Search Results: "joshua"

11 March 2022

Dirk Eddelbuettel: dtts 0.1.0 on CRAN: New Package

Leonardo and I are thrilled to announce the first CRAN release of dtts. The dtts package builds on top of both our nanotime package and the well-loved and widely-used data.table package by Matt, Arun, Jan, and numerous collaborators. In a very rough nutshell, you can think of dtts as combining both these potent ingredients to produce something not-entirely-unlike the venerable xts package by our friends Jeff and Josh but using highest-precision nanosecond increments rather than not-quite-microseconds or dates. The package is still somewhat rare and bare: it is mostly just alignment operators. But because of the power and genius of data.table not all that much more is needed because data.table gets us fifteen years of highly refined, tuned and tested code for data slicing, dicing, and aggregation. To which we now humbly add nanosecond-resolution indexing and alignment. The package had been simmering for some time, and does of course take advantage of (a lot of) earlier work by Leonardo on his ztsdb project. We look forward to user feedback and suggestions at the GitHub repo. If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can now sponsor me at GitHub.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

24 February 2022

Dirk Eddelbuettel: #36: pub/sub for live market monitoring with R and Redis

Welcome to the 36th post of the really randomly reverberating R, or R4 for short, write-ups. Today s post is about using Redis, and especially RcppRedis, for live or (near) real-time monitoring with R. market monitor There is an saying that you can take the boy out of the valley, but you cannot the valley out of the boy so for those of us who spent a decade or two in finance and on trading floors, having some market price information available becomes second nature. And/or sometimes it is just good fun to program this. A good while back Josh posted a gist on a simple-yet-robust while loop. It (very cleverly) uses his quantmod package to access the SP500 in real-time . (I use quotes here because at the end of retail broadband one is not at the same market action as someone co-located in a New Jersey data center. It is however not delayed: as an index, it is not immediately tradeable as a stock, etf, or derivative may be all of which are only disseminated as delayed price information, usually by ten minutes.) I quite enjoyed the gist and used it and started tinkering with it. For example, it collects data but only saves (i.e. persists ) it after market close. If for whatever reason one needs to restart recent history is gone. In any event, I used his code and generalized it a little and published this about a year ago as function intradayMarketMonitor() in my dang package. (See this blog post announcing it.) The chart of the left shows this in action, the chart is a snapshot from a couple of days ago when the vignettes (more on them below) were written. As lovely as intradayMarketMonitor() is, it also limits itself to market hours. And sometimes you want to see, say, how the market opens on Sunday (futures usually restart at 17h Chicago time), or how news dissipates during the night, or where markets are pre-open, or . So I both wanted to complement this with futures, and also cache it locally so that, say, one machine might collect data and one (or several others) can visualize. For such tasks, Redis is unparalleled. (Yet I also always felt Redis could do with another, simple, short and sweet introduction stressing the key features of i) being multi-lingual: write in one language, consume in another and ii) loose coupling: no linking as one talks to Redis via standard tcp/ip networking. So I wrote a new intro vignette that is now in RcppRedis. I hope this comes in handy. Comments welcome!) Our RcppRedis package had long been used for such tasks, and it was easy to set it up. Standard use is to loop, fetch some data, push it to Redis, sleep, and start over. Clients do the same: fetch most recent data, plot or report it, sleep, start over. That works, but it has a dual delay as the client sleeping may miss the data update! The standard answer to this is called publish/pubscribe, or pub/sub. Libraries such as 0mq or zeromq specialise in this. But it turns out Redis already has it. I had some initial difficulty adding it to RcppRedis so for a trial I tested the marvellous rredis package by Bryan and simply instantiated two Redis clients. Now the data getter simply publishes a new data point in a given channel, by convention named after the security it tracks. Clients register with the Redis server which does all the actual work of keeping track of who listens to what. The clients now simply listen (which is a blocking operation) and as soon as data comes in receive it. market monitor This is quite mesmerizing when you just run two command-line clients (in a byobu session, say). As sone as the data is written (as shown on console log) it is consumed. No measruable overhead. Just lovely. Bryan and I then talked a litte as he may or may not retire rredis. Having implemented the pub/sub logic for both sides once, he took a good hard look at RcppRedis and just like that added it there. With some really clever wrinkles for (optional) per-symbol callback as closure attached to the instance. Truly amazeballs And once we had it in there, generalizing from publishing or subscribing to just one symbol easily generalizes to having one listener collect and publish for multiple symbols, and having one or more clients subscribe and listen one, more or even all symbol. All with ease thanks tp Redis. The second chart, also from a few days ago, shows four symbols for four (front-contract) futures for Bitcoin, Crude Oil, SP500, and Gold. As all this can get a little technical, I wrote a second vignette for RcppRedis on just this: market monitoring. Give this a read, if interested, feedback on this one is most welcome too! But all the code you need is included in the package just run a local Redis instance. Before closing, one sour note. I uploaded all this in a new and much improved updated RcppRedis 0.2.0 to CRAN on March 13 ten days ago. Not only is it still not there , but CRAN in their most delightful way also refuses to answer any emails of mine. Just lovely. The package exhibited just one compiler warning: a C++ compiler objected to the (embedded) C library hiredis (included as a fallback) for using a C language construct. Yes. A C++ compiler complaining about C. It s a non-issue. Yet it s been ten days and we still have nothing. So irritating and demotivating. Anyway, you can get the package off its GitHub repo. If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can sponsor me at GitHub.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

14 January 2022

Norbert Preining: Future of my packages in Debian

After having been (again) demoted (timed perfectly to my round birthday!) based on flimsy arguments, I have been forced to rethink the level of contribution I want to do for Debian. Considering in particular that I have switched my main desktop to dual-boot into Arch Linux (all on the same btrfs fs with subvolumes, great!) and have run Arch now for several days exclusively, I think it is time to review the packages I am somehow responsible for (full list of packages). After about 20 years in Debian, time to send off quite some stuff that has accumulated over time. KDE/Plasma, frameworks, Gears, and related packages All these packages are group maintained, so there is not much to worry about. Furthermore, a few new faces have joined the team and are actively working on the packages, although mostly on Qt6. I guess that with me not taking action, frameworks, gears, and plasma will fall back over time (frameworks: Debian 5.88 versus current 5.90, gears: Debian 21.08 versus current 21.12, plasma uptodate at the moment). With respect to my packages on OBS, they will probably also go stale over time. Using Arch nowadays I lack the development tools necessary to build Debian packages, and above all, the motivation. I am sorry for all those who have learned to rely on my OBS packages over the last years, bringing modern and uptodate KDE/Plasma to Debian/stable, please direct your complaints at the responsible entities in Debian. Cinnamon As I have written already here, I have reduced my involvement quite a lot, and nowadays Fabio and Joshua are doing the work. But both are not even DM (AFAIR) and I am the only one doing uploads (I got DM upload permissions for it). But I am not sure how long I will continue doing this. This also means that in the near future, Cinnamon will also go stale. TeX related packages Hilmar has DM upload permissions and is very actively caring for the packages, so I don t see any source of concern here. New packages will need to find a new uploader, though. With myself also being part of upstream, I can surely help out in the future with difficult problems. Calibre and related packages Yokota-san (another DM I have sponsored) has DM upload permissions and is very actively caring for the packages, so also here there is not much of concern. Onedrive This is already badly outdated, and I recommend using the OBS builds which are current and provide binaries for Ubuntu and Debian for various versions. ROCm Here fortunately a new generation of developers has taken over maintenance and everything is going smoothly, much better than I could have done, yeah to that! Qalculate related packages These are group maintained, but unfortunately nobody else but me has touched the repos for quite some time. I fear that the packages will go stale rather soon. isync/mbsync I have recently salvaged this package, and use it daily, but I guess it needs to be orphaned sooner or later. CafeOBJ While I am also part of upstream here, I guess it will be orphaned. Julia Julia is group maintained, but unfortunately nobody else but me has touched the repo for quite some time, and we are already far behind the normal releases (and julia got removed from testing). While go stale/orphaned. I recommend installing upstream binaries. python-mechanize Another package that is group maintained in the Python team, but with only me as uploader I guess it will go stale and effectively be orphaned soon. xxhash Has already by orphaned. qpdfview No upstream development, so not much to do, but will be orphaned, too.

18 February 2021

Dirk Eddelbuettel: dang 0.0.13: New intradayMarketMonitor

sp500 intraday monitor A new release of the dang package got to CRAN earlier today, a few months since the last relase. The dang package regroups a few functions of mine that had no other home as for example lsos() from a StackOverflow question from 2009 (!!) is one, this overbought/oversold price band plotter from an older blog post is another. This release adds one function I tweeted about one month ago. It takes a function Josh Ulrich originally tweeted about in November with a reference to this gist. I refactored this into a proper functions and polished a few edges: the data now properly rolls off after a fixed delay (of two days), should work with other symbols (though we both focused on ^GSPC as a free (!!) real-time SP500 index (albeit only during trading hours), properly gaps between trading days and more. You can simply invoke it via
dang::intradayMarketMonitor()
and a chart just like the one here will grow (though there is no state : if you stop it, or reboot, or the plot starts from scratch). The short NEWS entry follows.

Changes in version 0.0.13 (2021-02-17)
  • New function intradayMarketMonitor based on an earlier gist-posted snippet by Josh Ulrich.
  • The CI setup was generalized as a test for 'r-ci' and is used essentially unchanged with three different providers.

Courtesy of my CRANberries, there is a comparison to the previous release. For questions or comments use the issue tracker off the GitHub repo. If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can now sponsor me at GitHub.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

17 March 2020

Dirk Eddelbuettel: Rcpp 1.0.4: Lots of goodies

rcpp logo The fourth maintenance release 1.0.4 of Rcpp, following up on the 10th anniversary and the 1.0.0. release sixteen months ago, arrived on CRAN this morning. This follows a few days of gestation at CRAN. To help during the wait we provided this release via drat last Friday. And it followed a pre-release via drat a week earlier. But now that the release is official, Windows and macOS binaries will be built by CRAN over the next few days. The corresponding Debian package will be uploaded as a source package shortly after which binaries can be built. As with the previous releases Rcpp 1.0.1, Rcpp 1.0.2 and Rcpp 1.0.3, we have the predictable and expected four month gap between releases which seems appropriate given both the changes still being made (see below) and the relative stability of Rcpp. It still takes work to release this as we run multiple extensive sets of reverse dependency checks so maybe one day we will switch to six month cycle. For now, four months still seem like a good pace. Rcpp has become the most popular way of enhancing R with C or C++ code. As of today, 1873 packages on CRAN depend on Rcpp for making analytical code go faster and further, along with 191 in BioConductor. And per the (partial) logs of CRAN downloads, we are running steasy at one millions downloads per month. This release features quite a number of different pull requests by seven different contributors as detailed below. One (personal) highlight is the switch to tinytest.

Changes in Rcpp version 1.0.4 (2020-03-13)
  • Changes in Rcpp API:
    • Safer Rcpp_list*, Rcpp_lang* and Function.operator() (Romain in #1014, #1015).
    • A number of #nocov markers were added (Dirk in #1036, #1042 and #1044).
    • Finalizer calls clear external pointer first (Kirill M ller and Dirk in #1038).
    • Scalar operations with a rhs matrix no longer change the matrix value (Qiang in #1040 fixing (again) #365).
    • Rcpp::exception and Rcpp::stop are now more thread-safe (Joshua Pritikin in #1043).
  • Changes in Rcpp Attributes:
    • The cppFunction helper now deals correctly with mulitple depends arguments (TJ McKinley in #1016 fixing #1017).
    • Invisible return objects are now supported via new option (Kun Ren in #1025 fixing #1024).
    • Unavailable packages referred to in LinkingTo are now reported (Dirk in #1027 fixing #1026).
    • The sourceCpp function can now create a debug DLL on Windows (Dirk in #1037 fixing #1035).
  • Changes in Rcpp Documentation:
    • The .github/ directory now has more explicit guidance on contributing, issues, and pull requests (Dirk).
    • The Rcpp Attributes vignette describe the new invisible return object option (Kun Ren in #1025).
    • Vignettes are now included as pre-made pdf files (Dirk in #1029)
    • The Rcpp FAQ has a new entry on the recommended importFrom directive (Dirk in #1031 fixing #1030).
    • The bib file for the vignette was once again updated to current package versions (Dirk).
  • Changes in Rcpp Deployment:
    • Added unit test to check if C++ version remains remains aligned with the package number (Dirk in #1022 fixing #1021).
    • The unit test system was switched to tinytest (Dirk in #1028, #1032, #1033).

Please note that the change to execptions and Rcpp::stop() in pr #1043 has been seen to have a minor side effect on macOS issue #1046 which has already been fixed by Kevin in pr #1047 for which I may prepare a 1.0.4.1 release for the Rcpp drat repo in a day or two. Thanks to CRANberries, you can also look at a diff to the previous release. Questions, comments etc should go to the rcpp-devel mailing list off the R-Forge page. Bugs reports are welcome at the GitHub issue tracker as well (where one can also search among open or closed issues); questions are also welcome under rcpp tag at StackOverflow which also allows searching among the (currently) 2356 previous questions. If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can now sponsor me at GitHub. For the first year, GitHub will match your contributions.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

8 November 2017

Dirk Eddelbuettel: R / Finance 2018 Call for Papers

The tenth (!!) annual annual R/Finance conference will take in Chicago on the UIC campus on June 1 and 2, 2018. Please see the call for papers below (or at the website) and consider submitting a paper. We are once again very excited about our conference, thrilled about who we hope may agree to be our anniversary keynotes, and hope that many R / Finance users will not only join us in Chicago in June -- and also submit an exciting proposal. So read on below, and see you in Chicago in June!

Call for Papers R/Finance 2018: Applied Finance with R
June 1 and 2, 2018
University of Illinois at Chicago, IL, USA The tenth annual R/Finance conference for applied finance using R will be held June 1 and 2, 2018 in Chicago, IL, USA at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The conference will cover topics including portfolio management, time series analysis, advanced risk tools, high-performance computing, market microstructure, and econometrics. All will be discussed within the context of using R as a primary tool for financial risk management, portfolio construction, and trading. Over the past nine years, R/Finance has includedattendeesfrom around the world. It has featured presentations from prominent academics and practitioners, and we anticipate another exciting line-up for 2018. We invite you to submit complete papers in pdf format for consideration. We will also consider one-page abstracts (in txt or pdf format) although more complete papers are preferred. We welcome submissions for both full talks and abbreviated "lightning talks." Both academic and practitioner proposals related to R are encouraged. All slides will be made publicly available at conference time. Presenters are strongly encouraged to provide working R code to accompany the slides. Data sets should also be made public for the purposes of reproducibility (though we realize this may be limited due to contracts with data vendors). Preference may be given to presenters who have released R packages. Please submit proposals online at http://go.uic.edu/rfinsubmit. Submissions will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis with a final submission deadline of February 2, 2018. Submitters will be notified via email by March 2, 2018 of acceptance, presentation length, and financial assistance (if requested). Financial assistance for travel and accommodation may be available to presenters. Requests for financial assistance do not affect acceptance decisions. Requests should be made at the time of submission. Requests made after submission are much less likely to be fulfilled. Assistance will be granted at the discretion of the conference committee. Additional details will be announced via the conference website at http://www.RinFinance.com/ as they become available. Information on previous years'presenters and their presentations are also at the conference website. We will make a separate announcement when registration opens. For the program committee:
Gib Bassett, Peter Carl, Dirk Eddelbuettel, Brian Peterson,
Dale Rosenthal, Jeffrey Ryan, Joshua Ulrich

29 July 2017

Dirk Eddelbuettel: Updated overbought/oversold plot function

A good six years ago I blogged about plotOBOS() which charts a moving average (from one of several available variants) along with shaded standard deviation bands. That post has a bit more background on the why/how and motivation, but as a teaser here is the resulting chart of the SP500 index (with ticker ^GSCP): Example chart of overbought/oversold levels from plotOBOS() function The code uses a few standard finance packages for R (with most of them maintained by Joshua Ulrich given that Jeff Ryan, who co-wrote chunks of these, is effectively retired from public life). Among these, xts had a recent release reflecting changes which occurred during the four (!!) years since the previous release, and covering at least two GSoC projects. With that came subtle API changes: something we all generally try to avoid but which is at times the only way forward. In this case, the shading code I used (via polygon() from base R) no longer cooperated with the beefed-up functionality of plot.xts(). Luckily, Ross Bennett incorporated that same functionality into a new function addPolygon --- which even credits this same post of mine. With that, the updated code becomes
## plotOBOS -- displaying overbough/oversold as eg in Bespoke's plots
##
## Copyright (C) 2010 - 2017  Dirk Eddelbuettel
##
## This is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it
## under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
## the Free Software Foundation, either version 2 of the License, or
## (at your option) any later version.
suppressMessages(library(quantmod))     # for getSymbols(), brings in xts too
suppressMessages(library(TTR))          # for various moving averages
plotOBOS <- function(symbol, n=50, type=c("sma", "ema", "zlema"),
                     years=1, blue=TRUE, current=TRUE, title=symbol,
                     ticks=TRUE, axes=TRUE)  
    today <- Sys.Date()
    if (class(symbol) == "character")  
        X <- getSymbols(symbol, from=format(today-365*years-2*n), auto.assign=FALSE)
        x <- X[,6]                          # use Adjusted
      else if (inherits(symbol, "zoo"))  
        x <- X <- as.xts(symbol)
        current <- FALSE                # don't expand the supplied data
     
    n <- min(nrow(x)/3, 50)             # as we may not have 50 days
    sub <- ""
    if (current)  
        xx <- getQuote(symbol)
        xt <- xts(xx$Last, order.by=as.Date(xx$ Trade Time ))
        colnames(xt) <- paste(symbol, "Adjusted", sep=".")
        x <- rbind(x, xt)
        sub <- paste("Last price: ", xx$Last, " at ",
                     format(as.POSIXct(xx$ Trade Time ), "%H:%M"), sep="")
     
    type <- match.arg(type)
    xd <- switch(type,                  # compute xd as the central location via selected MA smoother
                 sma = SMA(x,n),
                 ema = EMA(x,n),
                 zlema = ZLEMA(x,n))
    xv <- runSD(x, n)                   # compute xv as the rolling volatility
    strt <- paste(format(today-365*years), "::", sep="")
    x  <- x[strt]                       # subset plotting range using xts' nice functionality
    xd <- xd[strt]
    xv <- xv[strt]
    xyd <- xy.coords(.index(xd),xd[,1]) # xy coordinates for direct plot commands
    xyv <- xy.coords(.index(xv),xv[,1])
    n <- length(xyd$x)
    xx <- xyd$x[c(1,1:n,n:1)]           # for polygon(): from first point to last and back
    if (blue)  
        blues5 <- c("#EFF3FF", "#BDD7E7", "#6BAED6", "#3182BD", "#08519C") # cf brewer.pal(5, "Blues")
        fairlylight <<- rgb(189/255, 215/255, 231/255, alpha=0.625) # aka blues5[2]
        verylight <<- rgb(239/255, 243/255, 255/255, alpha=0.625) # aka blues5[1]
        dark <<- rgb(8/255, 81/255, 156/255, alpha=0.625) # aka blues5[5]
        ## buglet in xts 0.10-0 requires the <<- here
      else  
        fairlylight <<- rgb(204/255, 204/255, 204/255, alpha=0.5)  # two suitable grays, alpha-blending at 50%
        verylight <<- rgb(242/255, 242/255, 242/255, alpha=0.5)
        dark <<- 'black'
     
    plot(x, ylim=range(range(x, xd+2*xv, xd-2*xv, na.rm=TRUE)), main=title, sub=sub, 
         major.ticks=ticks, minor.ticks=ticks, axes=axes) # basic xts plot setup
    addPolygon(xts(cbind(xyd$y+xyv$y, xyd$y+2*xyv$y), order.by=index(x)), on=1, col=fairlylight)  # upper
    addPolygon(xts(cbind(xyd$y-xyv$y, xyd$y+1*xyv$y), order.by=index(x)), on=1, col=verylight)    # center
    addPolygon(xts(cbind(xyd$y-xyv$y, xyd$y-2*xyv$y), order.by=index(x)), on=1, col=fairlylight)  # lower
    lines(xd, lwd=2, col=fairlylight)   # central smooted location
    lines(x, lwd=3, col=dark)           # actual price, thicker
 
and the main change are the three calls to addPolygon. To illustrate, we call plotOBOS("SPY", years=2) with an updated plot of the ETF representing the SP500 over the last two years: Updated example chart of overbought/oversold levels from plotOBOS() function Comments and further enhancements welcome!

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

8 April 2017

Dirk Eddelbuettel: #4: Simpler shoulders()

Welcome to the fourth post in the repulsively random R ramblings series, or R4 for short. My twitter feed was buzzing about a nice (and as yet unpublished, ie not-on-CRAN) package thankr by Dirk Schumacher which compiles a list of packages (ordered by maintainer count) for your current session (or installation or ...) with a view towards saying thank you to those whose packages we rely upon. Very nice indeed. I had a quick look and run it twice ... and had a reaction of ewwww, really? as running it twice gave different results as on the second instance a boatload of tibblyverse packages appeared. Because apparently kids these day can only slice data that has been tidied or something. So I had another quick look ... and put together an alternative version using just base R (as there was only one subfunction that needed reworking):
source(file="https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dirkschumacher/thankr/master/R/shoulders.R")
format_pkg_df <- function(df)   # non-tibblyverse variant
    tb <- table(df[,2])
    od <- order(tb, decreasing=TRUE)
    ndf <- data.frame(maint=names(tb)[od], npkgs=as.integer(tb[od]))
    colpkgs <- function(m, df)   paste(df[ df$maintainer == m, "pkg_name"], collapse=",")  
    ndf[, "pkg"] <- sapply(ndf$maint, colpkgs, df)
    ndf
 
A nice side benefit is that the function is now free of external dependencies (besides, of course, base R). Running this in the ESS session I had open gives:
R> shoulders()  ## by Dirk Schumacher, with small modifications
                               maint npkgs                                                                 pkg
1 R Core Team <R-core@r-project.org>     9 compiler,graphics,tools,utils,grDevices,stats,datasets,methods,base
2 Dirk Eddelbuettel <edd@debian.org>     4                                  RcppTOML,Rcpp,RApiDatetime,anytime
3  Matt Dowle <mattjdowle@gmail.com>     1                                                          data.table
R> 
and for good measure a screenshot is below:
I think we need a catchy moniker for R work using good old base R. SoberVerse? GrumbyOldFolksR? PlainOldR? Better suggestions welcome. Edit on 2017-04-09: And by now Dirk Schumacher fixed that little bug in thankr which was at the start of this. His shoulders() function is now free of side effects, and thankr is now a clean micropackage free of external depends from any verse, be it tiddly or grumpy. I look forward to seeing it on CRAN soon!

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

25 March 2017

Dirk Eddelbuettel: RApiDatetime 0.0.2

Two days after the initial 0.0.1 release, a new version of RApiDatetime has just arrived on CRAN. RApiDatetime provides six entry points for C-level functions of the R API for Date and Datetime calculations. The functions asPOSIXlt and asPOSIXct convert between long and compact datetime representation, formatPOSIXlt and Rstrptime convert to and from character strings, and POSIXlt2D and D2POSIXlt convert between Date and POSIXlt datetime. These six functions are all fairly essential and useful, but not one of them was previously exported by R. Josh Ulrich took one hard look at the package -- and added the one line we needed to enable the Windows support that was missing in the initial release. We now build on all platforms supported by R and CRAN. Otherwise, I just added a NEWS file and called it a bugfix release.

Changes in RApiDatetime version 0.0.2 (2017-03-25)
  • Windows support has added (Josh Ulrich in #1)

Changes in RApiDatetime version 0.0.1 (2017-03-23)
  • Initial release with six accessible functions

Courtesy of CRANberries, there is a comparison to the previous release. More information is on the rapidatetime page. For questions or comments please use the issue tracker off the GitHub repo.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

14 February 2017

Reproducible builds folks: Reproducible Builds: week 94 in Stretch cycle

Here's what happened in the Reproducible Builds effort between Sunday February 5 and Saturday February 11 2017: Upcoming events Patches sent upstream Packages reviewed and fixed, and bugs filed Chris Lamb: Daniel Shahaf: "Z. Ren": Reviews of unreproducible packages 83 package reviews have been added, 8 have been updated and 32 have been removed in this week, adding to our knowledge about identified issues. 5 issue types have been added: 1 issue type has been updated: Weekly QA work During our reproducibility testing, the following FTBFS bugs have been detected and reported by: diffoscope development diffoscope versions 71, 72, 73, 74 & 75 were uploaded to unstable by Chris Lamb: strip-nondeterminism development strip-nondeterminism 0.030-1 was uploaded to unstable by Chris Lamb: buildinfo.debian.net development reproducible-website development Misc. This week's edition was written by Chris Lamb & reviewed by a bunch of Reproducible Builds folks on IRC & the mailing lists.

11 January 2017

Dirk Eddelbuettel: R / Finance 2017 Call for Papers

Last week, Josh sent the call for papers to the R-SIG-Finance list making everyone aware that we will have our nineth annual R/Finance conference in Chicago in May. Please see the call for paper (at the link, below, or at the website) and consider submitting a paper. We are once again very excited about our conference, thrilled about upcoming keynotes and hope that many R / Finance users will not only join us in Chicago in May 2017 -- but also submit an exciting proposal. We also overhauled the website, so please see R/Finance. It should render well and fast on devices of all sizes: phones, tablets, desktops with browsers in different resolutions. The program and registration details still correspond to last year's conference and will be updated in due course. So read on below, and see you in Chicago in May!

Call for Papers R/Finance 2017: Applied Finance with R
May 19 and 20, 2017
University of Illinois at Chicago, IL, USA The ninth annual R/Finance conference for applied finance using R will be held on May 19 and 20, 2017 in Chicago, IL, USA at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The conference will cover topics including portfolio management, time series analysis, advanced risk tools, high-performance computing, market microstructure, and econometrics. All will be discussed within the context of using R as a primary tool for financial risk management, portfolio construction, and trading. Over the past eight years, R/Finance has included attendees from around the world. It has featured presentations from prominent academics and practitioners, and we anticipate another exciting line-up for 2017. We invite you to submit complete papers in pdf format for consideration. We will also consider one-page abstracts (in txt or pdf format) although more complete papers are preferred. We welcome submissions for both full talks and abbreviated "lightning talks." Both academic and practitioner proposals related to R are encouraged. All slides will be made publicly available at conference time. Presenters are strongly encouraged to provide working R code to accompany the slides. Data sets should also be made public for the purposes of reproducibility (though we realize this may be limited due to contracts with data vendors). Preference may be given to presenters who have released R packages. Financial assistance for travel and accommodation may be available to presenters, however requests must be made at the time of submission. Assistance will be granted at the discretion of the conference committee. Please submit proposals online at http://go.uic.edu/rfinsubmit. Submissions will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis with a final deadline of February 28, 2017. Submitters will be notified via email by March 31, 2017 of acceptance, presentation length, and financial assistance (if requested). Additional details will be announced via the conference website as they become available. Information on previous years' presenters and their presentations are also at the conference website. We will make a separate announcement when registration opens. For the program committee:
Gib Bassett, Peter Carl, Dirk Eddelbuettel, Brian Peterson,
Dale Rosenthal, Jeffrey Ryan, Joshua Ulrich

19 August 2016

Dirk Eddelbuettel: RQuantLib 0.4.3: Lots of new Fixed Income functions

A release of RQuantLib is now on CRAN and in Debian. It contains a lot of new code contributed by Terry Leitch over a number of pull requests. See below for full details but the changes focus on Fixed Income and Fixed Income Derivatives, and cover swap, discount curves, swaptions and more. In the blog post for the previous release 0.4.2, we noted that a volunteer was needed for a new Windows library build of QuantLib for Windows to replace the outdated version 1.6 used there. Josh Ulrich stepped up, and built them. Josh and I tried for several month to get the win-builder to install these, but sadly other things took priority and we were unsuccessful. So this release will not have Windows binaries on CRAN as QuantLib 1.8 is not available there. Instead, you can use the ghrr drat and do
if (!require("drat")) install.packages("drat")
drat::addRepo("ghrr")
install.packages("RQuantLib")
to fetch prebuilt Windows binaries from the ghrr drat. Everybody else gets sources from CRAN. The full changes are detailed below.
Changes in RQuantLib version 0.4.3 (2016-08-19)
  • Changes in RQuantLib code:
    • Discount curve creation has been made more general by allowing additional arguments for day counter and fixed and floating frequency (contributed by Terry Leitch in #31, plus some work by Dirk in #32).
    • Swap leg parameters are now in combined variable and allow textual description (Terry Leitch in #34 and #35)
    • BermudanSwaption has been modfied to take option expiration and swap tenors in order to enable more general swaption structure pricing; a more general search for the swaptions was developed to accomodate this. Also, a DiscountCurve is allowed as an alternative to market quotes to reduce computation time for a portfolio on a given valuation date (Terry Leitch in #42 closing issue #41).
    • A new AffineSwaption model was added with similar interface to BermudanSwaption but allowing for valuation of a European exercise swaption utlizing the same affine methods available in BermudanSwaption. AffineSwaption will also value a Bermudan swaption, but does not take rate market quotes to build a term structure and a DiscountCurve object is required (Terry Leitch in #43).
    • Swap tenors can now be defined up to 100 years (Terry Leitch in #48 fising issue #46).
    • Additional (shorter term) swap tenors are now defined (Guillaume Horel in #49, #54, #55).
    • New SABR swaption pricer (Terry Leitch in #60 and #64, small follow-up by Dirk in #65).
    • Use of Travis CI has been updated and switch to maintained fork of deprecated mainline.
Courtesy of CRANberries, there is also a diffstat report for the this release. As always, more detailed information is on the RQuantLib page. Questions, comments etc should go to the rquantlib-devel mailing list off the R-Forge page. Issue tickets can be filed at the GitHub repo.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

31 March 2016

Chris Lamb: Free software activities in March 2016

Here is my monthly update covering a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world (previously):
Debian
  • Presented Reproducible Builds - fulfilling the original promise of free software at FOSSASIA '16.
  • Uploaded libfiu (0.94-4), adding a patch from Logan Rose to fix a FTBFS with ld --as-needed.
My work in the Reproducible Builds project was also covered in more depth in Lunar's weekly reports (#44, #45, #46, #47).
LTS

This month I have been paid to work 7 hours on Debian Long Term Support (LTS). Whilst the LTS team will take over support from the Security Team on April 26, 2016, in the meantime I did the following:
  • Archived the squeeze distribution (via the FTPteam).
  • Assisted in preparing updates for python-django.
  • Helping end-users migrate to wheezy now that squeeze LTS has reached end-of-life.


FTP Team

As a Debian FTP assistant I ACCEPTed 143 packages: acme-tiny, berkshelf-api, circlator, cloud-utils, corsix-th, cronic, diaspora-installer, dub, dumb-init, firehol, firetools, flask-bcrypt, flask-oldsessions, flycheck, ganeti, geany-plugins, git-build-recipe, git-phab, gnome-shell-extension-caffeine, gnome-shell-extension-mediaplayer, golang-github-cheggaaa-pb, golang-github-coreos-ioprogress, golang-github-cyberdelia-go-metrics-graphite, golang-github-cznic-ql, golang-github-elazarl-goproxy, golang-github-hashicorp-hil, golang-github-mitchellh-go-wordwrap, golang-github-mvdan-xurls, golang-github-paulrosania-go-charset, golang-github-xeipuuv-gojsonreference, golang-github-xeipuuv-gojsonschema, grilo-plugins, gtk3-nocsd, herisvm, identity4c, lemonldap-ng, libisal, libmath-gsl-perl, libmemcached-libmemcached-perl, libplack-middleware-logany-perl, libplack-middleware-logwarn-perl, libpng1.6, libqmi, librdf-generator-http-perl, libtime-moment-perl, libvirt-php, libxml-compile-soap-perl, libxml-compile-wsdl11-perl, linux, linux-tools, mdk-doc, mesa, mpdecimal, msi-keyboard, nauty, node-addressparser, node-ansi-regex, node-argparse, node-array-find-index, node-base62, node-co, node-component-consoler, node-crypto-cacerts, node-decamelize, node-delve, node-for-in, node-function-bind, node-generator-supported, node-invert-kv, node-json-localizer, node-normalize-git-url, node-nth-check, node-obj-util, node-read-file, node-require-dir, node-require-main-filename, node-seq, node-starttls, node-through, node-uid-number, node-uri-path, node-url-join, node-xmlhttprequest-ssl, ocrmypdf, octave-netcdf, open-infrastructure-container-tools, osmose-emulator, pdal, pep8, pg-backup-ctl, php-guzzle, printrun, pydocstyle, pysynphot, python-antlr3, python-biom-format, python-brainstorm, python-django-adminsortable, python-feather-format, python-gevent, python-lxc, python-mongoengine, python-nameparser, python-pdal, python-pefile, python-phabricator, python-pika-pool, python-pynlpl, python-qtawesome, python-requests-unixsocket, python-saharaclient, python-stringtemplate3, r-cran-adegraphics, r-cran-assertthat, r-cran-bold, r-cran-curl, r-cran-data.table, r-cran-htmltools, r-cran-httr, r-cran-lazyeval, r-cran-mcmc, r-cran-openssl, r-cran-pbdzmq, r-cran-rncl, r-cran-uuid, rawtran, reel, ruby-certificate-authority, ruby-rspec-pending-for, ruby-ruby-engine, ruby-ruby-version, scribus-ng, specutils, symfony, tandem-mass, tdb, thrift, udfclient, vala, why3, wmaker, xdg-app & xiccd.

19 January 2016

Jan Wagner: Trying icinga2 and icingaweb2 with Docker

In case you ever wanted to look at Icinga2, even into distributed features, without messing with installing whole server setups, this might interesting for you. At first, you need to have a running Docker on your system. For more information, have a look into my previous post!

Initiating Docker images
$ git clone https://github.com/joshuacox/docker-icinga2.git && \
  cd docker-icinga2
$ make temp
[...]
$ make grab
[...]
$ make prod
[...]

Setting IcingaWeb2 password (Or using the default one)
$ make enter
docker exec -i -t  cat cid  /bin/bash  
root@ce705e592611:/# openssl passwd -1 f00b4r  
$1$jgAqBcIm$aQxyTPIniE1hx4VtIsWvt/
root@ce705e592611:/# mysql -h mysql icingaweb2 -p -e \  
  "UPDATE icingaweb_user SET password_hash='$1$jgAqBcIm$aQxyTPIniE1hx4VtIsWvt/' WHERE name='icingaadmin';"
Enter password:  
root@ce705e592611:/# exit  

Setting Icinga Classic UI password
$ make enter
docker exec -i -t  cat cid  /bin/bash  
root@ce705e592611:/# htpasswd /etc/icinga2-classicui/htpasswd.users icingaadmin  
New password:  
Re-type new password:  
Adding password for user icingaadmin  
root@ce705e592611:/# exit  

Cleaning things up and making permanent
$ docker stop icinga2 && docker stop icinga2-mysql
icinga2  
icinga2-mysql  
$ cp -a /tmp/datadir ~/docker-icinga2.datadir
$ echo "~/docker-icinga2.datadir" > ./DATADIR
$ docker start icinga2-mysql && rm cid && docker rm icinga2 && \
  make runprod
icinga2-mysql  
icinga2  
chmod 777 /tmp/tmp.08c34zjRMpDOCKERTMP  
d34d56258d50957492560f481093525795d547a1c8fc985e178b2a29b313d47a  
Now you should be able to access the IcingaWeb2 web interface on http://localhost:4080/icingaweb2 and the Icinga Classic UI web interface at http://localhost:4080/icinga2-classicui. For further information about this Docker setup please consult the documentation written by Joshua Cox who has worked on this project. For information about Icinga2 itself, please have a look into the Icinga2 Documentation.

11 January 2016

Dirk Eddelbuettel: Rcpp 0.12.3: Keep rollin'

The third update in the 0.12.* series of Rcpp arrived on the CRAN network for GNU R earlier today, and has been pushed to Debian. It follows the 0.12.0 release from late July, the 0.12.1 release in September, and the 0.12.2 release in November making it the seventh release at the steady bi-montly release frequency. This release is somewhat more of a maintenance release addressing a number of small bugs and nuisances without adding any new features. Rcpp has become the most popular way of enhancing GNU R with C or C++ code. As of today, 553 packages on CRAN depend on Rcpp for making analytical code go faster and further. That is up by more than fourty packages from the last release in November. Once again, we have new first-time contributors. Kazuki Fukui corrected an issue he encountered when having CLion re-formatted some code for him. Joshua Pritikin corrected a constructor initialization. Of course, we also had several pull reports from regular contributors -- see below for a detailed list of changes extracted from the NEWS file.
Changes in Rcpp version 0.12.3 (2016-01-10)
  • Changes in Rcpp API:
    • Const iterators now CharacterVector now behave like regular iterators (PR #404 by Dan fixing #362).
    • Math operators between matrix and scalars type have been added (PR #406 by Qiang fixing #365).
    • A missing std::hash function interface for Rcpp::String has been addded (PR #408 by Qiang fixing #84).
  • Changes in Rcpp Attributes:
    • Avoid invalid function names when generating C++ interfaces (PR #403 by JJ fixing #402).
    • Insert additional space around & in function interface (PR #400 by Kazuki Fukui fixing #278).
  • Changes in Rcpp Modules:
    • The copy constructor now initialized the base class (PR #411 by Joshua Pritikin fixing #410)
  • Changes in Rcpp Repository:
    • Added a file Contributing.md providing some points to potential contributors (PR #414 closing issue #413)
Thanks to CRANberries, you can also look at a diff to the previous release. As always, even fuller details are on the Rcpp Changelog page and the Rcpp page which also leads to the downloads page, the browseable doxygen docs and zip files of doxygen output for the standard formats. A local directory has source and documentation too. Questions, comments etc should go to the rcpp-devel mailing list off the R-Forge page.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

27 December 2015

Vincent Sanders: The only pleasure I get from moving house is stumbling across books I had forgotton I owned

I have to agree with John Burnside on that statement, after having recently moved house again rediscovering our book collection has been a salve for an otherwise exhausting undertaking. I returned to Cambridge four years ago, initially on my own and then subsequently the family moved down to be with me.

We rented a house but, with two growing teenagers, the accommodation was becoming a little crowded. Melodie and I decided the relocation was permanent and started looking for our own property, eventually finding something to our liking in Cottenham village.

Melodie took the opportunity to have the house cleaned and decorated while empty because of overlapping time with our rental property. This meant we had to be a little careful while moving in as there was still wet paint in places.

Some of our books
Moving weekend was made bearable by Steve, Jonathan and Jo lending a hand especially on the trips to Yorkshire to retrieve, amongst other things, the aforementioned book collection. We were also fortunate to have Andy and Jane doing many other important jobs around the place while the rest of us were messing about in vans.

The desk in the study
The seemingly obligatory trip to IKEA to acquire furniture was made much more fun by trying to park a luton van which was only possible because Steve and Jonathan helped me. Though it turns out IKEA ship mattresses rolled up so tight they can be moved in an estate car so taking the van was unnecessary.

Alex under his loft bed
Having moved in it seems like every weekend is filled with a never ending "todo" list of jobs. From clearing gutters to building a desk in the study. Eight weeks on and the list seems to be slowly shrinking meaning I can even do some lower priority things like the server rack which was actually a fun project.


Joshua in his completed roomThe holidays this year afforded me some time to finish the boys bedrooms. They both got loft beds with a substantial area underneath. This allows them both to have double beds along with a desk and plenty of storage. Completing the rooms required the construction of some flat pack furniture which rather than simply do myself I supervised the boys doing it themselves.

Alexander building flat pack furniture
Teaching them by letting them get on with it was a surprisingly effective and both of them got the hang of the construction method pretty quickly. There was only a couple of errors from which they learned immediately and did not repeat (draw bottoms having a finished side and front becomes back when you are constructing upside down)

Joshua assembling flat pack furniture
The house is starting to feel like home and soon all the problems will fade from memory while the good will remain. Certainly our first holiday season has been comfortable here and I look forward to many more re-reading our books.

2 November 2015

Julien Danjou: OpenStack Summit Mitaka from a Telemetry point of view

Last week I was in Tokyo, Japan for the OpenStack Summit, discussing the new Mitaka version that will be released in 6 months. I've attended the summit mainly to discuss and follow-up new developments on Ceilometer, Gnocchi, Aodh and Oslo. It has been a pretty good week and we were able to discuss and plan a few interesting things. Below are what I found remarkable during this summit concerning those projects. Distributed lock manager
I did not attend this session, but I need to write something about it. See, when working in a distributed environment like OpenStack, it's almost obvious that sooner or later you end up needing a distributed lock mechanism. It started to be pretty obvious and a serious problem for us 2 years ago in Ceilometer. Back then, we proposed the service-sync blueprint and talked about it during the OpenStack Icehouse Design Summit in Hong-Kong. The session at that time was a success, and in 20 minutes I convinced everyone it was the good thing to do. The night following the session, we picked a named, Tooz, to name this new library. It was the first time I met Joshua Harlow, which became one of the biggest Tooz contributor since then. For the following months, we tried to move the lines in OpenStack. It was very hard to convince people that it was the solution to their problem. Most of the time, they did not seem to grasp the entirety of what was at stake. This time, it seems that we managed to convince everyone that a DLM is indeed needed. Joshua wrote an extensive specification called Chronicle of a DLM, which ended up being discussed and somehow adopted during that session in Tokyo. So yes, Tooz will be the weapon of choice for OpenStack. It will avoid a hard requirement on any DLM solution directly. The best driver right now is the ZooKeeper one, but it'll still be possible for operators to use e.g. Redis. This is a great achievement for us, after spending years trying to fix features such as the Nova service group subsystem and seeing our proposals postponed forever. (If you want to know more, LWN.net has a great article about that session.) Telemetry team name
With the new projects launched this last year, Aodh & Gnocchi, in parallel of the old Ceilometer, plus the change from programs to Big Tent in OpenSack, the team is having an identity issue. Being referred to as the "Ceilometer team" is not really accurate, as some of us only work on Aodh or on Gnocchi. So after discussing that, I proposed to rename the team to Telemetry instead. We'll see how it goes. Alarms
The first session was about alarms and the Aodh project. It turns out that the project is in pretty good shape, but probably need some more love, which I hope I'll be able to provide in the next months. The need for a new aodhclient based on the technologies we recently used building gnocchiclient has been reasserted, so we might end up working on that pretty soon. The Tempest support also needs some improvement, and we have a plan to enhance that. Data visualisation
We got David Lyle in this session, the Project Technical Leader for Horizon. It was an interesting discussion. It used to be technically challenging to draw charts from the data Ceilometer collects, but it's now very easy with Gnocchi and its API. While the technical side is resolved, the more political and user experience side of was to draw and how was discussed at length. We don't want to make people think that Ceilometer and Gnocchi are a full monitoring solution, so there's some precaution to take. Other than that, it would be pretty cool to have view of the data in Horizon. Rolling upgrade
It turns out that Ceilometer has an architecture that makes it easy to have rolling upgrade. We just need to write a proper documentation explaining how to do it and in which order the services should be upgraded. Ceilometer splitting
The split of the alarm feature of Ceilometer in its own project Aodh in the last cycle was a great success for the whole team. We want to split other pieces of Ceilometer, as they make sense on their own, makes it easier to manage. They are also some projects that want to use them without the whole stack, so that's a good idea to make it happen. CloudKitty & Gnocchi
I attended the 2 sessions that were allocated to CloudKitty. It was pretty interesting as they want to simplify their architecture and leverage what Gnocchi provides. I proposed my view of the project architecture and how they could leverage the more of Gnocchi to retrieve and store data. They want to go in that direction though it's a large amount of work and refactoring on their side, so it'll take time. We also need to enhance the support of extension for new resources in Gnocchi, and that's something I hope I'll work on in the next months. Overall, this summit was pretty good and I got a tremendous amount of good feedback on Gnocchi. I again managed to get enough ideas and tasks to tackle for the next 6 months. It really looks interesting to see where the whole team will go from that. Stay tuned!

16 October 2015

Dirk Eddelbuettel: R / Finance 2016 Call for Papers

Earlier today, Josh sent the text below in this message to the R-SIG-Finance list as the very first heads-up concerning the 2016 edition of our successful R/Finance series. We are once again very excited about our conference, thrilled about upcoming keynotes (some of which are confirmed and some of which are in the works), and hope that many R / Finance users will not only join us in Chicago in May 2016 -- but also submit an exciting proposal. So read on below, and see you in Chicago in May!
Call for Papers R/Finance 2016: Applied Finance with R
May 20 and 21, 2016
University of Illinois at Chicago, IL, USA The eight annual R/Finance conference for applied finance using R will be held on May 20 and 21, 2016, in Chicago, IL, USA at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The conference will cover topics including portfolio management, time series analysis, advanced risk tools, high-performance computing, market microstructure, and econometrics. All will be discussed within the context of using R as a primary tool for financial risk management, portfolio construction, and trading. Over the past seven years, R/Finance has included attendees from around the world. It has featured presentations from prominent academics and practitioners, and we anticipate another exciting line-up for 2016. We invite you to submit complete papers in pdf format for consideration. We will also consider one-page abstracts (in txt or pdf format) although more complete papers are preferred. We welcome submissions for both full talks and abbreviated "lightning talks." Both academic and practitioner proposals related to R are encouraged. All slides will be made publicly available at conference time. Presenters are strongly encouraged to provide working R code to accompany the slides. Data sets should also be made public for the purposes of reproducibility (though we realize this may be limited due to contracts with data vendors). Preference may be given to presenters who have released R packages. The conference will award two (or more) $1000 prizes for best papers. A submission must be a full paper to be eligible for a best paper award. Extended abstracts, even if a full paper is provided by conference time, are not eligible for a best paper award. Financial assistance for travel and accommodation may be available to presenters, however requests must be made at the time of submission. Assistance will be granted at the discretion of the conference committee. Please make your submission online at this link. The submission deadline is January 29, 2016. Submitters will be notified via email by February 29, 2016 of acceptance, presentation length, and financial assistance (if requested). Additional details will be announced via the R/Finance conference website as they become available. Information on previous years' presenters and their presentations are also at the conference website. For the program committee:
Gib Bassett, Peter Carl, Dirk Eddelbuettel, Brian Peterson,
Dale Rosenthal, Jeffrey Ryan, Joshua Ulrich

2 October 2015

Daniel Pocock: Want to be selected for Google Summer of Code 2016?

I've mentored a number of students in 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Debian and Ganglia and most of the companies I've worked with have run internships and graduate programs from time to time. GSoC 2015 has just finished and with all the excitement, many students are already asking what they can do to prepare and be selected for Outreachy or GSoC in 2016. My own observation is that the more time the organization has to get to know the student, the more confident they can be selecting that student. Furthermore, the more time that the student has spent getting to know the free software community, the more easily they can complete GSoC. Here I present a list of things that students can do to maximize their chance of selection and career opportunities at the same time. These tips are useful for people applying for GSoC itself and related programs such as GNOME's Outreachy or graduate placements in companies. Disclaimers There is no guarantee that Google will run the program again in 2016 or any future year until the Google announcement. There is no guarantee that any organization or mentor (including myself) will be involved until the official list of organizations is published by Google. Do not follow the advice of web sites that invite you to send pizza or anything else of value to prospective mentors. Following the steps in this page doesn't guarantee selection. That said, people who do follow these steps are much more likely to be considered and interviewed than somebody who hasn't done any of the things in this list. Understand what free software really is You may hear terms like free software and open source software used interchangeably. They don't mean exactly the same thing and many people use the term free software for the wrong things. Not all projects declaring themselves to be "free" or "open source" meet the definition of free software. Those that don't, usually as a result of deficiencies in their licenses, are fundamentally incompatible with the majority of software that does use genuinely free licenses. Google Summer of Code is about both writing and publishing your code and it is also about community. It is fundamental that you know the basics of licensing and how to choose a free license that empowers the community to collaborate on your code well after GSoC has finished. Please review the definition of free software early on and come back and review it from time to time. The The GNU Project / Free Software Foundation have excellent resources to help you understand what a free software license is and how it works to maximize community collaboration. Don't look for shortcuts There is no shortcut to GSoC selection and there is no shortcut to GSoC completion. The student stipend (USD $5,500 in 2014) is not paid to students unless they complete a minimum amount of valid code. This means that even if a student did find some shortcut to selection, it is unlikely they would be paid without completing meaningful work. If you are the right candidate for GSoC, you will not need a shortcut anyway. Are you the sort of person who can't leave a coding problem until you really feel it is fixed, even if you keep going all night? Have you ever woken up in the night with a dream about writing code still in your head? Do you become irritated by tedious or repetitive tasks and often think of ways to write code to eliminate such tasks? Does your family get cross with you because you take your laptop to Christmas dinner or some other significant occasion and start coding? If some of these statements summarize the way you think or feel you are probably a natural fit for GSoC. An opportunity money can't buy The GSoC stipend will not make you rich. It is intended to make sure you have enough money to survive through the summer and focus on your project. Professional developers make this much money in a week in leading business centers like New York, London and Singapore. When you get to that stage in 3-5 years, you will not even be thinking about exactly how much you made during internships. GSoC gives you an edge over other internships because it involves publicly promoting your work. Many companies still try to hide the potential of their best recruits for fear they will be poached or that they will be able to demand higher salaries. Everything you complete in GSoC is intended to be published and you get full credit for it. Imagine a young musician getting the opportunity to perform on the main stage at a rock festival. This is how the free software community works. It is a meritocracy and there is nobody to hold you back. Having a portfolio of free software that you have created or collaborated on and a wide network of professional contacts that you develop before, during and after GSoC will continue to pay you back for years to come. While other graduates are being screened through group interviews and testing days run by employers, people with a track record in a free software project often find they go straight to the final interview round. Register your domain name and make a permanent email address Free software is all about community and collaboration. Register your own domain name as this will become a focal point for your work and for people to get to know you as you become part of the community. This is sound advice for anybody working in IT, not just programmers. It gives the impression that you are confident and have a long term interest in a technology career. Choosing the provider: as a minimum, you want a provider that offers DNS management, static web site hosting, email forwarding and XMPP services all linked to your domain. You do not need to choose the provider that is linked to your internet connection at home and that is often not the best choice anyway. The XMPP foundation maintains a list of providers known to support XMPP. Create an email address within your domain name. The most basic domain hosting providers will let you forward the email address to a webmail or university email account of your choice. Configure your webmail to send replies using your personalized email address in the From header. Update your ~/.gitconfig file to use your personalized email address in your Git commits. Create a web site and blog Start writing a blog. Host it using your domain name. Some people blog every day, other people just blog once every two or three months. Create links from your web site to your other profiles, such as a Github profile page. This helps reinforce the pages/profiles that are genuinely related to you and avoid confusion with the pages of other developers. Many mentors are keen to see their students writing a weekly report on a blog during GSoC so starting a blog now gives you a head start. Mentors look at blogs during the selection process to try and gain insight into which topics a student is most suitable for. Create a profile on Github Github is one of the most widely used software development web sites. Github makes it quick and easy for you to publish your work and collaborate on the work of other people. Create an account today and get in the habbit of forking other projects, improving them, committing your changes and pushing the work back into your Github account. Github will quickly build a profile of your commits and this allows mentors to see and understand your interests and your strengths. In your Github profile, add a link to your web site/blog and make sure the email address you are using for Git commits (in the ~/.gitconfig file) is based on your personal domain. Start using PGP Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is the industry standard in protecting your identity online. All serious free software projects use PGP to sign tags in Git, to sign official emails and to sign official release files. The most common way to start using PGP is with the GnuPG (GNU Privacy Guard) utility. It is installed by the package manager on most Linux systems. When you create your own PGP key, use the email address involving your domain name. This is the most permanent and stable solution. Print your key fingerprint using the gpg-key2ps command, it is in the signing-party package on most Linux systems. Keep copies of the fingerprint slips with you. This is what my own PGP fingerprint slip looks like. You can also print the key fingerprint on a business card for a more professional look. Using PGP, it is recommend that you sign any important messages you send but you do not have to encrypt the messages you send, especially if some of the people you send messages to (like family and friends) do not yet have the PGP software to decrypt them. If using the Thunderbird (Icedove) email client from Mozilla, you can easily send signed messages and validate the messages you receive using the Enigmail plugin. Get your PGP key signed Once you have a PGP key, you will need to find other developers to sign it. For people I mentor personally in GSoC, I'm keen to see that you try and find another Debian Developer in your area to sign your key as early as possible. Free software events Try and find all the free software events in your area in the months between now and the end of the next Google Summer of Code season. Aim to attend at least two of them before GSoC. Look closely at the schedules and find out about the individual speakers, the companies and the free software projects that are participating. For events that span more than one day, find out about the dinners, pub nights and other social parts of the event. Try and identify people who will attend the event who have been GSoC mentors or who intend to be. Contact them before the event, if you are keen to work on something in their domain they may be able to make time to discuss it with you in person. Take your PGP fingerprint slips. Even if you don't participate in a formal key-signing party at the event, you will still find some developers to sign your PGP key individually. You must take a photo ID document (such as your passport) for the other developer to check the name on your fingerprint but you do not give them a copy of the ID document. Events come in all shapes and sizes. FOSDEM is an example of one of the bigger events in Europe, linux.conf.au is a similarly large event in Australia. There are many, many more local events such as the Debian UK mini-DebConf in Cambridge, November 2015. Many events are either free or free for students but please check carefully if there is a requirement to register before attending. On your blog, discuss which events you are attending and which sessions interest you. Write a blog during or after the event too, including photos. Quantcast generously hosted the Ganglia community meeting in San Francisco, October 2013. We had a wild time in their offices with mini-scooters, burgers, beers and the Ganglia book. That's me on the pink mini-scooter and Bernard Li, one of the other Ganglia GSoC 2014 admins is on the right. Install Linux GSoC is fundamentally about free software. Linux is to free software what a tree is to the forest. Using Linux every day on your personal computer dramatically increases your ability to interact with the free software community and increases the number of potential GSoC projects that you can participate in. This is not to say that people using Mac OS or Windows are unwelcome. I have worked with some great developers who were not Linux users. Linux gives you an edge though and the best time to gain that edge is now, while you are a student and well before you apply for GSoC. If you must run Windows for some applications used in your course, it will run just fine in a virtual machine using Virtual Box, a free software solution for desktop virtualization. Use Linux as the primary operating system. Here are links to download ISO DVD (and CD) images for some of the main Linux distributions: If you are nervous about getting started with Linux, install it on a spare PC or in a virtual machine before you install it on your main PC or laptop. Linux is much less demanding on the hardware than Windows so you can easily run it on a machine that is 5-10 years old. Having just 4GB of RAM and 20GB of hard disk is usually more than enough for a basic graphical desktop environment although having better hardware makes it faster. Your experiences installing and running Linux, especially if it requires some special effort to make it work with some of your hardware, make interesting topics for your blog. Decide which technologies you know best Personally, I have mentored students working with C, C++, Java, Python and JavaScript/HTML5. In a GSoC program, you will typically do most of your work in just one of these languages. From the outset, decide which language you will focus on and do everything you can to improve your competence with that language. For example, if you have already used Java in most of your course, plan on using Java in GSoC and make sure you read Effective Java (2nd Edition) by Joshua Bloch. Decide which themes appeal to you Find a topic that has long-term appeal for you. Maybe the topic relates to your course or maybe you already know what type of company you would like to work in. Here is a list of some topics and some of the relevant software projects:
  • System administration, servers and networking: consider projects involving monitoring, automation, packaging. Ganglia is a great community to get involved with and you will encounter the Ganglia software in many large companies and academic/research networks. Contributing to a Linux distribution like Debian or Fedora packaging is another great way to get into system administration.
  • Desktop and user interface: consider projects involving window managers and desktop tools or adding to the user interface of just about any other software.
  • Big data and data science: this can apply to just about any other theme. For example, data science techniques are frequently used now to improve system administration.
  • Business and accounting: consider accounting, CRM and ERP software.
  • Finance and trading: consider projects like R, market data software like OpenMAMA and connectivity software (Apache Camel)
  • Real-time communication (RTC), VoIP, webcam and chat: look at the JSCommunicator or the Jitsi project
  • Web (JavaScript, HTML5): look at the JSCommunicator
Before the GSoC application process begins, you should aim to learn as much as possible about the theme you prefer and also gain practical experience using the software relating to that theme. For example, if you are attracted to the business and accounting theme, install the PostBooks suite and get to know it. Maybe you know somebody who runs a small business: help them to upgrade to PostBooks and use it to prepare some reports. Make something Make some small project, less than two week's work, to demonstrate your skills. It is important to make something that somebody will use for a practical purpose, this will help you gain experience communicating with other users through Github. For an example, see the servlet Juliana Louback created for fixing phone numbers in December 2013. It has since been used as part of the Lumicall web site and Juliana was selected for a GSoC 2014 project with Debian. There is no better way to demonstrate to a prospective mentor that you are ready for GSoC than by completing and publishing some small project like this yourself. If you don't have any immediate project ideas, many developers will also be able to give you tips on small projects like this that you can attempt, just come and ask us on one of the mailing lists. Ideally, the project will be something that you would use anyway even if you do not end up participating in GSoC. Such projects are the most motivating and rewarding and usually end up becoming an example of your best work. To continue the example of somebody with a preference for business and accounting software, a small project you might create is a plugin or extension for PostBooks. Getting to know prospective mentors Many web sites provide useful information about the developers who contribute to free software projects. Some of these developers may be willing to be a GSoC mentor. For example, look through some of the following: Getting on the mentor's shortlist Once you have identified projects that are interesting to you and developers who work on those projects, it is important to get yourself on the developer's shortlist. Basically, the shortlist is a list of all students who the developer believes can complete the project. If I feel that a student is unlikely to complete a project or if I don't have enough information to judge a student's probability of success, that student will not be on my shortlist. If I don't have any student on my shortlist, then a project will not go ahead at all. If there are multiple students on the shortlist, then I will be looking more closely at each of them to try and work out who is the best match. One way to get a developer's attention is to look at bug reports they have created. Github makes it easy to see complaints or bug reports they have made about their own projects or other projects they depend on. Another way to do this is to search through their code for strings like FIXME and TODO. Projects with standalone bug trackers like the Debian bug tracker also provide an easy way to search for bug reports that a specific person has created or commented on. Once you find some relevant bug reports, email the developer. Ask if anybody else is working on those issues. Try and start with an issue that is particularly easy and where the solution is interesting for you. This will help you learn to compile and test the program before you try to fix any more complicated bugs. It may even be something you can work on as part of your academic program. Find successful projects from the previous year Contact organizations and ask them which GSoC projects were most successful. In many organizations, you can find the past students' project plans and their final reports published on the web. Read through the plans submitted by the students who were chosen. Then read through the final reports by the same students and see how they compare to the original plans. Start building your project proposal now Don't wait for the application period to begin. Start writing a project proposal now. When writing a proposal, it is important to include several things:
  • Think big: what is the goal at the end of the project? Does your work help the greater good in some way, such as increasing the market share of Linux on the desktop?
  • Details: what are specific challenges? What tools will you use?
  • Time management: what will you do each week? Are there weeks where you will not work on GSoC due to vacation or other events? These things are permitted but they must be in your plan if you know them in advance. If an accident or death in the family cut a week out of your GSoC project, which work would you skip and would your project still be useful without that? Having two weeks of flexible time in your plan makes it more resilient against interruptions.
  • Communication: are you on mailing lists, IRC and XMPP chat? Will you make a weekly report on your blog?
  • Users: who will benefit from your work?
  • Testing: who will test and validate your work throughout the project? Ideally, this should involve more than just the mentor.
If your project plan is good enough, could you put it on Kickstarter or another crowdfunding site? This is a good test of whether or not a project is going to be supported by a GSoC mentor. Learn about packaging and distributing software Packaging is a vital part of the free software lifecycle. It is very easy to upload a project to Github but it takes more effort to have it become an official package in systems like Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu. Packaging and the communities around Linux distributions help you reach out to users of your software and get valuable feedback and new contributors. This boosts the impact of your work. To start with, you may want to help the maintainer of an existing package. Debian packaging teams are existing communities that work in a team and welcome new contributors. The Debian Mentors initiative is another great starting place. In the Fedora world, the place to start may be in one of the Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Think from the mentor's perspective After the application deadline, mentors have just 2 or 3 weeks to choose the students. This is actually not a lot of time to be certain if a particular student is capable of completing a project. If the student has a published history of free software activity, the mentor feels a lot more confident about choosing the student. Some mentors have more than one good student while other mentors receive no applications from capable students. In this situation, it is very common for mentors to send each other details of students who may be suitable. Once again, if a student has a good Github profile and a blog, it is much easier for mentors to try and match that student with another project. GSoC logo generic Conclusion Getting into the world of software engineering is much like joining any other profession or even joining a new hobby or sporting activity. If you run, you probably have various types of shoe and a running watch and you may even spend a couple of nights at the track each week. If you enjoy playing a musical instrument, you probably have a collection of sheet music, accessories for your instrument and you may even aspire to build a recording studio in your garage (or you probably know somebody else who already did that). The things listed on this page will not just help you walk the walk and talk the talk of a software developer, they will put you on a track to being one of the leaders. If you look over the profiles of other software developers on the Internet, you will find they are doing most of the things on this page already. Even if you are not selected for GSoC at all or decide not to apply, working through the steps on this page will help you clarify your own ideas about your career and help you make new friends in the software engineering community.

19 July 2015

Gregor Herrmann: RC bugs 2015/17-29

after the release is before the release. or: long time no RC bug report. after the jessie release I spent most of my Debian time on work in the Debian Perl Group. we tried to get down the list of new upstream releases (from over 500 to currently 379; unfortunately the CPAN never sleeps), we were & still are busy preparing for the Perl 5.22 transition (e.g. we uploaded something between 300 & 400 packages to deal with Module::Build & CGI.pm being removed from perl core; only team-maintained packages so far), & we had a pleasant & productive sprint in Barcelona in May. & I also tried to fix some of the RC bugs in our packages which popped up over the previous months. yesterday & today I finally found some time to help with the GCC 5 transition, mostly by making QA or Non-Maintainer Uploads with patches that already were in the BTS. a big thanks especially to the team at HP which provided a couple dozens patches! & here's the list of RC bugs I've worked on in the last 3 months:

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