What Happened to Dolphin on Steam?
Well that blew up, huh? If you follow emulation or just gaming on the whole, you’ve probably heard about the controversy around the Dolphin Steam release and the Wii Common Key. There’s been a lot of conclusions made, and while we’ve wanted to defend ourselves, we thought it would be prudent to contact lawyers first to make sure that our understanding of the situation was legally sound. That took some time, which was frustrating to ourselves and to our users, but now we are educated and ready to give an informed response.
Go 1.20 Cryptography
I’m pretty happy with the work that’s landing in it. There are both exciting new APIs, and invisible deep backend improvements that are going to make code more maintainable and secure in the long run. All the main work mentioned in the planning post got done, and then some (but not the “stretch goals”).
bigmod replaces math/big
More elliptic curves
TLS and X.509
Speeding up sort performance in Postgres 15
Let’s explore each of the 4 improvements in PostgreSQL 15 that make sort performance go faster:
Change 1: Improvements sorting a single column
Change 2: Reduce memory consumption by using generation memory context
Change 3: Add specialized sort routines for common datatypes
Change 4: Replace polyphase merge algorithm with k-way merge
The More You Know, The More You Know You Don’t Know
This is our third annual year in review of 0-days exploited in-the-wild [2020, 2019]. Each year we’ve looked back at all of the detected and disclosed in-the-wild 0-days as a group and synthesized what we think the trends and takeaways are. The goal of this report is not to detail each individual exploit, but instead to analyze the exploits from the year as a group, looking for trends, gaps, lessons learned, successes, etc.
How to speed up the Rust compiler in April 2022
In my last post I introduced the Compiler performance roadmap for 2022. Let’s see how things are progressing.
Along the way I had to undo some optimizations I had added to this code a couple of years ago. Those optimizations turned out to be useful for one kind of expensive macro (with many rules but no metavariables) present in the html5ever benchmark. But such macros aren’t common in practice, and these optimizations were unhelpful for more typical expensive macros, which are recursive, have fewer rules, and use metavariables. This shows the value of a good benchmark suite.
It's always been you, Canvas2D
Admittedly, the API is a bit behind the times when it comes to state-of-the-art 2D drawing. Fortunately we’ve been hard at work implementing new features in Canvas2D to catch up to CSS, streamline ergonomics and improve performance.
Eliminating Data Races in Firefox – A Technical Report
We successfully deployed ThreadSanitizer in the Firefox project to eliminate data races in our remaining C/C++ components. In the process, we found several impactful bugs and can safely say that data races are often underestimated in terms of their impact on program correctness. We recommend that all multithreaded C/C++ projects adopt the ThreadSanitizer tool to enhance code quality.
The multi-generational LRU
One of the key tasks assigned to the memory-management subsystem is to optimize the system’s use of the available memory; that means pushing out pages containing unused data so that they can be put to better use elsewhere. Predicting which pages will be accessed in the near future is a tricky task, and the kernel has evolved a number of mechanisms designed to improve its chances of guessing right. But the kernel not only often gets it wrong, it also can expend a lot of CPU time to make the incorrect choice. The multi-generational LRU patch set posted by Yu Zhao is an attempt to improve that situation.
The end of TenFourFox and what I've learned from it
Porting Firefox to Apple Silicon
Even with all the pieces in place, quite a bit of work to do.
The release of Apple Silicon-based Macs at the end of last year generated a flurry of news coverage and some surprises at the machine’s performance. This post details some background information on the experience of porting Firefox to run natively on these CPUs.
We’ll start with some background on the Mac transition and give an overview of Firefox internals that needed to know about the new architecture, before moving on to the concept of Universal Binaries.
We’ll then explain how DRM/EME works on the new platform, talk about our experience with macOS Big Sur, and discuss various updater problems we had to deal with. We’ll conclude with the release and an overview of various other improvements that are in the pipeline.
Windows Timer Resolution: The Great Rule Change
The behavior of the Windows scheduler changed significantly in Windows 10 2004, in a way that will break a few applications, and there appears to have been no announcement, and the documentation has not been updated. This isn’t the first time this has happened, but this change seems bigger than last time.
The short version is that calls to timeBeginPeriod from one process now affect other processes less than they used to, but there is still an effect.
Zig's New Relationship with LLVM
In the early days, Zig was but a thin frontend in front of LLVM. This was instrumental for getting started quickly and filling in gaps of Andrew’s knowledge as a compiler developer. Now, the training wheels of the bicycle are coming off, and LLVM is transitioning into an optional component.
The move to a self-hosted compiler for Zig has similar advantages for the core contributors, but it also makes LLVM an optional dependency, increases compilation speed (instead of losing it), and adds an amazing feature for debug builds of your code: incremental compilation with in-place binary patching, another unique Zig feature.
Modernizing the OpenBSD console
At the beginning were text mode consoles. Traditionally, *BSD and Linux on i386 and amd64 used text mode consoles which by default provided 25 rows of 80 columns, the “80x25 mode”. This mode uses a 8x16 font stored in the VGA BIOS (which can be slightly different across vendors).
Make system(3) and popen(3) use posix_spawn(3) internally
After 1 week of reading POSIX and writing code, 2 weeks of coding and another 1.5 weeks of bugfixes I have successfully implemented posix_spawn in usage in system(3) and popen(3) internally.
Improving Chromium's browser compatibility in 2020
It is clear that it is still painful to develop a website or web app that works reliably across browsers.
Installation images renamed from .fs to .img
There are some UEFI direct-from-internet bootloaders that require the name *.img. So this makes things more convenient for those, while keeping it consistant in all architectures.
Five Years of Rust
With all that’s going on in the world you’d be forgiven for forgetting that as of today, it has been five years since we released 1.0 in 2015! Rust has changed a lot these past five years, so we wanted reflect back on all of our contributors’ work since the stabilization of the language.
New Crypto in Go 1.14
Go 1.14 is out and with it come a few nice updates to crypto/tls!
Recent and future pattern matching improvements
Much of writing software revolves around checking if some data has some shape (“pattern“), extracting information from it, and then reacting if there was a match. To facilitate this, many modern languages, Rust included, support what is known as “pattern matching”.
Avoiding gaps in IOMMU protection at boot
But setting things up in the OS isn’t sufficient. If an attacker is able to trigger arbitrary DMA before the OS has started then they can tamper with the system firmware or your bootloader and modify the kernel before it even starts running. So ideally you want your firmware to set up the IOMMU before it even enables any external devices, and newer firmware should actually do this automatically. It sounds like the problem is solved.