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Six Years of MirBSD

29.08.2008 by tg@
Tags: release mksh

Six years ago, I started collecting patches against OpenBSD, a bunch of 4.4 elitist snobs since the 1980s (or so they say). Said patchkit should eventually become MirOS BSD and the MirPorts Framework, along with a couple of more or less well-known and successful subprojects. Time to celebrate (TGIF)!

IOW, I hacked a Debian package of mirmake, depending on latest mksh of course. It needs more upstream work to be useful and pretty, though.

Let me plug here an animated GIF found somewhere in the net, which shows my opinion about Netscape/Mozilla/Fire…tapir quite well:

And, even more unrelated, MirOS is (of course) continuously improving. We now use Fedora Core 4 libraries for the linuxulator, by suggestion of the MidnightBSD people, which should improve some things (it already has opened the door for Opera-linux plugins such as AcroRead-linux).

(The best browser of all is still lynx(1) though.)

FrOSCon redux

25.08.2008 by tg@
Tags: event geocache grml

Hum. This year’s FrOSCon… sucks. At least the catering, which was so much better last year (remembering the Chili con Carne, as well as the Chili non (sin) Carne, fondly… these were produced by wbx@’s family members, which haven’t been included in this year’s planning so some other persons did the catering). And being waked up at 04:00 in the morning due to a call on the mobile phone, for taking care of some drunken booth slave *grml…*, didn’t help either.

The evening’s social event also sucked totally. Since it had been raining until shortly before, they decided to have it inside, except the barbecue of course, but didn’t adjust the volume of the music played to the environment, which caused me to leave the MirOS/XF86 booth in favour of the Debian/grml booth, talking to Mika and Joey… who, like me, didn’t quite like being LITERALLY punched into our stomach by the basses. I left relatively early then, especially as the cocktails (Vutral brought me one, since I couldn’t go near the counter due to the volume of the… whatever they call music) tasted pretty bad and had a (too?) high percentage of alcohol. But talking to the various people, not just Mika and Joey, was good, even though just being at the FH (university) during the social event was really unbearable and physically endangering one’s health.

Other than that, we had quite a lot of fun at the conference, as usual. I still think it has chances to close up to FOSDEM, but they will have to make sure the catering does not get even worse. While FOSDEM does not have any catering, FrOSCon 2006 and 2007 had good food, and regressions count as malus.
Once I found Marc Aurele La France at the train station (which was quite a task), things went well – he even fixed a bug in our xdm configuration at the conference. The bug was inherited from OpenBSD, as usual ☺
Marc also said he enjoyed himself.

I hacked an Asus EeePC… MirOS mostly works (no NIC though), and the graphics card runs at 640x480 VESA… with the new 915resolution port of today, it might do the 800x480, but I can’t test now.

I took the chance to discover a geocache in St. Augustin yesterday, but, while Benny suggested we (him, me and gecko2) go caching in Bonn today, they seem to prefer hacking on the laptops (considering the weather, this is not the worst idea though), so I got time to write a wlog entry (too). I still have some things on my TODO, like fixing the ports with unfetchable distfiles, but hey.
Taking the day before and the day after the conference off is A Good Thing™.
Next one will be the Software Freedom Day in Baarn, Nederland – where not even Wim will go ☺ But I need a car… parents don’t help even if you ask them once a year, but maybe Jonathan from (near) Aachen will join me, he has a car.

My Thinkpad X40 will probably arrive today or tomorrow. Sadly, I didn’t invest any time in evaluating the products before… I learned that the ‘T’ series has 2.5" HDDs instead of the sucky 1.6" HDDs, and a much more solid lid chassis, at FrOSCon. My decision to buy an X40 was based solely on the observation that it was “in” at most OpenBSD developers some years ago (and thusly would most certainly work well with MirOS). Don’t do that then…

Once it’s there, I got to set it up and continue working. It’s bad odem broke so badly, especially as my current contractor (employer, except not quite so) would rather have me working full-time on the project, which is not entirely possible since I still have a life here. But upon setting it up, I might upgrade and/or fix some of the ports, since I’m at it anyway. Plus I get /home encryption.

Marc agreed to merging as much of our X11 changes (both these inherited from OpenBSD’s XF4 module and our own patches) into the XFree86® main tree, some ifdef’d, and helping us migrate to the new 4.7 or upcoming 4.8 release (or probably,, since I don’t think the merge will be there in time for 4.8 proper). He was a fun guy and well understanding our issues. The most funny part however was Thomas from Sourcemage (SMGL), who also maintains the mksh spell in their grimoire, considering to retain supporting XFree86® (and modular, but not the buggy monolithic iff it’s still actively developed, which Marc assured me it is.

Benny agrees that the “Kaiser’s BIO-Kaffee” is decent, despite its pricing of only 3.99 €/£ (may be my high quality milk too, though).

Update: looks like I’ve got a package to fetch from the post station.

In my recent entry, I already talked a bit about pkg-config and its framework support. It turns out that there is another problem. The --libs parameter can be "split" into its parts by using --libs-only-L, --libs-only-l, and --libs-only-other. The LyX configure script, however, did not care about the latter, only the first two. Which brings me to the mail I wrote to the pkg-config mailing list:


"while compiling LyX/Mac the other day, I came across a problem in the way frameworks are handled. On Mac OS, frameworks are a different way to pack a library together with its headers. Framework-related options are put in --libs-only-other, while the configure script was only checking for --libs-only-l and --libs-only-L. While I agree that this is broken behavior, it brings me to my question:

"The way I see it, -Fpath (framework search path) is equivalent to -Lpath for libraries. Thus, -F should maybe be included in the output of "pkg-config --libs-only-L". The same thing goes for the "-framework name" linker option, which is more or less the same thing as "-lname", namely linking against a certain library/framework. Thus, the -framework option (with argument) should be added to the output of --libs-only-l.


In other news, FrOSCon has it second and last day today. I am currently in the train on the way. The party ("social event") yesterday was quite good, even though the weather was not as good as last year—it was cold and humid.

X11, etc.

16.08.2008 by tg@
Tags: geocache

Don’t wonder if I appear online less often these days and commit weird and plain ugly things. I’m young and need the money</asr>

Uh, EXPN? Sure. I’m currently working for a company and a customer who both originally were basically the local CCC meet cast into a company. I need to learn a lot of things, and my view of the world has been utterly turned upside down.

At least, I was able to spot some geocaches in the more obscure parts… some would call it primitif… of the world. And in the Elsaß.

Ah, X11… the input is passed as keycode, not as keysym… it’s not easy, trying to write a thing for entering unicode hex chars (damn US keyboard missing the “<>|” key). IME won’t go. Maybe fake a selection and a paste event. Compose works, but only in xterm, which grows from 8 MiB to 34 MiB size and 1 minute startup time, each, when expanding composure. I don’t think that’s worth it, even if unicode is big.

As a new “standard”, we’ll #define all functions we introduce to themselves, like arc4random_pushk(3), to rid autohell.

I have just finished porting the aqua version of LyX (which I need for @work), which is going to become aqua/lyx-mac. Version 1.5.x needs Qt4, which we do not have on MirOS just yet, and the Mac version installs into an application bundle, so it is a completely separate port.

First of all, I discovered TWO bugs in Qt's build system. Not only are the generated .la files wrong, but the .pc files are broken, too. My first bug report contained lots of detail but what finally landed in their bad joke of a bug tracking system is a one-liner. That should teach me not to write bug reports longer than one line ... Seriously, WTF?

Next, our pkg-config (both actually, pkgconfig-bsd is not better) does not grok frameworks. In order to get a correct result, I had to port pkg-config-0.23. It is not in the trunk yet because I was told that newer versions "make bad things happen" on MirOS. What I will do is try to build some stuff using this newer version of pkgconfig and try to find out if it works. So, if you are feeling lucky: Install this and try to build some software on MirOS.

Still cats have less sorrows. Now it’s proven that feline specimen can actually spell. Poor “lolcats” who are abused by many.

Discovering Rivella and Tonnerre mentioning that swiss chocolate exported into the EU is artificially made more sweet than inland production (yuck, sweet chocolate) are some promising points voting for working in Switzerland. It’s still expensive and a major change though. But the payment is good, too.

While mkisofs is finally gone, I had to fix lots of bugs and port a new language, lang/pawn, actually better than others, but the interna still look more than very fragile. Same problem as with Ewe: written for Win32-only at first, made portable later by persons who don’t know how to code for Unix. Ugh, and… I’ve got to learn Python.

Either my VPN, gecko2s Server, or the network (at home, Strato, or here) sucks. Hm… maybe it’s the backup Tonnerre makes.

I should search for some more geocaces, but now that I have some more time than at the beginning of the week, the weather is worsening, and we still have the duties. *grml* I need tear set up, too…

I started hacking on the bootloader issue, decided to move out the various libraries into src/kern/ first, and completed that for zlib, began it for the rest. The other places – src/lib/libc/ src/sys/lib/ src/sys/arch/*/stand/lib* – now look much cleaner already, and in fact can do some better. I also merged bootloader and other improvements from OpenBSD before beginning the file move dance, but it still worked for me in qemu for testing, so I didn’t expect much breakage.

Furthermore, MirOS now officially has OPTU-8 locale (no more CESU-8), even if masqueraded as “en_US.UTF-8” for better application support. The CSUR had already, as posted about quite a few times, allocated us a PUA range, which mksh was already using, and now the base system and libc are beginning to catch up. Thanks to a pen and paper “game” I have sort of a defined finite machine modelling the conversion states, and found out I can get by with the mbstate_t we already were using. tr(1) already doesn’t wreck ISO-8859-1 accents any more (nor binary files), although that definitively needs some testing.

I’d just like to warn people that HEAD (MirOS-current) is a pretty moving target at the moment.

… I still wish I were a cat, sometimes. Just have to stay clear of cat abusers.

Tonight, I managed to port Wine 1.0 from pkgsrc®, with thanks to Hubert Feyrer for mentioning, except it seems to stumble about W^X and memory allocation/mapping in general. I guess we need some help from OpenBSD toolchain experts and possibly both FreeBSD® and pkgsrc® porters dealing with this. I can’t, but I tried a lot.

My other project for tonight failed, once because it has just too many unported dependencies, second because one of them requires gcc4, namely webkit (non-Qt). Okay, they say webkit-Qt can be built with gcc 3.4.6, but it seems to be not recommended. Thus no midori for us ☹ (yet).

The third thing was getting rid of J�rg Schilling… but due to the heat I slept bad and could not get up early. Really! (Yeah yeah…)

You all should read Tonnerre’s wonderful blog posting about how he got rid of Subversion, luckily. (I wonder about said “new” developer’s preference as I’d rather use CVS for everything…)

… oder: de vitae felidae

Katze müßte man sein, oder Kater halt, je nachdem. Den ganzen Tag sich faul in der Sonne räkeln, unter dem Heck eines Autos liegen und ab und zu den an ihr vorbeiradelnden Zweibeinern zuzwinkern und sie mit dem Kopf verfolgen; wenn man Hunger hat, reicht es, den Dosenöffner auf zwei Beinen mitleiderregend anzuschauen und/oder zu -miauen… manche haben sogar ein eigenes Blog oder gar ein BSD nach einem benannt; wem das nicht reicht hält sich den Nachbar des eigenen Dosenöffners, nämlich homsn, als zusätzlichen Hausmensch (quasi wie wir uns Haustiere, z.B. Hunde, halten)… der krault einen dann, und man muß nichtmals hingehen.

I just coined a new term: IMACS. The connotation is: I’ll hack the ukbd(4) driver to allow inmetaaltctrlshifting entropy into the kernel too, soon.

Update 26.07.2008: sadly, USB keyboards don’t seem to generate any interrupt requests on modifier key presses or releases. This means you’re stuck to DIN or PS/2 pckbd(4) or Sun (&c.) zskbd(4/sparc) for entropy collection via IMACSing. Can’t be helped…

With the latest edition of MirOS #10-current’s snapshot (read the announcement for more details), we have trumped OpenBSD once more. While being dual-arch is nothing new (to them), and being runnable as Live-HDD, Live-CF-Card, etc. is nothing new (to us), we haven’t yet had a dual-arch Live-CD/DVD (or HDD or CF/SD/MMC/… Card or USB stick) yet. Well, only one of the two architectures has Live CD capability, but we neither have baselive image capability for sparc yet (though that would be possible, even if somewhat kludgy) nor would it have fit on the ISO 9660 image within the boundaries of a CD-R. And DVDs don’t match well with SPARCstation 20s ☻

Coming to that, I recently recherched if gcc 3.4.6, which we currently use as system compiler, can be used to build gcc 4.3 (with special care on the Ada part). Looks like you can even use gcc 2.95 for that, lucky us. This means I should somehow discover the Ada patch for gdb 6.3, which – again, luckily – we use, and apply it. I had talked with Benny about the compiler issue… originally I wanted to strip down the system compiler to the bare minimum once a more recent gcc (and possibly, LLVM, SUNWcc, pcc, etc.) are in ports and usable, but with the proposals to rewrite gcc in dreaded C++, C++ API issues, licencing issues, Ada bootstrapping, etc. we will probably continue to require GNU make for building the base compiler (the bad part) and be able to announce we’re good for developing (the good part of keeping the full-featured gcc near base). Just the Java™ part will not be re-enabled in near future, as it isn’t used for bootstrapping Iced Tea anyway. (It can be used for simple things though.)

With all the friendly fire, OpenBSD bashing, etc. aside, I would like to use this place to thank a few OpenBSD developers for helping me out with a bug in mksh as well as the issue with sshd(8) on sparc (and probably i386 even if it didn’t show up) I had (which even was my own fault). While you guys still don’t have an mksh port in your tree, some of you are really helpful (also hi Miod) sometimes, and I hope we can drink a few beer together at the next FOSDEM etc. and FrOSCon of course. (Which I hope we will also be able to use to discuss the state of our X11 tree.) To Linus: while OpenBSD developers may be masturbating monkeys, at least they’re able to design stable APIs, drink beer, and use sane version control systems with central quality control while being annoyed by humppa.

The usual unrelated news: Basel, ich komme! Schon mal GRÜẞE im Voraus an die Schweizer, die dies lesen.

mksh side notes: some older versions of SunC 5.9 fail on ({ stuff in acomp, use env HAVE_EXPSTMT=0 to build then. nwcc also has issues.

MirBSD side notes: We build for V8 CPUs on sparc, but still only V7 are emulated by tme. And while V9 CPUs in V8+ mode shouldn’t be a problem, there’s no interest from the OpenBSD camp to run the sparc (not sparc64) port on sun4u or even sun4v machines, so no fast build machines yet… *snief*

Since CacheWolf was the only use case, I decided to remove MirEwe from the repository entirely, as CacheWolf will be rewritten to use the Eve VM, inevitably.

Not only have I removed a last source tarball (distfile) of Lunix Ewe 1.49mb4, with,, and ewe.jar pregenerated, but the comma-v rcsfile(5)s are also archived in a gzipped sv4crc file, gzsig(1)ned, as usual.

Update 06.11.2008: We now have an Ewe icon Icon, thanks to smultron.

And, also as usual, one more unrelated thing: config(8) -ef /bsd should not only be able to handle gzip(1)ped kernels, but also personalise them by rewriting the initial_entropy array. TODO. The snapshot, dualive ISO 9660 image, is almost complete and will be uploaded later.

Update 26.07.2008: personalising done, snapshot broken.

mksh – The iShell

Thanks to help from people in the various IRC channels, and gecko2@ jailbreaking his iPhone 3G (not G3…), I was able to run (albeit not test – there is no Perl for the iPhone yet) two mksh(1) binaries on it: a normal one and a fat binary (aka universal binary – this one, containing code for 5 (five) architectures, can truly be called an universal binary ☺).

I packaged the modified build script, an extra ldid binary (built for OSX86) provided by someone else, and the output of the build process, together with a readme, as a gzsig(1)ned tarball on our server again – note that the cryptographic signature is only for time stamping (and download integrity checking) and does not imply any warranties, especially for the third-party software involved.

While here, we would be pleased if the reader supports our proposal and requests Apple to include mksh in the default installations. We would also be pleased if the mksh-iPhone binary were to make it into one of the Cydia repositories, contact us via IRC or mailing lists for assistance.

If someone were to package Perl 5.8 or so, that’d be great too.

To the readers from ##iphone-hackers on the one and #iphone-dev on the other IRC network: *waves a friendly hello*

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