Month: September 2012

Lazy Reading for 2012/09/30

It’s been an extremely busy week for me, but I still have a batch of links here.

Your unrelated link of the week: Did you know one of the original ideas was to name DragonFly “TortoiseBSD” “TurtleBSD”?  Probably not the best name.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Lazy Reading     7 Comments

Some kernel hacking for you

Sepherosa Ziehau has some suggestions for anyone looking for some kernel hacking.  They’re mostly based around busdma(9). appears to be down right now so I’m linking to the MARC kernel@ post.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     0 Comments

Broken packages list for pkgsrc-2012Q3

There’s a post on the mailing list of currently broken packages for the next quarterly release.   It’s not a lot of stuff, but if something you need is on there, don’t worry too much.  If you follow the thread through its replies, there’s a lot of fixing going on.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Areca updates

Sascha Wildner’s added updatesfrom FreeBSD for the Areca arcmsr(4) driver; specifically for the ARC-1213, ARC-1223 and ARC-1882 models.

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

A whole lot of slides

Remember how I pointed at BSDEvent’s collection of slides from 3 different BSD conventions?  Well, now’s it is a lot more conventions.  As in multiple years of convention slides.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions     0 Comments

Users@ shows up at MARC

MARC, which stands for Mailing list ARChives, has a lot of mailing lists.  It now includes the DragonFly users@ list, along with the others.  (It’s not linked in *BSD on the main MARC page yet, but it should be soon.)  It’s worth digging through the massive, massive wall of text on that page to find a mailing list you didn’t know existed.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Google Code-In: participants?

Google Code-In 2012 has been announced.  I’m not going to be able to coordinate it for DragonFly this year…  anyone want to step up?

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

Rebuild everything if you’re running current

This latest commit for the new scheduler means that on your next update, you will want to build a new kernel, and probably a new world too.  This only applies if you’re running DragonFly 3.1, of course.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     1 Comment

Lazy Reading for 2012/09/23

The weather is finally turning cooler, which makes me happy.

  • I don’t think I’ve seen this before: Very old UNIX releases, listed for running in emulation.  (via)
  • Where the red-black tree name came from.  A red-black tree underpins Hammer 1’s data structures, though it does not in Hammer 2.  (also via)
  • Someone with a HP passport login want to help this guy?  He just needs to reinstall Windows in IDE mode, or perhaps find the right sysctl to toggle.
  • The acme editor, from Plan 9.  I didn’t realize it’s 20 years old.
  • Speaking of editors, Replace in Multiple Files with Vim.  I haven’t seen the argdo command before, or the Vim Ninjas site.  Their color schemes article is useful just for the screenshots. (via)
  • Adbuntu.  It’s not as bad or as inconsequential as most reactions would lead you to believe, but advertising within an OS seems heavy-handed.  The BSD model has been to use the operating system as a vehicle for selling hardware, and that’s been much more successful.  (see iOS, PC-BSD.)
  • Where Did the Internet Come From?
  • The map for Adventure.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the day: Victorian Sci-Fi.  It’s not just a reference list, it’s a link to a lot of the original material, since copyright no longer applies.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Hammer, Lazy Reading, roguelike     1 Comment

Mailing list archives updated back to 2003

I got the old mailing list archives converted to Mailman.  As I wrote in a post to users@, please let me know about problems.  There’s some garbled messages from the old archive that were placed into the 2012-Sept. section for each message; I’ll be cleaning those up manually.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Posting but not reading mailing lists

The old mailing list software for mailing lists, bestserv, apparently allowed people not subscribed to a list to post to it, after answering a confirmation message for each message posted.

The closest way to duplicate that for Mailman is to sign up for the list you want, and then turn off mail delivery for your email address in the config page for that mailing list.  This won’t affect a lot of people, since most people want list output in their mailbox, but there’s at least a few I’ve fixed that way.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

3 different conventions, 1 pile of things to read

BSD Events linked to the presentations for FOSDEM 2012, BSD-Day Europe 2012, and BSDCan 2012.  There’s a lot of reading there for you – and even some video.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions     1 Comment

A flurry of fixes and scheduler improvements

The combination of Mihai Carabas’s successful Summer of Code work on the scheduler and the recent Postgres benchmarking got Matthew Dillon to start thinking about making UNIX domain sockets work better, a shortcut around the buffer cache, scheduler improvements and then a new default scheduler, along with a change in idle CPU behavior.  The best place to understand all the changes is in his long post to users@.

We should have benchmarks soon to show the performance improvements from all this.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     2 Comments

Notes on smartmontools

Smartmontools will catch impending disk failures about 2/3 of the time, so it’s useful to run it and interpret the results.  The results can be somewhat complex, though.  However, it can be useful to look at other people talking about the output and glean knowledge from the context.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

A bikeshed and a code change

A discussion of why root automatically lists dotfiles with ls and all other users do not led to a long thread that includes some UNIX history.  There’s some useful and some not-so-useful parts in the thread, but it did indirectly produce a way to reverse the listing effect itself.

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

SYSV shared memory vs. mmap

Francois Tigeot benchmarked the recent Postgres 9.3 release.  Postgres apparently switched to using mmap instead of SYSV shared memory, and Francois has done this to show the performance differences.  (view the PDF in his post.)  Of course, work has continued since this was posted, so there should be new numbers soon, and new changes I’ll document in a future post.

I haven’t found a reference to the exact decision Postgres made on how to handle memory; please post a link in comments if you know a good source.

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

Pkgsrc freeze has started

See the note on pkgsrc-users@.  The next quarterly release, pkgsrc-2012Q3, should be fully baked by the end of the month, if all goes well.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2012/09/16


  • What will you have: tea or chai?  Mapping out all the names for tea around the world.  I love etymology and tea, and I know there’s some tea drinkers reading…  (via)
  • Speaking of tea, this London universal tea device sounds awesome.  (via)
  • Uncle Miod’s machineroom.  There’s some pictures of some old hardware buried in there that was incredibly expensive when it first came out…   (via)
  • This security issue is interesting because it’s a new kind of problem, but also depressing because it’s a new kind of problem.  (via)
  • Apparently a packaging system is always a good idea.  (explanation)
  • A patient explanation of /usr/local and a bit of UNIX file system history, too.  (via)
  • The history of Unix from where it happened, Bell Labs.  I’m pretty sure I haven’t linked to that before.  Interesting trivia note: playing the original Space Travel game in 1969 cost $75 for the computer time.(via)

Your unrelated link of the week: Top Shelf is having their annual $3+ comics sale.  There’s some really good books for cheap, there.  Of special note: From Hell, about Jack the Ripper, drawn by my favorite artist.  Wizzywig, mentioned here before as a fictional mishmash of real stories and rumors about hackers and BBSes and other things people need to be a certain age to remember.  The Ticking, drawn by Renée French, whose art should be familiar to fans of Plan 9 or Go.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish     0 Comments

When is DragonFly 3.2 coming out?

Probably not for a few weeks, at least.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

pkgsrc freeze for 2012Q3 starts tomorrow

As seen in this pkgsrc-users@ post from Thomas Klausner, the freeze for pkgsrc-2012Q3 starts on Sunday and continues for (probably) two weeks before the release.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments


NYCBUG, the NY BSD user’s group, has an RSS feed for their speaker events, found via Dru Lavigne’s always useful BSD Events twitter.  The next event at the start of October is a talk about SMPng in FreeBSD.  Given that it was the project that in part led to the creation of DragonFly, I’d like to hear about it.  (and even better, have someone more qualified than I compare and contrast that approach with what’s in DragonFly.)

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

Do you have offline Hammer1 slave systems?

If you do, they don’t get cleaned up during the normal ‘hammer cleanup’ nightly routine.  Chris Turner has added a way to manually specify them as a cleanup target.

I’m pretty sure in this case ‘offline’ means ‘nothing streaming to it from a master disk’.  I think.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly, Hammer     1 Comment

A potential new pkgsrc site

If you look at, you will see what may become a new site.  This is apparently a test, so don’t react as if this was the actual site.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Experimental pmap optimizations

Matthew Dillon has created an experiment: shared page table mappings.  It’s controlled by a sysctl, since it’s still experimental.  The real-world effect is reducing the number of memory faults as a process uses up memory, and decreasing the overall memory usage.  The obvious benchmark is Postgres speed; this makes the initial expansion of memory usage much less of an drag on speed due to a high memory fault rate.

If all this mention of faulting sounds like a problem, remember memory faults on BSD are normal; that’s how programs indicate they need more memory space by causing a fault.  This is in contrast to Linux, where memory is allocated a different way.  Or at least, that’s my understanding.  (If you know better, please comment.)

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     2 Comments

Do you have an ixbge(4)?

If you are using an Intel 10G Ethernet card with a 82598GB chipset, you’re using ixgbe(4).  You may want to set the net.inet.tcp.sosend_agglim sysctl to a value over 12 in certain circumstances, as described by Francois Tigeot.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     3 Comments

Some new Hammer features: scoreboards, shells

These are small, but they make life easier: Hammer now has a scoreboard file, for viewing of mirror-streams running in the background.  There’s also a ssh-remote directive, so you can use ssh without enabling an interactive shell, and a HAMMER_RSH environment variable so different remote shells can be used.  These are all for Hammer 1.

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

A lot of scheduler talk

If you ever wanted to read an extensive discussion about the scheduler, today’s your day.  Mihai Carabas, who posted the details of a long discussion he had with Matthew Dillon about how the scheduler works.  You may recall Mihai’s name from the very successful GSoC scheduler project that recently finished.

(look, a link to the new Mailman archive!)

Mailman conversion for DragonFly mailing lists complete

All the mailing lists at have been converted over to Mailman.  The old archives are still functioning, and will continue to update until I can find enough old material to retroactively complete the Mailman archives.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2012/09/09


  • deadweight, “Find unused CSS selectors by scraping your HTML”.  I’ve needed something like this for years.  (via)
  • The same sort of thing for pkgsrc: pkg_leaves.  Worth running at least yearly, or at least before any significant pkgsrc upgrade.  There’s no point in updating a package you don’t use or need.
  • GNU Coreutils cheat sheet, plus the instructions to make it.  There’s other cheatsheets linked in the article that may be useful.
  • Compiler benchmarks, comparing gcc and clang versions.  For a complete benchmark, I’d want to compare what number of programs build with each, too.  (via ftigeot on #dragonflybsd)
  • When ‘your mom’ and Unix jokes collide.
  • Distraction-free writing with Vim.  (via)
  • Also, there’s a “Modern Vim” book on the way.  Will it be good?  I have no idea; I don’t know of any prior books by the author or who the publisher is.  Those facts might help.
  • For a known author and publisher, here’s a status report on Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Edition.  If you don’t know what a BOFH is from his last sentence, read the original stories.
  • Quadrilateral Cowboy, a cyberpunk hacking game that actually involves non-boring programming and not just a pipe-matching game under the guise of hacking.
  • While I’m linking to games, GUTS, sorta like Diablo but more… roguey?  It’s turn-based.  Also, an excuse to use the roguelike tag.
  • 4 UNIX commands I abuse every day.  Having done a fair amount of Perl programming, I am entertained by having side effects being the intended goal.  Also, the author pays attention to what runs on BSD.  (via)
  • Disks lie. And the controllers that run them are partners in crime.”  Marshall Kirk McKusick describes just how hard it is to know when your data has really made it from memory to disk.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the week.  Dubgif.  Random animated gifs and dubstep clips.  Sometimes it doesn’t work, and sometimes it’s perfect.  (via)  If that’s too random, there’s also this .

Mailman conversion for mailing lists

If you’re on any of the mailing lists, I’m converting them over from bestserv to Mailman.  I’ve done bugs@, commits@, hammer@, and test@ so far, and I’ll move the old archives over to the same format as soon as I find an actual mbox file with the old messages in it.  The remaining lists should be tomorrow.

(If you got a note tonight from a list you were sure you were unsubscribed from, that was my fault; sorry!  I didn’t understand the format of the bestserv user lists.)

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

A whole bunch of installation notes

DragonFly user varialus has created a page on the DragonFly website (it’s a wiki, after all) with all the notes taken from trying installation, etc.  There’s far more notes than I expected there, so it’s worth a read.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Porting drivers, for future reference

Much of this new document has been around in other forms for a while, but now, there’s a brief guide on porting drivers to DragonFly in the source tree.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     1 Comment

LOPSA call for papers

LOPSA East is happening next May in New Jersey.  I haven’t seen mention of this on any BSD list, but there’s definitely Unixy things happening there.  The call for papers is out.

Posted by     Categories: Conventions, UNIXish     0 Comments

BSD Magazine for Sept. 2012

The September issue of BSD Magazine is out, as a free PDF as usual.  Visit the site to find out the table of contents.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

BSDTalk 219: David Gwynne and OpenBSD

David Gwynne talks for 31 minutes about OpenBSD on BSDTalk 219.  Also, Will Backman, the host of BSDTalk is heading to Tbilisi, Georgia next month.  Say ‘hi’ if you’re a Georgian.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

Some more books to read

This recent question asked on-list about creating your own file system meandered into good reference books.  This so far was “The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System“, “Modern Operating Systems“, and the paper “Vnodes: An Architecture for Multiple File System Types in Sun UNIX“.  Looking for links on those things led me to this Unix filesystem history paper from IBM, which is fun reading.

I’m saying that unironically!  It really is an interesting document to read, for historical and general knowledge.  I am a nerd. 

Posted by     Categories: BSD, FreeBSD, UNIXish     0 Comments

NYCBUG, Adrian Chadd, and teeny tiny computers

Adrian Chadd has apparently been smushing FreeBSD onto MIPS systems for some time, and he’s going to talk about it tomorrow night at the NYCBUG meeting.  I’m noting it because I’ve always found it interesting how much can be stripped out of a kernel and userland and still have a functional system.

Posted by     Categories: Conventions, FreeBSD     1 Comment

BSDMag, collected

BSD Magazine has a “Best of 2011” issue out for purchase; it has updated versions of various articles published over the last year in BSD Magazine.  The price is not clear on the website.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2012/09/02

I hope you like your links eclectic this week.

  • DragonFly is a popular project name, but this is unrelated to DragonFly BSD.
  • Russian Tea HOWTO.  I know there’s at least a few vigorous tea-drinkers in DragonFly other than me.  The tl;dr version is “make a syrup and dilute”, but it’s more enjoyable to get into the paperphanalia of it all.
  • I don’t know what Xombrero is, but someone submitted patches for it to build on DragonFly.  What a nice thing to do!
  • A Generation Lost in the Bazaar, by Poul-Henning Kamp.  Even if you don’t agree with his cathedral vs. bazaar generalizations, this description sums up a problem well: “Sam Leffler’s graphics/libtiff is one of the 122 packages on the road to www/firefox, yet the resulting Firefox browser does not render TIFF images.”  (via)
  •, the site of John Walker, co-author of AutoCAD.  The site looks like something from the late 90s but is surprisingly modern.  The Unix Utilities section has some interesting programs.  I’d link to it directly, but it’s a framed page on the site.  (See what I meant about “90s”?)
  • Beyond lies the wub: a history of dubstep.  You may or may not be interested in the music, but I like these long-form articles coming from the Verge.
  • 150 Troma films for free on YouTube.  (via)  The most famous one isn’t free, but it’s there.
  • Oh my goodness, the “thagomizer” is a real thing.
  • Racing modified electric kid vehicles.  I had a coworker who put a wheelchair battery into his daughter’s Barbie car.  He said it doubled the speed and made it able to drive on two wheels.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the week:  Flux Machine.  Be patient; the images are animated to good effect.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, Off-Topic     4 Comments