actually 4.1c, but the entries differ:
root::0:10:Charlie,458E,7750:/:/bin/csh in 4.1c
root::0:10:Charlie &:/:/bin/csh in 4.2
The ampersand is replace by a capitalised login name, hence Charlie Root
actually 4.1c, but the entries differ:
root::0:10:Charlie,458E,7750:/:/bin/csh in 4.1c
root::0:10:Charlie &:/:/bin/csh in 4.2
The ampersand is replace by a capitalised login name, hence Charlie Root
pkgsrcCon 2019 was held in Cambridge this year. The routine as usual was social on the Friday evening, day of talks on the Saturday, hacking on things on the Sunday.
Armed with a bag of bits to record the talks, I headed up to Cambridge on Friday evening to meet up with
sborrill before heading to the Castle Inn. Not much to report from Friday night, drinks were drunk, food was ate, PowerPC hardware was passed on.
Saturday morning started off with a brief intro by
pr1w1, followed by the first talk of the day by
audio(9) in NetBSD and her work to improve support in 3rd party software. [slides]
bsiegert was next, speaking about spellcheckers and how without careful consideration when developing an API, one can prevent downstream consumers from moving forward with a project. [slides]
This was preceeded by
agc who gave the first of two talks on the work and methodoligies the team working on the OpenConnect appliances at Netflix use – life consuming FreeBSD-CURRENT and their development model (regular releases from the bleeding edge). The release they produce caters for several generation of hardware which is continuosly evolving, ranging from appliances based on conventional hard disk drives to all flash SSD appliances, and now, nvme based appliances.
We breaked for lunch at this point and went for a wonder to find the canteen.
First talk after lunch was by Natasa Milic-Frayling on Software preservation and digital continuity and the challenges with keeping legacy software running. Having successfully virtualised Windows based systems running all the way back to Windows 95, there were other challenges such as archiving distributed systems where proprietory software to be archived ran on one workstation, but data was sourced from other systems such as via ODBC or Active Directory (LDAP), increasing the scope of systems required to be archived in order for an application to function. As we move forward in time, legacy hardware becomes more fragile and harder to source parts for, unmaintained software which is no longer supported becomes a growing security risk, so, system get decommissioned but the data that lived on such systems may still be useful for reference.
After Natasa’s talk it was my turn to speak, I gave an update on the state pkgsrc support on OS X Tiger, followed by various books I’d read over the last 8 months and what I’d been working on in $dayjob, linking things back to Cambridge one way or another, turns out I had been reading about folks in Cambridge doing incredible work, it just happened that they were in Cambridge, Massachusetts along with the Mac Mini I was working form 🙂 [slides]
wiz followed on after me and spoke about the various groups in The NetBSD Foundation and the role they play in the day to day running of the project. From the board to the pkg-bug-handler teams and many others. [slides]
schmonz was our remote speaker, he gave a status update on the qmail distribution in pkgsrc and a new project called notqmail which provides a home as the upstream of this initiative. [demo and further info]
khorben revisited the topic of package signing with the work that happened in the past such as in EdgeBSD, improvements in NetBSD which could ease it such as developments in
ptrace(2), and then opened up to a discussion around what’s required to provide signed packages.
agc wrapped up the day with the final talk, “large scale packaging” about how the packages which are shipped to the OpenConnect appliances are put together, using a cut back version of FreeBSD ports containing just the packages required.
Saturday night I headed back to London as I had a club night to attend before heading back on the Sunday. Somewhat drained, I made it home with the kit I’d carried up, showered, changed, and was back in Farringdon before midnight.
Come 2:30am, there was a powercut and that was the end of the night. I was a bit miffed as I missed the same event the previous year due to a clash of events so I was really looking forward to this.
1/08/19 – The recording of the set is now available
I got some rest and made it back to Cambridge for lunch on Sunday. We then headed back to the Centre for Computing History for the last part of the con. I spent some time looking at the machines on display, played Sonic the Hedgehog and Street Fighter 2 both of which I hadn’t done in a long while and then helped debug an issue with booting NetBSD on QEMU as a guest when QEMU is invoked with
--cpu=host. The host system in this case was flashed with libreboot which lacks microcode for the CPU and NetBSD crashes on probing the CPU. Explicitly specifying a CPU as a workaround in this case allowed the system to boot e.g
IBM ThinkPad X61s without microcode update
cpu0 at mainbus0 apid 0 cpu0: Genuine Intel(R) CPU 1400 @ 1.66GHz, id 0x6e8 cpu1 at mainbus0 apid 1 cpu1: Genuine Intel(R) CPU 1400 @ 1.66GHz, id 0x6e8
IBM ThinkPad X61s with microcode update
cpu0 at mainbus0 apid 0 cpu0: Genuine Intel(R) CPU L2400 @ 1.66GHz, id 0x6e8 cpu1 at mainbus0 apid 1 cpu1: Genuine Intel(R) CPU L2400 @ 1.66GHz, id 0x6e8
Post con, I spent a couple of days gallivanting around London with
wiedi, weather was really hot but we managed to get a lot of milage down, from Brick Lane to Notting Hill Gate via the South Bank and Maida Vale, followed by a visit to Wembley for the London Hack Space. As always, it was a fun few days.
Last year for EuroBSDcon 2017 in Paris, I caught a horrendous cold on the first day and spent the week in a fragile state, this year I was well prepared and caught the terrible cold in advance. Things kicked off on Monday when I had to go and see a man about a goat at the train station as I was the chosen mule for this leg of the conference. No curried goat for dinner that night.
This was to be my first time in Bucharest and also the first time flying from London Luton Airport. I packed the goat and cough medicine and headed for the train station again on Wednesday morning. By lunch time I had met up with
sborrill from the NetBSD release engineering team, we discussed the changes happening in NetBSD-HEAD and the tooling built on top of NetBSD at Precedence before setting off.
Thursday was about the FreeBSD devsummit for me or at least it was meant to be. For the flexibility of being able to use any computer without having to spread keys everywhere and the safety of travelling lightly without important keys, I use a Yubikey which contains a key that provides access to a few non-critical systems. At the devsummit, when it came time for our first break, I unloaded my key from the system and ejected the Yubikey, I don’t know what happened next in my head but when I came back I tried to load my key again from the Yubikey and entered an incorrect pin consecutively until the device was locked. This was a total disaster as I was not carrying the admin pin to unlock the Yubikey and I wasn’t sure what I had done at the time. I spent most of the devsummit trying to understand why I was unable to load my key and how to tell if the device was actually locked or not, documentation is pretty sparse and somewhat poor. It doesn’t help that there are multiple components required to use and manage a security token, all of which are independently developed with separate sets of documentation.
My favourite piece of documentation was from GnuPG.
PIN retry counter
This field saves how many tries still are left to enter the right PIN. They are decremented whenever a wrong PIN is entered. They are reset whenever a correct AdminPIN is entered. The first and second PIN are for the standard PIN. gpg makes sure that the two numbers are synchronized. The second PIN is only required due to peculiarities of the ISO-7816 standard; gpg tries to keep this PIN in sync with the first PIN. The third PIN represents the retry counter for the AdminPIN.
Hopefully, it might be edited at some point in the future.
I eventually gave up, conceding that I am locked out until I get home.
On the Friday, it was time for the NetBSD devsummit. We first covered hypervisors and support of different types of virtualisation in Xen,
joerg gave a status update on his ongoing repository conversion work and what avenues it could potentially enable as well as a
core and TNF board status update which segued into more technical details such as the DRM update. It was a fun day as we had the opportunity to ask questions and cover the answer in detail, something which is not possible in the conference talk setting. The discussion continued over dinner and late into the night.
For the first day of the conference, I spent the day in room 2. I heard the first of a series of talks on sanitisers, David Carlier and
kamil co-presented on the state of sanitiser support. Sanitisers featured heavily at the conference this year which shows the importance of such tooling. Kristaps Dzonsons gave a talk about trying to utilise an open source stack for use with diving, from photo and video management to GPS and the rough edges with some options. Andrew von Dollen gave a talk about utilising the NPF Lua binding to provide a simple high-level interface to the firewall and in the spirit of the Scriptable Operating Systems with Lua paper, using the interface to explore different filtering scenarios with ease. NPF scripting with Lua was previously presented at EuroBSDcon 2014.
I was the last speaker of the day in room 2, I had hoped to present off NetBSD/macppc 8.0 on my 12″ G4 iBook but was unable to get it working with the projector due to
genfb(4) not recognising it as connected. Instead I presented using
maya‘s Dell XPS 15″ using the latest DRM update in NetBSD-HEAD and everything just worked. In hindsight I should have booted a kernel from HEAD to get
radeonfb(4) and try again, but at the time I was actually thinking about recompiling my kernel! 🙂
The day wrapped up with the second keynote by Ron Broersma, he came equipped with a lot of historical memorabilia, It was cool to see a first edition copy of Computer Lib (you can order a copy from Ted Nelson here).
Ron spoke about the evolution of ARPANET & The Internet with an emphasis on the use of Berkeley UNIX. It was amusing to hear how UNIX tape images had been provisioned out to sites from government agencies, Bob Morris also mentioned the subject in An Oral History of UNIX and getting the initial image to the agencies.
The actually, pieces of the government, peddled the idea of using UNIX to
national security agencies. I kind of laughed at the people there. Because, are
they aware of the fact that the UNIX that they are now running actually got to
NSA in the trunk of my car.
As with Ted Nelson, Ron mentioned priesthoods which I believe is still prevalent in tech communities especially networking. Me and
khorben discussed Patterns in Network Architecture: A Return to Fundamentals by John Day which provides insights about how things came to be and an alternative approach to address technical issues in modern day networking.
My favourite historical tidbit from the keynote was that in the pre DNS era when a hosts file was circulated, unofficial revisions were a thing and Berkeley hosts also appeared as Berserkeley on some. 🙂
Day two of the conference began with a heavy dose of sanitisers,
kamil this time speaking about finding kernel bugs through the use of sanitisers followed by Yang Zheng on integrating libfuzzer with the NetBSD userland for Google Summer of Code and some of the bug he’d found in NetBSD as a result.
khorben spoke about how he got into operating system development, his DeforaOS project and the approach in simplicity it takes with reference to John Day’s Pattern in Network Architecture book.
With a quick change over,
maya spoke of the various bugs she ran into on NetBSD and her approach to debug them, covering everything from bugs on DEC Alpha to MIPS to drivers.
For the last stretch of the conference, I headed down to Being a BSD user by Roller Angel. It was a talk about growing within a community and the personal challenges one goes through as they develop. Roller also provided support for users in a technical role and covered the tooling he used to help users learn, such as screen-casting. Afterwards, I headed back up to room 2 for
agc‘s talk on source code tracking and the experience with various tools used over the years at Netflix. Things starting life as a bunch of scripts which were added to subversion, migrated to mercurial and now stored in git. Of the dingbats in the talk, my favourite was Jose which the intro for the section on OCA. When the conference finished, we headed out for dinner. Having heard Scott Long’s talk about Netflix at NYCBSDCon 2014, I asked
agc about his experiences in the early days of the appliance project, over dinner we heard about suffering disk firmware issues and building a strategy to re-flash appliances, extending tooling like camcontrol(8) and improving build performance.
Slides for my talk “What’s in store for NetBSD 9.0” are available here.
For this years pkgsrcCon, the baton was passed on to Pierre Pronchery & Thomas Merkel, location Berlin. It wasn’t clear whether I would be able to attend this year until the very last minute, booking plane tickets and accommodation a couple of days before. The day before I flew out was really hectic and I did not get any sleep. I left home around 1:30am and made my way to St Pancras for the train to the airport as It was an early morning flight. Once we’d boarded the flight, I passed out without any recollection and came to just before we were going to descend. With less than two hours sleep and plenty of time to spare until the evening social I slowly made my way from the airport to the city centre. I roamed the city centre looking at the street art and jumping on and off metro stations between Jannowitzbruke and Westkreuz.
In the evening I headed to the social event and met up with others. I heard about the state of The Unleashed Operating System, the latest buzzword soup to add to current projects for instant success (block chain, AI and something else I forgot the to note down), debug work flow and lots of other things over food and drinks. I had taken my ThinkPad X60s alongside a 12″ iBook G4 to Berlin, with the plan to see if
jdolecek with the machine in person could shed any light on a deadlock issue I experience when hammering the CPU with a kernel build while 2 or more CVS operations are in progress and to also get setup with Yubikey on NetBSD so I could commit from any machine with a USB port without having to copy my keys around to different machines.
On the first day of talks, between preparing slides,
spz pointed out what I needed to get the Yubikey working with SSH on NetBSD. The current Yubikeys support multiple features (U2F, OTP, CCID). In order to use a Yubikey as a CCID device with pcscd,
pcscd expects a
ugen(4) device which doesn’t work on NetBSD because the USB keyboard driver
ukbd(4) attaches to the Yubikey and prevents other modes of access. The workaround is to roll a new kernel with the device explicitly hard coded to use
ugen(4). With that in place, I was able to checkout the developers source repo on the iBook. For the X60s,
jdolecek rolled a fresh kernel with with the
LOCKDEBUG which we booted and reproduced the deadlock, unfortunately, there was no new information provided by these option, possibly indicating that it’s not a locking issue. A new kernel was rolled with an extra
printf() which I tested with, however I couldn’t reproduce the issue with this change. Instead the CVS update just got slower and slower while the system operated normally (without deadlock). Unsure if it was the lack of bandwidth or a new behaviour, I gave up after several hours of the cvs update running. To rule out connectivity, my next plan is to test locally using a mirror of the repository using rsync and perform the CVS operations from that source instead.
I gave a talk titled “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed”. Something Old was about NetBSD/macppc, a homage to my first pkgsrcCon back in 2014 where I gave a short talk about pkgsrc on Tiger PowerPC with my 12″ PowerBook, Something New was about Upspin, Something Borrowed was about Minix3. Slides.
For coverage of the different talks and
leot‘s experience in Berlin, see this blog post.
After a day of presentations we headed over to a restaurant where we chatted some more over dinner. While we waited for our food to arrive, we were given a demo of the J programming language by Martin, he described J as a pocket calculator on drugs. I’d previously heard of the K programming language and its cryptic syntax but had not seen anything with such a minimal and cryptic syntax in action.
For the following morning,
uwe gave a talk about the Forth programming language and experiences with it, especially with OpenFirmware which originates from Sun Microsystems and was also used by Apple on the PowerPC based Macs. The cool thing about OpenFirmware is that hardware can itself contain a driver for OpenFirmware which gets loaded when the device is initialised, making OpenFirmware aware of how to interact with the device without any manual loading of software by the operator.
uwe mentioned NetBSD/ofppc which builds on that by having a kernel without drivers for on-board hardware, instead relying on OpenFirmware to communicate with devices instead. He also described how it is possible to learn about how a system works by using the
ccommand in OpenFirmware to disassemble modules, though he warned that unfortunately this didn’t work so well on Macs as symbols had been stripped from OpenFirmware environment. There was lots of references to follow up material to read up on, from The Evolution of Forth paper to
After lunch time, we packed up and headed to a computer museum. On the way we spoke about emacs and workflows like using M-x make-frame-on-display.
On the Monday, I met up with
sborrillfor breakfast before heading to the spy museum and doing some sightseeing. I headed back to c-base where I met Pierre, Youri & Sebastian. As it approached the evening, It was time to make way to the airport again. I was back home by around 1am, Tuesday morning, so glad I went 🙂
21/07/18 10:20BST – There has been backlash from residents to stop Google from setting up a new campus in Kreuzberg, Berlin.
I wanted to resume writing up notes about what I’d been working on as with the “A week of pkgsrc” series, this actually spans the last few weeks. 🙂
Things basically came together around the event of a late 2009 13″ MacBook entering my life. First port of call was to see state of NetBSD support since I last visited it.
I’m still running FreeBSD on my 11″ Air and so was keen to see if there had been any progress in NetBSD with regards to supporting the Intel based Macs. Unfortunately the same issue is still present, the system panics very early in the boot process kern/52229 when using the UEFI image and fails when enumerating CPUs present. I was able to get the system to boot using the conventional (non-UEFI) image by opting to boot without SMP & ACPI enabled. I used the MacBook install wiki article as a rough guide on gpt partitioning and got a daily image installed. The wiki article needed some attention as the syntax for commands did not apply but through this process I discovered a crash in gpt where a missing check in the source means that a null pointer is passed to one of the gpt commands.
gpt show -a
Running the system without ACPI was not a good idea, turns out the thermal management does not get initialised and the system eventually switches off as a failsafe measure. I found this out through leaving the machine bulk building some of my packages, only to return to a machine that’s powered off.
GCC 6 has landed in NetBSD-HEAD and work is in progress to bring things into shape as the next revision of GCC shipped in NetBSD. Unfortunately cross compilation from macOS does not work at the moment (toolchain/53013) which limited my ability to experiment with different NetBSD kernel configuration while I was trying to look into the MacBook issue.
The one frustration with crash was that when the system panicked, the system would drop to DDB (the kernel debugger) but the keyboard would not be functioning. I realised that when running into panics on NetBSD/macppc in the past I’d always have a backtrace to include in my bug report. This was because the macppc kernel was built with the option to execute a backtrace command when entering the debugger and the amd64 one wasn’t. Asking on the tech-kern list to enable this option across the board I learnt of the shortfall of this approach and received suggestion on extending ddb, thus the
dumpstack option was born and enabled by default. With this, setting
ddb.onpanic sysctl to 2 for backtraces went away as well as setting the
DDB_COMMANDONENTER option to run backtrace explicitly in kernel configuration files. The next step now is to extend DDB to show the panic message after the backtrace so that the panic message and the tail end of potentially lengthy trace is visible.
Up until very recently there was only support for PCIe based G5 PowerMacs using the POWERMAC_G5_11_2 kernel configuration in NetBSD, I am lacking such a system but do have a first gen G5 iMac which is PCI-X based. The initial work to bring up NetBSD on the G5 was actually done on a PCI-X based system long ago so I was curious what had diverged since then. Previous GSoC project participants used a repo in the NetBSD-gsoc sourecforge project to share their work, the two G5 related GSoC projects are there in a single repo. Some further work also took place on the port-macppc mailing list in 2013. It was a fun weekend albeit no further progress to seeing even a copyright notice on my part. However I learnt lots about the kernel build process, poked at
lowcore.S and the boot process. I also learnt of an emulator called Mambo. Mambo was a full PowerPC system simulator, produced by IBM research. There are kernel configuration files to support Mambo (theoretically) in NetBSD & FreeBSD but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any binaries to try Mambo, along with that I also found the links for the PowerPC 970FX (G5 CPU) documentation all dead and the documentation removed from the IBM site. 🙁
To rule out the kernel working on a G5 but console being an issue, I tried experimenting with different frame buffers and found
macofcons(4) broke the build (port-macppc/53004). After discussing with macallan@,
macofcons(4) and the
OFB_ENABLE_CACHE option have now been removed  , on the basis that though they may have worked at one point they cause more problems that solve.
macallan@ has been working on extending support for the G5 based systems and it is now possible to boot NetBSD on both the early PCI-X based systems as well as the PCIe models thanks to his work. I was finally able to netboot NetBSD on my first gen G5 iMac, this should come in very handy for pkgsrc work.
The NetBSD/macppc website has a supported system page which was due a review. After a call for feedback on any discrepancies , the awacs(4) soundcard driver is now enabled and I’m looking for a source to find out which systems shipped with which chipsets. Along the way NetBSD gained modem drivers for some of these systems but the page still states they are not supported.
In NetBSD, there is support for different buffer queue strategies for disk I/O, on the tier 1 ports such as i386 & amd64, the per-priority cyclical scan strategy is enabled by default, to bring macppc on par, it is now also enabled there by default too. Now to document the option so that it’s somewhat like the description of another strategy for read priority. See
BUFQ_PRIOCSCAN in options(4).
This weekend I’ve been testing the HEAD-llvm builds on i386 & macppc as well as ATF testing, but I’ll write about that in another time.
Thanks to jmcneil, martin, mrg, pgoyette, uwe for the help and suggestions.
RunBSD.info is an introductory site covering the features & benefits across the different members of the BSD family of operating systems. To get things started, the content for the site was taken from an earlier post originally put together with a specific audience in mind. That audience was a group of hardware enthusiasts who are not necessarily interested in software but may require an operating system to run. This is no longer a constraint in this scenario and so will now move to cover things in a generic sense, allowing wider coverage of highlights in each operating system. There is a lot of room for improvement.
The site is hosted on Github and the content is composed of markdown text files. Contributions welcome by pull request or If you prefer not to use Github, patches against repo files or just plain text content via email gladly accepted. You can reach me on venture37 at the domain of this blog post.
Preparation for a trip started off a little earlier this christmas. I planned to take my PowerBook on the road with me to Hamburg for 33c3. Previous attempts to use this machine as my primary system on the road in the past had been thwarted by leaving too little time to build & prepare before departure.
The system has been dual booting NetBSD & Mac OS X Tiger for some time now, recently I’ve been doing almost daily upgrades to NetBSD-HEAD on the system using the generated iso images from NYFTP.
My plan was to get the machine installed with a current build FireFox on NetBSD & bring the existing installed packages up to date. I managed to update the existing packages without any problems but it didn’t look like FireFox was going to build successfully. The package as-is currently in pkgsrc does not build on NetBSD/macppc. I was pointed to a patch in pkg/48595 which was pending commit and required testing. It cleared up the initial issue I ran into but the build still failed (see previous link on updates about the failure), though it took a little longer to fail in the day. After several days of failed build attempts I made sure I had an up to date copy of TenFourFox installed on Tiger and settled for Dillo on NetBSD instead.
My usage of Dillo stayed somewhat basic during the trip, despite having the Mozilla certificate bundle installed, I could see any obvious way to point Dillo to it & have it use it. Hence, any site using SSL I visited generated a certificate warning. Perhaps the config should’ve been done in wget?
Alexander Nasonov created packages for Dillo & Links-gui targeted for running under a minimal chroot but I did not get around to trying them out. There are chrooted browser packages for other browsers in his pkgsrc github repo. The screenshot above shows the www/dillo package’s dependencies, generated using pkgtools/pkgdepgraph
Moving on, the AirPort Extreme card in the laptop is based on a Broadcom chipset which has a flaw, it’s incapable of addressing memory above 1GB (30 bits) which means the driver needs to care for that or else the card doesn’t work. This is not unique to this Broadcom chipset, the BCM4401 10/100 ethernet interfaces which use the bce(4) driver also suffer from the same problem (unable to address memory allocated above 30 bits), the BCM580x ethernet interfaces which use the bge(4) driver suffer from not being able to address more than 40 bits. Going back to the wireless chipset, the bwi(4) driver which is used in the BSDs, originated from DragonFly BSD. This driver was put together by Sepherosa Ziehau using the documentation from a reversing effort in the Linux community. The bwi driver was then imported in to Free/Open/NetBSD and was eventually removed from DragonFly BSD. A new wireless subsystem was introduced in DragonFly which required change to drivers to work again and the bwi driver was never adapted. It now lives on in the other BSDs.
The version of bwi(4) driver came to NetBSD from OpenBSD, ported by Taylor R. Campbell back in 2009. At the time neither version of drivers could handle the 30 bit bug so you either ran with less than 1GB of RAM or used another card. In 2014 Stefan Sperling committed a workaround for this in OpenBSD. I wanted this fix in NetBSD so my wifi could also work & asked the NetBSD developers if such a change was appropriate in NetBSD. I was introduced to bus_dma(9) and the
bus_dmatag_subregion() function, the bce(4) driver was my reference on how to use the function. Looked fairly straight forward, a single call this function and off you go, wasn’t too sure how it would fit into the bwi driver but I thought I’d have a go.
This was one of the things I was hoping to work on during my trip but It turned out to be the only thing I attempt. I happened to meet Stefan at 33c3 and we discussed the driver, the work around and the mighty days of the past when Damien Bergamini was hacking on the OpenBSD WiFi stack. In the OpenBSD driver Stefan had opted to deal with the issue of allocating memory in a specific region directly in the driver rather than adding a new interface to the kernel for such a task so with a bit of thought about the past and a review of the driver, I was given a diff of the changes and suggestions about where I could start making changes.
I still don’t know yet if it’s possible to lift the changes from OpenBSD and apply them to the NetBSD version of the driver, because the DMA framework is different between the systems.
Partially implementing the change Stefan made without all the bounce buffers he’d added in the OpenBSD driver didn’t work and using the
bus_dmatag_subregion() function didn’t work either. I pursued the
bus_dmatag_subregion() path during 33c3 and didn’t get anywhere. At this point I started looking deeper in the system by looking at the implementation. It was at this point that I discovered this function was defined to
EOPNOTSUPP on PowerPC based systems. No matter what I had tried with this function it was a waste of time^W^W^Wvaluable learning experience about keeping documentation up to date & consistent.
sevan: share/man/man9: bus_dma.9: Give a heads up about bus_dmatag_subregion()
— NetBSD Src Changes (@netbsdsrc) January 2, 2017
At this point I started looking into adding support for tagged subregions so I could make use of the function. The implementation is fairly simple, a public function for a developer to use which performs various tests and a private function which is called to deal with the memory allocation. Unfortunately there were some missing members from the data structure on the powerpc side of NetBSD which needed further investigation and I stopped there for the time being.
For the trip I relied on a tiny Realtek RTL8188CUS based wifi adapter to get me network access. The card worked on the 802.1x enabled SSID at 33c3 using wpa_supplicant(8) on NetBSD/maccppc.
urtwn0 at uhub4 port 5
urtwn0: Planex Communications Inc. GW-USNANO2, rev 2.00/2.00, addr 2
urtwn0: MAC/BB RTL8188CUS, RF 6052 1T1R, address 00:22:cf:xx:xx:xx
urtwn0: 1 rx pipe, 2 tx pipes
urtwn0: 11b rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps
urtwn0: 11g rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps 6Mbps 9Mbps 12Mbps 18Mbps 24Mbps 36Mbps 48Mbps 54Mbps
The driver for this card is now enabled by default in the GENERIC config file for NetBSD/macppc along with a group of other drivers for USB peripherals.
sevan: sys/arch/macppc/conf: GENERIC: Enable axen, cdce, run, upgt, urtw, urtwn, uchcom, uslsa, u3ginit, u3g, ugensa in the GENERIC kernel.
— NetBSD Src Changes (@netbsdsrc) January 2, 2017
Thanks to Stefan for his help and advice with the bwi driver and Alex for the chrooted browser packages! 🙂
The videos from some of the talks that took place at pkgsrcCon in Kraków, Poland during the Summer are now available on the Internet Archive.
This years conference drew speakers from many different project, not necessarily BSD related though Net/Free/OpenBSD were represented. Talks were on a pretty diverse range of topics around software but unfortunately not all talks were recorded. I had the opportunity to tag on Mateusz Kocielski’s slot on security & give a brief talk on the work of the pkgsrc security team (slides), whilst he covered the work of the NetBSD security team (see files security-team & flash-die).
The schedule for the conf is available here
I was looking to test a change related to buffering in
cat(1) and wondered what was the slowest system I could use which was capable of running the current versions of NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD. An old PC and the ARM based BeagleBone Black sprang to mind immediately, then a PowerPC Mac? SPARC64?
Apart from a Sun Fire T1000, I do not have any SPARC hardware, sun4v is only supported on NetBSD & OpenBSD at present, FreeBSD/sun4v was only a pre-alpha rough cut from before the days of version 7 and sparc64 support may be going away in FreeBSD moving forward.
A G4 based PowerPC Mac is supported between my choice of BSDs, unfortunately I couldn’t get a working disk burnt from the FreeBSD iso files to try it out on a 12″ PowerBook. bug/211488.
I settled on running i386 builds on a Alix 2c3 I have, it has 256MB RAM and a 500Mhz Geode CPU, currently running FreeBSD/i386 11-BETA3 without issue and has no problems with any of the other BSDs. It’s a little too “modern” and high spec though in my test.
I’ve been running a mixture of FreeBSD / OpenBSD & NetBSD as guests on a dedicated server at Online.net. While getting the operating systems installed was fairly seamless, getting networking going was not.
Clients not being isolated is not so much a problem itself and is typically what you’d expect if you plugged a bunch of computers into a switch with a single VLAN or unmanaged switched for example; but in a shared environment with untrusted tenants it can cause problems. Broadcast & IPv6 multicast floods aside, one is open to most of the attacks in something like THC-IPv6 due to lack of MLD snooping which would prevent a rogue IPv6 router.
Attacks via IPv6 are not so much of a problem as their use of non-RFC complaint timers settings in their DHCPv6 make it unfeasible to use the offered native IPv6 connectivity as clients will fail to renew leases. Depending on the DHCPv6 client used, the amount of time it takes fail to renew a lease will vary. dhcpcd for example now warns if detects a lease is not compliant with RFC 3315 section 22.4 “Identity Association for Non-temporary Addresses Option”.
Despite having a vast address range in IPv6 and a /48 subnet is allotted free of charge, you’ll need the equal amount of v4 address addresses as the v6 addresses you intend to use at Online.net. There is a way of using a /48 and allocating addresses yourself but it’s only possible using a version of Proxmox which they provide.
You can save yourself a lot of hassle both with configuration & trying to deal with their support regarding IPv6 by using a Hurricane Electric tunnel. I actually found connectivity was also faster from Hurricane Electric than using the native connectivity.
For IPv4 connectivity on a guest (assuming you’re renting individual IP addresses & not a /27 prefix), you’ll need to use the default gateway IP address assigned to your host alongside the allotted IP address and a /32 prefix.
Assuming the network details are as follows
Default gateway on host: 192.0.2.1
Failover IP #1: 198.51.100.10, assigned to MAC address 00:50:56:00:01:AA
Failover IP #2: 203.0.113.11, assigned to MAC address 00:50:56:00:02:BB
Failover IP #3: 203.0.113.100, assigned to MAC address 00:50:56:00:03:CC
The MAC addresses need to be assigned to the
tap(4) interface on the host.
If you’re using bhyve and your guest is using the interface
tap0, this would be performed using the
-s flag to configure the virtual PCI ethernet card, eg
It’s then onto configuring each OS to handle a gateway which is in a another subnet for IPv4 connectivity.
In FreeBSD you need to construct a route to reach the default IP address first, before you specify the default IP address, otherwise things will not work. So assuming we’re going to use Failover IP #1, your configuration in
/etc/rc.conf would be as follows
route_gateway="-host $gateway_ip -interface $gateway_if"
Note, the installer at present prevents network installs, you should use a iso image containing the distfiles, bug 206355 has more details.
On NetBSD, configure networking using
/etc/netstart.local, entering the commands you’d enter at the console inside the file. Assuming failover IP #2 is going to be used for the NetBSD VM, the following would configure the guest to reach the outside world using 192.0.2.1, as discussed in the NetBSD Network FAQ
ifconfig vioif0 203.0.113.11/32
route add -net 192.0.2.1 -link -cloning -iface vioif0
route add default -ifa 203.0.113.11 192.0.2.1
On OpenBSD, configure the networking from the ethernet interfaces configuration file
Assuming failover IP #3 is going to be used for the OpenBSD VM, the following will setup networking.
inet 203.0.113.100 255.255.255.255 NONE
!/sbin/route add -net 192.0.2.1 -netmask 255.255.255.255 -link -cloning -iface vio0
!/sbin/route add default -ifa 203.0.113.100 192.0.2.1
It’s also possible to not specify the
-cloning flag but a patch is required if you’re running 5.9 release.
At OSHUG #46 I was given the opportunity to present the BSD’s to a group of open source hardware enthusiast & speak about why this family of operating systems would benefit the person running a flavour on their hardware. There was a recording made of the talk but it may be some time before it is made available online, so I thought I’d take the time to write something up to share in the meantime.
This line of operating systems started out life as a series of patches to AT&T UNIX which was introduced to the University of Berkeley by Ken Thompson whilst on sabbatical in 1977.
From the 1BSD
TAPE file included in the CSRG archive CD set
Berkeley UNIX Software Tape
Jan 16, 1978 TP 800BPI
The first release came with things such as the
ashell and Pascal compiler as an add-on for UNIX v7, running on a PDP-11. Over the life time of the CSRG they produced releases which included
csh, the IPv4 TCP/IP network stack, the virtual memory subsystem (the kernel being named
vmunix, parodied by Linux as
vmlinuz) and UFS.
The distribution tapes were only available to AT&T licensees; over time the code base of the distribution grew increasingly independent from AT&T UNIX. At the same time the cost of the AT&T license continued to increase as well. Starting out at a cost of $10000 and reaching north of $250000 in the late 80’s. According to Kirk McKusick there was pressure to release the independently developed components of the CSRG so the community could benefit from the use of things such as the network stack without purchasing a costly license. This resulted in several release, comprised mostly of the code developed outside of AT&T such as 4.3BSD-Net/1, Net/2, 4.4BSD-Lite & Lite2. “Mostly” in that with the release of Net/2 AT&T file a lawsuit against the University of California for alleged code copying and theft of trade secrets.
During its lifetime, BSD saw itself being run on several CPU architectures from the DEC PDP-11, VAX to the MIPS, HP 9000 and Motorola 68000 to name a few. These ports along with the Power 6/32 helped to improve the portability of the code base. The code base was deemed to be 90% platform independent, the remaining 10% being mostly related to the VM subsystem which was platform specific. As with AT&T UNIX, portability & migration between different systems was part of the nature of the code base, from the beginning.
The 4.3BSD-Net/2 code base was used as the basis for a port to the Intel 386, resulting in 386BSD (free) & BSD386 (commercial) releases.
The Modern BSD variants
At the time of writing there are many BSD variants in existence, each with its own area of focus. Everything still leads back to 2 major variants.
NetBSD was the first of the modern variants that is still actively developed. It started out life as a fork of 386BSD. The focus of NetBSD is portability which not only makes porting to new hardware easier (currently supporting over 60 different ports across many CPU architectures).
Everything from a VAX, ARM & MIPS Windows CE based PDAs to a Sega Dreamcast and many other systems are supported and able to run the latest version of NetBSD. There’s even a toaster which runs NetBSD
The focus on portability also makes reusing components on other operating systems easy. For example the packaging system (forked from FreeBSD (which we’ll talk about next)) supports over 20 operating systems.
This enables a consistent toolset to be used regardless of operating system.
Some of the highlights of NetBSD include ATF, unprivileged builds and portable build infrastructure using
ATF, as the name suggests is used for automated tests of the source code to discover regression in the code base in an automated manner. Results can be found on the NetBSD release engineering page.
Unprivileged builds allow a user to not only build a copy of the operating systems without elevated privileges, but they can also build and install software from pkgsrc in a location they have write access to (by default, in a prefix under their home directory).
build.sh, the build framework, allows NetBSD to be built on any modern POSIX compliant operating system. Freeing the person to use a operating system of their choice to build releases.
04/05/2016- Note Ollivier’s comment, I made a mistake when I was gathering info and looked at the source for head and checked the history for the COPYRIGHT file there, not noticing the repository started with v2.0.
Forked from the 4.4BSD Lite code base, 6 months after NetBSD was started. The focus of FreeBSD was performance on i386 systems. Over time support was added for the DEC Alpha as this meant porting the code base to a 64bit systems and addressing any bugs which would prevent the code base from running on a 64bit system. Many years later the project branched out and introduced support for additional platforms. Today the project boasts support for CPUs such as ARMv8, RISC-V and BERI.
Forked from NetBSD, the focus of OpenBSD is security. The project is home to many components which see wider use outside of OpenBSD, such as OpenSSH, PF (firewall), LibreSSL and others.
Forked from FreeBSD, the focus of DragonFly BSD is scalability & performance. Taking the operating system in a new direction with regards to how SMP is implemented and from there, developing a new files system called HAMMER.
No matter the flavour, documentation is a key part of the development process for the BSD’s.
Whether it is the Design & Implementation series which started with covering 4.3BSD in 1989 and more recently FreeBSD 10 in the fourth instalment of the series, or each projects own set of documentation. Documentation is important as it distinguishes intent & implementation as well as save a lot of question and answers emails.
FreeBSD has handbooks, NetBSD has guides, OpenBSD has FAQs and all projects make their man pages available online as web pages. There is even a teaching course based around the The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System, 2nd edition.
Frameworks for building embedded images
Each operating system release is a complete, self contained bundle, containing the documentation and necessary toolchain required for building a copy of the operating system from source.
release(7) on FreeBSD & NetBSD,
release(8) on OpenBSD,
nerelease(7) on DragonFlyBSD
For the purpose of embedding the operating system it may not be desirable to build a full blown release. Depending on the choice of variant, either the functionality is built in as standard or a project exists to assist with generating customised images with ease.
FreeBSD had PicoBSD which is now superseded by NanoBSD.
OpenBSD has flashrd and resflash.
NetBSD has a target for generating an image in
build.sh, customisations controlled by variables set in mk.conf.
DragonFlyBSD has nrelase.
RetroBSD / LiteBSD
RetroBSD is a port of 2.11BSD (originally targeted for the PDP-11) to the MIPS M4K core found on the PIC32 micro-controllers. LiteBSD is a port of 4.4BSD to the PIC32MZ micro-controllers with a MIPS32 core. Due to the limited resources available, RetroBSD does not offer a network stack, Of the 128KB of RAM, 96KB are available for user space applications. A compiler, editor & various utilities come bundled with the OS so software could be developed on the PIC itself. Variants of common software titles are available to extend the system, such as an Emacs like editor.
LiteBSD is based on a more recent version of BSD, taking advantage of the availability of more RAM (512KB) and MMU on the targeted micro controller. It features a network stack.
Projects such as these take advantage of prior effort and offer the user a consistent environment from the microcontroller to desktop to server. With the extensive documentation and availability of source history, it is possible to realise at which stage in the evolution of the code base the currently running system is and if a desired feature is implemented.
The development of BSD is closely tied with that of the internet. BSD’s modern variants are some of the oldest communities who have collaborated over the internet to develop a software project. The workflow of the projects has transpired to become the standard way of developing open source software on the internet, whether it’s adhering to a style guide or developing with a publicly accessible source repository or holding a hackathon.
For a newcomer interested in an operating system to run on your hardware, it is a great opportunity to be a part of a tech savvy community working to evolve an idea started almost 40 years ago.
As a business, each project produces a mature and robust operating system that has seen many applications from running on devices such as game consoles, mobile phones, cars, satellites and the international space station. Nearly all projects are backed by a non-profit foundation which can act as a liaison for businesses and assist with enquiries regarding development.
Each of the major BSD’s have a different way of handling keyboard layouts on the console & X11. On OpenBSD X11 inherits the setting from wscons by default, on FreeBSD the console keyboard config is separate to the X11 config & depending on if you go down the hald route or not, you may find yourself writing XML to configure your keyboard. For NetBSD which I’ll cover here, wscons configuration is again separate from X11 configuration but everything is configured as per usual via the
xorg.conf keyboard layout.
The snippet below is from
xorg.conf which sets the keyboard model as a ThinkPad T60 (it should apply to X60 series apart from issues with media buttons), US Dvorak layout with the crtl & caps locks switched.
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "thinkpad60"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"
Option "XkbVariant" "dvorak"
Option "XkbOptions" "ctrl:nocaps"
I didn’t know about the
ctrl:nocaps option and I happen to stumble across it in the X section of the NetBSD guide.
To apply the same layout to the console, edit
/etc/wscons.conf and set
I can't believe your Caps Lock key hasn't been remapped yet.
— Hipster Hacker (@hipsterhacker) February 24, 2013
Not sure how hipster this all is, managed to get sidetracked into NetBSD desktop config as I was working on updating a package in pkgsrc and remembered the tweet above. Seems like a common thing in the emacs world.
Last week I attended a conference on open source software called FOSDEM in Brussels, the two day event has lots of tracks, based on either specific projects or topics such as Java or securiy.
I attended the following talks
The Open Observatory of Network Interference
Practical Security for developers, using OWASP ZAP
The future of X.org on non-Linux systems
Declarative style GUI programming
How to build an Identity Management System on Linux
My favourite talk of the event was the OWASP talk on Saturday by Simon Bennetts who did a great job of clearly explaining what ZAP can do & how it is of use for testing the security of your web application.
The XMPP 101 talk gave an overview of what the protocol can do, the OONI talk had a very late start & laptop issues, didn’t get much from the talk but it does seem like an interesting project from the info on the website. Matthieu Herrb talked about the progress of running X.org on UNIX, conclusion “Tough times for non-linux systems”. Marc Balmer gave two talks on using Lua, first in GUI programming & the second on the lua(4) subsystem in the NetBSD kernel, allowing users to explore the system easily & doing rapid prototype without the initial steep learning curve of learning C & kernel internal, making the system internals easily accessible. The last talk on the Security track was on FreeIPA, luckily the slides were quiet detailed as it was impossible to hear the speaker because the mic was hanging too low off his shirt collar.
The BSD track on Sunday was where I spent most of the day. David Chisnall spoke about the C & C++ standards & the mistakes made by the standards groups which we have to live with. I spent the lunch break talking with David about FreeBSD, how I struggle with doing buildworld on my X61s, what can be done to speed up buildworld, why the buildworld process takes so long & the tools Juniper has developed which allow you to track the dependency path for building each component in FreeBSD base.
Mike Belopuhov spoke about the IPsec stack & NAT64 support in OpenBSD, I had an opportunity to ask Mike about dead peer detection, in my previous site to site VPN deployment I had issues where if the connection dropped at either site, the tunnel with not be re-established, needing manual intervention, It was good to hear that this was a problem with the isakmpd & not necessarily a configuration issue.
There were a lots of projects & businesses with stands, Oreilly had a stand selling books, Google were in the recruitment section, Oracle with three big banners for java, mysql & something else, the lady on the stand was very friendly, telling me about how Oracle participates in open source software such as Java, the penny then dropped about the update 13 release.
It was good to see CAcert had a stand and were looking very busy with assurances. I visited the mozilla stand & had the opportunity to try out the firefoxOS on a nexus s?
I’m strongly considering moving to it as I’d rather go with firefoxOS than android, the lock down of iOS is very painful for sharing data between my own devices & makes it frustrating for getting content from several devices to a single place.
I visited the google stand to talk to the recruiters there, I was curious to learn about their recruitment process, since 2007 I have been approached by Google on 3 different occasion, the most recent being back in July last year. I always assumed they had drives every so many years & I’d just been lucky to have been listed on three separate occasions, it turns out actually that once you’re on their radar, they will make contact every once in a while to see if your situation has changed & if have developed sufficiently since last time to be able to pass the interview tests.
I spoke with others regarding this, with those now employed by them & those who have also been approached in the past, discussing why systems folks are sought after & what options you have should you wish to no longer be contacted (supposedly under Californian law, if a person requests a company to never be contacted again, the company has to comply?).
Over the weekend I spotted a few OpenBSD tops (more hoodies than t-shirts) & met my first MirBSD user/developer, Benny Siegert who was the organiser of the BSD track at FOSDEM.
I also had the opportunity to meet up with/bump into folks from communities such as MetaBUG, OSHUG, LOSUG, Brighton 2600, London *BSD, it was good to catch up.
The GENERIC kernel for NetBSD/cobalt 4.0 does not support USB or Firewire out of the box, I’ve created a set of patches (sourced from various threads on port-cobalt@) to add support.
You can grab the patches here
Once you have built & installed your new kernel, you will need to make a new
& place the new copy of the script in
then generate the device files for the newly supported devices by running
sh MAKEDEV usbs
I’ve successfully used 5 rs232 > USB on my Qube2 via a PCI ALi chipset USB & Firewire card on NetBSD 4.0.
ohci0 at pci0 dev 10 function 0: Acer Labs M5237 USB 1.1 Host Controller (rev. 0x03)
ohci0: interrupting at irq 9
ohci0: OHCI version 1.0, legacy support
usb0 at ohci0: USB revision 1.0
uhub0 at usb0
uhub0: Acer Labs OHCI root hub, class 9/0, rev 1.00/1.00, addr 1
uhub0: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
ohci1 at pci0 dev 10 function 1: Acer Labs M5237 USB 1.1 Host Controller (rev. 0x03)
ohci1: interrupting at irq 9
ohci1: OHCI version 1.0, legacy support
usb1 at ohci1: USB revision 1.0
uhub1 at usb1
uhub1: Acer Labs OHCI root hub, class 9/0, rev 1.00/1.00, addr 1
uhub1: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
ohci2 at pci0 dev 10 function 2: Acer Labs M5237 USB 1.1 Host Controller (rev. 0x03)
ohci2: interrupting at irq 9
ohci2: OHCI version 1.0, legacy support
usb2 at ohci2: USB revision 1.0
uhub2 at usb2
uhub2: Acer Labs OHCI root hub, class 9/0, rev 1.00/1.00, addr 1
uhub2: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
ehci0 at pci0 dev 10 function 3: Acer Labs M5239 USB 2.0 Host Controller (rev. 0x01)
ehci0: interrupting at irq 9
ehci0: BIOS has given up ownership
ehci0: EHCI version 1.0
ehci0: companion controllers, 2 ports each: ohci0 ohci1 ohci2
usb3 at ehci0: USB revision 2.0
uhub3 at usb3
uhub3: Acer Labs EHCI root hub, class 9/0, rev 2.00/1.00, addr 1
uhub3: 6 ports with 6 removable, self powered
fwohci0 at pci0 dev 10 function 4: Acer Labs product 0x5253 (rev. 0x00)
fwohci0: interrupting at irq 9
fwohci0: OHCI version 1.10 (ROM=1)
fwohci0: No. of Isochronous channels is 4.
fwohci0: EUI64 00:90:e6:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
fwohci0: Phy 1394a available S400, 2 ports.
fwohci0: Link S400, max_rec 2048 bytes.
ieee1394if0 at fwohci0: IEEE1394 bus
fwip0 at ieee1394if0: IP over IEEE1394
fwohci0: Initiate bus reset
uplcom0 at uhub4 port 1
uplcom0: Prolific Technology Inc. USB-Serial Controller, rev 1.10/3.00, addr 3
ucom0 at uplcom0
uplcom1 at uhub4 port 2
uplcom1: Prolific Technology Inc. USB-Serial Controller, rev 1.10/3.00, addr 4
ucom1 at uplcom1
uplcom2 at uhub4 port 3
uplcom2: Prolific Technology Inc. USB-Serial Controller, rev 1.10/3.00, addr 5
ucom2 at uplcom2
uplcom3 at uhub4 port 4
uplcom3: Prolific Technology Inc. USB-Serial Controller, rev 1.10/3.00, addr 6
ucom3 at uplcom3
uplcom4 at uhub0 port 2
uplcom4: Prolific Technology Inc. USB-Serial Controller, rev 1.10/3.00, addr 7
ucom4 at uplcom4
I normally wouldn’t say this about a Cisco product, but WOW, the 100mW transmit power on the arials means I can get coverage everywhere in my house with this card plugged into my workpad, I struggle with most spots on my Axim, PowerBook or ThinkPad with a Orinocco plugged in.
The only problem I’ve ran into so far is a bug in NetBSD 3.0 (& OpenBSD 3.9 aswell aparently). It seems that once you upgrade to the recent versions of the firmware for this card (5.60 series), the AN(4) driver fails to attach & complains about the record buffer being too small
an0 at pcmcia0 function 0: <cisco Systems, 350 Series Wireless LAN Adapter>
pcic0: port 0x15000440-0x1500047f
ISA IRQ 3 -> vrgiu0 port 9, level high through
pcmcia0: card irq 3
an0: record buffer is too small, rid=ff00, size=198, len=258
an0: read caps failed
an0: failed to attach controller
Once I downgraded to version 5.41 the problem went away!! 🙂
an0 at pcmcia0 function 0: <cisco Systems, 350 Series Wireless LAN Adapter>
pcic0: port 0x15000440-0x1500047f
ISA IRQ 3 -> vrgiu0 port 9, level high through
pcmcia0: card irq 3
an0: Cisco Systems 350 Series (firmware 5.41)
an0: 802.11 address: 00:0f:90:xx:xx:xx, channel: 1-13
an0: 11b rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps
Checking the NetBSD gnats database I found a PR which has a fix attached though I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet.
There is a patch for OpenBSD here which I presume is included in 4.0