These ancient entries were taken from my old Advogato diary, written in my early twenties, a year after I joined the development team of Conectiva Linux. I’m copying them for historic purposes, with the content untouched. It’s curious to look back and have such details of what was going on at the time, things that feel good, and things that feel awkward such as the “Dear Diary, …” style of writing, and the amount of exclamations!!
6 Feb 2002
Wow!! It has been a long time since my last diary entry.
I’ve left Linuxconf development team coordination in favor of the Conectiva Linux port to the S390 platform coordination (ok, I’m mostly coordinating myself now :-). Most of the work is done. I have developed an acceptable installer (in Python!) and most of the packages are ported. We had some problems with IBM OCO modules (ick!), but we are already workarounding them (we gave up on some of our kernel patches, and I patched insmod to recognize OCO modules). Anyway, more information about this later (if I don’t disappear for another year.. ;-)…
In the process of porting Conectiva Linux to S390 and PPC (Harald Welve started the PPC port, and I’m keeping it up to date and working on missing stuff) we are learning some lessons. We are trying to use those lessons to build a defacto package building system using the Python language. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough people here to develop it quickly, so we are trying a more realistic and evolutive approach this time. The first part of it is almost done. While devloping it, I’ve studied a little bit about process groups and extended python with a missing killpg() system call. I’ve also discovered that when python spawns a new thread, it blocks all signals. With this information in mind, I have also extended it with a new execv() syscall, that besides doing the usual work, unblocks every signal before the real call to execv(). I hope this project becomes real someday.
I’ve also been playing with Python optimization lately. There’s a big opportunity for somebody wanting to study and implement some concepts there. I’ve read some documentation about Stack Machine Optimization and made some tries (basically, optimizations around the inner loop and the Big Switch, stack caching, and other flavors of this joy). Today I found a paper from Skip Montanaro documenting some of the tries I’ve made (reading it first would save me a lot of time, but this knowledge will be useful anyway). You should have a look at his paper if you have any interest in the topic. Oh, don’t forget to get yourself a copy of Lemburg’s pybench to have a general idea of what you’re doing (don’t trust too much on it, it’s just a benchmark). I’ve written Skip a mail to discuss a little bit about what could be integrated into the interpreter. Let’s see where we get.
Oh… I must not forget to update the people I’ve certified in the past to reflect what they’ve been doing.
27 Jan 2001
I’ve just tested the patch floppy_cs on kernel 2.2.17 and it works just fine!!! I had no problems applying it. Now my Libretto 50CT has a floppy drive. Maybe Conectiva Linux can ship with this patch. The only drawback is that floppy support must be modular.
In the few last days, I’ve implemented support for Inputgrid into gnome-linuxconf. It allows one to define sensitive areas into a drawing area. Gurus are already working with it.
I’ve also created two new commands for Linuxconf’s gui protocol: Splash and Hidesplash. Linuxconf will send them while it is starting, and the graphic frontend is suposed to show a nice splash screen. Support in gnome-linuxconf has also been implemented with an image designed by Everaldo (thanks!!!).
Btw, yesterday I’ve fixed a bug in Python’s bsddb module. It was handling DB_RECNO databases with string keys. As the documentation says, these databases must use, in key’s “data” field, a pointer to a memory location holding a recno_t type.
My parents have arrived yesterday!! They’ll stay here until monday and then will go to Minas Gerais, visiting Raul and Lulude.
22 Jan 2001
Yesterday I’ve implemented a message signing module for Mailman. Darian (aka dmalloc), from openprojects.net has asked if I could do such module to use on lists.openprojects.net. (I said yes… ;-). I’m going to ask the people here at Conectiva if they want to use this module in some of our lists.
Pybot has a few new features: CTCP handling/sending, timer module, unhandled messages hook, and something else I probably forgot.
About Linuxconf, I have spent the last days fixing a few simple bugs introduced in 1.24r2 and in the last modules developed by Conectiva. I hope to release a Linuxconf update to Conectiva 6.0 tomorrow.
Oh, good news I forgot to tell: for those of you that are using wxxt-linuxconf, Jack (Jacques Gelinas) has implemented the Treemenu icons into this frontend as well.
16 Jan 2001
Today I’ve fixed a bug in the Pythonmod module of Linuxconf. Linuxconf has a default handler for the SIGCHLD signal that controls all of its child termination. This method has a few disadvantages. Before calling any external processes without using default Linuxconf methods, you must block this handler, otherwise Linuxconf will get on your way. Because of this, If a Pythonmod module tried to fork external processes, they were failing. Now Pythonmod is setting the SIGCHLD signal to SIG_DFL (POSIX doesn’t allow us to SIG_IGN it) before calling python code, and after returning from a few Linuxconf API functions that set the handler back. When the python code returns, popen_initsignal() is called, putting the Linuxconf handler back in place.
On the gnome-linuxconf side, I’ve implemented the drawing context command Defpen. Now we have colored lines and primitives!! (ok… not that good… ;-)
I’ve also spent a few hours in the last two days backing up and restoring data in my colocated machine. Now my personal emails are back online and the server has an updated kernel. I hope it doesn’t bother me for a long time.
Unfortunately, the server stuff didn’t let me work on Pybot, but I had time to implement dynamically loading, unloading and reloading of modules, before I started on the server. This will help a lot in the development, since I don’t have to reboot the bot everytime something is wrong. Anyway, now that the server is ok (I hope so), I’m planning to spend some of my spare time on the bot (yes, I still have some… ;-).
11 Jan 2001
Today I’ve added the ability of using icons while in the Treemenu mode of Linuxconf. I have just changed some functions to pass the icon name around until it got into the treemenu module and then sent it to the GUI front-end. A little hack on gnome-linuxconf did the work at the front-end side. Following this line of improvements, I’m planning to add a splash screen or something like that soon. Icons would also be welcome in the web interface.
Besides that, I’m also playing with a Python IRC bot. It’s not meant to be a war or a channel control bot. I’m planning to implement useful modules to help making IRC even more useful as an information media (no it won’t be just another infobot clone). The core and a few modules are ready. I’ll post more information later… for now, I’ll just tell that it is a multi-channel, multi-server bot, and that I’m trying to make its commands with natural language (eg. forward messages from #blah on servername to #bloh on servername).
Happy birthday Diogo!!
16 Aug 2000
Created advogato account.