We recap EuroBSDcon in Paris, tell the story behind a pf PR, and show you how to do screencasting with OpenBSD.

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Recap of EuroBSDcon 2017 in Paris, France

The story of PR 219251

  • The actual story I wanted Kristof to tell, the pf bug he fixed at the Essen Hackathon earlier this summer.

As I threatened to do in my previous post, I’m going to talk about PR 219251 for a bit. The bug report dates from only a few months ago, but the first report (that I can remeber) actually came from Shawn Webb on Twitter, of all places
Despite there being a stacktrace it took quite a while (nearly 6 months in fact) before I figured this one out.
It took Reshad Patuck managing to distill the problem down to a small-ish test script to make real progress on this. His testcase meant that I could get core dumps and experiment. It also provided valuable clues because it could be tweaked to see what elements were required to trigger the panic.
This test script starts a (vnet) jail, adds an epair interface to it, sets up pf in the jail, and then reloads the pf rules on the host. Interestingly the panic does not seem to occur if that last step is not included.

  • Obviously not the desired behaviour, but it seems strange. The instances of pf in the jails are supposed to be separate.

We try to fetch a counter value here, but instead we dereference a bad pointer. There’s two here, so already we need more information. Inspection of the core dump reveals that the state pointer is valid, and contains sane information. The rule pointer (rule.ptr) points to a sensible location, but the data is mostly 0xdeadc0de. This is the memory allocator being helpful (in debug mode) and writing garbage over freed memory, to make use-after-free bugs like this one easier to find.
In other words: the rule has been free()d while there was still a state pointing to it. Somehow we have a state (describing a connection pf knows about) which points to a rule which no longer exists. The core dump also shows that the problem always occurs with states and rules in the default vnet (i.e. the host pf instance), not one of the pf instances in one of the vnet jails. That matches with the observation that the test script does not trigger the panic unless we also reload the rules on the host.
Great, we know what’s wrong, but now we need to work out how we can get into this state. At this point we’re going to have to learn something about how rules and states get cleaned up in pf. Don’t worry if you had no idea, because before this bug I didn’t either.
The states keep a pointer to the rule they match, so when rules are changed (or removed) we can’t just delete them. States get cleaned up when connections are closed or they time out. This means we have to keep old rules around until the states that use them expire.
When rules are removed pf_unlink_rule() adds then to the V_pf_unlinked_rules list (more on that funny V_ prefix later). From time to time the pf purge thread will run over all states and mark the rules that are used by a state. Once that’s done for all states we know that all rules that are not marked as in-use can be removed (because none of the states use it). That can be a lot of work if we’ve got a lot of states, so pf_purge_thread() breaks that up into smaller chuncks, iterating only part of the state table on every run.
We iterate over all of our virtual pf instances (VNET_FOREACH()), check if it’s active (for FreeBSD-EN-17.08, where we’ve seen this code before) and then check the expired states with pf_purge_expired_states(). We start at state ‘idx’ and only process a certain number (determined by the PFTM_INTERVAL setting) states. The pf_purge_expired_states() function returns a new idx value to tell us how far we got.
So, remember when I mentioned the odd V_ prefix? Those are per-vnet variables. They work a bit like thread-local variables. Each vnet (virtual network stack) keeps its state separate from the others, and the V_ variables use a pointer that’s changed whenever we change the currently active vnet (say with CURVNET_SET() or CURVNET_RESTORE()). That’s tracked in the ‘curvnet’ variable. In other words: there are as many V_pf_vnet_active variables as there are vnets: number of vnet jails plus one (for the host system).
Why is that relevant here? Note that idx is not a per-vnet variable, but we handle multiple pf instances here. We run through all of them in fact. That means that we end up checking the first X states in the first vnet, then check the second X states in the second vnet, the third X states in the third and so on and so on.
That of course means that we think we’ve run through all of the states in a vnet while we really only checked some of them. So when pf_purge_unlinked_rules() runs it can end up free()ing rules that actually are still in use because pf_purge_thread() skipped over the state(s) that actually used the rule. The problem only happened if we reloaded rules in the host, because the active ruleset is never free()d, even if there are no states pointing to the rule.
That explains the panic, and the fix is actually quite straightforward: idx needs to be a per-vnet variable, V_pf_purge_idx, and then the problem is gone. As is often the case, the solution to a fairly hard problem turns out to be really simple.

  • As you might expect, finding the problem takes a lot more work that fixing it
  • Thanks to Kristof for writing up this detailed post explaining how the problem was found, and what caused it.

vBSDcon 2017: BSD at Work

The third biennial vBSDcon hosted by Verisign took place September 7th through 9th with the FreeBSD Developer Summit taking place the first day. vBSDcon and iXsystems’ MeetBSD event have been alternating between the East and West coasts of the U.S.A. and these two events play vital roles in reaching Washington, DC-area and Bay Area/Silicon Valley audiences. Where MeetBSD serves many BSD Vendors, vBSDcon attracts a unique government and security industry demographic that isn’t found anywhere else. Conference time and travel budgets are always limited and bringing these events to their attendees is a much-appreciated service provided by their hosts.
The vBSDcon FreeBSD DevSummit had a strong focus on OpenZFS, the build system and networking with the FreeBSD 12 wish list of features in mind. How to best incorporate the steady flow of new OpenZFS features into FreeBSD such as dataset-level encryption was of particular interest. This feature from a GNU/Linux-based storage vendor is tribute to the growth of the OpenZFS community which is vital in light of the recent “Death of Solaris and ZFS” at Oracle. There has never been more demand for OpenZFS on FreeBSD and the Oracle news further confirms our collective responsibility to meet that demand.
The official conference opened with my talk on “Isolated BSD Build Environments” in which I explained how the bhyve hypervisor can be used to effortlessly tour FreeBSD 5.0-onward and build specific source releases on demand to trace regressions to their offending commit. I was followed by a FreeNAS user who made the good point that FreeNAS is an exemplary “entry vector” into Unix and Enterprise Storage fundamentals, given that many of the vectors our generation had are gone. Where many of us discovered Unix and the Internet via console terminals at school or work, smart phones are only delivering the Internet without the Unix. With some irony, both iOS and Android are Unix-based yet offer few opportunities for their users to learn and leverage their Unix environments.
The next two talks were The History and Future of Core Dumps in FreeBSD by Sam Gwydir and Using pkgsrc for multi-platform deployments in heterogeneous environments by G. Clifford Williams. I strongly recommend that anyone wanting to speak at AsiaBSDCon read Sam’s accompanying paper on core dumps because I consider it the perfect AsiaBSDCon topic and his execution is excellent. Core dumps are one of those things you rarely think about until they are a DROP EVERYTHING! priority. G. Clifford’s talk was about what I consider a near-perfect BSD project: pkgsrc, the portable BSD package manager. I put it up there with OpenSSH and mandoc as projects that have provided significant value to other Open Source operating systems. G. Clifford’s real-world experiences are perfectly inline with vBSDcon’s goal to be more production-oriented than other BSDCons.
Of the other talks, any and all Dtrace talks are always appreciated and George Neville-Neil’s did not disappoint. He based it on his experiences with the Teach BSD project which is bringing FreeBSD-based computer science education to schools around the world. The security-related talks by John-Mark Gurney, Dean Freeman and Michael Shirk also represented vBSDcon’s consideration of the local community and made a convincing point that the BSDs should make concerted efforts to qualify for Common Criteria, FIPS, and other Government security requirements. While some security experts will scoff at these, they are critical to the adoption of BSD-based products by government agencies.
BSD Now hosts Allan Jude and Benedict Reuschling hosted an OpenZFS BoF and Ansible talk respectively and I hosted a bhyve hypervisor BoF. The Hallway Track and food at vBSDcon were excellent and both culminated with an after-dinner dramatic reading of Michael W. Lucas’ latest book that raised money for the FreeBSD Foundation. A great time was had by all and it was wonderful to see everyone!

News Roundup

FreeBSD 10.4-RC2 Available

  • FreeBSD 10.4 will be released soon, this is the last chance to find bugs before the official release is cut.
  • Noteworthy Changes Since 10.4-RC1:
    • Given that the amd64 disc1 image was overflowing, more of the base components installed into the disc1 (live) file systems had to be disabled. Most notably, this removed the compiler toolchain from the disc1 images. All disabled tools are still available with the dvd1 images, though.
    • The aesni(4) driver now no longer shares a single FPU context across multiple sessions in multiple threads, addressing problems seen when employing aesni(4) for ipsec(4).
    • Support for netmap(4) by the ixgbe(4) driver has been brought into line with the netmap(4) API present in stable/10. Also, ixgbe(4) now correctly handles VFs in its netmap(4) support again instead of treating these as PFs.
    • During the creation of amd64 and i386 VM images, etcupdate(8) and mergemaster(8) databases now are bootstrapped, akin to what happens along the extraction of base.txz as part of a new installation via bsdinstall(8). This change allows for both of these tools to work out-of-box on the VM images and avoids errors seen when upgrading these images via freebsd-update(8).
  • If you are still on the stable/10 branch, you should test upgrading to 10.4, and make sure there are no problems with your workload
  • Additional testing specifically of the features that have changed since 10.4-BETA1 would also be most helpful
  • This will be the last release from the stable/10 branch

OpenBSD changes of note 628

EuroBSDCon in two weeks. Be sure to attend early and often.

  • Many and various documentation improvements for libcrypto. New man pages, rewrites, expanded bugs sections, and more.
  • Only allow upward migration in vmd.

There’s a README for the syspatch build system if you want to run your own.

  • Move the kernel relinking code from /etc/rc into a seperate script usable by syspatch. Kernel patches can now be reduced to just the necessary files.
  • Make the callers of sogetopt() responsible for allocating memory. Now allocation and free occur in the same place.
  • Use waitpid() instead of wait() in most programs to avoid accidentally collecting the wrong child.
  • Have cu call isatty() before making assumptions.
  • Switch mandoc rendering of mathematical symbols and greek letters from trying to imitate the characters’ graphical shapes, which resulted in unintelligible renderings in many cases, to transliterations conveying the characters’ meanings.
  • Update libexpat to 2.2.4. Fix copying partial UTF-8 characters.

Sigh, here we go again.

  • Work around bug in F5’s handling of the supported elliptic curves extension. RFC 4492 only defines elliptic_curves for ClientHello. However, F5 is sending it in ServerHello. We need to skip over it since our TLS extension parsing code is now more strict.
  • After a first install, run syspatch -c to check for patches.
  • If SMAP is present, clear PSL_AC on kernel entry and interrupt so that only the code in copy{in,out}* that need it run with it set. Panic if it’s set on entry to trap() or syscall(). Prompted by Maxime Villard’s NetBSD work. Errata.
  • New drivers for arm: rktemp, mvpinctrl, mvmpic, mvneta, mvmdio, mvpxa, rkiic, rkpmic.
  • No need to exec rm from within mandoc. We know there’s exactly one file and directory to remove. Similarly with running cmp.
  • Revert to Mesa 13.0.6 to hopefully address rendering issues a handful of people have reported with xpdf/fvwm on ivy bridge with modesetting driver.
  • Rewrite ALPN extension using CBB/CBS and the new extension framework. Rewrite SRTP extension using CBB/CBS and the new extension framework.
  • Revisit 2q queue sizes. Limit the hot queue to 1/20th the cache size up to a max of 4096 pages. Limit the warm and cold queues to half the cache. This allows us to more effectively notice re-interest in buffers instead of losing it in a large hot queue.
  • Add glass console support for arm64. Probably not yet for your machine, though.
  • Replace heaps of hand-written syscall stubs in ld.so with a simpler framework.
  • 65535 is a valid port to listen on.
  • When xinit starts an X server that listens only on UNIX socket, prefer DISPLAY=unix:0 rather than DISPLAY=:0. This will prevent applications from ever falling back to TCP if the UNIX socket connection fails (such as when the X server crashes). Reverted.
  • Add -z and -Z options to apmd to auto suspend or hibernate when low on battery.
  • Remove the original (pre-IETF) chacha20-poly1305 cipher suites.
  • Add urng(4) which supports various USB RNG devices. Instead of adding one driver per device, start bundling them into a single driver.
  • Remove old deactivated pledge path code. A replacement mechanism is being brewed.
  • Fix a bug from the extension parsing rewrite. Always parse ALPN even if no callback has been installed to prevent leaving unprocessed data which leads to a decode error.
  • Clarify what is meant by syslog priorities being ordered, since the numbers and priorities are backwards.
  • Remove a stray setlocale() from ksh, eliminating a lot of extra statically linked code.
  • Unremove some NPN symbols from libssl because ports software thinks they should be there for reasons.
  • Fix saved stack location after resume. Somehow clang changed it. Resume works again on i386.
  • Improve error messages in vmd and vmctl to be more informative.
  • Stop building the miniroot installer for OMAP3 Beagleboards. It hasn’t worked in over a year and nobody noticed.
  • Have the callers of sosetopt() free the mbuf for symmetry.
  • On octeon, let the kernel use the hardware FPU even if emulation is compiled in. It’s faster.
  • Fix support for 486DX CPUs by not calling cpuid. I used to own a 486. Now I don’t.
  • Merge some drm fixes from linux.
  • Defer probing of floppy drives, eliminating delays during boot.
  • Better handling of probes and beacons and timeouts and scans in wifi stack to avoid disconnects.
  • Move mutex, condvar, and thread-specific data routes, pthread_once, and pthread_exit from libpthread to libc, along with low-level bits to support them. Let’s thread aware (but not actually threaded) code work with just libc.
  • New POSIX xlocale implementation. Complete as long as you only use ASCII and UTF-8, as you should.
  • Round and round it goes; when 6.2 stops, nobody knows. A peak at the future?

Screencasting with OpenBSD

  • USB Audio

Any USB microphone should appear as a new audio device. Here is the dmesg for my mic by ART:

uaudio0 at uhub0 port 2 configuration 1 interface 0 "M-One USB" rev 1.10/0.01 addr 2
uaudio0: audio rev 1.00, 8 mixer controls
audio1 at uaudio0

audioctl can read off all of the specific characterisitcs of this device

$ audioctl -f /dev/audio1 | grep record

Now test the recording from the second audio device using aucat(1)

aucat -f rsnd/1 -o file.wav

If the device also has a headset audio can be played through the same device.

aucat -f rsnd/1 -i file.wav

  • Screen Capture using Xvfb

The rate at which a framebuffer for your video card is a feature of the hardware and software your using, and it’s often very slow. x11vnc will print an estimate of the banwidth for the system your running.

09/05/2012 22:23:45 fb read rate: 7 MB/sec

This is about 4fps. We can do much better by using a virtual framebuffer. Here I’m setting up a new screen, setting the background color, starting cwm and an instance of xterm

Xvfb :1 -screen 0 720x540x16 &
DISPLAY=:1 xsetroot -solid steelblue &
DISPLAY=:1 cwm &
DISPLAY=:1 xterm +sb -fa Hermit -fs 14 &

Much better! Now we’re up around 20fps.

x11vnc -display :1 &
11/05/2012 18:04:07 fb read rate: 168 MB/sec

Make a connection to this virtual screen using raw encoding to eliminate time wasted on compression.

vncviewer localhost -encodings raw

A test recording with sound then looks like this

ffmpeg -f sndio -i snd/1 -y -f x11grab -r 12 -s 800x600 -i :1.0 -vcodec ffv1 ~/out.avi

Note: always stop the recording and playback using q, not Ctrl-C so that audio inputs are shut down properly.

  • Screen Capture using Xephyr

Xephyr is perhaps the easiest way to run X with a shadow framebuffer. This solution also avoids reading from the video card’s RAM, so it’s reasonably fast.

Xephyr -ac -br -noreset -screen 800x600 :1 &
DISPLAY=:1 xsetroot -solid steelblue &
DISPLAY=:1 cwm &
DISPLAY=:1 xrdb -load ~/.Xdefaults &
DISPLAY=:1 xterm +sb -fa "Hermit" -fs 14 &

Capture works in exactally the same way. This command tries to maintain 12fps.

ffmpeg -f sndio -i snd/1 -y -f x11grab -r 12 -s 800x600 -i :1.0 -vcodec ffv1 -acodec copy ~/out.avi
To capture keyboard and mouse input press Ctrl then Shift. This is very handy for using navigating a window manager in the nested X session.

  • Arranging Windows

I have sometimes found it helpful to launch applications and arrange them in a specific way. This will open up a web browser listing the current directory and position windows using xdotool

DISPLAY=:1 midori "file:///pwd" &
sleep 2
DISPLAY=:1 xdotool search --name "xterm" windowmove 0 0
DISPLAY=:1 xdotool search --class "midori" windowmove 400 0
DISPLAY=:1 xdotool search --class "midori" windowsize 400 576

This will position the window precisely so that it appears to be in a tmux window on the right.

  • Audio/Video Sync

If you find that the audio is way out of sync with the video, you can ajust the start using the -ss before the audio input to specify the number of seconds to delay. My final recording command line, that delays the audio by 0.5 seconds, writing 12fps

ffmpeg -ss 0.5 -f sndio -i snd/1 -y -f x11grab -r 12 -s 800x600 -i :1.0 -vcodec ffv1 -acodec copy ~/out.avi

  • Sharing a Terminal with tmux

If you’re trying to record a terminal session, tmux is able to share a session. In this way a recording of an X framebuffer can be taken without even using the screen. Start by creating the session.

tmux -2 -S /tmp/tmux0

Then on the remote side connect on the same socket

tmux -2 -S /tmp/tmux0 attach

  • Taking Screenshots

Grabbing a screenshots on Xvfb server is easily accomplished with ImageMagick’s import command

DISPLAY=:1 import -window root screenshot.png

  • Audio Processing and Video Transcoding

The first step is to ensure that the clip begins and ends where you’d like it to. The following will make a copy of the recording starting at time 00:00 and ending at 09:45

ffmpeg -i interactive-sql.avi \
-vcodec copy -acodec copy
-ss 00:00:00 -t 00:09:45
mv interactive-sql-trimmed.avi interactive-sql.avi

Setting the gain correctly is very important with an analog mixer, but if you’re using a USB mic there may not be a gain option; simply record using it’s built-in settings and then adjust the levels afterwards using a utility such as normalize. First extact the audio as a raw PCM file and then run normalize

ffmpeg -i interactive-sql.avi -c:a copy -vn audio.wav
normalize audio.wav

Next merge the audio back in again

ffmpeg -i interactive-sql.avi -i audio.wav \
-map 0:0 -map 1:0 -c copy interactive-sql-normalized.avi

The final step is to compress the screencast for distribution. Encoding to VP8/Vorbis is easy:

ffmpeg -i interactive-sql-normalized.avi -c:v libvpx -b:v 1M
-c:a libvorbis -q:a 6 interactive-sql.webm

H.264/AAC is tricky. For most video players the color space needs to be set to yuv420p. The -movflags puts the index data at the beginning of the file to enable streaming/partial content requests over HTTP:

ffmpeg -y -i interactive-sql-normalized.avi -c:v libx264 \
-preset slow -crf 14 -pix_fmt yuv420p -movflags +faststart \
-c:a aac -q:a 6 interactive-sql.mp4

TrueOS @ Ohio Linuxfest ’17!

  • Dru Lavigne and Ken Moore are both giving presentations on Saturday the 30th. Sit in and hear about new developments for the Lumina and FreeNAS projects.
  • Ken is offering Lumina Rising: Challenging Desktop Orthodoxy at 10:15 am in Franklin A. Hear his thoughts about the ideas propelling desktop environment development and how Lumina, especially Lumina 2, is seeking to offer a new model of desktop architecture. Elements discussed include session security, application dependencies, message handling, and operating system integration.
  • Dru is talking about What’s New in FreeNAS 11 at 2:00 pm in Franklin D. She’ll be providing an overview of some of the new features added in FreeNAS 11.0, including:
    • Alert Services
    • Starting specific services at boot time
    • AD Monitoring to ensure the AD service restarts if disconnected
    • A preview of the new user interface
    • support for S3-compatible storage and the bhyve hypervisor
  • She’s also giving a sneak peek of FreeNAS 11.1, which has some neat features:
    • A complete rewrite of the Jails/Plugins system as FreeNAS moves from warden to iocage
    • Writing new plugins with just a few lines of code
    • A brand new asynchronous middleware API
  • Who’s going? Attending this year are:
    • Dru Lavigne (dlavigne): Dru leads the technical documentation team at iX, and contributes heavily to open source documentation projects like FreeBSD, FreeNAS, and TrueOS.
    • Ken Moore (beanpole134): Ken is the lead developer of Lumina and a core contributor to TrueOS. He also works on a number of other Qt5 projects for iXsystems.
    • J.T. Pennington (q5sys): Some of you may be familiar with his work on BSDNow, but J.T. also contributes to the TrueOS, Lumina, and SysAdm projects, helping out with development and general bug squashing.

Beastie Bits


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