Posts tagged: debian

Busy, busy, busy

There hasn’t been a post here for the last week or so because I’ve been really busy. Firstly I’ve got a weekly commitment of 1800 words for Micro Mart for the next 28 weeks (or something like that); then of course it was just the end of the university term – when every lecturer decides their assignments (all given out at the same time) have to be in for; and I’ve got a load of stuff happening in my web development work. Of course having a “holiday” from uni simply means that I spend a few weeks working harder than usual…

I did however recently manage to polish off version 1.0 of my EtherEye project (formerly called EtherMap), which is basically a web interface to ping a load of machines, giving the output as HTML. The project has become suprisingly popular (not VERY popular, but more than I thought it would be) so I had to give it it’s own website and get the downloads hosted elsewhere.
Shortly after the release of 1.0 I was told that EtherEye was b0rked on Windows systems and was giving “undefined offset” errors. After some investigation, this appears to be a bug in the Windows version of PHP 4.3.9 (maybe other versions too) causing it to do something silly and end up executing loops too many times. I’ve not taken this up with the PHP developers as I don’t have a Windows development system to test on, but I probably should at some stage.

Because I’ve been so busy, work on my BookMe project has stalled, but I still expect to complete it by about this summer.

I’ve also not had the chance to blog about a lot of the stuff I would usually blog about. This includes the announcement from Debian that they would be dropping many architectures from their releases. Despite what the media has been saying, this doesn’t mean that there will be no Debian releases for these architectures, simply that they will be seperate from the main Debian build tree. I use several of these soon-to-be dropped architectures and I think this is a sensible idea to streamline the release process. This has actually been provoking a lot of support for these architectures – most notably the Debian-Alpha port has seen several donations of high-spec machines for use by the project since the announcement.

At some point I will do a full post on Richard Stallman‘s comments about copyright at FOSDEM 2005, as copyright law is something I am quite interested in.

I will also do a post about the current state of software patents in Europe and on the results I’ve had from writing to my MEPs (write to yours here).

Oh and I’ll talk about the upcoming elections too and the <insert swear word here> tactics being used by the major parties.

That’s it for now; watch this space for some (hopefully) interesting posts soon!

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OGG Players, Amazon & Debian

Just got myself a new portable OGG player, and it’s bloody brilliant. It’s called the IOPS and is, not suprisingly, Korean made. It is available in the UK if you’re made of money, but I saved a packet and ordered direct from the main Korean distributor. It’s about the size of a pendrive, weighs absolutely nothing, plays MP3′s and OGGs, works as usb-storage under Linux, includes an FM radio, has an OLED display and it’s just great. I went with the 512MB version (I could have lived with 256MB, but thought I’d leave plenty of room for the future). It’s great for transfering data between machines as well. It’s only failing is that it doesn’t like mono OGGs, so I have to re-encode LUGRadio as stereo to listen to it… (and I thought I could manage a whole entry without mentioning LUGRadio….).

On a completely unrelated note, I’ve recently discovered the Amazon Marketplace. Basically if you go to look for a CD or something, you are given to option to “Buy it new or used”. Click on “Buy it new” and you’ll get a list of both individuals and companies who are selling the item (usually) cheaper than the retail price. Today I bought a full album for just £2.99 when it usually retails for between £9 – £12. Yes, Amazon are evil, but technically I’m not buying from them, but from a third party. I do rarely buy CD nowadays, since I found a great legal-as-far-as-I’m-concerned download site, but if I can always get them for that price I’d buy more.
And speaking of buying things, I’ve noticed that Kelkoo has gone down the toilet recently. The search is just crap and so it’s very difficult to find what you’re looking for even if you enter the exact search terms. And when you do find what you’re looking for, I’m sure it doesn’t compare as many stores as it used to. Anyone else remember ShopSmart? Now that was a good shopping comparison site, until BarclayCard bought it and killed it off.

On yet another unrelated note, I’ve bought myself a nice new laptop. For the first time, I’ve actually decided to go for Debian on the desktop. Previously I always thought Debian was best left to servers (just because I can configure stuff on the command line, doesn’t mean I enjoy doing it) but I’ve now changed my mind. I bunged in a Debian-Installer CD as I wanted to run testing anyway and as the saying goes, “it just worked”. I compiled up the latest 2.6.7 kernel to make use of the Hyperthreading and now I’ve got a super-fast machine with a great OS on it. I always thought apt was great on server installs, but it’s bloody brilliant now that I use it on a daily basis. And every piece of hardware works, albeit some with nasty closed drivers.

And following on from the great Linux arseholes debate it seems that an arsehole has taken up residence on the Debian-SPARC mailing list. This particular arsehole thinks they’re qualified to slag off decisions made by the “gods” of SPARC kernel development, without whom there almost certainly wouldn’t be a SPARC port of Linux. This person also feels the need to make stupid and unhelpful posts to people asking sensible questions and is clearly making a deliberate attempt to annoy people. It will be interesting to see if my theory about dealing with such people actually works. Only time will tell.

I really should post more often so my posts aren’t so long and unrelated… Oh well. I’m off to Spain on Saturday and am looking forward to a week without so much as touching a computer.

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ManLUG Meeting today

Managed to fight the strong winds and struggle down the road to a ManLUG meeting today. There was a talk on “Administering Large-scale Unix Systems” and since I might want to get into that one day, I thought it would be quite informative. It certainly was. A few points which really stuck in my mind were firstly that for every 1 hour of actual work on a computer, it requires 21 hours of bureaucracy. Yuk! Also interesting to learn that large companies essentially couldn’t give a *#$% about security and are only concerned with uptime. Perhaps I’ll stick to administration for small/medium companies for now! But apart from the nastiness, I did learn lots about large scale systems and the features of commercial UNIXes (the speaker focused on IBM‘s AIX), such as LPARS which sound very useful.
On the way to the venue, there’s a wonderful view of Manchester Computing‘s server room. Drrroooolllll….. Huge servers and equally huge Sun logos for as far as the eye can see… it’s like something out of a film.

There’s a lot of support for Debian at ManLUG. I love Debian mainly because I can run it on anything. So far, I’ve got it running on x86, SPARC, DEC Alpha (which this web server is running) and PA-RISC. I’ve got two new architectures to try the next time I’m home, SGI MIPS and Apple PPC. I just love old UNIX hardware and there’s no better way to learn a new architecture than to install Debian on it.

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