The NetBSD Foundation Quarterly Report: July - December 2005

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 are suitable for reproduction and publication in part or in whole as long as the source is clearly indicated.

This is the first quarterly status report of 2006. However, since there was no status report for the last quarter of 2005, this report summarizes the changes within NetBSD over the last six months, which includes the release of both NetBSD 2.1 and NetBSD 3.0, a summary of the NetBSD Project's participation in Google's Summer of Code and the release of two stable pkgsrc branches, among many other things.

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

July 2005 - December 2005








New NetBSD Core Team [20050803]

At the beginning of August, Alistair G. Crooks announced on behalf of the Board of Directors of the NetBSD Foundation that the NetBSD Core Team underwent some changes:

The NetBSD core team had been working together for two years in the previous form, and, such are the stresses of the job, some changes have become necessary. Thanks go to the members of the core team who have spent a lot of time and effort looking after the technical direction of the NetBSD project, and steering it to where it is today.

After six years of service, Frank van der Linden and Luke Mewburn will be standing down. Simply saying thank you seems a bit mean - these guys have helped steer and guide the NetBSD project to where it is today. NetBSD wouldn't be the same without them.

The new core members bring with them their own skills and enthusiasm, and they are an asset to the NetBSD project as a whole.

As of 2005-08-03, the NetBSD core team consists of:

  • Allen Briggs
  • Christos Zoulas
  • Matt Thomas
  • Valeriy E. Ushakov
  • YAMAMOTO Takashi

New Developers [20060101]

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

  • Alan Barrett (login: apb) who will be working on the building process and syspkgs.
  • Geert Hendrickx (login: ghen) who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection.
  • Hiramatsu Yoshifumi (login: hiramatsu) who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection.
  • Jed Davis (login: jld) who will be working on port-xen.
  • John Nemeth (login: jnementh) will be working on PAM and miscellaneous tasks.
  • Jörg Sonnenberger (login: joerg) who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection.
  • Frank Kardel (login: kardel) will be working on time counters and ntp.
  • Ruibiao Qiu (login: ruibiao) who will be working on curses and networking.
  • sam (login: sam) who will be working on ath and net80211.
  • Antoine Reilles (login: tonio) who will be working on the NetBSD Packages Collection.

Donation results [20051108]

In the summer of 2005, the NetBSD Project made a call for donations. This was widely publicized, and our community of donors responded extremely generously. Over the next few months, we received almost $30,000 of donations, including a number of donations of several thousand dollars each. As previously outlined, this money was earmarked for specific purchases, and the NetBSD Project would like to let our users know what in particular was bought from these generous donations.

Thor Lancelot Simon, who initiated the original call for donations and who has put countless hours into the entire process (including drawing up the specifications, installating the hardware and configuring the software), published this detailed summary, indicating exactly how the money was used.


NetBSD ported to working toaster [20050811]

It has long been regarded that the UNIX-like OS NetBSD is portable to every type of machine except perhaps your kitchen toaster. Just in time for the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco in August 2005, Technologic Systems, however, has conquered this last frontier. Using one of its rugged embedded TS-7200 single-board computers housed inside the empty space of a standard 2 slice toaster, Technologic Systems has designed a functional NetBSD controlled toaster. You can find more information on the NetBSD toaster at

NetBSD and the Google Summer of Code [20051016]

After Google announced it's Summer of Code project to introduce students to the world of open source software development at the beginning of June, the NetBSD Project was happy to join the approximately 40 other Open Source groups as a mentoring organization and compiled a list of suggested projects. After evaluating over 100 distinct applications, a total of seven projects were completed under the supervision of the NetBSD Project.

This list of accepted contestants was varied and international, reflecting the general NetBSD developer genepool, ranging from people with detailed knowledge of the different areas of NetBSD they applied for within their project to people who at first needed a bit of an introduction into the internals of NetBSD.

After several weeks of hard work, the due date for the deliverables of each project came on September 1st, 2005. The code finished at that time served as the basis of the mentors' evaluation, and the NetBSD Project is now proud to announce that all seven remaining projects completed in time and according to the set goals and have subsequently been rated a success by their respective mentors. The details of each project are given in the NetBSD press release.

Jan Schaumann gave a presentation on the results of the Summer of Code within NetBSD at the New York City BSD User Group (see this link). Dr. Dobb's Journal published a series of articles on the different projects as well, among them three of NetBSD's projects: Wide Character Support in NetBSD's Curses Library, NetBSD's NDIS network driver and Userspace Filesystems Framework for NetBSD.

NetBSD 2.1 released [20051102]

NetBSD 2.1, the first maintenance release of the netbsd-2 release branch, was released on November 2nd, 2005, with binary distributions for 48 architectures. This release provides numerous functional enhancements, including support for many new devices, hundreds of bug fixes, patches and updates to kernel subsystems, and many enhancements to the user environment. In addition, all of the security fixes and critical bug fixes from the NetBSD 2.0.3 update are included as well.

See the NetBSD 2.1 Release Announcement for full details.

New official Powered by NetBSD logo [20051124]

After switching to a new official NetBSD logo some time ago, an official logo for websites running NetBSD was not available. Thanks to the artistic skills of Jacek Kutzmann, NetBSD is now proud to announce the availability of the new official Powered by NetBSD logo. It can be used for commercial and non-commercial products and web sites provided that they are powered by the NetBSD operating system or make use of the pkgsrc packages system.

Please see the press release for more information.

NetBSD 3.0 released [20051223]

NetBSD 3.0, the eleventh major release of the NetBSD operating system, was released on December 23rd, 2005 with binary distributions for 53 architectures.

NetBSD 3.0 continues our long tradition with major improvements in file system and memory management performance, major security enhancements, and support for new platforms and peripherals.

NetBSD 3.0 now features PAM (OpenPAM), TCP SACK, TCP MD5, pf(4), IPsec ESP/IKE over NAT, IPv4 PIM, tap(4) and much more hardware support than before. See the release announcement for more detailed information.

NetBSD on the road

The NetBSD Project was represented by developers and other volunteers at a number of conferences and tradeshows during the last half of 2005. 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 Project:


pkgsrc now part of DragonFlyBSD [20050831]

At the end of August 2005, Matthew Dillon, DragonFlyBSD founder and chief developer, announced that pkgsrc will be the official packaging system in DragonFlyBSD starting with the next release, scheduled for December 2005. Since then, pkgsrc has seen a large number of commits to get more and more packages working on this new platform. Almost exclusively thanks to Jörg Sonnenberger, well over 4700 packages now build and install fine under DragonFlyBSD -- a considerable accomplishment, considering that the first DragonFlyBSD bulk-build showed only about 1300 packages building.

pkgsrc-2005Q3 branched [20050926]

At the end of September, the pkgsrc team branched the third stable branch of 2005, with support for 5551 packages. The pkgsrc-2005Q3 branch was the first branch since the DragonFlyBSD project adopted pkgsrc as their official packaging system. As well as updated versions of 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-2005Q2 branch has been deprecated, and continuing engineering started on the pkgsrc-2005Q3 branch.

pkgsrc-2005Q4 branched [20051230]

At the end of December, the pkgsrc team branched the fourth stable branch of 2005, with support for 5741 packages. The pkgsrc-2005Q4 branch includes the usual increased number of packages, infrastructure enhancements and software updates. See Alistair G. Crooks's announcement for details.

Since the new branch was created, continuing bulk-builds have produced packages for a number of platforms, including 4546 binary packages for NetBSD 3.0/amd64 and 5337 binary packages for NetBSD 3.0/i386.


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

cobalt: updated Restore CD [20050714]

Andreas Schaefer has updated the unofficial Cobalt Restore CD. View the the release notes or grab the 90MB-ISO either from his site (MD5) or from a mirror. A few weeks later, a user named Rowdy released a NetBSD 3.0 Restore CD based on the earlier work of Dennis Chernoivanov. See and for details.

evbarm: support for armadillo-9 boards [20051113]

Katsuomi Hamajima has written and committed support for the Armadillo-9, a 200Mhz ARM920T ARM SoC based single board computer from Atmark Techno using the Cirrus Logic EP9315 processor.

ews4800mips: new port [20051229]

NetBSD/ews4800mips is the port of NetBSD to NEC's MIPS based EWS4800 workstations. This new port was committed into the NetBSD source tree on December 29th, 2005 by Izumi Tsutsui. Please see the NetBSD/ews4800mips port page for details and/or subscribe to the port-ews4800mips mailinglist.

ia64: work in progress

NetBSD/ia64 is a work-in-progress effort to port NetBSD to the Itanium family of processors, based on FreeBSD's ia64 port. While the code is not currently in the NetBSD source tree, the NetBSD project does host the official port page and mailing list. Development is done mainly via the HP SKI emulator, and snapshots are made publicly available.


NetBSD Security Note 20050708-1 released [20050608]

The NetBSD Security Note 20050708-1 regarding a zlib buffer overflow was released on 2005-06-08. The zlib in the NetBSD base system is not vulnerable, but pkgsrc had a vulnerable version.

pf from OpenBSD 3.7 updated [20050701]

Peter Postma updated pf(4) from OpenBSD 3.7 adding new features and bugfixes. This brings the following new features:

  • Support limiting TCP connections by establishment rate, automatically adding flooding IP addresses to tables and flushing states (max-src-conn-rate, overload <table>, flush global).
  • Improved functionality of tags (tag and tagged for translation rules, tagging of all packets matching state entries).
  • Improved diagnostics (error messages and additional counters from pfctl -si).
  • New keyword set skip on to skip filtering on arbitrary interfaces, like loopback.
  • Several bugfixes improving stability.

Security Advisories 2005-003 through 2005-013 released [20051101]

Security Advisories 2005-003 through 2005-013 have been released on a range of issues. The NetBSD 2.1 release contains fixes for most of these issues, but special attention is warranted on the most recent three, which did not make it into 2.1:

  • SA2005-011 affects the ntpd timekeeping daemon. The default NetBSD installation is not affected, but those who run the daemon under customised user id's should take care to read the advisory.
  • SA2005-012 describes a denial-of-service kernel crash that may be initiated by unprivileged users, but only for kernels with optional DIAGNOSTIC kernel assertions enabled. Some kernels shipped in releases include this option.
  • SA2005-013 describes a potential privilege escalation attack against certain set-uid or set-gid programs that call exec. All kernels are affected, and must be upgraded to close the vulnerability.

All users of older versions are encouraged to upgrade to NetBSD 2.1 or to NetBSD 3.0 to collect the fixes for all known security issues prior to these. The forthcoming NetBSD 2.1.1 update will include the fixes for these remaining issues, which are available in source form from CVS now. Users tracking -current are also encouraged to upgrade in accordance with these advisories.

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


NetBSD Live CDs made easier with vnd [20050717]

Support for cloop2-compressed filesystem images in any format via the vnd(4) driver was committed, thanks to patches by Cliff Wright. This, together with the simple instructions provided by Marcin Jessa make creating custom NetBSD Live CDs with large amounts of data on the CD much easier. Juan Romero Pardines created a NetBSD/i386 3.99.7 + KDE-3.4.2 Live CDROM using the vnd(4) compression; see and find the image at

tape statistics added [20050807]

Brett Lymn committed patches that allow people to monitor the read/write performance of the st* devices (tape drives). While this is obviously not groundbreaking work, it is important that NetBSD fixed the deficiency and that now iostat, vmstat and systat will all report statistics for any tape drives attached to the system.

64 bit inode changes [20050818]

Christos Zoulas committed changes to make ino_t 64 bit. This was done to accommodate filesystems with large numbers of inodes.

File system tmpfs added to NetBSD [20050910]

Julio Merino has added the result of his summer project, a new memory-based file system written as a part of Google's Summer of Code (SoC) campaign [see above], to the NetBSD source tree. A detailed description how to use the new file system can be found in his message to the mailing list tech-kern.

postfix updated to 2.2.8. [20060109]

Rui Paulo updated postfix to version 2.2.8. The two main new features are TLS and IPv6 support. This will be available in NetBSD 4.0. For more information, see

WPA support added [20051001]

Steve Woodford has imported the necessary code to utilize WPA under NetBSD, assuming a capable WLAN card (e.g. iwi(4) or ath(4)). See for details.

iwi(4) sync from FreeBSD [20051118]

Nick Hudson finished syncing our net80211(9), ath(4) and iwi(4) with FreeBSD sources, bringing support and enhancements for various wireless cards to NetBSD. Some cards need to use the sysutils/iwi-firmware package from pkgsrc, which is loaded via iwictl(8).

ktrace-lwp merged [20051211]

The ktrace-lwp branch has been merged into -current and the userland tools, kdump(1), ktrace(1) and ktruss(1), have been modified to take advantage of the new features. The two features being:

  • The LWP is now recorded in each ktrace record.
  • A new ktrace record for SA upcalls is defined and recorded.

nVidia IDE/SATA and network support

Emmanuel Dreyfus has committed support for nVidia 430 IDE and SATA controllers. He also added the sysutils/nvnet package, which contains a binary driver for nVidia ethernet controllers, based on the FreeBSD nvnet driver written by Quinton Dolan and work by William S. Morgart.

Back to  the NetBSD Foundation Inc. page