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Developers’ Weblog

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While I could use newfs(8)+vnd(4)+mount(8) or makefs(8) with a fixed block size for a live CD, or a ports version of mkisofs, or create the image on Darwin, I do not think so. The next snapshot will just not be a Live CD at all. Later, guys. Maybe TNF helps fixing it.

mksh also did not have the newest nifty features, such as <(cmd), applied, due to my ongoing illness feeling and added headaches all of this evening. However, I did finish the OSF/1 V2.0 (MIPS) port, and tomorrow there will be a proper announcement of R36, including ports, source RPMs, etc.

Many thanks to DEChengst from the #!/bin/mksh IRC channel again for giving me access to such machines.

I built LLVM+clang on Debian Lenny, just to make it crash *grin* due to an internal assertion… in mksh(1)’s source code. Gah. Anyway, got the problem reported. I wonder if I should remove Objective-C from the base gcc since it’s not just almost but really unusable anyway (same for Ada unless it can be used to build llvm-gnat-4.2). Jonathan gave up on the GNU runtime for good, or so he told me.

Today I also tried to get a neighbour’s fax-scan-print-copy combo running. Ends up that both the new phone line he bought for it was faulty (I gave him a replacement from my Attic), the AVM Fritzbox has… issues, and when I finally got my own fax from anno 1985 to work, and his Officejet not, we belive that either the ISDN voltage (it was accidentally plugged next to the NTBA first) or, much more likely, a recent thunderstorm b0rked it. So much for high-tech. My low-tech works.

All software sucks…

2008-10-22 by tg@
Tags: bug

I did not get much further. While I had the brilliant idea to embed a native little-endian BSD disklabel inside the first 512 bytes of the first-stage sparc bootloader (as the code searches for it anywhere in sector #1 inside the partition — or disc, if no MBR partition found — aligned to a long boundary), because an MBR partition would fake about two slices in the Sun disklabel which… could cause issues, the software I wanted to use to create a testcase has… bugs.

I ended up creating an install-only ISO and wanted to put the rest of the files into a 4.2FFS filesystem with makefs(8). However, that one did not want as I do, and that for quite a while. Cheers to TNF! grml…

The update of Opera to 9.61 also failed for reasons outlined in the commit message. So we’re still stuck with Opera 9.27…

I did get libpng updated, but had “fun” with that as well. So long.

mksh porting

2008-10-21 by tg@
Tags: mksh

If you read the comp.os.minix newsgroup, please have a look at Message-Id <> and help us porting mksh to Minix 3. (Yes I know I replied to a different thread, but this is just because Pine did not want to let me post using a simple ‘C’ompose in the gabeln.)

If you have an idea how I get the OSF/1 V2.0 cc(1) to correctly fail if it cannot resolve functions, or how we can fix Plan 9 or even Syllable Desktop (which is said to have fixed their signal handling in the kernel, however an actual user would have to test it), also feel free to contact me, you can probably help.

Closer, but no game

2008-10-21 by tg@
Tags: bug

On a somewhat unrelated topic, I would like to remind the readers of this wlog that next weekend, winter time will enact, i.e. you’ve got to add only one instead of two hours to the current UTC time to be able to talk to your “nōn-CS” neighbours. I’m adding it here since I know I would forget it otherwise, and I just saw it in a newspaper I read at the imbiss.

Well, I got closer. So close that dual-boot CDs are possible with the new system. So close that I got everything in place to make both baselive and dualive CDs. But makefs(8) let me down and threw an assertion on — how gdb(1) helped me to find out — a deep directory, usr/libdata/perl5/i386-mirbsd/5.8.8/auto/B/C, thinking it adds the same directory a second time to its node tree (aborting thusly to not end up in an endless loop later). However, adding the allow-deep-trees mount option did not help. So I’m stuck.

There are some alternatives. The one which I like the most would be to further change the Sun disklabel to not only look like an i386 MBR to the BIOS, but also contain a “partition table” with only one partition of type 0x27 (MirBSD), starting at the chain sector (24, in our case) and being two sectors in size. The second one would then contain an i386 disklabel. A 4.2BSD FFS filesystem (created with makefs(8) which should work better there) would just be added after the ISO 9660 filesystem containing the boot stuff (and possibly, the /v10 directory, i.e. nothing less and nothing more than the contents of a normal dual-arch install-only CD, plus the Live kernel, which is just a GENERIC with root set to cd0f… since we’ll be using UFS then, we don’t even need /dev on a ramdisk any more). However, I do not exactly know how this would behave if we mix a filesystem using 2048-byte sectors with a filesystem using 512-byte sectors on the same medium and expect it to work both when burnt on a CD using 2048-byte sectors for the entire medium and when put on a CF card / USB stick / HDD / etc. using 512-byte sectors for all of the two filesystems. The Sun disklabel would also have to be adapted, unless we want to hide the i386-live part from it (or are too lazy to show it… but we’re perfectionists, sometimes).

I know from others that they put /usr on an FFS inside a vnd(4) file instead, but this has not only heavy performance issues, I also know our vnd(4) to behave slightly buggy on media with sector sizes other than 512, with OpenBSD having fixed some of that. I would thusly like to avoid it.

Just putting FFS on the CD is not an option either. Oh, there are endianness issues as well, so there’s probably no point in having the i386 FFS slice being accessible by sparc, since people in all of the BSD camps still haven’t understood how uncool they are (our rewritten elf2aout(1) being a prime example that it is not only possible but also highly useful to have such tools do internal endianness conversions as needed).

Now I either need an OpenBSD guru telling me how to accomplish it, or have to experiment. *sigh*

Does anyone succeed in running MirBSD on qemu 0.9.1? No matter if with or without kqemu, it freezes for me after the pciide(4) probe. The sparc issue also has yet to be resolved.

Getting closer

2008-10-19 by tg@
Tags: bug geocache

I’ve built i386 and sparc intermediate snapshots. We’ve been fixing things lately, so that another combined DuaLive CD is not so far off, before the more weird things (such as the 4.4OpenBSD merge) start to happen. On an unrelated side note, my SPARCstation 20 is crunching for BOINC at the moment, at about 75 MIPS only though…

Maybe LLVM 2.4 and llvm-gcc 4.2 will hit the MirPorts Framework now, because we need a recent compiler for some things (Objective-C, or to compile Webkit), and it’s better in terms of licencing (BSD + GPLv2), quality and portability than FSF GCC. Maybe someone ports Iced Tea so that comrad will be happy. I don’t know. It’s all our spare time.

There are a few things in libpng that need to be taken care of first though, but the other recent security issues (ftpd(8) must die anyway, IPv6 ndp, …) were handled. Maybe others, let’s see.

Ah, and of course I need to get the Live CD functionality fixed and switched to use NetBSD® makefs(8) instead of J�rg’s mkisofs first.

I still don’t believe in Web 2.0, Communities, etc. For example, on Ohloh (I still need to take care to not write oh lol!) there are quite some projects, but “nobody” (well, almost) uses them. CacheWolf, the geocaching software of choice, starts a conversion from the Ewe VM to the supposedly superiour Eve VM, but I yet fail to see success, still people want to already switch over the svn trunk, and only bugfix in the 1.0 branch… as if anything were usable before next spring, and a full replacement before end of next year or so, guesstimated………

Jonathan complains about the brokenness of software, libobjfw is suffering from GNU libobjc runtime bugs (a layer deeper, that is). I so feel with him, I know the feeling so well… sometimes it would really be better to be a cat. I also quite met with Azraël, Florian’s (my best friend) animal half — with approximately 13 kg much more of a beast than the neighbour’s cat I nicknamed “Mir” (just to name it after a BSD) and behaving much more “cool”, but very nice.

mksh — please test release candidate

2008-10-13 by tg@
Tags: mksh

Hi everyone, mksh’s current development version should be tested on as many platforms as possible before a new release. This mostly means:

 $ CVS_RSH=ssh; export CVS_RSH
 $ cvs -d co -PA mksh
 $ cd mksh
 $ (sh -r && ./ -v) 2>&1 | tee build.log

Afterwards, please mail me (tg@) the build.log file, play around a little with mksh(1), see if it works. You can use a relative path to the source directory for repeated builds and also pass different compilers or flags as shown below, but please remember that passing CFLAGS or LIBS overrides the defaults, which you thusly should include:

  • CC=gcc ksh93 ../mksh/ -r && ./ -v
  • CFLAGS="-q64 -O3 -qstrict" bash ../mksh/ -r && ./ -v
  • CFLAGS="-xO2 -m64" /usr/xpg4/bin/sh -r && ./ -v

You are, of course, invited to join the mailing list discussions regarding features, bugs, and behaviour, or even send in patches for missing items or architectures. I’d especially be happy if someone made Minix 3 work… pdksh runs there, mksh didn’t last time I tried (with gcc, but once that’s up ACK should be easy). Or Plan 9.

If you’re on Ohloh, please add mksh to one of your stacks.

I agree with RMS

2008-10-05 by tg@

This may come shocking to you, but, yes, I indeed agree with Richard M. “FSF” Stallman. While I respect him quite a lot, similar to Bill Gates, I usually do not. But this time, there’s something which makes me, wholeheartedly:

At Chaostreff on Tuesday I learned that RMS protests against cloud computing (via OSnews). I actually had to learn this new term first, but after I did, I can only join the fun, despite so many voices against it. It’s really bad having few people control a lot of users, and everybody using it without a second thought¹². The Terms of Service³ on these “Web 2.0” thingies, as I called them for myself until now, are usually quite problematic as well. You should not trust everybody, even without being paranoid.

① Yeah, I know I’m still using Google’s search engine and Maps service. But that’s a voluntary choice, plus there is no (usable) alternative, so I’ve got no way around it due to my requirements. However, I do not have a Google account.

② Interestingly enough, Benny said on the phone that he agrees with me on this one, despite using a GMail account. Pardon, for my German readers (this wlog entry was drafted in Switzerland), that’s Google Mail, just to make this clear.

③ Ever tried to take back information, cancel an account, get rid of their spam, read through the EULA, get someone to change things which suck, get some knowledgeable support person, etc.?

Of course, RMS’ arguments are also all valid. While I do not like the “sort of communistic” licencing approach of the FSF, and how they use the GNU FDL to restrict people while claiming that really all information should be free (I wouldn’t want that either, but that’s mostly for personal reasons or privacy), I’m positive that we should think twice about the code we use and the data we give.

I still am amazed at why people use so many kludgy web browser applications in favour of local applications. We should probably improve the situation regarding local backups… BoxBackup has an interesting approach, encrypting them. And, gosh, someone wrote a cloud shell… using $favourite_name (SOAP, XML, XMLRPC, AJAX, insert whatever disgusting technology is used at the moment) instead of Unix IPC via Pipes to connect “applications”. Gah! *shudder*

code age

2008-09-20 by tg@

Today, I hacked some more on mksh’s command line editing modi. They were probably written independently, so Benny’s request for vi mode cursor keys is unfulfillable reasonablily. I’m not quite done, there are some more patches to create, including one to the mksh(1) manual page, but that will come. It’s a hard job, and on a headache-clouded november day like this (no pun, look at the weather!) getting a hacking mood, as well as anything else done, is difficult. I did manage to catch a few sun rays, but… not much. Besides, sitting in front of a monitor all day makes you wish you had learned something else, even if everthing else goes smoothly — which it usually doesn’t…

I tried to make pax(1) compile without the -DLONG_OFF_T define… turns out that all the quad_t types and defines are not existant on Debian. Autoconfiguration and #ifdefs suck if you can do it without, but this will take some more time.

I had an interesting discussion about light bulbs with the MidnightBSD people yesternight. Mine mostly changed to power saving ones I got for free for switching to online invoices from our local provider. Neat. I do keep traditional bulbs in the places where light is needed only for very short times, like the entrance area, and frequently at that.
We often have interesting topics to discuss, e.g. languages, chocolate, things that suck… not only computing things, mind you ;)

I just use …/wlog.htm as my “blog” URI now if someone asks, even though this is not a blog. Symlinks rock.

PHP is dead!

2008-09-17 by tg@
Tags: security

The MirBSD website now runs without PHP even for legacy content. All HTML files are statically generated using mksh and MirMake. Pretty much unbreakable, we think.

While here, I’d like to invite you to try out mksh-current from CVS, as several (minor) bugs have been fixed. There are still some new features pending for another release.

SoftwareFreedomDay aftrap (of niet…)

2008-09-14 by tg@
Tags: event

Zaterdag 13 September, Baarn, Nederland. Iedereen wacht op me. Spijtig dat ik niet kan komen. Ik wilde met een vriend die een auto heeft naar Baarn gaan, maar die komt op 10:30 ipv 09:00 CEST, en dan ben ik ook nog niet klaar met wakker worden, koffie drinken, zaken samenzoeken, voor’t weekend inkopen, enzo. Op 12:00 zitten wij in zijn auto… maar dat zijn nog 2½ uren (of meer) tot dat wij aankomen kunnen, dus wordt besloten, er niet meer te gaan. SFD was vanaf 12:00 tot 17:00… voor 2 or 2½ uren moeten wij 5+ uren in’t auto zitten, en dan is nog niet zeker of wij het Brandpunt vinden. Slechte planing. In het duits is er een expressie voor dat: “Verpeilungsfaktor” — Wij zijn dan in’t zwembad geweest.

Groeten an iedereen die daar was… volgende keer dan. Echt jammer dat het niks wordt. Ik geloof ik had te weinig geslapen verleden week, door mijn nieuwe baan in zwitserland.

Wij zatten dan gisteren nog in mijn favoriet kroaats restaurant, er wordt besloten dat ik de volgende tijd minder aan mirbsd zelfs werk, maar het nieuwe server klaar maak en de VM zo installeer dat ze een takeover van de oude vhost kan maken. Ik doe mss eerst nog een snapshot, maar die komt dan zonder Live CD (die moet ik opnieuw maken doordat wij geen mkisofs met al zijn fouten meer gebruiken). Benny doet in de tussentijd meer met ports, bv. fixes voor ccache en distcc (zodat mijn SPARCstation cluster packages kan bouwen ☺) en enige Qt4 ports. Nadat de twee server’s klaar zijn kunnen wij dan verder met mksh, mirmake en zo doen, wanneer het werk nog arbeidsvermogen overig laat (da’s soms moeilijk). gecko2@ doet goeie werk met het opzetten van VMware voor eurynome, ter gebruik stellen van een IPv4, enzo.

Aus gegebenem Anlaß^Hss

2008-09-09 by tg@
Tags: event geocache

Wir haben jetzt ein Blumenkohl-Icon fürs iPhone, Dank an die RUBIs.

Google ist definitiv evil. Ich vermeide sie auch so wie es eben geht, aber bei zwei Sachen habe ich keine Alternative, da sie entweder einfach nicht existieren oder saugen: Suchmaschine (ja ich hab sie alle durch) und Karten (bin halt Geocacher).

Während ich die 2⁶ Caches locker voll habe, siehe die diversen… (Update: images moved here) …Statistiken, fängt Benny erst an, immerhin 2³ hat er schon: Kimnotyze macht nicht wirklich weiter… … gecko2 kommt selten zum Cachen, aber hatte letztens sein Vélo mit, sodaß er sich mit Kabelaffe und mir auf Tour begeben konnte: Und der Dr. Pfeffer findet in Bremen nichts mehr… wär er bloß mal nicht umgezogen, jaja… gibt halt nur in Bonn schön viele Dinger:
Aber Benny hat echt fieses Anfängerglück, und ich bin fachblind.

Bruscetta sind superlecker, aber füllen, zusammen mit der warmen Mahlzeit, den Bauch sehr an… und wenn man dann vorher noch einen Mojito hatte, hat man gar keine Lust zu hacken, ist ziemlich platt… erst bsiegert@ dann auch mir aufgefallen. Wir sitzen gerade bei N 47° 31.936′ E 007° 38.043′ im Chaostreff Bāsel… und sind ziemlich platt. Aber irgendwas kommt trotzdem bei rum.

Kommt wer mit nach Baarn und ggf. trifft sich mit uns $sonstwo?

cairo regressions

2008-09-05 by bsiegert@
Tags: bug

It seems that everytime I update cairo, another annoying bug pops up. This one is actually a regression: the exact same bug had been fixed in cairo-0.9.3, and now they reintroduced it. It seems that their code is only ever tested on GNU/Linux with all the latest libraries. Solaris and BSD systems are especially likely to blow up.

I have submitted the following text as fd.o bug 17450. Sorry if this wlog is becoming just a dump for upstream bugreports.

"I am trying to compile cairo 1.6.4 on MirOS BSD (an OpenBSD variant). The fontconfig included in the base system does not have the FcFini() function. As I gathered from searching the mailing list archives, this function is optional. However, on systems without FcFini(), the freetype backend is completely disabled.

"From reading the source code, I do not think that FcFini is really essential, and any calls to it are protected by #ifdef HAVE_FCFINI anyway. Thus, I made a small patch for the configure script to make a missing FcFini non-fatal for the freetype font backend.

"What's ironic is that this bug had already existed as bug 3951. It was fixed in 0.9.3."

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