Month: April 2008

Preview tag moved

The Preview tag has been moved up; if you run Preview or 1.12.2, and still have errors building m4 from pkgsrc 2008Q1, add this patch.

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Graphs for fork profiling

Robert Luciani, one of the Summer of Code students for DragonFly, did some initial testing of the libc_r and libthread_xu libraries, with some graphable results. Unfortunately, there’s some degree of error, but that’s OK – I just like having tests performed and images created.

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Faintly found at FLISOL08

‘Sdavtaker’ posted news of a slight DragonFly presence at FLISOL08. Not huge, but interesting since it’s very oriented towards easy Linux installs. I didn’t know the event existed, possibly because it does not appear to have a central website.

Update: Damien posted a descriptive link – in Spanish.

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April OSBR out

The latest issue of the Open Source Business Resource online magazine is out. This issue focuses on Communications. (via)

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Murray Stokely has an interesting post up on his blog noting a bunch of interesting BSD-themed tutorials on (mostly) Youtube. His sentiments – and I agree – are that there should be more BSD instruction in video form, not just the various texts we have today. (via)

BSD systems have always been well-documented compared to the open source … well, ‘standard’ isn’t the right word. Branching past text-based media is a good idea, though I suspect part of the barrier is common Flash support.

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HAMMER update x2

Matthew Dillon has two separate updates on the status of the HAMMER filesystem, including some inital benchmarks.

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I’ve been traveling the past few days, so I’m going to do a linkdump to catch up:

OpenBSD has an interesting mergemaster replacement, sysmerge. I’ve never seen a final answer on if DragonFly needs some sort of merging tool or not.

Nominations for the 2008 Open Source Awards are now possible. (Via)

ScummC is a tool for creating ScummVM adventures, another one of those things that people of a certain age look on fondly. (via)

The first issue of BSD Magazine is out, and Dru Lavigne has a list of the contents.

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SoC news spreads has an article highlighting some interesting projects among the various Google Summer of code proposals. First on the list? DragonFly’s LiveCD project. (via Matthias Schmidt on IRC)

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DragonFly 1.12.2 is out

The 1.12.2 release is out; check the download page and the errata page for details on the changes that went into this minor release.

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Hackathon for upstream changes

Jeremy C. Reed, on the mailing list, has proposed a ‘upstream’ pkgsrc hackathon. This would be specifically to construct patches to submit to the vendors of given pkgsrc packages, so that the changes would no longer have to be maintained in pkgsrc. This is a good idea; please jump in if you want to help with DragonFly-specific changes, or if you have access to some of those upstream vendors.

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Summer of Code applications accepted

We have 7 accepted projects in the Google Summer of Code; the full list is available at the Google site, with links to each proposal.

We’re now in the Community Bonding Period; time for us to get to know each other.  Please welcome your new student codevelopers; we should be hearing a lot from them over the next few months.

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Messylaneous: MySQL, searches, Interactive Fiction, more

I have a collection of small things I’ve been meaning to link; here they all are in a post. has the details about the never-published sequel to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game (original playable as Java or as Flash), taken from a backup drive circa 1989; readers of a certain age will appreciate the historic Infocom details, and the page includes (for those with Java) a somewhat playable version of the sequel, Milliways. Waxy also had a link to a history of Interactive Fiction, for those who aren’t as familiar, or if you want to know why Infocom is important. It’s not hard to draw a line from these early games to the LucasArts adventure games and other later variations, like my personal favorite.

Seeing this CPAN search trick for the search bar in FireFox reminds me of something linked to by Hubert Feyrer some time ago: a search plugin, so that instead of trawling your /usr/pkgsrc via the command line, you can search through the just-as-fast-but-prettier pages for package details.

This article highlights an interesting tool called pkg_mgr; it’s designed to work with OpenBSD ports, but it’d be nice (and I assume not too difficult) to have it work with pkgsrc.

Someday, are we going to be nostalgic for the old default-font no-image open source software web pages? Everyone seems to be getting into making it pretty.

Dru Lavigne’s latest blog post has even more links to click; I’ll draw attention to two of them: the prescient 1967 article “The National Data Center and Personal Privacy“, and

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More links, please

I’ve added the various BSD-related links from an earlier story over on the sidebar to this site.  If you have more suggestions for BSD-related site, please tell me at, or in the comments.

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Hooray for Aggelos!

Aggelos Economopoulos has volunteered himself and his diploma project for getting the DragonFly network stack out from under the Big Giant Lock. This benefits everyone. He plans to post a preliminary roadmap soon.

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1.12.2 tomorrow

Peter Avalos committed two OpenSSH fixes (CVE-2008-1483 and CVE-2008-1657); there’s enough of these little changes that 1.12.2 is going to be released tomorrow.

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Telnet to the browser?

Apparently, with a simple plugin, it’s possible to telnet to your FireFox browser and issue Javascript commands. (Via) Is FireFox becoming the Emacs Operating System of this century?

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bzip2 updated to 1.0.5

Peter Avalos has updated bzip2 to version 1.0.5, which fixes the Denial of Service issue described in CVE-2008-1372.

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BSDTalk 147: FreeBSD Developer Alexander Motin

BSDTalk 147 is out, with an 16-minute interview of Alexander Motin.

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Bulk builds, documented

I’ve put a page on the DragonFly wiki describing my procedure for building all the packages in pkgsrc using Joerg Sonnenberger’s tool ‘pbulk‘.  Suggestions are welcome.

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vm_page structure has changed

Matthew Dillon posted a HEADS UP: that the vm_page structure has changed.  This will probably not affect you unless you are working in the kernel.  He didn’t specify in the message, but it’s probably a good idea to do a full buildworld/buildkernel if you’re running bleeding edge code.

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PF changes

Matthew Dillon commited significant changes to pf in DragonFly; his commit message describes the differences and advantages.

(Yes, I’m running behind on news. Yes, there’s a lot. We’re drinking from the firehose these days.)

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More BSD places to visit

BSDTalk 146 had Will Backman asking for links to other BSD-oriented sites. I linked to the interview before, but the comments now have a nice list of BSD sites. I list them all after the jump:

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Make 2.0 notes now

Matthias Schmidt has set up (in CVS) a page for new items for the 2.0 release of DragonFly.  If you’re committing something big to DragonFly, write it down there.  Consistent use will give us a pre-prepared list for the actual release, which will probably be late summer.

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cpdup features and more

Matthew Dillon’s recent parallelization of cpdup brought up some interesting features: it can do third-party transfers, copying data from one remote machine to another, and while not faster than rsync, it’s relatively easy to use. Vincent Stemen followed up with a mention of his ‘rbu’ (Remote Back Up) product, that serves as a wrapper around rsync and simplifies the backup process.

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Sephe finds faster forwarding

Sepherosa Ziehau has posted some work he’s done to reduce serializer contention in an effort to improve network forwarding throughput. His detailed technical explanation also includes some benchmarks; he found a way to improve speeds but finds that there’s still a penalty from multiprocessing support.

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2008 USENIX registration opens

The USENIX Annual technical Conference is happening June 22-27 in Boston, Massachusetts, and registration for it has opened. Theres a whole lot of events happening, including a separate poster session, so read the link for details. (via)

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pkgsrc 2008Q1 released

The most recent quarterly release of pkgsrc, 2008Q1, is out.  I’m working on building it on right now.  I’ve been running into a wierd problem with lang/python21, though.

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Following up on ‘dolt’

I’m not technically qualified to answer the question Josh Triplett asked in comments on my ‘dolt’ article:

If you want to fix that, feel free to send me a patch, or just tell me that DragonFly uses the same -fPIC -DPIC that Linux and FreeBSD use.

Tell him at/send patch to, and if you do, thank you for helping.

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DragonFly support in RadeonHD 1.2

The recent release of the RadeonHD 1.2 driver lists DragonFly support as a new feature, among other changes. Can someone test and confirm? (found via Google Alerts)

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cpdup parallelized

cpdup will now perform multiple copies at a time over a network link, from changes by Matthew Dillon. How much more efficient is cpdup with these changes? If someone wants a project, a cpdup benchmark wouldn’t be a bad thing…

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Citrus update

Hasso Tepper has made a ginormous update to Citrus, an API for character conversion, syncing it with NetBSD.

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BSDCan schedule posted

BSDCan 2008 is in mid-May, and the schedule is posted.  Make your travel plans soon if you plan to go!

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Open Source development myths

This article, titled “Myths Open Source Developers Tell Ourselves“, dates back to 2003, but is surprisingly accurate. I suspect these myths will become even more prevalent; the number of open source projects out there has been increasing year after year, or at least that’s my impression. (Is there any person or organization that’s trying to track the number?) My favorite myth in the article: “End Users Love Tracking CVS”.

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Not necessarily about me, but I read an article about the continuous stress of blogging, in the New York Times.  Entertainingly, the article says:

Blogging has been lucrative for some, but those on the lower rungs of the business can earn as little as $10 a post, and in some cases are paid on a sliding bonus scale that rewards success with a demand for even more work.

$10 a post?  Given that I’ve been doing this for near-free (the Google Ads buy me a sandwich every now and then) for years, that seems like a lot.  Not much to live on, though.

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Another potential tool: dolt

Libtool is a very flexible but relatively slow tool used for a lot of software; it can impose a signicant time penalty during compilation. This post to names a new tool, dolt, which works as a drop-in replacement for libtool can significantly reduce build time. It’s not (yet) supported on DragonFly.  The name comes from “do ltcompile”.  (from Hasso on EFNet #dragonflybsd)

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C++ linking gets a ‘gold’ star

Murray Stokely mentioned the new ‘gold‘ linker for GCC in a blog post. It’s going into binutils, and apparently would provide a nice speedup for linking C++ code. This won’t help so much with (most of) a buildworld on DragonFly, but it would definitely help for KDE or other large third-party applications. (via) No, I don’t know why it’s called ‘gold’.

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Yet another tiplist and handling attributes

A new one of these crops up every months or so: a reference list of common Unix commands. (Via)

Also, found with random Google search: BSD and Linux Filesystem Attributes.

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Solving underlying issues

This article, “Rethinking the interface to CPAN“, over at Perl Buzz, describes something there needs to be more of in the open source community.  CPAN, for those who don’t know, is a way to automatically add various libraries to a Perl installation, similar to BSD ports/pkgsrc or Ruby’s gems.

This is the message from the article: provide a solution to a real problem.  I bring this up because a reoccurring frustration people have with pkgsrc is how to upgrade packages.  Now, there’s no lack of ways to upgrade, but none of these solutions are a match for what people want: an upgrade method that works without frequent side effects or extra work.  This is why portupgrade is very popular for FreeBSD, or apt-get for Debian; it generally works as expected.  We need more of the thought process that leads to those solutions, in open source.

I’m not bring this up just to pick on pkgsrc; we need this sort of thinking for the DragonFly BSD website, too.  It (and the other BSD websites) take the role of a library shelf, with information only available by sifting through it until you find what you want.

Compare that to the Firefox website: most people are going to visit there to download Firefox.  A smaller contingent will already have it and want to upgrade it.  There’s a very clear visual path for 90% of the visitors to the site.  Now, go to any of the BSD operating system sites, and say “How do I install a working desktop system, with X and a window manager and so on?”  It’s going to take some digging.

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Google Summer of Code orgs by category

A different way of looking at the open source projects involved in Google’s Summer of Code project this year: grouped by category. It’s interesting to see groupings like ‘Games’ or ‘Bioinformatics’.

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BSDTalk 146: James Cornell

BSDTalk 146 is out, with James Cornell interviewed in a 20-minute podcast.  The host, Will Backman, asks “What are your favorite BSD-related websites?”, and  “Where can you buy BSD on disk?”  Leave a comment on his site if you’ve got an answer.

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Fairq finds futher features

Matthew Dillon had another patch for his fairq code, adding changed prompted by Max Laier’s suggestion of WFQ, along with other ideas. There is one outstanding issue, however. The code causes an ABI change, so take extra steps if you aren’t doing a full buildworld/buildkernel.

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OpenSSH updated to 5.0p1

Peter Avalos has kindly updated OpenSSH to the newest release, 5.0p1.  This version has one security fix – the major version number bump is only because the previous release was 4.9.

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Huge DRM update

Hasso Tepper has committed a large update to DRM, the operating system-specific part of the X Direct Rendering Infrastructure, using a snapshot from January.  The code it’s replacing is much older, as I recall.

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A posted proposal for Summer of Code

Nirmal Thacker happened to post his Google Summer of Code proposal (pdf) for an Anticipatory I/O scheduler to the kernel@ mailing list, along with a request for feedback.  We have 27 other proposals at this point.

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PF patch for fair queuing

Matthew Dillon, upon finding there wasn’t a way to queue traffic ‘fairly’ with pf/altq, wrote a ‘fair queue’ patch.  Give it a try if you are using pf on DragonFly as a router.

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Enhanced Speedstep Technology support, enhanced

Cristi Magherusan has contributed a patch (which was quickly committed) adding est(4) support for the Core 2 Duo T7500 CPU.

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A question of fairness

Matthew Dillon asks, “How can pf be used to create a fair-queue algorithm similar to Cisco’s?” Answer if you know it; there’s been a few guesses.

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BSDTalk 145: Adam Wright of No Starch Press

The newest BSDTalk has an interview with Adam Wright of No Starch Press, who published among other things the excellent “Absolute FreeBSD” and a lot of books about Legos.

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Network downgrades, machine upgrades is on a DSL line temporarily as the network connection is shifted; however, there’s a colocated server being added soon, and pkgbox has been upgraded to newer hardware.

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New site, which has always been a nice way to browse through available pkgsrc and pkgsrc-wip applications, is working on a new test site.  Details on the changes are listed in Hubert Feyrer’s post that first alerted me to this change.

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IPv6 and Postfix

Jeff Blank has a patch for people using both Postfix and IPv6 on DragonFly.

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