A nice joke in Engadget today:

Q: How many Microsoft engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: None, they just define darkness as an industry standard.

They also offered the slightly lamer:

Q: How many Apple engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: 13, 1 to do the screwing and a dozen lawyer-types to prepare for the recall.

Hey, there's something missing from the above, so I hereby offer:

Q: How many Linux developers does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Just one. Three weeks later, he comes back and screws in Lightbulb 2.0, which casts thirty percent more light but flickers on and off every two seconds. Two weeks later you get Lightbulb 2.1a, which works beautifully for five months and then explodes without warning, slightly injuring your cat. After a quick emergency callout your friendly Linux engineer screws in Lightbulb 3.0, which casts nearly as much light as Lightbulb 2.0, plays the latest hipster tunes, and reports your Light Status to the Web 2.0 LightR service, but uses seventy three thousand watts of electricity and takes thirty seconds to turn on.

A while later you receive the long-awaited Lightbulb2 1.0, which turns out to be perfect in almost all respects, but is green.

A few things

Okay, most importantly: if you've visited this blog using Windows in the last few months, check your system for malware.

A couple of people let me know Google was tagging my site as possibly containing malware. It turns out when it got compromised a few weeks back (which I blogged about), the attacker inserted hidden iframes into a few posts which linked to malware sites. These were preserved when I restored the site from a backup after reinstalling the host server. This is a possible infection vector for Windows systems (I don't believe the attacks would have affected any other OS), so get any Windows systems checked out. I'm really sorry about that. The Google tools were very helpful in identifying the offending bits, so I've torn them out of the database now, and the site is now clean. Lesson: when Google tells you a site is dangerous, it's probably right. :) Don't go there, and if you know the admin of the site, let them know.

Other business - 'Real'Crypt 6.0a is now in the /contrib/backports repositories for 2008 and 2008 Spring. Also, the problem with backport building which was holding up some of my other backports is fixed, so Elisa 0.5.5 is in 2008 Spring /backports now, and all of synce 0.12 will be there shortly, which will enable support for Windows Mobile 2003 devices. I'll complete that backport tomorrow and update the Wiki page on synchronization with new information.

Anyone running Transmission from /backports who noticed an annoying bug where when you opened a torrent from an external application it would suddenly disappear from the Torrent Options page a split second after it opened - update to 1.32-2mdv2008.1 . I talked this over with the upstream developers and they came up with a patch to fix it, which is now applied to that version of the package.

Note to Self

Note to self: there are probably better ways to learn C than trying to port random applications from xmms to audacious with the aid of logic, Google, and the header files.

Open letter to the developers of TrueCrypt

Dear TrueCrypt Developers

I hate you all. You're a bunch of asshats.

Apparently, the good name of TrueCrypt is so incredibly valuable that you can't possibly permit anyone to redistribute it with the tiniest of modifications under the same name.

The minor problem with that is that it completely fucks things up for distributions. We really can't package just about anything without modifying it. For TrueCrypt that involves a small patch to fix your ridiculous system of having your users provide the source tarball for wxgtk and building an internal copy of it; the patch simply lets us build against the system wxgtk, as nature intended. It also involves, y'know, putting it in a package (which is a modification under your license), adding a menu entry and consolehelper stuff to let normal users run it - you know, all the simple stuff that people actually want.

So the TrueCrypt package we want to ship with Mandriva has been 'modified'. And according to your ridiculous license, that means we can't call it TrueCrypt. It can't identify itself as TrueCrypt anywhere. It can't use any of the original graphics you ship it with, and it has to include some specific bits of boilerplate text and specifically exclude some others.

This is bad enough. Yet you can't even make it easy for us, can you?

If you're going to require anyone who modifies your application in the tiniest of ways to rename it, you could at least MAKE IT EASY TO RENAME. Y'know, have the name be a variable defined once in one file; then we could simply change that and we'd be done. But no. The name is hardcoded in several dozen places and there are several variables in which it crops up. All of which needs to be changed. We can't even just do s/truecrypt/somethingelse/ on the entire source tree because that would change it in some places where the license specifies it shouldn't be changed. VERY FUCKING GOOD, THANK YOU.

If you're going to require certain boilerplates be changed when the package is 'modified', at least make this easy. It could perfectly simply just be a build switch. But no, I have to go into random source files where the original boilerplate is hardcoded, and change it by hand. Awesome. Thank you once more.

And finally, if you're going to require that no original graphics be used, you could at least MAKE THE FUCKING THING BUILD WITHOUT THE GRAPHICS FILES. It's not like they're vital to functionality; it could just display a blank grey space or whatever. No functionality would be lost. But no, if I just remove the files, the build breaks. So I have to manually replace every single bleeding graphic with a stupid GIMPed up replacement. Awesome.

So in summary your ridiculous license wasted eight hours of my life and results in a much uglier and more modified package than would be necessary if you didn't have such insane terms in the first place. Way to shoot yourselves in the foot, guys.

Anyway, who the hell thought such a stupid license was necessary? Why are you so special? Imagine what the Linux world would be like if everyone decided to act like you? We'd be releasing Mandriva Pinux, featuring JDE 4.1, DWARF 2.24 and AjarOffice 3.0. Actually, we wouldn't, because we'd have wasted all our time on stupid rebranding patches and wouldn't be able to ship anything. Everyone else seems perfectly happy to release their code under a license which lets distributors distribute it (this is after all our job). Get over yourselves and join them. Or hadn't you ever wondered why major distros don't ship your software?

For anyone actually wanting to use TrueCrypt on Mandriva - the package is called realcrypt. 6.0a will be in /backports for 2008 Spring and 2008 soon, hopefully. It's in Cooker now.

Haute cuisine

From #elisa IRC:

(twi_) jcorrius you let ravioli cook in the microwave for 45 minutes? (jcorrius) twi_: yes, i think you italians call that "all dente" :P

Happy 10th birthday, Mandriva Linux

Yes, today - July 23rd, 2008 - is the tenth anniversary of the release of Linux-Mandrake 5.1, the very first public release of what is now Mandriva Linux. It was versioned 5.1 as it was a fork of Red Hat 5.1 (it was more or less RH 5.1 with KDE 1.0 added).

Here is the original announcement in English, and here is the original thread, in French, from the fr.comp.os.linux usenet group. History will record that the very first comment on Linux-Mandrake was someone complaining that something wasn't packaged (xemacs) - so some thing never change...:) Funnily enough, I've been doing most of the maintenance on the xemacs package lately...

I did look for a usenet thread in English, but couldn't find one. Looks like the French one is all there was.

(We celebrated the anniversary of Mandriva itself earlier in the year - in May - but today is the birthday of Mandriva Linux, the distribution).


I do sometimes wonder about car companies.

They're now saddled with a glut of absurdly gigantic models no-one wants to buy. Hence the advertising campaigns.

Honda's big idea to sell its cavernous Pilot model? A series of ads depicting one or two people driving around in the thing. They come across a group of people with Stuff who have gotten into Hilarious Difficulties (two blokes with a cement mixer, a bunch of nudist hot air ballooning enthusiasts - seriously, you can't make this stuff up), and - joy! - because they have 80% of the ridiculous behemoth empty, they can help them out.

So Honda is apparently trying to convince us we should buy a stupidly oversized vehicle with room for eight passengers and tons of cargo to drive around on our own or with a friend, just on the offchance that we happen to run into a bunch of naked amateur aeronauts in need of a ride.

Yeah...that's gonna sell a lot of minivans, dude. Sheesh.

Fiddlesticks. You all don't exist any more.

Well, that's what I get for being a lazy boy.

I didn't update from Wordpress 2.5 to 2.5.1 - something else kept coming up - and I think the site got compromised (thanks to my sister for alerting me). So I've spent this morning building an entirely new webserver VM and importing my posts from the old one to the new one. I decided not to transfer the user database, in case it was still compromised in some way. So you all don't exist any more: if you want to comment, you'll have to re-subscribe. Sorry!

I did get to clean the server up a bit, though. I'm now using packaged Wordpress, which should make it easier to update.


So I just got done at the tennis courts: four rounds of 24 serves (12 first, 12 second) on a serve-volley drill; four court speed drills; and an hour or so of hitting practice. So that was a couple of hours. I'm just back for a shower and then I'm off to the pool for a 2k swim.

If you'd told my thirteen year old self this is what he'd be doing in thirteen years, he'd look quite bemused, I bet. I think too much sports anime is rubbing off on me.

Gatorade and bananas are life savers.

Oh, and if anyone's wondering - I start work at 7 or 8 and I don't take any breaks. So by 3 I've done 7 or 8 hours already. I love working from home. :)

Orphans in Cooker

I have a feeling this new development in Cooker will make a lot of people with experience of the Debian world happy:

[root@lenovo libgadu]# urpme --auto-orphans To satisfy dependencies, the following 2 packages will be removed (95KB):

(orphan packages) perl-Crypt-OpenSSL-RSA-0.25-3mdv2009.0.i586 perl-Mail-DomainKeys-1.0-1mdv2009.0.noarch Remove 2 packages? (y/N)