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Episode 107: In their midst


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Alexander Motin implements CTL High Availability

  • CTL HA allows two .head. nodes to be connected to the same set of disks, safely
  • An HA storage appliance usually consists of 2 totally separate servers, connected to a shared set of disks in separate JBOD sleds
  • The problem with this setup is that if both machines try to use the disks at the same time, bad things will happen
  • With CTL HA, the two nodes can communicate, in this case over a special TCP protocol, to coordinate and make sure they do not step on each others toes, allowing safe operation
  • The CTL HA implementation in FreeBSD can operate in the following four modes:
  • Active/Unavailable -- without interlink between nodes
    • Active/Standby -- with the second node handling only basic LUN discovery and reservation, synchronizing with the first node through the interlink
    • Active/Active -- with both nodes processing commands and accessing the backing storage, synchronizing with the first node through the interlink
    • Active/Proxy -- with second node working as proxy, transferring all commands to the first node for execution through the interlink
  • The custom TCP protocol has no authentication, so it should never be enabled on public interfaces
  • Doc Update

Panel Self-Refresh support lands in DragonFlyBSD

  • In what seems almost weekly improvements being made to the Xorg stack for DragonFly, we now have Panel Self-Refresh landing, thanks to Imre Vadász
  • Understanding Panel Self-Refresh and More about Panel Self-Refresh
  • In a nutshell, the above articles talks about how in the case of static images on the screen, power-savings can be obtained by refreshing static images from display memory (frame-buffer), disabling the video processing of the CPU/GPU and associated pipeline during the process.
  • And just for good measure, Imre also committed some further Intel driver cleanup, reducing the diff with Linux 3.17

Introducing Sluice, a new ZFS snapshot management tool

  • A new ZFS snapshot management tool written in Python and modeled after Apple.s Time Machine
  • Simple command line interface
  • No configuration files, settings are stored as ZFS user properties
  • Includes simple remote replication support
  • Can operate on remote systems with the zfs://user@host/path@snapname url schema
  • Future feature list includes .import. command to moved files from non-ZFS storage to ZFS and create a snapshot, and .export. to do the inverse
  • Thanks to Dan for tipping us about this new project

Why WhatsApp only needs 50 engineers for 900 million users

  • Wired has a good write-up on the behind-the-scenes work taking place at WhatsApp
  • While the article mentions FreeBSD, it spends the bulk of its discussion about Erlang and using its scalable concurrency and deployment of new code to running processes.
  • FB messenger uses Haskell to accomplish much the same thing, while Google and Mozilla are currently trying to bring the same level of flexibility to Go and Rust respectively.
  • video
  • Thanks to Ed for submitting this news item

Interview - Aaron Poffenberger - email@email / @akpoff

BSD in a strange place + KM: Go ahead and tell us about yourself and how did you first get involved with BSD? + AJ: presented recently at Texas Linux Fest, both on FreeBSD and FreeNAS. What specifically prompted you to do that? + KM: What would you say are the main selling points when presenting BSD to Linux users and admins? + AJ: On the flip side of this topic, in what areas to do you think we could improve BSD to present better to Linux users? + KM: What would you specifically recommend to other BSD users or fans who may also want to help present or teach about BSD? Any things specifically to avoid? + AJ: What is the typical depth of knowledge you encounter when presenting BSD to a mostly Linux crowd? Any surprises when doing so? + KM: Since you have done this before, are you mainly writing your own material or borrowing from other talks that have been done on BSD? Do you think there.s a place for some collaboration, maybe having a repository of materials that can be used for other BSD presenters at their local linux conference / LUG? + AJ: Since you are primarily an OpenBSD user have you thought about doing any talks related to it? Is OpenBSD something on the radar of the typical Linux conference-goer? + KM: Is there anything else you would like to mention before we wrap up?

News Roundup

GhostBSD 10.1 released

  • GhostBSD has given us a new release, this time it also includes XFCE as an alternative to the MATE desktop
  • The installer has been updated to allow using GRUB, BSD loader, or none at all
  • It also includes the new OctoPKG manager, which proves a Qt driven front-end to pkgng
  • Thanks to Shawn for submitting this

Moving to FreeBSD

  • In this blog post, Randy Westlund takes us through his journey of moving from Gentoo over to FreeBSD
  • Inspired in part due to Systemd, he first spent some time on Wikipedia reading about BSD before taking the plunge to grab FreeBSD and give it a whirl in a VM.
  • "My first impression was that installation was super easy. Installing Gentoo is done manually and can be a "fun" weekend adventure if you're not sure what you're doing. I can spin up a new FreeBSD VM in five minutes."
  • "There's a man page for everything! And they're well-written! Gentoo has the best documentation of any Linux distro I've used, but FreeBSD is on another level. With a copy of the FreeBSD Handbook and the system man pages, I can actually get things done without tabbing over to Google every five minutes."
  • He goes on to mention everything from Init system, Jails, Security, Community and License, a well-rounded article.
  • Also gives a nice shout-out to PC-BSD as an even easier way to get started on a FreeBSD journey, thanks!
  • Shout out to Matt for tipping us to this blog post

OpenBSD Enables GPT by default

  • Looks like OpenBSD has taken the plunge and enabled GPT by default now
  • Ken Westerback does us the honors, by removing the kernel option for GPT
  • Users on -CURRENT should give this a whirl, and of course report issues back upstream
  • Credit to Jona for writing in about this one

DISCUSSION: Are reproducible builds worth-while?

  • In this weeks article / rant, Ted takes on the notion of reproducible builds being the end-all be-all for security.
  • What about compiler backdoors?
  • This does not prevent shellshock, or other bugs in the code itself
  • Personally, I.m all in favor, another .Trust but verify. mechanism of the distributed binaries, plus it makes it handy to do source builds and not end up with various checksum changes where no code actually changed.


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