NYCBUG, the NY BSD user’s group, has an RSS feed for their speaker events, found via Dru Lavigne’s always useful BSD Events twitter.  The next event at the start of October is a talk about SMPng in FreeBSD.  Given that it was the project that in part led to the creation of DragonFly, I’d like to hear about it.  (and even better, have someone more qualified than I compare and contrast that approach with what’s in DragonFly.)

Experimental pmap optimizations

Matthew Dillon has created an experiment: shared page table mappings.  It’s controlled by a sysctl, since it’s still experimental.  The real-world effect is reducing the number of memory faults as a process uses up memory, and decreasing the overall memory usage.  The obvious benchmark is Postgres speed; this makes the initial expansion of memory usage much less of an drag on speed due to a high memory fault rate.

If all this mention of faulting sounds like a problem, remember memory faults on BSD are normal; that’s how programs indicate they need more memory space by causing a fault.  This is in contrast to Linux, where memory is allocated a different way.  Or at least, that’s my understanding.  (If you know better, please comment.)

Lazy Reading for 2012/09/09


  • deadweight, “Find unused CSS selectors by scraping your HTML”.  I’ve needed something like this for years.  (via)
  • The same sort of thing for pkgsrc: pkg_leaves.  Worth running at least yearly, or at least before any significant pkgsrc upgrade.  There’s no point in updating a package you don’t use or need.
  • GNU Coreutils cheat sheet, plus the instructions to make it.  There’s other cheatsheets linked in the article that may be useful.
  • Compiler benchmarks, comparing gcc and clang versions.  For a complete benchmark, I’d want to compare what number of programs build with each, too.  (via ftigeot on #dragonflybsd)
  • When ‘your mom’ and Unix jokes collide.
  • Distraction-free writing with Vim.  (via)
  • Also, there’s a “Modern Vim” book on the way.  Will it be good?  I have no idea; I don’t know of any prior books by the author or who the publisher is.  Those facts might help.
  • For a known author and publisher, here’s a status report on Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Edition.  If you don’t know what a BOFH is from his last sentence, read the original stories.
  • Quadrilateral Cowboy, a cyberpunk hacking game that actually involves non-boring programming and not just a pipe-matching game under the guise of hacking.
  • While I’m linking to games, GUTS, sorta like Diablo but more… roguey?  It’s turn-based.  Also, an excuse to use the roguelike tag.
  • 4 UNIX commands I abuse every day.  Having done a fair amount of Perl programming, I am entertained by having side effects being the intended goal.  Also, the author pays attention to what runs on BSD.  (via)
  • Disks lie. And the controllers that run them are partners in crime.”  Marshall Kirk McKusick describes just how hard it is to know when your data has really made it from memory to disk.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the week.  Dubgif.  Random animated gifs and dubstep clips.  Sometimes it doesn’t work, and sometimes it’s perfect.  (via)  If that’s too random, there’s also this .

Mailman conversion for mailing lists

If you’re on any of the mailing lists, I’m converting them over from bestserv to Mailman.  I’ve done bugs@, commits@, hammer@, and test@ so far, and I’ll move the old archives over to the same format as soon as I find an actual mbox file with the old messages in it.  The remaining lists should be tomorrow.

(If you got a note tonight from a list you were sure you were unsubscribed from, that was my fault; sorry!  I didn’t understand the format of the bestserv user lists.)

Some more books to read

This recent question asked on-list about creating your own file system meandered into good reference books.  This so far was “The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System“, “Modern Operating Systems“, and the paper “Vnodes: An Architecture for Multiple File System Types in Sun UNIX“.  Looking for links on those things led me to this Unix filesystem history paper from IBM, which is fun reading.

I’m saying that unironically!  It really is an interesting document to read, for historical and general knowledge.  I am a nerd. 

Lazy Reading for 2012/09/02

I hope you like your links eclectic this week.

  • DragonFly is a popular project name, but this is unrelated to DragonFly BSD.
  • Russian Tea HOWTO.  I know there’s at least a few vigorous tea-drinkers in DragonFly other than me.  The tl;dr version is “make a syrup and dilute”, but it’s more enjoyable to get into the paperphanalia of it all.
  • I don’t know what Xombrero is, but someone submitted patches for it to build on DragonFly.  What a nice thing to do!
  • A Generation Lost in the Bazaar, by Poul-Henning Kamp.  Even if you don’t agree with his cathedral vs. bazaar generalizations, this description sums up a problem well: “Sam Leffler’s graphics/libtiff is one of the 122 packages on the road to www/firefox, yet the resulting Firefox browser does not render TIFF images.”  (via)
  •, the site of John Walker, co-author of AutoCAD.  The site looks like something from the late 90s but is surprisingly modern.  The Unix Utilities section has some interesting programs.  I’d link to it directly, but it’s a framed page on the site.  (See what I meant about “90s”?)
  • Beyond lies the wub: a history of dubstep.  You may or may not be interested in the music, but I like these long-form articles coming from the Verge.
  • 150 Troma films for free on YouTube.  (via)  The most famous one isn’t free, but it’s there.
  • Oh my goodness, the “thagomizer” is a real thing.
  • Racing modified electric kid vehicles.  I had a coworker who put a wheelchair battery into his daughter’s Barbie car.  He said it doubled the speed and made it able to drive on two wheels.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the week:  Flux Machine.  Be patient; the images are animated to good effect.