Month: February 2010
The iPad is BSD-based, which is neat. I like the notion of covering more BSD devices and products here on the Digest.
But: do you like even the vague concept of open source? The iPad is expressly designed to limit your choices, especially with media consumption and the programs you run. It’s sort of like owning a TV circa 1975 – you get what large media groups and the network (Apple) want you to see. I don’t want to come across as someone who’s complaining because it’s different – I’m complaining because it’s not different.
(reproduced from my email to users@/kernel@)
The application period for Google Summer of Code 2010 starts in about a
week. We were able to enter in 2008 and 2009, so I’m optimistic that we
will get in for 2010 too.
Saying “I’m willing to mentor” doesn’t force you to commit yet; you don’t
have to work with a student on a project you don’t find interesting.
However, mentoring is a multi-week commitment to support a student who may
or may not have the best planning skills – please be ready to help.
I need to know soon how many potential mentors we have since we have to
ask for a given number of slots from Google as part of the application
process. If you are interested in mentoring, speak up here or by email, please. If
there’s a particular project on the GSoC 2010 page that looks interesting,
put your name by it.
Joerg Sonnenberger announced new behavior in pkgsrc: Performing “bmake install” in pkgsrc with a package that supports DESTDIR will build a binary package and then install from that package. This means a package will be successfully build before the installation process is started, and I assume is to assist further work down the road.
Details: The old behavior was to build and install directly, which “bmake stage-install” can reproduce. DESTDIR support means that the software can be installed as non-root.
Welcome Samuel J. Greear as the newest DragonFly committer; he’s been around the project for a while, but recently became more active.
Michael Neumann has fixed the ability to stream Hammer data between 32 and 64 bit systems. However, this is a change to 64-bit systems that requires them to match; make sure that you are not mixing 64-bit systems built before and after this commit on the 21st.
I can’t find the commit message in the mail archive, so I’ll quote it here:
As part of a report on the status of swapcache and tmpfs, Matthew Dillon noted that a side effect of using a SSD for swapcache means that disk activity stays efficient, and the wear meter on the SSD is reduced much more slowly than for regular disk use.
Antonio Huete Jimenez notes that some programs have been enabled in the x86_64 build; if you’re running bleeding edge 2.5, please try them and see if they work in 64-bit.
Michael Neumann has ported igb(4) and em(4), and he needs people with the corresponding hardware to test it. Those are network cards, if you aren’t familiar with those short names.
The next release, 2.6, is scheduled for mid-March. Please make sure things are running well, as there’s a lot of new features already ready for this release.
This one’s a few days old, but I’m still trying to catch up with all the events lately: swapcache now has two flags to control whether just meta-data or all data is cached for any given set of directories; caching everything is only worthwhile if the swapcache device can keep up with the resulting traffic.
This requires a rebuild of world, if you’re running 2.5 bleeding edge.
Naoya Sugioka’s tmpfs port is now ready to go. It’s still considered experimental, but it’s worth trying. tmpfs(5) is different because it keeps data in RAM once, and pages out only when needed. This best-case scenario is an improvement to mount_mfs(8) and md(4), its predecessors.
It’s running now on pkgbox64 and already seems to be speeding up the bulk build process.
The Google Summer of Code ideas page for DragonFly is growing faster than I expected. If you have an idea (or, even better, want to take on a project assuming we make it into SoC), take a look.
‘Sdävtaker’ posted a call for course proposals, for the ECI 2010 conference happening the last week of July at Buenos Aires University. Proposals are due by March 12th, and Portugese, Spanish, or English are all acceptable.
If you need to talk about/sell the Google Summer of Code idea to people, Google now has a set of templates for GSOC presentations. Use them to drum up interest, or persuade someone to mentor/be a student.
It’s like someone turned on the activity faucet; there’s so much to post about lately!
- PkgsrcCon 2010 is May 28th to 30th, in Basel. The date’s been declared, but not much else – yet.
- Chunks of KDE in pkgsrc are now updating to the KDE4 versions by default. This only affects pkgsrc-current users, not pkgsrc-2009Q4.
- An interesting story about computer manufactuing and MicroSD problems.
- In Praise of Online Obscurity – this article makes me think of communities like DragonFly and the other BSDs. In essence, growth causes smaller independent groups to form out of a larger membership, because a social group can only be maintained to a certain size. Perhaps this is why FreeBSD’s evolved a core group, or other groups form, like Wikipedia ‘editors’. (via) I’m catering to my own interests in group dynamics here.
- Jan Lentfer’s brought in his hostapd and wpa_supplicant work, mentioned previously.
The installer now sets a /boot size of 768M by default; more space for kernels and modules, plus disks these days can take it.
Incidentally, if you’re compiling new versions of your kernel, it’s a good idea to copy your kernel file to kernel.good, and then use that to boot if the version you then compile doesn’t work. Someday, that will totally save you.
The disklabel64 program will permanently be ‘disklabel’ from now on, with the original disklabel sticking around as disklabel32. This is for a number of reasons, including 4k physical sector size in newer drives, which is still causing problems for other operating systems.
Google’s posted a FAQ for Summer of Code in 2010, which includes a timeline. There’s also a 2010 calendar, which is perhaps most useful in “Agenda” view. Keep those dates in mind if you are planning to participate. If you feel like doing some promotion, there’s a section with flyers in multiple languages.
Also, the GSOC 2010 logo. Logo’s pretty, but typographically, it’s brutal. More importantly, the student stipend has increased to USD $5,000 for 2010.
Pulled from a larger conversation: a description of the settings for a HAMMER filesystem, and what they mean. I can tell from experience that extremely active disks will need extra cleanup time…
Postgres will be 8.4, and Python 2.6, as default installs from pkgsrc. This affects anyone following pkgsrc-current, but if you are using pkgsrc-2009Q4, it won’t matter for a few months yet.
NFS on DragonFly now defaults to readdirplus mounts, which improves directory read speeds. Testing for speed and compatibility is advised.
Most of the dragonflybsd.org machines will be down for a short period Wednesday; this is for an upgrade that includes an SSD for the recent swapcache work. Everyone should notice a speedup, since while crater.dragonflybsd.org is getting the SSD/swapcache, a lot of crater’s directories are mounted on other machines via NFS.
I can’t keep up with all the things to post. I desperately want to clear my inbox, so here’s a week’s worth of posts all smushed together. Enjoy!
- Naoya Sugioka’s tmpfs work is almost ready to go.
- Francois Tigeot is looking to find supported RAID hardware for DragonFly; the LSI1068e isn’t useable. Freddie Cash listed a number of different and fully supported cards, and Francois listed some other potential choices.
- While talking about hardware, Steve O’Hara-Smith reported excellent results with a particular Atom 330-based board and DragonFly.
- Stathis Kamperis has added to ‘hammer snapls’ output; an example is in his submit@message.
- The 2.6 release of DragonFly, scheduled for March, will have version 4 of HAMMER. 2.4 has version 2. Upgrading from version 2 to 4 can happen in place, live, and only needs to happen once per volume, not per PFS. That’s about as easy as it gets. More details are available.
- The default sshd config has been updated; this shouldn’t affect your normal operations unless you’re using one of the mentioned options.
- Oliver Fromme linked to more discussion of SSD durability.
- Also, Matthew Dillon posted more notes and benchmark numbers for his swapcache work. There’s been some side benefits too. A man page for swapcache is now available.
- Aggelos Economopoulos’s libevtr has been added, for event tracing. He’s posted some additional notes on this work-in-progress.
- We now have /var/log/daemon, too.
- Notes on prepping for Google Summer of Code 2010 from the GSOC Discussion list; I don’t know if that link is readable for nonsubscribers.
- The Definitive Guide to PC-BSD is out at the end of this short month. Dru writes good books.
- Did you know FreeCiv (a Civilization clone, of sorts) is playable in a web browser? Goodbye free time! Details are available at my favoritest game site.
Seen via email and Hubert Feyrer’s blog: There’s a NetBSD hackathon planned for February 19th through the 22nd. The meetup is via IRC. Since it’s NetBSD, it’ll include pkgsrc, and if it includes pkgsrc, it affects DragonFly. If you’re interested, show up – even being there to report on packages that compile or don’t (on DragonFly) would help.
That was fast – there’s another BSDTalk already! BSDTalk 186 has Jeff Roberson, FreeBSD committer. He’s talking about schedulers and softupdates for a good half hour.
The first online-only free version of BSD Magazine is out! It’s good, but there’s no DragonFly, darnit. Anyway, it’s worth reading if for no other reason than it’s in pleasant, colorful PDF format.
James Nixon, iXsystems employee and PC-BSD developer, is interviewed for 16 minutes on BSDTalk 185.
I’m really behind on my posting (this is why), so I’m piling a lot of stuff in here:
- Yoinked from #dragonflybsd/EFNet IRC: Hiding sentences in IPv6 addresses.
- Red Hat did it: opensource.com. Good articles, but your eyeballs may get fatigued from reading the word ‘open’ too many times.
- Technically, this should have animated spacewar, not pong.
- Hypergit, a git plugin for vim, with a contextual menu. (via I forget) Also, digerati, a color scheme for both vim and terminal. (via)
- The Winter 2010 edition of the BSDA study DVD is out.
- Hey, this is vaguely like what Matt’s doing with disk cache. Well, not really, but it’s a good idea.
- More Crawlapalooza at @Play.
- The February issue of the Open Source Business Resource is out, with this issue’s theme being “startups”.
Matthew Dillon is setting up DragonFly to be able to use a fast disk (like a SSD) for disk cache, reducing the effect swap has on speed. This means very large amounts of data could be read into memory – greater than the available RAM in the system – without having the normal paging out problems that happen when memory is exhausted. It’ll work for any filesystem on the machine – HAMMER, UFS, or NFS. His inital notes have more. Other notes include details on the NFS benefits, and possibilities with SSDs. Wear-leveling may make SSDs last much longer.
Work has started, and there’s an update (with examples) that people can try, though it may destroy all your data at this point. Test results in that update show, if I’m reading it right, a better than doubling of speed on a repeated md5 test on a large file when using the new caching system. This should be a huge benefit.