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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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[20091210] Catching up on source changes
I've dug through my source-changes archive once more, and there are entries from February(?!?) to mid-October 2009 in there that I think may be of interest to casual followers of NetBSD.

Before I go into the details, let me add a hint on the "source-changes-full" mailing list, which is like source-changes, but the mails there also contain diffs of the changes (as long as they are below 1MB in size). The -full list is not archived on mail-index.netbsd.org, and I must have missed the announcement. It's definitely useful!

So, what interesting changes have there been to NetBSD-current recently? Here we go:

  • New / updated drivers:
    • sdtemp(4) reads the on-DIMM temperature sensors following the JEDEC Standard No. 21-C Section 4-7.
    • gpio(4) got support for Intel ICH southbridges as found on Intel SS4220-E (ICH7) and Acorp 6A815EPD (ICH2) motherboards
    • lom(4) supports the LOMlite "Lights Out Management" boards found on Sun hardware like the LOMlite found on the Sun Netra t1 and the LOMlite2 found on Sun Netra T1/X1 and Sun Fire V100/V120.
    • An initial version of a SD/MMC driver for the Winbond W83L518D (and probably W83L519D) Integrated Media Reader with PNP bus attachment glue was added.
    • acpiwmi(4) was added to added, to further support ACPI development. See the specs for more details.
    • piixide(4) now supports Intel 3400 SATA
  • New kernel interfaces and library functions include:
    • getdate(3) and getdate_err(3) were added according to POSIX.1 and the Open Group
    • RAIDframe was sped up massively when checking parity after a system crash with the help of a parity map. This work was done during this year's Google Summer-of-Code.
    • A "netbsd.inet.icmp.bmcastecho" sysctl was added to disable replies to the broadcast address.
    • Floating point functions f{min,max,dim}{,l,f}(3) were added
    • udl(4) adds support for DisplayLink DL-1x0/1x5 based USB LCDs and USB-VGA adaptors
  • Random other additions and changes include:
    • hdaudioctl(8) can be used to manipulate hdaudio(4) devices
    • The NetBSD/playstation2 port was removed due to a lack of developer support. It's still available in CVS.
    • The NetBSD/i386 bootloader now knows a "dev" command to list available boot devices and their size.
  • Newly imported and updated 3rd party software includes:
    • pfsync from OpenBSD 4.2, adopted in this year's Google Summer of Code.
    • PF from OpenBSD 4.2 was imported.
    • Multicast DNS ("Bonjour") support was added, based on Apple's mDNSResponder. Enable with "dns: mdns" in /etc/nsswitch.conf.
    • GNU binutils were updated to version 2.19
    • Many of the bazillion of X.org components were updated - ways too many to note in detail.
    • BIND was updated to 9.7.0b1
    • Flex 2.5.35 was imported
    • A new m4(1) was imported


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[20090724] Work in progress: ACLs, Xen Baloon Driver, GPIO, Raidframe detachment
No big announcements in NetBSD land for a bit now, but there's lots of stuff brewing in moist dark places. I've assembled a few over the past few weeks, and I think it's time to mention them so they don't get lost:

  • NetBSD implements traditional Unix file access control, which is based on permissions for reading, writing and executing for any of a file's owner, its group, and the rest of the world. Concepts in the form of Access Control Lists (ACLs) exist for more fine grained control, but they are not available with NetBSD. Yet.

    Elad Efrat is still workin on the kauth(9) framework, and as a side-product, he has implemented Access Control Lists on top of kauth(9).. The code is not fit for production use yet, but we can stay tuned to see more of this.

  • When you have a machine running virtualization, you usually dedicate a portion of the machine's RAM to each of the VMs. You (usually) cannot spend more RAM for VMs than you have RAM in the host, obviously... until you use some sort of virtual memory for the VMs themseolves. Which is what the Xen "balloon" driver does, inflating a Xen VM's RAM as needed.

    Those interested in a driver can find a balloon driver for Xen3 dom0 by Cherry G. Mathew now, who's looking forward to your comments!

  • Coming newly to NetBSD, developer Marc Balmer writes: ``NetBSD has had support for General Purpose Input/Output devices since the 4.0 release, when the GPIO framework from OpenBSD 3.6 was imported. Since the import of the GPIO framework into NetBSD, I have reworked larger parts of that subsystem in OpenBSD to address some problems and drawbacks''. More details on his motivation and details can be found on his homepage, and Marc has posted about his recent work on updating NetBSD's GPIO framework.

    See Marc's posting for details on changes in the API, prominent changes, security aspects and more.

  • When you run a Xen DomU which has its file system on a vnd(4) disk and which has a number of disk images which are again put together into a raidframe(4) volume which may in turn contain further images for vnd(4), raidframe(4), cgd(4) and possibly others, tearing down the whole stack on system shutdown can get hairy.

    The situation is known, and David Young has put some work into this area. For now, he can properly detach raid units. See his posting for an example session.

So much for the latest projects that are "work in progress" on the NetBSD front. Stay tuned for them to hit NetBSD-current!

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