Archive for December, 2007

Announcement: New perlwikipedia maintainer

December 8, 2007

Well, I finally bit the bullet today and stepped down as maintainer of Perlwikipedia, my MediaWiki bot framework. My successor is ST47, a fellow admin on enwiki who serves on the Bot Approvals Group and has more bots than I have fingers.

I can’t say that it hasn’t been a long time coming, but I think that ST47 will do a much better job as maintainer than I did. He’s enthusiastic about Wikipedia, is a great Perl hacker, and has written more bolt-on enhancements to Perlwikipedia than there are original lines of code.

In any case, I believe we’ll see a brand-spankin’-new Perlwikipedia release in the near future, one that’s more shiny and can do your dishes.


libgnomecanvas woes

December 1, 2007

Jhbuild was merrily cranking away at Evolution deps, when libgnomeprintui spit out an error about “Too many open files.” So, I cranked up my per-user open files limit in /etc/security/limits.conf to 4096. Logged-out and back in again, and it was still there.

Turns out, on older versions of libgnomecanvas and gail, like the ones that jhbuild uses by default, the two libraries have circular dependencies.

Solution? When jhbuild fails, go to the shell and switch to the libgnomecanvas directory. Then, execute

svn switch

Then do the “./ && make && make install” business.

Now, in the gail directory, do

svn switch

Build it. Now you can exit the shell and re-run the jhbuild configure with the circular dependencies resolved.


Distro wars

December 1, 2007

I have a problem. I’m probably the most indecisive person that I have ever known. I have severe difficulties deciding what dressing to put on my salad. Guitar strings? I need an hour of research. So it’s fairly obvious that I’m horrible at choosing a Linux distribution.

The problem is, there’s so many! Since I first saw Linux about 3-4 years ago, I’ve tried Fedora, Gentoo, Debian, Slackware, Sourcemage, SuSE, Lunar Linux, OpenBSD (it’s close enough), and Ubuntu. I’m sure there’s more in that list.

I believe the first distro I ever used was Fedora. That was Fedora Core 4, on a slow-as-dirt i386 machine clocked at around 133 MHz. I then used most of the distributions in the above list on that machine. Guess how well Gentoo performed at package installation on that machine. Needless to say, I soon upgraded my laptop to a blazing fast 1.6 GHz machine. Compared to what I used before, it was raw power.

Of course, having a faster machine also meant that I would need a correspondingly good distribution to handle the awesomeness (Seriously, 1.6 GHz was a huge step up from 133 MHz, it was a power trip). So then I cycled through every single distribution I knew. Finally, I settled on Ubuntu, because it was the only distribution that actually worked with my annoyingly-unsupported i810 on-board graphics chipset. That lasted for a good 6 months. Then, for some odd reason, I decided to switch to Gentoo. I backed up my machine, wiped the drive, and… Gentoo didn’t work with the i810. Great, I thought. I’ll just go back to Ubuntu. And so I did, for another month or so. Then I tried going back to Gentoo. And it failed again. This continued for a good 4 months or so (I didn’t know at the time that there was an i810 driver in the kernel, which I neglected to enable). Finally, Gentoo worked! It was a miracle! And so, I became one of the Linux elite who compiled everything from source and could manipulate the command line blindfolded while drunk. That lasted about another 6 months. Then, I realized that I was spending more time compiling and configuring than I was doing work. So, I switched to Fedora, which had gone through two cores already and landed at Fedora 7. That’s where I sit today.

However, I’m starting to think that Gentoo isn’t so bad after all. I mean, I’m a geek. I like to do geeky things. I like seeing my system exposed, like it was in Gentoo, not like with Fedora, where all I do is type `yum install evolution’ and sit back and watch, blissfullyunaware of what is going on. Fedora’s great, don’t get me wrong. If I had used Gentoo for my MythTV setup, it would have taken at least two weeks. But Gentoo seemed so… fun, I guess (As I write this, I notice that jhbuild is building evolution-data-server, which is the farthest it’s ever gotten. Hooray!).

The real question is, if I switch back to Gentoo, what happens? Will I finally resign from Wikipedia? Become a kernel hacker? Oh, that’s the other thing. On Gentoo, kernel modules were dirt simple to build. Just cd to /usr/src/linux/drivers/misc, write a test driver, insert the corresponding fragment into the Makefile, and type make. Done.

But anyway, I don’t know if I’m even sure that I want to start thinking about switching. I need to do more research, my intuition is notoriously unreliable for this sort of thing.