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FreeBSD 14 Reaches RC4 Milestone, Final Release Approaches

The fourth release candidate of the upcoming FreeBSD 14 release is now available to download and testing. This release promises a wide range of technical advancements, security enhancements, and user-friendly changes that make FreeBSD an even more appealing alternative to explore.

Let’s take a look at the new features briefly.

FreeBSD 14 RC4 with Xfce desktop

FreeBSD 14: Features

Default shell and MTA updates

In FreeBSD 14, the default shell for the root user has been updated to sh, which introduces numerous interactive features for users. This change enhances the overall user experience, making the system more versatile for those who interact with it on a daily basis.

Additionally, the default mail transport agent (MTA) has been switched to the Dragonfly Mail Agent (dma) from sendmail. This transition simplifies MTA configuration by utilizing mailer.conf for MTA settings. It’s important to note that sendmail remains available, ensuring backward compatibility while offering a smoother user experience with dma.

Improved Jail configuration

FreeBSD 14 also comes with improvements to jail. Now, jail.conf files support .include directives and filename globbing, making jail configuration more flexible and user-friendly. This enhances the management and configuration of FreeBSD jails, which are essential for system isolation and security.

OPIE removal

One-time password facility OPIE (opie) has been removed from the base system in FreeBSD 14. However, users who still require OPIE can install it from the security/opie port. It’s worth noting that pam_opie and pam_opieaccess references should be removed or commented out from PAM policies. The etcupdate utility can assist in managing these changes for stock policies.

Shared toolchain option

The SHARED_TOOLCHAIN build configuration option has been removed. While this option has been retired, it’s still possible to build a statically-linked toolchain using the general NO_SHARED option. This change ensures the system’s stability and performance while making the build process more efficient.

Locale and French keyboard support

Locale handling has been upgraded to CLDR 41.0 and Unicode 14.0. This improvement extends support for a wide range of locales, enhancing internationalization and localization capabilities.

Additionally, FreeBSD 14 introduces layout configuration for the new French bépo keyboard (version 1.1rc2) normalized by the French national organization for standardization as “NF Z71‐300.” This addition is a boon for French-speaking users and further emphasizes FreeBSD’s commitment to diverse user needs.

Enhanced rc.d script flexibility

An rc.d script is now allowed to have a status method even if it does not define procname or have a PID file. This change provides more flexibility in managing and customizing FreeBSD services, simplifying the development and deployment of custom scripts.

Base64 utility

FreeBSD 14 welcomes the addition of the base64 utility. This utility is a valuable tool for encoding and decoding data in Base64 format, which is commonly used in various data transmission and storage scenarios.

cpuset relocation

The cpuset utility has been relocated from /usr/bin to /bin in FreeBSD 14, ensuring its availability during startup processing. This change optimizes the system’s boot-time performance and resource management.

Enhanced date utility

The date utility now features a -z option for timezone conversion, making it more versatile for users who need to work with different timezones. This enhancement simplifies time-related tasks and provides a more efficient user experience.

Removal of deprecated utilities

In FreeBSD 14, several deprecated utilities have been removed, including fmtree, mergemaster, iir, mn, mly, nlmrsa, and twa. These changes streamline the system, removing obsolete components and ensuring a cleaner and more maintainable FreeBSD experience.

Firmware Management with fwget

A new fwget utility has been introduced, which inspects the system for peripherals requiring firmware updates and installs the appropriate packages for them. Currently, this utility supports the PCI subsystem, specifically video firmware for Intel and AMD GPUs. This simplifies the management of device firmware, enhancing the overall stability and performance of FreeBSD systems.

Experimental ZFS support in makefs

The makefs utility now features experimental ZFS support, enabling the creation of a ZFS pool backed by a single-disk vdev. This enhancement simplifies ZFS dataset creation and population, making it more accessible to FreeBSD users.

Legacy Telnet Daemon Removal

The Telnet daemon, telnetd, has been removed from FreeBSD 14. Users requiring Telnet functionality can utilize the net/freebsd-telnetd port. This change reflects modern security practices and encourages the use of more secure alternatives for remote access.

Conclusion

These are some of the key highlights among hundreds of changes and updates, which you can read in the official change log. With all these updates, FreeBSD continues to be a robust and reliable BSD operating system for complex use cases.

You can download RC4 ISO files from the below link.

Via RC4 release announcement, change log

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