Posts for June 2006

2006-06-01: Baycon haul

I was up this morning at 6am and couldn't really go back to sleep, so alas tonight wasn't the night for really getting caught up. I had the time, but not the energy or focus. But I can at least list the books purchased this time.

Douglas Adams -- The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (sff)
J.G. Ballard -- The Unlimited Dream Company (sff)
Iain M. Banks -- Against a Dark Background (sff)
Iain M. Banks -- Excession (sff)
Mark Budz -- Clade (sff)
Avram Davidson -- Peregrine: Secundus (sff)
Cory Doctorow -- Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (sff)
Steven Erikson -- Gardens of the Moon (sff)
George R.R. Martin -- The Armageddon Rag (sff)
Richard K. Morgan -- Broken Angels (sff)
Richard K. Morgan -- Market Forces (sff)
Larry Niven -- The Magic Goes Away (sff)
James H. Schmitz -- The Witches of Karres (sff)
Charles Stross -- Toast (sff)
Tricia Sullivan -- Maul (sff)
Connie Willis -- Impossible Things (sff)

The Douglas Adams, with a leather-like binding and looking like a Great Work of Literature, is just too funny. I couldn't pass that up, particularly for only $20.

Not sure when I'm going to get a chance to read all of this, although now that I've finished the third of the Song of Ice and Fire I'll make faster progress until I start the fourth.

2006-06-02: Weekend work

Well, not doing very well at getting book reviews written, but I expect they'll wait. I still have a strong memory of the three books I have pending, and maybe I'll find some time tomorrow. The problem has been that by the time I have enough free time to think about writing one, I'm tired enough that the words won't come.

My parents are here for the weekend, which means good cooking and also doing things around the house. My dad resized my old waterbed frame a little for my bedroom, and tomorrow we're going to take out my old bed frame and fit the air mattress into the waterbed frame, after which I'll have a headboard and drawers under my bed again. This will be very nice. Then, two large shelves from Ikea to put together and lots of pictures to hang. We may not get through all of that tomorrow, but there's Sunday to work on it as well.

By the end of the weekend, hopefully I will have gotten all of the new books shelved, all the furniture rearranged, and will feel more in control of my apartment and the space again. Which I need. There's so much going on lately at work and elsewhere, and so many things I'm trying to keep track of or are feeling behind on, that I need to practice stress management techniques and getting in control of my surroundings is a huge one for me.

So, you get life ramblings tonight instead of any of the other things I've been meaning to write up. But perhaps more tomorrow.

2006-06-03: Putting things together

My old bed frame and foundation has been disassembled and is sitting in the garage, and my air bed is now sitting in my old waterbed frame, which my father cut down to size for me and then brought down and assembled. It looks great. And both the Ikea shelves have now been put together and placed, and I finally sorted through all of my comics and resorted them. Now I need to figure out how I'm going to store them long term, since I don't think I want to keep them in the shelves, but there are options.

Tomorrow, we hang pictures, bolt the shelves to the wall, and I shelve all my new books and get that part of things organized. And then my apartment will be back in shape and significantly improved.

Down to only one more place I have marked out for shelves, though. At some point, I'm going to have to start boxing up books.

2006-06-04: Old Man's War

Review: Old Man's War, by John Scalzi

Publisher: Tor
Copyright: 2005
ISBN: 0-765-31524-6
Pages: 316

John Perry is a recent widower who just turned 75. So he's joining the army.

That's the hook, a quick double-take. On Perry's future Earth, you can sign up when you're 65 to join the (space-faring) military when you're 75. If you do, they make you young again in order to fight. That's the only way to get access to the technology, and once you leave the planet and join the military, you're never allowed to return to Earth again even if you survive (but Perry has no real reason to stay, since the death of his wife). There are various hand-waving explanations about how mature soldiers make better decisions, none of which are particularly convincing. However, the lack of adequate explanation for this bizarre recruiting practice is noticed by the characters and seems likely to be the focus of future books in the series.

Apart from the unusual recruiting age and associated discoveries about how the regeneration technology actually works, this book is remarkably like Heinlein's Starship Troopers except less preachy and with more plot. One gets the standard basic training, the boding with fellow recruits, the quick advancement of the main character, and even an alien war (although one that's rather more believable than Heinlein's genocidal xenophobes). Scalzi has two significant advantages, however: he can show all of this through the eyes of an intelligent, thoughtful, cynical adult instead of kid, and he does a much better job with characterization and plot.

This is not to say that the book is without substantial flaws. Old Man's War is Scalzi's first novel, and despite garnering quite a bit of quick acclaim and a Hugo nomination, the book is rough in places, particularly in the latter half. However, his treatment of psychology and thoughtful retrospection at the beginning of the book are excellent, and readers who grew up with Heinlein will be delighted by his grasp of Heinlein's first person voice. Perry is flippant but competent, and best of all feels realistically mature. Scalzi does a good job giving the reader a feel for the mental age of his characters without much falling into cliche.

The humor is spottier. Scalzi's main character tries to maintain a light, scarcastic tone, and at times it works brilliantly. The scene where he names his on-board computer support system is perfect, for instance. Unfortunately, much of the humor, often the same joke that's handled well at first, is then belabored and repeated. Sometimes Scalzi seems afraid the reader will miss the joke; at other times, he seems more enamored of a running gag than I was. Either way, repeated humor can quickly become annoying and Scalzi crossed that line several times. I can forgive this for the times where his timing was excellent, but overall it needed work.

One of the difficulties with Starship Troopers was that, if one removed the political preaching, there really wasn't much plot. The narrative is strong through boot camp and then falls apart. Old Man's War has a similar problem; the plot doesn't fall apart to nearly the degree, but that's because it shifts focus abruptly. For the first half of the book, the thematic emphasis is on the nature of one's relationship with one's body and age, the way social groups form, and the psychology of tradeoffs around life and death. Then, abruptly, we're thrown into a larger plot arc (clearly to be continued in the next book) about the Ghost Brigades. There is some thematic carryover in the area of body identification, identity, and human enhancement, but it still feels like plot swap. I'm not sure how much more there was to be said about the initial themes, but I wanted more, and I wanted better unification with the identity themes of the last part of the book.

I came away from Old Man's War mildly impressed but thinking Scalzi was trying too hard. He doesn't yet trust his readers to get the jokes the first time, his dialogue is at times belabored, and at times the book doesn't flow as naturally as it should. That said, it's an excellent Heinlein-style novel while avoiding Heinlein's preachy pitfalls, and there are scenes that prove Scalzi can really write. Definitely recommended for Heinlein fans; for others, particularly those with a distaste for military SF, Old Man's War is pleasant enough but one can find better books. It's highest virtue, like much of Heinlein, is that it's accessible and easy to read while still throwing out a few intriguing ideas.

Rating: 6 out of 10

2006-06-06: Productive day

That was better. I think today was the most productive day that I've had for a couple of weeks.

The slides for both of my presentations for the AFS and Kerberos Best Practices workshop next week have been written, and I now have a fairly good idea how I'm going to structure my talks. Unfortunately, the second half of the wallet presentation is going to involve a lot of hand-waving since I won't have working code by the time of the conference, but oh well. The WebAuth presentation is on firmer ground.

That was the morning's work. After a great game of volleyball, I then got our new local krb5 packages in shape. I've imported the Debian packaging files, switched the build system to use quilt so that I can more easily work with the patches, and imported the initial patch for a password verification API. Everything builds; I've not done any testing yet.

Tomorrow, I go through the Stanford-specific patches to Kerberos and start breaking the patches out by functionality, instead of area of source base, and turning them into something that I can contribute back to MIT. In the process, I should be able to replace our current Kerberos packages with a complete set of packages built from something much closer to the Debian sources but with our patches applied, which will resolve some issues we were seeing on AMD64.

Also, a new OpenAFS version tomorrow, I think. I'm not sure if I'm going to just upload a new version immediately, or if I'm going to fiddle with the debconf templates and give people a few days to unfuzzy translations. I really should do the latter, but the broken PAM module build on AMD64 is rather annoying.

2006-06-07: A Storm of Swords

Review: A Storm of Swords, by George R.R. Martin

Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: November 2000
ISBN: 0-553-57342-X
Pages: 1177

This is the third book of The Song of Ice and Fire, a huge fantasy series that is as much a single long novel as a traditional series. Martin provides small reminders of what happened before but keeps them to a minimum, which makes reading the series together quite nice but which means that one should not try to jump into the middle of the series.

After the previous book, A Clash of Kings, I was worried that Martin was drifting into the extended scenes and loss of interesting characters of some other fat fantasy series. Thankfully, A Storm of Swords is a noticably better book, which gives me hope that Martin is going to pull this off. There is still a middle book feeling, with characters being shuffled about and sometimes left in transitions for annoyingly long. I got very tired of reading about Bram and Jon traipsing through wildernesses. I still wish the book were shorter and less rambling. But Martin got away from confused and boring battles and back to political intrigue and tightly woven plot developments, doing a considerably better job with the major battle of this book.

The same three characters captured the lion's share of my attention and interest. Tyrion's sarcasm and cynical intelligence makes his sections a highlight of the book, even if he spends more of the time angsting and less time doing things this time around. Still, I particularly liked his interactions with the Dornishmen. Arya's story felt a bit silly at times, as she kept getting kidnapped or captured by yet another faction just as she was about to reach her goal, but she has a determination that I love reading about. With Arya, I think Martin also does his best job of symbolism. Animal symbols are used throughout The Song of Ice and Fire, but with Arya the wolf symbolism seems both the strongest and the most fitting. And Dany continues to steal the show.

It's amusing that in a series I enjoy largely because it's not like the typical faux-medieval fantasy, the character I'm enjoying the most is the most magical and most fantastic of the characters. Dany has bonded with dragons, is spearheading in some ways the return of magic to the world, and in this book manages several feel-good conquests and daring battles, challenging old and corrupt regimes and winning the adoration of the common people. It's a bit pat, and while Martin touches on some of the drawbacks and problems, it's a little too easy. But it's so much fun, made more so by the contrast with the rest of the book. It's more common with Martin to feel a growing sense of dread, or to watch characters be unable to take dramatic action for good due to their own limitations or realistic considerations of strength and momentum of culture. Dany is the one who gets to do the things you *wish* she would do, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and take on entrenched strength that no one should be able to overthrow. I have a sneaking suspicion that there's some deeper dramatic structure peaking through.

Despite dealing with more standard fantasy themes than the other characters, Dany comes at it from a different angle than I usually see. Stealing from Mongol culture rather than western medievalism was a great idea from the start, and Dany also doesn't fit the classic growth of the hidden ruler. Instead, she's thrust into the role of queen very early, without an obvious Merlin analogue and without relying on any one advisor, and many of her actions come from an intriguing sense of noblesse oblige and personal honor. She is, in many ways, the complementary opposite to Sansa; both girls were raised on fairy tales and romance, but Sansa was also artificially sheltered where Dany's life had a sharp edge. Dany is acting on her ideals, making hard choices and trying to create the world she believes in. Sansa is left without any hard core of strength or reserve of friendship, and therefore is battered about by the world helplessly.

Speaking of Sansa, I have gotten over my initial hatred for the character. My reaction now is a combination of faint pity and head-shaking. She again manages to make her life much worse by her inability to compromise her fantasies about how the world works and accept help where it would have been offered, but this time it's less infuriating than predictable and sad. Her role in the story is to show the actions of the bad guys, for which she has a convenient victim personality. It's hard to imagine her ever growing out of that.

Jon mostly continues as the coming of age hero, but Martin takes that story in interesting directions and adds substantial depth. He's still too much of an everyman for me, without sufficiently distinguished attitudes and opinions to give me much sense of personality, but the themes are at least intriguing. I like the way that Martin has handled the wildlings beyond the Wall in general; after starting the book as the Great Evil, he's added a lot of ambiguity and pulls a neat trick to play with the sympathies of modern readers with modern political sensibilities. The surprise resolution to the battle Jon's involved with was also well-done, logical in the context of the world but not too predictable.

Of the remaining viewpoint characters, Davros has the best shot at joining the top three, but I just don't like reading about Melisandre (who shows up frequently in Davros's scenes due to the circles he runs in). Apart from bit characters in Dany's story, she's the clearest pure villain of the piece. She's a good one, but that means she's a creepy one, enough that the scenes she appears in make my skin crawl.

These books are simply huge, and I think that's their biggest flaw. It takes a tremendous amount of time to read the next volume and a lot of dedication and missed opportunity to read other works to keep up with the series. Martin does a great job with plot, creates rich and detailed worlds full of complex characters (I have no idea how he managed it, but he turned Jamie from a hissable villain into a sympathetic character and made me care about him), occasionally writes some evocative descriptions, and manages about as good of pacing as one can get in a 1,200-page book. This is a good book, and better than the last. I just keep asking myself if it was really better than the three or four other books I could have read in the time it took me to read it. If Martin were getting where he was going at least half again as fast as he is, I'd feel less conflicted about continuing to read.

Rating: 7 out of 10

2006-06-08: Um, yeah

This RPM bug log makes for interesting reading. I particularly liked:

What everyone seems to be missing here, and that Jeff is getting very sick of repeating, is that RPM uses a "best effort" algorithm when doing upgrades. The RPM database was not corrupted; believe me, I can show you what a corrupted RPM database looks like.

What actually happened here is that the previous versions were removed as part of the upgrade process, and the newer versions were installed. At least as much as possible. :-) As many files as could be removed from the old install were, and that install was removed from the RPM DB. As much of the new stuff as could be installed was, but the install of some items failed, so the new packages were not added to the RPM DB. While this may not be what *you* think should've happened, it is consistent with RPM's upgrade algorithm and does NOT result in a corrupted database in any way, shape, or form.

Also:

Concerning the "best effort" policy of rpm, this has been this way since its creation AFAIK. In some environments its not acceptable, in others it is the sanest policy to use.

Gee, silly me. I would have thought that when the package manager couldn't put the system into a desired state, it would stop, restore the previous state, and ensure that at all times the package database reflects the content of the file system. Some of us consider the presence of files on disk that are not reflected in the package database to be a bug and serious error condition that should never occur.

But, well, I think this puts it the best:

Clearly you want a package manager which exceeds what RPM was/is designed and intended to do. You should either find one or write one yourself.

Yup. It's called dpkg. Which has always behaved in the manner that you think isn't viable in many environments.

Every time I wonder if Red Hat isn't starting to get up to Debian's quality, I find something like this and wonder why people keep running a distribution that takes this sort of slapdash, amateurish approach to critical system services.

I originally switched to Debian from Red Hat 7 because of the horror stories that I heard about upgrades and the prevelance of RPM database corruption. Some bugs may have been fixed, but I see the fundamental attitude hasn't changed.

2006-06-10: Borderlands haul

A friend and I went up to San Francisco to Borderlands Books today, both to do some general book shopping and to pick up an Advance Review Copy of Karl Schroeder's latest book that they were holding for me. (Thank you!)

The results:

Elizabeth Bear -- The Chains That You Refuse (sff)
Jacqueline Carey -- Kushiel's Scion (sff)
John Clute -- Scores (non-fiction)
Naomi Novik -- Throne of Jade (sff)
Karl Schroeder -- Sun of Suns (sff)

Tomorrow, I catch a plane for Ann Arbor and hopefully will be able to get lots of quality reading in on the plane. Next week is the AFS and Kerberos Best Practices Workshop, which will involve a lot of networking and a couple of presentations. But I'm really hoping to both save some time for exercise and some time for reading.

2006-06-11: In Michigan

Just a short post tonight, as I'm in Ann Arbor and need to get to sleep to start adjusting to the time difference. Not sure whether I'll get any reviews written while I'm here; it will depend on how much time I have available in the evenings, I think.

The Detroit airport train is highly amusing. Also, it doesn't hold the doors open for any length of time at all.

I finished Slow River by Nicola Griffith on the plane. That's a fantastic book. Griffith is now definitely on my "read everything she writes" list.

2006-06-12: Kerberos commits

Looks like the answer to whether I'm going to get any reading done is "not so much." On the other hand, I did get a large chunk of the Debian patches to MIT Kerberos integrated upstream today, which feels good. I didn't get a lot of other useful work done, but I did touch base with various of the AFS folks, and that counts.

Tomorrow is going to be played by ear, but I expect that I'll try to do some more e-mail catchup, finish merging patches, and maybe answer some Debian mail I've been neglecting. And I'm going to be talking with some UMich folks over dinner about web authentication.

Now, to bed, so that I don't make myself too tired.

2006-06-13: kstart 3.5

Adam Megacz suggested that k4start, k5start, and krenew, when running a sub-command, should not exit on a HUP, TERM, or QUIT signal and instead pass the signal along to the sub-command and exit if it does. This came up in the context of using runit to manage services run under kstart, but the same would apply to services run via daemontools. He then provided a patch, so the only thing I had to do was integrate it.

While I was at it, I also made the build system safe for Autoconf 2.60, since Debian now uses a 2.60 pre-release snapshot in unstable.

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

2006-06-14: Conference networking

Today was the first full day of the AFS and Kerberos Best Practices Workshop, and while there wasn't a tremendous amount in the program itself I wasn't already aware of, the discussions before and after dinner were fantastic. I had a long talk with Sam Hartman about a whole bunch of things, interspersed with discussions with other folks, and then after the dinner a bunch of us stuck around and told war stories, talked about software licensing, and shared interesting ideas.

This is what I love most about this conference. It's one of the few where I feel like I manage to do a lot of social networking and get a lot of really useful work-related things hashed out. It's the best opportunity I have to talk to a bunch of people who are doing fundamentally the same stuff and who care about fundamentally the same things as I do; it reminds me of the heyday of Cartel, but with a lot more variety in the attendees.

We also had a very productive OpenAFS Elders lunch and a good Q&A session at dinner. I'm still nervous about the long-term future of AFS a little just because I see so many ways in which it could be better and we're clearly resource-starved, but I'm also really happy with how things are progressing and can see a lot of great opportunities.

Tomorrow, I have two talks of my own and some of the material I'm very interested in will start (in particular, Sam Hartman's web authentication talk).

2006-06-18: Back in California

Well, I was going to write reviews today, since I'm rather far behind, but I got into an interesting discussion on bofh.* and couldn't keep my mouth shut in news.groups, so there went the rest of the day. Well, that and an unexpected nap.

Now that I'm back in town, I can watch the World Cup more easily. I should set up the TiVo for that before going to bed tonight, although I probably need to clean a bunch of things off it to ensure it has space.

The trip back from Ann Arbor was long, particularly since we had several hours to kill at the airport, but uneventful. I finished Sun of Suns on the plane, and I found a copy of The Black Powder War by Naomi Novik in an airport bookstore and promptly bought it. Anything to get stores like that to stock more SF, plus it's good to have the complete series before I start reading it.

Today's bread experiment was an Italian Parmesan cheese bread that turned out quite good. I know it's good bread when I like eating it without any butter or mayonnaise on it. I still over-ate a little bit today, but not as bad, and I got walking in early in the day. I should go walk again this evening, but I'm not going to; instead, I'm going to work on getting back into my rhythm of walking once a day rather than doing too much at once and burning out.

Also done today: five long-boxes assembled for my comics, although none actually put in the long-boxes yet. A box of old papers shredded. A new version of OpenAFS uploaded to Debian (and immediately running into some compiler mismatches with kernel modules, which I mailed debian-devel about). I was also going to build a new version of our local Kerberos package, but ran into some weird problems. They're now fixed, but I'll have to do the actual builds tomorrow.

I didn't get as caught up with mail as I was hoping, so that too will have to wait until tomorrow, but I got a start on it.

Tomorrow will be a catch-up and resynchronization day; I'm not expecting to get a lot of regular work done. I do need to start figuring out reservations for the AFS hackathon at the end of July, since plane fare is just going to start getting more expensive. Maybe this time I can use the travel agency that Stanford is theoretically supposed to be using.

2006-06-21: WebAuth 3.5.1

Finally had a free moment to get this out and get new Solaris builds and updated stow package and Apache out. Thank you very much to Quanah Gibson-Mount for many of the stow package builds and the Apache build.

This release mostly contains fixes to the templates that we ran into in the process of testing Stanford's HTTP Negotiate rollout. It doesn't include (yet) the settings CGI script we developed to manage the HTTP Negotiate cookie; I'm hoping to get that and a few other things into 3.5.2, but that's going to depend on when I have time to do that work.

There are a couple of general bug fixes in here too, including an uninitialized data bug on 64-bit platforms that's been around since the beginning (I think) and prevented reading the keyring on some platforms some of the time.

You can get the latest version from the WebAuth pages.

2006-06-21: Slow River

Review: Slow River, by Nicola Griffith

Publisher: Del Rey
Copyright: August 1995
ISBN: 0-345-39537-9
Pages: 343

This story opens, suitably, at the side of a river, with the first person protagonist contemplating the river as connecting fabric of civilization but also somehow outside. The narrator has no identity but will hopefully be acquiring one soon, pausing at the river before stepping back into life, reborn. From there, we jump back three years as she's dumped in an alley, naked and badly injured, brutally torn from her identity and reluctant to reclaim it for deeper and more complex reasons. We learn her name, Lore, after she is rescued by a woman who lives on edge, who steals and ransoms identities, who is part of a far different world. And then we meet Lore at the age of five, learning that water isn't safe, but more than that learning to never take anything for granted. A lesson that, sadly, she doesn't truly learn until much later.

Slow River is told in three narrative strands with the same protagonist but separated in her life by time. The current story is told in the first person, the immediate background in tight third-person past tense, and Lore's childhood in a looser third-person present. Lore's childhood was a story told to her, her life with Spanner was a story pushed at her, and her life afterwards is the story she takes control of. It's that sort of book, full of parallels, symbolism, sideways approaches to questions of identity, and use of literary devices as cues. A quarter of the way through, I wasn't sure it was going to come together. Halfway through I was caught up in the plot but not sure about the characters. And then the threads came together, the mildly unsurprising plot climax became mere background to a beautiful character development climax, and I realized I'd fallen in love with the book.

I want to dispense with one misconception immediately. It's easy to get the impression from some synopses and reviews that the point of Slow River is a cyberpunk world in which one's identity implant is their life and loss of it turns one into a non-person. I put off reading this book for far too long, despite loving Ammonite, because I'd read that story before and wasn't that interested. This isn't what Slow River is about at all. Lore has never lost some widget of technology she couldn't regain. She chooses to hide from her former identity and her incredibly powerful family for other, far more tangled reasons, reasons that the story slowly peels back in layers. The psychological thickets underlying Lore's denial of her identity are the heart of a fascinating study of economic class, family secrets, friendship and loyalty, self-esteem, and self-created identity. This is not a cyberpunk identity thriller.

The science, quite to the contrary, is water reclamation. There is some passing reference to identity hacking, ransoming, and con games, but those bits of technology are indistinct supports for character and plot. Environmental engineering is the foregrounded science, and Lore's competence, dedication, and understanding makes it far from either boring or typically political. The politics here are about class, not environmentalism, and even there the multinational corporation is more ambiguous than evil. Seen through Lore's eyes, the biological process of cleaning and recycling water takes on a complex, difficult beauty that had me looking forward to scenes of tromping about sewage treatment plants.

One of the reasons why this succeeds so well is that Griffith has an admirable grasp of emotional timing. Lore is a hypercompetent environmental engineer, and if she were dropped into that role right at the start, the story may trip over typical SF cliches. Griffith doesn't emphasize that competence until much later in the story, though, after the reader has seen Lore struggle with every other part of her life and has seen enough of her childhood background to realize she's more damaged with a monofocus than typically hypercompetent. Because of that, the competence adds emotional depth and gives the reader a long-desired chance to root wholeheartedly for the hero, rather than robbing the story of believability.

Lore, as she observes herself, is a creature who has fallen from the tops of the jungle trees down into the lower layers of growth. Each layer of the jungle is a different ecosystem; each has its own rules, its own preditors, its own logic. Jungle creatures who fall out of their natural layer are completely unequipped for the world in which they find themselves, and often die miserable deaths. But the river that cuts through the center of the jungle also cuts through all of the layers, leaving open space where one can, if one chooses, see them all at once for what they are. It's both a compelling metaphor for class and a perfect guide to Lore's emotional journey, and when Lore finds her emotional riverbank, the resonances echo back through the story and transform and improve the entire novel.

Griffith is going on the list of authors whose works I will buy on sight. It's a true shame there are so few of them. Slow River doesn't grab you with a tightly paced plot. Give it time and attention and savor Griffith's beautiful descriptions. It more than rewards the time spent at the end.

Rating: 9 out of 10

2006-06-23: Nicely productive day

This was one of the most productive days I've had in quite a while. Thanks to Darren Patterson, there are now RPMs (for RHEL4) available on the WebAuth site. I've tested an upgrade of our test cell from our old 1.2.8 AFS VLDB binaries to 1.4.1 with our kaserver patches. I handed off a few more tasks to other people and got them off my to-do list. I caught up with the evaluation of the www and CGI server upgrades that I needed to do. I knocked my incoming mailbox down considerably, applied a patch to kstart, did a bit of OpenAFS work, finished a couple more internal Debian packages for our upcoming Kerberos upgrade, and even did a fair bit of writing.

The day was a bit too packed for me to write a review (or, for that matter, to exercise). Both will come tomorrow.

In other news, I really like Roundup and have been using it for an issue tracker for some time, but Trac has now caught my eye and I'm starting to think I should use it for the much-delayed INN issue tracker installation. The integration with Subversion is quite nice, and the wiki features look attractive if I can integrate them with real web authentication. Must ponder.

2006-06-24: Bits of Debian work

Well, today turned out to mostly be a domestic day, doing laundry and folding clothes and taking out garbage and cleaning up the kitchen. But I did manage to get enough Debian work done that I don't feel as guilty.

A new gnubg package has been uploaded, I've fixed a few things in lintian and we should be ready for a new upload there shortly, I'm nearly ready to upload a new kerberos-configs, and I poked at a few other things.

I still need to give libpam-krb5 some quality time, and the krb5 package could use an upload with fixes for the most recent bugs in the BTS, but at least I'm not feeling like I'm abandoning Debian completely as much. I could use a whole week to work on non-work things, and I'm not going to get the chance until the end of the summer.

2006-06-25: Buffet on philanthropy

Most of you have probably already heard about Buffet's intended gift to various foundations, most notably the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It sounds wonderful to me; as much as I dislike the attitude and tactics that Bill Gates has used at Microsoft, I've seen no reason to think his charitable foundation is anything other than an unalloyed good thing.

This post, though, is more to get people to read the interview with Warren Buffet in Fortune if you haven't already or if you didn't click through to the second page of the article. I really respect Buffet's public positions and statements, and that interview is full of great quotes about philanthropy and inheritance.

This sort of thing makes me feel more optimistic about the future of the world, and right now that's very welcome.

2006-06-26: frak 1.33

The code for reporting when a directory is changed to a symlink was calling a function by the wrong name. Thanks to Quanah Gibson-Mount for the catch and the analysis.

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

2006-06-26: cvs2xhtml 1.10

Continuing the trend of weird backward-incompatible changes, the latest version of cvs in Debian testing now includes a commitid in cvs log output. Adjust the cvs log parser to add yet another case to deal with that. I'm guessing that I'll probably have to add a few more for dead revisions down the road.

I would just use Subversion for everything, but it's so convenient to version scripts through their revision Id, and Subversion just doesn't do that in a reasonable fashion. Feh.

You can get the latest version from my web tools distribution page.

2006-06-30: Vacation

Finally, for the first time since Baycon and for the first substantial period since the beginning of April, I get to have some vacation. I'm out all of next week, during which I'm going to watch the World Cup, read, and possibly do a little bit of software development (but only if I feel like it). So far, I've just been crashing... I'm very tired this evening, even though all I did all day was travel.

Since I'm at my parents', eating and putting on weight will probably also be involved, so I'll have to step up the exercising when I get back.

I'm almost caught up on reviews but not quite. I'm significantly behind a 100-book-per-year pace this year so far, unfortunately, but I'm trying not to stress about it. It's an arbitrary goal anyway. June would have made up for May a little, but I didn't get all the reviews written. Oh well.

Tomorrow I may start poking at the Debian Kerberos PAM module instead, since I was really enjoying that last Tuesday before I went back to work on remctl instead.

Last modified and spun 2017-10-16