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Episode 122: The BSD Black Box

2015-12-30

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Headlines

Life with an OpenBSD Laptop: A UNIX-lover's tale of migrating away from the Mac. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

  • OpenBSD user Isaac (.ike) Levy details his switch from a Mac to an OpenBSD laptop
  • He covers a bit about selecting hardware and dealing with wifi
  • Talks about binary packages and system upgrades
  • Talks about power management, suspend/resume, battery life
  • Show screenshots of some of his favourite window managers
  • Browsers and email clients are also discussed
  • Things he found missing in OpenBSD:
    • A journaling file system, every unclean shutdown means a full fsck(1)
    • UTF-8/unicode was not everywhere
    • Syncing pictures and contacts to his phone
    • Drawing tools

DragonFlyBSD matches its Intel kernel graphics driver against Linux 4.0

  • The DragonFlyBSD DRM stack continues to rapidly advance, now bringing in support from Linux 4.0!
  • Some of the notable features:
  • Basic Skylake support
    • Panel Self-Refresh (PSR) now supported on Valleyview and Cherryview
    • Preparations for atomic display updates
    • Performance improvements on various GPU families, including Cherryview, Broadwell and Haswell
    • GPU frequencies are now kept at a minimum of 450MHz when possible on Haswell and Broadwell, ensuring a minimum experience level for various types of workloads
    • Improved reset support for gen3/4 GPUs, which should fix some OpenGL crashes on Core 2 and pre-2012 Atom machine
    • Better sound/graphics driver synchronization for audio over hdmi support
    • As usual, small bugfixes and stability improvements here and there

A BSD Wish List for 2016

  • Larry over at Foss Force brings us his wish list for BSD support in 2016.
  • Since he has converted most of his daily desktop usage to PC-BSD, he is specifically wanting support for some desktop applications. Namely Google hangouts and Spotify.
  • This is something which has come up periodically among the PC-BSD community. At the moment most users are dual-booting or using alternatives, like WebRTC. However the Google Hangouts plugin is available for Linux, and perhaps this will encourage some developers to see if we can get it running with the newer Linux stack on -CURRENT.
  • Spotify also has a native Linux version, which may need testing on FreeBSD - CURRENT. It may be closer now, and should be updated on the Wanted Ports Page
  • https://wiki.freebsd.org/WantedPorts

Hard Float API coming soon by default to armv6

  • Warner Losh talks about upcoming changes to armv6 on FreeBSD
  • “All the CPUs that FreeBSD supports have hard floating point in them. We've supported hard float for quite some time in the FreeBSD kernel. However, by default, we still use a soft-float ABI.”
  • First, “A new armv6hf (architecture) was created, but that caused some issues with some ports, and the meaning of 'soft float' sadly was ambiguous between the soft-float ABI, and the soft-float libraries that implement floating point when there's no hardware FPU”
  • “Over the spring and summer, I fixed ld.so so that it can load both soft ABI and hard ABI libraries on the same system, depending on markings in the binaries themselves. Soft float ABI and hard float ABI binaries have different flags in the ELF headers, so it is relatively straightforward to know which is which.”
  • “So, in the coming days, I'll commit the first set of changes to move to armv6 as a hard float ABI by default. The kernel doesn't care: it can execute both. The new ld.so will allow you to transition through this change by allowing old, compat soft ABI libraries to co-exist on the system with new hard ABI libraries. This change alone isn't enough, but it will be good to get it out into circulation.”
  • “armv6hf will be removed before FreeBSD 11”
  • A LIBSOFT will be created, similar in concept to the LIB32 available on AMD64

Interview - Alex Rosenberg - alexr@leftfield.org / @alexr

  • Former Manager of Platform Architecture at Sony

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