How I spent my Winter Vacation

So the Winter of 2015 starts at the end of 2014, and my current employer, Red Hat, likes to have a mandatory close down at the end of the year of about a week. A long long time ago, (say around 1999? or 1998?), we started this tradition for a couple of reasons:

  1. It saved money when money was tight. In 1999 we were a small company of less than 200 people. Most of our 'sales' were in the retail industry of various big-box companies buying a ton of boxed sets which they would then return unsold ones for refund. This meant that cash flow was rather tight at the end of the year when returns from Red Hat Linux 5.1 might show up from Best Buy or CompUSA. 
  2. Not a lot could get accomplished at the company as enough people would be on vacation at the end of the year that you ended up in spinlocks waiting for XYZ person to return. Having various business decisions stopped for two weeks but having people sitting at their desks was a waste of everyone's time.
  3. Another reason given was due to US tax laws and vacation time, but I don't know how accurate it is. Vacation time whether it is taken or not is taxable so having people make sure they use it meant that the company was being a good custodian of investor's money.
Of course then end of 1999 was a fun year as we had the Y2K problem to deal with and various contracts with IBM and SGI for round the clock support in case Linux systems failed. So the support people who had the most unused vacation time, ended up not using it during the break. I ended up taking all my vacation time after it coming back to work in late February I think. 

Anyway, inaccurate history aside, I have usually used the last 2 weeks of December to take some time to spend with the family, get the last minute Christmas cards and shopping done, and then try to get some sort of big project started for the New Year. In the end, I usually come down with a cold or something which sidelines me. This year I got the cold, but did manage to get all the various projects done (even if the cards out the door before Orthodox Christmas on Jan 7). My project for the holidays was to go through 24 years of backups and see what I really wanted to keep.

Why was I keeping around various source code from GNU projects in 1993 which I doubt would either build or be useful :). And why didn't I keep the source code for the project I was looking for dominion (a Conquer clone written by Mark Galassi, et al). I did find I had a ton of dot files which I have basically mangled since 1989 in one form or another. I decided to take the various snapshots in the backups and check them in historically using a set of scripts to time-stamp the files, md5sum those files, remove duplicates (eg if the md5sum was the same only check in one version) and then a script which basically copied a file into git and then moved to the next one.

I doubt the code is useful to anyone, but for my own memory....

export TARGET="_bashrc"; 
for i in $(awk '{print $3}' ~/file_list );  do
 /bin/cp $i ${TARGET} ; 
 MESSAGE=$( grep "${i}$" ~/file_list );
 git commit -a -m "$MESSAGE" ;
 echo "========";

file_list has the contents like:

2014-07-16 17b45ad44d7734ecfa11bc2bb4ce7171 /srv/backups/Laptop03/root/.bashrc
2014-09-25 2f8222b4f275c4f18e69c34f66d2631b /srv/backups/Laptop03/etc/skel/.bashrc
2014-10-28 e078c68f866127d265a84fa8397b9828 /srv/backups/Laptop03/home/smooge/.bashrc

When you do this sort of thing, make sure that you check in files which you have looked at first. I almost checked in a couple of files which had passwords in them. While I don't use those passwords anymore.. I sure made horrible choices in passwords: '7son@7So' because DEScrypt stops at 8 characters (not that the 9th character 'n' would have made the password any securer.

Anyway, I had a great vacation (even for the cold and pulled back from bowling) and will work on making 2015 great too.

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