Month: April 2013

Howto: dports and xfce4

‘william opensource4you’ posted a summary of the steps he took for setting up a DragonFly system with XFCE4, using dports.  It’s pretty straightforward, and thanks to dport’s binary nature, should be exactly reproducible.

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

i386 end-of-life appears on the horizon

John Marino brought up a point every operating system project will have to think about: when does support for i386 (i.e. 32-bit x86 processors) stop?  Follow the thread for details.  There’s no final answer, yet.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     1 Comment

DragonFly 3.4 released!

As posted in my email to users@: Version 3.4 of DragonFly is officially out.

The release ISO/IMG files are all available at the usual mirrors:

The release notes have details on all the changes:

If you are planning to try the new dports system for installing third-party software, check the DPorts Howto page:

If you have an installed DragonFly 3.2 system and you are looking to upgrade, these (not directly tested) steps should work, as root:

cd /usr/src
git fetch origin
git branch DragonFly_RELEASE_3_4 origin/DragonFly_RELEASE_3_4
git checkout DragonFly_RELEASE_3_4

… And then go through the normal buildworld/buildkernel process found in /usr/src/UPDATING.  If you are running a generic kernel, that can be as simple as

make buildworld && make buildkernel && make installkernel && make installworld && make upgrade

(and then reboot)

If you encounter problems, please report them at  I get better at testing for each release, but I also get better at discovering new problems just after release.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Heads Up!     0 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2013/04/28

These are getting denser and denser with links, in part because I’m looking harder and in part because Hacker News is becoming a better and better source of links; there seems to be a new go-to site for tech links every 8-12 months.  Slashdot, then Digg, then Reddit, then Hacker News…

  •  Intel has published a HTML5 development environment.  I don’t even know if it would work on DragonFly or even any BSD, but I feel efforts to make tools that are actually, genuinely, crossplatform should be looked at.  Defensive platform-specific content seems to still be a thing.
  • Slightly related: Building a Roguelike in Javascript.  There’s several parts to this.  (via)
  • The Eternal Mainframe.  The argument is a little wild-eyed, but the underlying thesis: “Cloud == Mainframe” is valid.  (via)
  • A Primer on IPv4, IPv6, and Transition.  I signed up for an IPv6 tunnel recently, but I’m not directing traffic over it.  I should be.  (via)
  • How to make Your Open Source Project Really Awesome.  The title is linkbaity, but the steps listed are correct.  You will look at the “If you want to completely screw your users…” notes and nod to yourself, recognizing something that bit you.  (via)
  • There’s still Apple ][ software being sold.  I vaguely feel like I bought from there before…  (via)
  • Everything’s being put into a git repo these days.  (via)  Wait, spoke too soon.  (thanks, ‘bla’ in comments)
  • Scaling Pinterest.  I like seeing what technology is used as a site transitions from “oh yeah, running on leftover hardware in my basement” to “we need to hire yet another person to keep this all running”.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the week: Sometimes, repeated variations on a single theme can lead to some entertaining humor.  Therefore, Dog Snack.

(Did I just sneak in two unrelated links?  Yes I did.)

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, roguelike     3 Comments

Are you using hotplugd?

Are you using hotplugd?  If you are, this post from ‘william opensource4you’ about a small patch he made may be useful to you.

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

Updates for libmpfd, grep, diff, and libbsdxml

John Marino has committed updates for libmpfr, diff utils, grep, and libexpat/libbsdxml.  Libmpfr, the one item that I suspect doesn’t spring instantly to mind,  is a library for floating-point computation.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

DragonFly 3.4 release very soon

As I described in a post to the kernel@ mailing list, the DragonFly 3.4 images are getting uploaded for mirroring and downloaded for testing.  Assuming no surprises happen, we will be able to release very soon.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     4 Comments

The 3.4 improvements, quantified

Francois Tigeot put together some examples of the improvements from DragonFly 3.2 to DragonFly 3.4.  The improvement in tmpfs performance is pretty dramatic.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments for everyone else

For those of us still on IPv4 networks, the BSD-specific OpenGrok site should now be available in general, not just on IPv6.

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

DragonFly 3.3/3.5 users and dports

If you’re running DragonFly-current, which right now means version 3.3 and very soon 3.5, you are probably running pkgsrc.  If you want to transition to dports, this pair of posts from John Marino will tell you how.

BSD Magazine: FreeNAS FreeNAS FreeNAS

The April 2013 issue of BSD Magazine is all about FreeNAS.  I mean, every article is FreeNAS related.  If you’re curious about the product, this is the place to start.  (The magazine is also now available in ePub format in addition to PDF.)

Does FreeNAS count as another BSD flavor, rather than an appliance?  I’m not sure.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

Google Summer of Code: students, apply!

Now’s the time to put in your application for Summer of Code projects, if you’re a student.  The application period runs until May 3rd.  There’s already been some proposals on the mailing lists; now they can be put in officially.

I’ll point out the last link is from a returning GSoC student, and has a lot of detail; use that as an example if you’re thinking about your own application.

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

Lazy Reading for 2013/04/21

I think spring has arrived; everything’s turning green, and a young man’s thoughts turn to computer hardware upgrades.  Time to move to 64-bit!  Anyway, lots of links this week.  These are getting more and more content-filled over time, but I don’t think anyone minds…

  • For the Bitcoin enthusasts: ‘…when my wife refuses to bring him cake on our sofa, he calls it a “denial-of-service attack”’ (via)
  • Make It So, coverage of computer interfaces from movies.  I always thought that was what Enlightenment was trying to achieve: the Interface From The Future.  (via several places)
  • Same computer interface topic, but from anime movies.  It would be nice if this became something people actively worked on, instead of Bitcoin selling and Facebook monetizing.  (via)
  • Flat icons/monochromatic icons seem to be another microtrend.  This is probably because few people do small dimensional icons well.  My favorite was always the BeOS set.
  • On benchmarks.  It says what you should already know, but I like the Phoronix/MD5 benchmarking joke.  (via EFNet #dragonflybsd)
  • This article titled “The Meme Hustler” draws a finer line than I’ve seen before between “open source” and “free software”.    The author, Evgeny Morozov, seems to also have a hate-on for Tim O’Reilly.  See some reviews of a recent Morozov book for a counterpoint, of sorts.
  • Spacewar championship, 1972, in Rolling Stone.  Exactly two years before I was born!   At this point, finding things older than me makes me a bit happy.  There’s a picture of a Dynabook in there, photographed by Annie Liebowitz.  It’s entertaining to read this 40-year-old story and see how well it predicts the future.  I’m also sort of amazed it exists, in Rolling Stone.  More Spacewar links here.
  • Meet the Web’s Operating System: HTTP.  “Because HTTP is ultimately the one social contract on the web that, amidst a million other debates over standards, rules, policies, and behavior, we have collectively agreed to trust.”  (via)
  • Ancient computers in use today.  I’ve linked to a story about that IBM 402 before,  but the following pages about VAX and Apple ][e systems are new.  Well, new to read, certainly not new hardware.  (via)
  • Yahoo Chat!  A Eulogy.  The spray of forbidden words is an entertaining acknowledgement message.  (via)
  • The $12 Gongkai Phone.  Bunnie Huang breakdowns are always fun, and he’s describing a strange sort of open source that isn’t through license.  (via)
  • The FreeBSD Foundation is looking to hit a million dollars donated this year, which seems quite possible given last year’s performance.  Donate if you can; their activities help the whole BSD community.
  • A Complete History of Breakout.  It’s not actually complete, but that’s OK.  It includes Steve Jobs being a jerk and Steve Wozniak being very clever, which is their traditional roles.  (via)
  • Ack 2.0 is out.  It’s a very useful utility; I’d like to see more standalone utilities created this way.
  • Space Claw, Flickr via BBS.  You’ll need telnet.   (via)

Your unrelated link of the week: Shady Characters, a typography/history blog I’ve linked to before, has a book out.  If you liked those links, you know what to do next.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, FreeBSD, Lazy Reading, UNIXish     2 Comments

Hey, mirror operators!

If you administer one of the DragonFly mirrors, there’s a new /dports directory that can be mirrored.  See that second link for details.

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

Reading about booting and BSD

Ivan Uemlianin expressed a desire to read about the boot process, and how BSD works in general.  I made a short list of suggestions.

Posted by     Categories: Books, BSD, DragonFly     0 Comments

OpenBSD packages: an overview

Peter N. M. Hansteen has a long writeup about using and creating ports on OpenBSD, which is apparently a reprint of an article he wrote for BSD Magazine back in 2008.  I don’t remember if I read it, so it’s new to me, in any case.  Port and package creation across the BSDs is juuuust close enough that reading about one version will leave you with a good guess about the others.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, OpenBSD     0 Comments

Lounging around documentation

BSDCan 2013, which is happening in a few weeks, is going to have a “Documentation Lounge“, which is essentially a docs sprint, but with a much more relaxed-sounding name.  Anyway, it’s a good thing to contribute to.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions     0 Comments

DPorts and DragonFly 3.5 cheatsheet

John Marino published a ‘cheatsheet‘ (also, typo fix)for DragonFly 3.5 users who want to try dports, using DragonFly 3.4 packages.

dports and gcc versions; an explanation

John Marino has a concise explanation of why dports mostly uses gcc 4.4 still to compile, even if you’re building DragonFly itself with the default 4.7.  It’s a reason to not use NO_GCC44 – yet.

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

entr(1); Run arbitrary commands when files change.

Eric Radman sent along a plug for a utility he is working on called entr(1).  The desciption is “Run arbitrary commands when files change.”  The site for it has several nifty examples – run make when *.c files change, or convert Markdown files to HTML as soon as they are modified.  The really nice thing about it is that it’s perfectly BSD-friendly, and uses kqueue, but will also work on Linux.  This beats the “This runs on the one flavor of Linux I use, in one particular shell!” approach I’ve seen from some other developers.  See the reddit discussion of it for comparisons to inotify.  No, it’s not in pkgsrc/ports yet.

Update: And thanks to Thomas Klausner, it’s in pkgsrc as sysutils/entr, and in ports as sysutils/entr thanks to Eitan Adler.  You have no reason not to try it now.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, DPorts, Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

New conference: vBSDCon

This is interesting: Verisign is sponsoring a new BSD convention (PDF link) in October, in Dulles, Virginia, USA.  Apparently the use of BSD systems at the company is increasing, and they want to host something for it.  The pkgNG presentation may be very interesting for DragonFly users.  See the announcement.  A new convention to support increased BSD uptake is really a nice surprise.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions     0 Comments

International Space Apps Challenge this weekend

NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge is this weekend, 4/20/2013.  Fancy as it sounds, it’s really a single-day hackathon around open software and hardware, with the problems to fix coming from NASA and therefore probably very unique.  It’s happening in a bunch of places around the world, but there’s one right here in my town.

Posted by     Categories: Conventions, Goings-on     0 Comments

Running a spam blacklist

Peter Hansteen has an extensive writeup of how he has managed the spam blacklists.  Normally I’d stick this article in the Lazy Reading links, but the article is good enough to call out separately.   It’s excellent not just for the mechanical aspects of how the blacklists were maintained, but for his strict description on how the process is simple, verifiable, and transparent.  That last item, transparency, is how many anti-spam groups fall down.

Lazy Reading for 2013/04/14

We are very close to the next release.  As always, it comes down to building third-party software.  Lots of material here to read, until then.

Your unrelated link of the week: A bunch of monster models, all taken at a convention called Monsterpalooza.  A bit grody, but still some very good construction work.  (via)

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, roguelike, UNIXish     0 Comments

DragonFly 3.4 release status

Here’s a status report on the 3.4 release, pulled right from my mailing list post:

  • We have the ability to use pkgsrc or dports (building from source in either case) now
  • Several people have committed the remaining last-minute fixes
  • I’m not going to have pkgsrc binaries built for the release.
  • dports binaries – John Marino and Francois Tigeot are uploading now.

I’d like to have the release available with binary packages for dports immediately, because I anticipate a number of people wanting to try it out. So, the release will be delayed a few days while the packages upload.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

How to put completely new software in DPorts

DPorts is based off of FreeBSD’s ports, but it’s possible to add software packages to it that don’t exist in FreeBSD’s ports system and have them build as any other packages.  This is briefly detailed in this GitHub bug report, along with a number of the ports that already exist that way.

Posted by     Categories: DPorts, DragonFly     0 Comments

SSD/swapcache note

Matthew Dillon wrote a note about SSDs, HDDs, and swapcache that may be useful for anyone building a system soon.   Conversations about SSDs, swapcache, and so on have happened before.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     2 Comments

Summer of Code reminder for students: talk now

For anyone who is a student considering Google Summer of Code this year: this timeframe we’re in right now is listed by Google as time for “students discuss project ideas with mentoring organizations”.  This is the perfect time to find out what the people in an organization are like, and get early feedback on your project ideas.

Chances are, if you’re submitting a proposal for an idea from an org’s project list, you’re one of a number of students all trying for the same thing.  The best way to get accepted instead of any other applicant is to be the person they already know.

BSDTalk 244: Marshall Kirk McKusick and George Neville-Neil

BSDTalk 244 is Marshall Kirk McKusick and George Neville-Neil talking about the FreeBSD Foundation, for a generous half-hour.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

A BSD auction

The very first copy of Absolute OpenBSD (2nd edition), signed by Michael W. Lucas, is being auctioned off in a charity event for OpenBSD.  There’s 5 days left to bid, though the price is already somewhere north of $2 per page.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, OpenBSD     0 Comments

ftp (tnftp) update

Peter Avalos has updated ftp in DragonFly.  It’s actually tnftp, which is the same base ftp client used in FreeBSD/NetBSD/Mac OS X/etc.  It’s the 20121224 version, and the 3.4 release branch has it too.

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

Summer of Code links for everyone

The DragonFly page on the Summer of Code site is set up.  If you are a potential mentor that I’ve talked to before, I’ve already sent you an email with details.  If you are a potential mentor I haven’t talked to, you can email me or send a request via the DragonFly page.  (Google has a new ‘connections’ method for signup this year.)

If you’re an interested student, take a look at the DragonFly Projects Page.  Keep in mind that your proposal does not have to be one of those ideas – new projects are always welcome, and often have the advantage of being unique instead of being one of several similar proposals.  (hint, hint)

DragonFly and Google Summer of Code 2013: again!

We’re accepted!  The application requirements, etc. will be up on the Google Summer of Code site as soon as I can fill out the forms.

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

Lazy Reading for 2013/04/07

It’s a week past Easter and I’m actually tired of eating chocolate.  I never thought I’d say that.

Your unrelated link of the week: nothing.  I didn’t find anything off-the-wall enough to use here.  Geez.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, OpenBSD     0 Comments

Older Postgres versions on the way out of pkgsrc

It looks like Postgres versions less than 9.0 are going to be removed from pkgsrc soon.  Be ready to update, if you are running one of those extremely older editions.

Posted by     Categories: pkgsrc     1 Comment

USB4BSD: not yet

The upcoming DragonFly 3.4 release will not include the USB4BSD port from Markus Pfeiffer; he’s hoping for it to become default in the next release after 3.4.

You can still try it, as it’s present in DragonFly but not on by default.  Help with driver porting is always welcome, of course.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments announced

Constantine Aleksandrovich Murenin has put together a new site,  His announcement to users@ goes into a lot of detail, but here’s a preview: it’s an OpenGrok site that has a forked version of OpenGrok that’s both speedy and takes BSD into account, along with other nice features.

Here’s the catch: it’s currently IPv6 only.  IPv4 will be on as a test just today, and on for good shortly after.  Read that announcement I mentioned for details.

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

Over 19500!

John Marino has posted about the state of dports: over 19500 ports built, build logs available, and patches to add even more can be sent through github.  XFCE4, KDE3, and KDE4 are building, though he could use some help with GNOME2.


Man, I’m stretching it to make that “Over nine thousand!” joke, now.

Posted by     Categories: DPorts, DragonFly     0 Comments

Testing out the DragonFly 3.4 release candidate

If you have a DragonFly 3.2 system and you want to try the 3.4 release candidate, you can delete your local source, edit the Makefile to pull down 3.4 instead of 3.2, and run it.

cd /usr
rm -rf src
vi /usr/Makefile;
(in vi) :%s/DragonFly_RELEASE_3_2/DragonFly_RELEASE_3_4/g
(save, quit vi)
make src-create-shallow

… then proceed to make buildworld and so on, as normal.

The caveats: I haven’t tested this yet, and this assumes you don’t have any local changes in /usr/src that you want to save.  The usual warnings about lighting your computer on fire, etc., apply.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

pkgsrc-2013Q1 available via DragonFly git

The DragonFly Git repository of pkgsrc now has the 2013Q1 branch.  You can switch to it by editing your /usr/Makefile (look for existing references to either pkgsrc master or pkgsrc-2012Q3) and using the normal commands.

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

mfi(4) users and foreign configs

If you have a mfi(4) device – in other words, a LSI MegaRAID SAS driver – you can now see/import/clear/etc. foreign configurations, thanks to this commit from Sascha Wildner, tested by Francois Tigeot, and originally from FreeBSD.

For the confused, ‘foreign’ means any disk hooked to a RAID controller that isn’t part of a configuration the RAID device already knows about.  A replacement disk, or more worryingly, a good disk gone bad/unrecognizable.  (I’ve had both.)

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

Do you have a wpi(4) or iwi(4) device?

If you have an ath(4), wpi(4) or iwi(4) wireless network link, and you’re running DragonFly-master, please update.  Sepherosa Ziehau has pushed Johannes Hoffman’s wlan_serialize branch, which means bringing up wlan0 is a bit easier – and less crashy.

It needs to be tested for wpi(4) and iwi(4), however, so if you have success or failure with those devices, please say so in reply.

(new post category starting now: “Please test”)

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly, Please test     0 Comments

DragonFly 3.4 branched

DragonFly 3.4 is branched –  as a release candidate, with the current target for 3.4.0 release as the weekend of April 13-14.  See the tagging commit note for a list of all the commit messages.

Note that in previous releases, we tagged “x.y.0” on branch, and “x.y.1” on release.  I’m now tagging “x.y.0rc” for the release candidate at branch time, and we’ll tag with a more normal (to my ears) “x.y.0” for the release.

If you build a 3.4.0rc image right now, you’ll get an older quarterly release of pkgsrc.  That’ll be changed tomorrow as the DragonFly pkgsrc git source is updated and I change where 3.4’s  /usr/Makefile points.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

pkgsrc-2013Q1 announced, with extras

The 2013Q1 branch of pkgsrc has been announced.  Along with the normal quarterly material, there’s several notes: preliminary Cygwin support is present, ruby 1.8 will be retired in favor of 1.9 after this release, and the web page now has a very nice new look and logo.

I plan to branch DragonFly 3.4 very soon, and that version will have 2013Q1 as default.

Update: The 2013Q1 branch should be available by tomorrow on DragonFly’s git; the repository needs to update and convert from NetBSD’s CVS and that takes a little time.  I’ll post when it’s ready.

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