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[20080820] NetBSD 5.0 preview: User visible changes in NetBSD-current
I've found a bit of spare time upgrade a NetBSD 4.0 system to NetBSD-current (4.99.69), and during the usual update procedure (boot new kernel; build.sh install=/; etcupdate) I found a number of user-visible changes over NetBSD 4.0 that I'd like to spotlight here:
  1. audit-packages and download-vulnerability-list are now part of the NetBSD base system, there's no longer a need to install them via pkgsrc. I haven't found any hooks to run them automatically every night, but that can be done easily via cron(8). The commands in question are:
         # download-vulnerability-list
         # audit-packages 

  2. Per-user-tmp: Currently, /tmp is shared by all users. In order to avoid name clashes (example: I use /tmp/foo for temporar data as both root and "normal" user), the /tmp directory can be made to be unique for each user now, much the same way as this is done e.g. on Mac Os X. To do so, set
    	per_user_tmp=yes 
    in /etc/rc.conf and reboot. In effect, /tmp is unique for each user then. The implementation is done via magic symlinks:
            # cd /tmp
            # pwd
            /private/tmp/0
            # ls -l /tmp
            lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  18 Jul 13 22:41 /tmp -> /private/tmp/@ruid 

  3. httpd: NetBSD now ships with a web server in base. Seriously, I have no idea why this is, but it can be enabled by removing the comment signs of the 'httpd' service in /etc/inetd.conf, and by populating /var/www. After that access by both IPv4 and IPv6 is possible.

  4. dhcpcd: NetBSD has shipped with ISC's DHCP client so far, which uses quite a bit or memory. As a supplement, Roy Marples' dhcpcd has been added to the base system. In order to use it for interface xx0, put
         ifconfig_xx0="dhcp" 
    into your /etc/rc.conf file (replacing the old "dhclient=yes" setting).

    On a test system, both dhclient and dhcpcd had ps(1) display a VSZ (virtual size in Kbyte) of ~770, but while dhclient had a RSS (real memory / resident set size, in Kbyte) of 1068, dhcpcd only had a RSS of 548, i.e. the new DHCP client daemon uses about half as much RAM as the ISC dhclient.

  5. /boot.cfg: Last, NetBSD's second stage bootloader can now load a configuration file on the i386 and amd64 platforms. Assuming the bootloader was updated after the upgrade ("cp /usr/mdec/boot /boot"), the config file /boot.cfg is used to print the boot menu and offer appripriate actions:
         # cat /boot.cfg
         menu=Boot normally:boot netbsd
         menu=Boot single user:boot netbsd -s
         menu=Disable ACPI:boot netbsd -2
         menu=Disable ACPI and SMP:boot netbsd -12
         menu=Drop to boot prompt:prompt
         default=1
         timeout=5 
So much for a first adventure into NetBSD-current. Feel free to point out more goodies in NetBSD-current that will be new in NetBSD 5.0 over NetBSD 4.0.

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

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