The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team recently announced the availability of FreeBSD 7.1-RELEASE, the second 7-STABLE release (7.0 was released a year ago, in February).
FreeBSD 7.1 improves on the functionality of FreeBSD 7.0 and introduces some new features. The changelog includes kernel changes, new hardware support, storage and filesystem enhancements.
FreeBSD 7.1 is available for several platforms (including i386, ia64, amd64 and powerpc) for various installation types (CD-ROM, DVD, floppy, FTP etc.). For the first time, DVD ISOs are made available for the amd64 and i386 architectures.
The installer is the same small but powerful utility, sysinstall. It’s console based and it offers a variety of options before and after the installation.
Advanced partitioning, package selection and post-installation options are available. You can create slices on different drives, choose your preferred custom partitioning scheme or configure your own installation media. Make sure you read the installation guides first (simple, advanced).
The most significant feature is the ULE scheduler which is now the default in GENERIC kernels for amd64 and i386 architectures. This means improved performance on multicore and multithreaded systems. Disabled by default in previous FreeBSD releases, ULE is now active and it replaces the traditional BSD scheduler.
Another important features is DTrace, the dynamic tracking framework, which comes with dtrace, the user command line utility. Imported from OpenSolaris, DTrace allows system administrators and developers to troubleshoot kernel and application issues in real time.
GNOME has been updated to 2.22.3 and KDE to 3.5.10 (KDE4.1 is also available in the Ports Collection and can be later installed by simply typing pkg_add -r kde4). KDE3 and KDE4 can coexist on the same system.
XFCE4 is also available as an alternative for those who want a simple and lightweight desktop environment.
Other tools have been updated to address security issues and to offer new features (CVS, awk, OpenSSH, ncurses, sendmail). A complete list of changes is available with the Release Notes.
7.1 is another good release from the FreeBSD Team. With almost 20,000 ports and packages available, FreeBSD offers performance and security and it supports applications for both desktop and server environments.