Saturday, August 2, 2014

pfSense virtio setup

If you are interested in running pfSense in a virtual environment then you might run into a situation where you only have virtio network adapters in a system.

The standard recommendation is to add a temporary supported network device to it. That can be very hard in some situations but there is a much easier way to do that.

- Boot up pfSense

- Choose 7 "Escape to loader prompt"

load virtio
load virtio_pci
load virtio_blk
load if_vtnet

- When it boots choose "vtnet0" as your WAN device
- Install to harddisk using "99"

- Modify loader.conf to make it permanent

mount /dev/vtbd0s1a /mnt
vi /mnt/boot/loader.conf

umount /mnt

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Moving to OpenShift

I was looking for a good solution to host some small wordpress blogs for but it was a bit tricky because I had some special requirements.
Since the blogs are currently wordpress based with some custom plugins and themes and it's own domain that needed to stay the same. In addition to that I also want to be able to modify and fix the code myself because it's great for flexibility.
Thanks to a friend I stumbled across which is a SaaS solution from RedHat and very developer friendly. Many standard applications like wordpress, owncloud and drupal are available immediately and custom applications based on php, java, ruby, python, perl and node.js can also be setup. The customizations are deployed via a git repository that you push your code to so it's pretty easy to use.
The first 3 applications are for free and you have 1GB diskspace and 512MB RAM per app which should be enough for small stuff.
The service itself is comparable to Google AppEngine but OpenShift is based on standard technology including well known relational databases and support for all big scripting languages while AppEngine uses a special SDK and lots of non standard APIs and datastores. Google also tries to widen it's support and has a closed beta for PHP and MySQL but it's not available for regular use yet so it will take them some time to get there.

So far I am very pleased with the flexibility and the free plan of openshift. We'll see if the stability and quality of their service can keep up with that.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Personal story of a ports committer

You all know that sometimes you end up dealing with all the ugly stuff instead of doing useful work. Over the last few months I was kept busy at $dayjob got assimilated by portmgr and had to look after redports. All of those new challenges are nice on it's own and I really enjoyed being part of the FreeBSD community and ecosystem but then 11/11 happened.

At that day quite a lot has changed for me since redports was isolated as a precaution and all ports building clusters of portmgr were effectively shut down. That situation was quite a mess since all automated systems and clusters were gone. No INDEX builds, no QAT, no pointyhat so also no exp-runs anymore. Whenever someone broke the ports tree we didn't even knew. It proved to be quite hard to get back on track again after that incident. INDEX checks and a very very limited QAT are already running again but pointyhat and redports are still dead. :(

The daily frustration and dealing with all that strange decisions that are taken because of the need to get stuff done is hard sometimes. But It's almost Christmas and without redports I have much more spare time so I try to calm down and focus on stuff that I can hack on my own. And that worked out quite nice so far ...

I've noticed in the XBMC 12.0 release notes that they have included the PVR branch and thus support DVB-S2/C/T in XBMC. Well actually they only provide some backend configuration interfaces and rely on a backend like mythtv or tvheadend to handle the DVB stuff. Mythtv would be okay for that task but It's huge for such a small job. Tvheadend is a nice and small TV streaming server that suites perfectly and only does the bare minimum without a lot of dependencies. Configuration is done in a web based GUI or can be done in XBMC. So I started working on a tvheadend port. A few weeks later I'm at the point now where tvheadend compiles fine and also starts. I've just ripped out all that epoll stuff and linuxisms that I stumbled accross so it doesn't run properly yet. Adding kqueue support is the next step now.

Due to redports being unavailable the vbox work has also frozen. I tried to collect all that patches and complains in my inbox so that they don't get lost. Since the situation did not improve I temporary created a github repository for the virtualbox ports and committed all the accumulated patches there:

This includes almost all patches that were flying around on mailinglists and updates vbox to 4.2.6 / 4.1.24 but testing was very limited so take care if you give them a try. Testing will show us if we can commit it to the portstree by New Year's Eve.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ports QAT functionality integrated into redports

We used to have a FreeBSD Ports QAT machine that did automatically build all affected ports after a commit. Well that machine is down since quite some time now because of an hardware defect I think. In my plans for I started quite early to think about integrating the QAT service so I talked to itetcu at BSDDay in 2011 about the current implementation of the QAT system. It works by parsing the ports CVS mails to find out which ports are affected by the commit. Then it updates the CVS tree from one of the tier1 CVS mirrors and hopes to have a consistent portstree. After that it schedules new jobs in the Ports Tinderbox and sends out mails to the committer if building failed. That worked fine most of the time but it had quite some weak spots which required to constantly look after the machine to keep it going.

The most important thing that I learned from that was that we need to migrate our ports repository from CVS to something that allows a consistent checkout. Now that beat is working on the cvs to svn migration and has a testing repository I used that to implement QAT functionality into the redports infrastructure. Instead of parsing CVS mails I can use svn info to find new commits and consistent repository checkout is also guaranteed by subversion. After all it took me about one working day to fully integrate the QAT functionality and test the new stuff.

There are a few benefits for the upcoming QAT system now that it is a part of the regular redports infrastructure:
  • access to all redports building machines (more power!)
  • parallel builds on multiple boxes
  • archived buildlogs
  • run QAT jobs for multiple FreeBSD versions/architectures
  • nice web frontend with RSS feeds and the usual modern stuff
  • you still get mails of course

Friday, November 25, 2011

Trip report: BSDDay 2011 in Bratislava

A few weeks ago we had the BSDDay 2011 in Bratislava with a lot of interesting talks and cheap beer. Follow the link to the trip report and a few pictures from the event.

Trip Report:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Austria is getting more active in the BSD Community

It's just about a year since we formed the Grazer BSD Stammtisch. Since then we were at the EuroBSDCon in Karlsruhe, the BSDDay in Budapest and had 7 meetings in Graz for beer and pizza.

This year will be very interesting for our friends in Vienna because we currently help Manuel Wiesinger to form the Vienna BSD Stammtisch. Their first meeting will be in a few weeks and I'm curious to see how many people we can motivate to go out for a beer. So if you live in or around Vienna then subscribe to the blog to get the latest news about it. We also created an aggregated BSD news feed for all our activities and all BSD related blogs from Austria which you can find on

As last year we will again have a booth at the Grazer Linuxtage which is the biggest Open Source event in Graz. But this year we will also have a separate BSD track - the 1st BSD Boot Camp - which is a great opportunity to get introduced to BSD and the community. This is all organized by Daniel Seuffert with the help from the Grazer BSD Stammtisch people.

I'm very happy to see the overall progress and what we archived in just one year. Thanks a lot to all people that helped to make this all a reality!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BSDDay 2010 Summary

Over the weekend we had a few hungarian beers at the BSDDay in Budapest together with other FreeBSD developers. It was well organized and a good opportunity to talk to interested students. I'm definitely looking forward to next years BSDDay.

More Pictures: