After the last maintainance release in november 2010, the developers are proud to release a new version 2.9. About 400 different changes were taken in this build and there were about one hundred testers that have installed at least one of the beta versions.

I want you to introduce to the new features:

Fireinfo

The IPFire has got a new service that is called fireinfo. This can be enabled at your option and sends anonymous information about the system to the project.
We strongly recommend the users to enable this feature so that we can learn from the statistics that are made. It is important for the developers to make decisions about the project and these are very much easier if there is some information available.

Every user can (but does not have to) make his own profile public. It is very easy to compare hardware setups then and maybe we can build a hardware compatibility list, soon.

Please visit http://fireinfo.ipfire.org to learn more about fireinfo and to watch the charts, that are accessable by everybody.
You can find a link to your own profile (if you have enabled fireinfo) on your web interface. This is the URL you are supposed to share and if you want you can add a nice signature image to your forum signature (on the IPFire forum or any other forum, too).

Kernel Update

IPFire 2.9 bases on the latest linux kernel 2.6.32.28 which will be maintained by the kernel developers for several years. So all of the integrated patches will get into IPFire as well, bringing hardware-compatibility, stability and most importantly security into the next releases of IPFire.
Additionally to the default kernel, there is a PAE-enabled kernel (physical address extension) that is able to handle more than 4GB of memory.
Besides of changes on the power-management, which makes IPFire less power consuming again, the most noteable change is the removal of the legacy IDE stack which was replaced by the new libata stack.

New hardware detection

IPFire changed to dracut (http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/dracut) which creates an initial ramdisk with lots of advantages for us. The most important one is, that you can take a harddisk that has IPFire installed, put it into any computer and IPFire will boot properly. The only thing to do is to reconfigure the network interfaces and so you are able to replace a broken machine with a backup harddrive within a minute.
IPFire boots within a couple of seconds, which is a very big boost compared to older releases.

Installer

There have also been changes on the installer. We require users to accept the terms of the GNU General Public Licence when a new IPFire system is installed.
A new feature is that if there is no CDROM drive, the installation image can be downloaded from the internet (this requires at least 256 megabytes of memory).
Experienced users will also notice, that the initial setup of the network has moved after the first boot which makes it even simplier to install IPFire.
Ext4 is the preferred file system.

The little things

  • Lots of improvements in the web user interface for more usability and minor bugs were solved.
  • The network time daemon (NTP) is enabled by default.
  • Quality of Service: A miscalculation of the used bandwidth in VPN connections was fixed which cause a slow-down of those connections.
  • MTU problems on various connection types were solved: Some cable modems have a broken DHCP daemon that sends 576 bytes as default MTU which causes very slow connections. For all connections, there is an option to set a user-defined MTU.
  • Firewall groups are editable which brings more comfort to the configuration of the outgoing firewall.
  • Software updates: apache2 (2.2.17), dhcpcd (5.2.9), snort (2.9.0.2), strongswan (4.5.0), smartmontools (5.40), cpio (2.11), findutils (4.4.2), libcap (2.19), attr (2.4.43), iw (0.9.20), wpa_supplicant (0.7.3), hostapd (0.7.3), wireless-tools (30.pre9), kvm-kmod (2.6.34.1), v4l-dvb (2010-09-12), vim (7.2), syslinux (4.02), udev (125), usb_modeswitch (1.0.6/database 22.12.2010)

How to update?

The images to install IPFire 2.9 can be downloaded from this very moment, as well as older installations can be updated by pakfire. http://www.ipfire.org/downloads

We recommend everybody to update, soon and won’t release any more updates for older versions of IPFire.
Additional update instructions are available at http://wiki.ipfire.org/en/installation/update

Homepage update

If you have visited www.ipfire.org recently, you may have noticed, that our website has got a little face-lift. Most of the changes have been under the hood, but we hope that we have made some information more clearly and that we provide all information one will need in the first place, now.
Note the new planet (http://planet.ipfire.org) which is a kind of blog for the developers to keep in touch with the community. You may find some interesting stuff there, soon. Please subscribe.

We appreciate any support and feedback that was given to us during the development of this release and would like to thank all people that contributed to it.
The source code and a detailed list of changes can be found at http://git.ipfire.org/?p=ipfire-2.x.git;a=shortlog;h=refs/heads/core44

The IPFire Team

Michael Tremer - January 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm