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[20080908] source-changes catchup mid-July to early September 2008 (Updated)
Welcome to yet another catch-up of NetBSD source-changes mailing list, this time from mid-July to early September 2008. Besides FFS having journaling now (yai! first in BSD-land, ever! :-), here's what's new and/or exciting:
  • In order to re-initialize x86 machines' video/VGA state after suspend and resume, some BIOS functions can be used. This needs to be done in real mode(?), which is a bit hard to do from an operating system kernel that runs in protected mode. To help doing so, a x86 CPU emulator was added to NetBSD some time ago, to help run VGA bios for ACPI resume. Now Joerg has added a sysctl that does just this, assuming your kernel has the VGA_POST options -- set machdep.acpi_vbios_reset=2

  • Inside the kernel, data sent/received through the network stack is stored in chains of mbufs. So far, the mbufs were also used to store socket options, i.e. data describing further how the sending/receiving is done. This was split out into a separate struct sockopt by Ian 'plunky' Hibbert now. For more information, see sockopt(9).

  • Hans 'woodstock' Rosenfeld has added a new accalerated driver for SPX graphics boards found in some VAXstations, which replaces the old and broken lcspx driver. The work is based on work by Blaz Antonic.

  • The simonb-wapbl branch was merged: ``Add Wasabi System's WAPBL (Write Ahead Physical Block Logging) journaling code. Originally written by Darrin B. Jewell while at Wasabi and updated to -current by Antti Kantee, Andy Doran, Greg Oster and Simon Burge.'' This makes NetBSD the first second (see update below) BSD operating system that has a working file system with journaling (not counting LFS, which again and again has issues). Mmm, no more fsck! :-) See my other posts for more on journaling / wapbl.

    Update: James Mansion wrote me to that NetBSD's not the first BSD to have journaling, and I think he's right: DragonflyBSD's HAMMER file system apparently offers similar functionality: ``HAMMER implement an instant-mount capability and will recover information on a cluster-by-cluster basis as it is being accessed.''

  • Accept filters were ported from FreeBSD by Coyote Point Systems, and integrated into NetBSD by Thor Lancelot Simon. What are accept filters? According to the accept_filter(9) manpage, they ``allow an application to request that the kernel pre-process incoming connections.'' Pre-defined filters are available with accf_data(9) and accf_http(9). The latter makes sure that the application's accept(2) call only sees the connection if there's a valid HTTP header, moving parts of the parsing from userland (httpd) to the kernel.

  • Work is underway for crossbuilds of modular X.org. This is done via src/external/mit/xorg, which needs xsrc/external/mit. The results will be installed in /usr/X11R7(!). (XXX Where can I find more about this?)

  • Gregory McGarry is working to get the tree compiled with PCC instead of GCC. This is still ongoing.

  • nvi was updated from version 1.79 to 1.81. The most important part of this update is that internationalization is now handled by default.

  • Following a bigger masterplan, new 3rd party software packages are now imported into src/external/${license}, which will replace src/dist, src/crypto/dist and src/gnu/dist in the long run. Packages will be moved on upgrades only, existing packages are not being moved just for the sake of moving them.

  • Adam Hamsik is working on getting Logical Volume Management (LVM) going in NetBSD. He has adapted Linux' "device mapper" kernel-interface as part of his Google Summer-of-Code project, and with the help of the (GPL'd) Linux tools, things are looking pretty good. More on this in a separate post. This work is currently happening on the haad-dm branch.

  • In the context of his work on UDF, Reinoud has added routines for speeding up directory handling by using hash gables. Lookup of files was O(n*n) and is now O(1) even for file creation. See my other blog posting for details and impressive numbers.

  • Perry Metzger is working to make binary builds identical. This is useful for binary diffs between releases/builds, e.g. when providing binary patches for updates and security fixes. Areas where this had an impact on are C++ programs and various bootloaders (which had a builder, build date, etc. in it so far).

  • EHCI (USB) can now do high speed isochronous support. This was developed by Jeremy Morse as part of his Google Summer-of-Code "dvb" project this year, it is useful for fast transfer of data that comes in steady streams, e.g. from video cards.

  • fsck_ffs(8) now has options -x and -X (just like dump) that create a file system snapshot via fss(4), and then operates on the snapshot. This allows "fsck_ffs -n" to work on a snapshot of a read/write mounted file system, and avoid errors related to file system activity. Can be made permanent for the nightly script by setting run_fsck_flags="-X" in /etc/daily.conf. This was brought to you by our Xen-hacker Manuel Bouyer. :-)
So much for this time. Many of the above projects are work-in-progress, and we can look forward for further news on them next time. Stay tuned!

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