Older blog entries for cjwatson (starting at number 8)

Excellent, more toys. A USB mouse - which was pretty much necessary, given the demise of my laptop's built-in one - and a USB mass-storage keyfob which I can put my secret keys on. I can feel the tinfoil hat settling already.

(It's certainly better than the fairly crappy state of my key security up to now, although you didn't hear me say that. Fortunately I've never had a laptop stolen so far, but it's probably only a matter of time.)

The w3m image extension

... rocks my world. On Debian, install the w3m-img package and it just works. I now have a "graphical" browser a lot lighter than Mozilla for my laptop - and, somehow, it works over ssh X11 forwarding too.

Debian

Nearly there. There's a complicated dependency mess involving at least all the PostgreSQL-dependent packages, Ruby, and vim which needs to be sorted out ... but I think that can be handled with the agreement of the release manager and a bunch of non-maintainer uploads.

If we can get woody out at the start of May, I may just throw a large party. :)

Work

Actually fun. I feel like I'm hacking again rather than just slogging. Lots of interesting three-banana problems.

Debian

QA continues, and I feel like I've done nothing else for the past few weeks. Apart from a recent (rather discouraging) mass filing of serious bugs, the count does seem to be coming down - but damn, it's a long tunnel and I can't really see the light at the end yet. Fortunately, my general feeling is that several more people are going through the list on a routine basis than before.

I've taken work on my own packages down to a fairly low priority, which is why my one remaining nasty bug is still unfixed. Sometimes it's scary how long it can take to review a patch properly.

Work

Ups and downs. Two people I like and respect have decided to jump ship recently. I won't go into the details here, but suffice to say they made me half-contemplate following them. On the other hand, my pet project (wish I could link to it ...) is on the company strategy, and I do enjoy my work much more than I used to - which in the current climate is not something to be sniffed at.

I still turn green with envy at the people being paid to hack on free software. :-)

Life

"Ticking over" is about all I can say. I don't feel as if anything particularly exciting has happened for ages, and I can't feel motivated to do anything much about that either. (That said, a local club that a lot of us go to is reopening tomorrow, which always helps.) Maybe the fact that I have no time is something to do with that. Sometimes I wish I was committed to fewer free software things: it's rewarding, but it really does chew up an enormous amount of time, and I doubt it's doing my social life much good.

Oh yes - the importance of vacations. Many companies insist that you take the time off that's allotted to you. Should we strongly encourage people in volunteer projects to take breaks? By the very nature of volunteering, people tend to forget to stop occasionally, and it contributes to good people burning out. For my part, I think I'll bring my involvement down to a minimum for a month or two after woody is released, just to unwind and relax.

I was reminded of an old flame recently. That relationship has been definitely over for a long time, for various reasons, but I still seem to love her. Bah. I should really learn to be better at letting go - it would make the inside of my head a much more comfortable place to be.

Mumble. Before that, though, I should stop rambling in diary entries and get some sleep. 4am approaches ...

Like half the rest of the world, it seems, I went to see "The Lord of the Rings" last night. Half-expecting the magic to have been ripped out of it in the making of the film, I was very pleasantly surprised. It's not often I see something that could be put into the blockbuster category for sheer spectacle and still manage to capture the spirit of the book it was founded on so well.

I must re-read it over Christmas. How long do I have to wait for the second film again?

Today a crowd of us from work went skiing and snowboarding. I hadn't done either before, and opted for skiing. Wow. I know what people see in it now.

Not much to speak of on the free software front; seasonal shopping, parties, and general madness have been taking up most of my time. Several things are going to need doing early next year, mainly a new man-db release, and then I hope to throw myself back into Debian QA work. We've got to release woody soon, and it would be kind of nice to freeze for woody+1 not long afterwards so that we don't have another 18-month lag. I suppose I should go and work on debian-installer if I want that to happen.

Ian Jackson has some interesting ideas to help speed up the Debian release process, although I'm not yet sure if I agree that he's trying to solve the right problem. I suppose Debian has adapted to the testing distribution well enough, so it's possible to experiment, although we really need one quick release before it's politically possible to fiddle with the process any more.

Oh, Slashdot, not again.

I had an excellent weekend visiting my ex-girlfriend (as just a friend, before you ask!), and spent a while in the pub last night catching up with a net.acquaintance I hadn't seen in two years or so. We had the scariest conversation where we discovered we knew a lot of the same people through entirely independent routes, and he filled me in on loads of things that happened to me and that never made sense at the time. It's true, I'm convinced: there are only six different people in the world. They're just all very busy.

Somehow this all fitted in rather well with reading some more of The Illuminatus! Trilogy on the way back home on the train. I'm not sure yet whether I'm missing the point when I think bits of it make a lot of sense. If somebody tells you you should be paranoid about everyone, do you trust them?

We had a small Debian UK meeting last night. Rather quiet - just a few people who were coming up to Cambridge for university interviews, the usual Cambridge geek crew, and a few others who could make it here on short notice. Still, there were some people I hadn't met before who with any luck will get more involved in the future.

Ripped out large chunks of man's logic and started replacing it with code that doesn't date from 1994 and that might actually be maintainable (then again, that's pretty much the story of my work on man so far). All this so that case-insensitive lookups will work.

My bug count seems to be climbing again, as I can't make any more changes to stuff in Debian base until Anthony pushes the magic button to branch off that bit of woody. I'm still not fully convinced that I understand how the branching is going to work with the new staged freeze, but I suppose it should be OK as long as nobody screws with shared library dependencies in unstable/base after the branch.

Well, I was less drunk, at least to the extent that I remember how I got home. :)

Went through a bunch of LDP documents this morning and got the free count up even more than I'd hoped. I think that if we give the benefit of the doubt to various documents we can have over 75% of the HOWTOs in main. The situation looks a lot brighter than it did a couple of days ago.

I spent most of last night and today getting flamed on Slashdot over the news that a lot of the LDP documents aren't DFSG-free and so the Debian doc-linux package, which I maintain, will have to be split into main and non-free portions. Naturally all the Slashmonkeys jumped on this, probably not helped by the exaggeration of the deadlines involved in the story itself. I've given up wasting my time trying to correct people's misconceptions and plain lies - the code is going to be enough work as it is.

On the upside, licensing debacles like this usually cause a few more people to pick free licences. And it actually turns out that the problem isn't as bad as we first thought it was: newer versions of the LDPL are free, which probably puts another 15% or so of the HOWTO collection into main. Work progresses on trying to decide what goes where.

We have a Christmas party at work (paid work, that is) tonight. Wonder if I'll be any less drunk than I was by the end of last year's?

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