Desert Wasteland


Wow, it's been almost a full year since I've written anything. I guess it's time for the yearly update, then?

FreeBSD Shenanigans

In the past year, I've been involved in more FreeBSD shenanigans. Find enclosed a list of highlights.


In my last post, I'd migrated my DigitalOcean droplets to FreeBSD.  Since then, I've pretty much consolidated all of them into my one webserver that runs all of my websites and a jail for Jabber. Want to contact me? is just one more way to do so. =)

I've also stood up a Sun Fire X4150 (with dual Xeon E5440, 24GB RAM) at home with the following roles:

  • Poudriere Build System
  • IPCam Manager
  • OpenLDAP Server
  • Personal wiki (Running DokuWiki)
  • Personal Git server (Running my own git-shell wrapper, gitwrap-shell)
  • Jenkins Builder (For keeping tabs on ZDoom build status on FreeBSD as the maintainer)

It stays fairly well loaded, and I'm considering standing up a second server (ideal Sun Fire X4150) to operate as a backup server. Most of my stuff uses ZFS as it is, but getting some redundancy going would be quite nice.


I've also tried to stay fairly active with the ports tree this year. The things I've done here include:

  • Took maintainership of net/freerdp
  • Implemented arbitrary baud rate support for *BSD in comms/py-serial - upstream first, then back to the ports tree
  • Provided distfile mirror for games/bsp and games/heretic
  • Got fmodl aliasing issue on arm, mips, powerpc resolved
  • Introduced 16-ish ports total, most of them for Arduino 1.6 (devel/arduino16) support, which brings along SAM support (Arduino Due)
  • Introduced OctoPrint (www/py-octoprint, loosely based on the 1.3.0 release) for interfacing with my work-in-progress 3D printer (which I will likely talk about in a future post, with pictures!). I've contributed upstream some bits to update dependencies to bring OctoPrint to FreeBSD -- we'll see where my upstream PR ultimately goes. I remain hopeful.

You can review the list of ports that I currently maintain (under the assumed alias of -- sssh! Don't tell anyone!) if desired. Most of these were introduced for bringing in the new Arduino IDE.


Worth noting is that I've spent some amount of time playing around with different hardware. I've deployed two FreeBSD Raspberry Pis, one to go along with my work-in-progress 3D Printer and another that does...well, not much of anything but sit on my desk at work.

I also bought a Carambola 2 Dev Kit to hopefully replace my router or my AP/extender at home. I put FreeBSD on it using Adrian Chadd's freebsd-wifi-build, but ran into problems when attempting to isolate the WAN port on the chip. Attempts to setup VLANs ended up in interrupt storms and failing to TX on the port with a different VLAN. One day, I might find time to debug this.

Since that didn't work out so great, I decided to put FreeBSD (again, using freebsd-wifi-build) on my TP-Link TL-WDR4300. I ended up in pretty much the same situation as before -- the case physically separates one of the ports as the WAN port, but the hardware doesn't really make this distinction. There's 4 LAN  + 1 WAN port, but underneath it's really just a five port switch with some clever tricks to isolate the WAN port. I've consulted Adrian on this setup because I'm having difficulties again isolating the WAN port, I will update this post when I hear back from him. My current problem seems to be that I can't TX on any port again no matter the VLAN configuration I try. I assume I'm handling the cpu ports on the switch wrong, but we shall see.

My other experiment was with my IP Cameras. I have two of them, both Microseven models. I'm not very happy with the WiFi stability on them, so I intend to flash them with FreeBSD. I disassembled one of them to see if I can't get a serial console on it, but failed at this, too. My first road-block was that what I've identified as the serial pins are 1.27mm pitch, but all of my headers and cables are 2.54mm. I ordered 1.27mm headers from Alibaba, all OK. However, I don't actually have cables I can work with 1.27mm pitch with. =( It's a work in progress.

The other hurdle on that one is that the WiFi chip seems to be an SDIO chip that we don't currently have support for in FreeBSD. I have no further details on it until I can actually boot with a serial console, unfortunately, so we'll find out more once I can work with that.

Personal - Graduation / Work

I graduated from Kansas State University in May with a B.S. in Computer Science. I did not get a minor at this time, because I was just ready to be done. I took a full time position at Kansas State University after that, and continue to do, for the most part, what I was doing before I graduated. Student loans are coming due right about now, though, so that's not so great.


I think I've said all that I need to for this year. I can say that I really did do things this year, although they may not have been the things I wanted to accomplish. I hope to do a little more writing in the upcoming year than I did this year, and use more pictures to complement my writing. At the very least, I need to talk about my 3D Printer as I bring it to completion as well as documenting the journeys in getting any of my more exotic hardware running FreeBSD.