I do not like be­ing ill

Un­for­tu­nately you can not chose…

So, I am now on the sofa, covered a lot (a flu, I even have no voice any­more; be­fore I left work a fe­male cowork­er told that her hus­band would prob­ably be happy if this would hap­pen to her…  😀 ) and med­ic­a­tion and wa­ter are not far away on the table.

The good thing with the cur­rent tech­no­logy is, that you can still be a little bit pro­duct­ive (de­pend­ing on the ill­ness).

As you can read this, it means I have my net­book with me, so that I can take care about some simple things.

Video for linux (v4l) emu­la­tion com­ing to the linuxu­lat­or

I am in the pro­cess of pre­par­ing the im­port of code which makes v4l devices us­able in the linuxu­lat­or. Ba­sic­ally this means you can use your web­cam in skype (tested by the sub­mit­ter of the patch on amd64).

This is not a “ap­ply patch and com­mit” thing, be­cause the ori­gin­al videodev.h (with some modi­fic­a­tions) is used. I was seek­ing the OK from core@ for this. As there is no li­cense in the head­er, and the ori­gin­al au­thor (Alan Cox, the linux one, not our FreeBSD one) gave per­mis­sions to use it, core@ is OK with the im­port.

I in­tent to do a vendor im­port of the linux head­er (pre­pared today, to­geth­er with some readme which ex­plains where it comes from and some stuff to show that we are on the safe side re­gard­ing leg­al stuff), and then I want to copy this over to the linuxu­lat­or as linux_videodev.h and com­mit the patch (prob­ably a little bit mod­i­fied in a few places). My plan is to com­mit it this week. People which already want to play around with it now can have a look at the emu­la­tion mailing­list, a link to the patch is pos­ted there.

With the head­er be­ing in a vendor branch, in­ter­ested people could then start to sub­mit new BSD li­censed drivers or modi­fy ex­ist­ing drivers which make use of the v4l in­ter­face, but I let the im­port of the head­er in­to the FreeBSD in­clude dir­ect­ory up to the per­son which wants to com­mit the first nat­ive FreeBSD-​v4l sup­port.

When such nat­ive FreeBSD-​v4l sup­port is com­mit­ted, the linuxu­lat­or code needs to be re­vised.

Loc­al backup vs. tarsnap

A lot of people do not do backups at home. Un­for­tu­nately this in­cludes me. So far I was lucky that noth­ing bad happened (or that I was able to get back all via ma­nip­u­lat­ing on-​disk-​data by hand). For me this is mostly be­cause of the price and com­plex­ity (num­ber of backup me­dia in­volved) for loc­al backups. It also means that I only need a backup for the case of a disk–crash, not be­cause I need to re­cov­er a file be­cause I ac­ci­dently de­leted it (yes, I am very good at not loos­ing data at home… maybe this is also the reas­on why I have so much data).

I have about 1 TB of raw disk space at home (two times raidz1). Not all of this needs a backup (or is used at all), for ex­ample the base sys­tem files, /​usr/​local, the ports dist­files and pack­ages all do not need a backup, but my cam­era fo­tos (cur­rently 8 GB) should be in­cluded in a backup, my home should be in­cluded in a backup, my loc­al sta­ging area for the con­tent of my web­serv­er should be in­cluded in a backup, my mails (cur­rently 800 MB) should be in­cluded in the backup, loc­al patches to FreeBSD should be in­cluded in the backup, …

So let us cal­cu­late with about 200 GB of more (mails, fo­tos, private videos) or less (MP3s from my own CDs) im­port­ant data for a full backup. Most of it will not change of­ten (MP3s, private videos, fo­tos), so once a month should be ok, and some (e.g. my mails) change daily, so an in­cre­ment­al each day and a full once a week would be in­ter­est­ing for me. When I do such a backup, I do not want to shuffle around tapes a lot. Maybe one or two times (s0 2 – 3 tapes) would be ok. So I am talk­ing about 80 – 200 GB per tape. The prices for this range from 700 EUR to 1300 EUR just for the tape drive. I have also seen a tape drive from Io­mega for about 400 EUR (120 GB per tape), but some­how this sounds like a not so trust­worty solu­tion to me (I do not know why, it is just a feel­ing, maybe I am a little bit biased be­cause of the high-​end solu­tion at work, if someone knows more about those Io­mega drives and tapes in a long term or high-​useage en­vir­on­ment, please write a com­ment).

When I take the cur­rent price of tarsnap in­to ac­count, I come to about $60 per month for the stor­age, and again $60 for the ini­tial trans­fer of 200 GB. This as­sumes the 200 GB are not very com­press­able. With each in­cre­ment­al backup (changed files mat­ter, not a diff between the files), I as­sume about 10 GB per month of change (= $3 per month). Yes, this is most prob­ably too much, but I try to cal­cu­late a worst case scen­ario. So this sums up to $60 once and $63 per month. I do not take in­to ac­count my too slow up­stream band­with. When I as­sume a 1500 EUR tape drive plus tapes plus clean­ing cart­ridge, we are talk­ing about some­thing like 2 – 3 years of stor­ing the backup in tarsnap (with the Io­mega drive this would be just one year).

When I as­sume that I over­es­tim­ated everything with a factor of 2, this means 5 – 6 years of us­ing tarsnap vs. buy­ing an ex­pens­ive tape drive. Now the ques­tion is, will the tape drive sur­vive this long, will I be able to use such a drive in new hard­ware  in 6 years, will tarsnap sur­vive this long, and will it stay at the same or bet­ter price level (this is also in­flu­enced by the price of the stor­age pro­vider).

An­oth­er solu­tion would be to go with a mixed set­ting, e.g. an 1 TB hard-​disk (less than 150 EUR  for the hard-​disk (with 7 years war­ranty) and an ex­tern­al case) to do the long term stor­age of high-​volume but long-​term-​stable stuff (fo­tos, videos, mu­sic), and use tarsnap for the low-​volume fast chan­ging stuff (con­fig files, mails). This way the amount of money for the really im­port­ant things is not much, I would ex­pect less than 1 GB com­pressed (= less than an EUR per month). This also sounds like a solu­tion which al­lows me to be lazy (the im­port­ant stuff can be auto­mated, the nice to have stuff can be done from time to time as needed).

I think I should ask Col­lin if he has a way to re­ceive SWIFT (IBAN/​BIC) trans­fers for tarsnap…

Some up­dates (kernel/​ports)

There was not much to tell in the last months. I was busy with mov­ing and the preg­nancy of my wife (ok, she was more busy with this than I was…).

So the re­cent up­dates are, that I took some time to com­mit some of my patches to SVN. Most of them are in my SVN user area in vari­ous branches. The in­ter­est­ing ones may be deskjail and linuxaio. The first one al­lows to run your desktop in a jail. The second one gives async I/​O for the linuxu­lat­or.

There’s also some oth­er stuff. Feel free to have a look.

It also seems that the we may see the Fe­dora 8 in­fra­struc­ture land­ing in the ports col­lec­tion “soon”. I have the im­pres­sion that Bor­is just waits for the com­plete un­freeze of the ports col­lec­tion. The last patch I’ve re­viewed looked very good. There are some loose ends, like switch­ing it on as the de­fault linux base for FreeBSD-cur­rent for ex­ample, but those are things which I prefer to do later than in the same com­mit. First let it be there for a while and let curi­ous users test it a little bit more. If everything is ok, we can switch the de­fault linux base to F8 in -cur­rent.

We got ZFS!

ZFS is there. Great! Thanks Pawel!

Now I wait a little bit un­til the first bugs are ironed out, and then I move all my stuff to it. The nice part: when you have 2 ma­chines and everything you use is jailed, you just can do this without an “in­ter­rup­tion of ser­vice” (or at least only with a very small one). Just move the jails to the oth­er ma­chine, re­place the old FS with ZFS, and then move all jails back.

Catch­ing up… linuxu­lat­or.

The linuxu­lat­or is synced on amd64 with i386 (since a while). This means TLS is work­ing now and we have the same (a little bit buggy) fu­texes.

Ro­man is slowly work­ing on the *at() com­mands. He also ap­plied for the GSoC this year again. Kib is will­ing to ment­or (in case Ro­man gets a free seat in the SoC). I re­jec­ted the ment­or­ing po­s­i­tion this time, as I don’t know if I will have enough time this sum­mer, but I hope I will be around.