Why buy ECC RAM? This is a discussion I’ve seen many times. I’ve always heard that without the error checking, you can’t tell if a random bit was flipped by a cosmic particle. That seems like a very remote threat. Over the last week, I went to Science North in Sudbury, Canada, and saw the Diffusion Cloud Chamber. I took a photo myself. Both of those picture represent an instant in time, and each of those squiggles in the chamber in that instant represents some particle zipping through space that miiiiiight scramble your RAM. That’s… a lot more common than I thought.
If you are sure you don’t need to look at your boot menu for very long in DragonFly, you can make it zip by quickly.
A DragonFly machine with a lot of network traffic will have a significant amount of memory consumed by all the running network connections. (as with any system) It’s now possible to adjust the amount of memory set aside for those operations, live. This sort of fine-tuning will only matter if you run an extremely busy machine, but it’s worth it if you do.
DragonFly ships with wpa_supplicant, for setting up WiFi. However, there’s no guarantee it’s the latest version. A solution exists: security/wpa_supplicant in dports. However, this has a chicken-and-egg problem, where you need wpa_supplicant to get online and download the dports version of wpa_supplicant. So, DragonFly still includes wpa_supplicant in the base system, but you should upgrade to the dports version when possible.
There was a newer release of OpenSSL (1.0.1p) last week, so there’s a new revision of the DragonFly release – 4.2.3. There’s little major change other than the security fix for OpenSSL.
Those readers who can count past 2 may notice that there wasn’t a 4.2.2. We went straight from 4.2.1 to 4.2.3. That’s my fault. I screwed up tagging and Git doesn’t like repeated, deleted tags.
Something I’ve wanted for a long time: DragonFly stickers. Or ‘decals’, if you want to sound fancier. Markus Pfeiffer has them set up on Stickermule.
I just created an account there, and apparently I can supply a referral link which gets you and me both a $10 credit, if you use that. It’ll make you sign up, then you’ll probably have to go back in with the direct link for the DragonFly sticker.
BSDNow 096 has the usual new links, even more BSDCan 2015 video links, and an interview with Jun Ebihara about some of NetBSD’s lesser-known architectures.
(I like trying to guess the interview subject from each week’s obscure title; I was going to guess RetroBSD… which would make a good topic to explore.)
There’s a minor update for DragonFly 4.2 – this covers a problem with i915 support, so it’s worth upgrading if you have an Intel video chipset.
If you wanted to try IPFW3 and NAT, nans_nans1 has done the experimentation for you, and wrote down the steps.
I’ve uploaded DragonFly 4.0.6 ISO and .img files. (Does that capitalization make sense?) They should be available at your nearest mirror, or will be shortly. I am still working on the 4.2 release candidate images.
This week’s BSDNow has a talk with DragonFly’s very own Sepherosa Ziehau, about the huge amount of work he’s done on the network stack.
The direct memory access reservation on DragonFly has been set to 128M. It used to be 16, but anyone using a system for more than a text console would want the greater memory reservation. It can be set back to 16M, which is useful probably if you are one of those text console users, or if you have a strangely underpowered video card.
If you are using a DragonFly system with accelerated video, and you have noticed that you can’t return to a text console after exiting xorg – Sascha Wildner/Imre Vadasz have a branch for you to try. Please do so if you have time and are on master; this is the last big item to fix before the next release.
That’s Non Uniform Memory Architecture, and John Baldwin is talking about how it works on FreeBSD, tonight/now, in New York City for NYCBUG. There’s several more events this month with NYCBUG, so look at the announcement for tonight’s location and more dates.
If you were running a version of DragonFly 4.1 (i.e. the master version, not release) built between the 20th and 25th, rebuild. There’s a UFS bug introduced in that short timeframe.
If you are running 4.0.x release or built your version of DragonFly-master outside of that date range – you are unaffected.
If you’re running DragonFly-master and you have an Intel video chipset, Francois Tigeot has an update for you. It brings accelerated Intel video up to match the Linux 3.14 version, adds Broadwell chipset support, and should generally improve performance. He lists how to test right in the message.
DragonFly now has GCC 5.1 release. If you are running DragonFly master (i.e. 4.1), you’ll probably want to both rebuild world and kernel, and update your packages so they all match. There’s already packages built with GCC 5.1, so binary package upgrades can happen quickly. There’s GCC 4.7 packages still available if you aren’t making the jump yet.
If you’re on DragonFly 4.0.x – nothing’s changed.
Here’s some comments from Matthew Dillon on page coloring in DragonFly; a topic that comes up every year for some reason.
The release candidate for GCC5 (5.1.0) is out, and it’s in DragonFly too. It’s not yet switched over to run as the default – that’ll require the release.
The default compiler in DragonFly is going to change over from GCC 4.7 to GCC 5.x very soon, to match the GCC 5.1 release. This means that packages built for DragonFly-master won’t be compatible with the old ones. You will need to reinstall packages when you next ‘pkg install’. John Marino has an extensive writeup detailing what’s needed, and the actual change is some days off.
If you are using DragonFly 4.0.x (the release), this doesn’t affect you at all.
I have had trouble with my daily/weekly periodic reports never making it to my GMail account. Sascha Wildner pointed out to me that periodic.conf has its own answer already:
… and newsyslog is already set to take care of them. There’s more in the periodic.conf man page.
Happy Easter! It means chocolate for me.
- Everything is Made up and the Points Don’t Matter. Substitute “open source work” for “design” in this story. (via)
- The GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty. Quoted from the article: They would roll their eyes a bit, then hasten to add, as more than one did, “But he’s right about most things.” (via)
- COMPUTERS IN OUR LIVES.
- Where we went wrong, or, The one thing Philip Greenspun got right (in 1997).
- A Round Pie in a Square Box. I admit I read it at first just because it mentioned pie, but it is an interesting history. (via)
- istruecryptauditedyet.com. (via)
- How I doubled my Internet speed with OpenWRT. I shall now be annoying: Should have used pfSense, and it’s not a doubling of speed, it’s a doubling of capacity. Any connection on either link is still limited to the speed of that link. (via)
- Oblique Strategies, the website. The Wikipedia entry on Oblique Strategies will tell you what that is, though I could have sworn I talked about it before. (via)
- How a bad RJ45 termination can ruin a cable. First time I’ve seen a check other than “It lights up the tester; must be fine.” (via)
- Some slick awk built-ins.
- Origins of the tilde.
- My Quantified Email Self Experiment: A failure. (via)
- free-for-dev, a list of ‘as-a-service’ items offered free, for development or whatever. (via)
- /dev/notrandom, an April Fools item I actually liked. (via)
- MISTAKES WERE MADE: COMPUTER HISTORY, DECOMPILED. April 17th in NYC.
- Vintage Computer Festival East, happening same day in New Jersey.
- The Interface Experience: Forty Years of Personal Computing. At Bard College now.
- (Last 3 links all via SIGCIS, an excellent resource.)
- Creating a BBS in 2015. (via)
- Dueling Unixes and the Unix Wars [pdf]. (via)
- Is BSD UNIX?
Also unrelated: tea is one of the topics I link here, and alert reader Jeff Ramnani pointed out Strand Tea as a good source. I also saw Deep Mills referenced in the UK. Anyone else have a favorite online vendor?
John Marino’s written an extensive page about wireless and DragonFly, on dragonflybsd.org.
If you’re looking to change your DragonFly system’s keymapping to support a non-US character set, use this users@ post from Adolf Augustin as a cheat sheet to make all the right changes.
The other day, I updated some packages using pkg. The default version of PHP went from 5.4 to 5.6. I ended up doing what /usr/dports/UPGRADING says and making a list of all PHP packages on my system, before removing PHP and its dependencies. I then reinstalled the packages that used PHP, bringing the needed packages back in at the right version. pkg 1.4 didn’t handle the transition cleanly, unfortunately. I also had to specify mod_php56 because pkg was trying to get the 5.4 version despite it not being default.
None of these are insurmountable problems, but it never hurts to be forewarned. pkg 1.5 is on the horizon and may have an easier time with sorting these types of dependency/version changes. This may apply to FreeBSD in addition to DragonFly.
Next time you’re building or installing world on your DragonFly system (running master), your computer will do a better job letting you know the status.
If you have a HDMI-connected monitor, but no sound, this trick about increasing available memory may help.
Hey, look what I have! There’s a pfSense pair of classes available to take. I went through them and found them worthwhile. pfSense is easy enough to use that a dedicated person can puzzle through most of the settings, eventually, but I don’t have “eventually”, and I want to encourage BSD products in my workplace… so here we are.
DragonFly 4.0 has had a minor point release, to 4.0.4. There was a bug in the initial install where the rescue image installed on disk would be incorrect. This was fixed after the first time a build/installworld was done, but might as well have it start out right. There’s some other small fixes, and the release commit will show you the summary. Download from your nearest mirror or update normally.
John Marino has removed Sendmail from DragonFly (as part of the base system), and replaced it with DMA, the DragonFly Mail Agent. If you just need delivery to local users, DMA will do the trick.
If you are on DragonFly-master and you upgraded during select hours on the 25th of February, you may have been bit by a makefile error. The fix, as listed in that link, is simple:
cp /usr/src/share/mk/sys.mk /usr/share/mk
If you are not on -master or you did not upgrade in that timeframe: never mind.
Michael Neumann has switched out pkgsrc packages for dports packages for building DragonFly with a GUI. There’s no built image to download right now, but I’m optimistic the next release will have it. You can build it now on a DragonFly system using src/nrelease. With all this video work going in lately, it will give us something to show.
Several of the DragonFly machines used for building packages and/or releases have SSDs, and have been vigorously exercising those disks for some time. SSDs are supposed to have a shorter lifetime than spindle-based hard drives. However, Matthew Dillon found that there’s surprisingly little wear on those SSDs. This empiric information was noticed in several places.
Say hello to the newest DragonFly committer: Tomohiro Kusumi. He’s been contributing Hammer patches for some time and appearing on IRC, so it’s easier to just let him make changes directly. Welcome, Tomohiro.
Here’s a number of DragonFly links to clear out my backlog:
ISO/IMG files for DragonFly 4.0.3 have been uploaded and by now should be available on your favorite mirror. You should update for the OpenSSL upgrade. If you already have DragonFly 4.0.x installed, the normal ‘make buildworld && make buildkernel && make installkernel && make installworld && make upgrade’ cycle should work just fine.
John Marino has written up an extensive how-to for slider, the history tool for Hammer filesystems, including screenshots.
Normally I’d hold this off until the In Other BSDs item on Saturday, but by then it will be too late: There’s a “Building redundant and transparent firewalls with OpenBSD” presentation happening at the Scottish Linux User’s Group meeting, Thursday night in Glasgow, Scotland.
As part of another thread, Steve Petrie posted an in-depth description of how and where and why he’s using DragonFly. Worth looking at either for workflow tips or for just seeing the use case.
If you want to help I/O performance when DragonFly is virtualized, here’s a short checklist of what to work on. I haven’t noticed any problems – but I’m not taxing any of my VMs that heavily.
This page, Varialus et Anisoptera, set up by… I’m not sure of the real name but it’s ‘varialus’ on IRC – has a detailed description of the DragonFly install process and installation of MATE, plus extra notes. I always find these sorts of cheatsheets entertaining.
Predrag Punosevac posted his writeup of using LDAP and DragonFly, which I’m noting here for the next person that needs LDAP authentication.
A fellow whom I’ve only seen named as Bill is working on what he calls ipfw2, though technically what’s already in DragonFly is ipfw2, since it’s the second version of ipfw. Either way, he has a project page up describing what he’s done so far, and what he plans.
If you look at your local DragonFly mirror, you’ll see ISO and IMG versions of DragonFly 4.0.0RC3. Please run, break, and report.
(Check the iso-images directory.)
The release candidate for DragonFly 4.0 came out last week, and normally the release would happen after a week. There’s still a few people reporting an odd freeze, so until we can find a cause, we’ll continue to wait.
Your local mirror should have a copy of the release candidate for DragonFly 4.0.0 by now. Please try it out and report problems. Note that this is a x86_64 only version; there’s no i386 version though you may be able to manually build on i386.
It’s been possible to install and run clang on DragonFly for a long time, of course, and at least build world with it. However, John Marino is putting in significant work to make clang one of the system compilers, replacing the older gcc44 that’s in DragonFly now. (The newer gcc47 stays.) This won’t be part of the next release, but it should be available soon after.
There’s been so much work in DragonFly recently that makes a desktop easier (i915 support, dports, and so on), that I decided to resurrect an older Dell machine and use it as my desktop.
The Dell that I’m using is a leftover from someone else’s workplace; it’s 7 years old, and has “only” 4G of RAM and a Core 2 DuoE6600 CPU in it. It works, however.
Setting up DragonFly and installing xorg and so on is pretty straightforward. Using dports makes it crazy quick to add all the packages. I went for XFCE4 because I could. Starting X gave me some trouble at first; the default config couldn’t find the mouse and would eventually crash.
Running ‘X -configure’ created a xorg.conf file I could edit, and these lines in /etc/rc.conf gave me a working mouse:
moused_enable="YES" moused_type="auto" moused_port="/dev/ums0"
The crashing problem with my radeon-driven video card was fixed by turning off the acceleration – uncommenting this line in xorg.conf did it:
Video performance isn’t as nice as I would like it with acceleration, but this is an older machine anyway.
I couldn’t get sound working. Francois Tigeot has a branch of DragonFly that contains newer sound drivers brought over from FreeBSD, here:
git://leaf.dragonflybsd.org/~ftigeot/dragonfly.git (pcm_2014_september branch.)
It doesn’t support device cloning, so I can run Youtube videos and XMMS, but not audio from both at the same time. (for instance; not that you’d want to do this other than by accident)
I installed x11/webfonts, and web pages look a bit better after changing my default font preferences.
And… that’s about it. It’s a working desktop. Digging up a half-height video card that has working acceleration is a next step, but I can’t imagine that’ll be expensive. I wish I had done this a long time ago.
I’m doing this little extra feature because I ran into several news items over the past week or so that made me say “what the hell?” out loud to my monitor.
Fedora To Get a New Partition Manager. All? Almost all? Linux distributions use gparted, which is open source and can be updated. Why not add to that? Also, it’s yet another preannouncement about how this new replacement tool will work – it’s not functional yet.
Text streams should be the fallback interface in Unix. Every 2 or 3 years someone gets this idea in some form – somehow it doesn’t overcome 40+ years of text usage.
Revisiting How We Put Together Linux Systems. Nobody can find fault with ideas like easier package management and signing. (Though maybe having the same upgrade mechanism for base + 3rd party software isn’t a good idea) However. this answer, coming from part of the group behind systemd, ties all software installation into having a btrfs volume – even requiring a virtual btrfs volume if there isn’t one installed. Incompatible software versions are dealt with by turning /usr into a sort of container. That kills any sort of need to interoperate with other software. And of course it assumes there is no Unix but Linux. (via)
Grump grump grump.
If you are on DragonFly, using pf, using altq, and using fairq to control usage, there’s a latency bug that Matthew Dillon recently fixed. He’s posted an announcement and committed fixes to master and 3.8, so it’s only an upgrade away.
You should perform a full world and kernel install if on master.
Several people (including me) have been getting bit by a problem: when performing an installworld with a changed kernel, the vn kernel module is loaded, but it was built by the previous kernel and may cause problems when it doesn’t match up.
To fix that, vn is now built in, instead of being a separate module. The rescue initrd (which is what is being mounted when it has this problem) is now installed via a ‘make rescue‘ command that can wait until a successful installworld and reboot.