Posts Tagged ‘debian planet’

Slight esmtp weirdness

2010.09.27 00:22 by Leo Antunes - 2 Comments

Just so I don’t forget it for a second time: esmtp can be pretty obscure when it comes to error messages.
When it encounters an “.authenticate/ca.pem” file with public permissions it connects to the server and only after seeing the extensions list does it tell you “StartTLS extension not supported by MTA“. Not exactly straightforward.

Quantum Bogosort

2010.07.01 21:31 by Leo Antunes - 3 Comments

Sometimes Wikipedia shows it even has a somewhat humorous side. My finding it funny may be a product of late night learning sessions and semi-random clicking-sprees, but still, worthy of a chuckle for those with the right (wrong?) inclinations.

Quantum computing could be used to effectively implement a bogosort algorithm with a time complexity of O(n). It uses true quantum randomness to randomly permute the list. By the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics, the quantum randomization spawns 2^N (where N is the number of random bits) universes and one of these will be such that this single shuffle had produced the list in sorted order. The list is then tested for sortedness (requiring n-1 comparisons); should it be out of order, the computer destroys the universe – implementation of this step being left as an exercise for the reader. The only observers will then be in the surviving universes and will see that the randomization worked the first time and that the list is in sorted order.

Note, however, that while this algorithm is O(n) in time, permuting the list requires O(n log n) bits of quantum randomness. It also assumes that destroying the universe is O(1) in operation.

Found here.

Re: Firefox/Iceweasel/Chromium smart-bookmarks

2010.06.27 13:31 by Leo Antunes - 3 Comments

Neil Williams recently commented on the lack of smart-bookmarks in Firefox/Iceweasel/Chromium and since the post doesn’t accept comments, counter-post FTW.
Maybe I didn’t understand exactly what was meant, but I’m personally trying to see the advantage of having a smart-bookmark sit on the toolbar as opposed to just being used via a label. Both FF/IW and Chrome can do the label thing, where you bookmark something like “” with a shortcut like “bugs” and can then simply Ctrl-L to the address bar and type “bugs 999999”. Done.
Can the way Epiphany does this be more effective? (actually this is the way Galeon did it way back then and I used to love it before I found out I could be way quicker with the keyboard+shortcut thingy. Not to mention having less clutter in the toolbar.)

And granted: Chromium’s interface doesn’t allow the editing of this shortcut and they only work when imported from FF/IW, but I expect this to be fixed eventually. Doesn’t make much sense to have such a “hidden” feature. [UPDATE: nevermind. As handily pointed out by Chris Butler, you can edit the shortcuts under Options→Basics→Default Search→Manage. It might not be the most intuitive of places to put it, but it’s there.]

As for the rest of the reasons for switching mentioned in the original post, I can certainly see where they’re coming from. No real solid counter-arguments there.

Yeah, about that…

2010.02.03 18:23 by Leo Antunes - 2 Comments

I was trying not to complain about it, but now that the number of people asking me about it is getting bigger, my frustration got the best of me.

I'm NOT going to FOSDEM 2010

So unfortunately I won’t see you all there.

Re: Making pbuilder just that little bit faster

2009.12.29 23:45 by Leo Antunes - 1 Comment

Absolutely, but there are at least two workarounds:

  1. Adding

    to your .pbuilderrc, in case you don’t need any special separation of local and pbuilder caches (that’s my case).

  2. Using apt-proxy or the like, which has its overhead, but also its other advantages.

None of them seem all that bad to me, considering the sensible speed improvements to pbuilder, but the ultimate decision probably depends on the amount of disk-access the packages in question need.

Notes on the Google Chrome™ Debian package

2009.12.08 22:23 by Leo Antunes - 9 Comments

Just some quick superficial observations on the Debian/Ubuntu package distributed by Google:

  • Most files are installed in /opt/google/.
  • It attempts to patch /usr/share/gnome-control-center/gnome-default-applications.xml on postinst (maybe legacy compatibility? Someone with more gnome-fu than me care to explain?).
  • The postinst also automatically adds a souce for updates to /etc/apt/sources.list.d and an archive key (this is IMHO the worst part)
  • It includes a daily cronjob that – at least at first glance – tries to do the same things the postinst did (new apt source, archive key, etc) and some further archive configuration. The cron script is called at the end of postinst.
  • A casual look at objdump suggests it’s statically linked to libv8
  • On a slightly more positive note, it at least seems to successfully undo most of the changes once removed, with the exception of the added archive key and the above mentioned patch to gnome’s default apps list (that is: if there’s any situation it actually gets applied).

I understand it might be too much hassle doing it the right way (from the corporate POV), but then why not simply cooperate a bit more with the community? Hopefully they’ll accept some criticism and suggestions.
Or even better: they could simply reuse all the work being done to officially package Chromium.

UPDATE: forgot to mention that the version string (something like “”) doesn’t follow policy. Not a huge deal for a non-distributable package, but in the name of forward-compatibility – if Chrome ever becomes fully open-source – it could be smart to adopt something like “”.

Learning a bit more about ACPI

2009.11.12 20:05 by Leo Antunes - 0 Comment

Ever since my misadventures into ACPI-land with my old laptop I’ve been quite curious to better understand how it’s all implemented under Linux. I skimmed the ACPI spec and that may have given me some insight on how to hack together a temporary fix to the problem I had then, but it doesn’t really count as real understanding.

Since I don’t currently have the necessary time, I wrote it off as just another one of my many dead-end interests, but I nevertheless remained subscribed to the linux-acpi mailing list and the curiosity was still there, so it was a nice surprise to read a couple of posts by Mathew Garret on the subject, elucidating some bits of technicality, and I just decided to show some appreciation by posting about it! (I figure there’s not enough appreciation out there, generally speaking…)

Who knows, maybe someday I’ll get my act together and be able to contribute some code?

Vodafone mobile USB modem configuration

2009.10.27 12:53 by Leo Antunes - 10 Comments

I had to struggle a bit with the mobile stick I just got from Vodafone and thought it might be useful to write it down somewhere.

The Huawei K3520 (recognized automatically by Linux 2.6.31 as a “E620 USB Modem”) seems to work without many problems, the only hardware related issue being that sometimes, seemingly at random, the memory stick part will be loaded and sometimes just the USB modem part.

The Vodafone Germany specific configuration, on the other hand, wasn’t so easy to find online. The working config I currently have with NetworkManager 0.7.1 is:

Number: *99# (this is the default, but it warrants an explicit mention since I’ve found other examples online with “*99***1#”, and that didn’t work)
Username: vodafone
Password: vodafone
APN: (this seems to vary wildly from country to country)

The rest is either default or empty.

And lastly, taken from this LP bug, I had to change

<deny send_destination="org.freedesktop.NetworkManager" send_interface="org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.PPP"/>


<allow send_destination="org.freedesktop.NetworkManager" send_interface="org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.PPP"/>

in /etc/dbus-1/system.d/NetworkManager.conf, to avoid the “Looks like pppd didn’t initialize our dbus module” error.

After all this the connection still needs a push to work (it rarely – if ever – works on the first try and I haven’t dug deep enough to decide if this is a Vodafone, a driver or a NetworkManager problem), but after connecting everything is shinny.

On the origins of perceived gender disparity

2009.10.01 21:58 by Leo Antunes - 5 Comments

I was gonna write this as a comment to Daniel Kahn Gillmor’s post on sexism in the FOSS community, but it got a bit too big and I noticed I couldn’t log in with OpenID to comment, so here it goes.

“Do you think that the significant under-representation of women is a problem?”

I don’t think it’s a problem in itself, but it is a symptom which can point to a series of problems, with different levels of importance, depending largely on the cultural background involved. That is to say: the reason for this gender disparity may have significantly different roots depending on the place, some of which need to be addressed in completely different ways, if at all.

Off the top of my head I’d name a few:

  1. Cultural favoring of men as intellectually superior in any given field, filtering women out of participation in said field.
  2. Cultural/religious taboo of women as professionals in general.
  3. Cultural/religious taboo of learning for women.
  4. Cultural favoring of women as superior in some fields, draining other fields of prospective women professionals.
  5. Cultural characterization of certain fields as non-feminine, scaring women away on other grounds than technical capacity.
  6. Cultural expectations regarding pregnancy and marriage, coupled with age expectations for entry level jobs, barring entry to certain fields.

And since I’m speaking theoretically, we could also imagine a maternalist culture in which women aren’t attracted to IT because it’s “beneath their level”, preferring instead careers in politics or whatever is seen as a superior career in this imaginary culture.
This is obviously bogus, but I feel the need to make at least one Devil’s Advocate argument pointing out that women don’t necessarily need help achieving equality everywhere.

With this in mind, I’d say we can start addressing the problems where they exist and for what they are. Seems like a clearer starting point, IMHO.

Disclaimer: I’m not really active in this endeavor, partly because I’ve never believed in any particular large-scale plan to change the scenario. I’m more of a small-scale guy: changing the world one person at a time (which is ironically contradicted by the sheer existence of this post, but anyway…).

Nationality wars

2009.10.01 13:45 by Leo Antunes - 9 Comments

After seeing bubulle’s post on the statistics per country in Debian I started wondering about how the statistics were made. They probably take into consideration the Country field in the LDAP, but this seems a bit off since there’s a considerable number of DDs living abroad.
This hit me since I should probably count as BR, but live in DE. I’m personally skewing the statistics!

I know this is totally meaningless, but perhaps we could add a “nationality” field to the LDAP, just to make the competition a bit more precise! ;)