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SMP On OpenBSD, Coming Soon 321

Posted by timothy
from the faster-if-you-pay dept.
Lord of the OpenBSD writes "At long last, SMP development on OpenBSD looks to be gearing up. One person is now doing full-time funded development on SMP. Project leader Theo de Raadt is now asking for funding for a second developer. Theo has announced that SMP support for i386 is planned for the OpenBSD 3.6 or 3.7 release, the first of which is due in 8 months."
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SMP On OpenBSD, Coming Soon

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  • by users.pl (689022) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:01PM (#8593362) Journal
    It is official; Netcraft confirms: *BSD: it's (a)live!

    One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD is dying community when Slashdot confirmed that *BSD death trolls have dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all troll posts. Coming on the heels of a recent troll survey which plainly states that trolls are running out of *BSD ammo, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Slashdot trolls are trolling with new and better methods [slashdot.org] because trolling about BSD's falsely prophetic death is as obsolete and useless as GNU HURD [gnu.org].

    You don't need to be Jesus [stallman.org] to predict the Slashdot troll phenomena's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD trolls face a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD trolls because *BSD trolls are dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD trolls. As many of us are already aware, *BSD has recently acquired several [freesbie.org] Live CDs [livebsd.com]. Red devil Live CDs multiply like fucking rabbits.

    The reasons for the death of the *BSD troll are obvious. The creators of the *BSD troll post have lost 93% of their core developers due to casulties from the sudden and unpleasant battles [slashdot.org] between Trollcore [slashdot.org] and GNAA [slashdot.org]. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD trolls are dying.

    Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

    GNAA leader Anonymous Coward states that there are 700 active trolls on Slashdot. How many BSD death trolls are there? Let's see. The number of troll posts vs BSD death troll posts on Slashdot is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 700/5 = 140 BSD death trolls. But half of those are just cheezy karma-whore spinoffs of the original troll. Therefore there are about 70 users of the real BSD death troll. These statistics, of course, reflect Slashdot before the war between Trollcore and GNAA. So we must assume that there are less than 70 people who actually believe that *BSD is still dying!

    All major surveys show that *BSD trolls have steadily declined in humor level. *BSD trolls are very sick and their long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD trolls are to survive at all, they will be nothing but workers toiling in Slashdot trolling phenomena obscurity. *BSD death trolls continue to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save them at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD death trolls are dead.

    Fact: *BSD: it's (a)live! [freesbie.org]
  • by sydb (176695) * <michael AT wd21 DOT co DOT uk> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:02PM (#8593380)
    Let's hope IBM doesn't offer their developer time... ;0)
  • Interesting... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheHonestTruth (759975) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:05PM (#8593414) Journal
    Given Theo's past attitude of "it's not important to me so it's not important to OpenBSD." Though his goal always seemed self-serving e.g. "I write it for myself and if others use it, fine," it's good to see that he is opening his mind to the one area OpenBSD is severly lacking. It could use some desktop polish (though I only use it for firewalls and servers since I only use it at home), SMP is the gaping hole in OpenBSD's offering. Knowing Theo's penchant for not playing nice with anyone beneath him, I'm guessing the SMP developer is pretty top-notch if he has Theo's support. Cool.

    -Truth

    • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ryvar (122400) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:17PM (#8593555) Homepage
      While I'm a big fan of OpenBSD and Theo both - I have to admit that Theo doesn't play nice even with those NOT beneath him - the loss of Niels Provos is still a bitter, bitter blow for the project.
      • Any links on the fallout? I did a google on Provos, found a lot of stuff (he would be a loss to any project) but nothing about the split.
        • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bsdcow (743021)
          niels moved to netbsd where he works now but i believe most of his code will be ported to openbsd when required. theo seems to have been a bit harsh over niels and niels left. well, this is a business between niels and theo and we should not dwelve into it ;)
      • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @07:18PM (#8594102)
        have to admit that Theo doesn't play nice even with those NOT beneath him


        Ever play with a cat? You swat at its head a bit, it tries to bite back or swat back, roll it around, it scratches your hand, etc, etc, the same way one cat plays with another - the nibbles and scratches don't really hurt a fellow cat. Theo plays rough with people, has thick skin, and expects others to play as rough as he does (yes rough often == flame wars, etc). He plays rough with everyone, irregardless of how much work you do, though he does really respect those who do good work (he'll talk *very* highly of them).


        I don't much care for that attitude, but i also recognize that i am the same way with some people (at work, among co-workers, we hurl insults back and forth and call eachother on our fuck ups, but also respect eachother's work abilities and will say so when asked). Theo is just that much more consistent than i am.

    • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by beerwolff (537254)
      Well I think Theo's attitude has reflected this because everyone wanting certain features weren't going to code any of it themselves.

      So yes, his attitude was "I'm not going to code that feature for you because it doens't interest me.". But I'm pretty sure if anyone coded something good enough it would be accepted -- why wouldn't it be?

      Play by the OpenBSD rules (no dumb licenses, etc), and write good code, and you can get your code into the official tree. If you write crappy code, or put a dumb license o
      • no dumb licenses...

        I sure hope that alone keeps BSD alive. Dumb licenses might kill Linux before Microsoft does. Then how will SCO stay in business if they have nobody to sue? Like a train wreck, these license battles are fun to watch.
        • Dumb licenses might kill Linux before Microsoft does.

          Precisely what are you referring to here? It seems to me that the GNU GPL (the license for the Linux kernal) is one of the most impressive licenses out there.

          This takes nothing away from what the OpenBSD team is doing--I think their work is great and their license makes that work a genuine contribution to our community. That's why I bought OpenBSD 3.0 and a t-shirt and I don't regret the decision.

          I doubt Microsoft can outcompete free software

          • XFree and Mozilla to name two problems. The license for the kernel appears stable for the moment. But all the other stuff that makes Linux "marketable" is becoming a confusing pot of gruel. Until this kind of silliness can be sorted out, Linux will forever remain the hobbyist's play thing. Considering how long it takes the courts to digest case loads, the licensing issue might not stabilize(sp) for up to 10 years or more. Luckily, Linux is young, so I'm trying to keep the faith.
          • Precisely what are you referring to here? It seems to me that the GNU GPL (the license for the Linux kernal) is one of the most impressive licenses out there.

            Sure it is. The problem is that every up-and-coming project seems to think that to be important they have to invent their own license.

            How much energy is being wasted trying to decide if the Bleh Public License 1.1 is Open Source/Debian Free/GPL Compatible/Advert Clausing etc.?

            Seriously people (you know who you are) get a clue. Your project isn't

        • Then how will SCO stay in business if they have nobody to sue?

          It's not about staying in business -- that's already a lost cause for SCO. It's about generating revenue. Suing people is the only way they've found to generate any revenue at all. The fact that it's not a sustainable business model is beside the point. Lots of businesses follow the model, "get in, grab the cash, get out."

          Gee, maybe the movie version will have Ben Affleck and Angelina Jolie. Speaking of short term busines models...

          • It's not about staying in business -- that's already a lost cause for SCO. It's about generating revenue.

            I'm not sure about some folks, but I thought generating revenue was one of the reasons for going into business. At this point, suing people is working for them. Expect the same from Microsoft when we're finished with SCO. It might not be sustainable, but it will buy a nice villa on the Mexican Riviera. Maybe the sustainable part is being able to do it over and over(one person or group, different corpor
            • You seem to be assuming that people care about the future. They don't. Everybody wants to make a big gob of money and retire while they're still young enough to enjoy it. If they leave behind a smoking ruin when they leave, well, that's somebody else's problem.
    • Re:Interesting... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kamelkev (114875)
      it's good to see that he is opening his mind to the one area OpenBSD is severly lacking.

      Um, are you kidding me? I've been involved in a project doing OpenBSD kernel development for the last 2 years, and I'll tell you right now there are so many shortcomings in the kernel you wouldn't believe it.

      Let's start with the broken PCMCIA support (interrupt problems), or maybe the fact that it doesn't have kernel threads (user threads blow, especially when those are broken too), and don't get me started on the bro
    • Given Theo's past attitude of "it's not important to me so it's not important to OpenBSD." Though his goal always seemed self-serving e.g. "I write it for myself and if others use it, fine," it's good to see that he is opening his mind to the one area OpenBSD is severly lacking.

      Well SMP is not important for file server (e.g. HTTP servers). If you look at a lot of the low end machines these days they're single processor. It's just not that compelling to have multiple CPUs in a file server anymore. CPUs are
  • What next, SCO sues OpenBSD for having a feature that Linux has?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's BSD-compatible, AND ALREADY HAS SMP! By the power of Jordan Hubbard, I COMPEL YOU!!
    • by spoonboy42 (146048) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @07:15PM (#8594074)
      Yes, Darwin has SMP support that it inherited from the codebase of FreeBSD and Mach. And, to tell the truth, if you want a complete, modern *BSD system you might be better off with FreeBSD anyway (it has probably the most extensive ports collection, best SMP support, fastest scheduler, best desktop support, etc.). The reason for the "other" BSDs (OpenBSD and NetBSD) existing is to focus on goals that don't fit in with FreeBSD's general-purpose design or Apple's exclusive focus on the PowerPC desktop (i386 versions of Darwin notwithstanding). Specifically, OpenBSD is designed to be ultra-secure, while NetBSD's goal is to be portable across as many different architectures as possible. If OpenBSD gets a useful feature like SMP without sacrificing security, though, it's a *good thing* for people who deploy OpenBSD, as it gives them more hardware options in the future.
    • And one of these days they'll fix the buggy capslock support too, eh?
  • by RLiegh (247921) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:14PM (#8593513) Homepage Journal
    I can use NetBSD, FreeBSD or Linux -- all of which have SMP capabilities to varying degrees ... so, why do I want to give Theo $ for something he could probably port --instead of hiring a programmer to putz around with reinventing the wheel?
    • by EisBar (324026) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:17PM (#8593547)
      who said they are going to reinvent the wheel?, porting kernel space stuff is not simple, and the common base between the *BSD is not that common anymore.
    • it's not "porting" (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:26PM (#8593626)
      This is not just "porting" like a device driver.

      SMP touches every aspect of the kernel (scheduling, VM, VFS, etc.). Each OS is different internally and so you can't just rip code out of one and put it into another. It's not simply copying over a sub-directory and changing a couple of kernel system calls.

      You have to pour over a lot of the files and make all the data structures are written to and read from correctly.

      There's also more than one way to do SMP so how do you know whether he's "reinventing the wheel", or coming up with a novel approach?
    • None of the stable releases for netbsd has SMP. It's only in -current so far, same as openbsd (well, it's a different -current branch). netbsd 2.0's major update is supposed to be smp.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:15PM (#8593532)
    I played around with obsd a few years ago, and I liked how small and tight the system is. At one point I even setup an obsd web server, but the thing kept crashing. Never did find out if it was softare or hardware related (it was located offshore and nobody in the vincinity could troubleshoot it effectively). Other than that, I really liked the OS. The man pages are absolutely top-notch, unlike some of the Linux man pages (in Debian, lots of man pages say stuff like: "this page is a placeholder; there is no documentation" or refer you to the GNU info docs). I also like the firewall more than iptables, which was really confusing at first.
    Anyway, the main thing that bugs me about obsd is that it uses the ports system. It does the job and all, but when it comes time to upgrade your OS, it's a real PITA. I remember having to manually edit files in /etc, and having to figure out which files were added or deleted since the last version. Lots of room for error, there. Compared to Debian, which can be upgraded by only typing two commands, it's just no fun. Especially if you're trying to upgrade a server that's thousands of miles away, and can't afford to fuck up.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      OBSD has both ports and packages (precompiled binaries) and the software to manage them, pkg_*. When it comes time to upgrade your OS, all your customizations can be put in a site.tgz file. Takes one command to install it.

      There's a reason OpenBSD has nice man pages and FAQ - they're for learning how the OS works.
    • Good grief! Editing /etc/* by hand is a feature! I don't want any automatic tool touch my config files
  • by evenprime (324363) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:18PM (#8593562) Homepage Journal
    Whoever is coding this must be *REALLY* good. I remember Theo saying that SMP had too many opportunities for race conditions....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:27PM (#8593633)
    "*BSD is trying"
  • Fantastic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChiralSoftware (743411) <info@chiralsoftware.net> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:30PM (#8593664) Homepage
    My dream system for security work would be a thin SMP OpenBSD environment with a Java runtime on it. That way there would be a solid, very security OS, with a sandboxed VM environment to run the server code, resulting in strong security at every level. I am looking forward to this. Now, if it can run KDE 3.2 and OOo 1.1 and Evolution, that is all I need in a desktop and development system. I've been using OpenBSD for years but I switched to Linux when it pulled ahead on desktop functionality, but maybe it's time to take another look at OpenBSD.

    --------
    Create a WAP server [chiralsoftware.net]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @06:49PM (#8593823)

    OpenBSD does not have a good track record of major architecture improvements. For example, in the wake of the PR FreeBSD got for John Dyson's VM work, OpenBSD adopted Chuck Cranor's UVM system, integrating it into the last of the 2.x releases. Cranor is a very smart guy, but OpenBSD's stewardship of Cranor's code has been pretty awful --- lockups, panics, and various other problems remain in evidence, each answered with de Raadt's "UVM was just a research project from Cranor, it's not our fault" excuse.

    FreeBSD has years worth of head-start on OpenBSD in SMP right now, and a much larger (and more experienced) core team. In addition, FreeBSD has corporate sponsorship (from Juniper and Apple, to name two). Despite these major advantages, FreeBSD SMP remains a work in progress.

    de Raadt has had a religious perspective on SMP ("most modern applications aren't compute-bound! SMP is not the way to scale large applications, lots of individual machines are!") for almost a decade. What evidence do we have that he has seriously changed his mind? This seems like more of a desperation move, trying to ensure that OpenBSD doesn't fall behind NetBSD to become the least-used open source operating system available.

    I predict years of instability and excuses.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Too bad de Raadt looked a gift horse in the mouth and blew it with that NSA grant.
  • Is this necessary? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by agent dero (680753) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @07:06PM (#8593973) Homepage
    No this isn't a troll, I used Free and OpenBSD's; but why do we need this.

    I still haven't found a necessity for SMP OpenBSD yet, if I need a box to run X or anything else that would work the CPUs, i'd choose FreeBSD, just for the package system.

    What's really lagging in OpenBSD is an easy to use port/package system; SMP is long down the line.

    Anybody that uses OpenBSD like I do, please tell me why we need OpenBSD, I use it for security, not for dual/quad/etc processor servers.
  • by MrIrwin (761231) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @07:18PM (#8594099) Journal
    But I think I will wait for the i486 release before upgrading.

    BTW, is an 'SX' OK?

  • roots (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sir_cello (634395) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @07:27PM (#8594180)

    FWIW: OpenBSD has its roots as a splice from NetBSD; both it and NetBSD very similar, but in some respects NetBSD has "modernised" itself more than OpenBSD, yet OpenBSD has focused on security (and spawned the OpenXYZ series ...).

    Compared to FreeBSD, they're different beasts: NetBSD and OpenBSD fit the niche of embedded products, AP's, firewalls, home gateways, etc - all very good nice (NetBSD's portability and OpenBSD's security). FreeBSD is enterprise class, you don't typically see it used for embedded products / etc, but more in hosting and server.

    Compared to Linux: Linux strength is that does all of the above across the board (it fits everything) and has a better user/desktop experience, but it doesn't do as well as any in any of the individual niches above.

    • Re:roots (Score:4, Interesting)

      by evilviper (135110) on Thursday March 18, 2004 @12:59AM (#8596010) Journal
      NetBSD and OpenBSD fit the niche of embedded products, AP's, firewalls, home gateways, etc

      They get that wrap a lot, but you can find a lot of OpenBSD web/fileservers out there. OpenBSD is where OpenSSH started, because it's heavy into any kind of networking, and crypto, not just security. NetBSD isn't used as a server so much, but it's pretty popular with just about anybody running on a platform other than x86. The majority of people that don't like MacOS, seem to go to NetBSD as their desktop.

      Linux strength is that does all of the above across the board

      Linux doesn't do the job of a router/firewall well (no state with IPchains/IPtables).
      Linux doesn't run on as many platforms as NetBSD, but worse, it doesn't work WELL on any but very few of them, whereas the BSDs are as well suited to any one platform as another.

      Finally, Linux is a real hassle in enterprise situations. Standard Linux is extremely unstable (compared with what the BSD's consider stable) so to get that stability, you need to follow the Debian approach, and extensively test and debug all the programs. That means you are generations away from the new features. Meanwhile, you can just download the latest FreeBSD -stable (usually 1 minor version behind), and it's ready to go. There's a good reason you see FreeBSD in lots of serious enterprise apps.

      and has a better user/desktop experience

      Feel free to explain this one to me. The installer is probably the only thing anyone can cite where the BSDs are even different (to the casual users) than Linux. You have GNOME and KDE on all the BSDs, and they work just fine.

      As for the installers, if you get over your addiction to always using your mouse, they are really much better installers than the GUI ones for any Linux distro.



      What makes this situation worse, is that moderators on /. think anything not pro-Linux is a flame or a troll, so you'll get modded up, I'll get modded down, and someother /. reader will see your post and not mine, and just accept your mistaken opinions as fact.
      • Re:roots (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tet (2721) * <slashdot@astradyne[ ].uk ['.co' in gap]> on Thursday March 18, 2004 @06:47AM (#8597211) Homepage Journal
        Linux doesn't run on as many platforms as NetBSD

        Myth. Linux does (and has for many years) run on just as many platforms as NetBSD. Most of NetBSDs "platforms" are actually just variants on a single architecture. Thus while NetBSD counts atari and amiga as separate ports, Linux just treats them as part of a single Linux/m68k port. In fact, NetBSD runs on two architectures that aren't currently supported by Linux (ns32k and vax), whereas Linux run on five that aren't supported by NetBSD (mips64, ppc64, s390, sh4 and etrax). I'm not trying to put down the worthy efforts of the NetBSD community, but I just get a bit fed up with people claiming that it's more widely ported than Linux. It was true in the past, but hasn't been for some time.

        • Re:roots (Score:3, Informative)

          by sir_cello (634395)

          It is probably true that Linux does run on more systems than NetBSD, but the support is fragmented and disparate at the best. This is the essential and important distinction.

          NetBSD ensures that the one overall "package" (kernel + user space) works equivalently across a set of platforms. Your installation (executables, directories, config, etc) are largely equivalent across all platforms: take your custom scripts and system setup and find that it can be dropped onto NetBSD/other with little cost.

          This is de
  • by bfg9000 (726447) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @07:29PM (#8594205) Homepage Journal
    I'm a long-time OpenBSDer (I'm even way up near the beginning on their donations page [openbsd.org], which is as close as I'll get to being cool -- it's far more important than a low Slashdot UID, which I also have, as you can see), and I remember Theo mentioning a couple years ago that he was thinking (at the time, anyway) about having the second processor do nothing but crypto.

    What's his plan now? Just typical SMP, I'd guess -- but I thought his other idea was cooler. On-the-fly encoding and decoding and hiding of jpegs from wives and whatnot. Very useful to... ahem... some of us. Not me of course.

    Just wondering about the current prospects for something to keep my uh.. important financial documents... from, uh... the government? Yeah, the government, that's it.
    • by Imperator (17614) <(slashdot2) (at) (omershenker.net)> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @09:15PM (#8594854)
      Well SMP stands for "symmetric multi processing". That basically means the kernel can run on any processor--they're symmetric in that respect. (The advantage of being symmetric is that multiple processors can run kernel code at once, but the disadvantage is that you need locks and the like.)

      If he were going to use the extra processors for nothing but crypto, (a) he'd be wasting them since crypto doesn't take that much CPU by today's standards and (b) it wouldn't be called SMP.
      • If he were going to use the extra processors for nothing but crypto, (a) he'd be wasting them since crypto doesn't take that much CPU by today's standards

        I have to disagree with you there. SCP'ing something over a fast network maxes out even very fast processors. 3DES is a real CPU-hog, even by today's standards.

        If you don't think crypto is CPU-intensive, you must not be doing much of it.
    • How about a nice webserver.

      Yes you can use OpenBSD as a super secure server and not just a firewall. Its supposed to be a multi-puprose secure OS.

      However it has been lagging in performance recently behind net and freebsd.

      SMP + jail would be perfect for any apache based server with minimal maintance and hacks.

    • but I thought his other idea was cooler. On-the-fly encoding and decoding and hiding of jpegs from wives and whatnot.

      I really can't see the point. For $100 you can buy a PCI crypto card that would do 3DES as fast as most would ever need.

      Or they can just act as an incredibly fast random-number generator (something CPUs aren't very good at) if you are doing some crypto that the card doesn't support (blowfish isn't popular in hardware, yet).
  • I guess he changed his mind.

    I think Dillions DragonflyBSD will encourse the other BSD hackers to scale there distro's.

    To bad the FreeBSD group rejected Dillions patches and SSI.

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