Month: December 2013

A reminder about 32-bit dports


A reminder based on a question from Pierre Abbat: John Marino isn’t working on 32-bit packages for dports; there’s a volunteer who will, but until the volunteer is ready, 3.7 users will want to build from source.

Posted by     Categories: DPorts, DragonFly     0 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2013/12/29


Last of the year!  You’ll want to take some reading/watching time this week.

Can you be arrested for what’s on your computer?  Yes, of course.

Making SSH connections easier.  If you don’t know it, you should.

Ansible vs. Salt and Creating a new Ansible node.  BSD-focused.

Vim in the hands of a Real Maniac.  Damian Conway, the speaker, is a man of complicated skill, and a good speaker.  It gets pretty crazy by the end.  (via)

The Saddest Moment, James Mickens talking about Byzantine fault tolerance.  (via)

The via link on that last one led me to Dadhacker, with some excellent entries like this Eject button at Apple or Fuctuation.

Digital restoration and typesetter forensics.  Brian Kernighan, Ken Thompson, and Joe Condon reverse-engineering hardware because the vendor won’t reveal how it works – in the 1970s.  The letter to the vendor is hilarious.  The story of how it was recovered, also linked there, is a good read, too.  (also via)

Over-Extended Metaphor for the Day.  Could quibble, won’t.  I like the Emo Phillips followup joke quoted here, where I found it.

Oldcomputers.net.  There’s some neat old things there – and they’re selling/buying!  (via)

Console Living Room; more old game systems resurrected via JSMESS.  First reaction was that it was neat, second reaction: these old games were horrible, compared to what we have now.  (via multiple places)

exabgp, human-readable BGP messages.  (also also via)

The Grand C++ Error Explosion Competition.  I had a student who excelled at this, involuntarily.  (via)

We’ve run out of closed-source things to re-implement as open source, and now we’re reinventing the open-source wheel.

How open source changed Google – and how Google changed open source.  Their open source group is essentially about license compliance, not evangelism.  That is the way it should be.  The last paragraph about Summer of Code is spot-on.  (via)

Readers of a certain age will recognize the global vector map theme.  (Here’s more.)  It makes me think of the old Apple ][ game, NORAD.  (incidentally, I was way better at it than the player in that video.)

Your unrelated comics link of the week: not a comic, but a magazine that includes comics: Mineshaft.  I’ve heard about it many times, and I keep meaning to get a subscription.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading     2 Comments

In Other BSDs for 2013/12/28


Again, quiet from the holiday break.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD     0 Comments

BSDNow 17: The Gift of Giving


BSDNow has a new episode for Christmas; this contains an interview with Scott Long of (among other things) Netflix.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

BSDTalk 236: NYCBSDCon and 8 years too


BSDTalk, which is hitting its 8th year, has 20 minutes of conversation with Ike Levy and Brian Callahan about NYCBSDCon.  (which is coming up on February 8th; will you sponsor?)

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My DragonFly 3.6 upgrade adventure


Here’s how my upgrade from DragonFly 3.4 to 3.6 for this server went.

The system install went normally.  I rebooted before performing ‘make upgrade’, as noted in UPGRADING and elsewhere.

I already have dports installed, so a binary upgrade should be possible.  I had heard of people with older version of pkg, having trouble getting it to notice upgrades.  I rebuilt pkg, and ran ‘pkg upgrade’.  A number of the updates coredumped.  Here’s one example:

[156/160] Upgrading gtk2 from 2.24.19 to 2.24.19_2...Segmentation fault 
(core dumped)

After the upgrade, I had two problems: PHP wasn’t working for the website, and some programs would segfault.

The random segfault was fixable by forcing a binary upgrade of all packages.  Since there were some programs on the system that were still new enough that the version number was the same as on the remote repository, pkg didn’t upgrade them.  Those packages were linked against old versions of system libraries that predated the locale changes in DragonFly 3.6, so they’d crash.  Forcing the update for all packages fixed the issue.

The other problem, PHP on the web server, is not new to me.  The binary package for PHP does not include the module for Apache.  The solution is to build from source with that option selected.  I understand that pkg is destined to support (some?) port options in the future.  There’s also an immediate workaround for locking it.

However, the port would not build because of a security issue.  The binary package installed without any warning.  This, I am told, will change to pkg giving you the option to install if you are aware of the security problem, and whether it really affects you.  (which is just what I want, yay!)

Anyway, other than the system changes biting me because I didn’t realize some packages weren’t updated, it went very quickly.  That is the reason for binary updates through pkg, or at least a major one.

Lazy Reading for 2013/12/22


Still quiet out there, but I found some good reading.

PHP functions originally named for string length and sorting.  Yeesh.  (via)

A great old-timey game programming hack.  There’s an initial speed hack in this story, and then there’s another clever trick to fix memory corruption.  (via)

My hardest bug.  This was a pretty fiendish problem.  (via)

Gitdown: don’t commit when drunk.  I’ve done that.  Actually will use an Arduino-based breathalyzer.  (via)

Another Perl One-Liners review.

Zeno of Elea, a game.  It’s based on a classic… (via)

Vim plugins you should know about.  From that One-Liners author.

Speaking of Perl, here’s a Larry Wall interview.  An old-school hacker – he wrote patch, too.

Moonpig: a billing system that doesn’t suck.  An in-depth review of system design.  More Perl, too.

Three Books You Should Read…  Mostly BSD content.

How to use Tor wrong, in multiple ways.  It’s not for petty crimes, and it’s not any use when you’re using it from a monitored network.  (via)

Your unrelated comics link of the week: Cookie Puss.

In Other BSDs for 2013/12/21


Odds and ends for the quieter holidays.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, DPorts, OpenBSD, PC-BSD, pkgsrc     0 Comments

BSDNow 16: Cryptocrystalline


As you can kinda sorta guess from the show title, BSDNow 16 is about encryption.

One of the things noted there that I hadn’t heard of is that FreeBSD ports is getting a ‘stable’ branch for the first time – I suppose I need to read even more mailing lists.

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Who’s for an OpenPF?


Things are very quiet this week; I’ve had nothing to post for some days – DragonFly or even for other BSDs.  The end of the year has most people distracted, I think.  This makes it a good time to bring up something that’s been bothering me: the state of software firewalls in BSD.  The pf utility is a BSD advantage; I’ve heard people say “I used iptables on Linux and pf is a much better alternative.”  I know that’s anecdotal, but there it is.  Here’s the question, and the reason I’m writing this: which pf?

DragonFly has a version of pf equivalent to what was shipped in OpenBSD 4.4.  FreeBSD has a version equivalent, I think, to OpenBSD 3.8 4.5′s pf, and it has been further modified.  NetBSD has a similar, older pf, but there’s people working on a NetBSD-specific version called npf, which isn’t yet ready.  And of course, OpenBSD has its version of pf.  If you feel good about these different alternatives, you call it divergence.  If you don’t feel good about it, you call it fragmentation.

Compare this to OpenSSH – it works the same on each platform.  There’s no confusion on how to configure it, or interoperability problems.  It would be wonderful to have the equivalent for pf, where other BSD platforms would import a portable version.  This software firewall is a strength, and it’s much easier to tout it when there’s only one.

I doubt there’s a way to bring it all back to one source tree.  There’s a lot vested in the different forks out there.  You know what would take a lot less effort: a compatibility test suite.  Agreeing on a common syntax and set of functions would make life easier for every end user.  It would incidentally make vendors a lot happier, too.  Even if a user or vendor wasn’t hoping to move between BSD flavors, a test suite would still guarantee a certain known level of functionality for any BSD release.

How likely is this?  I don’t know.  But I want to bring up the notion before it gets missed.  Now is a good time, with each pf version still being relatively close to one another.

Update/note: Henning Brauer is willing to help.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Someday you will need this     7 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2013/12/15


Halfway to Christmas; time to buy presents if you haven’t already!

DragonFly on Hacker News.  I haven’t read through the comments fully.

The Meaning of “Doom”.  This article makes a very good point; Doom was one of the first game that encouraged user participation in the creation of the game.  Not the creation when it was first made, but the endless recreations as mods.  It’s sort of the same mechanism as open source, but as an activity and not a license.

Alphabet of the Obsolete.  Also known as “Things my children don’t know and don’t care about.”

Now is a good time to donate to the Internet Archive.  (via many places)

The Development of the C Language.  Dennis Richie was good at telling stories about some otherwise very dry subjects; his histories are enjoyable.  Maybe you have to have a certain kind of temperament or interest to really like them.  (via)

The Birth of Standard Error.  It was a smelly typesetting machine where it first started.   (via EFNet #dragonflybsd)

There’s some other interesting articles on that site, including “Programming Languages vs. Fat Fingers” and “The Importance of Being Declarative“.

Better and Better Keyboards.  Continuing the keyboard theme from previous weeks.  (via)

Building the Commodore C-128.  I never used one of these, but I’m sure there’s a few readers that will be gripped with nostalgia.  (via)

The Amiga 500 as a Chrome add-in.  Nostalgia, again.  (via)

Running 4.3BSD Quasijarus with simh VAX.  It’s apparently 4.3BSD for Vax hardware.  I did not know of this, or at least I don’t remember it.

When a Bash script asks, “Where am I?”.

Have you heard the axiom that every program grows in scope until it reads email?  It’s really all programs grow in complexity until they have their own auto-updater.  (Also, XScreenSaver is awesome.)

Vim, in Javascript.  Or maybe the axiom should be ‘Everything eventually is rewritten in Javascript’.  (via)

Did you see that interstitial?  It was dope!”  (via I forget, sorry)

Your unrelated animated gif of the week: Happy talking boat.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading     3 Comments

In Other BSDs for 2013/12/14


Another week where I could get away without any commit links, just cause there’s so much BSD stuff out there.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD     0 Comments

BSDNow 15: Kickin’ NAS


BSDNow episode 15 keeps the pun titles going.  Josh Paetzel is apparently replaced by Santa Claus in the interview?  There’s also FreeNAS coverage, and lots else.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

Holiday shopping guide 2013


For those of you doing last-minute holiday shopping – like me: see previous years of gift links.  There’s also a number of comics lists, book lists, and game guides.  And of course, donations.

Posted by     Categories: Off-Topic, Someday you will need this     0 Comments

Go APE for bge and bnx


The bnx(4) and bge(4) network drivers now have APE support, thanks to Sepherosa Ziehau.  What’s that mean?  Other than an opportunity for punning jokes, I don’t know.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly, FreeBSD     2 Comments

A pkg fix for 3.4 upgraders


If you have a DragonFly 3.4 system that has already been switched over to dports, and you upgrade it to DragonFly 3.6, you might see an odd problem.  Rebuild pkg, and it will work.

I’ve only seen a few reports, so I don’t know if this is even likely to happen to most upgraders.

ISA support is really gone


ISA device support is really gone.  Well, except for keyboard and some spots where it can’t be be removed.  I don’t think I’ve even seen an ISA card in some years…

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     1 Comment

Binutils update to 2.24


John Marino has moved DragonFly from binutils 2.22 to 2.24.  I think this may require a full buildworld when upgrading…  not sure.  Anyway, binutils has a changelog if you are curious.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on     0 Comments

BSDNow 14: Zettabytes for days


BSDNow episode 14 is up – and actually has been for a few days; I’ve been on the road.  There’s an interview with George Wilson about OpenZFS and a bunch more stuff I haven’t had a chance to watch yet.  (see previous note about being on the road.)

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals     0 Comments

A BSD plan: license summaries


I had a sometimes-great, sometimes-difficult trip to New York City over the past few days, and while I was there, I met the ball of energy that is George Rosamond of NYCBUG (which is having a huge party right now.)  He and I talked for a bit about various aspects of the BSD ecosystem, and one thing he noted was that people aren’t generally aware of all the licenses in use for the different software packages on the system, or even the individual licenses in the system files.

There is an ACCEPTABLE_LICENSES setting in pkgsrc, where software licensed under terms not in that list won’t install.  That’s useful, but frustrating, because it keeps people from getting what they asked for – a software install.  Something that would be useful – and it could be cross-BSD very easily – would be a license audit summary.

There’s meta-data on every package in FreeBSD’s ports and DragonFly’s dports and pkgsrc and OpenBSD’s port system.  Why not say ‘pkg licenses’ in the same way you can say ‘pkg info’, and get a summary of the licenses you have installed in the system?  (or pkg_licenses, etc.  You get the idea)  This wouldn’t prevent people from installing software, but it would give a very quick view of what you were using.


> pkg licenses

Software package    License
----------------    -------
foo-2.2.26          Apache license
bar-7.999999        Donateware
baz_ware-20131209   MIT
quux-silly-6.5      BSD

It could be extended to the base system, but I’d like to see this in all the packaging systems as a common idea, in the same way that ‘info’ in a packaging command always shows what’s installed.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, DPorts, DragonFly, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, pkgsrc     4 Comments

Lazy Reading for 2013/12/08


Links are a bit rushed this week cause I’ve been on the road, but here you go.

explainshell – help for arbitrary shell commands.  It’s a really good idea, implemented in a pretty way.  (via)

True X-Mouse Gizmo for Windows.  I’m also saving this for later, just like the person who found this link.

From the same place: The ARPANET IMP Program: Retrospective and Resurrection.  Recreating the entire Internet, when the Internet could be summed up as a list of 5-6 locations.

How ALL CAPS and punctuation is now used to communicate mood.  Communication methods still tied down by ASCII, and then UTF-8.

I miss USENET.  (via)

A Testament to X11 Backwards Compatibility.  Watch the video at the end.   (via)

Your unrelated comics link of the week: There are more comics and illustrated works out there than there ever have been.  A decade ago, I could buy a few art comics and a reprint each month and feel like I was keeping up.  Now, it’s like a firehose of minicomic, self-published books, and prestige reprints that completely refreshes every week.  The Comics Reporter 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide is huge but barely touches on it all.  Read through and order something you aren’t familiar with; I can almost guarantee there’s several items in there you’ve never heard of.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading     0 Comments

In Other BSDs for 2013/12/07


Happy birthday to me!

Book Review: Perl One-Liners


No Starch Press noticed that I keep talking about Michael W. Lucas’s BSD-related books, and I’ve linked to Peteris Krumins’s catonmat site before, so they sent a copy of Krumins’s new “Perl One-Liners” book to me.

Stole image right from the site.

 

Here’s the hook for me: Perl was the first language I wrote a program of any real use in.  Years ago, I had the Perl Cookbook.  It was a pretty simple formula, where I’d have a problem.  I’d look it up in the Perl Cookbook.  If there was already a recipe that matched what I needed, I was set.  I ended up having to stuff the book into a binder because the spine broke.

This reference is essentially what the Perl One-Liners book is, though this is less about  programming and more about the solution you need right now. The book realizes this and it’s laid out like a menu.  Flip through the index to find your problem, and then type the answer.  The book even includes a link to a text file that you can copy down and grep for answers – I won’t link to it because it’s not mentioned on the author’s page, though he does include example chapters.

It’s not about learning Perl, and it’s not about technique – these are one-liners, after all.  If you are doing the sort of thing Perl excels at, like text mangling, this will be a book full of tools for you.  I think the author is going to continue in this style; he’s done a lot of one-liner articles and even some previous e-books.

Probably a good idea to make this disclaimer: As with other books, I get no reward for this review, unless you count me having another book in the house.  That’s more of a problem than a benefit for me.

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Remember: manually clean up offline Hammer volumes


If you have a Hammer volume that is offline, meaning that you don’t have the pseudo-file-systems null-mounted anywhere, it won’t get cleaned up in overnight processing.  You just have to manually specify it.

A bge(4) fix for some hardware


If you have a bge(4) network card and it’s giving you problems every time you configure it, there’s a fix on the way.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly     0 Comments

Someone for i386 and dports work


Rett Kent has volunteered for maintaining i386 support under dports.  Good luck!  3rd-party software management is difficult.

Posted by     Categories: DPorts, DragonFly     0 Comments

Minimal installation notes


This post from Konrad Neuwirth asking how to do a minimal installation of DragonFly led to this list of all the ‘knobs’ you can set to make your installation smaller, from John Marino.  (And your buildworld faster, if that’s appealing to you.)  I also pointed at rconfig and PFI, which are criminally underdocumented.

Lazy Reading for 2013/12/01


Now that I’m going into more descriptive detail with these, I’m going to try without the bullet points.  It’s less of a Wall Of Text that way.

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code.  Really, very good advice.  (via)

‘vr’ mentioned the Space Cadet and Symbolics Macivory keyboards in comments for last week’s Lazy Reading keyboard links.  I didn’t know what they were, so searching around found me this Symbolics keyboard image (the model itself is apparently dearly missed)and the inevitable Wikipedia Space Cadet entry.  I also found this study of keyboards that mentions some other ‘special’ modern models I’ve heard of in passing – Das Keyboard and Happy Hacking models.

Also found as part of that search: one man’s quest to get his own Lisp Machine.  That appears to be about 10 years old, so my guess is that you’d go for emulation these days.

Sorting information that isn’t quite numeric.  This bites everyone sooner or later.

The death and life of great Internet cities.  “Whatever we may ultimately make of our move towards sites like Facebook, it’s almost certainly the case that, for the average netizen, it was a movement away from online literacy.”  An excellent article about how communities are no longer built online – at least not through social networks.  (via)

Farming hard drives: 2 years and $1m later.  Data-driven analysis of hard drive prices, and how they’ve recovered poorly from the Thailand floods.  I always like it when a company takes data from doing something on a large scale – something very few people are doing or could do – and releases it.  (via)

Systems Software Research is Irrelevant.  Rob Pike pointing out how the system ecosystem was becoming monocultural.  It’s over 10 years old, so some of the problems have changed.  The interesting thing is to look at it and see which parts were identification of upcoming trends.  (via)

DragonFly 3.6 video review.  This person doesn’t realize the shell is tcsh, not bash, and it really, really messes him up.  I had to stop watching about 6 minutes in.  (via blakkheim on IRC)

Your unrelated link of the week: The Church of the Subgenius is selling 2-for-1 deals on ordainment.  It’s really a legal ordainment, too, at least in the U.S.  You can perform weddings, funerals… circumcisions?  Not sure about the legal restrictions on that, and maybe I don’t want to know.  Anyway, you get an entertaining pack of literature which you can take either completely seriously, or not at all.

 

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading     0 Comments