hubertf's NetBSD Blog
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[20161030] NetBSD 7.0.2 released
Why 7.0.2? Following NetBSD's release scheme, there are major releases (e.g. 7.0) with subsequent updates (e.g. 7.1). Those "major" release and their updates include both new features as well as bug fixes - the latter one again with and without security relevance. New code, new risks - as a result for getting updates, existing interfaces may change and lead to incompatibiltites. This may affect either binary compatibility between programs and their required shared libraries, as well - though rare - incompatible chances on the source code level.

NetBSD takes quite some effort to keep such incompatibilites low, yet they happen. The only real solutions is: no updates. "Never change a running system" is nice for availability, but it poses security risks. The time when a big server uptime was considered a sign of good system administration are gone. Today, a long update means the system (probably) runs outdated and as such vulnerable code.

So to solve the problem a compromise is needed: little updates, but crucial security updates do get done. Which is where NetBSD's "minor" release like NetBSD 7.0.2 come into play. With its set of changes, a number of external software packages got security-related updates (e.g. OpenSSL, NTP, BIND, X), and a smaller number of security related changes were also added, e.g. a race condition in mail.local(8), crashes in the Networking File System (NFS) and the native Fast File System (FFS) plus some platform-specific crashes on MIPS, PowerPC and SPARC64.

For more information on downloading and installation see the release announcement as well as the platform-specific install documentation, e.g. for NetBSD 7.0.2/arm64's INSTALL.html file.

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[20080301] Catching up on source-changes (Feb 21st - Mar 1st)
Mark Kirby's CVS digest is still down. I'd love for someone to continue this service - please contact Mark and/or me for details! (I don't really have time to do this, but will try to do so. Help is definitely appreciated!!!)

Catching up on NetBSD's source-changes mailing list from Feb 21st 2008 to Mar 1st 2008, here's what people not following things closely may find interesting:

  • Chris Gilbert made process on the chris-arm-intr-rework branch, which aims at reworking the ARM interrupt code to provide a shared set of interrupt routines that can be used across all ARM based machines.

  • The PowerPC routines for bcopy, memcmp, memcpy and memmove were updated to use tuned versions that were written by IBM and released under a 3-clause BSD license as part of the perflib project, see http://sourceforge.net/projects/ppcperflib/.

  • Keiichi Shima has imported the Mobile IPv6 code developed by the SHISA project. The work can be found on the "keiichi-mipv6" branch.

  • Matt fleming has started work on a device file system that supports dynamic device nodes, which is of relevance when loading kernel modules for device drivers, so you don't have to run /dev/MAKEDEV manually. The work is on the "mjf-devfs2" branch.

  • Nick Hudson is currently working on syncing NetBSD's WiFi (net80211) code with FreeBSD, so that these two operating systems (and possibly others) can share a common codebase. The work currently affects only the kernel, but this may extend to the userland eventually.

  • The glob(3) wildcard extension routines got a new options GLOB_NO_DOTDIRS added, which hides . and .. even if the pattern would otherwise include them.

  • Juan Romero Pardines has ported the mfi(4) driver from OpenBSD. The driver supports disk controllers with PowerPC IOSs such as the LSI SAS1078 and the Dell PERC6.

  • The boot-only ISOs built for releases included several kernels (with ACPI, without ACPI) for some time now. Stephen Borrill has added a menu to make kernel selection easier. Mmm, user friendliness!

  • The machine-independent versions of strcspn(3), strpbrk(3) and strpspn(3) were improved from O(mn) to O(n+m) based on ideas from DragonFlyBSD.

  • Power management hooks for suspend, shutdown and resume were added to many device drivers, to support the new power management framework by Jared McNeill.

  • A whole lot of changes were pulled up from NetBSD's development branch into the release branches for NetBSD 3.x and 4.x.

So much for this round of updates. A lot of work was not done on the main trunk but on some branches. People interested to learn what branches exist in NetBSD's source tree can check out src/doc/BRANCHES to do so. Enjoy!

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[20071218] NetBSD ported to the IBM MCA RS/6000 model 7006
Tim Rightnour has reworked NetBSD's powerpc-ports recently, and with support from Kevin Bowling and he has announced the NetBSD port to the IBM MCA RS/6000 model 7006 now, which makes NetBSD the first free Operating System to run on this class of machines:

``The port was made to an IBM 7006-41T, which is a 601-based machine with MCA. It has not yet been tested on any other machines, but most other MCA/PowerPC based machines should be supportable. This port does not yet run on the 7012-3xx class of machines, or any other machine that has a POWER, POWER-RSC, POWER2 or POWER2-SC CPU. POWER-class machines will require significant CPU code to be written.

This port does not cover PReP-based IBM RS/6000 machines, for those, please see port-prep. For OpenFirmware based RS/6000 machines, please see port-ofppc.''

See Tim's posting for more information on machines that are likely to run this port with more or less effort, the state of the port, how to rebuild from NetBSD's source, and a sample dmesg output.

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[20071211] Rebirth of NetBSD's ofppc port
Tim Rightnour has worked a lot on NetBSD's PowerPC ports recently, providing infrastructure works for common pieces of hardware found on several platforms. While there, the NetBSD port to machines with an OpenFirmware interface to the hardware was revived, to allow running NetBSD on machines like the Genesi Pegasos II.

See Tim's posting for some more details and a dmesg output of his machine. NetBSD's new PowerPC-developer Frank Wille also has the port running, and he reports that he has the Pegasos system running in multiuser mode with no stability problems.

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[20060928] bsdtalk070 - Interview with NetBSD Developer Tim Rightnour
Tim 'garbled' Rightnour has worked on various PowerPC-related porting efforts recently, among them polishing of the prep port. The latest bsdtalk article has an interview with Tim, available as mp3 and ogg.

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[20060923] Articles: Testing and measuring the TAMS 3011, Part 1-6
I've completely missed this article series by Peter Seebach over at IBM's developerWorks until I saw a reference in the #NetBSD blog. The series describes the PowerPC based TAMS 3011 architecture, some of the operating system alternatives and then goes into porting NetBSD to it:

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[20060714] Call for testing on Motorola PowerPC machines
Tim Rightnour is currently working on NetBSD support for various PowerPC based machines. Right now, he's looking for ``anyone who has a Motorola, or other machine with PPCBUG firmware to test boot the following kernel and send the complete output'' to him. He's especially interested in any MVME160x machines, or MPC82xx machines. See Tim's mail for more details on how to test.

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[20060428] Port to Xilinx Virtex series FPGAs w/ integrated PowerPC 405
Jachym Holecek has ported NetBSD to the IBM 405 CPU core embedded in Xilinx Virtex {2-Pro, 4 FX} series FPGAs. See Jachym's mail for more details on the supported hardware as well as a dmesg(8) output showing the list of supported devices.

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[20060321] Of course it runs (with) NetBSD: Robotic Software Simulator (Updated)
Google news found me this gem on design news: ``Tokyo-based, Speecys Corp., has developed a simulation software platform designed to aid in robot development. Demonstrated through a prototype of the SPC-003 robot, the software uses a combination of SolidWorks, 3D CAD and COSMOSMotion, and a mechanical analysis simulator. With the software platform, a design engineer can verify robotic motion before prototyping a robot.

[...]

The Real Motion System consists of a robotic software development tool for programming control of robotic walking, software for implementing robotic motion, robot prototype, its 3D CAD data and mechanical simulation tool. The OS embedded in the SPC-003 is based on a UNIX-compatible NetBSD, facilitating smooth data communication between SolidWorks and COSMOSMotion. ''

Read the full article!

Update: There are a few other projects that use NetBSD in robot research at the Robot Brain project and at Futuba with more humanoid robots.

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[20050114] NetBSD-ready PowerPC toys: KuroBox and LinkStation
Well, I haven't heard about that "KuroBox" before, but it seems to a rather cheap PowerPC based system that's sold as "NAS shell" that's built from 100% Open Source, and which seems to be identical to the LinkStation hardware (japanese page). It runs Linux by default, but apparently someone has already unearthed a NetBSD port based on NetBSD/sandpoint, too. This (japanese!) page has a bit more about NetBSD on that platform, including hardware, development environment and firmware (I wish my reading of Japanese was ways better, just a bit of Hiragana & Katakana isn't enough :/).

Anyone want to get me one of these gizmos for showing at roadshows?

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