OpenBSD Journal

b2k13 hackathon report: Stefan Sperling (stsp@) on athn(4), softraid, ports

Contributed by jcr on from the where-we're-going-we-don't-need-wires dept.

Our second b2k13 hackathon report comes from Stefan Sperling (stsp@), who writes:
I spent most of my time at the b2k13 hackathon trying to get an Atheros AR9485 mini-PCIe card to work with the athn(4) driver. Driver code for this card was initially added by Damien Bergamini (damien@) in 2010 but has never been working. Which is not surprising since Damien didn't have any hardware to play with at the time.

While the card works with the Linux ath9k driver, it isn't very happy with our driver yet and doesn't do much apart from firing interrupts about various error conditions. I have some uncommitted fixes still but don't want to commit them all until I can actually get the card to send packets. Otherwise there is no good way of verifying that my changes are improving things rather than making things worse. Available reference code includes the Linux ath9k driver, and a BSD-licensed open source HAL released from the vaults of Atheros by Adrian Chadd (thanks!) at

I also added boot(8) support for keydisk-based softraid volumes on the i386 and amd64 platforms. jsing@ already did most of the heavy lifting when he added boot support for passphrase-based crypto volumes last year. With a keydisk, the boot loader can now boot a kernel directly from the crypto volume without user interaction. This continues "future work" hinted at in my full disk encryption guide posted on undeadly about 2.5 years ago.

The installer is still missing support for setting up crypto volumes so the initial steps to create the volume remain the same. But apart from performing a normal install onto the crypto volume no further steps are required for rebooting into a functional system. Note that the BIOS must see the keydisk, which can be checked with the 'machine diskinfo' command at the boot prompt. USB-based flash disks will most likely work. Many SD/MMC card readers unfortunately lack necessary BIOS support.

In ports land, I added patches to www/apache-httpd to fix a regression in the WebDAV module, fixed a locale issue in GNOME's control center, and sacrificed the outdated and dead upstream www/mod_dav port in tedu@'s honour.

I would like to thank IN-Berlin ( for providing us with free space, power, and network. Especially Chris who kept monitoring the network and quickly responded to problems, and also filled up the snack shelf for us. Likewise, thanks to everyone who traveled to Berlin to participate. It's been a pleasure.

It sounds like a good time had by all in Berlin, then! Thanks for he report, Stefan!

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