A summary of MidnightBSD history is available on the website.
In short, MidnightBSD is a FreeBSD fork aimed at the desktop market.
MidnightBSD: Naming an OS
Picking a name for MidnightBSD was challenging. Many domain names related to BSD are in use by different parties. desktopbsd's domain had been purchased but not up yet. My list of 35 names didn't last long when I started checking whois records.
After anything obvious for the desktop was taken, I decided to follow DragonFly's idea of using a living element. Many stupid names came up like SharkBSD, HammerHeadBSD, etc. I decided they sounded stupid. I thought of TigerBSD; it sounded nice and I could think of some good themes for it. However, I was afraid a certain fruit company would get upset with me. Finally, I decided to name MidnightBSD after my first cat, Midnight.
Newer logo designs feature a cat sitting on the moon. This was a compromise as so many people hear the name and think of the time of day. The current logo on the website is a picture of Midnight's eyes. A newer logo design we've been playing with is on cia.vc and the MidnightBSD Developer Blog.
Also, a cat has a similar shape to the BSD daemon, and there is of course the "cat" command.
Midnight is ten years old. He's a black turkish angora. He has long hair and gold eyes. When he was younger, he used to shutdown Netscape on me while I was surfing to get attention on my old iMac (OS 9). He frequently sits on top of PCs and Macs.
MidnightBSD 0.1-RELEASE was the first version of MidnightBSD. It uses sysinstall to install the system, includes x.org 6.9 as an optional feature, and is very similar to FreeBSD 6.1.
August 6, 2007 MidnightBSD 0.1-RELEASE is now available. It includes several software packages such as ksh, sudo, OpenNTPD, gcc 3.4.4, BIND 9.3.4 (plus patch) and others in the base system. Disc 1 ISO includes the entire Operating System and X11 (xorg 6.9) packages. Disc 2 ISO includes a selection of additional packages such as GNUstep, bash 3, zsh, and cups-base. There are additional packages on our FTP server. More will be added in a few days. Only disc 1 is required for installation. This release is intended for enthusiests, developers and people interested in new operating systems that can handle bugs. The core OS is stable, but many elements such as ports are in flux.
projectcenter.app package is missing dependancies on disc2. mutt package is missing urlview dependancy on disc2.
GNUstep package includes gdnc which is missing libgcc_s.so.1.
bash 3 and gmake missing libintl.so.6. This can be fixed by uninstalling gettext and building it from the port. A new package was placed on the FTP server.
CVSUP example for updating src fetches CURRENT instead of RELENG_0_1
The new mports system was not included in the RELEASE. Many ports work in mports that do not work in the old system. It is suggested that you update your source using RELENG_0_1 and download the latest mports using CVS or CVSup.
Using Virtual PC for Windows: If you install MidnightBSD in VPC, you will need to set hint.acpi.0.disabled="1" in /boot/device.hints This will help with the "calcru: negative runtime of" issue.
August 11, 2007: The pkg_install tools found in src/usr.sbin/pkg_install were not updated for mports. This has been corrected. You should be able to cvs update that directory and run make install and get the new versions of pkg_add, pkg_delete, and so on.
This was the second release of MidnightBSD. It includes the mports system and a few security fixes.
An AMD64 release was added in December, 2007 on this version. The original was for i386 based systems only (32bit).
It includes many changes including support for X.org 7.3, updates to sendmail, openssh, the mport tools (to replace pkg_tools), and changes to sysinstall to simplify the install.
Sound cards are picked up on boot and the correct kernel module is loaded to support them.
There was a minor install issue that prompted the 0.2.1 release.
January 29, 2011
Developers discussed the possibility of merging some changes from FreeBSD 7.0. It was decided to do a large marge of many aspects of FreeBSD 7.0 into MidnightBSD while maintaining additions and changes we'd already done. This took much longer than expected. Many of the more interesting pieces of FreeBSD 7 such as ZFS, linuxolator support for Linux 2.6.16 emulation, and newer hardware support were included. mDNSResponder, updated libarchive, bind, openssh, openssl, gcc, libffi, firstboot configuration, the OpenBSD sensors framework, bzip2, zlib, some support for stack protection, removal of ISDN support, bsd unzip, netpgp (netbsd pgp), updates to mksh, experimental mport package tools are just some of the changes.
Lucas Holt, The Founder of MidnightBSD
I started the MidnightBSD project to create an easy to use desktop operating system derived from BSD. Some Linux projects such as Ubuntu have had inwards with the desktop space, but at the start of the project there were no alternatives. DesktopBSD.net had been purchased, but I was not aware of the project. PC-BSD might have been around. Regardless, I felt a full blow project was needed. FreeBSD has always focused on the server market. It's great at that.
Many people believe forks will harm their favorite project. It is certainly possible, but many times improvements make it back into the original project. NetBSD and OpenBSD share code. MirBSD uses code from NetBSD. FreeBSD and DragonFly share code. We use code from all the other BSD projects.
A little about me
Remarks from 2008:
I am a 28 year old studying computer science. I started working technical support at an ISP, in Flint, MI, out of high school. I moved up to systems administration and website design. I started learning about open source software including Linux and BSD during that time.
In 2000, I got married and moved to Kalamazoo, MI. I started going to college as a computer science major. I received an associates degree in 2003 from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. I worked for a small business as a software developer and IT consultant during that time.
In 2003, I started attending Western Michigan University majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Math. Before I was able to complete my degree, we had to move to Ann Arbor, MI. I started at Eastern Michigan University to finish my Bachelors degree in computer science and minoring in writing. I will be graduating in December, 2008. I currently work for the EMU CS department as a systems administrator on Mac OS X, FreeBSD, MidnightBSD, and Windows systems.
Listen to the BSDTalk interview.