Announcing NetBSD 1.5
The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce that release 1.5 of the
NetBSD operating system is now available.
NetBSD is widely known as the most portable operating system in the
world. It currently supports thirty-one different system families and
twelve different CPU families, all from a single source tree, and is
always being ported to more.
NetBSD 1.5 continues our long tradition with major improvements in
file system and memory management performance, major security
enhancements (including integration of IPsec, SSH and Kerberos 5), and
support for many new platforms and peripherals.
Complete source and binaries for NetBSD 1.5 are available for download
at ftp://ftp.NetBSD.org/pub/NetBSD-archive/NetBSD-1.5/ and many of our mirror
sites. A list of mirror sites is provided at the end of this
The NetBSD operating system is a full-featured, open source,
Unix-like operating system descended from the Berkeley Networking
Release 2 (Net/2), 4.4BSD-Lite, and 4.4BSD-Lite2. NetBSD runs on
thirty-one different system architectures featuring twelve distinct
families of CPUs, and is being ported to more. The NetBSD 1.5
release contains complete binary releases for twenty different
NetBSD is a highly integrated system. In addition to its highly
portable, high performance kernel, NetBSD features a complete set
of user utilities, compilers for several languages, the X Window
System, firewall software and numerous other tools, all accompanied
by full source code. We also support third party software
(including the KDE and GNOME desktops) through our package system.
NetBSD is free. All of the code is under non-restrictive licenses,
and may be used without paying royalties to anyone. Free support
services are available via our mailing lists and web site.
Commercial support is available from a variety of sources; some are
More extensive information on NetBSD is available from our web site
NetBSD is the work of a diverse group of people spread around the
world. The `Net' in our name is a tribute to the Internet, which
enables us to communicate and share code, and without which the
project would not exist.
System families supported by NetBSD 1.5
The NetBSD 1.5 release provides supported binary distributions for the
Ports available in source form only for this release include the
Major changes between 1.4 and 1.5
It is difficult to completely summarize the extensive development
between the 1.4 and 1.5 releases. Some highlights include:
- Ports to new platforms including: arc,
- Improved performance and stability of the UVM virtual memory
- Implementation of generic kernel locking code, as well as a
restructure and re-tuning of the scheduler, to be used by the
future symmetric multi-processing (SMP) implementation.
- Improved compatibility support for Linux, OSF1, and SVR4
- New compatibility support for Win32 programs.
- Support for dynamically loaded ELF kernel modules.
- Kernel process tracing using ktruss(1).
- Deletion of swap devices using swapctl(8).
- Easier hot-swapping of keyboards and mice using a new wscons
multiplexing device - wsmux.
- Improved PCMCIA and CardBus support, including support for
detaching of devices and cards, resulting in better support for
notebooks and PDA devices.
- Numerous hardware improvements, including areas such as: audio,
UDMA/66 support for ATA drives, USB, and wireless networking.
- Addition of IP version 6 (IPv6) and IPsec to the networking
stack, from the KAME project. This includes addition of kernel
code for IPv6/IPsec and conversion of most clients and daemons
to support both IPv4 and IPv6 (including RPC and NFS over
- Integration of TI-RPC, and a more `secure' rpcbind(8)
(supporting communication over an authenticated Unix-domain
socket, and by default only allowing set and unset requests
over that channel).
- Integration of OpenSSL, SSH and Heimdal. (More on this under
- Significant performance enhancements to the Berkeley Fast File
System, primarily due to integration of Kirk McKusick's soft
updates and `trickle sync' code. Several reliability issues
were also fixed separately.
- Support for the Windows NT `NTFS' file system (read-only at
- Support for revision 1 of the Linux `ext2fs' file system.
- Enhanced stability and usability of LFS (the BSD log-structured
- Various RAIDframe enhancements including: auto-detection of
RAID components and auto-configuration of RAID sets, and the
ability to configure the root file system (/) on a RAID set.
- Support for Microsoft Joliet extensions to the ISO 9660 CD file
- Improved file system vnode locking mechanisms, thus resolving a
source of several panics in the past.
- Support for RPC and NFS over IPv6.
- Server part of NFS locking (implemented by rpc.lockd(8)) now
- Strong cryptographic libraries and applications integrated,
including the AES cipher Rijndael, the OpenSSL library, more
complete Kerberos IV and Kerberos V support (from the Heimdal
project), and an SSH server and client (based on OpenSSH).
- sysctl(3) interfaces to various elements of process and system
information, allowing programs such as ps(1), dmesg(1) and the
like to operate without recompilation after kernel upgrades,
and removing the necessity to run setgid kmem (thus improving
- Disable various services by default, and set the default
options for disabled daemons to a higher level of logging.
- Several code audits were performed. One audit replaced string
routines that were used without bound checking, and another one
to identify and disable places where format strings were used
in an unsafe way, allowing arbitrary data entered by (possibly)
malicious users to overwrite application code, and leading from
Denial of Service attacks to compromised system.
System administration and user tools
- Conversion of the rc(8) system startup and shutdown scripts to
an `rc.d' mechanism, with separate control scripts for each
service, and appropriate dependency ordering provided by
- postfix(1) provided as alternative mail transport agent to
- User management tools useradd(8), usermod(8), userdel(8),
groupadd(8), groupmod(8), and groupdel(8) added to the system.
- Incorporation of a login class capability database
(/etc/login.conf) from BSD/OS.
- Improved support for usernames longer than eight characters in
programs such as at(1) and w(1).
- Many enhancements to ftpd(8) providing features found in larger
and less secure FTP daemons, such as user classes, connection
limits, improved support for virtual hosting, transfer
statistics, transfer rate throttling, and support for various
IETF ftpext working group extensions.
- The ftp(1) client has been improved even further, including
transfer rate throttling, improved URL support, command line
uploads. See the man page for details.
And of course there have also been innumerable bug fixes and other
miscellaneous enhancements. Kernel interfaces have continued to be
refined, and more subsystems and device drivers are shared among
the different ports. You can look for this trend to continue.
- Transition of i386 and sparc platforms from a.out to the SVR4
ELF executable format. (Other platforms using a.out will be
converted in future releases.)
- Addition of many SUSv2 features to the curses(3) library,
including support for color.
- Updates of most third party packages that are shipped in the
base system, including file(1), ipfilter(4), ppp(4),
sendmail(8), named(8) and dhcpd(8) to the latest stable
- Many new packages in the pkgsrc system, including the open
source desktops KDE and GNOME, as well as the latest Tcl/Tk,
perl and many of the components of the Java Enterprise
platform. The package framework itself now has full wildcard
- Updates to the NetBSD source code style guide (located in
/usr/share/misc/style) to use ANSI C only (instead of K&R) and
reflect current best practice, and begin migrating the NetBSD
source code to follow it.
The NetBSD Foundation would like to thank all those who have
contributed code, hardware, documentation, funds, colocation for
our servers, web pages and other documentation, release
engineering, and other resources over the years. More information
on contributors is available at:
We would like to especially thank the University of California at
Berkeley and the GNU Project for particularly large subsets of code
that we use, and the Internet Software Consortium, Redback Networks
and the Helsinki University of Technology for current colocation
Finally, we honor the passing of great pioneers in the fields of
networking, operating systems and compression, including W. Richard
Stevens, Phil Katz and Mike Muuss. Their contributions have
greatly enhanced our lives and made our work possible.
About the NetBSD Foundation
The NetBSD Foundation was chartered in 1995, with the task of
overseeing core NetBSD project services, promoting the project
within industry and the open source community, and holding
intellectual property rights on much of the NetBSD code base.
Day-to-day operations of the project are handled by volunteers.
NetBSD mirror sites
[This section omitted. See our main mirror
site list for online sites, and our list of
Charles M. Hannum
President, The NetBSD Foundation
Up to NetBSD 1.5 formal release
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