Month: April 2008
Murray Stokely has an interesting post up on his blog noting a bunch of interesting BSD-themed tutorials on (mostly) Youtube. His sentiments – and I agree – are that there should be more BSD instruction in video form, not just the various texts we have today. (via)
BSD systems have always been well-documented compared to the open source … well, ‘standard’ isn’t the right word. Branching past text-based media is a good idea, though I suspect part of the barrier is common Flash support.
I’ve been traveling the past few days, so I’m going to do a linkdump to catch up:
OpenBSD has an interesting mergemaster replacement, sysmerge. I’ve never seen a final answer on if DragonFly needs some sort of merging tool or not.
Jeremy C. Reed, on the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list, has proposed a ‘upstream’ pkgsrc hackathon. This would be specifically to construct patches to submit to the vendors of given pkgsrc packages, so that the changes would no longer have to be maintained in pkgsrc. This is a good idea; please jump in if you want to help with DragonFly-specific changes, or if you have access to some of those upstream vendors.
We have 7 accepted projects in the Google Summer of Code; the full list is available at the Google site, with links to each proposal.
We’re now in the Community Bonding Period; time for us to get to know each other.Â Please welcome your new student codevelopers; we should be hearing a lot from them over the next few months.
I have a collection of small things I’ve been meaning to link; here they all are in a post.
Waxy.org has the details about the never-published sequel to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game (original playable as Java or as Flash), taken from a backup drive circa 1989; readers of a certain age will appreciate the historic Infocom details, and the page includes (for those with Java) a somewhat playable version of the sequel, Milliways. Waxy also had a link to a history of Interactive Fiction, for those who aren’t as familiar, or if you want to know why Infocom is important. It’s not hard to draw a line from these early games to the LucasArts adventure games and other later variations, like my personal favorite.
Seeing this CPAN search trick for the search bar in FireFox reminds me of something linked to by Hubert Feyrer some time ago: a pkgsrc.se search plugin, so that instead of trawling your /usr/pkgsrc via the command line, you can search through the just-as-fast-but-prettier pkgsrc.se pages for package details.
Someday, are we going to be nostalgic for the old default-font no-image open source software web pages? Everyone seems to be getting into making it pretty.
I’ve added the various BSD-related links from an earlier story over on the sidebar to this site.Â If you have more suggestions for BSD-related site, please tell me at email@example.com, or in the comments.
Aggelos Economopoulos has volunteered himself and his diploma project for getting the DragonFly network stack out from under the Big Giant Lock. This benefits everyone. He plans to post a preliminary roadmap soon.
BSDTalk 147 is out, with an 16-minute interview of Alexander Motin.
Matthew Dillon posted a HEADS UP: that the vm_page structure has changed.Â This will probably not affect you unless you are working in the kernel.Â He didn’t specify in the message, but it’s probably a good idea to do a full buildworld/buildkernel if you’re running bleeding edge code.
Matthew Dillon commited significant changes to pf in DragonFly; his commit message describes the differences and advantages.
(Yes, I’m running behind on news. Yes, there’s a lot. We’re drinking from the firehose these days.)
Matthias Schmidt has set up (in CVS) a page for new items for the 2.0 release of DragonFly.Â If you’re committing something big to DragonFly, write it down there.Â Consistent use will give us a pre-prepared list for the actual release, which will probably be late summer.
Matthew Dillon’s recent parallelization of cpdup brought up some interesting features: it can do third-party transfers, copying data from one remote machine to another, and while not faster than rsync, it’s relatively easy to use. Vincent Stemen followed up with a mention of his ‘rbu’ (Remote Back Up) product, that serves as a wrapper around rsync and simplifies the backup process.
Sepherosa Ziehau has posted some work he’s done to reduce serializer contention in an effort to improve network forwarding throughput. His detailed technical explanation also includes some benchmarks; he found a way to improve speeds but finds that there’s still a penalty from multiprocessing support.
I’m not technically qualified to answer the question Josh Triplett asked in comments on my ‘dolt’ article:
If you want to fix that, feel free to send me a patch, or just tell me that DragonFly uses the same -fPIC -DPIC that Linux and FreeBSD use.
Tell him at/send patch to firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you do, thank you for helping.
The recent release of the RadeonHD 1.2 driver lists DragonFly support as a new feature, among other changes. Can someone test and confirm? (found via Google Alerts)
This article, titled “Myths Open Source Developers Tell Ourselves“, dates back to 2003, but is surprisingly accurate. I suspect these myths will become even more prevalent; the number of open source projects out there has been increasing year after year, or at least that’s my impression. (Is there any person or organization that’s trying to track the number?) My favorite myth in the article: “End Users Love Tracking CVS”.
Not necessarily about me, but I read an article about the continuous stress of blogging, in the New York Times.Â Entertainingly, the article says:
Blogging has been lucrative for some, but those on the lower rungs of the business can earn as little as $10 a post, and in some cases are paid on a sliding bonus scale that rewards success with a demand for even more work.
$10 a post?Â Given that I’ve been doing this for near-free (the Google Ads buy me a sandwich every now and then) for years, that seems like a lot.Â Not much to live on, though.
Libtool is a very flexible but relatively slow tool used for a lot of software; it can impose a signicant time penalty during compilation. This post to email@example.com names a new tool, dolt, which works as a drop-in replacement for libtool can significantly reduce build time. It’s not (yet) supported on DragonFly.Â The name comes from “do ltcompile”.Â (from Hasso on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
Murray Stokely mentioned the new ‘gold‘ linker for GCC in a blog post. It’s going into binutils, and apparently would provide a nice speedup for linking C++ code. This won’t help so much with (most of) a buildworld on DragonFly, but it would definitely help for KDE or other large third-party applications. (via) No, I don’t know why it’s called ‘gold’.
This article, “Rethinking the interface to CPAN“, over at Perl Buzz, describes something there needs to be more of in the open source community.Â CPAN, for those who don’t know, is a way to automatically add various libraries to a Perl installation, similar to BSD ports/pkgsrc or Ruby’s gems.
This is the message from the article: provide a solution to a real problem.Â I bring this up because a reoccurring frustration people have with pkgsrc is how to upgrade packages.Â Now, there’s no lack of ways to upgrade, but none of these solutions are a match for what people want: an upgrade method that works without frequent side effects or extra work.Â This is why portupgrade is very popular for FreeBSD, or apt-get for Debian; it generally works as expected.Â We need more of the thought process that leads to those solutions, in open source.
I’m not bring this up just to pick on pkgsrc; we need this sort of thinking for the DragonFly BSD website, too.Â It (and the other BSD websites) take the role of a library shelf, with information only available by sifting through it until you find what you want.
Compare that to the Firefox website: most people are going to visit there to download Firefox.Â A smaller contingent will already have it and want to upgrade it.Â There’s a very clear visual path for 90% of the visitors to the site.Â Now, go to any of the BSD operating system sites, and say “How do I install a working desktop system, with X and a window manager and so on?”Â It’s going to take some digging.
A different way of looking at the open source projects involved in Google’s Summer of Code project this year: grouped by category. It’s interesting to see groupings like ‘Games’ or ‘Bioinformatics’.
BSDTalk 146 is out, with James Cornell interviewed in a 20-minute podcast.Â The host, Will Backman, asks “What are your favorite BSD-related websites?”, andÂ “Where can you buy BSD on disk?”Â Leave a comment on his site if you’ve got an answer.
Nirmal Thacker happened to post his Google Summer of Code proposal (pdf) for an Anticipatory I/O scheduler to the kernel@ mailing list, along with a request for feedback.Â We have 27 other proposals at this point.
Matthew Dillon asks, “How can pf be used to create a fair-queue algorithm similar to Cisco’s?” Answer if you know it; there’s been a few guesses.