Quick thought on the CrowdStrike outage

first off I was surprised when I got up about the reach of this through South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

its shocking how nobody stages anything just roll directly to production. I know this is CI/Agile so expect more of this, not less.

next is the file everyone is crying to reboot into safe mode to delete. It’s all zeros. Not a valid device driver. Not a valid anything.

how is it getting loaded??

Credit to Sean Nicoara

looking at the stack trace I found on twitter the driver csagent is faulting. Is it actually binary loading a blob into kernel space and executing it, bypassing all checks for valid/signed code by the kernel?

i hope I’m wrong or this is like I can’t even.

time will tell.

Attempting to port Alexander Batalov’s Fallout1-re to RISC

TLDR; It doesn’t work

Fallout 1 needs DirectX 3.0a / NT 4.0 SP3

With all the excitement of PowerPC NT being runnable under emulation, I thought I’d try to do something fun, and port Alexander Batalov‘s fallout1-re, to Visual C++ 4.0.

The ‘problem’ is that it’s written using a more modern C that allows C++ style variables in the code. In traditional C, the declaration of variables has to be at the start of each function, however C++ allows you to place them wherever you want in the code.

the frame_ptr function from art.c

The ‘fix’ is quite simple, you just have to separate the creation of variables in the code, and place them on top, as simple as!

You can see in this case the deletions in red, and the additions in green.

115 changed files with 21,455 additions and 4,437 deletions.

It was a LOT of changes. It took me 3 days to go through the code. But with a lot of work I was able to get it to compile first with Visual C++ 2003. I then created a Makefile allowing me to compile with Visual C++ 4.0

I have to admit, I was kind of surprised that it actually compiled for the PowerPC. And instantly saddened that it doesn’t actually work. Maybe some code amputations may get around the running part, but that’s just speculation right now.

Shockingly the opening animations play fine, the menus load, however you get about one frame in the game, and it goes unresponsive.

As far as it gets

I don’t know why but Visual C++ 2003 won’t debug it correctly. I’m not sure why it won’t set the working directory correctly. Attaching to the process seems to produce different results, where it’s stuck in some loop that I can’t peg down.

Obviously, I did screw something up, the ‘solution’ is to install a newer version of Visual Studio and ‘blend’ the files, to try to rule out where or what went wrong.

The annoying thing is that even if I go through the required steps to get the VC4 version working, it won’t matter as at best this would only be relevant for the currently unemulated Dec Alpha.

Oh well, sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you.(yes I know it’s BEAR).

Rairii’s incredible port of ARC & Drivers for NT PowerPC to G3 Macintoshes

Windows NT on a Macintosh Powerbook G3 (Lombard)

This has been a rush of excitement! Rairii published their port of the ARC & Drivers needed to get NT 4.0 working on commodity PowerMac hardware over on github. And what about running it under emulation? Once more again Rairii provided a custom fork of dingusppc, again over on github!

A custom CD-ROM worked best (for me?!) for installation, combining the ARC & Drivers, along with a copy of Windows NT Workstation onto a single disc. Rairii provided the magical recipie for creating the ISO:

genisoimage -joliet-long -r -V 'NT_arcfw' -o ../jj.iso --iso-level 4 --netatalk -hfs -probe -map ../hfs.map -hfs-parms MAX_XTCSIZE=2656248 -part -no-desktop -hfs-bless ./System -hfs-volid NT/ppc_arcfw .

And the needed hfs.map:

# ext.  xlate  creator  type    comment
.hqx    Ascii  'BnHx'   'TEXT'  "BinHex file"
.sit    Raw    'SIT!'   'SITD'  "StuffIT Expander"
.mov    Raw    'TVOD'   'MooV'  "QuickTime Movie"
.deb    Raw    'Debn'   'bina'  "Debian package"
.bin    Raw    'ddsk'   'DDim'  "Floppy or ramdisk image"
.img    Raw    'ddsk'   'DDim'  "Floppy or ramdisk image"
.b      Raw    'UNIX'   'tbxi'  "bootstrap"
BootX   Raw    'UNIX'   'tbxi'  "bootstrap"
yaboot  Raw    'UNIX'   'boot'  "bootstrap"
vmlinux Raw    'UNIX'   'boot'  "bootstrap"
.conf   Raw    'UNIX'   'conf'  "bootstrap"
*       Ascii  '????'   '????'  "Text file"

I went ahead and made the image, and added in Service Pack 2, Internet Explorer 3 and IIS3 onto the same CD-ROM to make things easier for me to deal with. It’s on archive.org.

On Discord and impromptu porting session broke, out and we got NP21 up and running!

NP21

Unfortunately, it is very slow. I have no idea how it performs on real hardware, it’s entirely possible that it really is unplayable. It’s still pretty amazing that the OS booted up and I could actually compile something!

Even the usual fun text mode stuff from Phoon, Infocom’87, F2C, compiled!

Phoon!

But will it run DooM?

DooM & Atlantis

Of course, it runs! I’m using the 32bit C code from Sydney (ChatGPT), which runs just great.

Into 3D space

I was able to compile GLuT on the way to try to build ssystem but there is two textured OpenGL calls missing, meaning that the more fun OpenGL stuff simply will not work.

Setting expectations

As a matter of fact, lots of weird stuff doesn’t work, the install is very touchy so don’t expect a rock-solid experience, but instead it was incredibly fun to try to get a bunch of stuff up and running.

Thanks again to @Rairii for all their hard work! This is beyond amazing!

— it’s 3am and I’m exhausted, but I had to share this out some how some way!

NT ON PowerPC! It’s happening!

WRP 4.8.0 – Simple HTML Mode with Image Support!

(this is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

Previously I wrote a boring lengthy article about need for “simple html mode” in WRP. Today I want to introduce addition of images to this contraption! You can now browse modern web like it was in 1994!

The say that image is better than 1000 words, so here we go:

WRP 4.8.0 via Netscape 4.8 on SGI IRIX
WRP 4.8.0 via Mosaic 2.7 on HPUX 9.07

You can regulate the image size and make them however big you want, also PNG, GIF and JPEG of course:

WRP 4.8.0 on HPUX 9.07
WRP 4.8.0 via Netscape 1.0 on SunOS 4.1.4 on QEMU

The simple html mode is still quite buggy and needs a lot of fixes. I see some 400 errors here and there, Captha problems, etc. I think these can be all fixed in time.

You can download latest WRP from Github!

Please report bugs and issues!

RealAudio Personal Server

I had originally planned on doing this for the 4th of July, but something happened along the way. I had forgotten that this is 1995, not 2024, and things were a little bit different back then.

Back in the early days of the internet, when Al Gore himself had single handedly created it out of the dirt, The idea of address space exhaustion didn’t loom overhead as it did in the late 00s. And in those days getting public addresses was a formality. It was a given that not only would the servers all have public TCP/IP addresses, but so would the clients. Protocols like FTP would open ports not only from client to server, but also server to client. This was also the case for RealAudio. Life was good.

The problem with trying to build anything with this amazing technology is that while I do have a public address for the server, it’s almost a given that YOU are not directly connected to the internet. Almost everyone these days uses some kind of router that’ll implement Network Address Translation (NAT), allowing for countless machines to sit behind a single registered address, and map their connections in and out behind one address. For protocols like FTP, they have to be built to watch and dynamically add these ports. FTP is popular, RealAudio is not. So, the likelihood of anyone actually being able to connect to a RealAudio 1.0 server is pretty much nil.

RealAudio Player v3 connected to a v1 server

The software is pretty easy to find on archive.org, (mirrored). Since it’s very audio centric, I decided to install the server onto a Citrix 1.8 server using Qemu 0.9. I had gone with this, as the software is hybrid 16bit/32bit and I need a working sound card, and I figured the Citrix virtual stuff is good enough.

First thing first, you need some audio to convert. Thankfully in modern terms ripping or converting is trivial unlike the bad old days. First off, I needed a copy of the Enclave radio, and I found that too on archive.org. The files are all in mp3 format, but the RealAudio encoder wants to work with wav files. The quickest way I could think of was to use ffmpeg.

ffmpeg -i Enclave Radio - Battle Hymn of the Republic.mp3 -ar 11025 -ab 8k -ac 1 enc01.wav

This converts the mp3 into an 11Khz mono wav file. It’s something the encoder can work with. Another nice thing about Citrix is how robust it can use your local drives, cutting out the whole part of moving data in & out of the VM.

One thing about how RealAudio works is that first there is the ability to load up a .ram or playlist file. In this case, I took the ‘enclave playlist’ from Fallout 3, and made a simple playlist as enclave.ram:

The encoder allows for some metadata to be set. Nothing too big.

Name & Author

And then it thankfully takes my i7 seconds to convert this, even under emulation, using a shared drive. And import option to deselect is to enable playback in real-time, as it’ll never work as it cannot imagine a world in which the processor is substantially faster than the encoder.

Converting the 8 files took a few minutes, and then I had my RealAudio 1.0 data.

Next up is to create a .RAM or playlist.

pnm://localhost/enc01.ra
pnm://localhost/enc02.ra
pnm://localhost/enc03.ra
pnm://localhost/enc04.ra
pnm://localhost/enc05.ra
pnm://localhost/enc06.ra
pnm://localhost/enc07.ra
pnm://localhost/enc08.ra

The playlist should be served via HTTP, and I had just elected to use an old hacked up Apache to run on NT 3.1. As it only has to serve some simple files.

The scene is all set, the RealAudio player pulls the playlist from Apache, then it connects on TCP port 7070 of the RealAudio server to identify itself and get the file metadata. Then the RealAudio server then opens a random UDP port to the client and sends the stream, as the client updates the server via UDP of how the stream is working. And this is where it all breaks down, as there is not going to be any nice way to handle this UDP connection from the server to the client.

Well, this was disappointing.

In a fit of rage, I then tried to see if ffmpeg could convert the real audio into FLAC so you could hear the incredible drop in quality, and as luck would have it, YES it can! To concatenate them, I used a simple list file:

file ENC01.RA
file ENC02.RA
file ENC03.RA
file ENC04.RA
file ENC05.RA
file ENC06.RA
file ENC07.RA
file ENC08.RA

And then the final command:

ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i list.txt Enclave_v1.flac

And thanks to ‘modern’ web standards, you can now listen to this monstrosity!

Enclave Real Audio 1 converted to Flac & concatenated.

This takes about 10MB of WAV audio derived from 8MB of MP3’s, and converted down to 472kb worth of RealAudio. Converting that back to a 4.4MB FLAC file.

To keep in mind what network ports are needed at a minimum it’s the following:

  • TCP 1494 * Citrix
  • TCP 7070 * RealAudio
  • UDP 7070 * RealAudio (statistics?)
  • TCP 80 * Apache

And of course, it seems to limit the RealAudio server to the client in the 7000-7999 range but that is just my limited observation. This works find at home on a LAN where the server is using SLiRP as the host TCP/UDP ports appear accessible from 10.0.2.2, while giving the server a free-standing IP also works better, but again it needs that 1:1 conversation greatly limiting it in today’s world.

Also, as pointless as it sounds, you can play the real audio files from the Citrix server for extra audio loss.

Personally, things could have gone a lot better on the 3rd of July, I thought I’d escaped but got notified on the 5th they forgot about me. Oh well Happy 4th for everyone else.

Installing older version of QEMU on MacOS using Homebrew

(this is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

I often need to install a specific / older version of QEMU on a Mac using Homebrew. If you search for how to do it, typical answers are create a local tap, extract some files and other nonsense. Building from sources is equally retarded because configure can’t easily find includes and libraries installed by Homebrew.

This is how to do it in a simplest possible way. Find QEMU Homebrew Formula file on Github. Then click history on the top right corner. Browse for the desired version. Then on the right of the version, click a little icon saying “View code at this point”. It should show you an older version of the same formula. You can click download raw file or copy the URL and use curl to fetch it. Then simply run brew install ~/Downloads/qemu.rb or wherever you saved it. Magic! Hope it helps!