RFC: Weekly status update 17/01/04-23/01/04 (cvs-src summary)

Mark Johnston mjohnston at skyweb.ca
Fri Jan 23 23:08:33 PST 2004

Last week's thread about status reports spurred me to come up with this
in a few idle hours.  I've gone through the cvs-src mail from last week
and summarized what looked like the most important commits, along with
some of the longer threads that cropped up.  I'm hoping for some comments
on this from some people who contributed to the thread; I'm also CCing
Jonathan Sage, who has rigged up an automated status update (and beaten me
to the punch by a damn sight), in hopes that we can work together on this

The report is written in reStructuredText, so it should be legible
here; if you want to browse an HTML version of it, please hit
http://excel.xl0.org/freebsd/ .

If you have a minute, please read through this message and give me a
sense of what you think.  In particular, please think about:

- Subject matter - too narrow? too broad? should I cover the -current
  list instead of cvs-src, or try to combine both into one report?

- Prose - too technical? not technical enough? too flowery? too plain?

- Commits covered - Did I miss anything I should have included, or
  include things I should have skipped?

- Impartial?  I've tried not to attribute consensus and opinions where
  they weren't very clear; have I succeeded?

- Interest - would you be interested in seeing something like this
  produced weekly?

If you don't have time for those, just a sentence or two of couragement,
whether en- or dis-, would really help.  If I don't get any answers, I'll
assume that nobody's interested in this sort of report, so do respond if
you are.


[Report follows]

FreeBSD CURRENT news for 17/01/04 to 23/01/04
This is an experimental weekly summary of FreeBSD's cutting-edge
development.  It is intended to help the FreeBSD community keep up with
the fast-paced work going on in FreeBSD-CURRENT by distilling the deluge
of data from the CVS mailing list into a (hopefully) easy-to-read

The format of this summary is based on Brett Cannon's python-dev
summaries, but it is subject to change.

Please send any and all comments to Mark Johnston (mark at xl0.org).

.. contents::

Committer changes
Three new src committers were added this week.  Robert Watson (rwatson)
introduced Colin Percival (cperciva), who has been working on `FreeBSD
Update`_, a binary update system for FreeBSD.  Colin will initially be
fixing the bugs he has uncovered during his FreeBSD Update work.

Shortly thereafter, Nate Lawson (njl) introduced Philip Paeps (philip),
who will be working on the ACPI_ (Advanced Configuration and Power
Interface) subsystem.  ACPI allows operating systems to manage hardware
configuration and power in a standard way.  It is especially important
for laptops and newer motherboards, and especially challenging because
of varying vendor implementations.

Wilko Bulte (wilko), acting as core secretary, introduced Ken Smith
(kensmith), who will be mentored by Robert Watson (rwatson).

Finally, Eric Moore (emoore) retired from committership by request to core.

.. _FreeBSD Update: http://www.daemonolgy.net/freebsd-update/
.. _ACPI: http://www.acpi.info/

Discussion topics
Filenames and line numbers added to panic output
Poul-Henning Kamp (phk) added code to display the filename and line
number where the system was panic'ed.  This prompted discussion of
whether the change was worthwhile for most users, and comparisons to
crash dumps and other debugging methods.  It was agreed that the change
should be left in to get other opinions on it before a final decision
was made to keep it or back it out.

In the same thread, Robert Watson (rwatson) brought up a discussion he
had had with Bill Paul (wpaul) about the possibility of storing panic
messages and backtraces in swap space when the system crashes.  This
idea was widely appreciated.

New committer woes
Colin Percival (cperciva)'s eager message, wondering whether FreeBSD had
ever seen two src committers introduced in two hours, elicited some
comments and reminiscences about new committers.  The thread ended with
an image of committers staggering around a vast desert under the weight
of their to-do lists, ruled by witches and monsters and communicating
with tin cans and string.  This experience will no doubt be a distinct
benefit to committers applying for jobs in IT.

First DragonflyBSD merge
Jeffrey Hsu (hsu) merged some TCP code from DragonflyBSD_.  Alexey
Dokuchaev suspects that this is the first merge from Dragonfly that
FreeBSD has seen.

.. _DragonflyBSD: http://www.dragonflybsd.org/

Major changes
cvs security update
Jacques Vidrine (nectar) added two security patches to CVS.  The first
stops CVS's native server mode, pserver, from being configured to run as
root.  The second patch catches malicious requests that would cause the
CVS server to attempt to create directories in the root of the
filesystem holding the CVS repository.

Bluetooth enhancements
Maksim Yevmenkin (emax) imported sdpd, the Bluetooth Service Discovery
Protocol Daemon.  sdpd will help FreeBSD interoperate with Bluetooth
devices.  Poul-Henning Kamp (phk) requested a NO_BLUETOOTH option to
disable the whole Bluetooth system; Maksim is planning to add it.

PowerPC enhancements
Peter Grehan (grehan) made many PPC commits this week, including
introducing a console implementation.  Peter also updated several files
to be PPC compatible; the system can now be built completely for
PowerPC.  Dag-Erling Smorgrav (des) will be seeing whether it can be
hooked up to the tinderbox for regular testing.

Startup scripts no longer to be synced with NetBSD
Mike Makonnen (mtm) removed NetBSD-specific code from many of the
startup scripts in /etc/rc.d.  He reports that Luke Mewburn of NetBSD
has indicated that NetBSD no longer plans to keep their scripts
synchronized to FreeBSD's.  Mike also fixed a few minor bugs and tidied
the rc.d files a bit.

New SNMP code
Hartmut Brandt (harti) imported version 1.5a of bsnmpd_, his own SNMP
implementation.  bsnmpd is part of the ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode)
subsystem, which allows FreeBSD systems to participate in the
high-performance networks and backbones that use ATM.

.. _bsnmpd: http://people.freebsd.org/~harti/bsnmpd/

New number conversion code
David Schultz (das) imported version 20040118 of gdtoa, the package that
handles conversion of numbers to and from their printable forms.  This
new version fixes some minor bugs in strtod(), which converts a text
decimal number to a double-precision variable.  He also updated the
printf(3) manual page to match the new code.

Marcel Moolenaar (marcel) discovered a bug in the new gdtoa code that
affects the kernel build on the IA64 platform and is looking into it.

Less-Major Changes
Cryptographic code separated
Ruslan Ermilov (ru) announced that all crypto-related bits have been
moved out of the base distribution, mostly to the "crypto" distribution

NDISulator development progressing
Bill Paul (wpaul) made numerous enhancements to his NDISulator code,
which allows some Windows network card drivers to be used on FreeBSD.
The NDISulator was introduced not long ago, but development is moving
quickly and it is growing to support more and more cards.

Work continues on new infrastructure for ports
Eivind Eklund (eivind) added the directory /var/db/ports/, which is used
by the new OPTIONS infrastructure for ports.

Minor Changes

Theo de Raadt pointed out that a cryptography testing file he held the
copyright to was in FreeBSD without a license.  After a
politically-charged flurry of e-mail, logged in PR 61676_, the file was

.. _61676: http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/query-pr.cgi?pr=61676

David Schultz (das) improved the random number generation by having the
system discard the first 1024 bytes of random output.  (PR 61126_
submitted by Jeff Ito.)

.. _61126: http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/query-pr.cgi?pr=61126

Poul-Henning Kamp (phk) reworked libalias, the library that handles NAT
and packet aliasing, creating a new API for it that allows one program 
to use it multiple times.  The old API will continue to work.

Colin Percival (cperciva) corrected a problem with traceroute when the
number of packets per hop times the number of hops is greater than 255.

Mike Makonnen (mtm) reworked some of the libthr threading code, adding
more detailed debugging, refactoring some of the functions, and adding
and documenting some missing functions.

Soeren Schmidt (sos) tweaked some of the ATA code, fixing a problem that
Nate Lawson (njl) had reported with his computer hanging on boot, and
improving hardware support.

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