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

OpenBSD on the Vortex86DX CPU

This is the OpenBSD counterpart of my article about running NetBSD on the Vortex86DX CPU, and its purpose is mostly to archive a dmesg entry and various benchmarks for this machine. I should note that with only 256MB of RAM, the machine is too constrained to do kernel and libraries relinking in a timely manner, due to swapping. For more information and background about the hardware, please refer to my other article....

September 24, 2021 · 5 min

The state of toolchains in OpenBSD

For most of the 2010s, the OpenBSD base system has been stuck with GCC 4.2.1. It was released in July 2007, imported into the OpenBSD source tree in October 2009, and became the default compiler on the amd64, i386, hppa, sparc64, socppc and macppc platforms in OpenBSD 4.8, released in November 2010. As specified in the commit message during import, this is the last version released under the GPLv2 license....

May 19, 2021 · 5 min

OpenBSD/loongson on the Lemote Fuloong

In my article about running OpenBSD/loongson on the Lemote Yeeloong back in 2016, I mentioned looking for a Fuloong. All hope seemed lost until the Summer of 2017, when a fellow OpenBSD developer was contacted by a generous user (Thanks again, Lars!) offering to donate two Lemote Fuloong machines, and I was lucky enough to get one of those units. This machine uses the same CPU as the Yeeloong, a Loongson 2F which is a single-core MIPS-III 64-bit processor running at 800/900 MHz....

March 4, 2021 · 3 min

Modernizing the OpenBSD console

At the beginning were text mode consoles. Traditionally, *BSD and Linux on i386 and amd64 used text mode consoles which by default provided 25 rows of 80 columns, the “80x25 mode”. This mode uses an 8x16 font stored in the VGA BIOS (which can be slightly different across vendors). OpenBSD uses the wscons(4) console framework, inherited from NetBSD. CRT monitors allowed you to set the resolution you wanted, so on bigger monitors, the 80x25 console in textmode was fairly large but not blurry....

August 31, 2020 · 4 min

OpenBSD framebuffer console and custom color palettes

On framebuffer consoles, OpenBSD uses the rasops(9) subsystem, which was imported from NetBSD in March 2001. The RGB values for the ANSI color palette in rasops have been chosen to match the ones in Open Firmware, and are different from those in the VGA text mode color palette. Rasops palette: VGA text mode palette: As one can see, the difference is quite significant, and decades of exposure to MS-DOS and Linux consoles makes it quite difficult to adapt to a different palette....

June 6, 2020 · 1 min

OpenBSD/armv7 on the CubieBoard2

I bought the CubieBoard2 back in 2016 with the idea to run OpenBSD on it, but because of various reliability issues with the onboard NIC, it ended up running NetBSD for a few weeks before ending up in a drawer. Back in October, Mark Kettenis committed code to allow switching to the framebuffer “glass” console in the bootloader on OpenBSD/armv7, making it possible to install the system without using a serial cable....

May 27, 2020 · 4 min

My OpenBSD commits

Today marks my three year anniversary as an OpenBSD developer. I got my commit bit on August 31th 2016 during the g2k16 hackathon in Cambridge, UK. A few months ago, I came across a Perl one-liner script to produce commit time distribution ASCII graphs from a Git repository, and I finally have a good pretext to run it :-) As of this day, I have done 749 commits to OpenBSD, in the following repositories: src (127), ports(596), www (24), and xenocara (2)....

August 31, 2019 · 3 min

OpenBSD/arm64 on the NanoPi NEO2

I bought the NanoPi NEO2 solely for it’s form-factor, and I haven’t been disappointed. It’s a cute little board (40*40mm), which is to the best of my knowledge the smallest possible device one can run OpenBSD on. The CPU is a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 which is quite capable, a GENERIC.MP kernel build taking 15 minutes. On the downside, the board only has 512MB of RAM. An USB to TTL serial cable is required to connect to the board and perform installation....

November 13, 2018 · 3 min

Booting OpenBSD kernels in EFI mode with QEMU

I’ve been working on stuff involving the EFI framebuffer lately, and needed a way to quickly test kernels without having to reboot my development machine each and every time. As it turns out, it’s possible to achieve using OVMF (Open Virtual Machine Firmware), a BSD licensed UEFI firmware implementation targeted at virtual machines. A prebuilt image can be downloaded here. We will need to create two drives: One drive using a FAT filesystem to store the EFI payload (the OpenBSD bootloader) Another drive using a FFS filesystem containing the OpenBSD kernel Thankfully, QEMU allows to create virtual drives with FAT filesystems from local directories, and we can easily create an FFS filesystem image using makefs(8)....

June 24, 2018 · 2 min