A Penguin tries out TrueOS, formerly PC-BSD, part I

TrueOS is a rolling-release, desktop-oriented operating system built upon the FreeBSD-CURRENT branch. Its aim is to add desktop-usability, speed and grace to an elephant. It is more a FreeBSD tuning than a fork of it, anyway.

I tried out FreeBSD just a few days ago as a desktop environment and concluded:

I am pretty sure (and I know) that FreeBSD is an impressive operating system for servers and I like some of its default security features and of course its filesystem. As a desktop operating system, however, it seems a bit crude and sluggish. Some package dependency problems prevent a flawless installation of the software and it lacks (as far as I know) a proper graphical network manager.

Thus, honestly, my expectations (as a debianized Penguin) were low also for its derivative.

I used TrueOS 2017-02-22 on VirtualBox, because only a x64 image file is provided, and my very old PC (where I do the tests) is… very old (I told you, right?), so 32-bit.

Installation process was really easy and straightforward. The graphical installer asked me for just a couple of settings; leaving everything at default values led to an English operating system, with (Open)ZFS filesystem (GPT and MBR partitioning schemes are available) and a BSD bootloader (GRUB is in the list, but it does not support the boot environments). The installer also offered disk encryption with GELI, so the system would have required a passphrase before booting, and optional “expert” buttons were available to set up various operating system’s aspects as well.

TrueOS installer

Finally, unlink FreeBSD:

During installation, TrueOS configures any connected Ethernet interfaces to use DHCP and provides a screen to Connect to a Wireless Network.


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O-MG, the Developer Preview of Android O is here!

What’s new in O?

Android O improves battery life and the device’s interactive performance. To make this possible, we’ve put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates.

Android O introduces notification channels, new app-defined categories for notification content. Channels let developers give users fine-grained control over different kinds of notifications — users can block or change the behavior of each channel individually.

Picture in Picture (PIP) display is now available on phones and tablets, so users can continue watching a video while they’re answering a chat or hailing a car.

And many other small new features and improvements.

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A Penguin tries out FreeBSD 11 as a desktop operating system

A Penguin tries FreeBSD 11.0 RELEASE on an old i386 PC as his main desktop operating system, for the first time, for a weekend.

The story begins, you guess, with the operating system installation using the FreeBSD i386 hybrid image in order to boot a USB key.



Installation went without problems and everything flowed as I expected. For a user who lives in the world of Debianized Penguins, being able to install the superb ZFS filesystem is somewhat interesting at least.

A Penguin tries FreeBSD as a desktop operating system, installation stage 1


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How to make money from open source software

Despite Red Hat, it is actually quite challenging to make money selling customization, support and consultancy.

The subscription model can occasionally be successful, but a more promising business model is to build a product line around an open source core. This can involve developing premium software modules that add features to the core open source software.

To foster widespread adoption of an open source product you need an ecosystem around it, and to get that you also need a strong community. Avoiding alienating the community in the way that Cyanogen Inc. did when it decided to monetize the community’s work communication is especially important.

Full article.

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What’s the fastest Linux web browser?

To put Linux’s web browsers to the test, I put them through their paces on Ubuntu 16.04. This ran on my older Asus CM6730 desktop PC. This has a third-generation 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-3770 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GT 620 graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive.

(Some tedious stuff in between…)

By this yardstick, Chrome is the best at 519. It’s followed closely by Vivaldi with 517 and Opera with 512. Chromium occupies the next step down with 505. After that, Firefox falls behind with a result of 471.

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Which Linux filesystem should you use?

Ext4 is the default file system on most Linux distributions for a reason, it is rock-solid and stable.

In the future, Linux distributions will shift towards BtrFS. BtrFS is still cutting edge and seeing a lot of development, so you’ll want to avoid it on production systems. The risk of data corruption or other problems isn’t worth the potential improvement in speed.

ZFS supports a lot of advanced features including drive pooling, snapshots, and dynamic disk striping. Each file has a checksum, so ZFS can tell if a file is corrupted or not. Sun open-sourced ZFS under the Sun CDDL license, which means it can’t be included in the Linux kernel.

Which Linux File System Should You Use?

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/dev/random – a new approach

In Unix-like operating systems, /dev/random is a special device file that serves as a blocking pseudorandom number generator. It allows access to environmental noise collected from device drivers and other sources.

With Linux kernel 3.16 and newer, the kernel itself mixes data from hardware random number generators into /dev/random on a sliding scale based on the definable entropy estimation quality of the HWRNG. This means that no userspace daemonis needed to do that job.
A counterpart to /dev/random is /dev/urandom which reuses the internal pool to produce more pseudo-random bits. In October 2016 with the release of Linux kernel version 4.8 and newer, /dev/urandom was switched over to a ChaCha20-based implementation by Theodore Ts’o, based on Bernstein’s well-regarded stream cipher ChaCha20.

Stephan Müller is working on a new /dev/random implementation for the Linux kernel.


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Someone reviewed RaspBSD

Someone apparently used RaspBSD, the FreeBSD port for the ARM kid with a LXDE desktop and – most important – with the fabulous ZFS filesystem. And wrote a review.

Running RaspBSD on the Pi was a very similar experience to running Raspbian and my time with the operating system was pleasantly trouble-free. For people who are looking for a small home server or very minimal desktop box, RaspBSD running on the Pi should be suitable.

I am definitely pleased to see ZFS support improved in recent builds of FreeBSD/ RaspBSD and I like that RaspBSD users have access to FreeBSD’s massive collection of pre-built binary packages. This should make setting up a Pi with a FreeBSD-powered web server or NAS much more appealing than it was a year ago.

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AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition is amongst us

AmigaOS is a single-user operating system based on a preemptive multitasking microkernel (called Exec) originally built for the Motorola 68000-based AMIGA home computer systems, and now compiled for the PowerPC boards which equip AmigaOne XE & SE, MicroA1, AmigaOne 500, AmigaOne X1000, Sam440, Sam460, Pegasos 2 and Amiga Classic PPC computers.

AmigaOS provides a disk operating system called AmigaDOS, a windowing system API called Intuition and a desktop environment called Workbench. A command-line interface (CLI), called AmigaShell, is also integrated into the system, though it also is entirely window based. Original AmigaOS lacked any built-in memory protection – and featured (many) Guru Meditations ;).

Back in December, Hyperion Entertainment (the licensed developer of the AmigaOS since version 4) released the Final Edition version for the 4.1 branch.


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