Microsoft announces it is acquiring FreeBSD for $300 Million

FreeBSD-BoxToday Microsoft® has announced that it has acquired FreeBSD®. FreeBSD is an open source operating system known for its very enterprise friendly license. Microsoft has recently embraced open source, moving .NET Core to GitHub, as well as announcing that a bash port that will run in Windows 10. However, this move was quite unexpected.

Microsoft is paying the FreeBSD Foundation approximately 300 Million for the FreeBSD brand, the open source operating system’s source repository, all forks, sub-brands (OpenBSD and NetBSD), websites, and communities.

Microsoft is in the process of negotiation full-time salaries for many of the developer volunteers.

Rumor has it that iXSystems may also be acquired either as part of this deal or as a separate deal. Interestingly enough, Microsoft is not paying for the source itself because that is already free for everyone.

In an interview with the Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, he made the following comment:

“With Apple using so much of FreeBSD’s source in their OS X operating system, we felt owning part of the OS X operating system’s source code could really help our Office development team to write a better Office port of OS X.”

We further questioned Nadella on how this affected their recent relationship with Canonical, who ported bash to Windows 10 for Microsoft.

“Canonical is behind Ubuntu, who is moving away from the Linux Kernel. Canonical has recently embraced the idea of UbuntuBSD. With this aquisition, Cononcial and Microsoft are going work close together over the next few years.

There used to rumors that older Windows Operating Systems used some FreeBSD code, we commented to Nadella. He responded with this quip:

“Only older ones? Where do you think we get all our great ideas for our networking stack. I would expect a lot of integration between Windows and FreeBSD, especially on the networking stack.”

Is there anything that FreeBSD has that you want to pull in as soon as you can.

“Well, we are jealous that they have ZFS and Windows does not. Unfortunately, this aquisition doesn’t help bring ZFS to windows. Oracle has the copyright on ZFS. I guess we’ll have to acquire Oracle next.”

That last statement, Nadella laughed.

We were also able to contact the President of the FreeBSD foundation, Justin T. Gibbs and discuss with him the acquisition.

Has Microsoft made any exciting promises to the FreeBSD Foundation in light of this acquisition? Gibbs quipped:

“You mean besides promising to not lay us all off? No, in seriousness, Microsoft has committed to the FreeBSD copyright. They are looking for improvements in IPv6 that we have already implemented. We are looking to make .NET a first class citizen and make C# the primary development language for Web Services, Cloud Services, and Desktop apps written for FreeBSD.”

Does Mono or Xamarin have a big play in that? Gibbs responded:

“Yes, it does. In fact, expect to see FreeBSD added to the list of projects creates when you start a new Xamarin Forms project in Visual Studio. Soon, when you write an App, it will run universally on Windows devices, as well as Android, iOS, OS X, and FreeBSD.”

What does the future look like for FreeBSD under Microsoft’s reign?Microsoft announces it is acquiring FreeBSD

“The future looks promising for FreeBSD under Microsoft.”

PC-BSD 10 now available

PC-BSD 10.0-RELEASE is now available for download!

10.0-RELEASE notable features

  • Includes FreeBSD 10.0-RELEASE
  • Updated KMS / AMD driver support
  • ISO file is a hybrid USB file, and can be “dd“ed to a USB media.
  • New text-based installer
  • Able to select between GRUB/BSD loaders during installation
  • New desktops! Gnome 3, Mate (Replaces Gnome2) and Cinnamon

Read More . . .

Non-technical reasons for why Linux has a larger open source market share than FreeBSD

It is not always about who is better. Often an equal or better candidate loses for reasons that should not apply. This is true for many areas (politics for example) where what matters is overlooked by our humanity. So whether one operating system is technically better than the other is not the only factor for choosing it. Linux is the most used open source operating system and has a larger market share than FreeBSD (OS X not included). This article takes a look at some other reasons one might choose Linux over FreeBSD.

Note: This article also is not taking into account OS X, which while it has some foundations is BSD, is not open source, and this article is to discuss open source market share. Due to OS X, FreeBSD could make the claim that they have a larger market share than Linux.

Reason #1 Advertising

The bottom line to advertising is that Linux has it in quantities and FreeBSD doesn’t.

Advertising

For FreeBSD, there is very little, if any, advertising. I have never seen any ad on any media type for FreeBSD.

Linux has multiple enterprise size companies, Red Hat, SUSE (previously Novel), IBM, and others that are advertising it and using it. Linux is advertised by these companies quite heavily.

Buzz

There are a few user’s groups here and there and that is about it. FreeBSD has no little buzz marketing.

Linux has a lot of buzz. There is no questioning the buzz that was created by Ubuntu that still exists. Thanks to distros like Ubuntu, Linux has an extreme amount of buzz.

What is being done?

Over the past couple of years, iXSystems has provided an increase in advertising. Also the new BSD Magazine is another form of advertising that is beneficial.

Reason #2 – Brand name and Logo

A brand name has the ability to make or break an organization. A logo has this same ability. Why? Because they are the embodiment of the company. They provide the first impressions (don’t tell me you haven’t heard that saying about first impressions) and often the only impression.

And how it sounds is extremely important.

Think about it. Some people want to sound cool when they say the operating system they run.

  • “I run Linux!”
  • “I run FreeBSD!”
I have heard people say it many times: Linux as a word just sounds cooler than FreeBSD. Well, lets actually look at from a more scientific point of view than “just sounds cooler”.  Let look at reasons

The linguistics of a brand name

Linguistic experts have studied brand names and there are many “best practices” for a brand name, and FreeBSD follows none of them. Because of this, FreeBSD is not a good brand name. It is not even average. In fact, if you were to make a list of below average brand name, FreeBSD would reside near the bottom of the bad list, and here is why.

The goal of a looking at a brand name from a linguistics point of view is to find ways to make the brand easy to say, descriptive, and memorable . A brand name is poetry and all the linguistic elements that benefit or distract from poetry can benefit or distract from a brand name. Here are ten linguistic suggestions for having a good brand name.

  1. Use alliteration in your brand name.
  2. Use equal or more harmonious consonants than cacophonous sounds. Some consonants make sounds that are “in-between” such as F. A letter such as X has two sounds, K and S.
  3. Syllables. Two or three syllables is ideal. One doable too. Four is possible if other items in this list are good. Five syllables and above your pretty much a bad brand name.
  4. Use the correct “foot“. Use disyllables such as pyrrhic, iamb,  trochee, but avoid spondee; Use trisyllables such as anaepest, credic, dactyl but avoid molossus etc…
  5. Avoid using acronyms.
  6. Vowels should rhyme or match.
  7. Avoid contrasting vowel sounds, such as a long vowel followed immediately by a short vowel.
  8. The place of articulation of each consonant and transitions between them should be easy.
  9. Use a word that can become a noun or verb.
  10. Know definitions of roots, prefixes, and postfixes and use ones that apply to your business.

So lets compare FreeBSD brand to the Linux brand.

WinnerFreeBSDLinuxExplanation
1Tien/an/aNeither alliterated.
2LinuxGoodBadLinux has three consonants, but one is X which has two consonant sounds K and S. Sot it has, three harmonious, one cacophanous which is a 3-1 ratio.
FreeBSD has five consonants, two cacophonous, two harmonious, one in-between, which is a 2-2-1 ratio.
3LinuxGoodBadLinux is idea having two syllables.
FreeBSD is four syllables and nothing to save it.
4LinuxGoodBadLinux is a single pyrrhic foot.
FreeBSD has two feet and they are same foot, spondee, which is the one you should avoid.
5LinuxGoodBadLinux avoided acronyms, FreeBSD, has a three-letter acronym.
6LinuxGoodAverageLinux is two short vowels.
FreeBSD has four vowels, three long Es and one short E.
7Linuxn/aBadLinux has no vowels next to each other.
FreeBSD has a conflict of a long E followed by a short E between the B and S letters.
8LinuxGoodAverageLinux has the L and N and S sounds all made by very the same mouth parts and positions, well separated by vowels.
FreeBSD has sounds made by various different places and parts in the mouth less easy transistions.
9LinuxAverageBadLinux can be a noun, and I have heard linuxed used before.
FreeBSD is barely passable as a noun and can in no way be verabalized.
10Tien/an/aLinux has no syllables with any dictionary meaning.
FreeBSD has the word “free” which is too general to provide any meaning. The acronyms detracts from the mean further.

If we rated these on a scale of 0 to 5, with bad being 0, average being 3, and Good being 5, here is how the points come out.

  • FreeBSD = 2 points. Two item were N/A, so that is 2 out of 40 possible points or 5% of the possible Good points a brand could have.
  • Linux = 35 points. Three items were N/A, so that is 33 out of 35 possible points or 94% of the possible Good points a brand could have.

As you can see, from a linguistics point of view, FreeBSD is a terrible brand name. If FreeBSD were an enterprise trying to stay alive, the first order of business would be to change the brand name. Also, this analysis proves the obvious, that most of the bad branding stems from the acronym, BSD.

Derivative brand names

Derivatives of Linux, such as Red Hat, and Ubuntu have average or above average brand name as well.  Red Hat is two simple words, though they unfortunately have no meaning for an open source operating system, but as brand name these words are simple and easy to say. Simple and easy.  Ubuntu has meaning, three syllables, matching vowels, though it isn’t exactly easy to say with 2 cacophonous to only one harmonious consonant.  Both of these

Unfortunately, the FreeBSD derivatives don’t get better. The main problem is that more than half of them feel the need to continue to use the BSD acronym in their brand. There reasoning is to show their ties to BSD, but the result is very bad brand names. For example, PC-BSD somehow took a step backward by extending to five syllables, still all accented, and adding one more cacophonous sound. There is no fixing the PC-BSD brand. The only option is a new brand. However, DragonFly BSD can easily be fixed by simply dropping the “BSD” acronym as it is not needed. Alone DragonFly is a good brand. Brands that have dropped the BSD acronym such as m0n0wall or pfSense are adequate brands, not good, not bad. OpenBSD is as bad as PC-BSD with the added negative that the word “open” actually contradicts the security goals of the platform.

As derivative brand names go, Linux derivatives or distros are far ahead of FreeBSD derivatives in brand name quality.

The art of a logo

The logo is every bit as important as the brand name. Lets look at the FreeBSD logo, and the Red Hat logo and compare them.

Here are some logo tips that seemed to be common themes from dozens of sites about tips for making a good logo.

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Make it memorable.
  3. Make sure colors coordinate.
  4. Make sure the logo has a black and white version.
  5. Color psychology. Avoid having the logo be mostly one color that may be negative.
  6. Don’t stray far from a simply decorated version of the company name.
  7. Make the logo an image that is pertinent to the brand.
  8. Avoid offensive images, even if only offensive to a small portion of the population.

One might argue that the Tux, the penguin, and Beastie, the devil or demon, are both part logo and part mascot so we will look at those, first.

 

WinnerLinuxFreeBSDExplanation
1TieBadBadNeither the penguin or Beastie are simple logos.
2TieAverageAverageBoth are memorable
3TieGoodGoodBoth have colors that coordinate fine.
4LinuxGoodAverageThe penguin translates well to black and white.
Beastie is displayed as an outline.
5TieAverageAverageTux is black, white, and yellow. Nothing great.
Beastie is red mostly.
6TiebadBadBoth stray from the brand name, probably
because they are more mascots than logos.
7TiebadBadNeither is pertinent to the brand.
8LinuxGoodBadThe penguin is nice and cute.
Beastie is a devil and controversially offensive. The reference to daemons and forks is lost on most people.

Ok, so neither mascot makes a good logo, but Tux does have a small edge over Beastie. Now lets look at the logos. I am going to use the Red Hat logo versus the FreeBSD logo, as Linux doesn’t exactly have its own logo.

Red Hat Logo FreeBSD logo

WinnerLinuxFreeBSDExplanation
1LinuxAverageBadRed Hat is two colors and is a complex drawing.
FreeBSD is a 3d sphere, it is more than two colors, red and black, as it has many different shades of red.
2TieAverageAverageBoth are equally memorable
3TieGoodGoodBoth are very well color cordinated.
4TieBadBadThe color red makes both logos. Neither look as good in black and white only.
5TieAverageAverageBoth have red and black. Not much difference.
6TieAverageAverageBoth are an image to the left of the brand name.
7LinuxGoodBadRed Hat has a logo of a guy in a Red Hat, not pertanent to Linux but very pretinent to the brand.
FreeBSD has sphere with horns, and the relationship to a daemon is a stretch at best.
8LinuxGoodBadThe Red Hat logo is a simple image, nothing offensive.
The devil horns comes with tons of religious history and is offensive to certain individuals, even toned down as a sphere with horns.

Using the same point system, 0, 3, 5 for Bad, Average, Good…

Linux gets 27 out of 40 possible points, or 67.5%.

FreeBSD gets 14 of a  40 points, or 35%.

After analyzing this, the FreeBSD logo isn’t as good overall as the Red Hat logo using the measurement above. However, I wouldn’t say the Red Hat logo is great either. I do think that just from a “looks and coolness” despite the rating system, the new BSD logo looks better.

What is being done?

FreeBSD recently updated the logo to the one you see above. There are no plans to improve the name, logo, or brand further that I know of.

Reason #3 – Licensing

Business and enterprise drive use. In my experience, business leaders equate open source software with the GPL license. I have heard so many companies say that they have banned open source software. However, every business leader I have educated in the different open sources licenses change the ban to allow BSD and similar licensed, citing that they didn’t understand the different licenses or the business and enterprise friendliness of the BSD and similar licenses.

Both the FreeBSD license and the GPL are great licenses. However, they have a slight different focus.  FreeBSD is a license designed to share code freely. GPL is also a license to share the code freely with the added enforcement that any code that uses GPL code is also GPL.

I have another post to discuss Differences between the BSD/FreeBSD Copyrights and the GNU Public License (GPL).

  • If you distribute binaries built using BSD Licensed source, there are only two things you shouldn’t do (you wouldn’t do either anyway).
  • If you distribute binaries built using GPL source, you have to pay attention. 1) your code may also be required to use the GPL license and 2) there are actions you must perform, such as provide access to the source and your source that uses the GPL source.

Businesses and enterprises often don’t understand that there are alternate licenses beyond GPL. Sometimes they actually prefer to buy commercial software just to avoid “open source”. We need to share how enterprise friendly the BSD license is with IT managers and business decisions makers.

I have seen this from personal experience. At a previous company, they mistakenly used GPL software and other software thinking it was free, forgetting that they actually have to perform actions in order to use this software. It cost them a lot of money when they were found out. The sad part is there was alternate  software available that was BSD Licensed, so they wasted money because neither the developers nor the business leader knew better. I knew better and they were quite shocked when I gave them a simple solution: Just use this alternate software as it is BSD Licensed. They did and it saved them a lot of money.

Even though I put licensing as the third reason, after thinking about it, this comes back to Reason #1 – Advertising again, because the main problem is that the GPL seems to be advertised more and many business leader are unaware of other open source licenses.

What is being done?

I think nothing is being done. I am not sure if there is any effort to advertise the benefits of the FreeBSD’s permissive licensing over other more restrictive licenses.

Reason #4 – A law suit early on

This was before my time, but I always hear that around the time Linux and BSD were released, BSD was sued and so people shied away from BSD because the threat of a law suit. This occurred well before I cared and if you want to read more about it, check out the wikipedia artcle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USL_v._BSDi

I can’t prove that BSD was slowed by this, or that Linux wouldn’t have the same advantage in market share over BSD had this occurred. But every time I see a question about why FreeBSD is not more popular someone brings this up.

However, when Linux was sued by SCO, it didn’t really affect the market, so I am not sure if this was really valid or not. It is a historical possibility at best.

Reason #5 – Company backing

We know that in the early days of Linux there were multiple business who backed Linux. Then Red Hat and SUSE went enterprise. Ubuntu has Canonical.

For FreeBSD, Apple took it into their product but not as open source, and they didn’t really advertise the fact that they were partially BSD. iXSystems and some hosting companies are about all that FreeBSD has when it comes to an business.

What is being done?

Well, FreeBSD is continuing to get backing from Apple. I have heard rumors that Apple is one of the primary sponsors of Clang and LLVM (tools to replace gcc as a compiler) that uses a permissive license.

iXSystems kept FreeNAS a FreeBSD product by sponsoring it and has sponsored many booths at open source conferences.

I have heard of Yahoo being a strong backer of FreeBSD, though I am not sure of any recent examples.  But it is clear that FreeBSD needs more business backing if it plans to compete in the open source market with Linux.

Running Pinta on FreeBSD – A C# (Mono) Image Editor

I wanted to continue with the C# (Mono) on FreeBSD theme this week. The next C# (Mono) post for FreeBSD is simply running a .C# (Mono) app on FreeBSD. My first thought was this, “I wonder if there is a mono version of Paint.NET?”. Paint.NET is my favorite image editor for Windows. After a quick search, I found the Pintaproject, which is a Mono clone of Paint.NET.

Installing Pinta on FreeBSD

So anyway, the steps for running on FreeBSD are quite simple.  This is a preview of my next FreeBSD Friday post, as I will continue the mono them to promote you app.

  1. Follow this post to get mono on FreeBSD.
    http://rhyous.com/2010/12/10/c-mono-on-freebsd/
  2. Download the Pinta tarball.
    Note: Get the latest link from here: http://pinta-project.com/download

    $ fetch http://cloud.github.com/downloads/PintaProject/Pinta/pinta-1.3.tar.gz
  3. Extract it:
    $ tar -xzf pinta-0.5.tar.gz
  4. Change to the directory:
    $ cd pinta-0.5
  5. Run configure.
    $ ./configure
  6. Note: I am not entirely sure this is needed, but I did it because it was there.

    $ mkdir ~/.tmp
  7. Compile the solution as follows:
    $ mdtool build Pinta.sln

    Note: I am not sure why, but “make” didn’t work, though I expected it to.

  8. Then as root or with sudo, run make install.
    # make install
  9. Make the shell rehash the commands in PATH.
    $ rehash
    Or depending on your shell...
    $ hash -r
  10. Now just run pinta.
     $ pinta

 

Pinta is now installed and usable on FreeBSD or PC-BSD.

More information

Pinta installs the following files

/usr/local/bin/pinta
/usr/local/lib/pinta/
/usr/local/lib/pinta/Pinta.Core.dll
/usr/local/lib/pinta/Pinta.Effects.dll
/usr/local/lib/pinta/Pinta.Gui.Widgets.dll
/usr/local/lib/pinta/Pinta.Resources.dll
/usr/local/lib/pinta/Pinta.Tools.dll
/usr/local/lib/pinta/Pinta.exe

The first file, /usr/local/bin/pinta, is a shell script that runs this:

#!/bin/sh
exec /usr/local/bin/mono /usr/local/lib/pinta/Pinta.exe "$@"

The other files are the application. It is a little weird to see .exe and .dll files on FreeBSD, but I’ll get over it.

Adding Pinta to the KDE Menu

I use KDE so I was able to add a menu item for pinta easily. I used the same command that the shell script used:

/usr/local/bin/mono /usr/local/lib/pinta/Pinta.exe "$@"

I found a nice installed logo and used it for the menu icon:
/usr/local/share/icons/hicolor/96×96/apps/pinta.png

Pinta in Ports

According to this Problem Report (PR), Pinta will be a port soon, if it isn’t already. http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/query-pr.cgi?pr=164309

Building a FreeBSD kernel for debugging

You may want to actually debug the kernel or a kernel module, however, debugging is not enabled by default.

Prereqs

Before getting started it is assumed you have a FreeBSD Install and you have downloaded/installed FreeBSD Source.

The steps are identical to the steps contained in the How to build and install a custom kernel on FreeBSD? article, with the exception of the kernel configuration file.

Step 1 – Create a new kernel config

  1. Determine your architecture by running this command:
    # uname -a
    FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE #0: Tue Jan 3 07:46:30 UTC 2012 root@farrell.cse.buffalo.edu:/usr/obj/usr/src/sys/GENERIC amd64
    
  2. Look at the last text item in the output string. I have amd64 so that is my architecture: amd64
  3. Change to the directory of the kernel configuration files for your architecture. Remember if you are on a different architecture to replace amd64 in the following command lien with your architecture.
    # cd /usr/src/sys/amd64/conf
    
  4. Copy GENERIC to a new file.
    # cp GENERIC KRNLDBG
    
  5. Edit KRNLDBG with your favorite text editor.
  6. First, change the ident value near the top from GENERIC to KRNLDBG.
    ident           KRNLDBG
    
  7. Add debugging settings to your KRNLDBG configuraiton file.
    options           KDB
    options           KDB_TRACE
    options           DDB
    options           GDB
    
  8. Save and close your new KRNLDBG configuration file.

For the remaining steps, follow the How to build and install a custom kernel on FreeBSD? article, only replace any references to KRNL1 kernel config file with the KRNLDBG config file created in the previous step.

Once you are done building and installing the kernel, you should have debugging enabled.

I happen to be working with a kernel module that is crashing and when it crashes, it automatically places me in a debugging session with the following prompt.

db>