If you have an ath(4), wpi(4) or iwi(4) wireless network link, and you’re running DragonFly-master, please update. Sepherosa Ziehau has pushed Johannes Hoffman’s wlan_serialize branch, which means bringing up wlan0 is a bit easier – and less crashy.
It needs to be tested for wpi(4) and iwi(4), however, so if you have success or failure with those devices, please say so in reply.
(new post category starting now: “Please test”)
MSI (Message Signaled Interrupts) has been enabled by default on the re(4), msk(4), and et(4) networking chipsets, by Sepherosa Ziehau.
It seems Sepherosa Ziehau won’t rest until he’s reached peak performance for every network card in DragonFly; he’s added multiple ring/MSI-X support for Broadcom 5709/5716 chipsets in DragonFly. In more concrete terms, this means better speeds when transmitting and receiving multiple streams of data.
(at least, I think so.)
Following this recent thread, it looks like the best answer for software RAID is: buy hardware. I’d be interested to hear what people have experience with in the realm of cheap but OK RAID hardware.
Sepherosa Ziehau has posted more statistics on his ifnet/ifaddr per-CPU stats work. It’s doing so well that he’s very close to reaching the maximum physical capacity of the 4x gigabit ethernet hardware he’s using.
Added: Peter Avalos has updated OpenSSL to version 1.0.1d – see the changelog.
Removed: support for ISA sound cards, by Sascha Wildner. Goodbye sb16; I’ll remember you fondly.
The emx(4) driver now has support for multiple TX queues, but it’s not on by default. There’s scenarios where multiple queues work out with that hardware, but you have to be sure you are actually in the right setup for that first. Check Sepherosa Ziehau’s commit message for the details.
Sepherosa Ziehau has posted a detailed message showing the speeds he gets with multiple transmission queues, using igb(4). The short version:
Quick summary, the multiple TX queue support gives me:
+200Kpps for 2 bidirectional normal IP forwarding (now 4.40Mpps)
+160Kpps for 2 bidirectional fast IP forwarding (now 5.23Mpps)
Will Backman has a new BSDTalk episode up, with a bit of Peter Salus from BSDCan 2011 and a bit of Raspberry Pi on FreeBSD.
We need more fiddling-with-BSD-on-hardware stuff out there. That would be a good thing for Youtube – hint, hint.
Sepherosa Ziehau makes commits almost daily to DragonFly’s network infrastructure, but I have a hard time quantifying it into Digest posts in part because it’s often very technical. His most recent commits come with an explanation, however. He has done plenty of work to improve overall transmission speeds in DragonFly, and now he’s working on ‘fairness’. Fair, in this case, means ensuring that packet transmitting and receiving happen without either one monopolizing the connection. In real world terms, this translates to much more constant speeds. His recent commit details what he’s doing and some numbers to prove it.
Remember I said he’s improved speeds? Note that in his example, he’s reaching stable peaks of 981 Mbps. This is on a line that I assume theoretically maxes out at 1000.
Dave Hayes asked for some “best practices” ideas for setting up a HAMMER (1) system. I replied, and the conversation turned to RAID, as these often do. If you’re thinking of purchasing disk hardware in the near future, this will be useful to you.
Venkatesh Srinivas and Tim Bisson have been working for some time on a port of FreeBSD’s virtio and virtio-block drivers. (see man page commit) They’ve now been committed. This should make your virtual disk perform better, if nothing else.
Adam Sakareassen submitted a patch for AVX support for 64-bit DragonFly, and Alex Hornung has committed it. If you’re like me and have only the vaguest idea what AVX is, it’s a set of processor instructions added by Intel to Sandy Bridge and later CPUs.
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.
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…
The stl(4), bt(4), aic(4), and cy(4) drivers are now PCI-only, which means no COMPAT_OLDISA kernel option, and a time to upgrade your hardware if you’re actually using these devices. Does anyone even still have ISA slots?
Sascha Wildner recently brought in support from FreeBSD for HighPoint’s RocketRAID 4520 and 4522 SAS/SATA RAID cards. It’s in the hptiop(4) driver.
Sascha Wildner has added system management BIOS (SMBIOS) support, visible with kenv, from FreeBSD. Use it for getting things like the BIOS revision, system manufacturer, and so on. For example:
smbios.bios.vendor="Dell Inc. "
This may seem minor, but this can be very helpful when dealing with hardware you aren’t physically able to access.
Sepherosa Ziehau is switching a number of network cards over to use ifpoll, which means they will have capabilities similar to MSI-X, even if the network card doesn’t support it. My suspicion is that it will make these cards perform better in busy situation where they would otherwise get bogged down… but that’s based on hunch rather than empirical testing. As Sepherosa Ziehau pointed out, it certainly can’t hurt.
November’s PDF issue of BSD Magazine is out, with a number of articles including a hardware review of the Netgear Universal Wifi Adapter. We need more BSD-centric device testing.
Sascha Wildner has committed Markus Pfeiffer’s port of USB4BSD to DragonFly. USB network, input , audio, and storage devices (including xhci/USB3 items) may work, though there’s no guarantee for each driver. This is added but not on by default, so see the first link for instructions on how to rebuild your kernel to use it. This will be in (but not default) the DragonFly 3.2 release.
(This is shaping up to be a much bigger release than I anticipated!)
Sascha Wildner’s added updatesfrom FreeBSD for the Areca arcmsr(4) driver; specifically for the ARC-1213, ARC-1223 and ARC-1882 models.
Smartmontools will catch impending disk failures about 2/3 of the time, so it’s useful to run it and interpret the results. The results can be somewhat complex, though. However, it can be useful to look at other people talking about the output and glean knowledge from the context.
If you are using an Intel 10G Ethernet card with a 82598GB chipset, you’re using ixgbe(4). You may want to set the net.inet.tcp.sosend_agglim sysctl to a value over 12 in certain circumstances, as described by Francois Tigeot.
Much of this new document has been around in other forms for a while, but now, there’s a brief guide on porting drivers to DragonFly in the source tree.
Because here’s some recommendations on good models, and here’s a way to check SSD health. Seriously, they’re great.
If you have a LSI RAID card, meaning you are using the mfi(4) driver, Sascha Wildner has added /proc/devices to linprocfs, so that LSI’s MegaCLI configuration utility will run.
Sascha Wildner has pushed smart battery support, based on a patch from Dmitry Komissaroff and FreeBSD. He asks people to try it out. It apparently provides for more accurate battery charge level readings?
I noticed that this recent commit from Sepherosa Ziehau is a bug fix for jme(4). The commit thanks a JMicron employee for help. It’s always appreciated when a vendor is helpful to an open-source project for hardware support. It’s also something you should consider the next time you are shopping for computer parts.
Francois Tigeot has updated the ixgbe(4) driver, and Sepherosa Ziehau has added TSO support for bce(4) and additional bge(4) related chips, mostly from the FreeBSD drivers.
Sepherosa Ziehau has added MSI support and cleaned up the alc(4) driver. If you’re using a network card with the Atheros AR8131 or AR8132 chipsets, you should see an improvement.
Sascha Wildner has ported over more RocketRaid support, in the form of PCI IDs for various 4xxx and 3xxx series cards for hptiop(4), and a hpt27xx(4) driver that supports even more hardware.
Pierre Abbat is curious about using Hammer on an SSD. The discussion that came from that has some useful points, including notes that a straightforward SSD as disk works for most anything with Hammer other than very intensive database use, due to the history retention. If space is an issue, swapcache on the SSD and attaching a normal HDD is a fine alternative. A SSD with Hammer can leave some features off, though I’d argue that dedup is totally worth is. Also, SSD speed is directly correlated with size.
Sascha Wildner’s added support (from FreeBSD) for the HighPoint RocketRAID 17xx, 22xx, 23xx and 25xx, via the hptrr(4) driver.
Sepherosa Ziehau’s added TSO support (that’s TCP Segmentation Offloading”, or “Large Segment Offload” going by Wikipedia) within IPv4 on DragonFly, pushing segmentation work from the CPU to the network card. There’s also some DragonFly-specific improvements.
There’s been a lot of commits from him lately focused around network card improvements; they haven’t been easily summarizable, but it’s worth watching if you are interested in high-bandwidth usage and the hardware to support it.
The ciss(4) device, if you don’t know offhand, is for a variety of SCSI-3 adapters – mostly ones labeled “HP Smart Array”. Sascha Wildner has imported a large number of driver updates from FreeBSD.
Not all flavors of Atom CPU support frequency scaling, as Sven Gaerner found out. This means more heat and more power usage. There’s further details scattered through the thread, but Sascha Wildner found what seems to be the definitive answer of which variants do and do not.
Sepherosa Ziehau has added support for a variety of bge(4) chipsets.
From a thread on users@, I bring you Visible Capacitor Failures. If the problems pictured are new to you… trust me, you will see them up close someday.
Someone trying DragonFly couldn’t get it to start, and appeared to have a confused disk. It looks like the system BIOS were at fault, and Matt Dillon has an explanation of this minefield. (Including some comments on 4k physical disk sectors.)
Sepherosa Ziehau has added MSI-X support to igb(4), the Intel PRO/1000 gigabit network card. What does that mean? The commit message mentions a default transmit rate of 1.48Mpps small packets, which is good?
New company Gainframe is offering up OpenBSD dmesg/pcidump/usbdevs output for every system they build. I was originally going to link to this in a Lazy Reading entry, but then I realized it’s also a new company specializing in BSD-compatible hardware. Read the interview; I met Michael Dexter at the last NYCBSDCon and he is a decent guy.
We need more of this sort of specifically targeted work. Sites that rely on crowd-sourced contribution are good, but it’s not necessarily comprehensive, and you need a very large crowd for it to work.
Francois Tigeot has added the Intel PRO/10GbE driver from FreeBSD, or ixgbe(4). A couple features are turned off, for now.
If you have a Broadcom BCM570x-series gigabit ethernet adapter, Sepherosa Ziehau’s made a lot of commits for the bge(4) driver recently; they may interest you. (not sure if he’s even done yet; he tends to commit a lot of work.)
Sepherosa Ziehau has added igb(4) version 2.2.3 direct from Intel, for support of their 82575 and 82576 Ethernet controller chips. It now shares a hardware abstraction layer with the em(4) driver, too.
If you are having USB issues on boot with DragonFly, Sepherosa Ziehau’s sysctl suggestions may help you.
BSDTalk 213 is out, with 14 minutes of conversation with Paul Schenkeveld about EuroBSDCon. EuroBSDCon is happening in late October, in Poland. Also, the BSDTalk website has a new layout.
Venkatesh Srinivas posted an explanation of the virtio update he’s working on. I linked to the work before, but not his explanation, which goes into the ‘vm_balloon’ device.
Sascha Wildner’s posted an update to the acpi_asus(4) module, so it’s worth updating if you have an appropriate Asus machine and are running DragonFly-current.
Venkatesh Srinivas has been working on integration of Tim Bisson’s virtio-bhyve drivers into DragonFly. This would make throughput better in KVM/Qemu. His bug ticket has some questions that could use answers.
Francois Tigeot has added ichwd(4), a driver for the watchdog function on some Intel ICH motherboard chipsets. Sascha Wildner has also made the kernel option for it on by default. (Look for /dev/wdog.)
Update: Francois Tigeot sent a link to an excellent page explaining hardware watchdogs.
Sepherosa Ziehau has updated the em(4) driver from Intel; it only matters if you are using the specific chipsets mentioned in the commit message.
Thanks to Sascha Wildner, the Areca RAID controller driver, arcmsr(4), now supports MSI. It should only make things better, but if it doesn’t, you can turn it off.
Sascha Wildner has updated mfi(4), the LSI MegaRAID SAS driver , via FreeBSD and LSI. SAS2208-based controllers are now supported.
I’ve seen a few people complain about poor video performance in DragonFly, in Xorg. If you see a bunch of “contigmalloc_map: failed …” errors in your dmesg, your video card needs more contiguous memory allocated. Set vm.dma_reserved to 32M in /boot/loader.conf and you should be set. If that doesn’t work, try 64M.
Carsten Mattner wrote out his notes on EFI booting on a Mac. This gets you closer to booting DragonFly on there, but I don’t think it is completely working yet.
Update: Carsten Mattner has a better summation than what I wrote.
If you do, acpi_hp could use some testing. Sascha Wildner just brought some improvements in for that module. I’ve seen discounted HP laptops show up in various places, recently.
Notice how the 2.12 release never really happened, and 3.0 came out about 6 months later than usual? A lot of that delay was caused by a vigorous search for a weird bug. Multi-threaded buildworlds would crash, seemingly randomly and rarely. It turns out we have confirmation from AMD that it is, indeed, a CPU hardware bug.
Is it possible to boot with only 48M of RAM in a DragonFly system? Probably not. 128M would be better. I usually talk about the lower memory limit for Hammer, since it’s so relatively low for a snapshotting file system, but the converse applies here. 128M is probably the comfortable lower limit, though it’s pretty hard to find a system that would limit you that way without doing it on purpose. 128M sticks of RAM are practically disposable these days, really.
Alex Hornung added support for rdrand(4), the random number generator built into some Intel CPUs. That would be Ivy Bridge CPUs, which aren’t released yet, so it hasn’t been tested… but you’re covered for that day in the future when they arrive.
Sascha Wildner is looking for the donation of a Intel Raid Controller RS25DB080. If you were able to give him access to one, or even purchase it (ow my wallet), that would greatly assist development on DragonFly.
Sascha Wildner has brought in improvements to the mps(4)driver from FreeBSD. It’s for LSI Logic Fusion-MPT 2 SAS controllers, and apparently didn’t work very well… until now. Sascha’s commit message details what’s new, including RAID support that is not yet mentioned in the man page.
Edward Berger found that using a LG/Hitachi DVD drive kept him from successfully booting a DragonFly install CD. Using other manufacturers worked out fine. What causes the problem? I don’t know, but it’s worth mentioning it out loud in case someone else gets bit by it.
What if you have a DragonFly system that you want to use for an wireless access point? Andrey N. Oktyabrski did, and he helpfully listed his solution.
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.
That’s Managed System Interrupts, for when your hardware is passing a lot of data and generating a lot of corresponding hardware interrupts. MSI is what deals with all that traffic. High-bandwidth (10G) network cards, for instance. Anyway, Sepherosa Ziehau’s made more commits than what I’m linking to here, for support with various devices.
There’s many other MSIs out there, oddly enough.
Sepherosa Ziehau has
added updated the ‘ecc’ device, for Intel E3-1200 series systems. What’s it do? It will report on memory errors, and potentially fix them.
You should have ECC memory in your server already. If not, you oughta.
Update: as Sascha Wildner pointed out, ecc(4) already existed, but didn’t support Intel controllers. Also, the Xeon X3400 series is supported now too.
I think a lot of people don’t realize rcrun exists, and run files in /etc/rc.d directly. If you’re one of those people, read the rcrun(8) manpage. Then, notice that Sascha Wildner has extended rcrun to work with the etc/rc.d in /usr/local and /usr/pkg too.
Matthew Dillon has written a contiguous memory mapper, which is designed to fix problems with video cards and USB drives that need a big chunk of memory to keep. This can affect booting or later on, when disconnecting/reconnecting a USB drive. If this still doesn’t fix the problem for you, try adjusting the sysctl ‘vm.dma_reserved’ to something bigger, like 64M. It defaults to 16M.
(Normal mailarchive isn’t updating because of an ongoing upgrade to crater.dragonflybsd.org – sorry!)
John Marino added tuning support within GCC 4.4 for the Geode CPU. Waaaay back when, these were x86 -compatible Cyrix chips. Nowadays I think they are most common in single-board computers.
It’s snowing in the northeast U.S., which makes me happy! Keep going, sky!
- Richard Stallman’s requirements when giving talks/lectures. (via) I read this not unreasonable but long list and thought about it. Every requirement on there probably has an experience/story behind it… (“If you can find a host for me that has a friendly parrot, I will be very very glad.” – so this)
- Continuing the famous computer people trend of dying, John McCarthy died. He invented LISP (((insert parentheses joke here))) among other things, and wrote this story. (also via)
- I mentioned issues over the time zone database previously, but there’s a new home, and we’re still getting updates in DragonFly.
- And, it’s Dennis Ritchie Day. (via) That linked article does a good job of describing just how universal his influence has been.
- 64-bit ARM chips. (design PDF) This is just the announcement, but I bet these will be a good porting target in the next year or two if these designs wander out into the general market. (via many places)
- I’ve linked to similar deals before, but this one’s quite cheap: the Power Squid power strip sold as surplus. I find the design and name both great.
- Speaking of names, “I think Dragonfly is the coolest, cuz of the name.“
- I like this article on web advertising just because it has blocked-out screenshots that show exactly how much space gets used up by ads.
Unrelated link of the week: Manly Guys Doing Manly Things. Most of the jokes revolve around games you may or may not know, with the occasional realistic experience that I’ve had myself.
That would be a recent ATI card, though I don’t know exactly which model name. Samuel Greear has imported David Shao’s DRM work, originally for Summer of Code, last year. Most newer Radeons should work (?).
I did not realize this, but MMC/SD cards are not supported in the default DragonFly kernel. Or at least, they weren’t until now. (also committed to 2.12)
Update: PCI-based MMC/SD readers, specifically. USB ones were already recognized as umass devices.
It looks like Sepherosa Ziehau is working on hardware support being split up per-CPU, judging by this commit – one of many, recently.
Some newer laptops have Intel integrated video chipsets that require GEM/KMS to work well; they are supported by the vesa driver in X, but performance isn’t great. Johannes Hofmann found this out the hard way. GEM/KMS support is on the way for various BSDs, but it’s not here yet. Just be aware of this if shopping for a new laptop in the next little while…
Tim Bisson’s work on TRIM support has been committed. I don’t know if it will show in 2.12, but it’s off by default so it would seem a safe move.
Sascha Wildner has updated ndis(4), the wrapper that makes Windows network drivers usable on DragonFly, with an extensive description of what’s changed.
Sascha Wildner has added safe(4), which will help if you have a SafeNet chip on your crypto accelerator card. Untested, so you know what to do if you have this hardware.