ISDN support has been removed from DragonFly. It was not useful at this point, because it’s rarely used any more. It does make me feel a little sad; this was the technology everyone said was the future before cable modems and DSL were figured out.
Month: January 2012
The deadline for submitting papers for BSDCan has been extended, since the convention’s site suffered some downtime this past weekend. Submit proposals by tomorrow, the 31st, now.
This is the week of the funny, apparently.
- I’ve linked to this site before, but not this specific feature: History of UNIX manpages. Part of the formatting that makes up man pages dates back to 1964! ‘roff’ comes from RUNOFF, the original markup! This is the perfect mix of history, nerditry, and language for me.
- Hubert Feyrer says there should be BSD Certification training material. I agree.
- That’s the spiffiest TWM I’ve ever seen, and it’s on DragonFly. Found at the same place: Bash.
- Hey, Michael Lucas is planning for his next book!
- Developer error HTTP status codes. (via) What’s the geekiest joke I can still find funny?
- I like it when computers look like serious computers. (via luxh on #dragonflybsd)
Your totally unrelated video link of the week: The Necronomicon. Pitch perfect.
Ulrich Habel wants to update some of the Perl 5 modules in pkgsrc. He published a request for comments, describing what he plans to do for changing some dependencies. He does note that Perl 5 in pkgsrc is at 5.14.2, which is very recent.
I was talking to a relative today who works at a large financial company, which is standardizing on Red Hat Enterprise. I find it strange that Red Hat, which has a lot of money behind it, still ships a years-old and arguably broken version of perl. By using pkgsrc, you’re getting more up-to-date software than people that actually shell out money for the privilege of compiling software.
They are located in the normal place, in .img (USB) and .iso (CD/DVD) formats. I haven’t made the desktop DVD yet; let’s see how these untested versions do…
A bit of symmetry in that title, there. Old ATA, which was replaced years ago, is finally gone. This should affect nobody…
If you need to use ISDN with DragonFly, speak up now. I think it may get tossed otherwise.
I received an email from No Starch Press about reviewing this book, and my first reaction was to say no. I assumed this was essentially a book about using Bash, and therefore probably not useful to people reading the Digest.
I read it despite my knee-jerk reaction, and I didn’t need to reject it so suddenly. Almost all of the book will apply to any Unix-like system.
My first real experience with something that wasn’t Windows or a Mac was at a summer job during college, sitting in front of a SparcStation 5 editing files and processing data for real estate. Much of my muscle memory about vi and file manipulation dates from then. This book, even though it’s technically for a different operating system, would have been just what I needed. There’s no system administration in the book, just making your way around a filesystem and the tools you need to get results. It’s the kind of skills I think people lose out on when they boot to a graphical interface in Ubuntu, for example, and then never experience these tools.
Negatives: a few areas won’t be of use to most BSD users, like the section on packaging, or the bash-centric instructions in the shell programming area. There’s the occasional off comment, like that OpenSSH originates from “the BSD project”. There’s surprisingly little of this however, and I had to think a bit to write this negative paragraph.
Positives: The book puts the proper focus on some complex but rewarding aspects of command line use, like using vi (alright, vim) and understanding regular expressions. Much of what it covers is the same material I’ve learned to use over time, and explained to others.
There’s clearly two areas to the book; the first half is about using the command line to accomplish work, and the second is about shell programming. Making it at least through the first half will result in being able to work at a prompt with little issue, with the shell programming a nice bonus. It’s not the normal mix of admin tasks and introductory text; it’s about working at the command line. I imagine giving it to new software testers in a lab, or to a Windows user that has to deal with the occasional unfamiliar environment. There isn’t an equivalent BSD-centric book like this, so it wouldn’t hurt a BSD user, either.
It’s available now at the No Starch website.
(David Shao, where are you? If you’re reading this, hop into #dragonflybsd and tell us how things are going with your GEM/KMS work)
I even have some comedy in here this week.
- Here’s some interesting ideas on improving the standard terminal window. (via)
- Hey, a Windows Phone application that aggregates BSD news! Including this one, I think. No way to test it because Windows Phones are rarer than hen’s teeth.
- This article about Bruce Perens has some good quotes in it – especially the Mark Shuttleworth one. (via)
- I think these computers all predate the integrated circuit. (via)
- How Google Code Search Worked. (via)
- The Rise and Fall of Personal Computing. (via) I don’t think the numbers used are accurate, but the trend is correct: a lot more people are computing through devices that are “walled gardens”, where they can’t install what they want.
- The App Store Guide – Take Two. It boils down to: Curated information on what programs to run is very useful. Someone could do this with pkgsrc or ports, easily. pkgsrc.se is sorta there, but not really with any sort of authorial voice.
- Variable typing can be surprisingly funny. (via) The final punchline is great but may not make sense unless you’ve seen where it comes from.
- Network jokes are the bestest jokes. (via)
Another unrelated thing: David Shao, are you out there? Can you get on IRC (EFNet #dragonflybsd) and help some people out with GEM/KMS questions? Nobody’s been able to find you.
I’m going to have at least 1 book review up next week, 2 if I can make it. I’ve done this several times now, so I’ve added a ‘Book review’ category so that they all can be found together.
‘Live dedup’, where a DragonFly system makes a deduplicative reference to copied data instead of actually copying the data, is now off by default. There’s no definite issue linked to it yet that I know of, but it never hurts to be careful just before a release.
Matthias Schmidt found a discussion about DragonFly’s password encryption. The result, if I am reading it correctly, is that brute-forcing the password from available hashes is quicker than it should be. Matthias also found a contributed fix. Samuel Greear updated to match the reference SHA implementation also in Linux, with this very pertinent warning.
Matthew Dillon has a very detailed commit message with changes to make sure Hammer will run overnight cleanups in situations as low as 256M of RAM. I think you can find that much RAM in breakfast cereal boxes these days.
The answer is “not very”. As I wrote in a post to kernel@, DragonFly 3.0 will be tagged soon, and released when there’s pkgsrc-2011Q4 packages to go with it. Probably a week if everything goes to plan.
What happens when you break enough things in DragonFly that you become a source of test cases? As Antonio Huete Jimenez (AKA “tuxillo” on IRC) found out, you get a stress test named after you.
I need to catch up on some older stuff, so here is a longer list of recent updates: libarchive to 3.0.2, xz to 5.0.3, mfi(4) and mfiutil(8) (LSI MegaRAID driver) updated, ATI SB7x0/SB8x0/SB9x0 AHCI devices (on motherboards I assume) updated, and the PHY ID for the Atheros F1 added. Thanks to everyone who did the work! I bet I missed something.
Getting back into the rhythm, here…
- Jeff Vogel, who is a funny and smart guy, wrote this article, essentially about crowdsourcing. It’s another way of saying “bikeshed“. Plus: D&D!
- Michael Lucas, sometimes BSD author, has a new fiction collection out. He’s working on a SSH book too.
- Hey, AsiaBSDCon is coming up in March, BSDCan in May. I don’t know about EuroBSDCon or NYCBSDCon, though. Plan ahead!
- Did you know there’s a bsd.org? Very old-school: here’s a list of commands, get going.
- GNU Tar doesn’t have a man page. (via) Weird. I didn’t verify that, but I’m not sure how to.
Your unrelated comics link of the week: there’s a Freddy, and a dragonfly, but it’s not DragonFly BSD. It’s still fun though.
John Marino has pointed out, with a number of examples, that gnat-aux is the best pkgsrc-based compiler for DragonFly right now, in terms of compatibility and support. It’s certainly good news if you are an Ada programmer. He lists some interesting numbers to demonstrate this superiority, though you can’t buildworld with it yet. (gcc 4.4, on DragonFly as part of the system, will do this normally.)
It’s listed both as the December and the January issue, but either way, there’s a new issue of BSD Magazine.
(I’m way behind on posting news; I apologize. I’m working my way through several crises. Crisises? Not sure of the plural form of crisis.)
I said posting would be more regular now that the holiday’s over, didn’t I? I lied.
- Here’s a useful idea: a server that allows (Linux) systems with encrypted file systems to boot unattended. I’m not sure how that doesn’t defeat the concept, but actually reading the documentation may help with that. (via, via)
- While on the topic, the EFF says “Encrypt your disk!“. (via)
- The Commodore 64 is 30 years old, for those readers of a certain age who may have had one… I was a Apple ][ kid. (via)
- Aw, thanks.
- “What deduplicating file system should I use?” Well, I can think of an answer.
If you’re running DragonFly on a very low-end system, you may be wondering about memory requirements for Hammer. Hammer is much less RAM-hungry than ZFS, so it looks like you can get away with 128M, as long as you don’t mind the occasional error message. You can manually tweak settings for it if you like. 256M is plenty.
It still strikes me as odd to consider systems with less than 1G of RAM as “low-memory”. What rich times we live in!
Happy new year! Regular posting should resume soon now that my holidays are over.
- I like the line, “Please note that BSD manpages are usually better as compare to Linux” [sic] found on this odd page of where to find documentation.
- Hey, this encryption of DNS requests is a good idea. Then again, so is DNSSEC. I’ve done neither.
- Stop using GoDaddy, if you can. There’s plenty of reasons, other than support for SOPA.
- There’s got to be at least one reader who gets this joke.
- If you don’t mind digging through all the comments in this Slashdot article about building a desktop environment, there’s some neat descriptions of different window managers and so on.
- A mild brain teaser to start the year: a regular expression to find prime numbers.
- This is a nice description of just what the Archive Team does. (via)
- The Coming War on General Purpose Computing. Sometimes the stuff on BoingBoing gives me the same irritated feeling as sensationalistic Wired articles, but this one is good to read if you happen to be working on your own operating system. Also, the similar thing with APIs.
- This “best tech writing of 2011” summary on Verge (via) led me to this excellent article: “The Web Is a Customer Service Medium“. There’s lots more reading in that summary.
- I’ve seen this mentioned before, but now it’s with a graph so it’s better! On the continuing decline of the GPL.
- OK, I admit graphs are not always a good idea. (via)
- Trivium, from which I yoinked that last link, also has an blog from its author, Chris Neukirchen. It’s not updated often but there’s some entertaining sysadmin tidbits on there, such as going all-ed, or zsh tips, or Why I use the MIT license.
Your completely unrelated link of the day: Tiny Legs of Fire. (video) Worth it for the origin of Beardslap.
(Sorry about the giant text block. This isn’t as readable as I’d like.)