Older blog entries for barryp (starting at number 47)

While waiting for my machine to struggle through a PostgreSQL dump/restore of huge blobs, read through raph's thesis paper. It was, to use the favorite word of Slashdot editors, interesting.

It did seem to fly off on a tangent though when talking about apache memory pools, and this one sentence seemed a bit whacked "A dual attack is to prevent block good nodes from acquiring valid stamps." But otherwise I thought the dialog was very true-to-life, and the characters very believable :)

16 Apr 2002 (updated 16 Apr 2002 at 19:49 UTC) »

Got my cable modem installed, 3mbps down down 128kbps up. Anybody playing Quake now will have to ph34r my m4d ski||z, bwahahaha :)

10 Apr 2002 (updated 10 Apr 2002 at 16:45 UTC) »


Been trying to get the FreeBSD port of apache2 running on a 4.5 box, but the default configuration doesn't seem to work (we've been hosed Tommy...we've been hosed...). It just quietly sits there and does nothing, other than note in the error log: "Digest: generating secret for digest authentication ..."

Strangely, it also doesn't create a /var/run/httpd.pid file, and only preforks 1 process. However, if I run it with the highperformance.conf file (after a few tweaks - the port must not adjust that for FreeBSD), then I do have a working server - but with not many features. So I'm guessing the software itself is ok, but the httpd.conf that the FreeBSD port installs must be munged up somehow - but there's no obvious sign of what exactly.

A few moments later..

It's amazing how once you write something down and look at it, you sort of answer your own questions. That "..." at the end of the message about "generating secret for digest authentication" made me think something is starting, but not finishing. Disabling the auth_digest_module does the trick. Must be something in apr_generate_random_bytes, the mod_auth_digest source says: generating the secret takes a while (~ 8 seconds), but I'm sure I waited much longer than that. I'm flood-pinging my machine right now, but httpd still hangs trying to generate those 20 random bytes.

I probably won't be using digest authentication for anything, so that's no biggie to disable - but I'd be a bit worried about other modules, maybe later down the road, calling apr_generate_random_bytes and waiting forever.

even later..

I'm learning all kinds of good stuff today, I found that by using the FreeBSD rndcontrol utility, I could add IRQ 10 (what my NIC uses) as a source of randomness, and now apache2 starts with no noticible delay at all, even with mod_auth_digest loaded. So the port will work out-of-the-box, as long as you help the kernel's RNG a bit.

4 Apr 2002 (updated 4 Apr 2002 at 18:29 UTC) »

I love open source

I just upgraded the F-Secure Anti-Virus for Linux we run on one of our FreeBSD 4.4 boxes, and saw that the message log was suddenly getting flooded with: '/kernel: linux: syscall fstat64 is obsoleted or not implemented'. FSAV runs fine otherwise, but I really didn't want to see thousands of those messages per day stuck in the log.

Upgrading to FreeBSD 4.5 would fix the problem, but I wasn't too keen on doing that just to get rid of one error message - so after a little bit of pondering found that I could dig into the source, and make one tiny change to /usr/src/sys/i386/linux/linux_dummy.c to kill the error message just for fstat64 - recompile to get a new linux.ko, kldunload the old module, kldload the new one - and the problem is fixed - not even a reboot. Try that with Windows :P

3 Apr 2002 (updated 3 Apr 2002 at 22:42 UTC) »

fxn, I'd think that ideally you'd try to get whatever info MyAdvogato needs from Advogato by way of XML-RPC, instead of old fashioned screen-scraping.

Although with proper CSS-ification, then you're kind of open to a new-fangled screen-scraping that could actually be fairly clean. Would be nice if things like the recent diary entries page was structured a bit more strongly, and not just use classes to indicate things necessary for the stylesheet - for example, the <a> tags that refer to people (or were converted from <person> tags) could have a class, to indicate that, even if it wasn't needed for stylesheet formatting purposes.

Right now, an entry looks to be a <h4> immediately followed by a <blockquote> - maybe those should be placed inside a <div class="diaryentry"> just to indicate the structure, in case any other h4 or blockquote tags are floating around.

2 Apr 2002 (updated 2 Apr 2002 at 23:31 UTC) »

Hardware Lust

I was just looking at some junk mail, and saw an ad for this DiskOnModule device - basically flash memory with an IDE interface, just a little bigger than an IDE connector itself (update: price range is $21..$570 for 4mb..512mb, 128mb=$102). I was envisioning sticking a DOM on one of those mini-itx motherboards various sites were reporting on at CeBIT - that'd make an awesome, quiet little firewall box to run FreeBSD or whatever on.

Been working on glue code to allow Exim 4.x local_scan() functions to be implemented in embedded Python. Think it's all finished now, just need to give it a good workout. It should make it pretty trivial to write scripts that do things like invoke a virus scanner, or SpamAssassin-type processing of incoming mail messages.

Finally! after years and years of waiting I'm able to get broadband where I live - have an appointment for a cable modem installation in 2.5 weeks. I wonder though, maybe I'm too old now to make any good use of it. When I was younger I could play Quake all day long, but now... oh well, maybe AARP has some interesting online checkers games or something :)

26 Mar 2002 (updated 26 Mar 2002 at 22:02 UTC) »

Nice job cmiller on the advodiary script.

I've kind of noticed over time that Advogato seems to be a fairly pro-Python community. Sure, there's the occasional crank that's hung up on Perl :P but overall it seems like a lot of Python users here.

Actually, I have to admit that I was a little leery of Python at first - thinking that the indentation-sensitive nature of it was pretty back-asswards. But it was mainly all the good things people were saying about Python in Advogato that got me to actually give it a try back almost a couple years ago, and I think I fell in love within an hour or so :)

25 Mar 2002 (updated 26 Mar 2002 at 21:54 UTC) »


So I got a VisionTek nVidia graphics card (one of those day-after-Thanksgiving deals at BestBuy), where the cooling fan started going bad. Kind of sucks being crippled by a chunk of bad plastic probably worth less than a buck. The box claims a lifetime warranty, so I give them a call a couple weeks ago - the person I talk to is pretty cool and says they'll ship out a new fan, no hassle at all. I'm pretty impressed, but the thing never shows so I call again today (get through very quick) to find that the fans were in stock, but they were out of envelopes. They'll be sure to ship one out right away though. Phbbt ... how lame is that? Oh well, I can give their phone guys a thumbs-up for being easy to deal with, but a big thumbs-down for their shipping dept.

Advogato XMLRPC

Yeah, this XMLRPC thing is pretty cool. The net definitely needs more of this kind of thing - where you bypass browser interfaces designed for people, and let software talk directly to software. Would be nice if there was a more obvious link to the advogato-xmlrpc docs, rather than having to look back through old diary entries for the details.

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