Month: November 2010

mfi(4) and mfiutil(8) added

Sascha Wildner has brought in the mfi(4) and mfiutil(8) drivers from FreeBSD, adding support for a number of different RAID controllers – including the Dell PERC 5 and PERC 6.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Chromium testing for DragonFly

Rui-Xiang Guo has brought chromium, the base of Google’s speedy Chrome web browser, into pkgsrc, in the wip branch.  He’s looking for testers of the work, especially on DragonFly.  Please try it and report!

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, pkgsrc     0 Comments

2010 Home-made Holiday Geek Gift Guide

I did this last year and the year before, so why not make a habit of it?  I get no commissions; these are mostly places I’ve shopped or plan to shop.   It’s based on “This would be SO COOL to have”, and nothing else.


Nerditry: Newegg, ThinkGeek, Leatherman Wave, (see 9-layer OSI model shirt).

Science: American Science and Surplus, Ward’s Scientific, Carolina, and United Nuclear

Creepy: Bone RoomSkulls Unlimited, or Skullduggery.


There are FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD stores, where money goes back to the project.

Bookwise, Jeremy C. Reed publishes a number of BSDrelated books.  Buy his stuff through Amazon.  There’s also No Starch Press, which has a number of BSD publications.  (and LEGO, too?)  And of course O’Reilly, for a bunch of things.

Nice things to do:

The FreeBSD Foundation is having an end-of-year appeal for funds, so you can donate in someone’s name.    The NetBSD Foundation probably accepts donations, though I don’t have a specific page to link to for that.

Donations to the Itojun Service Award fund are also a good thing.

Everything else I could think of:

Further suggestions welcome, especially for European shoppers.  I’ve been slowly growing this list year-to-year, and I can always use more interesting and unique places.

Update: George Rosamond pointed at  There are some crazy cheap prices there.

Also, and I can’t believe I didn’t link to this before: Brando.  If you’re looking for something with a USB port, Brando has it.  Even if it’s a jeweled scorpion necklace… USB drive.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, Off-Topic     1 Comment

NAT with pf, redux

DragonFly versions >=2.6 and ipfw don’t seem to get along for doing network address translations.  I’ve posted about this before, but I’m linking again because this time I have the explicit config lines written out.

I should probably create a pf category…

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

Google Code-In results, so far

Several Google Code-In tasks for DragonFly have already been claimed and finished – a regression test and desktop documentation, plus others I haven’t been involved in.

The contest runs through January and is open to anyone 13-18, with Google paying per task.  Hopefully we’ll have enough tasks to make it the full time, as it’s more popular than I anticipated.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Google Code-In     0 Comments

dmirror: the idea

Alex Hornung has added the basic work for dmirror, a software RAID-1 implementation into the tree, along with a concept description from Matthew Dillon.  It’s not ready for use yet; ready for development, though.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Odd mouse fix

Siju George noticed that his mouse would stop working in X, perhaps every hour.  Restarting X would fix it, but he didn’t have a clear cause.  Antonio Huete Jimenez suggested turning the sysctl ‘debug.psm.loglevel’ to 9 to at least see what messages cropped up, and that seemed to fix it.  I don’t think it’s a good long-term solution, but it’s worth mentioning in case this odd bug bites someone else.

New committer: Ilya Dryomov

Please welcome our newest committer: Ilya Dryomov.  He’s already responsible for deduplication code for Hammer, so now he can work directly.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Robotics, anyone?

Tomas Bodzar found robotpkg, a pkgsrc-based collection of robotics-related software.  Because of its pkgsrc origins, it should in theory work with DragonFly, or most anything.

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

arcmsr(4) update for Areca users

Sascha Wildner has updated the arcmsr(4) driver, for you Areca users out there.  I think Areca was one of the vendors kind enough to test DragonFly on their hardware directly, so please consider them next time you are in the market for a SATA RAID card.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

The return of APIC_IO

APIC_IO is back as a kernel config option, though it just toggles the sysctl loader tunable default.  This is so a kernel config file with that option still set won’t cause an error.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     2 Comments

Better AMD chipset support

Matthew Dillon’s made several changes to improve support for AMD SB850 chipsets (for AHCI) and also for 880/890 chipsets.  If you have one of these systems, it may be bootable/more reliable.  Don’t start messing with the hot-plug capability yet, though.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

OpenSSL updated, more stats

Peter Avalos has committed his speedups for OpenSSL encryption (using assembly), along with a lot of numbers to show performance changes.  It’s definitely sped up, but the quantity of values is so large that you’d have to visualize it differently to get a summary I could show here.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

Google Code-In started!

If you’re between 12 and 18 years of age, Google Code-In has started. There’s plenty of tasks available for DragonFly BSD, so jump in now! (or, well, wait a few days for the holiday if you’re a U.S. resident.)

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Google Code-In     0 Comments

Lazy Reading: old UNIX, new book, more NYCBSDCon

A general roundup of things, this week.

  • The 1978 Bell System Technical Journal, describing this new Unix thing.  (via)
  • The book Modern Perl is out, written by chromatic.  I link to it for two reasons: the first is that while the book is available for purchase, it’s also available as a free download, with the only condition that you must tell others about it.  The second reason – and the reason I’d mention this book anyway – is that chromatic writes on his site and for O’Reilly, and his articles are succinct and enjoyable.  The Web is a deluge of text, so any author that can hold your attention, with all the other sources to read, is worth following.
  • More NYCBSDCon 2010 stuff, from the comments on my previous post: Will Backman has partial audio recordings, and Jason Dixon’s adventure is online.  (thanks, Will and Lawrence)
  • This summary of the (BSD-ish) Tarsnap service made me smile.
  • Top 5 Best Practices for an Open Source Development Community.  (via)  I especially agree with items 2 and 3.
  • Oddly compelling.  (via everywhere)

Thanks,, for leading me to this.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, UNIXish     0 Comments

RSS changed!

If you can see this, the RSS switch worked.  Here’s hoping.

Posted by     Categories: About This Site     0 Comments

RSS feed change for Digest

I’m moving the RSS feeds for the site to go through Feedburner, so I can see how actively they are used.  I’m putting in a redirect, so it should not (I hope) affect reading it for anyone, but this note is here just in case.

The new location for the RSS feed will be:

Posted by     Categories: About This Site     0 Comments

Faster OpenSSL a possibility, without hardware

Peter Avalos is working on having OpenSSL use assembly code.  On i386, he reports initial rough results of blowfish working 15% faster, and DES doubling in speed.  (seen via IRC.)

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     6 Comments

pkg_radd: oddly successful with upgrades

The utility pkg_add has a -u option that tells it to upgrade any existing matched package with a given binary package.  Since pkg_radd passes options on to the underlying use of pkg_add, after automatically setting a remote repository for binary files, pkg_radd -u <packagename> tells pkg_add to automatically find and upgrade a package.

I never thought this would work.  However, I’m building a package on a system that has pkgsrc-2010Q1 packages installed, but a pkgsrc-2010Q3 /usr/pkgsrc.  Every time I’ve encountered an error because installed software was too low a version, pkg_radd -uv <package_name> has resulted in a quick upgrade.

I’m not recommending this as a new upgrade method; I’m noting how unexpectedly well this experiment is going.  It may be just blind luck, but this sure would be nice if it ‘just worked’.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, pkgsrc     2 Comments

OpenSSL update, vn update

Peter Avalos is bringing in OpenSSL 1.0.0b.  I’m not sure what the difference between 1.0.0b and 1.0.1 would be.  Also, Alex Hornung has updated vn(4) – there’s more updates than the one I linked.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

A Dell laptop fix

Naoya Sugioka had trouble booting DragonFly on his Dell M4400.  He updated ACPICA with this patch, and was able to boot.  I link to it in case someone else with a recent Dell model (or perhaps just a laptop with the same chipset?) has the same issues.

2.8.3 is on the way

Another point release for DragonFly 2.8 is planned, with a bunch of small updates, some of which have been covered here recently.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

More pf updates

Jan Lentfer, who apparently has a high tolerance for pain, has now brought the kernel part of pf up to the equivalent of the OpenBSD 4.4 version, available for testing.  It’s not yet committed.  pfctl’s updated too.

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

Building Java, again

Francois Tigeot was able to get wip/jdk15 to build on DragonFly, from pkgsrc-wip.  Unfortunately, the package has been removed, but he’s looking to put it back.

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

FOSDEM 2011 call for papers

Marius Nünnerich posted a call for papers for FOSDEM 2011.  Submissions need to be in by December 20th; the Brussels conference itself is happening in February.

(Has anyone been to this?  What was it like?)

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

Last Call for Code-In tasks

If you have any last-minute suggestions for Google Code-In tasks for DragonFly, pass them along now – it starts Monday!  Post them here, or in #dragonflybsd on EFNet IRC, or on the kernel@ mailing list.  We have 34 already, but you can never have too many.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, Google Code-In     1 Comment

NYCBSDCon 2010: notes

My NYCBSDCon 2010 summary, or How I Spent My New York City vacation:


Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions, Goings-on, UNIXish     15 Comments

Back from NYCBSDCon

Well, almost – I’m still in an airport.  I didn’t get to liveblog because of some Atheros chipset issues that are now conveniently solved, but I’ll have a lengthy post by tomorrow detailing the NYCBSDCon convention.  The short version: lots of fun, you all should do it.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     0 Comments

A fix for docbook and pkgsrc issues

A number of people have encountered this: while installing some larger pkgsrc package, the process stops on a strange DocBook error.  Alex Hornung has a fix:  symlink /usr/pkg/etc/xml/catalog to /usr/pkg/share/xml/catalog.

Flash howto, updated

It has multiple authors at this point starting with Chris Turner and moving to Siju George, but: the Flash setup is in the quickstart document.  As I recall, someone put together a changed library for it that fixes a audio/video sync issue.  Oh wait, I did find that before.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

Dovecot upgrade

Dovecot, a rather popular IMAP/POP3 mail server, has had version 2 arrive in pkgsrc.  There’s an upgrade guide on pkgsrc-users@ if you’re thinking of upgrading.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Power levels and how to vary them

Alex Hornung is having trouble getting his power consumption as low as it could be on his DragonFly laptop.  A side effect of this problem is that when he posts about it, he also manages to enumerate all the various ways you can reduce power consumption and heat usage on a laptop.  (Follow the thread for more.)

APIC_IO changes warning

If your system has trouble when APIC_IO is enabled, and you’re tracking DragonFly 2.9, you may have trouble on your next build.  The fix is putting this in your loader.conf:


I know this has already been covered, to some extent, but one can never be too clear with solutions.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Someday you will need this     0 Comments

APIC_IO changes

For a long time, APIC_IO was an option that you usually had to enable for multiprocessor capability in your kernel config.  Michael Neumann fixed up and changed this so it’s no longer a kernel config option for i386 or x86_64, but rather a loader tunable: hw.apic_io_enable.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

Deduplication arrives

Ilya Dryomov’s work on deduplication for Hammer has been committed to the tree in an early test form.  I guess I need to pay up as part of the code bounty.  If you’re wondering how much space it will save, but don’t want to try non-production code yet, there’s a ‘hammer dedup-simulate’ command that will estimate the saving ratio.

This is great news – deduplication is so valuable it adds an extra zero onto the price of any storage device that can do it.

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

Lazy Reading: Clouds, cookies, bugs, more

A catch-up week.

  • Ivan Voras askes for the ‘anti-cloud‘, a true decentralization of resources instead of the cloud-as-a-central-service-from-one-company, which is what it’s becoming now.
  • How not to design a protocol, about HTTP cookies.   (via)  I’ve heard from far more people worried about cookies and the need to clear or block them, than, say, people who realize the risks that programs like Firesheep expose.  Such is life.
  • Will be needed: a SSH VPN.  (via)  Did I link this already?
  • ‘radek’ sends along news of Giant DragonFlies.  Not the most scientific of articles, but a fun thought.
  • sshd, given actual form.
  • Dru Lavigne’s got a nice summary of MeetBSD, complete with pictures, audio, and video.  More conferences should be covered this completely, and quickly.
Posted by     Categories: Conventions, Goings-on, Lazy Reading     1 Comment

BSDTalk: Matthew Dillon, DragonFly

Another day, another BSDTalk item: this time it’s 15 minutes with Matthew Dillon at MeetBSD, talking about the 2.8 release.  It was recorded either today or yesterday – quite fresh.

Matthew happens to mention that experimental deduplication support will arrive next week in Hammer.

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

Google Code-in: us too!

We’re part of Google Code-In!  One of 20 organizations, this time.

If you want to contribute something right now, we can always use more Code-In ideas on our project page.  (Follow the categories on the Code-In page.)  Applications start on Nov. 22nd.

Update: my mailing list post with details.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, Google Code-In     0 Comments

Hey, that’s neat-looking

Posted by ‘blinkkin’ on IRC: this SVG test using DragonFly facts.  Click on it; it zooms.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

BSDTalk: PC-BSD, Kris Moore

BSDTalk has a brand new interview from the just-finished MeetBSD, talking about PC-BSD 9 with Kris Moore.  (18 minutes)

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

A pile of upcoming events

This is just based on what’s shown up in my Inbox lately:

Of course, for about a zillion more events, watch the BSDEvents Twitter feed.

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

Swapcache helps out more

Swapcache is normally used with a SSD, but Matthew Dillon was able to set it up using a separate, ‘normal’ hard disk on This reduced pressure on the machine’s existing disk, especially with the recent release causing much traffic.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Building Cairo/gstreamer/etc.

If you have trouble building Cairo or gstreamer or some other X-related packages, check this page from Dave Shao.  It came in useful for me.  (linked by Steve O’Hara Smith)

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

November OSBR: Economic Development

The November issue of the Open Source Business Resource is out, with the theme of “Economic Development.”  I like the microcredit article, but perhaps that’s just my special interest.

The December issue’s theme is “Humanitarian Open Source” and the guest editor will be Leslie Hawthorn.  She’s currently Open Source Outreach Manager at Oregon State University Open Source Lab, but some may remember her as the face of Google Summer of Code for the past several years.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Google Summer of Code, Periodicals     2 Comments


Pratyush Kshirsagar has added a howto page on setting up a ftp server, among other services .

The longer I work on this Digest, the harder the names are to spell.

Edit: Link fixed.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments