Newsletter # 23 - Compiling a custom FreeBSD kernel for Parallels VirtualMachine May 14 2020

Hello, and welcome to issue #23!

How are things your way? I hope that coping1 well with the changes and keeping safe. Things are quite different from what I expect them to be by this time in the year. I was hoping this year I was going to make a significant career change, but there is no international travel, and things seem to be slowing down. So, who knows what the future might bring.

The important part is to take advantage of any situation we are in. I'm now spending more time with family and have more time to read and write, so that has been a nice change. I hope you are also adapting well to the changes. Alright, let's get to the news and recommendations.

This week I wanted to share with you an interesting message that talks about the origins of the split between /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin, and friends. We sometimes follow "tradition" blindly without asking if there might be a better way. This message on the BusyBox list brings to light the reasons behind the split and make us question what else are we doing without really thinking if there might be a better way. If you are interested here is the link to the email message:

Understanding the bin, sbin, usr/bin, usr/sbin split

Have a look and let me know what you think.

As I mentioned before I've been writing a little bit more, and on that same topic comes my next share:

Google - Technical writing Courses

Google opened these courses to the public, and I think it's quite useful for all of us tech-related people to learn to communicate better. For me, writing also helps me think more clearly. The act of putting my ideas into words helps me correct the assumptions of what I think I understand. Have a look, and even if you believe you don't have to write much, it is an excellent skill to have. The courses are short, and you can do a few pages a day.

Talking about writing, as I mentioned in the last newsletter, I changed some of the structure of Now we have a notes section, where I add shorter posts about things I'm working on/exploring. This week I wrote about creating a custom FreeBSD kernel for my Parallels Virtual Machines. If you are interested here is the link:

I did all that customisation, and it saved me 12M of space, It was a fun learning experience tho. Sometimes it is not the results that matter but the learning ("Journey before destination").

Alright, that's it for this week, until next time.


Tip of the week

Is your bash boot-up time slow because of all the things you add on your .bash_profile? Maybe you can make some part of the setup lazy-loaded.

Declare a function with the name of the command that is slowing down your loading, then when that function is first called replace it with the loading of the actual set up.

For example, I don't use Python that much, so I don't want it to slow down my bash loading times, I would prefer only to initialise it when I'm going to use Python. So this is what I did with pyenv which lets me decide which version of Python to use.

pyenv() {
  echo "Init pyenv"
  unset -f pyenv
  eval "$(pyenv init -)"
  eval "$(pyenv virtualenv-init -)"
  pyenv $@

** If you want to check what else I'm currently doing be sure to follow me on twitter @rderik or subscribe to the newsletter. If you want to send me a direct message you can send it to