When FreeBSD developer Matt Dillon forked the 4.x codebase to begin DragonFly BSD nearly four years ago, did he know in what direction the development would turn? The project's goal, according to DragonFlyBSD.org:
is to provide generic clustering support natively in the kernel. This involves the creation of a sophisticated cache management framework for filesystem namespaces, file spaces, and VM spaces, which allows heavily interactive programs to run across multiple machines with cache coherency fully guaranteed in all respects. This also involves being able to chop up resources, including the CPU by way of a controlled VM context, for safe assignment to unsecured third-party clusters over the Internet.
The project's version 1.8.1 release became available in March. As InformIT's David Chisnall pointed out in his review last month, Dragonfly BSD is the fourth arm of the BSD family. It is to clustering what FreeBSD is to advanced networking, performance and security; what OpenBSD is to portability, standardization and integrated cryptography; and what NetBSD is to virtualization and embedded systems.
Chisnall says that Dragonfly is "worth keeping an eye on" because it comes from a mature operating system and its developers are active and taking the project in "interesting directions."