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

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

NetBSD on the Vortex86DX CPU

I’m not exactly sure how I first heard about the Vortex86 CPUs, I think it was either when seeing the demonstration video on KolibriOS project site showcasing the system running on a DMP EBOX machine, or when skimming NetBSD’s identcpu.c code. Or did the discovery of the machine prompted me to check if the CPU would be correctly probed by the NetBSD’s kernel? For those interested, Wikipedia has an article retracing the history of the Vortex86 from its birth at Rise to our days....

June 3, 2021 · 8 min

The state of toolchains in NetBSD

While FreeBSD and OpenBSD both switched to using LLVM/Clang as their base system compiler, NetBSD picked a different path and remained with GCC and binutils regardless of the license change to GPLv3. However, it doesn’t mean that the NetBSD project endorses this license, and the NetBSD Foundation’s has issued a statement about its position on the subject. Realistically, NetBSD is more or less tied to GCC, as it supports more architectures than the other BSDs, some of which will likely never be supported in LLVM....

April 9, 2021 · 3 min

NetBSD on the EdgeRouter Lite

NetBSD-current now has pre-built octeon bootable images (which will appear in NetBSD 10.0) for the evbmips port, so I decided to finally give it a try. I’ve been happily running OpenBSD/octeon on my EdgeRouter Lite for a few years now, and have previously published some notes including more detail about the CPU. Contrary to the OpenBSD/octeon port which is very stable and runs SMP kernels, things are a little less polished on the NetBSD side for this platform....

January 29, 2021 · 5 min

NetBSD on the NanoPi NEO2

The NanoPi NEO2 from FriendlyARM has been serving me well since 2018, being my test machine for OpenBSD/arm64 related things. As NetBSD/evbarm finally gained support for AArch64 in NetBSD 9.0, released back in February, I decided to give it a try on this device. The board only has 512MB of RAM, and this is where NetBSD really shines. Things have become a lot easier since jmcneill@ now provides bootable ARM images for a variety of devices, including the NanoPi NEO2....

August 6, 2020 · 8 min

NetBSD on the CubieBoard2

Here are some notes on installing and running NetBSD/evbarm on the AllWinner A20 powered CubieBoard2. I bought this board a few weeks ago for its SATA capabilities, despite the fact that there are now cheaper boards with more powerful CPUs. Required steps for creating a bootable micro SD card are detailed on the NetBSD Wiki, and a NetBSD installation is required to run mkubootimage. I used an USB to TTL serial cable to connect to the board and create user accounts....

July 8, 2016 · 5 min

GPU-accelerated video playback with NetBSD on the Raspberry Pi

NetBSD 7 gained support for hardware acceleration on the Raspberry Pi last January, and OMXPlayer was subequently imported into Pkgsrc. This combination allows seamless video playback directly in console. For testing this setup, I used Jun Ebihara’s prebuilt NetBSD RPi image and packages. Installing OMXPlayer using binary packages: pkg_add omxplayer Playing a video after blanking the screen: omxplayer -b captain-comic.avi This works unsurprisingly well and the player is quite pleasant to use....

April 30, 2015 · 1 min

NetBSD on the Raspberry Pi

Last spring, I finally caved in and ordered a Raspberry Pi. In fact, I had a very precise reason to do so: it makes a nice and affordable little board to run NetBSD natively. Before starting, I recommend using a Class 10 SDHC Card as it will make the whole process of using pkgsrc faster. Creating the SD card As the Rapberry Pi port is still not part of the stable release, we will have to run NetBSD-current....

September 25, 2014 · 5 min

NetBSD ASCII logos

Since I’ve been more and more interested about NetBSD lately, I decided to draw some ASCII logos to be used as motd and/or as /etc/issue. So here are the two variants I came up with, rendered with Amiga Topaz font. Feel free to use them on your systems, and change the NetBSD port in the information boxes accordingly. I currently use mainly NetBSD/evbarm, so the logos reflect that. The files can be downloaded here and here....

September 12, 2014 · 1 min