gwolf's blog

IMAP namespaces

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 12/02/2004 - 00:00
How come seemingly no one ever gets RFC 2342 right? I recently set up a Courier IMAP server for a new client. A nice setup, all in all... But my client was complaining he could not create any folders in it. All he ever got from the server was a not-so-nice Invalid mailbox name from the server. Dive into Courier's documentation and into RFC 2060. Having done some work wrapping network services (and, by far, most of my work was devoted to fully understanding and implementing SMTP and POP3), it was easy to get to this point: $ telnet my.server 143 * OK [CAPABILITY IMAP4rev1 UIDPLUS CHILDREN NAMESPACE THREAD=ORDEREDSUBJECT THREAD=REFERENCES SORT QUOTA IDLE ACL ACL2=UNION STARTTLS] Courier-IMAP ready. Copyright 1998-2004 Double Precision, Inc. See COPYING for distribution information. 0 login gwolf@my.server passwd 0 OK LOGIN Ok. 1 list "" * * LIST (\HasNoChildren) "." "INBOX" 1 OK LIST completed 2 create dirname 2 NO Invalid mailbox name. 3 logout * BYE Courier-IMAP server shutting down 3 OK LOGOUT completed Why? Well, some more digging into Courier's docs (and knowing what to look for) got me to the answer: Courier expects the full hierarchy of mail directories to be located under INBOX. - So now, substitute 2 for: 2 create INBOX.dirname 2 OK "INBOX.dirname" created. 3 list "" * * LIST (\HasNoChildren) "." "INBOX.dirname" * LIST (\Unmarked \HasChildren) "." "INBOX" 3 OK LIST completed A-ha! Now... Isn't it assuming a bit too much to ask potentially millions of non-computer-savvy users to be able to understand all of their folders must be under a strange INBOX? Even more, users whose native tongue is _not_ English? Yes, of course. It was taken care of too - This RFC guys are not dumb at all! Just take a look at the just mentioned RFC 2342, an extension to the IMAP4 protocol (published on May 1998, 2.5 years after the IMAP4 standard came along) that allows a mail client to query the server on what its namespace is. And, guess the best thing, Courier _does_ implement this extension (check the greeting banner on my first snippet) 2 namespace * NAMESPACE (("INBOX." ".")) NIL (("#shared." ".")("shared." ".")) 2 OK NAMESPACE completed. Ok. Roll back 4.5 years into the future, until December 2004. You would expect every mail client on the surface of this ball to have this quite simple extension implemented, right? Think again. No, MS Outlook (as my client complains) doesn't. Horde's IMP doesn't either (although you can do some strange configuration on its servers.php file - in my case, I had to specify INBOX. both in the folders and namespace keys to satisfy a regular user's desires). Not even, I must admit, my dear Mutt gets this one right! (although in this last case it can be a case of by forbidding the user to do something stupid, you'd also be forbidding him to do a thousand clever things) I simply cannot understand why. :-(
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Back from GULEV

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 11/29/2004 - 02:12
Ok, I spent a good part of last week at the annual GULEV conference, in Veracruz. I had the opportunity of spending almost five days (travel time included) full time with my friends from the Mexican community and, sometimes, from abroad, catching up on what each of us is doing, having some beer (or a bit more than that), etc. Although many of the regulars didn't show up this time, we had quite a nice time. I have currently no photos available, but I hope to have them ready by tomorrow on my blog. Something strange happened this time in Veracruz, and many of my friends ([friend]Tacvbo[/friend], [friend]P4ola[/friend], [friend]Sonny_taz[/friend], [friend]Toxickore[/friend], Liss, Diego, Alex, Taur, Sandino and Tania) got sick while there. I hope not to join the ranks of sick geeks any time soon. Yesterday I got home past 12AM, and today I was busy most of the day sleeping and spending some time with Nadezhda, so (although I stomped on two RC bugs on Friday/early Saturday and did some uploads tonight) I mostly missed Debian's bug squashing party. It is 1AM already, so the BSP is over in most of the world (except for Western USA and Canada)... Well, until next time!
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Debootstrap/Fedora - Debootstrap/MIPS - Veracruz

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 11/24/2004 - 03:37
Ok, so I finally migrated my client's server to [term]Debian[/term] (from a very ugly Fedora install). The process was mostly painless, but I did stumble upon a couple of details. A quick summary, for those not familiar with Debootstrap. I want to do a nice document later, although my experience was mostly based on Cross install howto for Debian. First of all, a primer for those not familiar with it. Debootstrap is a program that allows for setting up Debian installations within chroot environments - Both the old and the new Debian installer use it behind the scenes to set up minimum workable Debian installations. My first problem was with Fedora's quite strange kernel. Once I had the debootstrap in place, whenever I tried to chroot into the new system, I got this strange error message:
Inconsistency detected by ld.so: rtld.c: 1192: dl_main: Assertion `(void *) ph->p_vaddr == _rtld_local._dl_sysinfo_dso' failed!
. Originally, I thought it happened because of some clash between the running glibc and the one in the chroot. Well, I was wrong, turns out the Fedora kernel is compiled to somehow depend on the specific version of the glibc it was compiled with... So I installed the whole system, and when I rebooted with my new root partition, the machine stayed in the limbo. The kernel reported the same inconsistency when trying to start init. Strange... But well, fortunately after sending my own kernel, I had a nice, working Debian system. Enter my other task: The Origin 200. In much shorter lines: I finally got a working kernel (thanks, ths!). After a couple of iterations of generating a ext3 root image on my laptop, and copying it over, I got the system running. I found two exciting R10k processors with a whooping ~160MHz clock. The Linux kernel is not really stable in there. I hope my boss understands the machine is not worth trying to run as a server... I expect it to be a nice toy for me, but not really worthy for the institute. We'll see. On other news, I am writing this from Veracruz, where I came for Congreso GULEV 2004. We intended to leave Mexico from the Ximian offices yesterday at 16:00 - Gerardo's car broke down two blocks from there, so instead of confortably going 3, 3 and 4 persons per car, we had 5 per car. Anyway, we got to Veracruz at 22:00. The conference is just starting. It seems it will be smaller than last year, but anyway, some beers are expected to come this way in a couple of hours. Most of the Mexican FS community is here. Some talks are interesting, some of them are just an opportunity to chat a bit ;-)
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Mexican governement and telco against *BSD use?

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 11/18/2004 - 14:24
This is surprising... It seems that the Mexican government, together with Telmex, our main phone company, have decided not only not to use but to fight *BSD installations everywhere. [update] Some people have told me that I have to be fair... Well, I will. In Mexico, we call diablito (little devil/demon) the unauthorized connections to the electric network - If you are not paying the electricity bill but you still have service, you have a diablito. This phone cards are sponsored by Luz y Fuerza del Centro, the state agency that brings electricity to central Mexico.
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IIEc-UNAM - Day 1

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 11/17/2004 - 11:51
While I will be formally hired starting January 1, this is my first real day of work at IIEc-UNAM. I am very happy about this, as this has been my goal for many months already. So, what is it there in store for me? First of all, IIEc has an Origin 200 server, bought some six years ago, which has never really been used. I know this machine is, by today's standards, far from amazing... But my first task is to get some life into its old circuits. What does it have? >> hinv -v -m -mvvv IP27 Node Board, Module 1, Slot MotherBoard ASIC HUB Rev 3, 90 MHz, (nasid 0) Processor A: 180 MHz R10000 Rev 2.6 Secondary Cache 1MB 120MHz Tap 0x9 , (cpu 0) R10010FPC Rev 2.6 Processor B: 180 MHz R10000 Rev 2.6 Secondary Cache 1MB 120MHz Tap 0x9 , (cpu 1) R10010FPC Rev 2.6 Memory on board, 256 MBytes (Standard) Bank 0, 128 MBytes (Standard) <-- (Software Bank 0) Bank 1, 128 MBytes (Standard) BASEIO Origin 200 IO Board, Module 1, Slot MotherBoard ASIC BRIDGE Rev 3, (widget 8) adapter PCI-SCSI Rev 5, (pci id 0) peripheral SCSI DISK, ID 1, SGI IBM DGHS09Y peripheral SCSI DISK, ID 2, SGI IBM DGHS09Y peripheral SCSI DISK, ID 3, SGI IBM DGHS09Y adapter PCI-SCSI Rev 5, (pci id 1) peripheral SCSI CDROM, ID 3, TOSHIBA CD-ROM XM-5701TA adapter IOC3 Rev 1, (pci id 2) controller multi function SuperIO controller Ethernet Rev 1 ...Looks nice. It currently has Irix 6.5 installed, which I would sysadmin if it were my only choice, as it doesn't seem to be supported by d-i and Linux resources in general are quite scarce about it... But there are some reports stating that Debian can be installed in it. (yes, I am pasting this URLs in order to use my blog as a bookmark holder ;-) Congratulations: I now have three machines of non-common architectures waiting to be installed: The m68k Quadra 950 that Pop's brothers gave me, the Multia that Alexander traded me for an old laptop and this new monster. I hope not to repeat Iztacala's RS6000 history :-}
WOW. My /etc/apt/sources.list now points at http://nisamox.fciencias.unam.mx/debian/. I downloaded 145MB (had not updated my laptop for ~2 weeks). I got an average of 550kBps, peaking at 700kBps. Hell, my local network at home is slower than that! (yes, wifi) I am gonna be very happy here.
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Java is scary

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 11/11/2004 - 13:21
A friend asked me to become the sysadmin for his machine - Great. A crappy Fedora Core 2 system, terribly installed (it has EVERYTHING in there, three MTAs, the whole X environment...). I have been cleaning up the mess, but decided to debootstrap Debian instead. Now, the system configuration the ISP gave them is even crappier that the Fedora install they made - a dual Xeon at 2.8 with 128MB RAM?! Now, my friend complained that JBoss was running too slow. Ok, I had a 0.00, 0.00, 0.27 loadavg - Memory was quite fine, using only about 10% of the 1GB swap. I launched top... and instantly I had a 300MB Java monster (which in few seconds grew up to 400MB). It gobbled up to 70% of the running memory (at least parts of it could be nicely swapped). The top running process was, of course, kswapd. I ask him, what is JBoss doing? Nothing yet, he says. Shit. Java sucks, no matter what they say. :-/
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Postgres, Perl, BYTEA and a productive night

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 11/11/2004 - 11:02
I have been working a bit on [term]Comas[/term]. Our original implementation allowed only one file of accompanying material per proposal, and I didn't think it was enough -- Yes, an author might tar his different files together... But that's a kludge. Our current implementation also stores the material as files on disk, not in the database. Now, I want _everything_ to be in the database, as it is much cleaner, much easier to back up, and requires much less hassle for the local administrator. For doing this, I decided to use Postgres' bytea data type... Now, before [term]RTFM[/term], my uploads were being truncated usually before the 10th byte. Why? Go RTFM:
When entering bytea values, octets of certain values must be escaped (but all octet values may be escaped) when used as part of a string literal in an SQL statement. In general, to escape an octet, it is converted into the three-digit octal number equivalent of its decimal octet value, and preceded by two backslashes. (...)
Ok, so I came up with this hack: [code="perl"]sub _octal_escape { my ($in, $out); $in = shift; # Split the string character by character. Each of the characters will be # checked, and if it is not a printable character (32-126 base 10), it will # be escaped. Reassemble the line, hand it over. $out = join('', map { my $ord = ord($_); ($ord >= 32 and $ord <= 126 and ord != 92) ? $_ : sprintf('\%03o', $ord); } split (//, $in)); return $out; }[/code] Works correctly... But performance hurts. It took about 90 seconds for a 1.5MB upload, which I consider a typical upload. I thought also of using uuencode/uudecode, which are very nice performance-wise (less than 13 seconds for encoding or decoding over 100MB), and very easy to code in Perl: [code="perl"]sub _uuencode { my ($in, $out); $in = shift; $out = pack('u', $in); return $out; } sub _uudecode { my ($in, $out); $in = shift; $out = unpack('u', $in); return $out; }[/code] ...The problem with that is that I lose many advantages, such as the ability to query the database for length(data) to get the filesize, or --if I _really_ wanted to do it-- perform searches on the contents of the field itself. Also, a bytea field would then become a regular text field... But what hurted most about this idea was that each time someone downloaded a file, it would have to be decoded... And I expect downloads to be _much_ more frequent than uploads. After asking to some friends and some IRC channels, I thought on diving into DBD::Pg. Then I found this:
NOTE: The undocumented (and invalid) support for the "SQL_BINARY" data type is officially deprecated. Use "PG_BYTEA" with "bind_param()" instead: $rv = $sth->bind_param($param_num, $bind_value, { pg_type => DBD::Pg::PG_BYTEA });
So... That 90-second upload is down to a 15-second upload (for a local connection), very acceptable giving that I am moving 1.5MB between my filesystem, Mozilla, Apache, Comas (which is a mod_perl module) and Postgres. And waiting 15 seconds after an upload for a DSL user will not be _that_ unacceptable. I am happy. Now... If just somebody helped me with my blog's performance, I would be ecstatic... Can't figure out why it is so goddamn slow... Well, yes - I am running it on a P120 with 48MB RAM... But anyway, it's just [term]jaws[/term] - PHP+MySQL! :-(
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Driving woes

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 11/08/2004 - 01:31
About six months ago, I got my first car: A very nice Fiat Palio Adventure. The day we finally got it, 13 Km away from the store, it broke - We had to wait for over three weeks to get it. But anyway, that's old history - By now I have gotten used to having wheels, it is much easier to move around the city (and fortunately I still have access to the public transport system, which in Mexico is still much better than driving for many areas of the city), and we have started playing with hitting the road at weekends. Good, joy, happiness. One week ago, Héctor told me he was driving in Periférico (a freeway, I am sure he was at least at 100Km/h) near Cuemanco, when the car had some jerks and died, and he could only start it around 15 minutes later. He is quite a good mechanic, and I always believe him... But we didn't have any problem, so we thought it would be just a hiccup. Joy, we could go out this weekend. Ajusco? Milpa Alta? Nadezhda and I were in Periferico, and... Well, same story - Only that I am not quite a confident driver under strange situations. Well, we managed to pull aside, and 15 minutes later started the car again. The car is now in the store again (although there were no mechanics at Automotores Insurgentes, they will only start looking at it by tomorrow). I fear I will get the same treatment I got the first time - Although they have come to know who I am (after filing a PROFECO complaint, yelling at them with customers present for being so irresponsive and such)... Anyway... I know this might not be interesting... It is just that I am quite frustrated. The car is very nice, but it does not seem to be very solid. And I am not planning on changing it at least for five/ten years, so... They'd better fix it well, or... or... or... Hmmm...
Today was a good day. We had lunch with Nadezhda's brother, Adrián. We bought two kilos of [term]carnitas[/term], and that kept us stuffed for the day. Came back home at arond 4PM, left for the supermarket only to find out we left the keys inside - That deserved a visit to the family, fortunately they had a copy. Some time with the kids, back home, and back to work. After some four hours today (and a _long_ time, too much given the problem's complexity) I am finally through with the system for the Mexican Mathematics Olympiad. I also re-discovered my dear project ProtoWrap, which in its day costed me a whole deal of research and work... and had been dormant for the last couple of years. I don't know, I might just revive it - At least, I found a nice (although very specific) task for which it solved my needs, easily and transparently adding SASL to a mail server I don't really want to fiddle too much with.
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Dead plans, cool stuff, new packages, life itself...

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 11/06/2004 - 10:12
Well, I am pissed to inform you all that two projects that had me quite happy have gone astray. About the work I got for ~6 weeks for people related to Telmex: Telmex is not directly hiring anymore, they only hire via Manpower. The bastards at Manpower asked me for so many stupid papers that it would have taken me a full week of bureaucracy to satisfy them, then some extra days to wait for the final approval... So I would only have this job for, say, two weeks of November (one of which I won't be available for and December (half of which is vacations and nobody would be there to work with)... So I decided not to take it. Goodbye, money. Then, [friend]Roberto[/friend] notified me that the people in Tijuana I was supposed to work with next week were having some internal restructurization (does that word exist), so my job there is in the limbo... I hope it gets solved before I start working at IIEc/UNAM, starting on January, or I'll have to kiss goodbye another nice bunch of money which I really need right now :-/ But life is good: At least I now have a definitive _yes_ for IIEc and a start date. I am happy.
Simon Law was complaining about the plumbing at his toilet... This made me remember I still have to get someone to install the tiles we purchased for my house, about 70 meters of tiles will be replaced (50 year old tiles look _really_ sorry by now). Our new tiles have been sitting at the kitchen (which is fortunately large enough) for over one month, so I have grown used to them...
Wow... The Debian QA team has been quite busy! This week they found close to 100 packages whose maintainer was MIA - Among them, many Perl modules. Being I part of the pkg-perl group, I am looking into some 15 of them... Expect me to adopt at least five, probably more.
My friend David from the CabrasLocas UPN team wrote a blog entry about Guido van Robot, a Pythonesque version of the great _Karel the Robot_ I learnt programming basics with in a C64 about 18 years ago... Sweet! :-D He started a translation of GvR (language, interface and documentation) to Spanish. I really suck at Python, although I have to admit it is quite a nice language, so I am not volunteering. Would someone be interested in packaging it? It would make a good addition to Debian-Jr!
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Ok, now I am busy!

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 11/01/2004 - 17:08
After bitching so much about not having a real job and being too busy doing nothing, the last week was full of good news. First of all, I was speaking with [friend]Ido[/friend], who works at one of the remaining parts of the company I worked for for some weeks (long story... :) ), and he told me he needed a sysadmin for a simple server. Right now, the server is serving nothing, but they will start giving good use to it soon. A *very* bad configured Fedora 2... I will be working on its debianization soon. Then, as I was arriving back home from Teziutlán, another friend told me he wanted me to go teach some Perl at Tijuana. I have to confirm this with him, but it seems I will be spending most of this week there. Yes, I said I was sick of travelling - But this time I will get paid for my time ;-) And yesterday I talked with [friend]César[/friend]. About six weeks ago I talked with him regarding another job, for Telmex's Centro de Cultura Digital. I told him I was planning on going to work at UNAM, but if he wanted me around for a couple of months, I was interested. Well, Telmex seems to be a huge bureaucracy as well... I had given up hope on this one. Yesterday he told me I was in. Starting next Monday and until I start working at UNAM, I will be working for Telmex. Oh! And something very important I could not miss today: Today I have been for nine years with Nadezhda. Amazing how time flies... Cosa, gracias por todo! :-***
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Good news in many fronts

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 10/30/2004 - 01:16
I have not been so happy for a long time. Two things I was very eagerly waiting for are becoming tangible. First of all, yesterday [friend]Pooka[/friend] finally mailed me to notify me I have been accepted to work at IIEc - UNAM. I have been hoping for this to come true since... August, I think. I will start working as a sysadmin at UNAM on January 1st (theoretically, of course - January 3 is much more believable), which means I will go back to a sane schedule, back to have some time to hack on interesting stuff... Joy! Secondly, after my dear _lactop_'s motherboard passed away over one month ago, my friend Alexander found a spare to replace it (and financed me so I would not go nuts - Right now I don't have the ~US$300 this costed). I am writing this from my dear lactop. What did I miss most? Two things: First of all, this machine has a 1400x1050 display, and after this, working with a crappy 1024x768 (even if the machine is much smaller) sucks. Secondly, I _love_ this keyboard. Plain old US layout, no extra things to bother me, no keys in strange places just to save space - The perfect keyboard. And, yes, on the monetary front: My friend Roberto needs someone to do some Perl consulting in Tijuana next week. I think that consulting will pay for my motherboard and for a new computer for Nadezhda (poor girl, she is suffering with a dying and unreliable machine, and as our little printing business grows, so does her dependence on having a trustable machine). All in all, even after a 7hr trip by bus from Teziutlán (fucking ADO... Who told them the shortest path between Teziutlán and Mexico goes through Perote?), this was one of the happiest days in a long time. My niece is spending the night with us, and that also brightens things up even more. By the way: She is the main culprit we had a very nice _cochinita pibil_ for dinner :-)
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Back home... Back to work?

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 10/26/2004 - 00:16
I just got back from Chile. A very nice experience. I liked very much the enthusiasm and involvement of the people, the interest on joining Free Software projects, the actual work that is being done here... There were three days of talks, during which I spent most of the time, of course, talking with the attendees mostly about Debian - There is an incredible amount of interest for Debian in the country. [friend]Bruno[/friend] is close to becoming Chile's first DD, and I am sure many others will follow. I have about 8 people on my list for keysigning, I think I will put my mind to it tomorrow... I am excited to see more activity down there! As for me... Well, back to work. No, wait - This is Gunnar speaking. And I am still unemployed, I am still waiting for confirmation at UNAM. Everything points out that I _am_ hired... But, as Son de la negra says, _a todos diles que sí, pero no les digas cuando, así me dijiste a mí, por eso vivo penando_. I have been waiting for this paperwork to be done since I was in Bolivia, in August :-( Tomorrow I will catch up with my mail, will try to work out some ideas with Comas (yes, [friend]MiG[/friend], I already started coding), check details with my two UPN-related things, work on some Debian packages/bugs/ideas I have pending for too long, go on with MonitorK's authentication, go to a LUG meeting in the evening... The days seems a bit packed :-/ It seems it will be one of those days spanning 48 or 72 hours.
I have grown used to get to the airport and come by myself home. Today I found Nadezhda waiting for me there. It made me very happy. Thanks :-D
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EncuentroLinux, Chile

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 10/21/2004 - 19:10
I left Mexico on Tuesday and arrived early on Wednesday to Chile for the Fifth Linux Encounter. The timezone difference (two hours, Chile is at UTC-3) is just enough to make me tired (waking up at my natural 4AM is not fun, and I done it two days in a row), but it is worth it. I met the organizers, and some minutes after me, Peter Salus arrived. We came together to Valparaíso (around 1hr away from Santiago), and soon after that started meeting the Chilean users. In the evening, [friend]tbm[/friend] showed up. Besides Peter, Martin and I, the rest of the speakers and attendees are all Chilean - And I really liked it. In most of Latin America (Mexico included), conference organizers (me included, when I organized CONSOL) seem to think that you need to invite as much foreign speakers as possible to make a conference worthy - I now strongly object to this point of view, and have made the point over and over. There are 38 scheduled talks plus at least four BoF sessions. 30 speakers. The conference has around 650 attendees. Last year it received 450, and this year around 500 were expected - Quite well for a small country with a population around 15 million people and with very long travel distances. The organization team is doing a great work, they are constantly nervous and running (as any organizer should be, of course) but things are running quite smoothly. They are taking care of everything for all of the speakers, bringing us to the university, out to lunch, back to the hotel... What I liked most (and, again, I am writing this based on my past experience with CONSOL) is that we the foreigners do not get any special attention that Chileans do not receive - We are just part of the group of speakers. That is the most amazing thing on this conference, and what I will try to promote in my country and in any other conference I am invited to. This conference has a good deal of visibility. We (Fernando San Martín, Max Celedon, Rodrigo Henriquez and me) were invited to a TV show, TVNauta, in UCVTV, Chile's oldest TV station (I will get a digitized version of the program, will inform you later). Even Ricardo Lagos (Chile's President) was invited to the opening, and was going to attend (although in the end could not do it... Would have been really cool!). There is quite a good deal of interested people. Yesterday I have to admit I ended up tired of talking with different people about my talk (a mixture of my Social aspects in Free Software and Quality assurance in Free Software projects talks), about the Debian project (which has got a lot of interest around here - Chile currently has no DDs, although Bruno Barrera is in the final stages of the NM process... But I can feel more people will get involved). We have today at 18:00 (Chilean time - GMT-3) a Debian BoF (I am not sure on which room it will be, probably you can see it webcasted. This university is quite gorgeous. It is probably some 40 meters over sea level, on a cliff, and overlooking the Valparaíso/Viña del Mar bay. I am typing this looking at boats come and go. Wednesday and Thursday the weather was a bit fucked, but today it is sunny and beautiful, although a little bit cool... Well...Time to go to a conference. I am quite happy with the Free Software movement in this country. And, as I have told many friends, I am amazed by the enthusiasm shown in various countries in South America.
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Can someone have too much of South America?

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 10/18/2004 - 19:57
I really doubt so. Every time I have been around there, I have had a great time, and I have felt most welcome... But anyway, isn't this a bit too much? I have been down there for: *May 26 - June 5:* Debconf4 and FISL5 at Porto Alegre, Brazil *August 9 - 23:* National Free Software conference at Sucre, Bolivia. First Free Software Simposium , Arequipa, Perú *September 24 - October 4:* XXX Latin American Conference on Informatics, Arequipa, Perú *October 19 - 25:* 5th Linux Encounter, Valparaíso, Chile Besides this, I have been invited to be in Tacna (Perú) for December 6-10, and I just got another invitation to be in November 15-20 in Moquegua (Perú) - where the organizers assume I will also be in Arica, Chile, the previous week. I have not confirmed the one in Tacna, and I doubt I will go to Arica/Moquegua, as it is too much travel jammed together in a couple of months, and I have a HUGE work backlog. But, yes, I would love to travel as much as possible ;-) BTW, I would love to go to Tacna together with Nadezhda and stay around there for some days, as it is a long time we haven't had vacations, and being it December, she will *really* welcome going to the hemisphere where it is Summer :) ...I still have a very important doubt here: I have not (personally) done much. I am _sincerely_ not much of a programmer, my intervention in various Free Software and computer security-related projects has decreased (as I have been, paradoxically, too busy talking all over the place), there are lots of more interesting people in my country, in my continent, in my field of work... I love travelling... But why do I keep being invited? :-) I don't really care about the answer, I really like travelling ;-)
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Of aging, dead and comatose machines

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 10/18/2004 - 13:19
It is almost one month my dear laptop (and, now that I am in this stupid inter-jobs period, main workstation) died. In fact, its passing away was one of the main reasons I decided to start blogging - I needed to tell someone of my grief and pain, of how much it hurts to lose such a faithful partner... But well, I didn't do it. Silly me, had I spent around US$300 on time, I would have bought Dell's extended warranty - And I have never seen a service with such a high quality as Dell's! Well, my friend Alexander told me he can get it repaired for about US$300. Fair, I gave him my computer and am hoping for the best. Sadly, I will not be able to see my dear machine for a week, as I am going to 5to Encuentro Linux in Valparaíso, Chile... But I hope to have it back by next Tuesday, when I come back. Ok... One month without my main workstation. What have I done in the meantime? How am I able to survive? The first couple of days were really terrible. I took an old laptop a friend of mine gave me some time ago (a P133 with 48MB RAM). And... Well, let's say it worked, although I could not do much with it. 240 bogomips are not quite thrilling. Then, some days later, [friend]p4ola[/friend] offered to lend me a K6-2@450, 64MB RAM. That sounds like a usable machine... But it didn't work as it should. I don't remember the exact problems, but I could not get it to work comfortably. As I was going to CLEI in Arequipa, Perú, I asked my part-time employer (UPN) to lend me one of the laptops they have for professors going to trips - which, happily, they gave me. It is quite a decent machine - a Dell Latitude D400, comparable to mine, although a bit lighter (around 2Kg, against around 4), a bit slower (1.4 vs. 1.7GHz), has more RAM (512 vs. 256MB)... But there is one thing I cannot stand: The screen is 1024x768. I feel as if I were in a cage. I am used to 1400x1050. By the way, I should have handed this machine back about two weeks ago... Will do so next week :) I hope they are not too mad at me.
But this subject got me to think of my other machines: My main server. I love that machine, but... Well, until a couple of weeks ago, it was quite enough. It is my oldest laptop (Pentium 120, 32MB RAM), with a 40GB hard disk. It serves me as a DSL gateway, and as a SMB, mail and web server. If your web site is static, this machine is more than enough... But if you are reading this on my site (insteaed of one of the planets where I am syndicated), you will notice it takes ages to open. 20 seconds on average for the main blog page to display. Sucky. I just upgraded to 48MB RAM, but it hardly makes a difference. I don't want to use any other machine for this, as a laptop makes a great home server - Almost no noise, very low power consumption, this old machine generates almost no heat so I can even store it in the bookshelf... Anyway, we will see what comes on next. ...And speaking about old machines: I still have not had time to play with my gorgeous Mac Quadra 950, one of the best m68k systems ever made (66MHz, up to 256MB RAM - which I believe it has. In a previous life it was used as a video editing workstation). It would make quite a nice buildd ;-)
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