Voting for release names

Argh... none of my suggestions got to the final round. I found a bunch of public domain comic book heroes that would have had the background artists having a field day. With the Blue Flame it could have gone onto a gas or many other ways. Nemo would have had all sorts of underwater themes as long as we stayed away from clown fish. Sigh... ok ok. I will vote, and you should too

Well next time I will try for a BAM! POW! SMASH! name too.


Turning 40

Sometime last week I turned 40... that makes me 10 years past my Carousel time so I keep my eyes out for Sandmen. It was a pretty good birthday.. I got "Mad Science" by Theo Gray , a version of the Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, and an iPod Nano.

This means that iPod's are now completely passée.. I am so far from hip that my shadow dance would cause severe laughter. The getting of an iPod means that it has reached the level of absurdity of a fellow who is going to fill it with Clannad, Enya, and Angelo Badalamenti's music. Oh and any lectures I can find on thermodynamics, relativity, and matrix math.

My son thought it was the coolest thing especially since it could play games.... well some games.. ok lame dad games.... so he now wants an ipod touch which at his allowance rate will be about the time cyber-implants occur.

Anyway, its good to be 40... there was a period of my life that I didn't think I would live past 26. [And my folks were sure that my teenage years would be the death of them or me.. and they outnumbered me.] Anyway... thanks for all the years universe. I have enjoyed them as best I could.


Dear telemarketing software companies

In the last week I have gotten 3 phone calls from software development companies looking to see if I could outsource my work to them. I appreciate that you are looking for new work but please be aware of the following:

1) I am not doing software development that I can afford to outsource. If I do any development its as a hobby or for my workplace and not something I have spare cash to spend. Also all of my work unless for some outstanding reason is done under an open source license (GPL or Apache most likely).

2) When you call me, do not have your VOIP or similar system appear to come from a local phone number but be from another country like China, India or Texas. If I was in the software development business I would find that dishonest.

Thank you, and I hope you are able to find a better customer than me.


Verify Fedora ISOs

As I have fallen victim to this a couple of times (thank you Jesse for being patient with me on the third or 4th time :)) here is how to verify a Fedora ISO (the thing you burn to a CD, DVD or USB stick)

Here is what I did to get FAIL

1) Download checksum file.
2) Look in the file and see

Hash: SHA1

f0ad929cd259957e160ea442eb80986b5f01daaffdbcc7e5a1840a666c4447c7 *Fedora-12-i386-DVD.iso
2f548ce50c459a0270e85a7d63b2383c55239bf6aead9314a0f887f3623ddace *Fedora-12-i386-disc1.iso
ce77d16d1b3362859aaa856f1f29c7197db69264d8ce6b9f8111dcee4d5e9ef7 *Fedora-12-i386-disc2.iso
8c39cb9e3c1583948dcad21f9fdbe48a3ff6a8d1b536462188d47747c2640b36 *Fedora-12-i386-disc3.iso
07f03f67d23331e8c7a37ad19e9a99062a4584a3e028beb40c49923bb5c70c6b *Fedora-12-i386-disc4.iso
dff8c478fb73452a8799016deeecccde3097d40a0b756d681bfe6be2e56bb9eb *Fedora-12-i386-disc5.iso
128112527bdd4036ec82d678b5d5362aa7a11ac15a73647afd743d7a325f7df9 *Fedora-12-i386-netinst.iso
Version: GnuPG v1.4.5 (GNU/Linux)


and used sha1sum to verify the DVD you downloaded. It of course didn't work.

3) Use other sum tools (md5sum, sha224sum, sha256sum *HEY THAT GIVES ME THE RIGHT DATA*)
4) Get confused on the text and talk to Jesse Keating on IRC.

The SHA1 line is really part of the GPG signature and not the command used to generate the content. Work is being done to make this clearer in future CHECKSUM files but that won't hit til F13. Anyway, I figured a Blog post that google will remember for others will help in the future.

Edited to add: Checksums can be found via SSL here: https://fedoraproject.org/static/checksums/Fedora-12-i386-CHECKSUM



Ok interesting development with laptop and issues from earlier blog post. Most of the travails in the last week may have been due to Kernel issues and weird ACPI mappings from the BIOS. In following up on https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=522201 it was asked to see if changing the iommu mapping from hardware to software would make some problems go away.

I made the changes to grub.conf and rebooted the system.
  1. System booted into 1680x1050 while plugged into docking station without any fiddling. (VGA out is still off but thats ok...)
  2. Sound is working better. I thought I was dealing with some pulseaudio issues (hey its what everyone blames isn't it?) but it turns out that it might have been something else.
  3. The new disk drive seems to be happier, I was worried last night when I heard it making some 'clicking' noises again.
  4. No more DMAR messages in dmesg... I am wondering if the DMAR messages mapped to the disk drive or something else.
So not sure what the long term fix will be, but it looks like I have a good work-around (using the age-old definition of if things are working great for 20 minutes... ship it!)


So you want to install a bunch of packages after install

Ok the usual way to get a system ready for install is to use kickstart to do so. I am going to set up cobbler to do this later, but since I had a broken disk and only a F12beta DVD I went the 'hard' route of installing by hand and doing most of the extra configuration afterwords.

One of the things I was able to do before the laptop's hard-drive completely failed was to get an rpm listing:

export LANG=C
rpm -qa --qf='%{NAME}\n' | sort -u > RPM-QA.doomed

Then during the install I just picked some defaults and got a 'finished' system up with a minimal of hassle. Once the box was up and on the network I made a new listing.

export LANG=C
rpm -qa --qf='%{NAME}\n' | sort -u > RPM-QA.new
comm -2 -3 RPM-QA.doomed RPM-QA.new | awk '{print "install "$0} END{print "run"}' > big-list

I then went through the file big-list to remove some things that I didn't want this time.. and then used yum-shell to install these in a large batch.

yum shell big-list

watch lots of things, type y when it says to do so... and wait for 2 GB of RPMs to be downloaded over 768kbit line. Coming in the next morning, I had a system that pretty much matched the old laptop except for some packages no longer in F12 (DeviceKit, etc). This gives me a 'new' list to work against when F12 final comes out and I want to reinstall again.

ToDo: this wasn't the best way of doing this, but it works. Thanks to the yum developers for making it work so well from the command line mode. I look forward to figuring out ways I could do this better in the future.


Hurray! Red Hat Helpdesk was great and got me a replacement disk drive. I got it working and reinstalled the system as best I could with F12 and noticed a lot of neat stuff.

  1. X11 acts different from F11. If I boot the Thinkpad in the docking station, I get 800x600 in both monitors through the Avocent. If I book the Thinkpad out of the docking station, the laptop screen comes up as 1680x1050. If I plug the laptop back into the docking station, the VGA shows up for a short while at 800x600 and then goes away. And if I change channels in the Switchview, I may lose both X sessions :). However, I am not getting a kernel oops anymore, so I can close a bug.
  2. Everytime I log in, I get a message that bluetooth may not be available.

    org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.ServiceUnknown: The name :1.271 was not provided by any .service files

    You might not be able to connect to the Bluetooth network via this machine

    This is new so I am not sure what is causing it. The name :1.XXX changes each time I reboot. The desktop does not have bluetooth so I expected it.. however the laptop does have bluetooth and the little widgets at the top say its available. This will be a fun one to play with.
  3. Printing needed an extra package. My old Brother printer needed foomatic-db-ppds installed to be seen. Not sure why gutenprint doesn't pull it in, but hey thats life on the RC trail.
I will also reinstall to F12 when it comes out on Tuesday so that I can see if my problems come from living on rawhide, if its something that is endemic to my network, or just something everyone will have to live with for a while.

Edited To Add (2009-11-15T16:30-0700): Looking in my dmesg logs I noticed a long string of

DRHD: handling fault status reg 3
DMAR:[DMA Read] Request device [00:1b.0] fault addr 0
DMAR:[fault reason 06] PTE Read access is not set

I wonder if thats related to the video issues as they seemed to have occured when I plugged the laptop back into the docking thing.


IT Musings

This week has started off with a discussion about why IT organizations don't go out and create their own Open Source applications to meet needs. For some reason the discussion made me think of a quote I heard attributed to Alan Moore about Superman and Batman.

"As long as his parents are still dead, Batman has lost. As long as the planet hasn't exploded, Superman is ahead of the game."

In a company, IT is usually Batman. The big grim guy who comes in to fix the server, and tell you have to have 1 uppercase letter and 2 special characters in your password. IT people usually have to go and fight pernicious programs, bad routers, or whatever else comes into the ticket queue.. and rarely does one get thanks.. more like "Hey how did you let that happen in the first place.".

On the other hand, Development is usually Superman. Their project can be axed, and they will just go find another company to do it one more time. Heck they might just do it in their spare time just to show it could have been done.

Ok I am not saying all developers are like that, but even the most morose seems to go at things from a "Well heck, didn't explode the planet with that core dump.. lets just fix it up and see what happens next." A system administrator is going to make sure that he has 3 backup plans in case a velociraptor shows up in the middle with a fight a tape drive.


Laptop disk go klicky klicky. Disaester recovery.

Started to download RC3 on Friday night and heard that sound that makes admins get the cold sweats. "Klick, erk, klick". I didn't see any errors in my dmesg so I just went to bed.. well oh boy guess what. No disks fer you in the morning. Sigh. Spend Saturday working out how one recovers what data one can from an encrypted partition. I actually got a lot off more than I expected.

The journal seemed to be one of the sectors dieing so I could not get it to do much. "mount -o ro,noload" is your friend with journalled file systems that are bad. This does not replay the journal so any data that was 'stuck' in there goes bye-bye.. seems I lost most of Friday's work email.. sigh.. going to have to deal with that on Monday.

Learned another important thing. If you have a backup script.. and edit it to do dry-runs while testing options... make sure you turn off dry-runs later. Lost a weeks worth of backups that way..

Got my Optiplex box installed with RC1 and updated to what was equivalent to my last rpm-qa listing. That took most of Sunday because 110kByte downloads are slow for several GB of updates and RPMs. I think I am going out to get another backup USB drive tomorrow to do another set of backups to put one set offsite.

So lessons learned:
1) FC12beta rescue works great. I need to make a USB key for FC12 when it comes out. Put that in the 'safe' for later.
2) Make sure your backups are run regularly.. and you have offsite backups of data one week old or older.
3) Stay calm.


Fedora 11 + Lenovo T500 + Avocent Switchview (Part 2)

I had earlier posted some problems with my attempts to get a second monitor working through my Avocent and the work Lenovo T500 (thankyou Red Hat.. its a nice machine). I have not been able to get it to work automatically, but I have had success with the uberpowerful xrandr

Steps to do this if you run into this problem:

1) Attach the monitor directly to your laptop and get it working through there. If the monitor is new enough and good enough you should have gotten a good DCC reading from the monitor. Look for it in the /var/log/Xorg.log files:

(II) intel(0): Serial No: T61164BSBD2Z
(II) intel(0): Monitor name: DELL 1905FP
(II) intel(0): Ranges: V min: 56 V max: 76 Hz, H min: 30 H max: 81 kHz, PixClock max 140 MHz
(II) intel(0): EDID (in hex):
(II) intel(0): 00ffffffffffff0010ac0c405a324442
(II) intel(0): 310e01030e261f78ee1145a45a4aa024
(II) intel(0): 145054a54b00714f8180010101010101
(II) intel(0): 010101010101302a009851002a403070
(II) intel(0): 1300782d1100001e000000ff00543631
(II) intel(0): 31363442534244325a0a000000fc0044
(II) intel(0): 454c4c203139303546500a20000000fd
(II) intel(0): 00384c1e510e000a202020202020004b
(II) intel(0): EDID vendor "DEL", prod id 16396
(II) intel(0): Using EDID range info for horizontal sync
(II) intel(0): Using EDID range info for vertical refresh
(II) intel(0): Printing DDC gathered Modelines:
(II) intel(0): Modeline "1280x1024"x0.0 108.00 1280 1328 1440 1688 1024 1025 1028 1066 +hsync +vsync (64.0 kHz)

Then you can hook up the monitor back through the switchview and bring the system up again. Now we use the xrandr command.

xrandr -q
[root@localhost log]# xrandr -v -q
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1680 x 1050, maximum 8192 x 8192
VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
LVDS1 connected 1680x1050+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 331mm x 207mm
1680x1050 60.0*+ 50.0
DVI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DVI2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

[root@localhost log]# xrandr --newmode "1280x1024"x0.0 108.00 1280 1328 1440 1688 1024 1025 1028 1066 +hsync +vsync
[root@localhost log]# xrandr --addmode VGA1 "1280x1024"x0.0
[root@localhost log]# xrandr --output VGA1 --mode "1280x1024"x0.0 --right-of LVDS1

And after a bit of flickering your second monitor will show up. Now its not a perfect match yet... doing another xrandr -v -q gives us

[ssmoogen@localhost ~]$ xrandr -q -v
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 2960 x 1050, maximum 8192 x 8192
VGA1 disconnected 1280x1024+1680+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 0mm x 0mm
1280x1024x0.0 60.0*
LVDS1 connected 1680x1050+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 331mm x 207mm
1680x1050 60.0*+ 50.0
DVI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DVI2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

With the monitor being listed as disconnected X windows acts a little funny. You can move applications over it (so I have xchat working there while I switch other desktops.. ) but hitting the menus button the menu will show up in the wrong window.

Will try to figure that out later... but at the moment I can work on my 3 systems much easier now.