Customizing NetBSD boot banners

I recently discovered that it’s surprisingly easy to customize the NetBSD boot loader banner, simply by adding some directives in the boot.cfg configuration file. Here is the relevant part of the boot.cfg(5) manual page: banner The text from banner lines is displayed instead of the standard welcome text by the boot loader. Up to 12 lines can be defined. No special character sequences are recognised, so to specify a blank line, a banner line with no value should be given....

May 12, 2022 · 2 min

File transfers via the parallel port on DOS using LapLink

I’ve already mentioned the HP t5570e and HP t510 thin clients a few times on this site, so they probably don’t require any more introduction. I will however just stress that one of the nice thing they have going for them is that they still have serial and parallel ports. I’ve already put their parallel port to good use, as it allowed me to re-plug my Flash Advance Linker and also use the wonderful OPL3LPT device (an ‘AdLib’ parallel port FM synthesizer soundcard)....

April 13, 2022 · 3 min

Toolchains adventures - Q1 2022

This is the fourth post in my toolchains adventures series. Please check the previous posts in the toolchains category for more context about this journey. In Pkgsrc land, I packaged and imported pax-utils, and updated mold to the 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.0.3, 1.1, and 1.1.1 versions. Since version 1.0.2, mold can now link NetBSD object files thanks to work done by pho@. I also committed upstream fix for CVE-2021-45078 in binutils to fix an out-of-bounds write, and imported our NetBSD/aarch64 support patches for ld from the NetBSD’s src repository....

April 1, 2022 · 1 min

GBA nostalgia and the Flash Advance Linker

I got involved with GameBoy advance development in 2001 shortly after the release of the device on the European market. At the time, the PC demoscene had already moved to producing those horrible hardware-accelerated 3D demos and it was time for me to move on. In my eyes, the GBA scene provided a refuge for the 2D and bitmapped graphics lovers, and so I spent some time playing with the device....

March 17, 2022 · 2 min

FreeBSD on the Vortex86DX CPU

After trying NetBSD and OpenBSD on my DMP EBOX 3300A-H with a Vortex86DX CPU, I was curious to see how FreeBSD would fare on such constrained systems these days. For more information and background about the hardware, please refer to my previous article. Attempting to install FreeBSD 13.0 failed early when loading the kernel, and both supported releases from the FreeBSD 12 series (12.2 and 12.3) also exhibit the same issue....

March 15, 2022 · 8 min

FreeBSD on the CubieBoard2

I have previously been running NetBSD/evbarm and OpenBSD/armv7 on my CubieBoard2, and wrote about it here and here. The Cubieboard2 is an ARMv7 device which was released in 2013 so it is quite ancient by now. However, a renewed interest in FreeBSD on my side prompted me to try running the system on this device. ARMv7 is a Tier 2 architecture on FreeBSD, so the system cannot be upgraded by freebsd-update and must be kept up to date by source....

March 14, 2022 · 6 min

Toolchains adventures - Q4 2021

This is the third post in my toolchains adventures series. Please read the introduction and the Q3 2021 report if you want to get more context about this journey. The fourth quarter of 2021 started out in the best possible way, as I’ve been granted commit access to the LLVM project on October 1st. During the first part of October, I did commit a couple of micro-optimizations to several compiler drivers along with small improvements in various places, as highlighted in the commit list at the end of this post....

January 3, 2022 · 5 min

OpenBSD on the VIA Eden X2 powered HP t510 Thin Client

Back in 2017, I bought two used HP thin clients on a local auction site, the t5570e and the t510, both of them powered by VIA x86-64 CPUs. In this article, I will focus on the t510, which is the more powerful of the two. The CPU in this machine is a VIA Eden X2 U4200, which is a dual-core x86-64 CPU running at 1GHz released in 2011. For those interested about the status of those CPUs, I wrote an article about the future of VIA x86 processors back in 2018....

November 25, 2021 · 7 min

NetBSD, CTWM, and Spleen

Back in the fall of 2020, I was approached about adding Spleen to the NetBSD’s xsrc repository. Needless to say, I wasn’t difficult to convince, and imported Spleen 1.8.2 as font-spleen-misc. With this being done, nia@ added all the required glue to hook the fonts to the build, and then changed the default CTWM configuration to do automatic font scaling based on screen size, and make Spleen the default font....

October 9, 2021 · 1 min

Toolchains adventures - Q3 2021

I’ve been keeping myself busy since I posted the “Diving into toolchains” article at the beginning of June, so here is an update detailing what I’ve been up to during the past couple of months. At the end of June, I went through the FSF copyright assignment process for both Binutils and GDB, which now allows me to contribute larger changes to these codebases. I thus updated the NetBSD system call table in GDB, and added support to readelf for reading OpenBSD ELF core notes....

October 1, 2021 · 4 min