To go along with the recently-added suggested hardware page on the DragonFly website, Francois Tigeot puts in a good word for SuperMicro boards and DragonFly, and links to some good hardware combinations.
Category: Device support
Hey, it rhymes! Matthew Dillon’s added support for 4-port Gigabit Ethernet PCI-E cards from Intel. I wish I had one.
Matthew Dillon made some changes to swapcache(8). Swapcache is now able to cache a lot more data, and the result is that general disk performance for _all_ disks is accelerated by an included SSD using swapcache. Performance previously restricted to all-SSD systems or serious RAID setups is now possible with much less investment.
In addition to that, the long-term wear on the SSD appears to be less of a problem than expected.
Chris Turner is looking to implement something similar to OpenBSD’s mount_vnd(8) operation, where virtual disks can be mounted at boot. He talks about some of the work and ideas at length. If you don’t feel like reading about it, you can instead mess with it; he has a tarball of the current state of his work linked in his message.
Joe Talbott has some changes for both Intel and non-Intel wifi NICs; please try out his branch and report the results.
Sascha Wildner’s removed the meteor(4) code because it apparently no longer builds, and it’s unlikely anyone uses an actual video board that requires this driver, at this point. If you do, speak up.
The virtio network drivers for DragonFly (mentioned previously here, here, and here) went away. Apparently the original FreeBSD code was not supposed to be available publicly, under a BSD license, and it’s having a knock-on effect for DragonFly and probably NetBSD.
(virtio drivers, if this is an unfamiliar term, are for devices in virtual environments, as when DragonFly is running under VMWare or something similar.)
Do you have a Western Digital model 1021 external disk drive? Matthias Rampke does, and he found he had to make some USB quirk entries to get it to work reliably.
I’m going to just title these “Lazy Reading” – I end up with too much diverse information/links to fit within the title.
- Neal Stephenson’s thoughts on UNIX. (via)
- Also stolen from the same place: A comparison of text-based browsers.
- Have I mentioned clicky keyboards before? (yes) If you’re a fan of the IBM Model M-style buckling spring keyboard, this Apple keyboard review has links in the comments to clickykeyboards.com and pckeyboards.com, which both have options that may interest you. I’ve only linked one of those before.
- Robot orders coffee. (Youtube, via) The interesting part is that it’s relatively humdrum.
- Modern Perl is now available (free) in ePub format, in addition to PDF. I’ve been reading it; it’s a refreshingly straightforward book.
- It’s always nice to see DragonFly ideas spread.
- You may have heard of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, the incredibly-awkwardly-named Linux kernel with FreeBSD userland FreeBSD kernel and GNU userland. (How did I manage to reverse that?) Did you know there’s a blend of Linux and NetBSD called SSDLinux? (via) It’s sold on commercial products! I know nothing of it past that link. Come to think of BSD mixes, there’s also that XNU/FreeBSD/NetBSD mix…
- Your DragonFly Pro Tip for the day: always use serial numbers to ID your disks. You’ll be glad you did.
- Git as a backup disk index mechanism. Strange. Git for mail storage, too. (via)
Another bus bites the dust: EISA is no more on DragonFly. I don’t know if there’s even any system that DragonFly could boot on and would use this. Still, remove your hats and enjoy a moment of silence.
Tim Bisson posted a note on the progress he and Pratyush have made on a virtio driver for DragonFly, ported from NetBSD. This is for use in virtualized environments; his post links to graphs (yay!) that show the performance improvement over emulated IDE. His note also links to the code and documentation.
Bleeding-edge DragonFly may suffer some instability issues; Matthew Dillon is making scheduler changes to accomodate larger numbers of CPUs. On the other hand: yay, better performance!
Tim Darby was looking to take advantage of swapcache, and got some advice from Matthew Dillon. This led to a larger writeup that went into the mechanics and advantages of both swapcache and SSDs. The swapcache(8) page has been expanded with these notes, and I’m sure I need to buy a SSD for my next upgrade.
SSD devices have tumbled into the sub-$100 range for smaller devices; they are perfect for swapcache if you’ve got the spare SATA connector…
Chris Turner is working on ral(4) support, specifically the eee901′s 2860 network chip.
Matthias Schmidt has set up a x86_64 DragonFly machine at uther.dragonflybsd.org. Anyone wanting to try 64-bit testing can use a vkernel on that machine. Mail him for an account.
Joe Talbott’s ported over iwn(4), which is the “driver for Intel 1000, 5100, 5150, and 6000 wifi chipsets.”
- IBM’s developerWorks has an article up about GNU screen. It’s not BSD-specific, but the tips in using screen are useful. (Before someone brings it up: yes, tmux too.)
- Another article talks about inspecting network traffic using various tools including tcpdump and wireshark. It is a tremendous advantage to see what happens on a network at the most basic level, so this is a good skill to pick up.
- Oh, and “Setting up UNIX file systems” and “10 steps to Unix nirvana“.
- FreeBSD now ships with clang. (via) I know DragonFly (mostly?) works with clang… Could we switch?
- “hwstat” will gain DragonFly support soon.
- Firmware for ral(4) has been added by Joe Talbott.
- Thomas Klausner has a writeup of some project ideas or goals taken from the recent pkgsrcCon. A followup has me thinking: if the -uu option updates dependent packages with pkg_add, does that mean ‘pkg_radd -uu packagename” will do all updating possible based on available binary packages? Worth trying.
YONETANI Tomokazu pointed out something that could be useful in the future: when you start getting drive errors, before you throw it out, try lowering the speed. Maybe it’s a cable problem, if you’re lucky.
In this recent note about the new wireless driver framework, Rui Paolo noted how to add a ath(4) device as wlan0 automatically.
Sascha Wildner has ported MultiMedia Card support from FreeBSD; SD, SDHC, and MMC cards should work in DragonFly now. Man, there’s been a lot of new additions recently.
Rui Paulo’s work porting the current set of FreeBSD network drivers over to DragonFly has been committed; there’s about a zillion commits (via Matthew Dillon) today to show for it.
Rui Paulo’s work on wireless drivers will be entering 2.7 very soon. (2.6 is unaffected.) This will cause problems if you are running acx(4), bwi(4), iwi(4), iwl(4), rtw(4), rum(4), or ural(4), until someone writes a driver that matches the new framework. If you’re on 2.7 and you need these drivers working, hold off on updates for a bit…
David Shao is working on improving DragonFly’s DRM (kernel graphics drivers, not that other thing). That’s a good project to start, and also Antonio Huete Jimenez is willing to test it. We can always use more guinea pigs; if you want to contribute to DragonFly without writing code, testing someone’s dramatic changes is a big help.
Alex Hornung posted a followup about his I/O scheduler work, with some interesting ways to watch the state of your disk’s activity.
Thanks to work from Samuel J. Greear and Alex Hornung:
- Install Firefox (natively)
- libflashsupport and adobe-flash-plugin
- mount linprocfs
- null mount devfs within the linux system
There’s occasional video and audio sync problems, but Johannes Hofmann has already found a fix.
Constantine Aleksandrovich Murenin posted his work on fan control, involving Winbond Super I/O Hardware Monitors. He’s had a series of commits up to this point, and this message nicely sums up the work done, including the presentations for it at BSDCan last year and AsiaBSDCon this year. Even if you aren’t planning to adjust your system cooling, it’s a surprisingly in-depth writeup, with more details available.
Newegg is running some specials: a 64G Kingston SSD for $140, a 256G (yikes!) Crucial SSD for $660, and a Sans Digital port multiplier for $110. The SSDs are good for using swapcache(8), though 256G is probably overkill. Doesn’t make me want it less, though…
As if Alex Horning wasn’t busy enough with his Linuxulator update, he’s also made it possible to have a vinum root volume in conjunction with using devfs.
“Device initiated power management” via AHCI is now possible, thanks to Johannes Hofmann. If I understand it correctly, it lets the computer handle power reductions automatically, which is more efficient than setting by hand.
Michael Neumann has added his port of the e1000 driver from FreeBSD, though he doesn’t recommend using it yet. He’s looking for testers who have this hardware.
Michael Neumann has ported igb(4) and em(4), and he needs people with the corresponding hardware to test it. Those are network cards, if you aren’t familiar with those short names.
The disklabel64 program will permanently be ‘disklabel’ from now on, with the original disklabel sticking around as disklabel32. This is for a number of reasons, including 4k physical sector size in newer drives, which is still causing problems for other operating systems.
I can’t keep up with all the things to post. I desperately want to clear my inbox, so here’s a week’s worth of posts all smushed together. Enjoy!
- Naoya Sugioka’s tmpfs work is almost ready to go.
- Francois Tigeot is looking to find supported RAID hardware for DragonFly; the LSI1068e isn’t useable. Freddie Cash listed a number of different and fully supported cards, and Francois listed some other potential choices.
- While talking about hardware, Steve O’Hara-Smith reported excellent results with a particular Atom 330-based board and DragonFly.
- Stathis Kamperis has added to ‘hammer snapls’ output; an example is in his submit@message.
- The 2.6 release of DragonFly, scheduled for March, will have version 4 of HAMMER. 2.4 has version 2. Upgrading from version 2 to 4 can happen in place, live, and only needs to happen once per volume, not per PFS. That’s about as easy as it gets. More details are available.
- The default sshd config has been updated; this shouldn’t affect your normal operations unless you’re using one of the mentioned options.
- Oliver Fromme linked to more discussion of SSD durability.
- Also, Matthew Dillon posted more notes and benchmark numbers for his swapcache work. There’s been some side benefits too. A man page for swapcache is now available.
- Aggelos Economopoulos’s libevtr has been added, for event tracing. He’s posted some additional notes on this work-in-progress.
- We now have /var/log/daemon, too.
- Notes on prepping for Google Summer of Code 2010 from the GSOC Discussion list; I don’t know if that link is readable for nonsubscribers.
- The Definitive Guide to PC-BSD is out at the end of this short month. Dru writes good books.
- Did you know FreeCiv (a Civilization clone, of sorts) is playable in a web browser? Goodbye free time! Details are available at my favoritest game site.
Matthew Dillon is setting up DragonFly to be able to use a fast disk (like a SSD) for disk cache, reducing the effect swap has on speed. This means very large amounts of data could be read into memory – greater than the available RAM in the system – without having the normal paging out problems that happen when memory is exhausted. It’ll work for any filesystem on the machine – HAMMER, UFS, or NFS. His inital notes have more. Other notes include details on the NFS benefits, and possibilities with SSDs. Wear-leveling may make SSDs last much longer.
Work has started, and there’s an update (with examples) that people can try, though it may destroy all your data at this point. Test results in that update show, if I’m reading it right, a better than doubling of speed on a repeated md5 test on a large file when using the new caching system. This should be a huge benefit.