Month: October 2013

lpr, still in use

The venerable (from 1979!) program, lpr, has been superseded by CUPS in many installations.  Francois Tigeot suggested removing it, but it’s still directly usable in specific situations and easier to just shift out of the way.  It’s staying, but it’s interesting to see how it still gets used.

Update: Predrag Punosevac has descriptions of the various tools involved.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     1 Comment

Multiple TX queue support for mxge(4)

Multiple transmission queues are possible for the mxge(4) driver; I’m mentioning it because Sepherosa Ziehau’s post about this describes the exact tunables to configure this.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

DragonFly 3.6 branching this weekend

I’m planning to branch DragonFly 3.6 this weekend.  The actual release will come 2 weeks later.  (Ignore what I wrote about a dports installer/image.)

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

BSDNow: A Brief Intorduction

BSDNow has Episode 8 out, containing an interview with Antti Kantee, a number of BSD news items (including some I missed entirely), and if you couldn’t tell from the purposefully misspelled title, a conversation about Tor and BSD.

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Discontented with contention? Be content.

Matthew Dillon wrote a roundup post summarizing all the changes he’s made to DragonFly to improve SMP performance in the last few weeks.  He’s removed almost all contention from DragonFly.  This means better performance, scaling upward depending on the number of processors.

‘monster’, the system that builds all 20,000 items in dports, can complete the run in 15 hours.  Compare this to the 2 weeks it used to take me to build the 12,000 packages in pkgsrc.  This is admittedly on different hardware and different packaging systems, but it gives a sense of the scale of the improvement.


Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DPorts, DragonFly, pkgsrc     4 Comments

New ideas for Capsicum and DragonFly

Joris Giovannangeli, who worked on porting Capsicum to DragonFly for Summer of Code 2013, is continuing his work.  He’s posted a detailed note on how to do capability management in a new way, with it retaining compatibility with FreeBSD’s capsicum implementation.

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

Lazy Reading for 2013/10/27


Your unrelated link of the week: Deep into Youtube, the top-rated films.  You may want to turn your volume down, and make sure nobody is around.  Not for NSFW content, but because some of those films are so confusing that it’s impossible to explain to someone else why you are watching them.  (via)  There’s some Nico Nico Douga-sourced stuff in there, which I thought I’ve mentioned before, but I can’t find it now.  Why do I even know these things?

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish     1 Comment

In Other BSDs for 2013/10/26

Once again, doing this at the last minute:

Posted by     Categories: BSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Possible to poweroff

The ‘poweroff’ command, the equivalent of ‘halt -p’, has been added based on a suggestion from Robin Hahling.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     2 Comments

Speedups for SMP

Matthew Dillon has gone after reducing contention and improving SMP performance as vigorously as possible, using dports builds on a 48-processor machine as a test.   The machine’s building more than 1000 packages an hour, last I saw on IRC.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

I’m hiring

This has nothing really to do with DragonFly.  I’m hiring a report developer for work.  Here’s the Craigslist job posting.  I consider it very unlikely that there’s a local reader of this blog that also has the right skills, but what the heck.

Posted by     Categories: Off-Topic     1 Comment

ldns, drill updates

John Marino has updated ldns and drill to version 1.6.16.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Clock explanations

Chris Turner was curious about clock skew when running under a VM, and Sepherosa Ziehau very kindly explained the different types of internal clock for DragonFly, and how to control them – a topic I’ve never understood deeply.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2013/10/20


  • The Shady Characters blog talks about alternate phone dial layouts.  I’ve mentioned those here before, but Shady Characters links to this video describing the testing that went on for the keypads.  Check at about 2:40 for the story on how AT&T figured out the ‘correct’ length for the phone handset cable.
  • The Youtube channel for Numberphile, the source of that previous video link, has some pretty entertaining math videos…
  • The UNIX as a Second Language blog has an article up about using strace.
  • The Roland SP-808.  I didn’t know these had a built-in Zip drive.  (via)
  • The ICT 1301 runs again.  This is what big computers are supposed to look like, with large cabinets, and spinning tapes, and oversized operator consoles.  (via)
  • Cryptogeddon, a sort of augmented reality game where I think you sneak your way across real systems.  ‘Real’ as in not someone else’s computers, but real systems set up for this game.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the week: Here’s a weird coincidence.  I was looking at this list of pixelated iconic album covers.  The #3 item is “Trout Mask Replica”, from Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band.  I scanned that specific image back in 1994, on a Mac IIsi in my college lab.  For whatever reason, I’ve seen copies of my scan (color corrected much better than I did) many times since.  I know I’m not hallucinating because I still have the record, with the same wear pattern on the album cover.  It’s odd to see a 20-year-old copy of a 40-year-old album scan you did just pop up out of nowhere.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish     0 Comments

In Other BSDs for 2013/10/19

I am doing this one at the last minute.  I had all the articles noted, but normally I build this post over the course of the week.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD     0 Comments

BSDNow 7: Go directly to jail(8)

BSDNow episode 7 is out, with jails as a feature among a number of topics.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

BSD Magazine for October out

The October episode of BSD Magazine is out.  I haven’t seen it in their RSS feed yet (is it running?), but noticed it here.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

SMP contention improvements

Matthew Dillon was using poudriere, the dports build tool, on a 48-core system.  Poudriere was building all 20,000+ dports, so the machine was quite busy.  He decided to get rid of as much contention as possible, and he’s listed all the ways DragonFly’s been streamlined by these efforts.  We need to revisit some of our previous benchmarks

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     2 Comments

LISA 2013 announced

The Large Installation System Administration 2013 conference has been announced for is coming up on November 3-8, in Washington, D.C.  There’s training and speakers and all sorts of stuff, and maybe even a working government in that town by that point.

Posted by     Categories: Conventions, UNIXish     2 Comments

Searching DragonFly man pages with Mozilla

There is a search plugin for Mozilla that searches DragonFly man pages.  (Thanks Samuel Greear)

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     1 Comment

Multiple queues support for GigE

I stole Sepherosa Ziehau’s email subject for the title of this post, because that’s exactly what has happened.  Gigabit networking cards under DragonFly will perform very well under extreme load – all of them.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Getting pkgsrc

As a followup to news that the git feed of pkgsrc through is not being updated, Max Herrgard wrote out how to fetch pkgsrc via CVS, or tarball, or another git feed.  CVS is still the ‘official’ way.

Posted by     Categories: DPorts, DragonFly, pkgsrc     0 Comments

Flush and sync changes ongoing

Matthew Dillon’s been working to make huge parallel software builds (i.e. dports) go a bit faster, so watch out.  This only affects you if you are running DragonFly 3.5, of course.

Posted by     Categories: DPorts, DragonFly, Heads Up!     0 Comments

BSDNow 6 out

I’m a bit slow in posting this, but: BSDNow episode 6 is out.  Theo de Raadt is interviewed, and a lot of other topics (including DragonFly) are visited.  The page listing shows all the areas covered, plus the embedded video itself.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2013/10/13

This week just built up and built up.

Your unrelated comic link of the week: Nimona.

Posted by     Categories: Books, Lazy Reading, UNIXish     0 Comments

In Other BSDs for 2013/10/12

I got some PC-BSD items this week, too.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, FreeBSD, Goings-on, NetBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD     5 Comments

DragonFly pkgsrc repo is frozen

The pkgsrc repository in git for DragonFly is currently frozen.  This is because many people have switched over to dports, and also because it’s a lot of work to keep it functional.  If you do want to pull newer pkgsrc material, use cvs and grab it from a NetBSD server.

As the message notes, don’t go switching to DragonFly-current right now, cause there’s a lot of new material in there and it may not be quite safe.  (There’s an ABI change that will require all new builds of your ports, for instance.)

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

Continuous dmesg

If you’re watching for a certain event, dmesg(8) on DragonFly now has a -f flag that will display new output as it’s logged, sort of like ‘tail -f’.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

Radeon KMS driver added

The Radeon KMS driver from FreeBSD has been imported to DragonFly by Francois Tigeot.  It still has problems with ttm, but don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of it.

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

Memory statistics changes

While looking for a different bug, Matthew Dillon made some changes in the way memory usage is totaled in DragonFly.  You’ll see this most when using ‘systat -vm 1’ or ‘vmstat’, probably.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

Google Code-In 2013 and Summer of Code 2014 announced

Google has a post up about the 10th anniversary of Summer of Code, with next year’s version of the event getting some changes – an increase in the students allocated and in the student stipend, and more events.  I’m planning to apply for DragonFly, for 2014.

Google is also doing the Code-In, for 13 to 17-year-old students, again.  DragonFly participated in the first year (the only BSD to do so), but sat out last year.  I’m not currently anticipating DragonFly being involved for 2013, cause of reasons.  (It’s a lot of work!)

gdb, kgdb updated

John Marino has accomplished the major task of updating gdb/kgdb, to version 7.6.1 for DragonFly.

Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly     0 Comments

AsiaBSDCon 2014 announced

Hiroki Sato posted to the users@ list about AsiaBSDCon 2014.  It’s happening the 13th to 16th of March in 2014.  Material from 2013’s convention should be going up soon, and the Call for Papers is already out.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions     0 Comments

BSDTalk 232: Thomas Cort

BSDTalk 232 is 15 minutes of conversation with Thomas Cort about “Minix, NetBSD, and Summer of Code”.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, NetBSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

Here, there, everywhere for mdocml

Franco Fichtner recently received commit rights for DragonFly.  This is so he could import mdocml, a OpenBSD-originating replacement for groff and man page display.  Mdocml has been mentioned before on the Digest, and there’s a downloadable book.  (See the more-interesting-than-it-sounds History of UNIX Manpages there too, but I digress.)

One advantage of using mdocml, as I understand it, is that groff is no longer required to view man pages.  The only thing left in DragonFly that required a C++ compiler was groff.  So, rebuilding could be a bit faster, and a bit less complicated.

Here’s the part that makes me happy: Changes made in DragonFly promptly made it back into NetBSD’s mdocml.   Other changes rolled from DragonFly back into OpenBSD, too, and mdocml is in FreeBSD 10, though I don’t have a src change to point at right now.  It all circled back around to DragonFly, too.  It’s really neat to have a BSD-grown cross-BSD product.

(Incidentally, if you have a Thinkpad and keyboard issues, Franco has a patch for you to try.)


Posted by     Categories: BSD, DragonFly, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD     5 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2013/10/06

I’m going for pull quotes and dedicated paragraphs this week, just to mix it up.

The Slow Winter.  It’s about the history and trends of chip design, if you can believe it.  “Modern software barely works when the hardware is correct, so relying on software to correct hardware errors is like asking Godzilla to prevent Mega-Godzilla from terrorizing Japan. THIS DOES NOT LEAD TO RISING PROPERTY VALUES IN TOKYO.” I love it so much.   (via)

Richard Stallman on 30 years of GNU.  I don’t agree with everything he says, but the basic point is correct.  “If you use a program to carry out activities in your life, your freedom depends on your having control over the program. ”  (via multiple places)

When Pipes Get Names.  For some reason, I’ve never had to deal with named pipes – directly.  I’ve used them via other programs, of course.

The person who invented Whack-A-Mole also created dedicated email terminals in the 80s/90s called Anti Gravity Freedom Machines.  All those smaller ‘Maker‘ projects seem unenthusiastic compared to this guy.  Anyway, his warehouse full of robots blew up.  I haven’t found pictures yet.

Joblint, a job description checker.  This has more value than I thought.  I’m curious about statistical results over a large number of jobs.  Take a look at those warnings, too – they’re mentioning the possible dark side of a lot of job ‘benefits’.  (via)

This XOXO presentation by Maciej Ceglowski, creator of Pinboard, makes some good points about work, going against countervailing wisdom to some extent.  “You can work on a lot of projects, but you will only get a couple of opportunities to work on something long-term.”  Pinboard is one of those businesses that remains relatively successful without having to get bought by Google to return any profit.  That’s a sort of success I find fascinating.  (via)

CERN has created an in-browser version of… the first web browser.  It accurately displays like a green-screen terminal, including key clicks.  Watching the screen draw gives me flashbacks to playing MUDs.

Adding Vi To Your Zsh.  Can you add vi-like keybindings to tcsh?  (via)

Your unrelated comics link of the week: Art comics links.  It’s a link to more links, but it’s all worthwhile stuff.  Be prepared for difficult but rewarding reading.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading     4 Comments

In Other BSDs for 2013/10/05

Less straight source links this week.

Related to DragonFly: Patrick Welche updated glib2 in pkgsrc, and is interested in hearing how it works for DragonFly users.  If you have pkgsrc on your system and it’s not a quarterly release, try building t.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, pkgsrc     0 Comments

vBSDCon: register soon!

There’s 30 days left to register for vBSDCon… except that 30 day mark was a week ago, but I didn’t get it posted.  So now there’s 19 days.  If you were thinking of going, go for it.  This is I think the only east coast BSD convention in the US other than NYCBSDCon.

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BSDNow: Stacks of Cache

The BSDNow video series put out another episode already: Stacks of Cache.  I didn’t realize this before, but they broadcast their episodes live as they are done on Wednesdays at 18:00 UTC.

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Even more Summer of Code

I had this to post, and managed to miss it: Daniel Flores, whose Summer of Code project was Hammer compression, posted a final report.

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

BSDNow episode 004: Teskeing the Possibilities

BSD Now episode 4 is out, though you have to look at the episodes page to find it right now.  It has an interview with Devin Teske of FreeBSD.  The usual other commentary isn’t there, probably to make room for Devin’s completely awesome beard.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     0 Comments

A little more Summer of Code

I know I said Summer of Code was complete for DragonFly, but Larisa Grigore published some rough benchmarks of her “SysV IPC in userland” work, plus a followup.

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