Thursday, January 17, 2008

New RSS Feeds on

This week I added six new RSS 2.0 feeds to the FreeBSD website as I got tired of having to visit all the second level pages directly rather than being able to stay quickly apprised of the latest news from within my feed reader. For those that don't yet use a reader, I highly recommend Google Reader as it allows one to quickly read through thousands of articles on hundreds of websites as easily as scanning an email inbox. It's completely online so there is nothing to download or install, and you can use it on any web enabled device (iPhone works fine) without losing state about what you are subscribed to and what you have already read or tagged.

The new RSS 2.0 feeds are available here :

Project News : news/rss.xml
Security Advisories : security/rss.xml
Java News : java/rss.xml
GNOME News : gnome/rss.xml
Upcoming Events : events/rss.xml
FreeBSD in the Press : news/press-rss.xml

A few of these were available as older RDF 0.9 feeds previously, but that format was not integrated well with modern browsers and feed readers. Those older feeds are still available and updated automatically at the same time as the new RSS 2.0 feeds for anyone that relies on them.

I committed a bunch of XSLT code and Makefile glue to transform the source XML documents into RSS feeds. The code is checked into www/en/*rss.xsl and www/share/sgml/*.xsl in the FreeBSD CVS repository. In, particular, start by looking at this file and this diff to see how these feeds are generated.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tickless Scheduling

The tickless idle loop work going on in the Linux community right now looks very interesting. The tickless/dynticks infrastructure is integrated in the 2.6 kernels and allows individual CPUs to spend longer periods of time in the idle state between events when nothing is scheduled. This is accomplished by adding a new timer/event API and by ongoing work to update drivers and userland daemons to use more sensible event notification mechanisms. For large clusters of Linux machines, this has the potential to have a significant impact on operating expenses (power + cooling) as individual processors can spend more time in deeper ACPI sleep states.

What is the status of work in this area in the FreeBSD? Is this something we could work with a grad student on during the next Google Summer of Code?