OpenBSD 4.2 to Appear November 1

Oct 23, 2007

The free OpenBSD operating system will be released in line with its regular 6 month schedule November 1; CD presales are already in full sway.

The project has always emphasized the security aspect and proudly points out on the project website that there have been “Only two remote holes in the default install, in more than 10 years!”. On top of the numerous hardware platforms that the system already supports, such as x86, Mac, AMD64 and Zaurus, the developers have announced improved support for Sun’s UltraSparcIII-based servers in the new version.

The developers have mainly concentrated on improving system performance, reworking the network stack, and improving the OpenBSD packet filter, Pf, in the process. Other new feature include support for the FFS2 filesystem. FFS2 is based on the legacy FFS (Berkeley Fast Filesystem) and has been available on the FreeBSD and NetBSD distributions for a fair while. The move to FFS2 promises improved support for larger files and TeraByte-scale partitions. Software packages have also been updated and include OpenSSH 4.7, Gnome 2.18, KDE 3.5.7 and Koffice 1.6.3, OpenOffice.org 2.2.1, Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.6, PostgreSQL 8.2.4 and X.org 7.2.

The project regularly links its software releases with a political message to the developer community, which it wraps in cartoons and songs concerning its mascot, the Puffy the blowfish. The developers again levy criticism both against corporations such as Microsoft and Sun, and against the free operating systems Linux and FreeBSD. The current comic shows the Linux penguin stealing a map off the helpful blowfish in an underwater marathon, and heading off into the distance. The OpenBSD team explains the symbolism on the song text page: "Now rather than seeing us as friends who can cooperatively improve all codebases, we are seen as foes who oppose the GPL." The OpenBSD community sees the Free Software Foundation FSF and its “legal arm”, the Software Freedom Law Center SFLC, as the root cause of the disputes between free developers.

One of the bones of contention between free operating systems in the past few months was a call by the FreeBSD project leader, who took the release of GPLv3 as an opportunity to underline the benefits of BSD compared to Linux (see the separate news item here). OpenBSD developers had previously levied criticism against Linux developers in their OpenBSD 4.1 song. According to makers of OpenBSD, programmers should learn how to think more critically in the development marathon: "Run for yourself, not for their agenda.", they say.

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