Month: May 2008
Vkernels on leaf.dragonflybsd.org are now able to locally network; if you are a Google Summer of Code student that needs that functionality, tell Matthew Dillon and he will put you in the right group.
In addition, he’s created a new tool called vknetd, which enables network creation in userland. This is intended for userland applications like vkernels, though there seems to be some capability for a SSH-based VPN? Someone correct me – or better yet, try it out.
I have a number of small things, mostly old-school games, to post, so I’ll break out the bullets:
- Temple of the Roguelike has some links to roguelike applets; they need Java.
- Rob Beschizza asks on Boing Boing Gadgets, “Who’d like a portable text game console?” Me? Of course, running a BSD on a handheld (NetBSD is the most obvious choice) will get you that free.
- Everyone has Big Kernel Lock troubles – everyone!
- The howling void has a post on “Smartphones for text SSH use” – an interesting idea, and there are some good suggestions interspersed with the bickering in the comments.
- Hubert Feyrer found an interesting thing: DracoPKG – a combination of pkgsrc and Slackware’s pkgtools.
This question at the howling void about donating to open source projects (in this case, DesktopBSD) got me thinking. I’ve been meaning to investigate setting up a DragonFly nonprofit similar to FreeBSD and NetBSD‘s foundation efforts, in order to receive donations and have a legal entity. Anyone have experience with setting up a 501(c)3 company?
Nirmal Thacker, another SoC student, asked some questions to prepare for his anticipatory scheduler work, which incidentally led to some good links for comparing or reviewing existing FreeBSD/DragonFly code.
Everybody welcome our newest DragonFly committer: Michael Neumann.
I’m breaking out the bullet points again:
- The NetBSD on a Stick idea looks interesting, in part because it’s a complete tiny system and in part because I like the name. (Via)
- The most recent @Play column draws a line between roguelike games and Dungeons and Dragons. Fun reading, if you’re the right kind of geek, or even just the right age. I think I might have to play me some Angband again.
- Oh, while talking about roguelikes: this Strafe Left cartoon. I like “sleeping zombie”.
- Also, this Procedural Content Generation wiki from an Angband variant creator. (via)
- Wow, that’s a nice gift for Perl development! (via)
It’s from back in March, but this Ars Technica article on filesystems does a pretty good job of historical coverage, though it’s doesn’t go very far into the technical specifications.
Matthew Dillon’s latest report on the state of HAMMER mentions the filesystem’s growing resilience to damage.
A recent ACM paper, “A Tale of Four Kernels” compares FreeBSD, Linux, OpenSolaris, and the Windows Research Kernel in terms of code style and structure. The paper itself has a lot of blibber blabber, but it’s interesting to compare the code statistics between the different kernel types. I’d like to see a comparison between different BSD kernels; the gap between the Windows Research Kernel and Linux, for instance, is too great to be able to draw very concrete solutions. (via)
Mark Shuttleworth, the wallet behind Ubuntu, described on his blog a desire to see major Linux distributions on a common release schedule, so that major releases of associated software can match up. (via) This would be useful for the BSD world, too, though it doesn’t affect BSD releases as dramatically – Linux distributions are more important for what third-party software they handle than anything else, so their release timing is even more critical.
The various BSDs seem to be moving towards a 6-month release schedule, in any case – that’s
the stated goal for OpenBSD and DragonFly, and hopefully someone knows (please comment if you’re that someone) if there’s a known goal for NetBSD or FreeBSD.
Sepherosa Ziehau posted a number of benchmarks to show the general improvements in packets-per-second volume with his recent networking changes. As is appropriate when comparing values, he created and links to lots of graphs to illustrate the improvements.
Matthew Dillon posted a summary of work for HAMMER, noting that the last major (known) bug for undo operations is squished.Â Testing is desired; please, won’t someone mangle their filesystem for the benefit of science?
I updated this DragonFly system from 1.12.1 to 1.12.2 Sunday night, and PHP (and therefore this WordPress-based Digest) stopped working. Dion (dblazakis in #dragonflybsd) found the reason and fixed it, for which I am very grateful.
I had a number of posts I had made ahead of time, so there’s no actual gap in posts from when the server wasn’t responding. Make sure you catch the past few days of articles.
I have a number of HAMMER-related news items, so I’ll break out the bullet points:
- We have a detailed explanation of how HAMMER’s pruning system will work – follow the thread for more details and ideas.
- Matthew Dillon is trying HAMMER for his backup system. His original UFS system used hardlinks to keep all the backups together; the inodes used would be more than fsck could handle with that system’s RAM. HAMMER doesn’t need those hardlinks because of the snapshot ability, and completes the backup process much faster.
- There’s also blogbench numbers comparing UFS and HAMMER; strangely, UFS sees a performance degradation when using a large number of files when HAMMER does not. This may mean a real speed advantage or a testing anomaly; it certainly deserves investigation.
Matthew Dillon is setting up leaf.dragonflybsd.org to support vkernels, for Google Summer of Code students that are doing kernel work. Mail Matthew with your public key and desired username if you need an account.
One of the big wins for BSD has been the packaging system.Â It’s very easy to use ports or pkgsrc to download all the dependencies for a given application automatically, and even Linux tools like yum or apt-get handle this nowadays.
Ruby, Perl, Python, and etc. have the disadvantage that if you write a interpreted script that uses libraries not in the standard distribution of that language, users of that script need to perform additional software installation, assuming they have access to do so, just to run that script.Â This is a major disadvantage compared to “compiled” software.Â To overcome this, additional steps that turn the script and needed libraries into a single executable are required.
‘_why the lucky stiff’ has a solution that matches: Shoes, a Ruby GUI toolkit, goes and gets any needed libraries as part of its startup process. Why didn’t someone think of this 10 years ago so that it could be commonplace?
I posted a little about this before, but here’s more prompted by several people mentioning it: a seekdir() bug found and fixed by Marc Balmer is apparently present in all BSDs, going back at least 25 years. 25 years! That’s older than some of you reading this post. His blog post delivers a very nice summary. (Thanks, Undeadly, Richard, Nega)
A recent post on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list from Herb Peyerl describes one of pkgsrc’s biggest issues: upgrading. Much discussion ensued, with some solutions suggested, and others chiming in with similar experiences. It sounds like there’s pressure building to fix that part of pkgsrc, which I can only welcome.
This Perl Buzz post talks about improving the perception and use of Perl, one of my favorite languages. I link to it in part because it’s well written, but also to suggest something: read the article, and substitute “BSD” everywhere you read “Perl”. The same suggestions apply.
The prime motivator for this digest was providing more of an atmosphere for DragonFly, and to some extent for the idea of BSD itself. Lots of people aspire to be a BSD developer/committer, when really what we need is someone having a conversation that involves BSD.
pkgsrcCon 5, in Berlin, Germany, June 13 – 15, is less than one month away from closing registration. Register now if you want to attend (since the hosting university does not allow walk-ins). If you want to present, your deadline is slightly earlier, on May 25th.
The sight of a thick technical book with an included (and probably out of date) CD has been common for years; however, this reversal strikes me as a good idea. Selling a good book along with the operating system that will use it is worthwhile.
This week’s 16-minute BSDTalk episode has Jeremy White of CodeWeavers, the company that releases the Wine-based CrossOver products. They’re now experimenting with BSD versions of their software – specifically, for FreeBSD/PC-BSD.
Wine is coming up on a 1.0 release, which may or may not be coincidental. I recall there was some issues with getting Wine to work on DragonFly; can someone confirm or deny that?