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Preview: apparently I'm a dinosaur

apparently I'm a dinosaur

apparently I'm a dinosaur -

Last Build Date: Mon, 01 Sep 2008 22:26:19 GMT


Epic Lameness

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 22:26:19 GMT now supports OpenID. Hooray! I'd like to make a comment on a thread about the RTL8187se chip I've got in my new MSI Wind. So I go to sign in with OpenID and instead of signing me in it prompts me to create an account with a name, username and password for the account. Huh? I just want to post to their forum, I don't want to create an account (at least not explicitly, if they want to do it behind the scenes fine). Isn't the point of OpenID to not have to create accounts and particularly not have to create new usernames and passwords to access websites? I'm not impressed.

Sentiment Sharing

Tue, 12 Aug 2008 04:28:32 GMT

Biella, I am from there and I do agree. If I was still living there I would try to form a team and make a bid. Simon even made noises about organizing a bid at DebConfs past. I wish he would :)

But a DebConf in New York would be almost as good.


Sun, 13 Jul 2008 06:32:08 GMT

So first the bad news is that I'm not coming to DebConf this year. There are a few reasons for this. It's fairly far and expensive. I thought the lineup of talks was pretty similar to the last two years. And perhaps most fundamentally, I don't want to go somewhere cold (well, cool) in the summertime. I think this may be a Canadian thing, but I love summer time and I don't want to squander any of my warm days. So have a good time folks, I'll miss you and I'm certainly going to make the effort to be there next year. And lets hope DebConf 10 is in Montréal :)

I will however be heading to OLS for the first time. Which is ironic because I used to live 2 hours from Ottawa and never went. Now I live several more hours away and now I've decided to go. Irony is fun.

I'm also thinking of attending HOPE here in New York. I'm not really sure what to expect. The talks seem really eclectic, which is cool, but makes it hard to figure out what to go to. Suggestions welcome!

Technolust unfulfilled

Fri, 27 Jun 2008 07:22:26 GMT

When I first saw the eeePC I thought it was a great idea, but seemed a little too small (particularly the screen) and not great battery life. Now that the 901 has been released it seems like an ideal ultra portable laptop for my needs. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anyone selling it here except on eBay. Looks like they won't go on sale here until July 7.

I've also become a ridiculous fanboy of the Wii. Which means I have to get a Wii Fit. And of course, no one has them. I am lucky that here in New York we have the Nintendo World Store that gets a shipment every morning, but so far I haven't been desperate enough to drag my ass out of bed early to get one. We'll see how long it lasts.

I wonder if the rumblings of manufacturers purposely shipping less to the US because of the weak dollar are true.

Adventures in IPv6 Land

Sun, 23 Mar 2008 05:21:40 GMT

The recent IPv6 Conference at Google and the launching of (only accessible over IPv6) inspired me to set up a 6to4 tunnel on my WRT54G running OpenWRT. I've been reading about IPv6 for years, but there didn't seem to be much point. Now I've seen the bouncing Google logo and the dancing turtle, and it really wasn't all that difficult. One issue I ran into was the 2.4 kernel that is needed to run on the WRT54G doesn't have a connection tracking for stateful firewall rules, which makes it a pretty poor IPv6 firewall. It's disabled for now, and tomorrow I'll go buy a WRTSL54GS so I can run a 2.6 kernel.

I'm looking forward to the day when IPv6 transit is normal and all these tunnels are unnecessary.


Fri, 08 Feb 2008 04:10:07 GMT

Martin's adventure makes me long for some scuba diving, which I haven't done for a couple of years now. Damn you, busy life!

One Year

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 06:07:47 GMT

Last week it was one year since I moved to New York. The city is pretty amazing, I've barely scratched the surface of what you can do here. I've spent a lot of it working and not taking advantage of it. I've done almost none of the touristy things you're supposed to do in this city, I haven't been to the Statue of Liberty, I haven't been up the Empire State Building and I haven't been in a single museum. It's a bit sad really. Not that I haven't done fun stuff, but I've definitely focused too much on work. Hopefully I can restore a little balance in the new year.

In other news, I'm going to spend Christmas in Ottawa where my parents have moved to recently. It's fairly crappy not to be going back to Montréal. Ottawa always sort of struck me as a boring town, so any suggestions on fun things to do there would be most appreciated.

Goodbye Bytemark, Hello Slicehost

Mon, 12 Nov 2007 06:51:00 GMT

I've just gotten a 256slice from Slicehost and I will deleting my UML instance with Bytemark. I was a customer of Bytemark's for a number of years, and I was happy with them. I had the smallest VM they offered and was just using it to run my DNS, postfix (and clamav and amavis) and a couple of tiny websites. The 75M of RAM the VM has just isn't up to these tasks anymore, with fairly frequent OOMing. Although they upgrading their smallest VMs to 150M six months ago, I still hadn't been upgraded to that new size, which is one of the main reasons I looked for other options.

So Slicehost seems to have a good reputation and having gotten my slice last week I can say that's it's wayyy faster than my setup with Bytemark. Even if I had stayed with Bytemark I would have 100M less RAM and it would have been more expensive (darn you weak American dollar). I really liked Bytemark, they've been supporting DebConf for at least a couple of years. I wish them success, but at this point they're offerings just competitive anymore.

The one thing I really miss from Bytemark is their DNS slave service. You could run your own BIND and have Bytemark's nameservers be slaves to it. Slicehost only has a hosted DNS service. But this is a small quibble compared to all the upsides.


Sun, 21 Oct 2007 07:24:20 GMT

My UPS died today, so I went to the store to get a new one. It came with a USB cable and when I plugged it into my desktop an icon popped into the Gnome panel to show me my new UPS, how much charge it had, etc (and I assume shut it down when . Very cool, and honestly completely unexpected. I think a couple of years ago I would be much less impressed by this, but as I find my free time dwindling I really appreciate when things just work. It's also a small, but encouraging sign that "Desktop Linux" is making good progress.

The Best Laid Plans

Mon, 03 Sep 2007 03:44:22 GMT

Hooray! A long weekend to catch up with all Debian work I've been neglecting!

Hooray! A long weekend to play Metroid 3 on the Wii!

Actually I have made some useful progress, converting nearly all of my packages over to git, even starting an Alioth project for the OpenSC suite of packages. Help is welcome! I should also pump out some updated packages where need be, and I should try to give Iceweasel some love, as it needs it badly.

git'ing it on

Sun, 15 Jul 2007 04:38:56 GMT

A hot topic this past DebConf7 was git. I've bought into the hype, so I decided to take the plunge and move my Subversion repositories to it. A lot of people seem to be willing to part with their history when making the move, but I'm some what irrationally attached to it.

Most of my Debian packages are in one big SVN repo, which used to be one big CVS repo (I used cvs2svn to move). So I decided to pull apart each source package into its own git repository. I started with git svn clone like so:

$ git svn clone -A authors --trunk=trunk/libclass-makemethods-perl \
  --branches=branches/libclass-makemethods-perl/upstream \
  --tags=tags/libclass-makemethods-perl --no-metadata \
  file:///home/svn/debian libclass-makemethods-perl

And this gives a git repo that can track an SVN repo. But I want to go all the way, no turning back. So I made a little script to clean up this repo called clean-git-svn:

#!/bin/sh -e

tags=`git branch -r | egrep 'tags/[^@]+$'`

echo "$tags" | perl -ne \
  'chomp($_); my $head = $_; s,\s+tags,debian,g; print "git tag $_ $head^\n"'
for i in $tags ; do echo "git branch -r -d $i"; done

upstream_tags=`git branch -r | egrep ' +[0-9][^@]+$'`

echo "$upstream_tags" | perl -ne \
  'chomp($_); s,\s+,,g; print "git tag upstream/$_ $_^\n"'
for i in $upstream_tags ; do echo "git branch -r -d $i"; done

echo "git branch upstream current"
echo "git branch -r -d current"
echo "git branch -r -d trunk"

This will output a bunch of git commands that will make this a more "gitified" repo. I make no guarantees this will work, you should probably hand check your history with gitk to make sure this won't screw anything up. If your the part you're converting also came up from CVS, you'll probably have a bit of a mess on your hands that will need more manual cleanup. gitk is really an amazing visualization tool and can help a lot here. Once you're satisfied just pipe it into /bin/sh. Since git svn mostly can't track where you merged in your SVN repo, make sure you merge the upstream branch into master as soon as you can. It will save you a lot of conflicts later, trust me.

One thing I miss from svn is svn export. Does an equivalent command exist in git? You would think there would be an option you could pass to git clone to do this but I can't seem to find anything.


Sat, 30 Jun 2007 03:06:40 GMT

One thing I'm really missing is Montréal in the summer time. Particularly the Fantasia Festival, where I would usually take in twenty-odd movies over a couple of weeks and I've been going for years. It was great. New York doesn't seem to have anything that compares, except maybe The New York Asian Film Festival. But that seems quite a bit smaller and more focused. I'll still check out it out though.

It's been nearly 7 months since I've moved here and time has really flown. Work has consumed most of my life and it's been amazing, but I'm starting to feel like it's lacking in certain areas. I've barely seen most of Manhattan and it's really not that big. I need to make sure I get the balance right.

DebConf 7 was fantastic, doubly so since I got to share it. My BoF was not that popular (which is what I expected) but people were interested and audience participation was high, so I was pleased. I sort of divided my time between the conference and being a tourist, so I hope no one felt like I was ignoring them. Edinburgh was an amazing city, really very beautiful. It felt good to be connected with this place (my mother was born in Perth, not too far away). Simon, Martin and Kai, you guys rock!

Speaking of DebConf, I should have cornered Keith for some troubleshooting. I bought a spiffy new desktop recently with a 965G chipset and plugged in an SDVO card and tried to get dual monitor set up going. After much Googling I found that Xrandr is apparently the new cool way to configure this, but information is pretty scarce. I can't seem to get them to both work at the same time. There could be problems because they have different resolutions (one is a 22" wide screen and one is a regular 19"). The lack of information about this is slightly frustrating and tells me either no one is trying this or no one else is having problems. Neither is good :)

New Debian Slogan

Sat, 02 Jun 2007 22:35:03 GMT

"Hey, at least we don't have Emacs' release cycle"

Abusing Lazyweb

Thu, 31 May 2007 05:37:29 GMT

Dear Lazyweb,

I have a growing frustration with my current home desktop machine, so I would like to get a new one. I'm perfectly willing to build it myself, and I would like it if possible to have one of those spiffy G965 Intel chipsets so I can finally have some free 3D graphics drivers. All the motherboards I have seen have only a VGA port, but apparently you can get an SDVO card to add a DVI interface. Does anyone know if you can drive two monitors with this setup? My googling didn't really clarify if this was possible. I want to have two displays, but I don't mind if one of them has to hook up to a VGA interface.

Beyond that, I'd like it to be quiet. Any tips on quiet power supplies, CPU and case fans?

Late to the distributed party

Tue, 29 May 2007 06:47:38 GMT

Two blog posts in one day!

Distributed revision control systems are all the rage these days and I think the time has come to adopt one. I've always thought they were a good idea, but Subversion worked well and suited my needs well enough. I was also somewhat put off by the number of choices and didn't want to switch to something that would turn out to be a dud. But now there seem to be two main contenders, Git and Mecurial. I think Linus' recent talk on git also helped rekindle my interest.

Despite Linus' protestations of greatness, I was thinking of using Mercurial since it seems to fit better with my Subversion centric view of the world and it appears that Mozilla is going to move to it from CVS. I already have a few CVS and Subversion repositories for various things and I would like to keep that history. So I fired up Tailor and started converting a mail archive I have in an svn repo. The repo is only 1.5G, but Tailor was slow. Surprisingly slow. It then failed right near the end of the conversion. I'm also not sure exactly how much history Tailor is preserving. Does it deal with things like file moves properly?

Disheartened, I took a look at git instead. It seemed to have a tool called git-svnimport that sounded very promising. I ran it against the same svn repo and it proceeded to consume all the memory on my system and cause it to thrash like mad. My machine became so unresponsive that I had to log in remotely to kill the import.

So in the end, dear lazyweb, what tools should one use to convert a Subversion repository to Mercurial and/or Git?

The Ghost of Browser Past

Mon, 28 May 2007 22:35:15 GMT

Even though Iceweasel has been a reality since November, it seems that there is still some backlash about the rename. Thanks very much to Andrew for jumping to my defense (and also for organizing dinner the last time I was in Mountain View, it was a fun evening). Nothing he said was fundamentally incorrect, but it doesn't paint the full picture.Once upon a time (somewhere around Firefox 0.9) we happily shipped the fox hugging the globe icon. Then it was pointed out the copyright license on that piece of artwork wasn't DFSG free (and probably wouldn't be free under any reasonable free software or even open content license), so we removed it and used the plain globe icon they shipped in the tarball instead. Eventually the Mozilla Foundation asked us to remove mozilla- from the package name (it was mozilla-firefox at the time) which we did, and the issue of the icon and trademark came up. After explaining why we couldn't ship the icon they gave us permission to continue to use the name. They said they would periodically check up to make sure we weren't shipping crap that would harm the brand. This seemed a fairly good compromise and we accepted.This situation persisted for a year or so, in both Debian and Ubuntu, but then the Mozilla Corporation (who was now in possession of the trademarks) insisted we couldn't use the name without the non-free logo. They also wanted to approve any changes made before they were uploaded. They are certainly within their rights to do this, but to hear Mr. Fowler tell it we were on a crusade to purge the name from the distro. We were not, we were content with the status quo. I also must take exception with Mr. Fowler stating: "They've persisted, despite the best efforts of the Mozilla project team to engage with the Debian packagers to resolve the situation." I think from the discussion we were trying our best to reach some sort of compromise and the Mozilla side seemed firmly entrenched in their position, not offering us a lot of alternatives. The non-free nature of the logo and the unprecedented "control-freak" review process didn't leave us with a lot of alternatives.Ubuntu does ship the officially branded version of the Firefox, but they have a weaker set of freedom guidelines than Debian. Whether you think that is good or bad is personal choice, but one of the reasons I like Debian so much is its commitment to free software, even if that means not everything is as easy or expedient as one would like.With respect to the new name and icon, this is again a matter of personal taste. I do tend to think "Iceweasel" doesn't have that much sex appeal but it was a popular choice and had the benefit of having already been used to refer to a potential name fork of Firefox. And BTW this is really only a name fork, the amount of changes we've actually put in to the tree (beyond renaming ones) are minimal. In fact the last time it was checked, our patches were a strict subset of the patches Ubuntu uses in their Firefox package. So Iceweasel is in fact functionally identical to Firefox with what I like to think are some minor improvements from upstream.As to your other points, I will admit to being poorly-socialized, but I think most who have met me wouldn't call me self-obsessed, egotistical or a moron.I think Debian is developing a bit of a bias against it where we're assumed to be a bunch of crazy Free software nuts, and the presumption is anytime we act against the grain we're the ones being unreasonable despite any evidence to the contrary. I don't know how we can fight this perception, but I think we should.[...]

Joey, come to DebConf

Wed, 02 May 2007 03:26:36 GMT

Joey Hess writes that he may not attend DebConf this year because he canceled his talk and he believes this doesn't entitle him to sponsorship. I must beg to differ. Joey's contributions to Debian are numerous and ongoing, and his knowledge and general levelheadedness about Debian are legendary. I realize that in the post Dunc Tank era people are leery of creating the perception of rewarding someone monetarily, but with no disrespect intended just having him there to contribute and ask questions of would be more valuable than some of the talks (certainly more than the BoF I'm giving :P).

I have no idea if Joey's interpretation of the situation is correct, but if it is and his sponsorship will be cut I'd implore the DebConf sponsorship folks to reconsider.

I for one welcome our new French overlord...

Mon, 16 Apr 2007 07:54:31 GMT

I upgraded my mailserver, etc box to etch. It was fairly painless, a few tweaks to do here and there. I'm looking forward to newer version of things like Spamassassin. I'm also booked for my trip to Edinburgh, I'm really looking forward to that, since I've never been there and it's where my mother was born (well not Edinburgh, but Scotland).

I was looking forward to going to the New York etch release party, but I had to come out to Mountain View earlier this week. Luckily I think I will get to attend a BAD meeting this week. Being part of Debian sure is cool these days.


Wed, 04 Apr 2007 04:06:32 GMT

So I hauled my ass to the Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center a couple of weeks ago to get myself a Nintendo Wii. I can see what all the fuss is about, the controls are just so amazing, it's really a much more fun and comfortable experience. I've also spent way to much time playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I have lost much sleep because of that game. I also bowled a 245 in Wii Bowling, which is so much better than I would bowl in real bowling it's not funny.

I'm starting to get antsy for the release. I'm scared to touch my packages now, which is no fun. I also want the shiny new software that will pour into unstable after the release is done.

A View to a Mountain

Fri, 23 Feb 2007 10:20:55 GMT

I'm nearly done my second week of four here in Mountain View. I think I've already become a traitor to my Canadian heritage because I'm really enjoying the no snow and the no cold in February. Mountain View is a pretty little town, but not that exciting in and of itself. I'll have to try to make it up to San Francisco.

Working at Google is the interesting part about being here. This is probably the only place where you'll see a car with a "UID EQ 0" license plate. Between the T-Rex statue, crazy Nerf Dart wars, lots of talks, toilet seats with warmers and a cleaning water spray (which is growing on me) there's a lot going on. There's too much to learn and not enough hours in the day.

Digital Cable? Why?

Wed, 03 Jan 2007 06:57:49 GMT

I'm a simple guy. I don't necessarily need the latest technology, especially if it's more annoying than the previous tech. I also don't need a lot of TV channels. In Montréal I just had basic, analog cable. That was just fine, and I have a TV tuner card in my box and I could watch TV from the comfort of my chair.

Now I move to Brooklyn and my only choice for cable is Time Warner. Fine. So I'll just get Internet and super basic analog cable. But they don't offer analog cable anymore. In fact they're completely turning it off come January 15. The replacement is digital cable, which requires some sort of a set top box, which is just another large piece of hardware taking up space and I wouldn't be able to change channels using the computer, let alone PVR type applications. There seems to be a standard called CableCARD to allow you to not have a cable box, but there doesn't seem to be tuner cards out there that work under Linux and take these cards. I find this all really annoying. No wonder people turn to Bittorrent for their TV.

Breaking the Silence

Tue, 26 Dec 2006 05:21:56 GMT

So it's been a while since I have actually posted something. The last few weeks has just been full of new stuff and changes. Google is a challenging but very enjoyable place to work. I found a pretty nice place to live in Brooklyn that only costs an arm every month, rather than an arm and a leg. I'll be moving this week, but I'm still trying to find a good gym with squash courts and an active squash ladder (and hopefully not ridiculously expensive) and a good place to continue my 日本語 classes.

I was in Montréal for the holidays, which was nice, but so brief. Nice to see the family and the cats though. I also briefly saw my friends, and also Olivier who I haven't seen for a year. I'm hoping they will come visit me. Wish I could hang with them for New Year's Eve, they're renting a cottage and the whole deal. I'll pretty much need to be in New York, hopefully I will find a fun place to go.

My Debian work has been suffering a fair amount the last month. I sent a good deal of my time off getting Iceweasel into better shape and I've uploaded the result, but I need someone (hopefully Mike) to sign it and get it in the archive, since I'm away from my key.

A Dinosaur in Times Square

Mon, 04 Dec 2006 04:20:10 GMT

So I begin work tomorrow. It's been an interesting few days so far. Border officers are not really pleasant people (from my sample size of one). I've been put up in a beautiful corporate apartment basically in Times Square. It's just going to make it worse when I have to find an expensive and worse apartment elsewhere. Times Square is full of tourists and is quite loud, flashy and expensive. But luckily I found a cheap Japanese place around the corned called Sapporo that's relatively cheap, so I've eaten there three times already. I've seen my brother a couple of times already and he's shown me a couple of good eateries. I've also seen a few apartments in Brooklyn that are frighteningly expensive for where they are. I guess that's just normal around here.

Wish me luck!

So I missed one...

Tue, 21 Nov 2006 23:58:32 GMT

Erich, give me a break man :) There are definitely still some branding issues left, I'm working on them.

The reason Ubuntu, Red Hat, etc can use the icon is that they've struck deals with Mozilla Corporation to include the trademark, where they submit there patches back upstream for quality assurance or what have you. Even if we came to a similar bargain, the logo has a non-free copyright license, so it isn't going into main.

Iceweasel released from its cage

Mon, 20 Nov 2006 17:07:54 GMT

Iceweasel has hit incoming after spending only 90 minutes in the NEW queue (I think one of the ftp-masters must have a crush on me). Please test, test, test, especially upgrades from sarge. There are still a few branding issues to sort out, but I'll try to get them fixed over the next couple of days. Should we go with one of these icons? I particularly like the weasel humping the globe.