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Review: NetBSD 8.0

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Reviews
BSD

NetBSD, like its close cousins (FreeBSD and OpenBSD) does not do a lot of hand holding or automation. It offers a foundation that will run on most CPUs and we can choose to build on that foundation. I mention this because, on its own, NetBSD does not do much. If we want to get something out of it, we need to be willing to build on its foundation - we need a project. This is important to keep in mind as I think going into NetBSD and thinking, "Oh I'll just explore around and expand on this as I go," will likely lead to disappointment. I recommend figuring out what you want to do before installing NetBSD and making sure the required tools are available in the operating system's repositories.

Some of the projects I embarked on this week (using ZFS and setting up file sharing) worked well. Others, like getting multimedia support and a full-featured desktop, did not. Given more time, I'm sure I could find a suitable desktop to install (along with the required documentation to get it and its services running), or customize one based on one of the available window managers. However, any full featured desktop is going to require some manual work. Media support was not great. The right players and codecs were there, but I was not able to get audio to play smoothly.

My main complaint with NetBSD relates to my struggle to get some features working to my satisfaction: the documentation is scattered. There are four different sections of the project's website for documentation (FAQs, The Guide, manual pages and the wiki). Whatever we are looking for is likely to be in one of those, but which one? Or, just as likely, the tutorial we want is not there, but is on a forum or blog somewhere. I found that the documentation provided was often thin, more of a quick reference to remind people how something works rather than a full explanation.

As an example, I found a couple of documents relating to setting up a firewall. One dealt with networking NetBSD on a LAN, another explored IPv6 support, but neither gave an overview on syntax or a basic guide to blocking all but one or two ports. It seemed like that information should already be known, or picked up elsewhere.

Newcomers are likely to be a bit confused by software management guides for the same reason. Some pages refer to using a tool called pkg_add, others use pkgsrc and its make utility, others mention pkgin. Ultimately, these tools each give approximately the same result, but work differently and yet are mentioned almost interchangeably. I have used NetBSD before a few times and could stumble through these guides, but new users are likely to come away confused.

One quirk of NetBSD, which may be a security feature or an inconvenience, depending on one's point of view, is super user programs are not included in regular users' paths. This means we need to change our path if we want to be able to run programs typically used by root. For example, shutdown and mount are not in regular users' paths by default. This made checking some things tricky for me.

Ultimately though, NetBSD is not famous for its convenience or features so much as its flexibility. The operating system will run on virtually any processor and should work almost identically across multiple platforms. That gives NetBSD users a good deal of consistency across a range of hardware and the chance to experiment with a member of the Unix family on hardware that might not be compatible with Linux or the other BSDs.

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FreeBSD 12.0-RC1 Released, Fixes Ryzen 2 Temperature Reporting

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BSD

Arguably most user-facing with this week's FreeBSD 12.0-RC1 release is updating the amdsmn/amdtemp drivers for attaching to Ryzen 2 host bridges. Additionally, the amdtemp driver has been fixed for correctly reporting the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX core temperature. The 2990WX temperature reporting is the same fix Linux initially needed to for a 27 degree offset to report the correct temperature. It's just taken FreeBSD longer to add Ryzen 2 / Threadripper 2 temperature bits even though they had beat the Linux kernel crew with the initial Zen CPU temperature reporting last year.

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Also: MeetBSD 2018: Michael W Lucas Why BSD?

BSD: Capsicum Project in FreeBSD and Elisa in FreeBSD

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BSD
  • Capsicum

    I spent a couple of years evangelizing about Capsicum. I wrote many articles about it. So, it is very natural that I would also like to update you on this blog about the progress of the Capsicum project in FreeBSD, because this is what I’m doing in my free time. That said I feel that this blog wouldn’t be completed without some introduction to what Capsicum is. This post should fill this gap. Over the next weeks and months we will extend this topic and discuss different parts of Capsicum. Without further introduction let’s jump into the topic

  • Elisa in FreeBSD

    Elisa (product page, release announcements blog) is a music player designer for excellent integration into the KDE Plasma desktop (but of course it runs everywhere, including some non-Free platforms). I had used it a few times, but had not gotten around to packaging it. So today I threw together a FreeBSD port of Elisa, and you’ll be able to install it from official packages whenever the package cluster gets around to it.

FreeBSD 12.0 Beta 4 Released, Allows NVIDIA Driver To Work With 64-bit Linux Emulation

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BSD

One change catching our attention are to FreeBSD's linux/linux64 kernel modules for its Linux compatibility code. With changes that had been sought since early 2016, the FreeBSD NVIDIA proprietary driver should now play nicely with the linux64 module. This is necessary for FreeBSD 64-bit CUDA support with NVIDIA's driver. Previously the FreeBSD CUDA support played nicely with 32-bit, but that was dropped in CUDA 9.0. This should help too for other 64-bit Linux emulation code for working with NVIDIA's binary graphics driver.

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FreeBSD 12.0 Faces A Minor Setback But Still Should Be Out Ahead Of Christmas

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BSD

The big FreeBSD 12.0 release still is expected to happen in December but will be a bit later than originally planned.

The FreeBSD release engineering team has decided that a fourth beta is warranted before branching the FreeBSD 12 code and moving onto the release candidate phase. There already has been a number of alpha releases and three betas, but due to a boot time issue and allowing more time for ARM/ARM64 builds to complete, a fourth beta has been penciled into the schedule.

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Also: malloc.conf replaced with a sysctl

FreeBSD 12.0-BETA3 Now Available

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BSD
  • FreeBSD 12.0-BETA3 Now Available

    The third BETA build of the 12.0-RELEASE release cycle is now available.

  • FreeBSD 12.0 Beta 3 Brings Bhyve Update, NUMA Disabling Via sysctl

    Another weekly beta release of FreeBSD 12 is now available for testing with the official release still being several weeks out.

    FreeBSD 12.0 Beta 3 now allows NUMA support to be disabled via a new vm.numa.disabled sysctl tunable, the Bhyve hypervisor can now allow the VNC server to listen for incoming IPv6 connections, various hardware driver updates, and SPE exception handling for PowerPCSPE architecture.

OpenBSD on a Laptop

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BSD
HowTos

It's been almost a year since I've posted any articles, and I'm afraid I have a confession to make...I've joined the dark side! Most people know my site from the How to Run a Mail Server post, which targeted FreeBSD. A few months ago, I converted all that infrastructure to an automated OpenBSD platform. Turns out OpenBSD was so much easier, I decided to run it as a desktop too.

You won't find nearly as many online resources about setting up OpenBSD, because honestly, you really don't need any. Unlike much of Linux and FreeBSD, the included manuals are high quality, coherent, and filled with practical examples. You also need very little third party software to do basic tasks—almost everything you need is well-integrated into the base system.

You'll notice that many features that require toil to achieve on FreeBSD, such as suspend on lid close, working volume buttons, and decent battery life, work out of the box on OpenBSD. You can tell the developers actually use this thing on their personal devices.

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GhostBSD 18.10 Now Available

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BSD

GhostBSD 18.10 is our first official release of GhostBSD with TrueOS under the hood, and the official desktop is MATE. However, in the future, there might be some community release, but for now, there is no community released yet.

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Also: GhostBSD 18.10 Released, Built Off FreeBSD-Based TrueOS With MATE Desktop

BSD: Review of 'Absolute FreeBSD', Introducing the OpenBSD Virtualization FAQ

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BSD
  • Book Review: Absolute FreeBSD (3rd Edition)

    FreeBSD is a free and open source operating system for many different kinds of computers. FreeBSD's based upon BSD, the version of UNIX developed at the University of California, Berkeley. FreeBSD is an alternative to Linux or Windows-based system. You can run almost all apps written in Perl, Python, PHP and other programming languages. FreeBSD heavily used by Netflix, EMC, IBM, Juniper, NetApp, Apple, Sony, and others. Absolute FreeBSD (3rd ed) book aims to be the complete guide to FreeBSD. Let us see why Michael W. Lucas' FreeBSD system administration books so favorite among Unix lovers.

  • Introducing the OpenBSD Virtualization FAQ

    Now getting started with OpenBSD virtualization has become even easier: The OpenBSD FAQ has a new Virtualization section, written mainly by Solene Rapenne (solene@) and added to the site in this commit, that offers an introduction to the concepts as well as instructions on how to get started with vmm(4).

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More in Tux Machines

A Linux/Android kit tablet and "the tiny single-board computers called Raspberry Pi"

  • A Linux/Android kit tablet
    I would like to introduce Diskio Pi, a kit tablet compatible Raspberry Pi and Odroid small boards computer.
  • Raspberry Pi OS Raspbian Now Features VLC Media Player, Minimal Install Image
    The Raspberry Pi Foundation released a new version of its Debian-based Raspbian Linux operating system for Raspberry Pi devices, a release that adds new features, updates, and many other interesting things. Raspbian 2018-11-13 is now the latest version of the Linux and Debian-based operating system for the tiny single-board computers called Raspberry Pi, introducing a new default media player, namely VLC Media Player, with fully hardware-accelerated support through VideoCore’s video engine for H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2 formats.

OSS Leftovers

  • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Reading News In 2019
    The internet is the major source of news for many of us, and we spend a lot of time reading articles to stay updated. There are many news sources available that offer various categories of news. However, it is a time-consuming task to open each of those websites.
  • 6 Essential Tips for Safe Online Shopping
    The turkey sandwiches are in the fridge, and you didn’t argue with your uncle. It’s time to knock out that gift list, and if you’re like millions of Americans, you’re probably shopping online.
  • Elementary Bugs
    Mozilla is a well-known open-source organization, and thus draws a lot of interested contributors. But Mozilla is huge, and even the more limited scope of Firefox development is a wilderness to a newcomer. We have developed various tools to address this, one of which was an Outreachy project by Fienny Angelina called Codetribute. The site aggregates bugs that experienced developers have identified as good for new contributors (“good first bugs”, although often they are features or tasks) across Bugzilla and Github. It’s useful both for self-motivated contributors and for those looking for starting point for a deeper engagement with Mozilla (an internship or even a full-time job). However, it’s been tricky to help developers identify good-first-bugs.
  • Open Source Cloudify 4.5 Extends its Cloud Native Orchestration to the Network - from Core to Edge [Ed: Another example of proprietary and "Community" edition for openwashing purposes]
  • Why some open-source companies are considering a more closed approach
    “I would put it in a very blunt way: for many years we were suckers, and let them take what we developed and make tons of money on this.” Redis Labs CEO Ofer Bengal doesn’t mince words. His company, known for its open-source in-memory database, has been around for eight years, an eternity in the fast-changing world of modern enterprise software. Cloud computing was very much underway in 2011, but it was still a tool for early adopters or startups that couldn’t afford to bet millions on servers to incubate a promising but unproven idea. Most established companies were still building their own tech infrastructure the old-fashioned way, but they were increasingly realizing that open-source software would allow them to build that infrastructure with open-source components in ways that were much more flexible and cheaper than proprietary packages from traditional enterprise software companies.
  • Rob Port: Audit: North Dakota’s use of open source textbooks has saved North Dakota students a lot of money
    For generations now the cost of higher education has been out of control. This isn’t exactly news to you, I’m sure, but it may surprise you to know that the cost of textbooks has grown even faster than the rapid increase in tuition costs.
  • Envoy and gRPC-Web: a fresh new alternative to REST
    Personally, I’d been intrigued by gRPC-Web since I first read about it in a blog post on the Improbable engineering blog. I’ve always loved gRPC’s performance, scalability, and IDL-driven approach to service interaction and have longed for a way to eliminate REST from the service path if possible. I’m excited that gRPC-Web is ready for prime time because I think it opens up some extremely promising horizons in web development.
  • 2018 LLVM Developers' Meeting Videos Now Online
    For those wishing to learn more about the LLVM compiler stack and open-source compiler toolchains in general, the videos from October's LLVM Developers' Meeting 2018 in San Jose are now online.
  • OpenBSD in Stereo with Linux VFIO

    Now, after some extensive reverse engineering and debugging with the help of VFIO on Linux, I finally have audio playing out of both speakers on OpenBSD.

  • RcppMsgPack 0.2.3
    Another maintenance release of RcppMsgPack got onto CRAN today. Two new helper functions were added and not unlike the previous 0.2.2 release in, some additional changes are internal and should allow compilation on all CRAN systems. MessagePack itself is an efficient binary serialization format. It lets you exchange data among multiple languages like JSON. But it is faster and smaller. Small integers are encoded into a single byte, and typical short strings require only one extra byte in addition to the strings themselves. RcppMsgPack brings both the C++ headers of MessagePack as well as clever code (in both R and C++) Travers wrote to access MsgPack-encoded objects directly from R.

Server: FOSS at the Back End of 'Cloud'

  • Google, Amazon and Facebook Embrace Open Source Software As Future
    Open source coding lets users collaborate on software code, giving them the ability to store and edit code independently. It is designed to make projects built with its software publicly accessible, and has been the key to success for companies like Airbnb and Uber, which have made their fortunes by offering services, rather than the software itself. “The previous generation of developers grew up in a world where there was a battle between closed and open source,” said GitHub's Ben Balter, a researcher with the web-based hosting service for source code and open source software projects. “Today, that is no longer true.”
  • AWS Developing New Services Amid Open-Source Tensions
    Companies that manage open-source software have a message for cloud computing providers like Amazon: pay up, share your code or stop using our technology for free.
  • AWS develops new services amid open-source pushback
    Last month, MongoDB changed its licensing to put the Community Server software under a SSPL license, which lets cloud providers offer MongoDB as a service but only if they open source all of the related code or create a commercial agreement.
  • Urvika Gola: Attending ReactConf’18 in Henderson, Nevada
    Day 2 of React Conf, started with talking about how performance is integral to UX. Code Splitting, a concept were instead of sending the whole code in the initial payload, we send what’s needed to render the first screen and later, lazily loading the rest based on subsequent navigation. A most common problem while implementing code splitting can be ‘what do you display to the user if the view hasn’t finished loading?’ Maybe a spinner, loader, placeholder…?? But lot of these degrades the UX. Then came Concurrent React into the picture, Concurrent React can work on multiple tasks at a time and switch between them according to priority. Concurrent React can partially render a tree without committing the result and does not block the main thread.
  • OpenStack Rebranding Infrastructure Team as OpenDev
    OpenStack is one of the largest open source efforts in the world, with a large infrastructure that is used to build, develop and test the cloud platform. The infrastructure effort is now being rebranded as OpenDev as OpenStack continues to evolve. In a session, at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, Germany last week, Clark Boylan team lead for the OpenStack Infrastructure team outlined how things are set to change as OpenStack moves beyond its core project to embrace a broader group of Open Infrastructure efforts. "We basically act as beta testers for the infrastructure and make sure things work," Boylan. "If it works for us, it'll probably work for you too."

Unhappy With Apple

  • New iPad Pro Reportedly Suffering From Bending Issues
    It has not been one month since Apple launched its latest iPad Pro models. It has been found that the nearly bezel-less iPad Pro models are prone to bending issues. In a durability test video by the famous YouTuber JerryRigEverything, iPad Pro models bent when a slight force was applied to it. Many new iPad owners also took to MacRumor’s forum to complain about the bending of the latest iPad.
  • How Apple tricked me into buying a new MacBook Air
     

    I have been using MacBook Air laptops for several years now and I like them much better than anything in the Windows space. However, my experience has been far from problem-free and I am angry at what I believe is a deceptive business practice designed to screw money out of loyal users.  

     

    [...]

     

    So for $175 I got my computer completely fixed after being told by both Apple and an Authorised Apple repairer that it could not be salvaged. Furthermore, I subsequently discovered through online inquiry that this particular keyboard had a design fault and that I was not to blame at all for the damage. I had been tricked into buying a new computer needlessly.