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FrOSCon is approaching, and all MirBSD developers will attend… but why’s there no MirBSD exhibit? The answer to that is a bit complex. First let’s state that of course we will participate in the event as well as the Open Source world. We’ll also be geocaching around the campus with other interested (mostly OSS) people (including those we won for this sport) and helping out other OSS projects we’ve become attached to.

MirOS BSD, the operating system, is a niche system. The conference on the other hand got “younger” and more mainstream. This means that almost all conference visitors do not belong to the target group of MirOS BSD which somewhat is an “ancient solution”: the most classical BSD around (NetBSD® loses because they have rc.d and PAM and lack sendmail(8), sorry guys, your attempt at being not reformable doesn’t count) and running on restricted hardware (such as my 486SLC with 12 MiB RAM) and exots (SPARCstation). It’s viable even as developer workstation (if your hardware is supported… otherwise just virtualise it) but its strength lies with SPARC support and “embedded x86”. And being run as virtual machine: we’re reportedly more stable and more performant than OpenBSD. MirBSD is not cut off from modern development and occasionally takes a questionable but justified choice (such as using 16-bit Unicode internally) or a weird-looking but beneficial one (such as OPTU encoding saving us locale(1) hassles) or even acts as technological pioneer (64-bit time_t on ILP32 platforms) or, at least, is faster than OpenBSD (newer GNU toolchain, things like that), but usually more conservatively, and yes, this is by design, not by lack of manpower, most of the time.

The MirPorts Framework, while technically superiour in enough places, is something that just cannot happen without manpower. I (tg@) am still using it exclusively, continuing to update ports I use and occasionally creating new ones (mupdf is in the works!), but it’s not something I’d recommend someone (other than an Mac OSX user) to use on a nōn-MirBSD system (Interix is not exactly thriving either, and the Interix support was only begun; other OSes are not widely tested).

The MirBSD Korn Shell is probably the one thing I will be remembered for. But I have absolutely no idea how one would present it on a booth at such an exhibition. A talk is much more likely. So no on that front too.

jupp, the editor which sucks less, is probably something that does deserve mainstream interest (especially considering Natureshadow is using it while teaching computing to kids) but probably more in a workshop setting. And booth space is precious enough in the FH so I think that’d be unfair.

All the other subprojects and side projects Benny and I have, such as mirₘᵢₙcⒺ, josef stalin, FreeWRT, Lunix Ewe, Shellsnippets, the fonts, etc. are interesting but share few, if any, common ground. Again, this does not match the vast majority of visitors. While we probably should push a number of these more, but a booth isn’t “it” here, either.

MirOS Linux (“MirLinux”) and MirOS Windows are, despite otherwise-saying rumours called W*k*p*d*a, only premature ideas that will not really be worked on (though MirLinux concepts are found in mirₘᵢₙcⒺ and stalin).

As you can see, despite all developers having full-time dayjobs, The MirOS Project is far from being obsolete. We hope that our website visitors understand our reasons to not have an exhibition booth of our own (even if the SPARCstation makes for a way cool one, it’s too heavy to lift all the time), and would like to point out that there are several other booths (commercial ones, as well as OSS ones such as AllBSD, Debian and (talking to) others) and other itineries we participate in. This year both Benny and I have been roped into helping out the conference itself, too (not exactly unvoluntarily though).

The best way to talk to us is IRC during regular European “geek” hours (i.e. until way too late into the night – which Americans should benefit from), semi-synchronously, or mailing lists. We sort of expect you to not be afraid to RTFM and look up acronyms you don’t understand; The MirOS Project is not unfriendly but definitely not suited for your proverbial Aunt Tilly, newbies, “desktop” users, and people who aren’t at least somewhat capable of using written English (this is by design).


18.07.2013 by tg@

Michael Langguth and Scalaris AG asked me to publish the mksh/Win32 Beta 14 source and binary archive, and it is with joy I’m doing this.

Checksums and Hashes

  • RMD160 (ports/ = 0dc8ef6e95592bd132f701ca77c4e0a3afe46f24
  • TIGER (ports/ = 966e548f9e9c1d5b137ae3ec48e60db4a57c9a0ed15720fb
  • 1181543005 517402 /MirOS/dist/mir/mksh/ports/
  • MD5 (ports/ = b57367b0710bf76a972b493562e2b6b5

Just a few words on it (more in the README.1st file included): this is a port of The MirBSD Korn Shell R39 to the native WinAPI; it’s not quite got the full Unix feel (especially as it targets the Weihenstephan unxutils instead of a full Interix or Cygwin environment) but doesn’t need a full POSIX emulation layer either. It’s intended to replace MKS ksh and the MKS Toolkit. Source for the compatibility library is also included under The MirOS Licence; we aim at publishing it as OSI Certified Open Source Software like mksh itself. (There is a situation with dlmalloc/nedmalloc being resolved, and the icon is derived from the BSD dæmon which is a protected unregistered trademark, but we’re not Mozilla and allow distro packages to keep using it ☺) Rebasing it on a newer mksh(1) followed by (partial) integration into the main source code is a goal.

Have fun trying it out and hacking on it. It’s currently built with -DMKSH_NOPROSPECTOFWORK (so coprocesses and a few other minor things won’t work), but a SIGCHLD emulation is being worked on – but if you want to help out, I’m sure it’s welcome, just come on IRC or post on the mailing list, and I’ll forward things to Michael as needed. Reports on testing with other toolchain and OS versions are also welcome.

mksh R45 released

26.04.2013 by tg@

The MirBSD Korn Shell R45 has been released today, and R44 has been named the new stable/bugfix-only series. (That’s version 45.1, not 0.45, dear Homebrew/MacOSX packagers.)

Packagers rejoice: the -DMKSH_GCC55009 dance is no longer needed, and even the run-time check for integer division is gone. Why? Because I realised one cannot use signed integers in C, at all, and rewrote the mksh(1) arithmetics code to use unsigned integers only. Special thanks to the people from musl libc and, to some lesser amount, Natureshadow for providing me with ideas what algorithms to replace some functionality with (signed shell arithmetic is, of course, still usable, it is just emulated using unsigned C integers now).

The following entertainment…

	tg@blau:~ $ echo foo >/bar\ baz
	/bin/mksh: can't create /bar baz: Permission denied
	1|tg@blau:~ $ doch
	tg@blau:~ $ cat /bar\ baz

… was provided by Tonnerre Lombard; like Swedish, German has got a number of words that cannot be expressed in English so I feel not up to the task of explaining this to people who don’t know the German word “doch”, just rest assured it calls the last input line (be careful, this is literally a line, so don’t use backslash-newline sequences) using sudo(8).

mksh R42b and R41c released

15.02.2013 by tg@
Tags: mksh

The MirBSD Korn Shell must-have bugfix releases R42b (for the current formal release series) and R41c (for the last bugfix-only stable series) have been issued. Debian testing/unstable users get the fixes through their package management, versioned 40.9.20120630-7 targetting wheezy (hopefully). Debian experimental users will receive a 42b-1 upload, closer to what other distro packages provide, soonish, targetting jessie.

Since we lack anything better (that, unless Freshmeat, is actually usable), by request of our packagers, new mksh(1) releases will be announced on our miros-mksh@ mailing list starting now.

mksh made quite some waves (machine translation of the third article) recently. Let’s state it’s not just Amigas – ara5 is a buildd running the Atari kernel, an emulated though. On the other hand, the bare-metal Ataris used to be the fastest buildds, so I expect we get them back online soonish. I’m currently fighting with some buildd software bugfixes, but once they’re in, we will make more of them. Oh, and porterboxen! Does anyone want to host a VM with a porterbox? Requirements: wheezy host system (can be emulated), 1 GiB RAM, one CPU core with about 6500 BogoMIPS or more (so the emulated system has decent speed; an AMD Phenom II X4 3.2 GHz does just fine). Oh, and mksh is ported to more and more platforms, like 386BSD 0.0 with GCC 1.39, and QNX 4 with Watcom… and more bugfixes are also being worked on. And let’s not forget features!

jupp got refreshed: it’s got a bracketed paste mode, which is even auto-enabled on xterm-xfree86 (though the xterm(1) in MirBSD’s a tad too old to know it; will update that later, just imported sendmail(8) 8.14.6 and lynx(1) 2.8.8dev.15 into base, more to come) and will be enhanced later (should disable auto-indent, wordwrap, status line updates, and possibly more), lots of new functions and bindings, now uses mkstemp(3) to create backup files race-free, and more (read the NEWS file).

In MirBSD, Benny and I just added a number of errnos, mostly for SUSv4 compliance and being able to compile more software from pkgsrc® without needing to patch. This is being tested right now (although I should probably go out and watch fireworks in less than a half-hour), together with the new imports and the bunch of small fixes we accumulate (even though most development in MirBSD is currently in mksh(1) and similar doesn’t mean that all is, or worse, we were dead, which we aren’t). I’ll publish a new snapshot some time in January. The Grml 2012.12 also contains a pretty up-to-date MirBSD, with a boot(8/i386)loader that now ignores GUID partition table entries when deciding what to use for the ‘a’ slice.

If you haven’t already done so, read Benjamin Mako Hill’s writings!

mksh R41 released

30.11.2012 by tg@
Tags: mksh

The MirBSD Korn Shell R41 has finally been released. This is a major “everything” version with important fixes as well as new features and behavioural changes. Sorry for the delay.

See also the:

Originally posted by bubulle on Planet Debian, a shell prompt that displays the current git branch, in colour on some terminals, after the current working directory. The following snippet does similar things for mksh users, except it doesn’t redefine your prompt but amend it – just throw it at the bottom of your ~/.mkshrc before that last line beginning with a colon (copy from /etc/skel/.mkshrc if you haven’t done that yet):

	function parse_git_branch {
		git branch 2>/dev/null | sed -n '/^\* \(.*\)/s//(\1)/p'

	function amend_prompt_with_git {
		local p q='$(parse_git_branch)' r

		if [[ $TERM = @(xterm-color|xterm|screen*) ]]; then
			if [[ ${PS1:1:1} = $'\r' ]]; then

		p=${PS1%%*( )[#$]*( )}
		if [[ $p != "$PS1" ]]; then
			# prompt ends with space + #-or-$ + space, we can amend
			r=${PS1: ${#p}}
	unset -f amend_prompt_with_git

The indirection by use of a function is not strictly necessary but allows the use of locals. I took the liberty of adding an asterisk after “screen” to match the GNU/Linux nonsense of having TERM=screen.xterm or somesuch.

While wtf(1) always has been a bit central to MirBSD, and the acronym database has been accessible by CVSweb, what we never had was a DAU compatible (and shellsnippets compatible) lookup. This has now changed: the above link to the acronyms file is a persistent link to its latest version (well, latest when the website was last recompiled), tooltips may very well follow soon, and we’ve got an online WTF lookup service.
Contributions to the acronym database are welcome, of course; just eMail them to

Not to stop there, our online HTML manpage search is also new, shiny, and should replace the “!mbsdman” DuckDuckGo hash-bang shortly. (Both of these services offer a DDG search as fallback. Note that DDG is an external service included herein by linking, under their request to spread it, and not affiliated with The MirOS Project. They do, however, donate some advertising money to Debian.)
For all those who didn’t know: only manpages for software in the MirOS BSD base system and for the MirPorts Framework package tools are listed, not for third-party applications installable using ports or, recently, pkgsrc®. Still, if you want to have a peek at a modern classic BSD’s documentation, you’re welcome. (Not to mention content like re_format(7) and style(9) and that some of our documentation is much more legible than others.)

And because writing all that perl(1) made me ill, not to mention I don’t even know that language, I’ve hacked a bit more in the mirmake(1) and mksh(1) parts of the MirWebsite, finally implementing pointing out where in the navigation sidebar the visitor currently is.

We also have exciting mksh porting news involving RT trying a larger number of ancient platforms than I dare count, me fixing bugs in Linux klibc and diving into other things, learning more about why I consider me lucky for hacking a BSD operating system… sorry, I want to keep this short as it’s mostly an announcement.

The MirWebsite source code is, of course, also available. Improvements welcome. Except for these three CGIs, our website is fully statically precompiled, and that’s a good thing. Please help in making the CGIs secure.

This is both a release announcement for the next installment of The MirBSD Korn Shell, mksh R40b, and a follow-up to Sune’s article about small tools of various degrees of usefulness.

I hope I don’t need to say too much about the first part; mksh(1) is packaged in a gazillion of operating environments (dear Planet readers, that of course includes Debian, which occasionally gets a development snapshot; I’ll wait uploading R40c until that two month fixed gcc bug will finally find its way into the packages for armel and armhf). Ah, we’re getting Arch Linux (after years) to include mksh now. (Probably because they couldn’t stand the teasing that Arch Hurd included it one day after having been told about its existence, wondering why it built without needing patches on Hurd…) MSYS is a supposedly supported target now, people are working on WinAPI and DJGPP in their spare time, and Cygwin and Debian packagers have deprecated pdksh in favour of mksh (thanks!). So, everything looking well on that front.

I’ve started a collection of shell snippets some time ago, where most of “those small things” of mine ends up. Even stuff I write at work – we’re an Open Source company and can generally publish under (currently) AGPLv3 or (if extending existing code) that code’s licence. I chose git as SCM in that FusionForge instance so that people would hopefully use it and contribute to it without fear, as it’s hosted on my current money source’s servers. (Can just clone it.) Feel free to register and ask for membership, to extend it (only if your shell-fu is up to the task, KNOPPIX-style scripts would be a bad style(9) example as the primary goal of the project is to give good examples to people who learn shell coding by looking at other peoples’ code).

Maybe you like my editor, too? At OpenRheinRuhr, the Atari people sure liked it as it uses WordStar® like key combinations, standardised across a lot of platforms and vendors (DR DOS Editor, Turbo Pascal, Borland C++ for Windows, …)

ObPromise: a posting to raise the level of ferrophility on the Planet aggregators this wlog reaches (got pix)

mksh R40b (nowadays with filled in user’s caveats (for R40, too!) and packager’s upgrade hints) has just been released. This is a should-have upgrade, fixing a number of – admittedly some obscure – bugs, changing things begun in R40, improving upon others. Thanks to the PLD Linux guys for spotting all these errors; thanks to them and both for adopting mksh so well.

I have also fixed a bug in nroff(1) which will lead to an even nicer looking HTML manpage mksh(1) (after the next rebuild and upload of a MirBSD snapshot – scheduled RSN).

jupp 3.1.16 took on the task of merging Debian joe changes (aiming at an upload). I also split the jupprc file into three versions (2.8 generic/DOS, 3.1+jupp and 3.7/Unix) because of the differences in the baseline executables making rc files partially mutually incompatible (think Insert key), annoyingly warning (think syntax, hmsg), or less usable (joe’s new menu system).

jupp 2.8.2 is a companion to jupp 3.1.16 – mostly because of the new help window “character map” ☺

Binaries for jupp should be updated RSN too.

Considering Banja Luka is arriving quickly, the “r” in RSN should be taken with a few grains of salt. I’ve also scheduled working on the pcc Debian package for the next future; updating lynx and maybe others like OpenSSH in MirBSD is also due; cvs(1) will receive more of my time, but before the next Upload I’d like to fix LP#12230 once verified.

Builds for Debian/m68k are also still running. I note I did in fact not manage to make a new base image, yet (but 2.6.39 kernels miss a patch, anyway, so waiting for 3.0 is ok). It’s still using gcc-4.4 because nobody tests gcc-4.6 and gcj-4.6 FTBFS due to SIGSEGV, but that’s ok in my books. rsyslog is broken but sysklogd works.

The #ksh|Freenode page finally got a well-deserved link to Planet Commandline. Throw more my way!

Acronyms and translations, too. (Got Norwegian and Rumanian covered in the meantime. No idea whether any RTL languages will work in that beast. But I’m young and need the money)

Since I’m writing a wlog entry anyway… let me thank Gunnar for a nice summary on the current Free Culture discussion; my comments on Nina’s site seem to be eaten, but let me support it fully, although, of course, I normally use a copycenter style licence, which is specifically written for general works of authorship under copyright law, not limited to software. I did in fact have that in mind. Maybe some people will like it (it’s less than one Kibibyte long) either generally or just for their everyday random musings (they can then keep CC-BY-SA for the “big works” if they so desire).

Wouter, grass background makes green headlines illegible. I’ve never liked, and never installed manually, cups either. (Benny tells me that Apple’s new version refuses to talk with a non-Apple cups, kinda defeating the whole idea I think.) Port 9100 is JetDirect (probably with an HP in front and some subset of ©®™ trailing) and just nice. (Being able to talk ESC/P with your printer like print '\033K\x07\0\x3E\x81\x99\xA5\xA5\x81\x3E' >/dev/lpa too rocks though, IMHO. Yes, mine can, and I still can. /dev/lpa is BSD.)

Kai, thanks for your vimrc lines:

	:highlight TrailWhitespace ctermbg=red guibg=red
	:match TrailWhitespace /\s\+$\| \+\ze\t/

Automatic removal is harmful, though – I just fell into the trap since jupprc contains needed whitespace at EOL… but manual removal (bound to ^K] in jupp) rocks. And I like that your solution uses such strong a colour – vim users are the single most represented offender group for actually leaving the redundant whitespace at EOL there, and it should hurt their eyes. (Sadly there is some vehement disagreement preventing them from inclusion in grml-etc-core – but that’s why I re-post them here.) Ah, and jupp can of course display whitespace visibly (although it uses ‘·’/‘→’, replacing the arrow with ‘¬’ if no UTF-8, not ‘»’), accessible with ^Ov.

Steve, want to put up a checklist for sites? We can “crowdsource” the… testing… to maybe get some interesting results…

Some other people would get more comments if they were idling in IRC (Freenode) or allow comments on their blog, specifically without too high an entrance barrier – OpenID is ok, but many other things, and ECMAscript, are not; but I can’t really say that loud because our wlog is static HTML compiled from a flat plaintext data source so it doesn’t allow such either. I often forget what I wanted to add if I can’t get it out quickly enough (especially at work). Sowwy…

Me like the cat picture postings (Amayita, Tiago, ¡Gracias!).

New releases

11.07.2011 by tg@
Tags: debian mksh

You might have noticed the release of mksh R40 recently, after more than a year of development. Well, stay tuned for both R40b (with accumulated fixes) and R41 (intent to speed up array handling a lot and prepare for what we postponed to mksh R42 now – associative, multi-dimensional arrays).

You should also upgrade, if you have not yet done so, to kwalletcli 2.11.

Finally, jupp 3.1.15 was left out to the world, including Minix 3 users this time, by special request of one of these on our mailing list. In addition to the MidnightBSD mport – which has been there in like forever – and the MirPort and the FreeWRT package, in December 2011 a user submitted it to FreeBSD® ports, and Benny is going to add it to NetBSD® pkgsrc® soon, he said. (He also updated their mksh source package. Thanks!) I’ve been asked by two people, independent from each other, when I’ll upload it to Debian proper, instead of the private-repo packaging. Maybe I should indeed do that, comments?

mksh R40 released

12.06.2011 by tg@
Tags: mksh

The MirBSD Korn Shell R40 has finally been released. This is a must-upgrade, a major everything version. See the changelog for now, until caveats are filled in, due to the sheer amount of changes. The diff between the last and the new release is more than half of the last release’s size, after all – it’s been 15½ months.

The plan for the next two releases is:

  • mksh R41 will fix all bugs popping up within the next few weeks, as they usually show up shortly after a release only, when things are getting adopted. Furthermore, it removes deprecated code that emits a warning in R40: several options, plus set ±o arc4random. Finally, I plan on speed-up for arrays by using hashtables internally.
  • mksh R42 is where we tentatively target associative arrays for, now. Multidimensional arrays should be introduced at the same time.

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