hubertf's NetBSD Blog
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[20140421] onetbsd.org is gone
onetbsd.org, the NetBSD related news aggregation site that bundles many blogs and website feeds, is gone. Due to some hickups at the provider the domain registration was not extended, and the domain was taken by a domain swatter.

Interested parties can still access the site as netbsd.fi.

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[20140321] NetBSD papers at AsiaBSDCon 2014
AsiaBSDCon 2014 happened last week, and there were a number of interesting presentations covering various topics regaring NetBSD. Slides are now available:

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[20140312] NetBSD/arm news: netwalker, SMP, DTrace
In the past few weeks, several news items regarding NetBSD's port to ARM platforms came up:
  1. The port to the NETWALKER (Cortex-A8) platform works as confirmed by Jun Ebihara, including instructions on how to set things up and dmesg output.

  2. Ryota Ozaki is working on porting DTrace to ARM

  3. Matt Thomas is making the ARM port ready to use multiple CPUs, see his posting, which shows a list of processes and their associated CPU.

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[20140108] Two new NetBSD security advisories: ntpd, libXfont
Two new NetBSD security advisories have been published:
  • NetBSD Security Advisory 2014-001: Stack buffer overflow in libXfont:

    ``A stack buffer overflow in parsing of BDF font files in libXfont was found that can easily be used to crash X programs using libXfont, and likely could be exploited to run code with the privileges of the X program (most nostably, the X server, commonly running as root).

    This vulnerability has been assigned CVE-2013-6462.''

  • NetBSD Security Advisory 2014-002: ntpd used as DDoS amplifier:

    ``An administrative query function is getting used by attackers to use ntp servers as traffic amplifiers. The new version no longer offers this query option.''

See the advisories for technical details, workarounds and proper solutions to fix the problems. All this is fixed in NetBSD-current, patches are available for the NetBSD 5 and 6 releases with their corresponding development branches.

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[20131217] Interview with Amitai Schlair
There's a video interview with Amitai 'schmonz' Schlair over at UGtastic. It introduces Amitai as both a member of NetBSD's board of directors as well as a developer of the NetBSD operating system and especially pkgsrc.

The interview starts with NetBSD's history and its relation to today's Unix world and how Amitai got involved with NetBSD and pkgsrc in the first case. He outlines the differences and interrelation with NetBSD as an operating system project, and with pkgsrc as a cross-platform package management project, then tells on what pkgsrc does, is and is not, and for whom pkgsrc offers a good solution. The interview goes into automation, bulk builds and also mentions my pkgsrcCon Ansible talk at one point - kudos! :) Illuminating things from a craftsman's point of view, the look goes back to NetBSD and its advantages to serve as a modern Unix platform for the business, its support of many platforms and especially today virtualization, and also NetBSD's concepts of cross-compiling and "cross-kernel" approaches of RUMP, and the importance of automated kernel tests not crashing an actual machine.

For more information, see www.NetBSD.org and www.pkgsrc.org. :-)

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[20131210] Japanese translations of hubertf's NetBSD blog (yes, this one!)
Miwa Susumu wrote me that he as made the effort to translate some of the entries from this NetBSD blog in his own blog in Japanese language. Examples include:

Duomo arigatou gozaimasu - keep up the good work!

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[20131209] Use of NetBSD with Marvell Kirkwood Processors and AK-Systems' IP-Plugs
There's an article by Vladimir Trubilov over at Evertiq that explains what NetBSD is and how little effort is needed to get it going on a new ARM platform, with a AK-System IP-Plug mini-server as an example (Wikipedia link; the AK-System website is only in Russian-language!).

The article outlines the history of the various BSDs and tells about NetBSD's source organization and build process. It then introduces the target hardware and how NetBSD abstracts the various busses and drivers that are already there, and the few bits that needed adjusting.

``Conclusion: High portability, sufficient ease of use, as well as the necessary software packet and an open source code packets and open source make NetBSD a very attractive operating system for use in embedded systems. As seen in the example, it takes quite superficial knowledge of the system architecture and minimum change in the code to run NetBSD on the IP-Plug. At the same time, the functionality and performance of the built operating system is not inferior to that of Linux, which is used by default.''

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[20131208] Max uptime: 8 years, 122 days!
This weekend's In Other BSDs from the DragonFly BSD Digest points at an interesting discussion in which a NetBSD system with 8-year uptime is introduced. Quoting from the ~October 2013 article:

`` I set up a dialup gateway for a company with NetBSD 1.3 in 1998 on a compaq pentium 90 desktop with 32MiB of RAM. I got a call last year (!) from the owner saying it stopped working suddenly. Pulled the disk on it and plugged it into an IDE/USB adapter and looked at the syslog as I had no ps2 keyboard and it didn't have USB.

Suspected hardware failure at that age.

Max uptime: 8 years, 122 days!''

The article goes on about what the machine was used for, and a bunch of lessons learned. Have a look and learn!

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[20131110] g4u 2.6beta1 released
I have release g4u version 2.6beta1. Important changes are an update to recent NetBSD codebase, and moving the ramdisk from a separate file back into the kernel. This allows easy netbooting - at least I hope so, feedback is welcome here.

I'd like to push out version 2.6 within the next few weeks. Please test and let me know if there are any showstoppers!

Full list of news in g4u 2.6beta1:

  • Make this build with NetBSD-current sources as of 2013-10-20
  • Move back from a ramdisk that's loaded from a separate file back to a ramdisk that's part of the kernel image. This allows easier netbooting for those people who want it - added back by popular demand :-)
  • Added more kernel buffer space, to hold all kernel messages for dmesg, even on machines with large ACPI tables (Hello VMware Fusion!)
  • New drivers:
    • LSILogic 9x9 and 53c1030 (Fusion-MPT) PCI SCSI
    • LSI Logic Fusion-MPT II PCI SCSI
    • Atheros AR9k (802.11a/g/n) PCI Wireless
    • Marvell PCI Libertas Wireless
    • Atheros AR9k (802.11a/g/n) PC-Card Wireless
    • Broadcom BCM43xx PC-Card Wireless
    • Atheros AR9002U USB Wireless
    • Ralink Technology RT2500USB 802.11a/b/g USB Wireless
    • Ralink Technology RT(2[78]|30)00 802.11a/b/g/n USB Wireless
    • Realtek RTL8187/RTL8187B 802.11b/g USB Wireless
    • Realtek RTL8188CU/RTL8192CU 802.11b/g/n USB Wireless
    • Intel Atom E6xx PCI-LPC
Download links:
  • The g4u 2.6beta1 ISO CD image (zipped/uncompressed)
  • The g4u 2.6beta1 source
  • The g4u 2.6beta1 floppy images (zipped/ uncompressed floppy one, floppy two and floppy three)
  • Some md5 checksums:
    MD5 (g4u-2.6beta1-1.fs) = 264d5b27f208f1053777774d0c2b87a7
    MD5 (g4u-2.6beta1-2.fs) = 533b37fbeeb2d537928de61b25eb2ade
    MD5 (g4u-2.6beta1-3.fs) = 5abe1327326fcdac18bf4d68566f3e9b
    MD5 (g4u-2.6beta1.iso) = 37596efb42c014eb049e0027db059bd9
    MD5 (g4u-2.6beta1.tgz) = acd5907a7fb2cc8fbd4645a1b9db5272
    MD5 (g4u-2.6beta1.fs.zip) = 9b8da62fac57dcd38a4e3376189a087d
    MD5 (g4u-2.6beta1.iso.zip) = 44cb8d01407b17f9d9839740b5a0d2d9
    


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[20131027] G4U Opinion Time: kernel with embedded RAMdisk vs. miniroot?
Quoting my own mail to the g4u-help mailing list: ``I've found little time to hack on g4u in the recent past. Yet, I've managed to setup my development and test environment for g4u (crosscompiling NetBSD from Mac OS X, getting recent Qemu to compile), and also got g4u built from recent NetBSD-current sources. As such, take this as small sign of life.

Now, while I don't have any plans for large changes, I'd like to bring an update with latest drivers and bugfixes from NetBSD.

There's one change that I'm pondering, though: g4u originally came as one kernel-file that had an embedded RAM-disk. This was changed in the last release to reflect NetBSD's ability to load a RAM-disk from a separate file. This change broke the ability to netboot g4u from a single file, and required some more effort. There were no real wins for g4u as such.

So, opinion time: keep the RAM-disk as separate file, or move it back into the kernel?

Looking forward for your opinions!''

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'nuff. Grab the RSS-feed, index, or go back to my regular NetBSD page

Disclaimer: All opinion expressed here is purely my own. No responsibility is taken for anything.

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