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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[20090205] First Release Candidat for NetBSD 5.0 released
NetBSD 5.0 is progressing towards a release, and a first release candidat was released this week.

Probably the two most significant improvements in NetBSD 5.0 will be journalling for UFS (nore more fsck, yai!) and the move from XFree to X.org. Download now, or have a look at the changes in 5.0 if you need more reasons to check it out.

While talking about NetBSD 5, Izumi Tsutsui has updated his Restore CD for MIPS based Cobalt machines, see his email to the port-cobalt@ list for more details.

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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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[20071029] Note to self: Getting X with 1024x768 in qemu (Updated)
I keep on forgetting, and will abuse my blog now to remember how to get a standard installation of NetBSD 4.0(RC3 here) with standard X to run 1024x768 in Qemu:

  • In the "Monitor" section, add:
         HorizSync 28-51
         VertRefresh 43-60 
  • Keep the "cirrus" driver

  • In the "Depth 16" subsection of the "Screen" section, add:
         Modes "1024x768" 
Update: This also goes for Parallels. A "DefaultDepth 24" may be needed in the "Screen" section.

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