# Category: UNIXish

I think spring has arrived; everything’s turning green, and a young man’s thoughts turn to computer hardware upgrades.  Time to move to 64-bit!  Anyway, lots of links this week.  These are getting more and more content-filled over time, but I don’t think anyone minds…

• For the Bitcoin enthusasts: ‘…when my wife refuses to bring him cake on our sofa, he calls it a “denial-of-service attack”’ (via)
• Make It So, coverage of computer interfaces from movies.  I always thought that was what Enlightenment was trying to achieve: the Interface From The Future.  (via several places)
• Same computer interface topic, but from anime movies.  It would be nice if this became something people actively worked on, instead of Bitcoin selling and Facebook monetizing.  (via)
• Flat icons/monochromatic icons seem to be another microtrend.  This is probably because few people do small dimensional icons well.  My favorite was always the BeOS set.
• On benchmarks.  It says what you should already know, but I like the Phoronix/MD5 benchmarking joke.  (via EFNet #dragonflybsd)
• This article titled “The Meme Hustler” draws a finer line than I’ve seen before between “open source” and “free software”.    The author, Evgeny Morozov, seems to also have a hate-on for Tim O’Reilly.  See some reviews of a recent Morozov book for a counterpoint, of sorts.
• Spacewar championship, 1972, in Rolling Stone.  Exactly two years before I was born!   At this point, finding things older than me makes me a bit happy.  There’s a picture of a Dynabook in there, photographed by Annie Liebowitz.  It’s entertaining to read this 40-year-old story and see how well it predicts the future.  I’m also sort of amazed it exists, in Rolling Stone.  More Spacewar links here.
• Meet the Web’s Operating System: HTTP.  ”Because HTTP is ultimately the one social contract on the web that, amidst a million other debates over standards, rules, policies, and behavior, we have collectively agreed to trust.”  (via)
• Ancient computers in use today.  I’ve linked to a story about that IBM 402 before,  but the following pages about VAX and Apple ][e systems are new.  Well, new to read, certainly not new hardware.  (via)
• Yahoo Chat!  A Eulogy.  The spray of forbidden words is an entertaining acknowledgement message.  (via)
• The $12 Gongkai Phone. Bunnie Huang breakdowns are always fun, and he’s describing a strange sort of open source that isn’t through license. (via) • The FreeBSD Foundation is looking to hit a million dollars donated this year, which seems quite possible given last year’s performance. Donate if you can; their activities help the whole BSD community. • A Complete History of Breakout. It’s not actually complete, but that’s OK. It includes Steve Jobs being a jerk and Steve Wozniak being very clever, which is their traditional roles. (via) • Ack 2.0 is out. It’s a very useful utility; I’d like to see more standalone utilities created this way. • Space Claw, Flickr via BBS. You’ll need telnet. (via) Your unrelated link of the week: Shady Characters, a typography/history blog I’ve linked to before, has a book out. If you liked those links, you know what to do next. Posted by Categories: BSD, FreeBSD, Lazy Reading, UNIXish ## Lazy Reading for 2013/04/14 We are very close to the next release. As always, it comes down to building third-party software. Lots of material here to read, until then. Your unrelated link of the week: A bunch of monster models, all taken at a convention called Monsterpalooza. A bit grody, but still some very good construction work. (via) Posted by Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, roguelike, UNIXish ## Another sh(1) update Peter Avalos has committed another batch of updates to sh(1), from FreeBSD. I was going to comment on how strange it was to see software getting updated so many years later; you’d think everything there was to update for /bin/sh had been done at this point. Digging casually, the oldest bit on sh that I can find is from 1991 – 22 years old. The man page mentions a rewrite in 1989 based on System V Release 4 UNIX, and there were versions of sh all the way back to version 1. Here’s a trivia question – what’s the oldest Unix utility, and what’s the oldest code still in use? I don’t know the answer. Posted by Categories: BSD, Committed Code, DragonFly, FreeBSD, UNIXish ## Lazy Reading for 2013/03/17 You know what stinks? I find a really cool thing online somewhere, early in the week, or even in a previous week, like today’s unrelated link. Between me finding it and this always-on-Sunday post, other people encounter it, the link gets reposted everywhere, and it’s old hat by the time you see it here. Yeah, I’m complaining like it’s hipster linking! Your unrelated link of the week: I almost can’t tell this is a parody. Actually, it’s more like a double level of parody. Seen on this inexplicable, wonderful Tumblog; found via arts inscrutable. Bonus link: Dog Snack Episode 3. Posted by Categories: Lazy Reading, roguelike, UNIXish ## Lazy Reading for 2013/02/24 A calm week, for once. • Via Michael W. Lucas: Absolut OpenBSD. • Another ‘How I customize Vim’ style post. These things always sound great, but I worry that it’s not something that can be duplicated. If you had to rebuild or duplicate your Vim environment elsewhere, you’d have to write out your own instructions. Not impossible, but I don’t have to do that for anything else. (via) • Twine, a game creation tool that really requires only writing. (via) • The Oxford Comma, or how it doesn’t matter. (via) • The Story of the PING Program. I could have sworn I linked to this before. I remember having someone explain ping to me when I was young and had little experience of IP networking; it seemed like magic where the computers would actually talk. (via vsrinivas on EFNet #dragonflybsd) • ARPANet, 1971, as a tattoo. (via) Your unrelated comics link of the week: Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman. All the early issues, available in electronic form, for pay-what-you-want. (And I advise paying; it’s a fun comic) Look at a sample page if you are curious. Posted by Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, UNIXish ## Lazy Reading for 2013/02/10 For once, I didn’t accidentally post this too early. I hope you have some spare time; there’s a lot of meaty links this week. Your unrelated comics link of the week: Anthony Clark of Nedroid.com is selling his sketchbook; 101 pages as a digital download, for$1.  Look at his strip or his Tumblr doodles if you want to know more before, but that’s quite a deal.  Nedroid is the source of one of my favorite character names: Beartato.  Also makes a good shirt.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, roguelike, UNIXish

Whee!

Posted by     Categories: Books, Lazy Reading, UNIXish

The last of the year.

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.

Posted by     Categories: FreeBSD, Lazy Reading, roguelike, UNIXish

I started this Lazy Reading early, since I had so many links it overflowed into the next week.  Merry almost Christmas!

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)

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish

I hope you like links, and lots of history.  It’s been a bumper crop this week.

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.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish

This is a mini-theme Lazy Reading, where I find small groups of related things.

Your unrelated link of the week: The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things.  Also known as ‘old weird crap’, but that’s OK – still interesting.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish

It’s been a quiet week, but that’s OK.  I have sick kids, sick coworkers, and a certification test this Monday…

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.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, roguelike, UNIXish

Life is busy, busy, busy.  But there’s always time for Lazy Reading!

• Sometimes Google searches turn up DragonFly BSD in odd places.
• Wayland reached 1.0.   That’s great, except it isn’t ready for use yet, it’s just feature-stable.  I’d argue that means it’s ‘beta’, not 1.0, but there’s no hard and fast rules about that.  In any case, does it run on any BSD?  I don’t think so.
• OpenSSH server best practices.  Nothing too groundbreaking, but they include “BSD” (i.e. pf) examples.  I always like articles that don’t assume Linux is the only platform.  (via)
• The little SSH that (sometimes) couldn’t.  A heck of a network debugging exercise.  (via mat in #dragonflybsd)
• The AN/FSQ7, a computer I’m sure I’ve seen in movies a number of times.  (via)
• Here’s the OpenBSD slides from EuroBSDCon 2012.
• Oh look, Apple’s got “Fusion Drive“.  The cool people call it swapcache and have been using it for years, so there.
• Here’s an essay that starts out talking about Quantum Computing and moves into the ambivalence that quantum computing seems to entail instead of just noting the general scientific description and leaving it there.  It’s really quite enjoyable.
• Hey, maybe this is why Facebook reported earnings are up: they’re holding your own data hostage.  (via)
• Rob Pike on The Setup.  He makes a very good point about how we should access computers.  Also, here’s a recent, long slide show he put together about Go.  It describes solving some language problems that have been around a long time.   (via)
• I was halfway through reading that last slide show link and realized there’s no way I can explain how it was an worthwhile read to someone who hadn’t done some programming.  No link or conclusion, just an observation of how esoteric this is.  I hope you enjoy it.
• Essential Vim and Vi Skills has hit a 3rd edition.  I have this as a Kindle edition, and I’m not sure how that happened.
• Zork in Duplicity, or a bizarre finding of old UNIX history in a completely unrelated place.  (via)
• These OpenBSD thin clients are a neat idea.

Your unrelated link of the week: Delilah Dirk.  It’s a comic, and the story available to read online is about a tea merchant, which makes it exactly right.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, OpenBSD, UNIXish

I had some interesting home network troubleshooting over the past week…

Your unrelated link of the week: Terrorism as Art.  An extended profile of Survival Research Laboratories at The Verge.  Even if you don’t like the content, the focus of the artist is remarkable.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish

I lost 12 18 hours of my life fighting with an Exchange 2010 upgrade this week.  To compensate, I will never complain about Sendmail wonkiness ever.

• Homebrew Cray-1A.  Duplicating the internals is interesting in a “that’s crazy/difficult” way, but the case is the best part.  (via dfcat on #dragonflybsd)
• If you understand the structure of haiku, you can contribute to Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Ed.
• Here’s a browser-based roguelike called Second Wind, and another called Epilogue.  No particular reason to link to them other than I haven’t had much roguelikes linked recently.
• The role of the troll in social media is to ruin that product.”  There’s a line that can be drawn to connect the idea of being esoteric enough that social networks (i.e. Facebook) don’t intrude on your interests, and the idea of being interested in BSD operating system creation.  What I’m saying is that BSD is less hyped, and thank goodness.
• Another social media caution: it’s their space, not yours, and they can boot you at any time. (via)
• Yeah, I’m getting curmudgeonly.  I’ll stop now.
• Go By Example.
• git-ftp, when the files you are working on are in a location only accessible by FTP – no git or ssh access.  This appears to copy them in and out as part of the commit/change process.  I can imagine a very specific workflow where this would be useful.  (via)
• Bash One-Liners, part 4.
• The Ultimate Vim Distribution.  (via)  I like how slick the single-line install methods are on these things…  but I want the number of packaging/install methods on every computer I administer to equal exactly 1, not (1 x number of installed programs).
• Why is Linux more popular than BSD?  Some of the answers are just plain wrong, or don’t understand causality… but that’s no surprise.  (via)
• Oh, hopefully this will solve the UEFI secureboot issue for DragonFly too.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the week:  A CD that comes with its own turntable and record.  Kid Koala scrapes over culture to find mentions of vinyl and DJing the same way I scrounge the Internet for mention of BSD.  His “Nerdball” from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an astonishing display  of turntable skill.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, OpenBSD, roguelike, UNIXish

DragonFly 3.2 branches tomorrow if all goes to plan. Until then, I have a lot of reading here for you.

Your unrelated link of the week: Dog Shaming.  I have a parrot, rabbit, and lizard.  They seem like easy, normal pets compared to some of these stories.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, pkgsrc, UNIXish

## A bikeshed and a code change

A discussion of why root automatically lists dotfiles with ls and all other users do not led to a long thread that includes some UNIX history.  There’s some useful and some not-so-useful parts in the thread, but it did indirectly produce a way to reverse the listing effect itself.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, UNIXish

Yay!

• What will you have: tea or chai?  Mapping out all the names for tea around the world.  I love etymology and tea, and I know there’s some tea drinkers reading…  (via)
• Speaking of tea, this London universal tea device sounds awesome.  (via)
• Uncle Miod’s machineroom.  There’s some pictures of some old hardware buried in there that was incredibly expensive when it first came out…   (via)
• This security issue is interesting because it’s a new kind of problem, but also depressing because it’s a new kind of problem.  (via)
• Apparently a packaging system is always a good idea.  (explanation)
• A patient explanation of /usr/local and a bit of UNIX file system history, too.  (via)
• The history of Unix from where it happened, Bell Labs.  I’m pretty sure I haven’t linked to that before.  Interesting trivia note: playing the original Space Travel game in 1969 cost $75 for the computer time.(via) Your unrelated link of the week: Top Shelf is having their annual$3+ comics sale.  There’s some really good books for cheap, there.  Of special note: From Hell, about Jack the Ripper, drawn by my favorite artist.  Wizzywig, mentioned here before as a fictional mishmash of real stories and rumors about hackers and BBSes and other things people need to be a certain age to remember.  The Ticking, drawn by Renée French, whose art should be familiar to fans of Plan 9 or Go.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish

Whee!

• deadweight, “Find unused CSS selectors by scraping your HTML”.  I’ve needed something like this for years.  (via)
• The same sort of thing for pkgsrc: pkg_leaves.  Worth running at least yearly, or at least before any significant pkgsrc upgrade.  There’s no point in updating a package you don’t use or need.
• GNU Coreutils cheat sheet, plus the instructions to make it.  There’s other cheatsheets linked in the article that may be useful.
• Compiler benchmarks, comparing gcc and clang versions.  For a complete benchmark, I’d want to compare what number of programs build with each, too.  (via ftigeot on #dragonflybsd)
• When ‘your mom’ and Unix jokes collide.
• Distraction-free writing with Vim.  (via)
• Also, there’s a “Modern Vim” book on the way.  Will it be good?  I have no idea; I don’t know of any prior books by the author or who the publisher is.  Those facts might help.
• For a known author and publisher, here’s a status report on Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Edition.  If you don’t know what a BOFH is from his last sentence, read the original stories.
• Quadrilateral Cowboy, a cyberpunk hacking game that actually involves non-boring programming and not just a pipe-matching game under the guise of hacking.
• While I’m linking to games, GUTS, sorta like Diablo but more… roguey?  It’s turn-based.  Also, an excuse to use the roguelike tag.
• 4 UNIX commands I abuse every day.  Having done a fair amount of Perl programming, I am entertained by having side effects being the intended goal.  Also, the author pays attention to what runs on BSD.  (via)
• Disks lie. And the controllers that run them are partners in crime.”  Marshall Kirk McKusick describes just how hard it is to know when your data has really made it from memory to disk.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the week.  Dubgif.  Random animated gifs and dubstep clips.  Sometimes it doesn’t work, and sometimes it’s perfect.  (via)  If that’s too random, there’s also this .

## LOPSA call for papers

LOPSA East is happening next May in New Jersey.  I haven’t seen mention of this on any BSD list, but there’s definitely Unixy things happening there.  The call for papers is out.

Posted by     Categories: Conventions, UNIXish

## Some more books to read

This recent question asked on-list about creating your own file system meandered into good reference books.  This so far was “The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System“, “Modern Operating Systems“, and the paper “Vnodes: An Architecture for Multiple File System Types in Sun UNIX“.  Looking for links on those things led me to this Unix filesystem history paper from IBM, which is fun reading.

I’m saying that unironically!  It really is an interesting document to read, for historical and general knowledge.  I am a nerd.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, FreeBSD, UNIXish

There’s certainly no theme to this week’s links.  I even manage to avoid my usual git and vim links, strangely.

Your unrelated comic link of the week: Cul De Sac.   The strip is ending due to the creator’s health issues, but what he has done is marvelous.  This is one of the few newspaper strips that is both visually interesting and often abruptly laugh out loud funny, without being patronizing.

Posted by     Categories: Hammer, Lazy Reading, pkgsrc, roguelike, UNIXish

It’s summer, and I’m too warm.  I’m whiny but still making with the links:

Your unrelated link of the day: The Kleptones are great, and this collection of the music that influenced Paul Simon’s Graceland is a wonderful find.  A happier album I’ve never heard.  I feel nostalgic for the days when you had to actually search for music.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, pkgsrc, roguelike, UNIXish

Let’s get right down to it:

• Hey, Nmap 6 is out.  It’s one of those always-useful tools, similar to wireshark.
• Biculturalism, a fair assessment.  (via)  The generalizations are a little extreme (1 Unix-based author who Got Religion, vs. a diffused Windows developer stereotype) but still has value.
• A Git Horror Story.  (via)  Not a true story, but useful for describing how git commits can be GPG-signed.
• A recent Google Doodle, a playable Moog synthesizer, done for Bob Moog’s birthday.  The Moog Music site has instructions.  I happened to notice they’re using FreeBSD as the server – cool!  Maybe it’s just the hosting org?  Anyway, I link to it because Bob Moog’s cousin was for a while my father’s employer.
• I did not know this existed: OpenBSD Network Shell.  (via)  Interface like a Cisco-ish router, internals are OpenBSD.
• There’s been recent news articles about how programmers over 35 tend to not get hired.  Here’s one of the reasons: younger programmers discount the value of their own time.  Anything where all the benefits (cheaper labor, more products) accrue to the company, and all the costs go to the employee (time lost, extra work) is not a good idea in the long run.
• Now I’ve met the other DragonFly BSD user, too.”  That’s two more than I expected for any given project, really.
• Undeadly.org has an extensive interview/article about OpenSMTPd.  It’s OpenBSD’s implementation of a SMTP daemon, which is something I haven’t heard much about before.  Compare with DragonFly’s much-smaller-in-scope dma.
• Van Jacobsen Saved the Internet.  Or just fixed a timing bug.  Depends on whether you listen to Wired or to him.  The interesting part is that he had to build the tools to troubleshoot the problem.
• Here’s something I don’t think anyone’s noticed yet: Microsoft is responsible for half of Google’s DMCA notices last month.  My employer recently was audited by Microsoft (technically by Accenture contractors for Microsoft) for license compliance.  My Dell sales representative, when I asked him for a list of what Microsoft-licensed OEM devices we had bought, said many of his customers were asking for the same thing.  He joked that Microsoft was trying to improve its profitability numbers for the quarter.  Given that they are trying to push to Windows 8, that might just be true, and they are trying to enforce their way to it, not sell their way to it.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, UNIXish

There’s been so much activity this week in DragonFly that I’m having a hard time keeping up.  There’s always time for Lazy Reading, though.

Your unrelated link of the week: Captain Forever.  A game. Mentioned most recently on Verge, but read Rock, Paper, Shotgun for context.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish

I’m starting to pack these full enough that I might have to go biweekly.

Your unrelated comics link of the week: Wizzywig.  A self-contained comic about the early days of phone phreaking and hacking, written and drawn by Ed Piskor.   The first two chapters are available as a PDF.  Read and if you like it, order the whole thing.  Also: Steve and Steve.  If you know your history, you’ll get the cartoon.

Ed Piskor is currently cartooning the origin of hip-hop at BoingBoing; it’s a good read.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, UNIXish

## Ebooks sale, just today

There’s a Day Against DRM sale going on for O’Reilly.  50% off everything, and all the books are DRM-free.  I found out about this through Michael Lucas, whose No Starch books are represented there too.  It’s a fantastic deal and it’s today only, so strike now while you have the chance.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Heads Up!, UNIXish

Enjoy!

Your unrelated link of the week: One Thing Well.  The BSD tag might be the most useful.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, Someday you will need this, UNIXish

It’s a good week when I can start collecting new Lazy Reading material right after posting the previous week’s summary.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish

The links are all over the map this week, which is fine.  Enjoy!

Your unrelated link of the week: memepool.  It’s seen some activity lately.  It was a blog before there were blogs, and I was part of it.

Hello new DragonFly 3.0 users!  This is my not-about-DragonFly weekend link roundup.  I’ll be back to regular DragonFly-ish stuff tomorrow.

• Vim anti-patterns, Gnuplotting, and Computing History At Bell Labs.  I’m combining what would normally be 3 separate points because I stole them all from Christian Neukirchen’s blog.  I wish I had found them first.
• I mentioned Dungeons & Dragons last week, which led Michael Lucas to point out Dungeon Crawl Classics in the comments.   Along that same theme, here’s some 70′s role playing game illustrations.  (via)  There’s a parallel between computing in the late 1970s and fantasy; expert programmers were called wizards, understanding computers was an esoteric art…  I could develop the heck out of that thesis, but let’s just look at the pictures and feel nostalgic instead.
• And then everything got a lot more weird-looking, 20 years later!  (via)
• Hey, that time zone lawsuit mentioned here before was dismissed.  That’s good news.  (via lots of places)
• Hyperpolyglot: Scripting.  Look for your favorite scripting language and compare it side-by-side with others. (via ferz on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
• The text of the DragonFly 3.0 announcement gets copied around to a lot of sites, far more than I’m linking here.  However, I found this one entertaining because it kind of makes it sound like DragonFly is just what I happened to come with.
• Custom 3D printing is becoming accessible enough that I’m trying to think of things I could get printed that way, even though I don’t need it.  (via I lost it, sorry)

Posted by     Categories: Someday you will need this, UNIXish

It’s like early spring here in the northeast US.  Which would be fine if it was actually spring.  I miss snow.

• An explanation of the classic UNIX hierarchy.  (via thesjg on EFNet #dragonflybsd)  I’m behind any explanation that uses the phrase “accretion disk” to describe an organization.
• Hipster BSD.  If this doesn’t make sense to you, it’s based on this.
• Would you like to have DNSSEC upgrading explained to you?
• Hooray for Unicode!  (via)
• What Commons Do We Wish For?  I was, briefly, technically, an AOL employee after the Time Warner merger in 2000.  I didn’t like the notion of working for a walled garden then, and I think that’s why Facebook and other companies irk me now.  Anyway, read that article for a good explanation of why that feeling is important.

Your unrelated link of the week: Top Shelf 2.0.  A small comics publisher that has put much of their comics online to read.  Their stuff on paper is worth buying too, as I have been doing for a while now.

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish

This is the week of the funny, apparently.

Your totally unrelated video link of the week: The Necronomicon.  Pitch perfect.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, UNIXish

## Book review: The Linux Command Line

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.

Posted by     Categories: Books, Goings-on, UNIXish

Last week was low on links, but this week is great!  I hope you have some time set aside.

• This article “The Strange Birth and Long Life of UNIX” has a picture of a PDP-11.  I don’t know if I ever actually saw one and knew it before.  (via)
• Also from the same place: Window Managers Bloodlines.
• Anecdotal, but probably true. (via luxh on EFNet #dragonfly)
• nginx is the new cool and unpronounceable web server these days, apparently.  Michael Lucas covers how to transition static Apache sites over to it.
• This PDF showing slides from the recent NYCBUG presentation by Ike Levy, titled “Inappropriate Cloud Use”, is entertaining, and makes a good point.  Cloud computing is cheap on a per month basis, but since it’s a reoccurring cost, it can cost a surprisingly large amount in the long run.  (via)
• Hey, a patch for DragonFly (and other BSD) support in Google’s leveldb.
• Don’t Be a Free User” (via)  The last paragraph is the best.
• An expanded grep and diff.  ‘grep’ and ‘diff’ have been present for so long, and people understand what they do, generally, that new tools get named after them just because the concept is ingrained in people’s minds.  Note that I said “generally”, as regular expressions can be difficult.  (via)
• A lot of people don’t realize how they infringe on copyright.  This writeup describes something I’ve seen for years: people think a disclaimer that effectively says “I’m infringing but I’m doing it with the best of intentions” makes a difference.  It doesn’t.
• So this is what that Xerox Star GUI interface looked like.  You know, the ‘first’ desktop GUI.   (via) Also, there was some advanced stuff in 1968.
• I like this indicator light setup.  (also via luxh on EFNet #dragonflybsd)  There’s some other interesting old computer stuff at that site too.  I wish there still were computers like these.
• While we’re talking about old things with a certain feel to them, why not Battersea Power Station?  Here’s some pictures.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the day: Since we’re talking about old things and environments, why not look at some pictures of my workplace?

Posted by     Categories: BSD, DragonFly, Goings-on, Lazy Reading, UNIXish

Hey, the date’s sorta palindromic!  Sorta.

• “Bundled, Buried and Behind Closed Doors” – a video description of the physical parts of the Internet.  Remember when MAE-East or MAE-West would have a bad day and half the Internet felt it?  Really, half.  I don’t think I’m exaggerating. (via)
• Google has a verbatim search mode now, for those of you who regret the loss of ‘+’ as a required search term designator.  (via and also sort of via)  There’s always alternatives.
• The expr program is a real piece of crap.“  Laser-focused complaining about a small program that’s had 4 decades to improve, and hasn’t.
• Mechanics for Pure Aesthetics”  The videos are interesting, and I’m linking to this because so much of what I post here and deal with is focused computer work.  Everything is a tool, with a purpose, and a result that you expect.  This idea of machinery or even software having a purpose other than result generation is underexplored.  There’s lots of tools to create art, but there’s little that is art itself.  Even with that general lack, we still get excited when the edge of some sort of aesthetic appeal nudges its way into the materials we use.  You could argue that Apple’s success (for instance) comes from being the one company that consistently thinks about what a product is, instead of what it does.
• If you use fastcgi, you may need the patch that this blog post talks about.  Also, apache-mpm-prefork is the better choice for Apache on DragonFly.
• DragonFly mug shot

Your random comic link of the day: Calamity of Challenge.  Also here.  And here.  If this artist’s way of drawing grabs you like it grabs me, he has pages and commissions for sale.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, Off-Topic, UNIXish

I’m going for more verbose linking.  Because my opinion layered over a bunch of linkblogging is just what you wanted on a weekend, isn’t it?  If not – too late!

• NYCBUG posts audio of their regular presentations, and I’m linking to this one by James K. Lowden, titled “Free Database Systems: What They Should Be, And Why You Should Care“.  He was one of the more colorful speakers at NYCBSDCon 2010, so this should be good.
• It’s Slashdot, so whatever, but this “In Favor of FreeBSD On the Desktop” linked story had a few good comments – BSD hasn’t done enough to differentiate itself from Linux.  “BSD: In Need of a Narrative“.  Or perhaps, “Who cares if it’s clang or it’s gcc – what do you build with it?
• Xv6 is a modern version of Sixth Edition UNIX, used at MIT for teaching operating system design.  (via)   The source is available via git, and as a numbered PDF.   The book for the class should make interesting reading.  Oh, you can see the class details, too.
• FOSDEM 2012 in Brussels, February 5th, 09:00 – 17:00: “Open Source Game Dev”.   Get on the mailing list if this interests you.  Microsoft operating systems still rule the market for games, really, even indie work, so it’s neat to see something that is both open source and game oriented.  There will be BSD “devrooms” there, too.
• If you are looking for a particular Unicode character (and there’s lots to choose from), Shapecatcher lets you draw what you are looking for and looks for matches.  (via)  I’ve needed that here a few times for people’s names, and it’s fun just to see what comes up from a random scribble.

Your unrelated link of the week: The New Shelton Wet/Dry.  Titles, content, and images are all picked from unrelated sources, but it forms an oddly compelling digest of multiple topics.  Slightly NSFW, sometimes.

Posted by     Categories: Conventions, Lazy Reading, UNIXish

## Potential job available

A position opened up for a junior systems administrator at my workplace.  You have to be willing to live near Rochester, NY, administrate a mix of Windows and unixy machines, do desktop support, and network management.  (e.g. everything possible)  The work environment is neat, informal, and somewhat adverse.  I’ll have a job description soon, I hope.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, Off-Topic, UNIXish

This is a shorter version of a Lazy Reading post, but it’s linking to some extensive writing.  Yay for having other people make up for my brevity!

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, Lazy Reading, UNIXish

Posted in the past, for the future.  I always build these up over the week, so if the links seem dated (as in more than 24 hours old), that’s why.  My commentary will add the flavor.

• This NYT story about Dwarf Fortress has been linked lots of places, but I want to point out the one paragraph:

Growing up, Tarn was enamored of Dungeons & Dragons and J.R.R. Tolkien, but he has never been a lockstep member of the geek culture so much as a wanderer on the fringes. He didn’t read superhero comics as a kid, and later, he never became obsessed with the “Game of Thrones” books, say, or with “Lost.”

Are you over 35 or so?  Then maybe you remember a time when there wasn’t a designated ‘Geek Culture’.  It’s something specific to a period in time, like when pay phones were still common, or when people were on average still thin.  It strikes me that the interviewer assumes that a computer programmer should become consumed with a TV media event; that it’s part of what makes them what they are.   It’s as if all accountants need to have brown shoes, and all artists have to wear berets and ‘get’ abstract art.  Maybe I’m just hipster complaining.

• “...while Bell Labs’ parent company AT&T flatly refused to believe that packet switching would ever work” – Have I linked to Shady Characters before?  I think so.  Anyway, this is part 1 about the @ sign, and it’s of course talking about email and the early days of the Internet, back when it was the ARPANet.  Be sure to check the references at the end of the article; it contains gems like this ad for a 65-pound portable TTY.
• Tim Paterson has a blog.  DOS is his fault.  Worth reading, for the early hardware details.  (via ftigeot on #dragonflybsd)
• Removing the Internet’s relics. An article about how FTP should die.  It will…  once there’s no place where it’s needed.  Like gopher!
• Comparisons like this are usually cheesy, but this one made me laugh: Text editors as Lord of the Rings locations.
Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, roguelike, UNIXish

Somehow, I ended up with the most concise link listing I’ve ever done, even though I have a pretty good batch here.  Go figure.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Lazy Reading, roguelike, UNIXish

A nice big pile of links this week.  Some of these may have cropped other places by now, but oh well.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions, Lazy Reading, UNIXish

This week, the links are generally fun.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, UNIXish

• Michael Lucas describes an extra layer of protection for when you can’t force public key usage on every SSH user.
• Cool, but obscure Unix tools (via)  The screenshots are all from a Mac… How many of the 24 tools listed are in pkgsrc/pkgsrc-wip?   Almost all of them.  (tpp sounds entertaining.)
• NYCBUG, in addition to having a really fun convention, has been regularly posting audio of the presentations they host.  The most recent is “William Baxter’s NYCBUG presentation on The Unix Method of Development Management”.   See the BSD Events tweet for the download.
• What Ubuntu means.  (via)
• Here’s a nice explanation of Intel’s new Tri-Gate design and with it, an incidental explanation of the processor market.
• This ycombinator post about Hammer2 work has an in-depth comment from Venkatesh Srinivas about DragonFly’s network setup, memory allocator, and token use.  (Ignore the trolling in other comments.)
• Michael Lucas’s next No Starch Press book is Absolute OpenBSD, second edition.
• Pictures and video are starting to show up from the just-passed BSDCan 2011. (via this and also thesjg on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
• My first experience of The Internet was very similar to this.  It should be bizarrely unfamiliar to anyone under 20 or so.  (via)  Get this: I typed ‘exit’ instead of just closing the browser window when I was done messing with it, because some habits cannot be broken.
Posted by     Categories: BSD, DragonFly, Lazy Reading, pkgsrc, UNIXish

## OSBR: Technology Entrepreneurship

The May 2011 issue of the Open Source Business Resource is “Technology Entrepreneurship“.  You’ll want to read this because it’s all people who are their own boss, using software they can modify themselves.  Seductively nerdy/utopian!  They’re continuing the topic for next month’s issue, so if that describes you and you like writing, here’s your chance.

Posted by     Categories: Periodicals, UNIXish

Chatoor Kalki posted about his desire to learn about this whole UNIX/BSD/DragonFly thing, and there were several followups that may be useful to anyone interested in some reading.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, UNIXish

## Daemon and Penguin podcast

Google Search turned up something new: Daemon & Penguin oggcast.  It’s a podcast, with every episode covering something Unix-ish – usually BSD.  Each episode also reviews a horror movie.  It’s not a mix I would have predicted, but I can see how it would work.  The first oggcast has him installing DragonFly.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals, UNIXish

I’m going to just title these “Lazy Reading” – I end up with too much diverse information/links to fit within the title.

Posted by     Categories: Device support, Lazy Reading, UNIXish

## Update for file(1)

‘file’ has been updated to version 5.05 by Peter Avalos.  file(1) is one of those utilities that I forget is a contributed, external piece of software, even though it’s been in Unix since 1973.

(file is one year older than me!)

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Committed Code, DragonFly, UNIXish

## Lazy Reading: cheatsheet, disks, pkgsrc, more

Normally I hold this for Sunday, but I’ve got a good batch of links already.  Something here for everyone, this week.

• A git cheatsheet, and another git cheatsheet.  I may have linked to the latter one before, as it looks vaguely familiar.  Anyway, bookmark.  (Thanks, luxh on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
• What should you do about bad blocks on a disk?  Get a new disk.
• If you ever wanted to port software, there’s a pkgsrc developer’s guide (thanks Francois Tigeot) that shows you how.
• It’s NOT LINUX, for the billionth time.  It’s BSD UNIX (certified, even) under there!
• Children of the Cron“.  An entertaining pun.  (via)
• Nothing to do with BSD, or even computers, really: Gary Gorton, interviewed about the recent financial crisis, at a Fed bank website (!?).  Interesting because I like economic matters, and because it’s the first web page where I’ve ever seen pop-up links added usefully, as a sort of footnote that you don’t have to scroll.  (via)
• Michael Lucas recently had a machine broken into.  Since everything on the machine is suspect, he’s using Netflow data to figure out when it happened, and how, which is not surprising given his most recent book.  He has two posts describing how he backtracks his way to the probable source.
Posted by

## January OSBR: Business of Open Source

The January issue of the Open Source Business Resource is titled “The Business of Open Source”.  The first article, titled “Cost Optimization Through Open Source Software“, explains why iXSystems is all BSD, all the time.  There’s also an eye-opening breakdown of the dramatic cost savings from going with open-source rather than Windows.

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Periodicals, UNIXish

## Post-install notes

Here’s a nice collection of post-installation notes on DragonFly.  They’re part of a larger UNIX note collection.  I may have linked to it before; I don’t remember.  This note’s new, though.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, UNIXish

## Less is more, really

If you were dying to have less behave like more, it’s possible to do so with these tips from Oliver Fromme.  I don’t know if it’s that desirable, but it’s an interesting thing.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Someday you will need this, UNIXish

## Horrible accident and other errors

Tim Darby had an error with a particular AMD AHCI chipset, and the entertaining error was:

Attempting to reinitialize the port after it had a horrible accident

This gives me a chance to link to one of my favorite error messages ever.

(The chipset works in current DragonFly, by the way.)

Posted by     Categories: Device support, DragonFly, UNIXish

## A super-simple install

I was reading this Perl Advent Calendar (that would be good for DragonFly, come to think of it) post about ack, and came across a interesting line:

curl http://betterthangrep.com/ack-standalone > ~/bin/ack && chmod 0755 !#:3'


fetch’ would work just as well on a BSD system. The interesting thing is that it’s a one-liner for installing software that doesn’t make any assumptions about having an existing framework like pkgsrc or aptitude or anything like that – it just grabs the code and plops it in place.  It wouldn’t work for more complex software, but the simplicity is intriguing, to match the Unix-like single, chainable program idea.

For those who haven’t seen it, ‘ack‘ is a grep replacement that automatically takes care of common activities around searching – skipping files that would cause duplicate matches, binary files, etc., handles a larger range of regular expressions, and runs startlingly fast.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, Someday you will need this, UNIXish

## Lazy Reading: old UNIX, new book, more NYCBSDCon

A general roundup of things, this week.

• The 1978 Bell System Technical Journal, describing this new Unix thing.  (via)
• The book Modern Perl is out, written by chromatic.  I link to it for two reasons: the first is that while the book is available for purchase, it’s also available as a free download, with the only condition that you must tell others about it.  The second reason – and the reason I’d mention this book anyway – is that chromatic writes on his site and for O’Reilly, and his articles are succinct and enjoyable.  The Web is a deluge of text, so any author that can hold your attention, with all the other sources to read, is worth following.
• More NYCBSDCon 2010 stuff, from the comments on my previous post: Will Backman has partial audio recordings, and Jason Dixon’s adventure is online.  (thanks, Will and Lawrence)
• This summary of the (BSD-ish) Tarsnap service made me smile.
• Top 5 Best Practices for an Open Source Development Community.  (via)  I especially agree with items 2 and 3.
• Oddly compelling.  (via everywhere)

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, UNIXish

## NYCBSDCon 2010: notes

My NYCBSDCon 2010 summary, or How I Spent My New York City vacation:

Posted by     Categories: BSD, Conventions, Goings-on, UNIXish

## What of OpenSolaris?

You have probably seen reports declaring the demise of OpenSolaris by now, many taking a less than conservative approach in reporting the news one way or the other. So what do you make of the news? By all accounts, the source code (including future changes) for things such as ZFS will continue to be published under the CDDL. Will Oracle closing up development make it impossible for operating systems like FreeBSD to maintain ZFS without forking it? What do you think the ramifications will be for DragonFly’s HAMMER and DragonFly in general?

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, Goings-on, Hammer, Off-Topic, UNIXish

I apologize; I’ve been missing.  Here’s some misc links while I get back in gear:

• A very good reason to be interested in Hammer over ZFS: nobody will threaten lawsuits over Hammer.
• 10 tricks for admins.  I’m posting it cause I can never remember that thing with tunneling ssh out.  (via)
• This Gaming Life, as a free download.  An excellent book that is in physical form on my shelf right now.  Yes, unrelated.
Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, Hammer, Someday you will need this, UNIXish

## Messylaneous for 2010/05/27: destroying flash, Unix, programming

I had a sudden buildup of things to link to.  It’s three items, but there’s enough info here to eat a few hours…

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, Lazy Reading, UNIXish

## Messylaneous for 2010/03/01

I think I’ve almost caught up on my backlog of Things To Post:

The March issue of the Open Source Business Resource is up, with the theme of “Mobile”.  The BeagleBoard and OpenBTS articles are going to appeal to some specific people.

It’s sinking in that Sun is gone“, the vi Complete Key Binding List, and Post-quantum cryptography, all ganked from Trivium.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, UNIXish

## Things that are done

There’s a number of things that all came together in the last 24 hours or so, which means: bullet points!

• Jen Lentfer took my suggestion and ran with it.  He’s got an update to Sendmail 8.14.4 on the way too.
• Binary pkgsrc-2009Q4 packages for DragonFly 2.4.x/i386 are all uploaded.
• I finished a build of pkgsrc-2009Q4 for DragonFly 2.5.x/x86_64 – take a look and fix some of the broken items, if that interests you.
• Weekend reading: check out this Trivium post as there’s some interesting historical items.  I may try that LackRack idea in a environment that doesn’t fit a normal rack well…
Posted by     Categories: Committed Code, DragonFly, Lazy Reading, pkgsrc, UNIXish

## Messylaneous for 2009/12/10

I’ve been building this entry up for a while, so some of these entries are newer than others.

Posted by     Categories: DragonFly, FreeBSD, Goings-on, OpenBSD, UNIXish

I like linkblogging, especially because there’s been a lot of good stuff floating about:

Posted by     Categories: BSD, DragonFly, Hammer, UNIXish

## A few more things

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, UNIXish

## Text Game history

The National Center for the History of Electronic Games is looking for tangible artifacts having to do with old text-based games, like Adventure or Zork.  The article includes some history, too.

(This place is in my town, and it’s eye-bleedingly awesome.  I predict that a few years from now, when people realize what this is, it will become a game history Mecca along the lines of PAX.)

Posted by     Categories: roguelike, UNIXish

Entertaining weekend reading: Practical Reusable Unix Software in PDF form, from AT&T. (Via)

Posted by     Categories: Lazy Reading, UNIXish

## More roguelikes: @Play and a new game

Not one, but two roguelike items!  Close your eyes and click randomly if you have no interest in my little obsession.

• The newest @Play column has more 7DRL coverage, with screenshots and nice little summaries that mention whether a game is fair or not.
• Also at GameSetWatch, mention of a new roguelike called MnemonicRL, with a video preview.  It’s planned to be a MMORPG, of all things.
Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, UNIXish

## @Play: more 7DRL

There’s a new @Play column focusing on more of the entries at the Seven Day RogueLike competition.  I mention this because roguelikes have been around on Unix-ish systems forever, some of these may work on DragonFly, and because they are much more complex and interesting than I would have thought possible.

Posted by     Categories: UNIXish

## Ping, and where it came from

An interesting tidbit turned up by Google searches: the invention of ping, from the man who wrote it.  The ping -> vocoder story near the end is entertaining.

Posted by     Categories: UNIXish

## @Play: XRogue

This month’s @Play column dives into the playing mechanisms of  XRogue, an older roguelike variant with some interesting features.  Of special interest to geeks like me is the historical line drawn between XRogue features like charmed monsters and NetHack pets.

Posted by     Categories: Goings-on, UNIXish

## Everyone blogs, sooner or later

Rob Pike, one of the people responsible for UNIX, among other things, has a photo blog.  (via)

Incidentally, his wife’s books are good, and wierd, and I read them long before I had any real idea who Rob Pike was, in a wierd bit of synchronicity.  Early computer science history would be a good topic for Jim Ottaviani to publish, come to think of it…  (also recommended)

Posted by     Categories: Off-Topic, UNIXish

## Valentine’s Day for an OS

From O’Reilly: a love note for UNIX.  Today’s the day for it, after all.

Posted by     Categories: UNIXish

## More PDP-11 programming

Was it really this painful to program a PDP-11?  I can only imagine every other alternative was worse.  (via)

Posted by     Categories: UNIXish