November Rx/Tx


EuroBSDCon 2019 Talks

The presentations from this year's EuroBSDCon held during late September in Lillehammer, Norway are now available on YouTube.

The program lists a number of interesting talks from seasoned OpenBSD developers such as Alexander Bluhm's assay of performance metrics on OpenBSD (cf. test results), and Stefan Sperling sharing the new Game of Trees git tool—more commonly referred to as got. But there are also many other speakers from various backgrounds presenting an assortment of topics ranging from Paul Vixie—the author of cron, and numerous RFCs—discussing DNS over HTTP (DoH) to an exposition on the basics of ZFS by Dan Langille …

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Unix Simplicity vs. Hardware Complexity

On Day 1 of #Unix50, Timothy Roscoe presented an interesting talk concerning the implications of running the brilliantly simple Unix design that was an apt fit on the hardware of yesteryear on the increasingly complex systems of today.

Having spent a career cogitating on operating system design, Tim's recherche description of the dichotomous relationship between the Unix philosophy and modern hardware should prove thought-provoking for anyone involved in systems or even application programming. For as Tim proposes:

Don't ask: how can I get Unix to work on this hardware landscape? Ask: what is the moral equivalent of Unix, for this hardware landscape …
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OpenBSD 6.6 Released Early

OpenBSD's second of its biannual releases came early again this year with the release of OpenBSD 6.6 last week; while this post comes late.

For anyone who isn't yet aware, Theo's announcement came a few days ago on Thursday, October 17 to the relevant mailing lists.

Among the many changes are:

  • sysupgrade(8): an automatic upgrade utility that performs release and snapshot upgrades with one command
  • LibreSSL 3.0.2: a new release of the project's OpenSSL fork
  • sshsig: a minimal signature and verification utility for ssh-keygen(1)
  • OpenSSH 8.1: a new release of the project's ubiquitous ssh protocol implementation …
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October Rx/Tx


50 Years of Unix


However, something else happened that summer which you won’t find in most history books… a Bell Labs researcher named Ken Thompson created the first version of Unix, which turned out to be one of the most important pieces of computer software ever invented.

This year, we celebrate 50 years of Unix! It was the summer of 1969 that Ken Thompson finished what came to be known as Unix over a three week period when his wife took his kid to visit the in-laws for summer. It wouldn't be hyperbole to suggest that what Ken accomplished literally revolutionised computing.

Bell Labs is …

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SerenityOS: A Graphical Unix-like Operating System

If you're even slightly interested in systems programming, a Unix afficionado, or simply appreciative of highly motivated, intelligent, and genuinely good people, and aren't already aware of Andreas Kling, you'll most definitely enjoy subscribing to his YouTube channel. Andreas regularly shares screencasts of his impressively productive hacking sessions where you'll find him hacking on Serenity—a Unix-like operatng system that he's built from the ground up, entirely from scratch—or catch his candid and enlightening commute talks where he answers questions submitted by followers while sharing personal insights and experiences from his life as a programmer who has worked at places like …

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OpenBSD: Secure by Default

Continuing with the theme of my last post regarding the impetus of the OpenBSD project, and the principles by which development of the operating system adheres, I felt compelled to enumerate some of the tangible benefits that such a system produces. The principled purist within me notwithstanding, for what reason do I not only choose to use but advocate for OpenBSD when there are so many viable alternatives? What are the benefits? Candidly, there are plenty. Beyond the intangible, esoteric, and ideological, there are myriad reasons that could incentivise installing and running OpenBSD; if not as a daily driver—a firewall, router …

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OpenBSD: Clean, Correct Code by Default

I was perusing some not-too-recent-nor-old messages on the misc@openbsd.org mailing list when I entered a thread based on an interest in the subject—OpenBSD Project—where after reading the original message I would have normally passed on the rest but fortuitously didn't, and was pleased to read a contribution that reminded me of one of OpenBSD's most compelling merits:

"If your choice of operating system depends on any kind of formalities rather than on technical quality, OpenBSD is not the project you are looking for."

The entire message deserves a read but this key point made by author Ingo Schwarze …

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Sourcehut: Open Source Software Development Platform

With the ubiquity of Git, there's always the question of where do I host my code? Github is obviously the dominant domain for developers but I can understand the reluctance of many free and open source software proponents to use an entirely closed source system. And with the new owners, it's an even less appealing prospect—particularly for those who have been around a little longer than Gen Z. Sure, there's a surfeit of options but the majority are, for the most part, Github clones.

This is where sourcehut—heretofore known by its abridged moniker sr.ht —shines.

It provides all of …

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