If you have a Core2 processor in a DragonFly system, it may not work with accelerated video. If that happens to you with this (admittedly old) processor, switch to VESA for now.
Category: Device support
For those of you with i915 video on your DragonFly system, there’s another update bringing DragonFly support to match what’s in the Linux 4.1 kernel. ValleyView and Skylake processor owners will benefit, along with a slew of other bugfixes and improvements.
Are you using a i915 video chipset? Are you using the DisplayPort? Imre Vadasz has added a tunable that may make it work better.
Francois Tigeot has updated DragonFly to match the video support found in the Linux 4.0 kernel. This will benefit you most if you are running Skylake, Cherryview, or Valleyview chipsets. Don’t ask me how to tell; the improvement has been so rapid I’ve lost track of which model codename is which.
I’m combining two items because news happens faster than I can post: Tomohiro Kusumi has added a ‘dm-flakey’ target to the disk mapper, so you can simulate an unreliable disk, reliably.
Did you need to use SLIP on DragonFly? Do you remember what SLIP is? Well, it’ll work with a USB modem on DragonFly, even if you are making a face right now and saying, “SLIP? Who uses that?”
Sascha Wildner has brought over support for the Realtek 8168H. This may be useful because at least one low-cost server provider – Kimsufi, I think? – uses them by default in their product line.
Via EFNet #dragonflybsd, “Booting DragonFlyBSD with Hammer on a GPT drive“.
For those of you with DragonFly and an Intel i915 chipset, Francois Tigeot has moved support up another notch, to match Linux 3.18. This will help Cherryview and Broadwell chipset users the most.
There’s a new version of the Intel video driver in dports – xf86-video-intel-2.99.2015.09.09. If you update to this and you experience an xorg-server crash, Matthew Dillon found that changing the acceleration method from SNA to XAA fixes the problem. Don’t change it unless you actually see the problem, of course.
MIDI support has been (re) added in DragonFly, if I read this recent commit correctly. You may have supported hardware and not even realize it.
Francois Tigeot has stepped i915 support in DragonFly even farther, this time bringing it to match Linux 3.17. This may be most useful for those with Broadwell and Cherryview chipsets.
Most of the news is about Intel video support, but Radeon direct rending improvements are coming too. ‘zrj’ have brought up drm/radeon support to match what is in Linux 3.12. Worth trying if you’ve had problems with your Radeon and audio, going by what I’ve seen people report in IRC.
If your DragonFly-running c720p (the touchscreen model) occasionally decides to go perma-bonkers, Matthew Dillon has added a method to reset it, either on reboot or by setting debug.atmel_mxt_reset=1.
Sepherosa Ziehau posted some information on a project for anyone interested: ACPI Collaborative Processor Performance Control. It’s an extension of p-state power management, and he’s already done a lot of groundwork to support that in DragonFly.
Francois Tigeot has updated i915 support to match what’s functionally in Linux 3.16. Accelerated video on Broadwell chipsets is now fully supported, plus a bunch of other changes mentioned in his commit message.
If your DragonFly machine can do it, it will now run an accelerated console by default.
Francois Tigeot has a new i915 video branch for testing, if you are running DragonFly-current. It will be especially useful for people on a Broadwell chipset.
If you’ve previously tried to install DragonFly using a USB thumb drive, and it would somehow not be found to boot from, there’s a potential fix.
Sepherosa Ziehau has been doing a lot of work with various processors states to save power on DragonFly. He’s published a summary of how well the various P-state/C-state/mwait settings work. He found that setting a lower C-state can perversely improve performance.
For those saying “but how do I set these lower power states?”:
sysctl machdep.mwait.CX.idle: AUTODEEP
sysctl machdep.cpu_idle_hlt: 1 (or higher)
Here’s how you test the console frame buffer on DragonFly, even though X is the way to go.
Some time ago, I acquired a Chromebook with the help of all you kind readers. Here’s a mini-report on how DragonFly works as a desktop.
The hardware: what I have is an Acer c720 Chromebook. The C720p is the touchscreen model, and is equally well-supported by DragonFly. A larger-capacity M.2 SSD (which is relatively easy to install) is the only real need, as the installed one is only 16G. It’s easy enough to see what the laptops look like; it’s nothing fancy but it’s suitably light.
The software: There’s a wide-ranging and complete install/tweak guide for the c720 and c720p on the DragonFly site. Note that it goes down to the point of even changing the keymap for the special keys on the keyboard.
Things I don’t like:
- The mousepad needs a physical click, not a tap, which decreases accuracy.
- There’s only 2G of RAM, and not expandable. You will notice this if you tend to open a lot of tabs when web browsing.
- I’ve had mousepad trouble, but I’m the only one reporting it, so I think it’s just bad hardware luck on my part.
Things I do like:
- pkg is a godsend, making installation and upgrades almost effortless. I’ve gone binary-only so far.
- Many things Just Work – for example, the xfce4 battery plugin.
- xscreensaver works great; even the 3D modules. I don’t know why it entertains me so.
- I haven’t run the battery out to make sure, but it looks like it would last a few hours. Suspend/hibernate are not supported, but low power modes are.
- There’s a lot of multi-touch shortcuts built into the touchpad.
It’s an excellent BSD laptop, for light use, at low cost. The next step up would be into Thinkpad territory, which raises the cost or increases the age – and may not be as consistently supported.
Now that DragonFly can (in most cases) offer video outside of X with KMS, not just text, more console options are possible. By default, your accelerated console will scale to 80×25, but you can now tell it how many columns you want and it’ll automatically scale to fit your resolution. Or you can turn it off.
Thanks to Sepherosa Ziehau, powerd will now start the shutdown process if you are down to 2% battery on your DragonFly laptop. It also will delay for 60 seconds if you just booted up and are desperately searching for a power cable.
Matthew Dillon’s already using a 4K monitor on DragonFly, and he’s written notes on the various performance tweaks that went with it.
You can now get temperature readings from your Radeon card under DragonFly.
There’s a new ‘ifconsole’ option for /etc/ttys on DragonFly that may help you if your serial output device is a bit strange.
A recent commit from Matthew Dillon means users of Intel Haswell or later CPUs will see reduced power usage, if I’m reading this commit correctly.
Francois Tigeot has committed his Broadwell work, which has a longer-than-I-realized list of benefits. Does anyone have a 4k screen to try?
Francois Tigeot has a new update to the drm/i915 driver for testing. It matches, feature-wise, what’s in Linux 3.12. Try it if you’ve got the hardware. (and dragonfly-master)
If you’ve been sitting with a Radeon-based video card and wishing you had all the nice updates i915 users are getting, today is your lucky day. Michael Neumann has brought Radeon support equivalent to Linux 3.9 into DragonFly, and he has a 3.10 branch for testing if you feel adventurous.
Francois Tigeot has updated the drm/i915 code again, matching Linux 3.10 for feature level… but it’s a big update. If you are
- Running DragonFly-master
- Using a i915 chipset
- (optional) On a chipset that is not Haswell or Ivy Bridge
… He could use your testing and feedback.
Matthew Dillon purchased some Haswell-based motherboards, and documented his hardware setup, for anyone who is looking to build a decent, new DragonFly system.
For whatever reason, I’ve seen several people in the last week or so have mouse problems on install, and they were often solved by running moused. So, there’s your little reminder.
The short answer is ath(4) and iwn(4), via this post. There’s an update coming for the wireless infrastructure in DragonFly; Matthew Dillon and Adrian Chadd (on the FreeBSD side) are working together for improvements.
While I’m mentioning recommendations, the Silicon Image 3132 chipset is apparently excellent for eSATA drives on DragonFly.
Francois Tigeot has performed a major upgrade of DragonFly’s sound system. If you had sound problems or unsupported hardware before, this may fix them. It will require a full buildworld+buildkernel.
Do you remember the BSDNow story a while ago about a Tanzanian community effort using FreeBSD to build a library? They’re looking at DragonFly, too, because of the low resource requirements. From that discussion: a hardware reason for an ‘indefinite wait buffer’ error, and a note on how to most efficiently download packages for multiple machines.
From a question about mixing in a SSD and a very slow disk: swapcache can make things better, though I suggest other crazy arrangements.
If you’re using one of those Acer C720 or C720p Chromebooks with DragonFly, remember to set:
To automatically enter the right power-saving states on the CPU. You used to have to do it manually, and now you don’t.
Markus Pfeiffer has made usb_pf work on DragonFly, which means it’s possible to dump USB traffic and filter it, similar to tcpdump. This can be handy when debugging a USB device, and that’s like 90% of all devices anyway.
Imre Vadaz’s recent change to dev/drm, adding kqueue support, has (from anecdotal reports in IRC) made video performance much better. It’s committed to DragonFly 4.0, so it’ll be in the next release.
The powersaving page on dragonflybsd.org has seen a bunch of updates; this should be handy even if you aren’t on battery power that often.
Markus Pfeiffer has made it possible to control your laptop’s backlight using ACPI – if you have a i915 chipset and DragonFly. xbacklight does not work, but setting hw.acpi.video.lcd0.brightness does.