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Blogging is futile



Yet another Blosxom weblog from someone who promised himself to never start blogging - since blogging is futile.



Published: Thu, 27 Apr 2017 07:15:59 +0200

Last Build Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2017 07:15:59 +0200

Copyright: © 2005-2008 by Axel Beckert. Content licensed under the Creative Commons NC SA 2.0 DE License. Some rights reserved.
 



System Tray Icon to Monitor a Linux Software RAID Locally

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 04:09:16 +0200

About a year ago I bought a new workstation computer for myself at home. It’s a Tuxedo XUX_Cube which is advertised as gaming PC. But I ordered a slightly atypical non-gamer configuration:

  • As much RAM as possible (64 GB)
  • Intel i7 CPU, but the low power variant
  • Only with the onboard Intel graphics card. (No need for NVidia binary crap drivers.)
  • 2× Samsung 128 GB SSD for OS and $HOME plus 2× 3 TB WD Red disks for media storage; both pairs set up as RAID 1
  • Bitfenix Prodigy-M case in Orange. (Not available in Tuxedo Computer’s online shop, but they nevertheless ordered it for me. :-)

Of course the box runs Debian. To be more precise, it runs Debian Sid with sysvinit-core as init system and i3 as window manager. As I usually have no monitoring clients on my laptops and private workstations, I rather often felt the urge to do a cat /proc/mdstat on that box.

So at some point I wanted something like smart-notifier, but for Linux Software (MD) RAIDs. And since I found nothing, I did what Open Source guys usually do in such cases: I wrote it myself — of course in Perl — and called it systray-mdstat.

First I wondered about which build system would be most suitable for that task, but in the end I once again went with Dist::Zilla for the upstream build system and hence dh-dist-zilla for the Debian packaging.

Ideas for the actual implementation were taken from Wouter’s fdpowermon for the systray icon framework in Perl and Myon’s mdstat Xymon plugin for an already proven logic to parse /proc/mdstat. (Both, Wouter and Myon have stated in a GnuPG-signed e-mail that I copied less code than would validate their copyrights, so I was able to license it under a single license, namely GNU GPL version 3.)

As of now, systray-mdstat is also available as package in Debian Unstable. It won’t make it to Stretch as its first line of code has been written after the soft-freeze for Stretch was already in place.




Maintaining Debian Packages of Perl Modules with dh-dist-zilla

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 03:59:36 +0200

Maintaining Debian packages of Perl modules usually can be done with the common git-buildpackage (aka gbp) workflow with its three git branches master (or debian), upstream and pristine-tar: upstream contains the upstream code as imported from upstream’s release tar-balls. pristine-tar contains the binary diffs between the contents of the upstream branch and the original tar-ball. This mostly contains meta-data (timestamps, permissions, file owners, etc.) as git doesn’t store them. master (or debian) which contains upstream plus packaging. This also works more or less fine for Perl modules, where the Debian package maintainer is also the upstream developer. In that case mostly the upstream branch is used (and then maybe called master while the Debian packaging branch is then called debian). But the files needed for a proper so called “CPAN distribution” of a Perl module often contain redundant information (version numbers, required modules, etc.) which needs to be maintained. And for that, many people prefer Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) as a principle. Dist::Zilla One nice and common tool for that is Dist::Zilla or short dzil. It generates most redundant but required data out of a central source, e.g. Dist::Zilla’s dist.ini or the contained .pm files, etc. dzil build creates tar ball which contains all files necessary by CPAN. But now we have a dilemma: Debian expects those generated files inside the upstream branch while the files are only generated from other files in that branch. There are multiple solutions, but all of them involve committing generated files to the git repository: Commit them into the upstream branch. Disadvantage: You’ll likely later forget which files were generated and which weren’t. Commit the generated files into a separated branch, e.g. use master (original code), upstream (original code + stuff generated by dzil build, maybe imported with git-import-orig), pristine-tar and a debian (based on upstream) branches. librun-parts-perl aka Run::Parts (a Perl wrapper around and a pure-perl implementation of Debian’s run-parts tool) was initially maintained in the latter way. But especially in cases where we just need a Perl module packaged as .deb without uploading it to CPAN (e.g. project-internal modules), this is a tedious workflow and overkill. It would be much nicer if debhelper would just call dzil to generate all the stuff it needs to build the package. dh-dist-zilla Well, you can do that now, at least with Debian Jessie. This is what dh-dist-zilla does: It is a debhelper sequence plugin which calls dzil build and dzil clean in the right moment and takes care that all dh_auto_* commands look in the directory with the generated files instead of the rather clean project root directory. To use dh-dist-zilla, you just need to add a build-dependency on it and the Dist::Zilla plugins you use, and add --with dist-zilla to your minimal dh-style debian/rules file: #!/usr/bin/make -f %: dh $@ --with dist-zilla That’s it. With regards to workflow and git branches, you may still want to use separate branches for upstream work and debian work, and you may want to continue to use pristine-tar, but you don’t have to commit generated files to git anymore and you can maintain a clean master branch with nearly no redundancy. And if you need to generate to final upstream tar ball for you debian package, just call dh get-orig-source or maybe easier to use with tab completion dh_dist_zilla_origtar. This is how the librun-parts-perl package is maintained nowadays. There’s otherwise not much difference to the old, classically maintained versions. More DRY Next step in the DRY evolution is to reduce redundancies between upstream (Dist::Zilla based) packaging and the Debian packaging. There are a few tools available, partially brand new, partially not yet packaged: dh-dist-zilla’s dh-dzil-refresh which combines dh-make-perl’s “refresh” subcomm[...]