Looking for info: Wireless Routers

So its time to better wire (or unwire) the house so that I can get a better signal in the other parts of the house.

  1. What routers do people suggest these day? I am currently using vintage Linksys WRT54GL boxes I got a while back that I am using as bridges from parts of the house to other parts. Since they have a closed broadcom chip in them they are using a 2.4 kernel with OpenWRT and such installed.I would like to look at something that is more open/stable.
  2. What Wireless OS do people suggest? I have OpenWRT on one and DD-wrt on another. I think I will go with the same on all the boxes just to keep upkeep simplest.
  3. Anyone set up radius with WPA2 and have it work for windows, mac and linux?
Anyway, if anyone has some ideas, please let me know. Thanks.

Ketchup: The last week or so

After FUDcon, I spent a week in Phoenix Arizona where I got to help move Fedora's main infrastructure from Mesa Arizona to its new location in Chandler. And then a couple of days learning to hate, Hate, HATE APC power strips as they seem to be made of FAIL. (Oh the computer looks plugged in, but its wiggled itself out and all you can hear is a faint crackling sound of it sort of connecting and oh get a new power supply while you are at it.)

Beyond that things look pretty well. Going to finish up cleaning up some DNS and SSH issues and then start the new year on Inventory Management and ITIL processes... whee! [Red Hat United States takes the last week of December as Paid Time Off where I am going to spend it with the kid working on OLPC things, and try to reset my website from Web-0.9 to Web-3 or not... we will see.]


FUDCon 3: Learning the difference

between 'Publish' and 'Save Now'. I sent the previous post a little early :). The move is going to deal with a lot of new ips, routing and things so its time to clean up a bit and work on some items... of course with all the students here at Senaca@York today.. networking has become a bit more problematic ... I think we are warring with the animation group down the hall for packets.

FUDCon Day 3

Spent the evening in the FUDCon hacker room going over with other hackers on the mystique that is Paul Frields.. what was his background, why does he always wear black turtle necks, was he licensed to kill?

Today has been drinking Tim Hortons tea, and trying to get ready for the move on Friday.


FUDCon Day 2: Hackfests

Day 1 ended with the announcement of the Fedora 13 release being Goddard (after the Rocket scientist yeah!). Most people went to the Fud Pub crawl afterwards but I just had a small dinner and watched a Chinese martial arts soap opera before crashing.. and crash I did.

I slept in way too late to get the pygtk talk that Paul Frields gave earlier. When I got there it was wrapping up and everyone else was now a professional GUI developer with laurels handed out by Paul himself. Anyway, I spent the rest of the morning getting the travel planned for our move next week in Phoenix... so I will be there from Friday til Wednesday (in case something goes wrong).

Now I am going to talk with Mo about a secret project...


FUDCon Day 1: Talks

Wow... Canada is nice. The Hotel TV has 2 children channels with educational shows on all the time.. first hotel/motel I have ever seen that. The people were very friendly getting us on the bus system that took us from the hotel to the school, and the school is like wow really nice (and clean yes I am making the stereotypical comment about how nice and clean canada is compared to other places). Anyway, got some coffee from Tim Hortons and then spent the day logging user sessions that had been bar camp voted. It seemed to go pretty well. I liked the one on Inkscape usage but missed the one for GUI layout I wanted to see (and the packaging one and the python one but there are lots of notes) The notes are courtesy of a bunch of volunteers that Yakkov organized. (and there are also videos from Clint's guys.. ) so all cool.

Going to listen to Paul's end of the day speech on the State of Fedora.

FudCon day 0:FUDbus

Ok it turns out that the bus we were looking forward to didn't get done in time. [It was held up due to a sub-contractor not getting the parts for wireless and power done in time.] Instead got a larger 50 seat bus so everyone was able to get their own seat. Lots of talking for the first part and after lunch we all got to watch the highwater film of 2009: Zombieland. A little too gorey at parts for me. However it was very funny to watch the rest of it.. poor Bill Murray.. he deserved a better end. Anyway.. after that was done lots of people slept until the border.

Got off the bus at the border around 8pm and had a great time with the border guards. They were very friendly and only wanted to make sure us Americans were going to leave versus get stuck there. Got to the hotel around 9pm and had a huge checkin party. I pretty much crashed in the room after that. The networking at the Hilton was very bad (too many hackers.. too little cable connections.) so I didn't get to check email til Saturday.

FudCon day -1

Flew from Albuquerque to Chicago.. and got a flu shot at the airport. They didn't have H1N1 but will have it on my way back. Thankfully the plane flights were nice and fast due to tail winds. Got into Boston early and found that it had been a record warm day at 68 degrees (versus the heavy snow the weather people had said.)

Got picked up by my host, David Malcolm, and spent the evening watching Brit TV on the Netflix machine.. real cool. Going to have to get one for the family. [And watching the IT Crowd was funny and painful at the same time.. I know those people too well.]


On the way to FUDcon

Where we put the U back into FUDcon! or something like that. My main jobs are going to be a few things:
  1. Make sure people don't party too hard on the bus to Toronto. And have their passports.
  2. Listen to users A LOT.
    • Who are they?
    • What do they want?
    • Why are they here?
    • Where do they want to go
  3. Learn to be a user again. Most of my habits are formed from when I was in college in the late 1980's. It was a big push in my habits to move from tvtwm to fvwm2 and then to metacity. What would a new user use and why? How does one IM, blog or this identi.ca thing?
  4. Make sure people don't party too hard on the bus from Toronto. And have their passports.
Thats about it.. hope to update daily (so the family knows I am alive :)).


Voting for release names

Argh... none of my suggestions got to the final round. I found a bunch of public domain comic book heroes that would have had the background artists having a field day. With the Blue Flame it could have gone onto a gas or many other ways. Nemo would have had all sorts of underwater themes as long as we stayed away from clown fish. Sigh... ok ok. I will vote, and you should too

Well next time I will try for a BAM! POW! SMASH! name too.


Turning 40

Sometime last week I turned 40... that makes me 10 years past my Carousel time so I keep my eyes out for Sandmen. It was a pretty good birthday.. I got "Mad Science" by Theo Gray , a version of the Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, and an iPod Nano.

This means that iPod's are now completely passée.. I am so far from hip that my shadow dance would cause severe laughter. The getting of an iPod means that it has reached the level of absurdity of a fellow who is going to fill it with Clannad, Enya, and Angelo Badalamenti's music. Oh and any lectures I can find on thermodynamics, relativity, and matrix math.

My son thought it was the coolest thing especially since it could play games.... well some games.. ok lame dad games.... so he now wants an ipod touch which at his allowance rate will be about the time cyber-implants occur.

Anyway, its good to be 40... there was a period of my life that I didn't think I would live past 26. [And my folks were sure that my teenage years would be the death of them or me.. and they outnumbered me.] Anyway... thanks for all the years universe. I have enjoyed them as best I could.


Dear telemarketing software companies

In the last week I have gotten 3 phone calls from software development companies looking to see if I could outsource my work to them. I appreciate that you are looking for new work but please be aware of the following:

1) I am not doing software development that I can afford to outsource. If I do any development its as a hobby or for my workplace and not something I have spare cash to spend. Also all of my work unless for some outstanding reason is done under an open source license (GPL or Apache most likely).

2) When you call me, do not have your VOIP or similar system appear to come from a local phone number but be from another country like China, India or Texas. If I was in the software development business I would find that dishonest.

Thank you, and I hope you are able to find a better customer than me.


Verify Fedora ISOs

As I have fallen victim to this a couple of times (thank you Jesse for being patient with me on the third or 4th time :)) here is how to verify a Fedora ISO (the thing you burn to a CD, DVD or USB stick)

Here is what I did to get FAIL

1) Download checksum file.
2) Look in the file and see

Hash: SHA1

f0ad929cd259957e160ea442eb80986b5f01daaffdbcc7e5a1840a666c4447c7 *Fedora-12-i386-DVD.iso
2f548ce50c459a0270e85a7d63b2383c55239bf6aead9314a0f887f3623ddace *Fedora-12-i386-disc1.iso
ce77d16d1b3362859aaa856f1f29c7197db69264d8ce6b9f8111dcee4d5e9ef7 *Fedora-12-i386-disc2.iso
8c39cb9e3c1583948dcad21f9fdbe48a3ff6a8d1b536462188d47747c2640b36 *Fedora-12-i386-disc3.iso
07f03f67d23331e8c7a37ad19e9a99062a4584a3e028beb40c49923bb5c70c6b *Fedora-12-i386-disc4.iso
dff8c478fb73452a8799016deeecccde3097d40a0b756d681bfe6be2e56bb9eb *Fedora-12-i386-disc5.iso
128112527bdd4036ec82d678b5d5362aa7a11ac15a73647afd743d7a325f7df9 *Fedora-12-i386-netinst.iso
Version: GnuPG v1.4.5 (GNU/Linux)


and used sha1sum to verify the DVD you downloaded. It of course didn't work.

3) Use other sum tools (md5sum, sha224sum, sha256sum *HEY THAT GIVES ME THE RIGHT DATA*)
4) Get confused on the text and talk to Jesse Keating on IRC.

The SHA1 line is really part of the GPG signature and not the command used to generate the content. Work is being done to make this clearer in future CHECKSUM files but that won't hit til F13. Anyway, I figured a Blog post that google will remember for others will help in the future.

Edited to add: Checksums can be found via SSL here: https://fedoraproject.org/static/checksums/Fedora-12-i386-CHECKSUM



Ok interesting development with laptop and issues from earlier blog post. Most of the travails in the last week may have been due to Kernel issues and weird ACPI mappings from the BIOS. In following up on https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=522201 it was asked to see if changing the iommu mapping from hardware to software would make some problems go away.

I made the changes to grub.conf and rebooted the system.
  1. System booted into 1680x1050 while plugged into docking station without any fiddling. (VGA out is still off but thats ok...)
  2. Sound is working better. I thought I was dealing with some pulseaudio issues (hey its what everyone blames isn't it?) but it turns out that it might have been something else.
  3. The new disk drive seems to be happier, I was worried last night when I heard it making some 'clicking' noises again.
  4. No more DMAR messages in dmesg... I am wondering if the DMAR messages mapped to the disk drive or something else.
So not sure what the long term fix will be, but it looks like I have a good work-around (using the age-old definition of if things are working great for 20 minutes... ship it!)


So you want to install a bunch of packages after install

Ok the usual way to get a system ready for install is to use kickstart to do so. I am going to set up cobbler to do this later, but since I had a broken disk and only a F12beta DVD I went the 'hard' route of installing by hand and doing most of the extra configuration afterwords.

One of the things I was able to do before the laptop's hard-drive completely failed was to get an rpm listing:

export LANG=C
rpm -qa --qf='%{NAME}\n' | sort -u > RPM-QA.doomed

Then during the install I just picked some defaults and got a 'finished' system up with a minimal of hassle. Once the box was up and on the network I made a new listing.

export LANG=C
rpm -qa --qf='%{NAME}\n' | sort -u > RPM-QA.new
comm -2 -3 RPM-QA.doomed RPM-QA.new | awk '{print "install "$0} END{print "run"}' > big-list

I then went through the file big-list to remove some things that I didn't want this time.. and then used yum-shell to install these in a large batch.

yum shell big-list

watch lots of things, type y when it says to do so... and wait for 2 GB of RPMs to be downloaded over 768kbit line. Coming in the next morning, I had a system that pretty much matched the old laptop except for some packages no longer in F12 (DeviceKit, etc). This gives me a 'new' list to work against when F12 final comes out and I want to reinstall again.

ToDo: this wasn't the best way of doing this, but it works. Thanks to the yum developers for making it work so well from the command line mode. I look forward to figuring out ways I could do this better in the future.


Hurray! Red Hat Helpdesk was great and got me a replacement disk drive. I got it working and reinstalled the system as best I could with F12 and noticed a lot of neat stuff.

  1. X11 acts different from F11. If I boot the Thinkpad in the docking station, I get 800x600 in both monitors through the Avocent. If I book the Thinkpad out of the docking station, the laptop screen comes up as 1680x1050. If I plug the laptop back into the docking station, the VGA shows up for a short while at 800x600 and then goes away. And if I change channels in the Switchview, I may lose both X sessions :). However, I am not getting a kernel oops anymore, so I can close a bug.
  2. Everytime I log in, I get a message that bluetooth may not be available.

    org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.ServiceUnknown: The name :1.271 was not provided by any .service files

    You might not be able to connect to the Bluetooth network via this machine

    This is new so I am not sure what is causing it. The name :1.XXX changes each time I reboot. The desktop does not have bluetooth so I expected it.. however the laptop does have bluetooth and the little widgets at the top say its available. This will be a fun one to play with.
  3. Printing needed an extra package. My old Brother printer needed foomatic-db-ppds installed to be seen. Not sure why gutenprint doesn't pull it in, but hey thats life on the RC trail.
I will also reinstall to F12 when it comes out on Tuesday so that I can see if my problems come from living on rawhide, if its something that is endemic to my network, or just something everyone will have to live with for a while.

Edited To Add (2009-11-15T16:30-0700): Looking in my dmesg logs I noticed a long string of

DRHD: handling fault status reg 3
DMAR:[DMA Read] Request device [00:1b.0] fault addr 0
DMAR:[fault reason 06] PTE Read access is not set

I wonder if thats related to the video issues as they seemed to have occured when I plugged the laptop back into the docking thing.


IT Musings

This week has started off with a discussion about why IT organizations don't go out and create their own Open Source applications to meet needs. For some reason the discussion made me think of a quote I heard attributed to Alan Moore about Superman and Batman.

"As long as his parents are still dead, Batman has lost. As long as the planet hasn't exploded, Superman is ahead of the game."

In a company, IT is usually Batman. The big grim guy who comes in to fix the server, and tell you have to have 1 uppercase letter and 2 special characters in your password. IT people usually have to go and fight pernicious programs, bad routers, or whatever else comes into the ticket queue.. and rarely does one get thanks.. more like "Hey how did you let that happen in the first place.".

On the other hand, Development is usually Superman. Their project can be axed, and they will just go find another company to do it one more time. Heck they might just do it in their spare time just to show it could have been done.

Ok I am not saying all developers are like that, but even the most morose seems to go at things from a "Well heck, didn't explode the planet with that core dump.. lets just fix it up and see what happens next." A system administrator is going to make sure that he has 3 backup plans in case a velociraptor shows up in the middle with a fight a tape drive.


Laptop disk go klicky klicky. Disaester recovery.

Started to download RC3 on Friday night and heard that sound that makes admins get the cold sweats. "Klick, erk, klick". I didn't see any errors in my dmesg so I just went to bed.. well oh boy guess what. No disks fer you in the morning. Sigh. Spend Saturday working out how one recovers what data one can from an encrypted partition. I actually got a lot off more than I expected.

The journal seemed to be one of the sectors dieing so I could not get it to do much. "mount -o ro,noload" is your friend with journalled file systems that are bad. This does not replay the journal so any data that was 'stuck' in there goes bye-bye.. seems I lost most of Friday's work email.. sigh.. going to have to deal with that on Monday.

Learned another important thing. If you have a backup script.. and edit it to do dry-runs while testing options... make sure you turn off dry-runs later. Lost a weeks worth of backups that way..

Got my Optiplex box installed with RC1 and updated to what was equivalent to my last rpm-qa listing. That took most of Sunday because 110kByte downloads are slow for several GB of updates and RPMs. I think I am going out to get another backup USB drive tomorrow to do another set of backups to put one set offsite.

So lessons learned:
1) FC12beta rescue works great. I need to make a USB key for FC12 when it comes out. Put that in the 'safe' for later.
2) Make sure your backups are run regularly.. and you have offsite backups of data one week old or older.
3) Stay calm.


Fedora 11 + Lenovo T500 + Avocent Switchview (Part 2)

I had earlier posted some problems with my attempts to get a second monitor working through my Avocent and the work Lenovo T500 (thankyou Red Hat.. its a nice machine). I have not been able to get it to work automatically, but I have had success with the uberpowerful xrandr

Steps to do this if you run into this problem:

1) Attach the monitor directly to your laptop and get it working through there. If the monitor is new enough and good enough you should have gotten a good DCC reading from the monitor. Look for it in the /var/log/Xorg.log files:

(II) intel(0): Serial No: T61164BSBD2Z
(II) intel(0): Monitor name: DELL 1905FP
(II) intel(0): Ranges: V min: 56 V max: 76 Hz, H min: 30 H max: 81 kHz, PixClock max 140 MHz
(II) intel(0): EDID (in hex):
(II) intel(0): 00ffffffffffff0010ac0c405a324442
(II) intel(0): 310e01030e261f78ee1145a45a4aa024
(II) intel(0): 145054a54b00714f8180010101010101
(II) intel(0): 010101010101302a009851002a403070
(II) intel(0): 1300782d1100001e000000ff00543631
(II) intel(0): 31363442534244325a0a000000fc0044
(II) intel(0): 454c4c203139303546500a20000000fd
(II) intel(0): 00384c1e510e000a202020202020004b
(II) intel(0): EDID vendor "DEL", prod id 16396
(II) intel(0): Using EDID range info for horizontal sync
(II) intel(0): Using EDID range info for vertical refresh
(II) intel(0): Printing DDC gathered Modelines:
(II) intel(0): Modeline "1280x1024"x0.0 108.00 1280 1328 1440 1688 1024 1025 1028 1066 +hsync +vsync (64.0 kHz)

Then you can hook up the monitor back through the switchview and bring the system up again. Now we use the xrandr command.

xrandr -q
[root@localhost log]# xrandr -v -q
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1680 x 1050, maximum 8192 x 8192
VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
LVDS1 connected 1680x1050+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 331mm x 207mm
1680x1050 60.0*+ 50.0
DVI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DVI2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

[root@localhost log]# xrandr --newmode "1280x1024"x0.0 108.00 1280 1328 1440 1688 1024 1025 1028 1066 +hsync +vsync
[root@localhost log]# xrandr --addmode VGA1 "1280x1024"x0.0
[root@localhost log]# xrandr --output VGA1 --mode "1280x1024"x0.0 --right-of LVDS1

And after a bit of flickering your second monitor will show up. Now its not a perfect match yet... doing another xrandr -v -q gives us

[ssmoogen@localhost ~]$ xrandr -q -v
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 2960 x 1050, maximum 8192 x 8192
VGA1 disconnected 1280x1024+1680+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 0mm x 0mm
1280x1024x0.0 60.0*
LVDS1 connected 1680x1050+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 331mm x 207mm
1680x1050 60.0*+ 50.0
DVI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DVI2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

With the monitor being listed as disconnected X windows acts a little funny. You can move applications over it (so I have xchat working there while I switch other desktops.. ) but hitting the menus button the menu will show up in the wrong window.

Will try to figure that out later... but at the moment I can work on my 3 systems much easier now.


Happy Birthday Ubuntu

I see from various news articles from yesterday that Ubuntu reached 5 years old yesterday. An honest and deep felt congratulations from a Red Hatter. Working on a release is hard work and any organization that reaches 5 years has gone through a lot of different pains. While I disagree on a couple of issues (proprietary drivers mostly .debs slightly) I will say you have accomplished things that I never thought would happen 6 years ago:

  1. Made a Debian release easy to install. The power that Debian has in its .debs was quite a beast for a lot of new people. [I think I had 8 failed installs before I got one to complete before I went crazy... not to other people.. do not use install instructions from SuperExperts who like to tweak or know about every option]
  2. I believe you helped Debian into becoming a faster release cycle (though its up to a lot of debate). I remember a lot of Debian people saying it was just impossible for that to happen due to the internal debate societies.. and your time-based made it possible for them to see how it could be done (in a smaller way).
  3. Focused on a market (the new or naive user) that was under-served by many of the distributions making them compete stronger or know that was not an area they didn't want to go into.
That all said.. expect a lot of competition over the next 5 years :).


Yaakov Nemoy: Emotions Rising

Yaakov Nemoy: Emotions Rising

Mssr Nemoy,

I think it is because humans for some reason have less error tolerance in their brain for sound than eyesight. You can mess with a visual signal in many ways and people can make out what is there or even find the odd vision effects temporarily pleasant.

Messing with sound seems to cause discomfort and pain. The brain knows something is wrong and will activate various fight or flight mechanisms. This effect is more acute in some people (audiophiles who find discomfort in listening to a CD versus a live performance or a record because they aren't getting signal their brain is expecting. But for most people just cause drops in sound or change it and you will see that they will start showing anxiety.


Fedora 11 + Lenovo T500 + Avocent Switchview

equals no video on startup... for some reason. It is some combination of all three hardware bits.. not sure exactly what to do about it though. My first set of problems seemed to be BIOS settings. On first connecting the monitor directly to the laptop I got no detection or startup except every few reboots. I then went into the T500's BIOS to assume a VGA out and some other flags. That has gotten it to work directly most of the time.

Going through the Avocent at startup always ends up with no video so I have to plug the monitor in directly and then everything back into the switch to get it to continue to work. I got it to work once through the avocent but got this kernel oops.

[drm:i915_gem_object_unbind] *ERROR* Attempting to unbind pinned buffer
------------[ cut here ]------------
WARNING: at drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915_gem_tiling.c:473 i915_gem_set_tiling+0x4ba/0x52c [i915]() (Not tainted)
Hardware name: 2241B36
failed to unbind object for tiling switchModules linked in: fuse ipt_MASQUERADE iptable_nat nf_nat rfcomm bridge stp llc bnep sco l2cap sunrpc ip6t_REJECT nf_conntrack_ipv6 ip6table_filter ip6_tables ipv6 cpufreq_ondemand acpi_cpufreq freq_table dm_multipath kvm_intel kvm uinput arc4 snd_hda_codec_conexant ecb snd_hda_intel pcspkr snd_hda_codec iwlagn i2c_i801 firewire_ohci sdhci_pci sdhci joydev ricoh_mmc snd_hwdep uvcvideo mmc_core iwlcore firewire_core snd_pcm ata_generic yenta_socket lib80211 iTCO_wdt rsrc_nonstatic iTCO_vendor_support crc_itu_t mac80211 thinkpad_acpi videodev rfkill hwmon snd_timer v4l1_compat v4l2_compat_ioctl32 snd soundcore wmi snd_page_alloc pata_acpi cfg80211 btusb e1000e bluetooth xts gf128mul cryptd aes_x86_64 aes_generic dm_crypt i915 drm i2c_algo_bit video output i2c_core [last unloaded: microcode]
Pid: 2134, comm: Xorg Not tainted #1
Call Trace:
[] warn_slowpath_common+0x95/0xc3
[] warn_slowpath_fmt+0x50/0x66
[] i915_gem_set_tiling+0x4ba/0x52c [i915]
[] ? i915_gem_set_tiling+0x0/0x52c [i915]
[] drm_ioctl+0x21d/0x2e9 [drm]
[] ? avc_has_perm+0x6b/0x91
[] ? do_sync_write+0xfa/0x14b
[] vfs_ioctl+0x7e/0xaa
[] do_vfs_ioctl+0x46c/0x4c3
[] sys_ioctl+0x65/0x9c
[] system_call_fastpath+0x16/0x1b
---[ end trace 152ab49aad65c390 ]---

My guess is that there is something in the kernel driver that is not getting the right signal detection and the X11 code says no monitor is hooked up.. so we aren't able to connect to it via system-config-display or the new X widget tool.

Well on the good news.. I can now get my two test boxes working via the monitor/keyboard so my wires went down.. I just have to play around when I start the laptop up.


Sites for Open Curriculums

So today I was helping out at the elementary school computer lab and realized that a big help there would be an open set of lesson plans for teachers and education assistants as many states provide somewhere between nil and nothing for elementary schools on this. So I got home all eager and had massive Google failure... what? huh? no one has thought of this (no I need to type slower and spell things better than Google's guesses.) So I sent an email to Greg DeKoenigsberg as he has been doing a lot in this arena... and in 2 minutes I got an answer to where I am going to be trying to help out on:

Hopefully I will remember to blog more about them in the future :). Thank you very much for the links Greg!


Creating Drama, Fedora Style

One knows that a release is occurring soon in a software project by the amount of 'Drama' that occurs on mailling lists or inside of cubicles (if your software company is inclined to be old school like that). Soap opera's can be written on the things that happen as people try to release tension from bad packages, non compilable code, bugs that refuse to co-operate, and schedules that do not slide enough.

Now such problems do occur in all work-places but I think software people seem more like their Opera's are written by Gilbert and Sullivan than Wagner. The developer who sleeps with his co-workers wife somehow turns on the PA system in the closet and broadcasts it across the workplace. The top developer who goes into a tirade about poor coding practices and then finds out in the middle that he was the one who wrote the problem code. The manager who decides who will be let go after the release by throwing darts at the org chart.

In general the issue comes up because everyone finds themselves surrounded by alligators, a Predator or two, and a bad case of malaria.. and they aren't sure if they were supposed to drain or restore the swamp. Currently Fedora is going through that (like it has many times before and will happen again in the future most likely.) People are debating "What is the Fedora Project?" to which there is no real answer, but is probably less problematic for harmony than the PA system solution.

Ok so
"What is the Fedora Project?" for me? It is a Project to push new technologies and concepts across the vast Chasm between Innovators/Visionaries and Pragmatists. Some of those technologies will go onto large scale and some will falter and have to go back or just wither away. This project's goal is not to focus on popularity, 'market penetration', or 'winning the desktop wars'. If something that Fedora does becomes an Ubuntu or Windows 8 standard.. thats ok. The goal is to get the various things from 20% to 66% completion... and maybe further.

Does this mean that I don't see Fedora as for being for newbies or not.. no I think it should be that way for people who want to focus on that (and if rules need to be changed to allow that.. make it so.)

[Edited 2009-10-09T00:04+0000 to add:] One should read the blogs with trance music... it makes the discussion much nicer to handle. My first reading was with Type-O Negative which had the opposite effect.]


Practical Post: How to figure out RPM Key ID

Ok so you have a lot of RPMs on a system and you don't know where they came from. There are several clues that you can use:

1) Repotag. An example of this is from the RPMforge website:


There have been lots of arguments for and against repotags. I like them, but I realize that they are only good for a cursory glance of where a package might have come from. The real way is via the ...

2) GPG signature. The GPG signature is something that is usually stored in the *-release package of a repository. They need to be imported so that packages will cleanly install with yum as it usually will check that a package is signed before installing.

<3174>smooge> rpm -qf /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-EPEL
<3175>smooge> rpm -qif /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-EPEL
Name : epel-release Relocations: (not relocatable)
Version : 4 Vendor: Fedora Project
Release : 9 Build Date: Fri Apr 25 14:58:25 2008
Install Date: Sat Apr 26 05:16:54 2008 Build Host: ppc2.fedora.redhat.com
Group : System Environment/Base Source RPM: epel-release-4-9.src.rpm
Size : 22091 License: GPL
Signature : DSA/SHA1, Fri Apr 25 18:03:52 2008, Key ID 119cc036217521f6
Packager : Fedora Project
URL : http://download.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel
Summary : Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux repository configuration
Description :
This package contains the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) repository
GPG key as well as configuration for yum and up2date.
<3176>smooge> rpm -Vf /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-EPEL
<3177>smooge> cat /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-EPEL | gpg --with-fingerprint
pub 1024D/217521F6 2007-03-02 Fedora EPEL
Key fingerprint = B940 BE07 7D71 0A28 7D7F 2DD1 119C C036 2175 21F6
sub 2048g/B6610DAF 2007-03-02 [expires: 2017-02-27]

Notice that the last 4 octets (119C C036 2175 21F6) match the Key ID 119cc036217521f6. You should also check with a keyserver to make sure that the signature is properly registered and available for comparison.. but for the case of this short blog, I think I have covered enough. Now you can figure out what packages came from that repository:

<3179>smooge> rpm -qa --qf '%{NAME} %{SIGGPG:pgpsig} %{SIGPGP:pgpsig} \n' | grep 119cc036217521f6 | sort
GeoIP DSA/SHA1, Mon Mar 9 12:17:52 2009, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
alpine DSA/SHA1, Fri Feb 6 10:26:14 2009, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
augeas-libs DSA/SHA1, Tue Jul 14 08:33:50 2009, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
epel-release DSA/SHA1, Fri Apr 25 18:03:52 2008, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
facter DSA/SHA1, Fri Jun 5 15:46:51 2009, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
firmware-tools DSA/SHA1, Sun May 17 19:57:53 2009, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
mod_geoip DSA/SHA1, Mon Mar 9 12:17:52 2009, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
perl-File-Which DSA/SHA1, Mon Jul 21 15:04:38 2008, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
perl-PAR-Dist DSA/SHA1, Wed Dec 19 09:59:17 2007, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
perl-YAML DSA/SHA1, Sat Jan 19 03:09:04 2008, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
puppet DSA/SHA1, Wed Mar 25 03:28:58 2009, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
python-decoratortools DSA/SHA1, Mon Sep 22 12:20:26 2008, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
rpmdevtools DSA/SHA1, Fri Mar 2 16:03:43 2007, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)
ruby-augeas DSA/SHA1, Fri Aug 14 15:33:21 2009, Key ID 119cc036217521f6 (not a blob)

This is probably one of the most authentic ways of doing this. There should be a way to make a yum or apt plugin that does this automatically.. Hope this helps for the moment.

(EDITED 2009-09-10T19:57+0000 ): Various people (thanks Seth Vidal) have pointed out that there are a couple of tools to do this also:
  1. Newer yum will show items that were installed outside of anaconda and what repository they are from.
  2. Older versions can use the scripts find-repos-of-install.py from yum-utils.


What have I been doing

Ok I fell off the side of the earth and landed in Phoenix for part of a week. It was a fun visit.. the temperatures were a moderate 105-110 degrees and the humidity only got bad after dark when the temperature tried to fall to 101 or so. Saw some friends I had not seen in a while and learned how they were doing.

The main reason for going to Phoenix was visiting and getting familiar with the Fedora Colocations. Currently the main part of the Fedora infrastructure is at one colocation and will eventually move to another as that site comes online. The old facility wiring is a bit hodpodge but a lot prettier than I was expected. [Many many hours of work had gone into cleanup over hte last year.] The new facility was so pretty, I thought I had died and gone to sysadmin heaven. Everything is marked, cables are clearly placed per need and the back of each system was easy to get to.

Both facilities had much nicer security than what I was used to from the early 2000's. Back then, if a site checked your ID you were at a High Security facility. If they escorted you to your cage if you were on a temporary pass, you must be at Top Secret. I remember being in one facility and watching people unplug the next rack over's computers to test if they had network connectivity. When the noc guys finally came down to see what was going on, the other guys had left.. and the noc guys just plugged in the computers again. [Also the number of systems that had passwords and names of accounts printed on terminals without cages was astounding.


Oh NOES. CentOS and people drama.

So there have been some issues with the CentOS team members needing to get in touch and accounting with another team. This post is not about that.

Instead its about the long threads of "THE CENTOS PROJECT IS DEAD", "We should build a new OS", etc. The amount of speculation of what has happened, what is happening, what should happen is quite bizarre based on the amount of information given. At this point, I am surprised that no one has gone with "CentOS moving to OpenSUSE" (though I did hear a "This is all Red Hat's lawyers fault.")

Anyway, people STOP LOOKING FOR DRAMA. This is not an episode of EastEnders. The pub isn't going to be sold to unscrupulous land developers or whatever. The CentOS team is doing what they think must be done to deal with a problem. CentOS will not be going away and worrying about it wouldn't help if it were.


Intel Virtualization: Ur Doing It Wrong :)

Ever have one of those days... you know like you research a chipset, find a deal and buy a computer.. and then spend a week trying to find out why virtualization is soooo slow. That would be me right now. I was trying to find a box to do installs at home and saw a deal at Dell for an Optiplex 360. Checked all the parts, saw that they were Linux compatible.. and chose a CPU that I was sure said was VMX compatible (Intel E5300). The chip originally didn't have it but was going to have it added soon...

Installed Fedora 11 x86_64 and tried various VM's and boy were they slow... qemu never seemed to go quick or anything. Finally I did a

cat /etc/cpuinfo

and found that the chip didn't have VMX set. Ok lets go and see if its a BIOS option... no doesn't seem to be. So what did I do wrong? I went back to the review and saw that I misread the year on the review. Instead of April 2008... it was April 2009 and the E5300 VT items were not added til this month. Sigh...


Stories and camels

On reading Michael Dehaan's post about Oasis's.. I realized that it answered my questions about Fedora in a very fundamental way. By story. Humans are not rational creatures.. we assume that we are but in the end we are driven by deep urges and feelings that make rational or logical decisions hard. As a friend of mine once said "The conscious is a tool to make stories about why the unconscious did things." or something like that...

Deep down inside most of us (I do not assume everyone is this way (not that will stop the 20 or so emails from people saying "I am not like that")) are driven by stories. We make our reality by the stories we tell ourselves and each other about what we have done and what we perceive the world to be acting. The better the story, the more we are driven by it. This can be for evil or good purposes.. but for the extent of this blog I will try to focus on the good.

If you look at distributions as caravans of people travelling through the wastes of the digital desert then you can see metaphors for each distribution (as mpdehaan says). This story is strong in that it says what kind of people we are looking for.

Fedora wants to be the explorer who is never happy to long at any oasis. We may linger at some, but not too many.. We are looking for new explorers but not just any 'newbie'. They have to be wanting to see new things, go over the next hill when the caravan leader calls out etc. On the other hand, we are not looking for barbarians or raiders. We want to set-up and trade at the next oasis or town.. not plunder and pillage... We do not poison the wells when we leave because we never know when we might come back in some form.. or when our elder Aunt's caravan (RHEL) might show up to set up a town. We are not thieves, if we find something stolen, we will endeavour to return it.

We have customs we follow and expect people visiting our camps to follow. If we share code with you, we expect it to be shared back. Things like that.


KDE vs GNOME arguments...

Computer Geeks get as attached to their brands of desktops as Car Geeks to their brands of cars. Reason goes out the window and people start hooting and hopping up and down like a scene from 2001. The arguments go on and on and on like a bad Air Supply cover band. At some point one side (say X) gets bigger than the other (say Y) and you end up with arguments of "Y is being discriminated against because it wasn't chosen." And then you get the arguments showing that Y is really a hidden majority put down in some sort of class warfare system.

It doesn't really matter if we are talking about (GNOME vs KDE) or (AfterStep vs E) or my first one.. tvtwm versus mwm. It seems to get the same arguments that the truck guys will go over engine builders or my uncles' favourite "Chevy versus Ford". Family dinners would go into the time out corners when one person or another went over some flaw or problem the other side in some model. I have seen other families get into fist fights over it.

A funny side story.. Ford versus Chevy debates were some of the biggest headaches of companies in the 50s onward. Arguments over whether one brand or another was the 'company car' would escalate to large shouting matches or threatened lawsuits. Some places would just buy enough of each brand to make sure they didn't end up with someone complaining. One uncle used to tell a story about how a Union strike fell apart because the company chose GM during the strike. The Ford people thought it was a deal to get them thrown out and the union was so much in turmoil they couldn't get anything done.

In the end, to most people, it is just a car. It gets you from one place to another.. and when it becomes anything more than that there is something you need to sit down and think "Why do I have to make this car my identity?" I say this as a guy who used to go on Emacs crusades. Why didn't Red Hat have emacs as a login shell? Why wasn't emacs the default editor when people opened up any document... etc etc.

I am not saying the KDE people should 'get over it' that GNOME is the preferred desktop or gets top billing. I am saying that they need to frame their arguments better about what they want and how they will accomplish it. Quit being passive aggressive. Quit taking any criticism of the proposal as an attack because it just makes people who might have been trying to help all the more to leave.


How to know you are being profiled :)

In coming back to Red Hat, I got a new account of ssmoogen and an email alias of my old one smooge. And I immediately got SPAM email to the old smooge account. Probably due to all the postings to Usenet and mailing lists from old. The interesting thing was that the content of the emails covered the following:

  1. Sleep aids

  2. Stay awake aids

  3. Pain killers

None of the other regular spams (dates with russian women, growth hormones/devices, etc). No it would seem that the SPAM engines have a good idea what the life of tech support person is... pain, sleep, pain, no-sleep, pain.. It was interesting that I haven't gotten any SPAM for crowbars, baseball bats, and rolls of carpet (cheap). I guess thats something to look forward to.

[PS I have never taken nor advocate taking any of the items listed above without a prescription/overview from a competent doctor.]

Voting in Fedora Elections

I voted, but I can say that once again I was underwhelmed by the voting method. I really think the method falls under the two much choice methods. I thought more about 'how to' vote than about the candidates. And again I just didn't feel that my choice of putting a 1 or 3 or a 5 was 'producing' an outcome. However I have railed about my lack of emotional connection to range voting in the past :).

In the end, I think that voting is a responsibility that people should exercise to be considered citizens of a community. When people do not vote even if its because they are content with who/how things are.. it removes a vitality that is needed to keep a community going.


RIP: My Precision Workstation

Well it would seem that during my trip to NC/Mass.. my home server, an old Dell Precision 360, started making noises.. you know those kind of noises where a fan's bearings aren't always smooth.. that kind of painful ear noises that can be 'felt' across the house at 2am in the morning when it starts... so the system got turned off until I could get home.

I opened up the box and realized how much dust can accumulate in a year in NM. Two cans of air later you could see the motherboard again... turned on the box and the sound came back again. Looking at the various fans it was not one but two fans.. one was in the powersupply and the other near off the CPU. The box is 6 years old so getting replacement parts isn't as easy as one would hope :).

The only grumpy part for me is that I had just gotten the box fully outfitted with Spacewalk before I left. I was planning on using it to snapbuild virtual machines for testing local services etc. I had just gotten it to the point of updating boxes when I left on Sunday... Well it looks like I will be saving up for another box again. Could be worse.. I could have forgotten to do backups.

Back at Red Hat Again

So after many years, I have come full circle and returned to working at Red Hat. I will be working in the Fedora Infrastructure team helping Mike McGrath. [My view is that I will be the Pimply Faced Old-Guy next to his Young BOFH.]

Red Hat flew me out to North Carolina on Sunday to attend a two day boot-camp. Got into North Carolina in at 1am and remembered that one needs gills. Made it to Red Hat nearly on time Monday, and had a great time learning how Red Hat has grown and changed since 2001. It was a great experience but I was worried I gave Greg Dekoenigsberg a heart attack when he saw me in the audience.

Like most boot camps it was a fire hose of data and information with lots of framing what the Red Hat vision and missions were. North Carolina reminded me of what the SouthEast can be like... two days of warm rainy days. However, the Chicken Biscuits made up for it 100% :).

I then flew to New Hampshire and drove from Manchester to Westford Mass at 1am. It was a quiet drive with the most beautiful orange-red crescent moon coming up over the horizon. I got in at the hotel and spent Wednesday meeting with some Fedora and RHEL people. Drove back to Manchester and took a 1730 flight back to NM via Minnesota. Got into Albuquerque again at 1am.

I spent most of Thursday in a fog of unpacking and trying to find my receipts. Friday was setting up the home office so that Monday I could begin working on projects. Worked on some more paperwork and caught up with email lists.

Its great to be back :).


Saturn Buyer

I have been a Saturn owner since I think 1996 when my family got a used 1994 Saturn from a dealer in Illinois. I remember it occurred when I had flown out to Boston or California to do on-site administration... and the 82 LTD had finally died on my wife. She had gone to a couple of places and found the usual "Hey little Lady" treatment until she went to the Saturn dealer. They only asked if she had any questions and to look around as much as she pleased. She found the car she wanted and when I got back I got the exact same treatment from them (which was refreshing from dealing with car dealers in the past where the guy gets a different story from the lady.) We were sold and when the car had problems two weeks later, they came got it, fixed it and got it back to us without any hard times (again a change from what I had dealt with). It was exactly what the motto said "A different kind of car company."

I remember being send flyers to drive to Tennessee for summer BBQ's... and knowing that if I went into a store there would be no haggling. They told me the price and I paid that price. When we moved to NC in 1997, we found the dealer in Chapel Hill used the same play book and things were covered. They knew what problems I had had before and would let us know that they had checked them. They had BBQ's and we had invitations. It was exactly the type of relationship I liked with a dealer/company.

And then there was dealing with GM. GM was a pain in the ass. I had a GM Credit card I had gotten in college. It had paid for college and had lots of points on it... Could I use it for buying a new Saturn? No... GM didn't allow that? If I went to a Chevy dealer did I get a one stop? No I got a pain in the ass "Well how much do you think this car is worth? Oh let me check with my boss in the back room" game. So when it was time to get a second car, we went with Saturn again.

However, it was clear that GM wasn't happy with Saturn anymore and as they started shuffling it around inside the company... VP's came and went.. BBQ's became less common and Saturn became more and more like another stagnant GM brand.

Anyway, I heard today that another company bought the brand. I wish them luck and I hope they are able to make cars that can attract the people who want "A different kind of car company" again.


Too much choice. (or not)

Choice can lead to paralysis and regret.. I realize that. The issue is learning how to make better choices and enjoying responsibility.

I followed Jesse Keatings blog link on links. It was a video by some psychologist named Barry Swartz.

I started off the talk hoping to learn on how to make better choices and strategies on how to better limit choice down. Instead I felt I got a mind talk on how I should welcome my new fascist masters. My jaw dropped on his diatribe (5:30) that he has to give out less homework because his students biggest concern is that they have to choose if they should marry or not. I am not sure that being married would have allowed me to have any less concerns.

At 7:47, I had to go and take a breather. He asks the question, is having more choice better today or worse and 'rhetorically?' says the answer is yes. He then goes and says we all know whats good about it... and I wanted to shout NO WE DONT. If we knew what was better about it we wouldn't have groups like the Taliban, No-Nothings, or similar fascist organizations. The whole goal of these organizations is about removing choice from people. Choice is bad because it means you might not fit into some selfmade definition of who you are, what you can do, and why you exist.

However sticking it out to 10 minutes started to get into why too many choices can be a problem.. The first is that too many choices can make people freeze because a) they want to make the right choice and b) they don't want to regret making the wrong choice.

And then we slide into how the world is better off without any choices. Because any choice must make people more unhappy and so we should decide for them... and then I decided a nice walk was what I needed. Because we go into how clinical depression is higher because we have to take responsibility for our actions and our choices.

There are parts of the talk that are useful.. but the presentation made it very hard for me not to walk off pissed. I realize that yes having a large number of choices makes me more responsible about things and I have to accept that responsibility if I do not wish to live in a fascist world.

I am not sure this is what Jesse had in mind with that link.. I will say that I understand emotionally what KDE people feel in various discussions over Gnome vs KDE in desktop layout and such.


Design Theories: 19th Century Architecture.

Ok, I am not a coder. I am not an architect... but like most things on the Internet I can express an opinion. Please take the following with a grain of salt the size of Utah.

I was pointed to
David Millers's musings on computer designs and found it an interesting read. It does have a good point of view that a solid teaching can get you a beautiful architecture.. but I think it misses another point in that computer design and real-world architecture are not completely analogous. Architects of the late 19th century had a very fixed set of physics to deal with. Granite, concrete, steel (of various types), and glass. Gravity is the same wherever you build, and you can test and define that you need an iron or steel of this kind of quality. As has been said in many ways, the strict limitations can be very freeing to creativity and design.

Computers do not seem to be so limited. When architecting a design you need to deal with how many bits you have, endianess, registers, stacks, hardware interconnects etc.. that are like telling the 19th century architect that you need to get that design to work with both aluminum, titanium, and mud/wood plus allow for the fact that the building will be built on Mars, Earth, the Moon, and some non-Euclidean space.

Which may explain why this style of teaching is not used everywhere. [And why LISP machine people think like French 19th century designers :)]


Thankyou MythBusters

I wanted to say thank you to the many people who make MythBusters go. Watching the collections with my family has been fun these last couple of weeks. I think of the two I appreciate Jamie the most... my 'problems' with cleanliness and specific clothings are very similar (I am sorry that he gets so much crap about it.) So anyway, as a fellow clean-a-holic.. thanks for the shows.


Memories... Spyglass and BLINK

One of those odd memories came up as I was cleaning out some old boxes. I found my Carolina Hurricanes puck that Red Hat people got me in 2001. I found some paperwork for company ideas that other people did a lot better than me. And I found a printout for the most horrible thing mankind could invoke on others. So here is the story of how one could cause mass dangers to the world... embellished and added upon like any good fish story.

Circa 1996. Its near the end of the first browser wars. The company I worked for was Spyglass, makers of Internet Explorer and Red Hat RedBaron! We had an IPO in 1995 that went to $100+ a share.. and then went down into the single digits after Netscape came out and wowed the world. Netscape had a browser that had lots of bling attributes while the Spyglass Enhanced Mosaic was standards bound. We didn't have blink, we didn't have frames, we didn't have javascript because none of those had been through a standards process etc etc. [Plus our core market was going to be Corporate Companies that wanted their own browser to view super-standard HTML/SGML.]

Our big win had been to sell Microsoft Internet Explorer, SpryNet (an ISP that used modems for you kids) a browser, IBM another one, and Oracle another one.. we were going to be big.. well that didn't happen because our license to Microsoft hadn't taken into account that Windows 95 would BE HUGE, and Microsoft had hired 400 engineers to basically make the source code we sent them whatever they wanted. A company of 30 engineers didn't have much to compete with when it doesn't get a percentage of sales :).

Times got tough and the engineers found that instead of making things complaint to the W3C standards.. it was make things compliant to Netscape or whatever Microsoft had added to IE. And beyond that.. if we added stuff make sure we made it bigger and better. So the engineers got Java into the browser and added stuff, they got Microsofts version of Javascript into the browser and made it cross-platform.. they got FRAMES and added stuff and then came the dreaded BLINK tag.

Adding blink was a pretty hard challenge to a static display.. there are various ways of doing it.. but how does one do it and better? I decided that we needed to add a FREQUENCY tag and a ALTCOLOR tag. Yes a frequency tag... why just have BLINK go at all the same time at the same speed? Make it blink at different times on the page! Make it blink two different colors (versus background, foreground.).. have the frequency be in deciseconds so that you could blink from 10 times a second to 1 per second. Some of the developers thought it was great.. I think one of them actually figured out they could do it..

and then it died...

why? well a qa engineer pointed out a very simple issue.. he was an epileptic. "Ok so?" Well blinking lights of certain colors triggers seizures or blankouts in many people even if they are not diagnosed epileptic.


and so Blue/Red blinking tags at different speeds had to wait until people figured out how to do it in Javascript..


If I made it to the Netherlands..

I would probably go to see the town of Veere. When I was a kinder, my grandfather Pike had me read several of the books of Hendrik W van Loon. Before I was 12, I had read "The Liberation of Mankind", "The Story of Mankind", "The Home of Mankind" and my favorite "Van Loon's Lives". I am currently making my way through this book once more, and while its many characters are spirits of former times coming to spend dinner with van Loon and friends.. the town of Veere is also a character. So if I were to go to the Netherlands, I would love to walk through Veere, the town he wrote in "Van Loon's Lives" so that I could see where he had the spirit of Erasmus live in the town tower, and Tsar Peter sword fight with Swedens Charles, and Napoleon make one last march.

However, the main thing I got from these books was that to be truly a 'Free' person was that I must always question myself and my views. And in questioning those views, I must realize that some (*cough* many *cough*) times I have been wrong and should make amends. Anyway, all this talk of Amsterdam, Europe, and things made me realize that someday if I am ever permitted.. that I would love to spend a day walking that town. Though I doubt I will have food as nice as the good 'Jo' made in that book.


Getting back into Fedora

Well, after a timeout from Fedora, I decided to try it out again. First I got a newish computer from Dell, an Optiplex 360 with XP downgrade. The XP and Vista DVD's get used as testing dual boots and maybe some stuff for OCSng later on.

Now what OS should I run? I had been running CentOS-5 since I am a server admin, but was I brave? was I stalwart? was I human enough to run Fedora? Being brave and stalwart (but not necessarily human) , I went to Fedora 11 Alpha. I must say this is an Alpha was very solid and I did not run into any install bugs which is better than say Red Hat Linux 5.1 from 1998 or so. It installed the custom packages and started up really nice. Accounts were created, and the various Must Have applications (Firefox, OpenOffice, Shihen-Sho) seemed to work on a short checklist. And then the little applet told me it was time to update so I did.... since it was going to update 2.5 gb.. I just let it run for the night and came back in the morning..

to a less than functional box. For some reason glibc had removed itself and that was that. Hmmm wait, what was that thing that mmcgrath, skvidal, and the rest had said.. oh yeah... update rpm and yum first then update the rest. Duh.

So a reinstall of the alpha, and a careful

1. rpm -qa --nodigest --nosignature --qf='%{NAME}\n' | sort > remember_me_stupid.txt
2. yum -y update rpm
3. rpm -qa --nodigest --nosignature --qf='%{NAME}\n' | sort > foo
4. comm -1 -3 remember_me_stupid.txt foo ... ok changes look ok and stuff runs.
5. yum -y update yum
6. repeat test
7. yum -y update
8. get lunch

Rawhide was actually very usable. No children were eaten and I was able to install all of the education and other games I play with my kid. Ok tuxracer works great.. orbit works great.. and nethack worked great. And I was able to watch the Sesame Street YouTube videos so everything was in a normal set.

Oh look an email that rawhide was opening up.. cool lets see what we can do to test.

1. yum update firefox
2. hmmm firefox says that it can't run..
3. ooooh xulrunner should have been updated too. Hmmm ok
4. yum update xulrunner
5. back to Electric Company.

Fast forward to last night, I have 2 GB of updates in Rawhide. yum -y update (hey I feel lucky).

This morning.. open up gnome-terminal. Ok its running. Open a new tab, hmmm where is my typing going? Well the control codes are going ot the top tab, but my keystrokes are going ot the bottom tab. Now that is a cool bug. Hey look keystrokes to GMAIL and Firefox also seem to do the same thing... hmmm I wonder where I should post this one?

Well I have to say that is going to be a fun one to figure out tonight. Doing a bugzilla search on a different computer didn't show a quick match.. so I need to figure out what 'borked'.


How low will the Dow go...

Ok as I watch my retirement savings disappear.. and realize that my state pension is going the same way.. I wonder.. how low will the stock market go. So I went to look at some historical pictures.. some of them were uhm interesting in using semilog charts to show this HUGE 'linear log' growth til now... except the log chart does not look really logarithmic when plugging the numbers into a calculator.. instead they look to have been chosen to show a linearish growth.

So I went to look at Yahoo which shows a different picture. From looking at the 'linear' growth from the 1950's.. the stock market went 'non-linear' in the late 1980's and increasingly so in the late 1990's. If I were to take the 1950's growth, the Dow Jones price would 'correct' itself at 3000. If I were to use the better growth in the 1980's.. then the market would correct to 6500. In either case, most of my retirement funding I put away from 1987 til 2009 is vapor. [For it to equal the crash of 1929, it will need to drop to 1531 as that would be 89% of its peak.] Oh well, I never figured I would retire anyway.. figured I would drop dead watching some archaic computer fail its rollover in 2039.

What does this have to do with Free Software... not much, other than it made me realize that I needed to do something to cheer myself up. I am looking now at 4th grade math stuff. Writing a rogue program to do math sounds fun.


Dear Mr Software Salesman..

I know times are tough, and people aren't buying... but when I say we don't have any budget for buying new software and won't until the next fiscal year in August... please DO NOT KEEP TRYING TO SELL THE PRODUCT TO ME.



Becoming less enthused with Exoplanet discoveries

I am becoming less enthused with some of the latest Exoplanet "discoveries". Today's news ( http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/090203-smallest-planet.html ) is that COROT has found a two earth mass planet around an Earth like star. While I do not doubt the existence of Exoplanets.. the ones being found seem to get odder and odder to the point where I have to wonder data error?, problem with technique? How many of these planets can be found via independent methods?

The kicker that has me "steaming" is that the orbit is 20 hours. Thats well inside the orbit of Mercury (I come up with an initial distance of around 2.5 million km or 1/20th the orbit of Mercury). The planet at that distance would definitely be inside of the relativistic gravity well.. so the orbit will have a much larger precession than Mercury's. I guess this could be a core of a gas giant that wobbled inside and lost its atmosphere.. but it just seems a little too odd.

Of course I am going by Space.com's statement that this is an Sun like star (which gave me 1.99 E+30 kg). A red or orange dwarf would have larger orbits. And I am going off of the press's predilection to announce a tentative discovery as absolute fact so maybe I should complain more about that :).


I love the pc speaker so much...

That I sneak into the University labs and install programs to play MIDI music versions of "Never Gonna Give You Up" when people log in. (pam_rickroll.so I love you so...) I think thats much better than a white-noise generator anyday.


Interesting Date Coming Up

Ok I haven't posted for a while.. been rather depressed and dealing with stuff at work still due my boss's death. I am starting to get past that and working on a couple of possible software projects.. depending on how much time I have. But more important, I saw that one of those weird dates in a life of a geek is coming up on February 13/14 (depending on where you are in the world).

[smooge@nausicaa ~]$ date -d @1234567890
Fri Feb 13 16:31:30 MST 2009

And in case you are wondering when the last long string like that occurred?

[smooge@nausicaa ~]$ date -d @123456789
Thu Nov 29 14:33:09 MST 1973
[smooge@nausicaa ~]$ date -d @12345678
Sat May 23 15:21:18 MDT 1970
[smooge@nausicaa ~]$ date -d @1234567
Wed Jan 14 23:56:07 MST 1970
[smooge@nausicaa ~]$ date -d @123456
Fri Jan 2 03:17:36 MST 1970
[smooge@nausicaa ~]$ date -d @12345
Wed Dec 31 20:25:45 MST 1969
[smooge@nausicaa ~]$ date -d @1234
Wed Dec 31 17:20:34 MST 1969
[smooge@nausicaa ~]$ date -d @123
Wed Dec 31 17:02:03 MST 1969
[smooge@nausicaa ~]$ date -d @12
Wed Dec 31 17:00:12 MST 1969
[smooge@nausicaa ~]$ date -d @1
Wed Dec 31 17:00:01 MST 1969

Now the interesting question is? What strange things will occur on some systems somewhere when that second occurs... I mean this could be this years Y2K :).