Since some time, I am working on a replacement of our current shell script based boot process to something more flexible, a similar solution to Apple’s launchd, and Linux’s systemd.
While there is still a lot to do, it’s now feature complete in terms of being able to completely reproduce the current boot process.
Since the switch to our package manager, there was no longer a way to influence the boot process at all. The only file you could change was the UserBootscript which is started only after Tracker and Deskbar; the whole system is already up at this point.
The launch_daemon gives the power back to you, but also allow software you install to automatically be started on system boot as well. You can also even prevent system components from being started at all if you so wish.
As you might have noticed, the WiFi encryption bounty ends tomorrow. Obviously, this is a good time to give an overview over what I did in the past weeks. Unfortunately, and hopefully before I got you excited, the most interesting thing of the bounty, the wpa_supplicant, does not work yet. I've ported it to Haiku, but so far it has resisted my attempts to find out where the problem is located -- well, in the hours I put into debugging I've found a couple of potential causes, but there is at least one more to be found, and fixed.
I've been working on getting WPA encryption to work on Haiku. While I haven't been able to invest as much time as I hoped for before, I made a bit of progress that at least justifies a small status update. The first part of WPA related work has actually happened while I was working on the network stack for Haiku Inc., as it was not possible to inject packets into the network - while you could easily monitor all incoming packets, there was no mechanism to send packets for arbitrary protocols.
First of all, thank a lot for your generous donations! It was really stunning to see how much money could be raised in such a short time. And since it’s been some time since my last commit, I thought it would be a good idea to report what I’m currently up to. But first, let’s have a look at what I did last week for the most part:
I started to fix some annoying bugs in the FreeBSD compatibility layer.
You are probably aware of the existance of chkbfs. This tool checks the file system for errors, and corrects them, if possible. Nothing is perfect, so you might not even be asking yourself why a journaling file system comes with such a tool. In fact, it wasn't originally included or planned in the first releases of the new BFS file system. It was added because there is a real need for this tool and you are advised to run it after having experienced some BeOS crashes.
I recently looked into why BeIDE’s interface did only have green squares where its icons should have been (bug #313). The function importing the client’s bitmap data did not work correctly, and while playing with it, the app_server suddenly crashed, and continued to do so in a reproducible way.
How was this possible? Bitmaps are located in a shared memory pool between the app_server, and an application. Unfortunately, the app_server put those bitmaps into arbitrary larger areas, and put the structures managing that space into those areas as well - like a userland memory allocator would do.
Since a few days, we have a working APM driver in our kernel. APM stands for Advanced Power Management. It’s a service as part of the computer’s firmware commonly called BIOS in the x86 world. The latest APM standard, version 1.2, is already almost 10 years old. Today’s computers do still support it, even though the preferred method to have similar services (among others) is now ACPI, or Advanced Configuration and Power Interface.
If you’ve used BeOS, you’re probably familiar with the above message when trying to unmount a volume. From time to time, some application keeps accessing a volume, and you can’t determine which application that is. It might be caused by a running live query, but it might also be caused by buggy background applications that forget to close a file.
I’ve just given you control over your volumes back again in Haiku: you can force unmounting such a volume – applications still trying to access it, would get an error back.
My official employment at Haiku has ended now. I wanted to thank you for all the donations that made this possible. In retrospect, it were pretty busy months for Haiku, I think I have committed over 600 changes during that time, lots of minor ones, of course, but also a few bigger ones.
In case Haiku runs on your system, you should now be at least able to experience uptimes of several hours, depending on what you do, of course :-)