Search Results: "mbr"

29 April 2023

Andrew Cater: Back in Cambridge - Debian point release for Debian Bullseye due this weekend - 11.7

Back in Cambridge for a point release weekend. Lots of people turning up - it comes to something when large monitors, a desktop machine require two or three trips to the car and there's still a crate of leads to go.As ever, lots of banter - computer renovations and updates were done yesterday - if they hadn't been, I'd have had at least another expert engineer on hand.This is *definitely* the place to be rather than at the other end of an IRC chat.This is *not* the release for Debian Bookworm: that will be on June 10th/11th - likely to be the same personnel, same place. There was a release of Debian Bookworm RC2 media yesterday incorporating fixes up to date.

23 April 2023

Petter Reinholdtsen: Speech to text, she APTly whispered, how hard can it be?

While visiting a convention during Easter, it occurred to me that it would be great if I could have a digital Dictaphone with transcribing capabilities, providing me with texts to cut-n-paste into stuff I need to write. The background is that long drives often bring up the urge to write on texts I am working on, which of course is out of the question while driving. With the release of OpenAI Whisper, this seem to be within reach with Free Software, so I decided to give it a go. OpenAI Whisper is a Linux based neural network system to read in audio files and provide text representation of the speech in that audio recording. It handle multiple languages and according to its creators even can translate into a different language than the spoken one. I have not tested the latter feature. It can either use the CPU or a GPU with CUDA support. As far as I can tell, CUDA in practice limit that feature to NVidia graphics cards. I have few of those, as they do not work great with free software drivers, and have not tested the GPU option. While looking into the matter, I did discover some work to provide CUDA support on non-NVidia GPUs, and some work with the library used by Whisper to port it to other GPUs, but have not spent much time looking into GPU support yet. I've so far used an old X220 laptop as my test machine, and only transcribed using its CPU. As it from a privacy standpoint is unthinkable to use computers under control of someone else (aka a "cloud" service) to transcribe ones thoughts and personal notes, I want to run the transcribing system locally on my own computers. The only sensible approach to me is to make the effort I put into this available for any Linux user and to upload the needed packages into Debian. Looking at Debian Bookworm, I discovered that only three packages were missing, tiktoken, triton, and openai-whisper. For a while I also believed ffmpeg-python was needed, but as its upstream seem to have vanished I found it safer to rewrite whisper to stop depending on in than to introduce ffmpeg-python into Debian. I decided to place these packages under the umbrella of the Debian Deep Learning Team, which seem like the best team to look after such packages. Discussing the topic within the group also made me aware that the triton package was already a future dependency of newer versions of the torch package being planned, and would be needed after Bookworm is released. All required code packages have been now waiting in the Debian NEW queue since Wednesday, heading for Debian Experimental until Bookworm is released. An unsolved issue is how to handle the neural network models used by Whisper. The default behaviour of Whisper is to require Internet connectivity and download the model requested to ~/.cache/whisper/ on first invocation. This obviously would fail the deserted island test of free software as the Debian packages would be unusable for someone stranded with only the Debian archive and solar powered computer on a deserted island. Because of this, I would love to include the models in the Debian mirror system. This is problematic, as the models are very large files, which would put a heavy strain on the Debian mirror infrastructure around the globe. The strain would be even higher if the models change often, which luckily as far as I can tell they do not. The small model, which according to its creator is most useful for English and in my experience is not doing a great job there either, is 462 MiB (deb is 414 MiB). The medium model, which to me seem to handle English speech fairly well is 1.5 GiB (deb is 1.3 GiB) and the large model is 2.9 GiB (deb is 2.6 GiB). I would assume everyone with enough resources would prefer to use the large model for highest quality. I believe the models themselves would have to go into the non-free part of the Debian archive, as they are not really including any useful source code for updating the models. The "source", aka the model training set, according to the creators consist of "680,000 hours of multilingual and multitask supervised data collected from the web", which to me reads material with both unknown copyright terms, unavailable to the general public. In other words, the source is not available according to the Debian Free Software Guidelines and the model should be considered non-free. I asked the Debian FTP masters for advice regarding uploading a model package on their IRC channel, and based on the feedback there it is still unclear to me if such package would be accepted into the archive. In any case I wrote build rules for a OpenAI Whisper model package and modified the Whisper code base to prefer shared files under /usr/ and /var/ over user specific files in ~/.cache/whisper/ to be able to use these model packages, to prepare for such possibility. One solution might be to include only one of the models (small or medium, I guess) in the Debian archive, and ask people to download the others from the Internet. Not quite sure what to do here, and advice is most welcome (use the debian-ai mailing list). To make it easier to test the new packages while I wait for them to clear the NEW queue, I created an APT source targeting bookworm. I selected Bookworm instead of Bullseye, even though I know the latter would reach more users, is that some of the required dependencies are missing from Bullseye and I during this phase of testing did not want to backport a lot of packages just to get up and running. Here is a recipe to run as user root if you want to test OpenAI Whisper using Debian packages on your Debian Bookworm installation, first adding the APT repository GPG key to the list of trusted keys, then setting up the APT repository and finally installing the packages and one of the models:
curl \
  -o /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/pere-whisper.asc
mkdir -p /etc/apt/sources.list.d
cat > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pere-whisper.list <<EOF
deb bookworm main
deb-src bookworm main
apt update
apt install openai-whisper
The package work for me, but have not yet been tested on any other computer than my own. With it, I have been able to (badly) transcribe a 2 minute 40 second Norwegian audio clip to test using the small model. This took 11 minutes and around 2.2 GiB of RAM. Transcribing the same file with the medium model gave a accurate text in 77 minutes using around 5.2 GiB of RAM. My test machine had too little memory to test the large model, which I believe require 11 GiB of RAM. In short, this now work for me using Debian packages, and I hope it will for you and everyone else once the packages enter Debian. Now I can start on the audio recording part of this project. As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

10 April 2023

Gunnar Wolf: Twenty years

Twenty years A seemingly big, very round number, at least for me. I can recall several very well-known songs mentioning this timespan: A quick Internet search yields many more And yes, in human terms 20 years is quite a big deal. And, of course, I have been long waiting for the right time to write this post. Because twenty years ago, I got the mail. Of course, the mail notifying me I had successfully finished my NM process and, as of April 2003, could consider myself to be a full-fledged Debian Project member. Maybe by sheer chance it was today also that we spent the evening at Max s house I never worked directly with Max, but we both worked at Universidad Pedag gica Nacional at the same time back then. But Of course, a single twentyversary is not enough! I don t have the exact date, but I guess I might be off by some two or three months due to other things I remember from back then. This year, I am forty years old as an Emacs and TeX user! Back in 1983, on Friday nights, I went with my father to IIMAS (where I m currently adscribed to as a PhD student, and where he was a researcher between 1971 and the mid-1990s) and used the computer one of the two big computers they had in the Institute. And what could a seven-year-old boy do? Of course use the programs this great Foonly F2 system had. Emacs and TeX (this is still before LaTeX). 40 years And I still use the same base tools for my daily work, day in, day out.

9 April 2023

Marco d'Itri: Installing Debian 12 on a Banana Pi M5

I recently bought a Banana Pi BPI-M5, which uses the Amlogic S905X3 SoC: these are my notes about installing Debian on it. While this SoC is supported by the upstream U-Boot it is not supported by the Debian U-Boot package, so debian-installer does not work. Do not be fooled by seeing the DTB file for this exact board being distributed with debian-installer: all DTB files are, and it does not mean that the board is supposed to work. As I documented in #1033504, the Debian kernels are currently missing some patches needed to support the SD card reader. I started by downloading an Armbian Banana Pi image and booted it from an SD card. From there I partitioned the eMMC, which always appears as /dev/mmcblk1:
parted /dev/mmcblk1
(parted) mklabel msdos
(parted) mkpart primary ext4 4194304B -1
(parted) align-check optimal 1
mkfs.ext4 /dev/mmcblk1p1
Make sure to leave enough space before the first partition, or else U-Boot will overwrite it: as it is common for many ARM SoCs, U-Boot lives somewhere in the gap between the MBR and the first partition. I looked at Armbian's /usr/lib/u-boot/ and installed U-Boot by manually copying it to the eMMC:
dd if=/usr/lib/linux-u-boot-edge-bananapim5_22.08.6_arm64/u-boot.bin of=/dev/mmcblk1 bs=1 count=442
dd if=/usr/lib/linux-u-boot-edge-bananapim5_22.08.6_arm64/u-boot.bin of=/dev/mmcblk1 bs=512 skip=1 seek=1
Beware: Armbian's U-Boot 2022.10 is buggy, so I had to use an older image. I did not want to install a new system, so I copied over my old Cubieboard install:
mount /dev/mmcblk1p1 /mnt/
rsync -xaHSAX --delete --numeric-ids root@old-server:/ /mnt/ --exclude='/tmp/*' --exclude='/var/tmp/*'
Since the Cubieboard has a 32 bit CPU and the Banana Pi requires an arm64 kernel I enabled the architecture and installed a new kernel:
dpkg --add-architecture arm64
apt update
apt install linux-image-arm64
apt purge linux-image-6.1.0-6-armmp linux-image-armmp
At some point I will cross-grade the entire system. Even if ttyS0 exists it is not the serial console, which appears as ttyAML0 instead. Nowadays systemd automatically start a getty if the serial console is enabled on the kernel command line, so I just had to disable the old manually-configured getty:
systemctl disable serial-getty@ttyS0.service
I wanted to have a fully working flash-kernel, so I used Armbian's boot.scr as a template to create /etc/flash-kernel/bootscript/bootscr.meson and then added a custom entry for the Banana Pi to /etc/flash-kernel/db:
Machine: Banana Pi BPI-M5
Kernel-Flavors: arm64
DTB-Id: amlogic/meson-sm1-bananapi-m5.dtb
U-Boot-Initrd-Address: 0x0
Boot-Initrd-Path: /boot/uInitrd
Boot-Initrd-Path-Version: yes
Boot-Script-Path: /boot/boot.scr
U-Boot-Script-Name: bootscr.meson
Required-Packages: u-boot-tools
All things considered I do not think that I would recommend to Debian users to buy Amlogic-based boards since there are many other better supported SoCs.

5 April 2023

Valhalla's Things: Fitting Top and Camisole

Posted on April 5, 2023
A woman wearing a simple, long sleeved, fitted white top; the fabric is somewhat transparent and the outline of a camisole can be seen. For this summer, I ve just made a nice sleeveless dress, but that doesn t mean that I m planning to go around with bare arms like, I don t know, a peasant or even somebody with no health issues, perish the thought! Instead, at the end of last season I ve bought a remnant of white ramie / viscose jersey that is a bit too transparent to be decent when worn on its own, but should still give some protection from the sun without being unconfortable in the heat, with the intent to make myself a new top. Because of the transparency I wasn t sure whether to actually use it for a top, or just to make camisoles, but with the decency preserved by the dress the choice was made: I had enough fabric for a top, a camisole and maybe something small. I already have a trusted pattern for the top and camisole, but they still had to be published, so I took care to write down instructions and take step-by-step pictures; maybe the white fabric isn t the best, but it s better than nothing, and I can still take better pictures the next time I ll do another make. They are of course on my pattern webiste: top and camisole. some fabric (the top pictured above) crunched up in a loose ball, less than 15 cm in diameter (there is a ruler for scale). Since the fabric was bought online as a remnant, I didn t exactly know what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised by how soft it is: it feels like touching a cloud. This however means that it felt like working with a cloud, and, well, let s just say I m happy that both patterns were quite simple and I didn t have to deal with fiddly bits. I was also not so pleasantly surprised by the fact that part of the fabric had a few small holes as if the end of the roll had been caught on something; I was able to cut everything around the holes, other than a small bit that I hadn t noticed and had to be mended. It s not a big deal, but I suspect it s a sign that this fabric may not be as sturdy as it could have been, and that there will be more mending in the future as I wear it. And then, when I had finished the set I was faced with another problem: taking pictures. For one thing, worn on their own they aren t exactly decent, and then there was the fact that after a week of late spring weather in March, as I was working on summer clothing the temperature dropped and there was even a hint of rain. image I solved this by wearing the new set on top of another set of fitting top and camisole, with matching leggings. Not exactly something I would wear on the regular streets, but good enough for a picture of underwear. A woman wearing a white camisole on top of black top and leggings. Still, the pictures were taken in quite a hurry, because I wasn t completely freezing, but still pretty cold. Anyway, I m off to find some other piece of summer wear to make, hoping that it will bring proper rain. :)

3 April 2023

Russ Allbery: Review: The Nordic Theory of Everything

Review: The Nordic Theory of Everything, by Anu Partanen
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: 2016
Printing: June 2017
ISBN: 0-06-231656-7
Format: Kindle
Pages: 338
Anu Partanen is a Finnish journalist who immigrated to the United States. The Nordic Theory of Everything, subtitled In Search of a Better Life, is an attempt to explain the merits of Finnish approaches to government and society to a US audience. It was her first book. If you follow US policy discussion at all, you have probably been exposed to many of the ideas in this book. There was a time when the US left was obsessed with comparisons between the US and Nordic countries, and while that obsession has faded somewhat, Nordic social systems are still discussed with envy and treated as a potential model. Many of the topics of this book are therefore predictable: parental leave, vacation, health care, education, happiness, life expectancy, all the things that are far superior in Nordic countries than in the United States by essentially every statistical measure available, and which have been much-discussed. Partanen brings two twists to this standard analysis. The first is that this book is part memoir: she fell in love with a US writer and made the decision to move to the US rather than asking him to move to Finland. She therefore experienced the transition between social and government systems first-hand and writes memorably on the resulting surprise, trade-offs, anxiety, and bafflement. The second, which I've not seen previously in this policy debate, is a fascinating argument that Finland is a far more individualistic country than the United States precisely because of its policy differences.
Most people, including myself, assumed that part of what made the United States a great country, and such an exceptional one, was that you could live your life relatively unencumbered by the downside of a traditional, old-fashioned society: dependency on the people you happened to be stuck with. In America you had the liberty to express your individuality and choose your own community. This would allow you to interact with family, neighbors, and fellow citizens on the basis of who you were, rather than on what you were obligated to do or expected to be according to old-fashioned thinking. The longer I lived in America, therefore, and the more places I visited and the more people I met and the more American I myself became the more puzzled I grew. For it was exactly those key benefits of modernity freedom, personal independence, and opportunity that seemed, from my outsider s perspective, in a thousand small ways to be surprisingly missing from American life today. Amid the anxiety and stress of people s daily lives, those grand ideals were looking more theoretical than actual.
The core of this argument is that the structure of life in the United States essentially coerces dependency on other people: employers, spouses, parents, children, and extended family. Because there is no universally available social support system, those relationships become essential for any hope of a good life, and often for survival. If parents do not heavily manage their children's education, there is a substantial risk of long-lasting damage to the stability and happiness of their life. If children do not care for their elderly parents, they may receive no care at all. Choosing not to get married often means choosing precarity and exhaustion because navigating society without pooling resources with someone else is incredibly difficult.
It was as if America, land of the Hollywood romance, was in practice mired in a premodern time when marriage was, first and foremost, not an expression of love, but rather a logistical and financial pact to help families survive by joining resources.
Partanen contrasts this with what she calls the Nordic theory of love:
What Lars Tr g rdh came to understand during his years in the United States was that the overarching ambition of Nordic societies during the course of the twentieth century, and into the twenty-first, has not been to socialize the economy at all, as is often mistakenly assumed. Rather the goal has been to free the individual from all forms of dependency within the family and in civil society: the poor from charity, wives from husbands, adult children from parents, and elderly parents from their children. The express purpose of this freedom is to allow all those human relationships to be unencumbered by ulterior motives and needs, and thus to be entirely free, completely authentic, and driven purely by love.
She sees this as the common theme through most of the policy differences discussed in this book. The Finnish approach is to provide neutral and universal logistical support for most of life's expected challenges: birth, child-rearing, education, health, unemployment, and aging. This relieves other social relations family, employer, church of the corrosive strain of dependency and obligation. It also ensures people's basic well-being isn't reliant on accidents of association.
If the United States is so worried about crushing entrepreneurship and innovation, a good place to start would be freeing start-ups and companies from the burdens of babysitting the nation s citizens.
I found this fascinating as a persuasive technique. Partanen embraces the US ideal of individualism and points out that, rather than being collectivist as the US right tends to assume, Finland is better at fostering individualism and independence because the government works to removes unnecessary premodern constraints on individual lives. The reason why so many Americans are anxious and frantic is not a personal failing or bad luck. It's because the US social system is deeply hostile to healthy relationships and individual independence. It demands a constant level of daily problem-solving and crisis management that is profoundly exhausting, nearly impossible to navigate alone, and damaging to the ideal of equal relationships. Whether this line of argument will work is another question, and I'm dubious for reasons that Partanen (probably wisely) avoids. She presents the Finnish approach as a discovery that the US would benefit from, and the US approach as a well-intentioned mistake. I think this is superficially appealing; almost all corners of US political belief at least give lip service to individualism and independence. However, advocates of political change will eventually need to address the fact that many US conservatives see this type of social coercion as an intended feature of society rather than a flaw. This is most obvious when one looks at family relationships. Partanen treats the idea that marriage should be a free choice between equals rather than an economic necessity as self-evident, but there is a significant strain of US political thought that embraces punishing people for not staying within the bounds of a conservative ideal of family. One will often find, primarily but not exclusively among the more religious, a contention that the basic unit of society is the (heterosexual, patriarchal) family, not the individual, and that the suffering of anyone outside that structure is their own fault. Not wanting to get married, be the primary caregiver for one's parents, or abandon a career in order to raise children is treated as malignant selfishness and immorality rather than a personal choice that can be enabled by a modern social system. Here, I think Partanen is accurate to identify the Finnish social system as more modern. It embraces the philosophical concept of modernity, namely that social systems can be improved and social structures are not timeless. This is going to be a hard argument to swallow for those who see the pressure towards forming dependency ties within families as natural, and societal efforts to relieve those pressures as government meddling. In that intellectual framework, rather than an attempt to improve the quality of life, government logistical support is perceived as hostility to traditional family obligations and an attempt to replace "natural" human ties with "artificial" dependence on government services. Partanen doesn't attempt to have that debate. Two other things struck me in this book. The first is that, in Partanen's presentation, Finns expect high-quality services from their government and work to improve it when it falls short. This sounds like an obvious statement, but I don't think it is in the context of US politics, and neither does Partanen. She devotes a chapter to the topic, subtitled "Go ahead: ask what your country can do for you." This is, to me, one of the most frustrating aspects of US political debate. Our attitude towards government is almost entirely hostile and negative even among the political corners that would like to see government do more. Failures of government programs are treated as malice, malfeasance, or inherent incompetence: in short, signs the program should never have been attempted, rather than opportunities to learn and improve. Finland had mediocre public schools, decided to make them better, and succeeded. The moment US public schools start deteriorating, we throw much of our effort into encouraging private competition and dismantling the public school system. Partanen doesn't draw this connection, but I see a link between the US desire for market solutions to societal problems and the level of exhaustion and anxiety that is so common in US life. Solving problems by throwing them open to competition is a way of giving up, of saying we have no idea how to improve something and are hoping someone else will figure it out for a profit. Analyzing the failures of an existing system and designing incremental improvements is hard and slow work. Throwing out the system and hoping some corporation will come up with something better is disruptive but easy. When everyone is already overwhelmed by life and devoid of energy to work on complex social problems, it's tempting to give up on compromise and coalition-building and let everyone go their separate ways on their own dime. We cede the essential work of designing a good society to start-ups. This creates a vicious cycle: the resulting market solutions are inevitably gated by wealth and thus precarious and artificially scarce, which in turn creates more anxiety and stress. The short-term energy savings from not having to wrestle with a hard problem is overwhelmed by the long-term cost of having to navigate a complex and adversarial economic relationship. That leads into the last point: schools. There's a lot of discussion here about school quality and design, which I won't review in detail but which is worth reading. What struck me about Partanen's discussion, though, is how easy the Finnish system is to use. Finnish parents just send their kids to the most convenient school and rarely give that a second thought. The critical property is that all the schools are basically fine, and therefore there is no need to place one's child in an exceptional school to ensure they have a good life. It's axiomatic in the US that more choice is better. This is a constant refrain in our political discussion around schools: parental choice, parental control, options, decisions, permission, matching children to schools tailored for their needs. Those choices are almost entirely absent in Finland, at least in Partanen's description, and the amount of mental and emotional energy this saves is astonishing. Parents simply don't think about this, and everything is fine. I think we dramatically underestimate the negative effects of constantly having to make difficult decisions with significant consequences, and drastically overstate the benefits of having every aspect of life be full of major decision points. To let go of that attempt at control, however illusory, people have to believe in a baseline of quality that makes the choice less fraught. That's precisely what Finland provides by expecting high-quality social services and working to fix them when they fall short, an effort that the United States has by and large abandoned. A lot of non-fiction books could be turned into long articles without losing much substance, and I think The Nordic Theory of Everything falls partly into that trap. Partanen repeats the same ideas from several different angles, and the book felt a bit padded towards the end. If you're already familiar with the policy comparisons between the US and Nordic countries, you will have seen a lot of this before, and the book bogs down when Partanen strays too far from memoir and personal reactions. But the focus on individualism and eliminating dependency is new, at least to me, and is such an illuminating way to look at the contrast that I think the book is worth reading just for that. Rating: 7 out of 10

28 March 2023

Mike Gabriel: UbuntuTouch Focal OTA-1 has been released

Yesterday, the UBports core developer team released Ubuntu Touch Focal OTA-1 (In fact, Raoul, Marius and I were in a conference call when Marius froze and said: the PR team already posted the release blog post; the post is out, but we haven't released yet... ahhhh... panic... Shall I?, Marius said, and we said: GO!!! This is why the release occurred in public five hours ahead of schedule. OMG.) For all the details, please study: Credits Thanks to all the developers, other contributors and funding providers that helped to reach this massive milestone. I dare to drop some names here at the risk of forgetting others (I put them in alphanumerical order): Alan, Alfred, Brian, Christoffer, Daniel, Eline, Florian, Guido, Jami, Jonathan, Kugi, Lionel, Maciek, Mardy, Marius, Mike, Nigel, Nikita, Raoul, Ratchanan, Robert, Sergey. I have been involved in the development and release process over the past four years and I feel honoured to work with so many fine and genuine people on such a unique project. It is a pleasure to work with you guys!!! Also a big thanks to the UBports Foundation and its BoD for being the umbrella organisation of all Ubuntu Touch related initiatives. Consumer-Ready Ubuntu Touch is one of the very few Open Source projects that brings fourth a 100% FLOSS phone operating system. After using Ubuntu Touch myself for several months now, I can confirm that it is a consumer grade OS that can be used by non-tech people as a daily driver for mobile communications and connectivity. Go for it and try it out.

19 March 2023

Russ Allbery: Review: Allow Me to Retort

Review: Allow Me to Retort, by Elie Mystal
Publisher: The New Press
Copyright: 2022
ISBN: 1-62097-690-0
Format: Kindle
Pages: 257
If you're familiar with Elie Mystal's previous work (writer for The Nation, previously editor for Above the Law, Twitter gadfly, and occasional talking head on news commentary programs), you'll have a good idea what to expect from this book: pointed liberal commentary, frequently developing into rants once he works up a head of steam. The subtitle of A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution tells you that the topic is US constitutional law, which is very on brand. You're going to get succinct and uncompromising opinions at the intersection of law and politics. If you agree with them, you'll probably find them funny; if you disagree with them, you'll probably find them infuriating. In other words, Elie Mystal is the sort of writer one reads less for "huh, I disagreed with you but that's a good argument" and more for "yeah, you tell 'em, Elie!" I will be very surprised if this book changes anyone's mind about a significant political debate. I'm not sure if people who disagree are even in the intended audience. I'm leery of this sort of book. Usually its function is to feed confirmation bias with some witty rejoinders and put-downs that only sound persuasive to people who already agree with them. If I want that, I can just read Twitter (and you will be unsurprised to know that Mystal has nearly 500,000 Twitter followers). This style can also be boring at book length if the author is repeating variations on a theme. There is indeed a lot of that here, particularly in the first part of this book. If you don't generally agree with Mystal already, save yourself the annoyance and avoid this like the plague. It's just going to make you mad, and I don't think you're going to get anything useful out of it. But as I got deeper into this book, I think Mystal has another, more interesting purpose that's aimed at people who do largely agree. He's trying to undermine a very common US attitude (even on the left) about the US constitution. I don't know if most people from the US (particularly if they're white and male) realize quite how insufferably smug we tend to be about the US constitution. When you grow up here, the paeans to the constitution and the Founding Fathers (always capitalized like deities) are so ubiquitous and unremarked that it's difficult not to absorb them at a subconscious level. There is a national mythology about the greatness of our charter of government that crosses most political divides. In its modern form, this comes with some acknowledgment that some of its original provisions (the notorious three-fifths of a person clause, for instance) were bad, but we subsequently fixed them and everything is good now. Nearly everyone gets taught this in school, and it's almost never challenged. Even the edifices of the US left, such as the ACLU and the NAACP, tend to wrap themselves in the constitution. It's an enlightening experience to watch someone from the US corner a European with a discussion of the US constitution and watch the European plan escape routes while their soul attempts to leave their body. And I think it's telling that having that experience, as rare as it might be given how oblivious we can be, is still more common than a white person having a frank conversation with a black person in the US about the merits of the constitution as written. For various reasons, mostly because this is not very safe for the black person, this rarely happens. This book is primarily Mystal giving his opinion on various current controversies in constitutional law, but the underlying refrain is that the constitution is a trash document written by awful people that sets up a bad political system. That system has been aggressively defended by reactionary Supreme Courts, which along with the designed difficulty of the amendment process has prevented fixing many obviously broken parts. This in turn has led to numerous informal workarounds and elaborate "interpretations" to attempt to make the system vaguely functional. In other words, Mystal is trying to tell the US reader to stop being so precious about this specific document, and is using its truly egregious treatment of black people as the main fulcrum for his argument. Along the way, he gives an abbreviated tour of the highlights of constitutional law, but if you're at all interested in politics you've probably heard most of that before. The main point, I think, is to dig up any reverence left over from a US education, haul it out into the light of day, and compare it to the obvious failures of the constitution as a body of law and the moral failings of its authors. Mystal then asks exactly why we should care about original intent or be so reluctant to change the resulting system of government. (Did I mention you should not bother with this book if you don't agree with Mystal politically? Seriously, don't do that to yourself.) Readers of my reviews will know that I'm fairly far to the left politically, particularly by US standards, and yet I found it fascinating how much lingering reverence Mystal managed to dig out of me while reading this book. I found myself getting defensive in places, which is absurd because I didn't write this document. But I grew up surrounded by nigh-universal social signaling that the US constitution was the greatest political document ever, and in a religious tradition that often argued that it was divinely inspired. If one is exposed to enough of this, it becomes part of your background understanding of the world. Sometimes it takes someone being deliberately provocative to haul it back up to the surface where it can be examined. This book is not solely a psychological intervention in national mythology. Mystal gets into detailed legal arguments as well. I thought the most interesting was the argument that the bizarre and unconvincing "penumbras" and "emanations" reasoning in Griswold v. Connecticut (which later served as the basis of Roe v. Wade) was in part because the Lochner era Supreme Court had, in the course of trying to strike down all worker protection laws, abused the concept of substantive due process so badly that Douglas was unwilling to use it in the majority opinion and instead made up entirely new law. Mystal argues that the Supreme Court should have instead tackled the true meaning of substantive due process head-on and decided Griswold on 14th Amendment equal protection and substantive due process grounds. This is probably a well-known argument in legal circles, but I'd not run into it before (and Mystal makes it far more interesting and entertaining than my summary). Mystal also joins the tradition of thinking of the Reconstruction Amendments (the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments passed after the Civil War) as a second revolution and an attempt to write a substantially new constitution on different legal principles, an attempt that subsequently failed in the face of concerted and deadly reactionary backlash. I first encountered this perspective via Jamelle Bouie, and it added a lot to my understanding of Reconstruction to see it as a political fight about the foundational principles of US government in addition to a fight over continuing racism in the US south. Maybe I was unusually ignorant of it (I know I need to read W.E.B. DuBois), but I think this line of reasoning doesn't get enough attention in popular media. Mystal provides a good introduction. But, that being said, Allow Me to Retort is more of a vibes book than an argument. As in his other writing, Mystal focuses on what he sees as the core of a controversy and doesn't sweat the details too much. I felt like he was less trying to convince me and more trying to model a different way of thinking and talking about constitutional law that isn't deferential to ideas that are not worthy of deference. He presents his own legal analysis and possible solutions to current US political challenges, but I don't think the specific policy proposals are the strong part of this book. The point, instead, is to embrace a vigorous politics based on a modern understanding of equality, democracy, and human rights, without a lingering reverence for people who mostly didn't believe in any of those things. The role of the constitution in that politics is a flawed tool rather than a sacred text. I think this book is best thought of as an internal argument in the US left. That argument is entirely within the frame of the US legal tradition, so if you're not in the US, it will be of academic interest at best (and probably not even that). If you're on the US right, Mystal offers lots of provocative pull quotes to enjoy getting outraged over, but he provides that service on Twitter for free. But if you are on the US left, I think Allow Me to Retort is worth more consideration than I'd originally given it. There's something here about how we engage with our legal history, and while Mystal's approach is messy, maybe that's the only way you can get at something that's more emotion than logic. In some places it degenerates into a Twitter rant, but Mystal is usually entertaining even when he's ranting. I'm not sorry I read it. Rating: 7 out of 10

16 March 2023

Valhalla's Things: Swiss Embroidery Princess Petticoat

Posted on March 16, 2023
a person wearing a blue sleeveless fitted dress with calf-length skirt; there are small ruffles on the armscyes and the hem, and white lace on the collar and just above the hem ruffle, and small white buttons on a partial placket down the center front. A few years ago a friend told me that her usual fabric shop was closing down and had a sale on all remaining stock. While being sad for yet another brick and mortar shop that was going to be missed (at least it was because the owners were retiring, not because it wasn t sustainable anymore), of course I couldn t miss the opportunity. So we drove a few hundred km, had some nice time with a friend that (because of said few hundred km) we rarely see, and spent a few hours looting the corps er helping the shop owner getting rid of stock before their retirement. A surprisingly small pile of fabric; everything is blue or black. Among other things there was a cut of lightweight swiss embroidery cotton in blue which may or may not have been enthusiastically grabbed with plans of victorian underwear. It was too nice to be buried under layers and layers of fabric (and I suspect that the embroidery wouldn t feel great directly on the skin under a corset), so the natural fit was something at the corset cover layer, and the fabric was enough for a combination garment of the kind often worn in the later Victorian age to prevent the accumulation of bulk at the waist. It also has the nice advantage that in this time of corrupted morals it is perfectly suitable as outerwear as a nice summer dress. Then life happened, the fabric remained in my stash for a long while, but finally this year I have a good late victorian block that I can adapt, and with spring coming it was a good time to start working on the summer wardrobe. scan from a vintage book with the pattern for a tight fitting jacket. The block I ve used comes from The Cutters Practical Guide to the Cutting of Ladies Garments and is for a jacket, rather than a bodice, but the bodice block from the same book had a 4 part back, which was too much for this garment. I reduced the ease around the bust a bit, which I believe worked just fine. The main pattern was easy enough to prepare, I just had to add skirt panels with a straight side towards the front and flaring out towards the back, and I did a quick mockup from an old sheet to check the fit (good) and the swish and volume of the skirt (just right at the first attempt!). The mockup was also used to get an idea of a few possible necklines, and I opted for a relatively deep V, and a front opening with a partial placket down to halfway between the waist and the hips. I also opted for a self-fabric ruffle at the hem and armscyes. same dress, same person, from the side, with one hand in the pocket slit. The only design choice left was the pocket situation: I wanted to wear this garment both as underwear (where pockets aren t needed, and add unwanted bulk) and outerwear (where no pockets is not an option), and the fabric felt too thin to support the weight of the contents of a full pocket. So I decided to add slits into the seams, with just a modesty placket, and wear pockets under the dress as needed. I decided to put the slits between the side and side back panels for two reasons: one is that this way the pockets can sit towards the back, where the fullness of the skirt is supposed to be, rather than under the flat front, and the other one is to keep the seams around the front panel clean, since they are the first ones to be changed when altering a garment for fit. For the same reason, I didn t trim the excess allowance from that seam: it means that it is a bit more bulky, but the fabric is thin enought that it s not really noticeable, and it gives an additional cm for future alterations. Then, as the garment was getting close to being finished I was measuring and storing some old cotton lace I had received as a gift, and there was a length of relatively small lace, and the finish on the neckline was pretty simple and called for embellishment, and who am I to deny embellishment to victorian inspired clothing? A ruffle pleated into a receiving tuck, each pleat is fixed with a pin, and there are a lot of pins. First I had to finish attaching the ruffles, however, and this is when I cursed myself for not using the ruffler foot I have (it would have meant not having selvedges on all seams of the ruffle), and for pleating the ruffle rather than gathering it (I prefer the look of handsewn gathers, but here I m sewing everything by machine, and that s faster, right? (it probably wasn t)). A metal box full of straight pins. Also, this is where I started to get low on pins, and I had to use the ones from the vintage1 box I ve been keeping as decoration in the sewing room. A few long sessions of pinning later, the ruffle was sewn and I could add the lace; I used white thread so that it would be hidden on the right side, but easily visible inside the garment in case I ll decide to remove or change it later. A few buttons and buttonholes later, the garment was ready, and the only thing left was to edit the step-by-step pictures and publish the pattern: it s now available as #FreeSoftWear on my patterns website. And Of course, I had to do a proper swish test of the finished dress with the ruffle, and I m happy to announce that it was fully passed. a person spinning on herself, the skirt and the ruffle are swishing out. Something in the pocket worn under the dress is causing a bit of bulge on one side. Except, maybe I shouldn t carry heavy items in my pockets when doing it? Oh, well. I have other plans for the same pattern, but they involve making some crochet lace, so I expect I can aim at making them wearable in summer 2024. Now I just have to wait for the weather to be a bit warmer, and then I can start enjoing this one.

  1. ok, even more vintage, since my usual pins come from a plastic box that has been probably bought in the 1980s.

7 March 2023

Robert McQueen: Flathub in 2023

It s been quite a few months since the most recent updates about Flathub last year. We ve been busy behind the scenes, so I d like to share what we ve been up to at Flathub and why and what s coming up from us this year. I want to focus on: Today Flathub is going strong: we offer 2,000 apps from over 1,500 collaborators on GitHub. We re averaging 700,000 app downloads a day, with 898 million HTTP requests totalling 88.3 TB served by our CDN each day (thank you Fastly!). Flatpak has, in my opinion, solved the largest technical issue which has held back the mainstream growth and acceptance of Linux on the desktop (or other personal computing devices) for the past 25 years: namely, the difficulty for app developers to publish their work in a way that makes it easy for people to discover, download (or sideload, for people in challenging connectivity environments), install and use. Flathub builds on that to help users discover the work of app developers and helps that work reach users in a timely manner. Initial results of this disintermediation are promising: even with its modest size so far, Flathub has hundreds of apps that I have never, ever heard of before and that s even considering I ve been working in the Linux desktop space for nearly 20 years and spent many of those staring at the contents of dselect (showing my age a little) or GNOME Software, attending conferences, and reading blog posts, news articles, and forums. I am also heartened to see that many of our OS distributor partners have recognised that this model is hugely complementary and additive to the indispensable work they are doing to bring the Linux desktop to end users, and that having more apps available to your users is a value-add allowing you to focus on your core offering and not a zero-sum game that should motivate infighting. Ongoing Progress Getting Flathub into its current state has been a long ongoing process. Here s what we ve been up to behind the scenes: Development Last year, we concluded our first engagement with Codethink to build features into the Flathub web app to move from a build service to an app store. That includes accounts for users and developers, payment processing via Stripe, and the ability for developers to manage upload tokens for the apps they control. In parallel, James Westman has been working on app verification and the corresponding features in flat-manager to ensure app metadata accurately reflects verification and pricing, and to provide authentication for paying users for app downloads when the developer enables it. Only verified developers will be able to make direct uploads or access payment settings for their apps. Legal So far, the GNOME Foundation has acted as an incubator and legal host for Flathub even though it s not purely a GNOME product or initiative. Distributing software to end users along with processing and forwarding payments and donations also has a different legal profile in terms of risk exposure and nonprofit compliance than the current activities of the GNOME Foundation. Consequently, we plan to establish an independent legal entity to own and operate Flathub which reduces risk for the GNOME Foundation, better reflects the independent and cross-desktop interests of Flathub, and provides flexibility in the future should we need to change the structure. We re currently in the process of reviewing legal advice to ensure we have the right structure in place before moving forward. Governance As Flathub is something we want to set outside of the existing Linux desktop and distribution space and ensure we represent and serve the widest community of Linux users and developers we ve been working on a governance model that ensures that there is transparency and trust in who is making decisions, and why. We have set up a working group with myself and Mart n Abente Lahaye from GNOME, Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Neofytos Kolokotronis, and Timoth e Ravier from KDE, and Jorge Castro flying the flag for the Flathub community. Thanks also to Neil McGovern and Nick Richards who were also more involved in the process earlier on. We don t want to get held up here creating something complex with memberships and elections, so at first we re going to come up with a simple/balanced way to appoint people into a board that makes key decisions about Flathub and iterate from there. Funding We have received one grant for 2023 of $100K from Endless Network which will go towards the infrastructure, legal, and operations costs of running Flathub and setting up the structure described above. (Full disclosure: Endless Network is the umbrella organisation which also funds my employer, Endless OS Foundation.) I am hoping to grow the available funding to $250K for this year in order to cover the next round of development on the software, prepare for higher operations costs (e.g., accounting gets more complex), and bring in a second full-time staff member in addition to Bart omiej Piotrowski to handle enquiries, reviews, documentation, and partner outreach. We re currently in discussions with NLnet about funding further software development, but have been unfortunately turned down for a grant from the Plaintext Group for this year; this Schmidt Futures project around OSS sustainability is not currently issuing grants in 2023. However, we continue to work on other funding opportunities. Remaining Barriers My personal hypothesis is that our largest remaining barrier to Linux desktop scale and impact is economic. On competing platforms mobile or desktop a developer can offer their work for sale via an app store or direct download with payment or subscription within hours of making a release. While we have taken the time to first download time down from months to days with Flathub, as a community we continue to have a challenging relationship with money. Some creators are lucky enough to have a full-time job within the FLOSS space, while a few superstar developers are able to nurture some level of financial support by investing time in building a following through streaming, Patreon, Kickstarter, or similar. However, a large proportion of us have to make do with the main payback from our labours being a stream of bug reports on GitHub interspersed with occasional conciliatory beers at FOSDEM (other beverages and events are available). The first and most obvious consequence is that if there is no financial payback for participating in developing apps for the free and open source desktop, we will lose many people in the process despite the amazing achievements of those who have brought us to where we are today. As a result, we ll have far fewer developers and apps. If we can t offer access to a growing base of users or the opportunity to offer something of monetary value to them, the reward in terms of adoption and possible payment will be very small. Developers would be forgiven for taking their time and attention elsewhere. With fewer apps, our platform has less to entice and retain prospective users. The second consequence is that this also represents a significant hurdle for diverse and inclusive participation. We essentially require that somebody is in a position of privilege and comfort that they have internet, power, time, and income not to mention childcare, etc. to spare so that they can take part. If that s not the case for somebody, we are leaving them shut out from our community before they even have a chance to start. My belief is that free and open source software represents a better way for people to access computing, and there are billions of people in the world we should hope to reach with our work. But if the mechanism for participation ensures their voices and needs are never represented in our community of creators, we are significantly less likely to understand and meet those needs. While these are my thoughts, you ll notice a strong theme to this year will be leading a consultation process to ensure that we are including, understanding and reflecting the needs of our different communities app creators, OS distributors and Linux users as I don t believe that our initiative will be successful without ensuring mutual benefit and shared success. Ultimately, no matter how beautiful, performant, or featureful the latest versions of the Plasma or GNOME desktops are, or how slick the newly rewritten installer is from your favourite distribution, all of the projects making up the Linux desktop ecosystem are subdividing between ourselves an absolutely tiny market share of the global market of personal computers. To make a bigger mark on the world, as a community, we need to get out more. What s Next? After identifying our major barriers to overcome, we ve planned a number of focused initiatives and restructuring this year: Phased Deployment We re working on deploying the work we have been doing over the past year, starting first with launching the new Flathub web experience as well as the rebrand that Jakub has been talking about on his blog. This also will finally launch the verification features so we can distinguish those apps which are uploaded by their developers. In parallel, we ll also be able to turn on the Flatpak repo subsets that enable users to select only verified and/or FLOSS apps in the Flatpak CLI or their desktop s app center UI. Consultation We would like to make sure that the voices of app creators, OS distributors, and Linux users are reflected in our plans for 2023 and beyond. We will be launching this in the form of Flathub Focus Groups at the Linux App Summit in Brno in May 2023, followed up with surveys and other opportunities for online participation. We see our role as interconnecting communities and want to be sure that we remain transparent and accountable to those we are seeking to empower with our work. Whilst we are being bold and ambitious with what we are trying to create for the Linux desktop community, we also want to make sure we provide the right forums to listen to the FLOSS community and prioritise our work accordingly. Advisory Board As we build the Flathub organisation up in 2023, we re also planning to expand its governance by creating an Advisory Board. We will establish an ongoing forum with different stakeholders around Flathub: OS vendors, hardware integrators, app developers and user representatives to help us create the Flathub that supports and promotes our mutually shared interests in a strong and healthy Linux desktop community. Direct Uploads Direct app uploads are close to ready, and they enable exciting stuff like allowing Electron apps to be built outside of flatpak-builder, or driving automatic Flathub uploads from GitHub actions or GitLab CI flows; however, we need to think a little about how we encourage these to be used. Even with its frustrations, our current Buildbot ensures that the build logs and source versions of each app on Flathub are captured, and that the apps are built on all supported architectures. (Is 2023 when we add RISC-V? Reach out if you d like to help!). If we hand upload tokens out to any developer, even if the majority of apps are open source, we will go from this relatively structured situation to something a lot more unstructured and we fear many apps will be available on only 64-bit Intel/AMD machines. My sketch here is that we need to establish some best practices around how to integrate Flathub uploads into popular CI systems, encouraging best practices so that we promote the properties of transparency and reproducibility that we don t want to lose. If anyone is a CI wizard and would like to work with us as a thought partner about how we can achieve this make it more flexible where and how build tasks can be hosted, but not lose these cross-platform and inspectability properties we d love to hear from you. Donations and Payments Once the work around legal and governance reaches a decent point, we will be in the position to move ahead with our Stripe setup and switch on the third big new feature in the Flathub web app. At present, we have already implemented support for one-off payments either as donations or a required purchase. We would like to go further than that, in line with what we were describing earlier about helping developers sustainably work on apps for our ecosystem: we would also like to enable developers to offer subscriptions. This will allow us to create a relationship between users and creators that funds ongoing work rather than what we already have. Security For Flathub to succeed, we need to make sure that as we grow, we continue to be a platform that can give users confidence in the quality and security of the apps we offer. To that end, we are planning to set up infrastructure to help ensure developers are shipping the best products they possibly can to users. For example, we d like to set up automated linting and security scanning on the Flathub back-end to help developers avoid bad practices, unnecessary sandbox permissions, outdated dependencies, etc. and to keep users informed and as secure as possible. Sponsorship Fundraising is a forever task as is running such a big and growing service. We hope that one day, we can cover our costs through some modest fees built into our payments but until we reach that point, we re going to be seeking a combination of grant funding and sponsorship to keep our roadmap moving. Our hope is very much that we can encourage different organisations that buy into our vision and will benefit from Flathub to help us support it and ensure we can deliver on our goals. If you have any suggestions of who might like to support Flathub, we would be very appreciative if you could reach out and get us in touch. Finally, Thank You! Thanks to you all for reading this far and supporting the work of Flathub, and also to our major sponsors and donors without whom Flathub could not exist: GNOME Foundation, KDE e.V., Mythic Beasts, Endless Network, Fastly, and Equinix Metal via the CNCF Community Cluster. Thanks also to the tireless work of the Freedesktop SDK community to give us the runtime platform most Flatpaks depend on, particularly Seppo Yli-Olli, Codethink and others. I wanted to also give my personal thanks to a handful of dedicated people who keep Flathub working as a service and as a community: Bart omiej Piotrowski is keeping the infrastructure working essentially single-handedly (in his spare time from keeping everything running at GNOME); Kolja Lampe and Bart built the new web app and backend API for Flathub which all of the new functionality has been built on, and Filippe LeMarchand maintains the checker bot which helps keeps all of the Flatpaks up to date. And finally, all of the submissions to Flathub are reviewed to ensure quality, consistency and security by a small dedicated team of reviewers, with a huge amount of work from Hubert Figui re and Bart to keep the submissions flowing. Thanks to everyone named or unnamed for building this vision of the future of the Linux desktop together with us. (originally posted to Flathub Discourse, head there if you have any questions or comments)

25 February 2023

Petter Reinholdtsen: OpenSnitch available in Debian Sid and Bookworm

Thanks to the efforts of the OpenSnitch lead developer Gustavo I iguez Goya allowing me to sponsor the upload, the interactive application firewall OpenSnitch is now available in Debian Testing, soon to become the next stable release of Debian. This is a package which set up a network firewall on one or more machines, which is controlled by a graphical user interface that will ask the user if a program should be allowed to connect to the local network or the Internet. If some background daemon is trying to dial home, it can be blocked from doing so with a simple mouse click, or by default simply by not doing anything when the GUI question dialog pop up. A list of all programs discovered using the network is provided in the GUI, giving the user an overview of how the machine(s) programs use the network. OpenSnitch was uploaded for NEW processing about a month ago, and I had little hope of it getting accepted and shaping up in time for the package freeze, but the Debian ftpmasters proved to be amazingly quick at checking out the package and it was accepted into the archive about week after the first upload. It is now team maintained under the Go language team umbrella. A few fixes to the default setup is only in Sid, and should migrate to Testing/Bookworm in a week. During testing I ran into an issue with Minecraft server broadcasts disappearing, which was quickly resolved by the developer with a patch and a proposed configuration change. I've been told this was caused by the Debian packages default use if /proc/ information to track down kernel status, instead of the newer eBPF module that can be used. The reason is simply that upstream and I have failed to find a way to build the eBPF modules for OpenSnitch without a complete configured Linux kernel source tree, which as far as we can tell is unavailable as a build dependency in Debian. We tried unsuccessfully so far to use the kernel-headers package. It would be great if someone could provide some clues how to build eBPF modules on build daemons in Debian, possibly without the full kernel source. As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

24 February 2023

Scarlett Gately Moore: Snowstorms, Kittens and Shattered dreams

Icy morning Witch Wells AzIcy morning Witch Wells Az
Long ago I applied for my dream job at a company I have wanted to wok for since its beginning and I wasn t ready technically. Fast forward to now, I am ready! A big thank you goes out to Blue Systems for that. So I go out and find the perfect role and start the application process. The process was months long, but was going very well, the interviews and I passed the technical with flying colors. I got to the end where the hiring lead told me he was submitting my offer I was so excited, so much so, I told my husband and parents I got the job! I know, I jinxed myself there. Soon I receive the There was a problem .. One obscure assessment called GIA came back not so good. I remember that day, we were in the middle of a long series of winter storms and I when I took the test, my kitten decided right then it was me time. I couldn t very well throw her out into the snowstorm, so I continued on the best I could. It is my fault, it clearly states to be distraction free. So I speak again to the hiring lead and we both feel with my experience and technical knowledge and abilities we can still move forward. I still had hope. After some time passes, I asked for an update and got the dreaded rejection. I am told it wasn t just the GIA, but that I am not a good overall fit for the company. In one fell swoop my dreams are dashed and final, for this and all roles within that company. I wasn t given a reason either. I am devastated, heart broken, and shocked. I get along with everyone, I exceed the technical requirements, and I work well in the community. Dream door closed. I will not let this get me down. I am moving on. I will find my place where I fit in . With that said, I no longer have the will, passion, or drive to work on snaps anymore. I will leave instructions with Jonathon as to what needs to be done to move forward. The good news is my core22 kde-neon extension was merged into upstream snapcraft, so whomever takes over will have a much easier time knocking them out. @kubuntu-council I will do whatever it takes to pay back the money for the hardware you provided me to do snaps, I am truly sorry about this. What does my future hold? I will still continue with my Debian efforts. In fact, I have ventured out from the KDE umbrella and joined the go-team. I am finalizing my packaging for and it s dependencies: roff, mango, mango-kong. I had my first golang patch for a failing test and have submitted it upstream. I will upload these to experimental while the freeze is on. I will be moving all the libraries in the mycroft team to the python umbrella as they are useful for other things and mycroft is no more. During the holidays I was tinkering around with selenium UI testing and stumbled on some accessibility issues within KDE, so I think this is a good place for me to dive into for my KDE contributions. I have been approached to collaborate with OpenOS on a few things, time permitting I will see what I can do there. I have a possible gig to do some websites, while I move forward in my job hunt. I will not give up! I will find my place where I fit in . Meanwhile, I must ask for donations to get us by. Anything helps, thank you for your consideration.

5 February 2023

Mike Gabriel: Call for translations: Lomiri / Ubuntu Touch 20.04

Prologue For over a year now, Fre(i)e Software GmbH (my company) is involved in Ubuntu Touch development. The development effort currently is handled by a mix of paid and voluntary developers/contributors under the umbrella of the UBports Foundation. We are approaching the official first release of Ubuntu Touch 20.04 with rapid pace. And, if you are a non-Englisch native speaker, we'd like to ask you for help... Read below. light+love
Mike (aka sunweaver at, Mastodon, IRC, etc.) Internationalization (i18n) of Ubuntu Touch 20.04 The UBports team has moved most of the translation workflows for localizing Ubuntu Touch over to Hosted Weblate: To contribute to the UBports projects you need to register here: The localization platform of all UBports / Lomiri components is sponsored by Hosted Weblate via their free hosting plan for Libre and Open Source Projects. Many thanks for providing this service. Translating Lomiri The translation components in the Lomiri project have already been set up and are ready for being updated by translators. Please expect some translation template changes for all those components to occur in the near future, but this should not hinder you from starting translation work right away. Translating Lomiri will bring the best i18n experience to Ubuntu Touch 20.04 end users for the core libraries and the pre-installed (so called) Core Apps. Translating Ubuntu Touch Apps For App Developers (apps that are not among the Core Apps) we will now offer a translation slot under the UBports project on If you are actively maintaining an Ubuntu Touch app, please ask for a translation component slot on and we will set up your app's translation workflow for and with you. Using the translation service at Hosted Weblate is not a must for app developers, it's rather a service we offer to ease i18n work on Ubuntu Touch apps. Who to contact? To get translations for your app set up on Hosted Weblate, please get in touch with us on, please highlight @sunweaver (Mike Gabriel), @BetaBreak (Raoul Kramer), @cibersheep and @Danfro with your request.

30 December 2022

Chris Lamb: Favourite books of 2022: Non-fiction

In my three most recent posts, I went over the memoirs and biographies, classics and fiction books that I enjoyed the most in 2022. But in the last of my book-related posts for 2022, I'll be going over my favourite works of non-fiction. Books that just missed the cut here include Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost (1998) on the role of Leopold II of Belgium in the Congo Free State, Johann Hari's Stolen Focus (2022) (a personal memoir on relating to how technology is increasingly fragmenting our attention), Amia Srinivasan's The Right to Sex (2021) (a misleadingly named set of philosophic essays on feminism), Dana Heller et al.'s The Selling of 9/11: How a National Tragedy Became a Commodity (2005), John Berger's mindbending Ways of Seeing (1972) and Louise Richardson's What Terrorists Want (2006).

The Great War and Modern Memory (1975)
Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War (1989) Paul Fussell Rather than describe the battles, weapons, geopolitics or big personalities of the two World Wars, Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory & Wartime are focused instead on how the two wars have been remembered by their everyday participants. Drawing on the memoirs and memories of soldiers and civilians along with a brief comparison with the actual events that shaped them, Fussell's two books are a compassionate, insightful and moving piece of analysis. Fussell primarily sets himself against the admixture of nostalgia and trauma that obscures the origins and unimaginable experience of participating in these wars; two wars that were, in his view, a "perceptual and rhetorical scandal from which total recovery is unlikely." He takes particular aim at the dishonesty of hindsight:
For the past fifty years, the Allied war has been sanitised and romanticised almost beyond recognition by the sentimental, the loony patriotic, the ignorant and the bloodthirsty. I have tried to balance the scales. [And] in unbombed America especially, the meaning of the war [seems] inaccessible.
The author does not engage in any of the customary rose-tinted view of war, yet he remains understanding and compassionate towards those who try to locate a reason within what was quite often senseless barbarism. If anything, his despondency and pessimism about the Second World War (the war that Fussell himself fought in) shines through quite acutely, and this is especially the case in what he chooses to quote from others:
"It was common [ ] throughout the [Okinawa] campaign for replacements to get hit before we even knew their names. They came up confused, frightened, and hopeful, got wounded or killed, and went right back to the rear on the route by which they had come, shocked, bleeding, or stiff. They were forlorn figures coming up to the meat grinder and going right back out of it like homeless waifs, unknown and faceless to us, like unread books on a shelf."
It would take a rather heartless reader to fail to be sobered by this final simile, and an even colder one to view Fussell's citation of such an emotive anecdote to be manipulative. Still, stories and cruel ironies like this one infuse this often-angry book, but it is not without astute and shrewd analysis as well, especially on the many qualitative differences between the two conflicts that simply cannot be captured by facts and figures alone. For example:
A measure of the psychological distance of the Second [World] War from the First is the rarity, in 1914 1918, of drinking and drunkenness poems.
Indeed so. In fact, what makes Fussell's project so compelling and perhaps even unique is that he uses these non-quantitive measures to try and take stock of what happened. After all, this was a war conducted by humans, not the abstract school of statistics. And what is the value of a list of armaments destroyed by such-and-such a regiment when compared with truly consequential insights into both how the war affected, say, the psychology of postwar literature ("Prolonged trench warfare, whether enacted or remembered, fosters paranoid melodrama, which I take to be a primary mode in modern writing."), the specific words adopted by combatants ("It is a truism of military propaganda that monosyllabic enemies are easier to despise than others") as well as the very grammar of interaction:
The Field Service Post Card [in WW1] has the honour of being the first widespread exemplary of that kind of document which uniquely characterises the modern world: the "Form". [And] as the first widely known example of dehumanised, automated communication, the post card popularised a mode of rhetoric indispensable to the conduct of later wars fought by great faceless conscripted armies.
And this wouldn't be a book review without argument-ending observations that:
Indicative of the German wartime conception [of victory] would be Hitler and Speer's elaborate plans for the ultimate reconstruction of Berlin, which made no provision for a library.
Our myths about the two world wars possess an undisputed power, in part because they contain an essential truth the atrocities committed by Germany and its allies were not merely extreme or revolting, but their full dimensions (embodied in the Holocaust and the Holodomor) remain essentially inaccessible within our current ideological framework. Yet the two wars are better understood as an abyss in which we were all dragged into the depths of moral depravity, rather than a battle pitched by the forces of light against the forces of darkness. Fussell is one of the few observers that can truly accept and understand this truth and is still able to speak to us cogently on the topic from the vantage point of experience. The Second World War which looms so large in our contemporary understanding of the modern world (see below) may have been necessary and unavoidable, but Fussell convinces his reader that it was morally complicated "beyond the power of any literary or philosophic analysis to suggest," and that the only way to maintain a na ve belief in the myth that these wars were a Manichaean fight between good and evil is to overlook reality. There are many texts on the two World Wars that can either stir the intellect or move the emotions, but Fussell's two books do both. A uniquely perceptive and intelligent commentary; outstanding.

Longitude (1995) Dava Sobel Since Man first decided to sail the oceans, knowing one's location has always been critical. Yet doing so reliably used to be a serious problem if you didn't know where you were, you are far more likely to die and/or lose your valuable cargo. But whilst finding one's latitude (ie. your north south position) had effectively been solved by the beginning of the 17th century, finding one's (east west) longitude was far from trustworthy in comparison. This book first published in 1995 is therefore something of an anachronism. As in, we readily use the GPS facilities of our phones today without hesitation, so we find it difficult to imagine a reality in which knowing something fundamental like your own location is essentially unthinkable. It became clear in the 18th century, though, that in order to accurately determine one's longitude, what you actually needed was an accurate clock. In Longitude, therefore, we read of the remarkable story of John Harrison and his quest to create a timepiece that would not only keep time during a long sea voyage but would survive the rough ocean conditions as well. Self-educated and a carpenter by trade, Harrison made a number of important breakthroughs in keeping accurate time at sea, and Longitude describes his novel breakthroughs in a way that is both engaging and without talking down to the reader. Still, this book covers much more than that, including the development of accurate longitude going hand-in-hand with advancements in cartography as well as in scientific experiments to determine the speed of light: experiments that led to the formulation of quantum mechanics. It also outlines the work being done by Harrison's competitors. 'Competitors' is indeed the correct word here, as Parliament offered a huge prize to whoever could create such a device, and the ramifications of this tremendous financial incentive are an essential part of this story. For the most part, though, Longitude sticks to the story of Harrison and his evolving obsession with his creating the perfect timepiece. Indeed, one reason that Longitude is so resonant with readers is that many of the tropes of the archetypical 'English inventor' are embedded within Harrison himself. That is to say, here is a self-made man pushing against the establishment of the time, with his groundbreaking ideas being underappreciated in his life, or dishonestly purloined by his intellectual inferiors. At the level of allegory, then, I am minded to interpret this portrait of Harrison as a symbolic distillation of postwar Britain a nation acutely embarrassed by the loss of the Empire that is now repositioning itself as a resourceful but plucky underdog; a country that, with a combination of the brains of boffins and a healthy dose of charisma and PR, can still keep up with the big boys. (It is this same search for postimperial meaning I find in the fiction of John le Carr , and, far more famously, in the James Bond franchise.) All of this is left to the reader, of course, as what makes Longitute singularly compelling is its gentle manner and tone. Indeed, at times it was as if the doyenne of sci-fi Ursula K. LeGuin had a sideline in popular non-fiction. I realise it's a mark of critical distinction to downgrade the importance of popular science in favour of erudite academic texts, but Latitude is ample evidence that so-called 'pop' science need not be patronising or reductive at all.

Closed Chambers: The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court (1998) Edward Lazarus After the landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in *Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that ended the Constitutional right to abortion conferred by Roe v Wade, I prioritised a few books in the queue about the judicial branch of the United States. One of these books was Closed Chambers, which attempts to assay, according to its subtitle, "The Rise, Fall and Future of the Modern Supreme Court". This book is not merely simply a learned guide to the history and functioning of the Court (although it is completely creditable in this respect); it's actually an 'insider' view of the workings of the institution as Lazurus was a clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun during the October term of 1988. Lazarus has therefore combined his experience as a clerk and his personal reflections (along with a substantial body of subsequent research) in order to communicate the collapse in comity between the Justices. Part of this book is therefore a pure history of the Court, detailing its important nineteenth-century judgements (such as Dred Scott which ruled that the Constitution did not consider Blacks to be citizens; and Plessy v. Ferguson which failed to find protection in the Constitution against racial segregation laws), as well as many twentieth-century cases that touch on the rather technical principle of substantive due process. Other layers of Lazurus' book are explicitly opinionated, however, and they capture the author's assessment of the Court's actions in the past and present [1998] day. Given the role in which he served at the Court, particular attention is given by Lazarus to the function of its clerks. These are revealed as being far more than the mere amanuenses they were hitherto believed to be. Indeed, the book is potentially unique in its the claim that the clerks have played a pivotal role in the deliberations, machinations and eventual rulings of the Court. By implication, then, the clerks have plaedy a crucial role in the internal controversies that surround many of the high-profile Supreme Court decisions decisions that, to the outsider at least, are presented as disinterested interpretations of Constitution of the United States. This is of especial importance given that, to Lazarus, "for all the attention we now pay to it, the Court remains shrouded in confusion and misunderstanding." Throughout his book, Lazarus complicates the commonplace view that the Court is divided into two simple right vs. left political factions, and instead documents an ever-evolving series of loosely held but strongly felt series of cabals, quid pro quo exchanges, outright equivocation and pure personal prejudices. (The age and concomitant illnesses of the Justices also appears to have a not insignificant effect on the Court's rulings as well.) In other words, Closed Chambers is not a book that will be read in a typical civics class in America, and the only time the book resorts to the customary breathless rhetoric about the US federal government is in its opening chapter:
The Court itself, a Greek-style temple commanding the crest of Capitol Hill, loomed above them in the dim light of the storm. Set atop a broad marble plaza and thirty-six steps, the Court stands in splendid isolation appropriate to its place at the pinnacle of the national judiciary, one of the three independent and "coequal" branches of American government. Once dubbed the Ivory Tower by architecture critics, the Court has a Corinthian colonnade and massive twenty-foot-high bronze doors that guard the single most powerful judicial institution in the Western world. Lights still shone in several offices to the right of the Court's entrance, and [ ]
Et cetera, et cetera. But, of course, this encomium to the inherent 'nobility' of the Supreme Court is quickly revealed to be a narrative foil, as Lazarus soon razes this dangerously na ve conception to the ground:
[The] institution is [now] broken into unyielding factions that have largely given up on a meaningful exchange of their respective views or, for that matter, a meaningful explication or defense of their own views. It is of Justices who in many important cases resort to transparently deceitful and hypocritical arguments and factual distortions as they discard judicial philosophy and consistent interpretation in favor of bottom-line results. This is a Court so badly splintered, yet so intent on lawmaking, that shifting 5-4 majorities, or even mere pluralities, rewrite whole swaths of constitutional law on the authority of a single, often idiosyncratic vote. It is also a Court where Justices yield great and excessive power to immature, ideologically driven clerks, who in turn use that power to manipulate their bosses and the institution they ostensibly serve.
Lazurus does not put forward a single, overarching thesis, but in the final chapters, he does suggest a potential future for the Court:
In the short run, the cure for what ails the Court lies solely with the Justices. It is their duty, under the shield of life tenure, to recognize the pathologies affecting their work and to restore the vitality of American constitutionalism. Ultimately, though, the long-term health of the Court depends on our own resolve on whom [we] select to join that institution.
Back in 1998, Lazurus might have had room for this qualified optimism. But from the vantage point of 2022, it appears that the "resolve" of the United States citizenry was not muscular enough to meet his challenge. After all, Lazurus was writing before Bush v. Gore in 2000, which arrogated to the judicial branch the ability to decide a presidential election; the disillusionment of Barack Obama's failure to nominate a replacement for Scalia; and many other missteps in the Court as well. All of which have now been compounded by the Trump administration's appointment of three Republican-friendly justices to the Court, including hypocritically appointing Justice Barrett a mere 38 days before the 2020 election. And, of course, the leaking and ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, the true extent of which has not been yet. Not of a bit of this is Lazarus' fault, of course, but the Court's recent decisions (as well as the liberal hagiographies of 'RBG') most perforce affect one's reading of the concluding chapters. The other slight defect of Closed Chambers is that, whilst it often implies the importance of the federal and state courts within the judiciary, it only briefly positions the Supreme Court's decisions in relation to what was happening in the House, Senate and White House at the time. This seems to be increasingly relevant as time goes on: after all, it seems fairly clear even to this Brit that relying on an activist Supreme Court to enact progressive laws must be interpreted as a failure of the legislative branch to overcome the perennial problems of the filibuster, culture wars and partisan bickering. Nevertheless, Lazarus' book is in equal parts ambitious, opinionated, scholarly and dare I admit it? wonderfully gossipy. By juxtaposing history, memoir, and analysis, Closed Chambers combines an exacting evaluation of the Court's decisions with a lively portrait of the intellectual and emotional intensity that has grown within the Supreme Court's pseudo-monastic environment all while it struggles with the most impactful legal issues of the day. This book is an excellent and well-written achievement that will likely never be repeated, and a must-read for anyone interested in this ever-increasingly important branch of the US government.

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World (2018)
Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World's Economy (2021) Adam Tooze The economic historian Adam Tooze has often been labelled as an unlikely celebrity, but in the fourteen years since the global financial crisis of 2008, a growing audience has been looking for answers about the various failures of the modern economy. Tooze, a professor of history at New York's Columbia University, has written much that is penetrative and thought-provoking on this topic, and as a result, he has generated something of a cult following amongst economists, historians and the online left. I actually read two Tooze books this year. The first, Crashed (2018), catalogues the scale of government intervention required to prop up global finance after the 2008 financial crisis, and it characterises the different ways that countries around the world failed to live up to the situation, such as doing far too little, or taking action far too late. The connections between the high-risk subprime loans, credit default swaps and the resulting liquidity crisis in the US in late 2008 is fairly well known today in part thanks to films such as Adam McKay's 2015 The Big Short and much improved economic literacy in media reportage. But Crashed makes the implicit claim that, whilst the specific and structural origins of the 2008 crisis are worth scrutinising in exacting detail, it is the reaction of states in the months and years after the crash that has been overlooked as a result. After all, this is a reaction that has not only shaped a new economic order, it has created one that does not fit any conventional idea about the way the world 'ought' to be run. Tooze connects the original American banking crisis to the (multiple) European debt crises with a larger crisis of liberalism. Indeed, Tooze somehow manages to cover all these topics and more, weaving in Trump, Brexit and Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, as well as the evolving role of China in the post-2008 economic order. Where Crashed focused on the constellation of consequences that followed the events of 2008, Shutdown is a clear and comprehensive account of the way the world responded to the economic impact of Covid-19. The figures are often jaw-dropping: soon after the disease spread around the world, 95% of the world's economies contracted simultaneously, and at one point, the global economy shrunk by approximately 20%. Tooze's keen and sobering analysis of what happened is made all the more remarkable by the fact that it came out whilst the pandemic was still unfolding. In fact, this leads quickly to one of the book's few flaws: by being published so quickly, Shutdown prematurely over-praises China's 'zero Covid' policy, and these remarks will make a reader today squirm in their chair. Still, despite the regularity of these references (after all, mentioning China is very useful when one is directly comparing economic figures in early 2021, for examples), these are actually minor blemishes on the book's overall thesis. That is to say, Crashed is not merely a retelling of what happened in such-and-such a country during the pandemic; it offers in effect a prediction about what might be coming next. Whilst the economic responses to Covid averted what could easily have been another Great Depression (and thus showed it had learned some lessons from 2008), it had only done so by truly discarding the economic rule book. The by-product of inverting this set of written and unwritten conventions that have governed the world for the past 50 years, this 'Washington consensus' if you well, has yet to be fully felt. Of course, there are many parallels between these two books by Tooze. Both the liquidity crisis outlined in Crashed and the economic response to Covid in Shutdown exposed the fact that one of the central tenets of the modern economy ie. that financial markets can be trusted to regulate themselves was entirely untrue, and likely was false from the very beginning. And whilst Adam Tooze does not offer a singular piercing insight (conveying a sense of rigorous mastery instead), he may as well be asking whether we're simply going to lurch along from one crisis to the next, relying on the technocrats in power to fix problems when everything blows up again. The answer may very well be yes.

Looking for the Good War: American Amnesia and the Violent Pursuit of Happiness (2021) Elizabeth D. Samet Elizabeth D. Samet's Looking for the Good War answers the following question what would be the result if you asked a professor of English to disentangle the complex mythology we have about WW2 in the context of the recent US exit of Afghanistan? Samet's book acts as a twenty-first-century update of a kind to Paul Fussell's two books (reviewed above), as well as a deeper meditation on the idea that each new war is seen through the lens of the previous one. Indeed, like The Great War and Modern Memory (1975) and Wartime (1989), Samet's book is a perceptive work of demystification, but whilst Fussell seems to have been inspired by his own traumatic war experience, Samet is not only informed by her teaching West Point military cadets but by the physical and ontological wars that have occurred during her own life as well. A more scholarly and dispassionate text is the result of Samet's relative distance from armed combat, but it doesn't mean Looking for the Good War lacks energy or inspiration. Samet shares John Adams' belief that no political project can entirely shed the innate corruptions of power and ambition and so it is crucial to analyse and re-analyse the role of WW2 in contemporary American life. She is surely correct that the Second World War has been universally elevated as a special, 'good' war. Even those with exceptionally giddy minds seem to treat WW2 as hallowed:
It is nevertheless telling that one of the few occasions to which Trump responded with any kind of restraint while he was in office was the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019.
What is the source of this restraint, and what has nurtured its growth in the eight decades since WW2 began? Samet posits several reasons for this, including the fact that almost all of the media about the Second World War is not only suffused with symbolism and nostalgia but, less obviously, it has been made by people who have no experience of the events that they depict. Take Stephen Ambrose, author of Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers miniseries: "I was 10 years old when the war ended," Samet quotes of Ambrose. "I thought the returning veterans were giants who had saved the world from barbarism. I still think so. I remain a hero worshiper." If Looking for the Good War has a primary thesis, then, it is that childhood hero worship is no basis for a system of government, let alone a crusading foreign policy. There is a straight line (to quote this book's subtitle) from the "American Amnesia" that obscures the reality of war to the "Violent Pursuit of Happiness." Samet's book doesn't merely just provide a modern appendix to Fussell's two works, however, as it adds further layers and dimensions he overlooked. For example, Samet provides some excellent insight on the role of Western, gangster and superhero movies, and she is especially good when looking at noir films as a kind of kaleidoscopic response to the Second World War:
Noir is a world ruled by bad decisions but also by bad timing. Chance, which plays such a pivotal role in war, bleeds into this world, too.
Samet rightfully weaves the role of women into the narrative as well. Women in film noir are often celebrated as 'independent' and sassy, correctly reflecting their newly-found independence gained during WW2. But these 'liberated' roles are not exactly a ringing endorsement of this independence: the 'femme fatale' and the 'tart', etc., reflect a kind of conditional freedom permitted to women by a post-War culture which is still wedded to an outmoded honour culture. In effect, far from being novel and subversive, these roles for women actually underwrote the ambient cultural disapproval of women's presence in the workforce. Samet later connects this highly-conditional independence with the liberation of Afghan women, which:
is inarguably one of the more palatable outcomes of our invasion, and the protection of women's rights has been invoked on the right and the left as an argument for staying the course in Afghanistan. How easily consequence is becoming justification. How flattering it will be one day to reimagine it as original objective.
Samet has ensured her book has a predominantly US angle as well, for she ends her book with a chapter on the pseudohistorical Lost Cause of the Civil War. The legacy of the Civil War is still visible in the physical phenomena of Confederate statues, but it also exists in deep-rooted racial injustice that has been shrouded in euphemism and other psychological devices for over 150 years. Samet believes that a key part of what drives the American mythology about the Second World War is the way in which it subconsciously cleanses the horrors of brother-on-brother murder that were seen in the Civil War. This is a book that is not only of interest to historians of the Second World War; it is a work for anyone who wishes to understand almost any American historical event, social issue, politician or movie that has appeared since the end of WW2. That is for better or worse everyone on earth.

28 December 2022

Chris Lamb: Favourite books of 2022: Classics

As a follow-up to yesterday's post detailing my favourite works of fiction from 2022, today I'll be listing my favourite fictional works that are typically filed under classics. Books that just missed the cut here include: E. M. Forster's A Room with a View (1908) and his later A Passage to India (1913), both gently nudged out by Forster's superb Howard's End (see below). Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's The Leopard (1958) also just missed out on a write-up here, but I can definitely recommend it to anyone interested in reading a modern Italian classic.

War and Peace (1867) Leo Tolstoy It's strange to think that there is almost no point in reviewing this novel: who hasn't heard of War and Peace? What more could possibly be said about it now? Still, when I was growing up, War and Peace was always the stereotypical example of the 'impossible book', and even start it was, at best, a pointless task, and an act of hubris at worst. And so there surely exists a parallel universe in which I never have and will never will read the book... Nevertheless, let us try to set the scene. Book nine of the novel opens as follows:
On the twelfth of June, 1812, the forces of Western Europe crossed the Russian frontier and war began; that is, an event took place opposed to human reason and to human nature. Millions of men perpetrated against one another such innumerable crimes, frauds, treacheries, thefts, forgeries, issues of false money, burglaries, incendiarisms and murders as in whole centuries are not recorded in the annals of all the law courts of the world, but which those who committed them did not at the time regard as being crimes. What produced this extraordinary occurrence? What were its causes? [ ] The more we try to explain such events in history reasonably, the more unreasonable and incomprehensible they become to us.
Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars and Napoleon's invasion of Russia, War and Peace follows the lives and fates of three aristocratic families: The Rostovs, The Bolkonskys and the Bezukhov's. These characters find themselves situated athwart (or against) history, and all this time, Napoleon is marching ever closer to Moscow. Still, Napoleon himself is essentially just a kind of wallpaper for a diverse set of personal stories touching on love, jealousy, hatred, retribution, naivety, nationalism, stupidity and much much more. As Elif Batuman wrote earlier this year, "the whole premise of the book was that you couldn t explain war without recourse to domesticity and interpersonal relations." The result is that Tolstoy has woven an incredibly intricate web that connects the war, noble families and the everyday Russian people to a degree that is surprising for a book started in 1865. Tolstoy's characters are probably timeless (especially the picaresque adventures and constantly changing thoughts Pierre Bezukhov), and the reader who has any social experience will immediately recognise characters' thoughts and actions. Some of this is at a 'micro' interpersonal level: for instance, take this example from the elegant party that opens the novel:
Each visitor performed the ceremony of greeting this old aunt whom not one of them knew, not one of them wanted to know, and not one of them cared about. The aunt spoke to each of them in the same words, about their health and her own and the health of Her Majesty, who, thank God, was better today. And each visitor, though politeness prevented his showing impatience, left the old woman with a sense of relief at having performed a vexatious duty and did not return to her the whole evening.
But then, some of the focus of the observations are at the 'macro' level of the entire continent. This section about cities that feel themselves in danger might suffice as an example:
At the approach of danger, there are always two voices that speak with equal power in the human soul: one very reasonably tells a man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of escaping it; the other, still more reasonably, says that it is too depressing and painful to think of the danger, since it is not in man s power to foresee everything and avert the general course of events, and it is therefore better to disregard what is painful till it comes and to think about what is pleasant. In solitude, a man generally listens to the first voice, but in society to the second.
And finally, in his lengthy epilogues, Tolstoy offers us a dissertation on the behaviour of large organisations, much of it through engagingly witty analogies. These epilogues actually turn out to be an oblique and sarcastic commentary on the idiocy of governments and the madness of war in general. Indeed, the thorough dismantling of the 'great man' theory of history is a common theme throughout the book:
During the whole of that period [of 1812], Napoleon, who seems to us to have been the leader of all these movements as the figurehead of a ship may seem to a savage to guide the vessel acted like a child who, holding a couple of strings inside a carriage, thinks he is driving it. [ ] Why do [we] all speak of a military genius ? Is a man a genius who can order bread to be brought up at the right time and say who is to go to the right and who to the left? It is only because military men are invested with pomp and power and crowds of sychophants flatter power, attributing to it qualities of genius it does not possess.
Unlike some other readers, I especially enjoyed these diversions into the accounting and workings of history, as well as our narrow-minded way of trying to 'explain' things in a singular way:
When an apple has ripened and falls, why does it fall? Because of its attraction to the earth, because its stalk withers, because it is dried by the sun, because it grows heavier, because the wind shakes it, or because the boy standing below wants to eat it? Nothing is the cause. All this is only the coincidence of conditions in which all vital organic and elemental events occur. And the botanist who finds that the apple falls because the cellular tissue decays and so forth is equally right with the child who stands under the tree and says the apple fell because he wanted to eat it and prayed for it.
Given all of these serious asides, I was also not expecting this book to be quite so funny. At the risk of boring the reader with citations, take this sarcastic remark about the ineptness of medicine men:
After his liberation, [Pierre] fell ill and was laid up for three months. He had what the doctors termed 'bilious fever.' But despite the fact that the doctors treated him, bled him and gave him medicines to drink he recovered.
There is actually a multitude of remarks that are not entirely complimentary towards Russian medical practice, but they are usually deployed with an eye to the human element involved rather than simply to the detriment of a doctor's reputation "How would the count have borne his dearly loved daughter s illness had he not known that it was costing him a thousand rubles?" Other elements of note include some stunning set literary pieces, such as when Prince Andrei encounters a gnarly oak tree under two different circumstances in his life, and when Nat sha's 'Russian' soul is awakened by the strains of a folk song on the balalaika. Still, despite all of these micro- and macro-level happenings, for a long time I felt that something else was going on in War and Peace. It was difficult to put into words precisely what it was until I came across this passage by E. M. Forster:
After one has read War and Peace for a bit, great chords begin to sound, and we cannot say exactly what struck them. They do not arise from the story [and] they do not come from the episodes nor yet from the characters. They come from the immense area of Russia, over which episodes and characters have been scattered, from the sum-total of bridges and frozen rivers, forests, roads, gardens and fields, which accumulate grandeur and sonority after we have passed them. Many novelists have the feeling for place, [but] very few have the sense of space, and the possession of it ranks high in Tolstoy s divine equipment. Space is the lord of War and Peace, not time.
'Space' indeed. Yes, potential readers should note the novel's great length, but the 365 chapters are actually remarkably short, so the sensation of reading it is not in the least overwhelming. And more importantly, once you become familiar with its large cast of characters, it is really not a difficult book to follow, especially when compared to the other Russian classics. My only regret is that it has taken me so long to read this magnificent novel and that I might find it hard to find time to re-read it within the next few years.

Coming Up for Air (1939) George Orwell It wouldn't be a roundup of mine without at least one entry from George Orwell, and, this year, that place is occupied by a book I hadn't haven't read in almost two decades Still, the George Bowling of Coming Up for Air is a middle-aged insurance salesman who lives in a distinctly average English suburban row house with his nuclear family. One day, after winning some money on a bet, he goes back to the village where he grew up in order to fish in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. Less important than the plot, however, is both the well-observed remarks and scathing criticisms that Bowling has of the town he has returned to, combined with an ominous sense of foreboding before the Second World War breaks out. At several times throughout the book, George's placid thoughts about his beloved carp pool are replaced by racing, anxious thoughts that overwhelm his inner peace:
War is coming. In 1941, they say. And there'll be plenty of broken crockery, and little houses ripped open like packing-cases, and the guts of the chartered accountant's clerk plastered over the piano that he's buying on the never-never. But what does that kind of thing matter, anyway? I'll tell you what my stay in Lower Binfield had taught me, and it was this. IT'S ALL GOING TO HAPPEN. All the things you've got at the back of your mind, the things you're terrified of, the things that you tell yourself are just a nightmare or only happen in foreign countries. The bombs, the food-queues, the rubber truncheons, the barbed wire, the coloured shirts, the slogans, the enormous faces, the machine-guns squirting out of bedroom windows. It's all going to happen. I know it - at any rate, I knew it then. There's no escape. Fight against it if you like, or look the other way and pretend not to notice, or grab your spanner and rush out to do a bit of face-smashing along with the others. But there's no way out. It's just something that's got to happen.
Already we can hear psychological madness that underpinned the Second World War. Indeed, there is no great story in Coming Up For Air, no wonderfully empathetic characters and no revelations or catharsis, so it is impressive that I was held by the descriptions, observations and nostalgic remembrances about life in modern Lower Binfield, its residents, and how it has changed over the years. It turns out, of course, that George's beloved pool has been filled in with rubbish, and the village has been perverted by modernity beyond recognition. And to cap it off, the principal event of George's holiday in Lower Binfield is an accidental bombing by the British Royal Air Force. Orwell is always good at descriptions of awful food, and this book is no exception:
The frankfurter had a rubber skin, of course, and my temporary teeth weren't much of a fit. I had to do a kind of sawing movement before I could get my teeth through the skin. And then suddenly pop! The thing burst in my mouth like a rotten pear. A sort of horrible soft stuff was oozing all over my tongue. But the taste! For a moment I just couldn't believe it. Then I rolled my tongue around it again and had another try. It was fish! A sausage, a thing calling itself a frankfurter, filled with fish! I got up and walked straight out without touching my coffee. God knows what that might have tasted of.
Many other tell-tale elements of Orwell's fictional writing are in attendance in this book as well, albeit worked out somewhat less successfully than elsewhere in his oeuvre. For example, the idea of a physical ailment also serving as a metaphor is present in George's false teeth, embodying his constant preoccupation with his ageing. (Readers may recall Winston Smith's varicose ulcer representing his repressed humanity in Nineteen Eighty-Four). And, of course, we have a prematurely middle-aged protagonist who almost but not quite resembles Orwell himself. Given this and a few other niggles (such as almost all the women being of the typical Orwell 'nagging wife' type), it is not exactly Orwell's magnum opus. But it remains a fascinating historical snapshot of the feeling felt by a vast number of people just prior to the Second World War breaking out, as well as a captivating insight into how the process of nostalgia functions and operates.

Howards End (1910) E. M. Forster Howards End begins with the following sentence:
One may as well begin with Helen s letters to her sister.
In fact, "one may as well begin with" my own assumptions about this book instead. I was actually primed to consider Howards End a much more 'Victorian' book: I had just finished Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and had found her 1925 book at once rather 'modern' but also very much constrained by its time. I must have then unconsciously surmised that a book written 15 years before would be even more inscrutable, and, with its Victorian social mores added on as well, Howards End would probably not undress itself so readily in front of the reader. No doubt there were also the usual expectations about 'the classics' as well. So imagine my surprise when I realised just how inordinately affable and witty Howards End turned out to be. It doesn't have that Wildean shine of humour, of course, but it's a couple of fields over in the English countryside, perhaps abutting the more mordant social satires of the earlier George Orwell novels (see Coming Up for Air above). But now let us return to the story itself. Howards End explores class warfare, conflict and the English character through a tale of three quite different families at the beginning of the twentieth century: the rich Wilcoxes; the gentle & idealistic Schlegels; and the lower-middle class Basts. As the Bloomsbury Group Schlegel sisters desperately try to help the Basts and educate the rich but close-minded Wilcoxes, the three families are drawn ever closer and closer together. Although the whole story does, I suppose, revolve around the house in the title (which is based on the Forster's own childhood home), Howards End is perhaps best described as a comedy of manners or a novel that shows up the hypocrisy of people and society. In fact, it is surprising how little of the story actually takes place in the eponymous house, with the overwhelming majority of the first half of the book taking place in London. But it is perhaps more illuminating to remark that the Howards End of the book is a house that the Wilcoxes who own it at the start of the novel do not really need or want. What I particularly liked about Howards End is how the main character's ideals alter as they age, and subsequently how they find their lives changing in different ways. Some of them find themselves better off at the end, others worse. And whilst it is also surprisingly funny, it still manages to trade in heavier social topics as well. This is apparent in the fact that, although the characters themselves are primarily in charge of their own destinies, their choices are still constrained by the changing world and shifting sense of morality around them. This shouldn't be too surprising: after all, Forster's novel was published just four years before the Great War, a distinctly uncertain time. Not for nothing did Virginia Woolf herself later observe that "on or about December 1910, human character changed" and that "all human relations have shifted: those between masters and servants, husbands and wives, parents and children." This process can undoubtedly be seen rehearsed throughout Forster's Howards End, and it's a credit to the author to be able to capture it so early on, if not even before it was widespread throughout Western Europe. I was also particularly taken by Forster's fertile use of simile. An extremely apposite example can be found in the description Tibby Schlegel gives of his fellow Cambridge undergraduates. Here, Timmy doesn't want to besmirch his lofty idealisation of them with any banal specificities, and wishes that the idea of them remain as ideal Platonic forms instead. Or, as Forster puts it, to Timmy it is if they are "pictures that must not walk out of their frames." Wilde, at his most weakest, is 'just' style, but Forster often deploys his flair for a deeper effect. Indeed, when you get to the end of this section mentioning picture frames, you realise Forster has actually just smuggled into the story a failed attempt on Tibby's part to engineer an anonymous homosexual encounter with another undergraduate. It is a credit to Forster's sleight-of-hand that you don't quite notice what has just happened underneath you and that the books' reticence to honestly describe what has happened is thus structually analogus Tibby's reluctance to admit his desires to himself. Another layer to the character of Tibby (and the novel as a whole) is thereby introduced without the imposition of clumsy literary scaffolding. In a similar vein, I felt very clever noticing the arch reference to Debussy's Pr lude l'apr s-midi d'un faune until I realised I just fell into the trap Forster set for the reader in that I had become even more like Tibby in his pseudo-scholarly views on classical music. Finally, I enjoyed that each chapter commences with an ironic and self-conscious bon mot about society which is only slightly overblown for effect. Particularly amusing are the ironic asides on "women" that run through the book, ventriloquising the narrow-minded views of people like the Wilcoxes. The omniscient and amiable narrator of the book also recalls those ironically distant voiceovers from various French New Wave films at times, yet Forster's narrator seems to have bigger concerns in his mordant asides: Forster seems to encourage some sympathy for all of the characters even the more contemptible ones at their worst moments. Highly recommended, as are Forster's A Room with a View (1908) and his slightly later A Passage to India (1913).

The Good Soldier (1915) Ford Madox Ford The Good Soldier starts off fairly simply as the narrator's account of his and his wife's relationship with some old friends, including the eponymous 'Good Soldier' of the book's title. It's an experience to read the beginning of this novel, as, like any account of endless praise of someone you've never met or care about, the pages of approving remarks about them appear to be intended to wash over you. Yet as the chapters of The Good Soldier go by, the account of the other characters in the book gets darker and darker. Although the author himself is uncritical of others' actions, your own critical faculties are slowgrly brought into play, and you gradully begin to question the narrator's retelling of events. Our narrator is an unreliable narrator in the strict sense of the term, but with the caveat that he is at least is telling us everything we need to know to come to our own conclusions. As the book unfolds further, the narrator's compromised credibility seems to infuse every element of the novel even the 'Good' of the book's title starts to seem like a minor dishonesty, perhaps serving as the inspiration for the irony embedded in the title of The 'Great' Gatsby. Much more effectively, however, the narrator's fixations, distractions and manner of speaking feel very much part of his dissimulation. It sometimes feels like he is unconsciously skirting over the crucial elements in his tale, exactly like one does in real life when recounting a story containing incriminating ingredients. Indeed, just how much the narrator is conscious of his own concealment is just one part of what makes this such an interesting book: Ford Madox Ford has gifted us with enough ambiguity that it is also possible that even the narrator cannot find it within himself to understand the events of the story he is narrating. It was initially hard to believe that such a carefully crafted analysis of a small group of characters could have been written so long ago, and despite being fairly easy to read, The Good Soldier is an almost infinitely subtle book even the jokes are of the subtle kind and will likely get a re-read within the next few years.

Anna Karenina (1878) Leo Tolstoy There are many similar themes running through War and Peace (reviewed above) and Anna Karenina. Unrequited love; a young man struggling to find a purpose in life; a loving family; an overwhelming love of nature and countless fascinating observations about the minuti of Russian society. Indeed, rather than primarily being about the eponymous Anna, Anna Karenina provides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. Nevertheless, our Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of government official Alexei Karenin, a colourless man who has little personality of his own, and she turns to a certain Count Vronsky in order to fulfil her passionate nature. Needless to say, this results in tragic consequences as their (admittedly somewhat qualified) desire to live together crashes against the rocks of reality and Russian society. Parallel to Anna's narrative, though, Konstantin Levin serves as the novel's alter-protagonist. In contrast to Anna, Levin is a socially awkward individual who straddles many schools of thought within Russia at the time: he is neither a free-thinker (nor heavy-drinker) like his brother Nikolai, and neither is he a bookish intellectual like his half-brother Serge. In short, Levin is his own man, and it is generally agreed by commentators that he is Tolstoy's surrogate within the novel. Levin tends to come to his own version of an idea, and he would rather find his own way than adopt any prefabricated view, even if confusion and muddle is the eventual result. In a roughly isomorphic fashion then, he resembles Anna in this particular sense, whose story is a counterpart to Levin's in their respective searches for happiness and self-actualisation. Whilst many of the passionate and exciting passages are told on Anna's side of the story (I'm thinking horse race in particular, as thrilling as anything in cinema ), many of the broader political thoughts about the nature of the working classes are expressed on Levin's side instead. These are stirring and engaging in their own way, though, such as when he joins his peasants to mow the field and seems to enter the nineteenth-century version of 'flow':
The longer Levin mowed, the more often he felt those moments of oblivion during which it was no longer his arms that swung the scythe, but the scythe itself that lent motion to his whole body, full of life and conscious of itself, and, as if by magic, without a thought of it, the work got rightly and neatly done on its own. These were the most blissful moments.
Overall, Tolstoy poses no didactic moral message towards any of the characters in Anna Karenina, and merely invites us to watch rather than judge. (Still, there is a hilarious section that is scathing of contemporary classical music, presaging many of the ideas found in Tolstoy's 1897 What is Art?). In addition, just like the earlier War and Peace, the novel is run through with a number of uncannily accurate observations about daily life:
Anna smiled, as one smiles at the weaknesses of people one loves, and, putting her arm under his, accompanied him to the door of the study.
... as well as the usual sprinkling of Tolstoy's sardonic humour ("No one is pleased with his fortune, but everyone is pleased with his wit."). Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the other titan of Russian literature, once described Anna Karenina as a "flawless work of art," and if you re only going to read one Tolstoy novel in your life, it should probably be this one.

23 December 2022

Scarlett Gately Moore: Debian uploads, Core22 KDE snap content pack and more!

I have been quite busy! I have been working on several projects so my cover image is a lovely sunset where I live. Debian: I have updated and uploaded several packages and working on more. KDE Snaps: I have reworked the CI to now do Core22 snaps! They will publish to the beta channel until we get them tested. First snap completed is the ever important KDE Frameworks / QT content snap + SDK! Applications will start after I tackle the kde-neon extention in snapcraft. GUI-Testing: I have begun learning/writing some GUI tests using python and, inspired by one of my favorite people, Harald. See for more info and I hope to get these in repos near you soon! In closing, I am still seeking employment/sponsor amidst this terrible layoff season. If anyone knows of anyone with my diverse skill set please let me know. In the meantime if you can spare anything to keep the lights on I would be ever so grateful. Patreon: Cash App: $ScarlettMoore0903 Stripe: Thank you, I want to wish everyone a very merry < insert your holiday here > !!!

16 November 2022

Antoine Beaupr : A ZFS migration

In my tubman setup, I started using ZFS on an old server I had lying around. The machine is really old though (2011!) and it "feels" pretty slow. I want to see how much of that is ZFS and how much is the machine. Synthetic benchmarks show that ZFS may be slower than mdadm in RAID-10 or RAID-6 configuration, so I want to confirm that on a live workload: my workstation. Plus, I want easy, regular, high performance backups (with send/receive snapshots) and there's no way I'm going to use BTRFS because I find it too confusing and unreliable. So off we go.

Installation Since this is a conversion (and not a new install), our procedure is slightly different than the official documentation but otherwise it's pretty much in the same spirit: we're going to use ZFS for everything, including the root filesystem. So, install the required packages, on the current system:
apt install --yes gdisk zfs-dkms zfs zfs-initramfs zfsutils-linux
We also tell DKMS that we need to rebuild the initrd when upgrading:
echo REMAKE_INITRD=yes > /etc/dkms/zfs.conf

Partitioning This is going to partition /dev/sdc with:
  • 1MB MBR / BIOS legacy boot
  • 512MB EFI boot
  • 1GB bpool, unencrypted pool for /boot
  • rest of the disk for zpool, the rest of the data
     sgdisk --zap-all /dev/sdc
     sgdisk -a1 -n1:24K:+1000K -t1:EF02 /dev/sdc
     sgdisk     -n2:1M:+512M   -t2:EF00 /dev/sdc
     sgdisk     -n3:0:+1G      -t3:BF01 /dev/sdc
     sgdisk     -n4:0:0        -t4:BF00 /dev/sdc
That will look something like this:
    root@curie:/home/anarcat# sgdisk -p /dev/sdc
    Disk /dev/sdc: 1953525168 sectors, 931.5 GiB
    Model: ESD-S1C         
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512/512 bytes
    Disk identifier (GUID): [REDACTED]
    Partition table holds up to 128 entries
    Main partition table begins at sector 2 and ends at sector 33
    First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 1953525134
    Partitions will be aligned on 16-sector boundaries
    Total free space is 14 sectors (7.0 KiB)
    Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
       1              48            2047   1000.0 KiB  EF02  
       2            2048         1050623   512.0 MiB   EF00  
       3         1050624         3147775   1024.0 MiB  BF01  
       4         3147776      1953525134   930.0 GiB   BF00
Unfortunately, we can't be sure of the sector size here, because the USB controller is probably lying to us about it. Normally, this smartctl command should tell us the sector size as well:
root@curie:~# smartctl -i /dev/sdb -qnoserial
smartctl 7.2 2020-12-30 r5155 [x86_64-linux-5.10.0-14-amd64] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-20, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke,
Model Family:     Western Digital Black Mobile
Device Model:     WDC WD10JPLX-00MBPT0
Firmware Version: 01.01H01
User Capacity:    1 000 204 886 016 bytes [1,00 TB]
Sector Sizes:     512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
Rotation Rate:    7200 rpm
Form Factor:      2.5 inches
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   ATA8-ACS T13/1699-D revision 6
SATA Version is:  SATA 3.0, 6.0 Gb/s (current: 6.0 Gb/s)
Local Time is:    Tue May 17 13:33:04 2022 EDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled
Above is the example of the builtin HDD drive. But the SSD device enclosed in that USB controller doesn't support SMART commands, so we can't trust that it really has 512 bytes sectors. This matters because we need to tweak the ashift value correctly. We're going to go ahead the SSD drive has the common 4KB settings, which means ashift=12. Note here that we are not creating a separate partition for swap. Swap on ZFS volumes (AKA "swap on ZVOL") can trigger lockups and that issue is still not fixed upstream. Ubuntu recommends using a separate partition for swap instead. But since this is "just" a workstation, we're betting that we will not suffer from this problem, after hearing a report from another Debian developer running this setup on their workstation successfully. We do not recommend this setup though. In fact, if I were to redo this partition scheme, I would probably use LUKS encryption and setup a dedicated swap partition, as I had problems with ZFS encryption as well.

Creating pools ZFS pools are somewhat like "volume groups" if you are familiar with LVM, except they obviously also do things like RAID-10. (Even though LVM can technically also do RAID, people typically use mdadm instead.) In any case, the guide suggests creating two different pools here: one, in cleartext, for boot, and a separate, encrypted one, for the rest. Technically, the boot partition is required because the Grub bootloader only supports readonly ZFS pools, from what I understand. But I'm a little out of my depth here and just following the guide.

Boot pool creation This creates the boot pool in readonly mode with features that grub supports:
    zpool create \
        -o cachefile=/etc/zfs/zpool.cache \
        -o ashift=12 -d \
        -o feature@async_destroy=enabled \
        -o feature@bookmarks=enabled \
        -o feature@embedded_data=enabled \
        -o feature@empty_bpobj=enabled \
        -o feature@enabled_txg=enabled \
        -o feature@extensible_dataset=enabled \
        -o feature@filesystem_limits=enabled \
        -o feature@hole_birth=enabled \
        -o feature@large_blocks=enabled \
        -o feature@lz4_compress=enabled \
        -o feature@spacemap_histogram=enabled \
        -o feature@zpool_checkpoint=enabled \
        -O acltype=posixacl -O canmount=off \
        -O compression=lz4 \
        -O devices=off -O normalization=formD -O relatime=on -O xattr=sa \
        -O mountpoint=/boot -R /mnt \
        bpool /dev/sdc3
I haven't investigated all those settings and just trust the upstream guide on the above.

Main pool creation This is a more typical pool creation.
    zpool create \
        -o ashift=12 \
        -O encryption=on -O keylocation=prompt -O keyformat=passphrase \
        -O acltype=posixacl -O xattr=sa -O dnodesize=auto \
        -O compression=zstd \
        -O relatime=on \
        -O canmount=off \
        -O mountpoint=/ -R /mnt \
        rpool /dev/sdc4
Breaking this down:
  • -o ashift=12: mentioned above, 4k sector size
  • -O encryption=on -O keylocation=prompt -O keyformat=passphrase: encryption, prompt for a password, default algorithm is aes-256-gcm, explicit in the guide, made implicit here
  • -O acltype=posixacl -O xattr=sa: enable ACLs, with better performance (not enabled by default)
  • -O dnodesize=auto: related to extended attributes, less compatibility with other implementations
  • -O compression=zstd: enable zstd compression, can be disabled/enabled by dataset to with zfs set compression=off rpool/example
  • -O relatime=on: classic atime optimisation, another that could be used on a busy server is atime=off
  • -O canmount=off: do not make the pool mount automatically with mount -a?
  • -O mountpoint=/ -R /mnt: mount pool on / in the future, but /mnt for now
Those settings are all available in zfsprops(8). Other flags are defined in zpool-create(8). The reasoning behind them is also explained in the upstream guide and some also in [the Debian wiki][]. Those flags were actually not used:
  • -O normalization=formD: normalize file names on comparisons (not storage), implies utf8only=on, which is a bad idea (and effectively meant my first sync failed to copy some files, including this folder from a supysonic checkout). and this cannot be changed after the filesystem is created. bad, bad, bad.
[the Debian wiki]:

Side note about single-disk pools Also note that we're living dangerously here: single-disk ZFS pools are rumoured to be more dangerous than not running ZFS at all. The choice quote from this article is:
[...] any error can be detected, but cannot be corrected. This sounds like an acceptable compromise, but its actually not. The reason its not is that ZFS' metadata cannot be allowed to be corrupted. If it is it is likely the zpool will be impossible to mount (and will probably crash the system once the corruption is found). So a couple of bad sectors in the right place will mean that all data on the zpool will be lost. Not some, all. Also there's no ZFS recovery tools, so you cannot recover any data on the drives.
Compared with (say) ext4, where a single disk error can recovered, this is pretty bad. But we are ready to live with this with the idea that we'll have hourly offline snapshots that we can easily recover from. It's trade-off. Also, we're running this on a NVMe/M.2 drive which typically just blinks out of existence completely, and doesn't "bit rot" the way a HDD would. Also, the FreeBSD handbook quick start doesn't have any warnings about their first example, which is with a single disk. So I am reassured at least.

Creating mount points Next we create the actual filesystems, known as "datasets" which are the things that get mounted on mountpoint and hold the actual files.
  • this creates two containers, for ROOT and BOOT
     zfs create -o canmount=off -o mountpoint=none rpool/ROOT &&
     zfs create -o canmount=off -o mountpoint=none bpool/BOOT
    Note that it's unclear to me why those datasets are necessary, but they seem common practice, also used in this FreeBSD example. The OpenZFS guide mentions the Solaris upgrades and Ubuntu's zsys that use that container for upgrades and rollbacks. This blog post seems to explain a bit the layout behind the installer.
  • this creates the actual boot and root filesystems:
     zfs create -o canmount=noauto -o mountpoint=/ rpool/ROOT/debian &&
     zfs mount rpool/ROOT/debian &&
     zfs create -o mountpoint=/boot bpool/BOOT/debian
    I guess the debian name here is because we could technically have multiple operating systems with the same underlying datasets.
  • then the main datasets:
     zfs create                                 rpool/home &&
     zfs create -o mountpoint=/root             rpool/home/root &&
     chmod 700 /mnt/root &&
     zfs create                                 rpool/var
  • exclude temporary files from snapshots:
     zfs create -o com.sun:auto-snapshot=false  rpool/var/cache &&
     zfs create -o com.sun:auto-snapshot=false  rpool/var/tmp &&
     chmod 1777 /mnt/var/tmp
  • and skip automatic snapshots in Docker:
     zfs create -o canmount=off                 rpool/var/lib &&
     zfs create -o com.sun:auto-snapshot=false  rpool/var/lib/docker
    Notice here a peculiarity: we must create rpool/var/lib to create rpool/var/lib/docker otherwise we get this error:
     cannot create 'rpool/var/lib/docker': parent does not exist
    ... and no, just creating /mnt/var/lib doesn't fix that problem. In fact, it makes things even more confusing because an existing directory shadows a mountpoint, which is the opposite of how things normally work. Also note that you will probably need to change storage driver in Docker, see the zfs-driver documentation for details but, basically, I did:
    echo '  "storage-driver": "zfs"  ' > /etc/docker/daemon.json
    Note that podman has the same problem (and similar solution):
    printf '[storage]\ndriver = "zfs"\n' > /etc/containers/storage.conf
  • make a tmpfs for /run:
     mkdir /mnt/run &&
     mount -t tmpfs tmpfs /mnt/run &&
     mkdir /mnt/run/lock
We don't create a /srv, as that's the HDD stuff. Also mount the EFI partition:
mkfs.fat -F 32 /dev/sdc2 &&
mount /dev/sdc2 /mnt/boot/efi/
At this point, everything should be mounted in /mnt. It should look like this:
root@curie:~# LANG=C df -h -t zfs -t vfat
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
rpool/ROOT/debian     899G  384K  899G   1% /mnt
bpool/BOOT/debian     832M  123M  709M  15% /mnt/boot
rpool/home            899G  256K  899G   1% /mnt/home
rpool/home/root       899G  256K  899G   1% /mnt/root
rpool/var             899G  384K  899G   1% /mnt/var
rpool/var/cache       899G  256K  899G   1% /mnt/var/cache
rpool/var/tmp         899G  256K  899G   1% /mnt/var/tmp
rpool/var/lib/docker  899G  256K  899G   1% /mnt/var/lib/docker
/dev/sdc2             511M  4.0K  511M   1% /mnt/boot/efi
Now that we have everything setup and mounted, let's copy all files over.

Copying files This is a list of all the mounted filesystems
for fs in /boot/ /boot/efi/ / /home/; do
    echo "syncing $fs to /mnt$fs..." && 
    rsync -aSHAXx --info=progress2 --delete $fs /mnt$fs
You can check that the list is correct with:
mount -l -t ext4,btrfs,vfat   awk ' print $3 '
Note that we skip /srv as it's on a different disk. On the first run, we had:
root@curie:~# for fs in /boot/ /boot/efi/ / /home/; do
        echo "syncing $fs to /mnt$fs..." && 
        rsync -aSHAXx --info=progress2 $fs /mnt$fs
syncing /boot/ to /mnt/boot/...
              0   0%    0.00kB/s    0:00:00 (xfr#0, to-chk=0/299)  
syncing /boot/efi/ to /mnt/boot/efi/...
     16,831,437 100%  184.14MB/s    0:00:00 (xfr#101, to-chk=0/110)
syncing / to /mnt/...
 28,019,293,280  94%   47.63MB/s    0:09:21 (xfr#703710, ir-chk=6748/839220)rsync: [generator] delete_file: rmdir(var/lib/docker) failed: Device or resource busy (16)
could not make way for new symlink: var/lib/docker
 34,081,267,990  98%   50.71MB/s    0:10:40 (xfr#736577, to-chk=0/867732)    
rsync error: some files/attrs were not transferred (see previous errors) (code 23) at main.c(1333) [sender=3.2.3]
syncing /home/ to /mnt/home/...
rsync: [sender] readlink_stat("/home/anarcat/.fuse") failed: Permission denied (13)
 24,456,268,098  98%   68.03MB/s    0:05:42 (xfr#159867, ir-chk=6875/172377) 
file has vanished: "/home/anarcat/.cache/mozilla/firefox/s2hwvqbu.quantum/cache2/entries/B3AB0CDA9C4454B3C1197E5A22669DF8EE849D90"
199,762,528,125  93%   74.82MB/s    0:42:26 (xfr#1437846, ir-chk=1018/1983979)rsync: [generator] recv_generator: mkdir "/mnt/home/anarcat/dist/supysonic/tests/assets/\#346" failed: Invalid or incomplete multibyte or wide character (84)
*** Skipping any contents from this failed directory ***
315,384,723,978  96%   76.82MB/s    1:05:15 (xfr#2256473, to-chk=0/2993950)    
rsync error: some files/attrs were not transferred (see previous errors) (code 23) at main.c(1333) [sender=3.2.3]
Note the failure to transfer that supysonic file? It turns out they had a weird filename in their source tree, since then removed, but still it showed how the utf8only feature might not be such a bad idea. At this point, the procedure was restarted all the way back to "Creating pools", after unmounting all ZFS filesystems (umount /mnt/run /mnt/boot/efi && umount -t zfs -a) and destroying the pool, which, surprisingly, doesn't require any confirmation (zpool destroy rpool). The second run was cleaner:
root@curie:~# for fs in /boot/ /boot/efi/ / /home/; do
        echo "syncing $fs to /mnt$fs..." && 
        rsync -aSHAXx --info=progress2 --delete $fs /mnt$fs
syncing /boot/ to /mnt/boot/...
              0   0%    0.00kB/s    0:00:00 (xfr#0, to-chk=0/299)  
syncing /boot/efi/ to /mnt/boot/efi/...
              0   0%    0.00kB/s    0:00:00 (xfr#0, to-chk=0/110)  
syncing / to /mnt/...
 28,019,033,070  97%   42.03MB/s    0:10:35 (xfr#703671, ir-chk=1093/833515)rsync: [generator] delete_file: rmdir(var/lib/docker) failed: Device or resource busy (16)
could not make way for new symlink: var/lib/docker
 34,081,807,102  98%   44.84MB/s    0:12:04 (xfr#736580, to-chk=0/867723)    
rsync error: some files/attrs were not transferred (see previous errors) (code 23) at main.c(1333) [sender=3.2.3]
syncing /home/ to /mnt/home/...
rsync: [sender] readlink_stat("/home/anarcat/.fuse") failed: Permission denied (13)
IO error encountered -- skipping file deletion
 24,043,086,450  96%   62.03MB/s    0:06:09 (xfr#151819, ir-chk=15117/172571)
file has vanished: "/home/anarcat/.cache/mozilla/firefox/s2hwvqbu.quantum/cache2/entries/4C1FDBFEA976FF924D062FB990B24B897A77B84B"
315,423,626,507  96%   67.09MB/s    1:14:43 (xfr#2256845, to-chk=0/2994364)    
rsync error: some files/attrs were not transferred (see previous errors) (code 23) at main.c(1333) [sender=3.2.3]
Also note the transfer speed: we seem capped at 76MB/s, or 608Mbit/s. This is not as fast as I was expecting: the USB connection seems to be at around 5Gbps:
anarcat@curie:~$ lsusb -tv   head -4
/:  Bus 02.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci_hcd/6p, 5000M
    ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
     __ Port 1: Dev 4, If 0, Class=Mass Storage, Driver=uas, 5000M
        ID 0b05:1932 ASUSTek Computer, Inc.
So it shouldn't cap at that speed. It's possible the USB adapter is failing to give me the full speed though. It's not the M.2 SSD drive either, as that has a ~500MB/s bandwidth, acccording to its spec. At this point, we're about ready to do the final configuration. We drop to single user mode and do the rest of the procedure. That used to be shutdown now, but it seems like the systemd switch broke that, so now you can reboot into grub and pick the "recovery" option. Alternatively, you might try systemctl rescue, as I found out. I also wanted to copy the drive over to another new NVMe drive, but that failed: it looks like the USB controller I have doesn't work with older, non-NVME drives.

Boot configuration Now we need to enter the new system to rebuild the boot loader and initrd and so on. First, we bind mounts and chroot into the ZFS disk:
mount --rbind /dev  /mnt/dev &&
mount --rbind /proc /mnt/proc &&
mount --rbind /sys  /mnt/sys &&
chroot /mnt /bin/bash
Next we add an extra service that imports the bpool on boot, to make sure it survives a zpool.cache destruction:
cat > /etc/systemd/system/zfs-import-bpool.service <<EOF
ExecStart=/sbin/zpool import -N -o cachefile=none bpool
# Work-around to preserve zpool cache:
ExecStartPre=-/bin/mv /etc/zfs/zpool.cache /etc/zfs/preboot_zpool.cache
ExecStartPost=-/bin/mv /etc/zfs/preboot_zpool.cache /etc/zfs/zpool.cache
Enable the service:
systemctl enable zfs-import-bpool.service
I had to trim down /etc/fstab and /etc/crypttab to only contain references to the legacy filesystems (/srv is still BTRFS!). If we don't already have a tmpfs defined in /etc/fstab:
ln -s /usr/share/systemd/tmp.mount /etc/systemd/system/ &&
systemctl enable tmp.mount
Rebuild boot loader with support for ZFS, but also to workaround GRUB's missing zpool-features support:
grub-probe /boot   grep -q zfs &&
update-initramfs -c -k all &&
sed -i 's,GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX.*,GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="root=ZFS=rpool/ROOT/debian",' /etc/default/grub &&
For good measure, make sure the right disk is configured here, for example you might want to tag both drives in a RAID array:
dpkg-reconfigure grub-pc
Install grub to EFI while you're there:
grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot/efi --bootloader-id=debian --recheck --no-floppy
Filesystem mount ordering. The rationale here in the OpenZFS guide is a little strange, but I don't dare ignore that.
mkdir /etc/zfs/zfs-list.cache
touch /etc/zfs/zfs-list.cache/bpool
touch /etc/zfs/zfs-list.cache/rpool
zed -F &
Verify that zed updated the cache by making sure these are not empty:
cat /etc/zfs/zfs-list.cache/bpool
cat /etc/zfs/zfs-list.cache/rpool
Once the files have data, stop zed:
Press Ctrl-C.
Fix the paths to eliminate /mnt:
sed -Ei "s /mnt/? / " /etc/zfs/zfs-list.cache/*
Snapshot initial install:
zfs snapshot bpool/BOOT/debian@install
zfs snapshot rpool/ROOT/debian@install
Exit chroot:

Finalizing One last sync was done in rescue mode:
for fs in /boot/ /boot/efi/ / /home/; do
    echo "syncing $fs to /mnt$fs..." && 
    rsync -aSHAXx --info=progress2 --delete $fs /mnt$fs
Then we unmount all filesystems:
mount   grep -v zfs   tac   awk '/\/mnt/  print $3 '   xargs -i  umount -lf  
zpool export -a
Reboot, swap the drives, and boot in ZFS. Hurray!

Benchmarks This is a test that was ran in single-user mode using fio and the Ars Technica recommended tests, which are:
  • Single 4KiB random write process:
     fio --name=randwrite4k1x --ioengine=posixaio --rw=randwrite --bs=4k --size=4g --numjobs=1 --iodepth=1 --runtime=60 --time_based --end_fsync=1
  • 16 parallel 64KiB random write processes:
     fio --name=randwrite64k16x --ioengine=posixaio --rw=randwrite --bs=64k --size=256m --numjobs=16 --iodepth=16 --runtime=60 --time_based --end_fsync=1
  • Single 1MiB random write process:
     fio --name=randwrite1m1x --ioengine=posixaio --rw=randwrite --bs=1m --size=16g --numjobs=1 --iodepth=1 --runtime=60 --time_based --end_fsync=1
Strangely, that's not exactly what the author, Jim Salter, did in his actual test bench used in the ZFS benchmarking article. The first thing is there's no read test at all, which is already pretty strange. But also it doesn't include stuff like dropping caches or repeating results. So here's my variation, which i called for now. It just batches a bunch of fio tests, one by one, 60 seconds each. It should take about 12 minutes to run, as there are 3 pair of tests, read/write, with and without async. My bias, before building, running and analysing those results is that ZFS should outperform the traditional stack on writes, but possibly not on reads. It's also possible it outperforms it on both, because it's a newer drive. A new test might be possible with a new external USB drive as well, although I doubt I will find the time to do this.

Results All tests were done on WD blue SN550 drives, which claims to be able to push 2400MB/s read and 1750MB/s write. An extra drive was bought to move the LVM setup from a WDC WDS500G1B0B-00AS40 SSD, a WD blue M.2 2280 SSD that was at least 5 years old, spec'd at 560MB/s read, 530MB/s write. Benchmarks were done on the M.2 SSD drive but discarded so that the drive difference is not a factor in the test. In practice, I'm going to assume we'll never reach those numbers because we're not actually NVMe (this is an old workstation!) so the bottleneck isn't the disk itself. For our purposes, it might still give us useful results.

Rescue test, LUKS/LVM/ext4 Those tests were performed with everything shutdown, after either entering the system in rescue mode, or by reaching that target with:
systemctl rescue
The network might have been started before or after the test as well:
systemctl start systemd-networkd
So it should be fairly reliable as basically nothing else is running. Raw numbers, from the ?job-curie-lvm.log, converted to MiB/s and manually merged:
test read I/O read IOPS write I/O write IOPS
rand4k4g1x 39.27 10052 212.15 54310
rand4k4g1x--fsync=1 39.29 10057 2.73 699
rand64k256m16x 1297.00 20751 1068.57 17097
rand64k256m16x--fsync=1 1290.90 20654 353.82 5661
rand1m16g1x 315.15 315 563.77 563
rand1m16g1x--fsync=1 345.88 345 157.01 157
Peaks are at about 20k IOPS and ~1.3GiB/s read, 1GiB/s write in the 64KB blocks with 16 jobs. Slowest is the random 4k block sync write at an abysmal 3MB/s and 700 IOPS The 1MB read/write tests have lower IOPS, but that is expected.

Rescue test, ZFS This test was also performed in rescue mode. Raw numbers, from the ?job-curie-zfs.log, converted to MiB/s and manually merged:
test read I/O read IOPS write I/O write IOPS
rand4k4g1x 77.20 19763 27.13 6944
rand4k4g1x--fsync=1 76.16 19495 6.53 1673
rand64k256m16x 1882.40 30118 70.58 1129
rand64k256m16x--fsync=1 1865.13 29842 71.98 1151
rand1m16g1x 921.62 921 102.21 102
rand1m16g1x--fsync=1 908.37 908 64.30 64
Peaks are at 1.8GiB/s read, also in the 64k job like above, but much faster. The write is, as expected, much slower at 70MiB/s (compared to 1GiB/s!), but it should be noted the sync write doesn't degrade performance compared to async writes (although it's still below the LVM 300MB/s).

Conclusions Really, ZFS has trouble performing in all write conditions. The random 4k sync write test is the only place where ZFS outperforms LVM in writes, and barely (7MiB/s vs 3MiB/s). Everywhere else, writes are much slower, sometimes by an order of magnitude. And before some ZFS zealot jumps in talking about the SLOG or some other cache that could be added to improved performance, I'll remind you that those numbers are on a bare bones NVMe drive, pretty much as fast storage as you can find on this machine. Adding another NVMe drive as a cache probably will not improve write performance here. Still, those are very different results than the tests performed by Salter which shows ZFS beating traditional configurations in all categories but uncached 4k reads (not writes!). That said, those tests are very different from the tests I performed here, where I test writes on a single disk, not a RAID array, which might explain the discrepancy. Also, note that neither LVM or ZFS manage to reach the 2400MB/s read and 1750MB/s write performance specification. ZFS does manage to reach 82% of the read performance (1973MB/s) and LVM 64% of the write performance (1120MB/s). LVM hits 57% of the read performance and ZFS hits barely 6% of the write performance. Overall, I'm a bit disappointed in the ZFS write performance here, I must say. Maybe I need to tweak the record size or some other ZFS voodoo, but I'll note that I didn't have to do any such configuration on the other side to kick ZFS in the pants...

Real world experience This section document not synthetic backups, but actual real world workloads, comparing before and after I switched my workstation to ZFS.

Docker performance I had the feeling that running some git hook (which was firing a Docker container) was "slower" somehow. It seems that, at runtime, ZFS backends are significant slower than their overlayfs/ext4 equivalent:
May 16 14:42:52 curie systemd[1]: home-docker-overlay2-17e4d24228decc2d2d493efc401dbfb7ac29739da0e46775e122078d9daf3e87\x2dinit-merged.mount: Succeeded.
May 16 14:42:52 curie systemd[5161]: home-docker-overlay2-17e4d24228decc2d2d493efc401dbfb7ac29739da0e46775e122078d9daf3e87\x2dinit-merged.mount: Succeeded.
May 16 14:42:52 curie systemd[1]: home-docker-overlay2-17e4d24228decc2d2d493efc401dbfb7ac29739da0e46775e122078d9daf3e87-merged.mount: Succeeded.
May 16 14:42:53 curie dockerd[1723]: time="2022-05-16T14:42:53.087219426-04:00" level=info msg="starting signal loop" namespace=moby path=/run/docker/containerd/daemon/io.containerd.runtime.v2.task/moby/af22586fba07014a4d10ab19da10cf280db7a43cad804d6c1e9f2682f12b5f10 pid=151170
May 16 14:42:53 curie systemd[1]: Started libcontainer container af22586fba07014a4d10ab19da10cf280db7a43cad804d6c1e9f2682f12b5f10.
May 16 14:42:54 curie systemd[1]: docker-af22586fba07014a4d10ab19da10cf280db7a43cad804d6c1e9f2682f12b5f10.scope: Succeeded.
May 16 14:42:54 curie dockerd[1723]: time="2022-05-16T14:42:54.047297800-04:00" level=info msg="shim disconnected" id=af22586fba07014a4d10ab19da10cf280db7a43cad804d6c1e9f2682f12b5f10
May 16 14:42:54 curie dockerd[998]: time="2022-05-16T14:42:54.051365015-04:00" level=info msg="ignoring event" container=af22586fba07014a4d10ab19da10cf280db7a43cad804d6c1e9f2682f12b5f10 module=libcontainerd namespace=moby topic=/tasks/delete type="*events.TaskDelete"
May 16 14:42:54 curie systemd[2444]: run-docker-netns-f5453c87c879.mount: Succeeded.
May 16 14:42:54 curie systemd[5161]: run-docker-netns-f5453c87c879.mount: Succeeded.
May 16 14:42:54 curie systemd[2444]: home-docker-overlay2-17e4d24228decc2d2d493efc401dbfb7ac29739da0e46775e122078d9daf3e87-merged.mount: Succeeded.
May 16 14:42:54 curie systemd[5161]: home-docker-overlay2-17e4d24228decc2d2d493efc401dbfb7ac29739da0e46775e122078d9daf3e87-merged.mount: Succeeded.
May 16 14:42:54 curie systemd[1]: run-docker-netns-f5453c87c879.mount: Succeeded.
May 16 14:42:54 curie systemd[1]: home-docker-overlay2-17e4d24228decc2d2d493efc401dbfb7ac29739da0e46775e122078d9daf3e87-merged.mount: Succeeded.
Translating this:
  • container setup: ~1 second
  • container runtime: ~1 second
  • container teardown: ~1 second
  • total runtime: 2-3 seconds
Obviously, those timestamps are not quite accurate enough to make precise measurements... After I switched to ZFS:
mai 30 15:31:39 curie systemd[1]: var-lib-docker-zfs-graph-41ce08fb7a1d3a9c101694b82722f5621c0b4819bd1d9f070933fd1e00543cdf\x2dinit.mount: Succeeded. 
mai 30 15:31:39 curie systemd[5287]: var-lib-docker-zfs-graph-41ce08fb7a1d3a9c101694b82722f5621c0b4819bd1d9f070933fd1e00543cdf\x2dinit.mount: Succeeded. 
mai 30 15:31:40 curie systemd[1]: var-lib-docker-zfs-graph-41ce08fb7a1d3a9c101694b82722f5621c0b4819bd1d9f070933fd1e00543cdf.mount: Succeeded. 
mai 30 15:31:40 curie systemd[5287]: var-lib-docker-zfs-graph-41ce08fb7a1d3a9c101694b82722f5621c0b4819bd1d9f070933fd1e00543cdf.mount: Succeeded. 
mai 30 15:31:41 curie dockerd[3199]: time="2022-05-30T15:31:41.551403693-04:00" level=info msg="starting signal loop" namespace=moby path=/run/docker/containerd/daemon/io.containerd.runtime.v2.task/moby/42a1a1ed5912a7227148e997f442e7ab2e5cc3558aa3471548223c5888c9b142 pid=141080 
mai 30 15:31:41 curie systemd[1]: run-docker-runtime\x2drunc-moby-42a1a1ed5912a7227148e997f442e7ab2e5cc3558aa3471548223c5888c9b142-runc.ZVcjvl.mount: Succeeded. 
mai 30 15:31:41 curie systemd[5287]: run-docker-runtime\x2drunc-moby-42a1a1ed5912a7227148e997f442e7ab2e5cc3558aa3471548223c5888c9b142-runc.ZVcjvl.mount: Succeeded. 
mai 30 15:31:41 curie systemd[1]: Started libcontainer container 42a1a1ed5912a7227148e997f442e7ab2e5cc3558aa3471548223c5888c9b142. 
mai 30 15:31:45 curie systemd[1]: docker-42a1a1ed5912a7227148e997f442e7ab2e5cc3558aa3471548223c5888c9b142.scope: Succeeded. 
mai 30 15:31:45 curie dockerd[3199]: time="2022-05-30T15:31:45.883019128-04:00" level=info msg="shim disconnected" id=42a1a1ed5912a7227148e997f442e7ab2e5cc3558aa3471548223c5888c9b142 
mai 30 15:31:45 curie dockerd[1726]: time="2022-05-30T15:31:45.883064491-04:00" level=info msg="ignoring event" container=42a1a1ed5912a7227148e997f442e7ab2e5cc3558aa3471548223c5888c9b142 module=libcontainerd namespace=moby topic=/tasks/delete type="*events.TaskDelete" 
mai 30 15:31:45 curie systemd[1]: run-docker-netns-e45f5cf5f465.mount: Succeeded. 
mai 30 15:31:45 curie systemd[5287]: run-docker-netns-e45f5cf5f465.mount: Succeeded. 
mai 30 15:31:45 curie systemd[1]: var-lib-docker-zfs-graph-41ce08fb7a1d3a9c101694b82722f5621c0b4819bd1d9f070933fd1e00543cdf.mount: Succeeded. 
mai 30 15:31:45 curie systemd[5287]: var-lib-docker-zfs-graph-41ce08fb7a1d3a9c101694b82722f5621c0b4819bd1d9f070933fd1e00543cdf.mount: Succeeded.
That's double or triple the run time, from 2 seconds to 6 seconds. Most of the time is spent in run time, inside the container. Here's the breakdown:
  • container setup: ~2 seconds
  • container run: ~4 seconds
  • container teardown: ~1 second
  • total run time: about ~6-7 seconds
That's a two- to three-fold increase! Clearly something is going on here that I should tweak. It's possible that code path is less optimized in Docker. I also worry about podman, but apparently it also supports ZFS backends. Possibly it would perform better, but at this stage I wouldn't have a good comparison: maybe it would have performed better on non-ZFS as well...

Interactivity While doing the offsite backups (below), the system became somewhat "sluggish". I felt everything was slow, and I estimate it introduced ~50ms latency in any input device. Arguably, those are all USB and the external drive was connected through USB, but I suspect the ZFS drivers are not as well tuned with the scheduler as the regular filesystem drivers...

Recovery procedures For test purposes, I unmounted all systems during the procedure:
umount /mnt/boot/efi /mnt/boot/run
umount -a -t zfs
zpool export -a
And disconnected the drive, to see how I would recover this system from another Linux system in case of a total motherboard failure. To import an existing pool, plug the device, then import the pool with an alternate root, so it doesn't mount over your existing filesystems, then you mount the root filesystem and all the others:
zpool import -l -a -R /mnt &&
zfs mount rpool/ROOT/debian &&
zfs mount -a &&
mount /dev/sdc2 /mnt/boot/efi &&
mount -t tmpfs tmpfs /mnt/run &&
mkdir /mnt/run/lock

Offsite backup Part of the goal of using ZFS is to simplify and harden backups. I wanted to experiment with shorter recovery times specifically both point in time recovery objective and recovery time objective and faster incremental backups. This is, therefore, part of my backup services. This section documents how an external NVMe enclosure was setup in a pool to mirror the datasets from my workstation. The final setup should include syncoid copying datasets to the backup server regularly, but I haven't finished that configuration yet.

Partitioning The above partitioning procedure used sgdisk, but I couldn't figure out how to do this with sgdisk, so this uses sfdisk to dump the partition from the first disk to an external, identical drive:
sfdisk -d /dev/nvme0n1   sfdisk --no-reread /dev/sda --force

Pool creation This is similar to the main pool creation, except we tweaked a few bits after changing the upstream procedure:
zpool create \
        -o cachefile=/etc/zfs/zpool.cache \
        -o ashift=12 -d \
        -o feature@async_destroy=enabled \
        -o feature@bookmarks=enabled \
        -o feature@embedded_data=enabled \
        -o feature@empty_bpobj=enabled \
        -o feature@enabled_txg=enabled \
        -o feature@extensible_dataset=enabled \
        -o feature@filesystem_limits=enabled \
        -o feature@hole_birth=enabled \
        -o feature@large_blocks=enabled \
        -o feature@lz4_compress=enabled \
        -o feature@spacemap_histogram=enabled \
        -o feature@zpool_checkpoint=enabled \
        -O acltype=posixacl -O xattr=sa \
        -O compression=lz4 \
        -O devices=off \
        -O relatime=on \
        -O canmount=off \
        -O mountpoint=/boot -R /mnt \
        bpool-tubman /dev/sdb3
The change from the main boot pool are: Main pool creation is:
zpool create \
        -o ashift=12 \
        -O encryption=on -O keylocation=prompt -O keyformat=passphrase \
        -O acltype=posixacl -O xattr=sa -O dnodesize=auto \
        -O compression=zstd \
        -O relatime=on \
        -O canmount=off \
        -O mountpoint=/ -R /mnt \
        rpool-tubman /dev/sdb4

First sync I used syncoid to copy all pools over to the external device. syncoid is a thing that's part of the sanoid project which is specifically designed to sync snapshots between pool, typically over SSH links but it can also operate locally. The sanoid command had a --readonly argument to simulate changes, but syncoid didn't so I tried to fix that with an upstream PR. It seems it would be better to do this by hand, but this was much easier. The full first sync was:
root@curie:/home/anarcat# ./bin/syncoid -r  bpool bpool-tubman
CRITICAL ERROR: Target bpool-tubman exists but has no snapshots matching with bpool!
                Replication to target would require destroying existing
                target. Cowardly refusing to destroy your existing target.
          NOTE: Target bpool-tubman dataset is < 64MB used - did you mistakenly run
                 zfs create bpool-tubman  on the target? ZFS initial
                replication must be to a NON EXISTENT DATASET, which will
                then be CREATED BY the initial replication process.
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot bpool/BOOT@test (~ 42 KB) to new target filesystem:
44.2KiB 0:00:00 [4.19MiB/s] [========================================================================================================================] 103%            
INFO: Updating new target filesystem with incremental bpool/BOOT@test ... syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:12:50:39 (~ 4 KB):
2.13KiB 0:00:00 [ 114KiB/s] [===============================================================>                                                         ] 53%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot bpool/BOOT/debian@install (~ 126.0 MB) to new target filesystem:
 126MiB 0:00:00 [ 308MiB/s] [=======================================================================================================================>] 100%            
INFO: Updating new target filesystem with incremental bpool/BOOT/debian@install ... syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:12:50:39 (~ 113.4 MB):
 113MiB 0:00:00 [ 315MiB/s] [=======================================================================================================================>] 100%
root@curie:/home/anarcat# ./bin/syncoid -r  rpool rpool-tubman
CRITICAL ERROR: Target rpool-tubman exists but has no snapshots matching with rpool!
                Replication to target would require destroying existing
                target. Cowardly refusing to destroy your existing target.
          NOTE: Target rpool-tubman dataset is < 64MB used - did you mistakenly run
                 zfs create rpool-tubman  on the target? ZFS initial
                replication must be to a NON EXISTENT DATASET, which will
                then be CREATED BY the initial replication process.
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/ROOT@syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:12:50:51 (~ 69 KB) to new target filesystem:
44.2KiB 0:00:00 [2.44MiB/s] [===========================================================================>                                             ] 63%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/ROOT/debian@install (~ 25.9 GB) to new target filesystem:
25.9GiB 0:03:33 [ 124MiB/s] [=======================================================================================================================>] 100%            
INFO: Updating new target filesystem with incremental rpool/ROOT/debian@install ... syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:12:50:52 (~ 3.9 GB):
3.92GiB 0:00:33 [ 119MiB/s] [======================================================================================================================>  ] 99%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/home@syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:12:55:04 (~ 276.8 GB) to new target filesystem:
 277GiB 0:27:13 [ 174MiB/s] [=======================================================================================================================>] 100%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/home/root@syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:13:22:19 (~ 2.2 GB) to new target filesystem:
2.22GiB 0:00:25 [90.2MiB/s] [=======================================================================================================================>] 100%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/var@syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:13:22:47 (~ 5.6 GB) to new target filesystem:
5.56GiB 0:00:32 [ 176MiB/s] [=======================================================================================================================>] 100%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/var/cache@syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:13:23:22 (~ 627.3 MB) to new target filesystem:
 627MiB 0:00:03 [ 169MiB/s] [=======================================================================================================================>] 100%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/var/lib@syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:13:23:28 (~ 69 KB) to new target filesystem:
44.2KiB 0:00:00 [1.40MiB/s] [===========================================================================>                                             ] 63%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/var/lib/docker@syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:13:23:28 (~ 442.6 MB) to new target filesystem:
 443MiB 0:00:04 [ 103MiB/s] [=======================================================================================================================>] 100%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/var/lib/docker/05c0de7fabbea60500eaa495d0d82038249f6faa63b12914737c4d71520e62c5@266253254 (~ 6.3 MB) to new target filesystem:
6.49MiB 0:00:00 [12.9MiB/s] [========================================================================================================================] 102%            
INFO: Updating new target filesystem with incremental rpool/var/lib/docker/05c0de7fabbea60500eaa495d0d82038249f6faa63b12914737c4d71520e62c5@266253254 ... syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:13:23:34 (~ 4 KB):
1.52KiB 0:00:00 [27.6KiB/s] [============================================>                                                                            ] 38%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/var/lib/flatpak@syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:13:23:36 (~ 2.0 GB) to new target filesystem:
2.00GiB 0:00:17 [ 115MiB/s] [=======================================================================================================================>] 100%            
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/var/tmp@syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:13:23:55 (~ 57.0 MB) to new target filesystem:
61.8MiB 0:00:01 [45.0MiB/s] [========================================================================================================================] 108%            
INFO: Clone is recreated on target rpool-tubman/var/lib/docker/ed71ddd563a779ba6fb37b3b1d0cc2c11eca9b594e77b4b234867ebcb162b205 based on rpool/var/lib/docker/05c0de7fabbea60500eaa495d0d82038249f6faa63b12914737c4d71520e62c5@266253254
INFO: Sending oldest full snapshot rpool/var/lib/docker/ed71ddd563a779ba6fb37b3b1d0cc2c11eca9b594e77b4b234867ebcb162b205@syncoid_curie_2022-05-30:13:23:58 (~ 218.6 MB) to new target filesystem:
 219MiB 0:00:01 [ 151MiB/s] [=======================================================================================================================>] 100%
Funny how the CRITICAL ERROR doesn't actually stop syncoid and it just carries on merrily doing when it's telling you it's "cowardly refusing to destroy your existing target"... Maybe that's because my pull request broke something though... During the transfer, the computer was very sluggish: everything feels like it has ~30-50ms latency extra:
anarcat@curie:sanoid$ LANG=C top -b  -n 1   head -20
top - 13:07:05 up 6 days,  4:01,  1 user,  load average: 16.13, 16.55, 11.83
Tasks: 606 total,   6 running, 598 sleeping,   0 stopped,   2 zombie
%Cpu(s): 18.8 us, 72.5 sy,  1.2 ni,  5.0 id,  1.2 wa,  0.0 hi,  1.2 si,  0.0 st
MiB Mem :  15898.4 total,   1387.6 free,  13170.0 used,   1340.8 buff/cache
MiB Swap:      0.0 total,      0.0 free,      0.0 used.   1319.8 avail Mem 
    PID USER      PR  NI    VIRT    RES    SHR S  %CPU  %MEM     TIME+ COMMAND
     70 root      20   0       0      0      0 S  83.3   0.0   6:12.67 kswapd0
4024878 root      20   0  282644  96432  10288 S  44.4   0.6   0:11.43 puppet
3896136 root      20   0   35328  16528     48 S  22.2   0.1   2:08.04 mbuffer
3896135 root      20   0   10328    776    168 R  16.7   0.0   1:22.93 zfs
3896138 root      20   0   10588    788    156 R  16.7   0.0   1:49.30 zfs
    350 root       0 -20       0      0      0 R  11.1   0.0   1:03.53 z_rd_int
    351 root       0 -20       0      0      0 S  11.1   0.0   1:04.15 z_rd_int
3896137 root      20   0    4384    352    244 R  11.1   0.0   0:44.73 pv
4034094 anarcat   30  10   20028  13960   2428 S  11.1   0.1   0:00.70 mbsync
4036539 anarcat   20   0    9604   3464   2408 R  11.1   0.0   0:00.04 top
    352 root       0 -20       0      0      0 S   5.6   0.0   1:03.64 z_rd_int
    353 root       0 -20       0      0      0 S   5.6   0.0   1:03.64 z_rd_int
    354 root       0 -20       0      0      0 S   5.6   0.0   1:04.01 z_rd_int
I wonder how much of that is due to syncoid, particularly because I often saw mbuffer and pv in there which are not strictly necessary to do those kind of operations, as far as I understand. Once that's done, export the pools to disconnect the drive:
zpool export bpool-tubman
zpool export rpool-tubman

Raw disk benchmark Copied the 512GB SSD/M.2 device to another 1024GB NVMe/M.2 device:
anarcat@curie:~$ sudo dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sdc bs=4M status=progress conv=fdatasync
499944259584 octets (500 GB, 466 GiB) copi s, 1713 s, 292 MB/s
119235+1 enregistrements lus
119235+1 enregistrements  crits
500107862016 octets (500 GB, 466 GiB) copi s, 1719,93 s, 291 MB/s
... while both over USB, whoohoo 300MB/s!

Monitoring ZFS should be monitoring your pools regularly. Normally, the [[!debman zed]] daemon monitors all ZFS events. It is the thing that will report when a scrub failed, for example. See this configuration guide. Scrubs should be regularly scheduled to ensure consistency of the pool. This can be done in newer zfsutils-linux versions (bullseye-backports or bookworm) with one of those, depending on the desired frequency:
systemctl enable zfs-scrub-weekly@rpool.timer --now
systemctl enable zfs-scrub-monthly@rpool.timer --now
When the scrub runs, if it finds anything it will send an event which will get picked up by the zed daemon which will then send a notification, see below for an example. TODO: deploy on curie, if possible (probably not because no RAID) TODO: this should be in Puppet

Scrub warning example So what happens when problems are found? Here's an example of how I dealt with an error I received. After setting up another server (tubman) with ZFS, I eventually ended up getting a warning from the ZFS toolchain.
Date: Sun, 09 Oct 2022 00:58:08 -0400
From: root <>
Subject: ZFS scrub_finish event for rpool on tubman
ZFS has finished a scrub:
   eid: 39536
 class: scrub_finish
  host: tubman
  time: 2022-10-09 00:58:07-0400
  pool: rpool
 state: ONLINE
status: One or more devices has experienced an unrecoverable error.  An
        attempt was made to correct the error.  Applications are unaffected.
action: Determine if the device needs to be replaced, and clear the errors
        using 'zpool clear' or replace the device with 'zpool replace'.
  scan: scrub repaired 0B in 00:33:57 with 0 errors on Sun Oct  9 00:58:07 2022
        NAME        STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        rpool       ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-0  ONLINE       0     0     0
            sdb4    ONLINE       0     1     0
            sdc4    ONLINE       0     0     0
          sda3      ONLINE       0     0     0
errors: No known data errors
This, in itself, is a little worrisome. But it helpfully links to this more detailed documentation (and props up there: the link still works) which explains this is a "minor" problem (something that could be included in the report). In this case, this happened on a server setup on 2021-04-28, but the disks and server hardware are much older. The server itself (marcos v1) was built around 2011, over 10 years ago now. The hard drive in question is:
root@tubman:~# smartctl -i -qnoserial /dev/sdb
smartctl 7.2 2020-12-30 r5155 [x86_64-linux-5.10.0-15-amd64] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-20, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke,
Model Family:     Seagate BarraCuda 3.5
Device Model:     ST4000DM004-2CV104
Firmware Version: 0001
User Capacity:    4,000,787,030,016 bytes [4.00 TB]
Sector Sizes:     512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
Rotation Rate:    5425 rpm
Form Factor:      3.5 inches
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   ACS-3 T13/2161-D revision 5
SATA Version is:  SATA 3.1, 6.0 Gb/s (current: 3.0 Gb/s)
Local Time is:    Tue Oct 11 11:02:32 2022 EDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled
Some more SMART stats:
root@tubman:~# smartctl -a -qnoserial /dev/sdb   grep -e  Head_Flying_Hours -e Power_On_Hours -e Total_LBA -e 'Sector Sizes'
Sector Sizes:     512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   086   086   000    Old_age   Always       -       12464 (206 202 0)
240 Head_Flying_Hours       0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       10966h+55m+23.757s
241 Total_LBAs_Written      0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       21107792664
242 Total_LBAs_Read         0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       3201579750
That's over a year of power on, which shouldn't be so bad. It has written about 10TB of data (21107792664 LBAs * 512 byte/LBA), which is about two full writes. According to its specification, this device is supposed to support 55 TB/year of writes, so we're far below spec. Note that are still far from the "non-recoverable read error per bits" spec (1 per 10E15), as we've basically read 13E12 bits (3201579750 LBAs * 512 byte/LBA = 13E12 bits). It's likely this disk was made in 2018, so it is in its fourth year. Interestingly, /dev/sdc is also a Seagate drive, but of a different series:
root@tubman:~# smartctl -qnoserial  -i /dev/sdb
smartctl 7.2 2020-12-30 r5155 [x86_64-linux-5.10.0-15-amd64] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-20, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke,
Model Family:     Seagate BarraCuda 3.5
Device Model:     ST4000DM004-2CV104
Firmware Version: 0001
User Capacity:    4,000,787,030,016 bytes [4.00 TB]
Sector Sizes:     512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
Rotation Rate:    5425 rpm
Form Factor:      3.5 inches
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   ACS-3 T13/2161-D revision 5
SATA Version is:  SATA 3.1, 6.0 Gb/s (current: 3.0 Gb/s)
Local Time is:    Tue Oct 11 11:21:35 2022 EDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled
It has seen much more reads than the other disk which is also interesting:
root@tubman:~# smartctl -a -qnoserial /dev/sdc   grep -e  Head_Flying_Hours -e Power_On_Hours -e Total_LBA -e 'Sector Sizes'
Sector Sizes:     512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   059   059   000    Old_age   Always       -       36240
240 Head_Flying_Hours       0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       33994h+10m+52.118s
241 Total_LBAs_Written      0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       30730174438
242 Total_LBAs_Read         0x0000   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       51894566538
That's 4 years of Head_Flying_Hours, and over 4 years (4 years and 48 days) of Power_On_Hours. The copyright date on that drive's specs goes back to 2016, so it's a much older drive. SMART self-test succeeded.

Remaining issues
  • TODO: move send/receive backups to offsite host, see also zfs for alternatives to syncoid/sanoid there
  • TODO: setup backup cron job (or timer?)
  • TODO: swap still not setup on curie, see zfs
  • TODO: document this somewhere: bpool and rpool are both pools and datasets. that's pretty confusing, but also very useful because it allows for pool-wide recursive snapshots, which are used for the backup system

fio improvements I really want to improve my experience with fio. Right now, I'm just cargo-culting stuff from other folks and I don't really like it. stressant is a good example of my struggles, in the sense that it doesn't really work that well for disk tests. I would love to have just a single .fio job file that lists multiple jobs to run serially. For example, this file describes the above workload pretty well:
# cargo-culting Salter
# no need to drop caches, done by default
# invalidate=1
# Single 4KiB random read/write process
# 16 parallel 64KiB random read/write processes:
# Single 1MiB random read/write process
... except the jobs are actually started in parallel, even though they are stonewall'd, as far as I can tell by the reports. I sent a mail to the fio mailing list for clarification. It looks like the jobs are started in parallel, but actual (correctly) run serially. It seems like this might just be a matter of reporting the right timestamps in the end, although it does feel like starting all the processes (even if not doing any work yet) could skew the results.

Hangs during procedure During the procedure, it happened a few times where any ZFS command would completely hang. It seems that using an external USB drive to sync stuff didn't work so well: sometimes it would reconnect under a different device (from sdc to sdd, for example), and this would greatly confuse ZFS. Here, for example, is sdd reappearing out of the blue:
May 19 11:22:53 curie kernel: [  699.820301] scsi host4: uas
May 19 11:22:53 curie kernel: [  699.820544] usb 2-1: authorized to connect
May 19 11:22:53 curie kernel: [  699.922433] scsi 4:0:0:0: Direct-Access     ROG      ESD-S1C          0    PQ: 0 ANSI: 6
May 19 11:22:53 curie kernel: [  699.923235] sd 4:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0
May 19 11:22:53 curie kernel: [  699.923676] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdd] 1953525168 512-byte logical blocks: (1.00 TB/932 GiB)
May 19 11:22:53 curie kernel: [  699.923788] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdd] Write Protect is off
May 19 11:22:53 curie kernel: [  699.923949] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdd] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
May 19 11:22:53 curie kernel: [  699.924149] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdd] Optimal transfer size 33553920 bytes
May 19 11:22:53 curie kernel: [  699.961602]  sdd: sdd1 sdd2 sdd3 sdd4
May 19 11:22:53 curie kernel: [  699.996083] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdd] Attached SCSI disk
Next time I run a ZFS command (say zpool list), the command completely hangs (D state) and this comes up in the logs:
May 19 11:34:21 curie kernel: [ 1387.914843] zio pool=bpool vdev=/dev/sdc3 error=5 type=2 offset=71344128 size=4096 flags=184880
May 19 11:34:21 curie kernel: [ 1387.914859] zio pool=bpool vdev=/dev/sdc3 error=5 type=2 offset=205565952 size=4096 flags=184880
May 19 11:34:21 curie kernel: [ 1387.914874] zio pool=bpool vdev=/dev/sdc3 error=5 type=2 offset=272789504 size=4096 flags=184880
May 19 11:34:21 curie kernel: [ 1387.914906] zio pool=bpool vdev=/dev/sdc3 error=5 type=1 offset=270336 size=8192 flags=b08c1
May 19 11:34:21 curie kernel: [ 1387.914932] zio pool=bpool vdev=/dev/sdc3 error=5 type=1 offset=1073225728 size=8192 flags=b08c1
May 19 11:34:21 curie kernel: [ 1387.914948] zio pool=bpool vdev=/dev/sdc3 error=5 type=1 offset=1073487872 size=8192 flags=b08c1
May 19 11:34:21 curie kernel: [ 1387.915165] zio pool=bpool vdev=/dev/sdc3 error=5 type=2 offset=272793600 size=4096 flags=184880
May 19 11:34:21 curie kernel: [ 1387.915183] zio pool=bpool vdev=/dev/sdc3 error=5 type=2 offset=339853312 size=4096 flags=184880
May 19 11:34:21 curie kernel: [ 1387.915648] WARNING: Pool 'bpool' has encountered an uncorrectable I/O failure and has been suspended.
May 19 11:34:21 curie kernel: [ 1387.915648] 
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558614] task:txg_sync        state:D stack:    0 pid:  997 ppid:     2 flags:0x00004000
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558623] Call Trace:
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558640]  __schedule+0x282/0x870
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558650]  schedule+0x46/0xb0
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558670]  schedule_timeout+0x8b/0x140
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558675]  ? __next_timer_interrupt+0x110/0x110
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558678]  io_schedule_timeout+0x4c/0x80
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558689]  __cv_timedwait_common+0x12b/0x160 [spl]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558694]  ? add_wait_queue_exclusive+0x70/0x70
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558702]  __cv_timedwait_io+0x15/0x20 [spl]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558816]  zio_wait+0x129/0x2b0 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.558929]  dsl_pool_sync+0x461/0x4f0 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559032]  spa_sync+0x575/0xfa0 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559138]  ? spa_txg_history_init_io+0x101/0x110 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559245]  txg_sync_thread+0x2e0/0x4a0 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559354]  ? txg_fini+0x240/0x240 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559366]  thread_generic_wrapper+0x6f/0x80 [spl]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559376]  ? __thread_exit+0x20/0x20 [spl]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559379]  kthread+0x11b/0x140
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559382]  ? __kthread_bind_mask+0x60/0x60
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559386]  ret_from_fork+0x22/0x30
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559401] task:zed             state:D stack:    0 pid: 1564 ppid:     1 flags:0x00000000
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559404] Call Trace:
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559409]  __schedule+0x282/0x870
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559412]  ? __kmalloc_node+0x141/0x2b0
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559417]  schedule+0x46/0xb0
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559420]  schedule_preempt_disabled+0xa/0x10
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559424]  __mutex_lock.constprop.0+0x133/0x460
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559435]  ? nvlist_xalloc.part.0+0x68/0xc0 [znvpair]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559537]  spa_all_configs+0x41/0x120 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559644]  zfs_ioc_pool_configs+0x17/0x70 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559752]  zfsdev_ioctl_common+0x697/0x870 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559758]  ? _copy_from_user+0x28/0x60
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559860]  zfsdev_ioctl+0x53/0xe0 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559866]  __x64_sys_ioctl+0x83/0xb0
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559869]  do_syscall_64+0x33/0x80
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559873]  entry_SYSCALL_64_after_hwframe+0x44/0xa9
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559876] RIP: 0033:0x7fcf0ef32cc7
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559878] RSP: 002b:00007fcf0e181618 EFLAGS: 00000246 ORIG_RAX: 0000000000000010
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559881] RAX: ffffffffffffffda RBX: 000055b212f972a0 RCX: 00007fcf0ef32cc7
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559883] RDX: 00007fcf0e181640 RSI: 0000000000005a04 RDI: 000000000000000b
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559885] RBP: 00007fcf0e184c30 R08: 00007fcf08016810 R09: 00007fcf08000080
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559886] R10: 0000000000080000 R11: 0000000000000246 R12: 000055b212f972a0
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559888] R13: 0000000000000000 R14: 00007fcf0e181640 R15: 0000000000000000
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559980] task:zpool           state:D stack:    0 pid:11815 ppid:  3816 flags:0x00004000
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559983] Call Trace:
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559988]  __schedule+0x282/0x870
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559992]  schedule+0x46/0xb0
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.559995]  io_schedule+0x42/0x70
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560004]  cv_wait_common+0xac/0x130 [spl]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560008]  ? add_wait_queue_exclusive+0x70/0x70
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560118]  txg_wait_synced_impl+0xc9/0x110 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560223]  txg_wait_synced+0xc/0x40 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560325]  spa_export_common+0x4cd/0x590 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560430]  ? zfs_log_history+0x9c/0xf0 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560537]  zfsdev_ioctl_common+0x697/0x870 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560543]  ? _copy_from_user+0x28/0x60
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560644]  zfsdev_ioctl+0x53/0xe0 [zfs]
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560649]  __x64_sys_ioctl+0x83/0xb0
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560653]  do_syscall_64+0x33/0x80
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560656]  entry_SYSCALL_64_after_hwframe+0x44/0xa9
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560659] RIP: 0033:0x7fdc23be2cc7
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560661] RSP: 002b:00007ffc8c792478 EFLAGS: 00000246 ORIG_RAX: 0000000000000010
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560664] RAX: ffffffffffffffda RBX: 000055942ca49e20 RCX: 00007fdc23be2cc7
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560666] RDX: 00007ffc8c792490 RSI: 0000000000005a03 RDI: 0000000000000003
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560667] RBP: 00007ffc8c795e80 R08: 00000000ffffffff R09: 00007ffc8c792310
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560669] R10: 000055942ca49e30 R11: 0000000000000246 R12: 00007ffc8c792490
May 19 11:37:25 curie kernel: [ 1571.560671] R13: 000055942ca49e30 R14: 000055942aed2c20 R15: 00007ffc8c795a40
Here's another example, where you see the USB controller bleeping out and back into existence:
mai 19 11:38:39 curie kernel: usb 2-1: USB disconnect, device number 2
mai 19 11:38:39 curie kernel: sd 4:0:0:0: [sdd] Synchronizing SCSI cache
mai 19 11:38:39 curie kernel: sd 4:0:0:0: [sdd] Synchronize Cache(10) failed: Result: hostbyte=DID_ERROR driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: INFO: task zed:1564 blocked for more than 241 seconds.
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:       Tainted: P          IOE     5.10.0-14-amd64 #1 Debian 5.10.113-1
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: "echo 0 > /proc/sys/kernel/hung_task_timeout_secs" disables this message.
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: task:zed             state:D stack:    0 pid: 1564 ppid:     1 flags:0x00000000
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: Call Trace:
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  __schedule+0x282/0x870
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  ? __kmalloc_node+0x141/0x2b0
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  schedule+0x46/0xb0
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  schedule_preempt_disabled+0xa/0x10
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  __mutex_lock.constprop.0+0x133/0x460
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  ? nvlist_xalloc.part.0+0x68/0xc0 [znvpair]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  spa_all_configs+0x41/0x120 [zfs]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  zfs_ioc_pool_configs+0x17/0x70 [zfs]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  zfsdev_ioctl_common+0x697/0x870 [zfs]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  ? _copy_from_user+0x28/0x60
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  zfsdev_ioctl+0x53/0xe0 [zfs]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  __x64_sys_ioctl+0x83/0xb0
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  do_syscall_64+0x33/0x80
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  entry_SYSCALL_64_after_hwframe+0x44/0xa9
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: RIP: 0033:0x7fcf0ef32cc7
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: RSP: 002b:00007fcf0e181618 EFLAGS: 00000246 ORIG_RAX: 0000000000000010
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: RAX: ffffffffffffffda RBX: 000055b212f972a0 RCX: 00007fcf0ef32cc7
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: RDX: 00007fcf0e181640 RSI: 0000000000005a04 RDI: 000000000000000b
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: RBP: 00007fcf0e184c30 R08: 00007fcf08016810 R09: 00007fcf08000080
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: R10: 0000000000080000 R11: 0000000000000246 R12: 000055b212f972a0
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: R13: 0000000000000000 R14: 00007fcf0e181640 R15: 0000000000000000
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: INFO: task zpool:11815 blocked for more than 241 seconds.
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:       Tainted: P          IOE     5.10.0-14-amd64 #1 Debian 5.10.113-1
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: "echo 0 > /proc/sys/kernel/hung_task_timeout_secs" disables this message.
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: task:zpool           state:D stack:    0 pid:11815 ppid:  2621 flags:0x00004004
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: Call Trace:
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  __schedule+0x282/0x870
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  schedule+0x46/0xb0
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  io_schedule+0x42/0x70
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  cv_wait_common+0xac/0x130 [spl]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  ? add_wait_queue_exclusive+0x70/0x70
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  txg_wait_synced_impl+0xc9/0x110 [zfs]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  txg_wait_synced+0xc/0x40 [zfs]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  spa_export_common+0x4cd/0x590 [zfs]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  ? zfs_log_history+0x9c/0xf0 [zfs]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  zfsdev_ioctl_common+0x697/0x870 [zfs]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  ? _copy_from_user+0x28/0x60
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  zfsdev_ioctl+0x53/0xe0 [zfs]
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  __x64_sys_ioctl+0x83/0xb0
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  do_syscall_64+0x33/0x80
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel:  entry_SYSCALL_64_after_hwframe+0x44/0xa9
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: RIP: 0033:0x7fdc23be2cc7
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: RSP: 002b:00007ffc8c792478 EFLAGS: 00000246 ORIG_RAX: 0000000000000010
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: RAX: ffffffffffffffda RBX: 000055942ca49e20 RCX: 00007fdc23be2cc7
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: RDX: 00007ffc8c792490 RSI: 0000000000005a03 RDI: 0000000000000003
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: RBP: 00007ffc8c795e80 R08: 00000000ffffffff R09: 00007ffc8c792310
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: R10: 000055942ca49e30 R11: 0000000000000246 R12: 00007ffc8c792490
mai 19 11:39:25 curie kernel: R13: 000055942ca49e30 R14: 000055942aed2c20 R15: 00007ffc8c795a40
I understand those are rather extreme conditions: I would fully expect the pool to stop working if the underlying drives disappear. What doesn't seem acceptable is that a command would completely hang like this.

References See the zfs documentation for more information about ZFS, and tubman for another installation and migration procedure.

12 November 2022

Debian Brasil: Participa o da comunidade Debian no Latinoware 2022

De 2 a 4 de novembro de 2022 aconteceu a 19 edi o do Latinoware - Congresso Latino-americano de Software Livre e Tecnologias Abertas, em Foz do Igua u. Ap s 2 anos acontecendo de forma online devido a pandemia do COVID-19, o evento voltou a ser presencial e sentimos que a comunidade Debian Brasil deveria estar presente. Nossa ltima participa o no Latinoware foi em 2016 A organiza o do Latinoware cedeu para a comunidade Debian Brasil um estande para que pud ssemos ter contato com as pessoas que visitavam a rea aberta de exposi es e assim divulgarmos o projeto Debian. Durante os 3 dias do evento, o estande foi organizado por mim (Paulo Henrique Santana) como Desenvolvedor Debian, e pelo Leonardo Rodrigues como contribuidor Debian. Infelizmente o Daniel Lenharo teve um imprevisto de ltima hora e n o pode ir para Foz do Igua u (sentimos sua falta l !). Latinoware 2022 estande 1 V rias pessoas visitaram o estande e aquelas mais iniciantes (principalmente estudantes) que n o conheciam o Debian, perguntavam do que se tratava o nosso grupo e a gente explicava v rios conceitos como o que Software Livre, distribui o GNU/Linux e o Debian propriamente dito. Tamb m recebemos pessoas da comunidade de Software Livre brasileira e de outros pa ses da Am rica Latina que j utilizavam uma distribui o GNU/Linux e claro, muitas pessoas que j utilizavam Debian. Tivemos algumas visitas especiais como do Jon maddog Hall, do Desenvolvedor Debian Emeritus Ot vio Salvador, do Desenvolvedor Debian Eriberto Mota, e dos Mantenedores Debian Guilherme de Paula Segundo e Paulo Kretcheu. Latinoware 2022 estande 4 Foto da esquerda pra direita: Leonardo, Paulo, Eriberto e Ot vio. Latinoware 2022 estande 5 Foto da esquerda pra direita: Paulo, Fabian (Argentina) e Leonardo. Al m de conversarmos bastante, distribu mos adesivos do Debian que foram produzidos alguns meses atr s com o patroc nio do Debian para serem distribu dos na DebConf22(e que haviam sobrado), e vendemos v rias camisetas do Debian produzidas pela comunidade Curitiba Livre. Latinoware 2022 estande 2 Latinoware 2022 estande 3 Tamb m tivemos 3 palestras inseridas na programa o oficial do Latinoware. Eu fiz as palestras: como tornar um(a) contribuidor(a) do Debian fazendo tradu es e como os SysAdmins de uma empresa global usam Debian . E o Leonardo fez a palestra: vantagens da telefonia Open Source nas empresas . Latinoware 2022 estande 6 Foto Paulo na palestra. Agradecemos a organiza o do Latinoware por receber mais uma vez a comunidade Debian e gentilmente ceder os espa os para a nossa participa o, e parabenizamos a todas as pessoas envolvidas na organiza o pelo sucesso desse importante evento para a nossa comunidade. Esperamos estar presentes novamente em 2023. Agracemos tamb m ao Jonathan Carter por aprovar o suporte financeiro do Debian para a nossa participa o no Latinoware. Vers o em ingl s

11 November 2022

Debian Brasil: Participa o da comunidade Debian no Latinoware 2022

De 2 a 4 de novembro de 2022 aconteceu a 19 edi o do Latinoware - Congresso Latino-americano de Software Livre e Tecnologias Abertas, em Foz do Igua u. Ap s 2 anos acontecendo de forma online devido a pandemia do COVID-19, o evento voltou a ser presencial e sentimos que a comunidade Debian Brasil deveria estar presente. Nossa ltima participa o no Latinoware foi em 2016 A organiza o do Latinoware cedeu para a comunidade Debian Brasil um estande para que pud ssemos ter contato com as pessoas que visitavam a rea aberta de exposi es e assim divulgarmos o projeto Debian. Durante os 3 dias do evento, o estande foi organizado por mim (Paulo Henrique Santana) como Desenvolvedor Debian, e pelo Leonardo Rodrigues como contribuidor Debian. Infelizmente o Daniel Lenharo teve um imprevisto de ltima hora e n o pode ir para Foz do Igua u (sentimos sua falta l !). Latinoware 2022 estande 1 V rias pessoas visitaram o estande e aquelas mais iniciantes (principalmente estudantes) que n o conheciam o Debian, perguntavam do que se tratava o nosso grupo e a gente explicava v rios conceitos como o que Software Livre, distribui o GNU/Linux e o Debian propriamente dito. Tamb m recebemos pessoas da comunidade de Software Livre brasileira e de outros pa ses da Am rica Latina que j utilizavam uma distribui o GNU/Linux e claro, muitas pessoas que j utilizavam Debian. Tivemos algumas visitas especiais como do Jon maddog Hall, do Desenvolvedor Debian Emeritus Ot vio Salvador, do Desenvolvedor Debian Eriberto Mota, e dos Mantenedores Debian Guilherme de Paula Segundo e Paulo Kretcheu. Latinoware 2022 estande 4 Foto da esquerda pra direita: Leonardo, Paulo, Eriberto e Ot vio. Latinoware 2022 estande 5 Foto da esquerda pra direita: Paulo, Fabian (Argentina) e Leonardo. Al m de conversarmos bastante, distribu mos adesivos do Debian que foram produzidos alguns meses atr s com o patroc nio do Debian para serem distribu dos na DebConf22(e que haviam sobrado), e vendemos v rias camisetas do Debian produzidas pela comunidade Curitiba Livre. Latinoware 2022 estande 2 Latinoware 2022 estande 3 Tamb m tivemos 3 palestras inseridas na programa o oficial do Latinoware. Eu fiz as palestras: como tornar um(a) contribuidor(a) do Debian fazendo tradu es e como os SysAdmins de uma empresa global usam Debian . E o Leonardo fez a palestra: vantagens da telefonia Open Source nas empresas . Latinoware 2022 estande 6 Foto Paulo na palestra. Agradecemos a organiza o do Latinoware por receber mais uma vez a comunidade Debian e gentilmente ceder os espa os para a nossa participa o, e parabenizamos a todas as pessoas envolvidas na organiza o pelo sucesso desse importante evento para a nossa comunidade. Esperamos estar presentes novamente em 2023. Agracemos tamb m ao Jonathan Carter por aprovar o suporte financeiro do Debian para a nossa participa o no Latinoware. Vers o em ingl s

9 November 2022

Debian Brasil: Brasileiros(as) Mantenedores(as) e Desenvolvedores(as) Debian a partir de julho de 2015

Desde de setembro de 2015, o time de publicidade do Projeto Debian passou a publicar a cada dois meses listas com os nomes dos(as) novos(as) Desenvolvedores(as) Debian (DD - do ingl s Debian Developer) e Mantenedores(as) Debian (DM - do ingl s Debian Maintainer). Estamos aproveitando estas listas para publicar abaixo os nomes dos(as) brasileiros(as) que se tornaram Desenvolvedores(as) e Mantenedores(as) Debian a partir de julho de 2015. Desenvolvedores(as) Debian / Debian Developers / DDs: Marcos Talau Fabio Augusto De Muzio Tobich Gabriel F. T. Gomes Thiago Andrade Marques M rcio de Souza Oliveira Paulo Henrique de Lima Santana Samuel Henrique S rgio Durigan J nior Daniel Lenharo de Souza Giovani Augusto Ferreira Adriano Rafael Gomes Breno Leit o Lucas Kanashiro Herbert Parentes Fortes Neto Mantenedores(as) Debian / Debian Maintainers / DMs: Guilherme de Paula Xavier Segundo David da Silva Polverari Paulo Roberto Alves de Oliveira Sergio Almeida Cipriano Junior Francisco Vilmar Cardoso Ruviaro William Grzybowski Tiago Ilieve
Observa es:
  1. Esta lista ser atualizada quando o time de publicidade do Debian publicar novas listas com DMs e DDs e tiver brasileiros.
  2. Para ver a lista completa de Mantenedores(as) e Desenvolvedores(as) Debian, inclusive outros(as) brasileiros(as) antes de julho de 2015 acesse: