FreeBSD arm64.aarch64 on QEMU/UTM with better (but not perfect) graphics

A week ago I posted about Running arm64.aarch64 FreeBSD on QEMU/UTM.app on Apple Silicon, and looks like

  1. Many people liked that post
  2. Everyone asked about running graphics (Xorg)

It took me a while but in the end it was, again, a simple change.

All you have to do is to add this single line to /boot/loader.conf

efi_max_resolution="1920x1080"

Now, QEMU’s display will not be 1080p, but it will be the following

VT(efifb): resolution 1024x768

Here are some screenshots

Here’s also Firefox doing an HTML5 test. As you can see, it passed the exam!

However, I’d like to get more resolution out of this. If you know how, please let me know.

That’s all folks…

Antranig Vartanian

November 23, 2022

Wait, what?

I was running a script and I didn’t parse something correctly, it ended up creating a Unix user named ''. You know, an empty string.

Is this supposed to be a bug?

According to pw_checkname in pw_user of pw(8), it’s not rejected.

If you think this is supposed to be a bug, please let me know.

Running arm64.aarch64 FreeBSD on QEMU/UTM.app on Apple Silicon

Around a year ago I got an M1 MacBook Air for work. At this point, a lot of people that I know use these Apple Silicon machines.

While my personal machine is running FreeBSD, many times I’ve been in a situation where I need to run FreeBSD on my M1 MacBook Air, at least as a Virtual Machine.

For 9 months I’ve been running the AMD64 version of FreeBSD on QEMU/UTM.app using emulation. It gets the job done.

But whenever I want to do FreeBSD development, I need a fast machine. While M1 is pretty fast, VM emulation is still slow.

The problem is that whenever I booted the arm64.aarch64 FreeBSD on QEMU, it would use so much CPU on the host, that my battery would die in an hour or so.

After a lot of searching, I finally found this, this and this, which eventually got me to this page on the handbook

1. Set Boot Loader Variables
The most important step is to reduce the kern.hz tunable to reduce the CPU utilization of FreeBSD under the Parallels environment. This is accomplished by adding the following line to /boot/loader.conf:

kern.hz=100

Without this setting, an idle FreeBSD Parallels guest will use roughly 15% of the CPU of a single processor iMac®. After this change the usage will be closer to 5%.

Configuring FreeBSD on Parallels

So I tried that, and here you go!

Ahh, finally, I can do some work.

That’s all folks…

DND IRL

What does modern macOS and old-school Instant Messaging systems (like AIM or Pidgin) have in common?

They both support “Status”, you know, that thing we had in IMs, where you can set yourself to “Do Not Disturb” and your avatar becomes red.

macOS, as always, does not call that “Status”, instead they call is “Focus”, but it gets the job done.

So yes, I’d like an IRL (In Real Life) version of DND (Do Not Disturb). Maybe my ears should turn red, but most people would confuse it with some other emotions.

That’s all folks…

Bookmarklets are amazing, still

I don’t remember the first bookmarklet that I’ve used, but as far as I can tell, I’ve never stopped using them.

One of the nicest things of WordPress on iOS is that I can use 3D touch to write a post instantly.

Yet, somehow, I’ve been using a typical bookmark on my computer. So I’d click on the bookmark, which would open my WordPress instance, then I’d click on Add New Post.

Even if I had the Add New Post page bookmarked, it would be “somewhere” on my screen.

But with a bookmarklet, I can make it a popup, which usually would center, and there would be no distractions as well. Just content.

I’ve been running my own instance of Lobsters for a while (at letstalk.netter.am) and one of the niceties is Lobsters’ bookmarklet to submit links.

I realized that I should use a bookmarklet for writing posts as well.

So here it goes.

javascript:{window.open("https://your.wordpress.blog/wp-admin/post-new.php", "NewPost", "popup");void(0)}

And just like that, I can write a new post instantly, as I did right now 🙂

Technically, the first argument can be any URL that you wanna have front and center. Hope this helps you to write/blog/tweet more.

That’s all folks…

Quitting Smoking, Again

I think it was Mark Twain who said once,

Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times

In reality, I’ve never felt addicted to smoking, sometime around 2018 I’ve even stopped smoking for like 9-10 months, but after a couple of stressful days I’ve started smoking again.

I made a deal with myself that next year I will run a marathon. I know it wont be easy, but at least I can try.

Obviously I started with walking and turns out my cardio is worse than ever, and hence, I will quit smoking.

So, a new event has been added to my calendar, well, multiple actually, where every 3 months I check, “hey, you didn’t start smoking again, did you?”

And hopefully, I will finally run a marathon.

That’s all folks… Wish me luck!

iOS ships Dvorak, finally

I’m a huge fan of the Dvorak keyboard layout, but if there’s one thing I love more than “Evolved vs Engineered” solution debates, is that nothing wins the ”standardized” debate.

That being said, the main reason I never moved to Dvorak properly was always a device not having a proper keyboard. Sometimes it was my Android phone with a weird ROM, but most of times it was my iPhone.

However, I just learned that Apple shipped the Dvorak layout with iOS 16.

Here’s Lilith‘s iPhone running iOS 15

And here’s my iPhone running iOS 16

And I’ve gotta say, it’s not bad at all

That’s all folks…

Antranig Vartanian

September 23, 2022

I’m running two VMs on my M1 MacBook Air. An x86_64 FreeBSD and x86_64 LureOS (illuria‘s OS), both are emulated.

and yet, somehow, according to macOS, my browser is Using Significant Energy.

To be honest, I believe macOS, but the real question is, how did we get to a place where a piece of software is consuming more power than a complete Operating System?