Month: March 2012

A minor DragonFly construction project

I’ve been working on a small house project over the past few days.  My house has a basement workroom, which I use for whatever I need to do involving pliers or a saw.  I’ve been slowly outfitting it over the past few years, and one thing I wanted to do was to wire it for music.

Not just a radio, but a computer that I could play sound file from, and stream audio.  You can buy hardware for just that, but I’m cheap.  I also wanted to keep it from looking like a computer desk; I have enough of that in my life already.  This is a minor project; nothing like what you’d find on Instructables, but entertaining because it let me use DragonFly.

I purchased a set of cheap speakers from Newegg.  You’ll notice that the speakers have a metal frame that forms a loop at the bottom – that’s important later.  I bought the speakers and hooked to a tiny netbook, running DragonFly 3.0.2.  It works fine for playing music, though the case speaker doesn’t shut off when external ones are attached.  That’s not a problem here, though, since it’s not loud enough to be audible over the separate speaker output.

Those metal loops on the bottoms of the speakers turned out to be handy.  I found some scrap wood, and built a small armature to fit inside the loop and hold it offset from the ceiling joist.  Both of these wooden blocks could have the speaker slide over it, upside down.

I stained both of the blocks so that they wouldn’t stand out against the dark wood of the workroom ceiling.

I affixed the wooden hangers as far out as the cord on the speakers would let me,  and slid the upside-down speakers onto them.  There’s enough length in the cords to place the separate volume control dial on the workbench, and I’m done.

You can see the ceiling speaker in the upper corner.  How’s the sound?  Okayish.  You aren’t going to get much out of a set of speakers this cheap, but at least I don’t have wires over my work area, and I don’t have to worry about puncturing a speaker with a screwdriver by accident, or something similar.  I can close the laptop to keep it at least somewhat protected.

This is not a terribly complex project, but it makes me happy to have a DragonFly-based jukebox when I’m home.  (This laptop usually travels with me.)  I’m playing the music with mpg123, which is a surprisingly capable command-line player for files and for streaming audio.

(Yes, that is a large black velvet painting of a bullfight in the background.  It was a wedding present.  I also have black velvet paintings of Kenny Rogers as the Gambler, Fat Elvis, and Jesus blessing a tractor-trailer.  I don’t know why.)

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

mfi(4) updated

Sascha Wildner has updated mfi(4), the LSI MegaRAID SAS driver , via FreeBSD and LSI.  SAS2208-based controllers are now supported.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Plans for pkgsrc

I just removed old pkgsrc binary packages for DragonFly 2.6/2.7 from avalon, so if somehow you are running a version of DragonFly that old, and still using binary packages, you’ll want to upgrade.  I’m pretty confident that describes nobody.

Also, I have plans for coordinating the next pkgsrc release of 2012Q1, due April 6th, with the probably next minor upgrade of DragonFly, 3.0.3.  I wrote out my plans already, so go read.  (plus followup)

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

ldconfig search path change

John Marino has changed the default search path for ldconfig; it no longer looks along /usr/lib/gcc* since that’s already included via rpath.  The end result: you will need to do ‘make upgrade’ after your next buildworld build/installworld.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

Fixing X video performance

I’ve seen a few people complain about poor video performance in DragonFly, in Xorg.  If you see a bunch of  “contigmalloc_map: failed …” errors in your dmesg, your video card needs more contiguous memory allocated.  Set vm.dma_reserved to 32M in /boot/loader.conf and you should be set.  If that doesn’t work, try 64M.

A 3.0.2 torrent

A torrent for DragonFly 3.0.2, found via Google search.  Which ISO or img files does it include?  I don’t know.  Which architectures?  I don’t know.  Is it legit?  I don’t know.  Click at your own risk, just like any other link.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     3 Comments

DragonFly 3.0.2 out

DragonFly 3.0.2 is out, and you can update (see /usr/src/UPDATING) an existing install or download a new one.  This release turns off I/O APIC when booting in a VM because it caused issues for some users.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

Summer of Code student applications open

Student applications for Google Summer of Code (and DragonFly) can now be submitted, until April 6th.  Now’s your chance!

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Lazy Reading for 2012/03/25

This is the week of in-depth items to look at.  I hope you have some time set aside…  Also, I’m doing something a little different; since Lazy Reading articles are built up over the week, I’m scheduling it for early Sunday (EST) so that you can read it in your bathrobe, drinking an astonishingly large amount of tea.  Or at least that’s what I’ll be doing.

  • Apparently there’s a Russian version of BSD Magazine, with a special Russian-only article.  Anyone who can read it willing to tell me what it’s about?
  • Did you know BSD also stands for something bike-related?
  • 70 Roguelikes!  The 7-Day Roguelike Challenge, just completed, has 70 games out as a result.  This will keep you busy, and there’s a very good writeup on several of the games to help you pick from the options.
  • 20 Years of Adobe Photoshop.  (via)  I link it because almost everyone, sooner or later, has used it or has used a program with a very similar tool layout.  Though I suppose you could argue it all comes from MacPaint, designed by Susan Kare, who happens to have also originated Clarus the dogcow.  Moof!
  • Man, Apple used to really have a sense of humor, too.  Maybe they still do.  Companies still do funny things (caution, autoplay video), but it seems to be done with the company’s marketing image in mind these days.  Also, get your ball out of my yard you darn kids etc.
  • Michael Lucas is teaching a SSH class at BSDCan 2012.
  • Lucas also has also disclosed numbers on his recent self-publishing venture.  I love seeing numbers like this because self-publishing discussion usually brings a whole lot of biases to the table, and people come down on one side or another because of what they want it to be, not because of what it is.  (Like discussions of the music industry, piracy, and software.)  This is just the plain numbers.  Also, Absolute OpenBSD, second edition, is definitely his next book.
  • Still on ssh, This Undeadly article talks about using OpenBSD, make, and ssh to speed up research.
  • 20 iconic tech sounds bound for extinction. (via)  Something in there will make you feel nostalgic.  I like the 8mm film noise.
  • Speaking of noise, here’s Famous Sounds, mostly electronically generated or sampled.  (via)  I guarantee some of these will be instantly familiar even though you won’t have heard the original song.

Your unrelated link of the week: Traitor.  (via)  It’s a Flash space shootemup game.   But dragonflies show up in one part!  (to shoot.)

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, Periodicals, roguelike     1 Comment

AMD processor bug: the followup

Matthew Dillon has posted a link to the errata for the AMD CPU bug that he found.   Venkatesh Srinivas has followed with a test case for the bug.

Matthew Dillon also pointed out there’s a workaround to fix it, with no performance impact, it’s only found on revision 10h CPUs (not Bulldozer), and it’s extremely hard to duplicate.  Why draw such a heavy line under that?  The news of this bug rippled out through various news sites and was almost universally misreported, in a way that made it look bad for AMD without actually realistically quantifying the problem.  Remember, it took 6 months just to find it – and he was looking for it!



Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

Another pkgsrc bulk build report

This report from yours truly is using pkgsrc-current, so it reflects some of what will show up in pkgsrc-2012Q1.  John Marino has already fixed some of the “top breakage” items, so the numbers should be even better for the next one…

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Freeze for pkgsrc-2012Q1 has started

It runs from now to April 6th, so nothing but bug fixes in pkgsrc until then.  If you have any package fixes you needed, now’s the time to ask someone.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

HEADS UP: full buildworld required

If you’re running bleeding-edge DragonFly (meaning version 3.1), you will need to do a full buildworld on your next update.  ‘make quickworld’ will appear to succeed but the kernel won’t work.

If you’re running DragonFly 3.0.x, this does not affect you.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Heads Up!     2 Comments

Apache in jail: a tip

Konrad Neuwirth is running Apache inside a jail, and getting some weird errors.  Obviously I don’t know the fix, but Chris Turner knows what the settings need to be.

Are you using old packages?

We have pkgsrc binaries still around for DragonFly 2.6/2.7.  As I posted, I’d like to get rid of them.  Would that inconvenience anyone?

We don’t have a set expiration policy.  We probably should.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, pkgsrc     0 Comments

How to idle on #dragonfly

A tip for anyone who hasn’t tried this yet: run irssi in screen, and connect to #dragonflybsd on EFNet.  You can then resume your screen session at any time after disconnecting and see the backlog, catch people addressing you directly, etc.

Before anyone says it: yes, I know, tmux works too.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Someday you will need this     2 Comments

DragonFly and a Mac

Carsten Mattner wrote out his notes on EFI booting on a Mac.  This gets you closer to booting DragonFly on there, but I don’t think it is completely working yet.

Update: Carsten Mattner has a better summation than what I wrote.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Things for, and not for, the next pkgsrc branch

That’s pkgsrc-2012Q1 I’m talking about.  It appears KDE will jump from 4.5 (what’s there now) to 4.8, and Zope/Plone will be removed.  This will make you happy or sad depending on whether you have these things installed.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Do you have an HP laptop?

If you do, acpi_hp could use some testing.  Sascha Wildner just brought some improvements in for that module.   I’ve seen discounted HP laptops show up in various places, recently.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2012/03/18

I’m making sure I post this Lazy Reading on the right day.  A nice full week’s worth of stuff.

Your unrelated link of the week: Neo Scavenger.  (via)  It’s a game, in Flash, and in beta.  If you like  postapocalyptic survival, it may be for you.

Getting published for BSD

BSD Magazine is looking for articles – specifically DragonFly articles, though I imagine it doesn’t have to be.  I’m stretched too thin to write anything right now, but if you have something, contact them.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     1 Comment

Freeze is coming to pkgsrc

I can only use this joke for as long as the series is running.The freeze for the next version of pkgsrc, 2012Q1, will start March 22nd and end with the quarterly release being released on April 6th.

(I hope someone gets the joke.)

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Summer of Code 2012: we’re in

Here’s the page, with a convenient mentor application note at the bottom.  That’s the next step, so if you were thinking of mentoring, now is the time.

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

GCC updated in base

John Marino’s updated DragonFly’s version of GCC 4.4 to 4.4.7, apparently the final version of GCC 4.4.  What’s next?  I imagine GCC 4.6 at some point.  It’s always a fun (maybe bikeshed-ish) conversation on which compiler to install, and which to have in base.

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Build report for pkgsrc

For the curious, I recently sent a bulk build report for pkgsrc-2011Q4 to the lists.  Other than ruby-193 (which is fixed in pkgsrc HEAD thanks to John Marino), we’re looking pretty good!  I’m curious if KDE or Gnome could actually get installed via binary; that’s sort of an ultimate goal due to the number of packages involved.

Speaking of Ruby, the default in pkgsrc may change soon, along with some of the involved Rails packages.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, pkgsrc     4 Comments

Booting in a VM tip

If you’re trying DragonFly 3 in a virtual machine, you may have noticed some issues in booting in (for instance) Qemu.  Sepherosa Ziehau committed a change that sets the sysctl hw.ioapic_enable to 0 in virtual environments.  It can always be turned back on, but the recent MSI/MSI-X improvements seem to cause trouble in some virtual environment.  You can also set that tunable at boot to get an initial install going.

(I haven’t had trouble in Virtualbox or VMWare, so you may or may not need this.)

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     5 Comments

Benchmarks for DragonFly 3.0

As several people have told me, there’s benchmarks of DragonFly 3.0 vs. 2.10, available on Phoronix.   CPU performance shows a significant improvement, in tests that actually test it.   (I’d think a file compression test would be disk-limited, for instance.)   Disk performance isn’t as great, but that may be in part because Hammer no longer will starve reading to benefit writing; that makes benchmarks look worse but improves real-world interactivity.  I’m sure there’s more quibbling to do, since it’s lies, damn lies benchmarks.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

GNU hash tables added

Another “first BSD to try it” feature: GNU hash table support has been added by John Marino.  These apparently speed up symbol searching during program startup, so it should improve large program startup time.  Think KDE or Open Office, though I don’t have numbers to back it up.

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

Old DragonFly images

If for some reason you needed DragonFly 2.6 ISOs, or older, there’s a mirror.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

pgrep, pkill, and jails

It’s now possible to specify a jail ID when using pgrep and pkill(1), to capture processes specific to a jail.  It’s similar to the same option in FreeBSD, except no compatibility issues since this option did not previously exist in DragonFly.

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

Building FireFox 10

If you want to build Firefox 10 out of pkgsrc, make sure your DragonFly system is up to date; there’s a recent fix needed to make that happen.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2012/03/11

This is the week where I remember to actually write introductory text.  I also didn’t think I was going to have anything good this week, but The Internet came through for me at the last minute.  Thanks, Internet!  It’s also the week where I mis-schedule this post for Friday, temporarily.

Your unrelated link of the week: Welcome to Muppet Labs, where the future is being made today!

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Lazy Reading     4 Comments

Missed notes: JDK1.6, isp(4), PCI ids

I tagged these when they happened in previous months, but I forgot to post them:

“peeter” got wip/jdk16 to build normally on DragonFly, and listed how to do it.  I don’t know if it still applies.

Sascha Wildner updated the isp(4) driver from FreeBSD, adding new supported chipsets and making it able to load as a module.

Also from Sascha Wildner, we’re now using one source only for PCI IDs.  Think of that next time you are looking at dmesg, and it makes sense.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

2 new mirrors

If you’re in New York City or the UK, there’s two new DragonFly mirrors for your downloading pleasure.  Check the mirrors page for details.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

More on that CPU bug

Matthew Dillon’s CPU bug hunt has scattered its way across various news sites, some more accurate than others.  He’s posted a followup that is probably a more valuable read than any of the news reports.

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Running something once

Have you ever tried to run a service and realized you forgot to make an entry in rc.conf to enable it?  It’s mildly annoying.  There’s now a “one’ keyword (via NetBSD) that lets you enable a service, once.  It still apparently performs sanity checks, unlike the otherwise-similar ‘force’ keyword.

BSD Magazine: lots of stuff

The March issue of BSD Magazine is out, as a free PDF as always.  It’s a real grab-bag of topics this time, so there should be something to interest you.  This time, it might be an article on DragonFly and Beowulf clusters.  (I was totally not expecting that.)

Posted by     Categories: BSD, DragonFly, Periodicals     0 Comments

Older Python not dead yet

A few days ago, I posted about Python 2.4 and Python 2.5 leaving pkgsrc – it looks like it’ll be a little bit longer, at least for the 2.5 version.  This means the Zope packages will be gone too, since they depend on Python 2.4.  This won’t affect you if you aren’t using these packages, of course.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

All that work, vindicated

Notice how the 2.12 release never really happened, and 3.0 came out about 6 months later than usual?  A lot of that delay was caused by a vigorous search for a weird bug.  Multi-threaded buildworlds would crash, seemingly randomly and rarely.  It turns out we have confirmation from AMD that it is, indeed, a CPU hardware bug.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     1 Comment

Google Summer of Code application in

The organization application for DragonFly is in for Google Summer of Code.  If you are thinking of working as a mentor or as a student, please let me know soon!   We will know if we’re accepted (for the 5th time!) on the 16th.

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

Lazy Reading for 2012/03/04


Your unrelated comics link of the week: Friends With Boys.  The whole comic is available online starting with the first page here and going on for about 200 more.  The full comic is only going to be online for a few days – hopefully enough for people to see it – and then you have to buy it.  (There will still be a preview.)  It’s a good story.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading     2 Comments

Do you like Haskell?

If you said “Yes!”, you’re in luck.  Markus Pfeiffer got ghc to compile on DragonFly, and his fixes (for DragonFly at least) to enable it are already committed.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

BSD conventions happening in Europe

I’ve seen notices in the past 24 hours for 2 different BSD events: BSD-Day, at UAS Technikum Wien in Vienna, Austria on May 5, 2012, and EuroBSDcon 2012, in Warsaw, Poland, October 18-21.  The Call For Proposals is out for EuroBSDcon, for submission by May 20th.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions     0 Comments

Python changes in pkgsrc

The default version of Python in pkgsrc is going to become 2.7.  This will mean the 2012Q1 release will use that version by default.  Older versions, meaning Python 2.4 and 2.5, may be going away.  At least, that’s how the linked thread started but I’m not totally sure about it as I read farther through.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     1 Comment