I can look through much of my week by flipping through my moleskine and seeing what I wrote down to do or remember to do, or fail to remember to do. I’m getting better about remembering to write in it and I’m trying to take it with me everywhere. It’s been handy, though now I’m thinking I need a little not-quite-pocket-book bag for carting around misc stuff like this, though I think it fits nicely in the side pocket of my laptop bag and cmon, when am I w/o my laptop. ๐Ÿ™‚

My brother runs an 84 Lumber store north of Atlanta. He stopped by my house in Durham on the way up to Richmond to see my dad for his birthday. I showed him an article in dwell about green roofing systems and he saw the bit about graywater reclamation in there. So, he called me on monday to see if I could look up any other items about graywater reclamation for him. Evidently, a builder down in Atlanta calledt is building minimal-environmental-impact homes. The builder was looking for vendors for these single-unit graywater systems. Graywater is non-potable water that runs down your drain during a shower or down your sink drains. The water is perfectly usable for other things like watering your lawn or flushing the toilet so there’s no point in just dumping it in the sewer with the toilet runoff. So you capture it, filter it a bit, pump it onto your lawns and use it to flush your toilets. Anyway I found some cool info on it at h2ouse.org which, despite having an annoying domain name, is not a bad site. So I found some good info for my brother and I added a bit more trivia to my wealth of trivia. It could also be useful one day if I want to build a house (which it seems more and more likely to be the only way to find a house I don’t loathe in one way or another).

Monday went away with the normal yum and fedora extras head-butting. I think I may have beaten up mach+yum in there a bit, too.

Tuesday: I gave a talk to dulug about linux@duke and what things are going on there. Small group but I had a shockingly good time talking to some of the folks about the reasons I care about open source. More and more often these days my reasons seem to be less the prevalent reason for people getting involved in open source. I genuinely think that open source is promoting freedom. Not just software freedom but general freedom. It’s unwrapping us from gov’t and corp controls and showing people that you CAN do things on your own. That people, independent of established organizations can organize themselves around goals and that we shouldn’t let anyone tell us we can’t do that.

Wednesday: I synced up the new mirror box and got it ready to go live. Now, I just need to give it its new ip, talk to the red hat folks about adding it to the sync lists and switch it on. We’re using lighttpd right now. I’m kinda curious how well it will work under the serious loads that this box normally sees.

Thursday’s highlight was probably CLAC. Spent the time discussing the virtues of mailman vs sympa for mailing list work. My biggest objection to sympa was the 60+ perl modules required to run it and the unbelievable complexity involved in configuring it. Then comparing that to the development process and batteries-included standpoint of mailman and python and the current dev plans for mailman 3.0. It seems like it’d be a better idea to wait for mailman 3.0 and maybe help with development than go chasing after sympa and the never-ending string of modules. (remember, those modules have their own deps and sometimes sympa needs newer versions than what your distro might provide).

Came home later that evening and pulled up the little rabbit fence surrounding the girl’s garden patch. muahahaha!

Friday: Spent some time writing up responses for buildsystem automation for fedora extras. We’ve got a meeting for Wednesday to talk about package status tracking. Once that gets bottled up a bit we can start tying in the buildsys code into it so I can stop building all this damned stuff! :). Watched Finding Neverland and The Incredibles in the evening. Both fantastic movies.

Saturday: off to the hardware store to acquire new fencing, new fence posts and other implements of destruction. Built new fence for the girl for her garden patch and increased the space it has available to it by about double. It looks great. Now she has to tear the ground up a bit to make it usable but much progress on the gardening front. I also sat down and moved through all the exactarch-as-a-list-of-pkg-names code. It was a lot simpler than I thought it would be which makes me suspicious that I screwed it up somewhere. So far all the tests I have for it show up correctly, so if I messed it up, I’m not sure how. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunday: Brunch at Elmo’s then hacked the hell out of the yum shell. I added in all the basic items. It’s not ultra-configurable but I think it allows configuration of the items that really matter. Then I implemented Michael Favia’s designs for the transaction listing output for yum. Some refinement still left to do but on the whole it seems like it’s getting there. Rearranged the furniture in the bedroom and looked at what things need to go to goodwill.

Today: Spring Cleaning! Well, filesystem spring cleaning. About this time of year every year I purge old crap from my dirs and I seek out and purge users from systems. It’s fun! Got rid of an enormous ton of users that have been missing for > 3yrs from one set of systems. It’s just grand. Preparing for migrating a server to not-quite-as-crappy old hardware. I really hope oit makes a decision sometime in this year, it’d be nice to get new, real, hardware for linux@duke.

Whew. That was long but I think I accurately described my week, well, at least if you follow along in my notebook. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post of irritation

March 29, 2005

Logged into my bank account web interface and I’m greeted with:

Due to our upcoming conversion on the weekend of April 1, you will not have access to history on your account from the internet prior to April 1. If you want to keep a copy of your account history, then please print the history for each month you wish to keep by going to the Account Summary screen for the account in question.

My first thought is that this is a poorly timed joke. My second thought is that this is an extremely poorly run system. I understand upgrades sucking. But cmon? ALL data prior to the conversion is just lost? This is a financial institution surely this is not an acceptable solution. Worries the hell out of me that a lot of open source developers I know have better quality-control standards than my bank.

BloGTK post

March 21, 2005

I packaged up BloGTK for submission to fedora extras:


I hope it passes all the review muster, I copied liberally from other, accepted, packages so I don’t see why not. I kinda wish BloGTK’s interface resembled email for obviously, heck, I’d almost be interested in seeing xmlrpc-based posting as a feature of evolution or thunderbird.

so tired

March 16, 2005

short post:

  • fc4t1 came out today, and I didn’t have to do the mirrors list! yay! I did have to do the torrent stuff, though.
  • new mach+yum package. These should work pretty much anywhere
  • New yum releases coming out tomorrow, most likely.
  • Gijs rocks, he fixed the sqlite borkage
  • I need about a month off
  • Using Icon’s new repoview release to make the repo output for fedora extras

That’s all folks.

so sleepy

March 14, 2005

So very sleepy but I should write something useful/ish before I go to bed:

  • surprise party/present for icon went over well, I think, it was fun lying to him, I’ll have to do it more often
  • new mach+yum packages. They’re really only work on rawhide and fc4test1 but I’m planning some backports to yum 2.2.X to make them work on earlier items pre-sqlite-db-work.
  • Walked a fair bit this weekend and it didn’t feel bad. It was nice outside and I enjoyed being out w/o wearing seven layers of clothing and gloves
  • Was amazed this weekend at the sheer lack of simple, solid-color journal/notebook items that will fit easily in a pocket. It’s astounding – I can fine 8000 different froo-froo colored and decorated books but if I just want a simple black one in a specific size I’m SOL.

From the mind of Paul Nasrat I bring you:

“Yum Update Me One More Time”

To the tune of “Hit me, baby, one more time” by Britney Spears.

oh package, package
how was I supposed to know
that something wasn’t right here
oh package, package
I shouldn’t have forced you so
and now your not working
show me how I want it to be
tell me package, coz I need to know now, oh because
my depsolverness is killing me
I must confess I still believe
when I’m not up2date I lose my mind
give me a sign
hit me yum one more time
Oh package, package, how was I supposed to know
Oh dear package, I shouldn’t have let you go (and rpm -e’d you)
I must confess, that my packagelessness is killing me now
Don’t you know I still believe
That you will install
And give me a sign
Yum update me one more time

this isn’t my fault, it’s just paul.


March 6, 2005

I’ve been working a lot lately and making some real progress on a number of items. I’ve not felt like writing very much, maybe it’s b/c I’ve been writing what seems like a never-ending stream of email. It’s amazing how much I can write in any given month. I spent today working at the office. This has become uncommon for me to do on a saturday but there were somethings I wanted to get done and being there enabled me to sit in front of items and test them and what not. Tomorrow is going to be spent hanging out with the girl and doing some fairly domestic things:

We’re going to a bunch of open houses of places we cannot afford. Additionally, we’re not really looking to buy a house so it’s an excellent practice in window shopping. Then, I hope to convince her to go to Ecko and look at tables. I’d like to get a larger dining room table. We both end up sitting and working at the dining room table. It’s this 4 foot diameter circular ikea table, it’s very sturdy and has a nice simple finish. To be truthful, I love it. (Like all things the girl owns it’s simple and graceful yet ridiculously quality, to be clear, I’m jealous of her ability to select these items, then again, I like to think I am an item she selected as well and therefore confer to me the aforementioned qualities.) If all goes well we shall come home victorius and either laden with a table or eagerly expecting one.

I watched a couple of movies tonight. One was crap and it shall not be mentioned. The other was Head in the Clouds. I enjoyed this movie immensely. It started out seeming like a great deal of fun then WWII arrived, chronologically and it became much deeper, much more involving. It was a love story and as much as it was panned by the various commenters on imdb, I enjoyed it. :). Not that I am a victim of obeying critics. I’m one of those special people who think that Hudson Hawk is a cinematic masterpiece and the type of films bruce willis should be doing. That and the Whole Nine Yards.

Yum: Much wonderful work has gotten done. Yum is faster than it has ever been and many bothans died to make it that fast. It should be exciting. I still have much pain to undergo, yet, but for FC4T1 it should be fun to see if people scream or shout. The sqlite backend that Gijs originally wrote has been augmented by Menno and Panu and even a bit by myself. Icon has written some new importing code use cElementTree (this won’t make it into Test1, though). With the cElementTree code the xml import is, at this time, 2-3x faster than it was. Once the metadata is imported and inserted into the db yum is actually incredibly fast to startup. Then, b/c of the DB backend it’s light memory-wise. Finally, it opens up avenues of devel like repoquery and making the rhn_applet_of_memory_suck much much lighter, though rumor has it there will be dbus involved!

Centos: synced up and setup the centos-4 trees for duke today. Working on duke-izing them. Mostly just changing some yum items for our local repos and using some features that I find useful but most people don’t know much about (like gpgkey and enabled=0). Centos is, unsurprisingly, looking rather stable and straightforward. This is good, this is the way it should be. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m looking forward to trying some centos-3 to centos-4 yum upgrades. I’m curious how many things will keel over and die. Nevertheless I have a few boxes that I’d rather not reinstall if I have the option and I would prefer to get the performance boost of the 2.6 kernels. I doubt I’ll get to it tomorrow but I hope to get to an x86_64 install on monday at the latest. I wish my test environment was less dreadful.

Fedora Extras: Don’t believe what you read in the papers. Fedora extras is coming up fast. We’ve got over 700 packages (counting by srpm) in place now and the numbers are rapidly increasing as core sheds extra weight. We’re adding more and more contributors and the processes are slowly firming up. I know they’re not as rigid and defined as some folks would like but it’s a work in progress and I think I’m actually SEEING progress. And believe me, when someone like me says we’re seeing progress, it really means something.

I need to be working more on the build system but a lot of the work I’m doing on yum ties directly back into that. Right now we’re in a bunch of discussions about the build system especially as to how to authenticate and manage permissions for building. Mach uses a suid binary that only members of a certain group can access. This is reasonably good but there’s been some discussion of a root-running daemon that you send signals to via dbus. Then we don’t need a suid root binary and we could possibly write the daemon as a Derviced Class of YumBase. It would just have to listen for certain events in dbus and do what it was told. I’m sure it’s not that simple but it’s an idea. I’m not sure it’s a _good_ idea, though.

So as an update on my entry from late last night: we’ve bought a table from ecko. Simple, 6′ x 3′ table. Large beams for the leg posts, very stable and reasonably priced. It should show up on Thursday.

But before that, we saw two open houses. The first one was beautiful. Arranged beautifully, taken care of, good separation between your living areas and your guest/public areas. The backyard was simple but with a fenced area that was perfect for a small to medium sized dog. All in all wonderful. The master bathroom had a big bathtub and a separate shower. The bathroom had huge windows on it that were private to the rest of the house and neighborhood. So you got light in but it was secluded from public view. It was too big, really and just a completely silly price but it was fun to look at it and get ideas of what things we like or not.

The second house we saw was, well, it was different. It was built in 1969 and that was the last time anyone touched it, I think. The appliances were all original and you could tell. They had an intercom system in the house that was just newer than a vacuum tube mechanism.
Everything felt like it had been stuck in the past. Except for one bathroom on the main floor. This room was woooooooooshed forward into the future to be designed by George Jetson. It was green/cyan with silver ‘floating’ rings around the sink and bright gold faucets. I’ve seen less gaudy things in rap videos. Then, we went upstairs where the deep pile carpeting got worse. It changed from a mild offwhite (excluding the dining room, we shall not speak of the dining room) to a horrible almost beige then into a most unique mauve/purple. But you can’t stop there! You also need light purple walls to match. Then, b/c this house is 3 stories, we went to the basement. The basement is, umm, unique. It’s all diagonal wood paneling VERY dark with granite floors. It also has a tiki-lounge wet bar adjancent to the porn-set swimming pool. Finally, there is one room that we could only imagine is the interrogation room. Cold cinder block walls painted a horrible shade of blue (yes, there are horrible shades of blue, at least in this room). It was shaded from the outside I think only to give the detainee some misbegotten hope of their own survival and eventual freedom from this place.

We ran, we did not walk, out of this house. I felt sorry for the realtor. If they knocked another 70K or 80K off of that house I could see buying it, gutting every room and paying for the exorcism. However, even w/as much space as it has you couldn’t hide from the bad-taste-poltergeist for long.

So it was a day of contrasts. Isn’t that nice? ๐Ÿ™‚