Search Results: "diego"

4 February 2014

Diego Escalante Urrelo: Booting Fedora 20 from USB on a black MacBook3,1 (2007)

Here s a trick that is so obvious, I m still hitting my head against the desk. Let s say you want to install an EFI-friendly distribution on your MacBook. However, your MacBook does not detect bootable USB drives on startup (known bug on old Apple hardware). I found a blog post that had success rebuilding the ISO without EFI support and installing in BIOS mode, but I had a clear memory of getting this to work a few months ago without doing that. I just couldn t remember how. Well, turns out that OSX can boot from USB drives as long as you tell it to do so in advance. You can do this in the Boot disk/Startup disk panel in System Settings:
Startup disks panel in OSX
You don t see me complaining that everything on the web is in English, do you?
You only need to select the drive and close the panel, or reboot directly using that handy Reboot button. So considerate of Apple. Important: After you install, or try, your EFI friendly live USB you have to go back to the panel and select your OSX drive again, otherwise your MacBook will keep waiting for the (now gone) USB drive for about 30 seconds on startup. For Debian, the last few times I have just booted with a CD in BIOS mode without problems. After the installation you can configure Debian for EFI boot following this instructions. I haven t tried any other distribution on this machine.

21 December 2013

Russell Coker: Links December 2013

Andres Lozano gave an interesting TED talk about the use of electrodes inside the brain (deep brain stimulation) to treat Alzheimers disease, Parkinson s disease, and depression [1]. Daniel Pocock wrote an interesting post commenting on some bad political decisions being made in Australia titled Evacuating Australia [2]. You can read that as a suggestion to leave Australia or to try and make Australia better. Marco Tempest gave an interesting TED talk about Nikola Tesla [3]. The presentation method is one that I ve never seen before so I recommend watching the talk even if you already know all about Tesla. Charmian Gooch gave an interesting TED talk about global corruption [4]. I think we need people to send the information on shell company ownership to organisations like Wikileaks. The punishment for leaking such information would be a lot less than Chelsea Manning is getting and the chance of getting caught is also low. Rich Mogul wrote an interesting and insightful article for Macworld about the Apple approach to security problems [5]. To avoid the problem of users disabling security features they work to make the secure way of doing things EASIER for the user. That won t work with all security problems but it s something we need to think about when working on computer security. Ray Raphael gave an interesting TED talk about the parts of the US revolution that don t appear in history books [6]. He warns the listener to beware of the narrative forms, but another way to interpret his talk is that you should present your version of history in the narrative form that is best accepted. That lesson is well known and it s easy to see history being deliberately distorted in most media outlets. Will Wright gave an interesting TED talk about how he designed the game Spore and his ideas about games in general [7]. Spore is a really good game. Chris Lintott gave an interesting TED talk about crowd-sourced astronomy titled How to Discover a Planet from Your Sofa [8]. He referenced the site which lists many crowd-sourced science projects [9]. Jake Socha gave an interesting TED talk about flying snakes, you have to see this to believe it [10]. Nikita Bier gave an interesting TED talk about his webapp to analyse economic policies [11]. Apparently 60% of people were going to vote in their best economic interest before seeing his site and 66% would do so afterwards that could change an election result. Anya Kamenetz wrote an interesting article for Salon about The Iliad Project which aims to use Indigogo to help identify new anti-biotics [12]. The current ways of discovering anti-biotics aren t working, lets hope this one does. Peter Finocchiaro wrote an interesting Salon article about how right-wing politicians in the US were opposed to Nelson Mandela [13] racism meets anti-communism. Katie McDonough wrote an interesting Salon article about Rick Santorum and Bill O Reilly comparing Obamacare to apartheid while supposedly honoring Nelson Mandela [14], Katie also notes that Nelson enshrined universal healthcare in the South African constitution something all countries should do. Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote a Salon article about Susan Boyle s announcement about being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome [15]. Not a surprise though, some people can be diagnosed with Autism by merely watching them on TV. Amelia Hill wrote an article for The Guardian/The Observer about the educational results of Home Schooling [16]. Apparently Home-Schooled kids learn significantly more and home-educated children of working-class parents achieved considerably higher marks in tests than the children of professional, middle-class parents and that gender differences in exam results disappear among home-taught children . Wow, Home Schooling beats gender and class problems! I m sure it s even better for GLBT kids too. Robert Reich wrote an interesting Salon article about the way rich people in the US give tax-deductable (taxpayer supported) donations to charities that benefit themselves [17]. Dan Savage wrote a very funny review of Sarah Palin s latest Christmas book, one classic quote is why should I have to read the whole thing? Lord knows Sarah Palin didn t write the whole thing [18]. He makes a good point that we should use the term happy holidays instead of happy Christmas just to show that we aren t assholes.

10 September 2013

Daniel Kahn Gillmor: Support privacy-respecting network services!

Support privacy-respecting network services! Donate to! There's a lot of news recently about some downright orwellian surveillance executed across the globe by my own government with the assistance of major American corporations. The scope is huge, and the implications are depressing. It's scary and frustrating for anyone who cares about civil society, freedom of speech, cultural autonomy, or data sovereignty. As bad as the situation is, though, there are groups like Riseup and May First/People Link who actively resist the data dragnet. The good birds at Riseup have been tireless advocates for information autonomy for people and groups working for liberatory social change for years. They have provided (and continue to provide) impressive, well-administered infrastructure using free software to help further these goals, and they have a strong political committment to making a better world for all of us and to resisting strongarm attempts to turn over sensitive data. And they provide all this expertise and infrastructure and support on a crazy shoestring of a budget. So if the news has got you down, or frustrated, or upset, and you want to do something to help improve the situation, you could do a lot worse than sending some much-needed funds to help Riseup maintain an expanding infrastructure. This fundraising campaign will only last a few more days, so give now if you can! (note: i have worked with some of the riseup birds in the past, and hope to continue to do so in the future. I consider it critically important to have them as active allies in our collective work toward a better world, which is why i'm doing the unusual thing of asking for donations for them on my blog.)

26 April 2013

Jon Dowland: Debian Day #13

Wow, my first "Debian day" in 2013, but it's a bit of a misnomer because I didn't do any Debian work tonight. I spent some time poking at geary, Yorba's new email client which looks promising. I haven't managed to get it working much, though. Someone packaged an old version in Debian but it wouldn't work with either my home or my work IMAP/SMTP servers for various reasons. I did get a git checkout to build in March or April but that stopped working on Debian when they dropped "Precise" support (It seems they were backporting various GIR/Webkit bits and pieces into their own code and didn't want to carry that around any more). They've currently got a fundraiser going, they're aiming for $100k and (at the time of writing) need half of that with only 10 hours to go. Recently I've also been trying to fix a rockbox bug on Sansa Fuze v1 which really cripples writing onto the Fuze. The original firmware does not support microsd capacities >32G which rules it out for me. Sadly the v1 version of the Fuze is uncommon enough that I don't think this bug is getting much attention. My investigations have been limited to fairly dumb bisect-like approaches, combined with lots of writing onto a microsd card (which will probably be killed dead by all this). My initial attempts at a bisect have failed as it turns out the problem is the inverse of a regression: it bizarrely seems as if the bug was fixed in a version-branch, rather than stopped working in one, so it has never been squashed in the main branch at all. Furthermore, the commit that seems to fix the problem is a totally benign version bump, and almost certainly hasn't fixed the bug. So with sufficient further testing I'll probably just prove that this bug has never been fixed. It might be time to switch tack and look into diagnosing the bug rather than trying to side-step it. Or perhaps just spend 15 on a Sansa Clip Zip and forget all about the Fuze v1. Either way I hope someone releases a 128G microsd card this year! Every now and then I wonder whether it would make sense to package rockbox in Debian in some way. Probably not.

26 December 2012

Gunnar Wolf: Brazilian electronic booths hacked in a real election Surprised, anyone?

Doing my regular news scan, I stumbled across this: Hacker reveals in Rio how he rigged an election (in Portuguese; you can try the Google-translated version). Why am I reposting this? Because, even after the reported studies by Diego Aranha and the information disclosure exploited by Sergio Freitas, Brazil is still portrayed as the biggest example on how electronic voting can be 100% secure and tamper-proof. Well, in this case, Rangel (his full name ahs not yet been disclosed), a 19 year old hacker, not only demonstrated how elections could be rigged, but admitted on doing so together with a small group, and even pointed at who was benefitted from this. Rangel's attack was done during the transmission phase After ~50% of the electoral results had been sent over the Oi network. And yes, the provider will most likely close the hole that was pointed at, but this basically shows (again!) that no system can be 100% tamperproof, and that the more electronic devices are trusted for fundamental democratic processes, the more we as a society will be open to such attacks. The security-minded among us will not doubt even for a second that, as this attack was crafted, new attacks will continue to be developed. And while up to some years ago the attack surface was quite smaller (i.e. booths didn't have a communications phase, just stored the votes, and communication was done by personal means), earlier booths have been breached as well. And so will future booths be breached. So, the news of this attack are indeed very relevant for the field. The presentation I am quoting was held around two weeks ago And December will surely dillute attention from this topic. Anyway, I will look for further details on the mechanism that was used, as well as to the process that follows in the TSE (Supreme Electoral Tribunal). I hope we have news to talk about soon!

11 December 2012

Russell Coker: Links December 2012

Steven Johnson gave an interesting TED talk about where good ideas come from [1]. He starts by attributing coffee replacing alcohol as a standard drink for some good ideas and then moves on to how ideas develop. Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel gave an interesting and amusing TED talk about the ngram analysis of books that Google scanned [2]. Here is the link for the Google Books ngram search [3]. Clay Shirky gave an insightful TED talk about how the Internet is changing the world [4]. He cites Open Source programmers as the modern day equivalent to the Invisible College based on our supposed great ability to get along with other people on the Internet. If we really are so much better than the rest of the Internet then things must be bad out there. He ends with ways of using Git to draft legislation. Hans Rosling gave an interesting TED talk about religion and the number of babies that women have [5]. His conclusion is that it s more about income and social stability and that the world s population can stabilise at 10 billion if we provide family planning to everyone. Alexis C. Madrigal wrote an interesting interview with Genevieve Bell about her work at Intel and the way people use technology [6]. Indigogo is raising funds for the Cuddle Mattress , it s a mattress with foam slats and a special fitted sheet to allow your arm to slide between the slats [7]. So you could have your arm underneath your SO for an extended period of time without risking nerve damage. They also show that when sleeping on your side your shoulder can go between the slats to avoid back problems. Nate Silver (who is famous for predicting US elections gave an interesting TED talk about racism and politics [8]. One of his main points is to show the correlation between racism and lack of contact of members of other races. Sociological Images has an interesting article by Lisa Wade about whether marriage is a universal human value [9]. In regard to historical marriage she says women were human property, equivalent to children, slaves, servants, and employees . The general trend in the comments seems to be that there are so many types of marriage that it s difficult to make any specific claims to traditional marriage unless you count a tradition of a short period in a single geographic region. Plurality is an excellent sci-fi short movie on youtube [10]. TED has an interesting interview with Hakeem Oluseyi about his research about astrophysics and how he achieved a successful career after being a gangster as a teenager [11]. He has some good ideas about helping other children from disadvantaged environments become successful. Paul Dwerryhouse wrote an interesting blog post about his work in designing and implementing a filesystem based on a Cassandra data store with FUSE [12]. Paul also wrote a post about using Apache Zookeeper to lock metadata to permit atomic operations [13]. The documentary Monumental Myths provides an interesting and insightful analysis of the processes of creating, maintaining, and explaining monuments [14]. It focusses on some significant monuments in the US and explains both sides to each story. Howard Zinn makes the insightful point that when people present a certain point of view of history it s not controversial, as soon as you present the other side they call it controversial . That happens even in debates about current issues. Howard also says to criticise whatever the government does is not anti-America, it s anti-government, it s pro-America, it s pro the people, it s pro the country . The song that plays during the closing credits is interesting too. The music video Same Love is one of the best presentations of the argument for marriage equality [15]. Chris Samuel wrote an interesting post about systems locked down for Windows 8 and options for purchasing PCs for running Linux [16]. His solution is to buy from ZaReason. I saw his laptop in action at the last LUV meeting and it looks really nice. Unfortunately a byproduct of the extremely thin form factor is the fact that it lacks a VGA port, this meant that Chris had to use my Thinkpad T61 (which is rather clunky by comparison) for his presentation.

18 November 2012

Mike Hommey: Debian EFI mode boot on a Macbook Pro, without rEFIt

Diego s post got me to switch from grub-pc to grub-efi to boot Debian on my Macbook Pro. But I wanted to go further: getting rid of rEFIt. rEFIt is a pretty useful piece of software, but it s essentially dead. There is the rEFInd fork, which keeps it up-to-date, but it doesn t really help with FileVault. Moreover, the boot sequence for a Linux distro with rEFIt/rEFInd looks like: Apple EFI firmware rEFIt/rEFInd GRUB Linux kernel. Each intermediate step adding its own timeout, so rEFIt/rEFInd can be seen as not-so-useful intermediate step. Thankfully, Matthew Garrett did all the research to allow to directly boot GRUB from the Apple EFI firmware. Unfortunately, his blog post didn t have much actual detail on how to do it. So here it is, for a Debian system: Now, the Apple Boot Manager, shown when holding down the option key when booting the Macbook Pro, looks like this:
And the Startup disk preferences dialog under OSX, like this:

16 November 2012

Diego Escalante Urrelo: EFI mode boot on Macbook3,1 with Debian

After my last post I got curious about booting the Macbook in EFI mode. Because, well, why not? So I googled for a while and found this blog post which served as a great reference and comment on two other. I understand EFI is somewhat buggy and what works for me might not work for you. So be careful, have a rescue disk at hand. On that topic, I should say that I could not get this to work with Debian sid s 3.2 kernel, but 3.5 from experimental worked fine for me.

Hopefully, you after booting EFI succesfully. My main question before doing this was What works? , I had heard some weird rumours and mentions that you had to run X in framebuffer mode and weird stuff like that. This is bullshit. Everything works fine, with the same standard software and setup. Features:

So, here we go. I am posting my notes in shell-like since I find little benefit in turning them into an essay or something more textual. Good luck! # Install grub-efi-$arch.
# Usually $arch depends on your processor.
# Best bet: you can use OSX to check for this:
# $ ioreg -l -p IODeviceTree grep firmware-abi
# It will print EFI32, or EFI64. You know what to do.
$ sudo apt-get install grub-efi-amd64 # Now we need to mount the system EFI partition for GRUB2 to install
# itself on it.
# NOTE: you have to do this, installing the package is NOT enough.
$ sudo mkdir /boot/efi
$ sudo mount /dev/sda1 /boot/efi
# Did you get the right partition?
# It should have an EFI directory with an APPLE directory inside.
$ ls /boot/efi
$ ls /boot/efi/EFI/
# Create a new directory, debian will do.
# Run grub-install so GRUB2 drops its EFI code in the new directory.
$ sudo mkdir /boot/efi/EFI/debian
$ sudo grub-install
$ ls /boot/efi/EFI/
$ ls /boot/efi/EFI/debian/
# Help rEFIt know this is a GNU/Linux boot.
# rEFIt assigns icons depending on the name of the EFI file, grub64x is not in its list
$ sudo mv /boot/efi/EFI/debian/grub64x.efi /boot/efi/EFI/debian/e.efi # IMPORTANT: Add the proper modeset.
# For EFI-only systems: efi_uga
# For UEFI systems: efi_gop
# Without this you won t have any graphics.
$ sudo vim /etc/default/grub
# Update grub, reboot. Hope that everything worked.
$ sudo update-grub Extra credit
You can clean your MBR from the old GRUB2-pc installation (if you installed it to the hybryd-MBR, like a sane person) from OSX:
$ sudo fdisk -u /dev/disk(tab-to-complete, verify it is the right disk) (Read the man page for your fdisk to be sure -u still means fix MBR while keeping partitions )

14 October 2012

Diego Escalante Urrelo: Enabling SATA AHCI on a Linux Macbook3,1

I have a Macbook3,1 with the following SATA controller: 00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 82801HM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) SATA Controller [AHCI mode] (rev 03) This chip can work either in AHCI or IDE mode. Even though (in numbers) AHCI and IDE should have similar performance, I have found that AHCI mode is much better. Specially when the disk is under heavy siege by more than one application. The catch is that Macbooks turn off AHCI when booting in BIOS mode, which is the mode I use for GNU/Linux. I understand this also affects Windows.

Pictured: a girl after enabling AHCI on her Linux Macbook After some googling I found this post that explains how to activate AHCI mode using GRUB2. The fix is to just add a setpci call on your GRUB configuration. To be safe you can test it by going into command line mode in GRUB, and doing something like this: > lspci
(check for the ID for IDE mode, in my case 8086:2828)
> setpci -d 8086:2828 90.b=40
> lspci
(The 2828 ID is now gone, replaced by 8086:2829, AHCI/SATA mode)
You can add this to your GRUB configuration, and avoid losing it on upgrades, by adding a script like this to /etc/grub.d/:

set -e
## Enable SATA (AHCI) mode on macbook 3,1
echo "setpci -d 8086:2828 90.b=40"
I understand this is also relevant for newer Macbooks and standard PC hardware, so you might want to do some googling. The easy way to know if you are on the right mode is to run lspci -nn on a regular terminal (not GRUB) and see if you have a SATA controller that is in the wrong mode.

12 October 2012

Julien Danjou: Ceilometer 0.1 released

After 6 months of development, we are proud to release the first release of Ceilometer, the OpenStack Metering project. Ceilometer. This is a first and amazing milestone for us: we follow all other projects by releasing a version for Folsom! Using Ceilometer, you should now be able to meter your OpenStack cloud and retrieve its usage to build statistics or bill your customer! You can read our announcement on the OpenStack mailing list. Architecture We spent a good amount of time defining and refining our architecture. One of its important point, is that it has been designed to work without modifying any of the existing core components. Patching OpenStack components in an intrusive way to meter them was not an option for now, simply because we had no legitimacy to do so. This may change in the future, and this will likely be discussed next week during the OpenStack Summit. Meters Initially, we defined a bunch of meters we'd like to have for a first release, and in the end, most of them are available. Some of them are still missing, like OpenStack Object Storage (Swift) ones, mainly due to lack of interest from the involved parties so far. Anyhow, with this first release, you should be able to meter your instances, their network usage, memory, CPU. Images, networks and volumes and their CRUD operations are metered too. For more detail, you can read the complete list of implemented meters. REST API The HTTP REST API has been partially implemented. The provided methods should allow basic integration with a billing system. DreamHost is using Ceilometer in their deployment architecture and coupling it with their billing system! Towards Grizzly We don't have a clear and established road-map for Grizzly yet. We already have a couple of patches waiting in the queue to be merged, like the use of Keystone to authenticate API request and the removal of Nova DB access. On my side, these last days I've been working on a small debug user interface for the API. Ceilometer API server will return this interface if your do an API request from a browser (i.e. requesting text/html instead of application/json). I hope this will help to discover Ceilometer API more easily for new comers and leverage it to build powerful tools! Anyhow, we have tons of idea and work to do, and I'm sure the upcoming weeks will be very interesting. Also, we hope to be able to become an OpenStack incubated project soon. So stay tuned!

26 September 2012

Russell Coker: Server Use Per Person

I ve just read Diego s response to an ill-informed NYT article about data-center power efficiency [1]. This makes me wonder, how much server use does each person have? Google Almost everyone uses Google, most of us use it a lot. The main Google product is also probably the most demanding, their search engine. In a typical day I probably do about 50 to 100 Google searches, that sounds like a lot, but half of them would probably be for one topic that is difficult to find. I don t think that I do that many Google searches because I generally know what I m doing and when I find what I need I spend a lot of time reading it. I m sure that many people do a lot more. Each Google search takes a few seconds to complete (or maybe more if it s an image search and I m on a slow link), but I think it s safe to assume that more than a few seconds of CPU time are involved. How much work would each Google search take if performed on a single system? Presumably Google uses the RAM of many systems as cache which gives a result more similar to a NUMA system than one regular server working for a longer time so there is no way of asking how long it would take to do a Google search with a single server. But I m sure that Google has some ratio of servers to the rate of requests coming in, it s almost certainly a great secret, but we can make some guesses. If the main Google user base comprises people who collectively do an average of 100 searches per day then we can probably guess at the amount of server use required for each search based on the number of servers Google would run. I think it s safe to assume that Google doesn t plan to buy one server for every person on the planet and that they want to have users significantly outnumbering servers. So even for core users they should be aiming to have each user only take a fraction of the resources that one server adds to the pool. So 100 searches probably each take more than 1 second of server use. But they almost certainly take a lot less than 864 seconds (the server use if Google had one server for every 100 daily requests which would imply one server for each of the heavier users). Maybe it takes 10 seconds of server use (CPU, disk, or network whichever is the bottleneck) to complete one search request. That would mean that if the Google network was at 50% utilisation on average then they would have 86400*.5/10/100 == 43 users per server for the core user base who average 100 daily requests. If there are 80M core users that would be about 2M servers, and then maybe something like another 4M servers for the rest of the world. So I could be using 1000 seconds of server time per day on Google searches. I also have a Gmail account which probably uses a few seconds for storing email and giving it to Fetchmail, and I have a bunch of Android devices which use Google calendars, play store, etc. The total Google server use on my behalf for everything other than search is probably a rounding error. But I could be out by an order of magnitude, if it only took 1 second of server use for a Google search then I would be at 100 server seconds per day and Google would only need one server for every 430 users like me. Google also serves lots of adverts on web sites that I visit, I presume that serving the adverts doesn t take much resources by Google standards. But accounting for it, paying the people who host content, and detecting fraud probably takes some significant resources. Other Big Services There are many people who spend hours per day using services such as Facebook. No matter how I try to estimate the server requirements it s probably going to be fairly wrong. But I ll make a guess at a minute of server time per hour. So someone who averages 3 hours of social networking per day (which probably isn t that uncommon) would be using 180 seconds of server time. Personal Servers The server that hosts my blog is reasonably powerful and has two other people as core users. So that could count as 33% of a fairly powerful server in my name. But if we are counting server use per USER then most of the resources of my blog server would be divided among the readers. My blog has about 10,000 people casually reading it through Planet syndication, that could mean that each person who casually reads my blog has 1/30,000 of a server allocated to them for that. Another way of considering it is that 10% of a server (8640 seconds) is covered by me maintaining my blog and writing posts, 20% is for users who visit my blog directly, and 3% is for the users who just see a Planet feed. That would mean that a Planet reader gets 1/330,000 of a server (250ms per day) and someone who reads directly gets 1/50,000 of a server (1.72s per day) as I have about 10,000 people visiting my blog directly in a month. My mail server which is also shared by a dozen or so people (maybe that counts as 5% of a server for me or 4320 seconds per day). Then there s the server I use for SE Linux development (including my Play Machine) and a server I use as a DNS secondary and a shell server for various testing and proxying. Other People s Servers If every reader of a Planet instance like Planet Debian and Planet Linux Australia counts as 1/330,000 of a server for their usage of my blog, then how would that count for my own use of blogs? I tend to read blogs written by the type of people who like to run things themselves, so there would be a lot of fairly under-utilised servers that run blogs. Through Planet Debian and Planet Linux Australia I could be reading 100 or more blogs which are run in the same manner as mine, and in a typical day I probably directly visit a dozen blogs that are run in such a manner. This could give me 50 seconds of server time for blog reading. Home Servers I have a file server at home which is also a desktop system for my wife. In terms of buying and running systems that doesn t count as an extra server as she needs to have a desktop system anyway and using bigger disks doesn t make much difference to the power use (7W is the difference between a RAID-1 server and a single disk desktop system). I also have a PC running as an Internet gateway and firewall. Running servers at home isn t making that much of an impact on my computer power use as there is only one dedicated 24*7 server and that is reasonably low power. But having two desktop systems on 24*7 is a significant factor. Where Power is Used/Wasted No matter how things are counted or what numbers we make up it seems clear that having a desktop system running 24*7 is the biggest use of power that will be assigned to one person. Making PCs more energy efficient through better hardware design and better OS support for suspending would be the best way of saving energy. Nothing that can be done at the server side can compare. Running a server that is only really used by three people is a significant waste by the standards of the NYT article. Of course the thing is that Hetzner is really cheap (and I m not contributing any money) so there isn t a great incentive to be more efficient in this regard. Even if I allocate some portion of the server use to blog readers then there s still a significant portion that has to be assigned to me for my choice to not use a managed service. Running a mail server for a small number of users and running a DNS server and a SE Linux development server are all ways of wasting more power. But the vast majority of the population don t have the skills to run their own server directly, so this sort of use doesn t affect the average power use for the population. Nothing else really matters. No matter what Google does in terms of power use it just doesn t matter when compared to all the desktop systems running 24*7. Small companies may be less efficient, but that will be due to issues of how to share servers among more people and the fact that below a certain limit you can t save money by using less resources particularly if you pay people to develop software. Conclusion I blame Intel for most of the power waste. Android phones and tablets can do some amazing things, which is hardly surprising as by almost every measure they are more powerful than the desktop systems we were all using 10 years ago and by many measures they beat desktop systems from 5 years ago. The same technology should be available in affordable desktop systems. I d like to have a desktop system running Debian based on a multi-core ARM CPU that can drive a monitor at better than FullHD resolution and which uses so little power that it is passively cooled almost all the time. A 64bit ARM system with 8G of RAM a GPU that can decode video (with full Linux driver support) and a fast SSD should compete well enough with typical desktop systems on performance while being quiet, reliable, and energy efficient. Finally please note that most of this post relies on just making stuff up. I don t think that this is wrong given the NYT article that started this. I also think that my estimates are good enough to draw some sensible conclusions. Related posts:
  1. Name Server IP and a Dead Server About 24 hours ago I rebooted the system that runs...
  2. Google Custom Search Engine I ve just been experimenting with Google Custom Search [1]. Below...
  3. Google Server Design Cnet has an article on the design of the Google...

24 September 2012

Diego Escalante Urrelo: WebKitGTK+ failing to build, argument list too long

The last few days I have been unable to build WebKitGTK+ from git. The problem is that make chokes the command line with an insanely long list of file names. You need a patched version of make.

Pictured: myself debugging WebKit build issues. Gustavo told me that WebKit has some handy jhbuild scripts that include a patched make. Being WebKit-scale I knew the scripts did a lot more than what I wanted, so I just reused its moduleset for a quick buildone command: $ cd WebKit/Tools/gtk/
$ jhbuild -m file:// pwd /jhbuild.modules buildone make
And yes, it works! Thanks Gustavo.

10 September 2012

Vincent Sanders: I thought San Diego must be Heaven on earth...It seemed to me the best spot for building a city I ever saw.

I think perhaps Alonzo Horton overstated the case but San Diego was a perfectly pleasant place to spend a week. Recently I was fortunate and attended the Linux Plumbers conference (and bits of Kernel Summit) and as on previous occasions there were some interesting sessions and some less helpful diversions.

Melodie went along with me, our first trip away together without the kids in a long time. We did the tourist thing for a few days including the USS Midway aircraft carrier tour (recommended) and the harbour boat tour (also recommended).

The conference was co-located with several other events and there seemed to be a lot of people around not connected with KS or LPC. For me the hallway track was, as usual, much more rewarding and I got to catch up with several old friends and make some new acquaintances. A lot of my colleagues were about attending the Gstreamer and Linuxcon conferences so there was the obligatory work evening event (which was pizza and beer, just done brilliantly).

A track that did stand out for me was the Clang / LLVM presentations. They gave an excellent overview of their progress towards making the Kernel compile with their tools, such innovation appears to be making both projects stronger.

One thing that occurred to me was the blandness of KS and LPC this time, usually there are at least some loud disagreements but I failed to attend even one session where there was more than small differences which were quickly resolved.

Perhaps such conferences, like the majority of people attending them, are becoming middle aged and a little complacent. An observation like that does make me wonder where the next change will come from and what it will look like. Just as open source software (including Linux) has disrupted the proprietary software industry in the last decade what will come along and disrupt us? Or is open source the end of the line and we will just continue to evolve?

27 August 2012

Andrew Cater: Ken Starks - immediate need for help is over for the moment - but

From Ken Starks, of Helios Project / Reglue

From the desk of just-so-you-know.....

Thomas Knight and I have agreed that the fund drive to aid in paying for necessary surgery for me should be halted. I will do a full blog about this entire effort this Monday but suffice it to say, you have donated more than enough to take care of my immediate needs and those down the road. Asking for anything more would be taking advantage of a loving and generous community. While it is far from adequate, the only thing I can offer you is my eternal thanks. It just seems so....small of a thing to give in return.

They will not stop the Indiegogo campaign until it reaches its time limit unfortunately so that will remain in effect for the next 30-some hours. Please do not donate anything further as I have more than enough to cover my expenses. I will explain more about that on my blog Monday.

If you helped spread the word about this campaign, please pass this posting along with the same intensity. I would deeply appreciate it.

See also now: update from Ken:

Donations for Ken himself may be over: the work of Helios/Reglue still remains good, important and useful - the world benefits for investment in education. I would urge that this is still a worthwhile charity to contribute to as you get Linux into the hands of young people and the disadvantaged who can then USE it.

25 July 2012

Diego Escalante Urrelo: A Coru a, d a uno

You can follow the latest GUADEC updates from @guadec and @diegoe.

Isa, Alejo, Laura, and Germ n stealing a mug.

GUADEC just started. Or at least, the arrangements for GUADEC.

The local team is hard at work at the GUADEC HQ of the Facultade de Inform tica, they are really working really hard to make sure that there is a proper wired network setup (yes, you read that right!), a great video setup to record all the talks and publish them as soon as possible and setting up the final details of rooms, info desk, accommodation

If you are staying at the Rialta, you can take the hourly bus to the Facultade (just ask the driver). The bus departs from the frontis of Block 3. Ask the driver to let you know when to get off the bus. He is aware of GUADEC so your gringo-spanish should suffice.

We will be holding a pre-registration party tonight at 21:00 (9pm) just outside the Rialta cafeteria. If you are already here drop by for the Queimada by Alejo, our galician wizard.

21 April 2012

Diego Escalante Urrelo: Removing the hidden/system bit of vfat/fat32 files on GNU/Linux

Huelga, on flickr I just fixed an USB drive that apparently had been hit by a virus. All the top-level directories were invisible on Windows, but visible on GNU/Linux. First I thought that it was just the hidden bit. But turns out it was the system bit. I had completely forgotten that one even existed! After some googling I got this solved by using mtools:

  1. Create a ~/.mtoolsrc file with this:
    drive s: file="/dev/<your-usb-drive"
    mtools_skip_check=1 (otherwise it refuses to operate on the drive)
  2. Check for file attributes with mattrib:
    $ mattrib -/ s:
  3. Fix any broken stuff (this removes the hidden and system bits):
    $ mattrib -/ -h -s s:
Hope it saves your neck or the neck of someone that has to use Windows. Oh, and please, please, don t make your entire digital life depend on a tiny piece of plastic. Make backups on your real computer, or other drives.

28 March 2012

Jordi Mallach: GNOME 3.4

The GNOME project released today GNOME 3.4, the second major update to the GNOME 3 platform. Congrats! I know there's lots of polish and improvements to some of the major rough edges in GNOME 3.2, but I think that of all changes in this release, Epiphany really stands out, as you can see in blog posts by Xan and Diego.

Work to bring GNOME 3.4 to Debian wheezy users has been underway for a few weeks already, and some bits and pieces have been hitting unstable since the tarballs were released a pair of days ago. We still need more base work to be done before some exciting components like GNOME Shell can hit our archive, and we want to fix as many FTBFS with GLib 2.32 bugs as possible before pushing it to unstable, but all in all, hopefully this time, shepherding a major GNOME release to Debian testing won't be as painful as it was not so long ago. However, we have already identified some fun bits involving clutter, cogl and mutter in our initial analysis, but nothing that hopefully can't be dealt with in a civilised way. As always, if you think you can help us, we're reachable at #debian-gnome at OFTC!

27 March 2012

Diego Escalante Urrelo: All the new cool stuff in Epiphany, alias, Web

Today we released Epiphany 3.4. It includes all the fixes, enhancements and new cool features that we build since September 2011. That is 6 months of cool stuff! Xan already explained the bigger picture but I want to highlight some details in the spirit of Every Detail Matters. Improved location bar, and the new history backend The location bar suggestions now load extra-extra-fast, thanks to our new SQLite backend. Besides being extra fast, SQLite allows us to make complex queries to offer better results in the completion. Goal for 3.6: to successfully handle searches like that page, with the dog, you know, that one with the funny one . This also makes possible to have a cool Overview start page for 3.6. Much like Chrome or Opera do. An awesome UI: cleaner toolbar, loading progress That is all the chrome you are getting, kid! Less distractions, more web! All the usual tools are still available in the gear menu: Oh, and this other one is a pretty one. Check out the new load progress indicator: You might have already noticed the combined stop/reload button. Some other niceties like the new link tooltips are all over the place. I will not ruin the surprise :-) . Reliable download icons This is my friend Juanjo:
He is always happy. One day he said: Diego, my PDF documents are shown as boxes while downloading. It makes me mad! I want Juanjo to keep that happy hacker smile. So I decided to fix this. Downloads now have a better idea of the icon they should show: Page icons, now a WebKitGTK+ feature Do you notice something? Yeah, icons for every of the loaded pages. The support for this is now in WebKitGTK+, available to other applications. This means it is better supported and maintained! Redesigned about: pages For a time now we have had some geeky about: pages. One for memory (about:memory), one for plugins (about:plugins), and perhaps the most useful one, one to manage applications (about:applications): And, last but not least Less lines:
$ git diff --shortstat 3.2.0..3.4.0
328 files changed, 73211 insertions(+), 104528 deletions(-)
Unlike other browsers, Epiphany does not have dozens of engineers behind the project. This means that the more code we have to maintain, the less time we have to develop new features and to even maintain that code! Also, this makes Xan happy. But luckily Igalia has hackers like Martin Robinson who are willing to show us how hacking should be done: Epiphany 3.4.0, alias, Web. Is an awesome release. It will soon be in your distro of choice. Thanks Allan for the screenshot help!

13 October 2011

John Goerzen: An Incredible Story From Soviet Times

This was written by Tom Dailey, and I ve lightly edited it:
In 1965, I was stationed at the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Center in San Diego. I was a Radioman 2nd. Class in the USN, at the time. One evening, at our radio club station (W6DCM different license holder, now), I called CQ and got UA KKC (it s no longer around), with Ivan at the mic. After a time of the usual signal reports and such, we asked what each did in their lives I said that I was US Navy radio operator. He answered that HE ALSO was a Navy radio operator in the Soviet navy. Then we discovered that his station was at the SUBMARINE base at Vladivostok, and I of course was his DIRECT opponent. Yes we really DID laugh at that, and I shall never forget what he said (that I heartily agreed with): Thomas, isn t it shame that we re supposed to hate each other? Yes, Ivan, it is someday we ll share a vodka, da? Da , he replied.
We re often told we should hate people. Messages I have heard on the media over the last 10 years have said we ought to hate illegal immigrants, CEOs, radical Muslims, the French, Iranians, Mexicans, presidents, UN diplomats, climate scientists, oil company employees, Chinese people, conservatives, liberals, religious people, atheists, and oh yes, still Russians. But I get to choose who to hate, and in fact, I choose NO HATE. Not only does it keep my stress level way lower, but it also lets me enjoy life more, and makes the world a better place. We can all talk to people in other countries and with other backgrounds and viewpoints so easily thanks to the Internet. Sadly we rarely have very deep online conversations to the point of getting to know people. For whatever reason, ham radio lends itself to that better. Even better: visit other places. I wonder how many people that say they hate some group of people have visited them and made an effort to make a connection? It is, after all, really hard to hate someone that is kind to you. Perhaps they re afraid to let go of their hate. Think also about this: for whom is it convenient if you hate people? There is usually a reason that hatred is stoked, and it doesn t usually lead to good things for individual people. Tom W0EAJ added:
I actually tried to locate him and the station, but both appear to have vanished. Ivan (his name was pronounced Eee-von) could have, it occured to me later, gotten into trouble for saying such things. I think both of us realized AT THE TIME, what an astounding counterpoint each of us was to the other. Proof that if it were left up to the simple little guys like us, and not to the politicians, we might actually pull off living in peace.

4 August 2011

Diego Escalante Urrelo: GUADEC Hispana in Sevilla

Sevilla is located in the (one of the many actually) oh-boy-is-that-really-the-temperature region of Spain. It has been historically significative for its financial, artistic and cultural value. But it s most important role has been that of hosting lots of GNOME activity. The 3rd ever GUADEC was held here, those cool Emergya guys who are working on a11y live here, and the even more awesome Sugus ETSII group helping with the conference setup and beer availability who helped organize the GNOME 3 launch party in Sevilla.

Foto de familia de la Guadec-es8

GUADEC Hispana group picture by Ana Rey (from GUADEC_ES8 set) Not as huge as GUADEC, but certainly as much fun as it, GUADEC Hispana lets the Spanish speaking community get closer together, get bugs fixed and only as a side effect get a bit drunk. A big thank to Ana, Juanje, V ctor, the Sugus team and all the local people that contributed. Also, of course, thanks to our GNOME loving (and loved) companies: Emergya, Igalia and OpenShine. And don t forget Escuela T cnica Superior de Ingenier a Inform tica who hosted the event. Beer time now. See ya at Berlin.