December 17, 2013 posted by Antti Kantee
A cyclic trend in operating systems is moving things in and out of the
kernel for better performance. Currently, the pendulum is swinging
in the direction of userspace being the locus of high performance.
architecture of NetBSD ensures that the same kernel drivers work in a
monolithic kernel, userspace and beyond. One of those driver stacks is
networking. In this article we assume that
the NetBSD networking stack is run outside of the monolithic kernel in
a rump kernel and survey
the open source interface layer options.
November 16, 2013 posted by Benny Siegert
FOSDEM 2014 will take place on 1–2 February, 2014, in Brussels,
Belgium. Just like in the last years, there will be both a BSD booth
and a developer's room (on Saturday).
The topics of the devroom include all BSD operating systems. Every
talk is welcome, from internal hacker discussion to real-world
examples and presentations about new and shiny features. The default
duration for talks will be 45 minutes including discussion. Feel free
to ask if you want to have a longer or a shorter slot.
If you already submitted a talk last time, please note that the
procedure is slightly different.
To submit your proposal, visit
and follow the instructions to create an account and an “event”.
Please select “BSD devroom” as the track. (Click on “Show all” in
the top right corner to display the full form.)
Please include the following information in your submission:
- The title and subtitle of your talk (please be descriptive,
as titles will be listed with ~500 from other projects)
- A short abstract of one paragraph
- A longer description if you wish to do so
- Links to related websites/blogs etc.
The deadline for submissions is December 20, 2013. The talk committee,
consisting of Daniel Seuffert, Marius Nünnerich and Benny Siegert,
will consider the proposals. If yours has been accepted, you will be
informed by e-mail before the end of the year.
October 11, 2013 posted by Thomas Klausner
The following report is by Manuel Wiesinger:
First of all, I like to thank the NetBSD Foundation for enabling me to successfully complete this Google Summer of Code. It has been a very valuable experience for me.
My project is a defragmentation tool for FFS. I want to point out at the beginning that it is not ready for use yet.
What has been done:
Fragment analysis + reordering. When a file is smaller or equal than the file system's fragment size, it is stored as a fragment. One can think of a fragment as a block. It can happen that there are many small files that occupy a fragment. When the file systems changes over time it can happen that there are many blocks containing fewer fragments than they can hold. The optimization my tool does is to pack all these fragments into fewer blocks. This way the system may get a little more free space.
Directory optimization. When a directory gets deleted, the space for that directory and its name are appended to the previous directory. This can be imagined like a linked list. My tool reads that list and writes all entries sequentially.
Non-contiguous files analysis + reordering strategy. This is what most other operating systems call defragmentation - a reordering of blocks, so that blocks belonging to the same file or directory can be read sequentially.
September 30, 2013 posted by Jeff Rizzo
The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 6.1.2, the second security/bugfix update of the NetBSD 6.1 release branch, and NetBSD 6.0.3, the third security/bugfix update of the NetBSD 6.0 release branch. They represent a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons, and if you are running a prior release of NetBSD 6.x3, you are recommended to update.
For more details, please see the NetBSD 6.1.2 release notes or NetBSD 6.0.3 release notes.
Complete source and binaries for NetBSD 6.1.2 and NetBSD 6.0.3 are available for download at many sites around the world. A list of download sites providing FTP, AnonCVS, SUP, and other services may be found at http://www.NetBSD.org/mirrors/
September 28, 2013 posted by Jeff Rizzo
The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 5.2.1, the first security/bugfix update of the NetBSD 5.2 release branch, and NetBSD 5.1.3, the third security/bugfix update of the NetBSD 5.1 release branch. They represent a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons, and if you are running a release of NetBSD prior to 5.1.3, you are recommended to update to a supported NetBSD 5.x or NetBSD 6.x version.
For more details, please see the NetBSD 5.2.1 release notes or NetBSD 5.1.3 release notes.
Complete source and binaries for NetBSD 5.2.1 and NetBSD 5.1.3 are available for download at many sites around the world. A list of download sites providing FTP, AnonCVS, SUP, and other services may be found at http://www.NetBSD.org/mirrors/
Updates to NetBSD 6.x will be coming in the next few days.
September 23, 2013 posted by Martin Husemann
Just a small update on the previous post
about firefox on sparc64: after a bit more work, the brand new version 24 ESR builds straight from pkgsrc (so should be included in the next set of binary pkgs).
All open issues (wrong colours on scaled images, failing https, ...) have been resolved.
Here is a new screeenshot:
September 18, 2013 posted by Antti Kantee
Yesterday I wrote a serious, user-oriented post about running applications directly on the Xen
hypervisor. Today I compensate for the seriousness by writing a
why-so-serious, happy-buddha type kernel hacker post. This post is
about using NetBSD kernel PCI drivers in
rump kernels on Xen, with device access courtesy of Xen PCI passthrough.
September 17, 2013 posted by Antti Kantee
There are a number of motivations for running applications directly on
top of the Xen hypervisor without resorting to a full general-purpose OS.
For example, one might want to maximally isolate applications with minimal
overhead. Leaving the OS out of the picture decreases overhead, since
for example the inter-application protection offered normally by virtual
memory is already handled once by the Xen hypervisor.
However, at the same time problems arise: applications expect and use
many services normally provided by the OS, for example files, sockets,
event notification and so forth. We were able to set up a production
quality environment for running applications as Xen DomU's in a few
weeks by reusing hundreds of thousands of lines of unmodified driver and
infrastructure code from NetBSD. While the amount of driver code may
sound like a lot for running single applications, keep in mind that it
involves for example file systems, the TCP/IP stack, stdio, system calls
and so forth -- the innocent-looking open() alone accepts over
20 flags which must be properly handled. The remainder of this post
looks at the effort in more detail.
August 22, 2013 posted by Soren Jacobsen
The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 6.1.1, the first security/bugfix update of the NetBSD 6.1 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons.
For more details, please see the 6.1.1 release notes.
Complete source and binaries for NetBSD 6.1.1 are available for download at many sites around the world. A list of download sites providing FTP, AnonCVS, SUP, and other services may be found at http://www.NetBSD.org/mirrors/.
July 03, 2013 posted by Michael Lorenz
Support for Sun's SX rendering engine ( found in the SparcStation 20 and 10SX's memory controllers ) has been added, both for the console and X. Both drivers support basic acceleration ( block copy, rectangle fill, character drawing in the kernel ), the Xorg driver also supports Xrender acceleration. This probably makes SX the oldest supported hardware which can do that.
July 02, 2013 posted by Matthew Sporleder
Google Code-In (GCi) is a project like Google Summer Of Code (GSoC),
but for younger students. While GSoC is aimed at university students,
i.e. for people usually of age 19 or older, GCi wants to recruit
pupils for Open Source projects.
When applying for participation, every project had to create a large number of
potentially small tasks for students. A task was meant to be two hours of work of
an experienced developer, and feasible to be done by a person 13 to 18 years
old. Google selected ten participating organisations (this time, NetBSD
was the only BSD participating) to insert their tasks into Google Melange (the
platform which is used for managing GCi and GSoC).
Then, the students registered at Google Melange, chose a project they wanted to
work on, and claimed tasks to do. There were many chats in the NetBSD code
channel for students coming in and asking questions about their tasks.
After GCi was over, every organisation had to choose their two favourite
students who did the best work. For NetBSD, the choice was difficult, as there
were more than two students doing great work, but in the end we chose Mingzhe
Wang and Matthew Bauer.
These two "grand price winners" were given a trip to Mountain View to visit the
Google headquarters and meet with other GCi price winners.
You can see the results on the
corresponding wiki page
There were 89 finished tasks, ranging from research tasks (document how other
projects manage their documentation), creating howtos, trying out software on
NetBSD, writing code (ATF tests and Markdown converters and more), writing
manpages and documentation, fixing bugs and converting documentation from the
website to the wiki.
Overall, it was a nice experience for NetBSD. On the one hand, some real work
was done (for many of them, integration is still pending). On the other hand, it
was a stressful time for the NetBSD mentors supervising the students and helping
them on their tasks. Especially, we had to learn many lessons (you will find
them on the wiki page for GCi 2012), but next time, we will do much better.
We will try to apply again next year, but we will need a large bunch of new
possible tasks to be chosen again.
So if you think you have a task which doesn't require great prior knowledge, and
is solvable within two hours by an experienced developer, but also by a 13-18
year old within finite time, feel free to contact us with an outline, or write
it directly to the wiki page for Code-In
in the NetBSD wiki.
June 27, 2013 posted by Matthew Sporleder
Julian Djamil Fagir wrote a blog post about his GSoC project
As one of five, I've been chosen for participating in Google Summer Of Code (GSoC) this year for NetBSD. My project is to write a binary upgrade tool for NetBSD, optionally with a “live update” functionality.
Why an upgrade tool? – Yes, updating currently is easy. You download the set tarballs from a mirror, unpack the kernel, reboot, unpack the rest, reboot, and done. But this is an exhausting procedure, and you have to know that there are actually updates, and what they affect.