DragonflyBSD use cases

Steve Petrie, P.Eng. apetrie at attglobal.net
Sat Dec 20 08:58:33 PST 2014

Greetings To DragonFlyBSD Users,

In response to the call for input from ipc at peercorpstrust.org -- here's an overview of why and how I'm using DragonFly (DF).

Followed by an offer.

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Why I'm Using DragonFlyBSD (DF)

After a long and arduous search for both a web hosting service provider (it's a jungle out there !!) and for an operating system to use (ditto !!), I have settled on:
  a.. Elastic Hosts (EH) www.elastichosts.com as provider of cloud virtualized QEMU / KVM server(s):
    a.. the EH support team is remarkably literate, knowledgeable, interested and helpfully accessible 24/7 via email; 
    b.. rock-solid server resource availability and functionality (although I haven't yet put much demand on the EH VMs for functionality and workload); 
    c.. good pricing; 
    d.. 5-day free trial;
  b.. DragonFlyBSD www.dragonflybsd.org operating system:
    a.. run as a guest os under EH QEMU / KVM virtual machine(s); 
    b.. the EH Support team had already suggested FreeBSD as one alternative for me to consider; 
    c.. the DF BSD variant first came to my consciousness when I discovered the same "thread about this [DF usage] on the FreeBSD forums: https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/who-uses-dragonfly-bsd.22274/" mentioned in the email by DF user ipc at peercorpstrust.org; 
    d.. I chose DragonFlyBSD because: 
      a.. DF is the product of the sustained leadership over many years of one single talented mind, evidently able to attract quite a team of open source collaborators; 
      b.. HAMMER file system is reputed to be more resource efficient than ZFS, with similar capabilities; 
      c.. DTrace (?); 
      d.. closely tied with FreeBSD functionality (e.g. the ports collection); 
      e.. thriving open source community apparently free from constraints of a dominant corporate sponsor; 
      f.. DF installed painlessly under the EH VM (compared to one competitor os) and has given absolutely no trouble (although I haven't yet put DF under much stress); 
      g.. DF seems to be less picky about hardware compatibility (than at least one competitor os) -- I'm a big fan of "commodity" grade servers albeit well-chosen ones, because "commodity" servers can simplify website hosting provider selection effort and also reduce server rental cost;
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What I'm Using DragonFlyBSD (DF) For

I have developed (using XAMPP on Win XP) a new website (not yet online) dedicated to a new technology concept of my invention -- Expressway Traffic Optimization (ETO) -- for preventing traffic congestion on expressways (freeways, motorways, controlled access highways).

The ETO website (not yet online) has 18 static pages and two PHP SQL applications: (1) visitor contact message form, (2) Club ETO membership admin & exclusive content for members. Before the website goes online I plan to switch it to PostgreSQL from MySQL .

The ETO technology concept (and it's still "only" a concept) uses pavement-embedded signal lights to guide individual expressway / freeway / motorway / autobahn drivers in real time, to use best headways (speed and spacing) for safe, fast, smooth traffic flow with much less lane changing and almost no braking.

Please see the attached PDF rendition of the home page for this new website (not yet online):
  a.. <eto_home - 20140812.pdf>;
(And please -- don't choke on your Cheerios -- when you see the text-heavy "funky-klunky" page design style -- it's intended to give maximum page response time of 10 seconds for even those poor / frugal / backward website visitors still using their browser over a slow dial-up landline telephone Internet connection. Know any of those people ?? I do !! :)

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Prior to installing the new website, I am presently working to customize the DF environment on the EH VMs, with three tools for productive use (one constraint is that I do not have a very fast Internet connection so high-resolution GUI consoles are out of the question):
  a.. #1 fish shell www.fishshell.com the Friendly Interactive Shell (emphasises: ease of use, intuitivity, simplicity, productivity, programmability):
    a.. it is the powerful console colourization in fish shell that originally attracted me (but the horrors of using tcsh as a scripting language also encourage me to believe that I will enjoy scripting in fish much more); 
    b.. I'm building two tcsh scripts -- fishy ("fish yes") and fishn ("fish no") -- that integrate fish shell into the DF environment, while retaining tcsh as the default and still fully available shell for all users (keeping tcsh as the most advanced shell registered in the DF passwd database file, and no mention of fish there at all); 
    c.. the fish shell community was very responsive in providing a simple patch to one fish C source code module, so I could rebuild the current official release of fish shell to work under DF (although I subsequently upgraded to the latest devl branch version of fish shell, which also cured the problem); 
    d.. The pain I am experiencing in learning and working with tcsh shell scripting only add to the trauma I suffered earlier while I went digging into the tcsh C source code to try to figure out how to improve tcsh to colourize command output content in the console window (not being a masochist-type progremmer, I abandoned this idea of modifying tcsh, and fled to fish shell);
  b.. #2 tmux tmux.sourceforge.net (virtual terminal / shell UI session / window manager): 
    a.. server sessions & windows & panes all persist and can dynamically attach / detach terminal (e.g. SSH); 
    b.. window conferencing / sharing; 
    c.. high quality appears programmed into the source code; 
    d.. productivity booster when connection to server prone to breakage (e.g. dial-up, e.g. wireless) while admin / devl person in the middle of complex work with many active logins and shell processes open;
  c.. #3 vim www.vim.org source / text file editor (can vim be worse than vi !! ?? :(
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An Offer

Once I get fish, tmux and vim settled in under DF on my EH QEMU / KVM machines, I will be coming back to DF Users to follow-up on an incomplete earlier thread started on 10 December 2014 by nans_nans1 at yahoo.de who was disappointed in DF performance on a VPS , as compared to Debian Lnux. Here are quotes (emphasis added):
  a.. users at dragonflybsd.org 10 December 2014 "I installed DF4.0 on my vps (with ssd). I realize that the file system performance ist much lower (ca. 80MB/sec) compared to my previously installed debian-linux (ca 500MB/sec).  Are there any configuration parameter in DF which affect the i/o performance? [... In Proxmox the storage is configured as "virtio0.]";
After queries from other DF users, nans_nans1 at yahoo.de parked the thread on the same day with this parting question:
  a.. users at dragonflybsd.org 10 December 2014 "So the reason for the low i/o performance is the insufficient virtio-pci driver?";
If the DF VirtIO drivers could use some work to increase their performance -- since I too am using DF VirtIO on a VPS (QEMU / KVM in my case) -- I would be interested to contribute to such an effort on the DF VirtIO front.



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "PeerCorps Trust Fund" <ipc at peercorpstrust.org>
To: <users at dragonflybsd.org>
Sent: Saturday, December 20, 2014 7:16 AM
Subject: DragonflyBSD use cases

> Dear All,
> I recently had an opportunity to listen to Justin Sherril's interview on an older episode of BSDNow series. It was quite nice to listen to discussion surrounding HAMMER and other aspects of DragonflyBSD. One of the things that I've noticed missing from the DragonflyBSD website is an example of the types of users that currently deploy the Dragonfly systems and what they are using them for. Basically use case scenarios that are real.
> What I am referring to is something similar to the following for OpenBSD: http://www.openbsd.org/users.html 
> I think it would be very helpful to newcomers to see just what the system can be used for. Not that newcomers don't have an imagination, but that its nice to see examples of things done elsewhere. 
> There was also a thread about this on the FreeBSD forums: https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/who-uses-dragonfly-bsd.22274/
> I don't know if the OP got his answer on that thread, but I think it would be great to hear from even those on this list what you are using your Dragonfly systems for?
> Thanks!
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