Interview with S.P. Zeidler

August 06, 2009 posted by Emile Heitor

Here's the third edition of the "discussions with a NetBSD developer" series. This time, we had the chance to talk to S.P. Zeidler, admin and member of pkgsrc-releng.

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The NetBSD Blog now available via HTTPS

August 05, 2009 posted by Marc Balmer

The NetBSD blog is now available via HTTPS as well as the non-encrypted HTTP protocol.



Interview with Adam Hamsik

July 15, 2009 posted by Emile Heitor

After our first interview with NetBSD-5.0 release engineer Soren Jacobsen, it is now Adam Hamsik's turn to be interviewed by NetBSDfr.

Adam is known for his work on porting LVM tools to NetBSD, and for porting ZFS as part of this year's Google Summer of Code.

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Google Summer of Code: Display control and Acceleration

July 14, 2009 posted by Jeremy Morse

Almost all modern display hardware feature various screen resolutions and some form of 2D hardware acceleration - usually as a "bitblit" function to move pixel data around video memory while the processor does something else. Unfortunately the only facility that can make use of this on NetBSD is X, and even then through it's own device drivers. Other popular operating systems (ie linux) feature accelerated framebuffer consoles and kernel display mode setting, as well as numerous display managers for embedded systems that use hardware acceleration (for example Qt/Embedded or DirectFB).

This project is to create a device independent framework to work with wscons, providing kernel mode setting, accelerated framebuffer console support, and allowing userland applications to use 2D acceleration features. More information about this can be found on the project web page

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BSDCan 2009: Kernel Development in Userspace - The Rump Approach

May 29, 2009 posted by Antti Kantee

At BSDCan 2009 I gave a presentation about using rump for kernel development. The associated paper has two target audiences:

  • regular users who wish to easily learn about how the kernel works without having to setup complex kernel development environments
  • kernel developers who wish to learn how to use rump for kernel development and requesting more detailed information from users in problem reports




Runnable Userspace Meta Programs in NetBSD 5.0

May 19, 2009 posted by Antti Kantee

The rump (Runnable Userspace Meta Program) framework, unique to NetBSD, provides lightweight virtualization of kernel components such a file systems and networking. This short article explores the key ideas behind rump and gives examples on how to use rump on NetBSD 5.

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NetBSD 5.0: benchmarks and an introduction

May 02, 2009 posted by Andrew Doran

I have prepared a presentation giving an overview of some of the new features, technology and performance improvements debuting in NetBSD 5.0. You can find the slides from this presentation here:

A comparison of the scalability and performance improvements found in NetBSD 5.0 was conducted against NetBSD 4.0, Fedora Core 10 and FreeBSD 7.1, and is part of the presentation. An outline is below, but for full details on the tests, please refer to the slides. Please click on the images to view a larger version of each.

Benchmark: hackbench

This benchmark tests the efficiency and scalability of the scheduler and IPC (inter-process commmunication) mechanisms. It was created by and is popular with Linux kernel developers. Hackbench quickly exposes problems with SMP scaling, and with high numbers of active tasks.

Benchmark: MySQL sysbench

This test simulates an OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) style database workload. From the OS developer's viewpoint, it measures the efficiency and scalability of threading, memory allocation, and IPC.

Benchmark:, NetBSD's build system

This test measures how well the operating system scales when given hosting an intensive software development or shell type workload.

Fedora continues to excel due to the significant investment in improving the efficiency and scalability of Linux over the last few years. Our hats are off to the GNU/Linux/Fedora developers. We aim to reverse the position with the release of NetBSD 6.0.



Automated testing in NetBSD 5.0

April 30, 2009 posted by Julio Merino

With the release of NetBSD 5.0, a new testing infrastructure for the operating system will get wide exposure. This testing infrastructure is based on the Automated Testing Framework (ATF), a project that was started as part of the Google Summer of Code 2007 program, and that provides a platform-independent framework to easily write and automatically exercise test cases. As of this release, only a few NetBSD-specific tests are available as ATF-based tests, but they are a good preview of what the future will look like.

Starting from this release, you will see a new tests.tgz distribution set during the installation of NetBSD. If you choose to install it, sysinst will populate /usr/tests with a new collection of test programs that are based on the ATF framework. Once installed, edit /etc/atf/NetBSD.conf to suit your system preferences and then, to run the tests, do:

# cd /usr/tests
# atf-run | atf-report

The whole idea of providing the test programs as an installable distribution set is that your specific combination of hardware and software is not available to system developers, so only you can make sure that the system behaves as it should. Furthermore, by successfully running the tests, you can have a good feeling that everything is working as expected!

As far as I know, there are some tests in this release that are broken, but I'm not sure if this is because the tests themselves are broken or because the features under test are broken. Help is welcome in this area!

There is still a lot of work to do in the automated testing area... but the fact that ATF is now bundled in a formal release of NetBSD raises my willingness to work on it. If only I had enough time... At the very least, expect many more ATF-based test cases in NetBSD 6.0.




April 02, 2009 posted by Sarah Cockburn

NetBSD is now available on Twitter!

There are also facebook groups and pages you can add:



Google's Summer of Code 2009

March 19, 2009 posted by Sarah Cockburn

Google has announced the mentoring organizations for Summer of Code 2009. This will be the fifth year that NetBSD has been able to participate.

A list of available projects can be found here. If you are interested in working on any of these projects, please contact the developer and/or mailing list referenced next to each item, and try to answer as many questions from our Project Application HowTo as possible. The interested developers will be glad to respond to you there.

In the meantime, prospective students should keep an eye on deadlines as application are only open between 23 March 2009 and 3 April 2009. Further information is available on the Summer of Code FAQ page.



Qt/Embedded @ wscons

March 08, 2009 posted by Valeriy E. Ushakov

Some time ago I finally found a small box of round tuits and ported Qt/Embedded to run on top of wscons. Unfortunately, day job and other things have been sucking most of my time, so after sitting on these patches for almost a month I figured that may be someone out there may be interested enough to pick this up.

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NetBSD@CeBIT 2009

March 06, 2009 posted by Ulrich Habel

The CeBIT which is the biggest IT-related fair in Europe is currently on in Hannover/Germany. The allBSD Project which was founded to focus on marketing related things for all the different BSDs was able to get a small booth. The booth is showing a Xen 3 showcase based on NetBSD and provides informational material to the visitors of the fair. I joined them for one and a half days at the booth and tried to answer all the questions. All the reactions from the visitors show that there is an interest in the BSD based operating systems.

One thing which seems to be very important in these days are small flyers which can be taken by the visitors. We need to create more informational material, anyone who is willing to contribute is a great help.

CeBIT will close its doors on Sunday 8 March 2009, make sure to visit the BSD booth in Hall 6, F50.