Michael W. Lucas auctioned off his first copy of Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Edition some time ago, with the proceeds going to the OpenBSD Foundation. It was to be signed by OpenBSD developers – which is neat enough, but apparently it was annotated by the developers, too.
Michael W. Lucas wrote a new edition to his Absolute OpenBSD book, and that second edition was published relatively recently. It’s a hefty book, nearly 500 pages in length, and I’ve needed to write a review for some time now. Not-necessarily-relevant-disclaimer: I contributed the IPv6 haiku/joke at the start of Chapter 12.
If you’re interested in OpenBSD, it’s an obvious purchase. It goes into detail for all aspects of OpenBSD, starting with a very detailed conversation about installation, then disk setup, and so on. This is not going to surprise anyone, of course. Past the initial overview, the book starts with a chapter that talks about nothing else but locating other resources to help learn OpenBSD. It seems a little counter-intuitive to start a book with advice on how to look somewhere else, but it makes sense in light of the topic.
What if you aren’t using OpenBSD, at least not right now? Something I didn’t realize until I had chewed my way through most of the book was that there’s several smaller books hidden inside. The book goes very far into individual utilities. So far, in fact, that it ends up creating mini-guides about the topics within the chapters. (or entire chapters, in the case of pf.)
There’s in fact 2 chapters for pf, initial and advanced. TCP/IP gets close to 30 pages just to itself, and topics like snmpd or chroot get an introductory section that assumes nothing about your prior knowledge. These are technologies you’re using already, no matter which BSD flavor you’re dealing with.
It works as a reference. I’m going to show the aforementioned chapter 11, on TCP/IP, to my coworker who makes a confused face every time I say “link-layer protocol.” I don’t know if he’ll make it from one end to the other, but it’s a lot better than waving a hand in the air and mumbling “You should look that up on the Internet sometime.” There’s enough detail that some of the smaller sections could probably be broken out into individual books, and I daresay that’s what is happening with Lucas’s Mastery series.
It’s comprehensive, it’s readable, and you’ll find something useful in it no matter your experience level. The book is available in printed and eBook form, from the usual online stores linked at Michael W. Lucas’s site, or directly from the publisher. It’s also available through the OpenBSD Project, which then gets a cut towards development.
The other bit is that, having just released an Absolute OpenBSD update, his Absolute FreeBSD book will not see an update… until the FreeBSD installer gets more coherent.
(If you manage DNS in any fashion, buy DNSSEC Mastery.)
Peter N. M. Hansteen has a long writeup about using and creating ports on OpenBSD, which is apparently a reprint of an article he wrote for BSD Magazine back in 2008. I don’t remember if I read it, so it’s new to me, in any case. Port and package creation across the BSDs is juuuust close enough that reading about one version will leave you with a good guess about the others.
Peter Hansteen has an extensive writeup of how he has managed the bsdly.net 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.
It’s a week past Easter and I’m actually tired of eating chocolate. I never thought I’d say that.
- On fat men and jellybeans, about how the press is reporting DDOS attacks. Related: Reporting on tech stories is very difficult; there’s very little photogenic material. I’d love to have more pictures on the Digest, but what would I show?
- Lisp: A Language for Stratified Design. (PDF) There’s got to be a few readers that will find this a very enjoyable read. (via)
- If you’re using Google Chrome, check your extensions list. Even though it’s not supposed to be possible, I had an spyware extension auto-install itself, from a page that I was going to link here – but now will not.
- Music From Mathematics. Electronic music created with an IBM 7090. (via)
- At first I was like “Yeah, yeah, another terminal emulator”, but then I watched the demo movie for Terminology and was quite impressed. It doesn’t seem to exist in dports/pkgsrc yet. (also via)
- April 1st always leads to a number of announcements of varying quality. I like OpenBSD’s announcement, though.
- The Untold Story behind Apple’s $13000 Operating System. The article hypes up something that wasn’t that exciting, but I like the pictures of the old Apple ][ material. (via)
- Everyone Who Tried to Convince Me To Use Vim Was Wrong. Spoiler: he uses Vim. But: The author makes a very good point about how to get there. (via)
- How the Chess Set Got Its Look and Feel.
- HOWTO turn your shell prompt into a hamburger. The advice is for a Unicode-friendly Mac shell; don’t know if this works on DragonFly. (via)
- Start talking about nail polish, finish by talking about the limited 16-color palette of early PC computers. (via)
- Hello World cake. Based on a programming language called Chef where programs look like recipes. I can’t even make these things up. (via)
- Dragonflies are Monsters.
Your unrelated link of the week: nothing. I didn’t find anything off-the-wall enough to use here. Geez.
OpenBSD has a new identd daemon. Is identd used for anything other than verification when connecting to an IRC network? I’ve never seen it in another context.
I am all over the place with links this week – some of them pretty far off the path. There’s a lot, too, so enjoy!
- Puctuation obscurantism, punctuation humor; I like it all. (via)
- Exporting your git repository. Found while looking for something else.
- I want CTRL-D at a terminal to make something like this to happen.
- Visual Representation of Regular Expression Character Classes. I like visual ways of classifying complex data.
- Speaking of which: Anatomy of Data. Not sure how I found it.
- Digital Files and 3D Printing – In the Renaissance? The title sounds a bit linkbaity, but the story of the 14th century map designed to be recreated with a graphing tool is pretty neat.
- Postgres: The Bits You Haven’t Found. Advanced/odd Postgres usage. (via)
- Breaking your arrow keys is the latest idea in improving Vim usage.
- PC-BSD is moving to a ‘rolling release’ format, and also using the new pkg tools that are also in DPorts. Historic details on this new setup are available.
- Fred, taking off.
- Ten hours with the most inscrutable game of all time. I like the idea of Dwarf Fortress more than I actually like playing it. I’m somewhat afraid of it. It looks like this sounds.
- That last comparison wasn’t necessarily fair, but it was fun.
- If I’m going to talk about music like that, I should link Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music.
- The Wizard of Pinball. I just want my own standup pinball or arcade cabinet game. Yes, yes, I know, MAME cabinet.
- Appropriately this week, “Ball Saved”, page 1 and page 2 of a 2-page comic about pinball.
- UnReal World, an Iron-Age roguelike. Apparently pretty brutal, and two decades in development. Runs on several platforms, but not BSD. (via)
- You Are Boring. Some of the ‘boring’ items made me laugh. (via)
- The first review of Michael W. Lucas’s Absolute OpenBSD, Second Edition is available.
Your unrelated link of the week: I’ve already been offbeat enough in this Lazy Reading; I don’t have anything else.
For once, I got to read the commit logs for other BSDs…
The OpenBSD ‘Papers’ page has some videos listed to match the OpenBSD-related presentations from EuroBSDCon 2012.
Not only does NetBSD support the BeagleBoard, but Michael Lorenz is committing from it.
PC-BSD is looking to use pkgng, the same binary package manager used in John Marino’s DPorts. It’s proving quite popular.
Right in time for the end of the year, BSDTalk 221 is out, with Michael Dexter interviewing Matthieu Herrb at EuroBSDCon 2012 for 11 minutes about Xenocara.
Michael W. Lucas has a coupon code for his new edition of Absolute OpenBSD, so jump on it now. I haven’t read his first edition, but his other books are certainly good.
BSDTalk 220 is up. It’s a conversation with Eric Oyen, OpenBSD user. It’s about 20 minutes and I don’t know the subject past “OpenBSD” cause I haven’t listened to it – yet.
Life is busy, busy, busy. But there’s always time for Lazy Reading!
- Sometimes Google searches turn up DragonFly BSD in odd places.
- Wayland reached 1.0. That’s great, except it isn’t ready for use yet, it’s just feature-stable. I’d argue that means it’s ‘beta’, not 1.0, but there’s no hard and fast rules about that. In any case, does it run on any BSD? I don’t think so.
- OpenSSH server best practices. Nothing too groundbreaking, but they include “BSD” (i.e. pf) examples. I always like articles that don’t assume Linux is the only platform. (via)
- The little SSH that (sometimes) couldn’t. A heck of a network debugging exercise. (via mat in #dragonflybsd)
- The AN/FSQ7, a computer I’m sure I’ve seen in movies a number of times. (via)
- Here’s the OpenBSD slides from EuroBSDCon 2012.
- Oh look, Apple’s got “Fusion Drive“. The cool people call it swapcache and have been using it for years, so there.
- Here’s an essay that starts out talking about Quantum Computing and moves into the ambivalence that quantum computing seems to entail instead of just noting the general scientific description and leaving it there. It’s really quite enjoyable.
- Hey, maybe this is why Facebook reported earnings are up: they’re holding your own data hostage. (via)
- Rob Pike on The Setup. He makes a very good point about how we should access computers. Also, here’s a recent, long slide show he put together about Go. It describes solving some language problems that have been around a long time. (via)
- I was halfway through reading that last slide show link and realized there’s no way I can explain how it was an worthwhile read to someone who hadn’t done some programming. No link or conclusion, just an observation of how esoteric this is. I hope you enjoy it.
- Essential Vim and Vi Skills has hit a 3rd edition. I have this as a Kindle edition, and I’m not sure how that happened.
- Zork in Duplicity, or a bizarre finding of old UNIX history in a completely unrelated place. (via)
- These OpenBSD thin clients are a neat idea.
Your unrelated link of the week: Delilah Dirk. It’s a comic, and the story available to read online is about a tea merchant, which makes it exactly right.
12 18 hours of my life fighting with an Exchange 2010 upgrade this week. To compensate, I will never complain about Sendmail wonkiness ever.
- Homebrew Cray-1A. Duplicating the internals is interesting in a “that’s crazy/difficult” way, but the case is the best part. (via dfcat on #dragonflybsd)
- If you understand the structure of haiku, you can contribute to Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Ed.
- Here’s a browser-based roguelike called Second Wind, and another called Epilogue. No particular reason to link to them other than I haven’t had much roguelikes linked recently.
- “The role of the troll in social media is to ruin that product.” There’s a line that can be drawn to connect the idea of being esoteric enough that social networks (i.e. Facebook) don’t intrude on your interests, and the idea of being interested in BSD operating system creation. What I’m saying is that BSD is less hyped, and thank goodness.
- Another social media caution: it’s their space, not yours, and they can boot you at any time. (via)
- Yeah, I’m getting curmudgeonly. I’ll stop now.
- Go By Example.
- git-ftp, when the files you are working on are in a location only accessible by FTP – no git or ssh access. This appears to copy them in and out as part of the commit/change process. I can imagine a very specific workflow where this would be useful. (via)
- Bash One-Liners, part 4.
- OS Upgrades powered by Git. That’s a neat idea. I don’t think you actually have to follow the link; that’s the whole concept right there.
- The Ultimate Vim Distribution. (via) I like how slick the single-line install methods are on these things… but I want the number of packaging/install methods on every computer I administer to equal exactly 1, not (1 x number of installed programs).
- Why is Linux more popular than BSD? Some of the answers are just plain wrong, or don’t understand causality… but that’s no surprise. (via)
- Oh, hopefully this will solve the UEFI secureboot issue for DragonFly too. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: A CD that comes with its own turntable and record. Kid Koala scrapes over culture to find mentions of vinyl and DJing the same way I scrounge the Internet for mention of BSD. His “Nerdball” from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an astonishing display of turntable skill.
It’s a short week this week, but that’s OK. The last few weeks have been a deluge of links.
- Coming Home to Vim. More tips than you can get through in one reading, I think. (via)
- This is a time saver: Vim completion. (via same place)
- You might be a Unix geek. (again)
- Hey, this is a good idea: OpenBSD commits on Twitter.
- I miss cassettes.
- “BSD is a Microsoft plot” is the craziest thing I’ve heard in a while.
- I like this Kickstarter for a USB LED indicator, and not just because it includes the man page reference in the project name. (via)
This is the version that the OpenBSD Project is selling, so the profit goes to the people who made OpenSSH. It’s an excellent idea.