Tag Archives: FreeBSD

ZFS compression is so good that it cost me 2 hours

So we have this build machine (build0) where we build FreeBSD in Jails and then we mount the src and obj dirs via NFS or we sync them using rsync to destinations so we can run make installworld on not-so-powerful servers.

Couple of days ago we had a network issue at the data center, the switches crashed and we had to reboot them. Turns out I was running rsync on one of our servers, so I decided to make sure that the files were copied.

Like a lazy sysadmin, I run the following commands on both the build0 server, as well as the remote host.

root@build0:~ # du -h -d 0 /usr/local/jails/f130/usr/obj/
 13G    /usr/local/jails/f130/usr/obj/

root@illuriasecurity:~ # du -h -d 0 /usr/obj/
5.5G    /usr/obj/

Hmm, maybe files were not copied properly? So I remove the obj dir and I rsync again.

Looks like the size is 5.5G AGAIN!

So I do a little bit of piping!

root@build0:/usr/local/jails/f130/usr/obj # find . | sort > /tmp/obj_build0.txt

root@illuriasecurity:/usr/obj # find . | sort > /tmp/obj.txt

zvartnots:~ $ scp illuria:/tmp/obj.txt  /tmp/
zvartnots:~ $ scp build0:/tmp/obj_build0.txt /tmp/

zvartnots:~ $ diff /tmp/obj.txt /tmp/obj_build0.txt

Um, no difference?

Looks like the size reported by du was… confusing?

Okay, let’s check the manual of du(1):

     -A		Display the apparent size instead of the disk usage.  This	can be
     		helpful when operating on compressed volumes or sparse files.

Oops, looks like ZFS compression is enabled on my machine…

Let’s try this again!

root@build0:~ # du -h -d 0 -A /usr/local/jails/f130/usr/obj/
 12G    /usr/local/jails/f130/usr/obj/

root@illuriasecurity:~ # du -h -d 0 -A /usr/obj/
 12G    /usr/obj/

Ok! This makes more sense ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s also check with ZFS.

root@illuriasecurity:~ # zfs get compression zroot/usr
zroot/usr  compression  lz4       inherited from zroot

I wonder what’s the build0 server is doing?

root@build0:~ # zfs get compression zroot/usr
cannot open 'zroot/usr': dataset does not exist

Hn o.O ? Oh yeah, I wonder.

root@build0:~ # mount | grep ' / '
/dev/ufs/rootfs on / (ufs, local, journaled soft-updates)

Okay, this makes much more sense now ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s all folks!

Techlife Crisis

This is another migration story, like the one that I wrote back in 2020. Unlike the other story, the motivation of this migration is totally different. It’s emotional instead of technical.

Last year a friend of mine got a new job that I referred her to. She passed the interviews and I helped her to get on-boarded as the employer was a friend of mine and I was pretty familiar with their product. The job was remote and she didn’t have a good laptop. Since I have many laptops I ended up giving her my ThinkPad T480s where she ran Ubuntu. As you can tell the employer was a VERY close friend of mine ๐Ÿ™‚

All of this meant that I moved back to my MacBook Pro running macOS. I used to like macOS, for me it was always a rock-solid UNIX system with a proper graphical interface.

Unfortunatly these years the UNIX part is not solid anymore and the graphical interface is more iOS-y eye candy than a proper desktop interface.

But I was okay with that, since I spent most of my time in a terminal running vim, ssh, etc. I’d run typical work apps like Mail.app with GPGSuite and a Slack browser client.

But then something snapped in me. I think it was after the car accident. I spent two weeks at home, not able to work. So I started coding on my open-source projects again, doing some patches in FreeBSD, improving code on software that I like and so on.

I realized that I’ve been an Open Source advocate for years, and yet I was in the Apple ecosystem. Not that I don’t like the Apple ecosystem, don’t get me wrong, but as someone who’s been telling the government to use open source, helping them migrate, giving lectures to students about the open source movement and its history, I felt… bad.

I had this MacBook Pro laptop and this iPhone that both control me more than I can control it.

I contacted my friend again, asking if we can swap the laptops and she told me yes. She actually ended up working at our company and now she has a fancy new MacBook Pro while I came back to my lovely ThinkPad T480s running FreeBSD like I wanted in the first place.

As I mentioned, this time it hit me hard, so I decided to escape non-OSS things completely and now I’m running a Pixel 2 with Lineage OS.

There’s a whole story on how I got that Pixel 2 at this day and age and that story is coming soon. And the funniest thing is, as soon as I completed my transaction/migration to Open Source, I got the news that Apple Pay will finally work in Armenia.

Open Source changed my life when I was a kid in Syria, I learned more about computers because of Open Source and while I got distracted with the cute and nice macOS for a while, it’s time to come back home.

Here’s a screenshot

That’s all folks!

WireGuard “dynamic” routing on FreeBSD

I originally wrote about this on my Armenian blog when ISPs started blocking DNS queries during and after the war. I was forces to use either,, or any other major DNS resolver. For me this was a pain because I was not able to dig +trace, and I dig +trace a lot.

After some digging (as mentioned in the Armenian blog) I was able to figure out that this affects only the home users. Luckily, I also run servers at my home and the ISPs were not blocking anything on those “server” ranges, so I setup WireGuard.

This post is not about setting up WireGuard, there are plenty of posts and articles on the internet about that.

Over time my network became larger. I also started having servers outside of my network. One of the fast (and probably wrong) ways of restricting access to my servers was allowing traffic only from my own network.

I have a server that acts as WireGuard VPN Peer and does NAT-ing. That being said, the easiest way for me to start accessing my restricted servers is by doing route add restricted_server_addr -interface wg0.

Turns out I needed to write some code for that, which I love to do!

Anytime that I need to setup a WireGuard VPN client I go back to my Armenian post and read there, so now I’ll be blogging how to do dynamic routing with WireGuard so I read whenever I need to. I hope it becomes handy for you too!

Now, let’s assume you need to add a.b.c.d in your routes, usually you’d do route add a.b.c.d -interface wg0, but this would not work, since in your WireGuard configuration you have a line that says

AllowedIPs = w.x.y.z/24

Which means, even if you add the route, the WireGuard application/kernel module will not route those packets.

To achieve “dynamic” routing we could do

AllowedIPs =

This, however will route ALL your traffic via WireGuard, which is also something you don’t want, you want to add routes at runtime.

What we could do, however, is to ask WireGuard to NOT add the routes automatically. Here’s how.

PrivateKey      = your_private_key
Address         = w.x.y.z/32
Table           = off
PostUp          = /usr/local/etc/wireguard/add_routes.sh %i
DNS             = w.z.y.1

PublicKey       = their_public_key
PresharedKey    = pre_shared_key
AllowedIPs      =
Endpoint        = your_server_addr:wg_port

The two key points here are Table = off which asks WireGuard to not add the routes automatically and PostUp = /usr/local/etc/wireguard/add_routes.sh %i which is a script that does add the routes, where %i is expanded to the WireGuard interface name; could be wg0, could be home0, depends in your configuration.

Now for add_routes.sh we write the following.




for _n in ${networks};
  route -q -n add ${_n} -interface ${interface}

And we can finally do wg-quick up server0.conf

If you need to add another route while WireGuard is running, you can do

route add another_restricted_server -interface wg0

Okay, what if you need to route everything while WireGuard is running? Well, that’s easy too!

First, find your default gateway.

% route -n get default | grep gateway
    gateway: your_gateway

Next, add a route for your endpoint via your current default gateway.

route add you_server_addr your_gateway

Next, add TWO routes for WireGuard.

route add     -interface wg0
route add   -interface wg0

So it’s the two halves of the Internet ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s all folks!

VoidLinux in FreeBSD Jail; with init

Two important things happened this week for me.

First, Faraz asked me if I can rename my Jail manager to something other than Jailio because he got that domain for his Jailer manager already. So I named it

Second, I was able to run a complete Linux system using Jailer. While the repo for Jailer is not released yet (we are auditing for possible security issues), I would like to share how I was able to run VoidLinux in a Jail.

Since Jailer is not announced yet, I will give the examples using jail.conf, as most people either are or should be familiar with its concepts.

I went with VoidLinux because I am able to run the init process without its need to be running as PID1.

Let’s start, shall we?

First, ZFS dataset for our jail!

zfs create zroot/jails/voidlinux

Next we need to fetch the base system of VoidLinux. Luckily they do provide it on their website.

fetch https://alpha.de.repo.voidlinux.org/live/current/void-x86_64-ROOTFS-20210218.tar.xz

Now we can extract this into our dataset

tar xf void-x86_64-ROOTFS-20210218.tar.xz -C /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/

You might get an error that ./usr/bin/iputils-ping: Cannot restore extended attributes: security.capability, which is fine, I think?

If you are on FreeBSD 12.2-RELEASE or later, now you need to enable the Linuxulator.

service linux enable; service linux start

Now you can at least chroot into the system.

chroot /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/ /bin/bash

If everything is fine until now, perfect.

Now we need to add a root user into the system.

root@host:~ # cd /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/etc/
root@host:/usr/local/jails/voidlinux/etc # echo "root::0:0::0:0:Charlie &:/root:/bin/bash" > master.passwd
root@host:/usr/local/jails/voidlinux/etc # pwd_mkdb -d ./ -p master.passwd
pwd_mkdb: warning, unknown root shell

Execute the rest of the commands in Void.

root@host:~ # chroot /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/ /bin/bash
bash-5.1# cd /etc/
bash-5.1# pwconv 
bash-5.1# grpconv 
bash-5.1# passwd 
New password: 
Retype new password: 
passwd: password updated successfully
bash-5.1# exit

If all went fine, then the system is ready to be run as a Jail!

First we need to make an fstab for the system.

Create a file at /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/etc/fstab.pre and insert the following inside

devfs       /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/dev      devfs           rw                      0   0
tmpfs       /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/dev/shm  tmpfs           rw,size=1g,mode=1777    0   0
fdescfs     /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/dev/fd   fdescfs         rw,linrdlnk             0   0
linprocfs   /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/proc     linprocfs       rw                      0   0
linsysfs    /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/sys      linsysfs        rw                      0   0
/tmp        /usr/local/jails/voidlinux/tmp      nullfs          rw                      0   0

Next, let’s create a loopback interface for networking. Oh yes, VNET is not supported yet, but I’m working on a patch ๐Ÿ™‚

ifconfig lo1 create
ifconfig lo1 inet up # sorry, was unavailable :P

Okay, time to create our Jail conf!


voidlinux {
    $id     = "1";
    $ipaddr = "";
    $mask   = "";
    $domain = "srv0.bsd.am";
    devfs_ruleset  = 4;
    mount.fstab = "${path}/etc/fstab.pre";

    exec.start     = "/bin/sh /etc/runit/2 &";
    exec.stop      = "/bin/sh /etc/runit/3";

    ip4.addr      = "${ipaddr}";
    interface     = "lo1";
    host.hostname = "${name}.${domain}";
    path = "/usr/local/jails/voidlinux";
    exec.consolelog = "/var/log/jail-${name}.log";

Let’s check?

# jls
   JID  IP Address      Hostname                      Path
     1    voidlinux.srv0.bsd.am         /usr/local/jails/voidlinux

And the process tree?

# ps auxd -J voidlinux
root 35182  0.0  0.1 2320 1428  -  SsJ  21:09   0:00.12 runsvdir -P /run/runit/runsvdir/current log: ot set SO_PASSCRED: Protocol not available\ncould not set SO_PASSCRED: Protocol
root 35190  0.0  0.1 2168 1376  -  SsJ  21:09   0:00.02 - runsv agetty-tty6
root 35397  0.0  0.1 2412 1704  -  SsJ  21:10   0:00.00 `-- agetty tty6 38400 linux
root 35191  0.0  0.1 2168 1376  -  SsJ  21:09   0:00.02 - runsv agetty-tty1
root 35396  0.0  0.1 2412 1704  -  SsJ  21:10   0:00.00 `-- agetty --noclear tty1 38400 linux
root 35192  0.0  0.1 2168 1376  -  SsJ  21:09   0:00.02 - runsv agetty-tty5
root 35398  0.0  0.1 2412 1704  -  SsJ  21:10   0:00.01 `-- agetty tty5 38400 linux
root 35193  0.0  0.1 2168 1376  -  SsJ  21:09   0:00.02 - runsv agetty-tty2
root 35393  0.0  0.1 2412 1704  -  SsJ  21:10   0:00.00 `-- agetty tty2 38400 linux
root 35194  0.0  0.1 2168 1396  -  RsJ  21:09   0:00.12 - runsv udevd
root 35195  0.0  0.1 2168 1376  -  SsJ  21:09   0:00.02 - runsv agetty-tty3
root 35394  0.0  0.1 2412 1704  -  SsJ  21:10   0:00.00 `-- agetty tty3 38400 linux
root 35196  0.0  0.1 2168 1376  -  SsJ  21:09   0:00.02 - runsv agetty-tty4
root 35390  0.0  0.1 2412 1704  -  SsJ  21:10   0:00.00 `-- agetty tty4 38400 linux

You may jexec now ๐Ÿ™‚

# jexec voidlinux /bin/bash
bash-5.1# uname -a
Linux voidlinux.srv0.bsd.am 3.2.0 FreeBSD 12.2-RELEASE-p6 GENERIC x86_64 GNU/Linux

Let’s check networking?

bash-5.1# ping -c 1
ping: WARNING: setsockopt(ICMP_FILTER): Protocol not available
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.069 ms

--- ping statistics ---
1 packets transmitted, 1 received, 0% packet loss, time 0ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.069/0.069/0.069/0.000 ms

There you go! Well, things that are related to netlink might not work, but other than that it’s okay.

I did have some problems while installing packages, something about too many levels of symbolic links. Here’s the exact output when I was trying to install the curl package

[*] Unpacking packages
libev-4.33_1: unpacking ...
ERROR: libev-4.33_1: [unpack] failed to extract file `./usr/lib/libev.so.4': Too many levels of symbolic links
ERROR: libev-4.33_1: [unpack] failed to extract files: Too many levels of symbolic links
ERROR: libev-4.33_1: [unpack] failed to unpack files from archive: Too many levels of symbolic links
Transaction failed! see above for errors.

Now, I did not find the time to fix this yet, but if you have any idea, please let me know or comment below ๐Ÿ™‚

So, what do we have here? A Linux Jail, running VoidLinux, with init, so you can also run services, and basic networking for it.

That’s all folksโ€ฆ

Linux is dead, long-live Docker monoculture

Full Discloser: While reading this blog post, please put yourself in my shoes. You’ve been looking around for a simple monitoring solution, you found some. None of the some are working because you use an Operating System that is used by Apple, WhatsApp, Netflix and many more, but developers think that everyone, everywhere, runs either macOS or Linux. And they all use Docker.

A while back Rubenerd wrote that he’s not sure that UNIX won and how Linux created a monoculture of assuming everything is supposed to run on Linux.

For me, this was not much of a problem, I can run Linux binaries on FreeBSD, I even watch Netflix using Linuxulator.

But now things are on another level, WAY another level.

I have a simple monitoring setup using cron, Grafana, InfluxDB and ping. It basically pings my servers and sends me a telegram message if they are down.

I set that up years ago, but now I have more public facing infrastructure that other people use as well, such as an Armenian Lobsters instance, Jabber.am, a WriteFreely instance and more.

As a self-respecting Ops, I wanted to make a simple dashboard for my users to see the uptime status of these services as well. First, they won’t bug me asking if something is not working; they will SEE, that, SSL/TLS certificate is expired, or the network is an issue, or that the server is down.


So I started hunting on the internet for some software that do just that.

The first one that came to my mind was Gatus. I’ve used Gatus before for one of my clients, I like it a lot. It’s simple, it does what it’s supposed to do.

As a sane person, I fetched the code from GitHub using fetch, extracted the tarball and ran make. Nothing happens. Let’s see the Makefile, shall we?

Docker executed in Make

Oh boy, if only, only, I had Docker, all my problems would be solved. First of all, let’s talk about the fact that this Makefile is used as a… script. There’s no dependencies in the targets!

Okay, let’s read that Dockerfile. Executing the scripts inside it should help out, aye?

# Build the go application into a binary
FROM golang:alpine as builder
RUN apk --update add ca-certificates
COPY . ./
RUN CGO_ENABLED=0 GOOS=linux go build -mod vendor -a -installsuffix cgo -o gatus .

# Run Tests inside docker image if you don't have a configured go environment
#RUN apk update && apk add --virtual build-dependencies build-base gcc
#RUN go test ./... -mod vendor

# Run the binary on an empty container
FROM scratch
COPY --from=builder /app/gatus .
COPY --from=builder /app/config.yaml ./config/config.yaml
COPY --from=builder /app/web/static ./web/static
COPY --from=builder /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

There are multiple things wrong in me this.

First, please stop putting your binaries in /app, please, pretty-please? We have /usr/local/bin/ for that.

Second, I thought that running go build without GOOS=linux would solve all of my problems. I was wrong, very wrong.

root@mon:~/gatus/gatus-2.8.1 # env CGO_ENABLED=0 go build -mod vendor -a -installsuffix cgo -o gatus .
package github.com/TwinProduction/gatus
        imports github.com/TwinProduction/gatus/config
        imports github.com/TwinProduction/gatus/storage
        imports github.com/TwinProduction/gatus/storage/store
        imports github.com/TwinProduction/gatus/storage/store/sqlite
        imports modernc.org/sqlite
        imports modernc.org/libc
        imports modernc.org/libc/errno: build constraints exclude all Go files in /root/gatus/gatus-2.8.1/vendor/modernc.org/libc/errno

Okay, check this out, the package is called modernc.org/sqlite and it says:

Package sqlite is a CGo-free port of SQLite.

SQLite is an in-process implementation of a self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine.

Of course it is. Looks like I have to port all of this to FreeBSD. Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with doing that, but I thought that we have POSIX for a reason. notsomuch.

Okay, I’m an open-source guy, I’ll spend some time this weekend to port this to FreeBSD. Let’s look for another solution!

Here’s another one, it’s called statping, also written in Go, the readme is so promising.

No Requirements

Statping is built in Go Language so all you need is the precompile binary based on your operating system. You won’t need to install anything extra once you have the Statping binary installed. You can even run Statping on a Raspberry Pi.

Sounds good! Let’s try it out.

Again, I fetch the tarball, I extract and I bake make.

apt executed in Make

Of course it requires apt! Because not only we all run Linux, be we all run a specific distribution of Linux with a specific package manager.

While tweeting with anger, Daniel pointed out that I should tell them kindly and it’ll work out. I’m sure it will. Let’s hope I can make it work first. I don’t like just opening issues. I’d rather send a patch directly.


Overall, now I understand why most *BSD folks use, what’s the word here? ah, yes, old-school software on their systems, like Nagios and the rest.

The developers of the New World Order will assume, always, you are running Linux, as Ubuntu, and you always have Docker.

Hopefully this weekend I will be able to port these software to FreeBSD, otherwise I will just use the Linux layer.

Like Rubenerd said, I am thankful that the mainstream-ness of Linux helped other Unix systems as well, but monocultures are destroying what people have spent years to improve.

Hopefully, next week, I will write a blog post on how to fix these issues and how I got all of those up and running.

That’s all folksโ€ฆ

Two Colons Equals Modules

Days ago I tweeted a shell function which is part of jailio’s code base. Jailio is a project I’ve been working on for the last 6 months. As the name implies, it’s a container management software for FreeBSD Jails.

It has two unique things compared to other Jail management software. First of all, it has no dependencies, it’s written purely in Shell. You can say the same about BastilleBSD, however, Jailio’s second unique thing is that it uses base tools only and requires the base system only. For example, you need to have bastille_enable in BastilleBSD, it also uses its own config files, etc. In Jailio, you need to have jail_enable, because technically Jailio automates jail.conf files. It also uses my patch to automate the jail.confs in /etc/jail.conf.d.

Anyway, back to our topic about Colons and Modules.

I like modules, I got introduced to them when I started programming in school. In Syria, we learn programming at 7th grade but in our school we started a year early, so 6th grade. We always start with block diagrams and then Turbo Pascal!

Yes, 16-bit Turbo Pascal was my first programming language and it had the concept of modules which we called Units.

And then you have languages like C or Shell which don’t have modules. If you use modules you KNOW that it’s hard not to use modules after that.

While reading the source code of vm-bhyve I learned that you can use two colons (::) as part of the function name, which can give you an amazing new superpower to take over the world write cleaner code.

For me this was a life-changer. I write a LOT of Shell code. I ship them to production too. No, you don’t need to write everything in a fancy new language and run it on kubernetes, you can always use simple languages like Shell and run them in a FreeBSD Jail. Or in my case, write in Shell to automate FreeBSD Jails.

Here’s an example code with “modules” in Shell. Note, this works in FreeBSD’s shell, I have not tested other Shells yet.



. ./mod1.sh




  printf "Here I am, rock you like a hurricane\n"
antranigv@pingvinashen:~ % ./main.sh 
Here I am, Rock you like a hurricane

As you can see it all relies on the concept that the function name itself has two colons in its name.

Here’s the code from jailio that I tweeted.

  expr $(
    ( grep -s '$id' /etc/jail.conf.d/* || echo '$id = "0";' ) |
    awk -F '[="]' '{print $3}' |
    sort -h |
    tail -1
  ) + 1

After tweeting the code above Annatar replied that this should NOT work elsewhere and that’s how I got introduced to The Heirloom Project which provides traditional implementations of the original Unix tools from the original Unix source code.

Hopefully, I will see more people using “modules” in Shell scripts. Hopefully this trick works in other Shell implementations like Bash and zsh.

Thatโ€™s all folks.

The OS App vs The Browser OS

I like listening to online radios like anonradio and DeepHouseRadio, instead of me trying to organize my local library or listening the same music over and over again on Deezer, I get lazy and just use their HTTP link.

Like a sane person, I would use a media player to “open” these HTTP radio links. On my FreeBSD machine, all I need to do is mplayer http://the.domain/path/to/content, but on macOS it would not be that simple.

The default media player on macOS is QuickTime. Here is where my problems start. I open QuickTime Player, I set the location to the HTTP link and it all works fine. Until it doesn’t. A small network lag and it stops playing completely.

I am usually connected to the internet via a cable in my office or the house, but when I go wireless, there’s a blind spot in one of the rooms. My FreeBSD laptop with mplayer handles it all fine, but QuickTime? Not so much.

So I decided to use the “other” “Operating System” in macOS, also known as a browser, in this case Firefox. I open the link and it all works fine. Even if there’s a network lag, Firefox would handle it fine.

It’s sad funny how browsers are handling things better than native desktop programs these days.

While writing this blog-post I realized that macOS has another media player known as Music.app, so will try with that as well, let’s see how it will handle it.

Thatโ€™s all folks.

VNET Jail HowTo Part 2: Networking

As always, Dan has been tweeting about VNET Jail issues, which means it’s time for another VNET Jail post.

This post assumes that you’ve read the original post on VNET Jail HowTo.

In Part two we will discuss Networking.

We will use PF as a firewall to do things like NAT.

If you need more help please check the FreeBSD Handbook: Chapter – Firewalls or send me an email/tweet.

At this point (from the last post) we were able to ping from the Jail to the Host.

root@www:/ # ping -c 1
PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=64 time=0.087 ms

--- ping statistics ---
1 packets transmitted, 1 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 0.087/0.087/0.087/0.000 ms

Now we will setup PF on the host by adding the following to /etc/pf.conf


nat pass on $ext_if inet from $jailnet to any -> ($ext_if)

set   skip on { lo0, bridge0 }
pass  inet proto icmp
pass  out all keep state

We also need to enable IP Forwarding in the kernel

Add the following in /etc/sysctl.conf


And now execute

sysctl -f /etc/sysctl.conf
service pf restart

That should be it, now your Jail should be able to ping the outside world

root@zvartnots:~ # jexec -l www
You have mail.
root@www:~ # ping -c 1
PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=61 time=2.566 ms

--- ping statistics ---
1 packets transmitted, 1 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 2.566/2.566/2.566/0.000 ms
root@www:~ # 

If you setup a resolver, you should also be able to ping domain names as well.

root@www:~ # echo 'nameserver' > /etc/resolv.conf 
root@www:~ # ping -c 1 freebsd.org
PING freebsd.org ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=53 time=133.851 ms

--- freebsd.org ping statistics ---
1 packets transmitted, 1 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 133.851/133.851/133.851/0.000 ms

Now, for a more complicated setup that assumes no firewalls and multiple IP addresses, where each Jail has its own IP address. I have a similar setup at home where my ZNC server Jail has its own IP address by connecting the physical NIC to the same bridge as the ZNC Jail.

In my rc.conf on the host

ifconfig_em0="inet netmask"

ifconfig_bridge0="addm em0"

Here’s an example with jail.conf

znc {
	$id		= "52";
	$addr		= "";
	$mask		= "";
	$gw		= "";
	vnet.interface	= "epair${id}b";

	exec.prestart	= "ifconfig epair${id} create up";
	exec.prestart	+= "ifconfig epair${id}a up descr vnet-${name}";
	exec.prestart	+= "ifconfig bridge0 addm epair${id}a up";

	exec.start	= "/sbin/ifconfig lo0 up";
	exec.start	+= "/sbin/ifconfig epair${id}b ${addr} netmask ${mask} up";
	exec.start	+= "/sbin/route add default ${gw}";
	exec.start	+= "/bin/sh /etc/rc";

	exec.poststop   = "ifconfig bridge0 deletem epair${id}a";
	exec.poststop  += "ifconfig epair${id}a destroy";

	host.hostname = "${name}.bsd.am";
	path = "/usr/local/jails/${name}";
 	exec.consolelog = "/var/log/jail-${name}.log";

And that’s pretty much it!

That’s all folks.

macOS to FreeBSD migration a.k.a why I left macOS

I think the title tells a lot about the story I’m going to tell you.

This is not a technical documentation for how I migrated from macOS to FreeBSD. This is a high-level for why I migrated from macOS to FreeBSD.

Not so long ago, I was using macOS as my daily driver. The main reason why I got a macbook was the underlying BSD Unix and the nice graphics it provides. Also, I have an iPhone. But they were also the same reasons for why I left macOS.

I did not want to write this post right after the migration, I wanted to take my time, use FreeBSD daily, see if I will ever miss macOS.

Here’s a tweet of mine from 8 months ago

Let’s look at it this way. macOS is becoming less Unix-y every year, date(1) is outdated, there are 100+ Unix processes running by the time the system is booted, most of them are useless for the general user, it has no native package manager (at least MacPorts/homebrew/pkgsrc is out there) and for a power user, there is no proper documentation. Have you ever checked the FreeBSD handbook? Everything is right there!

Okay, the nice graphics part. Have you seen the latest and greatest Big Sur? It feels like eye-candy, it’s not made for power users at all, everything seems to be a distraction now, even the icons. I’m no UI guru, but bringing iOS to the desktop is not for everyone.

So I decided to move to FreeBSD. This is where many people will tell me “Okay but not everything works outside the box”, true! but which OS works outside the box these days anyway? Windows is still a nightmare, setting up macOS took me 3 days the last time, Linux takes way more if you’re building it from scratch. Setting up FreeBSD took me 3 days, however this meant that I will NOT need to change it again for a very, very, VERY long time.

Every time Apple pushed an updated, my pf.conf and automount configs got broken on macOS. They either got deleted or they moved somewhere. Well, the last 2 times it just got deleted.

On FreeBSD, I upgraded from 12.1-RELEASE to 12.2-RELEASE and nothing broke, and in case there were any changes, FreeBSD just asked me what to do about them.

Let’s come back for a second. Unix is outdated and Apple does not care about it, fancy graphics are too fancy now. Doing forensics is almost impossible. And the hardware is, well, not the best out there (have you ever disassembled a MacBook Pro? it’s takes 2 hours to change a battery while I can reassemble my Dell Latitudes and ThinkPads in 30 minutes).

So there was no reason to stay here anymore. I had to migrate. The question is: where?

Linux has systemd, not my favorite thing out there, Windows is privacy nightmare. That left me with 2 major options: Linuxes without systemd (Gentoo, in my case) or BSDs.

Since I run FreeBSD servers anyway, I just migrated to FreeBSD.

Here’s a short review about running FreeBSD on ThinkPad T480s.

  • WiFi: works. not the fastest, but fast enough.
  • Graphics: works.
  • Touchpad: works with multiple fingers AND very configurable via sysctl.
  • BT does discovery and pairs, I still have to try it with non-Apple headphones.
  • COVID-19 era: Zoom, Google Hangouts, Jitsi and all other WebRTC-based video conferencing software works via web as well.
  • Thanks to Linuxulator, I can watch Netflix as well: here’s a screenshot.

Most importantly, it’s Free and Open Source.

It’s been 1 month and 1 day since I last touched my MacBook Pro, so, what do I miss?

  • Better BT support
  • Faster WiFi

That’s it, that’s all missing on a FreeBSD laptop these days. WiFi can do 48Mbps according to ifconfig but I usually get 10-20Mbps. BT pairs with my Apple AirPods but I wish it worked till the end.

Having a nice workstation/laptop is not an easy thing, using macOS means living by Apple rules, Windows is the same for Microsoft. The BSDs gave me the power to be as free as possible ๐Ÿ™‚

During the next weeks I’ll try to blog about the actual setup.

P.S. dear Apple employee, in case you’re reading this, please tell your management to update their BSD Unix layer. Some of us still care, some of us are not just Docker people, some of us are not just “modern” web developers. Thanks in advance.

That’s all folks! ๐Ÿ™‚

Signal-cli with scli on FreeBSD

So couple of days ago I migrated from macOS on Macbook Pro to FreeBSD on ThinkPad T480s.

Unfortunately, since we are in war, I do not have the time to blog about the migration, although I’m taking notes every day about every change that I do so I can blog later on ๐Ÿ™‚

However, one of the biggest concerns for me was running Signal on FreeBSD, as I understnad, Signal people are not interested in supporting the *BSDs.

As any sane person, I started searching the internet for possible solutions and turns out all I need is two pieces of software

The installation is as easy as running

pkg install signal-cli scli

Now for the simple part.

First, you need to link your phone by running

signal-cli link -n "FreeBSD"

It will give an output that says tsdevice:/?uuid=...&pub_key=....

Copy that output, and then in another terminal run

qrencode 'tsdevice:/?uuid=...&pub_key=...' -t ANSI256

You will be represented by a QR Code in the console (cool, aye?).

Using the phone app, link the device by scanning the QR Code.

To receive list of your contacts run

signal-cli -u +myphonenumber receive

Now try to run the TUI interface by running


Side-note: In case you are not able to send or receive messages, you might need to do some DBUS magic.

First, find if you have DBUS running

antranigv@zvartnots:~ $ ps -x -o comm,pid | grep dbus
dbus-launch         53571
dbus-daemon         54064
dbus-daemon         54963

Then, you will need to find the DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS environment variable, this is usually set in the DBUS child process, in our case, it’s 54963, so we can use procstat as root

root@zvartnots:~ # procstat -e 54963
  PID COMM             ENVIRONMENT                                          
54963 dbus-daemon      SHELL=/usr/local/bin/bash DBUS_STARTER_ADDRESS=unix:path=/tmp/dbus-TaY0zoKZIb,guid=4f518f874f97170e788a94fb5fa14a3c DISPLAY=:0.0 WMAKER_BIN_NAME=wmaker PATH=/sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/home/antranigv/bin WINDOWPATH=9 MAIL=/var/mail/antranigv GTK_THEME=Adwaita:dark DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS=unix:path=/tmp/dbus-TaY0zoKZIb,guid=4f518f874f97170e788a94fb5fa14a3c USER=antranigv DBUS_STARTER_BUS_TYPE=session MM_CHARSET=UTF-8 WRASTER_COLOR_RESOLUTION0=4 PWD=/usr/home/antranigv BLOCKSIZE=K LANG=en_US.UTF-8 LOGNAME=antranigv HOME=/home/antranigv

Okay! we have our variable!

Now, we need to set the ENV and we are done, if you use (t)csh then execute

setenv DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS unix:path=/tmp/dbus-TaY0zoKZIb,guid=4f518f874f97170e788a94fb5fa14a3c

If you are using bash, run the following

export DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS=unix:path=/tmp/dbus-TaY0zoKZIb,guid=4f518f874f97170e788a94fb5fa14a3c

Now, you can run scli again and it will work fine ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Chatting!@#$%

That’s all folks! ๐Ÿ™‚