VX ConnectBot

In my last article, I have introduced my new smartphone Sony Ericsson Xperia pro and mentioned the open source SSH client ConnectBot. It is a great application but it was by far not optimized for the hardware keyboard of my smartphone. I have also tried the alternative solution Irssiconnectbot, which was little better but still not really usable – important keys were missing.

So I decided to fork, add some features from Irssiconnectbot, add ssh agent from Roberto Tyley, fix several bugs, add some tweaks by myself and optimize for Sony Ericsson Xperia pro and Xperia mini pro. The new application is named VX ConnectBot. Continue reading

My new Android smartphone

My well-proven companion Nokia N810 used for remote administration of FreeBSD servers was getting old, slow and outdated. It was my mobile SSH device for the last 4 years (probably one of the best solutions at time of purchase). Unfortunately, it was lacking phone functions (Bluetooth and WiFi only).

So I decided to go for a new device. I needed a smartphone with a decent screen, a hardware keyboard and an acceptable operating system (I need a SSH client). There are not many devices with an acceptable hardware keyboard on the European market. After a long decision process I chose the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro and it am happy with my choice. Continue reading

BSD_day 2011 in Bratislava

This year’s Central European BSD_day will be on November 5th, 2011 in my home city Bratislava, Slovakia.
The one-day event is intended for everyone interested in BSD operating systems and is organized by me (Martin Matuška, mm@), Gábor Páli (pgj@) and YNET. Several BSD developers will give a talk, including myself. Entry is free.

More information at the event homepage: http://bsdday.eu/2011
Social network links: Facebook, LinkedIn

The BSDA certification exam will be offered at the event.

Article in BSD Magazine: mfsBSD

A new article of mine with the title “mfsBSD – The Swiss Army Knife for FreeBSD system administrators” was published in the August issue of the free online publication BSD Magazine. The target group of this magazine are users and friends of BSD operating systems.

The article contains an introduction to mfsBSD and two tutorials:
1. Installing ZFS-on-root FreeBSD with mfsBSD
2. Setting up network boot with mfsBSD (pxeboot or PXELINUX)

Link to the free issue: BSD Magazine 08/2011

Native ZFS for Linux: development continues at LLNL

In my past article “Tutorial: native ZFS on Ubuntu and Fedora Linux” I have given a tutorial how to install ZFS on Linux from the KQ Infotech github repository. This tutorial can be considered obsolete as the company KQ Infotech has been acquired by STEC, Inc (company with focus on SSD). Their ZFS on Linux project was assumably closed, as there is no more serious activity at their github repository. Continue reading

ZFS v28 for FreeBSD 8.2

The version 28 of the ZFS filesystem has been merged to FreeBSD 8-STABLE as of revision 222741 (June 6th, 2011).
There are many FreeBSD users of 8.2-RELEASE (RELENG_8_2) which may want to take advantage of the new ZFS version (v28) before 8.3-RELEASE.
For these users I am providing a patch against the RELENG_8_2 source tree, updated kernel module and binaries and mfsBSD ISO images for testing and rescue.
Continue reading

Tutorial: FreeBSD network boot with mfsBSD (and pxelinux)

In this tutorial I am going to show how mfsBSD can be booted over the network. This tutorial expects the DHCP server (ISC) and TFTP server to be on a i386/amd64 FreeBSD machine using the same IP adress. If this is not the case, configuration may be different.

What do you need:

  • a boot server (DHCP, TFTP) with FreeBSD sources
  • mfsBSD (ISO from webpage or self-built)
  • some files from a installed sysutils/syslinux port (if you want pxelinux)
  • a network bootable (virtual) machine

Continue reading

FreeBSD Compiler Benchmark: gcc-base vs. gcc-ports vs. clang

Many FreeBSD users (e.g. server admins) are interested in having their binaries run as fast as possible. There many options of improving the speed of the binaries – we can use different compilers and for each compiler different optimizations. But what combination is best for which processor?

We have benchmarked the perl binary compiled with gcc from the FreeBSD base system against gcc from ports and the new clang compiler. We have tested different optimizations on 8 different processors, all on the amd64 platform. The benchmark software we used is the perlbench benchmark running on Perl 5.12.3 on top of FreeBSD 8.2. This benchmark can also be used as a reference for users using other scripting languages (e.g. PHP, Python or Ruby) as these use similiar structures and methods.

We are benchmarking speed of the generated binaries, not the speed of compiling, as this is most important for us.
“Compile once, run many.” Continue reading

Backported patches for FreeBSD 8.2-RELEASE

FreeBSD 8.2-RELEASE was announced on February 24, 2011.

As we have been experiencing some problems we had to install several patches that didn’t make it into the release but I consider them important or useful. Most annoying was the swap panic problem, followed by two ZFS problems (page activation if using sendfile(2) and clock_t overflow), so we had to backport these patches to 8.2-RELEASE.
Continue reading

Updated Tutorial: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD in a FreeBSD jail

In my last article about FOSDEM 2011 I wrote about visiting the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD presentation. What I was interested in – if it is possible to run this inside a FreeBSD jail or at least in a chroot. My results have been positive, so in this article I am providing a tutorial how to easily set up a Debian GNU/kFreeBSD jail on FreeBSD. Remember that the functionality may be limited.

Requirements: FreeBSD 8.1+ i386 or amd64, experience with FreeBSD and jail(8)
Continue reading