Tag Archives: amiga

Oldschool Gaming on FreeBSD

When was the last time you played a computer game? I really like one of Benjamin Franklin quotes – “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” – he lived in times where computer games did not existed yet but the quote remains current. I do not play games a lot, but when I do I make sure that they are the right and best ones. They are often games from the past and some of these games just do not age … they are timeless actually. Today I will show you some oldschool gaming on FreeBSD system.

Here is the Table of Contents for the article.

  • Native Games
    • Native Console/Terminal Games
      • Interactive
      • Passive
    • Native X11 Games
  • AMIGA Games
  • DOS Games
    • Fourteen Years Later
  • Windows Games
  • Flash/SWF Games
  • Web Browser Games
  • Last Resort
  • Closing Thoughts

Here is my Openbox ‘games’ menu.

openbox-games-menu

Discussions and comments from ‘external’ sources are available here:

Native Games

First we will start with ‘native’ games on FreeBSD – as of today there are more then thousand games available in the FreeBSD Ports collection.

% ls /usr/ports/games | wc -l
    1130

You can get nice description for each of these games (from the pkg-descr file) by using the below command. I assume that your FreeBSD Ports tree is under /usr/ports directory.

% for I in /usr/ports/games/*/pkg-descr
> do
>   echo ${I}
>   echo
>   cat ${I}
>   echo
>   echo
>   echo
> done \
>   | grep \
>       --color=always \
>       -A 100 \
>       -E "^/usr/ports/games/.*/pkg-descr" \
>   | less -R

Here is the one-liner that you can actually copy and paste into your terminal.

% for I in /usr/ports/games/*/pkg-descr; do echo ${I}; echo; cat ${I}; echo; echo; echo; done | grep --color=always -A 100 -E "^/usr/ports/games/.*/pkg-descr" | less -R

Here is how it looks.

native-ports-list

This way you can browse (and search in less(1) command) for interesting titles.

Native Console/Terminal Games

Interactive

Lets start with the most simple games – the text games played in terminal. I play only two of these and they are 2048 and ctris games.

The 2048 is generally a single C file – 2048.c – from here – https://github.com/mevdschee/2048.c/blob/master/2048.c – you need to compile it with the cc(1) command – like that.

% cc -o 2048 2048.c
% ./2048

game-2048

The other one ctris is available in the FreeBSD Ports or you can add it by package with pkg(8) command.

# pkg install -y ctris

game-ctris

There are also several other terminal games like Tetris in the FreeBSD Ports – they are bsdtris or vitetris ones for example.

Passive

The are also terminal ‘non-interactive’ games (or maybe I should call them terminal screensavers alternatively).

My favorite two are cmatrix and pipes. The first one is available from FreeBSD Ports.

IMHO it looks best when launched this way.

% cmatrix -a -b -u 6 -C blue

game-cmatrix

Some time ago I ‘ported’ or should I say modified the pipes so it will work properly on FreeBSD and its available from – https://github.com/vermaden/pipes/blob/master/pipes.sh – here.

game-pipes

Native X11 Games

Time to move to some more graphically appealing games – the X11 games.

One of the better open source games it the Battle for Wesnoth which is also available in the FreeBSD Ports so adding package it easy.

# pkg install -y wesnoth

game-wesnoth

AMIGA Games

Most AMIGA games have been ported to DOS and its generally more convenient and a lot faster to play the DOS ‘ports’ using dosbox(1) instead of playing their original AMIGA versions under fs-uae(1) emulator. Some games like Sensible World of Soccer are better in original AMIGA version (little larger field view for example in the AMIGA version – but that only makes the DOS game little harder as you see less) then in DOS port but still the difference is not that huge to wait for each game start roughly 60 seconds with fs-uae(1) and manually switching virtual floppies.

swos-amiga-dos-xbla

As you can see on the far right the Sensible World of Soccer game has been even ported to the Microsoft XBOX console – SWOS – available here πŸ™‚

There is however (at least) one AMIGA game that has not been ported to DOS and its made by the legendary TEAM17 studio. Its the All Terrain Racing game. When you check its reviews back when it was released it did not get that high scores as Sensible World of Soccer for example but its one of the better looking and fun racing games made for AMIGA. But Sensible World of Soccer was named one of The 10 Most Important Video Games of All Time on 2007 so it really hard to beat that. Even Sensible Gold got a lot worse reviews.

game-atr

Originally it came in two floppies version so everytime you will launch this game in fs-uae(1) you will need to change the virtual floppy … which is real PITA I must say … not to mention 60 seconds of waiting for it to start. But there is other possibility. The All Terrain Racing game was also created for the AMIGA CD32 variant which used CD-ROM discs instead of floppies. That way by loading single ISO file you do not need to switch floppies anymore each time the game starts. Yay!

Fortunately the fs-uae(1) config for All Terrain Racing game is not long or complicated either.

fs-uae

The fs-uae(1) is also easily installable on FreeBSD by using packages.

# pkg install -y fs-uae

As the All Terrain Racing game is started/loaded from ISO file the save/load game state is not made ‘natively’ in the game but level up above – in the fs-uae(1) itself with SAVE STATE and LOAD STATE options as shown below.

game-atr-save-load

Not all AMIGA games are available as CD32 version but one may also use virtual Hard Disk option on the fs-uae(1) emulator to avoid switching floppies.

DOS Games

The DOS games can be very conveniently played by using the DOSBox which is available on FreeBSD as dosbox packages (or port).

# pkg install -y dosbox

Games in DOSBox start very quickly which is very nice. They also run very smoothly.

dosbox

Like you see I prefer to keep my games outside of the ~/.doxbox directory while keeping only configuration files there. But that is just ‘organizational’ choice. Make your own choices how and where to keep the games that suits you best.

Its also very convenient to redefine all keyboard shortcuts with DOSBox builtin keyboard remapper. For example instead of default [CTRL] for ‘FIRE’ button in Sensible World of Soccer I prefer to use [Z] key instead and that is my only mapping currently.

dosbox-keys

Keep in mind that as the DOSBox main config file is kept as ~/.dosbox/dosbox-${VERSION}.conf file (its ~/.dosbox/dosbox-0.74-3.conf as of time of writing the article) the remapped keyboard shortcuts as kept in the ~/.dosbox/mapper-${VERSION}.map file (its ~/.dosbox/mapper-0.74-3.map as of time of writing the article). Also keep in mind that if you will start dosbox in ~ (home) dir and not in ~/.dosbox~dir then dosbox will creates ~/mapper-0.74-3.map file (in your home dir) instead of proper ~/.dosbox/mapper-0.74-3.map place.

I also made script wrappers for each game so I can launch them quickly both from command line or by using dmenu.

scripts-games

You will find them all as games-* scripts in my GitHub repository – https://github.com/vermaden/scripts – available here. The DOSBox configuration files are in the dosbox dir on the same repo – https://github.com/vermaden/scripts/tree/master/dosbox – here.

My favorite DOS (originally from AMIGA) game is Sensible World of Soccer. I also like to play first Settlers game and Theme Hospital occasionally.

The DOSBox also allows you to easily record both audio (into WAV files) and video (into AVI files) with keyboard shortcuts.

For example I have recorded replay of my Sensible World of Soccer goals this way (then converted it to GIF using ffmpeg(1) for this).

SWOS Goals.

This is the ffmpeg(1) spell that I used to convert the DOSBox made AVI file to GIF file.

% ffmpeg -i ~/.dosbox/capture/sws_eng_001.avi -vf "fps=30" -loop 0 swos.goals.gif

Keep in mind that some games – and Sensible World of Soccer is one of these games – have more then one graphical mode to run them. When you start the game without any switches then it starts in low graphics mode which is easy to spot on by looking at pixelated/dotted ‘S‘ logo on the top right corner. The lines on the field are also not antialiased.

game-swos-not-full

When you add /f flag to the Sensible World of Soccer binary then it starts in full graphics mode and the ‘S‘ letter has now solid grey color on the back and lines on the field are also antialiased now.

game-swos-full
Here is how it looks in the DOSBox config file.

[autoexec]
@echo off
mount C: ~/.dosbox
C:
cd swos-SFX
sws_eng.exe /f

The Sensible World of Soccer has a special place in my private games ‘Hall of Fame’. Its the only game that I was able to play straight for 26 hours with breaks only for meals and pee … but that was in the old AMIGA times in the 90s.

Fourteen Years Later

One of the very old but also very nice logic games I played two decades ago was Swing game. I was not able to start this game in ‘normal’ mode as it started in ‘network’ mode each time. While searching for a possible solution I found … my own bug on DOSBox created 14 years agohttps://www.dosbox.com/comp_list.php?showID=2499 – here. I was not able to force the Swing game to start in ‘normal’ mode back then so I ‘marked’ it as ‘non working’ and moved on.

Now when I checked the bug report I see useful solutions to the problem. Pity I am not able to login and ‘thank’ as I do not remember my password and DOSBox page does not offer password reset service.

Seems that Swing needs to have its game directory mounted again as CD-ROM device. That way Swing starts in ‘normal’ mode and local Single and Multi Player games are now possible.

game-swing

The most important part of DOSBox config is here:

[autoexec]
@echo off
mount C ~/.dosbox
mount D ~/.dosbox/swing -t cdrom -usecd 0
C:
cd swing
swing.bat

Windows Games

Good old WINE. On FreeBSD there are two WINE versions. There is 64bit version as emulators/wine package and 32bit version names emulators/i386-wine. You want to use the latter because most games are 32bit and the 64bit version of WINE is not able to run them 32bit games. The installation on FreeBSD is typical as shown below.

# pkg install i386-wine

Old/classic Windows games usually keep your saved games directly in their installation folders under dirs named ‘SAVE’ or ‘SAVEDGAMES’ but in some time between 2005 and now the game developers started to think that its a ‘great’ idea to store them in your ‘My Documents’ directory … I do not have to tell you how I fell about that ‘decision’ but on FreeBSD it means that you will have saved games directories created directly in your ~ home directory (its /home/vermaden in my case) directory. What a mess.

winecfg

That is probably the only thing I configure in WINE on FreeBSD with winecfg – I set ‘My Documents’ location to ~/games.EXTRACT/profile directory instead.

The DOSBox is also better for gaming then WINE because it allows convenient [ALT]+[ENTER] shortcut to switch between fullscreen and windowed modes. With WINE I need to keep two game ‘startup’ scripts. Separate ones for windowed mode and for fullscreen mode.

wine-window-fullscreen

Below is an example of Colin McRae Rally 2.0 game under WINE on FreeBSD.

game-colin

My best time for Stage 1 on Italy was ‘only’ 2:09.84 so I was not fast enough to beat the all time best with 2:05:75 immortalized here – https://youtu.be/iLLMIJzpoVk – on YouTube.

Other classic – original Baldur’s Gate game below. It was possible to dual class into specialist mage – not possible now in Enhanced Edition.

game-baldurs-bg1

More up to date Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition also works well.

game-baldurs-play

Less popular titles like Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader also work well under WINE on FreeBSD. Very unusual game as it used the S.P.E.C.I.A.L system from Fallout instead of ‘typical’ choice like Advanced Dungeons and Dragons like in other Black Isle games.

game-lionheart-play

If for some reason your game does not work under WINE on FreeBSD then you should try Project Homura solution. Its also available as games/homura package (or port) on FreeBSD.

Flash/SWF Games

As I really hate Adobe Flash technology when browsing the web pages but I quite like the compact SWF files as simple flash games using WINE and Flash Player Projector from Adobe. I also use WINE to start the Windows version of that Flash Player Projector program. Its available here – https://www.adobe.com/support/flashplayer/debug_downloads.html – in the debug downloads.

You can pick one of these two but I use the first one.

An example of Governor of Poker 2 game running in the Flash Player Projector under WINE.

game-poker

All of these games can be found on various sites Flash games by looking in the View Page Source in your browser and looking for the link to the SWF file. I can not post these games here for download but if you will have problem finding them then let me know πŸ™‚

Web Browser Games

A class of games that are played directly in the web browser. Examples of such games can be Krunker

game-krunker

… or Spelunky for example.

game-spelunky

If you are VERY bored then you can also try the Chrome Dinosaur Game built into the Chromium browser. To access it try to open the page that does not exists like http://non-existing-site.com for example.

game-chromium

The Chromium browser will then display No Internet error message. Press [UP] arrow now and start to play.

game-chromium-end

If you liked the 2048 game and you DO have Internet connection you may also play 2048 directly at DuckDuckGo page.

game-duck-2048

Last Resort

Sometimes WINE does not work and the game is available only for Windows or Linux. The solution is to use the Virtualbox here. Remember to select/enable the 3D acceleration and install Virtualbox Guest Additions for good performance.

virtualbox

Closing Thoughts

All of these games were played smoothly on oldschool Intel HD Graphics 3000 card from 2011 Sandy Bridge CPU model i7-2820QM as this is with what my ThinkPad W520 came.

If I forgot to post something or its not obvious then feel free to let me know. This post as usual grow more then it should πŸ™‚ Also if you think that I missed some important dosbox(1)/wine(1)/fs-uae(1) options then let me know please.

EOF

My FreeBSD Story

As Roman Zolotarev asked if I would write an entry for his Tell Your BSD Story page I could not refuse. I really tried to make it short and small but I guess its not that straight πŸ™‚

My first devices/computers/consoles (not at the same time) that I remember were Atari 2600 and Pegasus console which was hardware clone of the Nintendo NES.

atari-2600.png

Back then I did not even knew that it was Atari 2600 as I referred to it as Video Computer System … and I did not even knew any english by then. It took me about two decades to get to know (by accident) that this Video Computer System was Atari 2600 πŸ™‚

This equipment was used for playing computer games only.

Then I got AMIGA 600 computer (or should I say my parents bought it for me) which served both for playing computer games and also other activities for the first time. AMIGA is the computer that had the greatest influence on me, as it was the first time I studied the books about Amiga Workbench operating system and learned commands from Amiga Shell terminal. I loved the idea of Ram Disk icon/directory on the desktop that allowed me to transparently put any things in system memory. I still miss that concept on today’s desktop systems … and I still remember how dismal I was when I watched Amiga Deathbed Vigil movie.

amiga-600.png

At the end of 1998 I got my first PC that of course came with Windows and that computer served both as gaming machine and as well as typical tool. One time I dig into the internals with Windows Registry (which left me disgusted by its concepts and implementation) and its limited command line interface provided by CMD.EXE executable. I remember that the heart of this box was not the CPU or the motherboard but the graphics accelerator – the legendary 3Dfx Voodoo card. This company (3Dfx) – their attitude and philosophy – also left solid fingerprint on my way. Like AMIGA did.

Hence how the top of my laptop looks like now πŸ™‚

laptop.jpg

Some games was even released as special edition with the only feature being support for the 3Dfx Glide driver like Need for Speed II: Special Edition.

nfs.jpg

After ‘migration’ from AMIGA to PC it never again ‘felt right’. The games were cool but the Windows system was horrible. Time has passed and different Windows versions and hardware modifications took place. Windows XP felt really heavy at that time, not to mention Windows 2000 for example with even bigger hardware requirements. I also do not understand all the hate about Windows ME. It crashed with the same frequency as Windows 98 or later Windows 98 Second Edition but maybe my hardware was different πŸ™‚

windowsme.png

I do not have any ‘mine’ screenshots from that period as I lost all my 40 GB (huge then) drive of data when I moved/resized the partition with Partition Magic to get some more space from the less filled C: drive. That day I learned hard that “there are people who do backups and people who will do backups”. I never lost data again as I had multiple copies of my data, but the same as Netheril fall the lost data was was gone forever.

I always followed various alternatives which led me to try Linux in 2003, after reading about various distributions philosophies I decided to run Slackware Linux with KDE 3. My buddy used Aurox Linux by then (one of the few Linux distributions from Poland) and encouraged me to do the same – especially in the context of fixing possible problems as he already knew it and also as he recently dumped Windows system. But Slackware sounded like a better idea so I took that path instead. At first I dual booted between Windows XP and Slackware Linux cause I had everything worked out on the Windows world while I often felt helpless in the Linux world, so I would reboot into Windows to play some games or find a solution for Linux problem if that was required. I remember how strange the concept of dual clipboards (PRIMARY and SECONDARY) was for me by then. I was amazed why ‘so much better’ system as Linux (at least marketed that way) needs a system tray program to literally manage the clipboard. On Windows it was obvious, you do [CTRL]+[C] to copy and [CTRL]+[V] to paste things, but on Linux there (no I know its X11 feature) there were two clipboards that were synchronized by this little system tray program from KDE 3. It was also unthinkable for me that I will ‘lost’ contents of last/recent [CTRL]+[C] operation if I close the application from which the copy was made. I settled down a little on Slackware but not for long. I really did not liked manual dependency management for packages for example. Also KDE 3 was really ugly and despite trying all possible options I was not able to tweak it into something nice looking.

After half a year on Slackware I checked the Linux distributions again and decided to try Gentoo Linux. I definitely agree with the image below which visualizes Gentoo Linux experience, especially when You install it for he first time πŸ™‚

gentoo-fly

Of course I went with the most hardcore version with self building Stage 1 (compiler and toolchain) which was horrible idea at that time because compilation on slow single core machine took forever … but after many hours I got Gentoo installed. I now have to decide which desktop environment to use. I have read a lot of good news about Fluxbox at that time so this is what I tried. It was very weird experience (to create everything in GUI from scratch) but very pleasant one. That recalled me the times of AMIGA … but Linux came in the way too much often. The more I dig into Gentoo Linux the more I read that lots of Gentoo features are based on FreeBSD solutions. Gentoo Portage is a clone of FreeBSD Ports. That ‘central’ /etc/rc.conf system configuration file concept was taken from FreeBSD as well. So I started to gather information about FreeBSD. The (then) FreeBSD website or FreeBSD Ports site (still) felt little outdated to say the least but that did not discouraged me.

Somewhere in 2005 I installed FreeBSD 5.4 on my computer. The beginnings were hard, like the earlier step with Gentoo but similarly like Gentoo the FreeBSD project came with a lot of great documentation. While Gentoo documentation is concentrated within various Gentoo Wiki sites the FreeBSD project comes with ‘official’ documentation in the form of Handbook and FAQ. I remember my first questions at the now nonexistent BSDForums.org site – for example one of the first ones – how to scroll the terminal output in the plain console. I now know that I had to push Scroll Lock button but it was something totally new for me.

How BSDForums.org looked like.

bsdforums.png

This is the earliest screenshot I got from that period, and Gentoo setup looked very similar.

vermaden-2005.11.08.jpg

Why FreeBSD and not OpenBSD or NetBSD? Probably because Gentoo based most their concepts on the FreeBSD solutions, so that led me to FreeBSD instead of the other BSD operating systems. Currently I still use FreeBSD but I keep an steady eye on the OpenBSD, HardenedBSD and DragonFly BSD solutions and improvements.

As the migration path from Linux to FreeBSD is a lot easier – all configuration files from /home can be just copied – the migration was quite fast easy. I again had the Fluxbox configuration which I used on the Gentoo. Now – on FreeBSD – it started to fell even more like AMIGA times. Everything is/has been well thought and had its place and reason. The documentation was good and the FreeBSD Community was second to none.

I even decided to upgrade the hardware to something more exotic. I got Gigabyte-GA-7DPXDW server motherboard with dual CPU sockets – and as Athlon XP (desktop) processors were very easily modified to ‘be’ Athlon MP (server) ones I got also the second one along with 1 GB of ECC RAM.

gigabyte-GA-7DPXDW.jpg

This dual CPU setup – quite unusual at these times – server me very well. I switched from nvidia binary blob driver to software but open nv because nvidia would break my uptime every several days πŸ™‚

I accumulated 30 days of uptime on that desktop box, not bad for a system without any emergency UPS πŸ™‚

uptime-vermaden.png

This was also the last time I used ECC RAM on FreeBSD (at least on my boxes) while ZFS did not even existed on FreeBSD πŸ™‚ But as time flied I started to feel the need for something faster. As I also got interested in Intel graphics card I got the new motherboard with fastest Intel graphics card available then – as silly as it sounds – the Asus P5B-V with Intel X3000 GMA … and that was a terrible idea because FreeBSD graphics stack supported all the Intel graphics cards instead of that one. At the beginning I used software vesa driver but the problem was not the performance of the driver (as I also had quad core Intel Q6600 CPU) but the resolution on the screen. As I got 1280 x 1024 screen by then using limited 1024 x 768 was real PITA. I decided that I will try something else then FreeBSD will Intel X3000 support finally arrives. I needed to do something fast as I also needed to write my Masters Thesis at that time.

That was in the middle of 2007. I wanted to try the other end of the Linux distributions spectrum. Ubuntu. I could not go more ‘desktop’ way πŸ™‚ It of course installed gently with GNOME 2 environment and pulseaudio already unfortunately existed. As I preferred to run my computer all the time back then (I did not payed the electricity bills) there were several things that annoyed my very much. For example the mentioned pulseaudio – the sound freezed after one-two days of using the computer (even if I did not played any music or videos) and it stayed that way. I could restart pulseaudio or reload the ALSA modules but it stayed in this SUSFU state (situation unchanged still fucked up) until reboot. As I needed to finish my Masters Thesis I did not had time to reinstall into something else as pulseaudio will be probably similarly broken on other Linux distributions and FreeBSD was still lacking the Intel X3000 GMA support. Generally GNOME 2 experience was not bad but I really missed all my custom settings, keyboard shortcuts and customized behavior. I remained in pain on the Ubuntu for two months – to the time I have finished my Masters Thesis about Operating Systems’ Virtualization which you can download and read but its in Polish so use translator if needed πŸ™‚

This is how Ubuntu looked back then.

ubuntu.jpg

I also had ‘side’ journey to the Mac wonderland as I got opportunity to use Macbook Pro with Mac OS X Leopard for a year. That allowed me to get real ‘feel’ of the Mac ecosystem and their hardware (and philosophy) so I will not repeat same stereotypes over and over again like a lot of anti-apple people. But after I switched back to FreeBSD system at work it just felt better. I used Terminal.app on Mac a lot but the xterm(1) at FreeBSD just felt more natural.

What makes me laugh now that I created Mac styled Fluxbox themes years till I got to run Mac and I still like Mac OS X look from the Leopard times.

vermaden-2007.10.14-mac.png

There was time on which I also played with Solaris (and later OpenSolaris). I must admit that there was time when Solaris so called Java Desktop based on GNOME 2 was really looking good. It was so good that only Mac OS X could only rival it for the best looking os by then.

solaris-10-GNOME-2-java-desktop.png

I really liked Solaris concepts and solutions like Zones and ZFS, also Crossbow, Comstar or IPS (FreeBSD did not had PNGng by then). But I always got problem with ‘desktop’ software. While I had everything in the FreeBSD Ports – almost the same amount of applications that is available on Linux – there was always some applications lacking in the Solaris world.

The Solaris ‘journey’ also left print on my soul so my Fluxbox themes went into Solaris style πŸ™‚

vermaden-2007.07.30-solaris-java-fluxbox-system.png

After the Ubuntu fiasco I got other motherboard as FreeBSD still did not supported Intel GMA X3000 card and settled in the FreeBSD land again. What a relief it was after this pulseaudio nonsense. In the meantime as I read a lot of good experiences about Openbox I decided to try it out instead of Fluxbox. It was strange feeling to mess with XML configuration files at the beginning but as I got used to it and ordered the rc.xml and menu.xml configuration files properly it was not a problem. Since then I used FreeBSD on different machines including physical servers, virtual machines and laptops. I learned that adequate supported hardware is the most important factor in FreeBSD ecosystem.

I still use Openbox and still use FreeBSD today and my desktop looks like that one below.

vermaden-NOW.jpg

After 15 years of using various Windows, UNIX (macOS/AIX/HP-UX/Solaris/OpenSolaris/Illumos/FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD) and UNIX-like (Linux) systems I always come to conclusion that FreeBSD is the system that sucks least. And sucks least with each release and one day I will write why FreeBSD is such great operating system … if I already haven’t πŸ™‚

UPDATE 1

As Roman Zolotarev got a moment he added my story to his Tell Your BSD Story page.

Thanks Roman!

You may check it for yourself at Slawomir Wojciech Wojtczak (vermaden) runs FreeBSD page.

EOF

Β 

Valuable News – 2018/08/25

UNIX

OpenBSD adds kcov(4) kernel code coverage tracing driver.
So far 8 distinct panics have been found and fixed.
https://marc.info/?l=openbsd-cvs&m=153467896308034&w=2

GCC 8.2 now packaged and available in Illumos/OpenIndiana.
https://bsd.network/@sehnsucht/100581557620270760
https://pkg.openindiana.org/hipster/info/0/developer%2Fgcc-8%408.2.0%2C5.11-2018.0.0.0%3A20180815T204704Z

FreeBSD arc4random is now based on ChaCha20 implementation from OpenBSD.
https://twitter.com/lattera/status/1031280553301925888
https://svnweb.freebsd.org/base?view=revision&revision=338059

Valve forked WINE into Proton as compatibility tool for Steam Play.
https://github.com/ValveSoftware/Proton/
https://steamcommunity.com/games/221410/announcements/detail/1696055855739350561

AMD Threadripper 2990WX 32-core/64-thread on DragonFly BSD.
http://apollo.backplane.com/DFlyMisc/threadripper.txt
http://lists.dragonflybsd.org/pipermail/users/2018-August/357858.html

Using 10GE Adapters with PowerVM SEA – Virtual Ethernet Considerations.
http://ibmsystemsmag.com/aix/administrator/virtualization/using-10gbit-ethernet-adapters/

Native ZFS Encryption on FreeBSD CFT on the road to 12.0-RELEASE.
https://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-current/2018-August/070832.html

Backup FreeNAS and TrueNAS to Backblaze B2 Cloud.
https://www.backblaze.com/blog/how-to-setup-freenas-cloud-storage/

Colin Percival heroic (I am not joking here) fight for removing unneeded sleeps during boot on FreeBSD.
https://twitter.com/cperciva/status/1031928231635677184
https://reviews.freebsd.org/D16723

Writing SYSTEMD service files.
https://twitter.com/mulander/status/1031908074733428736
https://obsd.pl/mfm/iptables/

Illumos/Tribblix packages of openjdk9 and openjdk10 available.
https://twitter.com/ptribble/status/1031650238266789893
https://twitter.com/ptribble/status/1031900360271491074
http://pkgs.tribblix.org/openjdk/

Difference between OpenBSD xenodm and regular xdm.
https://undeadly.org/cgi?action=article&sid=20160911231712

X.Org Security Advisory – 2018/08/21.
http://seclists.org/oss-sec/2018/q3/146

FreeBSD removes legacy DRM and DRM2 from its tree.
https://twitter.com/f0andrey/status/1032234624544583680
https://svnweb.freebsd.org/base?view=revision&revision=338172

OmniOS CE (Community Edition) r151026p/r151024ap/r151022bn with CVE-2018-15473 addressed.
https://omniosce.org/article/releases-026p-024ap-022bn.html

Running Mastodon on FreeBSD.
https://ftfl.ca/blog/2017-05-23-mastodon-freebsd.html

Upgrading Mastodon on FreeBSD.
https://ftfl.ca/blog/2017-05-27-mastodon-freebsd-upgrade.html

KDE Plasma 5.x on Pinebook Laptop.
https://twitter.com/SoftpediaLinux/status/1032262240437723137

FreeBSD – Raspberry Pi 3B+ – UART.
https://blackdot.be/2018/08/freebsd-uart-and-raspberry-pi-3-b/

FreeBSD – Raspberry Pi 3B+ – Remote Access Console.
https://blackdot.be/2018/08/remote-access-console-using-raspberry-pi-3b-and-freebsd/

FreeBSD 12.x has LUA loader enabled by default.
https://twitter.com/bsdimp/status/1031638933690441728

In Other BSDs for 2018/08/18.
https://www.dragonflydigest.com/2018/08/18/21609.html

Shared library load order randomization in HardenedBSD for use with Firefox/Chromium/Iridium.
https://twitter.com/lattera/status/1030823681843507202

Researchers Blame ‘Monolithic’ Linux Code Base for Critical Vulnerabilities.
https://threatpost.com/researchers-blame-monolithic-linux-code-base-for-critical-vulnerabilities/136785/

2018/08/23 is the End of Life for NetBSD 6.x tree.
https://www.netbsd.org/changes/#netbsd6eol

Carlos Neira ZCAGE is now able to create BHYVE Branded Zones on Illumos.
https://bsd.network/@sehnsucht/100599247272911030
https://www.npmjs.com/package/zcage
https://asciinema.org/a/QLnjO8J2NVVPQrs3jh0EKEGta

FreeNAS 11.1-U6 Available.
https://twitter.com/FreeBSD_News/status/1032666675194167297
https://www.ixsystems.com/blog/library/freenas-11-1-u6/

FreeBSD vs. DragonFly BSD vs. Linux on AMD Threadripper 2990WX.
https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=bsd-threadripper-2990wx

Disable SMT/Hyperthreading in all Intel BIOSes – Theo de Raadt.
https://marc.info/?l=openbsd-tech&m=153504937925732&w=2

OpenSSH 7.8 Released.
https://www.openssh.com/releasenotes.html#7.8

TRIM Consolidation on UFS/FFS Filesystems on FreeBSD.
https://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-current/2018-August/070797.html

FreeBSD vt(4) will now cache most recently drawn text to not redraw it.
https://reviews.freebsd.org/D16723

What is New in Solaris 11.4?
https://www.oracle.com/a/ocom/docs/dc/sev100738019-ww-us-on-ce1-ie1a-ev.html

OpenBSD Foundation gets first 2018 Iridium ($100K+) donation.
https://undeadly.org/cgi?action=article;sid=20180824145543

How to Run a More Secure Browser.
https://www.dragonflybsd.org/docs/docs/handbook/RunSecureBrowser/

Hardware

IBM POWER9 E950 and E980 Servers Launched.
https://www.servethehome.com/ibm-power9-e950-and-e980-servers-launched/

Intel Microcode EULA Prohibits Benchmarking!
https://twitter.com/RaptorEng/status/1031919319909892096
https://pastebin.com/raw/J8MXpPdh

GIGABYTE Cavium ThunderX2 1U and 2U Systems.
https://www.anandtech.com/show/13234/gigabyte-starts-sales-of-cavium-thunderx2-to-general-customers

Fujitsu Presents Post-K arm64 A64FXβ„’ CPU CPU Specifications with 48 Computing Cores and 4 Assistant Cores.
http://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/resources/news/press-releases/2018/0822-02.html

A4000TX ATX Motherboard.
http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php?101477-A4000TX-ATX-Amiga-motherboard

IBM POWER9 Scale Up CPUs with Huge IO and Effective 32 Channel DDR4.
https://www.servethehome.com/ibm-power9-hc30/

Life

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker review – how more sleep can save your life.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/sep/21/why-we-sleep-by-matthew-walker-review
https://youtube.be/pwaWilO_Pig

Bullshit jobs and the yoke of managerial feudalism.
https://www.economist.com/open-future/2018/06/29/bullshit-jobs-and-the-yoke-of-managerial-feudalism

Why Garbagemen Should Earn More Than Bankers.
https://evonomics.com/why-garbage-men-should-earn-more-than-bankers/

Solitude.
https://www.pa-mar.net/Lifestyle/Solitude.html

Akrasia Effect – Why We Dont Follow Through on What We Set Out to Do and What to Do About It.
https://jamesclear.com/akrasia

Other

Move/migrate Oracle and MySQL databases to PostgreSQL.
http://www.ora2pg.com/start.html
https://github.com/darold/ora2pg/releases

LIDL Killed SAP Migration After Spending 500 Million Dollars.
https://it.toolbox.com/blogs/clintonjones/lidl-cans-sap-project-after-spending-half-a-billion-073118

All BlackHat 2018 Attendee Registration Data Hacked and Available via Unauthenticated API.
https://ninja.style/post/bcard/
https://twitter.com/binitamshah/status/1032084847345459204

GOG Launches FCKDRM to Promote DRM-Free Art and Media.
https://torrentfreak.com/gog-launches-fckdrm-to-promote-drm-free-art-and-media-180822/

EOF

FreeBSD Desktop – Part 1 – Simplified Boot

This is the first post in the FreeBSD Desktop series.

You may want to check other articles in the FreeBSD Desktop series on the FreeBSD Desktop – Global Page where you will find links to all episodes of the series along with table of contents for each episode’s contents.

The default FreeBSD boot process is quite verbose with a lot of debugging information along with kernel messages. We may divide that boot process into several β€˜screens’ or stages. First thing You see is the β€˜BIOS’ screen of the computer manufacturer. SecondΒ  thing is the FreeBSD BTX Loader. The third one is the FreeBSD Boot Menu with eventual ZFS Boot Environments if You use ZFS for root filesystem and other options to select like Single User Mode for example. The 4th one is the system boot along with kernel messages in non-native resolution. In the middle of that stage screen switches to native resolution and continues to display kernel messages and services leading to the text prompt with login: at the end. There comes optional fifth screen which may be graphically started (x11) login manager like slim or gdm.

This verbose information is usually useful for servers but not that much for laptops and/or desktop/workstation systems. The UNIX philosophy is to not β€˜say’ anything to stdout if everything is OK, so stdout/stderr should only be used when something is wrong … like on AMIGA, if anything is wrong then I want to see big red sign like [GURU MEDITAION] but if everything is ok, shut the … slience is golden πŸ™‚

guru-meditation

I really like Sun Solaris 10 approach here, that it boots with minimal information like its version and hostname into the login: prompt in less then 10 lines. The image below is from the first Sun Solaris 10 boot, so it includes additional OpenSSH server key generation information.

sun-solaris-10-boot-first

Unfortunately – despite what Oracle says – Oracle Solaris is dying, I gathered most of the information here – Oracle just killed Solaris/SPARC/ZFS teams – https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/62320/ – on FreeBSD Forums. The recent Oracle Solaris 11.4 release process along with public beta will not change that. Oracle Solaris will be kept in maintenance mode for the rest of its life, which is set by Oracle to 2034 currently. Pity because even BSD bits recently found its way into it Solaris, for example the OpenBSD PF firewall, there are some differences – Comparing PF in Oracle Solaris to IP Filter and to OpenBSD Packet Filter – https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E37838_01/html/E60993/pfovw-comparall.html – but there are differences between OpenBSD PF and FreeBSD PF too.

Back to FreeBSD – according to the project website – https://freebsd.org/ – β€œFreeBSD is an operating system used to power modern servers, desktops, and embedded platforms” so why not tune the boot process to be more appealing on laptops/desktops? Below are the stages of the default FreeBSD boot process up to the login: prompt.

stage0-BIOS.jpg

stage1-BTX-Loader.jpg

stage2-Boot-Menu.jpg

stage3-NOMOD-Non-Native-Boot.jpg

stage4a-NOMOD-Native-Boot-A.jpg.jpg

stage4b-NOMOD-Native-Boot-B.jpg

Not very lean to my standards. But with one parameter in /boot/loader.conf and 5 slightly silenced startup scripts its whole a lot better. Here are the modifications needed.

First add the boot_mute=YES option to the /boot/loader.conf file.

As we are here, You may as well add autoboot_delay=2 parameter to the /boot/loader.conf file to speed up boot process by 8 seconds. Default delay is 10 seconds.

% grep boot_mute /boot/loader.conf
boot_mute=YES
%

Next we will need to modify these startup scripts.

  • /etc/rc.d/ldconfig
  • /etc/rc.d/netif
  • /etc/rc.d/nfsclient
  • /etc/rc.d/random
  • /etc/rc.d/routing

Here is the summary of the changes. In most cases its just adding 1> /dev/null or 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null to not display unneeded information at boot process.

% grep -n -E '(1|2)> /dev/null' /etc/rc.d/* | grep -E 'routing|netif|ldconfig'
/etc/rc.d/ldconfig:40: check_startmsgs && echo 'ELF ldconfig path:' ${_LDC} 1> /dev/null
/etc/rc.d/ldconfig:60: echo '32-bit compatibility ldconfig path:' ${_LDC} 1> /dev/null
/etc/rc.d/netif:260: /sbin/ifconfig ${ifn} 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null
/etc/rc.d/routing:70: eval static_${_a} delete $_if 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null
/etc/rc.d/routing:97: static_$2 add $3 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null
/etc/rc.d/routing:104: static_$2 add $3 add $3 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null

The only exception is the /etc/rc.d/random which requires little more love.

% grep -n -A 8 'random_start()' /etc/rc.d/random
45:random_start()
46-{
47-
48-   # if [ ${harvest_mask} -gt 0 ]; then
49-   #       echo -n 'Setting up harvesting: '
50-   #       ${SYSCTL} kern.random.harvest.mask=${harvest_mask} > /dev/null
51-   #       ${SYSCTL_N} kern.random.harvest.mask_symbolic
52-   # fi
53-

Here are diff(1) patches if that way will be easier for you.

% diff -rq ~/CLEAN-FreeBSD-11.1-RELEASE/etc/rc.d /etc/rc.d | column -t
Files  ~/CLEAN-FreeBSD-11.1-RELEASE/etc/rc.d/ldconfig   and  /etc/rc.d/ldconfig   differ
Files  ~/CLEAN-FreeBSD-11.1-RELEASE/etc/rc.d/netif      and  /etc/rc.d/netif      differ
Files  ~/CLEAN-FreeBSD-11.1-RELEASE/etc/rc.d/nfsclient  and  /etc/rc.d/nfsclient  differ
Files  ~/CLEAN-FreeBSD-11.1-RELEASE/etc/rc.d/random     and  /etc/rc.d/random     differ
Files  ~/CLEAN-FreeBSD-11.1-RELEASE/etc/rc.d/routing    and  /etc/rc.d/routing    differ
% diff -u ./rc.d/ldconfig /etc/rc.d/ldconfig
--- ./rc.d/ldconfig     2017-07-21 04:11:06.000000000 +0200
+++ /etc/rc.d/ldconfig  2017-12-18 09:12:18.190074000 +0100
@@ -37,7 +37,7 @@
                                _LDC="${_LDC} ${i}"
                        fi
                done
-               check_startmsgs && echo 'ELF ldconfig path:' ${_LDC}
+               check_startmsgs && echo 'ELF ldconfig path:' ${_LDC} 1> /dev/null
                ${ldconfig} -elf ${_ins} ${_LDC}
 
                case `sysctl -n hw.machine_arch` in
@@ -57,7 +57,7 @@
                                fi
                        done
                        check_startmsgs &&
-                           echo '32-bit compatibility ldconfig path:' ${_LDC}
+                           echo '32-bit compatibility ldconfig path:' ${_LDC} 1> /dev/null
                        ${ldconfig} -32 -m ${_ins} ${_LDC}
                        ;;
                esac

% diff -u ./rc.d/netif /etc/rc.d/netif
--- ./rc.d/netif        2017-07-21 04:11:06.000000000 +0200
+++ /etc/rc.d/netif     2017-11-30 17:32:11.394251000 +0100
@@ -257,7 +257,7 @@
                esac
                if check_startmsgs; then
                        for ifn in ${_ok}; do
-                               /sbin/ifconfig ${ifn}
+                               /sbin/ifconfig ${ifn} 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null
                        done
                fi
        fi
% diff -u ./rc.d/nfsclient /etc/rc.d/nfsclient
--- ./rc.d/nfsclient    2017-07-21 04:11:06.000000000 +0200
+++ /etc/rc.d/nfsclient 2017-12-18 09:15:38.200376000 +0100
@@ -44,7 +44,7 @@
        # successfully notified about a previous client shutdown.
        # If there is no /var/db/mounttab, we do nothing.
        if [ -f /var/db/mounttab ]; then
-               rpc.umntall -k
+               rpc.umntall -k 2> /dev/null
        fi
 }
 load_rc_config $name
% diff -u ./rc.d/random /etc/rc.d/random
--- ./rc.d/random       2017-07-21 04:11:06.000000000 +0200
+++ /etc/rc.d/random    2018-01-09 13:32:18.439347000 +0100
@@ -45,13 +45,13 @@
 random_start()
 {
 
-       if [ ${harvest_mask} -gt 0 ]; then
-               echo -n 'Setting up harvesting: '
-               ${SYSCTL} kern.random.harvest.mask=${harvest_mask} > /dev/null
-               ${SYSCTL_N} kern.random.harvest.mask_symbolic
-       fi
+       # if [ ${harvest_mask} -gt 0 ]; then
+       #       echo -n 'Setting up harvesting: '
+       #       ${SYSCTL} kern.random.harvest.mask=${harvest_mask} > /dev/null
+       #       ${SYSCTL_N} kern.random.harvest.mask_symbolic
+       # fi
 
-       echo -n 'Feeding entropy: '
+       echo -n 'Feeding entropy:'
 
        if [ ! -w /dev/random ] ; then
                warn "/dev/random is not writeable"

% diff -u ./rc.d/routing /etc/rc.d/routing
--- ./rc.d/routing      2017-07-21 04:11:06.000000000 +0200
+++ /etc/rc.d/routing   2017-12-18 09:22:16.604428000 +0100
@@ -67,7 +67,7 @@
        ""|[Aa][Ll][Ll]|[Aa][Nn][Yy])
                for _a in inet inet6 atm; do
                        afexists $_a || continue
-                       eval static_${_a} delete $_if
+                       eval static_${_a} delete $_if 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null
                        # When $_if is specified, do not flush routes.
                        if ! [ -n "$_if" ]; then
                                eval routing_stop_${_a}
@@ -94,14 +94,14 @@
        _ret=0
        case $1 in
        static)
-               static_$2 add $3
+               static_$2 add $3 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null
                _ret=$?
                ;;
        options)
                options_$2
                ;;
        doall)
-               static_$2 add $3
+               static_$2 add $3 add $3 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null
                _ret=$?
                options_$2
                ;;

Now lets see how FreeBSD boots now after the modifications.

stage0-BIOS.jpg

stage1-BTX-Loader.jpg

stage2-Boot-Menu.jpg

stage3-MOD-Non-Native-Boot.jpg.jpg

stage4a-MOD-Native-Boot-A.jpg.jpg

stage4b-MOD-Native-Boot-B.jpg

Its definitely not perfect, but a lot better in my taste.

Now lets login to desktop πŸ™‚

I prefer not to use a login manager so I have an alias named x to xinit command. This way after I login I type x press [ENTER] and x11 desktop is started.

% which x
x: aliased to xinit ~/.xinitrc -- -dpi 75 -nolisten tcp 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null

stage4c-MOD-Native-Boot-C.jpg

stage5-X11.jpg

UPDATE 1 – FreeBSD 12.x

I recently tried FreeBSD 12.0-RC* versions and there is one ‘talkative’ script that also could be ‘silenced’ a little.

Its the /etc/rc.d/devmatch scrtipt.

Here is the needed patch to make it great again nice and clean again.

% diff -u /home/vermaden/rc-devmatch devmatch 
--- /home/vermaden/rc-devmatch        2018-11-27 17:49:53.573514000 +0100
+++ devmatch    2018-11-27 17:50:11.955342000 +0100
@@ -65,7 +65,7 @@
                case "#${x}#" in
                *"#${m}#"*) continue ;;
                esac
-               echo "Autoloading module: ${m}"
+               # echo "Autoloading module: ${m}"
                kldload -n ${m}
        done
        devctl thaw

UPDATE 2 – The drm-kmod Silencing

Recently to get support for newer GPUs the drm-kmod meta port/package is needed. The thing is that if you add the /boot/modules/i915kms.ko (for Intel GPUs) to the kld_list parameter it will display following error message from the kernel even with boot_mute=YES in the /boot/loader.conf file.

Loading kernel modules:
Dec 16 11:08:03 t420s kernel: Failed to add WC MTRR for [0xe0000000-0xefffffff]: -28; performance may suffer

The syslogd is guilty here with its default configuration in the /etc/syslog.conf file. To make it silent (not print pointless messages) make this change in the /etc/syslog.conf file.

% diff -u /root/syslog.conf /etc/syslog.conf
--- /root/syslog.conf   2018-12-18 11:49:48.204878000 +0100
+++ /etc/syslog.conf    2018-12-18 11:49:55.681504000 +0100
@@ -5,7 +5,7 @@
 #      separators. If you are sharing this file between systems, you
 #      may want to use only tabs as field separators here.
 #      Consult the syslog.conf(5) manpage.
-*.err;kern.warning;auth.notice;mail.crit                       /dev/console
+# *.err;kern.warning;auth.notice;mail.crit                       /dev/console
 *.notice;authpriv.none;kern.debug;lpr.info;mail.crit;news.err  /var/log/messages
 security.*                                                     /var/log/security
 auth.info;authpriv.info                                        /var/log/auth.log

Now it will not print these pointless messages.

This applies both to 11.2-RELEASE and 12.0-RELEASE versions.

UPDATE 3 – Silence the Services Starting Messages

Thanks to the vmisev suggestion we can silence the FreeBSD boot process even more.

Just add rc_startmsgs=NO to your /etc/rc.conf file and reboot to see effects.

Here is already silenced boot process by my earlier settings.

rc_startmsgs_YES.jpg

After adding rc_startmsgs=NO to the /etc/rc.conf file the boot messages are cut in half.

rc_startmsgs_NO.jpg

Now its very close to Solaris/Illumos provides πŸ™‚

EOF