Older blog entries for ctrlsoft (starting at number 77)

Linux.Conf.Au 2010 - Day 1

Linux.Conf.Au has a reputation for being one of the best FLOSS conferences in the world, and it more than met my (high) expectations. The last one I attended was also in New-Zealand, but further south - in Dunedin.

Day 1 - Monday

As usual there were miniconfs the first two days before the actual conference. On the first day I attended some of the talks in the Open Languages track.

mwhudson gave a talk about pypy - Python implemented in Python. He discussed the reasons for doing what they do and the progress they've made so far. Like so many of the custom Python implementations, one of the main thing that's holding them back is the lack of support for the extensions written in C for CPython.

[en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusty_Russell Rusty] gave a quick tutorial to talloc/ after lunch ("it's a shame K&R didn't think of this!") and explained why it's so great.

In the afternoon I caught some of the talks in the distro summit track. Both of the talks that I attended happened to be Ubuntu-related - first Dustin gave a quick introduction to the components of Launchpad, followed by a talk from Lucas about the
relationship between Ubuntu and Debian. There was a discussion afterwards about
interoperability between the various hosting sites and bug trackers. Several audience members questioned the relevance of Debian and suggested everything should just switch to Launchpad, but this seemed to be founded in ignorance. (none were actually Launchpad developers, contrary to the impression Martin seems to have).

Syndicated 2010-02-03 18:15:45 from Stationary Traveller

Build from branch

At the moment I am returning home after three very productive and awesome weeks in Wellington, Sydney and Strasbourg.

I spent the first week in the West Plaza in Wellington, working together with fellow Launchpad developers on getting the basics of building from branches working. We eventually managed to get something working at the end of Friday afternoon. We split the work up at the beginning of the week and then worked on it in pairs for a couple of days before integrating all work on Friday. At the end of the week William managed to get a basic source package build from recipe through the queue.

Pair-programming with Jono and Michael was very educational, I suspect I'll be a fair bit quicker when I get back to hacking on Launchpad by myself. It's scary to see how some people can make the changes that would take me a full day in a mere hour.

Tim picked up my initial work on support for Mercurial imports and completed and landed it during the sprint. Since the rollout on Wednesday it is possible to request Mercurial imports on Launchpad. Most imports (e.g. mutt, dovecot, hg) seem to work fine, with the main exception being the really large Mercurial repositories such as OpenOffice.org and OpenJDK. This is because of (known) scaling issues that will be fixed in one of the next releases of bzr-hg.

This was the first time I was back in Wellington since 2006, and the weather this year was exactly as I remembered it; showers and wind, with the occasional day of sunshine. For a capital the city centre is quite small, but it has its charm and the view from the various hills around the bay is
amazing.

On the weekend I met up with Andrew and Kirsty and we did some hiking around Wellington (where the weather allowed it).

Syndicated 2010-02-01 16:49:10 from Stationary Traveller

My first week as a Launchpad developer: impressions

Roughly a week ago I joined Julian, Muharem and Michael, working on the Soyuz component of Launchpad. For now I've been working on easy Soyuz bugs, as a way of becoming more familiar with the internals. I'm working from home but I had the chance to hang out with some of the other Launchpad developers, including the full Soyuz team, at Lucid in Dallas.

Launchpad is different from most other FOSS projects I have worked on so far. Some things I noticed during my first week:

The codebase is big and well tied together. I don't think I've ever used grep and ctags as often as I have in the last week. Fortunately, the directory structure makes it relatively easy to predict where to look for things.

Reviews are really quick - no long round-trips between author and reviewer trying to get a branch landed. This is a really *really* great thing.

It's easy to find somebody familiar with a particular piece of code and it doesn't take long to get an answer when you ask questions. I'm still getting used to this - I tend to ask questions sporadically because I have gotten used to having to wait a couple of days for an answer that's actually useful.

Setting up the development environment takes some time. Or perhaps I'm spoiled by Bazaar where "bzr branch lp:bzr bzr && ./bzr/bzr selftest" is all you need to start hacking. And it seems like karmic is the only platform on which things work - I tried with Debian Sid and Lucid as well, but things broke in strange and unusual ways.

The test suite is heavy and takes long to start up, something that makes proper TDD too hard. I also managed to run into some unexplainable problems where the librarian wouldn't shut down on one of my systems. Since there is only one instance of the database it is not really possible to run multiple instances of the testsuite at the same time unless you use chroots or something like that - this makes it hard to work on multiple branches at the same time, something which would especially be nice since the testsuite is slow (so you can run the testsuite in one branch, hack in another and alterate).

Doctests, while fast, a bit of a nuisance. Because of the setup/teardown overhead that is paid for every single test, doc tests are a lot faster than unit tests. On the other hand, pdb doesn't play well with doc tests - it doesn't show any context. Conceptually I also prefer small unit tests over doc tests, since they're quicker to read, easier to understand and there's less side-effects from previous instructions in the test that could affect the code that's being tested.

And for those that know me well; yes, getting used to somewhat regular working hours was indeed a challenge, but I seem to have managed.

Syndicated 2009-12-10 20:10:17 from Stationary Traveller

US: Observations

These past few days in the US were a bit of a rollercoaster. Some random observations:

  • The mentor summit was very nice and well organized (or rather: well disorganized). Lots of awesome people around from a wide variety of projects and nationalities.
  • "Next Generation VCS" seems to be an alias for git these days in the minds of most people.
  • I didn't write a single line of code in almost a week, something that is very rare.
  • Driving an automatic gives you two spare limbs to use for other things. What those other things are, I have yet to figure out.
  • Is the fact that your kid was student of the month or the fact that you own two cats and a dog really something that belongs on a bumper sticker?
  • Gas is cheap (compared to Europe). I drove 300 miles on a $30 tank.
  • The malls in the Bay Area are some of the biggest I've ever seen, but strangely enough they seem to lack both book- and cd-stores.
  • Visiting Fry's continues to have a significant effect on the contents of my wallet.
  • It is legal to turn right on a red traffic sign in California unless otherwise indicated. It took me a while to realize this until people repeatedly started honking behind me...
  • The waiver I had to sign to be able to skydive in California was scary. I can cope with my operating system coming without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, but my parachute?
  • I stopped pretending to have any regularity in my sleeping habits. 6 AM flights? It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Syndicated 2009-10-30 16:54:00 from Stationary Traveller

CtrlProxy: Looking for a new maintainer

After over 7 years of working on it off and on, I'm looking for somebody to help maintain (and eventually take over) CtrlProxy. I started working on CtrlProxy somewhere in 2002, only a short while after Wilmer started hacking on BitlBee. If I remember correctly I started working on it because I didn't want to run a separate dircproxy (the only real competitor at the time) instance (with configuration) for each IRC network that I connected to. It was also just a good excuse to play with the IRC protocol a bit.

Over the years, CtrlProxy has served as a playground for me to try out new and interesting things. It's been rewritten or severely refactored several times in its early history, the latest time being the 3.0 release (from 2005). I've tried different build systems, I've tried different implementation languages, I've tried different configuration file formats, I've tried different support libraries, I've tried different version control systems, I've tried different documentation formats. So while it's definitely been a very educational project for me personally, I haven't really had the time or the interest to dedicate to the project that it deserved during the last few years. This was mostly because there were other more interesting FOSS projects I spent my spare cycles on.

These days there are plenty of other good IRC proxies out there, including BIP, ZNC and ShroudBNC so I doubt CtrlProxy will be missed if it were to disappear. Despite that, if anybody is interested in taking over, please send me an email (jelmer@samba.org) or contact me on IRC (jelmer on the OFTC and Freenode networks).

cp: Anathema - Shroud of False1

Syndicated 2009-09-13 21:26:13 from Stationary Traveller

Summer of Code 2009

For this years (the fifth?) Summer of Code, I participated once again as a mentor for the Samba and OpenChange projects.

Samba was assigned four slots this year: one was a CIFSFS project mentored by Steve French and the other three were Python projects related to Samba 4, co-mentored by Andrew and me. Our students did very well this year, although we unfortunately had to drop one after the mid-term evaluations due to lack of effort. Nonetheless, we're very happy with the results of the other two projects:

Calin Crisan (France) converted the rest of the applications in SambaGtk to Python, and worked on a GTK+ user manager for Samba and Windows. With his improvements, it is now possible to edit registries, manage users, inspect the endpoint mapper, plan tasks and manage services on a remote Windows machine using a GTK+ application on a Linux workstation.

Ricardo Velhote (Portugal) designed and implemented a new version of SWAT - the Samba Web Administration Tool. Unlike the old SWAT, his implementation is more than just a simple web-based editor for smb.conf. As we were expecting at the start of the Summer of Code, not all of the functionality could be implemented properly in a couple of months, not while getting the design and infrastructure right. With a basic version working, we now hope the remaining subsystems can be contributed with help from the community.

I'm planning to merge Calin's improvements to Samba-Gtk into the mainline in the next month or so. SWAT is a standalone application and will continue to live as a separate project, while being a part of the Samba ecosystem. Congratulations to both Calin and Ricardo on their achievements!

Syndicated 2009-09-11 14:22:06 from Stationary Traveller

DebCamp / DebConf9

So far I'm very much enjoying my first DebCamp / DebConf. It's nice to finally meet a lot of people in person that I have worked together with or talked to on IRC in the last few years. Cáceres is a relatively small town with a nice old city center.

I arrived early for DebCamp and spent the first few days here working on fixing bugs in the Bazaar and Samba packages as well as discussing the integration between Samba 4 and Kerberos with Sam (both in general and on Debian specifically). In trying to set up a Samba 4 domain we found a number of bugs in the provisioning script, most of which seem to be fixed now.

In the last few days I've mostly worked on getting Samba 4 and OpenChange ready to go into Sid (they're in experimental only at the moment) and have discussed bzr-builddeb and related Bazaar issues with James.

cp: Pixies - Velouria

Syndicated 2009-07-22 23:38:01 from Stationary Traveller

DebConf

http://media.debconf.org/dc9/images/debconf9-going-to.png I'm looking forward to going to my first DebCamp/DebConf. I won't be giving a talk, but I hope to work together with others on integrating Samba 3 and 4 better with the rest of the system and VCS integration.

Syndicated 2009-07-04 13:46:16 from Stationary Traveller

"Franky" Talk at SambaXP

I'll be giving a talk at the next NLLGG meeting about the Franky project.

Update: slides

Syndicated 2009-06-04 00:51:00 from Stationary Traveller

UDS and Barcelona

I'm in Barcelona, attending the Bazaar sprint, which happens to be cohosted with the Ubuntu Developer Summit. I attended half a day of the UDS in Sydney a couple of years ago, so I had some idea of what I was in for already. It's a lot of fun, and having the two events at the same place at the same time was really worthwhile :-) I finally got to meet some of the Ubuntu server people in person.

I flew here a couple of days early so I could do some sightseeing, never having been in Barcelona (or Spain) before. The city was much nicer than I had expected, and we had some great weather. The timing was great, too: we we were there during the Cycling Tour of Catalonia and F.C.B. won both the national title and the European champions league (I hope I got that right, the important bit was the large amount of people partying outside :-).

During the first day of the summit I gave a short plenary talk on the Samba packaging in Ubuntu. Other than that I spent most of the time during the day switching back and forth between the Bazaar sprint room and the various break-out sessions. The main topics in the Bazaar world were the 2.0 release, and what had to be done to get it out of the door.

Syndicated 2009-05-29 21:45:00 from Stationary Traveller

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