The NetBSD Foundation Quarterly Report: April - June 2005

Quarterly Status Report

NetBSD is an actively developed operating system. With fifty four different system architectures in total and binary support of over 48 architectures in our last official release (NetBSD 2.0.2), 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 are suitable for reproduction and publication in part or in whole as long as the source is clearly indicated.

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

-Jan Schaumann

April - June 2005








NetBSD 3.0 branched [20050316]

The NetBSD Release Engineering team has created the netbsd-3 branch in preparation of the upcoming NetBSD 3.0 release. The NetBSD 3.0 release is planned for late July 2005, a more detailed timeline for upcoming NetBSD releases (with dates being subject to change, of course), can be found here.

The release engineering site containing a list of outstanding bugs for this branch is at

NetBSD 2.0.2 released [20050414]

NetBSD 2.0.2 was released on April 14th, 2005. NetBSD 2.0.2 is the second security/critical update of the NetBSD 2.0 release branch. This represents a selected subset of fixes deemed critical in nature for stability or security reasons. More details are available in the NetBSD 2.0.2 Release Announcement.

Since then, a number of pullup requests have been handled and the netbsd-2 branch remains fully up to date with respect to critical updates.

Daily snapshots restarted [20050502]

Regular daily builds for NetBSD have begun again and are available for public consumption at (the old location,, is no longer available). See the announcement in the netbsd-announce mailing list archives for more information.

New Developers [20050701]

The NetBSD project is pleased to welcome the following new developers during the second quarter of 2005:

  • Elad Efrat (login: elad) will be working on veriexec, kernel and security.
  • Greg Troxel (login: gdt), who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection, networking code and the building process.
  • Michael Lorenz (login: macallan) will be working on the macppc port, the sparc64 port, the sparc port and xsrc.
  • Mike M. Volokhov (login: mishka), who will be working on russian translation and advocacy.
  • Rui Paulo (login: rpaulo), who will be working on the NetBSD guide and website documentation.
  • Sean Boudreau (login: seanb) will be working on kernel, utilities, libc and networking.
  • Silke Scheler (login: silke), who will be working with admins.


NetBSD CVS Digest [20050405]

Mark Kirby has started the NetBSD CVS Digest, a weekly summary of the latest changes in the NetBSD CVS repository. The digest, which also includes a list of PRs created and closed for a given week is also available at, a RSS-2.0 feed is available at Many thanks to Mark Kirby for this useful service!

NetBSD in Google's Summer of Code [20050601]

Early in June, Google announced a program designed to introduce students to the world of Open Source software development, its Summer of Code. Even though the time to apply for one of the slots as a mentoring organization was brief, the NetBSD Project was accepted and quickly created a list of possible projects.

Over a period of two weeks, students researched the list of possible projects and discussed their proposals on the public NetBSD mailing lists and in private with developers and other users alike. After evaluating over 100 distinct applications, the NetBSD Foundation announced the list of projects that have been chosen:

Since then, the sponsored students have started coding away under the supervision of their mentors, and the NetBSD Project is looking forward to the results. Many thanks to Google for making these projects possible!

NetBSD calls for donations [20050614]

Even though NetBSD has been hesitant to appeal directly to its users for financial support, in June an official open call for donations was made in order to improve the services provided to all NetBSD users.

Since then, a number of very generous donations have been made by individuals, user groups and companies, and the NetBSD Project would like to thank all contributors for their support!

If you would like to join the number of donors and make a donation (tax-deductible in the US) using your credit card or PayPal account, please click on the button below or contact to make other arrangements.


pkgsrcCon '05 a success [20050508]

The second pkgsrcCon, 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, was held to great success from May 6th - May 8th 2005, in Prague, Czech Republic. Most of the presentations given are now also available online.

Sun Hardware Donation for pkgsrc work [20050509]

The NetBSD Foundation is pleased to have received the generous donation of two machines from Sun Microsystems for the purpose of advancing the development of pkgsrc Solaris.

Sun is looking forward to working with the NetBSD Project, and certainly wants to support the pkgsrc efforts, commented Alan DuBoff, a member of Solaris Engineering at Sun.

For more information, read the press release.

Changes to the Packages Collection in March [20050509]

At the end of March 2005, there were 5377 packages in the Packages Collection, up from 5331 the previous month, a rise of 46, with many notable updates, as usual. The Package of the Month award went to sysutils/dvd+rw-tools, with audio/amarok being a close contender.

New pkgsrc tools framework [20050513]

Johnny C. Lam has committed the new pkgsrc tools framework, which is now the default in pkgsrc, based on the presentation The New Tools Framework given at pkgsrcCon '05.

Cross-building pkgsrc [20050607]

Krister Walfridsson has imported his pkgsrc cross-building support into pkgsrc. This work was originally introduced and presented at EuroBSDCon 2004 and consists of a system running a full NetBSD userland with CPU emulation, trapping known cpu instructions, system calls and esp. exec(3)ing known native binaries (ls, crosscompiling cc/gcc) to speed things up a lot.

New pkgsrc-2005Q2 branch [20050622]

After a long freeze on the pkgsrc CVS repository, the NetBSD Packages Team cut the pkgsrc-2005Q2 branch, obsoleting pkgsrc-2005Q1 as the currently maintained and stable pkgsrc branch. Many thanks go to the pkgsrc release engineering team, who continue to do a job performing security pullups and maintaining the stable branches.

Binary packages for 2005Q2 [20050701]

The first bulk-builds from the new stable pkgsrc branch 2005Q2 have been completed, and the resulting binary packages for NetBSD 2.0 have been uploaded to the ftp server for the following platforms: algor, alpha, amigappc, arc, bebox, cobalt, evbppc, hpcmips, i386, macppc, mipsel, mvmeppc, ofppc, playstation2, pmax, pmppc, powerpc, prep and sandpoint.

Note that packages built from NetBSD 2.0 can be installed and used without any problems under NetBSD 2.0.2. Other bulk-builds are still running, and the resulting binary packages will be uploaded as soon as they finish.

Please also note that packages that are found vulnerable will be kept available, but moved from the All subdirectory into the vulnerable subdirectory. In order to easily install even those packages (which, after careful evaluation of the security issue at hand, may be acceptable under certain circumstances to fulfill prerequisites), make sure to include both subdirectories in your PKG_PATH environment variable.


Due to the large number of supported platforms, this status report will only point out the very significant changes to some of the ports. For a full list of port-specific changes, please refer to

evbarm: Support for Arcom Viper board committed [20050606]

Antti Kantee has written and committed support for the Arcom Viper PXA255-based single board computer.

hp700: boot-from-disk / installation tools [20050518]

Booting from disk now works (via a work-around for the underlying memory corruption bug). Release builds now include a sysinst-based installation LIF image.

sparc64: X support complete [20050606]

X is now fully supported on sparc64. The current tree contains working support for cgsix (sbus) framebuffers, ffb/afb (UPA) framebuffers and ATI based (pci) vga chipsets. This code has been (or will be) pulled up to the 3.0 branch in time for the upcoming 3.0 release.


ipf 4.1.8 imported [20050404]

Martti Kuparinen upgraded IPFilter to the latest version (4.1.8) on NetBSD -current. For information about the changes, and recompiling the kernel and the ipf tools see the email in the current-users mailing list archives.

ipsec-tools included with NetBSD [20050404]

Emmanuel Dreyfus has been working on integrating NAT Traversal and recently replaced the KAME based racoon in NetBSD with the feature-enhanced ipsec-tools version. NetBSD can now be setup to replace Cisco 3000 VPN concentrators, while Cisco VPN clients can still be used, talking to NetBSD instead. A detailed description of how to setup NetBSD to build a remote user access VPN can be found here.

Many more changes come with the ipsec-tools, including dead peer detection, privilege separation, IKE mode config, IKE and ESP fragmentation, configurable path to certificate authority, and hook scripts. See Emmanuel Dreyfus's mail in the current-users mailing list archives for a more complete list.


Verified Exec update [20050420]

Brett Lymn has committed significant changes to the verified exec code based on work by Elad Efrat. Verified Exec is NetBSD's feature to only execute programs with known (good) checksums. in-kernel fingerprints are stored in a hash table now (for faster lookup), and multiple fingerprint methods are now supported, including md5, sha1, rmd160, sha256, sha384 and sha512. See Brett's posting to the current-users mailing list for more information, esp. on the veriexecctl(8) user interface.

PAM Documentation [20050421]

After NetBSD adopted Pluggable Authentication Modules earlier this year, an extensive chapter on how to set up and use PAM was added to the NetBSD Guide. The documentation was originally written by Dag-Erling Smørgrav for the FreeBSD project, where the OpenPAM implementation that NetBSD uses originated, and was adjusted to NetBSD by Rui Paulo.

Live disk backup [20050428]

der Mouse has developed a system to intercept block read/write operations in disk drivers in realtime, and mirror them over a network to a remote process which will then write the blocks back to disk. Regardless of the filesystem used, this will allow a live backup of a hot disk, and if data rate gets too high to transfer blocks, the system will fall back to making a list of blocks that need backup, and will process them when system load's down again later.

This work was originally revealed and presented at BSDCan in Ottawa, Canada. The code is currently available for NetBSD 2.0 and NetBSD 1.4T. More details are available in the README.

ath/net80211 imported [20050609]

David Young has imported ath/net80211 from FreeBSD into -current. He lists some of the missing pieces of the net80211 userland in his message to the tech-net mailing list.

Magic Symlinks [20050625]

Jason Thorpe has committed support for magic symlinks, which allows embedding a number of special things into symlink targets, which are then expanded before the symlink's target is actually accessed, much like environment variables. See PR 1781 and symlink(7) for more details.

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