hubertf's NetBSD Blog
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[20100119] A colorful collection of NetBSD news from the past few weeks
AKA "I've been slacking again, and there's a whole pile of stuff here now that I'm putthing into one blog posting". Here we go:
  • Initial support for the FriendlyArm Mini2440 board has been announced by Paul Fleischer. In a later update, most of the hardware is reported working, and the patch is available for review & comments. Furthermore, the touch screen is usable, and Qt/Embedded was built on top of wscons.

  • Force10 Networks Receives Common Criteria Security Certification for Its High-Performance Ethernet Switch/Router Products. According to the article, ``Common Criteria evaluations entail formal rigorous analysis and testing to examine security aspects of a product or system. Extensive testing activities involve a comprehensive and formally repeatable process, confirming that the security product functions as claimed by the manufacturer. Security weaknesses and potential vulnerabilities are specifically examined during wide-ranging evaluation and testing.

    FTOS is the operating system software that runs on Force10 switch/router product lines, including the E-Series, C-Series and S-Series platforms. Based on NetBSD, FTOS leverages a distributed, multiprocessor architecture that delivers highly scalable protocols and reliability. By delivering the same OS across its entire switch/router line, Force10 ensures that customers benefit from stable code, a consistent configuration environment and simpler software management. ''

  • While there: Force10 Networks Delivers Ethernet-Optimized Platform for MPLS Core Networks: ``Force10 Networks, Inc. [...] announced the immediate availability of MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) functionality for its ExaScale E-Series core switch/routers. [...] The ExaScale platform combines high-density, non-blocking, line-rate 10 GbE switching and routing with robust MPLS LSR support at 1/5th of the cost of a traditional core router, enabling carriers to fully capitalize on the economic advantages of Ethernet.''

  • Create Bootable Live Linux USB Drives with UNetbootin: ``UNetbootin allows you to create bootable Live USB drives for a variety of Linux distributions from Windows or Linux, without requiring you to burn a CD. You can either let it download one of the many distributions supported out-of-the-box for you, or supply your own Linux .iso file if you've already downloaded one or your preferred distribution isn't on the list.''

    And of course we all know that NetBSD is Linux, right? See the list of supported distributions:

    The homepage mentions that NetBSD 4.0 is supported, maybe someone wants to give them an update on what's up with NetBSD 5.0? Would be nice to see that on the list!

  • Ever wondered what happened with the BSD Certification recently? There's a video from the talk BSD Certification Group: A Case Study in Open Source Certification available that talks about the goal of the project, the two exams (BSD Associate, BSD Professional), and what's going on behind the scenes.

  • With the move from XFree to X.org, the X server for the DNARD Shark's NetBSD/shark lost support for accelerated X. Thanks to Michael 'macallan' Lorenz, hardware-accelerated X for NetBSD/shark is back now: ``I finally got around to start working on an Xorg driver for the IGS CyberPro 20x0 family found in rev. 5 Sharks, Netwinder etc. - currently the driver is built only on shark and supports only the VL variant found there. Adding support for PCI chips is trivial though, just needs extra probing. The driver supports autoconfiguration ( X -configure should yield something almost usable, only DefaultDepth needs to be adjusted).''

  • Staying with cool platforms, here's a quick procedure to run NetBSD/sun2 5.0.1 on The Machine Emulator (TME) (see pkgsrc/emulators/tme), compiled by Izumi Tsutsui. Who's first do get a pkgsrc bulk build done? :-)

  • Jed Davis has committed the RAIDframe parity Summer-of-Code project. See his posting for the details. The project ``drastically reduces the time RAIDframe spends rewriting parity after an unclean shutdown by keeping better track of outstanding writes (thus, "parity map"). The tech-kern archives have more details [...]

    This feature is enabled by default on all sets (other than RAID 0). It can be administratively disabled with the new "raidctl -M" flag, which is described in the changes to the raidctl(8) man page; however, the I/O overhead for updating the parity map is expected to be unnoticeable in practice.''

So much for now. There is more in the pipe, but that will have to wait for now. Good night!

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[20081114] Catching up - what happened in NetBSD-land between mid-August and mid-November
OK, I've been slacking^Wbusy for the past weeks, but I hope things will get a bit better now. For a start, here's a catch-up of the things that accumulated in my inbox in the past ~two months:
  • Google Summer of Code is over for some time, but apparantly no final report has emerged so far (shame!). Still, a number of individual status reports came by on the official lists:

    I know of at least one other project (uvc) that has completed but that I didn't see a report here - maybe I've missed it. Anyways, GSoC was another big success this year. Thanks, Google!

  • Speaking of Adam Hamsik and Logical Volume Management (LVM), Adam has continued his work in that are, and he has written a device mapping library that interacts with his kernel driver. This allows to interact with his GSoC project without using any GPL code! See Adam's posting for more details.

  • Force 10 Networks, producer of 10gbit switches that use an operating system based on NetBSD, have added a new feature as part of their FTOS operating system: VirtualView, which provides virtualization of Force 10 based equipment. From the xchange article: ``Force10 Networks Inc. this week introduced VirtualView software for benchmaking, troubleshooting and managing virtualized environments based on Force10 gear.''

    More information is available from the Force 10 Networks homepage, plus in articles by fibresystems.org, light reading, Zycko, and SmartBrief.

  • Following the latest hype in portable computers, NetBSD has created a netbook page that intends to list models and the extent to which they are supported. Your contributions are most welcome here! (Contact me for sending updates and hardware :-)

  • Zafer Aydogan has made RSS feeds available for CVS commits to single files - see his mail to netbsd-users for more details.

  • New security advisory were released that I've missed in my last update:

  • A project that's been ongoing for quite some time is the move from "old-school" loadable kernel modules (LKMs) to new-style kernel modules. Important changes include the fact that modules can be either linked into the kernel at build time, or loaded into the kernel at runtime from the same file. Also, the bootloader was modified to load modules after the kernel, e.g. for a RAM-disk like the one that is used by the INSTALL kernel.

    In the same line, some parts are starting to be moved out of the GENERIC kernel, and installed as modules that can be loaded by the new framework then. The start is made by POSIX semaphores as a first step and proof-of concept, even if some details are still under hot debate, e.g. what the file system layout for modules is, and if the belong to the kernel and its build process, or to the userland.

  • While talking about splitting the kernel into modules, Antti Kantee has continued his work to move parts of the kernel into userspace, in particular running file system code as userland in his RUMP, and puffs and (Re)FUSE works. The idea is to provide the interfaces that file systems need in the userland, and the result is that you can run code that used to run inside the kernel in userland now.

    Another subsystem running in the kernel that could be moved to userland by providing appropriate interfaces with the rest of the kernel is the network stack, and Antti has moved just that to the userland. See Antti's mail to tech-net@ for more information on this impressive work.

  • NetBSD has shipped XFree in previous releases, and people who wanted to use X.org had to install it from pkgsrc. That's all fine, but to get a modern X, one had to compile things, as no precompiled binary packages are made available for many platforms. This is changing now, and NetBSD is getting X.org integrated via a reachover infrastructure which is also enabled for crosscompiling.

    The "user interface" for this is still in flux, but after some detour ("build.sh -V MKXORG=yes", without -x), "build.sh -x" now builds whatever X is considered the default for the platform. Some platforms already default to use X.org as X, and more will come, as changes that were made to NetBSD's copy of XFree are adopted to X.org.

    Platforms that use X.org by default now are macppc (see here and here), sparc sparc64, shark, amd64 and i386.

    As X.org is at Revision 7 now, it's installed in /usr/X11R7, which will lead to a lot of interesting effects. pkgsrc is already prepared for the new layout, but there are still many minor details that will need adjusting to the new directory. If you find one, post your patches to tech-x11.

  • Besides the GNU C compiler, there's the BSD-licensed Portable C Compiler around for some time now. It doesn't offer the same support as its GNU cousin yet, but this may change now: The BSD Fund is currently doing a fund drive to get money to enhance PCC. The goal is to raise $12,000US to improve support for core compiler functionality as well as support for C99, gcc compatibility and the amd64 architecture. See the project page for further details.

  • The NetBSD 5.0 release cycle has started! There's a netbsd-5 branch in CVS, daily binaries are available for testing, and some of the highlights of the upcoming release include file system journalling for FFS via WAPBL, and X.org.

    To help testing of NetBSD on Cobalt machines, Izumi Tsutsui has made a NetBSD 5.0_BETA based version of the Cobalt restore CD available. Enjoy!

  • As the final point today, a word on NUMA support from Christoph Egger. Non-Uniform Memory Access is needed in massive parallel systems where some nodes have RAM more tightly associated than others, where the RAM is further away, resulting in different access times for different regions of memory. In order to support this, Christop Egger has made first steps.

    His example implementation uses information from ACPI, and shows some heavy dmesg-pr0n from a 16-core machine with four sockets. Yumm!

So much for today. With the NetBSD 5.0 release cycle started, I'd like to encourage everyone to test the release branch, report errors, send patches as well as beer and choccolate to make this the best release that we've ever had.

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[20080530] NetBSD-based Force10 switch receives 2008 Product Innovation Award
From the Business Wire press release: ``Force10 Networks(R), the pioneer in building and securing reliable networks, today announced that Network Products Guide, a Silicon Valley Communications publication and leader on technologies and solutions, has named the C300 resilient switch a winner of the 2008 Product Innovation Award for the Ethernet switch category. The award recognizes vendors worldwide whose product innovation brings critical evolutionary changes to business and the IT industry. [...]

The Force10 C300 was recognized for innovations that enable enterprises to cost effectively bring performance characteristics typically reserved for enterprise-class data centers to the enterprise LAN and mid-sized data centers. The passive copper backplane of the C300 incorporates patented technology originally designed for Force10's high performance E-Series family of switch/routers and eliminates a single point of failure as well as reduces system-level power consumption.

In addition to the resilient design, the C300 also supports FTOS, bringing additional reliability to the network. Based on a NetBSD kernel, FTOS is inherently stable with modular processes that provide a highly fault tolerant environment by limiting faults to a single process without impacting the performance of others. With advanced inline diagnostics and service tools, FTOS also simplifies troubleshooting and software upgrades while mitigating configuration errors that result from human error.

For additional information about the Force10 C300 resilient switch, please visit force10networks.com/products/cseries.asp''

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[20080129] Force 10 unifies NetBSD-based FTOS operating system across entire product portfolio
Citing from the fibresystems.org article: ``Force10 Networks®, the pioneer in building and securing reliable networks, today announced that its modular operating system FTOS is now available across its Reliable Networking portfolio of switch/routers, bringing consistency, stability and flexibility to the enterprise network. With support for a common interface across the TeraScale E-Series, C-Series and S-Series, Force10 is enabling customers to reduce their total cost of ownership by simplifying management, reducing unplanned downtime and optimizing application availability. [...]

To build reliability into its operating system, Force10 leveraged the Unix-like NetBSD kernel, which provides inherent process modularity and fault isolation. Additionally, Unified FTOS is based on a single source code and release train, simplifying software maintenance and upgrades. To guarantee the integrity of FTOS, Force10 has implemented a rigorous QA process that ensures the code is stable prior to being made available to customers. The advances in operating system design and rigorous schedule and QA policies combine to provide optimal application availability to the enterprise. [...]

FTOS support is now available on the Force10 TeraScale E-Series family of chassis-based switch/routers (E1200, E600, E300), C-Series family of distribution switches (C300, C150) and S-Series access switches (S50, S50V and S25).''

Force10 E-Series Force10 C-Series Force10 S-Series

There's also an official Force10 press release for this. And as a reminder: Force10 uses a modified version of the NetBSD operating system on their routers and switches, see our joint press release from some time ago.

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[20070725] NetBSD hires Andrew Doran for full-time SMP development
OK, here's another one that I can copy verbatim, as I did most of the work on this -- it will show up on the NetBSD website shortly, too:

* NetBSD hires Andrew Doran for full-time SMP development

The NetBSD Foundation announces that it has hired Andrew Doran to work full-time on improving symmetrical multi-processing (SMP) in NetBSD. This work is made possible through a generous donation by Force10 Networks and internal funding by The NetBSD Foundation.

Andrew Doran is an independent, Dublin based Unix systems consultant with special interest in building scalable systems. He has been a NetBSD developer since 1999 and is currently working on the transition from a big-lock SMP implementation to a fine-grained model, which allows multiple CPUs to execute code in kernel context simultaneously. Hiring Andrew full-time will boost work in this area, with the final result of a SMP implementation that is ready for tomorrow's multi-core-CPUs.

Force10 Networks is a pioneer in building and securing reliable networks. The Force10 TeraScale E-Series family of switch/routers and the recently introduced C300 resilient switch rely on the NetBSD-based FTOS to deliver the reliability, network control and scalability required to build application ready networks.

The funding will be for two months initially, and The NetBSD Foundation would like to extend this period. As a non-profit organization with no fixed financial backing, this is not possible without donations from individuals and companies. To realize our plans, $10k would be needed short term, with a goal of raising $15k or more eventually.

If you would like to donate to the ongoing effort of keeping NetBSD the most portable Open Source operating system, please consider supporting us! Donations via Paypal can be sent to paypal@NetBSD.org, or visit our donations page at http://www.NetBSD.org/donations/ for more details. Donations are tax deductible in the United States.

More information about the NetBSD operating system is available at http://www.NetBSD.org/, information about The NetBSD Foundation is at http://www.NetBSD.org/foundation/. More information about Andrew Doran's SMP work is available on his webpage at http://www.NetBSD.org/~ad/.

Information about Force10 Networks can be found at http://www.force10networks.com/.

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[20070214] Force10 Networks uses NetBSD to build Software Scalability into FTOS Operating System (Update #4)
OK, citing from the news item I've managed to get up on our webserver, despite some hassles:

``Force10 Networks® has leveraged NetBSD® as the foundation for the Force10 Operating System (FTOS). Based on the open source UNIX-like system, FTOS provides the software scalability and resiliency that powers the Force10 TeraScale E-Series® family of switch/routers. See our full press release for more details.

Some technical details that did not make it into the press release: Today, many of the worlds largest Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks depend on Force10 Networks. The Force10 TeraScale E-Series switches/routers support this by providing features like massive scalability, 1260 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 224 Ten Gigabit Ethernet ports per chassis. The machines are battle tested and provide full function L2 switching and L3 routing.

Internally, they are equipped with PowerPC CPUs, and for communication, dedicated 100M Ethernet networks are used in each system that connect the Route Processor Module (RPM) and line cards that are for system control. There are three active CPUs on the primary RPM, and a CPU on each line card that are all active in the control plane.

While data itself is forwarded by the hardware, management overhead exists if you consider running 1.500 VRRP groups, 600 OSPF neighbors, BFD on thousands of ports, ARPs on thousands of ports, collecting statistics on thousands of ports etc. All this work is done by the Force10 Operating System, FTOS''.


Force10 Networks
TeraScale E-Series Products
The release of this was coordinated for today with Force10 Networks, and I'm told that the same press release will occur on several news sites. I'll put some URLs here when I know them. :)

Update: The news item is now on the Force10 Networks frontpage, and also available as press release from their site in HTML and in PDF. It's also available on BusinessWire.

Update #2: There's another text that seems to be written down from the announcement with some Linux-babble put in at Linuxworld Update #3: The Linuxworld text was now published on NetworkWorld. Same author, same Linux-babble. Update #4: OSNEWS has an item on it too, including user comments.

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[20060921] Of course it runs NetBSD: Force10 Networks switches / routers
After some rumours followed by inquiries, we now know:

Force10 Networks make high performance gigabit and 10 gigabit Ethernet switch/routers. NetBSD is the base for their FTOS software.

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

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