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.
Month: December 2012
The last of the year.
- Outgrow.me, a list of successfully funded Kickstarter and IndieGoGo projects. There’s some neat technology doodads in there. And a zillion hipster iPhone tripods.
- Remember when you could find program source code printed in magazines, for you to type in? Here’s an interesting story about that. (via)
- Some good news: despite the completely hostile (and wrong) story on Slashdot, the FreeBSD Foundation has exceeded their pledge goals for the year by a wide margin.
- A very early pre-Internet story about packets. (via)
- Relational shell programming. (via)
- History of the Microwriter. I remember seeing a version of this called the Twiddler. (also via)
- How to Host a Dungeon. Follow some of the links at the bottom. (also also via)
- Early Apple computer designs. I link not because it’s Apple but because it’s very much 1980s industrial design, which is both wonderful and awful. (via)
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Marlo Meekins’ Tumblr. Her lettering is refreshingly expressive. That may sounds strange to single out, but so many people place words as an set block of text rather than as part of a graphic layout.
As is customary with pkgsrc, a number of packages that do not build or are no longer needed will be removed. This will happen in the next quarterly release. It’s a short list, and one item on that list, misc/p5-Locale-Maketext, will actually stay.
The freeze for pkgsrc-2012Q4 is due to complete in about 48 hours.
I’m not sure what IFQ stands for, but Sepherosa Ziehau’s added it. It appears to be based on an idea from Luigi Rizzo called ‘netmap‘. In this case, network packets are grouped together before being placed onto the network interface’s hardware queue. That means better packet per second performance without a corresponding increase in CPU usage, as Sepherosa Ziehau’s report lists, along with needed sysctls.
Hope your presents are interesting this year…
The Digest was down over the last 12 hours or so – sorry! Upgrading this system took a bit longer than planned. I upgraded to Apache 2.4, and had to figure out all the config changes, and several packages didn’t like upgrading.
I’ve resisted upgrading for a long time, mostly because I think I could recreate the entire Apache 1.3 config file layout from memory. For the benefit of anyone else, this checklist of Apache errors and corresponding modules helped tremendously. Also, pkg_leaves is a great, if minimal, way to find packages you don’t need.
I started this Lazy Reading early, since I had so many links it overflowed into the next week. Merry almost Christmas!
- Here’s an in-depth review of Guilded Youth, an interactive fiction game that hearkens back to the old days of BBS usage. (Do I need an interactive fiction tag to complement the roguelike one?)
- Dear Open Source Project Leader: Quit Being A Jerk. I really think part of DragonFly’s success, despite being such a small, esoteric project, has come from being generally tolerant.
- Vmail, a Vim interface to Gmail. This seems pretty slick. Looking further, the author has a number of other Vi/Vim-related projects, like a Vim wiki, Vim newsreader, Vim iTunes controls, and more. Also something really clever: the equivalent of ‘tail -f twitter.com‘ (via)
- How I got four errors into a one-line program. All via git.
- Go for C programmers. (via)
- Mars Code. I like the statistic that the lines-per-hour of code was <10; it points out that not all metrics apply, all the time. (also via)
- I never thought I’d actually see e17 come out.
- XKCD has a good summary of the recent Instagram licensing mess, and perhaps a good summary of social media in general. I’m always surprised when I see a business using Facebook or something similar as their primary customer contact method.
- Why is grep always fast? Here’s a very technical explanation of why. There’s more.
- Bunnie Huang is building a laptop. All the extra headers and analog bits remind me of the dearly departed BeBox. (Bunnie mentioned previously here) (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: I work at a salt mine. One of the highlights of my job is when I’m in the mine and need to get somewhere quickly; I use a 4-wheeler to drive. (I’m licensed to operate it.) There’s no stop signs, no stoplights, and generally a whole lot of straight roads with no obstacles or traffic. It can be a fun drive. However, it’s not as cool as driving on the moon. (via)
Pkgsrc has entered a ‘freeze’ for their next quarterly release, which would be pkgsrc-2012Q4. (DragonFly 3.2 ships with 2012Q3) The freeze ends and the release happens at the end of the year, assuming no surprises.
Sepherosa Ziehau has been making a lot of commits to increase packet-per-second rates without increasing CPU usage. He’s published a sort of progress report/benchmark to show current performance levels. It sounds like he’s expecting even better performance in the future, though I’m not sure how much more he could push out of it, since the bulk performance appears to be close to the rated capacity of the copper…
I hope you like links, and lots of history. It’s been a bumper crop this week.
- The Radio Shack catalog from 1983. Including such gems as 156,672 characters of storage per $600 disk. For perspective, that’s about $4 per kilobyte. A randomly-picked SSD is about 0.000001 cent per kilobyte. Previously linked here: Radio Shack 2002. (via)
- Hey, O’Reilly has a comprehensive list of all their open-licensed book titles, for download. Found from a link to Unix Text Editing. I bet much of that book still applies, despite being from 1987. (indirectly via)
- The MOS 6502 and the Best Layout Guy in the World.
- Shady Characters Miscellany #20: On Typewriters. The ancestor of the TTY. It’s still just barely possible to buy a new typewriter. I worked for a printer cartridge remanufacturer for a few years; the highest-profit items were typewriter ribbons, because nobody else made them.
- The UNIX philosophy and a fear of pixels. I think the author’s conflating philosophy and style. (via)
- Bell Labs CSR Selected Technical Reports. (via) Warning: they’re all in Postscript. Includes Brian Kernighan’s “Why Pascal is Not My Favorite Programming Language“, and I’m linking there to a non-Postscript version to make your life a little easier.
- If the idea of non-standard hexadecimal breaks your brain a little bit, go a little bit farther and read The Story of Mel. I had to read the solution twice to get it.
- Nostalgia for the more open web of 10 years ago. It’s true, and also makes me feel sad. (via)
- Google60, Google via punchcard and printer. It’s more stylistic than literal, but still fun. (via)
- If you’re near San Francisco, a hackerspace there called Noisebridge wants more open source people – including BSD users – showing up.
Your unrelated link(s) of the week: Said the Gramophone and The New Shelton Wet/Dry. The first one’s a music blog, and the second’s more general. Both have a somewhat random feel with the images used – completely random in the New Shelton’s case. It’s interesting that there’s such a flood of text and images on the Internet that you can reassemble content out of all of it. You can’t push over a bookshelf and call it a library, but you can build a whole new narrative from random assembly of Internet data.
BSDCan 2013, which is being held in Ottawa May 17th-18th, has a call for papers out. You’ve got until January 19th to submit, so just about a month.
This is mostly unrelated to DragonFly: I need to get more Python experience in the next few months, mostly around the OLPC project. I’ve only messed with Python when needed to get an existing script running, etc. Any Python users that can point me at a good learning resource?
BSD Magazine for December is out, offering the usual mix of articles in a free PDF. There’s several Postgres articles in this one.
If you were thinking you wanted to try gcc 4.7 with pkgsrc, John Marino’s described the option you need to set. It only works in pkgsrc-master right now (because of changes John made), and not every package in pkgsrc will build.
The advantage is that it’s also possible, with the same syntax, to set pkgsrc to build with gcc 4.4. This means the default compiler in DragonFly can be changed to gcc 4.7 and pkgsrc packages that aren’t compatible can still be built.
Update: Check this minor change: ‘?=’ instead of ‘=’.
Whomever submitted this story to Slashdot really doesn’t like FreeBSD; they’re describing FreeBSD’s annual end-of-year fund drive as failed. The month-long drive is only about a week old and has already picked up donations at a faster rate than any previous year’s donation drive, but apparently the poster – and Slashdot’s editors – can’t be bothered to do math. While we’re on the topic, donate to the FreeBSD Foundation; they do good things.
(There’s DragonFly too, though we’re not as ambitious or officially 501(c)(3) non-profit.)
If you’re running DragonFly 3.3, make sure you perform a full buildworld and buildkernel when you next upgrade. Sascha Wildner is mentioning this as a cautionary note after experiencing issues when using quickkernel, after removing a number of syscalls. Once past that point, it should be safe to go back to quickworld/quickkernel.
Matthew Dillon has written up another update on his progress with HAMMER2. (I need to be consistent in how I write that.) He has disks being exported and mounted on other systems, and adds an explanation of some of the issues around creating reliable multi-master setups. Before you get too excited, no, multi-master isn’t working yet, and this is not production ready.
There’s more benchmarks for DragonFly vs. other systems on Phoronix. It has the same problem as previous benchmarks; some of the benchmarks may have no connection to reality (what does the “Himeno Poisson Pressure Solver” actually test?), and almost every system has a different version of the gcc compiler. So it’s meaningless in terms of comparative or absolute performance. On the other hand, DragonFly doesn’t do badly.
You can also look at the comments to see someone absolutely freak out over the very existence of things that aren’t Linux. I’m not sure if it’s actually trolling, since the comments are so exactly wrong.
This is a mini-theme Lazy Reading, where I find small groups of related things.
- Exploratory data analysis with Unix tools. The command line is a far better place to mangle data than you’d expect. Well, maybe not your expectations, given that you’re reading this site.
- “The UNIX System: Making Computers More Productive” Brian Kernighan, Dennis Ritchie, and Ken Thompson in 1982. I found that after reading “Open Source Guilt & Passion“, which is a quite accurate description of working on open source, or perhaps any volunteer work. (via).
- While talking about people of that generation: Here’s Rob Pike’s Go slideshow (linked previously) in a single-page text format. (via)
- And we can get even older with this article about the Computer History Museum in California. There’s a lot of pictures of hardware ‘firsts’, like a light tracking, self driving robot from the 1940s, or the first mass-produced transistor radio. Look for the hardware that shows where ‘core dumps’ came from. (via)
- Found on the previous link: Rebuilding the IBM 1401. I like looking at the old “fill-up-a-room” computers, since they look like supercomputers. I wouldn’t want to actually possess a mainframe; they aren’t powerful, eat electricity, and so on. Well… I can think of one that would be OK.
- The Enduring Object. I find it oddly reassuring when hardware doesn’t change because it works so well. It’s sort of like an inherited tool from an older relative; something worn from use but distinctly better than buying new.
- The 2012 Good Gift Games Guide. There’s some really neat board games in there.
- Along the same lines, Designing Board Games with Perl.
- The First Few Milliseconds of an HTTPS Connection. An in-depth dive with Wireshark and an explanation of RSA. My cup of nerditry runneth over! (via)
- It wouldn’t be a Lazy Reading post without some Git thingie. This time, it’s ”Git: Twelve Curated Tips And Workflows From The Trenches“. (via)
- The DuckDuckGo command line. (via)
- Exploring Emacs. Posted mostly in the interests of equal time to vi-ish stuff. (via)
- “What a Wonder is a Terrible Monitor“. A Jason Scott article about emulating old monitors in software, with videos showing the difference. I’ve seen the hardware difference he’s talking about. I’m distressed just knowing my children probably don’t recognize analog static. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things. Also known as ‘old weird crap’, but that’s OK – still interesting.
I knew about files like /etc/services, for common IP port usages, and /usr/share/zoneinfo, for time zones, but I didn’t know that DragonFly (along with other systems) keeps a list of agreed names for various human languages defined by ISO639 in /share/misc/iso639, and it’s maintained at least in part by the Library of Congress. At least I didn’t know until Sascha Wildner updated it.
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.
It’s the end of the year, so it’s time for the FreeBSD Foundation’s end of year campaign.
If you’ve ever wondered how building all of pkgsrc would go with GCC 4.7.2, which is in DragonFly but not the default compiler, John Marino can show you just that. He has a list of the results from a bulk build of all packages on DragonFly with GCC 4.7.2.
It’s been a quiet week, but that’s OK. I have sick kids, sick coworkers, and a certification test this Monday…
- Playing at the World is apparently a good book. The author has a blog where he dives into old RPG minutiae. You will either find that not very interesting or super interesting. No halfway point.
- Teleglitch, a roguelike top-down shooter with pixel graphics. I was happy at the word “roguelike”, of course. (via _hasso_ on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- A review of Version Control with Git, 2nd Edition.
- “I’m writing my own OS“. I think Dominic Giampolo said once that everyone in computer science goes through a phase where making your own operating system can’t be too hard and why not try it etc etc. (via)
- This picture makes me happy.
- An entire book of studies based around a single line of C64 BASIC code. It’s available as a free download.
- Teach Your Children Groff. It’s sort of the opposite of the do-without-needing-to-understand practice that most people assume Steve Jobs wanted. (via)
- Your Objects, The Unix Way. (via)
- Getting your computer work done in 1973. Given the hardware, I don’t think this is Unix, but it’s still neat to see it work. Punch cards! (via)
- Here’s how arcade cabinets were first planned out. I like seeing the old-school marker rendering.
- This notebook seems like a bad idea. (via)
- This secure bootloader, on the other hand, could be useful. (via)
- A hypnotic data visualization. (via aggelos on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- A Star Wars roguelike on GitHub. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: GET LAMP. I thought I had linked to it before, but I’m probably thinking of It Is Pitch Dark. It’s a documentary by Jason Scott of textfiles fame about text adventures.
Michael W. Lucas announced his next book will be about DNSSec, which is good. It’s also self-published, which I like to see. I don’t know if it necessarily makes him more money, but I like to see more exploration of this new way of publishing.
If you look at his announcement, there’s a link to something else: vendor-free SSL certificates. These are possible? That’s one of those things I didn’t even realize I wanted; having to deal with a certification authority is annoying.