ScotLUG Meeting September

Very rough notes from the meeting last night

Started with a question and answer session because the ones at the end just mean people go to the pub.

Why is Glasgow in Lanarkshire? It hasn’t been for many a year but we don’t know which database keeps getting this wrong.

KDE t-shirts and badges were for sale. Riddell had a bunch of leaflets for the Linux Expo next week showing KDE and Gnome.

mrben says he is doing a talk next month on video editing. In November someone from the Blender conference is doing a talk. December will be a Christmas party. January is a talk on Linux from scratch. February he is hoping for a talk from a company called Linux Factory about Linux in the business world. March will have an easter quiz. Anyone with things to talk about should ask mrben.

Big Kev Talk on BSD

BSD and Linux are not quite intimate with each other. Berkeley Software Distribution. Unix started in 1970 version 4 in January 1974. AT&T were banned from selling Unix due to anti-trust issues. Bill Joy was one of the founders of Sun and later devloped Java etc but at the time was working on a Pascal compiler, the main language for applications in those days (we normally think of C just because that is what Unix was written in).

By 1977 they released a tape which was effectivly BSD 1 with Pascal and ex editor (vi without all the good things vi has!). Sent out around 30 copies including one to UCL in London. Mid 1978 2BSD was released with better Pascal and vi. About 75 copies sent out. Termcap was written by Bill Joy to learn how to progam vi. AT&T did continue to develop Unix but about 1979 they stagnated and did not do much with it because it was seen as a research tool. 3.0BSD was in March 1980.

3.0BSD and 4.0BSD were performance enhancement issues. 3 was also a Unix distribution rather than just a bunch of patches. Delivermail was in 4.0BSD, a precursor to Sendmail. 150 copies of 4.0BSD were shipped.

4.1BSD in June 1981, 400 copies shipped, tuned to win the DARPA TCP/IP contract. AT&T were realising commercial potential of this and prevented them from calling it 5.0 to prevent confusion with their System V.

BSD was first with paged memory for swapping (because of the very small memory machines had at the time), TCP/IP networking, the C shell, vi, a fast file system, still used as the primary file system on current BSDs it knows about the multiplatered nature of disks and was tuned to be optimised for this, and was freely available.

CSRG was the Computer Systems Research Group. Kev shows us a book which explains everything about how BSD works. Formed in 1980 with a contact from DARPA to implement TCP/IP. Keith Jostic was one of the people who wanted to rewrite all the Unix tools to free it from the requirements to have a System V license (RMS was first though).

Sun Microsystems formed February 1982 as an early BSD adopter. Employed Bill Joy from CSRG. Sun OS 1.0 was BSD based.

Current times, we have NetBSD, OpenBSD and FreeBSD. Started roughly 1992. There was a big legal dispute similar to the current SCO case. AT&T sued Berkely for giving away their source code. Berkely said everying was public domain and not trade secrets. Story is that there was 5 header files left over from AT&T Unix. What AT&T failed to mention was that they had been using BSD changes for years.

NetBSD and FreeBSD are almost siblings from the code that was released which was two sets of source code in an attempt to remove AT&T files called BSDLite.

NetBSD set as its goals to provide a well designed, stable and fast BSD system. Avoids encumbering licenses (so can be incorporated into Linux and other GPL’d projects), provides a portable system which runs on many hardware platforms (it runs on lots of platforms). It is similar to the origional BSD, quite research orientated (and quite slow too).

FreeBSD goals (taken from website) are lengthy and talks about how nice a finantial contribution is but not necessary. They want the code to be as widely used as possible and provide the widest benifit so it can be used in proprietry software.

OpenBSD goals is to be openly developed (FreeBSD and NetBSD are too). No license restrictions, GPL is acceptable as a last resort but not in the kernel. Pay attention to security problems and fix them before anyone else does, this is their most famous goal but also their third goal. Lots more goals including integration of cryptographic software. It is developed in Canada to get around the US restrictions on encryption. They aim to not let serious problems remain unresolved, the firewall software is an example of this, it had to be taken out because of license problems (restrictions on the beta versions). They also want to provide a good cross compile and development platform and sell their 6 monthly releases on CD.

NetBSD Platforms: more than I wish to copy down but it still runs on Vaxes which shows how well decended it is on origional BSD. FreeBSD has 8 platforms. OpenBSD has plenty enough, about 20. Compared with Linux for which he lists 14.

Where does Coherant fit in? It is a System V derivative that died in about 1995.

Why BSD? At home Kev runs two machines, a Slackware box and a NetBSD box. Unlike (GNU/)Linux BSD has… the ports system. Most applications are written for GNU/Linux but BSD downloads the software and the patch to make it BSD happy and puts them together. It lacks some drivers. NetBSD was the first with USB drivers though. Linux took the ATA/IDE drivers from BSD.

Which one? Firewall stuff use OpenBSD, easy to set up with PF and includes stateful connection tracking. Difficulty with OpenBSD is that lots of things don’t run on it, e.g. his e-mail server wouldn’t work. FreeBSD is desktopy, very similar to GNU/Linux capability wise. NetBSD the development one. OpenBSD lists are also fun for flames.

Any big commercial backers? Wind River, they took over FreeBSD development and found it wasn’t much use so abandoned it 6 months later. DARPA were funding OpenBSD but then had a disagreement with Theo. FreeBSD is also the code for Mac OS X.

What is DragonflyBSD. It is a micro version of FreeBSD.

What do you need to run it? Anything. Really? Well. 540Meg hard drives are fine for a NetBSD and OpenBSD install. 64Meg RAM can work depending on what you’re using it for.

What about older hardware, like Gentoo you have to spend days compiling everything. You can also download binaries of everything which is a lot faster to install.

FreeBSD is developed by a core group, NetBSD is similar, Debian takes the opposite approach.

CVSup lets you download the entire FreeBSD tree and do a Make World and everything is compiled. FreeBSD has current which has big beasties (similar to Debian unstable he recons), FreeBSD 5 series with 5 stable and current and FreeBSD 4 series stable and current.

There is no Oracle for BSDs, although you can run the Linux ABI emulation.

Does FreeBSD support distributed update with CVS updates? There is a port of distcc, he doesn’t know if you can build the kernel with that, no reason why not.

Boot loader is more like Grub than Lilo, is can understand the filesystem more.

Can we go to the pub? Yes.

Big applause for Kev.