I can only boggle also

A couple of days ago, Walter Bender announced that he was leaving the OLPC project to do some other things... and this brought about a lot of "OLPC is whithering/dead" talk. Having heard this kind of talk about a lot of projects in the past (FSF, Red Hat, Debian, SuSE, etc etc), I figured I should be the wise old man and post how this is not always the case because organizations change, people leave as things change..

And like most "wise old man", I was an ass. After reading some articles about possible changes at OLPC.. I will go eat my crow. So instead of saying anything beyond.. sorry for being an ass, I figured I would link to someone who is more articulate. Michael Tiemann wrote exactly how I am feeling about OLPC this morning..

I think the part that rankles me is that I don't consider myself a zealot about Open Source, but consider it a useful business decision to make about hardware+software in the developing world.


Fedora: Bug Tracking != Incident Tracking != Project Tracking

Bugzilla like most bug-tracking software is an extremely useful tool. It can be used for tracking incidents, bugs, service requests, project plans, etc.. it is the screwdriver of Fedora/Red Hat that gets used by developers,etc for a hammer, plunger, and any other tool that is needed. And that is a major problem for people when they look at it.

A good while ago, I looked for open bugs in Kerberos, and found some that I had opened at a former job in 2003ish. According to bugzilla they had not been looked at, touched, felt, changed etc.. and that made me very pissed. Then I remembered that I had talked to the developer a couple of times on those very bugs. He was using the bugs as a reminder that this was a long standing issue that needed to be dealt with in RHEL-2.1 at some point or to see if it showed up later. My guess was that he and I both forgot about it as it didn't show up in later versions and well I wasn't so bothered by it that I opened up a trouble ticket with Red Hat. However, looking at it fresh from 4 years later.. my immediate emotional reaction was anger.. and a week later it became a problem with my former job and Red Hat because the former workplace saw it as money they wasted with Red Hat.

Now there are lots of ways the ticket could have been dealt with... most of them things I should have done.. but I would like to outline one that might be useful.

Keeping the ticket in the main bugzilla was useful for a while with the developer because he could track it as something that might be a bigger problem or was part of a project.. but it was not easy for someone outside to see it, nor was it useful after we both forgot it. And its not hard to forget it when you have a package with hundreds of 'issues' that need to be fixed or tracked with upstream.

Anyway my pondering on this made me wonder if there was a way to split up the bug database into multiple 'sub-ones' with an overall tracker available. The sub databases would be 'triage' where all initial bugs go into, 'incident' where things that are obviously broken get pushed to for a patch to be tracked and put out on, and 'project' where bugs in triage that are going to take a large amount to fix go. Incidents might go out there if the fix is a work-around but the real fix is a major rewrite. There might be another one or two (service requests), but I think those 3 cover the majority (80% solution) of what Bugzilla gets used for. People when putting in a bug see it goes into triage. There is gets dealt with by a set of people who get enough info to see if it goes somewhere else in the hierarchy and what the 'priority' of the bug would be (the background is supposed to be fe:00:00 not fd:00:00 is low, bash drops setuid core dumps is a bit higher.) and then it gets pushed to incidents or projects where it lives out its merry long life.

Anyway, a brainstorm I figured I needed to write before I forgot.

Note from Republican Elitist: Obama got it right

Note this will be my only political blog for April 2008 etc.. I am supposed to be talking about EPEL and such :).

I have been a Republican since 1992 when I tossed a dice and the 1:6 chance of joining that party came up. I mean the party subscribed at that time to some of my views (balanced budget, term-limits, streamlined government, etc) but veered from others which pretty much is the same for every other party I could have joined... some of my views not all of them.

And what I can tell from the last 16 years of TV ads, telephone calls, get out the vote people dropping by my door.. they all play on bitterness, fear, anger, and cynicism. And from the ones who come over for my wife's vote (she is a different party), it is the same. From all the emails I get from various relations, acquaintances, random people I don't know.. the message is the same: bitterness, fear, anger, and cynicism. Yell that the other politicians are going to take away your babies, your guns, your rights, your jobs, or yell that they are going to make you have more babies, more guns, but take away your rights and your jobs. All of it stoking fear, bitterness, anger, and hatred. All of it pushing buttons in our heads to suffer more... with the idea that voting for the person in front of you, the suffering will stop.

And when someone comes out and talks about the elephant in the room.. we all act like the chimps who have to beat up the new chimp because he is going to get a banana and we are all going to get hosed again.

So I am going to say "Hell Yeah", and the next pollster who calls or comes to my door is going to get a "Why are you trying to make me bitter?" in the face... because all it takes is the removal of one t and you have "biter".. and thats what I am going to be. [But not on this blog.. expect EPEL, CentOS, and RHEL posts soon.]


Meme, MiniMe [Shell History Meme]

Following along!

[smooge@canopus ~]$ history | awk '{a[$2]++ } END{for(i in a){print a[i] " " i}}'|sort -rn|head
709 ls
600 john
357 awk
356 grep
184 cd
181 tcpdump
137 emacs
128 sed
125 ssh
124 cat

I need to use python more it would seem.. but I have gotten out of the habit that I learned on the Vax... sync; sync; every 4 commands.


The Incredible Shrinking Dr. Dobbs Journal

My wife and I have been a long time subscriber and reader of the Dr Dobbs Journal, and have seen it expand and shrink over the years. Lately though it has been shrinking quite a bit. All my favorite columns had been dropped (embedded programming, etc), and the articles had gotten smaller and smaller with each issue. So I had decided not to re-subscribe as Michael Swaine's flames while entertaining were not worth the price :). As each of the last issues have come in, each seemed thinner than the last with fewer and fewer pages.. the final arrived last week, and it would seem it is the thinnest of all: 3 pages. A Cover page saying "This is your last issue", and the cover/end sheet of the magazine.. sans content.

My only guess is that the Post Office seeing that I was unsubscribing just wanted to show me what the magazine was going to be in 4 issues. On the good news, I became a Usenix member for the first time, and found that the ;login: magazine to be more than a makeup for my lost SysAdmin and Dr Dobbs. I wish I had joined earlier.


Standards and meeting them

The next time I make a web page and run into it not looking correctly on the various versions of FireFox/Safari/Explorer... before I get a contract out on some programmers.. I will reread:


Which reminds us how various standards develop over time using an analogy about Martian headphones and why they all act slightly different.

My favorite quote so far:

If you’ve ever visited the ultra-orthodox Jewish communities of Jerusalem, all of whom agree in complete and utter adherence to every iota of Jewish law, you will discover that despite general agreement on what constitutes kosher food, that you will not find a rabbi from one ultra-orthodox community who is willing to eat at the home of a rabbi from a different ultra-orthodox community. And the web designers are discovering what the Jews of Mea Shearim have known for decades: just because you all agree to follow one book doesn’t ensure compatibility, because the laws are so complex and complicated and convoluted that it’s almost impossible to understand them all well enough to avoid traps and landmines, and you’re safer just asking for the fruit plate.

The precise problem here is that you’re pretending that there’s one standard, but since nobody has a way to test against the standard, it’s not a real standard: it’s a platonic ideal and a set of misinterpretations, and therefore the standard is not serving the desired goal of reducing the test matrix in a MANY-MANY market.

DOCTYPE is a myth.


This is something I remember getting drummed into our heads at Spyglass when we brought in a bunch of SGML Gurus. Let us repeat... "DOCTYPE is a myth." QAing a browser is a painful experience... you have this specification that says

must be at end of a paragraph... AND NO_ONE USES IT! Well they do now.. sometimes.. if they remember.

Oh well... my migraine medicine is not rated for this so I am going to end with a good memory... nope blood vessel popped and I can't remember it anymore.