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Benny, read below before killing me.

AH=41h INT 13h is a function with which one can ask a BIOS if it supports LBA on a specific drive or not. The El Torito bootable CDs only function with LBA (EDD). A gzipped LBA test ISO is available for you to check your BIOS against it; I had not yet come across one which does not report it correctly.

Our new bootloader, instead of having separate copies for network boot, CD-ROMs, floppies and hard discs, asks the BIOS what type drive it is running on (both first and second stage). If we were to remove the check if LBA is supported on the boot drive from the first stage bootloader (the PBR, bootxx), it would no longer work on MFM HDDs, floppies, etc; besides, the second stage boot(8/i386) loader is still using it to distinguish CDs from hard discs.

Anyway: the Parallels BIOS fails the EDD installation check and, as such, does not conform to the El Torito standard. Our new bootloader just happens to expose that problem – try the ISO for yourself…

We hereby cease to support working around the brokenness in order to use one unified second stage boot(8) loader per platform for both local (HDD, CD) and network boot. Parallels should fix their BIOS.

As workaround you can make use of the functionality that MirOS ISOs can be dd(1)d to a hard disc and run from there. Just enter it as an additional hard disc drive instead of CD-ROM drive. Or use netboot (load b_i386.ldr and the bsd.rd kernel).

Update 31.01: tg@ has hacked a workaround – reporting this bug to Parallels is still recommended though.

It has come to our attention that a good share of the available binary packages for the last stable version have actually been accidentally built against a (very old) version of MirOS #10-current, thus demanding slightly newer libraries. We estimate this problem being resolved when the next batch of binary packages for #10-stable is built, although there is none scheduled as of yet, and a run for #10-current will probablt precede it. Sorry about that.

An analysis of the code in question however shows that it is almost certain to be safe – for the purpose of running the aforementioned binary packages only – to rename libc.so.41.0 to libc.so.41.1 to quell the warning encountered (or one of them, possibly, but the most frequent one at that). The addition of functions was almost certainly not relevant for MirPorts use.

We apologise about the inconvenience. If you run into any problems, please contact us on IRC or via the mailing list.

2009-01-08 by tg@

Tags: security

MirOS-current has security fixes for xterm (CVE-2006-7236, CVE-2008-2383) and OpenSSL (CVE-2008-5077) and updating from CVS is recommended.

On unrelated news, ports/net/irssi/files/randex.pl, the Irssi plugin for the MirOS RANDEX protocol to exchange entropy over IRC, has been updated as well.

New allegiances for mksh & Co.

2009-01-08 by tg@
Tags: grml mksh snapshot

mksh formed new allegiances: the Beastiebox Project (10x hubertf@TNF for mentioning) has added mksh(1) today, and the latest project of CcSsNET, CcSsLIVE (broken link removed 20100916), will include it soonish as well. Nicely, he already links to MirBSD, for he sits in our IRC channel usually and is one of the sparc users.

The next version of grml GNU/Linux might very well come not just with mksh(1) (except grml-small), but also with bootbsd.com née boot(8/i386) and bsd.rd (a slightly “tuned” version with added e3 editor and sans the Install/Upgrade/Shell prompt). On the contrary, I’m toying with the idea of adding a ports/sysutils/pxegrub for local boot along with a slightly tuned (add mksh at the very least) on the DuaLive ISOs if I find we have the space. We’ll have to work out something, licence and GPL-source-requirement wise, but we’re positive this would work out well. Considering just how good of a rescue system our bsd.rd kernel is, already, and what added benefit a minimal pretty standard Live Linux may provide.

Cool i386 bootloader changes

2008-12-28 by tg@

The second-stage boot(8/i386) loader has gained several interesting new features:

  • When called as DOS .com program, it defaults to DL=80h because no actual drive is passed from the BIOS
  • When named boot.com it can be run as SYSLINUX (ISOLINUX, PXELINUX, EXTLINUX) module and boot any OpenBSD/i386 and MirBSD/i386 kernels from local filesystems supported
  • In addition to 4.2FFS and ISO 9660, the code to support the FAT12, FAT16, and FAT28 filesystems works and is enabled now, for both booting and the “ls” command
  • If a hard disc has no type 27h partition, the disklabel is searched using the superfloppy approach (i.e., LBA sector #1)
  • If no disklabel can be found, one is spoofed with a somewhat reasonable ‘c’ slice, the four MBR primary partitions as slices ‘d’, ‘e’, ‘f’ and ‘g’, and an ‘a’ slice spanning either the partition passed from DS:SI via SYSLINUX, the first non-empty MBR partition, or the entire disc
  • The new command “cat” allows you to display files from within the bootloader, lest they be accessible
  • The new command “machine label [hd0a]” dumps the disklabel
  • You can place more than one command on the same input line, because ‘`’ now acts the same as ‘\n’ in the command parser; this is useful for instance if the serial console is not accessible from the boot loader, but required for the kernel, and using a boot.cfg is no option

The /usr/mdec/mbrldr, /usr/mdec/mbrmgr and the MBR built in fdisk(8/i386) have been upgraded to pass the partition data in DS:SI (or junk if reading from FDD or whole HDD)

*smile* Now we just need to make our bootloader multiboot-compliant…

HEADS-UP for MirOS-current

2008-12-26 by tg@

If you want to track MirOS-current, be aware that /usr/libexec/cpp changed and /usr/bin/cpp is gone; you must compile and install a new cpp first, then stuff like rpcgen(1) and lint(1), then remove the /usr/bin/cpp script.

Furthermore, the gcc-provided shared libraries and items have moved from /usr/lib to /usr/lib/gcc/OStriplet/3.4.6 which you should add to shlib_dirs in /etc/rc.conf.local until you have rebuilt everything (base system and ports). Both mgcc and llvm-gcc add appropriate DT_RPATH to programs and shared objects compiled with them and use their own crtstuff; mircvs://src/lib/csu/ now provides crtstuff for use with pcc(!) instead.

Expect a new i386 snapshot some time soon; sparc snapshots are planned more for the long term but could be compiled on request (ETA one week).

The C Præprocessor, cpp(1), in MirOS-current has changed.

/usr/bin/cpp is henceforth deprecated in MirOS-current as well as in MirOS-stable; it’s a shell script (overhead!) to call either mcpp(1) or Reiser CCCP. It will be removed in MirOS-current ASAP.

/usr/bin/mcpp calls GNU cpp directly. Its manual page used to be called cpp(1) and is now called mcpp(1). Since we are going towards a multi compiler system, people are expected to use “${CC} -E” as C Præprocessor in the future, instead of relying on an external cpp binary, when compiling. A cpp binary will still be provided for the X(7) Windowing System and similar uses. /usr/bin/mcpp will be removed some time before MirOS #11

/usr/libexec/cpp used to be Reiser CCCP without a manual page. It is now pcc cpp(1) with a manual page.

ahoka@ came up with the idea of using the (much faster) pcc cpp over the (rather slow) GNU cpp for purposes like Xresources, xdm configuration files, etc. Reiser CCCP could be used too, but it’s lacking in terms of standards and features. However, pcc cpp is under the Caldera licence, and thus, the following text must be reproduced in this announcement. (It’s still much more free than GNU cpp.)

This product includes software developed or owned by Caldera International, Inc.

Technical issues: pcc cpp uses getopt(3) and, as such, has a command line syntax which is totally different from the CPP standard. It also pre-defines neither any macros nor include paths. Be warned, and expect some breakage until everything is sorted out.

The MirOS Licence is now, after quite some years, OSI approved, which not only implies an official certification that it conforms to the Open Source Definition, but also allows mksh to be advertised as “OSI Certified Open Source Software”™, and has other benefits, for example qualifying for being hosted by certain projects, or fulfilling certain gouvernment restrictions.

While there has always been cōnsensus that The MirOS Licence is DFSG and OSD and, recently, OKD conformant, only some lists actually included it – the OKFN was quick to do so, but while it qualifies as both Free Software and Free Documentation licence as per the FSF definition, they have yet to respond to my enquiry, and the OSI list has only been updated last night (and could use some UTF-8 fixing, or, in this case certainly better, a downgrade to the ASCII version dubbed the licence template initially).

Still we’re glad that the OSI, although not encouraging people to actually use the licence, given their stance on “licence proliferation”, has done this step. It would be the first approved “copycenter” (as per Marshall Kirk McKusick’s definition) style licence with EU jurisdiction in mind while remaining generally usable.

We are proud to announce the migration of the httpd(8) vhost www.mirbsd.org to eurynome, the VM already mentioned in the Developers’ Weblog. The MirOS website is now accessible via HTTPS (this includes downloads in a secure fashion), using IPv4 or IPv6. Due to no longer being hosted on a foreign operating system, operation should be much more smooth. CVSweb, AnonCVS and AnonRSYNC are now provided from a central place, and you can even retrieve the full website via rsync.

The links in the mirbsd.de Zope kindly hosted by waldi also have been changed to use SSL now.

All links to the 66h.42h.de domain have also been changed to point to mirbsd.de or mirbsd.org, as the latter is now under sort of our control, and the former being phased out to reduce the possible points of failure.

MirOS-current DuaLive snapshot on BT

2008-11-07 by tg@
Tags: snapshot

The 2008-11-06 snapshot of MirOS BSD/i386 #10-current has been released as a new-style dualive CD image (BaseLive + Install CD for i386, Install CD for sparc, build logs) on the usual BitTorrent tracker, multi-tracked with a major BT site for these who pick it up there.

It's also available for NetInstall on both architectures. Note that this snapshot is identical to the 2008-30-10 one, but has been built using newer makefs(8) and baselive infrastructure.

This is the first snapshot with working startx(1) because we can now write symlink(7)s using Rock Ridge onto the filesystem image.

Today, a new snapshot of MirOS-current has been uploaded into the NetInstall area. The cdrom10.iso image is, as usually, a manifold-boot ISO 9660 filesystem which starts on i386 via El Torito, on i386 via MBR (if dd(1)’d onto a hard disc, USB stick, CompactFlash card, etc.), and on sparc via OpenBOOT. It also contains floppy images for i386 (one normal and three for serial console at COM1/tty00 at 9600, 38400 and 115200 bps, 8N1) and sparc. There are also CD images for serial console boot with the same parametres.

The MirPorts Framework snapshot, ports10.ngz, has also been updated. Note that we are still seeking port maintainers (our current policy is to update ports we use, which are often used, or we notice, or these someone asks us to, because we are understaffed), as well as people who use the MirPorts Framework on MidnightBSD and OpenBSD (and, to a lesser extend, Mac OSX). Furthermore, the pkgsrc10.ngz snapshot has been untouched since July 2007; if someone would like to improve the situation, for example by talking to the pkgsrc® developers responsible for stalling the integration, talk to ahoka@ (replaced in IRC).

This snapshot does not come as a DuaLive CD due to issues with both J�rg Schilling’s mkisofs(8), which has since been removed from the base system source tree, and NetBSD® makefs(8). However, we are trying to solve these and will produce one as soon as possible.

As of now, there are no binary packages compiled specifically for this snapshot; however, binary packages for older snapshots and even MirOS #10 RELEASE generally work.

paxmirabilis-20081030 (MirCPIO) released

2008-10-29 by tg@
Tags: cpio

RMD160 (paxmirabilis-20081030.cpio.gz) = 34c9a5913c9e69c8451d27d6ceeaa07cce6d3fef

Everyone who has been using the portable version of the MirBSD cpio(1), pax(1), tar(1) combined utility should upgrade, as the new version not only allows the executables to be called, for example, mirtar (to avoid breaking tools such as dpkg-source and lintian when they are in the $PATH), but also contains fixes regarding certain types of broken archives, such as these found in the Fedora Core 4 RPMs, which do not store the data content of hard-linked files packed with the first archive member but a later (the last). Furthermore, the ‘-v’ option may now be given multiple times to the cpio and pax, not only tar, frontend.

paxmirabilis is used, among others, in MirOS BSD, the MirPorts Framework, FreeWRT Embedded GNU/Linux ADK.

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