So, it looks like FreeBSD 8.0 has been pre-released; the official date is going to be 11⁄25, as noted in src/UPDATING:
Updating Information for FreeBSD current users This file is maintained and copyrighted by M. Warner Losh . See end of file for further details. For commonly done items, please see the COMMON ITEMS: section later in the file. Items affecting the ports and packages system can be found in /usr/ports/UPDATING. Please read that file before running portupgrade. NOTE TO PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT FreeBSD 8.x IS SLOW ON IA64 OR SUN4V: For ia64 the INVARIANTS and INVARIANT_SUPPORT kernel options were left in the GENERIC kernel because the kernel does not work properly without them. For sun4v all of the normal kernel debugging tools present in HEAD were left in place because sun4v support still needs work to become production ready. 20091125: 8.0-RELEASE. ...
Thanks for the warning, and I don’t feel that 8.0 is slow in any way :)
You can now update to FreeBSD 8.0 with either syncing your source with csup:
*default delete use-rel-suffix
src-all release=cvs tag=RELENG_8_0
Or with freebsd-update(8):
freebsd-update -r 8.0-RELEASE upgrade
` and after the reboot, possibly another round of ‘freebsd-update install” to finish things up. You can actually upgrade from 7.2 to 8.0, which is pretty impressive since they are considered major releases (and minor release upgrades work just fine as well).
Why would you upgrade to 8.0 over 7.2? Well, Ivan Voras already has a very nice page on the notable features in 8: http://ivoras.sharanet.org/freebsd/freebsd8.html In case you want my short list version of that, here are the big highlights for me:
Kernel limit on amd64 increased (this greatly benefits ZFS)
Network stack virtualization, equal cost multipath routing and other really cool network improvements
NGROUPS has been increased from 16 to 1024
Other kernel improvements like light weight threads, the new ULE 3.0 Scheduler
Qlogic 8GB HBA support
New AHCI driver
Parallel port builds
One of the cool things about FreeBSD is its focus on improving what is there. There have been some really big additions to FreeBSD from time to time, but overall, the goal has been to constantly refine and improve the performance. That is what I’m mostly excited about, the continual refinement of an already robust OS.
There are other features, like CLANG and LLVM or Dtrace, where I’m excited about them, but only because I can’t wait to see how others use them. I myself cannot obtain a lot of useful information from Dtrace, however, a kernel developer who knows what they are doing probably can, and that helps them out (which sometimes helps me out).
I’ve used the BETA and RC versions of 8.0, so not only was I pleased with the experience, I’m also excited to see its adoption with the new improvements. I’ve seen some PostgreSQL and MySQL benchmarks and there was a clear performance gain between 7 and 8.
Now is also a good time to mention that the FreeBSD Foundation is rounding up this years donations.
It’s pretty amazing that FreeBSD is a non-profit group; they do not have a CEO, a marketing department, or a horde of full-time developers… and yet they put out a extremely well engineered OS ( that is the boon of not having a marketing department :) all decisions are driven by the community demand and the developers, and not buzz-words like “the cloud”) with a killer network stack, and over 22,000 available ports.