Features]
  3. I then edited the Ports Jail shortcut on the desktop to pass it the approprate TerminalOptions to use the PortsJail.profile. Here is the one line I changed.
    TerminalOptions=--profile /usr/home/jared/.kde4/share/apps/konsole/PortsJail.profile

Now whenever I open the ports Jail, I can easily tell it is the Ports Jail and not the regular konsole because it is using a LavenderOnBlack profile.

What is the FreeBSD plan?

I don’t know what the FreeBSD plan is. Unfortunately, I feel that if there is one, it is not a very well-rounded on. Maybe it only focuses on development and might not have a big focus on also important tasks like advertising and marketing, documentation, and acquiring new committers.  All of which is important because I am not the only that thinks that FreeBSD needs fresh Blood!

Here is a simple step by step plan to make the FreeBSD community bigger. They aren’t all my ideas, many have been mentioned by other people in the forums or elsewhere.

Advertising and Marketing Department

  1. Get one. Get an advertising team, however you have to do it.
    1. Maybe the FreeBSD foundation hire a part time advertising professional (or maybe iXSystems could let one of theirs donate some time) who gets as much help as possible from college students majoring in Advertising and Marketing as unpaid internships.
  2. Give them goals to 1) get more committers, 2) get more users, 3) Get more Enterprise and Small business exposure and usage.
  3. Get a list of companies that use FreeBSD and don’t ask them for donations, ask them to buy feature enhancements. They are more likely to pay more for an enhancement than they are willing to donate.
  4. Get a list of all BSD user’s group email. Start using them and encouraging them to hold meetings, improve the user’s groups, etc…
  5. Get a list of all college’s and their Computer Science staff members and make it standard practice that CS degrees can get internship credit for working on FreeBSD. Same for English Technical writing and FreeBSD Documentation, same for advertising and marketing and FreeBSD advocacy and marketing.

Documentation Department

  1. Make documentation contributions easy.
    1. Make the FreeBSD documentation pages wiki editable. Anyone can edit the page, like Wikipedia. Yes, it would be fine if a page could have an person or team who has to approve the change, because we have to let the localization teams know that a change was submitted.
    2. Make the man pages available as a wiki, and the man page updates are included in the next release.
  2. Make these training videos:
    1. Getting started with FreeBSD – Install and Usage.
    2. Getting started with FreeBSD – Documentation
    3. Getting Started with FreeBSD – User land development and debugging
    4. Getting Started with FreeBSD – Kernel Development and debugging
    5. Getting Started with FreeBSD – Contributing to the KDE on FreeBSD project.
    6. Getting Started with FreeBSD – Contributing to the FreeBSD GNOME project.
    7. Getting Started with FreeBSD – Remote debugging
    8. …continue as needed
  3. Get a community site up. Not just a forum site, but a community site.
    1. Write a link between IRC and the community site so a persons IRC posts are also on the community.
    2. Write a link between the mailing lists and the community so emails are on the community.
    3. Provide FreeBSD User’s groups free sites and mailing lists but encourage them to get $10 a month in contributions each year to sustain it.
  4. Support the Advertising and Marketing team.
  5. Implement Kanban as a process for managing your work.

Development Department

  1. Join the desktop world in a big way. FreeBSD is not just a server. It must have a solid desktop distribution. PC-BSD exists (though the name is not marketing friendly). Get a marketing friendly OS Name, and a marketing friendly logo, and create a desktop distro that has a chance at attracting new users. Let the Advertising an Marketing team determine the name and brand of the new desktop. (I don’t care if the distro is PC-BSD as long as it is re-branded.)
  2. Build a graphical newbie proof installer that can install the server or desktop. (I know, many of us have come to love the simplicity of sysinstall, but I still remember my first year with FreeBSD when I hated it.)
  3. Include Mono in the install of all desktop versions of FreeBSD. Lets face it, C# developers are everywhere and if the user land were C#, it would be much easier to get dev work done.
  4. Support the Advertising and Marketing teams by sponsoring internships, maybe at your Alma mater.
  5. Create a ready-to-dev on Virtual Machine.
  6. Support the documentation team by making docs “Getting Started” easier.
  7. Make the FreeBSD build easy to replicate in a graphical IDE. The new generation has few individuals who want to learn vi and gdb or otherwise work from the command line. They want to build and debug elsewhere.
    1. Get the FreeBSD projects building with a Graphical IDE. Lets leave the ability to build with make but add an a project file. I don’t care what graphical IDE is chosen, Eclipse, KDevelop, Code::Blocks, MonoDevelop, etc…Just pick one and make it happen.
    2. Have a master project file at the root of the build that will do everything, build the entire FreeBSD source, in debug or release.
  8. Update the ready-to-dev on Virtual Machine to be include the graphical IDE and be ready to build and debug.
  9. Maybe there is a reason to make a few different types of ready-to-dev virtual machines.
  10. Implement Kanban as a process for managing your work, I recommend a web site version for open source communities. Each committer can have a view of their work just for them.

Well, that is the plan that has formed in the back of my head the past ten years that I have been involved with FreeBSD. Unfortunately, most of the above is not happening. PC-BSD is helping with #1 and #2 of the development plan, which is great!

Click to read more ideas for improving FreeBSD.

Dual-booting Windows 7 and PC-BSD

Hey all,

I was going to write an article on this, but it was so easy, there is no need for one.

Windows 7 doesn’t know how to deal with PC-BSD, but PC-BSD knows how to deal with Windows 7.

So all I had to do was install Windows 7 first (I chose a 50 GB partition) and then I installed PC-BSD on the remaining space. I did click to install the PC-BSD boot manager as it is not selected by default, and now I can dual boot Windows 7 and PC-BSD.  Which is a must for a guy who’s job is writing C# on windows.

Project ideas for FreeBSD

There is a lot of work to do in this world, and there are plenty of open source projects. However, there are still plenty of projects that need help. There are still plenty of projects that haven’t even been started yet.

I just read this post and I am quite in agreement with it: FreeBSD needs fresh Blood!

Here are a list of projects ideas or projects that need contributors that could really help FreeBSD go to the next level.

Possible new projects

  • FreeBSD Mentoring Project – The primary goal is to get FreeBSD developers developing immediately and maybe have a VirtualBox VM that is ready to download and dev on immediately.
  • A Windows driver for FreeBSD’s UFS, maybe using the Installable File Systems (IFS) Kit
  • A Windows driver for ZFS, maybe using the Installable File Systems (IFS) Kit.
  • A GNOME based FreeBSD Desktop distribution (Note: PC-BSD and/or GhostBSD might fill these need in the future.)
  • Contributors to DesktopBSD.
  • A FreeBSD phone operating system to compete with Android, Windows Phone 7, etc… I think a clever name for phone OS based on FreeBSD would be Angel.
  • A new desktop that isn’t GNOME or KDE but is written using Mono (C#).
  • VirtualBox BootCamp for FreeBSD – Ability to boot to a VirtualBox image, similar to BootCamp on a MAC. So you can boot to a different OS, or while running FreeBSD you can load the OS as a virtual machine.

Projects that could use more Contributors

  • FreeBSD Advocacy and FreeBSD Marketing – We need actual advertising and marketing people here, not coders or techies.
  • FreeBSD ACPI – I would recommend a focus on improving ACPI support for laptops running FreeBSD.  The Sleep and hibernate ability are important.
  • Mono on FreeBSD or BSD#
  • Ports on FreeBSD – There are a lot of unmaintained ports, such as K-3d and you could adopt a port.
  • KDE on FreeBSD – The KDE support is in need of help.  The network manager hasn’t worked in years.
  • GNOME on FreeBSD – There is not an installable FreeBSD desktop distribution that focuses on GNOME.  GhostBSD, a live-CD, is based on GNOME.
  • GhostBSD – They could use some help being not just a live-CD but an installable distribution.

Business ideas based on FreeBSD

While free contributions from the community is nice, for FreeBSD to really thrive, it needs more full-time developers. There is not substitute for actual paid employees who spend their days working on FreeBSD.  The only way get those type of employees is to get some companies out there making money. For this reason, I would recommend that the FreeBSD Foundation looks at helping start new businesses based on FreeBSD.

  • BSD Appliances – Maintain appliances, both hardware and virtual appliances, for all the common server types. This is a hardware and support model, the software is of course free.
    • A complete suite of BSD appliances from Web Servers to Firewalls, to NAS, to backup, to networking, etc…I own the URL and thought about starting this project, but never really had the bandwidth.
    • Also, outsource appliance maintenance so other companies can have their proprietary appliance maintained by this company.  I know my company, LANDesk, has considered outsourcing our Management Gateway appliance. I heard a rumor KACE was too, though that rumor remains unverified.
  • BSD Business – A software company that makes a server and applications for common businesses. This is a hardware and support model, the software is of course free.
    • A Business Server (three version Small Business, Medium Business, Enterprise) that has everything a business needs. (Maybe this server is an appliance maintained by BSD Appliances :-)
    • Common businesses means businesses that exist in every city, law offices, dental offices, eye-doctors, chiropractors, restaurants, hotels, mechanics, gas stations, etc… There are some applications that are ubiquitous to their fields. To use an example local to me, think of what Dentrix is to the dental field. I have always thought of an ultra-secure desktop for lawyers running an very secure version of FreeBSD.
  • Point of Sale system based on FreeBSD. This is a hardware and support model, the software is of course free. Why let Red Hat and CentOS have this who market.
  • Gaming on FreeBSD – A gaming console based on FreeBSD to compete with XBox, Playstation, etc…Gaming has an amazing power to drive improvement.
  • A support center where companies can get enterprise FreeBSD support, development, etc…
  • Animation on FreeBSD – A film studio that makes animated movies and runs everything on FreeBSD.
  • Feature4Hire – A web site that maintains a list of enhancement requests and people or companies can submit how much they are willing to pay for the feature. Then as soon as the dollar amount is worth it to someone in the world, they develop the feature and get paid, with something like 3% going to Feature4Hire. Even if $10 is attributed to a feature, some one in a 3rd world country might find some small dollar amounts worth it.  Ok, this site might be for all open source projects, but it could run on FreeBSD.

There are a lot more ideas out there and anybody can be a part of them.

GhostBSD 2.0 Released!

I recently posted about the GhostBSD 2.0 beta.

Review: GhostBSD 2.0 Beta 2 – A FreeBSD LiveCD

Well, the product is no longer beta as they just released GhostBSD 2.0.

If you didn’t take a look when I posted about the beta, take a moment to take a look now!

New Laptop Hard Drive!

I just got a new 250 GB 7200 RPM laptop hard drive for $45 bucks from NewEgg.

I plan on installing Windows 7 SP1, FreeBSD 8.2, and PC-BSD 8.2.

You know what would be interesting is to link /usr/home on FreeBSD 8.2 and the PC-BSD 8.2 OSs so that my /usr/home/jared is the same directory on both.

Asp.Net web services on FreeBSD and Apache using Mono

Asp.Net is cross platform using mono. Novell SUSE and Microsoft and others companies are dedicated to making .NET Framework a cross platform solution. Asp.Net web services are limited to running on windows, but can also run on other platforms, such as FreeBSD.

FreeBSD has ports for mono and mod_mono and can easily run web services build with Asp.Net. Here is a tutorial to make this happen.

Preparing a FreeBSD system for Asp.Net on Apache using Mono


A good place to start reading is the getting started page on the mono project’s web site.:

This has the resources you need for most things, however, the documentation is designed mostly for SUSE Linux, so be prepared for slight differences on FreeBSD.

Step 1 – Install Apache

Install Apache on FreeBSD as follows.

  1. Change to the ports directory for Apache and run make install.
    cd /usr/ports/www/apache22
    make install
  2. Configure Apache to load on start up.
    # echo ‘apache22_enable=”YES”‘ >> /etc/rc.conf
  3. Leave Apache stopped. We will start it later.

Step 2 – Install mod_mono

Installing mod_mono will also install mono and xsp. Install mod_mono as follows.

  1. Change to the ports directory for Apache and run make install.
    cd /usr/ports/mod_mono
    make install
  2. Because on FreeBSD these packages work a little differently, you don’t need to do some of the steps listed on the mono website because they are done for you. Here are some key paths and differences in the packages on FreeBSD that you should know about.
    • The mod_mono port installs a mod_mono.conf file to /usr/local/etc/apache22/Includes which is automatically includes in the httpd.conf, so you don’t have to add an include manually.
    • The xsp port adds sample ASP.NET web services to /usr/local/lib/xsp.
    • The apache root directory is /usr/local/www/apache22/data
  3. Here are the contents of the mod_mono.conf file. Notice that this Apache include file loads a couple modules, adds a bunch of types, and adds a few files as DirectoryIndex options.
    # mod_mono.conf
    # Achtung! This file may be overwritten
    # Use 'include mod_mono.conf' from other configuration file
    # to load mod_mono module.
    <IfModule !mod_mono.c>
        LoadModule mono_module /usr/local/libexec/apache22/
    <IfModule mod_headers.c>
        Header set X-Powered-By "Mono"
    AddType application/x-asp-net .aspx
    AddType application/x-asp-net .asmx
    AddType application/x-asp-net .ashx
    AddType application/x-asp-net .asax
    AddType application/x-asp-net .ascx
    AddType application/x-asp-net .soap
    AddType application/x-asp-net .rem
    AddType application/x-asp-net .axd
    AddType application/x-asp-net .cs
    AddType application/x-asp-net .vb
    AddType application/x-asp-net .master
    AddType application/x-asp-net .sitemap
    AddType application/x-asp-net .resources
    AddType application/x-asp-net .skin
    AddType application/x-asp-net .browser
    AddType application/x-asp-net .webinfo
    AddType application/x-asp-net .resx
    AddType application/x-asp-net .licx
    AddType application/x-asp-net .csproj
    AddType application/x-asp-net .vbproj
    AddType application/x-asp-net .config
    AddType application/x-asp-net .Config
    AddType application/x-asp-net .dll
    DirectoryIndex index.aspx
    DirectoryIndex Default.aspx
    DirectoryIndex default.aspx

Step 3 – Add the “test” web service to the Apache root directory

In /usr/local/lib/xsp, added by the mod_mono port, is a “test” folder that contains sample web services. Ther

  1. Copy /usr/local/lib/xsp/test to /usr/local/www/apache22/data.
    # cp -fR /usr/local/lib/xsp/test /usr/local/www/apache22/data/

Step 4 – Start Apache

  1. Start Apache with this command:
    # service apache22 start

You should now have Apache configured to run

Step 5 – Open the “test” folder in a browser

  1. Open your favorite browser on a workstation that has access to the server you just finished installing.
  2. Go to the URL of your server. For example, the url for my test server is this:
  3. Browse around and test the web services.

Step 6 – Install Libraries as needed

    1. Determine if you need additional libraries.

With the bare minimum installed, you can almost guarantee that a web service is going to require a library you do not have installed. In fact, clicking on the second link in the “test” site, code-render.aspx, shows us this error.

Server Error in '/test' Application


Description: HTTP 500. Error processing request.

Stack Trace:

System.DllNotFoundException: gdiplus.dll
  at (wrapper managed-to-native) System.Drawing.GDIPlus:GdiplusStartup (ulong&,System.Drawing.GdiplusStartupInput&,System.Drawing.GdiplusStartupOutput&)
  at System.Drawing.GDIPlus..cctor () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0

Version information: Mono Runtime Version: 2.6.7 (tarball Tue Mar 1 06:10:28 MST 2011); ASP.NET Version: 2.0.50727.1433

This library can be found and installed.

  1. Go to the directory for the port and run make install.
    cd /usr/ports/x11-toolkits/libgdiplus
    make BATCH=yes install

    This has some Xorg dependencies so compiling it could take a while. Notice the BATCH=yes parameter passed to make above. This will prevent any prompts and accept the defaults for every port this command compiles.

Released: FreeBSD 8.2-RELEASE and 7.4-RELEASE

BSD Licenses good, GPL bad: Microsoft Bans Some Open Source Licenses from WP7 Marketplace

Microsoft is not going to allow GPL onto their phones.
Microsoft Bans Some Open Source Licenses from WP7 Marketplace

Microsoft has stated that its Windows Phone 7 marketplace will reject any apps that use the GPL (GNU General Public License) and similar licenses.

“The Windows Phone Marketplace supports several open source licenses, including BSD, MIT, Apache Software License 2.0, MS-PL and other similar permissive licenses.  We revise our Application Provider Agreement from time to time based on customer and developer feedback, and we are exploring the possibility of modifying it to accommodate additional open source-based applications in upcoming revisions.”

Microsoft is doing the right thing and cannot be blamed in the slightest. The GPL is often termed a viral license and for good reason. Once you use it in your code everything is infected by it. Others say it is a spiderweb license, that once you are in the spider’s web, you can’t get out. The BSD license instead of the GPL is probably the single biggest reason to use FreeBSD over Linux, especially for enterprise business such as Microsoft, Apple, and others.

I don’t like the entrapment of the GPL. Students often first encounter the GPL in college, where they hear that the GPL is free and start using it. Only later do they realize they are trapped. Some don’t mind, wish they would have understood the license better.

Here is a simple rhyme to remember which license to use:

If you want your software to really be free,
    license it with BSD.
If you want your software to be in license hell,
    use the GPL.

This post shows that Microsoft feels the same as many of us who are anti-GPL.

Obviously they don’t want to have those who write their apps ever accidental depend on another app, only to find out the app they depended on is GPL, so their entire work must be GPL as well. They are doing what humanity tries to do with any virus, eradicating it and prevent infection by eliminating the virus, just as we have done with small pox, from the world.

For more information on the differences between the BSD License and the GPL, read this post.
Differences between the BSD/FreeBSD Copyrights and the GNU Public License (GPL)