FreeBSD 9.0 and PC-BSD 9.0 enter beta
After almost two years since the release of FreeBSD 8.0, the first beta of FreeBSD 9.0 has been announced. FreeBSD 9.0-beta1 is slightly delayed, having been due on 20 July, and this is likely to push the release schedule back a couple of weeks, with a final release now sometime in September.
Simultaneously with the FreeBSD 9.0 Beta 1 release, the PC-BSD developers have released PC-BSD 9.0 Beta 1. PC-BSD is an x86-specific version of FreeBSD; previously supporting a KDE-only desktop, it now supports KDE 4, GNOME 2, XFCE 4 and LXDE.
FreeBSD 9.0 will feature numerous enhancements throughout the operating system's infrastructure. For example, the base system's compiler technology is beginning to switch over to a Clang/LLVM-based system, in part enabled by Pathscale's contribution of a C++ runtime library. GCC will still be shipped with the system as too many third party applications depend on it.
Although Dtrace has been available in the FreeBSD kernel, 9.0 is expected to see that support extend to userland applications. Support for more than 32 CPUs, USB 3.0, network dumping of kernels, NUMA architectures and a modernised timer system should also be included. TCP/IP networking will be made more SMP-scalable, the NFS client and server updated, and new congestion algorithms should enhance the FreeBSD networking stack. Storage enhancements include an updated ZFS, TRIM support for SATA SSDs and the start of adding specific support for detecting 4K drives.
Ivan Voras' snapshot of features scheduled for FreeBSD 9.0 is available, complete with status and links to commits for more detailed information on the expected enhancements. FreeBSD 9.0 beta 1 is available to download from the project's various mirror sites in the ISO-IMAGES-(architecture)/9.0 directories (where the architecture can be amd64, i386, ia64, pc98, powerpc or sparc64).
The PC-BSD developers are also offering a number of improvements, with easier customisation of installed packages on a system, a new "AppCafe" for easy application selection and installation, an updated installer, better network setup GUIs, and more. The developers point out that the AppCafe is only populated with a small number of applications at the moment and users who depend on particular applications should wait for the full release. This beta release of PC-BSD is available to download from the project's website.
As with all beta releases, use in production and mission critical environments is not recommended.
- Health Check: FreeBSD - "The unknown giant", a feature from The H