Sepherosa Ziehau is continually trying to squeeze more network performance into DragonFly. I’m not always so good at pointing it out, but here’s several commits from him that improve performance on several chipsets.
There’s a lot this week, so let’s get started:
Unix: 14 things to do or stop doing in 2014. These tips are actually useful and contain no buzzwords.
TrewGrip, another item in my quest for interesting keyboards I don’t use.
4043 bytes to recreate a mid-80s IBM PC. There are less bytes of data in the program than there were transistors in the CPU that it emulates. It can run MS Flight Simulator. It was for the International Obfuscated C Code Contest, which should surprise you not at all. (via)
The World’s Most Pimped-Out ZX81. I don’t think it can run Doom, though.
Technology used to suck even when it was cutting-edge, and we’ll still feel that way in the future. (via)
Able to be turn on, and that is it. Sci-fi movies ignore where technology comes from.
True Nuke Puke Story. My mine coworkers once did something similar to a copier repairman; got him so worried about going underground that he had a panic attack when he had to step on the hoist. We had to get a new repairman.
Running late putting this together… Back to bullets!
- The weekly PC-BSD digest for January 3rd.
- DiscoverBSD’s weekly roundup.
- PC-BSD’s weekly digest.
- Jailing FreeBSD 4 on FreeBSD 10. FreeBSD 4 has been a very long-lived release, so to speak.
- OpenBSD has a new auto-install feature that needs to be tested.
- Julio Merino has plans for his test suite on FreeBSD, and will be giving a tutorial on it at AsiaBSDCon 2014.
- OpenBSD has a new ‘signify’ program for cryptographically signing and verifying files.
- Ingo Schwarze has been implementing various optimizations for mandoc in OpenBSD. gprof helps.
- FreeBSD has updated netmap.
- python-3.2 is probably going to be removed from pkgsrc; it’s redundant to all the other versions.
- FreeBSD’s gcc version is being made more compatible to clang by incorporating some Apple changes.
BSDNow episode 19 is up, titled “The Installfest“. They install DragonFly along with other BSDs, and I haven’t even looked at it yet.
Markus Pfieffer has committed Larisa Grigore’s Google Summer of Code work, “SysV IPC in userspace”. It’s been a bit since the event finished, but it’s in DragonFly now.
For those of you near the NYC area, there’s a NYCBUG meeting tonight at 7 Eastern, with Brian Callahan giving a security-focused crash course in OpenBSD. Tickets for NYCBSDCon 2014, happening on February 8th, are going to be available there for the first time, starting at 6 PM. (and cheaper if you buy in person, too.)
If you want to track the bleeding edge of DragonFly, which is currently version 3.7, I happened to describe it in a reply to Filippo Moretti, on users@. Long-time users will know this/do this already, but it’s worth repeating just because new users may not realize how easy it is.
The holiday break for most people at the end of the year translated to a lot more material showing up now. We all benefit!
The Postmodernity of Big Data. I don’t know about the text, but I like the punchcard images.
Eventually, will every program have its own internal upgrading and management code? It seems like it.
New Year’s Resolutions for Sysadmins. Some of these resolutions look forward, some look backward.
Things are picking up again after the break.
- Faces of FreeBSD: Isabell Long. Note that she came in via Google Code-In. That’s the value of those programs.
- OpenBSD: Randomness, sooner.
- OpenBSD’s change to PIE for i386 means special upgrade procedures – if you’re on i386. Also, here’s PIE. atexit(3) changes also changes the upgrade method this one time for… all platforms? I’m not sure.
- The DiscoverBSD roundup for 12/31/2013.
- The FreeBSD Test Suite. It’s similar to what NetBSD has, but see the source link for comments on what’s different. DragonFly has a test setup too, though I’ve never tried it – is there one for OpenBSD?
- Pkgsrc-2013Q4 is branched.
- FreeBSD has improved NFS performance.
- NetBSD has updated libpcap, tcpdump, wpa, bind, and dhcpcd.
- OpenBSD has updated xterm, glproto, and some other xenocara parts.
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.
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)
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)
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.)
Again, quiet from the holiday break.
- strlcpy/strlcat users, a rundown. The buffer overflow problem is suprisingly widespread. (via)
- The PC-BSD Digest for 12/20 and for 12/27.
- The DiscoverBSD weekly summary.
- Faces of FreeBSD: Kevin Martin.
- FreeNAS 9.2.0 is out. (via)
- OpenSMTPD, a project I’ve always meant to look at more, has been updated.
- BSD Magazine for December 2013 is out. The RSS feed for them/their newsletter is no longer working, cause I had to find out here.
- ruBSD talks about OpenBSD are online.
- There’s new support in NetBSD for that old Amiga.
- You may need to update your OpenBSD packages.
- NetBSD’s smbfs is now an import from FreeBSD.
- NetBSD has updated ACPICA and OpenPAM.
BSDNow has a new episode for Christmas; this contains an interview with Scott Long of (among other things) Netflix.
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.
Still quiet out there, but I found some good reading.
Another Perl One-Liners review.
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.
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Cookie Puss.
Odds and ends for the quieter holidays.
- Hubert Feyrer spotted this video interview of Amitai ‘schmonz’ Schlair about NetBSD.
- OpenBSD has tmpfs.
- PC-BSD has made it through a pkg upgrade.
- pkgsrc is frozen until at least the end of the month, for pkgsrc-2013Q4.
- OpenBSD wants to shift electrical costs. (via)
- The DiscoverBSD weekly roundup.
- Managing custom ports. (can apply to dports too)
- Building tcsh on 4.3BSD-Quasijarus. This led me to…
- 4.5BSD. An ambitious project.
- A pfSense video review.
- Steryana Shopova is this past week’s Faces of FreeBSD.
- OpenBSD had a head start on not trusting RNGs.
- OpenBSD has a new vioscsi(4) driver.
- Michael W. Lucas’s books are available through OpenBSD.
- FreeBSD Kitten. (via NYCBUG)
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.
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.
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.”
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)
“Did you see that interstitial? It was dope!” (via I forget, sorry)
Your unrelated animated gif of the week: Happy talking boat.
Another week where I could get away without any commit links, just cause there’s so much BSD stuff out there.
- Randomness changes in FreeBSD. Saw commits before, but this is a good summary. (via)
- Cipher changes summary for OpenBSD.
- The DiscoverBSD summary.
- Faces of FreeBSD for this week: Brooks Davis.
- PC-BSD’s weekly summary.
- FuguIta, an OpenBSD liveCD.
- The FreeBSD Foundation’s Semi-Annual Newsletter. There’s details on the FreeBSD Journal.
- Also, that newsletter links this first of 4 BSD whitepapers.
- The FreeBSD Challenge on linuxcauldron.com – a 30-day challenge.
- BSDCan 2014 has issued a call for papers.
- So has NYCBSDCon 2014. Here’s the announcement of NYCBSDCon 2014 itself, and flyer.
- Note to self: investigate cheap bus trips to New York City.
- The IP-Plug, a NetBSD-powered wall wart. The article goes into terrific detail.
- Ruby in pkgsrc will be (apparently?) defaulting to version 2.0.
- robotpkg, a specialized fork of pkgsrc that I didn’t know about.
- PC-BSD is going through lots of changes to support pkg. (that’s one of many commits.)
- FreeBSD has added newcons.
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.
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…
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.)
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
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.
Links are a bit rushed this week cause I’ve been on the road, but here you go.
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.
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.
Happy birthday to me!
- Is Your Stack Protector Working? On Undeadly, so it’s OpenBSD.
- ChaCha20 and Poly1305 in OpenSSH. (via)
- The next PC-BSD 10.0 image is available.
- Reid Linnemann is the latest in the Faces of FreeBSD series.
- NetBSD has updated file.
- FreeBSD’s iwn(4) driver has some updates (also in DragonFly).
- FreeBSD now has casperd, for controlling access to out-of-sandbox capabilities.
- FreeBSD’s oce(4) driver now supports 40Gb devices. (yay for manufacturer support)
- FreeBSD has Hyper-V drivers.
- OpenBSD’s ifconfig now shows the NWID, channel, and BSSID for IBSS networks.
- OpenBSD has updated to pixman 0.32.4.
- pkgsrc’s 2013Q4 freeze will start on the 16th.
- How old is who? (Don’t tell me 900 years.)
- There’s a broken builds list for pkgsrc-2013Q4 for anyone who wants to help.
- Hacker News had a link to the FreeBSD version of the BSD Family Tree, which is not unique, but the comments led to some interesting links, like this story of an 8-year NetBSD uptime.
- FreeBSDNews’s summary.
- All the AsiaBSDCon 2013 videos. (Last week’s link was just OpenBSD ones.)
- FreeBSD authentication against Samba 4 LDAP. I’m going to need this for the DragonFly machine I’m setting up in the same role at work… in my copious spare time.
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.
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.
Rett Kent has volunteered for maintaining i386 support under dports. Good luck! 3rd-party software management is difficult.
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.
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.
A lighter week for commits probably because of the U.S. holiday, but still plenty of things to link.
- Gabor Pali is this week’s ‘Faces of FreeBSD‘.
- The DiscoverBSD weekly BSD summary.
- There will be a FreeBSD Journal, though I see no mention on the Foundation site yet.
- There’s a ruBSD conference on December 14th, in Moscow. Undeadly has a page about it, and there’s the translation, if you feel lucky.
- BSDCan needs volunteers.
- Because FreeBSD is using the pre-GPL3 version of GCC, Google’s patches for Android (since that environment is apparently avoiding GPL3 too) have been brought in.
- FreeBSD has updated to svn 1.8.5.
- OpenBSD has updated NSD to 4.0.
- NetBSD has updated mpc. mpfr, and gmp.
- NetBSD has moved from pppd to ppp.
- FreeBSD is dropping 32-bit binary support, for reasons. But maybe not?
- Is it time to dump Linux and move to BSD? Yes, of course.
BSDNow 13 is out, and it includes an interview with Jordan Hubbard of ports/Apple/iXSystems fame. They also continue the ‘Building an OpenBSD router’ project, and of course, there’s more.
pkg 1.2 is coming out. This brings a number of new features, but as John Marino posted, you may want to delete your old pkg.conf to keep the new version from complaining about an old config file. This upgrade is a step on the way to signed packages, which is a Good Idea.
John Marino posted a possible ‘roadmap’ for DragonFly, now that we’re past the 3.6 release. The thread went on for some ways as it was discussed, including my crazy ideas. Notably, several suggested items have already been tackled – an iwn(4) upgrade has already happened, and an update to bmake, based on John’s vendor branch update instructions.
This is a little old, but Matthew Dillon noted the status of his Hammer2 work a little while ago. Some highlights: he’s intending Hammer2 to be usable on a single host by the time of the next DragonFly release (summer 2014), the Summer of Code project for compression has already been integrated, and he listed different parts of the work that may be interesting for anyone wanting to chip in.
Slightly related: Matt posted some Hammer2 comments on the DragonFly 3.6 release story on Slashdot that may be interesting. Don’t bother reading the other comments; they’ll make your eyeballs bleed.
If you’re planning to run DragonFly in KVM, remember this post from Matthew Dillon, giving the settings he uses. This will save you a bit of time.
If you’re upgrading dports (and you probably are if you are going from DragonFly 3.4 to 3.6), there’s a minor issue in dports, inherited from FreeBSD ports: you need to manually remove perl before upgrading. It’s all of one command, so it’s not a huge burden. Joris Giovanngeli spotted it first.
Eitan Adler is the newest DragonFly committer; you may recognize his name from some previous commits added by others, where he synced up various work between the BSDs.
For those updating from 3.4 to 3.6: there’s an ABI change, so you will have to upgrade all your packages. If you’re using pkgsrc and ready to switch to dports, now’s the time. If you already switched to dports on your 3.4 system, binary packages for 3.6 have already been built and you can use pkg to upgrade.
Also for upgrades from 3.4: You can pull the 3.6 source normally:
git fetch origin
git branch DragonFly_RELEASE_3_6 origin/DragonFly_RELEASE_3_6
git checkout DragonFly_RELEASE_3_6
But there’s a slight change needed for the 3.4 to 3.6 transition: an extra reboot in the build process:
# make buildworld && make buildkernel && make installkernel && make installworld && reboot
# make upgrade
This is all noted in /usr/src/UPDATING and in the release notes, but I’m taking no chances.
There’s some in-depth items to look at this week; pull up a chair and get something warm to drink. You will be rewarded.
- James Mickens, who you may remember from The Slow Winter a few weeks back, has written again with The Night Watch. Gonzo tech writing is the best. Note to self: a ;login: subscription might not be a bad idea, as apparently there’s more like that.
- Another note to self: watch the USENIX blog. There’s some interesting things on there.
- Citation Needed. There’s a plausible claim in this that the reason we have 0-based indexing in most languages is because of yacht-racing. Seriously, read the article, and follow some of the links in it. (via)
- Engelbart’s Violin. Because ”a computer system should maximally reward learning.” Found in that previous essay; good enough I had to break it out.
- Found in the comments from that previous link: SiWriter. One-handed phone typing, simulating a chorded keyboard.
- History of T. I was wondering if it was something about tea, but no, it’s a discussion about a Lisp implementation. Lisp all seems to originate from a magical time, when computers were faster, dragons were common, and elves hadn’t retreated across the sea yet, or at least all the stories have that mythical vibe. See the ycominator link for additional discussion about system languages like Rust, of which I have only heard in passing so far.
- The video and audio from LISA 2013 has been posted. There’s lots there; I’m sure you’ll find an interesting topic.
- I wasn’t kidding about this being a dense week for links, was I?
- This should have been in yesterday, but I only read about it this morning: Darwin/BSD on ARM. More ARM work everywhere, please; there’s a tidal wave of these processors washing about. (thanks, J.C. Roberts)
- Why I use a 20-year-old Model M keyboard. See the ycombinator discussion for alternatives. They all may seem expensive, but it’s equipment you’re going to smash your fingers against for many years; it should be good.
- That discussion link in the previous item led me to this image. An old-style Thinkpad keyboard? Now that would be pleasant to use. Apparently these existed, though the Lenovo keyboards section doesn’t have anything exactly by that name; the keyboards there look generic. There’s some on eBay. Anyone ever used one?
- The Homebrew Computer Club reconvenes. A computer club nowadays is “we downloaded some of the same software”, while back then it was “I built a computer.” A bit more hardcore.
- chibitronics. It’s ‘circuit stickers’, and a good idea.
- mattext, a matrix-style pager. Does it work on DragonFly? Haven’t had a chance to find out. It needs a video demo. (via)
- More UNIX script debugging. Still Bash-specific, but still useful.
- Puppet vs. Chef vs. Ansible vs. Salt. A useful comparison for those not familiar with these types of tool. (via)
- UNIX Proves Staying Power as Enterprise Computing Platform. Gives a short history of commercial UNIX platforms.
- I find stories about closing cloud companies compelling. I’d probably feel different if it was my problems to sort out.
If that’s not confusing enough, watch this.
I’m working my way up to more than just links to source for the cross-BSD news. There’s a lot to swim through!
- NYCBSDCon 2014 (on February 8, 2014 - note the recent change) is, in addition to the normal call for papers, having a ‘call for exposés’, meaning they want people to expose BSD projects. I found this out through the undeadly.org description noting that some MIPS machines will be on display. This is an excellent idea; BSD projects need a showcase.
- There’s also a NYC Tech Meta-party, with NYCBUG and many other groups participating.
- FOSDEM 2014 will have a BSD Room.
- FreeBSD developer and FreeBSD-based-business-owner Colin Percival gets a spotlight from the FreeBSD Foundation.
- DiscoverBSD’s BSD summary. We need more of this.
- FreeBSD News miscellaneous links. Hey, there’s more!
- hostileadmin has a slew of wrap-up reports from vBSDCon. Sounds like a good time was had by all.
- Here’s more vBSDCon wrapups, plus slides.
- And a developer (John-Mark Gurney) trip to vBSDCon sponsored by the FreeBSD Foundation.
- Also, AsiaBSDCon OpenBSD presentations in video form.
- The pfSense blog is called “The pfSense Digest”. Digest… hey, that sounds like a good, descriptive term! They also are looking to hire. I just used some of my paid pfSense support time on a work problem – well worth the money spent.
- OK, back to source commit links.
- FreeBSD has enabled some Texas Instruments hardware.
- FreeBSD has added some example test framework programs.
- FreeBSD has added the axge(4) driver for ASIX AX88178A and AX88179 USB Ethernet
- OpenBSD has 802.11A support in wpi(4).
- (updated to add) There’s a PC-BSD weekly digest, too. That’s good, because I had trouble spotting things in the massive flood of PBI approvals over the past week.
BSDNow 12, which I haven’t had a chance to watch yet, has the normal roundup of events and an interview with Amitai Schlair of NetBSD. There’s also a tutorial about ssh and tmux.
As noted on the kernel@ list, it’s tagged but not yet in image form.
BSDTalk 235 has 26 minutes of conversation with Allan Jude about various topics, including this BSDNow thing I was just on,
John Marino isn’t interested in supporting the i386 architeecture for DragonFly and dports, so he’s not going to actively work on it. (Packages for DragonFly 3.6 are already built, so that’s not a problem for release.) If you feel like taking on a significant but interesting workload, check his message about the work involved.
It’s been snowing this week in the northeast US, which makes me happy.
- Unix: sending signals to processes. Signals have always struck me as a somewhat byzantine messaging system that everyone uses for the equivalent of Ctrl-C.
- Unix: Debugging your scripts. This will be useful if it’s not already familiar to you.
- Compatibility is Hard. Contrary to popular belief, Microsoft Word documents are not backward or forward compatible, from release to release.
- From that previous link: Why Microsoft Word Must Die. The worst problems to troubleshoot are when someone says “Word/Excel is acting funny”. There’s so many intermediate layers of software in those programs that it’s difficult to find the actual data and the actions being performed on it, much less troubleshoot any process.
- SparkFun.com moved from MySQL/MariaDB to Postgres. I agree with the sentiments in the article, but I want to know the technical reasons that made Postgres the choice for scaling. (via)
- Apple ][ DOS source code. I don’t have anything I can actually do with the source, but there’s a 1977 price list pictured in the the article that shows some interesting numbers: A 4Kb RAM system costs about $1300, and the prices just go up from there.
Your unrelated comics link of the week: the first four pages of Necropolis. This comic looks to be fun.
Not as much pulled directly from the source lists this time, which is good.
- It’s no surprise that I would say this, but: it makes me happy to see other BSD projects doing regular summaries, like this one or that one for PC-BSD or this general BSD summary.
- A random PC-BSD review found via Google Search.
- PC-BSD 10 test images are available. I wonder if that’s related to the eleventy-billion commits lately out of the PC-BSD Github account?
- OpenBSD/CARP, Cisco, and schadenfreude.
- The FreeBSD Foundation’s annual fundraising is on; they have already made it well along, but there’s still lots of dollars to go.
- OpenBSD now has automatic disk mounting.
- g4u 2.6 has entered beta. It’s “Ghost for Unix”, which gives you an idea of what it does.
- EuroBSDCon 2013 DevSummit video recordings are up. I said there would be video all week, didn’t I?
- Using OpenBSD with Vagrant and Veewee. Those tool names sound somewhat rude.
- pbulk bulk builds for pkgsrc made easy. I was working on a script like this.
- Cross-pollination makes me happy.
- svn in FreeBSD is updated.
- FreeBSD supports the MediaTek/Ralink RT5370/RT5372 chipset.
- nvi still gets updates.
- FreeBSD supports the (takes deep breath) Freescale Vybrid Family VF600 heterogeneous
ARM Cortex-A5/M4 SoC. (exhales)
- FreeBSD has an IEEE Organizationally Unique Identifier. Not sure what it means.
- NetBSD has a new game, hals_end. If you saw 2001 the movie, you may guess the contents.
- OpenBSD has a new ugl driver for the Genesys Logic GL620USB-A
USB host-to-host link cable.
BSDNow episode 11 is up, with conversations about OpenSSH, FUSE, building an OpenBSD router, etc… and a whole hour of me talking about the upcoming DragonFly 3.6 release and this very Digest, too!
This appears to be all audiovisual media week, because author Michael W. Lucas gave a talk at the Michigan Users Group about OpenBSD (he’s qualified), and it’s up now in two parts. He describes it as:
“Among other things, I compare OpenBSD to Richard Stallman and physically assault an audience member.”
BSDTalk 234 is 30 minutes of conversation with Henning Brauer, taken at vBSDCon 2013. There’s a correlation between east coast BSD conferences and the number of BSDTalk episodes coming out.
I just finished a whole hour of gabbing on about DragonFly and BSD work in general for BSDNow. Because I am a ninny, I didn’t post something here earlier today so that people would know to watch the livestream. Sorry! However, it should be showing up in the next day or so on the BSDNow site. When it does, I’ll link it.
If you’ve seen my previous two reviews of Michael W. Lucas’s ‘Mastery’ books – DNSSEC Mastery and SSH Mastery - then you can guess what this will be: his newest book, focusing on a single software topic. This time it’s sudo.
The one downside of reading this book: I now am aware I’m using sudo wrong. Perhaps not wrong, but not anywhere near its potential. Sudo – and I’m not the only person who has experienced this – is used as a “Let’s install sudo so we don’t have to tell anyone the root password”. Sudo works for that sort of thing, but there’s a lot more possibilities.
Sudo is designed to be deployable across multiple systems, as part of a security policy. It’s an easy way to create purpose-shaped roles with different users, especially with users that have specialized skills and tasks, like database maintenance.
Obviously I think better of sudo after reading the book; there’s a lot of program capabilities of which I was unaware, but it’s the book that sells them. Michael W. Lucas’s humor is on display again, to break up some very technical material. Here’s some bits, pulled out.
Remember that “syntactically valid” is not the same as “does what you want.”
Pressing Q tells visudo to break sudo until you log in as root and fix it. Do not press this button. You won’t like it.
Here I create the TAPEMONKEYS alias for the people who manage backups.
And if Carl tries to configure Oracle on the PostgreSQL server, senior sysadmin Thea needs to have sharp words with him. Probably involving a tire iron.
The book is in-depth enough to cover more complex topics like using sudo and Active Directory, and sudo as an intrusion detection tool, of all things.
The usual reasons to buy a Mastery book are all still there: it specifically mentions working on BSD systems instead of pretending Linux is the only system out there. It’s available through a DRM-free seller (Smashwords) in addition to Amazon. It’s a self-published effort, not shovelware. It’s available now as an ebook, and in physical form soon. Lucas talks about it on BSDNow 010, too.
I have one last nontechnical note. Since these Mastery books are working into a series, I’d like to see a whole printed run of visually matching books. Something with the equivalent of the O’Reilly animals or the Pelican or even Little Blue Books common look and feel.
The takeaway: You should be reading this book if you plan to use sudo in any sort of multiuser environment. It’s available as an e-book direct from the author, via Amazon, via Smashwords, and possibly Barnes & Noble at some point in the near future. Physical books are available, and you can buy both forms together, apparently.
And of course this sudo joke.
I spent this entire week saying things like “Wait, today’s Tuesday?” and “I thought this was Wednesday, not Thursday.”
- Welcome to my GUI Gallery, a whole lot of different GUI screenshots. This mention of the “Salto” Alto emulator brought me there, and there’s some material I’ve never seen before. Also, there’s Bob. Not “Bob” the prophet, but Bob, the computer mistake. Speaking of problematic designs, see the Windows 8 page.
- 5 Cool UNIX Hacks. Sounds linkbaity, but it’s useful. I didn’t realize that CTRL-a is the non-destructive version of CTRL-u. (via)
- This seems strange, but I never heard of PLATO, even though it seems to be the precursor to so much. (via)
- “Goodbye Google“, in terms of switching to your own platform, seems to be a new trend.
- arkOS, a similar idea.
- Finding Files Your Way. I can never remember all the arguments to ‘find’.
- Google has a Shell Style Guide. Which equates to a Bash Style Guide, but that’s OK. Shell scripts are sometimes considered the most disposable form of programming, so it’s good to see a full guide. (via)
Not sure why, but there wasn’t a lot of things this week to pick out.
- A short discussion of Perfect Forward Secrecy on pkgsrc-users.
- PC-BSD apparently (used to) play a movie on first boot.
- FreeBSD now has a ‘mini-memstick‘ install option. (a later messages says ~200M in size.)
- FreeBSD has updated aacraid.
- OpenBSD supports the RTS5229 card reader in rtsx(4).
- OpenBSD has updated OpenSSH, and NetBSD has updated. (DragonFly has a fix for the underlying problem.)
- OpenBSD has FUSE support.
Matthew Dillon did some more performance tuning for DragonFly. I’ll just pull a paragraph from the commit message, since that will have more impact than anything I say:
Improves fork/exec concurrency on monster of static binaries from 14200/sec to 55000/sec+. For dynamic binaries improve from around 2500/sec to 9000/sec or so (48 cores fork/exec’ing different dynamic binaries). For the same dynamic binary it’s more around 5000/sec or so.
“monster” is a 48-core machine used for testing.
The 10th BSDNow episode is out, with the ambitious title, “Year of the BSD Desktop”. As you can guess from the title, a PC-BSD desktop gets set up as part of the episode, and as you might not guess from the title, they interview Michael W. Lucas.
This was a loooooong week, with me working 24 of the last 48 hours. It didn’t get in the way of the link-gathering, though!
- This report on what’s new in Unicode 7 is stranger than you’d expect. (via)
- gzip + poetry = awesome. This is a great way to visualize compression. (via)
- The Internet Archive now lets you run old software via in-browser emulation. Of course, all the screenshots are of games because everyone wants to revisit childhood. (via)
- I tell people a Leatherman is one of the best computer tools you can have. Here’s multitool overkill. I’m mentioning a specific brand for a reason, by the way. (via several places)
- Fixing UNIX filenames. It’s a bit older, so you may have seen this. (via)
- UNIX: the Art of Being Lazy. Remember, the Three Virtues of a programmer, from Larry Wall: Laziness, Hubris, and Impatience.
- Lets Blather All Over… Quadrilateral Cowboy. A hacking game that actually involves code.
- What I do when I’m not on here. Rotary phones dialing through an electromechanical exchange to reach between Asterisk VoIP server. I love watching the gears go. (via)
There’s a surprisingly large list this week.
- FreeBSD has updated netmap.
- FreeBSD supports VT-d DMAR hardware. Not totally sure what that is.
- FreeBSD supports the RealTek RTL8168G, RTL8168GU, RTL8411B, and RTL8168EP.
- FreeBSD updated byacc to version 20130925.
- FreeBSD has binary packages again.
- Managed Services using FreeBSD at NYI, a whitepaper.
- NetBSD has imported OpenBSD’s support for ASIX AX88178a and AX88179 USB network interfaces, in the axen(4) driver.
- NetBSD supports the Broadcom BCM56340 iProc based switch.
- OpenBSD supports unattended installation. See Also on Undeadly.
- OpenBSD has softraid booting documentation. Someone will find this useful, I’m sure.
- OpenBSD 5.4 is released.
- Inspecting Packets with OpenBSD and pf, the presentation from vBSDCon.
- Lua in pkgsrc has been modified.
- Ocaml in pkgsrc has been updated to 4.0.1.
- The BSD Router Project has hit 1.5. (via)
- PC-BSD 10 alpha images are available for testing.
- PC-BSD is doing weekly updates, an idea I support, unsurprisingly.
- No BSD systems in Google Code-In this year, darnit.