In Other BSDs for 2013/11/30

A lighter week for commits probably because of the U.S. holiday, but still plenty of things to link.

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.

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.

Lazy Reading for 2013/11/24

There’s some in-depth items to look at this week; pull up a chair and get something warm to drink.  You will be rewarded.

  • James Mickens, who you may remember from The Slow Winter a few weeks back, has written again with The Night Watch.  Gonzo tech writing is the best.  Note to self: a ;login: subscription might not be a bad idea, as apparently there’s more like that.
  • Another note to self: watch the USENIX blog.  There’s some interesting things on there.
  • Citation Needed.   There’s a plausible claim in this that the reason we have 0-based indexing in most languages is because of yacht-racing.  Seriously, read the article, and follow some of the links in it.  (via)
  • Engelbart’s Violin.  Because “a computer system should maximally reward learning.”  Found in that previous essay; good enough I had to break it out.
  • Found in the comments from that previous link: SiWriter.  One-handed phone typing, simulating a chorded keyboard.
  • History of T.  I was wondering if it was something about tea, but no, it’s a discussion about a Lisp implementation.  Lisp all seems to originate from a magical time, when computers were faster, dragons were common, and elves hadn’t retreated across the sea yet, or at least all the stories have that mythical vibe.  See the ycominator link for additional discussion about system languages like Rust, of which I have only heard in passing so far.
  • The video and audio from LISA 2013 has been posted.  There’s lots there; I’m sure you’ll find an interesting topic.
  • I wasn’t kidding about this being a dense week for links, was I?
  • This should have been in yesterday, but I only read about it this morning: Darwin/BSD on ARM.  More ARM work everywhere, please; there’s a tidal wave of these processors washing about.  (thanks, J.C. Roberts)
  • Why I use a 20-year-old Model M keyboard.  See the ycombinator discussion for alternatives.  They all may seem expensive, but it’s equipment you’re going to smash your fingers against for many years; it should be good.
  • That discussion link in the previous item led me to this image.  An old-style Thinkpad keyboard?  Now that would be pleasant to use.  Apparently these existed, though the Lenovo keyboards section doesn’t have anything exactly by that name; the keyboards there look generic.  There’s some on eBay.  Anyone ever used one?
  • The Homebrew Computer Club reconvenes.  A computer club nowadays is “we downloaded some of the same software”, while back then it was “I built a computer.”  A bit more hardcore.
  • chibitronics.  It’s ‘circuit stickers’, and a good idea.
  • mattext, a matrix-style pager.  Does it work on DragonFly?  Haven’t had a chance to find out.  It needs a video demo.  (via)
  • More UNIX script debugging.  Still Bash-specific, but still useful.
  • Puppet vs. Chef  vs. Ansible vs. Salt.  A useful comparison for those not familiar with these types of tool.  (via)
  • UNIX Proves Staying Power as Enterprise Computing Platform.  Gives a short history of commercial UNIX platforms.
  • I find stories about closing cloud companies compelling.  I’d probably feel different if it was my problems to sort out.


Your unrelated link of the week: Mr. T PSA.  It’s a parody of the real thing.  I explicitly mention it because you, the reader, might not be just the right age to remember this.

If that’s not confusing enough, watch this.

In Other BSDs for 2013/11/23

I’m working my way up to more than just links to source for the cross-BSD news.  There’s a lot to swim through!

Lazy Reading for 2013/11/17

It’s been snowing this week in the northeast US, which makes me happy.

  • Unix: sending signals to processes.  Signals have always struck me as a somewhat byzantine messaging system that everyone uses for the equivalent of Ctrl-C.
  • Unix: Debugging your scripts.  This will be useful if it’s not already familiar to you.
  • Compatibility is Hard.  Contrary to popular belief, Microsoft Word documents are not backward or forward compatible, from release to release.
  • From that previous link: Why Microsoft Word Must Die.  The worst problems to troubleshoot are when someone says “Word/Excel is acting funny”.  There’s so many intermediate layers of software in those programs that it’s difficult to find the actual data and the actions being performed on it, much less troubleshoot any process.
  • moved from MySQL/MariaDB to Postgres.  I agree with the sentiments in the article, but I want to know the technical reasons that made Postgres the choice for scaling.  (via)
  • Apple ][ DOS source code.  I don’t have anything I can actually do with the source, but there’s a 1977 price list pictured in the the article that shows some interesting numbers: A 4Kb RAM system costs about $1300, and the prices just go up from there.

Your unrelated comics link of the week: the first four pages of Necropolis.  This comic looks to be fun.