NetBSD Planet

October 16, 2019

Roy Marples dhcpcd-8.1.1 released

dhcpcd-8.1.1 has been released with the following changes:

The last fix involved a lot a people, quite a few different fixes and played havoc with gcc-9.2 but should now be resolved.

October 14, 2019

Roy Marples dhcpcd added to DragonFlyBSD .... FreeBSD next?

So, dhcpcd was added to DragonFlyBSD almost a year ago. Recently I've become a DragonFlyBSD committer with the express purpose of easing dhcpcd into the role of the default DHCP client.

All of the really needed kernel improvements are now in and dhcpcd doesn't log any more compile warnings, but there is more work to be done such as RFC 5227 support, restarting DaD on link state up and denying the use of an address until validated. I'm quite enjoying working on DragonFlyBSD ... their SMP approach is very interesting and in many ways much easier to work with than NetBSDs fine grained locking approach.

And then out of the blue, a discussion crops up on the FreeBSD mailing list about putting dhcpcd into the FreeBSD base system! This has led into me working on Priviledge Seperation which seems to be the only show stopper for FreeBSD acceptance. I have a reasonable idea on how this should work and hopefully this will be enough.

October 12, 2019

DragonFly BSD Digest In Other BSDs for 2019/10/12

I’m sure there’s some recent stuff I missed; I will catch it in next week’s roundup.

October 11, 2019

Roy Marples dhcpcd-8.1.0 released

With the following changes:

October 10, 2019

NetBSD Blog Stabilization of the ptrace(2) threads
I have introduced changes that make debuggers more reliable in threaded scenarios. Additionally, I have enhanced Leak Sanitizer support and introduced various improvements in the basesystem.

Threading support

Threads and synchronization in the kernel, in general, is an evergreen task of the kernel developers. The process of enhancing support for tracing multiple threads has been documented by Michal Gorny in his LLDB entry Threading support in LLDB continued.

Overall I have introduced these changes:

For the sake of tracking the missed in action signals emitted by tracee, I have introduced the feature in NetBSD truss (as part of the picotrace repository) to register syscall entry (SCE) and syscall exit (SCX) calls and track missing SCE/SCX events that were never delivered. Unfortunately, the number of missing events was huge, even for simple 2-threaded applications.

    truss[2585] running for 22.205305922 seconds
    truss[2585] attached to child=759 ('firefox') for 22.204289369 seconds
    syscall                     seconds      calls     errors missed-sce missed-scx
    read                    0.048522952        609          0         54         76
    write                   0.044693735        487          0         35         66
    open                    0.002516815         18          0          5          5
    close                   0.001015263         17          0          9          6
    unlink                  0.001375463         13          0          3          0
    getpid                  0.093458089       1993          0         16         56
    geteuid                 0.000049301          1          0          0          1
    recvmsg                 0.343353019       4828       3685         90        112
    access                  0.001450653         12          3          5          4
    dup                     0.000570904         10          0          0          1
    munmap                  0.010375949         88          0          6          3
    mprotect                0.196781932       2251          0         11         62
    madvise                 0.049820002        430          0         11         18
    writev                  0.237488362       1507          0         76         67
    rename                  0.000379918          2          0          1          0
    mkdir                   0.000283846          2          2          1          2
    mmap                    0.033342935        481          0         15         40
    lseek                   0.003341775         62          0         25         24
    ftruncate               0.000507707          9          0          1          0
    __sysctl                0.000144506          2          0          0          0
    poll                   18.694195617       4531          0        106        191
    __sigprocmask14         0.001585329         20          0          0          2
    getcontext              0.000083238          1          0          0          0
    _lwp_create             0.000104646          1          0          0          0
    _lwp_self               0.001456718         22          0         24         79
    _lwp_unpark             0.035319633        607          0         14         39
    _lwp_unpark_all         0.020660377        250          0         38         50
    _lwp_setname            0.000118418          2          0          0          0
    __select50             15.125525493        637          0         82        125
    __gettimeofday50        3.279021049       2930          0         40        135
    __clock_gettime50      10.673311747      33132          0       1418       3003
    __stat50                0.006375356         52          3         12          5
    __fstat50               0.001490944         17          0          3          2
    __lstat50               0.000110906          1          0          1          0
    __getrusage50           0.008863815        109          0          7          1
    ___lwp_park60          62.720893458        964        251        454        453
                          -------------    -------    -------    -------    -------
                          111.638589870      56098       3944       2563       4628

With my kernel changes landed, the number of missed sce/scx events is down to zero (with exceptions to signals that e.g. never return such as the exit(2) call).

Once these changes settle in HEAD, I plan to backport them to NetBSD-9. I have already received feedback that GDB works much better now.

The kernel also has now more runtime asserts that validate correctness of the code paths.


I've introduced a special preprocessor macro to detect LSan (__SANITIZE_LEAK__) and UBSan (__SANITIZE_UNDEFINED__) in GCC. The patches were submitted upstream to the GCC mailing list, in two patches (LSan + UBSan). Unfortunately, GCC does not see value in feature parity with LLVM and for the time being it will be a local NetBSD specific GCC extension. These macros are now integrated into the NetBSD public system headers, for use by the basesystem software.

The LSan macro is now used inside the LLVM codebase and the ps(1) program is the first user of it. The UBSan macro is now used to disable relaxed alignment on x86. While such code is still functional, it is not clean from undefined behavior as specified by C. This is especially needed in the kernel fuzzing process, as we can reduce noise from less interesting reports.

During the previous month a number of reports from kernel fuzzing were fixed. There is still more to go.

Almost all local patches needed for LSan were merged upstream. The last remaining local patch is scheduled for later as it is very invasive for all platforms and sanitizers. In the worst case we just have more false negatives in detection of leaks in specific scenarios.

Miscellaneous changes

I have fixed a regression in upstream GDB with SIGTTOU handling. This was an upstream bug fixed by Alan Hayward and cherry-picked by me. As a side effect, a certain environment setup would cause the tracer to sleep.

I have reverted the regression in changed in6_addr change. It appeased UBSan, but broke at least qemu networking. The regression was tracked down by Andreas Gustafsson and reported in the NetBSD's bug tracking system.

I have landed a patch that returns ELF loader dl_phdr_info information for dl_iterate_phdr(3). This synchronized the behavior with Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD and is used by sanitizers.

I have passed through [email protected] the patch to change the kevent::udata type from intptr_t to void*. The former is slightly more pedantic, but the latter is what is in all other kevent users and this mismatch of types affected specifically C++ users that needed special NetBSD-only workarounds.

I have marked git and hg meta files as ones to be ignored by cvs import. This was causing problems among people repackaging the NetBSD source code with other VCS software than CVS.

I keep working on getting GDB test-suite to run on NetBSD, I spent some time on getting fluent in the TCL programming language (as GDB uses dejagnu and TCL scripting). I have already fixed two bugs that affected NetBSD users in the TCL runtime: getaddrbyname_r and gethostbyaddr_r were falsely reported as available and picked on NetBSD, causing damage in operation. Fluency in TCL will allow me to be more efficient in addressing and debugging failing tests in GDB and likely reuse this knowledge in other fields useful for the project.

I made __CTASSERT a static assert again. Previously, this homegrown check for compile-time checks silently stopped working for C99 compilers supporting VLA (variable length array). It was caught by kUBSan that detected VLA of dynamic size of -1, that is still compatible but has unspecified runtime semantics. The new form is inspired by the Perl ctassert code and uses bit-field constant that enforces the assert to be effective again. Few misuses __CTASSERT, mostly in the Linux DRMKMS code, were fixed.

I have submitted a proposal to the C Working Group a proposal to add new methods for setting and getting the thread name.

Plan for the next milestone

Keep stabilizing the reliability debugging interfaces and get ATF and LLDB threading code reliably pass tests. Cover more scenarios with ptrace(2) in the ATF regression test-suite.

This work was sponsored by The NetBSD Foundation.

The NetBSD Foundation is a non-profit organization and welcomes any donations to help us continue funding projects and services to the open-source community. Please consider visiting the following URL to chip in what you can:

October 05, 2019

NetBSD Blog Threading support in LLDB continued

Upstream describes LLDB as a next generation, high-performance debugger. It is built on top of LLVM/Clang toolchain, and features great integration with it. At the moment, it primarily supports debugging C, C++ and ObjC code, and there is interest in extending it to more languages.

In February, I have started working on LLDB, as contracted by the NetBSD Foundation. So far I've been working on reenabling continuous integration, squashing bugs, improving NetBSD core file support, extending NetBSD's ptrace interface to cover more register types and fix compat32 issues and fixing watchpoint support. Then, I've started working on improving thread support. You can read more about that in my July 2019 report.

I've been on vacation in August, and in September I've resumed the work on LLDB. I've started by fixing new regressions in LLVM suite, then improved my previous patches and continued debugging test failures and timeouts resulting from my patches.

LLVM 8 and 9 in NetBSD

Updates to LLVM 8 src branch

I have been asked to rebase my llvm8 branch of NetBSD src tree. I've done that, and updated it to LLVM 8.0.1 while at it.

LLVM 9 release

The LLVM 9.0.0 final has been tagged in September. I have been doing the pre-release testing for it, and discovered that the following tests were hanging:

LLVM :: ExecutionEngine/MCJIT/eh-lg-pic.ll
LLVM :: ExecutionEngine/MCJIT/eh.ll
LLVM :: ExecutionEngine/MCJIT/multi-module-eh-a.ll
LLVM :: ExecutionEngine/OrcMCJIT/eh-lg-pic.ll
LLVM :: ExecutionEngine/OrcMCJIT/eh.ll
LLVM :: ExecutionEngine/OrcMCJIT/multi-module-eh-a.ll

I couldn't reproduce the problem with LLVM trunk, so I've instead focused on looking for a fix. I've came to the conclusion that the problem was fixed through adding missing linked library. I've requested backport in bug 43196 and it has been merged in r371042.

I didn't put more effort into figuring out why the lack of this linkage caused issues for us. However, as Lang Hames said on the bug, ‘adding the dependency was the right thing to do’.

LLVM 9 for NetBSD src

Afterwards, I have started working on updating my NetBSD src branch for LLVM 9. However, in middle of that I've been informed that Joerg has already finished doing that independently, so I've stopped.

Furthermore, I was informed that LLVM 9.0.0 will not make it to src, since it still lacks some fixes (most notably, adding a pass to lower is.constant and objectsize intrinsics). Joerg plans to import some revision of the trunk instead.

Buildbot regressions

Initial regressions

The first problem that needed solving was LLDB build failure caused by replacing std::once_flag with llvm::once_flag. I've came to the conclusion that the build fails because the call site in LLDB combined std::call_once with llvm::once_flag. The solution was to replace the former with llvm::call_once.

After fixing the build failure, we had a bunch of test failures on buildbot to address. Kamil helped me and tracked one of them down to a new test for stack exhaustion handling. The test author decided that it ‘is only a best-effort mitigation for the case where things have already gone wrong’, and marked it unsupported on NetBSD.

On the plus side, two of the tests previously failing on NetBSD have been fixed upstream. I've un-XFAIL-ed them appropriately. Five new test failures in LLDB were related to those tests being unconditionally skipped before — I've marked them XFAIL pending further investigation in the future.

Another set of issues was caused by enabling -fvisibility=hidden for libc++ which caused problems when building with GCC. After being pinged, the author decided to enable it only for builds done using clang.

New issues through September

During September, two new issues arose. The first one was my fault, so I'm going to cover it in appropriate section below. The second one was new thread_local test failing. Since it was a newly added test that failed on most of the supported platforms, I've just added NetBSD to the list of failing platforms.

Current buildbot status

After fixing the immediate issues, the buildbot returned to previous status. The majority of tests pass, with one flaky test repeatedly timing out. Normally, I would skip this specific test in order to have buildbot report only fresh failures. However, since it is threading-related I'm waiting to finish my threading update and reassert afterwards.

Furthermore, I have added --shuffle to lit arguments in order to randomize the order in which the tests are run. According to upstream, this reduces the chance of load-intensive tests being run simultaneously and therefore causing timeouts.

The buildbot host seems to have started crashing recently. OpenMP tests were causing similar issues in the past, and I'm currently trying to figure out whether they are the culprit again.


Kamil asked me to implement a feature check for leak sanitizer being used. The __has_feature(leak_sanitizer) preprocessor macro is complementary to __SANITIZE_LEAK__ used in NetBSD gcc and is used to avoid reports when leaks are known but the cost of fixing them exceeds the gain.

Progress in threading support

Fixing LLDB bugs

In the course of previous work, I had a patch for threading support in LLDB partially ready. However, the improvements have also resulted in some of the tests starting to hang. The main focus of my late work as investigating those problems.

The first issue that I've discovered was inconsistency in expressing no signal sent. In some places, LLDB used LLDB_INVALID_SIGNAL (-1) to express that, in others it used 0. So far this went unnoticed since the end result in ptrace calls was the same. However, the reworked NetBSD threading support used explicit PT_SET_SIGINFO which — combined with wrong signal parameter — wiped previously queued signal.

I've fixed C packet handler, then fixed c, vCont and s handlers to use LLDB_INVALID_SIGNAL correctly. However, I've only tested the fixes with my updated thread support, causing regression in the old code. Therefore, I've also had to fix LLDB_INVALID_SIGNAL handling in NetBSD plugin for the time being.

Thread suspend/resume kernel problem

Sadly, further investigation of hanging tests led me to the conclusion that they are caused by kernel bugs. The first bug I've noticed is that PT_SUSPEND/PT_RESUME do not cause the thread to be resumed correctly. I have written the following reproducer for it:

#include <assert.h>
#include <lwp.h>
#include <pthread.h>
#include <signal.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <sys/ptrace.h>
#include <sys/wait.h>

void* thread_func(void* foo) {
    int i;
    printf("in thread_func, lwp = %d\n", _lwp_self());
    for (i = 0; i < 100; ++i) {
        printf("t2 %d\n", i);
    printf("out thread_func\n");
    return NULL;

int main() {
    int ret;
    int pid = fork();
    assert(pid != -1);
    if (pid == 0) {
        int i;
        pthread_t t2;

        ret = ptrace(PT_TRACE_ME, 0, NULL, 0);
        assert(ret != -1);
        printf("in main, lwp = %d\n", _lwp_self());
        ret = pthread_create(&t2, NULL, thread_func, NULL);
        assert(ret == 0);
        printf("thread started\n");

        for (i = 0; i < 100; ++i) {
            printf("t1 %d\n", i);

        ret = pthread_join(t2, NULL);
        assert(ret == 0);
        printf("thread joined\n");

    ret = kill(pid, SIGSTOP);
    assert(ret == 0);

    pid_t waited = waitpid(pid, &ret, 0);
    assert(waited == pid);
    printf("wait: %d\n", ret);

    printf("t2 suspend\n");
    ret = ptrace(PT_SUSPEND, pid, NULL, 2);
    assert(ret == 0);
    ret = ptrace(PT_CONTINUE, pid, (void*)1, 0);
    assert(ret == 0);

    ret = kill(pid, SIGSTOP);
    assert(ret == 0);

    waited = waitpid(pid, &ret, 0);
    assert(waited == pid);
    printf("wait: %d\n", ret);

    printf("t2 resume\n");
    ret = ptrace(PT_RESUME, pid, NULL, 2);
    assert(ret == 0);
    ret = ptrace(PT_CONTINUE, pid, (void*)1, 0);
    assert(ret == 0);

    ret = kill(pid, SIGTERM);
    assert(ret == 0);

    waited = waitpid(pid, &ret, 0);
    assert(waited == pid);
    printf("wait: %d\n", ret);

    return 0;

The program should run a two-threaded subprocess, with both threads outputting successive numbers. The second thread should be suspended shortly, then resumed. However, currently it does not resume.

I believe that this caused by ptrace_startstop() altering process flags without reimplementing the complete logic as used by lwp_suspend() and lwp_continue(). I've been able to move forward by calling the two latter functions from ptrace_startstop(). However, Kamil has indicated that he'd like to make those routines use separate bits (to distinguish LWPs stopped by process from LWPs stopped by debugger), so I haven't pushed my patch forward.

Multiple thread reporting kernel problem

The second and more important problem is related to how new LWPs are reported to the debugger. Or rather, that they are not reported reliably. When many threads are started by the process in a short time (e.g. in a loop), the debugger receives reports only for some of them.

This can be reproduced using the following program:

#include <assert.h>
#include <lwp.h>
#include <pthread.h>
#include <signal.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <sys/ptrace.h>
#include <sys/wait.h>

void* thread_func(void* foo) {
    printf("in thread, lwp = %d\n", _lwp_self());
    return NULL;

int main() {
    int ret;
    int pid = fork();
    assert(pid != -1);
    if (pid == 0) {
        int i;
        pthread_t t[10];

        ret = ptrace(PT_TRACE_ME, 0, NULL, 0);
        assert(ret != -1);
        printf("in main, lwp = %d\n", _lwp_self());
        printf("main resumed\n");

        for (i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
            ret = pthread_create(&t[i], NULL, thread_func, NULL);
            assert(ret == 0);
            printf("thread %d started\n", i);

        for (i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
            ret = pthread_join(t[i], NULL);
            assert(ret == 0);
            printf("thread %d joined\n", i);

        return 0;

    pid_t waited = waitpid(pid, &ret, 0);
    assert(waited == pid);
    printf("wait: %d\n", ret);
    assert(WSTOPSIG(ret) == SIGSTOP);

    struct ptrace_event ev;
    ev.pe_set_event = PTRACE_LWP_CREATE | PTRACE_LWP_EXIT;

    ret = ptrace(PT_SET_EVENT_MASK, pid, &ev, sizeof(ev));
    assert(ret == 0);

    ret = ptrace(PT_CONTINUE, pid, (void*)1, 0);
    assert(ret == 0);

    while (1) {
        waited = waitpid(pid, &ret, 0);
        assert(waited == pid);
        printf("wait: %d\n", ret);
        if (WIFSTOPPED(ret)) {
            assert(WSTOPSIG(ret) == SIGTRAP);

            ptrace_siginfo_t info;
            ret = ptrace(PT_GET_SIGINFO, pid, &info, sizeof(info));
            assert(ret == 0);

            struct ptrace_state pst;
            ret = ptrace(PT_GET_PROCESS_STATE, pid, &pst, sizeof(pst));
            assert(ret == 0);
            printf("SIGTRAP: si_code = %d, ev = %d, lwp = %d\n",
                    info.psi_siginfo.si_code, pst.pe_report_event, pst.pe_lwp);

            ret = ptrace(PT_CONTINUE, pid, (void*)1, 0);
            assert(ret == 0);
        } else

    return 0;

The program starts 10 threads, and the debugger should report 10 SIGTRAP events for LWPs being started (ev = 8) and the same number for LWPs exiting (ev = 16). However, initially I've been getting as many as 4 SIGTRAPs, and the remaining 6 threads went unnoticed.

The issue is that do_lwp_create() does not raise SIGTRAP directly but defers that to mi_startlwp() that is called asynchronously as the LWP starts. This means that the former function can return before SIGTRAP is emitted, and the program can start another LWP. Since signals are not properly queued, multiple SIGTRAPs can end up being issued simultaneously and lost.

Kamil has already worked on making simultaneous signal deliver more reliable. However, he reverted his commit as it caused regressions. Nevertheless, applying it made it possible for the test program to get all SIGTRAPs at least most of the time.

The ‘repeated’ SIGTRAPs did not include correct LWP information, though. Kamil has recently fixed that by moving the relevant data from process information to signal information struct. Combined with his earlier patch, this makes my test program pass most of the time (sadly, there seem to be some more race conditions involved).

Summary of threading work

My current work-in-progress patch can be found on Differential as D64647. However, it is currently unsuitable for merging as some tests start failing or hanging as a side effect of the changes. I'd like to try to get as many of them fixed as possible before pushing the changes to trunk, in order to avoid causing harm to the build bot.

The status with the current set of Kamil's work-in-progress patches applied to the kernel includes approximately 4 failing tests and 10 hanging tests.

Other LLVM news

Manikishan Ghantasala has been working on NetBSD-specific clang-format improvements in this year's Google Summer of Code. He is continuing to work on clang-format, and has recently been given commit access to the LLVM project!

Besides NetBSD-specific work, I've been trying to improve a few other areas of LLVM. I've been working on fixing regressions in stand-alone build support and regressions in support for BUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON builds. I have to admit that while a year ago I was the only person fixing those issues, nowadays I see more contributions submitting patches for breakages specific to those builds.

I have recently worked on fixing bad assumptions in LLDB's Python support. However, it seems that Haibo Huang has taken it from me and is doing a great job.

My most recent endeavor was fixing LLVM_DISTRIBUTION_COMPONENTS support in LLVM projects. This is going to make it possible to precisely fine-tune which components are installed, both in combined tree and stand-alone builds.

Future plans

My first goal right now is to assert what is causing the test host to crash, and restore buildbot stability. Afterwards, I'd like to continue investigating threading problems and provide more reproducers for any kernel issues we may be having. Once this is done, I'd like to finally push my LLDB patch.

Since threading is not the only goal left in the TODO, I may switch between working on it and on the remaining TODO items. Those are:

  1. Add support to backtrace through signal trampoline and extend the support to libexecinfo, unwind implementations (LLVM, nongnu). Examine adding CFI support to interfaces that need it to provide more stable backtraces (both kernel and userland).

  2. Add support for i386 and aarch64 targets.

  3. Stabilize LLDB and address breaking tests from the test suite.

  4. Merge LLDB with the base system (under LLVM-style distribution).

This work is sponsored by The NetBSD Foundation

The NetBSD Foundation is a non-profit organization and welcomes any donations to help us continue funding projects and services to the open-source community. Please consider visiting the following URL to chip in what you can:

DragonFly BSD Digest In Other BSDs for 2019/10/05

There’s been a lot of BUG meetings lately; I think it’s time to form some more.

October 03, 2019 pkgsrc-2019Q3 released

October 01, 2019 New Developer in September 2019

September 28, 2019

DragonFly BSD Digest In Other BSDs for 2019/09/28

Note there’s several BUG meetings coming up.

Your book plug of the week: “Of course, if you don’t want to sponsor a book on SNMP I can’t blame you for that either. It’s a horrible topic that most of us would rather pretend didn’t exist.

September 25, 2019

NetBSD Blog EuroBSDCon 2019
Submitted by Maciej Grochowski.

This year EuroBSDCon took place in Lillehammer Norway. I had the pleasure to attend as a speaker with my talk about fuzzing the NetBSD filesystems.


Lillehammer is a ski resort, nestled amid very beautiful scenery between mountains and lakes, just two hours from Oslo. The conference took place in the Scandic Lillehammer Hotel, a little bit away from the downtown of Lillehammer, close to the Olympic Ski Jumps.

View from the Olympic Ski Jump


Every year, EuroBSDCon has a lot of interesting talks. Unfortunately, it is hard to attend all the interesting seminars, as many of them take place at the same time, so I won't be able to highlight all of them; accordingly, I gratefully acknowledge several organizations for handling the live streaming from every session.

Keynote: Embedded Ethics

The conference started with an excellent Keynote from Patricia Aas (ex. Opera/Cisco/Vivaldi, cur Turtlesec), about the Ethics in the IT industry. As a person who is familiar with the issues with the privacy and many different threads of abusing user data by the company, I have to say that this talk started the avalanche of different thoughts and reflections in my mind. To my surprise, I was not the only one to have such thoughts. This topic arose quite often during the rest of the conference through many conversations between different people. For those of you who didn't see it yet, I highly recommend that you do. The key takeaway is that we, the people who are building today's digital world, need to think about the implications of our work and decisions upon the users of our services. This topic is getting more complicated even as we think about it. However, Patricia come here with the strategy "Annoying as a Service" that can be simply used in every situation to at least not makes things worse...

Conference Talks

During the first day, there were a couple of interesting talks about NetBSD: "Improving modularity of NetBSD compat code", and mine, on "Fuzzing NetBSD Filesystems" [+ Taking NetBSD kernel bug roast to the next level: Kernel Fuzzers (quick A.D. 2019 overview) by Kamil Rytarowski]. As it turns out, there was another interesting talk about foundations of kernel fuzzing by Andrew Turner, in which he presented the connection between sanitizers, tracing modes and fuzzers. After the break, I attended the excellent talk "7th Edition Unix at 40" by Warner Losh -- if you love the history of Unix, this is a must-see. The first day finished with the social mixer. The second day started with one of my favourites of the entire conference: "Kernel TLS and TLS hardware offload" via Drew Gallatin and Hans Petter Selasky. In another room was also a very interesting seminar on Rust for System Programmers. The next session via Netflix folks was about NUMA optimizations in the FreeBSD Network stack, another interesting talk about the usage of BSD as a high-speed CDN serving about 200Gbps Video content(!). After that, I attended the session on The Future of OpenZFS via Allan Jude, where he showed the progress done in the collaboration of different OSes on ZFS Filesystem. The last sessions I attended were the "23 years of software side-channel attacks" by Colin, and the last one before the closing notes: "Unbound & FreeBSD: A true love story", by Pablo Carboni.


Social Event

This year's social event took place in the Open Air Museum in Maihaugen, where we were able to see, preserved in excellent condition, parts of the Norwegian houses from the 19th century through the late 20th century. The fun part was that every house was open and you were able to go inside, some of them with people dressed up in the fashion of the same years, talking about the age. I very much enjoyed it, as it was a great opportunity to learn more about Norwegian culture and history.

The XX century city

XIX century school

Next Year!

The most important key point during closing notes is always: "where will the next EuroBSDCon take place?!" This year the guessing game was:


Hope to see you all next year in Vienna!

September 21, 2019

DragonFly BSD Digest In Other BSDs for 2019/09/21


September 14, 2019

DragonFly BSD Digest In Other BSDs for 2019/09/14

Still a backlog, no matter how much I link.

September 13, 2019

Roy Marples dhcpcd-8.0.6 released

With the following changes:

The last change fixes a potential DoS attack introduced in dhcpcd-8.0.3 when the checksuming code was changed to accomodate variable length IP headers. The commit says since 7.2.0, but I've now decided that's not the case.

Roy Marples dhcpcd-8.0.5 released

With the following changes:

The last change fixes a potential DoS attack introduced in dhcpcd-8.0.3 when the checksuming code was changed to accomodate variable length IP headers. The commit says since 7.2.0, but I've now decided that's not the case.

September 03, 2019

NetBSD Blog LLVM santizers and GDB regression test suite
As NetBSD-9 is branched, I have been asked to finish the LLVM sanitizer integration. This work is now accomplished and with MKLLVM=yes build option (by default off), the distribution will be populated with LLVM files for ASan, TSan, MSan, UBSan, libFuzzer, SafeStack and XRay.

I have also transplanted basesystem GDB patched to my GDB repository and managed to run the GDB regression test-suite.

NetBSD distribution changes

I have enhanced and imported my local MKSANITIZER code that makes whole distribution sanitization possible. Few real bugs were fixed and a number of patches were newly written to reflect the current NetBSD sources state. I have also merged another chunk of the fruits of the GSoC-2018 project with fuzzing the userland (by [email protected]).

The following changes were committed to the sources:

Almost all of the mentioned commits were backported to NetBSD-9 and will land 9.0.

As a demo, I have crafted a writing on combining RUMPKERNEL, MKSANITIZER with the honggfuzz fuzzer: Rumpkernel assisted fuzzing of the NetBSD file system kernel code in userland.


I've merged NetBSD distribution downstream GDB patches into my local GDB tree and executed the regression tests (check-gdb):

Test run by kamil on Mon Sep  2 12:36:03 2019
Native configuration is x86_64-unknown-netbsd9.99

                === gdb tests ===

Schedule of variations:

                === gdb Summary ===

# of expected passes            54591
# of unexpected failures        3267
# of expected failures          35
# of unknown successes          3
# of known failures             59
# of unresolved testcases       29
# of untested testcases         141
# of unsupported tests          399

Full log is here.

This means that there are a lot of more tests and known failures than in 2017-09-05:

$ uname -a
NetBSD chieftec 8.99.2 NetBSD 8.99.2 (GENERIC) #0: Sat Sep  2 22:55:29 CEST 2017  [email protected]:/public/netbsd-root/sys/arch/amd64/compile/GENERIC amd64

Test run by kamil on Tue Sep  5 17:06:28 2017
Native configuration is x86_64--netbsd

                === gdb tests ===

Schedule of variations:

                === gdb Summary ===

# of expected passes            16453
# of unexpected failures        483
# of expected failures          9
# of known failures             28
# of unresolved testcases       17
# of untested testcases         41
# of unsupported tests          25

There are actually some regressions and a set of tests that fails probably due to environment differences like lack of gfortran at hand.

Full log is here

GSoC Mentoring

The Google Summer of Code programme reached the end. My mentees wrote successfully their final reports:

I'm also mentoring the AFL+KCOV work by Maciej Grochowski. Maciej will visit EuroBSDCon-2019 and speak about his work.

Add methods for setting and getting the thread name

I've reached out to the people from standards bodies and I'm working on defining the standard approach for setting and getting the thread name. I have received a proper ID of my proposal and I'm now supposted to submit the text in either PDF or HTML format.

This change will allow to manage the thread name with an uniform interface on all comforming platforms.

Plan for the next milestone

Keep enhancing GDB support. Keep detecting ptrace(2) bugs and addressing them.

This work was sponsored by The NetBSD Foundation.

The NetBSD Foundation is a non-profit organization and welcomes any donations to help us continue funding projects and services to the open-source community. Please consider visiting the following URL to chip in what you can:

September 01, 2019 New Developer in August 2019

August 27, 2019

NetBSD Blog Enchancing Syzkaller Support for NetBSD, Part 3

Prepared by Siddharth Muralee(@R3x) as a part of Google Summer of Code’19

As a part of Google Summer of Code’19, I am working on improving the support for Syzkaller kernel fuzzer. Syzkaller is an unsupervised coverage-guided kernel fuzzer, that supports a variety of operating systems including NetBSD.

You can take a look through the first report to see the initial changes that we made and you can look at the second report to read about the initial support we added for fuzzing the network stack.

This report details the work done during the final coding period where the target was to improve the support for fuzzing the filesystem stack.

Filesystem fuzzing is a relatively less explored area. Syzkaller itself only has filesystem fuzzing support for Linux.

Analysis of the existing Linux setup

Filesystems are more complex fuzzing target than standalone system calls. To fuzz Filesystems we do have a standard operation like mount which comes with system call vector and an additional binary image of the filesystem itself. While normal syscalls generally have a size of a few bytes, sizes of real world Filesystem images is in order of Gigabytes or larger, however for fuzzing minimal size can be used which is in order of KB-MB. Since syzkaller uses a technique called as mutational fuzzing - where it mutates random parts of the input (according to specified guidelines), having a large input size causes delay due to higher I/O time.

Syzkaller deals with large images by disassembling them to non-zero chunks of the filesystem image. Syzkaller extracts the non-zero chunks and their offsets and stores it as separate segments and just before execution it writes all the chunks into the corresponding offsets - generating back the new/modified image.

Porting it to NetBSD

As an initial step towards filesystem fuzzing we decided to port the existing Linux approach of creating random segments to NetBSD. There are a few differences between the mounting process in both the operating systems - the most significant of them being the difference in the arguments to mount(2).


int mount(const char *source, const char *target, const char *filesystemtype, unsigned long mountflags, const void *data);

The data argument is interpreted by the different filesystems. Typically it is a string of comma-separated options understood by this filesystem. mount(8) - shows possible arguments for each of the filesystem.

possible options for xfs filesystem in linux :

    wsync, noalign, swalloc, nouuid, mtpt, grpid, nogrpid, bsdgroups, 
    sysvgroups,norecovery, inode64, inode32, ikeep, noikeep,
    largeio, nolargeio, attr2, noattr2, filestreams, quota,
    noquota, lazytime, nolazytime, usrquota, grpquota, prjquota,
    uquota, gquota, pquota, uqnoenforce, gqnoenforce, pqnoenforce,
    qnoenforce, discard, nodiscard, dax, barrier, nobarrier, logbufs,
    biosize, sunit, swidth, logbsize, allocsize, logdev, rtdev


Int mount(const char *type, const char *dir, int flags, void *data, size_t data_len);

The argument data describes the file system object to be mounted, and is data_len bytes long. data is a pointer to a structure that contains the type specific arguments to mount.

For FFS (one of the most common filesystems for NetBSD) - the arguments look like :

struct ufs_args {
        char      *fspec;   /* block special file to mount */

Currently, we have a pseudo syscall syz_mount_image which does the job of writing the mutated chunks of the filesystem into a file based on their offsets and later configuring the loop device using vndconfig(8) and mounting the filesystem image using mount(8).

Analysis of the current approach

One way to create mountable filesystems is to convert an existing filesystem image into a syzkaller pseudo grammar representation and then add it to the corpus so that syzkaller uses it for mutation and we have a proper image.

Some of the noted issues with syzkaller approach (as noted in "Fuzzing File Systems via Two-Dimensional Input Space Exploration) :

  • Lack of metadata knowledge - This may lead to corruption of filesystem specific aspects such as checksums.
  • Lack of Context awareness - Syzkaller isn't aware of the status of the filesystem image after a few operations are performed on it.
  • Steps Forward

    We also spent some time researching possible options to solve the existing issues and developing an approach that would give us better results.

    Image mutator approach

    One possible way forward is to actually use a seed image (a working filesystem image) and write a mutator which would be aware of all the metadata in the image. The mutator should be also be able to recreate metadata components such as the checksum so that the image is mountable.

    An existing implementation of such a mutator is JANUS which is a filesystem mutator written for Linux with inspiration from fsck.

    Grammar based approach

    Syzkaller uses a pseudo-formal grammar for representing arguments to syscalls. This grammar can also be modified to actually be able to properly generate filesystem images.

    Writing grammar to represent a filesystem image is quite a daunting task and we are not yet sure if it is possible but it is the approach that we have planned to take up as of now.

    Proper documentation detailing the structure of a filesystem image is rather scarce which has led me to actually go through filesystem code to figure out the type, uses and limits of a certain filesystem image. This data then has to be converted to syzkaller representation to be used for fuzzing.

    One advantage of writing a grammar that would be able to generate mountable images is that we would be able to get more coverage than fuzzing with a seed image, since we are also creating new images instead of just mutating the same image.

    I am currently working on learning the internals of FFS and trying to write a grammar definition which can properly generate filesystem images.

    Miscellaneous Work

    Meanwhile, I have also been working in parallel on improving the existing state of Syzkaller.

    Add kernel compiled with KUBSAN for fuzzing

    So far we only used a kernel compiled with KCOV and KASAN for fuzzing with syzkaller. We also decided to add support for syzkaller building a kernel with KUBSAN and KCOV. This would help us have an another dimension in the fuzzing process.

    This required some changes in the build config. We had to remove the hardcoded kernel config and add support for building a kernel with a config passed to the fuzzer. This move would also help us to easily add support for upcoming sanitizers such as KMSAN.

    Improve syscall descriptions

    Improving system call descriptions is a constant ongoing work - I recently added support for fuzzing syscalls such as mount, fork and posix_spawn.

    We are also planning to add support for fuzzing device drivers soon.

    Relevant Links

  • Syzkaller Dashboard for NetBSD
  • Syzkaller repository on Github
  • NetBSD docs on setting up syzkaller
  • GSoC'19 proof of work repository
  • Summary

    We have managed to meet most of the goals that we had planned for the GSoC project. Overall, I have had a wonderful summer with the NetBSD foundation and I look forward to working with them to complete the project.

    Last but not least, I want to thank my mentors, @kamil and @cryo for their useful suggestions and guidance. I also thank Maciej for his insight and guidance which was very fundamental during the course of the project. I would also like to thank Dmitry Vyukov, Google for helping with any issues faced with regard to Syzkaller. Finally, thanks to Google to give me a good chance to work with NetBSD community.

    August 23, 2019

    Unix Stack Exchange NetBSD - Unable to install pkgin

    I'm running NetBSD on the Raspberry Pi 1 Model B.

    uname -a
    NetBSD rpi 7.99.64 NetBSD 7.99.64 (RPI.201703032010Z) evbarm

    I'm trying to install pkgin but I'm receiving an error about version mismatch ...

    pkg_add -f pkgin
    pkg_add: Warning: package `pkgin-0.9.4nb4' was built for a platform:
    pkg_add: NetBSD/earmv6hf 7.99.42 (pkg) vs. NetBSD/earmv6hf 7.99.64 (this host)
    pkg_add: Warning: package `pkg_install-20160410nb1' was built for a platform:
    pkg_add: NetBSD/earmv6hf 7.99.58 (pkg) vs. NetBSD/earmv6hf 7.99.64 (this host)
    pkg_add: Can't create pkgdb entry: /var/db/pkg/pkg_install-20160410nb1: Permission denied
    pkg_add: Can't install dependency pkg_install>=20130901, continuing
    pkg_add: Warning: package `libarchive-3.3.1' was built for a platform:
    pkg_add: NetBSD/earmv6hf 7.99.59 (pkg) vs. NetBSD/earmv6hf 7.99.64 (this host)
    pkg_add: Can't create pkgdb entry: /var/db/pkg/libarchive-3.3.1: Permission denied
    pkg_add: Can't install dependency libarchive>=3.2.1nb2, continuing
    pkg_add: Can't create pkgdb entry: /var/db/pkg/pkgin-0.9.4nb4: Permission denied
    pkg_add: 1 package addition failed

    How can I install the correct version?

    August 20, 2019

    Super User How to run a Windowed JAR file over SSH without installing JRE and without root access on NetBsd?

    First, I can use Java, but for what I want to achieve (building a database where othe only application supporting the format is in Java), I need 100Gb of RAM during 20 hours.

    I have access to a server with the required RAM, but not as root and no JRE is available. The same is true for the Xorg libraries.

    Here’s the uname :

    8.0_STABLE NetBSD 8.0_STABLE (GENERIC) #0: Sun Feb 24 10:50:49 UTC 2019  [email protected]:/usr/src/sys/arch/amd64/compile/GENERIC amd64

    The Linux layer is installed, but nothing else is installed : not even Glibc, so the only applications which can be run are the ones which are statically compiled.

    So not only Java isn’t Installed, but some of the require shared libraries are missing…
    However, I have full write access to my $HOME directory, and I can run my own executables from there.

    Is a way to convert a Jar file into a NetBsd Executable or Linux statically linked executable ? I have also the source code of the Jar file if compiling is an acceptable solution.

    I only found about ɢᴄᴊ, but I’m unsure if Java 7 is supported…

    Amitai Schlair Announcing notqmail

    Running my own email server has its challenges. Chief among them: my favorite mail-server software hasn’t been updated since I started using it in 1998.

    The qmail logo
    qmail logo

    Okay, that’s not entirely true. While qmail hasn’t been updated by its original author, a group of respected users created netqmail, a series of tiny updates that were informed, conservative, and careful. By their design, it was safe for everyone running qmail to follow netqmail, so everyone did. But larger changes in the world of email — authentication, encryption, and ever-shifting anti-spam techniques — remained as puzzles for each qmail administrator to solve in their own way. And netqmail hasn’t been updated since 2007.

    One fork per person

    In the interim, devotees have continued maintaining their own individual qmail forks. Some have shared theirs publicly. I’ve preferred the design constraints of making minimal, purpose-specific, and conflict-avoidant add-ons and patches. Then again, these choices are motivated by the needs of my qmail packaging, which I suppose is itself a de facto fork.

    I’ve found this solo work quite satisfying. I’ve learned more C, reduced build-time complexity, added run-time configurability, and published unusually polished and featureful qmail packages for over 20 platforms. Based on these experiences, I’ve given dozens of workshops and talks. In seeking to simplify system administration for myself and others, I’ve become a better programmer and consultant.

    Still, wouldn’t it be more satisfying if we could somehow pool our efforts? If, long after the end of DJB’s brilliant one-man show, a handful of us could shift how we relate to this codebase — and to each other — in order to bring a collaborative open-source effort to life? If, with netqmail as inspiration, we could produce safe updates while also evolving qmail to meet more present-day needs?

    One fork per community

    My subtle artwork
    notqmail logo == qmail logo overlaid by a red circle with a slash through it

    Say hello to notqmail.

    Our first release is informed, conservative, and careful — but bold. It reflects our brand-new team’s rapid convergence on where we’re going and how we’ll get there. In the span of a few weeks, we’ve:

    I say “bold” because, for all the ways we intend to hew to qmail tradition, one of our explicit goals is a significant departure. Back in the day, qmail’s lack of license, redistribution restrictions, technical barriers, and social norms made it hard for OS integrators to create packages, and hard for package users to get help. netqmail 1.06 expressed a desire to change this. In notqmail 1.07, we’ve made packaging much easier. (I’ve already updated pkgsrc from netqmail to notqmail, and some of my colleagues have prepared notqmail RPM and .deb packages.) Further improvements for packagers are part of what’s slated for 1.08.

    What’s next

    Looking much further ahead, another of our explicit goals is “Meeting all common needs with OS-provided packages”. We have a long way to go. But we couldn’t be off to a better start.

    By our design, we believe we’ve made it safe for everyone running qmail to follow notqmail. We hope you’ll vet our changes carefully, then update your installations to notqmail 1.07. We hope you’ll start observing us as we continue the work. We hope you’ll discuss freely on the qmail mailing list. We hope you’ll be a part of the qmail revival in ways that are comfortable for you. And we hope that, in the course of time, notqmail will prove to be the community-driven open-source successor to qmail.

    August 11, 2019

    Unix Stack Exchange How to use resize_ffs in netbsd

    I'm trying to use resize_ffs with netbsd to increase the size of my partition. I have NetBSD running in a virtual machine, and have expanded the size of the disk, and now wish to grow the partition to match.

    The man_page for the tool is here

    I am trying to grow a 300mb partition to 1gb.

    The tool manpage says that specifiying a size is not mandatory, and that if it is not specified it will grow to use available space (ideal behaviour), however this results in an error saying newsize not known.

    I have used various online tools to try and calculate the disk geomtery, but no matter what I try when I pass a number to -s, I get the error 'bad magic number'.

    I have been unable to find example of using this tool online.

    What is the correct way to use resize_ffs to grow a partition to use available disk space?

    August 08, 2019 New Security Advisory: NetBSD-SA2019-004

    August 01, 2019 New Developer in July 2019

    July 31, 2019

    NetBSD Package System (pkgsrc) on DaemonForums xf86-input-keyboard, xf86-video-vmware, unrecoverable error
    Hello everybody:

    I'm still trying to work NetBSD with. Complicated OS, at least in this stage of development. I wonder "how can I use it as desktop graphical OS, if it can't be installed xf86-input-keyboard, or xf86-video-vmware, and so on?"

    Theses are not packages stored in

    They are not stored under any release of NetBSD for i386 systems.

    All of them must be installed from source...

    But, an error arises, always, ... randrproto>1.6.0 needed

    This is not an error of NetBSD, but at this time it has not been solved, and seems to be an endless error, among the next releases of NetBSD.

    According documents on the net this bug is solved using xorgproto instead of randrproto, but does not solve anything, really, the bug is always present, not fixed anyway.

    Does anybody have a binary package for xf86-input-keyboard, ?

    A package that should be installed without thes issues?

    Thank you all for your help.

    P.S.: My NetBSD is 8.0 release, installed in a VMWared environment under Win.7.

    July 30, 2019

    Unix Stack Exchange pkgin installation problem (NetBSD)

    I just installed NetBSD 7.1.1 (i386) on my old laptop.

    During the installation, I could not install pgkin (I don't know why), so I skipped it and now I have a NetBSD 7.1.1 installed on my laptop without pkgin.

    My problem is "How to install pkgin on NetBSD (i386) ?"

    I found this (Click) tutorial and I followed it:

    I tried :

    #export PKG_PATH=""
    # pkg_add -v pkgin

    And I got :

    pkg_add: Can't process*: Not Found
    pkg_add: no pkg found for 'pkgin',sorry.
    pkg_add: 1 package addition failed

    I know this is a wrong command because this ftp address is for amd64 while my laptop and this NetBSD is i386. (I can't find the correct command for i386 )

    I also followed instructions of (Click), and I did

    git clone

    on another computer and copied the output (which is a folder name pkgin) to my NetBSD (my NetBSD doesn't have 'git' command)

    and then I did :

    ./configure --prefix=/usr/pkg --with-libraries=/usr/pkg/lib --with-includes=/usr/pkg/include

    and then :


    but I got :

    #   compile  pkgin/summary.o
    gcc -O2    -std=gnu99    -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -Wmissing-prototypes -Wpointer-arith -Wno-sign-compare  -Wno-traditional  -Wa,--fatal-warnings -Wreturn-type -Wswitch -Wshadow -Werror    -DPKGIN_VERSION=\""0.9.4 for NetBSD-7.1.1 i386"\" -DNETBSD  -g -DLOCALBASE=\"/usr/local\"           -DPKG_SYSCONFDIR=\"/usr/local/etc\"         -DPKG_DBDIR="\"/var/db/pkg\""           -DDEF_LOG_DIR="\"/var/db/pkg\""         -DPKGIN_DB=\"/var/db/pkgin\"            -DPKGTOOLS=\"/usr/local/sbin\" -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -D_LARGE_FILES -DCHECK_MACHINE_ARCH=\"i386\" -Iexternal -I. -I/usr/local/include  -c    summary.c
    *** Error code 1
    make: stopped in /root/pkgin

    I think this error occurs because of the dependencies. (which is mentioned in but still, don't know how to install those dependencies.

    EDIT: I found "" but it still says

    no pkg fond for 'pkgin', sorry


    ** I solved the problem by writing 7.1 instead of 7.1.1**

    July 29, 2019

    NetBSD General on DaemonForums Fighting with NetBSD installig packages
    There is a video explaining how to install NetBSD 8.0. I followed that video, and theres is something I couldn't find in docs about NetBSD. Installing Bash and using pkgin inside it enables to install packages that in other way can't be installed.

    In turn, when I tried to install xf86-input-vmware, xf86-input-keyboard and xf86-video-vmware... these packages are not in the repository at all.

    Looking for the net I found theses packages in an ftp site of SmartOS, that uses NetBSD packages.

    I downloaded these packages, I have installed video-vmware and input-vmmouse using pkg_add -f program_name.tgz.

    The package xf86-input-keyboard gives an error that "keyring" not found, and can't be installed.

    The question is, why, if the video shows how install those packages directly by using pkgin install program_name, those packages don't exist anymore in NetBSD repositories.

    Using pkgsrc and make install clean gives an unrecoverable error about randrproto>1.6.0 is needed.

    I hope NetBSD will update repositories, because it is very difficult to work this OS with.

    Does anybody I help with this?

    Unix Stack Exchange How to install directly from a package *.tgz file in NetBSD, OpenBSD, or FreeBSD

    Is there any way to install software from the *.tgz file that is its package, in NetBSD? Or indeed in operating systems with similar package managers such as OpenBSD or FreeBSD?

    For example, I can install the nano editor on NetBSD using this command:

    pkgin nano

    (I could do the same with a similar pkg install nano command on FreeBSD.)

    What if I download the package file directly from the operating system's package repository, which would be a URL like

    Having obtained the package file from the repository by hand like this, is there any way to now install nano directly from it? How do I do that?

    July 24, 2019

    Unix Stack Exchange How to compile fIcy for BSD?

    I'm trying to compile fIcy ( for NetBSD/FreeBSD.

    When I'm executing the make command nothing happens. Even no error message.

    The same source package compiles without problems with Debian 10.

    Is the Makefile even compatible with BSD?

    The commands I used so far on FreeBSD 12:

    pkg install gcc
    tar xfvz fIcy-master.tar.gz
    cd fIcy-master
    type make
    make is /usr/bin/make

    July 13, 2019

    Jeremy C. Reed 2019-July-13 pfSense Essentials Book Writing

    This week I received my printed proof from the printer and enabled it to be printed. It is now for sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble,

    I set an alarm to work on it very early a few days a week and it took me a few years. (I am blessed to only commute a few times a year, so I make sure that I don't waste that gifted time.)

    This book was written using Docbook using NetBSD and vi. The print-ready book was generated with Dblatex version 0.3.10 with a custom stylesheet, pdfTeX 3.14159265-2.6-1.40.19 (Web2C 2018), and the TeX document production system installed via Tex Live and Pkgsrc. Several scripts and templates were created to help have a consistent document.

    The book work was managed using the Subversion version control software. I carefully outlined my steps in utilizing the useful interfaces and identified every web and console interface. The basic writing process included adding over 350 special comment tags in the docbook source files that identified topics to cover and for every pfSense web interface PHP script (highlighting if they were main webpages from the pfSense menu). As content was written, I updated these special comments with a current status. A periodic script checked the docbook files and the generated book and reported on writing progress and current needs.

    During this writing, nearly every interface was tested. In addition, code and configurations were often temporarily customized to simulate various pfSense behaviors and system situations. Most of the pfSense interface and low-level source code was studied, which helped with identifying pfSense configurations and features that didn't display in standard setups and all of its options. The software was upgraded several times and installed and ran in multiple VMs and hardware environments with many wireless and network cards, including with IPv6. In addition, third-party documentation and even source code was researched to help explain pfSense configurations and behaviors.

    As part of this effort, I documented 352 bugs (some minor and some significant) and code suggestions that I found from code reading or from actual use of the system. (I need to post that.)

    The first subversion commit for this book was in July 2014. It has commits in 39 different months with 656 commits total. The book's docbook source had 3789 non-printed comments and 56,193 non-blank lines of text. The generated book has over 180,000 words. My subversion logs show I have commits on 41 different Saturdays. Just re-reading with cleanup took me approximately 160 hours.

    July 11, 2019

    Stack Overflow configuration of tty on BSD system

    For a command like this one on Linux debian-linux 4.19.0-1-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.19.12-1 (2018-12-22) x86_64 GNU/Linux with xfce I get :

    [email protected]:~$ dbus-send --system --type=method_call --print-reply --dest
    =org.freedesktop.DBus /org/freedesktop/DBus org.freedesktop.DBus.ListActivatable  

    The same command on OpenBSD LeOpenBSD 6.4 GENERIC.MP#364 amd64 with xfce I get :

    ktop/DBus org.freedesktop.DBus.ListActivatableNames   <

    On linux, at the end of screen, we go to next line.
    On BSD(OpenBSD-NetBSD), the command line continue on the same line and the first words disapear.
    It's the same in xfce-terminal-emulator, xterm or in TTY (Alt-Ctrl-F3)

    I try to add am in gettytab in the defaut section with no avail.
    Termcap man page say :
    If the display wraps around to the beginning of the next line when the cursor reaches the right margin, then it should have the am capability.
    What can I do ?

    July 09, 2019

    NetBSD Package System (pkgsrc) on DaemonForums Zabbix Frontend Dependencies
    Hi All
    I used pkgsrc to install the zabbix frontend. I notice though that it automatically installs some php71 dependencies. I really wanted to use php73 though as php71 has some vulns. Is there a way to do that?

    July 08, 2019

    Server Fault Webserver farm with NFS share (autofs failure)

    I am trying to set up the farm of webservers, consisting of the internal, external and worker servers.

    1. The actual sites content is stored on internal NFS server deep in internal network. All sites contents management is centralized.

    2. BSD-based external servers have Lighttpd doing all the HTTP/HTTPS job, serving static content. Main NFS share is auto-mounted via special path, like /net/server/export/www/site/ (via amd).

    3. Every Lighttpd have fastcgi parameters pointing to several worker servers, which have php-fpm working (for example). Different sites may require different php versions or arrangement, so www01 and www02 may serve site "A" having php-fpm over PHP 5.6 and www05 and www06 will serve site "B" having php-fpm over PHP 7.2.

    4. Every worker get requests for certain sites (one or more) with path /net/server/export/www/site and execute PHP or any other code. They also have amd (for BSD) and autofs (for Linux) working.

    5. For some sites Lighttpd may not forward fastcgi, but do proxying instead, so workers can have Apache or other web-server (even Java-based) working.

    External servers are always BSD, internal servers too, but workers can be different upon actual needs.

    This all work good when workers are BSD. If we are using Linux on workers - it stops working when share is automatically unmounted. When one tries to access the site he will get error 404. When I connect to server via ssh I will see no mounted share on "df -h". If I do any "ls" on /net/server/export - it is self-mounted as intended and site starts to work. On BSD-systems df show amd shares always mounted despite of 60 seconds dismount period.

    I believe there is a difference between amd and autofs approach, php-fpm calls on Linux become some kind of "invisible" to autofs and do not cause auto-mount, because any other access to /net/server/ work at any time and do cause auto-mount. Also, this happens not with php-fpm only, Apache serving static content on auto-mounted NFS share behave same way.

    Sorry for long description, but I tried to describe it good. The main question here - is anyone know why calls to /net/server may not cause auto-mount in autofs and how to prevent this behavior.

    For lot of reasons I do not consider using static mounting, so this is not an option here. As for Linux versions - mostly it was tested on OEL 7.recent.

    Server Fault ssh tunnel refusing connections with "channel 2: open failed"

    All of a sudden (read: without changing any parameters) my netbsd virtualmachine started acting oddly. The symptoms concern ssh tunneling.

    From my laptop I launch:

    $ ssh -L 7000:localhost:7000 [email protected] -N -v

    Then, in another shell:

    $ irssi -c localhost -p 7000

    The ssh debug says:

    debug1: Connection to port 7000 forwarding to localhost port 7000 requested.
    debug1: channel 2: new [direct-tcpip]
    channel 2: open failed: connect failed: Connection refused
    debug1: channel 2: free: direct-tcpip: listening port 7000 for localhost port 7000, connect from port 53954, nchannels 3

    I tried also with localhost:80 to connect to the (remote) web server, with identical results.

    The remote host runs NetBSD:

    bash-4.2# uname -a
    NetBSD host 5.1_STABLE NetBSD 5.1_STABLE (XEN3PAE_DOMU) #6: Fri Nov  4 16:56:31 MET 2011  [email protected]:/m/obj/m/src/sys/arch/i386/compile/XEN3PAE_DOMU i386

    I am a bit lost. I tried running tcpdump on the remote host, and I spotted these 'bad chksum':

    09:25:55.823849 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 64, id 0, offset 0, flags [DF], proto TCP (6), length 67, bad cksum 0 (->3cb3)!) > P, cksum 0xfe37 (incorrect (-> 0xa801), 1622402406:1622402421(15) ack 1635127887 win 4096 <nop,nop,timestamp 5002727 5002603>

    I tried restarting the ssh daemon to no avail. I haven't rebooted yet - perhaps somebody here can suggest other diagnostics. I think it might either be the virtual network card driver, or somebody rooted our ssh.


    July 04, 2019

    OS News OpenBSD is now my workstation
    Why OpenBSD? Simply because it is the best tool for the job for me for my new-to-me Lenovo Thinkpad T420. Additionally, I do care about security and non-bloat in my personal operating systems (business needs can have different priorities, to be clear). I will try to detail what my reasons are for going with OpenBSD (instead of GNU/Linux, NetBSD, or FreeBSD of which I’m comfortable using without issue), challenges and frustrations I’ve encountered, and what my opinions are along the way. I’ve never managed to really get into the BSDs, as Linux has always served my needs for a UNIX-like operating system quite well. I feel like the BSDs are more pure and less messy than Linux, but is that actually true, or just my perception?

    July 03, 2019

    Super User Using a Console-only NetBSD VM

    I am experimenting with NetBSD and seeing if I can get the Fenrir screenreader to run on it. However, I hit a snag post install; the console that I was using for the installation was working perfectly fine, however it stopped working alltogether once I completed the install. For reference, here is the line I used for virt-install:

    virt-install --connect qemu:///system -n netbsd-testing \
                 --ram 4096 --vcpus=8 \
                 --cpu=host \
                 -c /home/sektor/Downloads/boot-com.iso  \
                 --os-type=netbsd --os-variant=netbsd8.0 \
                 --disk=pool=devel,size=100,format=qcow2 \
                 -w network=default --nographics 

    When it asked me for the type of terminal I was using (this being the NetBSD install program), I accepted the default which was VT200. As I recall, I told it to use the BIOS for booting, and not any of the comm serial ports. Has anyone had any further experience with using no graphics on a Libvirt virtualized machine, and have any points as to how to get a working console?


    June 29, 2019

    NetBSD General on DaemonForums View X session of instance in VirtualBox via VNC
    Does anyone have a working howto on how to attach X session on NetBSD running within VirtualBox to VNC on the host computer?

    June 12, 2019

    Super User NetBSD - no pkg

    After full installation of latest NetBSD I'm tried to launch pkgin, but received pkgin not found, also I've got same for pkgsrc. Then I've found, that there's no /usr/pkg location.

    That's normal or I've did something wrong?

    May 24, 2019

    NetBSD Installation and Upgrading on DaemonForums no bootable device after installtion
    After installing NetBSD 8 I have a couple problems.
    1. If the USB drive with the installation image is not inserted the system will not boot.
    2. Running X -configure causes a reboot.

    1. Without the installation USB:

    PXE-M0F: Exiting PXE ROM.
    No bootable -- insert boot disk and press any key

    The first time I thought I made a mistake and did something to the BIOS, but the partitions looks fine, just like it should in The Guide:

    a:  0    472983    472984    FFSv2
    b:  472984    476939    3985    swap
    c:  0    476939    476939    NetBSD partition
    d:  0    476939    476940    whole disc
    e:  0    0    0    unused

    I am at a bit of a loss, since as far as I know it should not be possible to set an installation medium as the boot source of an OS.

    2. I do not know if this is unsupported hardware or related to #1.

    DRM error in radeon_get_bios:
    Unable to locate a BIOS ROM
    radeon0: error: Fatal error during GPU init

    I am trawlling through documrntation, but with a telephone. So I also cannot post a dmesg, although I can look through other threads where it is posted and copy it. (A little later in the day.)

    March 15, 2019

    Stack Overflow host netbsd 1.4 or 1.5 i386 cross-compile target macppc powerpc g3 program

    For some reason, I want develop program which can work on netbsd 1.4 or 1.5 powerpc ,target cpu is power750(powerpc platform,nearly 20 years old system),but I can't find how to make this kind cross-compile enviroment vmware host:i386 netbsd 1.5 + egcs1.1.1 + binutils 2.9.1 ---> target host:macppc powerpc netbsd 1.5 + egcs 1.1.1 I download and install netbsd 1.5 vmware and download pkgsrc,when I make /usr/src/pkgsrc/cross/powerpc-netbsd,I got gcc work on i386 but not cross-gcc,why? Thank you if any help!

    March 07, 2019

    Amitai Schlair NYCBUG: Maintaining qmail in 2019

    On Wednesday, March 6, I attended New York City BSD User Group and presented Maintaining qmail in 2019. This one pairs nicely with my recent DevOpsDays Ignite talk about why and how to Run Your @wn Email Server! That this particular “how” could be explained in 5 minutes is remarkable, if I may say so myself. In this NYCBUG talk — my first since 2014 — I show my work. It’s a real-world, open-source tale of methodically, incrementally reducing complexity in order to afford added functionality.

    My abstract:

    qmail 1.03 was notoriously bothersome to deploy. Twenty years later, for common use cases, I’ve finally made it pretty easy. If you want to try it out, I’ll help! (Don’t worry, it’s even easier to uninstall.) Or just listen as I share the sequence of stepwise improvements from then to now — including pkgsrc packaging, new code, and testing on lots of platforms — as well as the reasons I keep finding this project worthwhile.

    Here’s the video:

    February 23, 2019

    Stack Overflow How to perform a 308 open redirect with php and apache?

    I want to perform an open redirect so,

    would redirect to
    Here’s /index.cgi which of course has exec permissions.

    header("Location: ".$_GET["endpoint"], true, 307);

    and Here’s /flashredirect/.htaccess

    Options FollowSymLinks
    Options +ExecCGI
    AddHandler cgi-script .cgi .pl
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    FallbackResource /index.cgi

    Obviously, there’s an error somewhere but where ? Also accessing error logs is payfull on so I can’t know the problem.

    February 18, 2019

    Stack Overflow NetBSD long double trouble

    I have simple code:

     #include <stdio.h>
     int main()
          //char d[10] = {0x13, 0x43, 0x9b, 0x64, 0x28, 0xf8, 0xff, 0x7f, 0x00, 0x00};
          //long double rd = *(long double*)&d;
          long double rd = 3.3621e-4932L;
          printf("%Le\n", rd);
          return 0;

    On my Ubuntu x64 it prints as expected 3.362100e-4932. On my NetBSD it prints 1.681050e-4932

    Why it happens and how can I fix it? I try clang and gcc with same result.

    My system (VM inside VirtualBox 5.0):

     uname -a
     NetBSD netbsd.home 7.0 NetBSD 7.0 (GENERIC.201509250726Z) amd64
     gcc --version
     gcc (nb2 20150115) 4.8.4
     clang --version
     clang version 3.6.2 (tags/RELEASE_362/final)
     Target: x86_64--netbsd
     Thread model: posix


    /usr/include/x86/float.h defines as LDBL_MIN as 3.3621031431120935063E-4932L And this value is greater than printf result.

    February 06, 2019

    Stack Overflow Disabling/Enabling interrupts on x86 architectures

    I am using NetBSD 5.1 for x86 systems. While studying some driver related code, I see that we use splraise and spllower to block or allow interrupts. I searched some of the mechanisms on internet to understand how these mechanisms work in reality. Did not get any real info on that.

    When I disassembled I got the mechanism but still do not understand how all these assembly instruction yield me the result. I know x86 instruction individually, but not how the whole stuff works in its entirety.

    Need your help in understanding its principles for x86 system. I understand that we need to disable Interrupt Enable (IE) bit, but this assembly seems to be doing more than just this work. Need help.

      (gdb) x/50i splraise
       0xc0100d40:  mov    0x4(%esp),%edx
       0xc0100d44:  mov    %fs:0x214,%eax
       0xc0100d4a:  cmp    %edx,%eax
       0xc0100d4c:  ja     0xc0100d55
       0xc0100d4e:  mov    %edx,%fs:0x214
       0xc0100d55:  ret
       0xc0100d56:  lea    0x0(%esi),%esi
       0xc0100d59:  lea    0x0(%edi,%eiz,1),%edi
       (gdb) p spllower
       $38 = {<text variable, no debug info>} 0xc0100d60
       0xc0100d60:  mov    0x4(%esp),%ecx
       0xc0100d64:  mov    %fs:0x214,%edx
       0xc0100d6b:  cmp    %edx,%ecx
       0xc0100d6d:  push   %ebx
       0xc0100d6e:  jae,pn 0xc0100d8f
       0xc0100d71:  mov    %fs:0x210,%eax
       0xc0100d77:  test   %eax,%fs:0x244(,%ecx,4)
       0xc0100d7f:  mov    %eax,%ebx
       0xc0100d81:  jne,pn 0xc0100d91
       0xc0100d84:  cmpxchg8b %fs:0x210
       0xc0100d8c:  jne,pn 0xc0100d71
       0xc0100d8f:  pop    %ebx
       0xc0100d90:  ret
       0xc0100d91:  pop    %ebx
       0xc0100d92:  jmp    0xc0100df0
       0xc0100d97:  mov    %esi,%esi
       0xc0100d99:  lea    0x0(%edi,%eiz,1),%edi
       0xc0100da0:  mov    0x4(%esp),%ecx
       0xc0100da4:  mov    %fs:0x214,%edx
       0xc0100dab:  cmp    %edx,%ecx
       0xc0100dad:  push   %ebx
       0xc0100dae:  jae,pn 0xc0100dcf
       0xc0100db1:  mov    %fs:0x210,%eax
       0xc0100db7:  test   %eax,%fs:0x244(,%ecx,4)
       0xc0100dbf:  mov    %eax,%ebx
       0xc0100dc1:  jne,pn 0xc0100dd1
       0xc0100dc4:  cmpxchg8b %fs:0x210
       0xc0100dcc:  jne,pn 0xc0100db1
       0xc0100dcf:  pop    %ebx
       0xc0100dd0:  ret
       0xc0100dd1:  pop    %ebx
       0xc0100dd2:  jmp    0xc0100df0
       0xc0100dd7:  mov    %esi,%esi
       0xc0100dd9:  lea    0x0(%edi,%eiz,1),%edi
       0xc0100de0:  nop
       0xc0100de1:  jmp    0xc0100df0

    The code seems to be using a helper function cx8_spllower starting at address 0xc0100da0.

    January 25, 2019

    Amitai Schlair DevOpsDays NYC: Run Your @wn Email Server!

    In late January, I was at DevOpsDays NYC in midtown Manhattan to present Run Your @wn Email Server!

    My abstract:

    When we’re responsible for production, it can be hard to find room to learn. That’s why I run my own email server. It’s still “production” — if it stays down, that’s pretty bad — but I own all the decisions, take more risks, and have learned lots. And so can you! Come see why and how to get started.

    With one command, install famously secure email software. A couple more and it’s running. A few more and it’s encrypted. Twiddle your DNS, watch the mail start coming in, and start feeling responsible for a production service in a way that web hosting can’t match.

    January 07, 2019

    Amitai Schlair 2018Q4 qmail updates in pkgsrc

    Happy 2019! Another three months, another stable branch for pkgsrc, the practical cross-platform Unix package manager. I’ve shipped quite a few improvements for qmail users in our 2018Q4 release. In three sentences:

    1. qmail-run gains TLS, SPF, IPv6, SMTP recipient checks, and many other sensible defaults.
    2. Most qmail-related packages — including the new ones used by qmail-run — are available on most pkgsrc platforms.
    3. rc.d-boot starts rc.conf-enabled pkgsrc services at boot time on many platforms.

    In one:

    It’s probably easy for you to run qmail now.

    On this basis, at my DevOpsDays NYC talk in a few weeks, I’ll be recommending that everyone try it.

    Try it

    Here’s a demo on CentOS 7, using binary packages:

    The main command I ran:

    $ sudo env PKG_RCD_SCRIPTS=yes pkgin -y install qmail-run rc.d-boot

    Here’s another demo on Debian 9, building from source packages:

    The commands I ran:

    $ cd ...pkgsrc/mail/qmail-run && make PKG_RCD_SCRIPTS=yes install
    $ cd ../../pkgtools/rc.d-boot && make PKG_RCD_SCRIPTS=yes install

    These improvements were made possible by acceptutils, my redesigned TLS and SMTP AUTH implementation that obviates the need for several large and conflicting patches. Further improvements are expected.

    Here’s the full changelog for qmail as packaged in pkgsrc-2018Q4.




    September 15, 2018

    Amitai Schlair Coding Tour Summer 2018: Conclusion

    After my fourth and final tour stop, we decamped to Mallorca for a week. With no upcoming workshops to polish and no upcoming plans to finalize, the laptop stayed home. Just each other, a variety of beaches, and the annual Les Festes del Rei En Jaume that Bekki and I last saw two years ago on our honeymoon. The parade was perhaps a bit much for Taavi.

    Looking away

    The just-released episode 99 of Agile for Humans includes some reflections (starting around 50 minutes in) from partway through my coding tour. As our summer in Germany draws to a close, I’d like to reflect on the tour as a whole.

    Annual training

    I’ve made a habit of setting aside time, attention, and money each year for focused learning. My most recent trainings, all formative and memorable:

    I hoped Schleier, Coding Tour would fit the bill for 2018. It has.

    Geek joy

    At the outset, I was asked how I’d know whether the tour had gone well. My response: “It’s a success if I get to meet a bunch of people in a bunch of places and we have fun programming together.”

    I got to program with a bunch of people in a bunch of places. We had fun doing it. Success!

    New technologies

    My first tour stop offered such an ecumenical mix of languages, tools, and techniques that I began writing down each new technology I encountered. I’m glad I started at the beginning. Even so, this list of things that were new or mostly new to me is probably incomplete:

    In the moment, learning new technologies was a source of geek joy. In the aggregate, it’s professionally useful. I think the weight clients tend to place on consultants needing to be expert in their tech stack is dangerously misplaced, but it doesn’t matter what I think if they won’t bring me in. Any chance for me to broaden my tech background is a chance for a future client to take advantage of all the other reasons I can be valuable to them.


    As Schmonz’s Theorem predicts, code-touring is both similar to and different from consulting.

    When consulting, I expect most of my learning to be meta: the second loop (at least) of double-loop learning. When touring, I became reacquainted with the simple joys of the first loop, spending all day learning new things to be able to do. It often felt like play.

    When consulting, I initially find myself being listened to in a peculiar way, my words being heard and measured carefully for evidence of my real intentions. My first tasks are to demonstrate that I can be trusted and that I can be useful, not necessarily in that (or any) order. Accomplishing this as a programmer on tour felt easier than usual.

    When I’m consulting, not everyone I encounter wants me there. Some offer time and attention because they feel obligated. On this tour, even though some folks were surprised to find out their employer wasn’t paying me anything, I sensed people were sharing their time and attention with me out of curiosity and generosity. I believe I succeeded in making myself trusted and useful to each of them, and the conversation videos and written testimonials help me hold the belief.

    Professional development

    With so much practice designing and facilitating group activities, so much information-rich feedback from participants, and so many chances to try again soon, I’ve leveled up as a facilitator. I was comfortable with my skills, abilities, and material before; I’m even more comfortable now. In my tour’s final public meetup, I facilitated one of my legacy code exercises for three simultaneous mobs. It went pretty well — in large part because of the participants, but also because of my continually developing skill at designing and facilitating learning experiences.

    As a consultant, it’s a basic survival skill to quickly orient myself in new problem spaces. As a coach, my superpower might be that I help others quickly orient themselves in their problem spaces. Visiting many teams at many companies, I got lots of practice at both. These areas of strength for me are now stronger, the better with which to serve my next clients.

    On several occasions I asked mobs not to bother explaining the current context to me before starting the timer. My hypothesis was, all the context I’d need would reveal itself through doing the work and asking a question or two along the way. (One basis among many for this hypothesis: what happened when I showed up late to one of Lennart Fridén’s sessions at this spring’s Mob Programming Conference and everyone else had already read the manual for our CPU.) I think there was one scenario where this didn’t work extremely well, but my memory’s fuzzy — have I mentioned meeting a whole bunch of people at a whole bunch of workplaces, meetups, and conferences? — so I’ll have to report the details when I rediscover it.

    You can do this too, and I can help

    When designing my tour, I sought advice from several people who’d gone on one. (Along the way I met several more, including Ivan Sanchez at SPA in London and Daniel Temme at SoCraTes in Soltau.)

    If you’re wondering whether a coding tour is something you want to do, or how to make it happen, get in touch. I’m happy to listen and offer my suggestions.

    What’s next for me, and you can help

    Like what I’m doing? Want more of it in your workplace?

    I offer short, targeted engagements in the New York metro area — coaching, consulting, and training — co-designed with you to meet your organization’s needs.

    More at


    Yes, lots.

    It’s been a splendid set of privileges to have the free time to go on tour, to have organizations in several countries interested to have me code with them, and to meet so many people who care about what I care about when humans develop software together.

    Five years ago I was discovering the existence of a set of communities of shared values in software development and my need to feel connected to them. Today I’m surer than ever that I’ve needed this connection and that I’ve found it.

    Thanks to the people who hosted me for a week at their employer: Patrick Drechsler at MATHEMA/Redheads in Erlangen, Alex Schladebeck at BREDEX in Braunschweig, Barney Dellar at Canon Medical Research in Edinburgh, and Thorsten Brunzendorf at codecentric in Nürnberg and München. And thanks to these companies for being willing to take a chance on bringing in an itinerant programmer for a visit.

    Thanks and apologies in equal measure to Richard Groß, who did all the legwork to have me visit MaibornWolff in Frankfurt, only to have me cancel at just about the last minute. At least we got to enjoy each other’s company at Agile Coach Camp Germany and SoCraTes (the only two people to attend both!).

    Thanks to David Heath at the UK’s Government Digital Service for inviting me to join them on extremely short notice when I had a free day in London, and to Olaf Lewitz for making the connection.

    Thanks to the meetups and conferences where I was invited to present: Mallorca Software Craft, SPA Software in Practice, pkgsrcCon, Hackerkegeln, JUG Ostfalen, Lean Agile Edinburgh, NEBytes, and Munich Software Craft. And thanks to Agile Coach Camp Germany and SoCraTes for the open spaces I did my part to fill.

    Thanks to Marc Burgauer, Jens Schauder, and Jutta Eckstein for making time to join me for a meal. Thanks to Zeb Ford-Reitz, Barney Dellar, and their respective spice for inviting me into their respective homes for dinner.

    Thanks to J.B. Rainsberger for simple, actionable advice on making it easy for European companies to reimburse my expenses, and more broadly on the logistics of going on European consulting-and-speaking tours when one is from elsewhere. (BTW, his next tour begins soon.)

    Thanks all over again to everyone who helped me design and plan the tour, most notably Dr. Sal Freudenberg, Llewellyn Falco, and Nicole Rauch.

    Thanks to Woody Zuill, Bryan Beecham, and Tim Bourguignon for that serendipitous conversation in the park in London. Thanks to Tim for having been there in the park with me. (No thanks to Woody for waiting till we’d left London before arriving. At least David Heath and GDS got to see him. Hmph.)

    Thanks to Lisi Hocke for making my wish a reality: that her testing tour and my coding tour would intersect. As a developer, I have so much to learn about testing and so few chances to learn from the best. She made it happen. A perfect ending for my tour.

    Thanks to Ryan Ripley for having me on Agile for Humans a couple more times as the tour progressed. I can’t say enough about what Ryan and his show have done for me, so this’ll have to be enough.

    Thanks to everyone else who helped draw special attention to my tour when I was seeking companies to visit, most notably Kent Beck. It really did help.

    Another reason companies cited for inviting me: my micropodcast, Agile in 3 Minutes. Thanks to Johanna Rothman, Andrea Goulet, Lanette Creamer, Alex Harms, and Jessica Kerr for your wonderful guest episodes. You’ve done me and our listeners a kindness. I trust it will come back to you.

    Thank you to my family for supporting my attempts at growth, especially when I so clearly need it.

    Finally, thanks to all of you for following along and for helping me find the kind of consulting work I’m best at, close to home in New York. You can count on me continuing to learn things and continuing to share them with you.


    March 17, 2018

    Hubert Feyrer The adventure of rebuilding g4u from source
    I was asked by a long-time g4u user on help with rebuilding g4u from sources. After pointing at the instructions on the homepage, we figured out that a few lose odds and ends didin't match. After bouncing some advices back and forth, I ventured into the frabjous joy of starting a rebuild from scratch, and quick enough ran into some problems, too.

    Usually I cross-compile g4u from Mac OS X, but for the fun of it I did it on NetBSD (7.0-stable branch, amd64 architecture in VMware Fusion) this time. After waiting forever on the CVS checkout, I found that empty directories were not removed - that's what you get if you have -P in your ~/.cvsrc file.

    I already had the hint that the "g4u-build" script needed a change to have "G4U_BUILD_KERNEL=true".

    From there, things went almost smooth: building indicated a few files that popped up "variable may be used uninitialized" errors, and which -- thanks to -Werror -- bombed out the build. Fixing was easy, and I have no idea why that built for me on the release. I have sent a patch with the required changes to the g4u-help mailing list. (After fixing that I apparently got unsubscribed from my own support mailing list - thank you very much, Sourceforge ;)).

    After those little hassles, the build worked fine, and gave me the floppy disk and ISO images that I expected:

    >       ls -l `pwd`/g4u*fs
    >       -rw-r--r--  2 feyrer  staff  1474560 Mar 17 19:27 /home/feyrer/work/NetBSD/cvs/src-g4u.v3-deOliviera/src/distrib/i386/g4u/g4u1.fs
    >       -rw-r--r--  2 feyrer  staff  1474560 Mar 17 19:27 /home/feyrer/work/NetBSD/cvs/src-g4u.v3-deOliviera/src/distrib/i386/g4u/g4u2.fs
    >       -rw-r--r--  2 feyrer  staff  1474560 Mar 17 19:27 /home/feyrer/work/NetBSD/cvs/src-g4u.v3-deOliviera/src/distrib/i386/g4u/g4u3.fs
    >       -rw-r--r--  2 feyrer  staff  1474560 Mar 17 19:27 /home/feyrer/work/NetBSD/cvs/src-g4u.v3-deOliviera/src/distrib/i386/g4u/g4u4.fs
    >       ls -l `pwd`/g4u.iso
    >       -rw-r--r--  2 feyrer  staff  6567936 Mar 17 19:27 /home/feyrer/work/NetBSD/cvs/src-g4u.v3-deOliviera/src/distrib/i386/g4u/g4u.iso
    >       ls -l `pwd`/g4u-kernel.gz
    >       -rw-r?r--  1 feyrer  staff  6035680 Mar 17 19:27 /home/feyrer/work/NetBSD/cvs/src-g4u.v3-deOliviera/src/distrib/i386/g4u/g4u-kernel.gz 
    Next steps are to confirm the above changes as working from my faithful tester, and then look into how to merge this into the build instructions .

    January 12, 2018

    Super User What is the default File System in NetBSD? What are it's benefits and shortcommings?

    I spent some time looking through the documentation, but honestly, I have not found any good answer.

    I understand NetBSD supports many FS types as USER SPACE, but I would like to know what is the default FS created by the installer, and the one which I could boot from.

    January 04, 2018

    Hubert Feyrer NetBSD 7.1.1 released
    On December 22nd, NetBSD 7.1.1 was released as premature christmas present, see the release annoucement.

    NetBSD 7.1.1 is the first update with security and critical fixes for the NetBSD 7.1 branch. Those include a number of fixes for security advisories, kernel and userland.

    Hubert Feyrer New year, new security advisories!
    So things have become a bit silent here, which is due to reallife - my apologies. Still, I'd like to wish everyone following this here a Happy New Year 2018! And with this, a few new security advisories have been published:
    Hubert Feyrer 34C3 talk: Are all BSDs created equally?
    I haven't seen this mentioned on the NetBSD mailing lists, and this may be of interest to some - there was a talk about security bugs in the various BSDs at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress:

    In summary, many reasons for bugs are shown in many areas of the kernel (system calls, file systems, network stack, compat layer, ...), and what has happened after they were made known to the projects.

    As a hint, NetBSD still has a number of Security Advisories to publish, it seems. Anyone wants to help out the security team? :-)

    November 03, 2017

    Super User Install Linux on Old AirPort Extreme?

    I have a very old AirPort Extreme, the A1408. Is it possible to install Linux on it, using the AirPort functionally as a hard disk, and then boot from that? I have also heard that AirPorts run NetBSD. Can you boot into that and run commands?

    June 22, 2017

    Server Fault How to log ssh client connection/command?

    I would like to know how i could log SSH command lines a user is using on a server. For exemple, if the user Alex on my server is doing the following set of commands :

    $ cd /tmp
    $ touch myfile
    $ ssh [email protected]
    $ ssh [email protected]
    $ vim anotherfile
    $ ssh [email protected]

    I would like to log the ssh commands used on the server in a file which looks like :

    [2014-07-25 10:10:10] Alex : ssh [email protected]
    [2014-07-25 10:18:20] Alex : ssh [email protected]
    [2014-07-25 11:15:10] Alex : ssh [email protected]

    I don't care what he did during his ssh session, i just want to know WHEN and TO WHERE he made a connection to another server.

    The user is not using bash and i would like to avoid manipulating .bash_history anyway as the user can modify it.

    Any clue on this ?

    Thank you :)

    edit : to be more specific :

    a user connects to a server A and then connects from the server A to server B. I want to track down to which server he connects through ssh from server A.

    June 08, 2017

    Hubert Feyrer g4u 2.6 released
    After a five-year period for beta-testing and updating, I have finally released g4u 2.6. With its origins in 1999, I'd like to say: Happy 18th Birthday, g4u!

    About g4u: g4u ("ghosting for unix") is a NetBSD-based bootfloppy/CD-ROM that allows easy cloning of PC harddisks to deploy a common setup on a number of PCs using FTP. The floppy/CD offers two functions. The first is to upload the compressed image of a local harddisk to a FTP server, the other is to restore that image via FTP, uncompress it and write it back to disk. Network configuration is fetched via DHCP. As the harddisk is processed as an image, any filesystem and operating system can be deployed using g4u. Easy cloning of local disks as well as partitions is also supported.

    The past: When I started g4u, I had the task to install a number of lab machines with a dual-boot of Windows NT and NetBSD. The hype was about Microsoft's "Zero Administration Kit" (ZAK) then, but that did barely work for the Windows part - file transfers were slow, depended on the clients' hardware a lot (requiring fiddling with MS DOS network driver disks), and on the ZAK server the files for installing happened do disappear for no good reason every now and then. Not working well, and leaving out NetBSD (and everything elase), I created g4u. This gave me the (relative) pain of getting things working once, but with the option to easily add network drivers as they appeared in NetBSD (and oh they did!), plus allowed me to install any operating system.

    The present: We've used g4u successfully in our labs then, booting from CDROM. I also got many donations from public and private instituations plus comanies from many sectors, indicating that g4u does make a difference.

    In the mean time, the world has changed, and CDROMs aren't used that much any more. Network boot and USB sticks are today's devices of choice, cloning of a full disk without knowing its structure has both advantages but also disadvantages, and g4u's user interface is still command-line based with not much space for automation. For storage, FTP servers are nice and fast, but alternatives like SSH/SFTP, NFS, iSCSI and SMB for remote storage plus local storage (back to fun with filesystems, anyone? avoiding this was why g4u was created in the first place!) should be considered these days. Further aspects include integrity (checksums), confidentiality (encryption). This leaves a number of open points to address either by future releases, or by other products.

    The future: At this point, my time budget for g4u is very limited. I welcome people to contribute to g4u - g4u is Open Source for a reason. Feel free to get back to me for any changes that you want to contribute!

    The changes: Major changes in g4u 2.6 include:

    The software: Please see the g4u homepage's download section on how to get and use g4u.


    February 23, 2017

    Julio Merino Easy pkgsrc on macOS with pkg_comp 2.0

    This is a tutorial to guide you through the shiny new pkg_comp 2.0 on macOS using the macOS-specific self-installer.

    Goals: to use pkg_comp 2.0 to build a binary repository of all the packages you are interested in; to keep the repository fresh on a daily basis; and to use that repository with pkgin to maintain your macOS system up-to-date and secure.

    This tutorial is specifically targeted at macOS and relies on the macOS-specific self-installer package. For a more generic tutorial that uses the pkg_comp-cron package in pkgsrc, see Keeping NetBSD up-to-date with pkg_comp 2.0.

    Getting started

    Start by downloading and installing OSXFUSE 3 and then download the standalone macOS installer package for pkg_comp. To find the right file, navigate to the releases page on GitHub, pick the most recent release, and download the file with a name of the form pkg_comp-<version>-macos.pkg.

    Then double-click on the file you downloaded and follow the installation instructions. You will be asked for your administrator password because the installer has to place files under /usr/local/; note that pkg_comp requires root privileges anyway to run (because it uses chroot(8) internally), so you will have to grant permission at some point or another.

    The installer modifies the default PATH (by creating /etc/paths.d/pkg_comp) to include pkg_comp’s own installation directory and pkgsrc’s installation prefix. Restart your shell sessions to make this change effective, or update your own shell startup scripts accordingly if you don’t use the standard ones.

    Lastly, make sure to have Xcode installed in the standard /Applications/ location and that all components required to build command-line apps are available. Tip: try running cc from the command line and seeing if it prints its usage message.

    Adjusting the configuration

    The macOS flavor of pkg_comp is configured with an installation prefix of /usr/local/, which means that the executable is located in /usr/local/sbin/pkg_comp and the configuration files are in /usr/local/etc/pkg_comp/. This is intentional to keep the pkg_comp installation separate from your pkgsrc installation so that it can run no matter what state your pkgsrc installation is in.

    The configuration files are as follows:

    Note that these configuration files use the /var/pkg_comp/ directory as the dumping ground for: the pkgsrc tree, the downloaded distribution files, and the built binary packages. We will see references to this location later on.

    The cron job

    The installer configures a cron job that runs as root to invoke pkg_comp daily. The goal of this cron job is to keep your local packages repository up-to-date so that you can do binary upgrades at any time. You can edit the cron job configuration interactively by running sudo crontab -e.

    This cron job won’t have an effect until you have populated the list.txt file as described above, so it’s safe to let it enabled until you have configured pkg_comp.

    If you want to disable the periodic builds, just remove the pkg_comp entry from the crontab.

    On slow machines, or if you are building a lot of packages, you may want to consider decreasing the build frequency from @daily to @weekly.

    Sample configuration

    Here is what the configuration looks like on my Mac Mini as dumped by the config subcommand. Use this output to get an idea of what to expect. I’ll be using the values shown here in the rest of the tutorial:

    $ pkg_comp config
    AUTO_PACKAGES = autoconf automake bash colordiff dash emacs24-nox11 emacs25-nox11 fuse-bindfs fuse-sshfs fuse-unionfs gdb git-base git-docs glib2 gmake gnuls libtool-base lua52 mercurial mozilla-rootcerts mysql56-server pdksh pkg_developer pkgconf pkgin ruby-jekyll ruby-jekyll-archives ruby-jekyll-paginate scmcvs smartmontools sqlite3 tmux vim
    CVS_ROOT = :ext:[email protected]:/cvsroot
    CVS_TAG is undefined
    DISTDIR = /var/pkg_comp/distfiles
    EXTRA_MKCONF = /usr/local/etc/pkg_comp/
    FETCH_VCS = git
    GIT_BRANCH = trunk
    GIT_URL =
    LOCALBASE = /opt/pkg
    NJOBS = 4
    PACKAGES = /var/pkg_comp/packages
    PBULK_PACKAGES = /var/pkg_comp/pbulk-packages
    PKG_DBDIR = /opt/pkg/libdata/pkgdb
    PKGSRCDIR = /var/pkg_comp/pkgsrc
    SANDBOX_CONFFILE = /usr/local/etc/pkg_comp/sandbox.conf
    SYSCONFDIR = /opt/pkg/etc
    VARBASE = /opt/pkg/var
    SANDBOX_ROOT = /var/pkg_comp/sandbox
    SANDBOX_TYPE = darwin-native

    Building your own packages by hand

    Now that you are fully installed and configured, you’ll build some stuff by hand to ensure the setup works before the cron job comes in.

    The simplest usage form, which involves full automation and assumes you have listed at least one package in list.txt, is something like this:

    $ sudo pkg_comp auto

    This trivially-looking command will:

    1. clone or update your copy of pkgsrc;
    2. create the sandbox;
    3. bootstrap pkgsrc and pbulk;
    4. use pbulk to build the given packages; and
    5. destroy the sandbox.

    After a successful invocation, you’ll be left with a collection of packages in the /var/pkg_comp/packages/ directory.

    If you’d like to restrict the set of packages to build during a manually-triggered build, provide those as arguments to auto. This will override the contents of AUTO_PACKAGES (which was derived from your list.txt file).

    But what if you wanted to invoke all stages separately, bypassing auto? The command above would be equivalent to:

    $ sudo pkg_comp fetch
    $ sudo pkg_comp sandbox-create
    $ sudo pkg_comp bootstrap
    $ sudo pkg_comp build <package names here>
    $ sudo pkg_comp sandbox-destroy

    Go ahead and play with these. You can also use the sandbox-shell command to interactively enter the sandbox. See pkg_comp(8) for more details.

    Lastly note that the root user will receive email messages if the periodic pkg_comp cron job fails, but only if it fails. That said, you can find the full logs for all builds, successful or not, under /var/pkg_comp/log/.

    Installing the resulting packages

    Now that you have built your first set of packages, you will want to install them. This is easy on macOS because you did not use pkgsrc itself to install pkg_comp.

    First, unpack the pkgsrc installation. You only have to do this once:

    $ cd /
    $ sudo tar xzvpf /var/pkg_comp/packages/bootstrap.tgz

    That’s it. You can now install any packages you like:

    $ PKG_PATH=file:///var/pkg_comp/packages/All sudo pkg_add pkgin <other package names>

    The command above assume you have restarted your shell to pick up the correct path to the pkgsrc installation. If the call to pkg_add fails because of a missing binary, try restarting your shell or explicitly running the binary as /opt/pkg/sbin/pkg_add.

    Keeping your system up-to-date

    Thanks to the cron job that builds your packages, your local repository under /var/pkg_comp/packages/ will always be up-to-date; you can use that to quickly upgrade your system with minimal downtime.

    Assuming you are going to use pkgtools/pkgin as recommended above (and why not?), configure your local repository:

    $ sudo /bin/sh -c "echo file:///var/pkg_comp/packages/All >>/opt/pkg/etc/pkgin/repositories.conf"

    And, from now on, all it takes to upgrade your system is:

    $ sudo pkgin update
    $ sudo pkgin upgrade


    February 18, 2017

    Julio Merino Keeping NetBSD up-to-date with pkg_comp 2.0

    This is a tutorial to guide you through the shiny new pkg_comp 2.0 on NetBSD.

    Goals: to use pkg_comp 2.0 to build a binary repository of all the packages you are interested in; to keep the repository fresh on a daily basis; and to use that repository with pkgin to maintain your NetBSD system up-to-date and secure.

    This tutorial is specifically targeted at NetBSD but should work on other platforms with some small changes. Expect, at the very least, a macOS-specific tutorial as soon as I create a pkg_comp standalone installer for that platform.

    Getting started

    First install the sysutils/sysbuild-user package and trigger a full build of NetBSD so that you get usable release sets for pkg_comp. See sysbuild(1) and pkg_info sysbuild-user for details on how to do so. Alternatively, download release sets from the FTP site and later tell pkg_comp where they are.

    Then install the pkgtools/pkg_comp-cron package. The rest of this tutorial assumes you have done so.

    Adjusting the configuration

    To use pkg_comp for periodic builds, you’ll need to do some minimal edits to the default configuration files. The files can be found directly under /var/pkg_comp/, which is pkg_comp-cron’s “home”:

    Lastly, review root’s crontab to ensure the job specification for pkg_comp is sane. On slow machines, or if you are building many packages, you will probably want to decrease the build frequency from @daily to @weekly.

    Sample configuration

    Here is what the configuration looks like on my NetBSD development machine as dumped by the config subcommand. Use this output to get an idea of what to expect. I’ll be using the values shown here in the rest of the tutorial:

    # pkg_comp -c /var/pkg_comp/pkg_comp.conf config
    AUTO_PACKAGES = autoconf automake bash colordiff dash emacs-nox11 git-base git-docs gmake gnuls lua52 mozilla-rootcerts pdksh pkg_comp-cron pkg_developer pkgin sqlite3 sudo sysbuild sysbuild-user sysupgrade tmux vim zsh
    CVS_ROOT = :ext:[email protected]:/cvsroot
    CVS_TAG is undefined
    DISTDIR = /var/pkg_comp/distfiles
    EXTRA_MKCONF = /var/pkg_comp/
    FETCH_VCS = cvs
    GIT_BRANCH = trunk
    GIT_URL =
    LOCALBASE = /usr/pkg
    NJOBS = 2
    PACKAGES = /var/pkg_comp/packages
    PBULK_PACKAGES = /var/pkg_comp/pbulk-packages
    PKG_DBDIR = /usr/pkg/libdata/pkgdb
    PKGSRCDIR = /var/pkg_comp/pkgsrc
    SANDBOX_CONFFILE = /var/pkg_comp/sandbox.conf
    SYSCONFDIR = /etc
    VARBASE = /var
    NETBSD_NATIVE_RELEASEDIR = /home/sysbuild/release/amd64
    NETBSD_RELEASE_RELEASEDIR = /home/sysbuild/release/amd64
    NETBSD_RELEASE_SETS is undefined
    SANDBOX_ROOT = /var/pkg_comp/sandbox
    SANDBOX_TYPE = netbsd-release

    Building your own packages by hand

    Now that you are fully installed and configured, you’ll build some stuff by hand to ensure the setup works before the cron job comes in.

    The simplest usage form, which involves full automation, is something like this:

    # pkg_comp -c /var/pkg_comp/pkg_comp.conf auto

    This trivially-looking command will:

    1. checkout or update your copy of pkgsrc;
    2. create the sandbox;
    3. bootstrap pkgsrc and pbulk;
    4. use pbulk to build the given packages; and
    5. destroy the sandbox.

    After a successful invocation, you’ll be left with a collection of packages in the directory you set in PACKAGES, which in the default pkg_comp-cron installation is /var/pkg_comp/packages/.

    If you’d like to restrict the set of packages to build during a manually-triggered build, provide those as arguments to auto. This will override the contents of AUTO_PACKAGES (which was derived from your list.txt file).

    But what if you wanted to invoke all stages separately, bypassing auto? The command above would be equivalent to:

    # pkg_comp -c /var/pkg_comp/pkg_comp.conf fetch
    # pkg_comp -c /var/pkg_comp/pkg_comp.conf sandbox-create
    # pkg_comp -c /var/pkg_comp/pkg_comp.conf bootstrap
    # pkg_comp -c /var/pkg_comp/pkg_comp.conf build <package names here>
    # pkg_comp -c /var/pkg_comp/pkg_comp.conf sandbox-destroy

    Go ahead and play with these. You can also use the sandbox-shell command to interactively enter the sandbox. See pkg_comp(8) for more details.

    Lastly note that the root user will receive email messages if the periodic pkg_comp cron job fails, but only if it fails. That said, you can find the full logs for all builds, successful or not, under /var/pkg_comp/log/.

    Installing the resulting packages

    Now that you have built your first set of packages, you will want to install them. On NetBSD, the default pkg_comp-cron configuration produces a set of packages for /usr/pkg so you have to wipe your existing packages first to avoid build mismatches.

    WARNING: Yes, you really have to wipe your packages. pkg_comp currently does not recognize the package tools that ship with the NetBSD base system (i.e. it bootstraps pkgsrc unconditionally, including bmake), which means that the newly-built packages won’t be compatible with the ones you already have. Avoid any trouble by starting afresh.

    To clean your system, do something like this:

    # ... ensure your login shell lives in /bin! ...
    # pkg_delete -r -R "*"
    # mv /usr/pkg/etc /root/etc.old  # Backup any modified files.
    # rm -rf /usr/pkg /var/db/pkg*

    Now, rebootstrap pkgsrc and reinstall any packages you previously had:

    # cd /
    # tar xzvpf /var/pkg_comp/packages/bootstrap.tgz
    # echo "pkg_admin=/usr/pkg/sbin/pkg_admin" >>/etc/pkgpath.conf
    # echo "pkg_info=/usr/pkg/sbin/pkg_info" >>/etc/pkgpath.conf
    # export PATH=/usr/pkg/bin:/usr/pkg/sbin:${PATH}
    # export PKG_PATH=file:///var/pkg_comp/packages/All
    # pkg_add pkgin pkg_comp-cron <other package names>

    Finally, reconfigure any packages where you had have previously made custom edits. Use the backup in /root/etc.old to properly update the corresponding files in /etc. I doubt you made a ton of edits so this should be easy.

    IMPORTANT: Note that the last command in this example includes pkgin and pkg_comp-cron. You should install these first to ensure you can continue with the next steps in this tutorial.

    Keeping your system up-to-date

    If you paid attention when you installed the pkg_comp-cron package, you should have noticed that this configured a cron job to run pkg_comp daily. This means that your packages repository under /var/pkg_comp/packages/ will always be up-to-date so you can use that to quickly upgrade your system with minimal downtime.

    Assuming you are going to use pkgtools/pkgin (and why not?), configure your local repository:

    # echo 'file:///var/pkg_comp/packages/All' >>/etc/pkgin/repositories.conf

    And, from now on, all it takes to upgrade your system is:

    # pkgin update
    # pkgin upgrade


    February 17, 2017

    Julio Merino Introducing pkg_comp 2.0 (and sandboxctl 1.0)

    After many (many) years in the making, pkg_comp 2.0 and its companion sandboxctl 1.0 are finally here!

    Read below for more details on this launch. I will publish detailed step-by-step tutorials on setting up periodic package rebuilds in separate posts.

    What are these tools?

    pkg_comp is an automation tool to build pkgsrc binary packages inside a chroot-based sandbox. The main goal is to fully automate the process and to produce clean and reproducible packages. A secondary goal is to support building binary packages for a different system than the one doing the builds: e.g. building packages for NetBSD/i386 6.0 from a NetBSD/amd64 7.0 host.

    The highlights of pkg_comp 2.0, compared to the 1.x series, are: multi-platform support, including NetBSD, FreeBSD, Linux, and macOS; use of pbulk for efficient builds; management of the pkgsrc tree itself via CVS or Git; and a more robust and modern codebase.

    sandboxctl is an automation tool to create and manage chroot-based sandboxes on a variety of operating systems. sandboxctl is the backing tool behind pk_comp. sandboxctl hides the details of creating a functional chroot sandbox on all supported operating systems; in some cases, like building a NetBSD sandbox using release sets, things are easy; but in others, like on macOS, they are horrifyingly difficult and brittle.

    Storytelling time

    pkg_comp’s history is a long one. pkg_comp 1.0 first appeared in pkgsrc on September 6th, 2002 as the pkgtools/pkg_comp package in pkgsrc. As of this writing, the 1.x series are at version 1.38 and have received contributions from a bunch of pkgsrc developers and external users; even more, the tool was featured in the BSD Hacks book back in 2004.

    This is a long time for a shell script to survive in its rudimentary original form: pkg_comp 1.x is now a teenager at its 14 years of age and is possibly one of my longest-living pieces of software still in use.

    Motivation for the 2.x rewrite

    For many of these years, I have been wanting to rewrite pkg_comp to support other operating systems. This all started when I first got a Mac in 2005, at which time pkgsrc already supported Darwin but there was no easy mechanism to manage package updates. What would happen—and still happens to this day!—is that, once in a while, I’d realize that my packages were out of date (read: insecure) so I’d wipe the whole pkgsrc installation and start from scratch. Very inconvenient; I had to automate that properly.

    Thus the main motivation behind the rewrite was primarily to support macOS because this was, and still is, my primary development platform. The secondary motivation came after writing sysbuild in 2012, which trivially configured daily builds of the NetBSD base system from cron; I wanted the exact same thing for my packages.

    One, two… no, three rewrites

    The first rewrite attempt was sometime in 2006, soon after I learned Haskell in school. Why Haskell? Just because that was the new hotness in my mind and it seemed like a robust language to drive a pretty tricky automation process. That rewrite did not go very far, and that’s possibly for the better: relying on Haskell would have decreased the portability of the tool, made it hard to install it, and guaranteed to alienate contributors.

    The second rewrite attempt started sometime in 2010, about a year after I joined Google as an SRE. This was after I became quite familiar with Python at work, wanting to use the language to rewrite this tool. That experiment didn’t go very far though, but I can’t remember why… probably because I was busy enough at work and creating Kyua.

    The third and final rewrite attempt started in 2013 while I had a summer intern and I had a little existential crisis. The year before I had written sysbuild and shtk, so I figured recreating pkg_comp using the foundations laid out by these tools would be easy. And it was… to some extent.

    Getting the barebones of a functional tool took only a few weeks, but that code was far from being stable, portable, and publishable. Life and work happened, so this fell through the cracks… until late last year, when I decided it was time to close this chapter so I could move on to some other project ideas. To create the focus and free time required to complete this project, I had to shift my schedule to start the day at 5am instead of 7am—and, many weeks later, the code is finally here and I’m still keeping up with this schedule.

    Granted: this third rewrite is not a fancy one, but it wasn’t meant to be. pkg_comp 2.0 is still written in shell, just as 1.x was, but this is a good thing because bootstrapping on all supported platforms is easy. I have to confess that I also considered Go recently after playing with it last year but I quickly let go of that thought: at some point I had to ship the 2.0 release, and 10 years since the inception of this rewrite was about time.

    The launch of 2.0

    On February 12th, 2017, the authoritative sources of pkg_comp 1.x were moved from pkgtools/pkg_comp to pkgtools/pkg_comp1 to make room for the import of 2.0. Yes, the 1.x series only existed in pkgsrc and the 2.x series exist as a standalone project on GitHub.

    And here we are. Today, February 17th, 2017, pkg_comp 2.0 saw the light!

    Why sandboxctl as a separate tool?

    sandboxctl is the supporting tool behind pkg_comp, taking care of all the logic involved in creating chroot-based sandboxes on a variety of operating systems. Some are easy, like building a NetBSD sandbox using release sets, and others are horrifyingly difficult like macOS.

    In pkg_comp 1.x, this logic used to be bundled right into the pkg_comp code, which made it pretty much impossible to generalize for portability. With pkg_comp 2.x, I decided to split this out into a separate tool to keep responsibilities isolated. Yes, the integration between the two tools is a bit tricky, but allows for better testability and understandability. Lastly, having sandboxctl as a standalone tool, instead of just a separate code module, gives you the option of using it for your own sandboxing needs.

    I know, I know; the world has moved onto containerization and virtual machines, leaving chroot-based sandboxes as a very rudimentary thing… but that’s all we’ve got in NetBSD, and pkg_comp targets primarily NetBSD. Note, though, that because pkg_comp is separate from sandboxctl, there is nothing preventing adding different sandboxing backends to pkg_comp.


    Installation is still a bit convoluted unless you are on one of the tier 1 NetBSD platforms or you already have pkgsrc up and running. For macOS in particular, I plan on creating and shipping a installer image that includes all of pkg_comp dependencies—but I did not want to block the first launch on this.

    For now though, you need to download and install the latest source releases of shtk, sandboxctl, and pkg_comp—in this order; pass the --with-atf=no flag to the configure scripts to cut down the required dependencies. On macOS, you will also need OSXFUSE and the bindfs file system.

    If you are already using pkgsrc, you can install the pkgtools/pkg_comp package to get the basic tool and its dependencies in place, or you can install the wrapper pkgtools/pkg_comp-cron package to create a pre-configured environment with a daily cron job to run your builds. See the package’s MESSAGE (with pkg_info pkg_comp-cron) for more details.


    Both pkg_comp and sandboxctl are fully documented in manual pages. See pkg_comp(8), sandboxctl(8), pkg_comp.conf(5) and sandbox.conf(5) for plenty of additional details.

    As mentioned at the beginning of the post, I plan on publishing one or more tutorials explaining how to bootstrap your pkgsrc installation using pkg_comp on, at least, NetBSD and macOS. Stay tuned.

    And, if you need support or find anything wrong, please let me know by filing bugs in the corresponding GitHub projects: jmmv/pkg_comp and jmmv/sandboxctl.

    February 09, 2017

    BSD Talk bsdtalk266 - The nodes take over
    We became tired of waiting. File Info: 7Min, 3MB. Ogg Link:

    January 22, 2017

    Emile Heitor CPU temperature collectd report on NetBSD

    pkgsrc’s collectd does not support the thermal plugin, so in order to publish thermal information I had to use the exec plugin:

    LoadPlugin exec
    # more plugins

    <Plugin exec>
    Exec "nobody:nogroup" "/home/imil/bin/"

    And write this simple script that reads CPUs temperature from NetBSD’s envstat command:

    $ cat bin/ 


    while :
    envstat|awk '/cpu[0-9]/ {printf "%s %s\n",$1,$3}'|while read c t
    echo "PUTVAL ${hostname}/temperature/temperature-zone${c#cpu} interval=${interval} N:${t%%.*}"
    sleep ${interval}

    I then send those values to an influxdb server:

    LoadPlugin network
    # ...

    <Plugin network>
    Server "" "25826"

    And display them using grafana:

    grafana setup
    NetBSD temperature in grafana