Older blog entries for baruch (starting at number 24)

Bram: It helps when you describe a signature scheme to say how one signs but also how one verifies the signature. Or at least provide a link to the relevant information.

Life

Nothing accomplished Open-Source-wise, at work I was offered Team Leader job, and declined. I'm not feeling ready for the task. I'm a good coder and debugger, and possibly designer (pretty sure on the first two, the third should be judged by others), but I'm not sure about my managing skills.

Got a new computer, a Dell Inspiron 2500. It replaces my aging Desktop and is moveable from home to work to parents place when I visit.

The machine came with WinXP Hebrew preinstalled, but had an install CD of a French WinXP, installing windows in French is fun, but not my kind of fun. I asked to be sent an Hebrew or English version. Nothing yet (for a week now).

It now has WinXP and Debian GNU/Linux (sid), the Lucent modem worked easily and compiles directly to a Debian package, nice touch! X is working but I need to install the synaptics touchpad.

Working with a laptop forces me to work more with the keyboard, which is a good thing. I now have the urge to add a Shift-Arrow switching between tabs in every application. Specifically Galeon needs it. It already works in Multi-Gnome-Terminal.

Switched back from Evolution to mutt, and using bogofilter to hide the spam, stole the procmail macros from Debian to detect various types of spam (Korean, viruses and such)

Did a lot of playing, but no coding (except at work).

Debian maintainership is taking all of my Free-Software time. Due to long work hours my free time is low as it is, SO time takes most of my free time and the little I have left is ued for Debian packaging, and I'm not even up to speed on that.

I've resurrected ChkTeX, It's a nice program to check for typographical errors in LaTeX documents, it also has better errors for syntax errors. I'm the Debian maintainter for the package and fixed some bugs in it that came in as bug-reports in Debian.

The upstream author is MIA and hasn't been heard of since 1996 (or so it seems). So I set it up at Savannah, The CVS repository is supposed to be uploaded soon, or I'll redo the commits on the CVS there. I initially worked on a local CVS and asked for it to be uploaded, but it's taking time.

I've also listed it now at FreshMeat and here on Advogato.

I've also run it through valgrind and found a memory access error that caused it to crash when running on it's own manual! (Now I join the crowd: Valgrind Rules!)

Once I'll finish some extra touches such as updating the Readme, Changelog and such, I'll post the new version to CTAN

cvsps

Finally got the permission to release my fixes to cvsps, I've contacted the author and he appeared very enthusiastic about merging them.

The next step for cvsps is to use glibc db or gdbm to keep the data instead of loading everything to memory.

syscalltrack

It was accepted to the Debian archive, and is now available for all. All that is left is to wait for the bug reports, if any. I believe it will be the first time sct developers will get some user based feedback.

Created a Debian package for syscalltracker, it's at http://people.debian.org/~baruch/deb/ You can also find the news about it at: http://syscalltrack.sourceforge.net/

I don't have any energy to work on my projects, all I'm getting done lately is Debian packaging

I attribute it (partially) to the fact that I didn't have a proper vacation for the last five years, I really need to get the last remnants of courses towards my degree and take a vacation. It's been overdue, the last one was an after the army 4 months of USA cross-country trip. It was great, but it can't keep batteries charged forever.

Advogato

For some reason the proj tag didn't work for me... a bug?

Hacked on cvsps to reduce memory usage, on a large 400MB CVS repository it needed over 500MB of memory to keep the details.

At first I've started to convert it from memory data structures to gdbm, but it got too tedious after a while.

I then found that the cached data on disk, which is a mirror of the memory data, is only 30MB. So I started to look around to find the culprit.

Apparently, there were some huge overallocations, where a log message has a max of 1K in that repository, 8K would be allocated, there were over 15K log messages. For each filename 4K were allocated, a max length for filename was 200 bytes. Revisions and branch information were kept in too large hashes where a linked list would do well. And a few other minor optimizations were needed.

All in all, memory requirement dropped from 500MB to less than 60MB, which is still a lot but liveable. Until such time that the repository grow too much.

I added a small statistics collector/reporter to the code to help guide my way and used the large repository as well as the gaim repository as a base for my decisions, it was fun.

I did notice a need for a statistics collector library for such a thing, it should report max, average, median and such data, I didn't do median because I was lazy. But between the max and average there is such a large difference that a median would help here. Dumping the data and showing histograms would be great for such a task.

Now I need to clear it up at work and submit the patches to the author. I've got one of those all-your-code-are-belong-to-us type of contracts but with a special clause for OpenSource projects, I still need to get permission for each new project to ensure it doesn't clashes with my work relared tasks.

bytesplit: Considering your attack on OpenSource that it has too many Editors, how about joining one of the PHP image catalog projects and help there instead of starting from scratch?

Argh, The TVIA IGS5005 chip in the Allwell iTV3036 which I considered buying has no public information on how to program it. When I asked the sales person from Allwell, she said I'll need to buy an SDK at the mere cost of $30,000 to $50,000.

That's one heavy straw!

I'll be looking for other options, this one looked to be able to fulfill most of my needs. Damn!

It's been a while since I decided that I want to create my own PVR/DVR. A Tivo like device to replace the VCR.

I'll create one instead of buying one since I'm not US based so noone provides any such toy around, and Tivo won't ship overseas. Probably because their hardware is NTSC only. The Bastards!

I'm considering using an Allwell iTV3036 unit as my base platform. But I'm still looking at other options. I'd also like it to serve as a DVD player (an all in one device), I'll probably hook it up to a coffee machine at the end :-)

The Allwell can be mine for about $400 but it only has a 300Mhz CPU which is not sufficient for encoding MPEG2/4 videos. I'll consider using an MPEG2 encoder PCI card to do that.

Another possibility is using my current 700MHz K7 machine by adding a tuner card and a TVout card. But then I won't have any use to the channels on my TV itself. Pretty wasteful. So I want something that has a passthrough mode so that it can actually act like a regular video.

Life

Work and the few remaining courses at university leave no time to do free software work, I've been doing only Debian maintainer tasks for quite some time now.

I'm trying to develop sideways and learning Verilog HDL with the help of a friend who's an EE working on hardware development. I'd like to play a bit with hardware, been looking at OpenCores and would like to play with a PCI card that has an FPGA on it, should be fun!

Work

Work is a bore, I've been shifted from task to task with no real roadmap for my work, I'm in fire control mode since I started working. At first it was part of the training in order to know more about the whole system. Later on it just became my de-facto work.

I'm supposedly tasked with security topics but have no time to do it, all my time is directed to bug fixing.

I'd like to switch to a team with a more knowledgeable Team Leader than my current one. The current one is fine, but I'd like to be able to really learn from my peers and superiors, as opposed to being on the same level and gain almost nothing in extra knowledge.

Open Source

There is a competitor to my XMMS Volume Normalizer, It's xmms-compress He's got some good stuff that I'd like to take from him, like fixed point arithmetic to speed up my plugin. The code is GPL too so there is no problem.

goingware: I've been looking at unit testing for quite a while, haven't been able to tackle it correctly. Do you of open-source code that has unit-testing to learn from. I know about gcc but I was looking for samples that act as server/client and such.

I've started to work full time on October 2001, working with Linux doing various things tinkering with firewall internals and other such fun.

Work sure does saps the time from open-source projects, I've hardly did anything during the past few months. LyX was the first casuality, my own Volume Normalizer suffered too. All I had time for is mainting my few packages in the Debian project.

One often raised problem with Debian is the distribution of resources, and that it's hard to come by all the information and various services offered in Debian. Jamie Wilkinson (jaq) posted a link to a portal page that he created for his own use, my contribution is a generic portal page that generates a similar page by saving the email and name in a cookie. It was a couple hours of fun with Python and cgi programming in Python.

Hacking

Hardly done anything in quite a while. I've updated volnorm a bit (Development version 0.8.1 is out for quite some time), I need to update/fix the configure scripts they

are in horrible shape.

I've done basically nothing on LyX, I could probably blame it all on my studies, but I hardly done any of that either.

Life

On the positive side, I've got a job that I'll start in mid October. It is supposed to be interesting and I will probably get to play and hack in the Linux kernel, that should be fun.

compiler

See my counter-rant on http://baruch.ev-en.org/rant.html

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