Microcode updates on DragonFly

One side effect of Meltdown/Spectre are CPU microcode (firmware) updates.  For future needs: sysutils/devcpu-data is the port that has the updates for Intel, and cpucontrol(8) is the program you run on DragonFly to add them.

I haven’t used this myself, yet, so I can’t tell you how necessary an immediate update could be – but you will probably want to use it soon.

Update: Newer CPUs might require this sizing change.

Update update: a better explanation of applying microcode updates.  There’s new ones out, too.  (via)

More Meltdown fixes

If you’re on the bleeding edge of DragonFly and already updated for Meltdown fixes, there’s a few more commits you’ll want to get.

Matthew Dillon wrote a summary of the current status, noting there’s not much you can do for Spectre beyond new hardware.   There is an update to the “defensive browser setup” plan for DragonFly (using –site-per-process) that can help at least with Javascript versions of Spectre.

Update: step-by-step microcode fixes from Intel if you really want to trash your performance.

In Other BSDs for 2018/01/06

Note the non-profit link; that may be useful to you.

Remember: don’t kldload i915 too soon

I just wasted an hour trying to figure out why xorg had strange output but no errors on this laptop, and it’s because I had i915_load=”YES” in /boot/loader.conf instead of i915_load=”YES” in /etc/rc.conf.  I’m almost nearly sure I’ve mentioned that before, but if not: here you go.

(though if you never plan to run X, you can put it in loader.conf and everything will just work.)

(Title updated for a more correct sentence)

Booting, UEFI, and text consoles

I installed a DragonFly snapshot on a Lenovo x220 last night.  I went for a EFI install, even though the x220 has a “Legacy” option.  When I booted, it looked like this:

It successfully booted, but once it hit the kernel load, it started printing to the top of the screen in that lovely repeating pattern you see.

Matthew Dillon helpfully pointed out that the DRM and i915 modules needed to be loaded.  Hitting ‘9’ during the bootloader countdown got me to a prompt where I could type:

drm_load="YES"

i915_load="YES"'

kern.kms_console=1

menu

Which brought me back to the boot menu, but this time it loaded those additional modules to support the Intel video chipset – and it worked!

These lines can go in /boot/loader.conf for permanent use.

Update: accelerated X will need a different setup – see my later post.

Kabylake NUC and DragonFly

Matthew Dillon’s been using a Kabylake NUC for a DragonFly workstation and it’s generally working out well.  It’s tiny enough to lose on a desk, in my opinion.  He added performance details and a screenshot.  The Specific Configs page has his notes, recorded, too.

Related laptop tip: If you have a Lenovo Yoga and can’t mount the drive after install, various sdhci modules may be the answer.  Update: definitely the answer.

 

 

New mechanism: kcollect

There’s a new facility in DragonFly: kcollect(8).  It holds automatically-collected kernel data for about the last day, and can output to gnuplot.  Note the automatic collection part; your system will always be able to tell you about weirdness – assuming that weirdness extends to one of the features kcollect tracks.  Here’s some of the commits.