Month: June 2008

Objective C added

Hasso Tepper has added Objective C support for gcc 4.1.2.

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No booting with Hammer – yet

Just because I don’t think I’ve mentioned it specifically yet: it will not be possible for Hammer to serve as a bootable volume in the 2.0 release.  2.2, definitely.

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More LiveCDs are always good

Undeadly has an article noting that OpenBSD is getting in on the LiveCD game with BSDAnywhere.

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I’ve been traveling for a few days, so it’s time you break out the bullet points again in an effort to catch up.

Matthew Dillon posted a Hammer summary and warning on the 25th, along with another update today, mostly about mirroring and very large (terabyte!) files. Michael Neumann is also adding to Hammer functionality.

He also did some initial porting work on netgraph from FreeBSD, though there’s some objections. The purpose is to make updating certain utilites easier.

This minor update to ATA support leads to a page with some interesting details about how ATA works. has set up a Google calendar for FreeBSD events, though I daresay many of the events will have multiple BSDs represented.

You know how I always post about roguelike games here? The ultimate form of the roguelike has been announced.

Dru Lavigne says “Grs!“.  A bonus point to whomever figures out that reference…

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     2 Comments

More Hammer details

Gergo Szakal asked some questions on usage scenarios for Hammer; Matt Dillon answered the questions with enough details that I’m linking to it.

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June 22 Hammer update

Matthew Dillon’s posted another Hammer update, this one looking forward to pseudo file systems and mirroring, and perhaps a bit farther.

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Compare and contrast

Here’s some BSD and Linux comparisons that happened to come up recently:

First, NetBSD is moving to a 2-clause BSD license. Hubert Feyrer has mention of this, along with a small graph contrasting the word count of the GPL vs. the BSD license used in NetBSD, over time.

KernelTrap has a post up about a position statement from the Linux Foundation that “urge[s] vendors to adopt a policy of supporting their customers on Linux with open-source kernel code.” Compare that to the OpenBSD position on binary blobs.

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@Play: lost software

The @Play column at GameSetWatch has another article on roguelikes. This covers early roguelike software that has become lost; a strange concept in today’s world where everything is saved somewhere out there on the Internet. For an added bonus, the column has a link to a newspost from Moria’s original author, which includes this interesting quote:

I plan to download it and Angband and play them… Maybe something has been added that will surprise me! That would be nice… I never got to play Moria and be surprised…

Is that perhaps the worst part of game development? You always know how the story ends.

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June OSBR: Security

The June issue of the Open Source Business Resource is out, with Security being this month’s theme. There’s an article that covers a presentation on my favorite topic, “Building Technical Communities“. The Coverity Report is also interesting as it talks about the Coverity open source analysis and what the parts mean. And it has infoporn, in the form of graphs!

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Booting modified kernels, virtually

Mayur Bhosle has added a short writeup to the wiki on how to boot a modified DragonFly kernel in VMWare. Appropriate, given his Summer of Code project. There’s always vkernels, too.

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Hammer talk and a paper

More conversations about Hammer capabilites has been going on, on the kernel@ mailing lists, including where Matthew Dillon describes where Hammer’s mirroring concept came from, and the possibilities of growing and shrinking filesystems. (Read to the end.) Also, he’s put up a preliminary paper describing Hammer – what it does, how to use it, and future plans. There’s a section on porting for those who might be interested.

KernelTrap’s still tracking progress, too.

(Apparently Hammer does not need to be in all caps as I’ve been writing it, going by the paper.)

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HAMMER, June 19th: almost set

Matthew Dillon’s latest HAMMER update warns of the usual need for a newfs, but says that the last change requiring this will go in today. Performance is on a par with UFS; this would be interesting for someone to benchmark and graph…

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Network multiprocess testing

Aggelos Economopoulos has updated his NetMP page on the wiki with a link to recent instructions on testing his changes. For those who haven’t noticed, he’s working on removal of the Big Giant Lock from DragonFly’s networking code.

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Linkpile for 06/18

I have a number of links to dump:

Dru Lavigne has found that Verio is offering BSD hosting (specifically, FreeBSD). She’s also got her own recent linkpile which mentions this odd thing, plus a Federico Biancuzzi BSD interview I think I missed.

KernelTrap has a DragonFly B-Tree summary similar to mine, plus a writeup on POHMELFS benchmark, that filesystem being mentioned on this site a few days back.

“FreeBSD – the unknown Giant” has changed domains to

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More HAMMER discussion

There’s been more talk about HAMMER; the June 13th update led to some discussion of B-Trees, along with HAMMER updates for the 16th and 17th, with some nice performance gains and the normal requirement to newfs if you’re using it.

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Libarchive updated

Peter Avalos has updated libarchive in DragonFly to 2.5.4b. Thanks, Peter!

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Hammering with HAMMER, and other filesystems

If you’ve been wanting to really tax the heck out of your filesystem – whether or not it’s HAMMER – here’s a good way to do so.

On a similar tangent, Dimitri Nikulin and Aggelos Economopoulos mentioned several other filesystem projects that may be fun to read about: POHMELFS, Btrfs, and CRFS.

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Summary, update, history

KernelTrap has a summary up of recent HAMMER development, though if you’ve been reading here, it’ll already be familiar in a more truncated format.

Also! There’s a June 13th HAMMER update From Matthew Dillon, just to continue the trend.  Recompile and re-newfs, as usual.

Following some of the article tags at KernelTrap creates an interesting topic-specific DragonFly history, incidentally.

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BSDTalk 153: Michael W. Lucas

BSDTalk has a 12 minute interview with Michael W. Lucas, author of a number of BSD books and the Big Scary Daemons column at OnLAMP.  His writing is excellent.

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3 days of HAMMER

Matthew Dillon’s posted daily updates for the past three days, so I’ll link them all here:

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Good community guide

Building OpenSolaris Communities“, found on an OpenSolaris blog, is a generally excellent guide on how to build an open-source community. It’s based around OpenSolaris, which isn’t a surprise, but almost everything discussed applies equally well to DragonFly or other projects without a corporate source. (via… I lost track, sorry!)

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A pkgsrc report

Hasso Tepper recently completed a bulk build of pkgsrc on DragonFly 1.13. He’s posted the end result, and it’s looking much better than it did at the last quarterly release: 87% complete, and only 5% of the remaining amount were actual build failures – the rest were dependencies on those failed items.

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NetMP page

Aggelos Economopoulos, who is working on making the network stack multiprocessor safe, has a page up on the DragonFly wiki describing his work. Normally I’d link to his recent conversations about this on the kernel@ mailing list, but he’s already done a nice job describing/linking it on the wiki.

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Benchmarks benchmarks benchmarks

Benchmarks would be good. I bring this up because Hubert Feyrer has a post about various NetBSD happenings, which includes some interesting benchmark work. It doesn’t include DragonFly, but it’s a good model from which to work. Notice the hint there? Was it too subtle?

Most of the benchmarking work these days seems to focus on multi-cpu scalability… I would like to just see comparative numbers, especially since there’s still plenty of single-cpu systems around.

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Pkgsrc projects

Hasso Tepper, who has been submitting many pkgsrc changes lately, noticed a few non-trivial pkgsrc issues.  He listed them out as available projects for anyone who wants to help out.

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Another linkdump!

  • has a complete version of the 5-part series, The Machine That Changed the World. This aired in 1992 and is both an excellent history of computing and also an interesting glimpse of the computing world before the World Wide Web steamrolled into the public eye. Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5 are available. If you don’t have a Flash-enabled browser to watch them, part 5 has a link to a torrent of H.264 MP4 files that contain the same complete broadcase.
  • More old school nerditry: Dungeons & Dragons history, plus a rebuttal, all in far more depth than I thought possible.  (Via)
  • New school (rejectionist) nerditry: Ten ways to make an iPhone killer.
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Moving backwards to improve has an interesting article about sticking to base applications. It’s all about making the programs that come in the base system install work instead of needing to install third-party packages to get a comfortable work environment.

It’s OpenBSD specific, but it is generally applicable to any system with a base set of included tools, which generally means all BSDs. The comments have some interesting parts, too, like using a source control system to synchronize dotfiles across multiple systems. (just having one consistent .vimrc would make me happy)

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Sensors roundup

KernelTrap has a very nice summation of Constantine Murenin’s BSDCan 2008 talk about the OpenBSD sensors framework. This framework is in DragonFly now. It was also in and then out of FreeBSD; the KernelTrap article (in addition to describing how the actual code works) covers some of the conversation between Poul Henning-Kamp and Constantine Murenin at the BSDCan event about why that happened with FreeBSD.

Updated again: description changed, at Constantine’s request.

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Moar BSD vids plz

FreeBSD – The Unknown Giant” has a nice compilation of BSD videos (and some pictures) from recent conferences.

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HAMMER speedup and a warning

A recent commit from Matthew Dillon improves HAMMER’s write performance, but introduces some potential stability problems.  They should be solved in the next few days.

Posted by     Categories: Heads Up!     1 Comment

Processors, visually

In my ongoing effort to stray farther off the beaten path than other nerdblogs, I bring you a link to this post at the Nonist: Objectified Circuitry.  Think of it this way: the computer you are sitting at right now has probably at least a million of each circuit type pictured in that article.

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“Vista Incapable”

These parodies of the “Vista Capable” stickers contain, among other systems, DragonFly BSD.

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in_pcbs and what to do with them

For some end-of-the-work-week reading: Aggelos Economopoulos posted some of his thoughts on in_pcbs for his planned work on removing the Big Giant Lock from networking.

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NULL not for nothing

As proposed, Sascha Wildner cleaned up NULL usage in DragonFly.  It’s not dramatic, but it’s a necessary improvement.  This is one of many quiet cleanup efforts from Sascha, and I want to give credit where it’s due.

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Indulge me on the roguelike stuff

GameSetPlay has another @Play column, with comparisons of roguelike games to Dungeons and Dragons. If you find this interesting, you may be an old-school geek. Like me.

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BSDTalk 152: Lots of FreeBSD people

This week’s BSDTalk has an nearly half-hour interview, from BSDCan 2008, with 7 different members of the FreeBSD Core Team.

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Multivolume mounts

I think I already read about this, but it didn’t really sink in until I read this commit message: HAMMER will allow multiple physical devices to be mounted as a single volume.  Wait!  That’s in the wrong tense: it’s possible now.

The new ‘undo’ utility looks equally interesting, though the name may not stay.

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Google Summer of Code catchup

Max Lindner posted a summary of his SoC plans for enhancing dma this summer, and he’s looking for feedback.

Louisa Luciani is looking for more discussion on her LiveDVD project; specifically, what kind of environment to create. She’s already collated previous suggestions on the wiki.

Robert Luciani (yes, they’re related) recently finished a school project evaluating threading on DragonFly; his poster and paper (PDF) are available. Appropriately,he’s working on multiprocessing support.

(typos fixed – thanks, smtms on EFNet #dragonflybsd)

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Soft prunes are good for you

Among other HAMMER work, Matthew Dillon has added a “softprune” option. With this option, historical versions of a HAMMER filesystem can be tracked by maintaining a list of soft links. There’s some sort of joke about ‘regularity’ to make here.

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New calls require rebuild

Matthew Dillon’s new statvfs() calls in the kernel require a full build/install process for world and kernel, if you are running bleeding edge code.

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