Tag Archives: linux

Split Audio Files into Parts

I recently got in the need of splitting quite large amount of audio files into smaller equal parts. The first thought that came to my mind was – probably thousand or more people had similar problem in the past so its already solved – so I went directly to the web search engine.

The found solutions seem not that great or work partially only … or not work like I expected them to work. After looking at one of the possible solutions in a bash(1) script I started to modify it … but it turned out that writing my own solution was faster and easier … and simpler.

Today I will share with you my solution to automatically split audio files into small equal parts.

Existing Solutions

In my search for existing solutions I indeed found some tools that will allow me to achieve what I need. I will not try to talk them one after another.

mp3splt

The first one I found was the audio/mp3splt port (and package) available on FreeBSD. So I installed it with typical pkg(8) command as shown below.

# pkg install mp3splt

It installed properly … but returned Segmentation Fault instead of actually working. I even submitted a PR for that in the FreeBSD Bugzilla – 264866 – but no update till now.

Thus I removed that package and went to search for something that works.

Brasero

Someone on some forum suggested using CD/DVD burning software – Brasero – because one of its features is audio splitting – so I installed the sysutils/brasero package now.

# pkg install brasero

It turns out that it really works. Some screenshots below.

brasero.1

brasero.2

… but that did not satisfied my because I wanted an automated/unattended solution instead of ‘clicking’ each file separately to split them. I also did not liked the fact that I needed to specify time in seconds.

mp3split

Do not confuse with mentioned earlier mp3splt command. The mp3split is a unattended one created in a bash(1) script – https://diegosanchezp.github.io/blog/mp3split/ – available and described here. One of its downsides (for me) was that it needed additional external ‘list’ file with times and titles for the parts.

I did not wanted to write this each time so I generated a long enough list file that will cover any possible file no matter the length with the following loop.

% seq 0 10 10000 \
    | while read MIN
      do
        seq 0 10 50 \
          | while read SEC
            do
              echo ${MIN}:${SEC}
            done
      done > list.txt

% head list.txt
0:0
0:10
0:20
0:30
0:40
0:50
10:0
10:10
10:20
10:30

I needed to split these audio files every 10 minutes. I redirected that output into the list.txt file. I then fetched and made executable the mentioned mp3split script.

% fetch https://raw.githubusercontent.com/diegosanchezp/mp3split/master/mp3split.sh

% chmod +x mp3split.sh

% ./mp3split.sh --help
zsh: ./mp3split.sh: bad interpreter: /bin/bash: no such file or directory

% head -1 ./mp3split.sh
#!/bin/bash

So now we will have to remove linuxisms from the script. Lets hope its only the interpreter part.

% head -1 ./mp3split.sh
#! /usr/bin/env bash

% ./mp3split.sh --help
./mp3split.sh: illegal option -- -
Invalid option: -
Usage:
  mp3split [OPTIONS] inputaudio tracklist
Options:
  -s: do a simulation without writing anything to disk
  -h: print this help
  -e extension: set output extension, if extension is equal to "" keep extension of input file
  The script will output all the splitted files in the
  current/working directory.


Better. Lets try to use it.

% ./mp3split.sh LARGE-AUDIO-FILE.mp3 list.txt

=== Begin to create mp3 split files ===
0:0.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 0:0 to 0:10; 0:0.mp3
0:10.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 0:10 to 0:20; 0:10.mp3
0:20.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 0:20 to 0:30; 0:20.mp3
0:30.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 0:30 to 0:40; 0:30.mp3
0:40.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 0:40 to 0:50; 0:40.mp3
0:50.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 0:50 to 10:0; 0:50.mp3
10:0.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 10:0 to 10:10; 10:0.mp3
10:10.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 10:10 to 10:20; 10:10.mp3
10:20.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 10:20 to 10:30; 10:20.mp3
10:30.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 10:30 to 10:40; 10:30.mp3
10:40.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 10:40 to 10:50; 10:40.mp3
10:50.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 10:50 to 20:0; 10:50.mp3
20:0.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 20:0 to 20:10; 20:0.mp3
20:10.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 20:10 to 20:20; 20:10.mp3
20:20.mp3: Protocol not found
Processed 20:20 to 20:30; 20:20.mp3
^C

Some strange error message Protocol not found … after small investigation it turns out that two characters fix for the ffmpeg(1) command will do. The diff(1) is available below.

% diff -u mp3split.sh mp3split.sh.FIXED.sh
--- mp3split.sh 2022-06-25 22:34:25.499718000 +0200
+++ mp3split.sh.FIXED.sh        2022-06-25 22:37:45.580845000 +0200
@@ -25,7 +25,7 @@
   outfile="$tracktitle.$ext"

   # Begin splitting files with ffmpeg
-  [ ! "$simulate" = true ] && ffmpeg -nostdin -y -loglevel error -i "$inputaudio" -ss "$start" -to "$end" -acodec copy "$outfile"
+  [ ! "$simulate" = true ] && ffmpeg -nostdin -y -loglevel error -i "$inputaudio" -ss "$start" -to "$end" -acodec copy ./"$outfile"

   echo "Processed $start to $end; $outfile"
 }

Now lets try to use the fixed version.

% ./mp3split.sh.FIXED.sh LARGE-AUDIO-FILE.mp3 list.txt

=== Begin to create mp3 split files ===
Processed 0:0 to 0:10; 0:0.mp3
Processed 0:10 to 0:20; 0:10.mp3
Processed 0:20 to 0:30; 0:20.mp3
Processed 0:30 to 0:40; 0:30.mp3
Processed 0:40 to 0:50; 0:40.mp3
Processed 0:50 to 10:0; 0:50.mp3
Processed 10:0 to 10:10; 10:0.mp3
Processed 10:10 to 10:20; 10:10.mp3
Processed 10:20 to 10:30; 10:20.mp3
Processed 10:30 to 10:40; 10:30.mp3
Processed 10:40 to 10:50; 10:40.mp3
Processed 10:50 to 20:0; 10:50.mp3
Processed 20:0 to 20:10; 20:0.mp3
Processed 20:10 to 20:20; 20:10.mp3
Processed 20:20 to 20:30; 20:20.mp3
Processed 20:30 to 20:40; 20:30.mp3
Processed 20:40 to 20:50; 20:40.mp3
Processed 20:50 to 30:0; 20:50.mp3
Processed 30:0 to 30:10; 30:0.mp3
Processed 30:10 to 30:20; 30:10.mp3
Processed 30:20 to 30:30; 30:20.mp3
Processed 30:30 to 30:40; 30:30.mp3
Processed 30:40 to 30:50; 30:40.mp3
Processed 30:50 to 40:0; 30:50.mp3
Processed 40:0 to 40:10; 40:0.mp3
Processed 40:10 to 40:20; 40:10.mp3
Processed 40:20 to 40:30; 40:20.mp3
Processed 40:30 to 40:40; 40:30.mp3
Processed 40:40 to 40:50; 40:40.mp3
Processed 40:50 to 50:0; 40:50.mp3
Processed 50:0 to 50:10; 50:0.mp3
Processed 50:10 to 50:20; 50:10.mp3
Processed 50:20 to 50:30; 50:20.mp3
Processed 50:30 to 50:40; 50:30.mp3
Processed 50:40 to 50:50; 50:40.mp3
Invalid duration specification for to: 60:0
Processed 50:50 to 60:0; 50:50.mp3
Invalid duration specification for ss: 60:0
Processed 60:0 to 60:10; 60:0.mp3
Invalid duration specification for ss: 60:10
Processed 60:10 to 60:20; 60:10.mp3
Invalid duration specification for ss: 60:20
Processed 60:20 to 60:30; 60:20.mp3
Invalid duration specification for ss: 60:30
Processed 60:30 to 60:40; 60:30.mp3
Invalid duration specification for ss: 60:40
Processed 60:40 to 60:50; 60:40.mp3
Invalid duration specification for ss: 60:50
Processed 60:50 to 70:0; 60:50.mp3
Invalid duration specification for ss: 70:0
Processed 70:0 to 70:10; 70:0.mp3
Invalid duration specification for ss: 70:10
Processed 70:10 to 70:20; 70:10.mp3
^C

Great … so after the file ended it will still try EVERY goddamn position from the list.txt file. It was also not able to reach the final ‘ending’ part without ‘visiting’ each time from the list.txt file. Enough is enough. I tried.

Custom Script Solution

After trying to modify the mp3split script even more I came to the conclusion that it will take less time to write my own solution from scratch … and this is exactly what I did. I wrote the audio-split.sh in POSIX /bin/sh interpreter for portability. After an hour later 50 lines of code did exactly what I needed – not counting the __usage() function for help information.

code.fixed

Here is the __usage() contents by the way.

help

The idea/needs were:

  • split large file automatically/unattended into equal parts
  • create new dir in which these parts are created
  • new dir must have same name as specified file (without extension)
  • each part will get a ' - xxx' suffix (like ' - 001' for first part) with original extension

… and they were met.

Here is the output of running audio-split.sh command.

% ffmpeg -i LARGE-AUDIO-FILE.mp3 2>&1 | grep Duration
  Duration: 00:44:55.99, start: 0.025057, bitrate: 171 kb/s

% audio-split.sh 10 LARGE-AUDIO-FILE.mp3
LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/LARGE-AUDIO-FILE - 001.mp3
LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/LARGE-AUDIO-FILE - 002.mp3
LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/LARGE-AUDIO-FILE - 003.mp3
LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/LARGE-AUDIO-FILE - 004.mp3
LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/LARGE-AUDIO-FILE - 005.mp3

% du -sm LARGE-AUDIO-FILE.mp3
56      LARGE-AUDIO-FILE.mp3

% du -smc LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/*
13      LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/LARGE-AUDIO-FILE - 001.mp3
13      LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/LARGE-AUDIO-FILE - 002.mp3
13      LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/LARGE-AUDIO-FILE - 003.mp3
13      LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/LARGE-AUDIO-FILE - 004.mp3
7       LARGE-AUDIO-FILE/LARGE-AUDIO-FILE - 005.mp3
56      total

The total size is the same (or similar in larger files). After listening to the parts I came to the conclusion that it works properly. The audio file is about 45 minutes long and the script created 4 10 minutes long files and 1 that is less then 5 minutes. Not sure if you also have such needs but if yes then you may now use another solution – audio-split.sh – for it ๐Ÿ™‚

EOF

Is FreeBSD a Real UNIX?

That question has been asked and answered many times … but the answer was not always obvious to everyone.

Also today is the FreeBSD day – FreeBSD was created exactly 29 years ago – also on 19th on June.

UNIX System

The first UNIX was the AT&T UNIX whose development started in 1969 at Bell Labs. Then AT&T licensed UNIX to outside parties in late 1970s which have life many UNIX variants like:

  • AIX from IBM
  • BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) at University of California
  • SunOS/Solaris from Sun Microsystems
  • HP-UX from HP
  • Xenix from Microsoft

Of course AT&T also worked on UNIX and in the late 1980s jointly with Sun Microsystems they released the UNIX System V Release 4 (SVR4). Then in early 1990s the AT&T company sold its UNIX rights to Novell. Then Novell sold UNIX trademark to Open Group. This UNIX journey ends here as its Open Group ownership and they allow the use of the UNIX trademark for certified operating systems that comply with the Single UNIX Specification (SUS) (and pay $100 000 in the certification process).

BSD UNIX

The BSD UNIX had quite unusual version numbering with 1BSD, 2BSD, 3BSD for subsequent releases.

Below you will find most of them listed with some of their features.

1BSD

  • run PDP-11
  • ex(1) editor

2BSD

  • run PDP-11
  • vi(1) editor
  • C shell

3BSD

  • run VAX-11
  • DEC VT100 terminal

4BSD

  • run VAX-11
  • DARPA funding for CSRG
  • job control in C shell
  • delivermail(8) – antecedent of sendmail(8)
  • improved signals
  • Curses programming library

4.1BSD

  • performance improvements
  • on par with VMS on many benchmarks

4.2BSD

  • BBN preliminary TCP/IP implementation
  • Berkeley Fast File System
  • disk quotas
  • job control
  • run Motorola 68000
  • introduction of Daemon mascot

daemon.1983

4.3BSD

  • improved performance
  • more diverged TCP/IP implementation from BBN

4.3BSD-Reno

  • move towards POSIX compliance
  • NFS implementation
  • status key (CTRL-T)
  • run HP 9000
  • named as “Greatest Software Ever Written”

4.3BSD-Net/1

  • most standard UNIX utilities reimplemented without AT&T code
  • nvi(1) – new vi(1)
  • only few AT&T files remained in kernel

4.3BSD-Net/2

  • all AT&T standard UNIX utilities reimplemented without AT&T code
  • nearly complete operating system that was freely distributable

386BSD (sometimes also called 386/BSD)

  • run Intel 80386
  • basically 4.3BSD-Net/2 ported to x86
  • base for NetBSD
  • base for FreeBSD on 1.0-2.2.8 releases

BSD/386 (later renamed BSD/OS) by BSDi

  • legal trouble with AT&T
  • AT&T USL versus BSDi lawsuit filed against 4.3BSD-Net/2
  • from 18,000 files only 3 had to be removed and 70 modified to show AT&T USL copyright.

4.4BSD-Encumbered

  • released only to AT&T USL licensees

4.4BSD-Lite

  • no longer requires AT&T USL license
  • contained other changes over 4.4BSD-Encumbered

4.4BSD-Lite2

  • last BSD UNIX release
  • after this release CSRG was dissolved
  • FreeBSD since 3.0 also used that code

Intel/x86 Port

The 386BSD UNIX (sometimes also called 386/BSD) was port of the 4.3BSD-Net/2 UNIX to the Intel/x86 architecture. Like recently FreeBSD added support for RISC-V or ARM64. When 386BSD UNIX existed – a group of people took that code and decided that they will develop it under FreeBSD name with their our own way of doing things like serving packages etc.

As you can see the FreeBSD UNIX is – with large simplification – nothing more then 4.3BSD-Net/2 ported to the x86 architecture. But can you call it UNIX? That depends.

FreeBSD UNIX

Let me give you an example from other industry. Can you call Tesla a ‘car’? Yes. Why? Because no one has the copyright for the ‘car’ term. Now imagine this – some company owns the copyright to the ‘car’ term. Now you would not be allowed to call Tesla a ‘car’ without first asking that company for permission. Without such permission you could name Tesla only a car-like vehicle … or automobile – but not simply a ‘car’.

Lets get back to the computing world. Can you officially name FreeBSD a UNIX? No. That is because Open Group company owns copyright to the ‘UNIX’ term. You can call it only a UNIX-like system … but that does not mean its not UNIX. You just can not call it like that because of the lawyers.

NetBSD team also gave good example with their ‘duck’ explanation – https://mollari.netbsd.org/about/call-it-a-duck.html – available here.

Apple paid $100 000 to call their Mac OS X (now macOS) system a UNIX officially.

Linux UNIX

Can you call Linux a UNIX system? Depends which one ๐Ÿ™‚ Currently RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) is not a certified UNIX – Red Hat did not made the $100 000 worth official certification process with Open Group – you can not name RHEL a UNIX system … but RHEL fork can be called officially UNIX. The Inspur-UX is official UNIX because they did that $100 000 certification with Open Group. Probably because they thought that calling their RHEL fork ‘UNIX’ will make their business better.

Does it makes sense? No. But that is just business. Do not seek logic here. Money only.

Summary

Depends if you want the truth or just what the law officially allows ๐Ÿ™‚ If you want the truth then yes – FreeBSD is a UNIX system – same as NetBSD or OpenBSD for example. But if you want to obey the law then you can not name these systems UNIX.

EOF

Automated Kickstart Install of RHEL/Clones

There are two approaches to making your life more automated about installing multiple instances of operating systems. You can either maintain up-to-date templates for them or you can have automated/scripted installations. In this article I will share how to generate ISO image and Kickstart configuration to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux (and its clones such as Alma/Rocky/CentOS/Scientific/…) in easy and fast way. For the process I will use 8.5 version of RHEL.

Here is the Table of Contents for this article.

  • Logo
  • Possibilities
  • Environment
    • FreeBSD – www
    • RHEL Client – kickme
  • Validate
  • Generation
    • kickstart.config
    • kickstart.skel
    • kickstart.sh
    • ISO
  • Result
  • Alternatives
  • Summary

Logo

Shortly after IBM acquisition Red Hat started to use kinda boring ‘just a red hat’ logo – but its earlier logo – shown below – was more interesting.

rhel-logo

If you stare long enough you will see two dinosaurs. The Tyrannosaurus (red) punching a Triceratops (white) in the head. Once you see it you will not be able to unsee it ๐Ÿ™‚

Possibilities

There are many ways to do that automated Kickstart installation. You can use NFS/HTTP/FTP/HTTPS or your own generated DVD media … or use ‘stock’ DVD and Kickstart config available somewhere on the network.

I will use the following method that I find currently is best suited for my needs:

  • FreeBSD host with NGINX serving RHEL 8.5 DVD content (rhel-8.5-x86_64-dvd.iso) over HTTP.
  • Generate small (less then 1 MB in size) ISO with Kickstart config on it.
  • Boot from small rhel-8.5-x86_64-boot.iso ISO and also with generated Kickstart ISO.

Environment

I will use VirtualBox for this demo with NAT Network configuration for the virtual machines network adapters. The nat0 VirtualBox network is defined as 10.0.10.0/24 and I use Port Forwarding to access these machines from the FreeBSD host system.

Machines:

  • 10.0.10.210 - www – FreeBSD system with NGINX to serve RHEL 8.5 DVD contents
  • 10.0.10.199 - kickme – RHEL machine that would be installed with automated Kickstart install

FreeBSD – www

Below you will find the FreeBSD machine configuration as seen on VirtualBox.

vm-www

Its default FreeBSD ZFS install on single disk. Nothing fancy here to be honest. Below you will find its configuration from /etc/rc.conf file. I also installed the nginx package but the only thing I did with NGINX was to enable it to start automatically. I used the default stock config that points at /usr/local/www/nginx place. I later copied the RHEL 8.5 DVD contents to the /usr/local/www/nginx/rhel-8.5 directory. It takes about 10 GB.

www # cat /etc/rc.conf
hostname=www
ifconfig_em0="inet 10.0.10.210 netmask 255.255.255.0"
defaultrouter=10.0.10.1
sshd_enable=YES
nginx_enable=YES
zfs_enable=YES
dumpdev=AUTO
sendmail_enable=NO
sendmail_submit_enable=NO
sendmail_outbound_enable=NO
sendmail_msp_queue_enable=NO
update_motd=NO

Here is the unmodified NGINX config but with comments non displayed.

www # grep -v '#' /usr/local/etc/nginx/nginx.conf | grep '^[^#]'
worker_processes  1;
events {
    worker_connections  1024;
}
http {
    include       mime.types;
    default_type  application/octet-stream;
    sendfile        on;
    keepalive_timeout  65;
    server {
        listen       80;
        server_name  localhost;
        location / {
            root   /usr/local/www/nginx;
            index  index.html index.htm;
        }
        error_page   500 502 503 504  /50x.html;
        location = /50x.html {
            root   /usr/local/www/nginx-dist;
        }
    }
}

Here are the contents of the /usr/local/www/nginx/rhel-8.5 directory after copying here contents of RHEL 8.5 DVD.

www:~ # ls -l /usr/local/www/nginx/rhel-8.5/
total 71
-r--r--r--  1 root  wheel     60 Apr  6 21:34 .discinfo
-r--r--r--  1 root  wheel   1560 Apr  6 21:34 .treeinfo
dr-xr-xr-x  4 root  wheel      4 Apr  6 21:50 AppStream
dr-xr-xr-x  4 root  wheel      4 Apr  6 21:53 BaseOS
dr-xr-xr-x  3 root  wheel      3 Apr  6 21:53 EFI
-r--r--r--  1 root  wheel   8154 Apr  6 21:53 EULA
-r--r--r--  1 root  wheel  18092 Apr  6 21:53 GPL
-r--r--r--  1 root  wheel   1669 Apr  6 21:53 RPM-GPG-KEY-redhat-beta
-r--r--r--  1 root  wheel   5135 Apr  6 21:53 RPM-GPG-KEY-redhat-release
-r--r--r--  1 root  wheel   1796 Apr  6 21:53 TRANS.TBL
-r--r--r--  1 root  wheel   1455 Apr  6 21:53 extra_files.json
dr-xr-xr-x  3 root  wheel      6 Apr  6 21:54 images
dr-xr-xr-x  2 root  wheel     16 Apr  6 21:54 isolinux
-r--r--r--  1 root  wheel    103 Apr  6 21:54 media.repo

RHEL Client – kickme

Below you will find the RHEL machine that will be used for the automated Kickstart installation – also as seen on VirtualBox.

vm-kickme

To make that example more interesting (and more corporate) I added second NIC for the backup network – so we will also have to generate additional route for it in the Kickstart config.

The kickme RHEL machine needs to have two (2) CD-ROM drives. In the PRIMARY (the one to boot from) we will load the rhel-8.5-x86_64-boot.iso ISO file. In the SECONDARY one we will load our generated kickme.oemdrv.iso ISO file containing Kickstart config file.

Validate

There also exists pykickstart package which offers ksvalidator tool. Theoretically it allows you to make sure that your Kickstart config has proper syntax and that it would work – but only in theory. Here is what it RHEL documentation states about its accuracy.

rhel-ksvalidator

It means that you will not know if your Kickstart config will work until you really try it – thus I do not cared that much about this tool as is not available on FreeBSD.

Generation

Now to the most important part – Kickstart generation and ISO generation. Probably the easiest way to create new Kickstart config is to install ‘by hand’ new RHEL system under virtual machine and then take the generated by Anaconda /root/anaconda-ks.cfg file as a starting point. This is what I also did.

When you would like to install next host you will have to edit the hostname and IP addresses for next host in that Kickstart file – which seems not very convenient to say the least. In order to make that less PITA I created a kickstart.sh script that will read values from kickstart.config file and then put them into the kickstart.skel file that would be base for our future installations. Then the kickstart.sh will copy the generated Kickstart file and used Kickstart config with that hostname as a backup or for future reference – or for example for documentation purposes.

kickstart.config

Here is how such kickstart.config file looks like.

# cat kickstart.config
  SYSTEM_NAME=kickme
  REPO_SERVER_IP=10.0.10.210
  INTERFACE1=enp0s3
  IP_ADDRESS1=10.0.10.199
  NETMASK1=255.255.255.0
  INTERFACE2=enp0s8
  IP_ADDRESS2=10.0.90.199
  NETMASK2=255.255.255.0
  GATEWAY=10.0.10.1
  NAMESERVER1=1.1.1.1
  NAMESERVER2=9.9.9.9
  NTP1=132.163.97.6
  NTP2=216.239.35.0
  ROUTE_NET=10.0.40.10/24
  ROUTE_VIA=10.0.20.1

kickstart.skel

The kickstart.skel file is little longer – this is our barebone for the Kickstart configs.

# cat kickstart.skel
#version=RHEL8

# USE sda DISK
ignoredisk --only-use=sda

# CLEAR DISK PARTITIONS BEFORE INSTALL
clearpart --all --initlabel

# USE text INSTALL
text

# USE ONLINE INSTALLATION MEDIA
url --url=http://REPO_SERVER_IP/rhel-8.5/BaseOS --noverifyssl

# KEYBOARD LAYOUTS
keyboard --vckeymap=us --xlayouts='us','pl'

# LANGUAGE
lang en_US.UTF-8

# NETWORK INFORMATION
network --bootproto=static --device=INTERFACE1 --ip=IP_ADDRESS1 --netmask=NETMASK1 --gateway=GATEWAY --nameserver=NAMESERVER1,NAMESERVER2 --noipv6 --activate
network --bootproto=static --device=INTERFACE2 --ip=IP_ADDRESS2 --netmask=NETMASK2 --noipv6 --activate --onboot=on
network --hostname=SYSTEM_NAME

# REPOS
repo --name="AppStream" --baseurl=http://REPO_SERVER_IP/rhel-8.5/AppStream

# ROOT PASSWORD
rootpw --plaintext asd

# DISABLE Setup Agent ON FIRST BOOT
firstboot --disable

# DISABLE SELinux AND FIREWALL
selinux --disabled
firewall --disabled

# OMIT X11
skipx

# REBOOT AND EJECT BOOT MEDIUM
reboot --eject

# TIMEZONE
timezone Europe/Warsaw --isUtc --nontp

# PARTITIONS
part   /boot/efi --fstype="efi"   --size=600  --ondisk=sda --label=EFI  --fsoptions="umask=0077,shortname=winnt"
part   /boot     --fstype="xfs"   --size=1024 --ondisk=sda --label=BOOT --fsoptions="rw,noatime,nodiratime"
part   pv.475    --fstype="lvmpv" --size=1    --ondisk=sda --grow

# LVM
volgroup rootvg --pesize=4096 pv.475
logvol /         --fstype="xfs"   --size=1024 --name=root --label="ROOT" --vgname=rootvg --fsoptions="rw,noatime,nodiratime"
logvol /usr      --fstype="xfs"   --size=5120 --name=usr  --label="USR"  --vgname=rootvg --fsoptions="rw,noatime,nodiratime"
logvol /var      --fstype="xfs"   --size=3072 --name=var  --label="VAR"  --vgname=rootvg --fsoptions="rw,noatime,nodiratime"
logvol /tmp      --fstype="xfs"   --size=1024 --name=tmp  --label="TMP"  --vgname=rootvg --fsoptions="rw,noatime,nodiratime"
logvol /opt      --fstype="xfs"   --size=1024 --name=opt  --label="OPT"  --vgname=rootvg --fsoptions="rw,noatime,nodiratime"
logvol /home     --fstype="xfs"   --size=1024 --name=home --label="HOME" --vgname=rootvg --fsoptions="rw,noatime,nodiratime"
logvol swap      --fstype="swap"  --size=4096 --name=swap --label="SWAP" --vgname=rootvg

# RPM PACKAGES
%packages
@^minimal-environment
kexec-tools
nfs-utils
nfs4-acl-tools
perl
chrony
%end

# KDUMP
%addon com_redhat_kdump --enable --reserve-mb='auto'
%end

# POST INSTALL COMMANDS TO EXECUTE
%post --log=/root/ks-post.log --interpreter=/usr/bin/bash

  # POST: route
  echo ROUTE_NET via ROUTE_VIA > /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/route-INTERFACE2

  # POST: chrony CONFIG
  cat << TIME > /etc/chrony.conf
server NTP1 iburst
server NTP2 iburst
driftfile /var/lib/chrony/drift
makestep 1.0 3
rtcsync
logdir /var/log/chrony
keyfile /etc/chrony.keys
leapsectz right/UTC
TIME

  # POST: chrony SERVICE
  systemctl enable chronyd

%end

# PASSWORD REQUIREMENTS
%anaconda
pwpolicy root --minlen=6 --minquality=1 --notstrict --nochanges --notempty
pwpolicy user --minlen=6 --minquality=1 --notstrict --nochanges --emptyok
pwpolicy luks --minlen=6 --minquality=1 --notstrict --nochanges --notempty
%end

kickstart.sh

… and last but not least – the kickstart.sh script. It does not take any arguments – it just loads the kickstart.config file variables and then replaces all config options in kickstart.skel with sed(1) to generate new Kickstart file as files/${SYSTEM_NAME}.cfg file. It also copies that config into files/${SYSTEM_NAME}.config for convenience.

# cat kickstart.sh
#! /bin/sh

if [ ! -f kickstart.config ]
then
  echo "ERROR: file 'kickstart.config' not available"
  exit 1
fi

if [ ! -f kickstart.skel ]
then
  echo "ERROR: file 'kickstart.skel' not available"
  exit 1
fi

. "$( pwd )/kickstart.config"

mkdir -p files ksfloppy iso

cp kickstart.config files/${SYSTEM_NAME}.config

if [ ${?} -eq 0 ]
then
  echo "INFO: kickstart config copied to 'files/${SYSTEM_NAME}.config' location"
else
  echo "ERROR: could not copy config to 'files/${SYSTEM_NAME}.config' location"
  exit 1
fi

sed                                           \
  -e s@SYSTEM_NAME@${SYSTEM_NAME}@g           \
  -e s@SALT_MINION_NAME@${SALT_MINION_NAME}@g \
  -e s@SALT_MASTER_IP@${SALT_MASTER_IP}@g     \
  -e s@REPO_SERVER_IP@${REPO_SERVER_IP}@g     \
  -e s@RHEL_MAJOR@${RHEL_MAJOR}@g             \
  -e s@RHEL_VERSION@${RHEL_VERSION}@g         \
  -e s@RHEL_ARCH@${RHEL_ARCH}@g               \
  -e s@INTERFACE1@${INTERFACE1}@g             \
  -e s@IP_ADDRESS1@${IP_ADDRESS1}@g           \
  -e s@NETMASK1@${NETMASK1}@g                 \
  -e s@INTERFACE2@${INTERFACE2}@g             \
  -e s@IP_ADDRESS2@${IP_ADDRESS2}@g           \
  -e s@NETMASK2@${NETMASK2}@g                 \
  -e s@GATEWAY@${GATEWAY}@g                   \
  -e s@NAMESERVER1@${NAMESERVER1}@g           \
  -e s@NAMESERVER2@${NAMESERVER2}@g           \
  -e s@NTP1@${NTP1}@g                         \
  -e s@NTP2@${NTP2}@g                         \
  -e s@ROUTE_NET@${ROUTE_NET}@g               \
  -e s@ROUTE_VIA@${ROUTE_VIA}@g               \
  kickstart.skel > files/${SYSTEM_NAME}.cfg

if [ ${?} -eq 0 ]
then
  echo "INFO: kickstart file 'files/${SYSTEM_NAME}.cfg' generated"
else
  echo "ERROR: failed to generate 'files/${SYSTEM_NAME}.cfg' kickstart file"
  exit 1
fi

echo "INFO: mkisofs(8) output BEGIN"
echo "-----------------------------"

mkisofs -J -R -l -graft-points -V "OEMDRV" \
        -input-charset utf-8 \
        -o iso/${SYSTEM_NAME}.oemdrv.iso \
        ks.cfg=files/${SYSTEM_NAME}.cfg ksfloppy

echo "-----------------------------"
echo "INFO: mkisofs(8) output ENDED"

if [ ${?} -eq 0 ]
then
  echo "INFO: ISO image 'iso/${SYSTEM_NAME}.oemdrv.iso' generated"
else
  echo "ERROR: failed to generate 'iso/${SYSTEM_NAME}.oemdrv.iso' ISO image"
  exit 1
fi

ISO

It finishes its work in less then a second. Here is its output.

kickstart.sh

… and the generated ISO file.

# ls -lh iso/kickme.oemdrv.iso
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel   366K Apr 10 21:57 iso/kickme.oemdrv.iso

Result

Now – when you boot the kickme VirtualBox virtual machine with CD-ROM devices loaded you will end up with RHEL system installed according to your generated Kickstart config. Here are some files from the kickme RHEL installed system.

Filesystems with LABELs such as BOOT or VAR defined.

# lsblk -i -f
NAME            FSTYPE      LABEL UUID                                   MOUNTPOINT
sda
|-sda1          xfs         BOOT  b5c66ea5-b38a-4072-b1a8-0d5882ace179   /boot
|-sda2          vfat        EFI   BB7A-4BFD                              /boot/efi
`-sda3          LVM2_member       e9BwIq-4I2W-zX6y-As42-f9N2-WTTR-WfHKdC
  |-rootvg-root xfs         ROOT  dbf8dd30-51cc-408a-9d05-b1ae67c0637c   /
  |-rootvg-swap swap        SWAP  c8a016b5-f43d-4510-9703-e9c68f02ae64   [SWAP]
  |-rootvg-usr  xfs         USR   c6694796-a5bd-4833-9a6b-a740e8bf83bf   /usr
  |-rootvg-home xfs         HOME  5264afe6-5d9c-4dc3-9d8d-e19078864aea   /home
  |-rootvg-opt  xfs         OPT   039e9575-3af8-4a8b-95c0-54fb8a515f70   /opt
  |-rootvg-tmp  xfs         TMP   11709a48-a64f-4b93-86a3-e943ff9ecf01   /tmp
  `-rootvg-var  xfs         VAR   ed20343c-b915-4234-b13e-0c6c94e03edc   /var
sr0
sr1

The /etc/fstab file with rw,noatime,nodiratime mount options.

# grep '^[^#] /etc/fstab
/dev/mapper/rootvg-root /                       xfs     rw,noatime,nodiratime 0 0
UUID=b5c66ea5-b38a-4072-b1a8-0d5882ace179 /boot xfs     rw,noatime,nodiratime 0 0
UUID=BB7A-4BFD          /boot/efi               vfat    defaults,uid=0,gid=0,umask=077,shortname=winnt 0 2
/dev/mapper/rootvg-home /home                   xfs     rw,noatime,nodiratime 0 0
/dev/mapper/rootvg-opt  /opt                    xfs     rw,noatime,nodiratime 0 0
/dev/mapper/rootvg-tmp  /tmp                    xfs     rw,noatime,nodiratime 0 0
/dev/mapper/rootvg-usr  /usr                    xfs     rw,noatime,nodiratime 0 0
/dev/mapper/rootvg-var  /var                    xfs     rw,noatime,nodiratime 0 0
/dev/mapper/rootvg-swap none                    swap    defaults        0 0

Networking on two network interfaces and additional route generated.

# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-enp0s3
# Generated by parse-kickstart
TYPE=Ethernet
DEVICE=enp0s3
UUID=e1fddd41-f398-4c1d-8bef-e28ef705d568
ONBOOT=yes
IPADDR=10.0.10.199
NETMASK=255.255.255.0
GATEWAY=10.0.10.1
IPV6INIT=no
DNS1=1.1.1.1
DNS2=9.9.9.9
PROXY_METHOD=none
BROWSER_ONLY=no
PREFIX=24
DEFROUTE=yes
IPV4_FAILURE_FATAL=no
NAME="System enp0s3"

# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-enp0s8
# Generated by parse-kickstart
TYPE=Ethernet
DEVICE=enp0s8
UUID=5454b587-8c29-41a7-93f8-532c814865de
ONBOOT=yes
IPADDR=10.0.90.199
NETMASK=255.255.255.0
IPV6INIT=no
PROXY_METHOD=none
BROWSER_ONLY=no
PREFIX=24
DEFROUTE=yes
IPV4_FAILURE_FATAL=no
NAME="System enp0s8"

# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/route-enp0s8
10.0.40.10/24 via 10.0.20.1

# cat /etc/resolv.conf
# Generated by NetworkManager
nameserver 1.1.1.1
nameserver 9.9.9.9

Alternatives

Its also possible to use the livemedia-creator from the lorax package … but I would omit it. To be honest I tried it – and it did not worked at all. I started the following process … and it run for more then a DAY and produced NOTHING.

# livemedia-creator \
    --make-iso \
    --ram 4096 \
    --vcpus 4 \
    --iso=/mnt/rhel-8.5-x86_64-boot.iso \
    --ks=/mnt/mykick.cfg

The log file for the operation was also EMPTY. At least that was the run when using the virt-install option with creating everything under virtual machine. This also intrigue me a lot. Why use virtual machines just to create installation media? Its just a bunch of files. There are better options available such as chroot(8) for example … or even so glorified containers such as Docker or Podman. Why use fully fledged virtual machine just to create ISO image? This is a big mystery for me.

Seems that livemedia-creator also has --no-virt option available … but as documentation states – it can “render the entire system unusable” – not very production ready solution for my taste. Below is a screenshot from the official RHEL documentation.

rhel-render

Pity that livemedia-creator did not worked for me – but I already have a working process for that.

Some people also suggested these as valuable alternatives:

Maybe some day I will find time to check them out.

Summary

I am not the best at summaries so I will just write here that the article has ended successfully ๐Ÿ™‚

Regards.

EOF

ZFS Compatibility

The best free filesystem on Earth – ZFS – also often named OpenZFS recently – has also become very portable in recent years of its development. The OpenZFS Distributions page lists 6 (six) operating systems already.

They are:

  • FreeBSD
  • Illumos
  • Linux
  • MacOS
  • NetBSD
  • Windows

… but if you would like to create a ZFS pool compatible with all of them … which options and ZFS features should you choose? There is OpenZFS Feature Flags page dedicated exactly to that topic.

zfs-feature-flags

These are the ones that have yes value in all operating systems.

  • async_destroy
  • bookmarks
  • empty_bpobj
  • enabled_txg
  • filesystem_limits
  • lz4_compress
  • hole_birth
  • multi_vdev_crash_dump
  • spacemap_histogram

I would also include these as only older NetBSD 4.0.5 version does not support them – but they are supported in newer NetBSD 5.3 version.

  • embedded_data
  • large_blocks
  • sha512
  • skein

There is also a dedicated zpool-features(7) man page for that information on the OpenZFS page and also zpool-features(7) man page on the FreeBSD page.

On the FreeBSD system the /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d directory has files with supported ZFS Feature Flags for many major operating systems and ZFS versions.

% ls /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d
2018
2019
2020
2021
compat-2018
compat-2019
compat-2020
compat-2021
freebsd-11.0
freebsd-11.1
freebsd-11.2
freebsd-11.3
freebsd-11.4
freebsd-12.0
freebsd-12.1
freebsd-12.2
freenas-11.0
freenas-11.1
freenas-11.2
freenas-11.3
freenas-9.10.2
grub2
openzfs-2.0-freebsd
openzfs-2.0-linux
openzfs-2.1-freebsd
openzfs-2.1-linux
openzfsonosx-1.7.0
openzfsonosx-1.8.1
openzfsonosx-1.9.3
openzfsonosx-1.9.4
truenas-12.0
ubuntu-18.04
ubuntu-20.04
zol-0.6.1
zol-0.6.4
zol-0.6.5
zol-0.7
zol-0.8

Unfortunately it misses NetBSD and Illumos systems for example … but having information from the OpenZFS Feature Flags page we can find Feature Flags set that will be supported everywhere.

Here are the stats for supported ZFS Feature Flags. The higher the number the more operating systems and ZFS version it covers.

% grep -h '^[^#]' /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/* \
    | sort -n \
    | uniq -c \
    | sort -n
   2 draid
   5 bookmark_written
   5 device_rebuild
   5 livelist
   5 log_spacemap
   5 redacted_datasets
   5 redaction_bookmarks
   5 zstd_compress
   9 allocation_classes
   9 bookmark_v2
   9 project_quota
   9 resilver_defer
  10 edonr
  10 encryption
  11 large_dnode
  11 userobj_accounting
  18 spacemap_v2
  20 device_removal
  20 obsolete_counts
  20 zpool_checkpoint
  31 sha512
  31 skein
  32 multi_vdev_crash_dump
  36 filesystem_limits
  36 large_blocks
  37 bookmarks
  37 embedded_data
  37 enabled_txg
  37 extensible_dataset
  37 hole_birth
  37 spacemap_histogram
  38 async_destroy
  38 empty_bpobj
  38 lz4_compress

As the GNU GRUB is very outdated when it comes to ZFS support it should be pretty bulletproof to use it as a starting point of limited ZFS Feature Flags support.

% cat /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/grub2
# Features which are supported by GRUB2
async_destroy
bookmarks
embedded_data
empty_bpobj
enabled_txg
extensible_dataset
filesystem_limits
hole_birth
large_blocks
lz4_compress
spacemap_histogram

To make sure we are compatible we will now cross-link the GNU GRUB data.

First we will ‘generate’ the grep(1) command arguments that we will use in the next command.

% grep '^[^#]' /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/grub2 \
  | while read I
    do
      echo "-e ' ${I}' \\"
    done
-e ' async_destroy' \
-e ' bookmarks' \
-e ' embedded_data' \
-e ' empty_bpobj' \
-e ' enabled_txg' \
-e ' extensible_dataset' \
-e ' filesystem_limits' \
-e ' hole_birth' \
-e ' large_blocks' \
-e ' lz4_compress' \
-e ' spacemap_histogram' \

Lets now use these arguments to filter the ZFS features.

% grep -h '^[^#]' /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/grub2/* \
    | sort -n \
    | uniq -c \
    | sort -n \
    | grep -e ' async_destroy' \
           -e ' bookmarks' \
           -e ' embedded_data' \
           -e ' empty_bpobj' \
           -e ' enabled_txg' \
           -e ' extensible_dataset' \
           -e ' filesystem_limits' \
           -e ' hole_birth' \
           -e ' large_blocks' \
           -e ' lz4_compress' \
           -e ' spacemap_histogram' \
    | wc -l
      11

% grep -h '^[^#]' /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/grub2 | wc -l
      11

So if seems that GRUB list of ZFS Feature Flags seems pretty compatible.

Lets now cross-reference that GRUB data with the data from the OpenZFS Feature Flags page.

I will create new /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/OZFF file that has these ZFS Feature Flags as content.

% cat /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/OZFF
async_destroy
bookmarks
empty_bpobj
enabled_txg
filesystem_limits
lz4_compress
hole_birth
multi_vdev_crash_dump
spacemap_histogram
embedded_data
large_blocks
sha512
skein

% wc -l /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/OZFF
      13

So there are 11 GRUB ZFS Feature Flags and 13 OpenZFS ‘Compatible’ Feature Flags.

Lets see how it they compare.

% cat /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/OZFF \
    | grep -e async_destroy \
           -e bookmarks \
           -e embedded_data \
           -e empty_bpobj \
           -e enabled_txg \
           -e extensible_dataset \
           -e filesystem_limits \
           -e hole_birth \
           -e large_blocks \
           -e lz4_compress \
           -e spacemap_histogram \
    | wc -l
      10

I expected 11 here instead of 10 … we will not have to compare GRUB results to the OpenZFS Feature Flags section.

% grep -h '^[^#]' /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/{grub2,OZFF} \
    | sort -n \
    | uniq -c \
    | sort -n
   1 extensible_dataset
   1 multi_vdev_crash_dump
   1 sha512
   1 skein
   2 async_destroy
   2 bookmarks
   2 embedded_data
   2 empty_bpobj
   2 enabled_txg
   2 filesystem_limits
   2 hole_birth
   2 large_blocks
   2 lz4_compress
   2 spacemap_histogram

Seems that we finally got our 10 most compatible OpenZFS Feature Flags set.

Its this set:

  • async_destroy
  • bookmarks
  • embedded_data
  • empty_bpobj
  • enabled_txg
  • filesystem_limits
  • hole_birth
  • large_blocks
  • lz4_compress
  • spacemap_histogram

To make it more comfortable to use we will put them it into the separate /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/COMPATIBLE file.

# cat /usr/share/zfs/compatibility.d/COMPATIBLE
async_destroy
bookmarks
embedded_data
empty_bpobj
enabled_txg
filesystem_limits
hole_birth
large_blocks
lz4_compress
spacemap_histogram

Lets now try to make that best effort most-compatible ZFS pool.

I will use one of my scripts – mdconfig.sh – to easy manipulate md(4) memory disks on FreeBSD.

# truncate -s 1g FILE
# mdconfig.sh -c FILE
IN: created vnode at /dev/md0
# zpool create -o compatibility=COMPATIBLE compatible /dev/md0
# zpool list
NAME         SIZE  ALLOC   FREE  CKPOINT  EXPANDSZ   FRAG    CAP  DEDUP    HEALTH  ALTROOT
compatible   960M   116K   960M        -         -     0%     0%  1.00x    ONLINE  -
zroot        118G  48.6G  69.4G        -         -    36%    41%  1.00x    ONLINE  -


Now lets see what is zpool upgrade command showing us.

# zpool upgrade
This system supports ZFS pool feature flags.

All pools are formatted using feature flags.


Some supported features are not enabled on the following pools. Once a
feature is enabled the pool may become incompatible with software
that does not support the feature. See zpool-features(7) for details.

Note that the pool 'compatibility' feature can be used to inhibit
feature upgrades.

POOL  FEATURE
---------------
compatible
      multi_vdev_crash_dump
      large_dnode
      sha512
      skein
      userobj_accounting
      encryption
      project_quota
      device_removal
      obsolete_counts
      zpool_checkpoint
      spacemap_v2
      allocation_classes
      resilver_defer
      bookmark_v2
      redaction_bookmarks
      redacted_datasets
      bookmark_written
      log_spacemap
      livelist
      device_rebuild
      zstd_compress
      draid
zroot
      userobj_accounting
      encryption
      project_quota
      allocation_classes
      resilver_defer
      bookmark_v2
      redaction_bookmarks
      redacted_datasets
      bookmark_written
      log_spacemap
      livelist
      device_rebuild
      zstd_compress
      draid

There are LOTS of ZFS Feature Flags to be activated but if we want to have our ZFS pool keep compatible – we will have to stay away from it ๐Ÿ™‚

zfs-terminal

You may get impression that you miss a lot … but you do not miss that much. Here are the ZFS Feature Flags you can fully utilize.

# zpool get all compatible | grep -v disabled
NAME        PROPERTY                       VALUE                          SOURCE
compatible  size                           960M                           -
compatible  capacity                       0%                             -
compatible  altroot                        -                              default
compatible  health                         ONLINE                         -
compatible  guid                           5395735446052695775            -
compatible  version                        -                              default
compatible  bootfs                         -                              default
compatible  delegation                     on                             default
compatible  autoreplace                    off                            default
compatible  cachefile                      -                              default
compatible  failmode                       wait                           default
compatible  listsnapshots                  off                            default
compatible  autoexpand                     off                            default
compatible  dedupratio                     1.00x                          -
compatible  free                           960M                           -
compatible  allocated                      116K                           -
compatible  readonly                       off                            -
compatible  ashift                         0                              default
compatible  comment                        -                              default
compatible  expandsize                     -                              -
compatible  freeing                        0                              -
compatible  fragmentation                  0%                             -
compatible  leaked                         0                              -
compatible  multihost                      off                            default
compatible  checkpoint                     -                              -
compatible  load_guid                      17463015630652190527           -
compatible  autotrim                       off                            default
compatible  compatibility                  COMPATIBLE                     local
compatible  feature@async_destroy          enabled                        local
compatible  feature@empty_bpobj            enabled                        local
compatible  feature@lz4_compress           active                         local
compatible  feature@spacemap_histogram     active                         local
compatible  feature@enabled_txg            active                         local
compatible  feature@hole_birth             active                         local
compatible  feature@extensible_dataset     enabled                        local
compatible  feature@embedded_data          active                         local
compatible  feature@bookmarks              enabled                        local
compatible  feature@filesystem_limits      enabled                        local
compatible  feature@large_blocks           enabled                        local

You get the very decent LZ4 compression and also ZFS Bookmarks feature which are very useful feature for sync|recv mechanism.

Keep in mind that the -o compatibility= switch for zpool(8) is available on OpenZFS 2.1 or newer. The 2.1 version is already available on the FreeBSD 13.1-BETA* releases and will be part of the FreeBSD 13.1-RELEASE systems. To make use of it on older FreeBSD releases you will have to use openzfs and openzfs-kmod packages and also use the following settings in the /boot/loader.conf file.

From that one:

zfs_load=YES

Into that one:

zfs_load=NO
openzfs_load=YES

With these openzfs and openzfs-kmod packages and above settings in the /boot/loader.conf file you can use this OpenZFS 2.1 on FreeBSD 12.2 – on FreeBSD 12.3 – and on FreeBSD 13.0 … and of course on upcoming FreeBSD 13.1 release.

Not sure if I should have add anything more here. Feel free to remind me in the commends ๐Ÿ™‚

EOF

Sensors Information on FreeBSD

I remember vigorous discussions that were taken several years ago about monitoring hardware sensors on FreeBSD system. Back then I never really needed them. Not that I need them now but I recently got to know the sensors(1) command on Linux. Without any arguments it just prints the available sensors data on the screen and exits. Like example output from ThinkPad T14 laptop.

RHEL % sensors
coretemp-isa-0000
Adapter: ISA adapter
Package id 0:  +51.0ยฐC  (high = +100.0ยฐC, crit = +100.0ยฐC)
Core 0:        +49.0ยฐC  (high = +100.0ยฐC, crit = +100.0ยฐC)
Core 1:        +50.0ยฐC  (high = +100.0ยฐC, crit = +100.0ยฐC)
Core 2:        +51.0ยฐC  (high = +100.0ยฐC, crit = +100.0ยฐC)
Core 3:        +49.0ยฐC  (high = +100.0ยฐC, crit = +100.0ยฐC)

acpitz-virtual-0
Adapter: Virtual device
temp1:        +54.0ยฐC  (crit = +128.0ยฐC)

iwlwifi_1-virtual-0
Adapter: Virtual device
temp1:        +54.0ยฐC

thinkpad-isa-0000
Adapter: ISA adapter
fan1:        2873 RPM

Nothing spectacular to be honest – but also a nice single place to check all temperatures instead of filtering endless sysctl(8) output.

The FreeBSD framework was known as bsdhwmon name and last available version is from somewhere in 2015. Its even available in the FreeBSD packages and I tried to install it and use.

FreeBSD # pkg search hwmon
bsdhwmon-20151206              Hardware sensor monitoring utility for FreeBSD

FreeBSD # pkg install -y bsdhwmon
Updating FreeBSD repository catalogue...
FreeBSD repository is up to date.
All repositories are up to date.
The following 1 package(s) will be affected (of 0 checked):

New packages to be INSTALLED:
        bsdhwmon: 20151206

Number of packages to be installed: 1

12 KiB to be downloaded.

[1/1] Fetching bsdhwmon-20151206.pkg: 100%   12 KiB  12.0kB/s    00:01
Checking integrity... done (0 conflicting)
[1/1] Installing bsdhwmon-20151206...
[1/1] Extracting bsdhwmon-20151206: 100%

FreeBSD # pkg info -l bsdhwmon-20151206
bsdhwmon-20151206:
        /usr/local/man/man8/bsdhwmon.8.gz
        /usr/local/sbin/bsdhwmon
        /usr/local/share/licenses/bsdhwmon-20151206/BSD2CLAUSE
        /usr/local/share/licenses/bsdhwmon-20151206/LICENSE
        /usr/local/share/licenses/bsdhwmon-20151206/catalog.mk

FreeBSD # /usr/local/sbin/bsdhwmon
Your motherboard does not appear to be supported.  Please visit
https://github.com/koitsu/bsdhwmon to see if support for your motherboard
and/or system is under development.

I do not want to be harsh but not very useful. I expected at least something … anything. Seems that the project is dead for 7 years not without a reason.

I checked what is already available in several places of the FreeBSD system that may be used as data source to create something similar to the sensors(1) command. I started with sysctl(8) output and later went to smartctl(8) command from the smartmontools package. This data was more then enough to start with something.

Meet the first version of small sensors.sh script that gathers all these data sources and prints them all on screen.

sensors.code

Below you will find output from my elderly ThinkPad W520 laptop.

FreeBSD # sensors.sh

            BATTERY/AC/TIME/FAN/SPEED
 ------------------------------------
                       hw.acpi.acline: 1
                 hw.acpi.battery.time: 274
                 hw.acpi.battery.life: 99
                hw.acpi.cpu.cx_lowest: C1
                   dev.acpi_ibm.0.fan: 0
             dev.acpi_ibm.0.fan_level: 0
             dev.acpi_ibm.0.fan_speed: 2454

                  SYSTEM/TEMPERATURES
 ------------------------------------
      hw.acpi.thermal.tz0.temperature: 48.1C
                dev.cpu.7.temperature: 47.0C
                dev.cpu.6.temperature: 47.0C
                dev.cpu.5.temperature: 46.0C
                dev.cpu.4.temperature: 47.0C
                dev.cpu.3.temperature: 46.0C
                dev.cpu.2.temperature: 47.0C
                dev.cpu.1.temperature: 48.0C
                dev.cpu.0.temperature: 48.0C

                   DISKS/TEMPERATURES
 ------------------------------------
   smart.ada0.airflow_temperature_cel: 36.0C

Another example output from my home NAS with two 5TB SATA disks – Silent Fanless FreeBSD Server – described here more.

FreeBSD # sensors.sh

            BATTERY/AC/TIME/FAN/SPEED
 ------------------------------------
                hw.acpi.cpu.cx_lowest: C1

                  SYSTEM/TEMPERATURES
 ------------------------------------
      hw.acpi.thermal.tz0.temperature: 26.9C
                dev.cpu.3.temperature: 50.0C
                dev.cpu.2.temperature: 50.0C
                dev.cpu.1.temperature: 48.0C
                dev.cpu.0.temperature: 49.0C

                   DISKS/TEMPERATURES
 ------------------------------------
   smart.ada1.airflow_temperature_cel: 33.0C
       smart.ada1.temperature_celsius: 33.0C
   smart.ada0.airflow_temperature_cel: 33.0C
       smart.ada0.temperature_celsius: 33.0C

You can grab it from my scripts site – sensors.sh – I did not created separate GitHub page for it.

It comes with some simple builtin help message that I think explains everything.

sensors.help

Please check how it works on your system and let me know if it would be useful to add something more to it. As I not so long ago changed employer to the one that uses SLES and RHEL systems I can not test it on physical FreeBSD servers. Not that my earlier employer would be a huge help here as only several physical machines were FreeBSD based – but at least they were the biggest ones – FreeBSD Enterprise 1 PB Storage – you can read about these here. I also made a PBUG presentation later partially about that machine. You can find it – FreeBSD Enterprise Storage at PBUG – here.

UPDATE 1 – Screenshot After Updates

Many people suggested and submitted some interesting updates to the – sensors.sh – script – thank you for that. The script remains in the same place but here is how it looks and behave now.

sensors.update.1

EOF.

UNIX Mouse Shootout

While most hardcore UNIX users prefer keyboard shortcuts over anything else – and I often align with that view – I really do appreciate good mouse on my UNIX system. In the end its close to impossible to edit images in GIMP without mouse for example. This ‘shootout’ will definitely be subjective as it will be limited only to mice that I own(ed). I will not bore you with all the technical specifications of these devices – you can check them on your own.

Besides – UNIX has two copy/paste buffers instead of just one like in most systems. There is PRIMARY and SECONDARY buffers in X11 for mouse. One is used when you use Copy/Paste options from menus and/or keyboard shortcuts like [CTRL]+[C] and [CTRL]+[V] ones. The other one is used when you just SELECT the text. After releasing the left mouse button (and finishing the selection) you have that text stored in your SECONDARY buffer. You may now paste that with pressing the third/middle mouse button. But the PRIMARY buffer did not changed during that operation so you can also paste the other text you had in your PRIMARY buffer from the earlier [CTRL]+[C] operation. This makes mouse on UNIX more useful – definitely bigger then in other systems.

While Bluetooth is widely used on most mobile phones/tables and even cars now I do not find it desired as the only protocol for the mouse. I do not have anything against it when it comes as an additional possibility like with the Logitech M720 Triathlon mouse – its even nice that way – but I would not use mouse that the only possible way to connect/operate is by Bluetooth protocol. Maybe on a macOS UNIX but definitely not on FreeBSD UNIX ๐Ÿ™‚

AMIGA ‘Tank’ Mouse

The first mouse device that I used was the oldschool AMIGA ‘Tank’ Mouse which I used alongside my first computer – AMIGA A600. When I used it or played Cannon Fodder it felt more then up to the task but using only two buttons mouse (without any scroll and third button) in 2021 feels almost impossible for me.

mouse-amiga-tank

It was possible to run AMIGA UNIX (also known as Amix) on AMIGA hardware. That was an AT&T Unix System V Release 4 developed as alternative to default AmigaOS but you needed Amiga A3000UX hardware for that.

amiga-unix

Unfortunately the AMIGA A600 was not supported ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Lenovo and ThinkPad Twins

One of my older/earlier mouse models that I used were quite ‘identical’ mouse models Lenovo Wireless USB Mouse (0A36188) and ThinkPad Wireless USB Mouse (0A36193) – both made by Lenovo for the record. They have the same size and work mostly the same but the older one – ThinkPad model (0A36193) – had more responsive third button (the one under the wheel) – the Lenovo (0A36188) kinda needed real strength to press it – that was its downside.

mouse-thinkpad-lenovo

I still own the ThinkPad one (0A36193) and use it from time to time when I travel – the two AA batteries allow quite long operation of more then a month – which is more then enough for my standards.

Its my first mouse that got additional buttons on the scroll wheel for left and right operations – I used it for volume control on my UNIX system which was (and still is) VERY convenient.

While I really like its/their small size – but after some longer use I really miss some more ergonomic shape under my hand. That means that it ‘will do’ for short periods of usage in travel situations but for long work use something more ergonomic then these.

Logitech Marathon M705 (GEN 1)

I got it after more then a year of using Lenovo and ThinkPad mice. It was real upgrade with quite nice profiled shape to the right hand. It was also quite heavy – but that was good – it felt really good to operate in hand. It was branded as very long to use without changing or charging the batteries and it really did provided in that department – I needed to change/charge the batteries maybe once a year or less often. It was also more precise then simple ThinkPad/Lenovo mouse.

mouse-M705-GEN1

The volume buttons from the wheel that I used on the Lenovo and ThinkPad mice was not quite possible here. While the mouse have these left/right buttons on the wheel they were clumsy and not very precise – so you loss more time trying to press them properly then doing it the other way. With Logitech M705 I ‘moved’ my volume controls to other two buttons that were available under the thumb button. Fortunately there are two of those additional buttons so it was perfect for volume up and volume down actions.

This is also the first mouse that allowed to toggle the wheel to be ‘clickless’ – you can literally spin it for several seconds without any resistance – it just keeps rolling itself – and to be honest – that is one of the features I now DEMAND from any mouse. It makes life so much better (and faster). Instead of scrolling many – many times to get where its needed – you just spin it once and wait till you get there – and even a lot faster then with ‘traditional’ clicking mouse wheel.

Another advantage of that approach is that tip of your finger does not hurt after all day long of scrolling … and if you need precision clicking wheel – then just toggle it and you can click-scroll as usual.

With Logitechย Marathon M705 mouse I also grow another ‘useful’ habit (or need) in a mouse. I started to use the lower thumb button to toggle between pause/play for my Deadbeef music player. Before that I used to switch to Workspace 3 where it plays music and press [C] key to toggle pause/play. After adding additional deadbeef --play-pause action to my xbindkeys(1) config now all I have to do to toggle between play and pause is to just push my thumb mouse button. Way faster ๐Ÿ™‚

Logitech Performance MX

After reading many comparisons with Logitech MX Master generations I finally settled on the Logitech Performance MX mouse. It is really big and that is really big advantage. It handles/lies really nice in a hand and being quite large and heavy it is very precise and you got ‘good’ feeling and confidence of using it. I really liked it till I got to know its two big downsides … first was the battery time. I needed to change/charge battery about once a week. That was REALLY disappointing. The other downside was that it was not able to properly operate on a flat WOOD surface (like on the photo below). Plain simple flat wood. All other mice worked well on this surface while this one did not. The marketed Darkfield sensor was useless. These were the two reasons that I got rid of it.

mouse-logitech-performance-MX

Same as with M705 the left/right buttons on the wheel were not very precise so I used the additional thumb buttons for volume management. The Logitech Performance MX mouse also comes with micro USB port at the front so you may use the mouse while you are charging it. Its real pity that Logitech did not used two (or even three) AA batteries for this mouse to make it last longer … but that would not resolve the Darkfield sensor not able to cope with movement on the wood ๐Ÿ™‚

Logitech Marathon M705 (GEN 2)

I have read a lot of hate and disappointment about the latest generation of Logitech Marathon M705 mouse. Also the lower thumb button is missing and currently it uses only one AA battery. It still provides very long time without the need to change/charge and its lighter now. Its neither bad nor good – its just different. The precision is similar but after using Logitech Performance MX you really miss that big size.

mouse-M705-GEN2

The second generation of M705 did not improved the left/right buttons on the wheel so I decided to stick with additional thumb buttons for volume management.

I also really missed that lower thumb button that is gone from the GEN 2 Logitech Marathon M705 mouse – needed to go back to my [C] routine …

Logitech Triathlon M720

I recently got the possibility to check and use the Logitech Triathlon M720 mouse and I must say that I am positively surprised. Its both Bluetooth and USB dongle mouse so you can choose which way you would like to connect it to your computers. The plural form is intended here as the Logitech M720 allows you to switch between 3 computers with additional dedicated button. It also got ‘back’ the lower thumb button that was missing on the latest generation of the Logitech M705 mouse. The light/white lower bottom of the mouse looks little strange though … but its kinda not visible when it is laying on the table.

mouse-M720

The M720 has more precise left/right buttons on the wheel but I got so used to manage volume with my thumb that I currently keep these ‘wheel’ buttons unused.

Having the lower thumb button again I was also able to get back to my toggle play/pause Deadbeef operation. Yay!

Another useful use case I discovered recently is the ‘misuse’ of the button that switches between 3 computers. I started to use it to ‘suspend’ (generally off) the mouse if I do not want the mouse to ‘wake’ the screen – to not accidentally turn on the screen when I move the mouse accidentally. I mean – sometimes I turn off the screen (with shortcut that executes xset dpms force off command) and then I switch the mouse M720 mouse to channel number 2 to it will not be able to communicate with USB receiver and turn on my screen in again accidentally.

Missing

I never owned Logitech MX Master mouse. I used version ‘3’ for short time as one of my buddies own it and it felt quite similar to Logitech Performance MX in operation but not quite the same. Similar but different. I think that it would be comfortable but not sure about the precision on wood and battery time. Maybe I will got it some day and add an update here.

mouse-MX-master

… but given the fact that Logitech MX Master mouse also has micro USB port at its front for charging I would suspect that battery time is also not that great. Similarly like the Logitech Triathlon M720 it also allows to switch its presence between 3 computers. There is also additional wheel for vertical scrolling. Never used that but maybe it would be useful in GIMP for example.

Summary

So what does a good UNIX mouse feature? I would summarize all the needed (or at least useful) feats in a list below.

  • needs to be at lest a little ergonomic
  • allows to toggle wheel between click and clickless operation
  • have additional buttons for custom actions
  • allows more then one month of work on batteries
  • works on different surfaces without a problem
  • has a USB dongle so Bluetooth is not needed

What other features you desire in mouse? I also thought about ‘vertical’ mouse type/shape and also about trackball. I tried my neighbor Logitech trackball several times but I am not sure I would get used to it after so many years of ricing the mice ๐Ÿ™‚

External Discussions

EOF

FreeBSD Desktop – Part 27 – Configuration – Netflix Signal Telegram

In this article you will learn how to use Netflix (also other streaming services that require Widevine DRM) and Signal/Telegram on FreeBSD desktop.

You may want to check other articles in the FreeBSD Desktop series on the FreeBSD Desktop โ€“ Global Page where you will find links to all episodes of the series along with table of contents for each episodeโ€™s contents.

The Table of Contents for the article:

Netflix

logo-netflix

While Netflix serves their content using FreeBSD servers the Netflix streaming service itself is not available on the FreeBSD platform because Widevine DRM does not support browsers on FreeBSD system.

logo-widevine

We will use one of the more known FreeBSD features – the Linux Compatibility Layer. When FreeBSD 13.0-RELEASE was introduced the LINUX_COMPAT support was greatly improved. To the point where you can swap the default CentOS 7 based layer into the newer and more suited for desktop – the Ubuntu based layer.

Thank to author of NomadBSD system – mrclksr – we can now install needed Chrome/Brave/Vivaldi browser with automatic install and setup of that Ubuntu layer under /compat/ubuntu path. Its available on the GitHub https://github.com/mrclksr/linux-browser-installer page. First we will clone this repository with git(1) command.

# pkg install git-lite

# exit

% git clone git@github.com:mrclksr/linux-browser-installer.git
Cloning into 'linux-browser-installer'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 158, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (158/158), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (95/95), done.
remote: Total 158 (delta 91), reused 114 (delta 54), pack-reused 0
Receiving objects: 100% (158/158), 25.59 KiB | 323.00 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (91/91), done.

Some notes before starting it. You need to choose which LINUX_COMPAT are you using on FreeBSD. You can not use both the default CentOS based layer under /compat/linux and another one with Ubuntu based layer under /compat/ubuntu for example. To use the Ubuntu based layer the script will set the compat.linux.emul_path variable to /compat/ubuntu dir. Also under the /etc/rc.conf variable linux_enable=YES will be replaced by ubuntu_enable=YES one.

logo-ubuntu

Lets run it then.

From available browsers I have chosen to install and run Chrome.

It will take about 10-15 minutes to download and setup all needed packages.

% cd linux-browser-installer

% ls -l
total 24K
drwxr-xr-x 2 vermaden vermaden    5 2021-08-06 22:06 bin/
drwxr-xr-x 3 vermaden vermaden    3 2021-08-06 22:06 chroot/
drwxr-xr-x 2 vermaden vermaden    3 2021-08-06 22:06 rc.d/
-rw-r--r-- 1 vermaden vermaden  350 2021-08-06 22:06 linux-brave.desktop
-rwxr-xr-x 1 vermaden vermaden 9363 2021-08-06 22:06 linux-browser-installer
-rw-r--r-- 1 vermaden vermaden  362 2021-08-06 22:06 linux-chrome.desktop
-rw-r--r-- 1 vermaden vermaden  348 2021-08-06 22:06 linux-vivaldi.desktop
-rw-r--r-- 1 vermaden vermaden 3200 2021-08-06 22:06 README.md

% ./linux-browser-installer install chrome

Now reboot(8) please. After you started your system you should be able to start Linux version of Chrome.

This command below is started from the host system – not from within the Ubuntu compat layer at the /compat/ubuntu path.

% /usr/local/bin/linux-chrome

app-linux-chrome

Sometimes applications in that Ubuntu compat layer yield about no knowing you hostname. I usually add that hostname as 127.0.0.1 alias as shown below.

% doas chroot /compat/ubuntu bash

root@w520:/# cat /etc/hosts
127.0.0.1       localhost
::1             localhost ip6-localhost ip6-loopback
ff02::1         ip6-allnodes
ff02::2         ip6-allrouters

root@w520:/# vi /etc/hosts

root@w520:/# cat /etc/hosts
127.0.0.1       localhost w520.local
::1             localhost ip6-localhost ip6-loopback
ff02::1         ip6-allnodes
ff02::2         ip6-allrouters

Now Netflix will just work. Just go to the Netflix page, login and start some movie.

app-linux-chrome-netflix

Signal

logo-signal

Signal – the trusted and encrypted communicator – provides a dedicated Debian/Ubuntu repository for installation … but not for FreeBSD systems.

As the Signal packages are dedicated for Ubuntu systems we will use out just created Ubuntu compat layer from the previous step and will use it to install and setup Signal on FreeBSD.

On the https://www.signal.org/download/linux/ page you will find official Signal install instructions.

I will paste them here so you will not have to go to another page just to copy them.

wget -O- https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt/keys.asc \
  | gpg --dearmor > signal-desktop-keyring.gpg

cat signal-desktop-keyring.gpg \
  | sudo tee -a /usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg > /dev/null

echo 'deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main' \
  | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list

sudo apt update \
  && sudo apt install signal-desktop

The installation of that signal-desktop package will take quite some space – more then 820 MB – but with ZFS compression enabled it should be only half of that ๐Ÿ™‚

You may encounter this problem just after the signal-desktop installation.

(...)
Errors were encountered while processing:
 libfprint-2-2:amd64
 fprintd
 libpam-fprintd:amd64
(...)

The solution is quite simple – remove these packages shown below.

root@w520:/# apt remove libpam-fprintd:amd64 libfprint-2-2:amd64

root@w520:/# apt autoremove

root@w520:/# apt install signal-desktop

On the contrary to the Chrome the Signal is located within the Ubuntu compat layer /compat/ubuntu path.

To make it work it needs to be started with the --no-sandbox argument – like that.

% /compat/ubuntu/opt/Signal/signal-desktop --no-sandbox

To make it work you still need to have Signal installed and configured on your phone and also add that Signal Desktop application as Linked Device to make it work. I was able to set it up without any problems. Below you will find configured and working Signal Desktop on FreeBSD.

app-signal-desktop

Telegram

Telegram – the other secure messenger – is available in the FreeBSD Ports tree and packages.

logo-telegram

This means you do not have to make any additional steps and you can just install and run it.

# pkg install telegram-desktop
# exit
% telegram-desktop

Here is Telegram Desktop working flawlessly under FreeBSD.

app-telegram-desktop

Summary

This section summarized this article – hope that it will help some of you to expand you FreeBSD system possibilities.

EOF

FreeBSD Desktop โ€“ Part 25 โ€“ Configuration โ€“ Random Terminal Theme

Some time ago when I was mostly writing about Openbox setup I also showed how to setup xterm(1) so it will start with new random theme with each start. Since then I reworked that feature a little and also added random theme and background selection for urxvt(1) terminal. This post will guide you through the needed steps to make that setup working.

terminal

You may want to check other articles in the FreeBSD Desktop series on the FreeBSD Desktop โ€“ Global Page where you will find links to all episodes of the series along with table of contents for each episodeโ€™s contents.

I already once wrote about random xterm(1) themes in the FreeBSD Desktop – Part 12 – Configuration – Openbox part – but I really wanted to expand that topic and also include other terminals.

After trying many terminal emulators – some more bulky like Konsole/GNOME Terminal/XFCE Terminal/MATE Terminal – some more lightweight like st(1)/rox-term(1)/eterm(1)/… – I always went back to the most old-school and basic one – good old xterm(1) terminal. Mostly because of its good compatibility with all UNIX systems – especially the older ones like IBM AIX or HP-UX. I do not remember last time when I had to manage these archaic systems but the respect for xterm(1) remains.

xterm

The other one that always got my attention was urxvt(1) terminal. Unfortunately it has some issues with fonts rendering – making larger spaces between the lines and making fonts bigger for example – but as I also like bitmap fonts like CLEAN or FIXED – so I use bitmap fonts for urxvt(1).

Recently also sakura(1) got my attention – but it’s theming possibilities are even more limited then xterm(1) with themes/colors hardcoded directly into the source code. That is why I will omit it in this article – but I mention it since its also nice terminal.

This is the Table of Contents for this article.

  • xterm(1)
    • Proper Font Selection
    • Selecting Text for Copy/Paste
    • Selection Buffers and Keyboard Shortcuts
    • Increase/Decrease Font Size on the Fly
    • Copy/Paste with [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[C/V]
    • Interactive Menus
    • Random xterm(1) Theme
  • urxvt(1)
    • Tabbed Interface
    • Daemon and Client Mode
    • Random urxvt(1) Theme and Background
  • sakura(1)
    • Different sakura(1) Themes
  • RAM Usage Comparison
  • CPU Time Usage Comparison

xterm(1)

First lest start with some reasonable configuration in the ~/.Xdefaults file. Alternatively some people use ~/.Xresources file. You can use any of them. Just pick one and stick to it.

! XTERM
! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  xterm*allowBoldFonts:     true
  xterm*allowWindowOps:     true
  xterm*boldMode:           false
  xterm*charClass:          33:48,35:48,37:48,43:48,45-47:48,64:48,95:48,126:48,35:48,58:48,63:48,61:48,44:48,38:48,59:48
  xterm*cursorBlink:        false
  xterm*cutNewline:         true
  xterm*faceName:           consolas
  xterm*faceSize:           11
  xterm*fastScroll:         true
  xterm*fullscreen:         false
  xterm*iconHint:           /home/vermaden/.icons/vermaden/xterm.xpm
  xterm*internalBorder:     1
  xterm*jumpScroll:         true
  xterm*keepSelection:      true
  xterm*loginShell:         true
  xterm*metaSendsEscape:    true
  xterm*multiScroll:        true
  xterm*omitTranslation:    fullscreen
  xterm*on4Clicks:          group
  xterm*on5Clicks:          page
  xterm*saveLines:          1024000
  xterm*scaleHeight:        1.0
  xterm*scrollKey:          true
  xterm*scrollTtyOutput:    false
  xterm*selectToClipboard:  true
  xterm*SimpleMenu*font:    -*-clean-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-iso8859-2
  xterm*termName:           xterm-256color
  xterm*title:              xterm
  xterm*veryBoldColors:     14
  xterm*VT100*geometry:     150x40
  xterm*VT100*translations: #override                                             \n\
                            <btn1up>: select-end(PRIMARY, CLIPBOARD, CUT_BUFFER0) \n\
                            Ctrl <key> minus: smaller-vt-font()                   \n\
                            Ctrl <key> plus: larger-vt-font()                     \n\
                            Ctrl Shift <key> C: copy-selection(CLIPBOARD)         \n\
                            Ctrl Shift <key> V: insert-selection(CLIPBOARD)

I will not discuss all possible settings as they are well described in the xterm(1) man page but I will comment some more useful and interesting ones.

Proper Font Selection

This advice is not limited to xterm(1) but its worth to mention it. Many times after adding fonts to my system – and renaming them to my ‘standard’ which looks like that one below I was asking myself how to properly specify the variant I need.

% ls -1 ~/.fonts/ubuntu-mono*
/home/vermaden/.fonts/ubuntu-mono-bold-italic.ttf
/home/vermaden/.fonts/ubuntu-mono-bold.ttf
/home/vermaden/.fonts/ubuntu-mono-italic.ttf
/home/vermaden/.fonts/ubuntu-mono.ttf

The answer to that question comes with fc-match(1) from fontconfig package. Check my ‘queries’ below.

% fc-match consolas:bold
consolas-bold.ttf: "Consolas" "Bold"

% fc-match consolas     
consolas.ttf: "Consolas" "Regular"

% fc-match consolas:bold:italic
consolas-bold-italic.ttf: "Consolas" "Bold Italic"

Selecting Text for Copy/Paste

The xterm*charClass defines which sets of characters should be treated the same when doing cut and paste. Especially with double-clicking the text. The setting above I use is based on 15 years of experience and seems to work best. You are of course encouraged to investigate the CHARACTER CLASSES section of the xterm(1) man page to read more on this topic.

The xterm*on4Clicks and xterm*on5Clicks are not used by default while xterm*on2Clicks are predefined as word and xterm*on3Clicks as line values. This is why I added them so you can select entire group with xterm*on4Clicks and entire page with xterm*on5Clicks option. Alternatively you can also use some fancy regex for some of these ‘CLICKS’ but I never thought about a REGEX that would be useful here – maybe you will come with something sensible.

Here are these ‘CLICKS’ in action.

First the xterm*on2Clicks with word selection. This is when the xterm*charClass is taken into account – what is word and that is not ๐Ÿ™‚

xterm.2.clicks

Then xterm*on3Clicks with line selection.

xterm.3.clicks

Now xterm*on4Clicks with group selection.

xterm.4.clicks

Finally the xterm*on5Clicks entire page selection.

xterm.5.clicks

Selection Buffers and Keyboard Shortcuts

The last interesting option is xterm.VT100.translations which is used for keyboard shortcuts.

The first one select-end(PRIMARY, CLIPBOARD, CUT_BUFFER0) is better described in the https://davidsimmons.com/soft/xtermhacks/ page from 2005. I will try to short the meritum here. The X11 applications have two different selection buffers:

CLIPBOARD – selection buffer used for cut/paste functions – you select/highlight text and then select Copy from context menu or use [CTRL]+[C] shortcut. Then you use Paste or [CTRL]+[C] shortcut.

PRIMARY – this one receives data when user selects/highlights text with mouse. None other operations such as Copy or Paste are needed. You end selecting the text and its already in PRIMARY buffer. You then paste it with MIDDLE mouse button.

Using the option above selecting/highlighting the text in xterm(1) copies the text into both selection buffers simultaneously. You can now either Paste it info Firefox or hit MIDDLE mouse button to paste it in other xterm(1) terminal. Best of both worlds.

If that setting does not suit you then use the xterm*selectToClipboard instead. When set to true it copies selected text to CLIPBOARD buffer and when set to false it copies selection to the PRIMARY one.

Increase/Decrease Font Size on the Fly

I always missed the shortcuts to decrease or increase font size on the fly in xterm(1) and for many years I believed that its just not possible and then I found some blog post (do not remember which one now of course) in which I found these settings and started to use them.

They are smaller-vt-font() and larger-vt-font() for decrease and increase respectively with [CTRL]+[-] and [CTRL]+[+] shortcuts – keep in mind that [SHIFT] is not used here.

Copy/Paste with [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[C/V]

If by some reason you prefer to copy and paste by using [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[C] and [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[V] shortcuts then copy-selection(CLIPBOARD) and insert-selection(CLIPBOARD) will do the needed job here. As you probably guessed you can use PRIMARY instead of CLIPBOARD here if that is what you desire.

Interactive Menus

The xterm(1) comes with three different interactive menus. I will now show all three of them here with screenshots.

Menu displayed with clicking [CTRL]+[LEFT-MOUSE-BUTTON] in the terminal area.

xterm.menu.mouse.LEFT

Menu displayed with clicking [CTRL]+[MIDDLE-MOUSE-BUTTON] in the terminal area.

xterm.menu.mouse.MIDDLE

Menu displayed with clicking [CTRL]+[RIGHT-MOUSE-BUTTON] in the terminal area.

xterm.menu.mouse.RIGHT

Random xterm(1) Theme

To have random xterm(1) theme on every startup you need four things:

I gathered all these themes all over the Internet, only the VERMADEN and VERMADEN-OLD themes are created by me.

Little preview of some of the included xterm(1) themes.

xterm.random

From now on to have random xterm(1) theme at each start always start it with ~/scripts/xterm.sh script. The script itself is not very complicated. It just draws random theme from the ~/.config/Xdefaults/themes dir – then loads the ~/.Xdefaults config – then merges the colors from chosen random theme – and finally starts new xterm(1) instance.

xterm.sh

urxvt(1)

I use urxvt(1) less often but still sometimes I want to use bitmap fonts instead.

urxvt.single

For a start here is the urxvt(1) configuration in the ~/.Xdefaults file.

! URXVT
! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  urxvt.letterSpace:    0.0
! urxvt.font:           xft:monaco:pixelsize=9,style=regular,minspace=True
  urxvt.font:           -*-clean-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-iso8859-2
  urxvt.boldFont:       -*-clean-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-iso8859-2
  urxvt.iconFile:       /home/vermaden/.icons/vermaden/xterm.xpm
  urxvt.geometry:       150x40
  urxvt.cutchars:       ,;
  urxvt.scrollBar:      false
  urxvt.imLocale:       en_US.UTF-8
  urxvt.loginShell:     true
  urxvt.saveLines:      1024000
  urxvt.inheritPixmap:  false
  urxvt.shading:        20
  urxvt.xftAntialias:   true
  urxvt.jumpScroll:     true
  urxvt.tintColor:      black
  urxvt.internalBorder: 2
  urxvt.cursorBlink:    false
  urxvt.cursorColor:    #dd9900
  urxvt.cursorColor2:   #000000
  urxvt.colorBD:        #dddddd
  urxvt.colorIT:        #bbbbbb
  urxvt.colorUL:        #999999
  urxvt.underlineColor: #999999

Tabbed Interface

To get tabs in urxvt(1) add the following option to the ~/.Xdefaults configuration file.

  urxvt.perl-ext-common:   default,tabbed

With this option you will open new tab with [SHIFT]+[DOWN] shortcut.

To switch between the tabs left and right use [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[LEFT] and [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[RIGHT] shortcut respectively.

You can also use [CTRL]+[LEFT] and [CTRL]+[RIGHT] to move current tab left and right.

The timeless [CTRL]+[D] – which of course is not a strictly urxvt(1) shortcut but a general shortcut for closing all terminals.

urxvt.tabbed

Daemon and Client Mode

The urxvt(1) can be run in special daemon mode where you start one urxvtd(1) server and many urxvtc(1) clients.

% urxvtd
rxvt-unicode daemon listening on /home/vermaden/.urxvt/urxvtd-w520.local.

Now you will start each new urxvt(1) terminal with urxvtc(1) command.

The drawback of that approach is that when urxvtd(1) dies or crashes then also all your urxvtc(1) client terminals disappear ๐Ÿ™‚

Random urxvt(1) Theme and Background

To have random urxvt(1) theme and background on every startup you need four things:

Little preview of some of the included urxvt(1) themes and backgrounds.

urxvt.random

From now on to have random urxvt(1) theme at each start always start it with ~/scripts/urxvt.sh script. The script for urxvt(1) is little more advanced. First it draws random theme from the ~/.config/Xdefaults/themes dir – then checks if its DARK or LIGHT theme – then draws either random LIGHT or DARK background from the ~/.config/Xdefaults/urxvt dir – finally loads the ~/.Xdefaults config and then merges the colors from chosen LIGHT or DARK theme. Of course then it finally starts new urxvt(1) instance.

urxvt.sh

sakura(1)

The more modern and GTK based sakura(1) also supports tabs. To open new tab use [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[T] shortcut. To switch between the tabs use [CTRL]+[ALT]+[LEFT] and [CTRL]+[ALT]+[RIGHT] shortcuts. You can also move tab between left and right with [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[LEFT] and [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[RIGHT].

sakura.single

One things that sakura(1) impresses me is that you can scale down its window and then scale that window up and the contents that did not fit in the window after downscalling are back again in the terminal. Doing the same operation in xterm(1) or urxvt(1) terminals will result in these characters being lost. The output is also dynamically ‘fit’ into the new larger window while maintaining the new lines etc. Besides that nice feature it is small and fast and uses relatively small amount of RAM.

sakura.tabbed

Different sakura(1) Themes

If you would also like to start sakura(1) with different theme everytime the options are quite limited here. The palettes and color sets are hardcoded into the sakura(1) source code.

I will not show you how to modify them using the FreeBSD Ports system.

The sakura(1) port is located at /usr/ports/x11/sakura directory. For the record – I use WRKDIRPREFIX option in the /etc/make.conf file. This means that when I type make extract in the /usr/ports/x11/sakura dir the work directory will not be created at /usr/ports/x11/sakura/work directory but at /usr/ports/obj/usr/ports/x11/sakura/work instead. That way I can clean my Ports tree fast by removing the /usr/ports/obj directory.

We will now extract and patch the sakura(1) port on FreeBSD.

% grep WRKDIRPREFIX /etc/make.conf
WRKDIRPREFIX=${PORTSDIR}/obj

# cd /usr/ports/x11/sakura

# make patch

# cd /usr/ports/obj/$( pwd )/work/*/src || cd work/*/src

# pwd
/usr/ports/obj/usr/ports/x11/sakura/work/sakura-3.7.1/src

# grep -m 1 DEFAULT_PALETTE sakura.c
#define DEFAULT_PALETTE "tango"

# grep -o -E '[a-z]+_palette\[PALETTE_SIZE\]' sakura.c
gruvbox_palette[PALETTE_SIZE]
tango_palette[PALETTE_SIZE]
linux_palette[PALETTE_SIZE]
dark_palette[PALETTE_SIZE]
xterm_palette[PALETTE_SIZE]
rxvt_palette[PALETTE_SIZE]

As you can see the default sakura(1) palette is Tango. Fortunately you can use palette=solarized_dark option in the ~/.config/sakura/sakura.conf config file to change it into Solarized Dark for example.

Besides hardcoded palettes sakura(1) also has several Color Sets.

If you would like to make random theme (from the hardcoded ones) for each start you would have to use this syntax with prepared dedicated config files for each palette.

% sakura --config-file ~/.config/sakura/sakura.solarized_dark.conf --colorset 1 
% sakura --config-file ~/.config/sakura/sakura.tango.conf          --colorset 3

I do not use sakura(1) that much so I was too lazy to write random startup theme script also for it ๐Ÿ™‚

Changing sakura(1) palette or color set manually is shown below.

sakura.colors.menu

sakura.colors.window

sakura.palette

RAM Usage Comparison

Just started xterm(1) terminal takes about 16 MB or RAM as you have seen on the urxvt(1) screenshots. The urxvt(1) started without tabs uses more then 2 TIMES of xterm(1) terminal RAM usage. The urxvt(1) started in tabbed mode uses more then 3 TIMES of xterm(1) terminal RAM usage. The sakura(1) also uses more then 3 TIMES of xterm(1) terminal RAM usage.

Table below shows RAM usage comparison. I have added more feature packed mate-terminal(1) to the list and also added the st(1) minimalistic terminal from Suckless project for compassion.

RAM/MB  TERMINAL  
    64  mate-terminal
    53  sakura
    52  urxvt (tabbed)
    38  urxvt
    16  xterm
    12  st

CPU Time Usage Comparison

I also made simple benchmark of the CPU used. The ‘benchmark’ was to check how much time each terminal would take to print output ofย  dmesg | lolcat -b -r command. Here xterm(1) does not shine that much.

   TIME  TERMINAL
0:00.93  xterm
0:00.82  mate-terminal
0:00.52  sakura
0:00.43  urxvt
0:00.23  st

The above ‘benchmark’ was was quite ‘hard’ because of all the colors generated by lolcat(1) command. Lets try something more practical now. We will measure CPU time used to display out of the find find /usr/local/share/doc command.

   TIME  TERMINAL
0:01.34  xterm
0:01.18  mate-terminal
0:00.85  sakura
0:00.32  urxvt
0:00.28  st

Seems that lolcat(1) was not that ‘hard’. The st(1) minimalistic terminal really seems to suck less here ๐Ÿ™‚

EOF

FreeBSD Desktop โ€“ Part 22 โ€“ Configuration โ€“ Aero Snap Extended

I like to post new articles and solutions when I think they are ready. Production tested and stable. Well thought and tested … or at least trying to make things as good as possible in the available time window. Perfectionism definitely does not help making often articles on the blog.

Today’s solution is not perfect but I will ‘ship it’ anyway because good and done is better then perfect. I wanted to rework it so many times that I stopped counting … and I really would like to continue the series – thus I have made a conscious decision to finally release it and hope that maybe someone else will have better ideas to make it better. I really wanted to provide pixel perfect solution with as much screen space used as possible but to deliver it as it is I tested it only on the resolution I use the most – the FullHD one with 1920×1080 pixels.

You may want to check other articles in the FreeBSD Desktop series on the FreeBSD Desktop โ€“ Global Page where you will find links to all episodes of the series along with table of contents for each episodeโ€™s contents.

Aero Snap

Today I would like to share with You what I call Aero Snap Extended. The original Aero Snap was introduced in Windows 7 and this is how it is described in the Wikipedia page – “Dragging a window to the right or left side of the desktop causes the window to fill the respective half of the screen. Snapping a window to the top of the screen maximizes it. Windows can be resized by stretching them to touch the top or bottom of the screen, which fully increases their vertical screen estate, while retaining their width, these windows can then slide horizontally if moved by the title bar, or pulled off, which returns the window to its original height. In spite of the “Aero” moniker, this feature is available if one uses the Classic theme. This feature is also available on Windows 10.”

This is like the original Aero Snap looks like.

aero

The idea behind original Aero Snap was pretty simple. Its basically these four shortcuts.

[WIN] + [LEFT] – will place window on the left half of the screen.
[WIN] + [RIGHT] – will place window on the right half of the screen.
[WIN] + [UP] – will maximize the window.
[WIN] + [DOWN] – will minimize the window.

Aero Snap Extended

Mine Aero Snap Extended is … well more extended ๐Ÿ™‚

As usual its just a small POSIX /bin/sh compatible shell script. There are only two dependencies for it – the /usr/local/bin/xdpyinfo from xdpyinfo package and /usr/local/bin/wmctrl from wmctrl package. At the beginning of the script you will find several ‘settings’ that you may find needed to be tuned to your needs. Most important ones are MARGIN_TOP/MARGIN_LEFT/MARGIN_RIGHT options. Unfortunately MARGIN_BOTTOM is not implemented. Sorry.

geany-aero

Here are the shortcuts that I use for mine version but You may of course use other key then [WIN] for it.

(L) [WIN] + [LEFT] – will place window on the left half of the screen.
(R) [WIN] + [RIGHT] – will place window on the right half of the screen.
(U) [WIN] + [UP] – will place window on the upper half of the screen.
(D) [WIN] + [DOWN] – will place window on the lower half of the screen.

Here is ASCII diagram for its graphical visualization.

+------+------+  +-------------+
|      |      |  |     (U)     |
|      |      |  |             |
| (L)  |  (R) |  +-------------+
|      |      |  |             |
|      |      |  |     (D)     |
+------+------+  +-------------+

… and also a live screenshots.

aero.800.2a

aero.800.2b

(SL) [WIN] + [SHIFT] + [LEFT] – will place window on the left half of the screen taking 2/3 space of the screen.
(SR) [WIN] + [SHIFT] + [RIGHT] – will place window on the right half of the screen taking 1/3 space of the screen.
(SU) [WIN] + [SHIFT] + [UP] – will place window on the upper half of the screen taking 2/3 space of the screen.
(SD) [WIN] + [SHIFT] + [DOWN] – will place window on the lower half of the screen taking 1/3 space of the screen.

Here is ASCII diagram for its graphical visualization.

+--------+----+  +-------------+
|        |    |  |    (SU)     |
|        |    |  |             |
|  (SL)  |(SR)|  |             |
|        |    |  +-------------+
|        |    |  |    (SD)     |
+--------+----+  +-------------+

… and also a live screenshots.

aero.800.3a

aero.800.3b

The above shortcuts are quite simple and easy to remember.

Now here comes when this is more interesting.

Most keyboards – at least those with the best possible keyboard layout in the world – the ANSI standard keyboard (includes 7-row ThinkPad keyboards – have these three keys one next to another – [CTRL] [WIN] [ALT] – some call the [WIN] key as [SUPER] instead. I use [WIN] as it takes shorter to write and it shows where this key came from.

The 87 keys ANSI stand alone keyboard.

keyboard-ansi

The ThinkPad T420s keyboard.

keyboard-ansi-thinkpad

Now back to topic.

How to use these three keys to send windows to various places of the screen to make it easy to memorize and also not to break existing shortcuts … I think I found a way.

{ [CTRL] [WIN] } [ALT] – these two will send windows to the left side of the screen.

[CTRL] { [WIN] [ALT] } – these two will send windows to the right side of the screen.

Now to the point …

(Q1) [CTRL] + [WIN] + [UP] – will take window to the left and upper part of the screen – taking 1/4 of its space.
(Q2) [CTRL] + [WIN] + [DOWN] – will take window to the left and lower part of the screen – taking 1/4 of its space.
(Q3) [WIN] + [ALT] + [UP] – will take window to the right and upper part of the screen – taking 1/4 of its space.
(Q4) [WIN] + [ALT] + [DOWN] – will take window to the right and lower part of the screen – taking 1/4 of its space.

Now for some the exact 1/4 screen for each of these windows may be not suitable.

Thus I also added a modified versions with [SHIFT] key.

(S1) [SHIFT] + [CTRL] + [WIN] + [UP] – will take window to the left and upper part of the screen – taking 2/3 of horizontal and 2/3 vertical space of the screen.
(S2) [SHIFT] + [CTRL] + [WIN] + [DOWN] – will take window to the left and lower part of the screen – taking 2/3 of horizontal and 1/3 vertical space of the screen.
(S3) [SHIFT] + [WIN] + [ALT] + [UP] – will take window to the right and upper part of the screen – taking 1/3 of horizontal and 2/3 vertical space of the screen.
(S4) [SHIFT] + [WIN] + [ALT] + [DOWN] – will take window to the right and lower part of the screen – taking 1/3 of horizontal and 1/3 vertical space of the screen.

Here is ASCII diagram for its graphical visualization.

+------+------+  +--------+----+
| (Q1) | (Q3) |  |  (S1)  |(S3)|
|      |      |  |        |    |
+------+------+  |        |    |
|      |      |  +--------+----+
| (Q2) | (Q4) |  |  (S2)  |(S4)|
+------+------+  +--------+----+

… and also a live screenshots.

aero.800.1a

aero.800.1b

Now you have about 95% variations of needed windows places in the keyboard shortcuts.

There are also several complementary addons like making the window centered on the screen but without making it cover the whole screen. As I already use other originated from Windows [ALT] + [ESC] shortcut to send the current windows to the ‘back’ I also added [WIN] + [ESC] for this feature.

(C) [WIN] + [ESC] – place current window centered on screen covering about 2/3 of its space.

As it was relatively easy and fast I also added fullscreen option.

(F) [CTRL] + [ALT] + [F] – make current window go fullscreen

+-------------+  +-------------+
|             |  | +---------+ |
|             |  | |         | |
|     (F)     |  | |   (C)   | |
|             |  | |         | |
|             |  | +---------+ |
+-------------+  +-------------+

… and also a live screenshot.

aero.800.4

Usage

The Aero Snap Extended has the following options.

% aero-snap.sh
usage:

  aero-snap.sh OPTION

OPTION(s):

  L - place window on left  half of screen
  R - place window on right half of screen
  T - place window on upper half of screen
  B - place window on lower half of screen

  SHIFT-L - place window on left  half of screen taking 2/3 space
  SHIFT-R - place window on right half of screen taking 1/3 space
  SHIFT-T - place window on upper half of screen taking 2/3 space
  SHIFT-B - place window on lower half of screen taking 1/3 space

  TL - place window to left/upper  part of screen
  TR - place window to left/lower  part of screen
  BL - place window to right/upper part of screen
  BR - place window to right/lower part of screen

  SHIFT-TL - use left/upper  part with 2/3 of H. and 2/3 V. space
  SHIFT-TR - use left/lower  part with 2/3 of H. and 1/3 V. space
  SHIFT-BL - use right/upper part with 1/3 of H. and 2/3 V. space
  SHIFT-BR - use right/lower part with 1/3 of H. and 1/3 V. space

  C - center window covering about 2/3 of screen
  F - make current window go fullscreen
  Q - remove fullscreen property from window

The Aero Snap Extended can be downloaded from here – aero-snap.sh – the usual place for my scripts.

Openbox Integration

Because of WordPress limitation I will not post Openbox configuration here but You will also find a link to that content in the text form below.

openbox-config

Here is this configuration in text form – rc.xml.openbox.aero.config – from the same location.

More then a year after I implemented this way of tiling on Openbox I found out that its also possible to use that ‘natively’ on Openbox using ‘direct’ Openbox configuration rules.

openbox-native

It definitely should be faster and easier to implement – not to mention that external dependencies will not be available – but a script allows more tuning and flexibility.

Other Window Managers

If you are not into Openbox then you may create these shortcuts using xbindkeys for example.

Future Work

Mine Aero Snap Extended could use some polish and especially testing in the other resolutions the the well tested 1920×1080.

Regards.

EOF

Quare FreeBSD?

I really wanted to make this article short … but I failed miserably. At least I tried to organize it well so one may get back to it after ‘some’ reading because its not a short lecture. I wanted to title it Why FreeBSD? but when you type that into your favorite duck.com search engine there are so many similar articles. I wanted it to have distinguished and unique name so I used Latin word for ‘why‘ which is ‘quare‘.

logo-freebsd

What FreeBSD can offer you that other operating systems does not? From all of the operating systems I used I find FreeBSD to suck the least. This post is not here to convince you to use or try FreeBSD – this you will have to do by yourself. This article will show you why FreeBSD is valuable or better alternative to other operating systems and is definitely not dying.

This is the Table of Contents for this article.

  • Base System
  • ZFS Boot Environments
  • Rescue
  • Audio
  • Jails
  • FreeBSD Ports Infrastructure
  • Updating/Building from Source
  • Storage
  • Init System
  • Linux Binary Compatibility
  • Simplicity
  • Evolution Instead Rewriting
  • Documentation
  • Community
  • Closing Thoughts
  • External Discussions

Base System

When you install a Linux system its just a bunch of RPM or DEB packages. For example of you install CentOS 7.8 Minimal variant you end up with several hundred RPM packages installed. After a week or month many of these packages will get updates sometimes making this CentOS system unusable or even unbootable (recent GRUB Boothole problem for example). On the contrary FreeBSD comes with a Base System concept. This means that when you install FreeBSD you install a minimal system as a whole. No packages or subsystems to be separately updated. Just whole Base System. That means that /boot /bin /sbin /usr /etc /lib /libexec /rescue directories are untouchable by any packages. When you decide to install packages (or build them using FreeBSD Ports) they will all fall into the /usr/local prefix. That means /usr/local/etc for configuration. The /usr/local/bin and /usr/local/sbin directories for binaries. The /usr/local/lib and /usr/local/libexec for libraries and so on. The FreeBSD Base System kernel modules are kept in the same dir along with the kernel in the /boot/kernel directory. To make things tidy all kernel modules that are provided by packages go into the /boot/modules dir. Everything has its place and its separated.

That is separation between Base System binaries (at /bin /sbin /usr/bin /usr/sbin dirs) and Third Party Packages maintained by pkg(8) and are located at /usr/local/bin and /usr/local/sbin dirs. We all know differences between bin (user) and sbin (root) binaries but in FreeBSD there is also another more UFS related separation. When there was only UFS filesystem in the FreeBSD world the /bin and /sbin binaries were available at boot after the root (/) filesystem was mounted and yet before /usrย  filesystem was mounted – this is historical (and still useful in the UFS setups) distinction dating to old UNIX days. In ZFS setups it does not matter as all files are on ZFS pool anyway.

The FreeBSD Base System separation also helps with another thing – if any package gets the ‘great’ idea to install new compiler named cc and override the default system compiler … or to add libraries/includes in such a way that makes it super hard to get back into a working system. If some random FreeBSD package would add libc.so to /usr/local/lib dir then you are covered and not prevented from running programs as usual because FreeBSD system binaries are linked to stuff in /usr/lib dir. This is why there is PATH variable on UNIX systems (and FreeBSD as well) to set which directories should be searched for binaries first. On FreeBSD by default its set search Base System binaries dirs first and then Third Party Packages later.

You can update (or not) the Base System separately from the installed packages with freebsd-update(8) command when using RELEASE or by recompiling with make buildworld and make installworld commands when using STABLE/CURRENT systems. When it comes to packages you can update them using the pkg(8) tool or portmaster when building from FreeBSD Ports tree under /usr/ports dir. That means that any packages updates will not touch your FreeBSD Base System at all. For example when you mess up (and I have done that in the beginning of my FreeBSD journey) the compiled ports and packages and you want to start over the only thing you have to do is remove /usr/local and /boot/modules and /var/db/pkg directories. That’s it. You are just reverted to your Base System and can start over. This is just not possible when using Linux system. Even with Gentoo that many concepts are based on FreeBSD ideas does not have Base System feature. This Base System also have additional feature. Because its separated from packages version no one stops you from running oldshool FreeBSD 9.0 from 2012 and install there latest Firefox 80 or LibreOffice 7.0. You can not install latest Firefox on Ubuntu from 2012 …

One may be ‘afraid’ that such Base System independent from installed packages would take more space but nothing far more from the truth. The fresh installed FreeBSD 12.1 system uses less then 1 GB of disk space and takes less then 75 MB of RAM with sshd(8) running. For the comparison fresh CentOS 7.8 install with ‘Minimal’ set chosen takes 1.1 GB of disk space and uses more then 100 MB RAM with sshd(8) running. Such CentOS system is really naked and really needs more packages to be usable while FreeBSD with its Base System is far more capable and powerful and comes along with builtin latest version of LLVM/CLANG compiler suite for example.

More on the Base System topic:

ZFS Boot Environments

I have talked about this many times and probably one time too less because Linux world still ignores this bless. Having ZFS Boot Environments its such a game changer that once you realize how powerful it is you will never want to use a system that does not support it. The idea is that you can snapshot a running system at any moment of time and then reboot into that moment (or snapshot) if something happened. Its perfect solution for upgrade or changes to the system. The FreeBSD systems are already well ‘protected’ from problems arising after updating the packages but ZFS Boot Environments takes this to a whole new level.

groundhog

Like in the movie Groundhog Day (1993) with ZFS Boot Environments you will have limitless chances to get your shit together. Even the Base System updates and changes are protected by it. You can even transport that Boot Environment by using zfs send and zfs recv commands to other system … or propagate it on many systems. You can create Jails containers from it … or install new version of FreeBSD in the new Boot Environment and reboot into it while still having your older ‘production’ system untouched.

More on the ZFS Boot Environments topic:

Rescue

When you really mess up to the point that even Base System concept or ZFS Boot Environments feature did not stopped you from killing your FreeBSD installation then there is one more level of rescue … the Rescue subsystem.

rescue

You have about 150 statically linked binaries available at your disposal for the rescue mission of that FreeBSD installation. You probably think now that if its so many binaries then it probably takes a lot of space … nothing far more from the truth. Its actually one static binary with hardlinks … and it takes whooping 11 MB of disk space.

# ls -lh /rescue | head -5
total 1118446
-r-xr-xr-x  146 root  wheel    11M 2020.02.19 21:10 [
-r-xr-xr-x  146 root  wheel    11M 2020.02.19 21:10 bectl
-r-xr-xr-x  146 root  wheel    11M 2020.02.19 21:10 bsdlabel
-r-xr-xr-x  146 root  wheel    11M 2020.02.19 21:10 bunzip2

They Rescue subsystem even contains such binaries as bectl(8) for ZFS Boot Environments management or zfs(8) and zpool(8) commands for the ZFS filesystem. Here is complete list of these binaries.

# ls /rescue
[           dd               fsck_ffs      init       mdmfs          ping      rtsol        unlink
bectl       devfs            fsck_msdosfs  ipf        mkdir          ping6     savecore     unlzma
bsdlabel    df               fsck_ufs      iscsictl   mknod          pkill     sed          unxz
bunzip2     dhclient         fsdb          iscsid     more           poweroff  setfacl      unzstd
bzcat       dhclient-script  fsirand       kenv       mount          ps        sh           vi
bzip2       disklabel        gbde          kill       mount_cd9660   pwd       shutdown     whoami
camcontrol  dmesg            geom          kldconfig  mount_msdosfs  rcorder   sleep        xz
cat         dump             getfacl       kldload    mount_nfs      rdump     spppcontrol  xzcat
ccdconfig   dumpfs           glabel        kldstat    mount_nullfs   realpath  stty         zcat
chflags     dumpon           gpart         kldunload  mount_udf      reboot    swapon       zdb
chgrp       echo             groups        ldconfig   mount_unionfs  red       sync         zfs
chio        ed               gunzip        less       mt             rescue    sysctl       zpool
chmod       ex               gzcat         link       mv             restore   tail         zstd
chown       expr             gzip          ln         nc             rm        tar          zstdcat
chroot      fastboot         halt          ls         newfs          rmdir     tcsh         zstdmt
clri        fasthalt         head          lzcat      newfs_msdos    route     tee          
cp          fdisk            hostname      lzma       nextboot       routed    test         
csh         fsck             id            md5        nos-tun        rrestore  tunefs       
date        fsck_4.2bsd      ifconfig      mdconfig   pgrep          rtquery   umount   

More on the Rescue topic:

Audio

Not many people expect from FreeBSD to shine in that department but it shines a lot here and not from yesterday but from decades. Remember when Linux got rid of the old OSS subsystem with one channel and came up with ‘great’ idea to write ALSA? I remember because I used Linux back then. Disaster is very polite word to describe Linux audio stack back then … and then PulseAudio came and whole Linux audio system got much worse. Back then because of that one OSS channel and many ALSA channels meant that ONLY ONE application with OSS backend could do the sound (for example WINE). But if another application would want to ‘make’ sound using OSS and you already have WINE started then it will be soundless because that one and only OSS channel was already taken. And remember that ALSA was so bad back then that KDE or GNOME made their own sound daemons mixing audio in userspace that were incompatible with each other. That means if you used KDE and GNOME apps back then you could have sound from GNOME apps but not from KDE apps or vice versa. One big fucking audio hell on Linux.

audio

Lets get back to FreeBSD audio then. What FreeBSD offered? A whooping 256 OSS channels mixed live in kernel for low latency. Everything audio related just worked out of the box – and still works today. You could have WINE or KDE/GNOME sound backends attached to their OSS channels and also ALSA apps getting their sound device without a problem. Even when you plugged a 5.1 surround system into FreeBSD it worked out of the box without any configuration and applications were able to use it immediately. That FreeBSD audio supremacy remains today as PulseAudio sound mixing in userspace while generally working incorporates large latency on Linux compared to in kernel FreeBSD mixing with low latency.

Comrade meka suggested that FreeBSD is also the only OS which has virtual_oss that allows mixing/resampling/compressing in user space and allows one to have Bluetooth headphones and USB microphone represented as single sound card.

More on the Audio topic:

Jails

The FreeBSD Jails are one of the oldest OS Level Virtualization implementations dating back to 1999. Even the Solaris Zones/Containers came five years later in 2004.

containers

After Docker was introduced in Linux the term OS Level Virtualization became less used to the Containers term and now the FreeBSD Jails along with Solaris Zones/Containers are named 1st generation containers. But that naming nomenclature change does not make FreeBSD Jails less powerful. They are also really brain dead simple to use. You just need a directory – for example /jail/nextcloud – where you will extract the FreeBSD Base System for desired release version – for example base.txz from 12.1-RELEASE and create the Jail config in the /etc/jail.conf file as shown below.

# mkdir -p /jail/nextcloud
# fetch -o - http://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/releases/amd64/12.1-RELEASE/base.txz | tar --unlink -xpJf - -C /jail/nextcloud
# cat /etc/jail.conf
nextcloud {
  host.hostname = nextcloud.local;
  ip4.addr = 10.0.0.100;
  path = /jail/nextcloud;
}

Now you can start you Jail right away.

# service jail onestart nextcloud
Starting jails: nextcloud.

Voila! Your FreeBSD Jail is already running.

# jls
   JID  IP Address      Hostname                      Path
     1  10.0.0.100      nextcloud.local               /jail/nextcloud

You can of course have a trimmed down version of FreeBSD Base System in the Jail if that is needed. The ZFS filesystem also helps here greatly because with zfs clone only your ‘base’ Jail will take space and only the changes you make to Jails created from it. Thanks to other FreeBSD subsystem – the Linux Binary Compatibility – you can also create a Linux Jail – for example running Devuan or Ubuntu Jail.

The FreeBSD Jails are also very lightweight. You can boot and use about 1000 FreeBSD Jails on a single FreeBSD system with 4 GB RAM.

They are also very easy to debug and troubleshoot comparing even to plain Docker – not to even mention Kubernetes which requires whole team of highly skilled people to maintain.

The FreeBSD Jails may be configured/managed only by the Base System utilities such as jls(8)/jexec(8) but you can also select from many third party Jail management frameworks. From all available ones I would choose BastilleBSD because of their modern approach and many ready to use templates for all needed use cases.

More on the Jails topic:

FreeBSD Ports Infrastructure

This is one of another examples why FreeBSD rocks that much. When you install Ubuntu or CentOS in some version there is chance that you will end up with not latest versions of packages but with versions that were quite up-to-date when this distribution version was released. Its especially visible in the CentOS world (and its upstream enterprise source system from Red Hat) where packages are quite up-to-date when .0 (dot zero) release is published but are VERY outdated when .8 or .9 incarnation of that release is available. Not to even mention that Firefox for example is released every month …

packages

As I said before when describing the FreeBSD Base System the FreeBSD Ports (and packages built from it available through pkg(8) command) are independent. That means that third party software from FreeBSD Ports is almost always up-to-date (or very close to it). You can even check it on the repology.org site for the details. Below you will find a ‘snapshot’ of the repology.org stats from time of writing this article. The ‘online’ table is very long so I copy/pasted just the systems relevant to the article.

repology

One of the other advantages of FreeBSD Ports is that it offers really MASSIVE amount of software counting 40354 ports when writing this article and still rising. Amount of ready to be installed packages are little smaller with more then 32000 available.

I once migrated for a while to OpenSolaris in 2009 on my Dell Latitude D630 laptop because I really liked all the Solaris features (including ZFS and ZFS Boot Environments that were not available on FreeBSD back then) and the OpenSolaris GNOME based desktop was pretty nice back then even with Time Slider feature for ZFS snapshots in the Nautilus file manager. I got working WiFi connection, sound was working, generally everything on my laptop was supported and working with OpenSolaris … but there was no software. Of course ‘large’ projects like GIMP or OpenOffice was available even in the default pkg(8) repository but not much else. There was less then 4000 packages back then on OpenSolaris while about 25000 packages on FreeBSD if I recall correctly.

You can also easily browse available FreeBSD Ports (and its options) on the web by using the https://freshports.org/ page.

ports

The count of FreeBSD Ports is one thing, the features is another. No matter which Linux distribution you are using you will find a software that was compiled and shipped without that needed flag that you desperately need. If you find such software on FreeBSD it ‘hurts’ only for a moment because you can VERY EASILY recompile that software with needed options and replace that ‘default’ package with yours. For example the FreeBSD project is afraid to provide packages of Lame because of existing MP3 patents, so multimedia/ffmpeg package is built without MP3 support (with --disable-libmp3lame flag). That is why I have my own audio/lame and multimedia/ffmpeg packages built with my configure options and that is very easy to achieve. You need to go to the /usr/ports/multimedia/ffmpeg dir type make config and select [x] LAME at the ncurses dialog. Your chosen options will be saved as plain /var/db/ports/multimedia_ffmpeg/options file. If you remove that file (or type make rmconfig) then these custom options will reset to defaults. Then you type make build deinstall install clean and your port with new options is ready and installed as package. Nothing more is needed. You can even lock that package from the pkg(8) upgrades with pkg lock -y ffmpeg command so it will not be modified later but its better to rebuild such packages everytime you do a pkg upgrade procedure because of libraries versions bump and changes. While its very easy and fast to create a script with these commands to make it more automated you can also use other parts of the FreeBSD Ports infrastructure – enter Poudriere (or Synth) – more on that in the next part.

You also do not have to configure each port that way (which could be PITA for large amount of ports) but you may specify your needed (OPTIONS_SET) or unwanted (OPTIONS_UNSET) parameters only once globally using the /etc/make.conf file. You can also specify which default versions of software you want to use, for example Apache 2.2 instead of 2.4 and PHP 7.0 instead of 7.2. You can find all default versions in the /usr/ports/Mk/bsd.default-versions.mk file. Once you setup these options you can build/rebuild or update your packages from FreeBSD Ports by portmaster(8) tool. Like on Gentoo Linux with USE flags. But this is the original. Gentoo took all/most of its ideas from FreeBSD system and its Ports infrastructure.

The Poudriere is a build framework that uses FreeBSD Ports and FreeBSD Jails to build requested packages in clean reproducible way. You can create whole new binary package repository for pkg(8) command to use with it. I mentioned Synth because while Poudriere is often used to produce whole package repository the Synth is usually used just to rebuild several packages that does not fit your needs.

There is one important things about FreeBSD Ports that is often misunderstood by newcomers. What is the difference between the Ports and packages that are fetched and installed by pkg(8) tool? Its quite simple. A package is just a build and installed port. Nothing more or less. When you use the binary packages using pkg(8) command you are using packages that someone (the FreeBSD project in that case) built for you from the FreeBSD Ports in some point in time. While FreeBSD strives to maintain as up-to-date built packages as possible its the nature of FreeBSD Ports that they are always more up-to-date then the built packages. That is why you may build and install a new version of needed packages by yourself using FreeBSD Ports. One may think of such usage when it comes to security holes. When some locally executed commands (like file(1) for example) has a security hole then its not critical for you to update it as fast as possible because that security hole can be harmless for you, but when new version of Firefox fixes very important security hole then its better to update from FreeBSD Ports version faster because waiting 2 days for the package to be built (along with other packages) can be too long.

More on the FreeBSD Ports topic:

Updating/Building from Source

While the FreeBSD Ports infrastructure is for third party software the FreeBSD Base System (or its parts) also can be easily and convenient build from source. The FreeBSD kernel config is also very small and simple. While Linux kernel config contains thousands of options – 4432 for example in the default CentOS 8.2 install the FreeBSD GENERIC config has about 20 times options less – only 260 options. But that does not saturate the topic. You can start with MINIMAL FreeBSD kernel config which has only 75 options specified.

Linux # grep -c '^CONFIG' /boot/config-$( uname -r )
4432

FreeBSD # grep -c -E '^(device|options)' /usr/src/sys/amd64/conf/GENERIC
260

FreeBSD # grep -c -E '^(device|options)' /usr/src/sys/amd64/conf/MINIMAL
75

… and its not only about smaller amount of options. Can you tell my how many steps (and which ones are required) to rebuild CentOS or Ubuntu for example without Bluetooth support?

code

On the contrary its very simple (and fast) on the FreeBSD side. While /etc/make.conf file is used to enable/disable Ports options the /etc/src.conf file is used to enable/disable FreeBSD Base System options while building it from source. To build FreeBSD without Bluetooth support just add WITHOUT_BLUETOOTH=yes to the /etc/src.conf file and type these to build it:

# beadm create safe
# cd /usr/src
# make buildworld kernel
# reboot
# cd /usr/src
# make installworld
# mergemaster -iU
# reboot

Voila! You now have FreeBSD without Bluetooth support … and if any of the steps failed or because of your lack of experience/expertise your FreeBSD system does not boot or is broken you can use tools from /rescue to try to fix it (or at least figure out what is broken) and when you do not want to cope with this jest select safe ZFS Boot Environment at the FreeBSD loader(8) to boot to the system before you started building modified version of FreeBSD. Yes, You are bulletproof here. While having 294 WITHOUT_X options and 125 WITH_X options you can really tune FreeBSD Base System to your needs.

# zgrep -c WITHOUT_ /usr/share/man/man5/src.conf.5.gz
294

# zgrep -c WITH_ /usr/share/man/man5/src.conf.5.gz
125

The big downside of updating FreeBSD by source is that you can not use the freebsd-update tools to do it … but nothing stops you from creating your own FreeBSD Update Server so you will be able to use freebsd-update by adding updates using a CURRENT or STABLE system instead of RELEASE. That process is described in the Build Your Own FreeBSD Update Server article of official FreeBSD documentation.

More on the FreeBSD Source Updates/Builds topic:

Storage

Storage is one of the parts where FreeBSD really shines. Lots of people adore FreeBSD for well integrated ZFS filesystem and its really true. ZFS in FreeBSD has always been first class citizen. Lately OpenZFS 2.0 has been also integrated from the upstream joint FreeBSD and Linux repository. More and more FreeBSD features and solutions are using ZFS features.

openzfs

Most of these people that like integrated ZFS in FreeBSD do not know about the FreeBSD GEOM modular disk transformation framework which provides various storage related features and utilities like software RAID0/RAID1/RAID10/RAID3/RAID5 configurations or transparent encryption of underlying devices with GELI/GDBE (like LUKS on Linux). It also allows transparent filesystem journaling for ANY filesystem with GJOURNAL (yes also for FAT32 or exFAT) or allows one to export block devices over network with GEOM GATE devices (like NFS for block devices).

storage

FreeBSD also has its own FUSE implementation which allows all these FUSE based filesystems to work natively on FreeBSD. While lots of Linux folks know DRBD probably very few of them knew that FreeBSD comes with its own DRBD like solution called HAST – which does exactly the same thing. While ZFS has a lot features and possibilities FreeBSD still maintains and develops fast and small memory footprint UFS filesystem which today is used either with Soft Updates (SU) or Journaled Soft Updates (SUJ) depending on the use case. For example 10 TB data on UFS filesystem with Journaled Soft Updates (SUJ) takes about 1 minute under fsck(8). These storage solutions are available from FreeBSD Base System alone. The FreeBSD Ports offers much more with distributed filesystems solutions such as CEPH, LeoFS, LizardFS or Minio for Amazon S3 compatible storage.

More on the Storage topic:

Init System

FreeBSD offers really simple yet very powerful init system. It has system wide config under /etc/rc.conf file when you can enable/disable needed services with service_enable=YES and service_enable=NO stanzas. You do not even need to launch vi(1) to add them – just type sysrc service_enable=YES and they are added to the /etc/rc.conf file. There are also default values and services that are enabled and you will find them – along with many comments – in the /etc/defaults/rc.conf file. Each FreeBSD service file has PROVIDE/REQUIRE stanzas which are then used to automatically order the services to start. Services that can be run in parallel are started in parallel to save time. For example its pointless to start sshd(8) daemon without network. To start or stop the service you need to type service sshd start or service sshd stop command. But when a service is not enabled in the /etc/rc.conf file then you need to used add onestart and onestop instead. The Base System separation remains here as FreeBSD Base System services are located at /etc/rc.d directory and third party applications from ports/packages are kept under /usr/local prefix which means /usr/local/etc/rc.d dir.

When using systemd(1) you never know how the services gonna start because it will be different each time. Zero determinism. On FreeBSD you know exactly which services will start when because they are always ordered in the same state according to the PROVIDE/REQUIRE stanzas. FreeBSD also offers tools that will tell you the exact order – rcorder(8) – which can be used for all services, Base System services or third party services separately. There is also service -r command that will show you what was the order at the boot time.

# rcorder /etc/rc.d/* | head
/etc/rc.d/growfs
/etc/rc.d/sysctl
/etc/rc.d/hostid
/etc/rc.d/zvol
/etc/rc.d/dumpon
/etc/rc.d/ddb
/etc/rc.d/geli
/etc/rc.d/gbde
/etc/rc.d/ccd
/etc/rc.d/swap

# rcorder /usr/local/etc/rc.d/* | tail
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/hald
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/git_daemon
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/fscd
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/cupsd
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/cups_browsed
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/clamav-clamd
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/clamav-milter
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/clamav-freshclam
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/avahi-dnsconfd
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/aria2

# rcorder /etc/rc.d/* /usr/local/etc/rc.d/* 2> | grep -C 3 sshd
/etc/rc.d/ubthidhci
/etc/rc.d/syscons
/etc/rc.d/swaplate
/etc/rc.d/sshd
/etc/rc.d/cron
/etc/rc.d/jail
/etc/rc.d/localpkg

Adding new service to FreeBSD is also very easy as template for new service is very small and simple.

#!/bin/sh

. /etc/rc.subr

name=dummy
rcvar=dummy_enable

start_cmd="${name}_start"
stop_cmd=":"

load_rc_config $name
: ${dummy_enable:=no}
: ${dummy_msg="Nothing started."}

dummy_start()
{
	echo "$dummy_msg"
}

run_rc_command "$1"

If its not simple enough for you there is dedicated FreeBSD article about writing them – Practical rc.d Scripting in BSD – available here.

More on the Init System topic:

Linux Binary Compatibility

While Linux can not be FreeBSD – the FreeBSD can be Linux – and its not some slow emulation – its implementation of Linux system calls. There was time when enterprises used to work with Linux only applications (not available on FreeBSD by then) using the Linux Binary Compatibility on FreeBSD because it was faster then running them natively on Linux – FreeBSD Used to Generate Spectacular Special Effects – an official FreeBSD Press Release about FreeBSD being used to generate spacial effects to the one of the best movies of all time – The Matrix (1999).

matrix

Today the LINUX_COMPAT is also natively fast and allows one to run Linux applications – even Linux games in X11 with hardware acceleration for graphics. Think of it as WINE but for Linux applications. It lives under /compat/linux directory. It even implements Linux /proc virtual filesystem which can be mounted at the /compat/linux/proc dir but its not mandatory. For any software that does not come with source code and works on Linux the Linux Binary Compatibility saves the day. For example the f.lux project. Before I got to know Redshift I used f.lux Linux binary using LINUX_COMPAT to suppress blue spectrum light from my FreeBSD screen. The Linux Binary Compatibility subsystem can also be used to run Linux bases FreeBSD Jails – with Devuan for example.

More on the Linux Binary Compatibility topic:

Simplicity

FreeBSD is simple but not coarse/ornery. For example as Linux the FreeBSD system also supports the /proc virtual filesystem but on FreeBSD its optional and not used by default while Linux could not live without it. But while Linux has mandatory /proc it also has another virtual filesystem residing under /sys … but why Linux people need two different virtual filesystems with similar purposes? Why they could not create everything under /proc as it already existed. That is big enigma for my sanity.

But /sys is not the end of that madness. Its just a beginning.

What about these?

  • securityfs
  • devpts
  • cgroup
  • pstore
  • bpf
  • configfs
  • selinuxfs
  • systemd-1
  • mqueue
  • debugfs
  • hugetlbfs

Take a look at the FreeBSD mount(8) output after the default install on ZFS.

FreeBSD # mount
zroot/ROOT/12.1 on / (zfs, local, noatime, nfsv4acls)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, multilabel)
zroot/tmp on /tmp (zfs, local, noatime, nosuid, nfsv4acls)
zroot/var/mail on /var/mail (zfs, local, nfsv4acls)
zroot/usr/home on /usr/home (zfs, local, noatime, nfsv4acls)
zroot/var/crash on /var/crash (zfs, local, noatime, noexec, nosuid, nfsv4acls)
zroot/var/log on /var/log (zfs, local, noatime, noexec, nosuid, nfsv4acls)
zroot/var/audit on /var/audit (zfs, local, noatime, noexec, nosuid, nfsv4acls)
zroot/var/tmp on /var/tmp (zfs, local, noatime, nosuid, nfsv4acls)
zroot/usr/src on /usr/src (zfs, local, noatime, nfsv4acls)
zroot/usr/ports on /usr/ports (zfs, local, noatime, nosuid, nfsv4acls)

Several ZFS datasets and one virtual devfs filesystem for /dev directory. With install on UFS it would be similar with several UFS partitions mounted instead of ZFS datasets.

Take a look at the CentOS 8.2 installation with just one physical root (/) XFS filesystem.

[root@centos8 ~]# mount
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
devtmpfs on /dev type devtmpfs (rw,nosuid,seclabel,size=919388k,nr_inodes=229847,mode=755)
securityfs on /sys/kernel/security type securityfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,seclabel)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,nosuid,noexec,relatime,seclabel,gid=5,mode=620,ptmxmode=000)
tmpfs on /run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,seclabel,mode=755)
tmpfs on /sys/fs/cgroup type tmpfs (ro,nosuid,nodev,noexec,seclabel,mode=755)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/systemd type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,xattr,release_agent=/usr/lib/systemd/systemd-cgroups-agent,name=systemd)
pstore on /sys/fs/pstore type pstore (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel)
bpf on /sys/fs/bpf type bpf (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,mode=700)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/cpuset type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,cpuset)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/memory type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,memory)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/blkio type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,blkio)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/hugetlb type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,hugetlb)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/net_cls,net_prio type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,net_cls,net_prio)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/cpu,cpuacct type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,cpu,cpuacct)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/freezer type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,freezer)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/perf_event type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,perf_event)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/rdma type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,rdma)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/pids type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,pids)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/devices type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel,devices)
configfs on /sys/kernel/config type configfs (rw,relatime)
/dev/sda1 on / type xfs (rw,relatime,seclabel,attr2,inode64,noquota)
selinuxfs on /sys/fs/selinux type selinuxfs (rw,relatime)
systemd-1 on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type autofs (rw,relatime,fd=34,pgrp=1,timeout=0,minproto=5,maxproto=5,direct,pipe_ino=17309)
mqueue on /dev/mqueue type mqueue (rw,relatime,seclabel)
debugfs on /sys/kernel/debug type debugfs (rw,relatime,seclabel)
hugetlbfs on /dev/hugepages type hugetlbfs (rw,relatime,seclabel,pagesize=2M)
tmpfs on /run/user/0 type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime,seclabel,size=187088k,mode=700)

Fuck me. Its even really hard to just find any REAL filesystem there … fortunately we can ask for only XFS filesystems to display.

[root@centos8 ~]# mount -t xfs
/dev/sda1 on / type xfs (rw,relatime,seclabel,attr2,inode64,noquota)

Lets get on the networking now. Lets assume that you want to make standard enterprise networking setup on a physical server with two interfaces aggregated together into highly available interface bond0 (lagg0 on FreeBSD) and then you want to put VLAN tag and IP address on that VLAN. The CentOS 7.x/8.x installer (Anaconda) will welcome you with this mess.

[root@centos7 ~]# ls -1 /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-*
ifcfg-Bond_connection_1
ifcfg-eno49
ifcfg-eno49-1
ifcfg-eno50
ifcfg-eno50-1
ifcfg-VLAN_connection_1

[root@centos7 ~]# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-Bond_connection_1
DEVICE=bond0
BONDING_OPTS="miimon=1 updelay=0 downdelay=0 mode=active-backup"
TYPE=Bond
BONDING_MASTER=yes
PROXY_METHOD=none
BROWSER_ONLY=no
BOOTPROTO=dhcp
DEFROUTE=yes
IPV4_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6INIT=yes
IPV6_AUTOCONF=yes
IPV6_DEFROUTE=yes
IPV6_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6_PRIVACY=no
IPV6_ADDR_GEN_MODE=stable-privacy
NAME="Bond connection 1"
UUID=ca85417f-8852-43bf-96ee-5bd3f0f83648
ONBOOT=yes

[root@centos7 ~]# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eno49
TYPE=Ethernet
PROXY_METHOD=none
BROWSER_ONLY=no
BOOTPROTO=dhcp
DEFROUTE=yes
IPV4_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6INIT=yes
IPV6_AUTOCONF=yes
IPV6_DEFROUTE=yes
IPV6_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6_ADDR_GEN_MODE=stable-privacy
NAME=eno49
UUID=2f60f50b-38ad-492a-b90a-ba736acf6792
DEVICE=eno49
ONBOOT=no

[root@centos7 ~]# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eno49-1
HWADDR=xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
TYPE=Ethernet
NAME=eno49
UUID=342b8494-126d-4f3a-b749-694c8c922aa1
DEVICE=eno49
ONBOOT=yes
MASTER=bond0
SLAVE=yes

[root@centos7 ~]# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eno50
TYPE=Ethernet
PROXY_METHOD=none
BROWSER_ONLY=no
BOOTPROTO=dhcp
DEFROUTE=yes
IPV4_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6INIT=yes
IPV6_AUTOCONF=yes
IPV6_DEFROUTE=yes
IPV6_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6_ADDR_GEN_MODE=stable-privacy
NAME=eno50
UUID=4fd36e24-1c6d-4a65-a316-7a14e9a92965
DEVICE=eno50
ONBOOT=no

[root@centos7 ~]# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eno50-1
HWADDR=xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
TYPE=Ethernet
NAME=eno50
UUID=a429b697-73c2-404d-9379-472cb3c35e06
DEVICE=eno50
ONBOOT=yes
MASTER=bond0
SLAVE=yes

[root@centos7 ~]# cat/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-VLAN_connection_1
VLAN=yes
TYPE=Vlan
PHYSDEV=ca85417f-8852-43bf-96ee-5bd3f0f83648
VLAN_ID=601
REORDER_HDR=yes
GVRP=no
MVRP=no
PROXY_METHOD=none
BROWSER_ONLY=no
BOOTPROTO=none
IPADDR=10.20.30.40
PREFIX=24
GATEWAY=10.20.30.1
DEFROUTE=yes
IPV4_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6INIT=yes
IPV6_AUTOCONF=yes
IPV6_DEFROUTE=yes
IPV6_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6_PRIVACY=no
IPV6_ADDR_GEN_MODE=stable-privacy
NAME="VLAN connection 1"
UUID=90f7a9bb-1443-4adf-a3eb-86a03b23ecfb
ONBOOT=yes

For the record – I have chosen ‘STATIC’ IPv4 address but installer made these interfaces to use DHCP and that STATIC address. That could be a bug but lets get to the point.

After manual fixing with vi(1) (and hour later) this is how it supposed to look.

[root@centos7 ~]# cat /etc/sysconfig/network
GATEWAY=10.20.30.1
NOZEROCONF=yes

[root@centos7 ~]# ls -1 /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-*
ifcfg-bond0
ifcfg-bond0.601
ifcfg-eno49
ifcfg-eno50

[root@centos7 ~]# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-bond0
DEVICE=bond0
BONDING_OPTS="miimon=1 updelay=0 downdelay=0 mode=active-backup"
TYPE=Bond
BONDING_MASTER=yes
BOOTPROTO=none
IPV4_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6INIT=no
ONBOOT=yes

[root@centos7 ~]# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-bond0.601
VLAN=yes
TYPE=Vlan
VLAN_ID=601
DEVICE=bond0.601
REORDER_HDR=yes
GVRP=no
MVRP=no
BOOTPROTO=none
IPADDR=10.20.30.40
PREFIX=24
IPV4_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6INIT=no
ONBOOT=yes

[root@centos7 ~]# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eno49
BOOTPROTO=none
IPV4_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6INIT=no
TYPE=Ethernet
NAME=eno49
DEVICE=eno49
ONBOOT=yes
MASTER=bond0
SLAVE=yes

[root@centos7 ~]# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eno50
BOOTPROTO=none
IPV4_FAILURE_FATAL=no
IPV6INIT=no
TYPE=Ethernet
NAME=eno50
DEVICE=eno50
ONBOOT=yes
MASTER=bond0
SLAVE=yes

Better … but still takes A LOT OF SPACE and several files to cover that quite simple setup. Not to mention its level of complication and making that very error prone way. The same configuration on FreeBSD would take just 7 lines within single /etc/rc.conf file as shown below.

root@freebsd # cat /etc/rc.conf
ifconfig_fxp0="up"
ifconfig_fxp1="up"
cloned_interfaces="lagg0"
ifconfig_lagg0="laggproto failover laggport fxp0 laggport fxp1"
vlans_lagg0="601"
ifconfig_lagg0_601="inet 10.20.30.40/24"
defaultrouter="10.20.30.1"

What about the boot process? FreeBSD boots from root on ZFS partition with just small 512 KB not mountable partition. No separate /boot device is needed. On the other side Linux always needs that separate /boot partition filled with GRUB modules. No matter if its ZFS or LVM. That is why implementation of ZFS Boot Environments is quite complicated on Linux because even if you have root on ZFS on a Linux system there is still unprotected /boot filesystem that can not be snapshoted with ZFS and has to be protected in old classic way which kill the idea of ZFS Boot Environments or Linux.

FreeBSD is really simple and well thought operating system. But also a very underestimated one.

Evolution Instead Rewriting

How many Linux tools or subsystems are abandoned or superseded by new ones? Why the ifconfig(8) command was not updated with new options and instead a new ip(8) command was introduced? Same with netstat(8) being replaced by ss(8). Same with arp(8)/iwconfig/route(8) and many more. What about whole init system? The Linux world has been taken over by systemd(1) whenever you like it or not. Even distributions that have grown their mature init systems like Ubuntu with its Upstart has moved to systemd(1) altogether. The distributions that do not use it are very few and considered a niche today.

evolution

In the FreeBSD land on the counrary such things happen only if there is no other way to implement new things. Its the last thing wanted in the FreeBSD. FreeBSD evolves and is developed with stability and backward compatibility in mind. Userland tools are grown and updated with new options instead of rewriting them over and over again. Not to mention how many new bugs are introduced by changing one tool to another.

More on the Evolution Instead Rewriting topic:

Documentation

Having system that can do almost anything but not knowing how to do that makes that system pretty useless (or at least pretty PITA to use). FreeBSD offers second to none documentation that is actively maintained and updated. Along with its legendary FreeBSD Handbook and FreeBSD FAQ the FreeBSD project also offers official FreeBSD Articles about various FreeBSD topics. The Man Pages are also very detailed and contain many examples. There is also FreeBSD Wiki page for work in progress documentation and ideas related to FreeBSD development and if you have any problems or questions related to FreeBSD there are official FreeBSD Forums and oldschool Mailing Lists available.

documentation

These were only the official project knowledge sources but there are also lots of FreeBSD books. Here are the best and up-to-date ones.

  • Absolute FreeBSD – Complete Guide to FreeBSD – 3nd Edition (2019)
  • Beginning Modern Unix (2018)
  • Book of PF – 3rd Edition (2015)
  • Design and Implementation of FreeBSD 11 Operating System – 2nd Edition (2015)
  • FreeBSD Device Drivers (2012)
  • FreeBSD Mastery – ZFS (2015)
  • FreeBSD Mastery – Advanced ZFS (2016)
  • FreeBSD Mastery – Storage Essentials (2014)
  • FreeBSD Mastery – Specialty Filesystems (2015)
  • FreeBSD Mastery – Jails (2019)

There are also two magazines that are dedicated to BSD and FreeBSD systems. Both are free and cover lots of interesting topics regarding FreeBSD.

With all this knowledge and support its really hard not to achieve what you need/want with FreeBSD system.

Community

Last but not least and I would say its even more important then good documentation (which FreeBSD has awesome). People that use FreeBSD do that conciously and are often experienced not only in FreeBSD land but also in topics related to other UNIX systems. Often they took long road of first using the Linux systems before finally setting on the FreeBSD land or they still do Linux adminitration for a living while resting using far more reasonable and sensible FreeBSD solution. I always find FreeBSD Community helpful and friendly. Always willingly helpful – especially towards newcommers. Even when you try to ‘force’ FreeBSD people to ‘fight’ in unjust/doubtful discussion they will reply with dignity and technical arguments instead of yelling at you.

The FreeBSD project even made several articles and Handbook chapters especially for Linux newcommers (or sometimes called systemd(1) refugees).

Closing Thoughts

I tried really hard to not make it a Linux rant but some may feel it that way – if so please remember that this was not my intention. FreeBSD like Linux and like any other operating system has its ups and downs. Hope that I showed you most interesting FreeBSD parts. I may add new sections here without a warning in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

External Discussions

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

EOF