Thursday, 27 May 2004

Vaguely tenurable activity

Here’s a brief article on Quantian (a “live Linux” CD with lots of scientific and mathematical goodies on it) I’m working on with a fellow Debianista for submission to The Political Methodologist, our humble little organized section newsletter. Any comments or feedback would be appreciated.

Saturday, 22 May 2004

PPPoE advice

Setting maxfail 0 in /etc/ppp/peers/dsl-provider will save you hours of headaches. Trust me on this.

Sunday, 11 April 2004

Michlmayr wins

Congratulations to Martin Michlmayr on winning reelection as Debian Project Leader; even though I supported another candidate in the election, I think Martin will continue to do good work for the project in this position.

Monday, 5 April 2004

Non-endorsement of the day

I think this bug report contains the most glaringly obvious statement in the history of software:

I’ve been trying out reportbug, and it’s not perfect. [emphasis added]

Not that I recall ever claiming that reportbug was perfect, mind you, but still…

Friday, 26 March 2004

Good and bad news

The bad news first: two more Φ letters today. Neither, however, had the audacity to take the opportunity to tell me how great the person they hired is; for that, I am happy.

The good news: it looks like I’ll be spending about a week in France this summer at the Libre Software Meeting in Bordeaux, working on printing stuff for free software, like the semi-stalled Foomatic-GUI and the Debian Foomatic packages, thanks to the meeting’s sponsors (as I couldn’t afford the trip myself, that elusive tenure-track job still not having shown up at my door). It’s hard to believe I haven’t been to France in 14 years; I probably should brush up on my French, n’est-ce que pas?

Saturday, 28 February 2004


I’ll be supporting Branden Robinson’s candidacy for Debian Project Leader for 2004–05; more details on the pending elections will be available sometime over the weekend, including the platforms of Branden and the other two candidates, Gergely Nagy and incumbent DPL Martin Michlmayr.

I’m also considering writing an academic paper on Debian’s use of Condorcet vote counting, although I haven’t quite decided which way to go with it.

Tuesday, 24 February 2004

Today's project

In lieu of accomplishing anything worthwhile today (except more job applications), I replaced the server that Signifying Nothing runs on this morning. The previous server was a discontinued Compaq corporate desktop box (Pentium II 300 MHz) I picked up an eon ago for $400 from with 160 MB of RAM and a noisy* 20 GB hard drive. The current server is a tower-case Pentium III, 450 MHz with 256 MB of RAM and a 60 GB hard drive that is basically the reconstituted version of a (then top-of-the-line) PC I paid good money for from Quantex about five years ago—the only newish components are two 10/100 Ethernet cards† and a spare CD burner I had lying around the house. I did a fresh Debian sarge install using the Beta-2 installer from CD-R (which went smoothly after I gave up trying to do a network install instead), then updated to unstable and a 2.6.3 kernel (the last part being the most painful step, since I had trouble with the initrd support until I finally gave up on that).

I was hoping the new box would be less noisy, but to no avail (fan noise has replaced drive whining)... I’ll probably have to clear some space and move the box under the desk to get some noise relief. Actually, what’s more likely is that I’ll get my replacement laptop in a few days then go back to rarely using the computer that is right underneath the SN box, so the noise won’t bother me any more.

Wednesday, 21 January 2004

Fun fun fun 'till Mozilla took the T-bird away

My transition to living with Mozilla Thunderbird as my email client is complete, now that I’ve discovered the bliss that Seth, er, I mean, is the Debian packaging of enigmail (and, for that matter, T-bird; for some reason, I didn’t think it was packaged until I started fooling around today). The anti-spam features are easier than futzing with Bogospam, the IMAP support with the dovecot server seems pretty robust, and it seems reasonably fast for my purposes.

Friday, 19 September 2003

Foomatic-GUI 0.6.3 released

Foomatic 0.6.3 is now available at both Savannah and here; it has also been uploaded to Debian unstable.

The main new feature in this release is the display of information from the printer database when in the printer make/model browser, using a GtkHTML2 widget. A screenshot of the new functionality is here.

Here's an updated screenshot of the current, more OS X-like main interface: Screenshot of Foomatic-GUI 0.6.3

Friday, 9 May 2003

Joy discovers Knoppix

Joy has found Knoppix. And the really cool thing is that it’s all made possible by the best Linux distribution. But I would say that…

Unnamed? Hmmph. In all seriousness, though, I can certainly empathize with the problems with icky printer support in potato (Debian 2.2), and apt-get over dialup does suck (all your bandwidth, at least). Thankfully, between CUPS and Foomatic (the Debian packages of which I maintain), things are getting much nicer on the printing front—I think that’s what Mandrake uses under the hood, too. (I’m not sure how much of that is included in Knoppix. I also don't know what’s currently in the Debian printing task; I guess I should check…)

Oh, and as Bostonians would say, Knoppix is wicked cool.

Sunday, 24 November 2002

GNU libc running on NetBSD

Momchil Velikov's glibc port to NetBSD is apparently working well now; Debian GNU/NetBSD will benefit greatly from this work. Note that the FreeBSD port is using FreeBSD's libc instead of GNU libc, just to make things more interesting; even so, a lot of cross-pollination between the two ports is happening.