Archive for April 2005
The more I read about FreeBSD, the more I love it
It is good that I know already that my new OS project is actually of no practical use unless some really groundbreaking changes/optimizations/algorithms go into it, which is not my plan at the moment. I plan to make a simple toy OS.
Anyway, back to FreeBSD; I have been reading about it’s Virtual Memory Implementation. The article talks about the VM implemented in FreeBSD 4.x, we have 5.x Stable and 6.x in the making, imagine how ahead the FreeBSD hackers have gone!
The gist of the article (as I understood in a quick read) would be – FreeBSD is a mature OS, it has seen different times and has learnt a lot from them. It has not only learnt from it’s achievements, but also from its mistakes. Today, like since the first day, FreeBSD aims to make software that is beautiful to look at, from the human as well as machine’s point of view. Beautiful as in, it works beautifully. FreeBSD works better than other OSes almsot all of the time. It works even better under stress. FreeBSD is at the bleeding edge “technology” wise and it is still getting better.
The above summary has carefully avoided any technical details from creeping in – for the sake of simplicity!
I haven’t received the batteries and charger yet… so the photography is still not up to it’s speed. I’m using an old charger that takes a while to charge the batteries. And I miss my spare set
Okay! I have a few photos lined up… recently there have been a few odd rains. Odd because it’s supposed to be summer and there’s time for the rains to start! But I enjoy rains and clouds; so does my camera!
Basic functions are being written and the minimal kernel capable of echoing typed characters should be ready within a few days. I mahev the most basic memcpy, strlen etc functions ready. I’ll be testing them and moving forward to next step.
Photography is on hold for a while – I forgot the spare batteries and the charger in Vasai, so until it reaches me here… I have not batteries. And no, regular batteries are no replacement!
Anyway, it’s been a looong day. I’ve been awake 22+ hours and that’s enough for today! Good night world.
$ fortune If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton In the sciences, we are now uniquely privileged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on my shoulders. -- Hal Abelson In computer science, we stand on each other's feet. -- Brian K. Reid $
*cough* *cough* if you did not understand where exactly I got this from… you have not yet seen the fun side of UNIX Fortune is a software, rather a standard software included in FreeBSD as well as other BSDs and the unix look-alikes.
Today I started off from SDF’s own list of pages, surfing one wave of sites after the other… came to one page that redirected me to a website that says “Lucid Dreaming for All” and from there found another interesting website about the tzolkin 13 moon calendar. This is a new way of keeping time, based on the ancient maya calendar. Here’s information about me based on the day I was born:
Lunar Moon day 10
Year of the White Self-Existing Wizard
kin 171: Blue Lunar Monkey
I Polarize in order to Play
I seal the Process of Magic
With the Lunar tone of Challenge
I am guided by the power of Abundance
Disclaimer: I don’t endorse the above ideas; I am simply taking a look at them and pointing out that these websites exist.
Currently doing the most important thing – getting my knowledge upto date with the requirements of writing an OS.
Reading about pentium microprocessor and about OS concepts like job scheduling, memory management. Some of this was covered in the course of BSc. Computer Science – but what I learnt looks more like a big joke when compared to what the reality is.
Anyway, I’m learning, and learning fast. In a week’s time I should be upto the mark for startig to write my own basic kernel.
Currently I have the MOST basic kernel ready, it basically does nothing, just goes into an unending loop with a blank screen staring at me.
I must tell you – FreeBSD makes the BEST platform for playing around with things like making your own kernel!
First I tried using Windows (R) (C) (TM) (whatever). The tools needed to be downloaded right from the assembler and linker – nasm, ld to djgpp for gcc (C Compiler) support then downloaded and used Bochs, VMWare [trial] , Winimage [trial] to transfer the kernel binary to the floppy image and then booting it. It was a proper pain.
I realized my blunder and quickly booted into FreeBSD. I got everything, mdconfig (to mount floppy image as a directory) and all the other tools for assembling and compiling right there… ready for use! Since I had installed bochs previously, that too was ready to emulate my stupid kernel!
So now I have a good project directory set up with shell scripts that automate the mounting/unmounting process etc. And I’m happy as usual with my FreeBSD!
Oh by the way I’m not making the new OS to compete with FreeBSD… it’s just an adventure!
The work at Vasai is done, well almost – they still need to enter a few thousand addresses into the database before they can use it. and after it is done I’ll be visiting them to set up the workflow.
Anyway, apart from that it was a wonderful trip. I am amazed at the amount of visual treasure that little district has. I may be wrong when I call it ‘little’ but that’s the impression you get when you visit the place.
One funny thing I noted about the place is that when you ask for an address people simply say “go straight… it’s just ahead” now what puzzled me is that none of the roads in the suburbs are anything similar to “straight”. They are twisting and turning all the length! AND to add to the agony, they are forked every few miles… all but a straight road! Thanks to cellphone technology, we got timely instructions and reached the destination.
As usual, my Mom, with her great flower-sensing capabilities quickly pointed out this yellow hibiscus as we entered the campus of Jeevan Darshan Kendra.
I finished up the software installation… which was an experience in itself and went to the Vasai Fort (Read more: http://www.colonialvoyage.com/bacaim.html) At the entrance of the fort the population of Palm trees was noticeabley high…
Fr. D’Britto, our host had arranged for a person to guide us around the place, he took us to this old Church (or the Cathedral – I’m a bit confused… will find out) – I think it was *outside* the fort… or was it inside? Well… this is what happens when you don’t take notes or have a voice recorder. Anyway…
This seems to be the only building in the area that has it’s roof intact! Later I was told that service is still held in this place… by the fishermen… these people are called as “koli” in Marathi Language. A walk around the place fetched me a few nice frames… here are a few:
This is a photo of a roofless building… I like the title “A window through time” for this one…
These green dates looked yummy but I wasn’t in a mood to try those.
On the way out, this boat looked interesting… I titled it “Dreams, split wide open”… imagining that this vessel must have been someone’s dream… now has reached this fate.
A walk down to the “port” revealed these nice frames… a boat with the Tri-colour – the Indian flag.
Another man… looking into the distance at the receeding sunlight on the shore in front of us.
Later that day we were invited for dinner… it was very delicious and the hospitality was amazing! We called it a day and hit the sack. Next morning (today) it was a training session for the people who would be operating the software. 1 and a half hours spent nicely.
We left Vasai and while on our way back visited one of Mom’s aunts at Khandala. Khandala is a beautiful place… well known for it’s hills, waterfalls and good weather. Our destination was none other than Weekend Nursery A very beautiful plant nursery, we met our relatives there and I went looking around for more nice shots:
The next two photographs were shot in BRIGHT sunlight… I like the way it makes the colours liven up!
Hmm… looking back at the title… I declare this one Mission Accomplished!
My hair’s getting longer now… it’s in a complete mess, but in a few weeks time it should be long enough to look better
Yes the light was beautiful yesterday… very very golden!
I uploaded a few on flickr:
I’m leaving for Vasai in a few minutes, finally managed to deal with the PITA that the software dependencies were causing. Hope to get a few good photographs on the way.
I’ll probably miss the sunrise because that time I’ll be picking up my passengers
Anyway, I’ll be backby Saturday night (IST).
I moved cheetah (yes that 7 year old P-II 333 MHz machine) into another room and installed FreeBSD 5.3 on it. It was a few minutes’ work the real problem started after that.
I have two computers, cheetah and jaguar. Jaguar is the newer one… AMD 1.6 GHz with two operating systems – FreeBSD 5.3 and Windows XP.
And for dual booting, I have not installed any bootloader (due to my laziness) all I do is go to the BIOS and change the boot sequence of the two hard disks.
Now, when I want to switch from XP to BSD, I hibernate XP and boot into BSD. It works like charm, quick booting and shutdown for otherwise slow XP. When I’m done working with BSD, I go back to the BIOS change the boot sequence and un-hibernate XP.
But there was a problem… LAN was working great when XP was running, start BSD and *poof* all I see is “no carrier” on ethernet.
I asked for help in #freebsd, got quick and helpful pointers and fixes.. nothing helped. Then to add to the PITA, I got disconnected and was unable to reconnect. So I tried figuring it out myself. Now since I have mentioned the clues, you should have guessed – since I hibernated XP before starting BSD… something was causing the ethernet adapter to show a “no carrier” with no fancy lights on the connector bad bad
Also, one hint was “rl0 watchdog timeout” which ultimately means there is an error on the cable/media… funky eh?
Now after fidgeting a while I got the brilliant idea to NOT hibernate windows and use the shutdown option instead. (I know I’m very smart – so smart I could pass for a dumbo) And voila! It worked!!!
So here’s the moral of the story – if you don’t want headaches… let FreeBSD have all the computer for itself… spoilt friends like windows xp can cause your FreeBSD to see altered reality instead.
I’m going to get faster on porting the Mailing List Manager application to FreeBSD – so that I can finally get rid of the pain of wasting gigabytes on the other operating system.