Month: June 2009

First Ethernet cable ever

From Xerox PARC: The first Ethernet cable, plus diagrams from Bob Metcalfe.

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New installation option

Sascha Wildner has added an option to the installer to create a UFS boot and Hammer volume as an install disk, in addition to the all-Hammer and all-UFS options already available.  Programs expecting the booting kernel to be on UFS will be able to find it, but users still get the benefits of Hammer.

Updated: It replaces the all-Hammer option.  Thanks for the correction, Sascha!

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, Device support, DragonFly     1 Comment

New Hammer version

Matthew Dillon has a new version of Hammer, which speeds up listings from programs like ‘ls -la’ and ‘find’.  This is only in 2.3.1.x code right now, so don’t force an upgrade via hammer version-upgrade if you’re still on DragonFly 2.2. His post includes some benchmarks.

On a side note: sili(4) tests look good.

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

Other ways to back up Hammer

As Jim Chapman found out, dump only works for UFS, and not for Hammer.  Matthew Dillon outlined the different mirroring and snapshot methods that Hammer makes available.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Hammer     0 Comments

New keyboard layout possible

I’ve heard of Dvorak keyboard layouts, but I didn’t know there’s another, called Colemak.  Sascha Wildner has committed a patch from Geert Hendrickx which makes Colemak layouts available on DragonFly.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Disks done differently

Matthew Dillon has changed the way USB flash drives are attached, to make sure they don’t interfere with AHCI-attached disks.  This is temporary, and will be replaced by a dynamic /dev.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

More news, more articles

Dru Lavigne is going to be doing blogging/tweeting for the FreeBSD Project and FreeBSD Foundation.  This is a good thing – BSD in general is helped by more of a conversation about what’s going on.  I daresay this Digest has established that there’s definitely enough events, just with DragonFly, for daily news.

Also, Dru’s published summaries of the articles in the upcoming July ‘Collaboration’ issue of the Open Source Business Resource.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, FreeBSD, Goings-on, Periodicals     0 Comments

SoC: Mentor Summit

Gleaned from the SoC mailing lists: the tenative dates for the 2009 Mentor Summit for the Google Summer of Code program is October 24th and 25th.  Where?  Probably Mountain View, CA.

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@Play: Fatal Labyrinth

This time, it’s what happens when you take Rogue, export it to Japan, and then see what you get back as a Sega Genesis console game.

I had no idea there were so many permutations of roguelike games.  A few years ago, I’d have listed rogue, nethack, moria, [zmw]angband, and ADOM, and felt like I covered it all.

Posted by     Categories: roguelike     0 Comments

BSDTalk 175 – Michael Dexter and BSDFund

BSDTalk 175 (the semidemibicentennial?) has a 23 minute interview with Michael Dexter of BSD Fund.  Did you know you can get a BSD Fund Visa card (if you are a U.S. resident) that contributes money on each purchase and has a beastie on the card?  I did not.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Goings-on     0 Comments

Mirroring with Hammer

Siju George described his efforts to set up a continuous, automatic backup system using Hammer, with some interesting results.  Matthew Dillon chimed in with some suggestions.

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

One more driver?

Matthew Dillon is looking for one more driver to build to complement the AHCI and Sili drivers.   There’s several suggestions already.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

BSD Magazine, free

The whole OpenBSD-focused issue of BSD Magazine is available online as a PDF, plus some other articles from the NetBSD issue.  (via)

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Goings-on, Periodicals     0 Comments

Topics to write about

The list of monthly topics for the Open Source Business Resource have been published.  The list runs through the end of the year.  If one of the topics is something you’re interested in, here’s your chance to get published!

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     0 Comments

Minor Hammer changes

Matthew Dillon’s made some small changes to Hammer; it should result in a small speedup when copying data.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Hammer     0 Comments

The best way to do open source.

It’s the weekend, so it’s a good time for a digression.  This blog post from Matt Trout describes a lot of the code work he’s done for Perl, and what he thinks the best contribution is.  The important part is the end of the post.  He notes that for all the code he’s added, the best return has come from encouraging others to contribute.  The net result has been a magnification of effort, as more people donate time.

The reason I’m posting this is to note that DragonFly, as a community, has been excellent so far at providing a low-drama environment for people to have ideas and contribute work.  Keep this in mind; the best benefit to DragonFly isn’t lines of code, but people welcomed.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Lazy Reading     1 Comment

Git and where it puts things

For the benefit of others: a Git diagram that shows the different levels of storage.  Useful, because git goes far beyond the ‘it’s either here or it’s there’ style of cvs/svn.  (via)

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     2 Comments

DragonFly in real-world testing

‘Haidut’ brings word of a 50-system DragonFly installation acting as web crawlers, with performance exceeding that of the Debian Linux systems they replaced.  There’s more details about what’s being run, if you’re curious.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Better speed for cleanup

A number of people have noticed that Hammer’s pruning (which by default runs once at midnight) makes systems temporarily unresponsive.   Matthew Dillon’s committed a fix for this, with warnings of more improvements to come.

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

Nethax: AJAX and nethack

Another installment in my continuing obsession with roguelikes: Nethack, implemented as an AJAX application. (via)

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, roguelike     1 Comment

Bulk build speed stats

I recently did a bulk build of pkgsrc on two similar machines; the only significant difference being extra CPU work being done on one system, and Hammer snapshots on the other.  However, they’re diverging in speed over time, which is interesting but not yet conclusive.  Read my post about it for more details.

A good benchmarking project would be testing Hammer with snapshots on and with snapshots off.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Hammer, pkgsrc     0 Comments

sili(4) driver in progress

Taking from his AHCI work, Matthew Dillon’s working on a Silicon Image 3132 driver.  An initial version is available now, though the usual caveats about a brand-new device driver apply.

Update: he’s really moving fast on this.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, Device support, DragonFly     2 Comments

Intel video driver notes

Hasso Tepper posted his notes on the pkgsrc-users@ mailing list about the different video modes for the Intel video driver.  Version 2.7 works, but only if you use certain options.

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

2009Q2 in the works

The pkgsrc freeze is on.  We should have release 2009Q2 in 2 weeks…

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, pkgsrc     0 Comments

No local apic? Try this

If you’re one of the few who has seen a ‘no local apic!’ error when booting, Sepherosa Ziehau’s recent commit may have a fix for that.  He asks for testers, though he cautions to do it without APIC_IO in your kernel config.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Another day, more AHCI progress

Matthew Dillon is relentlessly adding to his AHCI work, with a new status report summing up the speed and stability improvements.  The driver will probably end up in the next DragonFly release.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

More AHCI: port multipliers

Matthew Dillon has initial support in for port multipliers, along with other AHCI work.  It’s not ready for production yet, and he lists the various issues going on, including a need for a different way to mount disks – AHCI changes devicenames from ‘ad’ to ‘da’, which can be a hassle.

Update: hot-swap support, too.

Update update: parallel scans for speed.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Upcoming pkgsrc freeze; new binaries now

The freeze for pkgsrc’s 2009Q2 release starts this Sunday, the 14th.   The 2009Q2 release should follow two weeks afterwards, which will be very close to the time of the next planned DragonFly release.  (2.4, in case you weren’t counting.)

I’ve just finished a new build of the 2009Q1 packages for DragonFly 2.2, and it’s available on – setting BINPKG_SITES or using pkg_chk can get you these latest versions.

I plan to have a 2009Q2 package set for DragonFly 2.4 as soon as possible after release.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, pkgsrc     0 Comments

More compilers, easily

Sascha Wildner has posted a patch that makes it very easy to switch out the compiler used to build DragonFly.  This builds on earlier work from Alex Hornung.

This should make it into the base system.  Everyone’s looking at compilers that aren’t gcc these days, it seems.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, DragonFly     1 Comment

Faster DragonFly pkg utilities

The pkg_radd(1) and pkg_search(1) utilities defaulted to  They’ve been switched (by me) to point at, which has much more bandwidth.

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

AHCI now available as a module

Matthew Dillon’s added AHCI as a kernel module, and has directions for testing.  It’s not done, but he has basic hot-plug support in, among other things.

I’ve been posting a lot of “hey test this new technology” items, lately.  That’s good.  Since I haven’t done it already, here’s a description of AHCI.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

License reading

Here’s some lazy Sunday reading about software licenses.  Before you panic and quickly click away to something more fun, these are not flamewars.

This InformIT interview with David Chisnall of Étoilé talks about various things, but has an interesting note about BSD code and Apple about halfway down.

I think this is a much better way of encouraging corporate involvement in open source than legal bludgeons like the GPL. The BSD license is easy for even a non-lawyer to read and understand, so there is no confusion when using BSD-licensed code.

I’m thinking about this because there are people who still can’t figure out the difference.

Along the same lines, I was surprised by the number of open source programs found just by license listing in the new Palm Pre.  I wish I had a spare $200.

Wandering even farther off topic, is Étoilé what Windowmaker should have evolved into?

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading     1 Comment

C++ as a territory

An entertaining diversion: a fantasy map of C++.  It’s huge; give it time to download.  (via)

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     0 Comments

AMD power level support

Sepherosa Ziehau has added support for various power states on AMD Phenom and Turion-series processors.  He has some specific notes that mention there’s more processor family support on the way.  Good news for anyone with an AMD-based laptop.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, Device support, DragonFly     1 Comment

AHCI work in

Matthew Dillon has committed the start of his AHCI work, taken mostly from OpenBSD.  He described what he’s doing in a separate post, along with the welcome news of the enhanced performance that comes with AHCI support.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     1 Comment

GSoC 2009: so far for devfs and AMD64

Alex Hornung posted a summary of how his work on devfs is going, and Jordan Gordeev posted a summary of how much AMD64 is functional.

If you want to try either one (warning: many parts still broken!), use a vkernel for the devfs so a physical system doesn’t get broken.  There’s build instructions for pulling together AMD64 DragonFly.

Update: manual instructions for AMD64, too.

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

More roguelikes: @Play and a new game

Not one, but two roguelike items!  Close your eyes and click randomly if you have no interest in my little obsession.

  • The newest @Play column has more 7DRL coverage, with screenshots and nice little summaries that mention whether a game is fair or not.
  • Also at GameSetWatch, mention of a new roguelike called MnemonicRL, with a video preview.  It’s planned to be a MMORPG, of all things.
Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, UNIXish     0 Comments

Sampling BSD Hacks

Dru Lavigne’s excellent book ‘BSD Hacks’ is available at Scribd, and a chunk of it is readable through the preview at that site.   A good chunk of what’s in there applies to DragonFly.

My copy is sitting on the shelf near by, inbetween ‘Perl Best Practices‘ and ‘The Mythical Man-Month‘.

Posted by     Categories: Books, BSD, DragonFly     1 Comment

More media reading

I linked to articles from last week’s issue of the Economist before, but now that I made it to the other end of the magazine, there’s another one of interest that doesn’t mention open source but still relates to it: An article on intellectual property that covers how to handle antitrust legislation and companies where the property is mostly virtual.  Useful to anyone who has dealt with the GPL and/or Microsoft.  (i.e. everyone)

Also, not really open source related, but computer games can be good for you.  I really like this magazine – not because I agree with them, but because they at least examine things in depth, and avoid the usual computing blunders you see in print.

If you don’t want to read the whole magazine yourself, there’s a nice summary available.  (that link covers the previous week; recap of this issue possibly this weekend.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, Periodicals     0 Comments

BSD jails work better

A useful BSD item from the Howling Void: BSD jails found to be more efficient than VMWare in given situations.   I am both pleased and not really surprised.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Goings-on     1 Comment returns, better

The DragonFly mirror at went down due to hard drive failure some time ago, but it has returned.  It’s an honest-to-goodness DragonFly system now too, I think.  It’s (re)listed on the mirrors page.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

OSBR: Women

The newest issue of the Open Source Business Resource covers Women in Open Source, with a larger-than-normal variety and length of articles.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     0 Comments

ABI/API freeze until 2.4

As Hasso Tepper says, please don’t bring in any major changes until after DragonFly’s 2.4 release.  This is mostly for the benefit of pkgsrc, so that we can have as complete a working set of packages as possible at release time.  2.4 will probably be in July.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

BSDTalk 174: Kris Moore

BSDTalk 174 is up, with 16 minutes of conversation with Kris Moore of iXSystems (neé PC-BSD), from BSDCon 2009.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions     0 Comments