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FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report


The second quarter of 2005 has again been very exciting. The BSDCan and MeetBSD conferences were both very interesting and and the sources of very good times. I highly recommend attending them again next year.

The Google Summer of Code project has also generated quite a bit of excitement. FreeBSD has been granted 19 funded mentorship spots, the fourth most of all of participating organizations. Projects being worked on range from UFS Journaling to porting the new BSD Installer to redesigning the venerable website. We are quite pleased to be working with so many talented students, and eagerly await the results of their work. More information and status can be found at the Wiki site at .

The FreeBSD 6.0 release cycle is also starting up. The purpose of quickly jumping from 5.x to 6.0 is to reduce the amount of transition pain that most users and developers felt when switching from 4-STABLE to 5.x. 6.0 will feature improved performance and stability over 5.x, experimental PowerPC support, and many new WiFi/802.11 features. The 5.x series will continue for at least one more release this fall, and will then be supported by the security team for at least 2 years after that. We encourage everyone to give the 6.0-BETA snapshots a try and help us make it ready for production. We hope to release FreeBSD 6.0 by the end of August.

Thanks again to everyone who submitted reports, and thanks to Max Laier for running the show and putting the reports together. Enjoy reading!

Google summer of code




Network infrastructure

Userland programs



Vendor / 3rd Party Software


Autotuning of the page queue coloring algorithm


Contact: Alexander Leidinger <>

The VM subsystem has code to reduce the amount of cache collisions of VM pages. Currently this code needs to be tuned with a kernel option. I have a patch which changes this to auto-tuning at boot time. The auto-tuning is MI, the cache size detection is MD. Cache size detection is currently available for x86/amd64 (on other systems it uses default values).

Open tasks:

  1. Add cache-detection code for other arches too (Marius told me how to do this for sparc64).
  2. Analyze why the cache detection on Athlons doesn't work (no problems on a P4, but it uses a different code-path).



Contact: Dan Langille <>

The second annual BSDCan conference was well presented, well attended, and everyone went away with good stories to tell. If you know anything that attended, get them to tell you what they did, who they met with, and talks they listened to.

We had 197 people from 15 different countries. That's a strong turnout by any definition.

We'll be adding more people to the program committee for BSDCan 2006. This job involves prodding and poking people from your respective projects. You get them to submit papers. There are a lot of very interesting projects out there and not all of them submit a paper.

If you know someone doing interesting work, please let me know and urge them to start thinking about BSDCan 2006.

CPU Cache Prefetching


Contact: Andre Oppermann <>

Modern CPU's can only perform to their maximum if their working code is in fast L1-3 cache memory instead of the bulk main memory. All of today's CPU's support certain L1-3 cache prefetching instructions which cause data to be retrieved from main memory to the cache ahead of the time that it is already in place when it is eventually accessed by the CPU.

CPU Cache Prefetching however is not a silver bullet and has to be used with extreme care and only in very specific places to be beneficial. Incorrect usage can lead to massive cache pollution and a drop in effective performance. Correct and very carefully usage on the other can lead to drastic performance increases in common operations.

In the linked patch CPU cache prefetching has been used to prefetch the packet header (OSI layer 2 to 4) into the CPU caches right after entering into the network stack. This avoids a complete CPU stall on the first access to the packet header because packets get DMA'd into main memory and thus never are already pre-cache in the CPU caches. A second use in the patch is in the TCP input code to prefetch the entire struct tcpcb which is very large and used with a very high probability. Use in both of these places show a very significant performance gain but not yet fully quantified.

The final patch will include documentation and a guide to evaluate and assess the use of CPU cache prefetch instructions in the kernel.

Open tasks:

  1. Need funding, see "Fundraising - TCP & IP Routing Optimization".



Contact: Several <>

Currently trying to restart bits of the project. Cleaning up the p4 branch. Recently more people have volunteered to help as well. Brooks Davis has completed removing the ifnet from the softc.

Open tasks:

  1. See the web page.

EuroBSDCon 2005 - Basel


Contact: Information <>

The fourth European BSD conference in Basel, Switzerland is a great opportunity to present new ideas to the community and to meet some of the developers behind the different BSDs.

The two day conference program (Nov 26 and 27) will be complemented by a tutorial day preceeding the conference (Nov 25).

The program committee is looking for tutorial and paper submissions. For details, please see: The call for papers online.

FreeBSD Security Officer and Security Team

URL: aff-listing.html#STAFF-SECTEAM

Contact: Security Officer <>
Contact: Security Team <>

In May 2005, Remko Lodder joined the FreeBSD Security Team, followed by Christian S.J. Peron in July 2005. In the same time period, Gregory Shapiro and Josef El-Rayes resigned from the team in order to devote their time to other projects. The current Security Team membership is published on the web site.

In the time since the last FreeBSD status report, twelve security advisories have been issued concerning problems in the base system of FreeBSD; of these, six problems were in "contributed" code, while five problems were in code maintained within FreeBSD. The Vulnerabilities and Exposures Markup Language (VuXML) document has continued to be updated by the Security Team and the Ports Committers documenting new vulnerabilities in the FreeBSD Ports Collection; since the last status report, 97 new entries have been added, bringing the total up to 519.

The following FreeBSD releases are supported by the FreeBSD Security Team: FreeBSD 4.10, FreeBSD 4.11, FreeBSD 5.3, and FreeBSD 5.4. Their respective End of Life dates are listed on the web site.

FreeBSD Summer of Code


Contact: Summer of Code Mentors <>

Google has generously funded 19 students to spend the summer working on FreeBSD related projects. Each student is working with one or more mentors to learn about how open source software development is done with FreeBSD. This development work is happening in the Perforce repository as //depot/projects/soc2005. This tree will soon be exported via CVSup -- check the Wiki for more information.

FreeBSD website improvements

Contact: Emily Boyd <>

As part of the Google Summer of Code, I'm working on improvements to the FreeBSD website (including a proposed website redesign). My mentor for this project is Murray Stokely.

FreeSBIE toolkit integration


Contact: Dario Freni <>

My Summer of Code project is reengineering and rewrite of FreeSBIE toolkit, in order to include it in the source tree. Let's call it FreeSBIE 2

Before being accepted, I worked hard on the FreeSBIE 1 toolkit to make it more flexible. It now supports amd64 and PowerPC architecture. The built filesystem can now boot from almost every media, from DVD to compact flash or hard disk. Also on i386 it is now possible to include the BSD Installer on the livefs. We've received reports that our toolkit is successfully used for the install CD of pfSense and PC-BSD projects.

My future goals are to make the toolkit even more flexible, capable to build embedded images (like nanoBSD) or big Live-DVD systems, depending on user's choice, to support all the architectures supported by FreeBSD and to write a set of tools for making a netboot server with a FreeSBIE image.



Contact: Dan Langille <>

The following new features have been added to FreshPorts:

Open tasks:

  1. I've noticed that FreshPorts is incorrectly reporting vulnerabilities under a very specific situation . The fix is sitting in BETA, waiting to be moved to production.
  2. I've been working on added Last-Modified to the headers. At present, there are none. Most of the pages on the BETA website have been completed. I need to move this to production soon.
  3. Customized news feeds are in the works. You'll be able to create a news feed for each of your watch lists. This work is contingent upon finishing the Last-Modified headers.

Fundraising - TCP & IP Routing Optimization


Contact: Andre Oppermann <>

The TCP code in FreeBSD has evolved significantly since the fork from 4.4BSD-Lite2 in 1994 primarily due to new features and refinements of the TCP specifications.

The TCP code now needs a general overhaul, streamlining and cleanup to make it easily comprehensible, maintainable and extensible again. In addition there are many little optimizations that can be done during such an operation, propelling FreeBSD back at the top of the best performing TCP/IP stacks again, a position it has held for the longest time in the 90's.

This overhaul is a very involved and delicate matter and needs extensive formal and actual testing to ensure no regressions compared to the current code. The effort needed for this work is about three man-month of fully focused and dedicated time. To get it done I need funding to take time off my day job and to dedicate me to FreeBSD work much the way PHK did with his buffer cache and vnode rework projects.

I've got the opportunity to work up to three man-month exclusively full-time on FreeBSD during the second half of 2005. That means up to 720 hours of full-steam coding (at 60 hours/week)! I will work as much time as the fundraise provides.

I need to raise enough money for each month from donations from the FreeBSD community to cover my fixed cost of living, office and associated overhead. These fixed cost amount to US$6,300/month (EUR5,200 or CHF8,000). Yes, Switzerland is not the cheapest place to live. :)

A detailed description of the tasks involved and the code I will write is on my FreeBSD website; Follow the link above.

Open tasks:

  1. Raise enough money to get all the almost finished TCP and IP code into the tree.

GEOM Gate rewrite


Contact: Pawel Jakub Dawidek <>

GGATE is a mechanism for exporting storage devices over the network. It was reimplemented to be much faster and to handle network failures better. The ggatec uses two threads now: sendtd, which takes I/O request from the kernel and sends it to ggated; recvtd, which receives finished requests and forwards them to the kernel. The ggated uses three threads: recvtd, which receives I/O requests from ggatec; disktd, which executes I/O requests (reads or writes data); sendtd, which sends finished requests to ggatec. The new ggate has been committed to 6.x.

The work was sponsored by Wheel Sp. z o.o.



Contact: Ivan Voras <>

The schedule (as stated on the wiki page) is honoured, which means that the development has started, but there's not enough code for testing. Many details have been thought-out and the development is ongoing.

gvinum 'move', 'rename'


Contact: Chris Jones <>

With the releases of FreeBSD 5.3 and 5.4, FreeBSD has been moving away from "old-style" vinum towards GEOM-enabled gvinum for logical volume management. While gvinum is a mostly feature-complete replacement for vinum, it does not implement the 'move' or 'rename' verbs which are rather useful when reorganizing one's volume layout, the alternative being a tedious process of deleting and recreating subdisks, plexes, or volumes. Additionally, gvinum is nearly completely undocumented, which contributes to the perception of gvinum as an unfinished project.

I'm working on implementing 'move' (being able to move a subdisk from one drive to another) and 'rename' (being able to rename an subdisk, plex, volume, or drive), as well as on documentation for gvinum.

So far, I've come up with a plan of attack with le@ and phk@, and implemented the bulk of the userland code for gvinum 'move' and 'rename'. Still to come are the kernel-side code and documentation.

Open tasks:

  1. 'move' and 'rename' userland implementation
  2. 'move' and 'rename' kernel-side implementation
  3. Outline new handbook section and man page
  4. Implement new handbook section and man page


Contact: Andrew Thompson <>

This was committed to current on 5 Jun 2005 and will first appear in the 6.0 release, thanks to everyone who tested. Recent improvements include:

  • IPFW layer2 filtering
  • DUMMYNET support
  • IP header alignment checking

There is ongoing work to bring in some of the advanced features from OpenBSD such as IPSec bridging. People are encouraged to use if_bridge and report any problems to the mailing lists.

Improve libalias


Contact: Paolo Pisati <>

My SoC project is about improving libalias and integrating it with ipfw2, adding nat support into the firewall. Till now I ported libalias (as a kld) and ng_nat to 4.x and 5.x branches, and I've already a first working patchset that adds 'nat' action into ipfw. Next step will be to add a complete syntax to ipfw that will let us manipulate libalias operations, much like we already do with queue and pipes for dummynet. In the end the entire work will compile and work out of the box for 4.x, 5.x and 6.x. More details about the project and its status are available on wiki page.

Integrate the BSD Installer into FreeBSD


Contact: Andrew Turner <>

Progress towards integrating the BSD Installer for Google's Summer of Code is coming along nicely. The installation CD will boot to multi-user mode and run both the front and back ends. It can then partition a hard drive, install the base distribution and make the disk bootable.

Open tasks:

  1. Test in non-i386
  2. Investigate installing from other media
  3. Many more tasks

IPv6 Support for IPFW

Contact: Max Laier <>
Contact: Brooks Davis <>

At the developer summit before BSDCan it was decided to remove IP6FW from the tree as it has a couple of problems. The most pressing one is the lack of synchronization and thus the need for debug.mpsafenet=0. As a replacement Brooks Davis has imported patches to teach the existing and well-locked IPFW2 code about IPv6.

Since the initial import I have added some features required to manage IPv4 and IPv6 in a single ruleset. I have also extended existing opcodes to work with IPv6. There are, however, still some opcodes that do not work with IPv6 and most of the more exotic ones haven't been tested. As long as IPFW2+v6 does not provide enough functionality and stability to work as a drop-in replacement for IP6FW, we won't remove IP6FW.

In order to get the new code to that point we really need more testers with real world IPv6 deployment and interest in IPFW+v6. The lack thereof (I haven't received a single answer on my requests to various FreeBSD mailing lists) has made it hard to progress.

Open tasks:

  1. Properly implement O_REJECT for IPv6
  2. Maybe implement O_LOG
  3. Test new(er) IPFW2 opcodes with IPv6
  4. Test
  5. Test
  6. Test

launchd(8) for FreeBSD


Contact: R. Tyler Ballance <>

So far progress has been slow, the autoconf build system has been removed from all of the launchd(8) code, and launchctl(1) is building and semi-functional on FreeBSD-CURRENT (i.e. CoreFoundation hooks have been removed).

I'm currently working on porting "liblaunch" which is the core backend to both launchd(8) (the actual daemon) and launchctl(1), there are some mach/xnu specific hooks and calls that need to be remove and either reimplemented or worked around.

We're also waiting on a response from Apple on a possible BSD-licensed version of the code (it's currently under the APSL) Progress is slow, but steady.

libmemstat(3), UMA(9) and malloc(9) statistics


Contact: Robert Watson <>

libmemstat(3) provides a user space library API to monitor kernel memory allocators, currently uma(9) and malloc(9), with the following benefits:

  • ABI-robust interface making use of accessor functions, in order to divorce monitoring applications from kernel/user ABI changes.
  • Allocator-independent interfaces, allowing monitoring of multiple allocators using the same interface.
  • CPU-cache awareness, allowing tracking of memory use across multiple CPUs for allocators aware of caches. Unlike previous interfaces, libmemstat(3) coalesces per-CPU stats in user space rather than kernel, and exposes per-CPU stats to interested applications.
  • Ability to track memory types over multiple queries, and update existing structures, allowing easy tracking of statistics over time.

libmemstat(3) and the the appropriate allocator changes for uma(9) and malloc(9) are currently in HEAD (7-CURRENT), and MFC has been approved to RELENG_6 for inclusion in 6.0-RELEASE. These changes may also be backported to 5.x.

Sample applications include memstat(8), an allocator-independent statistics viewing tool, memtop(8), which provides a top(1)-like interface for monitoring kernel memory use and active memory types. None of these are "pretty".

netstat -mb has also been updated to use libmemstat(3) to track network memory use using uma(9), rather than the less reliable mbuf allocator statistics interface. As a result, the statistics are now more reliable on SMP systems (this corrects the bug in which mbuf statistics sometimes "leaked", even though memory didn't), and more informative (cache information is now displayed, as well as mbuf tag information).

Open tasks:

  1. Teach libmemstat(3) to speak libkvm(3) in order to allow tools linked -lmemstat to interogate kernel core dumps.
  2. Teach libmemstat(3) to interface with user space malloc and track malloc allocations for user space applications.
  3. Update vmstat(8) -m and -z implementations to use libmemstat(3) instead of the old monitoring interfaces. Code to do this exists in the sample libmemstat(3) applications.
  4. Identify how to make streams or the library endian-aware so that streams dumped from a kernel of alternative endian could be processed using libmemstat(3) on another system.
  5. Identify any remaining caching allocators in the kernel, such as the sfbuf allocator, and teach libmemstat(3) how to interface with them.

Low-overhead performance monitoring for FreeBSD


Contact: Joseph Koshy <>

Modern CPUs have on-chip performance monitoring counters (PMCs) that may be used to count low-level hardware events like instruction retirals, branch mispredictions, and cache misses. PMC architectures and capabilities vary between CPU vendors and between CPU generations from the same vendor, making the creation of portable applications difficult. This project implements a cross-platform PMC management API for applications, and implements the infrastructure to "virtualize" and manage these PMCs. The creation of performance analysis tools that use this infrastructure is also part of the project's goals.

Work since the last status report:

  • Sampling mode support for P4 and AMD64 PMCs has been implemented.
  • A pmclog(3) API for parsing hwpmc(4) log files has been added.
  • A number of bugs in libpmc(3), hwpmc(4) and pmcstat(8) have been fixed.

Future work:

  • Creating user documentation showing a few real-world uses of the currently available tools.
  • Testing, improving the stability of the code, and characterizing its overheads.
  • Implementing P5 PMC support.

Move ARP out of routing table


Contact: Qing Li <>

I've sent the patch to @KAME for review. I'm still waiting for feedback from Andre. There hasn't been any major change since the last report. I've kept the code in sync with CURRENT. Gleb has created a separate P4 branch and has been helping out on the locking side. Gleb is also helping out on the testing front.

Open tasks:

  1. I'm waiting for review feedback from my mentor Andre on the overall design and code. I'm waiting for feedback from Andre on Gleb's suggested modification.

Network Interface API Cleanup


Contact: Anders Persson <>

The goal of this project is to review the network interface API and try to remove references to kernel-only data structures by removing the use of libkvm and instead rely on other interfaces to provide information. If there are no adequate interfaces, they would be created.

Currently netstat is being reviewed and parts of it have been modified to use sysctl rather than libkvm to provide the information.

A big thank you to Brooks Davis for mentoring :-)

Nsswitch / Caching daemon


Contact: Michael Bushkov <>

The nsswitch / caching daemon project is being developed within the Google's Summer Of Code program. The first goal of this project is to implement a set of patches to extend the use of nsswitch subsystem. The second goal is the development of the caching library and daemon to add the caching ability to the nsswitch.

Currently services, protocols, rpc and openssh patches are finished. Support for services, services_compat, rpc, protocols, and ssh_host_keys databases is added with 'files', 'nis' and 'compat' (for services) sources possible. The nsswitch-friendly openssh port is almost completed.

Open tasks:

  1. Implement set of patches to make nsswitch support globus grid security files , MAC and audit related configuration files databases.
  2. Implement the caching library and the caching daemon and patch nsdispatch function to support caching.

OpenBSD dhclient import.

Contact: Brooks Davis <>
Contact: Sam Leffler <>

The OpenBSD rewrite of dhclient has been imported, replacing the ISC dhclient. The OpenBSD client provides better support for roaming on wireless networks and a simpler model of operation. Instead of a single dhclient process per system, there is one per network interface. This instance automatically goes away in the even of link loss and is restarted via devd when link is reacquired. To support this change, many aspects of the network interface configuration process were overhauled.

The current code works well in most circumstances, but more testing and polishing is needed.

OpenBSD packet filter - pf

Contact: Max Laier <>

We will have pf as of OpenBSD 3.7 for RELENG_6. Import has been completed in early May and FreeBSD release 6.0 will ship with it.

A few serious issues with pfsync on SMP have been discovered since CARP is around and more and more people use it on big iron. Everything that has been discovered is fixed in HEAD and (if applicable) MFCed back to RELENG_5. Some functional changes are undergoing testing right now and will be MFCed in the coming days.

With the import of if_bridge from Net/OpenBSD we finally have a bridge implementation that allows for stateful filtering as well as IPv6 filtering. Please see the respective report.

Open tasks:

  1. Shared lock implementation?

Porting v9 of Intels C/C++ Compiler

Contact: Alexander Leidinger <>

Intel released version 9 of its C/C++ compiler. Work to port the x86 version to FreeBSD is in progress as time permits. Porting the EM64T (amd64) version is on the TODO list too, but is subject to enough free time and access to appropriate hardware.

PowerPC Port


Contact: Peter Grehan <>

Florent Thoumie has updated the massively out-of-date platform page. Work continues to creating a 6.0 release of the PowerPC port.

Removable interface improvements


Contact: Brooks Davis <>

This project is an attempt to clean up handling of network interfaces in order to allow interfaces to be removed reliably. Current problems include panics if Dummynet is delaying packets to an interface when it is removed.

I have removed struct ifnet's and layer two common structures from device driver structures. This will eventually allow them to be managed properly upon device removal. This code has been committed and will appear in 6.0. Popular drivers have generally been fixed, but more testing is needed.

Removing of old basesystem files and directories


Contact: Alexander Leidinger <>

FreeBSD lacks a way to remove old/outdated files and directories in the basesystem. I have a patch which removes obsolete files in a safe way (interactively, since only the administrator really knows if there's a need to keep an old file or not; there's a switch for batch-processing). This feature may or may not be available for 6.0-RELEASE, depending on the decision from the Release Engineering team.

Open tasks:

  1. Respect the NO_* switches and remove those files too. This is easy to do with the current implementation, but isn't needed to commit the removal of obsolete files feature.



Contact: Yanjun Wu <>

  1. Setup a local P4 workspace of SEBSD source and Setup lxr for TrustedBSD source for studying source code.
  2. Test a simple policy configuration for vsftpd.
  3. Writing a HOWTO document Getting Started with SEBSD HOWTO by deriving the existing Getting Started with SELinux HOWTO.

Thanks Robert Watson and Scott Long for their kind help.

Open tasks:

  1. When writing the document, try to figure out the sebsd userland utils that need to be ported.
  2. Test and edit more policies for BSD environment.

SMP Network Stack


Contact: Robert Watson <>

Significant work has occurred over the last few months relating to the SMP network stack work. A few of the highlights are covered here at a high level:

  • The UMA(9) per-CPU caches have been modified to use critical sections instead of mutexes. Recent critical section optimizations make this a performance win for both UP and SMP systems. This results in a several percent improvement in a number of user space benchmarks, and larger improvement for kernel-only network forwarding and processing benchmarks.
  • The malloc(9) allocator has been modified to store statistics per-CPU instead of using a cross-CPU statistics pool, with each per-CPU pool now using critical sections to synchronize access. This results in a measurable performance win, especially on SMP systems
  • The netnatm ATM code is now MPSAFE.
  • netipx MPSAFEty has been merged to RELENG_5.
  • The netperf cluster has now been expanded to include two additional quad-CPU systems (one dual dual-core AMD system, one quad-CPU PIII system).
  • libmemsetat(3) (see separate report) now corrects SMP-related races in the measuring of mbuf allocator statistics, as well as substantially improving kernel memory monitoring capabilities and tools.
  • A range of locking bug fixes, and general network stack bug fixes.
  • Significant updates to the SMPng web page (still more to do!).
  • Identification of all non-MPSAFE network device drivers, with ultimatum issued, on freebsd-arch. Quite a bit of new driver locking work as a result (if_ed, if_de, ...).
  • Lots of other stuff.

In most cases, these changes will appear in FreeBSD 6.0-RELEASE; some have been, or will be, merged to FreeBSD 5.x.

On-going tasks include:

  • Review and improvement of ifnet locking, such as address lists and flags.
  • Optimization of interface start hand-off.
  • Prototyping of queue-oriented packet hand-off in the stack.
  • Performance measurement and analysis.
  • Prototype rewrite and simplification of socket locking.

TCP Reassembly Rewrite and Optimization


Contact: Andre Oppermann <>

Currently TCP segment reassembly is implemented as a linked list of segments. With today's high bandwidth links and large bandwidth*delay products this doesn't scale and perform well.

The rewrite optimizes a large number of operational aspects of the segments reassembly process. For example it is very likely that the just arrived segment attaches to the end of the reassembly queue, so we check that first. Second we check if it is the missing segment or alternatively attaches to the start of the reassembly queue. Third consecutive segments are merged together (logically) and are skipped over in one jump for linear searches instead of each segment at a time.

Further optimizations prototyped merge consecutive segments on the mbuf level instead of only logically. This is expected to give another significant performance gain. The new reassembly queue is tracking all holes in the queue and it may be beneficial to integrate this with the scratch pad of SACK in the future.

Andrew Gallatin was able to get 3.7Gb/sec TCP performance on dual-2Gbit Myrinet cards with severe packet reordering (due to a firmware bug) with the new TCP reassembly code. See second link.

Open tasks:

  1. Need funding, see "Fundraising - TCP & IP Routing Optimization".

The FreeBSD Dutch Documentation Project


Contact: Remko Lodder <>
Contact: Siebrand Mazeland <>
Contact: Rene Ladan <>

The FreeBSD Dutch Documentation Project is a ongoing project in translating the english documentation to the Dutch language. Currently we are almost done with the FreeBSD Handbook. Finishing the Handbook is our first priority, and we could use your help. Please contact Siebrand or myself if you want to helpout. After the handbook we will focus on other documents as well, so feel free to help us there as well

Open tasks:

  1. FreeBSD Handbook translation. Finish the translation from English to Dutch
  2. FreeBSD Handbook review. Finish the review of the translated documents
  3. FreeBSD Articles. Start translating the articles from English to the Dutch Language
  4. FreeBSD www. Start translating the website from English to the Dutch Language
  5. The rest of the FreeBSD Documents. Start translating them from English to the Dutch Language.

TODO list for volunteers

Contact: Alexander Leidinger <>

Since Google's "Summer of Code" resulted in a lot of interest in open projects, I'm in the process of compiling a list of nice projects for volunteers. Unlike Google's SoC those projects aren't backed with money (but this doesn't means nobody is allowed to sponsor one of those projects), so we can only guarantee the social aspects (some "Thank you!" and "That's great!" messages). So far the list has several entries where the difficulty ranges from "someone just has to sit down and spend some time on it" up to "we need a guru for this".

Open tasks:

  1. Merging untaken entries from the SoC list as soon as the official participants/tasks in the SoC are announced.
  2. Sending the document to some doc people for review.
  3. Commit the list.

Transparent support for superpages in the FreeBSD Kernel

Contact: Alan L. Cox <>
Contact: Olivier Crameri <>

We are currently working on an updated implementation of Juan Navarro's transparent support for superpages in FreeBSD.

The idea is to take advantage of the architectural support for big memory pages (superpages) by using a reservation mechanism allowing us to transparently promote groups of base pages into superpages and demote superpages into several smaller superpages or base pages.

The advantage of using superpages vs. base pages is to significantly improve the TLB coverage of the physical memory, thus improving the peformance by reducing the number of TLB misses.

The modification of the FreeBSD kernel that we are working on involves the replacement of the current list based page allocation mechanism with a system using a buddy allocator to reserve groups of pages for a memory object. The promotion and demotion of the pages occur directly within the pmap module.

The former implementation was supporting the alpha and IA64 architectures. We are adding the support for amd64. We currently have an almost complete implementation. Once completed we will make a performance study with a particular emphasis on TLB and cache misses.

TrustedBSD Audit


Contact: Robert Watson <>
Contact: Wayne Salamon <>
Contact: <>

In the past few months, significant work has been done relating to the TrustedBSD audit implementation, including preparatory work to merge audit into the FreeBSD CVS repository for FreeBSD 6.x. In particular:

  • The user space components, such as libbsm, include files, and command line utilities have been broken out into an OpenBSM distribution in Perforce. Improvements in OpenBSM will be made available separately for use by projects such as Darwin, and imported into the contrib area of FreeBSD.
  • The system call table format has been updated to include an audit event identifier for each system call across all hardware platforms and ABIs (merged), and all system calls have been assigned event identifiers (not yet merged).
  • The audit management daemon has been rewritten to run on FreeBSD (originally derived from Darwin) using /dev/audit to track kernel events.
  • Many system calls now properly audit their arguments.
  • The TrustedBSD audit3 branch has been updated to a recent 6.x-CURRENT.
  • Significant work has gone into synchronizing the audit event tables between FreeBSD, Darwin, and OpenSolaris to make sure file formats and events are portable.
  • OpenBSM has been adapted to consume and generate endian-independent event streams.
  • OpenBSM documentation has been created.

The hope is still to provide audit as "experimental" in 6.0; the primary blocking factor is our awaiting relicensing of the last remaining audit files from Apple's APSL license to BSDL so that they can be included in the FreeBSD kernel. This is anticipated to complete in the near future. Once this is done, the changes can be merged to CVS, and then MFC'd to RELENG_6. If this is not complete by 6.0-RELEASE, the work will be merged shortly after the release, as all ABI-sensitive data structures have been updated as needed.



Contact: Robert Watson <>

The TrustedBSD Project has released a new snapshot of "SEBSD", a port of NSA's SELinux FLASK and Type Enforcement implementation to FreeBSD based on a late 2005 FreeBSD 6.x snapshot. The SEBSD distribution has now been updated in Perforce to a recent 6.x snapshot, and a new distribution will be made available in the near future.

Work has been performed to merge additional dependencies for SEBSD back into the base FreeBSD tree, including most recently, changes to devfs, and System V and POSIX IPC.

Open tasks:

  1. Update to new NSA FLASK implementation, which has improved MLS support.
  2. Merge remaining kernel changes to support SEBSD back to the base FreeBSD CVS repository, including file descriptor labeling and access control (in contrast to file labeling and access control), and categorization of kernel privileges.

TTCPv2: Transactional TCP version 2


Contact: Andre Oppermann <>

The old TTCP according to RFC1644 was insecure, intrusive, complicated and has been removed from FreeBSD >= 5.3. Although the idea and semantics behind it are still sound and valid.

The rewrite uses a much easier and more secure system with 24bit long client and server cookies which are transported in the TCP options. Client cookies protect against various kinds of blind injection attacks and can be used as well to generally secure TCP sessions (for BGP for example). Server cookies are only exchanged during the SYN-SYN/ACK phase and allow a server to ensure that it has communicated with this particular client before. The first connection is always performing a 3WHS and assigning a server cookie to a client. Subsequent connections can send the cookie back to the server and short-cut the 3WHS to SYN->OPEN on the server.

TTCPv2 is fully configurable per-socket via the setsockopt() system call. Clients and server not capable of TTCPv2 remain fully compatible and just continue using the normal 3WHS without any delay or other complications.

Work on implementing TTCPv2 is done to 90% and expected to be available by early February 2005. Writing the implementation specification (RFC Draft) has just started.

Open tasks:

  1. Need funding, see "Fundraising - TCP & IP Routing Optimization".

UFSJ -- Journaling for UFS

Contact: Brian Wilson <>
Contact: Scott Long <>

filesystem. Journaling helps ensure the filesystem's integrity should the system crash. Journaling eliminates the need for fsck'ing a filesystem, as the filesystem is never in an inconsistent state (barring hardware failure). This implementation is inspired by Darwin's HFS+ filesystem and the SGI XFS filesystem. This is a Summer of Code project, with Scott Long as the mentor and Brian Wilson as the developer/mentee. Currently this project is still in the early stages, but will be in a usable state by September 1 (the Google Summer of Code completion date).

Open tasks:

  1. Finish making the file system log metadata updates.
  2. Add facilities to replay the log on dirty file systems.
  3. Make snapshots work with journaling.

Update of the Linux userland infrastructure

Contact: Alexander Leidinger <>
Contact: Emulation Mailinglist <>

The cleanup/streamlining and the possibility of overriding the default Linux base as reported in the last report happened without major problems. Work on the open tasks hasn't started yet, but is scheduled to start "soon". If a volunteer wants to spend some hours on one of the open tasks, he should tell it on the emulation mailinglist.

Open tasks:

  1. Refactoring the common RPM code in x11-toolkits/linux-gtk/Makefile into
  2. Determining which up-to-date Linux distribution to use as the next default Linux base. Important criteria:
    • RPM based (to be able to use the existing infrastructure)
    • good track record regarding availability of security fixes
    • packages available from several mirror sites
    • available for several hardware architectures (e.g. i386, amd64, sparc64; Note: not all architectures have a working linuxolator for their native bit with, but as long as there are no userland bits available, no motivation regarding writing the kernel bits will arise)
  3. Moving the linuxolator userland to an up-to-date version (see above).


Contact: Jeff Roberson <>

FreeBSD's VFS layer has been fine grain locked along with the FFS filesystem for the FreeBSD 6.0 release. The locking has been underway for several years, with the project really picking up over the last 6 months thanks largely to sponsorship provided by Isilon Systems, Inc. a leading vendor of clustered storage systems. The project has entered a stabilization phase, with a few bugs being reported in extreme circumstances while the majority of users have seen no problems. Tests on a 8 and 16 way machines yield reasonable parallelization, however, it will be beneficial to do lock contention analysis once things are fully stable.

For those interested in technical details, there have been a few relatively significant changes with vnode life-cycle management. Vnode reference counting and recycling is now no longer an ad-hoc process involving a variety of flags, a use count and the hold count. A single hold count is used to track all vnode references and a destroyed vnode is freed in the context of the caller when the last ref is lost. The old system would never reclaim memory used by vnodes and also had pathlogical behavior with unreferenced vnode caching under pressure. The new system is much simpler than the old one, however, callers are now required to vhold a vnode that they lock directly without going through vget to prevent it from being recycled while they are waiting on a lock. Relying on 'location stable storage', which is a more strict version of 'type stable storage' is no longer a valid approach.

Some other side effects include a much simpler and faster nullfs implementation, an improved buf daemon flushing algorithm which eliminated high latency that caused audio skipping, and a lots of minor cleanups and debugging aids.

Wireless Networking Support

Contact: Sam Leffler <>

A lot of bugs were fixed in preparation for the 6.0 release. 6.0 will be the first release to include full WPA support (both supplicant and authenticator).

A presentation on the forthcoming multi-bss support was given at BSDCan 2005. The slides from the talk are available at The plan is to commit this work to HEAD after 6.0 is released which means the first release that will have it is 7.0.

Open tasks:

  1. hostapd needs work to support the IAPP and 802.11i preauthentication protocols (these are simple conversions of existing Linux code).

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