Subject: NetBSD Status Report: January - March 2006
To: None <>
From: Jan Schaumann <>
List: netbsd-announce
Date: 04/17/2006 09:55:49
Hash: SHA1

NetBSD Quarterly Status Report

NetBSD is an actively developed operating system. With fifty seven
different system architectures in total and binary support of 53
architectures in our last official release (NetBSD 3.0), our widely
portable Packages Collection "pkgsrc" and large userbase there is a lot
going on within the project. In order to allow our users to follow the
most important changes over the last few months, we provide a brief
summary in these official status reports on a regular basis. These
status reports, released with irregular regularity, are suitable for
reproduction and publication in part or in whole as long as the source
is clearly indicated.

This report summarizes the changes within NetBSD during the first three
months of 2006.

- -Jan Schaumann <>

January 2006 - March 2006:

	- New Developers [20060401]

	- NetBSD Internals book added [20060128]
	- Permission to Incorporate POSIX Material [20060215]
	- New NetBSD flyers and posters [20060312]
	- Developer interviews [20060401]
	- NetBSD on the road

	- pkgsrcCon 2006 coming up
	- Changes to the Packages Collection in December 2005 [20060131]
	- Changes to the Packages Collection in January 2006 [20060223]
	- New mailing list for pkgsrc users [20060224]
	- pkgsrc-2006Q1 branched [20060331]

	- cobalt: New Restore CD build script [20060401]
	- ews4800mips: first binary snapshot [20060109]
	- evbmips: support for many new platforms [20060327]
	- ia64: imported into source tree
	- prep: IBM RS/6000 7024 Support added [20060223]
	- prep: new portmaster [20060306]
	- sparc: XFree86 in 16 and 24bit [20060228]
	- sparc64: new bootloader required [20060130]
	- sparc64: support for Atheros wlan devices [20060302]
	- Xen3 domU support [20060322]

	- Security Advisories 2006-001 through 2006-005, 2006-007,
	  2006-008, 2006-010 released [20060329]

	- UDF file system added [20060202]
	- Multiboot support [20060203]
	- iSCSI support [20060222]
	- ciss(4) imported from OpenBSD
	- kauth branch soon to be merged


New Developers [20060401]
- -------------------------

The NetBSD project is pleased to welcome the following new developers
during the first quarter of 2006:

    * J. Chapman Flack (login: chap), who will be working on MIDI
      support and the NetBSD Packages Collection.
    * Cherry G. Mathew (login: cherry), who will be working on
    * Garrett D'Amore (login: gdamore), who will be working on
    * Geert Hendrickx (login: ghen), who will be working on the NetBSD
      Packages Collection.
    * Pavel Cahyna (login: pavel), who will be working on bug fixing,
      networking and Documentation.
    * Ruibiao Qiu (login: ruibiao), who will be working on curses and
    * Alan Ritter (login: rittera), who will be working on NDIS and


NetBSD Internals book added [20060128]
- --------------------------------------

Julio M. Merino Vidal has published documentation about file system
internals in the form of a new on-line book: the NetBSD Internals book.
This aims to be a detailed guide about the design and implementation of
NetBSD, including its kernel and user-land utilities.

Most of this text was written during tmpfs development - his Google
Summer of Code project - as one of its goals was precisely to write such

Please note that this documentation is still incomplete and very much
work-in-progress. Feedback, fixes and extensions are certainly welcome.

Permission to Incorporate POSIX Material [20060215]
- ---------------------------------------------------

The IEEE and The Open Group have granted permission to the NetBSD
Foundation to incorporate documentation for more than 1,400 interfaces
from the joint IEEE 1003.1" POSIX standard and The Open Group Base
Specifications Issue 6 into its NetBSD operating system.

The POSIX standard, which also forms the core volumes of Version 3 of
The Open Group's Single UNIX Specification, defines a set of fundamental
services needed for the construction of portable application programs.
The more than 1,400 interfaces from the standard the NetBSD Foundation
can now use includes header files, interfaces for system and library
calls, and utilities.

Please see the press release for more information:

New NetBSD flyers and posters [20060312]
- ----------------------------------------

Hubert Feyrer together with Stefan Schumacher, Joerg Pernfuss and Rainer
Brinkmöller, has updated a bunch of NetBSD promo material:

    * There's a new DIN A4 flyer about Xen on NetBSD, in German and English

    * There are German and English language flyers about NetBSD in general
      and security on NetBSD in particular:

    * The poster with the list and images of all NetBSD ports was updated:

    * General posters about NetBSD, in German and English language:

Developer interviews [20060401]
- -------------------------------

DaemonNews is running a series of interviews by Emmanuel Dreyfus with various
NetBSD developers. The first three interviews were published at the
beginning of February, March and April 2006 and are:

    * Manuel Bouyer on NetBSD/xen
    * der Mouse on his real-time backup system
    * Jan Schaumann on NetBSD on the desktop

More interviews are scheduled for the coming months.

NetBSD on the road
- ------------------

The NetBSD Project was represented by developers and other volunteers at a
number of conferences and tradeshows during the first quarter of 2006.
Patiently the following people invested a lot of their personal time, money
and resources to tell attendants about NetBSD, to explain (again and again)
the difference between NetBSD and Linux or NetBSD and the other BSDs, sold CDs
and other merchandise and in general deserve thanks for helping the NetBSD

    * NetBSD's Kevin Lahey organized a booth at the 4th annual Southern
      California Linux Expo, SCALE4x [].  His
      report is available at
    * NetBSD's Peter Postma and Geert Hendrickx attended the sixth Free and
      Open source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM 2006
      []), a 2 days event, organized by        
      volunteers, to promote the widespread use of Free and Open Source
      software.  A review of the event is available at
    * Stefan Schumacher organized a booth at the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage
      [].  A number of NetBSD presentations
      and a workshop were given as well.
    * The NetBSD Project had a booth at CeBIT 2006 [] in
    * Members of the Japan NetBSD Users' Group
      [] staffed a booth at the Open Source
      Conference 2006 Tokyo/Spring [],
      demonstrating a number of hpc{mips,sh,arm} gadgets.
    * Stefan Schumacher organized a booth and gave a talk on backup strategies
      at the German Unix User Group "Fruehjahrsfachgespraech" in Osnabrueck,
      Germany [].  His report is
      available at


Changes to the Packages Collection in December 2005 [20060131]
- --------------------------------------------------------------

By calculations of Alistair G. Crooks, at the end of December 2005,
there were 5779 packages in the Packages Collection, up from 5737 the
previous month, a rise of 42.

The pkgsrc team branched the pkgsrc repository, and released the
pkgsrc-2005Q4 branch in December. The pkgsrc-2005Q3 branch has been
deprecated, and continuing engineering has started on pkgsrc-2005Q4.

The Package of the Month award goes to Eterm (x11/eterm
"I've been using it as my terminal program of choice for over 6 years,
and recently I enabled the Escreen mode with it. The Escreen mode
interacts with screen - misc/screen
- - in a seamless way, provides tabbed access to screen windows, and
integrates frequent screen commands in an Eterm menu. Highly
recommended." - says Alistair.

See his complete email message to netbsd-users at

Changes to the Packages Collection in January 2006 [20060223]
- -------------------------------------------------------------

At the end of January 2006, there were 5853 packages in the Packages
Collection, up from 5779 the previous month, a rise of 74.

A special "thank you" goes to Mark Davies for upgrading KDE packages to
version 3.5.1, whilst a number of other packages have been moved around
to reflect better their primary category.

The Package of the Month award goes to sysutils/vip
nominated by Stoned Elipot. Despite its name, vip uses your editor of
choice, and is most frequently found in shell pipelines, to edit text
coming from one command before it is submitted to the next command. As
Stoned says: "When you're in the midst of slowly building a long shell
pipeline and something goes wrong it's so easy to throw |vip| somewhere
in it to check the plumbing!" And Alistair adding: "I know I find myself
using vip as a pager on the output from commands, since its searching
capabilities are much, much better than screen's, and it's incredibly
useful when those pipes get long."

pkgsrcCon 2006 coming up
- ------------------------

The third pkgsrc conference will be held on May 5-7, 2006 in Paris,
France.  Universite Paris 7 - Denis Diderot is graciously hosting the
conference on their campus.

pkgsrcCon is a technical conference for people working on the NetBSD
Packages Collection (pkgsrc), focusing on existing technologies,
research projects, and works-in-progress in pkgsrc infrastructure.
Developers, contributors, and users are all welcome to attend, and to
share an excellent opportunity to gather and to discuss ideas
face-to-face on how to improve pkgsrc.

For more information, including:
    - How to register, and
    - How to submit a presentation proposal,
please visit

New mailing list for pkgsrc users [20060224]
- --------------------------------------------

The NetBSD Project has created a new mailing list <pkgsrc-users at> to better serve the pkgsrc user community and to help
refocus the existing <tech-pkg at> mailing list for technical
discussions. The charters for these two lists are:

    * pkgsrc-users: a general purpose list for most issues regarding the
      pkgsrc, regardless of platform, e.g. soliciting user help for
      pkgsrc configuration, unexpected build failures, using particular
      packages, upgrading pkgsrc installations, questions regarding the
      pkgsrc release branches, etc.  General announcements or proposals
      for changes that impact the pkgsrc user community, e.g. major
      infrastructure changes, new features, package removals, etc., may
      also be posted.
    * tech-pkg: a list for technical discussions related to pkgsrc
      development, e.g. soliciting feedback for changes to pkgsrc
      infrastructure, proposed new features, questions related to porting
      pkgsrc to a new platform, advice for maintaining a package, patches
      that affect many packages, help requests moved from
      <pkgsrc-users at> when an infrastructure bug is found,

All current subscribers to the tech-pkg mailing list are encouraged to
subscribe to the pkgsrc-users mailing list.

Please see also the complete announcement from Johnny C. Lam:

pkgsrc-2006Q1 branched [20060331]
- ---------------------------------

At the end of March, the pkgsrc team branched the first stable branch of
2006, with support for 5943 packages.  As well as updated versions of
many many packages, the infrastructure of pkgsrc itself has been
improved for better platform and compiler support, and also for enhanced
security.   At the same time, the pkgsrc-2005Q4 branch has been
deprecated, and continuing engineering starts on the pkgsrc-2006Q1

The source tar files for the new branch can be found at:


You can also use the pkgsrc-2006Q1 tag to check it out yourself from or any of the mirrors.

Please see the detailed pkgsrc-2006Q1 announcement in Alistair G.
Crooks's email to the netbsd-announce mailing list for more information.


cobalt: New Restore CD build script [20060401]
- ----------------------------------------------

Dennis Chernoivanov has announced the availability of a new Restore CD build
script, now available for testing and critique at A NetBSD
3.99.17 restore CD built using these tools is available at
See his email to the port-cobalt mailing list for further details.

ews4800mips: first binary snapshot [20060109]
- ---------------------------------------------

The first -current binary snapshot based on 2006-01-09 sources is available in
the NetBSD/ews4800mips snapshot area of the ftp server:

evbmips: support for many new platforms [20060327]
- --------------------------------------------------

Garrett D'Amore has added support for a variety of new platforms, including
expanded support for Alchemy Au1550 (this enables the DBAu1550 and Plat'home
OpenMicroServer platforms), AMD Alchemy (this makes the MTX-1, aka
MeshCube/AccessCube, a useful system), and Atheros AR5312 (a chip used in a
variety of commodity access points and wireless routers) platforms. Not all
devices are supported on these platforms, but a lot of forward progress is

ia64: imported into source tree
- -------------------------------

Cherry G. Mathew has imported his initial work-in-progress port of NetBSD to
the Itanium family of processors into the source tree.  While the code is
still in a very early stage of development, all users are encouraged to get
involved in the development.

prep: IBM RS/6000 7024 Support added [20060223]
- -----------------------------------------------

Support for the IBM RS/6000 7024 model E20 and E30 has been added to the
prep Port.  Please see Tim Rightnour's email to the port-prep mailing list for

prep: new portmaster [20060306]
- -------------------------------

Tim Rightnour has taken over the role of portmaster for the prep port,
replacing NONAKA Kimihiro who did the original port of NetBSD to the prep
architecture.  Tim's goals for this port are summarized in his email to the
port-prep mailinglist:

sparc: XFree86 in 16 and 24bit [20060228]
- -----------------------------------------

Michael Lorenz announced that the pnozz(4) frame buffer now supports 8, 16 and
24bit color with full acceleration. See his message to the port-sparc
mailinglist for more details:

sparc64: new bootloader required [20060130]
- -------------------------------------------

Dennis Chernoivanov recently reworked the bootloader/kernel protocol. This
means that you need to install a new bootloader before updating a kernel.
Instructions can be found at The new
bootloader will, of course, boot older kernels as well. 

sparc64: support for Atheros wlan devices [20060302]
- ----------------------------------------------------

Atheros wlan devices require a binary-only HAL, linked into the kernel with
the driver proper. After David Young imported a new HAL, a version for
NetBSD/sparc64 is now available, tested, and known to work.

Xen3 domU support [20060322]
- ----------------------------

Manuel Bouyer has continued his work on getting NetBSD to work on Version 3 of
the Xen virtual machine monitor over the past few weeks, and he writes that
"NetBSD should now be functional on Xen3 domU (unprivileged domains) with
block and network devices".  This support for Xen3 domU has also been
integrated into the netbsd-3 branch, meaning it will be part of NetBSD 3.1.
There are XEN3_U and INSTALL_XEN3_U kernels built as part of the release
process, just as for Xen-2, which means it's as easy to get a NetBSD domU on a
xen-3 system as it is for xen-2.

Xen3 dom0 support is still work in progress.



Security Advisories released
- ----------------------------

In the first three months of 2006, the following Security Advisories
have been released:

    * SA-2006-001
      regarding a kernfs kernel memory disclosure.  NetBSD 3.0 is not
      affected by this problem.
    * SA-2006-02
      regarding a settimeofday(2) time wrap.  NetBSD 3.0 is not
      affected by this problem.
    * SA-2006-03
      regarding multiple denial of services issues with racoon.  NetBSD
      3.0 is not affected by this problem.
    * SA-2006-04
      regarding denial of services issues with pf(4).  NetBSD 3.0 is the
      only release affected by this problem.
    * SA-2006-05
      regarding a bridge memory disclosure.  All versions of NetBSD
      built from sources prior to January 17, 2006 are affected by this
    * SA-2006-07
      regarding insecure permissions under mail(1).  All versions of
      NetBSD built from sources prior to March 03, 2006 are affected by
      this problem.
    * SA-2006-08
      regarding a system crash caused by a malformed ELF interpreter.
      All versions of NetBSD built from sources prior to March 17, 2006
      are affected by this problem.
    * SA-2006-10
      regarding a sendmail race condition.  All versions of NetBSD built
      from sources prior to March 24, 2006 are affected by this problem.

Please check the Security Advisories page for full details of all
advisories [].


UDF file system added [20060202]
- --------------------------------

Reinoud Zandijk has added a new implementation of the UDF file system to the
NetBSD source tree. UDF is a file system defined by the OSTA standardization
group and is tailored for data interchange on optical discs (like CDs and
DVDs) between different operating systems. Its also more and more common on
other media like Compact Flash (CF) cards.

See Reinoud's mail to the current-users mailinglist for more details:

Multiboot support [20060203]
- ----------------------------

Julio M. Merino Vidal added support for the Multiboot Specification to i386
kernels.  This makes it possible to boot them directly from
Multiboot-compliant boot loaders such as GRUB.  Unfortunately, due to the way
this has been done, a third-party patch is required for GRUB to workaround a
bug in it; this fix is already in pkgsrc, but prevents GRUB builds made by
Linux distributions to work properly.  NetBSD/i386 will be fixed in the future
to not require any patch.

See multiboot(8) for details.

iSCSI support [20060222]
- ------------------------

Alistair G. Crooks has recently added support for an iSCSI target to NetBSD,
and written HOWTOs for using it. iSCSI is specified in RFC 3720 and describes
a method for encapsulating SCSI commands in TCP/IP to remotely access
block-level storage. In iSCSI, the party offering a SCSI device (the server)
is called a "target", and the party using that device (the client) is called
an "initiator", so the iSCSI target exports blocks to the iSCSI initiators.

NetBSD's iSCSI implementation was developed from the original Intel code
(BSD-licensed) and has been tested with version 1.06 of the Microsoft
initiator as well as with its own test harness; an iSCSI initiator for NetBSD
is currently under development.

Please see the HOWTOs on setting up both a target
[] and an
[], as well
as the original email from Alistair

ciss(4) imported from OpenBSD
- -----------------------------

Havard Eidnes committed a port of the ciss(4) driver from OpenBSD, thanks to
the porting efforts of Tonnerre Lombard.  The driver supports the newer series
of Smart Array controllers from HP/Compaq.  The driver has also been pulled up
to the netbsd-2 and netbsd-3 branches.

kauth branch soon to be merged
- ------------------------------

Elad Efrat has worked vigorously on the kauth branch, which should soon be
merged into the trunk.  Kernel authorization is a framework intended to
replace the way authorization requests are handled in the kernel.  Kauth
divides the "types" of authorization requests to "scopes" and allows
authorization schemes to hook into each scope.
To illustrate with a simplified example, if until now, a request to mount a
new file-system would behave as follows:
  - Is the user the super-user or user mounts are allowed?
  - Is the security level allowing us to complete the request?
In a kauth kernel the request would be:

  - Dispatch request for 'mount file-system' issued by user with
    <credentials> to the proper authorization wrapper for the scope
  - The scope would call all authorization listeners attached to it
    and return the decision

The security model would then be implemented by said authorization
listeners -- these could either check for uid 0, check an associated
capabilities struct, post the request to a user-level handler for a decision
(like systrace does), or further dispatch the request to a 'security server',
as in a FLASK-environment.

The kauth manual page, still work in progress, is available at

More Information

To learn more about NetBSD visit its homepage hat
<>, for a list of code changes see the
src/doc/CHANGES and pkgsrc/doc/CHANGES files at
<> and
Individual changes to the NetBSD source and pkgsrc can be monitored on
the "source-changes" and "pkgsrc-changes" mailing lists, see the
archives at <> and

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