Older blog entries for Zaitcev (starting at number 141)

The EE Times (website) ran an article about Sun staying on track with their Infiniband plans. Intel does not seem to let up on their software development plan either. Recently Mellanox uploaded their driver to the Intel's Sourceforge project. I guess this is another case of reports about someone's death being exaggerated.

The Infiniband saga does not affect me personally anymore, because Red Hat shifted me to other department (so-called "CE"). On, and in another news, we have GES renamed into CE, so now we have two CEs. That will confuse Microsoft spies, I suppose...

18 Sep 2002 (updated 18 Sep 2002 at 17:46 UTC) »

So, a patched 2.5.33 boots on sparc and appears fully functional, as much as a 2.5 version can. IDE is bust, so I have to use NFS root. The whole thing was anticlimactic in the extreme.

I rigged a dead NVRAM with two AA batteries in my IPC, so sun4c is the next target.

A teacher taped my speech in a Public Speaking class. It was horrendous when I watched it. I did not even remotely realize how bad my pronunciation was.

14 Sep 2002 (updated 14 Sep 2002 at 17:20 UTC) »

Working with a 2.5 kernel means a game of catch-up, but it seems I hold up better this time (compared to 2.3). The latest catch-up session included PCI configuration space access API changes and a new serial drivers (I think those are "RMK" drivers, aren't they). I found that new serial stuff basically requires "console=ttyS0,9600" argument if you run a serial console. To work around it in sunsu.c would be counterproductive, and I want to discard sunsu.c anyway in favor of a multiplatform support for 8250.c. I went on and made PROLL to download kernel command line from TFTP server, so now we have a new release of this undying program (I think "venerable" would be too complimentary).

[update: Funny how the BSD guy broke Advogato without any CSS, just using <b>. Way to go, pal, real friendly.]

jpick: The Rearden Steel (now Digeo) is a good place, they have Andrew Morton there. By all means check it out. I had a chance to work there couple of years ago, but their HR person tried to contact me with an HTML mail and I do not read those... So I went to Red Hat. Funny how it all worked out :-)
30 Aug 2002 (updated 30 Aug 2002 at 01:51 UTC) »
goingware is experienced, so I assume he understands what he is doing. In contrast, I consciously decided to stay away from the embedded programming, unless economic hardships make me.

From a free software actor point of view, embedded programming is a very alien, hostile world.

First, it integrates with hardware much more than our big computer programming does. In hardware, patents reign supreme, and the whole old school of closed source engineering is thriving. This spills over to the embedded programming. The air in embedded companies is stiff.

Second, embedded projects are as diverse as their platforms. This places high barriers in the way of code reuse, at least as far as community bulding is concerned. Embedded programmers spend their lives working on code which is never reviewed by anyone and 95% of it is discarded before it reaches a product.

And third, embedded programming is populated by dorks, historically. Most of those people do not know how to quote an e-mail, and they do not care to learn, just to bring one example.

Actually, it is much worse than I am making it sound, but you have be in it to feel the oppression.

I am sure that Advogaters will point out exceptions, and in fact I saw one myself, in pre-RedHat Cignus. Count yourself fortunate if you end in a company like that, but do not bet on it.

I wish Linus got off his ass and released 2.5.32.

In personal news today, AP (through Reuters) carried a report about a possible end of the road for another pseudo-scientist.

    ATLANTA (AP) - An Emory University professor and author of a disputed, prize-winning book about guns in America was placed on paid leave for the fall semester amid an investigation into possible academic fraud.

    Michael Bellesiles' "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture," received national attention for its contention that early Americans did not own or use firearms in great numbers.

    The book sparked fierce criticism from gun-rights advocates, and scholars suggested that Bellesiles made serious errors, prompting Emory to begin a probe in February.


Now if all libraries stamped the book with big red "Warning: 100% lies" label, we might be on to something here. But I am not holding my breath. And besides, if American youth cannot distinguish bullshit from research, it deserves to be corrupted anyway. Should not have slept though those critical thinking classes.

The sparc in 2.5.30 boots now to the point where init enters level 3, and promptly runs out of so-called "nocache memory". This is a significant achievement in my book.

KT noticed last week that sparc was marked unmaintained. Actually I asked Rusty and DaveM about this, but we decided to stick with de-facto maintainership for now. This way I always can fall off without warning. Also it's interesting to experiment how soon people wise up to the fact that Linus bk tree can be compiled and runs (somewhat :). uzi already figured it out, but I asked him not to spoil the joke for the moment.

Seagull hackery, yes!

I see more and more people who describe their struggle with booting from a software mirror, one of them even found his way to Advogato. I struggled with them during my Sun tenure for years, and now they are catching with me again. When will they learn that it is a very bad idea?

For intelligent Advogato readers, I would like to point out that booting from a software RAID presents a chicken and egg problem fundamentally. To read a boot image you need the RAID software, and to load RAID software you need a working OS. This is the main problem.

It is possible to break the loop, but the result is invariably fragile. It any little piece of the puzzle falls out of its place, the whole scheme crumbles. The most dangerous thing about it is that very often you get to discover how it breaks when it is time test your mirror in a degraded mode. If may be way too late to reconsider at that time.

If you really want to have your root filesystem on a software RAID, boot from some other place, then remount or pivot your root.

I am digging into the Anton's inheritance that I've got. Some parts of it are pretty witty...

/* This makes sense. Honest it does - Anton */
#define __nocache_pa(VADDR) (((unsigned long)VADDR) - SRMMU_NOCACHE_VADDR + __pa((unsigned long)srmmu_nocache_pool))
#define __nocache_va(PADDR) (__va((unsigned long)PADDR) - (unsigned long)srmmu_nocache_pool + SRMMU_NOCACHE_VADDR)
#define __nocache_fix(VADDR) __va(__nocache_pa(VADDR))
OLS: unintended consequences

At the conference, I bumped into Quintela and he said: "Oh by the way, I still have two JavaStation Krups, they run [something very ancient]". Later we had a sparc(32) mini-BOF with Rusty, WLI, Uzi and Anton (as a guest of honor :). Rusty delivered a short, but energetic speach, in which he threatened to throw the port out of the kernel tree if it does not get updated (I advocated such action at one time myself).

Of course, I am not afraid of Rusty, or not sufficiently afraid, anyhow. OTOH, to win the dubious honours of the only architecture requiring syscalls for futexes... and coding special traps for them... hmmm... I do not understand how it happened, but I fixed up 2.5.24 to compile on sparc and DaveM was going to take the patch into the vger tree.

This is all fine and dandy, but we still do not have anyone to take over the DaveM's mantle. WLI has some serious Linux work at IBM, and so does Anton. At best they can perform so called "seagull maintainership" (I stole this term from Willy). Uzi may do it, but something interfered when he tried. Elsewhere we have Tom Sczerpe (sp?), and Spot. I am not exactly sure about them. Spot definitely has an access to a sparc64, and it may be too much of a siren call. Oh well... I'll just keep a tree alive in case anyone decides to take over.

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