Are you having problems with EC2 and EPEL?

So I got asked about some problems with Fedora maps starting late last week. Well since I had played with some code last week, I figured it was probably something I had done.. the basic rule is that for every line you edit, you have probably introduced 2 bugs... and I had played with about 40 lines.

However it turns out it might be a change at someone else site.. the error.txt file was filled with lines like:

WTF: epel-5 epel-5 $basea$ /mirrorlist?repo=epel-5&arch=$basea$

So I went to look at where/what this was coming from. Pretty much all the IPs associated with these lines are from hostnames like ec2-XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX-compute-X.amazonaws.com. My guess is that some configuration change was pushed out over the last couple of days and has affected a lot of Amazon EC2 hosts.

Anyone know exactly what is up?


Interesting clarifications...

One of the interesting things I run into is how computer security terminology is used at times. A standing practice at many of my previous jobs was to list things like network probes as 'attacks'... yes they sort of go hand in hand, but when looking for funding it was always better to word things as "the XYZ enterprise-class firewall repels millions of attacks per day." versus the more mundane "the DMZ firewall stops millions of probes per day."

Having become quite used to seeing this sort of terminology bandied about (and doing the Politics2Geek translation) it was refreshing to read an actual clarification at a high level meeting:

When asked by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) how
serious the threat to the Department of Defense was,
Alexander replied that its networks see “hundreds of
thousands of probes a day,” though he qualified that
quickly by adding “these are not attacks, they are
attempts to… scan the network to see what kind of
software we are using.”

Anyway it was one of those things that I am sure various people are saying "Oh crap, he did what? Well hopefully no one will remember when our budget comes up."


The Best Job in the World....

that I won't be applying for. Ok its a tough job where you have to be able to swing with the blows and keep things going when various people just want to kvetch and moan.

There was a time when I really wanted to try for Fedora Project Leader. Why? Well I had a whole bunch of good reasons then, but to be honest it probably was just thinking "wow that is the coolest job ever."

Now though, I know I wouldn't be the right person for the job. However, there are a lot of good people out there who would be.

  1. Be friendly
  2. Be open minded
  3. Be able to handle criticism
  4. Realize that most of the problems between people are miscommunication, mistakes versus misconduct.
  5. Be able to handle and help large amounts of people.
  6. Be able to get out of the way when you need to

Fedora Project Leader Job Ad

Good luck people, and may the best candidate come forward.


Running for Fedora Board (Spring 2010)

While nominations are not open yet, I was reading poelcat's blog on his term in office and realized I needed to 'formalize' before I talked myself out of running. My goals are pretty simple:

  • To listen. Listening is a hard thing to do.. I find that I have to work a lot on it because what I assume I heard isn't always what anyone said. Thinking and asking for clarification helps a lot on clearing up problems for me.
  • To be responsible. If I bat over 0.250 in making good decisions I am doing better than most people. For that 0.750+ I will acknowledge and try to fix any problems from when I was wrong.
  • To make sure that board meetings are as open as possible, with an explanation of when they are not.
  • To make sure that we understand that for every Freedom that Fedora gives its members, that there are Responsibilities or things end up like a 'tragedy of the commons.'

Anyway, that is all I wanted to say for now.

[Edited to add: It turns out that the general term of the tragedy of the commons should lead one to read:




Linux Planet article

Ok so there has been some talk about how many Ubuntu installs there really are versus how many Fedora installs there are.

The main contention was over Sean Michael Kerner's line:

In contrast, as of March 29, Red Hat's Fedora Linux was reporting usage of its Linux distribution at approximately 24 million installations.

Like most engineers, I look at that and say "Bwa?" and could go into a deep nitpicking about apples and orange comparisons.. instead I am going to nitpick another line:

"We have no phone home or registration process, so it's always a guesstimate. But based on the same methodology that we came up with for the 2008 number, our present belief is that it's somewhere north of 12 million users at the moment," Chris Kenyon, vice president for OEM at Canonical, told InternetNews.com

Mr Kenyon is right. The Ubuntu install and OS does not have a registration process, nor an explicit 'phone home' system. However on the one that I am using it does do the same sort of check that is used by Fedora to get our data.. checkins to see if you have updates. This should allow for an apples to apples comparison of number of unique IP's asking per release for updates.

[This does not say how many users there are... but should give an answer within +/- 1 order of magnitude due to the fact that many users will checkin with different IP addresses and many users will check in proxied behind one IP address.]

Need a roof redone in Albuquerque?

Well this is not my usual post, but I wanted to say a good thing about a roofing contractor. The house we bought in Albuquerque has been a real fixer-upper. One of the first things we had to get done was having the flat roof's redone as they had not been replaced since 1984. Instead they had about 4 inches of tar and gravel from multiple patching. We had a couple of contractors come out to make bids, and we were really impressed by Lawrence Otero's bid. He came in, showed us what was the problem and was honest that this was not a minor repair.

When the roof repair work was done, he grew the team to meet the needs of the roof as lots of old tar had to be removed, and it was threatening to rain that evening. We had both flat roofs done in a day due to the increased workers and equipment. The area was cleaned up, and he came out later to go over what had been done to make sure everything was up to our satisfaction. We had one problem with a clogged drain pipe that they repaired and cleaned up.

This week we went with Otero and Sons to replace the rear porch roof. It was also a 'mess' of patching and tars which had given up in parts due to last summer's monsoons. Old material was removed, inspection of rotten wood found only a damaged sheet of plywood that was replaced, and the roof was redone and resealed. This morning they came in and did the chimney's roof which had several 'leaks'. They cleaned up and everyone was friendly and explained what was going on (something I have found that some

All in all, my wife and I are very happy with the work. It was not the lowest bid, but it was the best bid and the work was quite good. In two years when we get the last major roof (a 1200 square foot sloping roof currently with old ceramic tile) redone, we will be going with them again.

Otero and Sons

[For computer related information: a) roofing is a job where adding more people can get it done faster versus software. b) when you are doing contract work, cleaning up after you are done and going over what was done goes a long way.]


Math Proof: An attempted answer

I would like to thank all the people who answered my post on wanting a proof for the problem (thank you also to the people who hunted me down in IRC and pointed out what I needed to do also.) From all that help here is my attempt at a 'proof'.


In the series of non-negative integers, every number is divible
by one of the following: 3m, 3m+1, or 3m+2.

The series n^2 would thus be looked at as

(3m)^2 = 9m^2
(3m+1)^2 = 9m^2+6m+1
(3m+2)^2 = 9m^2+12m+4

9m^2 is always divisible by 3 as any number multiplied by 3 is
divisible by 3.
9m^2+6m and 9m^2+12 mis always divisible by 3 because a) but parts
of the sum are divisible by 3, and adding two numbers divisible
by 3 leaves you a number still divisible by 3.].. so we can simplify
this a bit

(3m)^2 = 9m^2 = 3j
(3m+1)^2 = 9m^2+6m+1 = 3j+3k+1 = 3(j+k)+1 = 3l+1 (or not divisible by 3)
(3m+2)^2 = 9m^2+12m+4 = 3j+3k+4 = 3(j+k)+4 = 3l+4
= 3l+3+1 = 3(l+1)+1 => 3n+1 (or not divisible by 3)

Thus all numbers squared are either divisible by 3 or 3x+1 (where x is
some number). And from that we can show that n^2+1 are never divisible
by 3 because they are either 3x+1 or 3x+2.

I would probably get an F from my favorite math professor Alan Sharples but it did make me feel a lot better when I got it out. Thanks for the help.. I can sleep easier tonight (well unless I get caught up in why Boron absorbs neutrons so well)