Wednesday, March 27, 2013

FreeBSD Foundation is Soliciting the Submission of Project Proposals

The FreeBSD Foundation is soliciting the submission of project
proposals for funded development grants.  Proposals may be related to
any of the major subsystems or infrastructure within the FreeBSD
operating system, and will be evaluated based on desirability,
technical merit, and cost-effectiveness.

Key dates for this proposal solicitation:

Call for proposals:                  27th March 2013
Deadline for submissions:            26th April 2013
Notifcation of accepted proposals:   17th May 2013

Proposals must include the following:

* A detailed description of what is being proposed, how it will
  benefit the FreeBSD Project, and why the work is needed.
* A timeline and costing for the project.
* One or more people that will act as technical reviewers for the work.

Proposals are open to all developers, including non-FreeBSD
committers, but developers without access to commit to the source tree
must provide details about how the completion guidelines will be

For details on the proposal submission process see

Monday, March 25, 2013

FreeBSD and Xorg on ARM

As part of the port of FreeBSD to the Efika Platform Project Xorg is now running on FreeBSD on ARM. Here's an update from the developer, Aleksandr Rybalko:

You've already seen or at least heard about ARM systems running FreeBSD. In most cases its routers, firewalls, network storage, etc. Why doesn't anyone use FreeBSD on an ARM based desktop or laptop It is because no one had implemented Xorg support for boards supported by FreeBSD. Now you have away to do just that!

I'm glad to introduce an Xorg driver for ARM, and not only ARM but for syscons framebuffer devices.It's called xf86-video-scfb.  The driver is very simple, and has been tested and works on the Efika MX and Raspberry Pi devices.  I hope it will work with other devices, including those not based on ARM.

Here are the instructions so you can get this running on your own system:  Building Xorg for FreeBSD ARM.

Porting FreeBSD to Efika Platforms Project Completed

We are pleased to announce the Porting FreeBSD to the Genesi Efika MX SmartBook laptop and SmartTop nettop devices projects has completed! While many FreeBSD developers are working on ARM on embedded systems we feel it's important to show FreeBSD running on ARM devices that people can easily touch and interact with. The port of FreeBSD to the Genesi Efika platforms makes that possible. It has also made possible Xorg running on many other ARM devices, including the Raspberry Pi.

Here is a set of directions for getting FreeBSD running on one of these incredibly inexpensive, and light weight, laptops for yourself:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Accepting Travel Grant Applications for BSDCan 2013

Calling all FreeBSD developers needing assistance with travel expenses to BSDCan 2013.

The FreeBSD Foundation will be providing a limited number of travel grants to individuals requesting assistance. Please fill out and submit  the Travel Grant Request Application  by April 17, 2013 to apply for this grant.

This program is open to FreeBSD developers of all sorts (kernel hackers,  documentation authors, bugbusters, system administrators, etc).  In some  cases we are also able to fund non-developers, such as active community members and FreeBSD advocates.

  1. You request funding based on a realistic and economical estimate of travel costs (economy airfare, trainfare, ...), accommodations (conference hotel and sharing a room), and registration or tutorial fees.  If there are other sponsors willing to cover costs, such as your employer or the conference, we prefer you talk to them first, as our budget is limited.  We are happy to split costs with you or another sponsor, such as just covering airfare or board. If you are a speaker at the conference, we expect the conference to cover your travel costs, and will most likely not approve your direct request to us. 
  2. We review your application and if approved, authorize you to seek reimbursement up to a limit.  We consider several factors, including our overall and per-event budgets, and (quite importantly) the benefit to the community by funding your travel. Most rejected applications are rejected because of an over-all limit on travel budget for the event or year, due to unrealistic or uneconomical costing, or because there is an unclear or unconvincing argument that funding the applicant will directly benefit the FreeBSD Project. Please take these points into consideration when writing your application. 
  3. We reimburse costs based on actuals (receipts), and by check or bank transfer. And, we do not cover your costs if you end up having to cancel your trip. We also do not cover meal/food/alcohol expenses. We require you to submit a report on your trip, which we may show to current or potential sponsors, and may include in our semi-annual newsletter and our blog.
There's some flexibility in the mechanism, so talk to us if something about the model doesn't quite work for you or if you have any questions. The travel grant program is one of the most effective ways we can spend money to help support the FreeBSD Project, as it helps developers get together in the same place at the same time, and helps advertise and advocate FreeBSD in the larger community.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Foundation Announces New Technical Staff Member

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Konstantin Belousov has been hired as its first full-time member of technical staff, a key milestone of the Foundation's investment in staff for 2013.

Konstantin has been a FreeBSD committer since 2006, and he recently implemented support for current-generation Intel graphics controllers under contract to the FreeBSD Foundation.  This new position will allow him to spend his full working time on supporting and improving FreeBSD.

Konstantin's first project brings support for unmapped I/O to FreeBSD. The unmapped I/O project improves performance by avoiding mapping buffers in the buffer cache, significantly reducing overhead on multi-processor systems.  The project builds on foundational work to unify machine-dependent parts of the busdma interface, recently contributed by Jeff Robertson at EMC's Isilon Storage Division. EMC became a FreeBSD foundation donor in 2012.

Netflix, another new Foundation donor for 2012, is already making use of this project.  "Netflix partnered closely with Konstantin to provide design input and testing resources for the unmapped I/O project.  The work helped us realize an immediate 25% increase in system performance on production workloads.  It underscores the immense value of collaborating and investing in the open source community and FreeBSD in particular," said Scott Long, Senior Software Engineer at Netflix.

Konstantin has also been working with the release engineering team since 2008 and his new role with the Foundation will allow him to focus more time on the tools and process used to make FreeBSD releases.

Konstantin lives in Kiev, Ukraine.

Foundation at AsiaBSDCon and NorthEast LinuxFest

Foundation representatives will be at two events this weekend (March 16-17). Drop by and say hi if you're near either event. Donations to the Foundation can be made at either event.

AsiaBSDCon is being held at the Tokyo University of Science in Japan.

NorthEast LinuxFest is being held at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Funded Project: UEFI Support

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Benno Rice has been awarded a grant to implement the ability to boot FreeBSD in the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) boot environment.

The work to be done includes a new version of the loader, kernel modifications to support starting from a UEFI environment and the ability to create install media for pure UEFI systems.

"UEFI support is critical for FreeBSD's future on the amd64 platform and I'm really pleased to be able to ensure that FreeBSD gains support for it," said Benno.

This project is expected to be completed in March 2013.