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Episode 252: Goes to 11.2 | BSD Now 252


Episode description

FreeBSD 11.2 has been released, setting up an MTA behind Tor, running pfsense on DigitalOcean, one year of C, using OpenBGPD to announce VM networks, the power to serve, and a BSDCan trip report.

###FreeBSD 11.2-RELEASE Available

  • FreeBSD 11.2 was released today (June 27th) and is ready for download
  • Highlights:

OpenSSH has been updated to version 7.5p1.
OpenSSL has been updated to version 1.0.2o.
The clang, llvm, lldb and compiler-rt utilities have been updated to version 6.0.0.
The libarchive(3) library has been updated to version 3.3.2.
The libxo(3) library has been updated to version 0.9.0.
Major Device driver updates to:

  • cxgbe(4) – Chelsio 10/25/40/50/100 gigabit NICs – version supports T4, T5 and T6
  • ixl(4) – Intel 10 and 40 gigabit NICs, updated to version 1.9.9-k
  • ng_pppoe(4) – driver has been updated to add support for user-supplied Host-Uniq tags

New drivers:
+ drm-next-kmod driver supporting integrated Intel graphics with the i915 driver.

  • mlx5io(4) – a new IOCTL interface for Mellanox ConnectX-4 and ConnectX-5 10/20/25/40/50/56/100 gigabit NICs
  • ocs_fc(4) – Emulex Fibre Channel 8/16/32 gigabit Host Adapters
  • smartpqi(4) – HP Gen10 Smart Array Controller Family

The newsyslog(8) utility has been updated to support RFC5424-compliant messages when rotating system logs
The diskinfo(8) utility has been updated to include two new flags, -s which displays the disk identity (usually the serial number), and -p which displays the physical path to the disk in a storage controller.
The top(1) utility has been updated to allow filtering on multiple user names when the -U flag is used
The umount(8) utility has been updated to include a new flag, -N, which is used to forcefully unmount an NFS mounted filesystem.
The ps(1) utility has been updated to display if a process is running with capsicum(4) capability mode, indicated by the flag ‘C’
The service(8) utility has been updated to include a new flag, -j, which is used to interact with services running within a jail(8). The argument to -j can be either the name or numeric jail ID
The mlx5tool(8) utility has been added, which is used to manage Connect-X 4 and Connect-X 5 devices supported by mlx5io(4).
The ifconfig(8) utility has been updated to include a random option, which when used with the ether option, generates a random MAC address for an interface.
The dwatch(1) utility has been introduced
The efibootmgr(8) utility has been added, which is used to manipulate the EFI boot manager.
The etdump(1) utility has been added, which is used to view El Torito boot catalog information.
The linux(4) ABI compatibility layer has been updated to include support for musl consumers.
The fdescfs(5) filesystem has been updated to support Linux®-specific fd(4) /dev/fd and /proc/self/fd behavior
Support for virtio_console(4) has been added to bhyve(4).
The length of GELI passphrases entered when booting a system with encrypted disks is now hidden by default. See the configuration options in geli(8) to restore the previous behavior.

  • In addition to the usual CD/DVD ISO, Memstick, and prebuilt VM images (raw, qcow2, vhd, and vmdk), FreeBSD 11.2 is also available on:
    • Amazon EC2
    • Google Compute Engine
    • Hashicorp/Atlas Vagrant
    • Microsoft Azure

  • In addition to a generic ARM64 image for devices like the Pine64 and Raspberry Pi 3, specific images are provided for:


  • Full Release Notes

###Setting up an MTA Behind Tor

This article will document how to set up OpenSMTPD behind a fully Tor-ified network. Given that Tor’s DNS resolver code does not support MX record lookups, care must be taken for setting up an MTA behind a fully Tor-ified network. OpenSMTPD was chosen because it was easy to modify to force it to fall back to A/AAAA lookups when MX lookups failed with a DNS result code of NOTIMP (4).

Note that as of 08 May 2018, the OpenSMTPD project is planning a configuration file language change. The proposed change has not landed. Once it does, this article will be updated to reflect both the old language and new.

The reason to use an MTA behing a fully Tor-ified network is to be able to support email behind the .onion TLD. This setup will only allow us to send and receive email to and from the .onion TLD.

  • Requirements:

  • A fully Tor-ified network

  • HardenedBSD as the operating system

  • A server (or VM) running HardenedBSD behind the fully Tor-ified network.

  • /usr/ports is empty

  • Or is already pre-populated with the HardenedBSD Ports tree

  • Why use HardenedBSD? We get all the features of FreeBSD (ZFS, DTrace, bhyve, and jails) with enhanced security through exploit mitigations and system hardening. Tor has a very unique threat landscape and using a hardened ecosystem is crucial to mitigating risks and threats.

Also note that this article reflects how I’ve set up my MTA. I’ve included configuration files verbatim. You will need to replace the text that refers to my .onion domain with yours.

On 08 May 2018, HardenedBSD’s version of OpenSMTPD just gained support for running an MTA behind Tor. The package repositories do not yet contain the patch, so we will compile OpenSMTPD from ports.

  • Steps
  • Installation
  • Generating Cryptographic Key Material
  • Tor Configuration
  • OpenSMTPD Configuration
  • Dovecot Configuration
  • Testing your configuration
  • Optional: Webmail Access


###Running pfSense on a Digital Ocean Droplet

I love pfSense (and opnSense, no discrimination here). I use it for just about anything, from homelab to large scale deployments and I’ll give out on any fancy <enter brand name fw appliance here> for a pfSense setup on a decent hardware.

I also love DigitalOcean, if you ever used them, you know why, if you never did, head over and try, you’ll understand why.
<shameless plug: head over to, the best technology content out there, they have coupon codes to get you started with DO>.

Unfortunately, while DO offers tremendous amount of useful distros and applications, pfSense isn’t one of them. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and here’s how to get pfSense up and running on DO so you can have it as the gatekeeper to your kingdom.

Start by creating a FreeBSD droplet, choose your droplet size (for modest setups, I find the 5$ to be quite awesome):

There are many useful things you can do with pfSense on your droplet, from OpenVPN, squid, firewalling, fancy routing, url filtering, dns black listing and much much more.

  • One note though, before we wrap up:

You have two ways to initiate the initial setup wizard of the web-configurator:
Spin up another droplet, log into it and browse your way to the INTERNAL ip address of the internal NIC you’ve set up. This is the long and tedious way, but it’s also somewhat safer as it eliminates the small window of risk the second method poses.
Once your WAN address is all setup, your pfSense is ready to accept https connection to start the initial web-configurator setup.
Thing is, there’s a default, well known set of credential to this initial wizard (admin:pfsense), so, there is a slight window of opportunity that someone can swoop in (assuming they know you’ve installed pfsense + your wan IP address + the exact time window between setting up the WAN interface and completing the wizard) and do <enter scary thing here>.

I leave it up to you which of the path you’d like to go, either way, once you’re done with the web-configurator wizard, you’ll have a shiny new pfSense installation at your disposal running on your favorite VPS.

Hopefully this was helpful for someone, I hope to get a similar post soon detailing how to get FreeNAS up and running on DO.
Many thanks to Tubsta and his blogpost as well as to Allan Jude, Kris Moore and Benedict Reuschling for their AWESOME and inspiring podcast, BSD Now.

##News Roundup
###One year of C

It’s now nearly a year that I started writing non-trivial amounts of C code again (the first sokol_gfx.h commit was on the 14-Jul-2017), so I guess it’s time for a little retrospective.

In the beginning it was more of an experiment: I wanted to see how much I would miss some of the more useful C++ features (for instance namespaces, function overloading, ‘simple’ template code for containers, …), and whether it is possible to write non-trivial codebases in C without going mad.

Here are all the github projects I wrote in C:

  • sokol: a slowly growing set of platform-abstraction headers
  • sokol-samples - examples for Sokol
  • chips - 8-bit chip emulators
  • chips-test - tests and examples for the chip- emulators, including some complete home computer emulators (minus sound)

All in all these are around 32k lines of code (not including 3rd party code like flextGL and HandmadeMath). I think I wrote more C code in the recent 10 months than any other language.

So one thing seems to be clear: yes, it’s possible to write a non-trivial amount of C code that does something useful without going mad (and it’s even quite enjoyable I might add).

  • Here’s a few things I learned:

  • Pick the right language for a problem

  • C is a perfect match for WebAssembly

  • C99 is a huge improvement over C89

  • The dangers of pointers and explicit memory management are overrated

  • Less Boilerplate Code

  • Less Language Feature ‘Anxiety’

  • Conclusion

All in all my “C experiment” is a success. For a lot of problems, picking C over C++ may be the better choice since C is a much simpler language (btw, did you notice how there are hardly any books, conferences or discussions about C despite being a fairly popular language? Apart from the neverending bickering about undefined behaviour from the compiler people of course ;) There simply isn’t much to discuss about a language that can be learned in an afternoon.

I don’t like some of the old POSIX or Linux APIs as much as the next guy (e.g. ioctl(), the socket API or some of the CRT library functions), but that’s an API design problem, not a language problem. It’s possible to build friendly C APIs with a bit of care and thinking, especially when C99’s designated initialization can be used (C++ should really make sure that the full C99 language can be used from inside C++ instead of continuing to wander off into an entirely different direction).

###Configuring OpenBGPD to announce VM’s virtual networks

We use BGP quite heavily at work, and even though I’m not interacting with that directly, it feels like it’s something very useful to learn at least on some basic level. The most effective and fun way of learning technology is finding some practical application, so I decided to see if it could help to improve networking management for my Virtual Machines.

My setup is fairly simple: I have a host that runs bhyve VMs and I have a desktop system from where I ssh to VMs, both hosts run FreeBSD. All VMs are connected to each other through a bridge and have a common network 10.0.1/24. The point of this exercise is to be able to ssh to these VMs from desktop without adding static routes and without adding vmhost’s external interfaces to the VMs bridge.

I’ve installed openbgpd on both hosts and configured it like this:

vmhost: /usr/local/etc/bgpd.conf AS 65002 router-id fib-update no network neighbor { descr "desktop" remote-as 65001 }

Here, router-id is set vmhost’s IP address in my home network (192.168.87/24), fib-update no is set to forbid routing table update, which I initially set for testing, but keeping it as vmhost is not supposed to learn new routes from desktop anyway. network announces my VMs network and neighbor describes my desktop box. Now the desktop box:

desktop: /usr/local/etc/bgpd.conf AS 65001 router-id fib-update yes neighbor { descr "vmhost" remote-as 65002 }

It’s pretty similar to vmhost’s bgpd.conf, but no networks are announced here, and fib-update is set to yes because the whole point is to get VM routes added. Both hosts have to have the openbgpd service enabled:

/etc/rc.conf.local openbgpd_enable="YES"
  • Conclusion

As mentioned already, similar result could be achieved without using BGP by using either static routes or bridging interfaces differently, but the purpose of this exercise is to get some basic hands-on experience with BGP. Right now I’m looking into extending my setup in order to try more complex BGP schema. I’m thinking about adding some software switches in front of my VMs or maybe adding a second VM host (if budget allows). You’re welcome to comment if you have some ideas how to extend this setup for educational purposes in the context of BGP and networking.

As a side note, I really like openbgpd so far. Its configuration file format is clean and simple, documentation is good, error and information messages are clear, and CLI has intuitive syntax.

Digital Ocean

###The Power to Serve

All people within the IT Industry should known where the slogan “The Power To Serve” is exposed every day to millions of people. But maybe too much wishful thinking from me. But without “The Power To Serve” the IT industry today will look totally different. Companies like Apple, Juniper, Cisco and even WatsApp would not exist in their current form.

I provide IT architecture services to make your complex IT landscape manageable and I love to solve complex security and privacy challenges. Complex challenges where people, processes and systems are heavily interrelated. For this knowledge intensive work I often run some IT experiments. When you run experiments nowadays you have a choice:

  • Rent some cloud based services or
  • DIY (Do IT Yourself) on premise

Running your own developments experiments on your own infrastructure can be time consuming. However smart automation saves time and money. And by creating your own CICD pipeline (Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment) you stay on top of core infrastructure developments. Even hands-on. Knowing how things work from a technical ‘hands-on’ perspective gives great advantages when it comes to solving complex business IT problems. Making a clear distinguish between a business problem or IT problem is useless. Business and IT problems are related. Sometimes causal related, but more often indirect by one or more non linear feedback loops. Almost every business depends of IT systems. Bad IT means often that your customers will leave your business.

One of the things of FeeBSD for me is still FreeBSD Jails. In 2015 I had luck to attend to a presentation of the legendary hacker Poul-Henning Kamp . Check his BSD bio to see what he has done for the FreeBSD community! FreeBSD jails are a light way to visualize your system without enormous overhead. Now that the development on Linux for LXD/LXD is more mature (lxd is the next generation system container manager on linux) there is finally again an alternative for a nice chroot Linux based system again. At least when you do not need the overhead and management complexity that comes with Kubernetes or Docker.

FreeBSD means control and quality for me. When there is an open source package I need, I want to install it from source. It gives me more control and always some extra knowledge on how things work. So no precompiled binaries for me on my BSD systems! If a build on FreeBSD fails most of the time this is an alert regarding the quality for me.

If a complex OSS package is not available at all in the FreeBSD ports collection there should be a reason for it. Is it really that nobody on the world wants to do this dirty maintenance work? Or is there another cause that running this software on FreeBSD is not possible…There are currently 32644 ports available on FreeBSD. So all the major programming language, databases and middleware libraries are present. The FreeBSD organization is a mature organization and since this is one of the largest OSS projects worldwide learning how this community manages to keep innovation and creates and maintains software is a good entrance for learning how complex IT systems function.

FreeBSD is of course BSD licensed. It worked well! There is still a strong community with lots of strong commercial sponsors around the community. Of course: sometimes a GPL license makes more sense. So beside FreeBSD I also love GPL software and the rationale and principles behind it. So my hope is that maybe within the next 25 years the hard battle between BSD vs GPL churches will be more rationalized and normalized. Principles are good, but as all good IT architects know: With good principles alone you never make a good system. So use requirements and not only principles to figure out what OSS license fits your project. There is never one size fits all.

June 19, 1993 was the day the official name for FreeBSD was agreed upon. So this blog is written to celebrate 25th anniversary of FreeBSD.

###Dave’s BSDCan trip report

  • So far, only one person has bothered to send in a BSDCan trip report. Our warmest thanks to Dave for doing his part.

Hello guys! During the last show, you asked for a trip report regarding BSDCan 2018.
This was my first time attending BSDCan. However, BSDCan was my second BSD conference overall, my first being vBSDCon 2017 in Reston, VA.
Arriving early Thursday evening and after checking into the hotel, I headed straight to the Red Lion for the registration, picked up my badge and swag and then headed towards the ‘DMS’ building for the newbies talk. The only thing is, I couldn’t find the DMS building! Fortunately I found a BSDCan veteran who was heading there themselves. My only suggestion is to include the full building name and address on the BSDCan web site, or even a link to Google maps to help out with the navigation. The on-campus street maps didn’t have ‘DMS’ written on them anywhere. But I digress.
Once I made it to the newbies talk hosted by Dan Langille and Michael W Lucas, it highlighted places to meet, an overview of what is happening, details about the ‘BSDCan widow/widower tours’ and most importantly, the 6-2-1 rule!
The following morning, we were present with tea/coffee, muffins and other goodies to help prepare us for the day ahead.
The first talk, “The Tragedy of systemd” covered what systemd did wrong and how the BSD community could improve on the ideas behind it.
With the exception of Michael W Lucas, SSH Key Management and Kirk McKusick, The Evolution of FreeBSD Governance talk, I pretty much attended all of the ZFS talks including the lunchtime BoF session, hosted by Allan Jude. Coming from FreeNAS and being involved in the community, this is where my main interest and motivation lies. Since then I have been able to share some of that information with the FreeNAS community forums and chatroom.
I also attended the “Speculating about Intel” lunchtime BoF session hosted by Theo de Raddt, which proved to be “interesting”.
The talks ended with the wrap up session with a few words from Dan, covering the record attendance and made very clear there “was no cabal”. Followed by the the handing over of Groff the BSD goat to a new owner, thank you’s from the FreeBSD Foundation to various community committers and maintainers, finally ending with the charity auction, where a things like a Canadian $20 bill sold for $40, a signed FreeBSD Foundation shirt originally worn by George Neville-Neil, a lost laptop charger, Michael’s used gelato spoon, various books, the last cookie and more importantly, the second to last cookie!
After the auction, we all headed to the Red Lion for food and drinks, sponsored by iXsystems.
I would like to thank the BSDCan organizers, speakers and sponsors for a great conference. I will certainly hope to attend next year!
Dave (aka m0nkey_)

  • Thanks to Dave for sharing his experiences with us and our viewers

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Episode 267: Absolute FreeBSD | BSD Now 267

October 10th, 2018


We have a long interview with fiction and non-fiction author Michael W. Lucas for you this week as well as questions from the audience.

##Interview - Michael W. Lucas - / @mwlauthor

Episode 266: File Type History | BSD Now 266

October 3rd, 2018


Running OpenBSD/NetBSD on FreeBSD using grub2-bhyve, vermaden’s FreeBSD story, thoughts on OpenBSD on the desktop, history of file type info in Unix …

Episode 265: Software Disenchantment | BSD Now 265

September 27th, 2018


We report from our experiences at EuroBSDcon, disenchant software, LLVM 7.0.0 has been released, Thinkpad BIOS update options, HardenedBSD Foundation announced, and ZFS send vs. rsync.


###[FreeBSD …

Episode 264: Optimized-out | BSD Now 264

September 20th, 2018


FreeBSD and DragonflyBSD benchmarks on AMD’s Threadripper, NetBSD 7.2 has been released, optimized out DTrace kernel symbols, stuck UEFI bootloaders, …

Episode 263: Encrypt That Pool | BSD Now 263

September 7th, 2018


Mitigating Spectre/Meltdown on HP Proliant servers, omniOS installation setup, debugging a memory corruption issue on OpenBSD, CfT for OpenZFS native …

Episode 262: OpenBSD Surfacing | BSD Now 262

September 6th, 2018


OpenBSD on Microsoft Surface Go, FreeBSD Foundation August Update, What’s taking so long with Project Trident, pkgsrc config file versioning, and MacOS remnants in ZFS code.

###OpenBSD on the Microsoft …

Episode 261: FreeBSDcon Flashback | BSD Now 261

August 30th, 2018


Insight into TrueOS and Trident, stop evildoers with pf-badhost, Flashback to FreeBSDcon ‘99, OpenBSD’s measures against TLBleed, play Morrowind on OpenBSD in 5 steps, DragonflyBSD developers shocked at Threadripper …

Episode 260: Hacking Tour of Europe | BSD Now 260

August 23rd, 2018


Trip reports from the Essen Hackathon and BSDCam, CfT: ZFS native encryption and UFS trim consolidation, ZFS performance benchmarks on a FreeBSD …

Episode 259: Long Live Unix | BSD Now 259

August 16th, 2018


The strange birth and long life of Unix, FreeBSD jail with a single public IP, EuroBSDcon 2018 talks and schedule, OpenBSD on G4 iBook, PAM template …

Episode 258: OS Foundations | BSD Now 258

August 8th, 2018


FreeBSD Foundation July Newsletter, a bunch of BSDCan trip reports, HardenedBSD Foundation status, FreeBSD and OSPFd, ZFS disk structure overview, …

Episode 257: Great NetBSD 8 | BSD Now 257

August 2nd, 2018


NetBSD 8.0 available, FreeBSD on Scaleway’s ARM64 VPS, encrypted backups with OpenBSD, Dragonfly server storage upgrade, zpool checkpoints, g2k18 …

Episode 256: Because Computers | BSD Now 2^8

July 25th, 2018


FreeBSD ULE vs. Linux CFS, OpenBSD on Tuxedo InfinityBook, how zfs diff reports filenames efficiently, why choose FreeBSD over Linux, PS4 double free exploit, OpenBSD’s wifi autojoin, and FreeBSD jails the hard way.

Episode 255: What Are You Pointing At | BSD Now 255

July 18th, 2018


What ZFS blockpointers are, zero-day rewards offered, KDE on FreeBSD status, new FreeBSD core team, NetBSD WiFi refresh, poor man’s CI, and the power …

Episode 254: Bare the OS | BSD Now 254

July 12th, 2018


Control flow integrity with HardenedBSD, fixing bufferbloat with OpenBSD’s pf, Bareos Backup Server on FreeBSD, MeetBSD CfP, crypto simplified …

Episode 253: Silence of the Fans | BSD Now 253

July 5th, 2018


Fanless server setup with FreeBSD, NetBSD on pinebooks, another BSDCan trip report, transparent network audio, MirBSD's Korn Shell on Plan9, static site generators on OpenBSD, and more.

###Silent Fanless …

Episode 251: Crypto HAMMER | BSD Now 251

June 21st, 2018


DragonflyBSD’s hammer1 encrypted master/slave setup, second part of our BSDCan recap, NomadBSD 1.1-RC1 available, OpenBSD adds an LDAP client to …

Episode 250: BSDCan 2018 Recap | BSD Now 250

June 14th, 2018


TrueOS becoming a downstream fork with Trident, our BSDCan 2018 recap, HardenedBSD Foundation founding efforts, VPN with OpenIKED on OpenBSD, FreeBSD on a System76 Galago Pro, and hardware accelerated crypto on Octeons.

Episode 249: Router On A Stick | BSD Now 249

June 6th, 2018


OpenZFS and DTrace updates in NetBSD, NetBSD network security stack audit, Performance of MySQL on ZFS, OpenSMTP results from p2k18, legacy Windows …

Episode 248: Show Me The Mooney | BSD Now 248

May 29th, 2018


DragonflyBSD release 5.2.1 is here, BPF kernel exploit writeup, Remote Debugging the running OpenBSD kernel, interview with Patrick Mooney, FreeBSD buildbot setup in a jail, dumping your USB, and 5 years of gaming on …

Episode 247: Interning for FreeBSD | BSD Now 247

May 24th, 2018


FreeBSD internship learnings, exciting developments coming to FreeBSD, running FreeNAS on DigitalOcean, Network Manager control for OpenBSD, OpenZFS …

Episode 246: Properly Coordinated Disclosure | BSD Now 246

May 17th, 2018


How Intel docs were misinterpreted by almost any OS, a look at the mininet SDN emulator, do’s and don’ts for FreeBSD, OpenBSD community going gold, …

Episode 245: ZFS User Conf 2018 | BSD Now 245

May 10th, 2018


Allan’s recap of the ZFS User conference, first impressions of OmniOS by a BSD user, Nextcloud 13 setup on FreeBSD, OpenBSD on a fanless desktop computer, an intro to HardenedBSD, and DragonFlyBSD getting some SMP …

Episode 244: C is a Lie | BSD Now 244

May 3rd, 2018


Arcan and OpenBSD, running OpenBSD 6.3 on RPI 3, why C is not a low-level language, HardenedBSD switching back to OpenSSL, how the Internet was …

Episode 243: Understanding The Scheduler | BSD Now 243

April 25th, 2018


OpenBSD 6.3 and DragonflyBSD 5.2 are released, bug fix for disappearing files in OpenZFS on Linux (and only Linux), understanding the FreeBSD CPU …

Episode 242: Linux Takes The Fastpath | BSD Now 242

April 18th, 2018


TrueOS Stable 18.03 released, a look at F-stack, the secret to an open source business model, intro to jails and jail networking, FreeBSD Foundation March update, and the ipsec Errata.

Headlines TrueOS STABLE 18.03 …

Episode 241: Bowling in the LimeLight | BSD Now 241

April 12th, 2018


Second round of ZFS improvements in FreeBSD, Postgres finds that non-FreeBSD/non-Illumos systems are corrupting data, interview with Kevin Bowling, BSDCan list of talks, and cryptographic right answers.

Episode 240: TCP Blackbox Recording | BSD Now 240

April 7th, 2018


New ZFS features landing in FreeBSD, MAP_STACK for OpenBSD, how to write safer C code with Clang’s address sanitizer, Michael W. Lucas on sponsor gifts, TCP blackbox recorder, and Dell disk system hacking.

Episode 239: The Return To ptrace | BSD Now 239

March 29th, 2018


OpenBSD firewalling Windows 10, NetBSD’s return to ptrace, TCP Alternative Backoff, the BSD Poetic license, and AsiaBSDcon 2018 videos available.

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