Posts for December 2007

2007-12-02: Debian Policy

I've just done my first Debian Policy upload. Yay!

After some more prodding and more feelings of guilt, I finally decided to just make the Policy upload happen without waiting for a sort of consensus that meant I didn't have to make decisions. And then thankfully Manoj had some time to do bug triage at the same time, and I think we got a pretty good handle on all the outstanding bugs. I pushed through a few more changes that I think are uncontroversial, fixed some final build issues this evening, and uploaded the monster.

Uploads will get much easier from this point on, now that I have a basic idea of how the process works. There are already some other changes that are basically done and should be easy to get into the next release, which hopefully won't take anywhere near as long. And we should start on the DocBook rewrite.

2007-12-03: wallet 0.3

Okay, wallet should now be fairly feature-complete for what we need for the initial release at Stanford. That unfortunately means that it only handles keytabs and only with the features of our old leland_srvtab system, so a lot of stuff is missing. But it's a start, and it means that we can start using it.

The neatest new feature is support for default ACLs, so that wallet entries can spring into existence as needed based on local site policy. I also added ACL integration with our NetDB host management system and support for MySQL as the underlying database engine, as well as better history, auditing, logging, and other things.

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

2007-12-04: lintian 1.23.37

Wow, this was a huge lintian release.

Marc had a chance to do a ton of work before I started working on it, I cleaned up a bunch of other bugs that struck my fancy, and there are also a bunch of new checks and other changes for Policy 3.7.3. This is one of the biggest lintian changes in a while, which means that lintian development is proceeding nicely.

Now, off to play cards.

2007-12-05: wallet 0.4

Well, today was mostly a loss, but I did finish committing some changes I'd been planning on doing for quite a while and getting a new wallet release out that fixes some oversights in the last release. This release should be good enough for internal testing at Stanford, although I still need to write an administrative interface for setting it up in the first place and doing metadata operations.

The main change in this release is my realization that I had no way of combining NetDB roles with root instances, which made them useless for my own group. Doh. But fixed now.

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

2007-12-06: lintian 1.23.38

This was a quick bug fix release to clean up some warnings, particularly with packages using dpatch, and to not bother everyone who does a backport. It's rather standard to do a quick bug-fix release after a major lintian release.

My plan is now to do another feature release shortly after this version migrates to testing, getting the bug count back under 100 again and incorporating any simple and obvious contributions that show up in the BTS by then.

After that, I think it's time for 1.24.0, finally. There are three things I want to start working on: conversion of the lib directory to a regular Perl module naming standard (so Lintian::* modules) that can eventually be installed in the regular Perl module path, marking all tags for severity/certainty/source and mapping that to the current error/warning/info with more flexible options, and providing a Perl interface to all checks for retrieving data out of memory rather than constantly opening and re-reading files from disk.

We'll see how fast I can work on this. Thankfully, working on lintian is a lot of fun and really rewarding.

2007-12-06: wallet 0.5

No matter how good the test suite, as soon as I actually install the software and try to use it, I uncover a bunch of other issues. Most of them were input validation being too strict, since I don't test all protocol operations end-to-end. (I really should find a way to do that. Added to TODO.) There were a few other fairly obvious bugs, though.

But now it's working, I can create and download keytabs, the default ACLs work, and the ACL verification against NetDB works. So I'm very happy. I'm about two months behind where I was hoping to be, but finally we can start migrating towards really using this. I probably need to do another quick release to include better client configuration and Kerberos support, but that just sometime before Christmas break.

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

2007-12-07: lintian 1.23.39

Yeah, I'm going somewhat insane with the lintian releases this week.

I was going to wait for the previous version to propagate to testing, but there were enough annoying bugs (particularly around false positives on the new Section checks) that I felt like a new release was warranted. There was also a big patch sitting in the BTS for better doc-base checks.

Those are both taken care of, and in the process I reorganized how spelling checks are done (against a hard-coded table of common errors) and started spell-checking the latest changelog and NEWS.Debian entries. That closes a five-digit bug number! Rare that I get to do that. Ubuntu should also now no longer need a separate version of lintian.

Now, I still need to send the long-term architecture message to the mailing list so that people can vet it, but I plan on waiting to do more work for a while. I should spend some time on Policy instead.

2007-12-08: lintian 1.23.40

Not done yet, and another release tomorrow. People keep finding additional bugs that are rather annoying and produce a lot of false positives. This time, I messed up precedence when merging the doc-base patch.

One more release is still needed to clean up more problems with desktop files for KDE. KDE apparently doesn't use the same desktop file standard as the rest of the world, so we need to add a few more exceptions. Bleh. I'm a little frustrated by the desktop file checks; I'd rather stick with the Debian menu in some respects, and I think the idea that there was a standard for them was actually rather oversold. Ah well. It's mostly that I had a scattered and somewhat frustrating day.

Maybe tomorrow I'll actually get back to writing and posting reviews, like I was intending to today.

2007-12-11: lintian 1.23.41

Well, it's been out there for more than a day, and no one has reported any show-stopper bugs, so maybe this one can finally be the one that migrates into testing.

This release fixes more of the desktop file checks, and should clean up a bunch more KDE warnings. It also should fix any remaining problems with unescaped angle brackets in the tag descriptions.

2007-12-20: Almost to vacation

This year, I get the entire Christmas shutdown off. No being on call, no work that I have to do, nothing. Stanford gets to cope without me. I'm really looking forward to that; I need the time.

I do, however, have to work the rest of this week (although thankfully I can do it remotely). I was going to work on documentation, but some work on a new krb5-sync overflowed into today, and we're also working on fixing the Debian OpenLDAP packages finally. So hopefully I'll get some work in on that tomorrow, but none happened today.

krb5-sync still isn't out, so I can't upgrade the production KDCs tomorrow. Oh well, it can happen after the break. Hopefully that release will be out tomorrow; I ended up fixing more bugs than I expected to.

2007-12-21: Vacation

Made it.

Today was another rather brutal day, and I didn't get any of the work that I had planned on doing at the end of this week done. But the week is over, I'm now on vacation for the next twelve days and don't have to do anything I don't want to do, and then I still have some time of working remotely before I have to get back into the regular grind.

Don't expect to see a lot of me on-line for the next few days, except maybe posting book reviews and the like. I need to get away for a little bit and breathe.

2007-12-24: Happy holidays

I spent the day getting my mother set up with iTunes, quite successfully. Apple still has a lot to learn about usability for the average person in the area of error recovery and decent error messages. iTunes hanging completely when it hits a CD that it can't rip is ridiculous. But they've put a lot of effort into seamless integration, and it's quite nice in pretty much every other respect.

I also turned a few more people onto, an Internet microfinance site that lets people make loans directly to businesses in developing countries. I think this is a brilliant idea and it's the charity that I've been the most excited about for the last month. I just put more money into it today; it seemed like the season.

The time away from doing work has worked out quite well, even if I am painfully aware of all the things out there that I could be doing. But I think I'll be faster and more productive, and certainly saner, from having taken a nice, long break.

Now it's off to read a bit more before I sleep. Enjoy the holidays, however you do or don't celebrate them!

2007-12-25: krb5-sync 1.2

Finally got this released.

The previous version had an incorrect AFS call that caused it to leak file descriptors and threads, which we've just been living with since I haven't had enough time to finish testing and do the release, even though I fixed it some time ago. I worked on this some last week and finished making the AFS code optional, but I didn't get the release all the way out. Today, I felt like doing something, so I cleaned up a few more issues and did the release.

Besides those changes, there's also a new option to krb5-sync-backend to purge pending changes after a user-provided number of days, which we use to deal with the stranding of Kerberos accounts in the Registry.

This release also features completely new M4 files for Kerberos v4, Kerberos v5, and AFS probes, which I'm now going to hopefully be able to share between all of my packages without having to make code changes. We'll see how this works; that was the original intention, but I didn't manage to do it. But I think I have a better structure now.

I also redid the license file and headers for all the files following what I set up for the wallet, which I quite like.

Someone else is now looking at using this code for a project, so hopefully releases will be more frequent for a while.

You can get the latest release from the krb5-sync distribution page.

2007-12-26: Debian Perl work

I ran into a really annoying networking problem with Stanford's network yesterday and managed to get myself rather worked up about it. I even woke up annoyed about it, which was rather counter-productive. But I managed to kick myself out of it.

Rather than doing various other things that I thought about doing, or obsessing about problems, I ended up spending the day doing a variety of work for the Debian Perl group. We have a bunch of packages that need checking and uploading, and I hadn't done any group work in quite a while. That was just what I needed today. Nice productive work that wasn't too difficult.

After uploading several packages and fixing all the packages that had broken maintainers that were confusing lintian (I need to also fix the lintian bug), I wrote up my upload procedure and added that to the group web site, along with some updates to the quilt and subversion guides.

And then I was on such a good roll that I got a few other things done, mostly around organizing my to-do list. I'm really happy about that.

2007-12-27: lintian web pages

Today was sort of an odd day. I think it counted as a "do whatever I feel like" day, but I second-guessed myself all day.

I was going to read some more in my book and then maybe work on Debian Policy, but I woke up early, got caught up on-line, and then felt like doing some lintian work. The lintian Subversion repository is still down (waiting, probably, for the maintainer to get back from holidays — there's no rush), so it was a good day for a larger project and I kept having thoughts about how I wanted to rewrite the HTML reporting script. Particularly since there were several reports today of more problems with it.

So, I started on that, figuring that I'd be done and could go read in the afternoon, and then I ended up working on it all day. It was one of those jobs that grew a lot in the doing. The data structures used by the current script were all wrong and it had hard-coded HTML in the Perl all over the place. The new version isn't tested yet, but it uses Text::Template and a much cleaner (and commented) internal design.

In the process, I not only fixed a ton of bugs but added info and overrides to the report display, which will make it much easier to look for places where lintian has things wrong.

So, that was productive, but I didn't do all the other vacationish stuff that I wanted to do, or make any progress on Policy or INN. And I kept feeling like I wanted to go do something else, or "should" go do something else, or something. Still not sure if that was just bad guilt or if I really would have been happier doing something different.

Sometimes introspection fails. But I got a bunch of work done at the end of the day, and that makes me happy.

2007-12-28: pam-krb5 3.10

Well, I forgot to update the Debian copyright file and some of the documentation, but I can get that later.

This release fixes some Heimdal problems due to the workaround for broken MIT Kerberos 1.6 versions and their option initialization functions, fixes a few other minor bugs, and adds initial support for building against the Kerberos that comes with AIX.

You can get the latest version from the pam-krb5 distribution page.

2007-12-29: Debian upload day

I finished another book this morning after sleeping in some and decided I felt like something light but productive for the day. So I went through all of my Debian packages and did routine uploads to do things like change Standards-Version, add Homepage fields, and so forth.

That was quite nice. I got a gtimer patch applied that had been sitting around since September and uploaded five packages. Then I tracked down the /etc/openafs directory purging bug and confirmed it really was a dpkg bug, reassigned it, and tracked down the ksu problem with realm referrals. It looks like the best solution to that will be to largely rewrite ksu to use modern APIs and call krb5_verify_init_creds.

A nice, productive day, and still a relaxing vacation day. And I crossed off more things from my to-do list than I thought of and needed to add, which is always a good sign.

2007-12-31: 2007 in Review

I never plan on doing a year-end retrospective, but seeing lots of other people doing one sometimes puts me in the mood.

This has been a difficult year, mostly in the places where I always have trouble. I've bitten off more than I could chew in a few areas, which means too much stress, and then I drive myself a little crazy. There was a lot of that this year, particularly with large changes at work and quite a while of being short-handed. So, I had three colds this year, a batch of stomach flu, some other minor medical problems, and all the standard signs of being way too stressed.

This Christmas vacation has been good to start helping with that. I've been taking the time as a mental reset, trying to clear my head, rebalance my life, and get back into a good mental spot to tackle the new year. It's a good short-term fix. The next step is to stick with better time management, delegate more, let more things go, and focus on doing exactly what I want to do instead of what I think I should do in my time off.

Some things did go very well this year. Despite a cold and the stress, I loved the trip to Scotland for Debconf. I doubt I'm going to travel internationally again for quite a while, but that was a great experience. Also, looking back on it from the end of the year, I'm fairly happy with my free software contributions. I did a lot of Debian work, particularly on lintian, and released a new version of Policy. There's always more to do, but I did quite a lot.

On social interactions, it was a pretty good year. That's something else that I want to prioritize a little higher, letting more volunteer work go. But it's also something that I want to have flow. I think this will come naturally if I deal with my stress in other ways. But I'm fairly comfortable with how that part of my life is going.

The year was good for reading. I of course spent the year obsessing over how many books I'd read after deciding to not care, but I have a plan for that for the next year. I'll do a year in review later on, after posting the last couple of reviews I wrote, but I think I'm getting a bit better at reviewing and I read more than my new target of books for the year.

I didn't do as well at letting myself take time for other entertainments. Still no DVD catchup, and still not much in the way of playing video games. This is something that I want to improve next year, since I do enjoy it and I think my stress is better if I give myself time to relax.

It was a rough year. But the highlight of the year, and one of the most hopeful signs for next year, is that I have a new manager who is far better than any I've had before and other management changes that have already improved things at work quite a bit. That makes me feel very optimistic; I just have to refocus, relax, be realistic about how much I can accomplish, and give myself time.

Here's to a 2008 with less stress.

Last modified and spun 2017-03-25