04 Jan 2016
I upgraded my system disk from a SSD to a PCI SSD. Mostly because the Dell T20 has only 4 SATA
ports. So I bought a 'DeLock PCI-Express-x4 Kontroller' and a 'S'amsung 850 EVO M.2'. Which was not the smartest choice because there are two types
of M.2 SSDs some have a PCI interface and others have a SATA interface and you need the ones with PCI. That is why I bought a few days later a
'Samsung SSD SM951 128GB Workstation' which worked as expected, well almost. The card should work with out drivers and it should be possible to boot
from it. And here comes the fun part of course I couldn't boot from it, so I had the smart idea it should be easy to bootstrap my FreeBSD from a USB drive
and then boot from the PCI SSD card. And here is how you can do it:
First of all you should know the name of your devices (you can use something like
camcontrol devlist) in my case:
USB drive: da1
PCI SSD: ada0
Now we can delete all data and partitions on these two devices. This assumes
of course that you don't have any data you need on it. And I would recommend to disconnect and backup all disk you also
have connected to your Server. It's just to easy to wipe the wrong disk or copy things in the wrong partition. If you losing any data
it's not my fault! That said here is how to clean out the old partition and create the new ones.
# clean out old partitions
gpart destroy -F da1
gpart destroy -F ada0
# create partitions
gpart create -s gpt da1
gpart create -s gpt ada0
gpart add -a 4k -s 512K -t freebsd-boot da1
gpart add -a 4k -t freebsd-zfs da1
gpart add -a 4k -s 4G -t freebsd-swap ada0
gpart add -a 4k -t freebsd-zfs ada0
With that out of the way we can copy the boot code to the USB drive.
gpart bootcode -b /boot/pmbr -p /boot/gptzfsboot -i 1 da1
The next step is to create the the zfs pools and datasets for a FreeBSD install.
# create pools
zpool create -o altroot=/mnt -o cachefile=/tmp/zpool.cache usbboot /dev/da1p2
zpool create -o altroot=/mnt -o cachefile=/tmp/zpool.cache ssdboot /dev/ada0p2
zfs set mountpoint=none usbboot
zfs set mountpoint=none ssdboot
zfs set checksum=fletcher4 usbboot
zfs set checksum=fletcher4 ssdboot
# create datasets
zfs create -o mountpoint=none ssdboot/ROOT
zfs create -o mountpoint=/ ssdboot/ROOT/default
zfs create -o mountpoint=/home ssdboot/home
zfs create -o mountpoint=/usr ssdboot/usr
zfs create -o mountpoint=/var ssdboot/var
zfs create -o mountpoint=/tmp ssdboot/tmp
chmod 1777 /mnt/tmp
zfs create -o mountpoint=/uboot -o compression=off usbboot/boot
zpool set bootfs=usbboot/boot usbboot
zpool import -f -R /mnt usbboot
zpool set bootfs=none ssdboot
After all this we can finally copy the FreeBSD files to the file system.
for i in base kernel src ports games lib32; do
xz -d -c $i.txz | tar -C /mnt -xf -
Before we can reboot we need to configure a few settings in various files. This should load your FreeBSD from the SSD and mount your swap.
/dev/ada0p1 none swap sw 0 0
As a last step we need to copy
/boot on the USB drive.
cp -r /boot/* /mnt/uboot/boot/
cp /tmp/zpool.cache /mnt/uboot/boot/zfs/
Now is the time to reboot an pray, if everything worked it should boot FreeBSD.
If everything works we can symlink the boot directory.
rm -rf /boot/
ln -s /uboot/boot /boot
This works except one thing somehow it forgets after a reboot which pools are mounted. So after every reboot
I mount my pools manually.
sudo zpool import usbboot
sudo zpool import tank
sudo ezjail-admin start
This is not as bad as it sounds since I only reboot for kernel updates but if you know why this happesn or
how to fix it, there is a FreeBSD forums thread for it.
You can also direct me directly over mail, twitter whatever.
18 Oct 2015
I'm a huge fan of the Chromecast, the small streaming dongle from google. And I already wrote about the
first version here: Chromecast. There where always rumours
that a Chromecast 2 is around the corner. And now it happened. They have finally presented one with features
I'm waiting since I bought the first one. Mostly 5ghz WLAN, I don't understand why the first Chromecast
was lacking this.
I use my Chromecast mostly for three apps: BeyondPod (which is the best podcast client on android), Plex (self hosted netflix)
and YouTube (a platform for videos, you know that, right?). And these are the three apps I tested with the new Chromecast.
Nothing really surprising but all these apps are much smother to use, which is cool. Also nice was the on-boarding experience.
New is the Chromcast Audio, which is at least for me not that exciting. But this is
probably because I already have a Sonos sound system and I build something quite similar called Radio Pi.
But interesting is the price point it's much cheaper than Sonos and even cheaper than a self build solution with a Raspberry Pi.
So if you have already a Chromecast there is no real reason to upgrade, but it's a nice to have. If you haven't one it's a good
time to buy one.
17 Sep 2015
If you follow me on twitter you probably saw that I was at BalCCon2k15.
It was fun. I really enjoy this smaller events, the larger events like the CCCongress are very cool, but sometimes just
a bit too much to handle for me. So what is BalCCon2k15? It stands for Balkan Computer Congress and is organized by LUGoNS
the Linux Users Group of Novi Sad. This year was the 3th edition and everything was well planed and organized. Meaning the
WLAN worked fine, even if it was a bit slower than normally on such events. But hey you don't need much WLAN to socialize.
On the first day I helped to deploy WLAN AP. As you can see we did this like professionals! Also there was a loop for bits.
The location was a museum of some sort and it was perfect. Enough space, but not to much that you think it's empty.
And they had a painted tank. I mean how cool is that.
I can't say much about the talks. Because I only attended three or four. If you planning on building your own backbone
you should watch "lecture: how you could build a backbone". And then there was that one talk which was very impressive,
it was about "Touchless Control in Our World". It was held by Onuralp SEZER.
He showed a 3D printed arm which can be controlled by Myo. I don't think there will be a recording for that, so here is
just an image of it. (And if Onuralp SEZER writes about it I will include here a link
to the project)
Oh and the food was absolutely amazing.
Some images are made by @4x01071, thanks!
12 Sep 2015
I'm not at vBSDcon but I'm at
BalCCon2k15 which is a small conference in serbia (and very cool).
So while I was scrolling through my RSS feeds I saw that FreeBSD 10.2 is released. As usual I rush things which means I didn't made a backup of
my droplet. Kids always do a backup beforehand, if you do things like a kernel update. Not exactly sure why but I heard it helps a lot if you fuck up. And yeah I fuck up a lot. Anyway what happened was I ran
freebsd-update fetch install
freebsd-update -r 10.2
And after the reboot nothing. Cool, at least DigitalOcean has a HTML5 VNC. Of course this doesn't work with Firefox.
And it's very buggy. But it's enough to figure out whats happening. And I needed to configure my local keyboard to U.S English
to type characters like / (still no idea why). At this point I was able to access my droplet over VNC where I didn't had Internet. I found out that
a Interface without a IP address does basically nothing. Long story short you need to configure the Interface yourself. Still not
exactly sure why I didn't need to do it after the first setup. Anyway adding the interface configuration to my
my networking and routing and how would suspected that my droplet is back online.
What I'm trying to tell you dear reader, do proper backups beforehand.
06 Sep 2015
I heard all the cool kids program with this thing called elixir and phoenix.
And as we all know I'm trying hard to be a cool kid (not really successful). But this is a
topic for an other blog post. So here is a small guide how you get started with phoenix on Fedora.
The first step is installing elixir and postgresql which is the default
database back end for phoenix. And then there are other packages needed
like npm to use all these weird js front end tool which are to some extend
integrate in phoenix.
sudo dnf install erlang elixir postgresql-server npm inotify-tools
Prepare psql and enable it
Now we can setup our postgresql server.
sudo postgresql-setup initdb
After the basic setup, we need to edit the
which you should find now in
So we need to change ident to md5 on the line where the ADDRESS is 127.0.0.1/32 in
# TYPE DATABASE USER ADDRESS METHOD
host all all 127.0.0.1/32 md5
After we change the config file we can enable the service at start up and start it.
sudo systemctl enable postgresql
sudo service postgresql start
Set a password for the postgres user. Please remember the password you set, you need it later.
sudo su - postgres
postgres=# \password postgres
With all this things in place we can install the elixir package manager and phoenix.
Hint: You should check if there is a newer version than 1.0.1!
mix archive.install https://github.com/phoenixframework/phoenix/releases/download/v1.0.1/phoenix_new-1.0.1.ez
Create a new project is easy.
mix phoenix.new $APPNAME
Now you need your psql user and the password you set and configure it in
Installing all the dependencies and create the database.
Start the server