Sunday, September 11, 2016

Creating the BSDCG Study DVD

It's almost time for the semi-annual slugfest - no, not the eXtreme Games.   It's time to get the next edition of the BSDA Study DVD out the door.  This release will feature DragonFly BSD 4.6, FreeBSD 11.0, NetBSD 7.0.1, and OpenBSD 6.0.  All four BSDs are hammered onto one DVD along with the El Toro boot loader by Oliver Fromme.  If you've been to the BSDCG website, you've probably seen the "Store" tab where we advertise the DVD for sale.  It's a good value and we try to keep it current with the most recent versions of each of the projects.

One of the more challenging parts in producing the DVD is to decide on when to  create the next one.  The projects all have their own schedules and each has it's own cycle time - the time it takes for the project to get all the way from one release to the next.  OpenBSD has taken the approach that they will produce two releases a year with published dates in advance.  The other projects just collect a bunch of updates until they are ready to roll a production quality release.  Both approaches have their merits, which we don't need to sweat about here.  It's usually the case that the best time to produce our next DVD is soon after the latest OpenBSD release.  But sometimes we'll wait a month or two for another project that is just about to pop a new release.

The mechanics of our production follow this simple process:

  1. Get the latest binaries from a BSD project and install on a test machine.
  2. Get the source code for the release.
  3. Find the places in the boot loaders and the install programs where changes have to be made to use the El Toro boot manager and make the changes.
  4. Build the source all the way through a release (make release or similar).
  5. Copy the .iso file generated in the previous step over to a staging machine.
  6. Build a draft DVD .iso file with the El Toro boot loader and test the installation of the the BSD project.  Virtual machines are quite handy for this install step.
  7. Repeat steps 1 - 6 for  the other BSDs.
  8. Copy extra packages, ports, and documents to the DVD staging area.
  9. Build release candidate DVD .isos and test, test, test.
  10. Update the release notes for the DVD, get new packaging ready, and finally...
  11. Announce the release of the next BSDCG study DVD.  We upload it to our delivery server and also make physical copies so you can get it either way.
 For sure, there are difficulties getting all four BSD projects wedged onto the same DVD.  I've recently written about the headaches in getting OpenBSD to boot from the DVD, but there are other difficulties too:  we can no longer produce 32 bit versions for all projects (DFly does not support 32 bit in their recent releases); we can't get all the packages and source for all the projects on the disc (that would be way over the 4G limit for the DVD);  there's not enough room for all BSDs to have their own desktop suite, though we do provide a minimum X windows environment for FreeBSD.  There are other quirks as well.

Still, it's a rewarding feeling to get the latest projects out the door every time.  I just hope you enjoy using them.  If you do, send us a note to chair@bsdcertification.org and tell us.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

BSD Professional Lab Exam Beta Debuts at BSDCan 2014 in Ottawa, Ontario, CA


The Beta version of the BSD Professional Lab Exam will debut at BSDCan 2014 in Ottawa, Ontario, CA.  Based on the BSD Professional Exam Objectives document, the exam is designed to test hands-on skills for senior system administrators with at least three years experience on BSD systems.

The 3 1/2 hour exam will feature the ability to choose your own BSD version to use for the exam and will feature DragonFly BSD 3.6.1, FreeBSD 9.2, NetBSD 6.1.2, and OpenBSD 5.4 in virtual machines managed by Aqemu.  All workstations will feature US ASCII keyboard layout on HP 8540p laptops with 8GB RAM and a customized boot disk.  The exam workstation will load a customized PC-BSD distribution with separate icons for Aqemu instances of the BSD systems mentioned above.  A 1/2 hour orientation to the workstation and Aqemu environments will precede the exam.

Hope to see you at the BSDP Lab Exam Beta kickoff in Ottawa, Sunday, May 18 from 10am - 2pm.   You can register and pay at the BSDCG registration website.

Note:
The BSD Certification Group has partnered with Vernon Technologies for computer rentals for this exam.  Visit their website to view additional information about the exam workstation specifications, or other services that they offer - http://www.vernontech.ca




Monday, October 14, 2013

Update on the BSD Professional Lab Exam


Work has progressed steadily on the BSD Professional Lab Exam.  You may recall we've discussed this before.  Well, the exam is almost ready.  We have an exam booklet, which is based on the BSDP Exam Objectives.  We also have a working exam station with several virtual machines.  The scoring procedure makes use of  Net::OpenSSH with scripts to examine each virtual machine for results. 


And, we have a sample provisional report (based on TAP::Formatter::HTML) that can provide some hopefully gratifying instant feedback, though that report is unofficial.


For our official score report, we are again working with our psychometrician, Dr. Sandra Dolan, to provide valid psychometric scoring.  This ensures our program maintains its high standards and also keeps us in line with requirements for ANSI 17024 accreditation.

We will have a demo available at vBSDCon coming up Oct 25-27, 2013.






We will also have the demo available at LISA 2013.





If you are at either of these cons, stop by for a test drive to see what the BSDP Lab Exam is all about.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Get a Life with BSD

Tired of high prices for server software?  Don't like paying for bloated desktop versions loaded with crippleware and nagware?  Sick of mismatched libraries and applications?  Do you want your own software to do with as you please - not subject to some EULA?

Get BSD and get on with your life.  Server software from FreeBSD, DragonFly BSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD, along with desktop software from PC-BSD can simplify your life.  Install it the way you want, and it works out of the box.  Plus, you can do whatever you want to do with it for as long as you want.

For server software, here's an easy way to get started - the latest BSDCG MultiBSD DVD.  For a modest sum you get:

  • DragonFly BSD 3.4.2 - includes the HAMMER filesystem
  • FreeBSD 9.1 - production ready, serving millions
  • NetBSD 6.1 - highly portable, clean code often used in embedded systems.
  • OpenBSD 5.3 - where secure code is  Job 1
All are production quality systems ready to help you get on with your life.  Order your copy today at http://www.bsdcertification.org/store and support the BSD Certification Group.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Updates, Updates, Updates

The BSD Associate exam will again be available at BSDCan this year.  The exam will be held at 12:30 - 2:00pm both Friday, May 17th, and Saturday, May 18th, 2013.  You can register for the exam at https://register.bsdcertification.org/  and you can pay at the conference or online through the website.

The exam objectives are at http://www.bsdcertification.org/certification/CertReqBSDA2012.pdf.

We'll have updated brochures with dates and times for other locations this year at the conference.  Stop by and pick one up, or let us know and we'll email you a PDF you can print and distribute yourself.

Know of an employer who uses BSD?  Having competent people can make a significant difference at any organization.  The BSDA exam can provide the employer the assurance that their employees know their stuff.  Email chair@bsdcertification.org and let us know!

Finally, stay tuned for the next edition of the BSDA Study DVD.  The upcoming edition (in development right now) will have FreeBSD 9.1, OpenBSD 5.3, DragonFly BSD 3.4.1, and if released on time, NetBSD 6.1, all on a single DVD with a customized El Torito Boot Loader so you can boot them all.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Winter/Spring 2012 BSDA DVD Now Available


The latest BSD Certification Group Study DVD is now available.  This version includes DragonFlyBSD 2.10.1, FreeBSD 8.2 with QEMU and AQEMU, NetBSD 5.1, and OpenBSD 5.0.  The handy DVD includes the El Torito boot loader included so you can boot and install any of these BSD operating systems.

Purchase of the DVD supports the BSD Certification Group and our mission to provide high quality, affordable certifications for BSD system administrators.  You can order the DVD though our website at www.bsdcertification.org.

This version of the DVD also  includes an information sheet about the DVD, additional software, and documentation on the DVD.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

New Computer Based BSDA Exam

Announced in April on the BSD Certification Group website, the BSD Associate (BSDA) exam is now available at Schroeder Measurement Technologies (SMT) test delivery centers. The partnership took several months to complete, and it brings together the strength of the exam creation effort of the BSDCG, and the global delivery capability of SMT.  This makes it much easier to take the exam since there are over 300 testing centers across 19 countries.

You'll still need a BSDCG ID which you can get here.

Good luck on your test and tell us what you think of the exam by sending email to chair AT bsdcertification dot org or joining us on the #bsdcert IRC channel on freenode.net.