Month: March 2009

Help the Macys

This story popped up last year, focusing on Kip Macy’s legal issues.  Kip is a BSD developer, contributing to FreeBSD and having worked on checkpoint support in DragonFly.  Another side of his story has come to light.  He and his wife could use the support, but there is (that I know of) no immediate way to help.

It would be nice if there was some common news source for BSD topics, instead of being an also-ran for Linux; this is an example of where an online community can support its own members, instead of that negative story that has been out for months.

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DWIMmy undo

Hammer’s ‘undo’ now has the ability to index and automatically diff historical versions of files for you, thanks to a patch from Joel K. Pettersson.  (He’s got more ideas, too.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly, Hammer     1 Comment

AMD64 building and testing

Mathtew Dillon has added an automatic building and testing environment for AMD64 support.  This one command will build an entire boot image, along with qemu to run it in, though some issues with compiling qemu remain.  (Related)

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

Newer DRM

Hasso Tepper has updated the DRM code (from FreeBSD) with some caveats.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly, FreeBSD     0 Comments

New committer: Stathis Kamperis

Please welcome our newest DragonFly developer with commit access: Stathis Kamperis

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Hammer for Linux?

Simon ‘corecode’ Schubert has a student working on a Linux port of Hammer.  This will lead to a breakout of Hammer from the DragonFly tree, too.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Hammer     4 Comments

A lot of libc changes to look at

Peter Avalos has a large number of changes to libc in his tree.  He’d like to have other eyeballs looking at them, so please read over and comment.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Messylaneous, 03/23/2009

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Summer of Code: students apply now

If you’re a student, you have from now until the 3rd of April to apply for a Summer of Code slot.

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BSD Summer of Code projects

There is, of course, DragonFly project ideas for Google’s Summer of Code.  There are also idea pages up for FreeBSD and NetBSD, both also participating this year.

Changes and freeze for pkgsrc

Joerg Sonnenberger is making some structural changes to pkgsrc, the result of which is that you should not mix pkgsrc-wip and pkgsrc-2008Q4 packages.

The next branch, pkgsrc-2009Q1, won’t have that issue.  In fact, the preparatory two-week freeze for that branch starts today.

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Lazy Sunday Reading: chiptunes

Here’s an article on chiptunes.  (What’s that?.)  The writing is very exacting, but the page has been liberally sprinkled with video examples of the source material.  Read the dry text while being serenaded.  Highlights: comparisons of Metallica to a 1988 C64 game, and compilation of crack screens.   (via I lost track of it, sorry)

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, Off-Topic     0 Comments

Presentations fixed and added

Thanks to Archimedes Gaviola, I’ve changed out the slide presentations (that didn’t work) on the Presentations page.

I’ve also linked all 5 BSDTalk interviews of Matthew Dillon on that page – previously, only one was linked there.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     3 Comments

Builds and progress, documented

Not only is Hasso Tepper doing regular bulk builds as he fixes up more pkgsrc packages for DragonFly, he’s also posting diffs that show progress. (Every line prefixed with a – is another working package.)

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Ath support, almost

Dmitry Komissaroff has posted a port of wlan, ath_hal and if_ath from FreeBSD. It’s not finished because he lacks the hardware. If you’ve got the hardware, the inclination, or both, please assist.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly, FreeBSD     1 Comment

Get mentoring

If you’d like to mentor for DragonFly, as several people have expressed interest, sign yourself up at the Summer of Code site and request mentoring for DragonFly. If you sign up before the 23rd, when students can start applying, you’ll get added to the private mentors mailing list.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Google Summer of Code     0 Comments

Summer of Code 2009: we’re in!

DragonFly BSD is a participating organization in Google’s Summer of Code 2009. (See the lists of participating organizations at the Google site.)

I have an announcement message with more details on the mailing lists; the next important date is the 23rd, when students can apply. If you’re a student, start putting your proposal together and talking with others. If you can mentor, sign yourself up on the Google site and request a mentoring spot.

“Paranoid Machines” talk in NYC

Off the beaten path: Jason Brown is giving a talk called “Paranoid Machines”.

When: Sat, April 4, 7pm – 9pm
Where: 300 Nevins St, Brooklyn
Free. Organized by Machine Project, Los Angeles

Jason Brown’s talk will examine contemporary gnostic mythologies of technology and paranoia, focusing on Vannevar Bush as a self-embodied allegorical emblem of information perversity. Bush’s famed “memex” and the modern UFOs are both hypothetical machines—devices which use association and performativity to spin information out of noise. In modern techno-myths, this process is often represented as an alchemical self-destruction resulting in god-like power. Not coincidentally, all these issues are illustrated with disturbing density and prescience in the 1981 Disney film “Tron.”

This is just old-school enough to be interesting to some readers, and I like to think I find things you won’t see on Reddit or Slashdot. (via my second favorite magazine)

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Progress with clang

Alex Hornung has done some preliminary work with llvm/clang, and has successfully compiled a GENERIC DragonFly kernel, and completed a buildworld, using it. He also has some very nice notes available detailing the work. There’s potential for cross-BSD work with FreeBSD on this one, too.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, FreeBSD, Goings-on     2 Comments

growisofs tips

If you’re using growisofs (or K3b) to burn your DVDs and having some trouble, here’s some tips that may get it working.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly, pkgsrc     0 Comments

New Hammer feature

Matthew Dillon has added a “rebalance” feature to Hammer, which cleans up the underlying B-Tree structures in Hammer that might otherwise slow down searching. It’s considered experimental, so be careful with it for now.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly, Hammer     2 Comments

Unofficial Unix Administration Horror Story Summary

The Unofficial Unix Administration Horror Story Summary, compiled by someone from my alma mater.  Read through the section on misuse of ‘rm’ and you will want to use Hammer all the more…  (via I forget, sorry)

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     1 Comment

Place for pkgsrccon in 2009?

Do you have room for more than 25 people?  Are you in Europe?  If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, then you could help out with finding a venue for Pkgsrccon 2009.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Details on vkernel

While these details have probably been explained before, Matthew Dillon has a nice summary of how the vkernel system works, for your weekend reading.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Think before you buy

It might be time to stop buying Apple audio products, as the company is deliberately picking physical incompatibility to force upgrades.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, Off-Topic     3 Comments

Some pkgsrc oddities

If you feel ambitious, Hasso Tepper has a few pkgsrc items that don’t build on DragonFly, and he hasn’t found out why yet.  Anyone with experience and/or ideas about these packages is welcome to make suggestions.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, pkgsrc     2 Comments

Another project: signals

Someone want to fix up siginfo?

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Qemu Howto

For those wanting to build Qemu right now on DragonFly, Hasso Tepper has published instructions on how to compile from Qemu’s development trunk.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Messylaneous, 03/12/2009

A bunch of links, cause that’s the easiest way to get this all out:

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Hammer     2 Comments

IRC option

This hasn’t been as clearly noted as it could be: there’s a DragonFly channel on IRC: #dragonflybsd on EFNet, with a steady population of users and developers.  Please drop in.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

SoC 2009 application is in

I just finished the application for DragonFly to participate in Summer of Code 2009:

We did well last year, so I’m hoping we will get in again.  Check the website for this year’s details.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Google Summer of Code     0 Comments

Less BGL in the network

Big news: Sepherosa Ziehau has managed to remove the Big Giant Lock from the ip and bridge forwarding path.  This includes ipfw, though not yet pf.   It is in fact possible to make the whole TCP/UDP code path BGL-free.  Sepeherosa helpfully posted some benchmarks to show just how significant the improvements can be.

Recent website changes

  • ‘alexh’ put in a new page on, describing how you can contribute to DragonFly.
  • ‘jth’ has been making a huge number of fixes for the Handbook pages, for links I missed in conversion.
  • If you have projects for Google Summer of Code 2009, or can work as a student or mentor, put it on the SoC 2009 page, as a number of people have been doing.
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A new, graphical bootloader

Oliver Fromme has a new bootloader for FreeBSD and DragonFly.  He’s added the DragonFly logo, and it looks neat.  Can someone test this on physical hardware?

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, FreeBSD, Goings-on     0 Comments

BSD event tracking

There’s a lot of BSD-related events and conferences happening; enough that it’s difficult to track them all.  Dru Lavigne has a very good idea: Twitter them at @bsdevents.

Posted by     Categories: Conventions, Goings-on     0 Comments

Old wiki is now read-only has been set to be read-only, since the content has been moved to  The site hasn’t been turned off yet, because I may have missed something in the move…

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Heads Up!     0 Comments

@Play: XRogue

This month’s @Play column dives into the playing mechanisms of  XRogue, an older roguelike variant with some interesting features.  Of special interest to geeks like me is the historical line drawn between XRogue features like charmed monsters and NetHack pets.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, UNIXish     0 Comments

Port of tmpfs underway

Nikita Glukhov is porting tmpfs from FreeBSD/NetBSD, and is looking for some feedback.

I’ve wanted tmpfs or something similar for a while; I have a reoccurring (if not quite realistic) fantasy of building a system with a ridiculous amount of RAM and using it as a disk.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, FreeBSD, Goings-on, NetBSD     0 Comments

Head south to teach

‘Sdävtaker’ posted that his school, Universidad de Buenos Aires, has a traveling teacher program.  So, if you can teach computer science, there’s some funding for a 5-day trip to Argentina.

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BSDTalk 171: Andrew Doran

BSDTalk has Andrew Doran of NetBSD talking about the not-yet-out NetBSD 5 release, for 22 minutes.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, NetBSD     0 Comments

Have you patched Qemu lately?

With the new 0.10.0 release of Qemu, it’s a bit easier to get it running on DragonFly.  Hasso Tepper asks that anyone who patched Qemu to run it on a DragonFly system send him the patches.  He can get them into pkgsrc, and upstream.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Another man page

Stathis Kamperis has written up a man page for objcache.  Stathis is looking for feedback, though Sascha Wildner and Samuel J. Greear have already commented.  More is welcome before it goes in.

(I’m especially happy about the concept of complete man pages, having been frustrated today by a newly installed Linux system that lacked man pages to match the installed drivers or utilities for the intended hardware.  Yeah, I’m talking AsteriskNOW.)

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Extra logo versions

If you were looking to create a very large or very small version of the DragonFly logo, I’ve added .eps and .ai versions of the logo to the images page on the DragonFly website.

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iwi(4) update

The iwi(4) firmware has been updated, and there’s an announcement that tells you where to find it.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly, Heads Up!     0 Comments

Linkdump, 3/3/09

Happy Cube day!

10 Steps to UNIX Nirvana, not all of which may be useful, but it talks about cscope, which I have heard a number of people rave about.   (via)

– Dru Lavigne posted more open source alternatives, this time including options for the always-a-problem Visio.  (via)

Producing Open Source Software, which I find interesting, and it’s available in dead tree form and as a free download.  This fits with some conversations I’ve had recently.

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Note SoC interest now!

If you are interested in the Google Summer of Code project, as a student, a mentor, or just want to suggest a project, write that down:

The application period starts for DragonFly (for the organization, not students) in a week, and it’ll help to see who wants to get in on the action.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Google Summer of Code, Heads Up!     1 Comment

More Tux3 filesystem notes

Daniel Phillips, who is working on the Tux3 filesystem, posted some more design notes.  For those who joined recently, Tux3 is a filesystem similar in some ways to Hammer but being designed for Linux as its primary platform.  This is a massively complex idea and project, so it’s good to peruse both the Tux3 site and prior posts about it.

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An aside: employment

I’ll mention this briefly, since it’s off-topic: I’m looking for a new job, and it should come as no surprise that I’d like to work with BSD systems.   (resume as PDF)

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March OSBR: Geospatial

The March issue of the Open Source Business Resource is out, with the topic being “Geospatial” – something that isn’t covered often in open source terms.

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Attention source mirrors

Simon ‘corecode’ Schubert has some tips on how to mirror the git repo for DragonFly more exactly; there’s an additional command that can clean up spurious branches.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Heads Up!     0 Comments

em and emx driver preferences set

Sepherosa Ziehau has added a preference for the emx(4) driver over em(4).  This means that loading the emx module or adding the emx device to your kernel config will may turn your em devices into emx.  This isn’t dangerous; just a note to keep it from being a surprise.

Edit: Thanks, Sascha Wildner, for pointing out details on which chipsets are affected.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     1 Comment

Here comes 2.2.1

Matthew Dillon notes that a 2.2.1 release will be coming about halfway through March; being a minor release, it’ll be bugfixes for things like the installer and the Hammer undo utility.

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