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Episode 064: Rump Kernels Revisited


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EuroBSDCon 2014 talks and tutorials

OpenBSD adopts SipHash

  • Even more DJB crypto somehow finds its way into OpenBSD's base system
  • This time it's SipHash, a family of pseudorandom functions that's resistant to hash bucket flooding attacks while still providing good performance
  • After an initial import and some clever early usage, a few developers agreed that it would be better to use it in a lot more places
  • It will now be used in the filesystem, and the plan is to utilize it to protect all kernel hash functions
  • Some other places that Bernstein's work can be found in OpenBSD include the ChaCha20-Poly1305 authenticated stream cipher and Curve25519 KEX used in SSH, ChaCha20 used in the RNG, and Ed25519 keys used in signify and SSH


  • FreeBSD's release engineering team likes to troll us by uploading new versions just a few hours after we finish recording an episode
  • The first maintenance update for the 10.x branch is out, improving upon a lot of things found in 10.0-RELEASE
  • The vt driver was merged from -CURRENT and can now be enabled with a loader.conf switch (and can even be used on a PlayStation 3)
  • Bhyve has gotten quite a lot of fixes and improvements from its initial debut in 10.0, including boot support for ZFS
  • Lots of new ARM hardware is supported now, including SMP support for most of them
  • A new kernel selection menu was added to the loader, so you can switch between newer and older kernels at boot time
  • 10.1 is the first to support UEFI booting on amd64, which also has serial console support now
  • Lots of third party software (OpenSSH, OpenSSL, Unbound..) and drivers have gotten updates to newer versions
  • It's a worthy update from 10.0, or a good time to try the 10.x branch if you were avoiding the first .0 release, so grab an ISO or upgrade today
  • Check the detailed release notes for more information on all the changes
  • Also take a look at some of the known problems to see if you'll be affected by any of them
  • PC-BSD was also updated accordingly with some of their own unique features and changes

arc4random - Randomization for All Occasions

  • Theo de Raadt gave an updated version of his EuroBSDCon presentation at Hackfest 2014 in Quebec
  • The presentation is mainly about OpenBSD's arc4random function, and outlines the overall poor state of randomization in the 90s and how it has evolved in OpenBSD over time
  • It begins with some interesting history on OpenBSD and how it became a security-focused OS - in 1996, their syslogd got broken into and "suddenly we became interested in security"
  • The talk also touches on how low-level changes can shake up the software ecosystem and third party packages that everyone uses
  • There's some funny history on the name of the function (being called arc4random despite not using RC4 anymore) and an overall status update on various platforms' usage of it
  • Very detailed and informative presentation, and the slides can be found here
  • A great quote from the beginning: "We consider ourselves a community of (probably rather strange) people who work on software specifically for the purpose of trying to make it better. We take a 'whole-systems' approach: trying to change everything in the ecosystem that's under our control, trying to see if we can make it better. We gain a lot of strength by being able to throw backwards compatibility out the window. So that means that we're able to do research and the minute that we decide that something isn't right, we'll design an alternative for it and push it in. And if it ends up breaking everybody's machines from the previous stage to the next stage, that's fine because we'll end up in a happier place."

Interview - Justin Cormack - / @justincormack

NetBSD on Xen, rump kernels, various topics

News Roundup

The FreeBSD foundation's biggest donation

  • The FreeBSD foundation has a new blog post about the largest donation they've ever gotten
  • From the CEO of WhatsApp comes a whopping one million dollars in a single donation
  • It also has some comments from the donor about why they use BSD and why it's important to give back
  • Be sure to donate to the foundation of whatever BSD you use when you can - every little bit helps, especially for OpenBSD, NetBSD and DragonFly who don't have huge companies supporting them regularly like FreeBSD does

OpenZFS Dev Summit 2014 videos

BSDTalk 248

  • Our friend Will Backman is still busy getting BSD interviews as well
  • This time he sits down with Matthew Dillon, the lead developer of DragonFly BSD
  • We've never had Dillon on the show, so you'll definitely want to give this one a listen
  • They mainly discuss all the big changes coming in DragonFly's upcoming 4.0 release

MeetBSD 2014 videos


Mailing List Gold

  • All the tutorials are posted in their entirety at
  • Send questions, comments, show ideas/topics, or stories you want mentioned on the show to
  • If you've worked on any cool BSD-related projects, write about it and send it in; we'd love to feature more community content
  • Watch live Wednesdays at 2:00PM Eastern (19:00 UTC)

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