Posts for February 2006

2006-02-01: WebAuth ported to Heimdal

I had a difficult time getting started this morning, answering lots of work mail and reading a lot of random other mail before being productive. Then I fiddled around with making a distribution of the new version of fetchmail (local Stanford thing, unrelated to and predating ESR's program of the same name) that does K5 GSSAPI authentication. I think that's now ready for builds on all supported platforms.

But this evening, I made up for the slow start; the URL stripping fix and WebAuthStripURL documentation is done for 3.4.1, the et/com_err.h fix is now in, and then, just because I felt like it, I ported WebAuth to Heimdal. This took a bit of doing since WebAuth completely disassembles a ticket to pass it along inside a WebAuth token and reassembles it on the other end; I'm probably going to handle portability by pulling four or five functions out into a separate file, one for MIT and one for Heimdal, and then conditionally including one or the other based on Autoconf results. But it wasn't as nasty as I expected, and I managed to get all of the tests passing.

Tomorrow, I'll do the appropriate configure glue and then run the acid test of actually building the module and WebKDC and seeing if they work. If all goes well, I'll probably release 3.4.1 tomorrow, or maybe Friday if I run out of time.

2006-02-02: Scattered work

Well, given that I was feeling rather behind on things, I was going to work late tonight and try to catch up. I ended up working late, but I got distracted into historical archeology and DNS name cleanup and didn't actually get much work done.

Oh well.

Today was mostly a meeting, procedure, and write-up day anyway. Tomorrow, I only have one half-hour meeting, so I should be able to get a new WebAuth release out and then try to catch up on Debian work. Maybe, if I'm really lucky, I'll also get a bit of OpenAFS documentation work done as well.

Geoff Ryman's Air is utterly awesome. I need to write a review of it. I'm currently reading Salt: A World History and Paul J. McAuley's Fairyland. The latter, so far, is doing nothing for me; hopefully it will get better.

Not sure what I'm going to work on this weekend. Feeling really productive and launching into INN work would be a great thing for me to do, but I don't know if I'm going to feel up to it. Sunday, I'll watch the Super Bowl, at least. I don't think I have anything in particular planned around it, but I may see if anyone at work wants to get together for the game.

I'm still staying relatively caught up with e-mail, but I could be quite a bit better, and I'm sitting on some things that I really need to deal with. I could use a whole week of pure catch-up, but I'm too interested in programming that I keep diving into some project and then getting distracted. There are worse problems to have, I suppose.

Still owe people a few replies in comments; maybe I'll do at least one of them now.

2006-02-03: No WebAuth yet

Alas, I didn't manage to even get the WebAuth release out, let alone catch up on Debian or do the other things I was hoping to work on. I did make a lot of progress on WebAuth, but discovered while testing Heimdal that I had a few more things I had to fix (like not using deprecated OpenLDAP interfaces). Not sure if I'm going to work on it this weekend or switch to doing something else.

But I did have a good time playing table tennis tonight, and rather enjoyed watching a basketball game. Tomorrow, food shopping; Sunday, Super Bowl party.

2006-02-04: Bleh

Well, absolutely no energy today. No energy to walk, to go shopping, or to get anything done on-line. I watched sports, took a nap, played video games, wrote a little, and that's about it. As a result, I'm now feeling very behind and rather frustrated. Getting angry at the politics I haven't managed to ignore doesn't help.

I still need to do a bit of shopping for tomorrow. Ideally I should do that tonight. It remains to be seen whether I do that before I go to sleep.

Hopefully I'll have more energy tomorrow.

2006-02-05: Super Bowl Sunday

Well, that was fun, and worked out quite well. I went shopping in the morning, Digant and Jon both made it, there were lots of snacks and a bit of time for video games before the game, and we ended up enjoying the game quite a bit. It wasn't the best football game -- in fact, it was rather sloppy all around -- but there were still a few good plays. And I enjoyed the largely slapstick-themed commercials.

I'm still feeling horribly behind on everything, but it's hitting me less today than it was yesterday and I'm feeling a bit more energetic. It's possible some of the problem is stress at work from trying to set things up for new projects and new staff members combined with a lot of social activity lately for me. I may need to be a hermit for a while and recover. I also think I'm fighting off or coming down with a cold, which overall may not be the worst thing in the world; it would be a good excuse to take some time and recover and catch up mentally. Accordingly, I'm not horribly worried about it; if I catch it, I catch it.

I have at least been playing some video games lately, mainly Outlaw Golf. I can provide a litany of its failings, but despite that, I've still gotten more than my $10 work out of it already. It's a fairly decent golf game (although approach shots are incredibly frustrating), it moves right along, and it scratches an itch. I don't know that I'll play lots of it in the long run, but for right now, I'm enjoying it.

I haven't walked in a few days and I'm feeling rather bad about that right now, so I'm going to go force myself to get some exercise in now and then read until I fall asleep and not worry too much about when or whether I make it into work tomorrow.

2006-02-06: WebAuth 3.4.1

Finally found enough time at the end of the day today to finish up the last bits of work and get the release out the door.

The big news in terms of work is that WebAuth has now been ported to Heimdal. I tested it with 0.7, but hopefully it should work with 0.6 as well. The only thing that might break with 0.6 is that it relies heavily on deep internal knowledge of the data structure of a credential, so if that was rearranged, things may break.

The big user-noticable change is that I had to revert the change to not modify URLs to content that isn't WebAuth-protected. Unfortunately, one can't really tell whether WebAuth is going to be applied, and with this change WebAuth didn't strip the WebAuth information from URLs protected by .htaccess. This then broke certain CGI and PHP scripts. In partial recompense, I documented the WebAuthStripURL option, which had always been there, and it's now officially supported as an option.

There are a few other minor changes. I discovered that the LDAP module was using deprecated OpenLDAP interfaces, so it no longer does, and the build system should now find the com_err headers on recent Red Hat releases.

You can get the latest version from the WebAuth site.

2006-02-06: Non-fiction haul

I gave in and ordered more books in the middle of last month, since of course I can't manage to read books faster than I buy them. This time, I went mostly for non-fiction and mainstream fiction, since I have a ton of SF already that I've not read.

L. Timmel Duchamp -- Alanya to Alanya (sff)
Marcus du Sautoy -- The Music of the Primes (non-fiction)
Thomas Marton -- The Seven Storey Mountain (non-fiction)
Vladimir Nabokov -- Lolita (classic)
C.S. Lewis -- English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (non-fiction)
Rebecca Ore -- Alien Bootlegger (sff)
George Orwell -- Volume 1: An Age Like This (1920-1940) (non-fiction)
Mary Doria Russell -- A Thread of Grace (mainstream)
Richard Seaver, Terry Southern, & Alexander Trocchi (ed.) -- Writers in Revolt (mainstream)
Edward R. Tufte -- Political Control of the Economy (non-fiction)
Oscar Wilde -- The Picture of Dorian Gray (classic)

I'm not sure when I'm going to get to any of this, as of course I have all those other books I bought still to read and some of these volumes are rather substantial. But some of this non-fiction I'm really looking forward to reading.

2006-02-07: Work before noon!

Not today, of course. Today there was an all-hands meeting from 10:30 to noon, and then volleyball, and then lunch, so once again I didn't start doing work until 2:30 in the afternoon and then got constantly interrupted. Which sounds pretty much like Monday.

However, tomorrow is my day to work from home, and I seem to have recovered my energy, so hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to get quite a few things off my plate. Unfortunately, there are still some compilation issues with the WebAuth 3.4.1 release, so I might finish a 3.4.2, then try to catch up on Debian, and maybe either start the remctl work or do the hopefully final releases of kftgt and S/Ident, now with more portability.

Maybe a book, or at least a magazine, review too, while I'm at it.

2006-02-08: S/Ident 3.6

Well, I thought I might be able to use my Autoconf macros from kstart and remctl verbatim, but S/Ident needs both GSSAPI and the Kerberos v4 compatibility libraries plus has various other oddities of its own with library linkage, so that didn't really work. I ended up writing new Autoconf macros based on the ones I did elsewhere, the same as I did with WebAuth. But that's done now, and S/Ident now uses krb5-config and has a much more modern Autoconf setup.

That's pretty much the only change in the new release, except that I also took the opportunity to make Kerberos v4 support optional. MIT is eventually going to drop the Kerberos v4 backward compatibility libraries, and I want to keep S/Ident in Debian for those few applications where it's still useful.

You can get the new release from the S/Ident distribution page.

I expect this is the last release I'll do for quite a while. Maybe someday I'll clean up the code a bit more, but given that we're going to stop using S/Ident for nearly everything, if not everything, I really shouldn't spend a lot of time on it. There's a lot of other work to do.

2006-02-08: kftgt 1.12

For kftgt, I could just use the macro that I developed elsewhere. So now I do, and it uses krb5-config like everything else. I also fixed a problem with make install when building in a different directory than the source directory.

You can get the latest version from the kftgt distribution page.

Hopefully this is the last release of kftgt that I'll do for a very long time, if ever, since soon we'll be eliminating the need for it.

2006-02-15: Mood crash

I've been really quiet lately since I'm going through a bit of a mood crash. This is normal for me, particularly after a spurt of strong productivity such as, well, pretty much all of December and January. Unfortunately, while they usually last two or three days, this time it came at a time of a lot of stress at work and a bunch of other things going on, so it's been lingering for a while. I've been fighting mood for the past couple of weeks and the end of last week and I've been very short on energy and motivation the end of last week and the beginning of this week.

I'm slowly starting to dig myself out from under it, but I'm having to do aggressive prioritization since right now I feel like I'm horribly behind on everything. I'm also trying to take it easy, not push myself too hard, and tackle things one step at a time. So don't expect to hear a lot from me for a little bit.

On top of that, it's also the Winter Olympics, and I watch the Olympics fairly aggressively. The TiVo has been programmed to pick up nearly everything I can with an old single-channel TiVo, and I've been submerging myself in sports I love and rarely get to see, like curling. All of my reading and exercising time are going into that right now, so this month will likely be very short on book reviews. I have another magazine review and another book review pending, and then I'm hoping to finish a few other short books but it may be a four or five review month.

Tomorrow, the goal is another WebAuth release and then some Debian work. I don't think I'm going to get to remctl work this week, but I can start that next week. Thankfully, the upcoming weekend is a long one, so hopefully I can use that to shed the rest of my low mood.

2006-02-17: WebAuth 3.4.2

Well, that was a full week later than when I first intended to release it, but it's finally released. This release fixes some additional compilation portability issues on Red Hat and with Heimdal and documents the Kerberos credential encoding for WebAuth tokens.

You can get the latest release from the WebAuth v3 site.

2006-02-18: New review indices

I did this work a while back, but I never mentioned it here, so I will belatedly. For my reviews, I've now added a couple of additional indices. I now have a list of book reviews sorted by review date. I've also indexed all of my short SFF reviews from both short story collections and from magazine reviews in a new SFF short fiction index. I'm not sure how useful either will be for people other than me, but I find both interesting and am using the latter to track which short fiction writers I like.

Also, just tonight, I've added the Sunburst Award to my list of SFF awards. It's a fairly new award, starting only in 2001, but it seems to be picking some interesting books. So far, it's the best award in terms of my rating because the only winner I've read is Air. I'm sure the perfect track record won't last.

2006-02-19: podlators 2.0.4

Yitzchak Scott-Thoennes pointed out that Pod::Simple doesn't provide any parse_from_filehandle compatibility routine, so this is yet more patching around Pod::Simple's dislike of backward compatibility for Pod::Parser parsers. In retrospect, it was probably not a good idea to use the Pod::Parser API as the API for Pod::Text and Pod::Man, but I wish that Pod::Simple would have gone to a little work. Oh well.

You can get the latest version from the podlators distribution page.

2006-02-20: Link round-up, comment notes

A few interesting things I've run across recently:

Jo Walton wrote a long post in her journal about Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series and what she liked best about them, couched in the form of a review of two of the continuations of the series by other authors. Even if I don't agree with her about Mercedes Lackey (whose books fill the same role for me as the Darkover books apparently do for her), this is a very interesting discussion of what goes into good, memorable comfort reading.

Hal Duncan (author of Vellum, one of the best bits of experimental, non-linear fantasy that I've ever read and one of the best books of last year), has made multiple posts about his intense dislike of monotheistic religions. It started as yet more on the cartoon thing, which frankly I'm sick of hearing about (mostly because nearly everything I've read ignores complexities in order to push their own agenda), but then it got much more interesting. It's horribly long-winded, as Hal Ducan tends to be in his blog, but embedded in here are a lot of the reasons why the whole Christian mythological structure just doesn't work for me. See one, two, and particularly three, and four. Worth skimming, I think, and the third post really clicked for me.

Note that I'm not interested in discussing what Hal is saying here. He doesn't like monotheism, he particularly doesn't like Christianity, and if you're Christian and are going to take attacks on your religion personally, you're probably going to hate his posts. Please, spare yourself the stress and don't read them if you don't want to deal. Otherwise, read them, don't read them, it's up to you.

That leads to the other note, which is that after thinking about this for a while (and stressing over it), I'm going to drop the political discussion in the earlier comments on my terrorism essay. I realized that I wasn't getting anything out of talking about this more, I don't really believe in my ability to convince someone else that they're wrong, and I don't feel like having the discussion can possibly accomplish enough to justify the (very high) emotional energy cost for me. And by this I mean nothing against the people who commented; I'm more apologizing for not being in the right mental space to be able to usefully have a discussion.

I'm thinking about cutting way back on my exposure to political discussion, actually, as it's not doing much good for me and it's making me angry and frustrated right now. Many of my friends have done the same, several have dropped the subject completely in their journals, and I've already stopped discussing politics in one place where I used to. I feel some sadness at the breakdown of meaningful political discourse, and I suppose that if people who are capable of it stop talking about politics with those who disagree it will only get worse, but at this point politics is so polarized it requires the patience of a saint to try to have a meaningful conversation.

On a different note, and unrelated to the terrorism thread, please note that this is my personal journal and I can, will, and have simply deleted comments from people who act like asses. The most recent instance of this was from someone who decided to decided to call me fifth-grader names because I didn't like Green Rider. If you want to disagree with a review, please, feel free, but I expect either a polite statement of personal opinion or some real analysis. If you start throwing around insults, if you're incoherent, if you start saying things that piss me off, and particularly if you spam the comments with multiple made-up names, I'm going to just delete your comment without a second thought. This is my soap box and you're a guest; if you want to say whatever you want, go get your own soap box. Livejournal gives them away for free.

2006-02-21: Some Debian work

Well, I'm still struggling to get things done, but at least I did get some Debian work done today. This afternoon, I updated the OpenLDAP packaging repository to OpenLDAP 2.3.20 and showed Quanah how I did that, getting us closer to a recent version of OpenLDAP in Debian. And just now, I uploaded a new version of krb5 to Debian with a few bug fixes.

Hopefully even more tomorrow. I need to do something about gnubg; one problem I know how to solve, but it's also failing on AMD64 systems, and that problem I'm finding a bit more mystifying. Although I do now have an AMD64 build system where I can start poking at this.

2006-02-23: Push, push, push

Now I'm starting to push through and get things done, even though it's like going uphill. Today, a tiny bit of OpenAFS work, a small bit of machine building work, and more documentation of group standards. Tomorrow, maybe even more. The Olympics are almost over, after which it will be much quieter, I'll have fewer distractions, and I expect that a more productive mood will come more easily.

kstart 3.1 was released today to add a flag to make group-readable ticket caches, but it turned out that we couldn't use them anyway since K5 cares a lot about the cache ownership. So I'm probably going to just take the code out again and release kstart 3.2. I'm still pondering whether I want to try to add something else for that release, just so that I don't have two releases with no forward progress at all. Maybe some documentation of usage examples, or some code refactoring. Probably the latter.

I'm still way behind with INN and Debian work, of course, but eventually that will get fixed.

2006-02-24: Weekend!

And am I ever ready for one.

Once again, I got a lot of little stuff done today but no big stuff. Some of the little stuff was rather important, though, so I can't really complain. I think my productivity is clawing its way back and I should be in good shape after the Olympics are over, or maybe a week after that.

This weekend, I'll hopefully get to a bit more catching up, but I'm still not going to push myself too hard. The only things I'm really going to push myself to do are watching the Olympics and writing some reviews.

2006-02-27: gnubg and gtimer

Yes! Actual productive work happened today!

I finished catching up on the Olympics (which didn't require much, since I stayed up until 3am last night watching the evening program) and then, at about 2:30pm, decided that I really needed to get out of the house and away from the TV and do something completely different than watching TV.

One cross-campus walk later, I'd picked up my mail, cleared my head, and decided to try to knock some things off the top of my to-do list in the nice, quiet, empty office rather than going back home. New versions of gnubg and gtimer have now been uploaded and I feel less guilty about my Debian packages now (although libpam-krb5 still needs serious attention).

I didn't fix the AMD64 crash in gnubg. It turns out that I don't have an AMD64 system where I can really test and the valgrind output wasn't helpful. I did poke around and discover how to log on to a porter system, only to discover that it works fine in text mode. So, appeal out to the debian-amd64 list, and hopefully someone can track down the problem.

I did, however, retire the gnubg-bearoffs package in favor of including the smaller database in gnubg-data and building the larger database at installation time if desired. In the process, I learned how to write debconf prompts from scratch. gnubg now runs all the autotools at build time (another huge learning experience) and I tracked down and cleaned up a bunch of other minor problems. The FTBFS on hppa and m68k should hopefully now be fixed as well.

quilt rocks my world. It's almost like using a real version control system, plus has fancy patch features. Both dpatch and (particularly) dbs start annoying me quickly, but quilt just feels smooth.

2006-02-27: More gnubg

So, while some of my other changes to this package were still worthwhile, the fix to link against libsupc++ didn't fix the build failures on hppa and m68k. Still all the same unwind and gxx_personality symbols are missing. I'll have to do more poking.

Also, the AMD64 crash appears to be inside Guile somewhere. Suggestion: disable Guile. Well... I can do that, but that sucks. There have actually been requests for that functionality. I don't want to just turn it off and not try to figure out what's wrong. Ugh.

Other than that, a scattered but not too bad day in which I learned more about managing our DNS servers and learned far more about Alsa and udev than I wanted to know.

2006-02-28: OpenAFS docs

I got some more work done tonight, continuing to work on the things I've been feeling guilty about. This time it was OpenAFS. The patch that should fix builds with AMD64 and Linux 2.6 is now pulled up to the release branch, I answered the old mail about the new reference docs, fixed a few things, added a bunch more to the to-do list, and fixed some issues with the HTML conversion.

The biggest fixes are that all of the interpage links should now work and the synopsis should be wrapped nicely and hence more readable. The fix for the synopsis is a little ugly, but it's livable.

You can see the current working tree at (although note that if you read this much after I wrote it, this link will probably be dead). There's an ever-growing list of things to do, but we're getting there.

Looks like this month will end with only five book reviews, but I have a book pending review and will likely finish another tonight or tomorrow, so I'll catch up again. On the Olympic month, and a short one at that, I get to fall a bit behind schedule.

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