The i915 driver has been updated to match Linux 4.6 – this is of most benefit to the owners of newest hardware, but the commit message lists what has changed, for owners of Haswell series GPUs and later.
That’s Non-Uniform Memory Access, to disambiguate. Matthew Dillon’s changing how memory is allocated in DragonFly. NUMA is been a long-discussed and complex topic for a long time, so I will point at the initial commits and call it “a developing situation”.
If you have a NVMe-capable EFI BIOS on your machine, you should be able to safely install DragonFly, using these instructions from Matthew Dillon. It’s not part of the installer, yet.
Matthew Dillon has made some changes to DragonFly’s swap handling, and his explanation notes that the theoretical max swap space is now 32 terabytes. He even had to change field sizes to accommodate the new, bigger numbers.
For anyone with a newer CPU – Broadwell, Skylake, etc. – there was a memory leak in the video driver. It would take several weeks of continuous operation to have an effect, but in any case, it’s fixed. This only affected DragonFly 4.7 users with the appropriate CPUS and the Intel video driver.
There’s been some updates to the AHCI driver. Matthew Dillon outlined the changes, with the biggest one being support for FIS Based Switching. FBS is the ability to send simultaneous streams of data to and from multiple drives on a port multiplier. Support for it is rare and quirky, but it should significantly improve throughput on a compatible port multipler. Read his writeup for details, including on how to back up your kernel.
You know about swapcache(8), the DragonFly-specific trick of caching disk data on an small SSD, meaning you get mostly the speed benefits of an SSD while still using a cheaper, slower drive? Whether you did or didn’t, Matthew Dillon’s updated the documentation for it to account for recent hardware changes.
I know the title’s not that helpful, but I like rhyming. The i915 driver in DragonFly now matches what’s in the Linux 4.5 kernel, for a more complete description. (Here’s the Linux changelog to match.) This is good news for anyone with Skylake, Broxton, or Kabylake processors.
UEFI, which I casually sum up as the replacement for BIOS, has been seeing some support in DragonFly, but not within the installer. Matthew Dillon and Sascha Wildner has ported over FreeBSD’s EFI ABI support, which I think means support for various EFI applications and features. I haven’t booted a machine using UEFI in any significant way, so I don’t have a good explanation – but I am sure this is useful for people with new hardware.
Update: some explanation plus a note that it’s experimental and you could brick your machine.
There’s a new version of re(4), the driver for Realtek network cards. Sepherosa Ziehau put it together for testing. He has it on a separate branch, so give it a try if you have appropriate hardware. This will hopefully fix some of that hardware’s quirkiness.
Imre Vadasz is working on full-offload scan support for wlan, imported from FreeBSD. That doesn’t change much from a user point of view, other that (I assume) reducing load and power usage a tiny amount. I’m reinforcing something most people don’t think about: there’s tiny computers inside your computer with their own firmware and processors, that you don’t directly control.
If you are using nvme(4), it’s no longer necessary to load the module. Update your configs accordingly, if you are on DragonFly 4.7.
If you’re wondering about the new Braswell-series systems from Intel, Matthew Dillon has already run two with DragonFly. He reported on the results.
One of my favorite things: when someone just appears out of nowhere and says, “I needed a change to my software so I did it and here it is to share”. Harald Brinkhof wandered into DragonFly and the first thing he did was update support for trackpads.
If you have a memory card slot of some sort on your laptop, DragonFly can now reliably access it. Probably even boot from it, though I haven’t seen it happen.
If you are using em(4) or re(4) devices for networking, you may want to turn on polling. MSI may or may not help for re(4), along with switching to the emx(4) driver.
It looks like I summarized iwm(4) updates too early, cause Imre Vadasz added an actual powersave option. I’d like to see someone with a power meter do some before-and-after testing.
It’s been a quiet week, but there’s some activity: Imre Vadasz has been committing many improvements to iwm(4). They haven’t been standalone enough for me to build a post around, but the most recent enables a low-power scan mode.
If you had trouble getting your laptop’s touchpad to work under DragonFly, try again. (If you are running DragonFly-current)
For those running DragonFly 4.7, there’s new firmware for all iwm(4) devices. Also, you can get temperature readings off the iwm wireless device now, if I’m reading this correctly.