hubertf's NetBSD Blog
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[20100221] More news from NetBSD land: inside and outside the kernel
My inbox is still overflowing with NetBSD related news, so here is the next chunk for you:
  • People owning a Marvell PCMCIA WiFi card can how have a look at the malo(4) driver. If you use this on a gumstix ARM board, have a look as some fiddling with drvctl(8) is needed to get the card recognized properly.

  • Speaking about Gumstix, KIYOHARA Takashi has declared the porting effort as finished. Support for the baex, connex, verdex and verdex-pro modules is available, as is support for the support modules.

  • Staying in the "embedded" corner, KIYOHARA Takashi has announced that Plathome's OpenBlockS600 (AMCC 405EX) can now boot NetBSD via NFS. See the posting for dmesg output. The OpenBlockS600 comes with a AMCC 405EX PowerPC CPU, two GigE ethernet ports and a bunch of other goodies for a price of about $600US.

  • Coming from hardware to software, pkgsrc-2009Q4 was released some time ago, and of course binary packages are available for a number of platforms: 5.0/macppc, 4.0.1/sparc and 5.0.1/sparc, 4.0.1/i386, 5.0.1/i386 and the same for 4.0.1/amd64 5.0.1/amd64. Also, binaries of pkgsrc-2009Q3 are available for 5.0/shark.

  • Google's Summer of Code was a big success for NetBSD and all of the Open Source community, and it seems there will be one again this summer.

    Preparations are in an early stage, but there are already a FAQ and a timeline as well as the Program Terms of Service. From the NetBSD side, we're always happy for project suggestions (please use our mailing lists for discussions), and in NetBSD, we are currently working on out projects page. If you plan to submit a proposal for a project with NetBSD, please see our project application/proposal form If you plan to submit a proposal for a project with NetBSD, please see our Project Application/Proposal HowTo.

  • Getting back to the NetBSD code, a number of interesting changes were made in the previous weeks. The first to mention is that David Young has continued is work on the new shutdown order for device drivers: ``cgd, dk, dm, md, raid, and vnd gracefully detach from the device tree during shutdown. I believe that ccd is the only virtual disk that does not detach.'' This allows having arbitrary stack of file systems, and still have them unconfigured properly in the right order on system shutdown.

  • Another major change that went into NetBSD recently is that terminfo was imported into NetBSD-current. Terminfo replaces termcap, but provides a backward compatible termcap interface. This move follows discussion from last summer, and docs by The Open Group (the people who make things like the POSIX standard and the Single Unix Specification), which indicates that the termcap specification will be withdrawn in the future.

  • Moving from userland inside the kernel, David Holland has proceeded with work to unhook LFS from UFS. Historically, the Log structured File System was written after the Berkeley Fast File System. With the idea of sharing the core "Unix File System" code for both file systems, this resulted in a strong relationship between LFS and FFS, which was/is not always the best for the advantage and stability of either one: ``sharing ufs between both ffs and lfs has made all three entities (but particularly lfs) gross. ffs and lfs are not similar enough structurally for this sharing to really be a good design.''

  • Another major addition to the NetBSD kernel was made recently by Darren Hunt: ``Courtesy of CoyotePoint Systems, I've been working on a port of DTrace [...] to NetBSD for i386.'' Citing Wikipedia, ``DTrace is a comprehensive dynamic tracing framework created by Sun Microsystems for troubleshooting kernel and application problems on production systems in real time. Originally developed for Solaris, it has since been released under the free Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) and has been ported to several other Unix-like systems.

    DTrace can be used to get a global overview of a running system, such as the amount of memory, CPU time, filesystem and network resources used by the active processes. It can also provide much more fine-grained information, such as a log of the arguments with which a specific function is being called, or a list of the processes accessing a specific file. ''

    The code is available in NetBSD-current. I haven't looked into this yet, but I'm looking forward of reports and blog postings if the wikipedia command line examples work.

    (I think like with ZFS, Dtrace could use a hand with documenting the NetBSD side of things. Any takers?)

  • The last kernel change to mention is related to security: mapping the address 0 from userland was disabled. This issue went through the press late last year, and it this is now addressed in NetBSD, too. Those that still beed to map address 0 can do so via the USER_VA0_DISABLED_DEFAULT kernel option or the vm.user_va0_disable sysctl.

  • So much about about the NetBSD code for now. Of course having all those fine features added screams for an immediate (*cough*) release, which brings me to the fact that NetBSD 5.0.2 has been released: `` NetBSD 5.0.2 is the second critical/security update of the NetBSD 5.0 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed critical for security or stability reasons.

    Please note that all fixes in critical/security updates (i.e., NetBSD 5.0.1, 5.0.2, etc.) are cumulative, so the latest update contains all such fixes since the corresponding minor release. These fixes will also appear in future minor releases (i.e., NetBSD 5.1, 5.2, etc.), together with other less-critical fixes and feature enhancements. ''

I'm closing for today by pointing to three NetBSD-related events:
  • There's a hackathon going this weekend (Feb 20/21 2010)
  • Volunteers are wanted to setup & man a NetBSD booth at FrOSCamp 2010 Zurich, Switzerland, on Sep 17/18 2010
  • pkgsrcCon 2010 will be held in Basel, Switzerland, from May 28ths to 30ths 2010.
Have fun meeting the gang!

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

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