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Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Blind Accessibility, VAXen, and BSD

Mortimer.CA writes: The most recent BSDTalk (#143) has an interview with Deborah Norling (who's blind) where she talks about: command-line accessibility, documentation quality, using (serial port) Braille and speech systems on old PDPs and VAXen/s, GUI screen readers, and SIMH.
Operating Systems

FreeBSD 7.0 Bests Linux In SMP Performance 288

cecom writes "After major improvements in SMP support in FreeBSD 7.0, benchmarks show it performing 15% better than the latest Linux kernels (PDF, see slides 17 to 19) on 8 CPUs under PostgreSQL and MySQL. While a couple of benchmarks are not conclusive evidence, it can be assumed that FreeBSD will once again be a serious performance contender. Some posters on LWN have noted that the level of Linux performance could be related to the Completely Fair Scheduler, which was merged into the 2.6.23 Linux kernel." Update: 03/06 21:32 GMT by KD : An anonymous reader sent in word that Linux kernel developer Nick Piggin reran the benchmark today and came to a different conclusion: In his benchmark Linux was faster than FreeBSD.
Operating Systems

FreeBSD 6.3-RELEASE Now Available 100

cperciva writes "FreeBSD 6.3-RELEASE, the fourth release from the highly successful 6-STABLE branch of FreeBSD development, has been released. In addition to being available from many FTP sites, ISO images can be downloaded via the BitTorrent tracker, or for users of earlier FreeBSD releases, FreeBSD Update can be used to perform a binary upgrade."

What's New in OpenBSD 4.2? 203

blackbearnh writes "OpenBSD 4.2 was released today, and has a host of new features. O'Reilly's ONLamp site has a pretty thorough overview of the release. 'Even though security is still there, this release comes with some amazing performance improvements: basic benchmarks showed PF being twice as fast, a rewrite of the TLB shootdown code for i386 and amd64 cut the time to do a full package build by 20 percent (mostly because all the forks in configure scripts have become much cheaper), and the improved frequency scaling on MP systems can help save nearly 20 percent of battery power. And then the new features: FFS2, support for the Advanced Host Controller Interface, IP balancing in CARP, layer 7 manipulation with hoststated, Xenocara, and more!'"

Submission + - Jun-ichiro 'itojun' HAGINO passes away

Asmodai writes: "According to as well as a communication in Japanese by itojun's younger brother, Jun-ichiro 'itojun' HAGINO passed away on the 29th of October at the age of 37.

Itojun, as he was commonly known in the BSD world, was one of the major driving forces behind the KAME IPv6 networking stack which is present in the BSD OSes as well as many other devices.

For more information about itojun, please see his homepage at"

Submission + - 10 years of pkgsrc!

The Finn writes: "10 years ago — on October 3rd 1997 — the pkgsrc software management system was created by Alistair Crooks and Hubert Feyrer. pkgsrc, the NetBSD Packages Collection, was intended primarily as a packaging system for NetBSD. Derived from the FreeBSD Ports system, pkgsrc became a success story. Today, pkgsrc is a cross-platform framework, running on the BSDs, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, many Unix derivatives, and even on QNX and Windows. [...] We continue the anniversary celebrations with a series of interviews: developers and users of pkgsrc and of related systems give insights into the history, the concepts, the problems and the future directions of packaging systems."
Operating Systems

Submission + - FreeBSD Foundation Auction (

agshekeloh writes: "We're auctioning off the very first copy of Absolute FreeBSD off the press as a fundraiser for the FreeBSD Foundation. If you've been waiting for the right opportunity to open up your checkbook and support the Foundation, this is it!

Your generous donation will get you a book before anyone else in the world, signed by the author. The winner will also receive an authentic laser-printed Certificate of Authenticity, suitable for framing or absorbing spilled cola.

The day the book is done the author will drive to the printer and pick up a copy and ship it to the generous winner. This means that you'll get your copy before the other copies arrive at the distributor, let alone in stores.

100% of the auction proceeds go to the FreeBSD Foundation, of course."


Submission + - Google Wants OpenBSD's Theo de Raadt...? (

Watcher writes: One expects Google to go after the brightest and the best, so perhaps it's not surprising that they'd be interested in OpenBSD's creator Theo de Raadt. Or is it in fact that Google doesn't hire good recruiters? In a very public guffaw, one of Google's recruiters seems to have confused de Raadt's private email with the public OpenBSD mailing list. "I am a recruiter for the engineering team, a dynamic, challenging and fun group, which is responsible for our Google website, from start to finish. While doing a search for a specific skill set, I found your contact information on-line and I wanted to contact you to see if you may be interested in learning more about opportunities with us. You seem like you might be a great fit here at Google." While de Raadt himself will likely simply ignore the email, odds are that the hundreds of other -misc subscribers will have a field day with the mistake. Or maybe it's just the job that Theo has been waiting for, and us OpenBSD fans will loose our leader?

Submission + - Gore likely to share Peace Prize with Canadian

wattsup writes: "According to Investors Business Daily, Al Gore will likely be awarded the Nobel Peace prize and share it with Canadian climate researcher Sheila Watt-Cloutier this week.

Meanwhile there's legal trouble associated with Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth in Britain, a truck driver has filed a lawsuit to prevent its showing in public schools and according the legal filings for Britain's New Party, there are eleven inaccuracies in the film."

KDE Readies KOffice 2.0 As OpenOffice Competitor 337

Da Massive writes in with a link to a story on KOffice 2.0, the next generation of the KDE office suite due sometime next year. In an interview with KDE spokesman Sebastian Kugler, Computerworld reports that KOffice 2.0 will be leaner, faster, and enjoy a cleaner code base than OpenOffice. It will also feature more applications, including an Access-like database creator, a flowcharter, and an image manipulation tool. KOffice is not yet fully compatible with ODF but the claim is that 2.0 will be.
Classic Games (Games)

Submission + - Casual Games As In Sex, Not Friday?

simoniker writes: "Ian Bogost's latest 'Persuasive Games' column provides a new definition for casual games and their prospects, citing the Zidane Head-Butt game and suggesting: "If Casual Friday is the metaphor that drives casual games as we know them now, then Casual Sex might offer a metaphor to summarize the field's unexplored territory. If casual games (as in Friday) focus on simplicity and short individual play sessions that contribute to long-term mastery and repetition, then casual games (as in sex) focus on simplicity and short play that might not ever be repeated — or even remembered.""

Submission + - Artists finally start ditching the record labels!

Ariastis writes: In the last few days, Trent Reznor (NIN), Radio head, possibly Oasis and Jamiroquai and some others are finally sticking up to the greedy Record Labels. They have all started to distribute (or are thinking about it) their music independently, refusing to deal with the greedy old bastards who try to smother their fans. All downloads are DRM-Free, and RadioHead even allows their fans to set the price of the stuff they download!

Submission + - Pluto Probe Makes Discoveries at Jupiter (

Riding with Robots writes: "No, it's not an accident due to a metric-to-English-units error. In February, the New Horizons probe passed through the Jupiter system on its way to Pluto, and we saw some spectacular pictures. Now, the science teams have published detailed scientific results, along with new images and movies. an overview is now online. The probe's instruments saw clouds form from ammonia welling up from Jupiter's lower atmosphere, and heat-induced lighting strikes in the polar regions, and fresh eruptions on the volcanic moon Io. New Horizons also captured the clearest images ever of the tenuous Jovian ring system, where scientists spotted clumps of debris that may indicate a recent impact inside the rings, or some more exotic phenomenon."

Defending Games For Adults on National Television 134

N'Gai Croal, at the Newsweek blog LevelUp, had the chance to talk about the Manhunt 2 ban/re-rating fiasco on the CNN program American Morning. It's an interesting discussion of the issue, and it sounds like for the most part he got a fair shake; this wasn't yet another 'ambush the games journalist'-style cable program. The one thing N'Gai tried to make clear - and may have gotten lost in the shuffle - was that this title categorically is not for kids. "We bring this up not because there's anything sinister at work, but rather because [co-anchor Kiran Chetry] isn't alone in her bedrock assumption that all videogames are primarily aimed at 'kids.' After all, had we gone on the show to discuss Ang Lee's NC-17-rated erotic thriller 'Lust, Caution,' or the upcoming horror movie '30 Days of Night,' we doubt that we'd have been asked 'Would you let your kids watch it?' It would have been assumed that those movies, like certain TV shows, books or plays, are not intended for children. Yet videogames often don't get the same recognition."

Submission + - OpenBSD and Linux code sharing issue resolved

An anonymous reader writes: According to an undeadly article: "All the copyright holders of the Linux ath5k-driver code, derived from ar5k, have been contacted and have agreed to license their changes under the ISC license, thus allowing improvements to be re-incorporated into OpenBSD." So, after much drama, much of it documented on Slashdot, it looks like OpenBSD will be able to benefit from Linux-specific changes to its Atheros code after all.

My mother is a fish. - William Faulkner