Category: Goings-on

Extra digit on your PIDs

Just so nobody’s surprised: DragonFly process IDs now go an order of magnitude higher.

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ACPICA updated to 20140325

Sascha Wildner’s updated ACPICA to a very recent version, which happens to fix a bug in an earlier ACPICA version.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

DragonFly 3.6.2 released

Release 3.6.2 of DragonFly has been tagged, and ISO/img files are available.  This includes an updated OpenSSL for Heartbleed problems.  Here’s the changelog.  You can, if you haven’t already, update your existing 3.6 systems the normal way.

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HTTPS, OpenSSL, and

All the sites (www, bugs, gitweb, lists, leaf) should be available via https now, thanks to a wildcard certificate from InterNetX.  Also, all the machines have an up-to-date version (1.0.1g) of OpenSSL installed to prevent the Heartbleed issue.

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Rescue RAMdisk to test

Francois Tigeot’s rescue ramdisk work is ready for testing.  You can pull it directly from his repo and try it out.  It’s surprising how small the ramdisk can be crunched.

Note: he now has a newer branch than what is in that linked message.

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For the next DragonFly release

I wrote up some thoughts for the next release of DragonFly.  There’s some project work in there for anyone interested.  The next release should be near the end of May.

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NSS/LDAP and DragonFly

One of the requirements to get NSS/LDAP working on (most) any unixlike system is to have dynamic binaries; meaning they are dependent on various libraries to run.  Since you’re talking about programs for login when you’re talking about NSS/LDAP, that means if the libraries aren’t available, you can’t log in.  DragonFly has static binaries just to avoid that problem.

Francois Tigeot proposed switching to dynamic binaries and building a /rescue directory with static backups, as is the case with I think FreeBSD and NetBSD.  If you follow the thread, it looks like the best path is to use initrd instead.  Initrd stands for INITial Ram Disk, and is the first volume the computer sets up to boot from BIOS.  Since initrd gives the computer enough space to load all the needed modules (like Hammer2…), it works without making the computer dependent on various libraries or having a bloated /rescue directory.

(Someone correct me if I have the details wrong.)  As long as we’re talking about things that would help DragonFly in a larger environment, can someone work on a VM balloon memory driver, too?

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     1 Comment

GUI images for DragonFly 3.6 sort of

If you noticed the lack of a GUI DVD image for the 3.6 release of DragonFly, I posted a followup note on the users@ list that talks about the steps to get X installed.  It’s not much work, with pkg set up.

Open source classes at RIT

Normally I’d save this for Lazy Reading, but I’m indirectly involved: the Rochester Institute of Technology now has a minor in Open Source and Free Culture.  Here’s the press release.  I taught one of the precursor classes, Humanitarian Free/Open Source Development (essentially open source development methods) last spring.  Steve Jacobs was my advisor years ago and Remy Decausemaker was my (best) student from the HFOSS class.  In any case, the courses are definitely worth it.  (via)

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Bugs site now supports OpenID, the bug reporting site for DragonFly, uses Redmine.  It’s been updated and now can take OpenID for your login.

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pfi and authorized_keys support

pfi, the automated installer that nobody knows about, now supports installing an authorized_keys file as part of an install.  Credit goes to Alex Hornung for adding the functionality.

DragonFly 3.6.1 released

I’ve tagged version 3.6.1 of DragonFly, and built ISO/img files of it.  They should be available by now on mirrors if you need them, or you can just upgrade as normal.   See the linked tag commit message for what’s changed.

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DragonFly 3.6.1 soon

As I mentioned on kernel@, I’m going to roll a point release of DragonFly soon.  Push in your changes if you want to get them in!

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3.8 release goals

Antonio Huete put together a list of goals for the next release on the DragonFly bugtracker.  Some of them are pretty ambitious, some of them are relatively easy, but they are all very useful.

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C-state sysctl followup

Probably because of the C-state changes, Sepherosa Ziehau wants people to use a new set of sysctls instead of the hw.cpu_mwait* ones – at least on x86_64.  This won’t affect you if you aren’t already familiar with them, probably.

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Time zone changes

Recent updates to tzcode apparently fixed a long-standing time zone bug in DragonFly.  POSIX says the America/New_York timezone is picked as default if nothing else has been selected.  That didn’t happen in DragonFly – until recently.  If your timezone seemed to suddenly jump to U.S. Eastern time, that’s because you never picked before. status page

Antonio Huete set up a DragonFly status page on

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DragonFly has ASLR

Address Space Layout Randomization, since 2010.  Carsten Mattner asked, and Alex Hornung answered.  (Set the sysctl vm.randomize_mmap to 1 to enable it.)

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

ACPICA update for testing

If you want to test out the latest (20131218) update to ACPICA, Sepherosa Ziehau’s got a patch for you.  This will be good for anyone who wants to use less electricity.  (updated to reflect this doesn’t enable deeper C-states as I thought it did.)

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DragonFly on a Chromebook c720

Matthew Dillon acquired one of the Acer c720 Chromebooks recently.  There were changes needed for the boot process, for the keyboard, an update from FreeBSD for the ath(4) wireless (g), smbus, and trackpad… but it works now, and he detailed exactly how to get it running, and even upgrade the drive.


Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly, Goings-on     3 Comments

Binutils update to 2.24

John Marino has moved DragonFly from binutils 2.22 to 2.24.  I think this may require a full buildworld when upgrading…  not sure.  Anyway, binutils has a changelog if you are curious.

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Minimal installation notes

This post from Konrad Neuwirth asking how to do a minimal installation of DragonFly led to this list of all the ‘knobs’ you can set to make your installation smaller, from John Marino.  (And your buildworld faster, if that’s appealing to you.)  I also pointed at rconfig and PFI, which are criminally underdocumented.

New pkg 1.2 on the way

pkg 1.2 is coming out.  This brings a number of new features, but as John Marino posted, you may want to delete your old pkg.conf to keep the new version from complaining about an old config file.  This upgrade is a step on the way to signed packages, which is a Good Idea.

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

Mini roadmap checklist

Remember the ‘mini roadmap’, mentioned last week yesterday?  John Marino put together a Google Docs spreadsheet to track the task status; several items are already cleared off.  Take a look and tackle a task.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, I like alliteration     0 Comments

DragonFly roadmap, post 3.6

John Marino posted a possible ‘roadmap’ for DragonFly, now that we’re past the 3.6 release.  The thread went on for some ways as it was discussed, including my crazy ideas.  Notably, several suggested items have already been tackled – an iwn(4) upgrade has already happened, and an update to bmake, based on John’s vendor branch update instructions.

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Hammer2 status

This is a little old, but Matthew Dillon noted the status of his Hammer2 work a little while ago.  Some highlights: he’s intending Hammer2 to be usable on a single host by the time of the next DragonFly release (summer 2014), the Summer of Code project for compression has already been integrated, and he listed different parts of the work that may be interesting for anyone wanting to chip in.

Slightly related: Matt posted some Hammer2 comments on the DragonFly 3.6 release story on Slashdot that may be interesting.  Don’t bother reading the other comments; they’ll make your eyeballs bleed.

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

Newest DragonFly committer: Eitan Adler

Eitan Adler is the newest DragonFly committer; you may recognize his name from some previous commits added by others, where he synced up various work between the BSDs.

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DragonFly 3.6 released

The 3.6 release of DragonFly is available now.  I just put up those images last night, so if your favorite mirror doesn’t have it, give it a few hours.

For those updating from 3.4 to 3.6: there’s an ABI change, so you will have to upgrade all your packages.  If you’re using pkgsrc and ready to switch to dports, now’s the time.  If you already switched to dports on your 3.4 system, binary packages for 3.6 have already been built and you can use pkg to upgrade.

Also for upgrades from 3.4: You can pull the 3.6 source normally:

cd /usr/src
git fetch origin
git branch DragonFly_RELEASE_3_6 origin/DragonFly_RELEASE_3_6
git checkout DragonFly_RELEASE_3_6

But there’s a slight change needed for the 3.4 to 3.6 transition: an extra reboot in the build process:

# make buildworld && make buildkernel && make installkernel && make installworld && reboot

# make upgrade

This is all noted in /usr/src/UPDATING and in the release notes, but I’m taking no chances.

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DragonFly 3.6.0 release very soon

As noted on the kernel@ list, it’s tagged but not yet in image form.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     1 Comment

Performance tuning

Matthew Dillon did some more performance tuning for DragonFly.  I’ll just pull a paragraph from the commit message, since that will have more impact than anything I say:

Improves fork/exec concurrency on monster of static binaries from 14200/sec to 55000/sec+. For dynamic binaries improve from around 2500/sec to 9000/sec or so (48 cores fork/exec’ing different dynamic binaries). For the same dynamic binary it’s more around 5000/sec or so.

“monster” is a 48-core machine used for testing.

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DragonFly developer interview

DragonFly developer Francois Tigeot  was interviewed on  As you can probably guess from the names, it’s a French site, but don’t let that stop you if you’re an Anglophone.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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

ldns, drill updates

John Marino has updated ldns and drill to version 1.6.16.

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Searching DragonFly man pages with Mozilla

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

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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

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.

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Mirrored disks and rconfig

Antonio Huete Jimenez has added a new rconfig script that automatically mirrors the installed disks with ccd(4).  You don’t remember what to do with rconfig(8)?  Automatically (and headlessly) install DragonFly, of course!  There’s already other examples – they’re just shell scripts.

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DragonFly and future planning

I put together a list of what I’m thinking could be in the next DragonFly release.  Going by our regular schedule, that’s a bit more than a month off.  Of note: Summer of Code material and defaulting to dports.  Follow the thread for more.


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OpenZFS announced

ZFS was originally created at Sun and open sourced.  Sun was absorbed by Oracle and stopped being open (or even really existing), so ZFS was taken up by several separate groups – FreeBSD and Illumos being two examples.  OpenZFS has been announced, in part to provide common reference for other platforms that might implement it and probably to avoid capability fragmentation.  It’s certainly a good idea.

(If I have my history wrong, please correct me.)

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Moving dports to gcc 4.7

DragonFly has two included compilers – GCC 4.4, and GCC 4.7.  Traditionally, we switch from one compiler to the other as default, and then replace the old one with a newer release, and so on.

Until recently, dports built almost exclusively using GCC 4.4.  John Marino’s switching to GCC 4.7, for a variety of reasons he lists in a recent post to users@.  An interesting point that he raises: GCC 4.4 won’t necessarily be replaced with a newer GCC, but perhaps clang?

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TCP improvements

Sepherosa Ziehau has made a number of improvements to TCP in DragonFly – specifically, nonblocking and blocking connect(2) performance.  See each of his commits for statistics on how much this has reduced processor use under high load.  He has also written up an extensive description of how all this TCP stuff works in DragonFly.

In similar news, he has a nginx patch that delivers a significant performance increase.  It may go into nginx itself.

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DragonFly 3.4.3 released

I tagged it last week, but it took me a while to build the images.  See the tag commit for a list of the bugfixes.  The big thing for me is the fix for amrd and the virtual machine performance fix.  Either update via git, or download an image.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments and ipv6

All the machines in should now be available over IPv6.

Also, Matthew Dillon did something weird to the DragonFly IPv6 network stack.

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rum(4), run(4), and urtwn(4) added

Sascha Wildner has ported rum(4)run(4), and urtwn(4) from FreeBSD to DragonFly, to work within the not-yet-default new USB framework.  This happened some days ago, but I’m just now catching up.

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Mirror-master moved, also known as mirror-master, is the final system to be moved into the new colocated blade server.  Your downloads of binary packages or DragonFly images should be speedier.

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What’s your XML opinion?

There’s several debates exclusive to the Unix-like world: Vi vs. Emacs, System V vs. BSD, and so on.  A more recent one that people tend to fragment over is XML in config files vs. anything else.  Read through this recent threa, starting here, about SMF (which became about XML) on users@.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     4 Comments

DragonFly 3.4.3 rolled soon

I’ll be working on the 3.4.3 release of DragonFly within the next 24 hours, and it should be available this week.  I’ll have a list of the bugfixes it contains…

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

DragonFly and Go

It’s really neat to suddenly encounter something done just for DragonFly that you didn’t know was coming: A port of Go to DragonFly.   I think these changes are going into the next Go release, or at least I hope so.  (More on Go if you haven’t encountered it before.)

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Just seen: EdgeBSD, a version of NetBSD with different goals in mind.  (Seen on Hacker News)


Posted by     Categories: Goings-on     5 Comments

Mailing list archives update note

The mailing list archives for DragonFly ( have been moved to new hardware.  (Yay!)  The patch that actually shows date in the listings needs to reapplied, cause Mailman is somewhat stale.  (Boo!)  I applied the patch and I’m regenerating all the archives now.  (Yay!)  There’s some garbled messages in the archives that cause a bunch of “no subject” partial messages to be dumped at the end.  (Boo!)  I’ll manually fix them if I can, someday.  (Yay?)

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In Other BSDs for 2013/08/10

Definitely Saturdays for this summary.  In other BSDs this week:

Posted by     Categories: FreeBSD, Goings-on, NetBSD, OpenBSD     0 Comments

Jordan Hubbard and iXsystems coverage

Wired has an article up about Jordan Hubbard and his move from Apple to iXsystems.  It’s not a bad article, though it doesn’t delve into the why of BSD very much.  In any case, iXsystems has been really bulking up lately to be more than a generic hardware provider.

Speaking of which, that blade system going in now for was sold by iXsystems.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Goings-on     0 Comments

Slight service interruption

Several parts of are moving to a new blade server, so there may be some service interruptions during the transition.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     1 Comment

Credential descriptors

Joris Giovannangeli, one of the Summer of Code students for DragonFly, posted his thoughts on credential descriptors – have a read.  He is working on capsicum and DragonFly, so this is a natural thought process.

Google Summer of Code Doc Camp

Every year, people ask “Why can’t writing documentation be part of Summer of Code?”  (Not necessarily for DragonFly, but in general)  Google has a “Doc Camp”, where a whole lot of documentation gets produced in sprints, and anyone can participate – not just Summer of Code students.

If this sounds interesting to you, your application has to be in by August 7th 9th.  (URL and date updated)

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, Google Summer of Code     2 Comments

Newest committer: Johannes Hofmann

Please welcome our newest DragonFly committer: Johannes Hofmann.  He earned this by coming up with a significant chunk of DragonFly’s upcoming KMS/915 support, and it’s now easier to just have him work directly than to be constantly committing for him.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     2 Comments

My dports upgrade experience

Since there’s a newer set of dports binary packages uploaded, I thought I’d spend my weekend upgrading, to catch up.

‘pkg upgrade’

And that was it.  Well, not really.  I had to dump and restore my Postgres databases, cause of the switch from 9.0 to 9.2 as default.  I had to build php5 from source to get the Apache module.  Those two things together took longer than the entire download and upgrade of the rest of my system – some ~200 packages?

Posted by     Categories: DPorts, Goings-on     3 Comments


Sepherosa Ziehau added SO_REUSEPORT to DragonFly.  I don’t know how the mechanism works, because he didn’t include a description, but he did include a explanation of just how much it reduces CPU usage during as-high-as-physically-possible network load.  He even wrote tools to test it more heavily.

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Lazy reading for 2013/06/30

Some of the links this week go pretty in-depth.  Enjoy!

Your unrelated link(s) of the week: Candy Box and A Dark Room.  Both are text-only games, but they use HTML5 for animation.  They start minimal, and build up – be patient; there’s a lot of gameplay in there.  These minimal  games fascinate me.  It’s like reading a book, where it goes from just static text to an entire world being built.  (somewhat via)

Your bonus unrelated comics link of the week: Jack Kirby double-page spreads.  It’s not an exaggeration to say this artwork crackles.  (via I forget)


Posted by     Categories: Books, Goings-on, Lazy Reading, UNIXish     0 Comments

pkgsrc freeze for 2013Q2 is on

Whoops, I missed this when it happened, but: the freeze for pkgsrc-2013Q2 has started.  That new quarterly release is anticipated for the end of the month.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, pkgsrc     0 Comments

8-way benchmarks for DragonFly and Linux

Phoronix has another set of benchmarks that include DragonFly and PC-BSD, along with several Linux distributions.  It’s interesting to see, though don’t take them as performance measurements.  7-Zip as a benchmark doesn’t describe much other than the program itself, and the Himeno benchmark results are because of the compiler in use rather than any underlying performance aspect of the operating system – for instance.  The DragonFly benchmarks disappear after page 3.

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

DragonFly 3.4.2 released

I’ve tagged DragonFly 3.4.2.  The major reasons for this point release were fixes for DragonFly under Xen with more than 2 CPUs specified, and for booting x86_64 DragonFly in KVM.  The 3.4.2 tagged commit has every detail.

If you’ve already got a working 3.4.1 installation, you don’t need to rush to upgrade; this is mostly for the people affected by the issues listed above.  I’m working on 3.4.2 install images; give that some time to complete and upload if you need one.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     1 Comment

DragonFly and GRUB, together

Rados?aw Szymczyszyn has manged to get support for DragonFly’s bootloader into GRUB.  This is part of his Master’s project to make DragonFly multiboot capable, at least for i386.

(I love having new things show up from new people, out of the blue.)

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

Postgres still crazy fast on DragonFly

Loïc BLOT posted about his benchmark of several operating systems using KVM and Postgres 9.1.  Happily, DragonFly is the fastest, with one exception.  Linux/ext4 comes out faster – if you run it with barrier=0, which can be dangerous in a non-battery-backed-up volume.

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

Many upgrades, and Hammer

John Marino managed to update GCC from 4.7.2 to 4.7.3 (4.7 changelog), zlib from 1.2.7 to 1.2.8 (changelog), and awk from 20110810 to 20121220 (can’t find a changelog).

In other update news, Matt Dillon has been working on HAMMER2’s flush sequencing.

Update: tcsh too.

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

DragonFly and Bittorrent

I’ve put the 3.4 release images up on terasaur, a Bittorrent seeding site.  Please try pulling them and let me know how it goes.  I haven’t torrented many things, so I am unsure how to even verbify “torrent’.  Hopefully that sentence and those links work out.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     6 Comments

Kimsufi servers, DragonFly, and French

If you’re looking to install DragonFly on a Kimsufi server, and you can read French, this explanation may help you.  (via Enjolras on EFNet #dragonflybsd)

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More about the DragonFly boot process

Have you ever wondered about how the booting process works on DragonFly?  Well, Ivan Uemlianin did, out loud.  Several different recommendations followed, so now you can learn too.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

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

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

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

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.

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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

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.