Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Interview with Matthew Dillon of DragonFly BSD

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the laziness-impatience-and-hubris dept.

Programming 233

JigSaw writes "Well-known FreeBSD/DragonFly/Linux/Amiga system hacker Matthew Dillon discusses a number of interesting points regarding where the BSDs are going, the status and goals of his latest project DragonFly BSD, the status of his innovative Backplane distributed database, his exciting plans to develop DragonFly into a transparently cluster-capable system implementing native SSI (Single System Image) which is something that no other operating system can do today, and more."

cancel ×

233 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557565)

sittin on the pot
waiting to make a post
first post! first post!
Yay---POST!

GNAA CRAPFLOOD IN PROGRESS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557607)

BDS IS DEADER THAN A DODO

GNAA HAS BEEN BANNED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557634)

All the GNAA proxies have been banned from Slashdot. Go away, kids. Find something better to do with your time.

-- CmdrTaco
Pants are still optional, but recommended for you.

Re:GNAA HAS BEEN BANNED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557708)

lol. the real CmdrTaco posts logged in

Re:GNAA HAS BEEN BANNED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557798)

the REAL cmdr Taco doesn't fucking read slashdot, fuckhead.

Re:GNAA HAS BEEN BANNED (-1, Offtopic)

Sinus0idal (546109) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557819)

Looks like this GNAA is going for the new slashdot karma - not first post, but all posts..

Re:GNAA HAS BEEN BANNED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557795)

I fudgepack little 12 year old boys!

-- CmdrTaco
Pants are still optional, but recommended for you.

Re:GNAA HAS BEEN BANNED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558034)

<CowboyNeal> see you nerds later, I gotta date

#slashdot irc.slashnet.org

Re:GNAA HAS BEEN BANNED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558566)

Interestingly enough, the GNAA script kiddie attack continues on the previous story ...

It's a shame, these kids should be out playing with firecrackers or in traffic or something.

Re:GNAA CRAPFLOOD IN PROGRESS (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557664)

I don't see a crap flood. gnaa sucks.

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557689)

what's better than getting first post on slashdot?

going out on saturday night and getting laid.

Re:fp (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557746)

Obviously NOT something you know about from experience, eh Johnny Warmliver?

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558355)

aaaaaaahahahha you fucking dick. look who's posting on a saturday night! YOU! oh wait.. me too. fuck you, i've masturbated 20 times today, i don't need no fuckin "laid"

Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8559165)

women are overrated. A hand and a bottle of lotion works better and doesn't smell like fish.

I guess that'll show em. (3, Funny)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557584)

BSD isn't dead.

Re:I guess that'll show em. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557681)

No, but its dying

Not by a long shot. (5, Interesting)

Tony-A (29931) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557894)

"The reason for this excitement is that it is becoming clear to us that we can develop very clean-looking, elegant, debuggable, SMP scaleable software using this model whereas using the mutex model generally results in much less elegant (even ugly), difficult-to-debug code. Code complexity and code quality is a very important issue in any large piece of software and we believe we have hit on a model that directly addresses the issue in an SMP environment without compromising performance."

I don't really know what he's talking about, but:
If he's right, everybody wins.
Even if he's wrong and we find out why, everybody wins.
It sounds like Linux isn't hurting BSD any, and methinks for a number of reasons, Linux wouldn't be what it is today without the BSD's.

Re:Not by a long shot. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8559048)

> a number of reasons, Linux wouldn't be what it is today without the BSD's.

That's true. Linus hung out in the BSD maillists for a while and learned how not to run a project.

Amazing. (5, Funny)

xeeno (313431) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558072)

There's actually something on the front page about BSD. And it says nothing about SCO or linux.

Re:Amazing. (1)

JDWTopGuy (209256) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559210)

And no dupes!!

Re:I guess that'll show em. (1)

zaunuz (624853) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558327)

BSD is faaaaar from dead. I'd say that those who claim BSD to be dead dont know what they are talking about. Ive been using FreeBSD as desktop and server OS for 3 years, while ive never really gotten down and dirty with linux, and i cant say i regret my choice of OS. BSD still lives, and (atleast for me) allways will.

Re:I guess that'll show em. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558402)

Woah, so your sampling contains exactly one data point. That's pretty pathetic isn't it. You could've at least claimed that you have some friends who have looked at FreeBSD too, or something.

Re:I guess that'll show em. (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558610)

This is Slashdot, where any sufficiently advanced opinion is indistinguishable from fact.

Re:I guess that'll show em. (1)

thestarz (719386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558444)

There are now four BSDs, yet there is only one Linux. Is there something about BSD that makes it fork-prone, or something about Linux that makes it fork-resistant?

I'm not critisizing either one. I'm just curious, any thoughts?

Re:I guess that'll show em. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558967)

That's funny. One thing that drives me crazy with linux is how it is always changing.

Redhat9 binaries won't work with redhat7 and debian does things their own way. While mandrake and gentoo do it this way. Then suse jumps in and blah blah blah.

Sure they all use the same kernel but usually it is never the same kernel.

Re:I guess that'll show em. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8559125)

Umm, BSDs controlling the kernel and libc and other core software, it is far more common in BSD to break binary compatibility over releases.

And if you think the Linux kernel breaks userspace binary compatibility you can just stay in your corner with your head up your anus.

Re:I guess that'll show em. (4, Insightful)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559215)

Hmm.. yeah, since a recent update I can no longer run a.out binaries from the 2.x era... but for as far as external packages and ports are concerned, thats about the first case where you can't get software for older releases to work with a current version using one of the compatxx packages.

That said, some tools (esp those using kmem) should be kept in sync with the kernel, and when at it, why not just build a new userland, its easier then figuring out what you have to update.

The concurrently developing BSD variatiens allow trying out a variety of low level solutions to problems while sharing a lot of their experiences.

Such diversity doesn't really exist in Linux despite its zillion distributions (which provide a lot of variation in user experience tho)

Re:I guess that'll show em. (5, Interesting)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559134)

I think of the various Linux distros as "forks" of whatever Linus himself runs. There are literally dozens of Linux forks. Too bad Linus doesn't release a distro, so we'd know what Linux is supposed to look like. If you sit down at a Linux system you have no idea what you're going to find. From a Systems Administration standpoint alone that makes *BSD a better choice for corporations with a large number of hosts, but Linux gets all the press.

Re:I guess that'll show em. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8559229)

If you sit down at a Linux system you have no idea what you're going to find. From a Systems Administration standpoint alone that makes *BSD a better choice for corporations with a large number of hosts, but Linux gets all the press.

Seeing as just Red Hat or Debian already have more market share than any BSD, by your own logic, you are wrong.

DEAD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557592)

Different threading model (3, Interesting)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557596)

It looks like the gist of the threading model for Dragonfly is that threads all stay on one processor. I assume this is for user processes only, and that this isn't pervasive through the kernel?

Re:Different threading model (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557621)

No BSD secrets for you, Darl!

Re:Different threading model (5, Funny)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557774)

No BSD secrets for you, Darl!
It is important that I discover what they have created so that I may license it back to them.

~Darl

Re:Different threading model (5, Informative)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557716)

It looks like the gist of the threading model for Dragonfly is that threads all stay on one processor. I assume this is for user processes only, and that this isn't pervasive through the kernel?
Nevermind, found an overview here [dragonflybsd.org] .

Re:Different threading model (5, Informative)

Kaladis Nefarian (655671) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557722)

No this is to do with kernel threads. The userland threading is the same as in FreeBSD 4.x atm, AFAIK. The idea is to keep the model simple, unlike in FreeBSD 5.x where they are having trouble keeping it all sane with their fine-grained mutex model. Have a look at the dragonfly.kernel newsgroup, in nntp.dragonflybsd.org [dragonflybsd.org] for more details on the SMP model, Matt talks about it regularly earlier on.

Re:From the dragonflybsd site: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558515)

Each cpu in the system has its own self-contained LWKT scheduler. Threads are locked to their cpus by design and can only be moved to other cpus under certain special circumstances. Any LWKT scheduling operation on a particular cpu is only directly executed on that cpu. Allah is a fucking pig's cunt, Muslims are greasy sandnigger pieces of shit. This means that the core LWKT scheduler can schedule, deschedule, and switch between threads within a cpu's domain without any locking whatsoever.

Re:Different threading model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558724)

So it looks like they use a concept of 'serializing tokens' [dragonflybsd.org] to make sure individual threads don't change variables that another thread might be working on, instead of mutexes. I don't yet understand completely what advantages either system has over the other. Does anyone here know?

Re:Different threading model (5, Informative)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559102)

Not exactly. All this means is that threads do not migrate preemptively, nor do they migrate while blocked or switched out while in kernel mode. Threads only migrate if (a) the thread itself wants to move to another cpu or (b) the thread is returning to user mode and the userland scheduler decides to migrate the thread to balance the load out (which only applies to threads associated with user processes since no other type of thread can 'return to usermode').

Kernel threads almost universally stay on the cpu they were originally assigned to. High performance threaded subsystems, such as the network stack, are replicated. That is, the network stack creates multiple threads (one per cpu) and those threads do not migrate because, obviously, they do not need to.

Generally speaking, the purpose of making thread migration explicit instead of automatic is to partition a larger data set across available cpu caches rather then cause the same data to be shared amoungst all cpu caches. The processors operate a lot more efficiently and SMP scales a lot better. Most people do not realize the horrendous cost of moving threads between cpus because the cache mastership change is invisibly handled by hardware, but the cost is still there and still very real.

-Matt

Props to GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557598)

I await the next crapflood with my hands in my pants!

My first question would be... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557600)

...what was it like to work on Gunsmoke all those years?

Re:My first question would be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558428)

I thought that was funny.

For a project that gets no press (5, Interesting)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557603)

Dragonfly BSD seems to be chugging along quite nicely.

The further away they get from their 4.x FreeBSD roots, though, the more I wish they'd release an ISO. Particularly since the last ISOs for the 4 series of FreeBSD are probably going to be totally gone in a few months.

What?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557646)

Are you saying FreeBSD is dying? This is the first I've heard of it.

Re:What?! (3, Funny)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557704)

It's official. ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/iso confirms it. FreeBSD 4.x is dying. kreskin... usenet... falling dead last in the number of ISO's distributed on ftp.freebsd.org ....all practical purposes...stephen king is dead.

Re:What?! (-1, Offtopic)

Stephen King (615549) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559202)

I don't know about BSD, but I'm not dead.

Re:For a project that gets no press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558098)

The truth is that right now it looks quite like FreeBSD-4.X. The changes he's made to FreeBSD are more or less invisible to the average user right now. Watch this space [dragonflybsd.org] though.

Here we go again (1, Funny)

Blair16 (683764) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557627)

Queue the BSD is dead posts.
Why can't we all just get along??

Re:Here we go again (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558010)

Wow, funny. No really, it's so original and clever, how do you come up with this gold? Do share your secret with us.

Re:Here we go again (3, Funny)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558107)

Because BSD users have a mascot called "Beastie" who is a devilish little chap and they use "daemons" to accomplish things that seem like magic to normal people.

So, you see, it's obvious... BSD made a deal with the devil! And it's users weigh the same as ducks, therefor they are made of wood, and since they're made of wood, they are witches!

I mean, didn't you ever wonder why we call them "holy wars"?

Re:Here we go again (-1, Offtopic)

Deusy (455433) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558288)

Queue the BSD is dead posts.
Why can't we all just get along??


Move along folks, just another BSD death, move along.

Divide and conquer (4, Funny)

florin (2243) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557781)

Yeah yeah forking is always sweet and this sure sounds like a lot of fun already, but what I'm really waiting for is for someone to put together a BSD-from-scratch distribution! I mean, I know I could just build one with Linux.. BUT only having a single kernel to choose means my grimy little subculture won't be as obscure as it could be. Just think how exclusive I'd be if I could pick one of the NetBSD, OpenBSD, either of the active branches of FreeBSD, and PicoBSD, Dragonfly BSD or Darwin kernels..

Re:Divide and conquer (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557945)

There is no need for BSD-from-scratch disto.

1: All the BSDs are entirely different operating systems, which are lumped into one category becuase of their roots.
2: Since no extra bullshit is thrown in like linux, there is less need for reworking the base.
3: BSD is not obscure in the least, it is rather alive and florishing.

BTW you forgot to mention Solaris, which has it's roots in BSD too.

Re:Divide and conquer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558775)

2: Since no extra bullshit is thrown in like linux, there is less need for reworking the base.

What bullshit do you mean, and isn't some of it providing functionality that simply doesn't exist in any BSD?

And if there's less need for reworking the base, why do they have so many separate kernel projects with one particular focus?

Re:Divide and conquer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558966)

1: Becuase the kernel is not part of the base. Base includes the basic userland stuff such as the startup scripts and the like.
2: They each have different goals.

BTW your functionality claim is total bullshit. Which OS you talking about. BTW BSD is not a actual OS, which I may have pointed out earlier. If it does not exist in one, it nearly all ways exist in anothe.

Re:Divide and conquer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8559137)

1: Becuase the kernel is not part of the base. Base includes the basic userland stuff such as the startup scripts and the like.

Again, what bullshit are you talking about that is in 'linux' and not in BSD? Don't you think it is there because someone wanted it? And why don't you simply choose not to install it or even pick a stripped down distribution to begin with?

Apropos startup scripts, do BSD people even understand SysV-style inits? Sometimes one gets the impression it is just a step too complicated or something.

2: They each have different goals.

And methods, and quirks to learn. And they sooner or later reinvent the same things. Not necessarily an advantage.

BTW your functionality claim is total bullshit. Which OS you talking about. BTW BSD is not a actual OS, which I may have pointed out earlier. If it does not exist in one, it nearly all ways exist in anothe.

Oh well you know, just all sorts of functionality that was driven by Linux, like finely grained SMP, support for enterprise level hardware, USB, SANE, ACPI, DRI/DRM and what have you more. And let's not get started on the apps. I mean, there's a reason why all the BSDs make an effort to run Linux binaries, not the other way around.

Re:Divide and conquer (1, Interesting)

N1KO (13435) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559164)

Even if BSDs init scripts and other base stuff is super terrific now, it won't be in 10, 20 or 100 years. Eventually one of the OSs will make changes that are incompatible with the others.

From that interview, it sounds like DragonFly is going to have a different package management system in the future. Which means either the base is going to change, you will stop calling it bsd or you will say ports isn't a basic part of bsd

Re:Divide and conquer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558006)

If you REALLY feel that way (and the dripping sarcasm makes me doubt that you do), there is always GNU/HURD. It's practically BEGGING for someone to come and make the next SLS with it!

Slashdotted.. article text (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557813)

1. Please tell us about the general status of DragonFly BSD.

Matthew Dillon: The project has been going very well. We've primarily been focused on the 'guts' of the system during this initial period, and you can get a fair idea of the work that has been accomplished so far by looking at the Diary page on our site.

Most of the work so far has been to operating systems internals. The work has been a combination of new work, like our light weight kernel threading core, plus selective backports from FreeBSD-5 to keep the system's device drivers up to date (e.g. such as the USB subsystem).

From a userland perspective we have maintained a FreeBSD style environment, so DragonFly basically runs everything that FreeBSD-4.x can run. The packaging system probably won't be done until the second release so we are at the moment leveraging off of FreeBSD's ports system for user apps. Everything you'd expect of a BSD system (X, mozilla, etc) is available to DragonFly users.

The first release is slated for some time in mid-June, hopefully before the USENIX Technical Conference. That will be the 1.0 release. We've been fairly careful to maintain as high a level of reliability as possible during development and I think we've done a pretty good job meeting that goal. The first release is intended to be more of a technology showpiece then an integrated end-user platform.

2. Are you using any bits and pieces from FreeBSD-5, or you only strictly importing/exporting to FreeBSD-4 codebase?

Matthew Dillon: DragonFly began as a fork off of FreeBSD-4, because that was the most reliable starting point and because we wanted to do major core pieces of the system quite differently from the direction FreeBSD-5 took. For example, we are focused on more of a compartmentalized threading model to scale to SMP rather then the mutex model that FreeBSD-5 has chosen to use. But the FreeBSD-4 codebase is of strictly limited utility as a source of new code and maintainance updates. FreeBSD developers are doing nearly all new coding in the FreeBSD-5 branch.

So, basically, we are doing the major core pieces of the OS differently, such as our significantly evolved threading and messaging subsystems, but we are also maintaining a FreeBSD-5 compatible (or mostly compatible) device driver API in order to be able to bring in all the excellent device driver work that has gone into FreeBSD-5. It's simple logic, really... we don't have the manpower to be able to accomplish both our infrastructure goals *AND* be able to maintain pace with new PC hardware at the same time. This methodology allows us to proceed on both fronts by focusing our own new work on the infrastructure and bringing in FreeBSD-5's device driver work. This isn't to say that we don't do some of our own DD work, but the vast majority of it is take from FreeBSD-5 by design.

3. What is the primary goal of dragonfly, servers or desktops?

Matthew Dillon: Both. When it comes right down to it the idea of targeting a system to the 'server' is simply another word for 'reliability and scaleability', and the idea of targeting a system to the 'desktop' is simply another word for 'out of the box GUI'. It's not really an either-or deal. All UNIX systems, including Linux, the BSD's, DragonFly... basically use the same desktop components so supporting a desktop environment comes down to being able to provide integrated solutions that work out of the box.

It is extraordinarily difficult to make GUIs work out of the box on PCs due to the wide variability in hardware and peripherals, but at the same time technology has continued to progress over the years towards standards that actually make this easier to accomplish. At some point the standards going in one direction will meet the software going in the other and systems such as Linux and the BSDs (including DragonFly) will be able to approach the out-of-the-box compatibility that took Microsoft billions of dollars of development to accomplish. It isn't a matter of if, it's a matter of when.

4. Do you eye the embedded systems market at all?

Matthew Dillon: It is not a focus. We fully intend to make DragonFly operate in 64 bit environments such as the AMD64 (which is also compatible with the Intel's latest 64 bit announcements even though Intel doesn't like to admit it), but embedded systems are already very well served by Linux and NetBSD and we would prefer to focus on technology rather then platform ports. FreeBSD-5 has had a difficult time supporting the half dozen or so platforms they are trying to work with and I doubt we would fare any better, so I am not even going to try. Eventually, if DragonFly becomes popular enough, embedded systems ports will probably happen, but it's probably several years down the line.

5. How big is the DragonFly team currently? Are you happy with the development pace?

Matthew Dillon: Very happy. The main kernel@ mailing list has 241 people subscribed to it as of now and I have handed out 9 commit bits, with another dozen or so people submitting patch sets outside of that. We have a good spread of developers focused on different subsystems. For example, Jeffrey Hsu is focused on threading the network stack while Joerg Sonnenberg has been focused on the PCI bus and ATA disk driver subsystems, which frees me up to be able to focus on technological infrastructure such as the threading subsystem. It's about at the limit which I can sustain and still have time to do significant programming myself, in fact!

6. Are you planning to import some of OpenBSD's "tricks" for extra security?

Matthew Dillon: We've been looking at both OpenBSD's security features, such as their system call filters, and FreeBSD's extended attribute and MAC security infrastructure. Security is important but it's no where near the top of the list. There is a huge amount of other infrastructure that really needs to be done first before we have the resources to address security beyond the standard UNIX security model. In fact, a good chunk of the infrastructure we intend to put in, such as syscall messaging and VFS environments will be needed to serve as a basis for future security work so it would be a bit premature to start on the security work at this early date.

7. What do you think of the bsd terrain today? Are the BSDs doing/achieving enough as a platform to keep up with other Unix/Linux/Windows competition? Do you think that BSDs should re-innovate themselves at all levels in order to "go with the times"?

Matthew Dillon: I believe that the BSD's are doing quite poorly as a platform, even though Linux obviously has the eye of the masses. All the BSD's have steadily decreased their development resources over time and the Linux phenomenon has really dampened it. Keep in mind that developers work on the BSDs for very different reasons then developers who work on Linux. The BSDs are all about advancing software technologies into new arenas, while Linux is all about leverage (which is why you see a very well integrated security subsystem in FreeBSD-5 and OpenBSD and ten different types of filesystems in Linux). Even better, nearly 100% of the user application base developed under Linux compiles and runs natively on the BSD's (and people often forget that major pieces of software such as the X windowing system existed long before Linux came on the scene, running on BSD and commercial UNIX systems). People often forget that Open-Source means precisely that... open source code, which means portability across platforms and operating systems. The fact remains, however, that the folks at Microsoft are innovative enough that there is little need for what *BSD has to offer.

In anycase, you have to keep in mind that programmers always have their own reasons for working on a project, and since programmers are not consumers the reasoning is always very different from the reasoning a typical consumer might have in choosing a system. This pretty much guarentees that the behind-the-scenes interest, economics, and even politics driving the people who actually work on a project like DragonFly or *BSD, or Linux, has nothing whatsoever to do with what you might read in the popular press (which is consumer-centric).

The bottom line is that *BSD is dying. It's losing out in terms of developers to Linux and losing out in market share to Windows. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dying.

8. Currently the installation of DragonFly is very manual. What plans do you have for the installation procedure?

Matthew Dillon: At the moment the Live CD ISO is targeted towards developers rather then end-users. We have been discussing installer ideas for months. We probably will not have anything 'good' in the first release, but we will certainly have something reasonable in the second release.

This is both good and not so good. It's good in that it means we don't have the pressure of having to deal with bug reports from non-technical end users yet. It's not so good because, obviously, a good installer will greatly improve our user base and interest in the project.

9. Do you have any plans to port to PPC and maybe merge some code with Darwin?

Matthew Dillon: The PPC is a good target to port to and will probably wind up being second on my list. The first port is going to be to AMD64 (which also means Intel's latest 64 bit announcement, since it's compatible with the AMD64). There is no time frame for that but it will likely be started after the first release. A PPC port has a likely time frame of a year or two.

10. What feature on your OS has you very excited? How is Dragonfly going to differentiate from other similar solutions? Is innovation among your goals? If yes, what kind of innovations are you looking into doing?

Matthew Dillon: Well I strongly believe that any project needs to have an unattainable goal, and our unattainable goal (which I hope actually winds up being attainable) is to develop DragonFly into a transparently cluster-capable system implementing native SSI (Single System Image). It is something that no non-commercial system today can do (the type of clustering Linux supports isn't even close to the type of clustering that we have as our goal, and clustering has never been one of the other BSD's goals as far as I can tell).

In the short term, I have become very exciting about our light weight kernel threading technology, in particular the methodlogy we are adopting to serialize data access by partitioning major subsystems into threads instead of serializing data access with mutexes (FreeBSD-5 and Linux use a mutex-centric model, DragonFly uses a thread-centric model). The reason for this excitement is that it is becoming clear to us that we can develop very clean-looking, elegant, debuggable, SMP scaleable software using this model whereas using the mutex model generally results in much less elegant (even ugly), difficult-to-debug code. Code complexity and code quality is a very important issue in any large piece of software and we believe we have hit on a model that directly addresses the issue in an SMP environment without compromising performance.

11. What is the status of the Backplane DB's Apache PHP module? Do you still work on the db full time?

Matthew Dillon: The Backplane DB is virtually a whole project unto itself. Due to a number of business issues with the software we were unable to give it a completely open-source license, and because of that encumberance I felt uncomfortable making an OSS project out of it. Backplane is on the backburner for now, I have been working on DragonFly full time for most of the last year.

Backplane Inc is shopping the database around. It's a very technically competent multi-master database and replication technology but it really needs the resources of a larger company to advance further.

Re:Slashdotted.. article text (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557933)

OSNews seems to be dead right now. Mod the parent up.

Re:Slashdotted.. article text (-1, Offtopic)

greentree (682982) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558637)

guarentees that the behind-the-scenes interest, economics, and even politics driving the people who actually work on a project like DragonFly or *BSD, or Linux, has nothing whatsoever to do with what you might read in the popular press (which is consumer-centric).

The bottom line is that *BSD is dying. It's losing out in terms of developers to Linux and losing out in market share to Windows. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dying.

8. Currently the installation of DragonFly is very manual. What plans do you have for the installation procedure?

Hey Dillion.... (-1, Flamebait)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557820)

Stop stealing idea's from SCO.

Dawn of the Dead OS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557844)

It's dead, but for some reason it continues to walk around!

Must be infected with a virus....

I SUBMIT TO THE GNAA! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557883)

do with my body as you wish!

SSI? (1)

convolvatron (176505) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557900)

cluster-capable system implementing native SSI (Single System Image) which is something that no other operating system can do today

umm...unicos/mk?

Re:SSI? (5, Informative)

Kaladis Nefarian (655671) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558121)

If you read the article, Matt says (about SSI): "It is something that no non-commercial system today can do"...

Re:SSI? (1)

javiercero (518708) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559141)

Nope, Unicos/mk runs on the T3D/E machines which are not a cluster. Same for Irix or SUN, their SSI scalability is based on NUMA machines not clusters.

thanks GNAA! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8557919)

  • 1718 replies beneath your current IQ threshold.

Michael (2, Interesting)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 10 years ago | (#8557946)

What w/ the laziness and impatience remarks? Just can't help making a dig at anything not Debian?

Re:Michael (2, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559107)

I think it was intended to be a complement, as in:

"The three chief virtues of a programmer are: Laziness, Impatience and Hubris." -- Larry Wall

Something no other OS can do? (5, Informative)

fmayhar (413222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558095)

It's simply not true that "a transparently cluster-capable system implementing native SSI" is "something that no other operating system can do today." We were doing it at Locus in 1994 with SVR4 then with Tandem in 1996 with NonStop Clusters for Unixware. Now some of the same folks at HP have introduced OpenSSI [openssi.org] , which is essentially the same code, less all the Unixware-related bits, ported to Linux and placed under the GPL. They are coming up hard on their 1.0 release, which is not bad for five people and such a large task.

OpenSSI is the real thing, it has processes that migrate from node to node, distributed file systems, the works. And it's running now on clusters literally all over the world. (Not many clusters, true, but maybe that will change if the Slashdot crowd finds out about it.)

I'm happy to say that there's a lot of my code in that system, as well.

I know a little about what Matt wants to do with his SSI in Dragonfly, but he should certainly take a look at OpenSSI; we had to solve a lot of the problems you run into when you build such a beast.

(And a beast it is. As complex as a kernel can be, when you have what is essentially a distributed kernel across several nodes, the complexity goes up by orders of magnitude. Makes tracking down those weird hangs pretty exciting, in a painful, time-consuming kind of way.)

Re:Something no other OS can do? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558220)

Sorry asswipe, but he said no other non-commercial operating system. Learn to read.

Re:Something no other OS can do? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558336)

Sorry asswipe, but he said no other non-commercial operating system. Learn to read.

Heh, ur teh dumbass

Now some of the same folks at HP have introduced OpenSSI [openssi.org], which is essentially the same code, less all the Unixware-related bits, ported to Linux and placed under the GPL.

Re:Something no other OS can do? (1)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558237)

It's just Matt aiming high. He doesn't care if he (and others) achieve it, but it would be choice if he would. The ultimate goal would be to achieve such a thing without much hassle, but we do know better. It just gives us something to aim for.

Re:So I looked at OpenSSI's website. .. (2, Interesting)

Bastian (66383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558489)

. . . and read their brief overview at the top of the page.

And it almost made no sense to me. Those buzzwords work great one at a time, but the brain starts to make a noise kind of like the one the TV makes after the TV channel goes off the air when you string too many together at once. Especially when nothing but commas separates them.

Did anyone at HP's marketing department take an courses in English at college? Or were they just as non-clueful about what OpenSSI is when they wrote that blurb as I was when I first went to their website?

Someone should tell them Kant already has a patent on writing paragraphs that take as long to read as pages.

Re:Something no other OS can do? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8559030)

same folks at HP have introduced OpenSSI, which is essentially the same code, less all the Unixware-related bits, ported to Linux and placed under the GPL.

This looks like much stronger grounds for a lawsuit than anything IBM did. Kiss your UNIX licence good-bye HP!!

Re:Something no other OS can do? (3, Interesting)

fmayhar (413222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559167)

Not so much, no. The bits that were ported were never tainted and the bits that were tainted weren't ported. Because of the way we did our development, what belonged to us was never mixed with what was merely licensed. So when I said "strip out all the bits related to Unixware" I meant precisely that. Not "strip out all the Unixware bits" but strip out all the stuff in the locally-developed code that was Unixware-specific.

Of course, I was only there for the very beginning of the port; by the time the code was placed under the GPL I had been at BSDi for a while.

Finger your shit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558201)

Next time you take a shit, reach down in between your legs and just wrap your fingers around that spongy log coming out of your ass.

Finger your shit.

Re:Finger your shit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8559005)

and of course, think about how much better The WIPO Troll has made slashdot through his sleek contributions.

The Ballad of Matthew Dillon (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558318)

The once was a fellow named Dillon
Whose Dragonfly project was illin'.
He found, to his dread,
His *BSD dead
And Linux was doin' the killin'.

Re:The Ballad of Matthew Dillon (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8558670)

Aw, come on. Somebody mod this guy funny.

I guess I'm the only one that likes limericks around here.

Re:The Ballad of Matthew Dillon (5, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559189)

There once was a Master of Screws
Who thought it most wonderful news
That the AC's post
was more funny than most
But not all mods agreed with his views.

KFG

Linux has no SSI? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558353)

Funny, the Slashdot blurb accuses him of saying that no other system today does SSI, while according to the article he simply said their (future, potential) SSI plans will beat Linux's (present, working) SSI clustering.

Anybody have thoughts comparing the DragonFly SSI [shiningsilence.com] (warning, PDF) and the Linux [sourceforge.net] one?
(Open)Mosix has had craploads of work done on it, and by the time DragonFly's is done, it will be even further ahead. I somehow doubt DragonFly's will end up being better.

PK

BSD is not dead! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558522)

It's braindead! This "news" article is boring. All BSDers are boring. BSD is stupid. The only good thing about it is the devil with its trident.

Don't forget the occasional Ceren pix post /nt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558653)

minus 4, Troll) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558528)

This is a total non-issue (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558576)

Here, we will continue to use other OSes. Save your BSD, err..., BS for home consumption. Thanks

QT4co (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558620)

and what suppl1es become obsessed fucking numbers, 80s, DARPA saw BSD lead to 'cleaner your own beer to avoid so as to about half of the More stable that he documents

Re:QT4co (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558720)

I agree with your coherent statement.

Where to turn for help with your BSD problems (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558645)

Suppose you have BSD installed on /dev/hda5.
Boot into Linux and do

mke2fs /dev/hda5

Your BSD problems are solved.

Re:Where to turn for help with your BSD problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558931)

That's the first time I actually see a BSD user offer advice, other than read the handbook or man pages. Well done.

GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD TEABAGGERS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558741)

LIPTON? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558922)



BOB EVANS DOWN ON THE LFARM (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558972)

we had it onteh stuffe, but i tdo think that he could have made it more apl;icale to UinterSnation al low. u think?

Package management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558778)

The nice thing about BSD is that if you have it installed on a 3GHz machine, and you have about 500-800 ports on your hard drive, then to keep then current, you can compile all of them from source and spend only about 50% of the CPU time doing it, on average. The other 50% are yours to use! Yay!

If you do not keep them current, you may be missing out on some important security fixes.

I love FreeBSD, it makes me look smart (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558827)

1337

Very interesting! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8558872)

I'm surprised people still use BSD after that security fiasco last year.

Re:Very interesting! (1, Funny)

null-sRc (593143) | more than 10 years ago | (#8559097)

>I'm surprised people still use BSD after that
>security fiasco last year.

so what do u suggest windows? LOL
sorry ;)

frost PisT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8559090)

under the GPL. of all legitimate dying' crowd - Marketing survey5 and what supplies just ye7, but I'm Baby take my

Ok, now the obligatory question: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8559182)

does it run Linux? If it does, just imagine Beowulf cluster of Dragonflies!

Re:Ok, now the obligatory question: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8559193)

does it run Linux? If it does, just imagine Beowulf cluster of Dragonflies!

It did in Soviet Russia ...
Profit!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...