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DragonFly 2.4 Released 73

electrostaticcarrot writes "DragonFly — that fourth major BSD — has had its 2.4 release. The 'most invasive change' is the addition and usage of a DevFS for /dev; building on this, drives are now also recognized by serial number (along with /etc/devtab for aliases) as listed in /dev/serno. This is also the first release with a x86-64 ISO, stable but with limited pkgsrc support. Other larger changes include a ported and feature-extended (with full hotplug and port multiplier support) AHCI driver (and SILI driver based on it) originally taken from OpenBSD, major NFS changes, and HAMMER updates. A pkgsrc GIT mirror has also been set up and put in use to make future pkgsrc updates quicker and smoother. Here are two of the mirrors."
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DragonFly 2.4 Released

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  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Friday September 18, 2009 @10:48AM (#29466433)

    I've used DragonFly to build some appliances for remote network monitoring, like having something as solid as FreeBSD 4.x from which it was forked but with ability to compile latest BSD packages and small footprint. I've kind of lost faith in FreeBSD after 5.x and 6.x shakiness under high load, maybe they've fixed it.

    That said, I've yet to use Hammer and wonder if/when it's production stable like some of the other parts.

    • Thor uses Linux. Stability only requires "not flying off the handles". Thankfully, Kanye does not have his own "Hammer" brand.

    • by Galactic Dominator ( 944134 ) on Friday September 18, 2009 @11:20AM (#29466827)

      I've never experienced "shakiness" under high load on 6.x, but 7.x saw the introduction of a much improved SMP, and a new scheduler which saw dramatic performance increases under many usage types.

      Early 5.x was a bit flaky, though it was fairly stable by the end of the line. 6.x was late in coming though, so many were eager to migrate. 5.x is in many ways too old to be a valid comparison anymore though, as I don't see many complaints about linux kernel 2.4.x even though they had their own set of issues. Every OS I've ever used has had it's own sets of gotchas, but stability on BSD has never been one with proper planning.

      • I couldn't get 5.x to install. 6.x and 7.x have been very stable fore me under high load. That being said, from what I hear the problem requires an 8+ CPU system and most/all of the CPUs under high load. I've only got single and dual core systems.

        • I've had no load issues with 6x or 7x so far, though I have it primarily on quad-core boxes under moderate load (firewalls and such).

          I should look into this "shakiness" and find out what it entails, and if there are some things i need to consider if I plan to scale. I might have just lucked out.

        • by mosch ( 204 )

          I use it on 8 and 12 systems, under constantly high load, and haven't experienced instability.

          Not saying it doesn't exist, but this is the first I've even heard of such a problem.

        • That being said, from what I hear the problem requires an 8+ CPU system and most/all of the CPUs under high load.

          Our 8-core database server has been marching along happily under a heavy load for many months now.

    • by m.dillon ( 147925 ) on Friday September 18, 2009 @11:26AM (#29466883) Homepage

      HAMMER is considered production-stable now. It was usable a year ago and what few bugs existed were found and fixed since then. Performance is much improved though we are still not happy with small file lookups, and fsyncs are still quite costly, but there isn't much we can do about it without some major on-media changes and those will probably not be made until after the cluster work ramps up. In anycase, HAMMER has been the default filesystem for a while. There is really no other choice for DragonFly (just as ZFS is the only real choice for FreeBSD) when it comes to dealing with today's huge drives. UFS (and UFS2) don't cut it.


      • by rs79 ( 71822 )

        Go Matt go. Your decades of providing truly great software do not go unnoticed.

  • The DragonFly BSD project is one I have followed with great interest. I am a long time Free and Open BSD user, and DragonFly has brought a lot of new ideas to the table.

    I'm glad to see another fine release by their team. It is really amazing what just a handful of people have accomplished with DragonFly. Great work guys!
  • by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Friday September 18, 2009 @11:25AM (#29466875)

    I'm not up on the beastie's progress these days, but reading about the /dev filesystem reminds me of the penguin. Does this bring them closer together? Are things coming closer together in other ways as well?

    I think it would be phenomenal to be able to select between Ubuntu Linux and Ubuntu BSD, for example.

    • Debian GNU/* (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Then select among Debian GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/NetBSD, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD and Debian GNU/Hurd.

    • This unholy abomination called System V will have to be sliced out ipcrm by ipcrm from the body of the penguin before any merger can be contemplated!
  • Fear (Score:3, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) * <> on Friday September 18, 2009 @11:30AM (#29466947) Homepage Journal

    that fourth major BSD â" has had its 2.4 release

    Six more BSDs and they will officially go from "mindless roving undead" to "collectively intelligent zombie horde."
  • ..why there are so many BSD variants while the linux kernel only has one? Is it more difficult to get patches in, or is the different BSD variants more like distributions with a (more or less) shared kernel? Or is it that the BSD kernel lends itself more easily to more radical experiments? I see from wikipedia that DragonFly dabbles in microkernel'ism.
    • Licensing? From Wiki:
      "The licenses [BSD] have few restrictions compared to other free software licenses such as the GNU General Public License or even the default restrictions provided by copyright, putting it relatively closer to the public domain."

      "The GPL is the most popular and well-known example of the type of strong copyleft license that requires derived works to be available under the same copyleft."

      If you tell me I can do what ever the hell I want to with your code when I work on it I'm more apt to

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Waffle Iron ( 339739 )

        If you tell me I can do what ever the hell I want to with your code when I work on it I'm more apt to work on code than if you tell me I have to follow your rules when I use it.

        Maybe *you* would be more likely to work on the code, but that's not very relevant. Most of the heavy lifting in Linux kernel development is done by corporations.

        If you analyze the situation with some basic game theory, it's clear that corporations are unlikely to publicly license the source to any of their significant development efforts unless GPL-style restrictions go along with it. They don't want their competitors taking their hard work and going proprietary with it. (I'm talking about writing new code

        • Basic game theory: *always* publish tactical code.

          You cite "basic game theory" as a reason to not publish code, but in fact "basic game theory" dictates that you *always* publish non-strategic code; this accomplishes a number of things for you:

          - community good will
          - you offload ongoing maintenance costs
          - you establish your interfaces and data structures as a de-facto standard, disadvantaging your competitors

          The first some companies have decided they can live without; however, if you want a ready pool of peo

          • by epine ( 68316 )

            If you define "basic game theory" as game theory reduced to whatever extent necessary to yield a single dominating strategy against all eventualities, then I agree with you.

            It has been a presumption of intellectual property law that no intellectual property claim endures forever (at least until Mickey Mouse discovered the non-convergence of infinite series). I know very few claims to IP that lapse in less than a century. So, clearly, over a sufficiently long term, a company that continues to invest in the

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Because Linux is just a kernel, it is rather trivial to take Linux, bolt on some programs, and call it a "new distribution." The design philosophy of Linux enables and encourages this kind of behavior.

      The major BSD systems (FreeBSD*, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and DragonflyBSD) have all been carefully designed from the original 386BSD codebase. Originally, there were just FreeBSD and NetBSD, based off of the 386BSD codebase. Developer conflicts within NetBSD caused a split, spawning OpenBSD. A similar thing happen
    • I've always wondered whether the reason that the linux kernel has so few forks is due to the gpl. My reasoning is that with a bsd license a company/person could easily want to extend say the freebsd kernel but want to keep that difference to itself so that they can produce something with 'value added'. The result is the further they move from the official freebsd kernel the harder it is to patch it with their updates and you end up forked.
      At some later point they might end up open sourcing it again result
      • by Eil ( 82413 )

        I've always wondered whether the reason that the linux kernel has so few forks is due to the gpl.

        The Linux kernel has loads of forks. Every actively maintained Linux distribution has its own fork of the kernel with a particular set of configuration changes, build tweaks, and source code patches. Additionally, many high-profile kernel hackers maintain their own public kernel tree to vet or test patches that might eventually make it up into the mainline kernel.

        BSD has only a handful of forks by comparison.

    • Mostly ancient history. Free and NetBSD split off from the original Jolix project (NetBSD split off early; the FreeBSD guys tried to work within the system until it was unfeasible), OpenBSD started up when Theo de Raadt got kicked from NetBSD, and DragonFly happened with the whole FreeBSD 5.x Royal Mongolian Goatfuck. They never had one benevolent dictator like Torvalds or RMS, so personality conflicts had the potential to split systems.

    • by m.dillon ( 147925 ) on Friday September 18, 2009 @01:06PM (#29468273) Homepage

      BSD distributions tend to be full vertical integrations. Linux distros tend to be horizontal integrations. There are, in fact, dozens of linux distros in various states of repair or disrepair. It's very easy for anyone to slap stuff together and call it a linux distro. It isn't so easy to slap together a BSD system and call IT a distro.

      The various BSDs focus on different things though they do try to stay within shouting distance of each other. FreeBSD focuses on performance, OpenBSD on security, NetBSD on portability, and DragonFly focuses on a lofty filesystem clustering & SSI goal.

      The HAMMER filesystem is a major stepping stone towards that goal. There is really no reason to use DragonFly if you do not also intend to use HAMMER, so it is probably lost on people who expect a pretty GUI and just want to play with DragonFly a little in a VirtualBox or VMWare or other VM with a tiny little virtual disk (VirtualBox doesn't even implement proper disk synchronization!). Real DragonFly consumers use it primarily for the filesystem, secondarily for the stability, and are willing to spend the extra time tuning the typical server applications that any UNIX-like OS can run in the mean time.

      The differentiation here is that while something like ZFS focuses on redundancy, it does so using a monolithic filesystem model which is still vulnerable to software failures. HAMMER is designed to evolve into the core for DragonFly's clustering goals... HAMMER does not focus on individual filesystem redundancy but instead focuses on the components that will be needed to make the future multi-master clustering work efficiently. This also means that HAMMER must be rock solid and essentially bug free, which is a major task unto itself.

      Thus HAMMER's mirroring components are designed to support live streaming replication (with near real-time backups being a convenient side effect) at the logical layer (HAMMER's B-Tree) as well as designed to become the bulk data transport component for the future clustering. This is very different from the discrete snapshots which numerous other filesystems support, and also very different from the traditional block-level mirroring slap-on model used to implement (for example) numerous Linux redundancy solutions.

      In order to realize this multi-year goal we still need to provide what is basically a complete system solution in the mean time, otherwise there simply would not be enough users to keep the system well tested. And, unfortunately, keeping all the other components of a major distribution up-to-date take a huge amount of time just by themselves, but there's really no other way to do it. Politics make it virtually impossible to make the necessary changes to core OS structural mechanics required for the goal using someone else's distribution, so we have our own.

      I've been around enough to know that no software lasts forever. Algorithms survive the test of time, but actual software typically does not. Small monolithic programs tend to survive the test of time too, simply because they are easier to port. A great deal of the linux infrastructure today is not small or monolithic and while it provides a very valuable service to its users it is also extremely vulnerable to obsolescence. If a linux distro dies all the work that went into it also tends to disappear. If a BSD distro dies the components are at least small and compact enough to survive in other forms. So in that respect the point of doing it should be obvious.


    • by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Friday September 18, 2009 @01:17PM (#29468485)

      ..why there are so many BSD variants while the linux kernel only has one?

      Because BSDs are operating systems and linux is just a kernel. If you look at distrowatch, you will realise that there are HUNDREDS of Linux distributions.

      • err and forgot to mention, it's like Linux Distro's (which btw, linux does have different kernels available, RT's, VM's, regular x86, regular x64
  • So? (Score:1, Troll)

    by Godji ( 957148 )
    Not trolling here, but why would I care? What focus or unique features does this operating system have?
  • How well does it work under virtualization? I've tried it in the past with various versions of virtual box and didn't have a lot of success. I know part of it was due to vbox not being complete enough but that was because DragonFly was using some older not well supported "chips".

    • by Foozy ( 552529 )
      Runs very well under QEMU. I've also tried it on VirtualBox. Works Ok, but VB doesn't support all BSDs equally well. Here's a shot of all 4 BSDs under QEMU []

      Interesting factoids-

      Host: IBM T40 laptop with 1GB RAM. running FreeBSD 7.1-RC1. Guests: FreeBSD 7.1-RC1, (two VMs) NetBSD 4.0.1 OpenBSD 4.4 DragonFlyBSD 2.0.1-RELEASE. QEMU version 0.9.1. AQEMU version 0.5 (01/09/2008)

      I'm working on using it for BSD Professional Certification lab exams.


      Jim B.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Most people commenting here are not clearly aware why there is DragonFly BSD, how it is different from the other BSD/etc.

    In my view, DragonFly BSD is unique, timely and exceptionally forward thinking system.

    You can see these days somewhat incoherent approaches to scalability in Google MapReduce, Apache Hadoop, etc -- basically rewritting existing technologies such that with less functionality and new code the processing can be scaled
    across multiple computers at the same time.

    Commercial offerings such as Ter

  • Why do groups releasing open-source operating system projects seem to not like to offer torrents of their wares?
    OpenBSD and Ubuntu do not seem to offer them either.
    I may not be able to host a mirror or contribute much money, but I can leave a torrent running for weeks.
    • from the OpenBSD FAQ []:

      3.3 - Does OpenBSD provide an ISO image for download?
      Starting with OpenBSD 4.2, for select platforms, yes!

      Users of the alpha, amd64, hppa, i386, macppc, sparc and sparc64 platforms can now download and install ISO image which can be used to create a CD-ROM that can boot and install all of OpenBSD.

      Note, this ISO is not the same as the official CD set. These images are for single platforms, and do not include any of the pre-compiled packages, stickers, or artwork that the official CD set

A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on. -- Samuel Goldwyn