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Wednesday, 4 December 2019 Dereel Images for 4 December 2019
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lagoon continued
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

OK, lagoon is up and running, but I had had some strange problems installing the userland after the last buildworld, probably as a result of moving file systems around. OK, update and build the latest FreeBSD 12-STABLE.

It crashed on me! And in a way I know:

Dec  4 09:05:05 lagoon kernel: pid 4073 (c++), jid 0, uid 0, was killed: out of swap space
Dec  4 09:05:07 lagoon kernel: pid 4082 (c++), jid 0, uid 0, was killed: out of swap space

Huh? I have 20 GB of swap! Don't I?

=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/3) /usr/src 140 -> pstat -s
Device          1048576-blocks     Used    Avail Capacity
/dev/ada0p3                  0        0        0    98%

Huh? Oh: /etc/fstab contains:

# Device        Mountpoint      FStype  Options Dump    Pass#
/dev/ada0p1             /destdir                ufs     rw      1       1
/dev/ada0p3             none                    swap    sw      0       0
/dev/ada0p4             /                       ufs     rw      1 2

That makes sense. All my system disks have the same partitioning: partition 1 is the first root file system, partition 2 is the boot partition, partition 3 is swap, partition 4 is the second (alternative) root file system, the one I'm using now, and partition 5 is the (big) remainder file system. But gpart sees a different view:

=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/3) /usr/src 145 -> gpart show
=>        40  3907029088  ada0  GPT  (1.8T)
          40    83886080     1  freebsd-ufs  (40G)
    83886120    41943040     2  freebsd-swap  (20G)
   125829160        1024     3  freebsd-boot  (512K)
   125830184    83885048     4  freebsd-ufs  (40G)
   209715232  3697313895     5  freebsd-ufs  (1.7T)

It seems that I partitioned lagoon before I settled on this scheme, and here swap is partition 2. But for convenience I copied the fstab from teevee. And it seems that swapon was clever enough not to use the partition.

Or was it? The summary at the end of the aborted kernel build showed 6 page swaps. Why the 0 in the output of pstat? Because BLOCKSIZE was 1048576 (1 MB), and the partition was only 512 kB in size.

So: did I swap to the boot code or not? Copied the partition to a file and compared with the boot partitions on teevee and subsequently on eureka:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/6) /var/tmp 149 -> cmp bootpartition.eureka  bootpartition.teevee
bootpartition.eureka bootpartition.teevee differ: char 28, line 2
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/6) /var/tmp 150 -> cmp bootpartition.eureka  bootpartition.lagoon
bootpartition.eureka bootpartition.lagoon differ: char 1815, line 18
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/6) /var/tmp 151 -> cmp bootpartition.teevee  bootpartition.lagoon
bootpartition.teevee bootpartition.lagoon differ: char 28, line 2

That doesn't help much. OK, reinstall the boot code and try again:

=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/3) /usr/src 16 -> gpart bootcode -b /boot/pmbr -p /boot/gptboot -i 3 ada0
=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/3) /usr/src 17 -> dd if=/dev/ada0p3 of=/eureka/home/var/tmp/bootpartition-2.lagoon
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/6) /var/tmp 152 -> cmp bootpartition*lagoon
bootpartition-2.lagoon bootpartition.lagoon differ: char 28, line 2

So at the very least the bootcode that I just installed is different from what was there before. Was the old code still OK? Hard to say, but it's so easy to reinstall, and so hard to recover if you have a machine with no boot code.

More mail forwarding insights
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I worked around my problems with /etc/mail/aliases on lagoon by creating a file /root/.forward that forwarded all email to And that works, and I'm getting root mail for lagoon again. And then on a hunch I did:

=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/3) /usr/src 6 -> diff /destdir/root/.forward  ~/.forward
=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/3) /usr/src 7 ->

That's exactly what I did last time! So it's quite possible that mail on lagoon hasn't been working properly for a long time.

/etc/crontab problems: solved?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Why isn't cron on lagoon honouring the contents of /etc/crontab? Spent some time RTFMing, without any obvious insights. And then I checked the log files:

Dec  2 09:43:00 lagoon /usr/sbin/cron[900]: (*system*) RELOAD (/etc/crontab)

OK, clearly it's looking at /etc/crontab, and presumably it's doing it automatically. But that was 2 days ago, and it was the only time. When does it reload? When the file is updated, in other words when the modification time stamp increases?

=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/0) /etc/X11 20 -> l /etc/crontab
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  768 30 Jun  2018 /etc/crontab

That makes sense. I had copied it from the old partition with cp -p, so the modification timestamp was unchanged. And when?

=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/0) /etc/X11 21 -> l -c /etc/crontab
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  768  2 Dec 22:14 /etc/crontab

Problem solved, indirectly, on rebooting the new system.

X problems
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

One of the puzzling things I had with lagoon was still outstanding when I started the upgrade: Two years ago I put in the current display card, which identifies as:

[  1606.734] (II) NVIDIA(0): NVIDIA GPU GeForce GT 710 (GK208) at PCI:1:0:0 (GPU-0)

That's very convenient, because on teevee I had:

[    18.506] (II) NVIDIA(0): NVIDIA GPU GeForce GT 710 (GK208) at PCI:1:0:0 (GPU-0)

In other words, exactly the same hardware. The fact that it worked so well in teevee was the main reason I put one in lagoon. But it didn't work! At the time I just gave up and installed the standard nv driver.

Clearly a cop-out. So today I tried again, again ending in failure. In the process I saw a message in /var/log/Xorg.0.log that I have never seen before:

[  1605.758] (WW) Hotplugging is on, devices using drivers 'kbd', 'mouse' or 'vmmouse' will be disabled.
[  1605.758] (WW) Disabling Keyboard0
[  1605.758] (WW) Disabling Mouse0

And sure enough, keyboard and mouse were dead in the water.

The remaining content of the log file is similar to what I had 2 years ago, but different enough to be hard to interpret. But it seems that the big difference is here:

[  1606.735] (II) NVIDIA(0): Validated MetaModes:
[  1606.735] (II) NVIDIA(0):     "NULL"

That contrasts with the contents of the file on teevee:

[    33.442] (--) NVIDIA(0): Valid display device(s) on GPU-0 at PCI:1:0:0
[    33.442] (--) NVIDIA(0):     CRT-0
[    33.442] (--) NVIDIA(0):     CRT-1
[    33.442] (--) NVIDIA(0):     DFP-0
[    33.442] (--) NVIDIA(0):     DFP-1 (boot)
[    33.443] (II) NVIDIA(0): Detected PCI Express Link width: 16X
[    33.463] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): CRT-0: disconnected
[    33.463] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): CRT-0: 400.0 MHz maximum pixel clock
[    33.463] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0):
[    33.464] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): CRT-1: disconnected
[    33.464] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): CRT-1: 400.0 MHz maximum pixel clock
[    33.464] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0):
[    33.467] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): DFP-0: disconnected
[    33.467] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): DFP-0: Internal TMDS
[    33.467] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): DFP-0: 330.0 MHz maximum pixel clock
[    33.467] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0):
[    33.482] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): XXX TV (DFP-1): connected
[    33.482] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): XXX TV (DFP-1): Internal TMDS
[    33.482] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): XXX TV (DFP-1): 230.0 MHz maximum pixel clock
[    33.482] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0):
[    33.485] (II) NVIDIA(0): Validated MetaModes:
[    33.485] (II) NVIDIA(0):     "DFP-1:1920x1080"
[    33.485] (II) NVIDIA(0):     "DFP-1:1280x720"

In other words, no mention of any devices attached to the card. Why? At first I thought that it might be that the monitor wasn't providing any EDID data, but that wouldn't explain the reference to non-existent devices like CRT-0 on teevee. I still have the old card from teevee, so I should try that out.

Revenge through spam
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

I can't be the only person who is receiving torrents of spam from RAY-BAN and UGG BOOTS. Time to update my ~/.procmailrc file. Why do renowned companies resort to such tactics?

Why, do renowned companies resort to such tactics? While looking at things to filter on, noticed that the headers appear to have nothing to do with the companies:

From: "RAY-BAN[2019]" <>
From: "RAY-BAN" <>
From: "RAY-BAN[2019]" <>
From: "UGG BOOTS" <>

And so on. Interestingly, the domain part of the email address is correct, and they're presumably expecting people to use toy MUAs that are too polite to show the originator's email address. So whoever is sending these messages appears to have nothing to do with the companies they claim to represent. Are they trying to get them to pay to stop?

Leonid does a runner
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

For a couple of months now we've been letting Leonid run free when we walk the dogs. We only want one to go free so that they won't feel obliged go head off together into the Wild Blue Yonder. Originally we had decided to let Nikolai run free, but on that occasion he got bitten by an electric fence, and I had to save him. Since then he feels insecure if he's not on a lead.

So it's Leonid. But today he misbehaved: for no obvious reason, he ran down the driveway of Fay (neighbour in Grassy Gully Road, whose surname I have forgotten). Wouldn't come back, and I had to go and get him. Fortunately there was a gate at the other end, so I was able to catch him. But that's really disappointing. Should we keep him on a lead from now on?

Thursday, 5 December 2019 Dereel Images for 5 December 2019
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Topic: general Link here

It's been a busy week, but finally the activity is subsiding. All I really did today was to write my diary. And it's so relaxing.

Harrisons Road house
Topic: general, Stones Road house Link here

We're observing the progress of the new house by JG King in Harrisons Road. It started construction about 2 weeks earlier than our house five years ago. Now they've started bricking:
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Is the gap between the houses widening? No, on checking it seems that they started bricking our house on 16 December 2014. I still think they'll move in round Anzac Day or a couple of days earlier.

This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.

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