NetBSD: Changes and News in 2003

December 2003

November 2003

October 2003

September 2003

August 2003

July 2003

June 2003

May 2003

April 2003

March 2003

February 2003

January 2003

December 2003

31 Dec 2003 - IP20 (Indigo) support for sgimips

Christopher Sekiya announced on New Year's Eve that he committed the final bits for Indigo (IP20) support to the NetBSD/sgimips Port. Please see his message to the port-sgimips Mailing List for details.

On a related note, Ilpo Ruotsalainen has committed a driver for the SGI NG1 (newport) graphics controller. Please see his message to the same list for details as well.

16 Dec 2003 - New Security Advisory released

The following security advisory has been issued:

13 Dec 2003 - JavaStation support completely in-tree

Martin Husemann announced today that he has fixed all outstanding issues with JavaStation support. This means, that you can now run your JavaStation with a stock distribution of NetBSD/sparc.

The JavaStation-NC is a network computer class machine built on the microSPARC-IIep processor. More information about the JavaStation can be found in the JavaStation HOWTO, Martin's email to the port-sparc mailing list and Valeriy E. Ushakov's paper Porting NetBSD to JavaStation-NC.

10 Dec 2003 - Releng mirrors now available

As noted before, the NetBSD Release Engineering server is publically available, providing daily snapshots of -current and stable branches. Thanks to Manuel Bouyer and Jaromir Dolecek, we now have ftp mirrors of these servers in France and the Czech Republic respectively, which should be significantly faster for our European users.

If you would like to set up a releng mirror as well, please refer to our NetBSD Mirror FAQ for details.

05 Dec 2003 - New sysctl infrastructure

Andrew Brown has committed a complete rewrite of the kernel's sysctl infrastructure. Some of the new features are:

  • The kernel knows about (but does not currently use) the name to number mapping for each node. Auto-discovery of the tree is now possible.
  • Nodes can now be added to the tree by lkms, device attachment routines or at securelevel 0 from the command line via the sysctl binary.
  • Adding new nodes (or subtrees) to the sysctl tree is now much simpler.

Andrew also cross compiled 150 kernels for 30 architectures to see where some problems might come up. Additional information can be found in Andrew's email to current-users.

04 Dec 2003 - NetBSD Packages Collection no longer frozen

As many users will probably have noticed by the increase in recent pkgsrc commits, the NetBSD Packages Collection freeze is now officially over. Starting October 6th, 2003 and lasting almost two months, the NetBSD Packages team concentrated upon stabilizing the >4,000 software packages and the pkgsrc infrastructure to prepare for a stable pkgsrc branch. During that time, the number of broken packages during a i386 bulk build was brought down to a mere 15, and a large number of PRs was closed.

A new branch with the tag pkgsrc-2003Q4 was created, allowing our users to maintain a highly stabilized third-party software package management environment, as only pullups of significant importance (such as security issues) are applied to this branch.

The NetBSD Packages team would like to thank everybody who has helped in fixing problems and to thank our users for their patience. Pkgsrc commits and imports of new packages will now return to their usual impressive activity.

02 Dec 2003 - New Developers

The NetBSD Project is pleased to welcome the following new developers:

  • Ben Collver (, who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection and regression.
  • Jonathan Perkin (, who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection.

November 2003

04 Nov 2003 - Release Engineering Servers

Release engineering servers are available for general use to download/install NetBSD snapshots of -current and stable branches. Statistics about automated snapshots can be accessed via the web at and download/install via ftp at The autobuild system runs every night for all ports. The autobuild system helps users get timely snapshots and is a method for troubleshooting builds. Often problems arise and some (or all) ports do not build. Those looking for a snapshot may have to look around the server a bit to track one down.

02 Nov 2003 - New Developers

The NetBSD Project is pleased to welcome the following new developers:

  • Stephen Degler (, who will be working on drivers, the i386 port and the alpha port.
  • Christopher Sekiya (, who will be working on the sgimips port.

02 Nov 2003 - XDarwin support added to COMPAT_DARWIN

Emmanuel Dreyfus has managed to get XDarwin (the X Window server for Darwin) to run using COMPAT_DARWIN. See his email on current-users for more information.

October 2003

29 Oct 2003 - Maintenance period on Friday, October 31st

Friday, October 31st, at 10am pacific time (PST8PDT), 1800 UTC,,,,, and will be unavailable up to an hour for facilities maintenance.

Of course, our mirror sites will be available during this time.

29 Oct 2003 - Installboot for next68k

The next68k port now has installboot support which was added by Christian Limpach.

20 Oct 2003 - New tech-cluster mailing list

A new tech-cluster mailing list has been created. As the name suggests, this list is intended for technical discussions on building and using clusters of NetBSD hosts.

Subscription is via Majordomo as per the mailing list information.

15 Oct 2003 - arm port Xscale optimizations

Steve Woodford announced that he has committed various Xscale micro-optimizations to the NetBSD/arm ports. Please see his message to the port-arm Mailing List for details.

15 Oct 2003 - amd64 port completely crossbuildable

Frank van der Linden announced that the NetBSD/amd64 Port is now completely crossbuildable. Please see his message to the port-amd64 Mailing List for details.

10 Oct 2003 - Java 2 SDK patchset 4 released with NetBSD/i386 support

The BSD Java Porting Team have announced the availability of patchset 4 for J2SDK 1.4.1. This release includes support for NetBSD-current on i386 for the first time thanks to the hard work of Christos Zoulas.

10 Oct 2003 - Initial support for Vinum imported

Greg Lehey has imported initial support for Vinum, a block device driver which implements virtual disk drives, into NetBSD-current. For more details on Vinum, please refer to the Vinum webpage and/or this article by Greg.

09 Oct 2003 - Four Security Advisories released (3 new, 1 update)

The following security advisories have been issued:

09 Oct 2003 - Update kernel config files (-current users)

Manuel Bouyer has committed changes to the IDE system that require you to update your kernel config file and rerun config. See his mail to current-users.

04 Oct 2003 - Experimental ABLE firmware support on cats

Chris Gilbert has added experimental ABLE firmware support on cats, please see his mail to port-cats for more information.

04 Oct 2003 - pkgsrc freeze

Starting Monday, October 6th, 2003, the NetBSD Packages Collection will be frozen in order to stabilize pkgsrc on the various supported platforms. See Alistair Crooks' message to the tech-pkg mailing list for details.

03 Oct 2003 - New Developers

The NetBSD Project is pleased to welcome the following new developers:

  • Shigeyuki Fukushima (, who will be working on evbppc, powerpc and the NetBSD Packages Collection.
  • Julien T. Letessier (, who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection and its Solaris support.
  • Quentin Garnier (, who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection and bug fixing.

September 2003

21 Sep 2003 - alpha, arm, i386, sparc Ports switched to gcc 3.3.1

Matthew Green announced that he has switched the alpha, i386, sparc and sparc64 Ports to use GCC 3.3.1 as the default system compiler. At the same time, Matt Thomas announced that the arm Ports (that is, acorn26, acorn32, cats, and shark), have been switched over as well.

17 Sep 2003 - Three new Security Advisories released

The following security advisories have been issued:

16 Sep 2003 - Latest OpenSSH fixes applied to -current, 1.5, 1.6 branches

Fixes for the latest OpenSSH security vulnerabilities have been applied to NetBSD-current, and the netbsd-1-5 and netbsd-1-6 branches. Pkgsrc/security/openssh has also been updated to OpenSSH 3.7.1, which includes these fixes.

There has been no confirmation that all relevant changes to the OpenSSH distribution have been completed yet. Further news will be announced when it is available. The advisory text discusses in detail how to choose a course of action.

The NetBSD Project has released the following Security Advisory:

10 Sep 2003 - French BSD Book now available

NetBSD developer Emmanuel Dreyfus has finished his book on BSD entitled BSD - Coll. Cahiers de l'Admin, which is now available from Groupe Eyrolles.

03 Sep 2003 - New Developers

The NetBSD Project is pleased to welcome the following new developer(s):

  • Christian Limpach (, who will be working on the next68k port.
  • Greg Lehey (, who will be working on vinum, kernel debugging support and cross-BSD issues.
  • Jeremy Reed (, who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection.
  • Juan Romero Pardines (, who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection and website documentation.
  • Hiroki Sato (, who will be working on Documentation.
  • Marc Recht (, who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection.

01 Sep 2003 - Regional-it mailing list

A new mailing list has been created to further support the NetBSD community in Italy; regional-it.

Subscription is via Majordomo as per the mailing list information.

August 2003

29 Aug 2003 - NetBSD Developer Nominated for Open Source Award

NetBSD Developer and core team member Luke Mewburn has been nominated for the Technology Award in the Second Annual Australian Open Source Awards. Details can be found in this article.

26 Aug 2003 - Non-executable stack and heap

Chuck Silvers has committed code to NetBSD to support mapping stack and heap of processes as non-executable, which prevents execution of code e.g. from buffer overflows. See Chuck's mail for more details.

13 Aug 2003 - Maintenance period for ( will be down from Sat Aug 16 12:00 GMT to Mon Aug 18 00:00 GMT due to a shutdown of power for building maintenance. You are welcome to use one of the cvsweb mirrors during this outage.

04 Aug 2003 - Two new Security Advisories released

The NetBSD-SA2003-011 advisory has been updated to include the availability of binary patches.

The following security advisories have been issued:

04 Aug 2003 - Regional-nordic mailing list

A new mailing list has been created to further support the NetBSD community in the Nordic region; regional-nordic.

Subscription is via Majordomo as per the mailing list information.

July 2003

29 Jul 2003 - CrossOver Office on NetBSD/i386 available

Todd Vierling has created kernel diffs and an installer wrapper script that makes it possible to run CrossOver Office. See his posting to the current-users Mailing List as well as for full details.

18 Jul 2003 - Releng Server Moving

Starting on Wednesday, July 15th, to improve service and support additional load, the machine, and the services it offers is being moved to a new location. This will involve a change of the IP address advertised for the machine. Automated builds will resume when the machine is in the new location.

15 Jul 2003 - NetBSD at Linuxtag

The Linuxtag in Karlsruhe is the biggest Linux event in Europe, and of course NetBSD was present there too! The event happened in two buildings, one for the conference, and one big exhibition area. A group of people from BSD and related projects have setup a joint booth to present NetBSD, FreeBSD and OpenBSD as well as OpenDarwin, OpenSSH and MirBSD. See Hubert Feyrer's full report for more details.

09 Jul 2003 - Maintenance period on Sat, July 12th

Saturday, July 12th, at 9am pacific daylight time (PST8PDT), 1600 UTC Saturday, and the services it offers will be unavailable for up to eight hours as the services are transferred to a new machine in a new location and some are upgraded.

This will involve a change of the IP address advertised for the machine. Mail should queue up on our backup MX during the maintenance period.

Note that this implies that during this time, our mailing lists and Problem Report system will be unavailable.

05 Jul 2003 - Maintenance period on Fri, July 11th

On Friday, July 11th, at 5pm pacific daylight time (PST8PDT), 0000 UTC Saturday,, & and all their services will be unavailable for up to an hour as we change the VLAN they're on.

This will not change their publically available IPv4 addresses, even though the publically available IPv6 addresses are likely to change.

05 Jul 2003 - New Book: Code Reading using NetBSD

In the recently published book Code Reading—The Open Source Perspective, the author, Diomidis Spinellis, covers one of the most important tasks faced by programmers every day: reading and understanding existing code. Most code examples are based on NetBSD source code. More Details in our Recommended Reading section.

01 Jul 2003 - groff-1.19 imported

Thomas Klausner has finished the import/upgrade of groff-1.19 into the NetBSD source tree. Please see his message to the current-users MailingList for new features over the previous version and other details.

01 Jul 2003 - Regional-jp mailing list

A new mailing list has been created to further support the NetBSD community in Japan; regional-jp.

Subscription is via Majordomo as per the mailing list information.

June 2003

18 Jun 2003 - Experimental PPPoE server support added to -current

Masaru OKI has added experimental PPP-over-ethernet server support to NetBSD-current. Compile your kernel with options PPPOE_SERVER to use it.

01 Jun 2003 - New Developers

The NetBSD Project is pleased to welcome the following new developers:

  • John Heasley (, who will be working on X and the sparc64 port.
  • Dennis I. Chernoivanov (, who will be working on the cobalt port.
  • Eric Gillespie (, who will be working on pkgsrc.
  • Charles Blundell (, who will be working on security, auditing and patching.

May 2003

26 May 2003 - Regional mailing lists (updated)

The NetBSD Project has decided to host regional mailing lists for the purpose of discussions which are relevant to a specific region rather than being of interest to the entire user community. The following regional lists have been created so far:

Subscription is via Majordomo as per the mailing list information.

22 May 2003 - NetBSD project server downtime

The project servers, and will all be unavailable for a short period of time between 1300 and 1600 Pacific Time (2000-2300 UTC) for hardware maintenance. Please use a mirror site during this time.

11 May 2003 - New amd64 snapshot available

Frank van der Linden has put up a new snapshot of the amd64 port. It is a bootable ISO image and is available from the main FTP site and mirror sites. The email archive has more details.

While support for the AMD64 architecture has been present in NetBSD for almost two years, this snapshot is the latest tested on recent AMD64 hardware since it became available; a number of bugs have been fixed. AMD64 is AMD's new 64-bit platform using the Opteron CPU.

06 May 2003 - New web forum dedicated to NetBSD

A new web forum for NetBSD has been created by Kordula's Web Services to support the NetBSD community.

April 2003

22 Apr 2003 - New Mailing Lists: netbsd-news and netbsd-jobs

Two new mailing lists have been created to further support the NetBSD community. Significant news items will be sent to the new netbsd-news list, and the netbsd-jobs list is for those seeking NetBSD skills to advertise their requirements to interested parties.

Subscription is via Majordomo as per the mailing list information.

21 Apr 2003 - NetBSD 1.6.1 has been released!

NetBSD 1.6.1 has been released, with binary distributions for 40 architectures. More information is available in the 1.6.1 release announcement.

This is an update to NetBSD 1.6, and we strongly recommend users of NetBSD 1.6 and previous releases upgrade their systems, as many security issues (including the recent sendmail and OpenSSL vulnerabilities) and other bugs have been fixed.

Many of the FTP Mirrors are now carrying the NetBSD 1.6.1 distribution. Please try to use the NetBSD FTP Mirror Site closest to you.

Czech, Dutch, Estonian, German, French, Japanese, Lithuanian, Russian and Spanish language translations of the NetBSD 1.6.1 release announcement are available.

17 Apr 2003 - Driver for LSI Fusion-MPT SCSI/Fibre Channel

Wasabi Systems has contributed a driver for the LSI Fusion-MPT family of SCSI and Fibre Channel controllers. The driver ("mpt") supports the following devices:

  • LSI 53c1030 Ultra320 SCSI
  • LSI FC909, FC919, and FC929 Fibre Channel

For more information read Jason's mail to current-users.

11 Apr 2003 - Open Source Alternative: NetBSD has an excellent article proposing NetBSD as a good open source OS alternative.

04 Apr 2003 - Wasabi VP Interviewed

Jay Michaelson, the Vice President of Wasabi Systems, was recently interviewed by OSnews. In the interview they discuss embedded NetBSD and licensing issues among other things.

04 Apr 2003 - Two new Security Advisories released

The following security advisories have been issued:

02 Apr 2003 - UFS2 Code Committed

Frank van der Linden has committed UFS2 code (based on FreeBSD's UFS2 by Marshall Kirk McKusick) to NetBSD. UFS2 is an extension to FFS. It adds 64 bit block pointers (breaking the 1T barrier) and support for extended file storage. See the message for more details.

01 Apr 2003 - pkgsrc-wip now active

In an effort to get more people actively involved in pkgsrc, Thomas Klausner created a sourceforge project called "pkgsrc-wip". Its homepage is at

Everyone creating new packages is invited to get an account (see this page ) and mail details to in order to get commit rights.

See Thomas's announcement to the tech-pkg Mailing List for more details.

March 2003

26 Mar 2003 - Four new Security Advisories released

The following security advisories have been issued:

21 Mar 2003 - NetBSD celebrates its tenth birthday!

The NetBSD Project is celebrating its 10th birthday, Friday 21 March 2003 (see press release). The very first commit to the NetBSD source tree was by Chris Demetriou to Makefile:

	RCS file: /cvsroot/src/Makefile,v
	Working file: Makefile
	revision 1.1
	date: 1993/03/21 09:45:37;  author: cgd;  state: Exp;
	branches:  1.1.1;
	Initial revision

Parties are being held in various cities around the world, including some that coincide with IETF 2003. Check out the Events Gallery for more information.

Happy birthday, NetBSD!

19 Mar 2003 - New sparc64 port maintainers

Martin Husemann and Andrey Petrov are the new sparc64 port maintainers. See this announcement for details.

13 Mar 2003 - *Important* NetBSD security advisory updated for users of Amavis

The following security advisory is updated:

12 Mar 2003 - downtime 0300-0400 UTC

The anonymous CVS server,, will be down for maintenance for 1 hour starting at 2200 Eastern time (0300 UTC). Please use a mirror site during this time.

12 Mar 2003 - A NetBSD security advisory issued

The following security advisory is issued:

04 Mar 2003 - Two NetBSD security advisories issued

The following security advisories have been issued:

01 Mar 2003 - XFree86 4.3.0 imported

Matthias Scheler has imported XFree86 4.3.0 into -current (see his mail to the current-users Mailing List), making available the various improvements and enhancements in this version of XFree86 to NetBSD. Please note that at this point in time only NetBSD/i386 is tested. Also note that the upcoming 1.6.1 release will still be shipped with XFree86 4.2.1, as the 4.3.0 release needs to be tested and stabilized first.

February 2003

28 Feb 2003 - latest binutils imported into -current

As part of updating the toolchain, Matthew Green has imported the latest GNU binutils ( into -current. The new binutils adds support for hppa and x86_64, improved support for existing architectures and is known to work for almost all CPU types NetBSD currently supports. Updates of gdb and gcc will follow.

21 Feb 2003 - New topdown uvm in -current

Andrew Brown has committed changes to -current implementing a new topdown uvm. With these changes, the areas for heap growth and mmap(2)'ed allocations, which used to be separate, are now one and the same, allowing either one to grow much larger than before. As an example, on i386 it is now possible to mmap(2) over 2GB of memory! Furthermore, the work leading up to this has already dramatically reduced the number of entries in the kernel's map.

At the moment, this option is available for the i386, macppc, prep and the PowerPC OEA based ports, but particularly ports with small amounts of virtual memory such as the acorn26 benefit from these changes.

For more details, please see the thread starting with Andrew's posting to the current-users Mailing List.

13 Feb 2003 - pkgsrc branched for 1.6.1 release

Alistair Crooks has created the pkgsrc-1-6-1 branch from -current to correspond with the upcoming release of NetBSD 1.6.1. Like the previous pkgsrc-1-6 branch, this branch provides a stable, known working set of packages which will have only security and build fixes applied. It is intended for systems where stability is preferred over bleeding-edge packages, and also for slower systems which can find it difficult to keep up with the flux of pkgsrc-current.

A few highlights of this branch are:

To check out the branch with anoncvs, run

cvs checkout -rnetbsd-1-6-1 pkgsrc

See The NetBSD Packages Collection documentation for more information.

Please note that this branch is separate from the 1.6 pkgsrc branch, as there have been some large structural improvements since that time.

01 Feb 2003 - New Developers

The NetBSD Project is pleased to welcome the following new developers:

  • David Laight (, who will be working on miscellaneous tasks.
  • Takeshi Nakayama (, who will be working on kernel debugging, the sparc, sparc64, i386 and hpcmips ports.
  • Angelos Keromytis (, who will be working on cryptography in NetBSD.
  • Takayoshi Kochi (, who will be working on ACPI and the i386 port.
  • Naoto Shimazaki (, who will be working on the evbarm and evbmips ports.

January 2003

30 Jan 2003 - Experimental support for ATA RAID volumes

Jason R Thorpe has checked in some experimental support for RAID volumes found on ATA "RAID" controllers. These controllers are just IDE controllers with a BIOS that can configure RAID volumes, write config blocks to the disks, and do I/O to the volumes, for the purpose of booting. The OS has to implement the RAID in software, using the configuration data that is written to the disks by the BIOS.

Please see Jason's mail to current-users for details.

30 Jan 2003 - NetBSD 1.6.1 release process has begun

The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce that NetBSD 1.6.1 has been tagged and the release engineering process has begun. NetBSD 1.6.1 is a maintenance (or patch) release for users of NetBSD 1.6, not to be confused with NetBSD-current (which will become the next major release). As a patch release, it will not be branched off the head of the CVS source tree, but instead includes all security fixes and patches applied to the 1.6 branch.

A complete list of changes since 1.6 is available in src/doc/CHANGES-1.6.1 of the branch, which can be checked out by passing the -rnetbsd-1-6-PATCH001-RC1 flag to the cvs command: cvs co -rnetbsd-1-6-PATCH001-RC1 src.

Details on the release cycle and status information is available from

29 Jan 2003 - German NetBSD 1.6 book now available

German publisher C&L has made available a NetBSD 1.6 book, covering installation and updating, configuration of system services, administration, the NetBSD packages system and more, in over 800 pages. The book has been written by a team including several developers and experienced users.

Of course, we would love to see an English translation, too!

22 Jan 2003 - Mailing lists archives back online

The Mailing list archives are back online and are being updated continually again. All postings since around 2002-12-23 are now again also available online at, as well as through the news frontend at

17 Jan 2003 - nathanw_sa branch merged with -current

Jason Thorpe has merged the nathanw_sa branch with -current. NetBSD now has a high performance, modern kernel thread implementation using Scheduler Activations in the main source tree. This work was performed by Nathan Williams with contributions by several other developers.

While NetBSD has supported symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) on a number of systems for some time now, native kernel-assisted threads are another big step forward:

SMP provides system-level parallelism; multiple independent processes can run concurrently on different CPUs.

Multi-threading provides application-level parallelism; multiple threads within the same process can run concurrently on different CPUs; concurrency requires kernel support for threads, which is what Scheduler Activations provides.

Many applications today use a threaded software architecture (rather than the traditional Unix model of multiple cooperating independent processes), and so having an efficient threads implementation is an important goal of The NetBSD Project.

Scheduler Activations is an efficient method of mapping N userland threads to M kernel threads which avoids both the concurrency problems of N:1 implementations and the scalability problems of 1:1 implementations.

With native threads now available in NetBSD-current, applications from pkgsrc will readily pick it up upon rebuild, and things will be fixed over the coming time.

For instructions on how to port existing applications and to use threads in your own programs using the new libpthreads that comes with NetBSD now, see

15 Jan 2003 - Merge plan for nathanw_sa branch

Jason Thorpe has announced a plan for the long anticipated merging of the nathanw_sa branch with -current. The nathanw_sa branch implements scheduler activations and provides native support for pthreads. The vast majority of the work on this branch has been done by Nathan Williams. Please see Jason's mail to current-users for details.

07 Jan 2003 - SMP on sparc enabled in -current

Largely due to the efforts of Paul Kranenburg, -current now supports SMP on sparc. It has been tested on a SPARCstation 20/712, sun4/690 and other systems. See Paul's message and Matthew Green's message to the port-sparc mailing list.

06 Jan 2003 - Mailing list archives not updated

Due to the recent move of the mailing lists archives to a different physical server, the NetBSD Mailing Lists Archives are currently not being updated. All postings since around 2002-12-23 will eventually be added to the archives; in the mean time, you can browse the lists through a news frontend at

06 Jan 2003 - Status of Mac OS X Binary Compatibility

Emmanuel Dreyfus is currently working on binary compatibility between Mac OS X (Darwin, Mach) and NetBSD. He has published a web page documenting the progress of the project. Feel free to contact Emmanuel if you want to help working on this project!

05 Jan 2003 - NetBSD/acorn32 gets a new bootloader

The acorn32 portmaster Reinoud Zandijk has released version 3.01 of the bootloader. This new bootloader is a complete rewrite and comes as a NetBSD compilable single RISC OS relocatable module and is capable of booting all supported machines including NC's. See the acorn32 homepage for details.