Older blog entries for chexum (starting at number 21)

mjg59: Thanks, that's the closest answer I was hoping, now I'm even more poised to play with these things. :) I've resisted impulse-buying until now. I'm not sure how long can I hold back..

May there be fun in everything..

Apparently raph captured the moment I was the last joined advogator. Everytime google puts up this page, I'm amazed at this timing :) Google finally believes that romfs is here. It took them about a month, and in the meantime, it sometimes mystically appeared as having content, sometimes as a default sourceforge page.

I'm also not particularly fond of "funny" release names, the fun wears out in nanoseconds.. There's also the thing with these newfound prereleases, release candidates, patch levels, builds.. Sometimes they have its place, but why is it so hard to give a release a version number? Why should Subversion 0.9 be called subversion-r1302.tar.gz? How could a dhcp-3.0rc8pl2.tar.gz, or a imirc-1.5-rc7.2.tar.gz happen at all? It's at least the same fun as Danish code names.. Man, I've never learnt English either, but I try to use it (hint to yosi :). And how about these myprogram.tar.gz, without any version marking? I'd be really glad if freshmeat didn't allow to post links to files like these (including myprogram-latest.tar.bz2, myprogram-current.tgz). Why would I want to inspect timestamps three days later to decide which was supposed to be the really latest? Call me grumpy, I'm done :)

System rebuild progressing. Most of the core system (including glibc 2.2.5) is recompiled with gcc 3.0.4 now. I found out the hard way that glibc doesn't like to be compiled with LFS default options (-D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64). gcc barfs along the way compiling pread.c, since that's using a system call with five arguments, one of it being a file offset, which, when turned into 64 bits, would need wider/more registers. First I thought it has something to do with --enable-threads, then suspected that C++ patch (to make artsd/KDE compile with gcc3). Fortunately an Athlon 1200 doesn't need that much time to compile anything. My first Linux machine, a 386DX40 with 8M, would take a few hours compiling the (then recent 1.1.3x) kernel.

I'm more and more addicted to switched ethernet. I also toyed with the idea of putting cables everywhere, "just in case", then with 802.11b to connect everyone in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, wireless access points don't have the flexibility of a Linux router, and putting a wireless card into a desktop PC (besides limiting it to places with worse connectivity) restricts it into connecting to one other access point, or to other cards using the same channel (while access points can communicate on many channels). IIRC. Is this correct? Time for more googling.

Finally, it occured to me the last missing piece everyone would need to connect the hi-fi and PC world, to overcome the ridiculously unprogrammable nature of hi-fi parts. What you would need is a dumb (maybe minimally manageable) box with an ethernet plug, and an S/PDIF output. This way, you could connect your DD/DTS receiver/amplifier to the network, and have hi-fi sound from your software without even any kind of sound card, and the PC (being an effective acoustic noise generator) could also be further from the listening place. Of course, you can then make sound from any of your PC's, and not run S/PDIF cables around, additionally you wouldn't need to buy an amplifier with multiple S/PDIF inputs... Of course, ethernet is not that reliable, but sound doesn't need more than 2 mbps, which is easy on 10mbps ethernet too.

Hm.. ethernet chips are cheap, ethernet transceivers are cheap, DRAM is cheap, S/PDIF is simple, code is cheap. Dream project. You heard it here first?

It would all be simpler if most stuff came with ethernet connectors. Think TVs, DVDs, phones. Nicer way to remote control, and/or route sound between them. Ideally, a phone should be just an interface to the telecom provider, a keypad, a mic and a speaker, and software "to bind them". Instead, we are getting handsets, message recorders, faxes, modems, voice modems, voip interface cards, ethernet phones that are just mic/speaker/keypad with voip ability, and more and more stuff doing the same thing just a bit differently.

Less fun today, maybe the weekend will be more fruitful; I'm starting to rebuild "my" distribution to the newest glibc/gcc/xfree et al. Since a week, I almost always wake up around 7:00 without any alarm set. Unfortunately, that's about half hour later which would be comfortable for breakfast and such.

We are preparing for some seat changes in the office (moving around real seats, not positions). Interesting times again.

Finally the machine is ready. I dug out an old CD-ROM, it's called GoldStar GCD-R520B. It didn't work. At least until I fixed the loose IDE cable. No problems since then. The drive has been manufacterd in June, 1995, and the vendor is now better known an LG, and they still have a web page about it. The drive is fine, that's what I call standards :) It can't read CDDA, but it's only a double speed drive anyway. Good for recovery boot, if I replace that stinky cable. Really surprising to have something this old, and mechanical still working nicely.

Maybe not at all, if I think about it. I also have an A3000UX which was in a previous life called cbmvie.commodore.co.at, until my friend bought it from the sell-out from Commodore. Unfortunately, most data from its hard disk is long gone, including traces of the Commodore System V Unix itself. I didn't know better. But at least it has a Commodore ethernet card, which is still a rarity.

Mostly installed the new machine. It took a while, because I didn't have a floppy for ages, I always install machines via hard disk copy, including lilo-ing them in the old machine. Most of the time this worked out ok, but now it didn't. First, the kernel failed to boot (reset after decompression). I tried to get rid of K7 optimizations, no go. Finally it occured to me that the APIC shouldn't be enabled with a K6. Then, at the early boot sequence, the new machine still crapped out with what looked like a corrupted filesystem, and lo, putting it back to the working one, indeed, it got corrupted. It took another while still I discovered that during boot, it set the IDE to UDMA/66 on a VIA controller which is capable only to UDMA/33... Majorly "restructuring" the boot filesystem in the progress.

But it's ok, by 01:35 (AM for you USians) I was ready, just forgot the BIOS/ATA settings in the most conservative state, and going to sleep early. Now, what day would be better for our remote sites to have urgent problems at 06:00 than this same day?

Thrown together a nice little spare machine (with bigger plans :) It's a K6-III (the cache everywhere thing). Now I just have to decide which hard disk I "spare" for it, and tomorrow I'll be getting a 100mb switch too to test my improved home network. Geeky. Gigabit would be better, have I mentioned it? :)

I've read a lot through ethernet docs these days, gigabit is very funny, it's full duplex on 4 wire pairs using all of them simultaneously in both directions. I'm not an EE, so it's magic to me :). You can't anymore confuse me with AUI, MAC, MII, GMII, PHY, PMD, PCS, MDI-X, MDI-II, ethernet flow control, link aggregation, vlan, NWay, LIT, NLP, FLP and such trivial things :)

Starting to envy the people who can toy with gigabit ethernet, I mean those who afford switches and anything else to connect it to. :)

Today is almost over, including a short session of a hopeful network redesign plans... It's a bit bizarre that this makes me happy :) 2.4.18-rc1 is out, 2.2 starts to look ages old on those servers..

The doc said yesterday I had sinusitis, but healing quite ok. Good to know. Inhalation with chamomile helped the most. So much for medications :)

Trying to find some inter-isp misconfiguration, when probably someone just limited a hosts bandwidth in our direction... It's fun indeed.

On Friday, a well known spammer had forged some mails with a return address of a small school machine I still run. It has almost stock qmail, so there's no way to refuse addresses to invalid local users. Also I can't shut it down, since other MX hosts run the same qmail, for the whole school. Fortunately this qmail has a single patch which allows to refuse any specific addresses. After a few scripts to collect all the invalid addresses, and make them into a refuse list, it started to get more manageable. It was 251 invalid local addresses, and more than 5MB of spewage later when it occurred to me that almost all the spam returns are coming from open relay hosts, so I'm back to using rblsmtpd with outputs.orbz.org. About 250 open relays. Without these, SPAM would not be so prevalent. I hate incompetent operators. Including local ISPs who think relay block lists are an inconvenience item to force them changing addresses daily.

genromfs (and romfs) is more than five years old now, registered on SF more than two years ago, and has the first update in years less than a month ago :) SF download services are *slow* for a week or so...

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