Month: March 2010

dsched details

Alex Hornung has posted an elaborate summary of his I/O scheduler work, with details on usage.  He reports speed improvements under heavy load.  If this sounds interesting to you (and it should), it’s possible to test his changes right now.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

OpenSSL bug fixed, BIND updated too

OpenSSL (which recently hit 1.0, though that’s not in DragonFly yet) has been patched to cover a recent security issue, thanks to Peter Avalos.

Jan Lentfer’s updated BIND to 9.5.2-P3, too.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

Panic, and fast

Venkatesh Srinivas’s new sysctl, “debug.panic” is available for those who want to panic their machine on purpose, but don’t have direct access to the keyboard.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

Recent performance improvements

A problem found by Jan Lentfer and fixed by Matthew Dillon means that you can get a good performance boost if you’re running bleeding-edge DragonFly from the last month or so.  Or, you can just wait a week for the 2.6 release.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

I/O scheduler preview

Alex Hornung has been working on an I/O scheduler; he’s made some graphs to show results so far.   They’re plain, but pictures are always fun.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

2.6 branched, 2.7 now for development

DragonFly 2.6 has been branched, and should be released next week.   Check the tag message for a list of the many, many commits.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

BSDTalk 187: Sam Smith

The newest BSDTalk has a 25-minute conversation with Sam Smith, who helped organize EuroBSDCon 2009 and other UKUUG events.

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

Flash works too!

Thanks to work from Samuel J. Greear and Alex Hornung:

  1. Install Firefox (natively)
  2. libflashsupport and adobe-flash-plugin
  3. mount linprocfs
  4. null mount devfs within the linux system

There’s occasional video and audio sync problems, but Johannes Hofmann has already found a fix.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Pretty, big graphs

This set of graphs that shows relationships within given languages on github shows some interesting relationships, and also happens to be very pretty.

Would it be worth moving DragonFly to github for the additional services?  I’m not qualified to answer.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Lazy Reading     1 Comment

New bugtracker possibilities

Alex Hornung has suggested replacing the existing bugtracker (Roundup) with a new one (Redmine).  His post about the changes is lengthy and links to a demo, so read on for details; I haven’t had a chance to look at it in full, yet.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

cvsup gone, finally

YONETANI Tomokazu has eliminated cvsup, replacing it with net/csup from pkgsrc. The README notes that the pkgsrc package devel/cvsync is another alternative if you need to retrieve the repository and not just the checked out files..

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

REDOs done, and 64-bit vkernels too

Matthew Dillon has implemented what he calls “REDO” records in Hammer, which reduce the amount of time taken flushing data to disk.  It’ll be in the 2.6 release, but it isn’t on by default.

Jordan Gordeev’s work on 64-bit vkernels has also been brought in, so virtual systems are now available for x86_64 users.

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

BSD Strikes Again

Steven Rosenberg, who I’ve linked to before, is trying BSD again.  The linked post is a “story of my install” format.

Posted by     Categories: BSD     0 Comments

Simple system snapshot setup

Matthew Dillon’s added some tools for building system snapshots, a previously custom process.  Look at the README for details.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

Statistics on binary pkgsrc use

Based on a comment from John Merino on this very Digest, I managed to assemble some statistics on binary pkgsrc package use.  See my full post for the details, including some analysis.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, pkgsrc     7 Comments

A fan control narrative

Constantine Aleksandrovich Murenin posted his work on fan control, involving Winbond Super I/O Hardware Monitors.  He’s had a series of commits up to this point, and this message nicely sums up the work done, including the presentations for it at BSDCan last year and AsiaBSDCon this year. Even if you aren’t planning to adjust your system cooling, it’s a surprisingly in-depth writeup, with more details available.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Messylaneous for 03/24/2010

In an effort to catch up…

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

2.6 very soon

The next release, 2.6, will be branched in the next few days.  The official release: next week, with some last-minute benefits.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

Snapshot and mirror changes

The naming convention for the daily snapshots of DragonFly has changed, to make the file names more readable.  This may lead to some confusion as the mirrors settle, but it’ll pan out.  If you run a mirror, double-check your downloads.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, Heads Up!     0 Comments

OpenOffice, lpr, and a future reminder

Stephane Russel was having trouble printing with OpenOffice and lpr on DragonFly.  He fixed it, and I’m linking to his explanation because someday, someone will have the same problem and be looking for the solution…

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Easy reading for what’s broke

Every time a bulk build of pkgsrc packages is completed, a report is uploaded listing what built and what didn’t.  Since there’s so many reports from the now-automated build, I’ve sorted it by architecture and release, to make lookups faster.

This is handy if you’re looking to fix pkgsrc apps on DragonFly, and you need a target.  It’s also a good way to see if a desired module exists as a binary.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, pkgsrc     2 Comments

Many ways to tell when the computer overheats

Constantine A. Murenin’s been adding more support for various monitoring hardware; I want to link to it not just cause it’s news, but it’s nice to see how complete his coverage has been.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

New handbook activity

Alex Hornung is working on a new version of the Handbook; my hat is off to him.   I brought along the FreeBSD handbook SGML to DragonFly, and converted it through to the current wiki, so I know just how much there is.  Check RecentChanges for the new work, and join in if you like.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Interested in pkgsrc? DragonFly?

We actively need more people to do the small but plentiful fixes to make sure as many pkgsrc packages work as possible.  Are you interested?  Speak up.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, pkgsrc     0 Comments

A lot of text about work on malloc

There’s a lot to read, so if you understand it, that’s great.  I’m passing it on without other comment.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Summer of Code 2010: DragonFly BSD

We’ve got a third year in Summer of Code!

The timeline shows about a week and a half for planning, and then student applications begin on the 29th of March, and run to April 9th.

If you want to participate as a student, start planning now by talking with people on IRC (#dragonflybsd on EFNet) or on the mailing lists.  You cannot be over-prepared.

No chlamydia; change your mirror

Simon ‘corecode’ Schubert’s host for DragonFly,, is down for good.  Since it had excellent bandwidth, it was frequently used as the source for a lot of the DragonFly mirror sites out there.

If you were using it for your own mirror, switch to, and tell Matthew Dillon at your contact info so you can be notified of changes.  (If you’re not mirroring, please download from the nearest site that is.)

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Heads Up!     4 Comments

PHP change in pkgsrc

PHP version 5.3 has some differences from previous versions, so there’s now a lang/php53 port.  Use this if you want to upgrade right away, or stick with lang/php if you want to play it safe.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Some specials: SSDs, port multipliers

Newegg is running some specials: a 64G Kingston SSD for $140, a 256G (yikes!) Crucial SSD for $660, and a Sans Digital port multiplier for $110.  The SSDs are good for using swapcache(8), though 256G is probably overkill.  Doesn’t make me want it less, though…

The port multiplier’s SiI3726 chipset might be supported, or potentially supported, by the sili(4) driver.  Someone have $110 to spare to try this out?

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

BSD videos now captioned

The BSD Conferences channel on YouTube now has updated captioning, which will be useful if you don’t follow spoken English too well.

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

Vinum root mounts possible again

As if Alex Horning wasn’t busy enough with his Linuxulator update, he’s also made it possible to have a vinum root volume in conjunction with using devfs.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Linuxulator progress

Alex Hornung has committed his initial work on Linux support, which is over 6,500 lines so far.  (Thanks, Alex!)  He’s continuing to work on it, though going by his commit message, Java, Opera, Tomcat, etc. are supported so far.  The only major item missing at this point is Flash.  There are other followups, such as this note about chrooting into the Linux subsystem.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

Messylaneous for 2010/03/14: complaints, events, iPad

I’ve been building this one up:

  • Marc Espie’s post about autoconf holds true; Linux is in danger of becoming a monoculture in itself, similar to Windows.
  • The BSDCan 2010 schedule has been posted.  (via)  Will this be the year I finally make it to BSDCan?  Maybe.
  • This post about communities (in general, online, not just software) is interesting.  So far DragonFly has managed to avoid the drama-with-a-capital-D that afflicts other communities over time.  Here’s a reason to not want growth…
  • Always have working backups.  ALWAYS.  (via)
  • I once went through almost exactly this, except it was a phone system that spanned several U.S. states and China/Mexico.  Asterisk is awful, except that every commercial phone system is worse.
  • A very on-target assessment of the iPad from a longtime Apple developer makes me think of something: will the iPad be good for open source?  Not as a platform, but as a way to push developers to open source systems, where program development doesn’t require approval from a single company with unclear guidelines.  Even the single interface port on an iPad is proprietary, and requires licensing.
  • It’s really nice to read about a successful open-source software business that did not hinge on investors or being bought out, but rather on, you know, actually doing business, as seen in this writeup of OpenNMS.  (via)
Posted by     Categories: Conventions, Goings-on     0 Comments

Another power solution

“Device initiated power management” via AHCI is now possible, thanks to Johannes Hofmann.   If I understand it correctly, it lets the computer handle power reductions automatically, which is more efficient than setting by hand.

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

More BSD in Argentina

Damian Vicino has posted about plans for an expanded second “BSDDay-AR” (a BSD event in Argentina) this year.  If you want to show and give a talk, let him know.  It’s always good to hear about a BSD event expanding.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions     0 Comments

Summer of Code organization application details

I’ve applied for DragonFly for the 2010 Summer of Code program.  I posted the details of the application, for the curious.  The application period closes in the next 24 hours; hopefully we’ll be in again…

BIND goes byebye?

Jan Lentfer has accomplished something rather dramatic: the removal of BIND from the base system.  It’s not actually out yet, but I daresay it will be after the 2.6 release, freeing people up to install any DNS server from pkgsrc – including BIND.

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

Ways to improve SSH security

‘Walter’ asked about dealing with endless ssh port dictionary attacks.  Several suggested changing ports and removing passwords, with opie(4) for when keyfiles aren’t available.  Also, there’s various auto-blocking scripts, though they aren’t as useful nowadays.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Linuxulator update finally happening

Alex Hornung has taken on a very overdue and very necessary project: an update of linux binary support.  His code is available for anyone who wants to try it.  Testing so far is working, but it could really use something complex, like Java with OpenOffice or tomcat, or perhaps Firefox/Flash.  Will it make it into the 2.6 release, which is potentially a week away?  Maybe – testing like the above would help.

p.s. we would all individually owe Alex a beer for this.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     1 Comment

wbsio(4) sensor support added

Constantine Murenin has added wbsio(4) to DragonFly.  It’s the ISA-attached version of the lm(4) sensor, if I remember correctly.

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

Messylaneous for 2010/03/08

I gots a Summer of Code org application to write up, so you get a linkdump:

An mp3 of “PFSense II, Rocking The Datacenter” at NYCBUG, via Dru Lavigne.  Also, her “BSD for Linux Users” at the SCALE website.

A 5-part series about Scripting Vim, written by a terribly smart guy?  Interesting!  (Yeah, I did link to a part of it before…)

Have you ever wondered if building more than one pkgsrc package at a time can be a problem?  Others have too, and apparently there’s a fix.   If you don’t want to have to get to a command line to find the answer, it’s:

The type of locking that will be done if competing processes
attempt to do work on one package directory simultaneously.

Possible values:
* none: No locking takes place at all.
* once: When the lock has already been aquired by another
process, the current process is terminated.
* sleep: When the lock has already been acquired by another
process, the current process will sleep for PKGSRC_SLEEPSECS
seconds and then try again.

You should also set OBJHOSTNAME when you are using the same
copy of pkgsrc on different hosts, maybe via NFS. This is because the locking process writes its process ID into the lockfile, and process IDs on different hosts are unrelated.


Posted by     Categories: BSD, Goings-on     0 Comments

BSDTV starts

BSDTV has been launched, with 3 videos to start.  Will there be DragonFly content?  I hope so.  (found via this and this)

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Goings-on     4 Comments

Mentoring reminder

We have several potential Summer of Code mentors already, but if you want to get in on the action, let me know.  Org applications start Monday, and I’d like a count before then…

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

em(4), igb(4) port added

Michael Neumann has added his port of the e1000 driver from FreeBSD, though he doesn’t recommend using it yet.  He’s looking for testers who have this hardware.

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

pkgsrc-2010Q1 freeze soon

The ‘freeze’ for pkgsrc-2010Q1 is scheduled to start March 16th, which will be right around the same time of the DragonFly 2.6 release.  The freeze lasts 2 weeks, usually, so new packages for 2.6 will be built probably about mid-April, based on this info…

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, pkgsrc     1 Comment

New BSD Magazine: Desktops

A new, free issue of BSD Magazine is out, with the theme of “BSD as a Desktop“.  The next issue is “Hosting BSD”, and if that sounds interesting, Dru Lavigne is a contact for writing an article on that theme.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     1 Comment

Self-hosting clang; building DragonFly with it too

clang, which many people look to as a gcc replacement, is now able to build itself.  (Thanks John Marino for the heads-up, some time ago)  It can also build world and kernel on DragonFly, going on the work of Sascha Wildner!

Using the pkgsrc package,  put


in /etc/compilers.conf and then set $CCVER to “clang” when building:

env WORLD_CCVER=clang make -DNO_GCC44 buildworld

I haven’t tried this, so any errors in description are mine, not Sascha’s – can someone verify? I don’t have a test system to run it on right now.

Edit: see Sascha’s comment for the definitive method.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     4 Comments

Messylaneous for 2010/03/01

I think I’ve almost caught up on my backlog of Things To Post:

The March issue of the Open Source Business Resource is up, with the theme of “Mobile”.  The BeagleBoard and OpenBTS articles are going to appeal to some specific people.

More links from Dru Lavigne.

It’s sinking in that Sun is gone“, the vi Complete Key Binding List, and Post-quantum cryptography, all ganked from Trivium.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, UNIXish     0 Comments