Dell Latitude D630 ordered

Yesterday I said I was looking at the D830 or the T61, but I had forgotten about the Dell Latitude D630 that I had looked at a couple times. After talking with Tiff about getting a new laptop and getting the okay, I finally went with the D630.

I think this will be a nice compromise of screen real estate and portability. I really like having the WSXGA+ screen, but the laptop is big. I think the WXGA+ resolution will be workable while on the road and when I'm at my desk I'll typically be hooked up to an external LCD anyway, so the drop in resolution shouldn't be as horrible as I thought it might be.

I guess we'll see if I made the right choice in a couple weeks.

Mozdev Status Update for W5-2008

  • Released Project search interface - There is still a small bug to work out here, but having a search form for finding projects at Mozdev should be a huge help for users trying to find a project.
  • Parse supported applications from install.rdf files - I made a lot of progress on being able to parse .xpi files and pull information out of the install.rdf file. I should be testing this week and hopefully have the parsing code in place towards the end of the week. After that I can work on creating a frontend to show what applications are supported by our projects and adding search capability to it.

Sick days suck

I hate sick days. Especially ones like this; I'm lucid enough to know that I should be being more productive, yet not lucid enough to trust anything I would do. Damn Dayquil(tm).

So this weekend (Friday, actually) I finally managed to get ahold of a Wii (damn those marketing people at Nintendo for making that sound dirty). The Wii Sports game it came with is a lot of fun. My sister and cousin Logan were up for the weekend so I took it along over to my parents' house Friday night and we had a good time bowling. I picked up Super Mario Galaxy on Sunday and it seems like it'll be a nice experience with the Wii's controls, but I'm not sure how strong of a game it really is. I'm looking forward to seeing what games 2008 can produce for the platform.

I got my taxes out of the way, and despite having to pay a small penalty for not paying quarterly estimated taxes for the past half-year, I made out pretty well. Well enough that I can seriously consider replacing my aging HP zt3000. I've upgrading the laptop in the past, but I'm not sure that it's worth the expense giving the performance gains would be minimal. My biggest grips right now are CPU speed and video card age. While I'm not an avid gamer anymore, I still can't play anything semi-recent like Team Fortress 2 that everyone on #cplug seems to rave about.

Front runners right now are the Lenovo Thinkpad T61 15.4" and the Dell Latitude D830. Considering the laptop is my primary desktop now, I need something with dock support so that I don't need to plug in power, video (external LCD), sound (external speakers), and USB devices (iPod, USB phone charger). That's just too many things to plug in all the time.

I would like something more portable than my current zt3000 - and neither the T61 or the D830 fall into that category. The 14.1" T61 is a bit more portable and so is the Dell D630; I guess I need to look at the HP offerings again just to make sure I didn't rule them out earlier. I really like my 1680x1050 WSXGA+ screen resolution, I could probably stand going to 1440x900 since I have a 20.1" 1680x1050 external LCD available for desktop use.

And that's it for my semi-lucid sick day blog (sad that it takes a sick day for me to have a real blog update).

Mozdev sysadmin meeting minutes for 2008-01-29

Present: davidwboswell (David Boswell), gjm (Gerry Murphy), ericjung(Eric Jung), silfreed (Douglas Warner), tanker (Michael Dosser)

Discussion was held publically in #mozdev

Discussed developer priorities

  • Mozdev source code should be publically available now in hovercraft/sandbox/php
  • admin tools are updated to work with PHP upgrade
  • project search interface is almost complete; see
  • starting to track what applications are supported by projects this week

Discussed sysadmin priorities

  • PHP on was updated from 4.4.7 to 4.4.8
  • Bugzilla now supports UTF8 properly; there were some problems with migrating the data and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis
  • CVS hiccup this week that caused the cvs server to max out the CPU
  • TWS is no longer authoritative for DNS
  • some private lists were publically available via /mailarchives/
  • quick way of putting the site in maintenance mode was implemented for the downtime this week

Staging server migration

  • has started making plans for hardware/hosting/VMs
  • OSUOSL is offering VMs, but doesn't have much disk space currently so that offering is currently on hold
  • nothing definitive about using mozilla for hosting yet
  • is still giving disk errors; the /mozdev/ partition may be on its way out
  • will need to migrate mirror service off the vebzom server

Dealing with newsgroups

  • gjm is looking into project and newsgroup creation; should have more info soon

Mozdev Status Update for W4-2008

This week I plan to finish up the search interface and begin looking into how to pull information out of the .xpi files' install.rdf correctly. I'll probably take a look at Remora to see how they've done it, but I don't think we're looking into running Remora at Mozdev.

We should be ready to have our PHP 5.2 installation tested by project owners soon; please comment in bug#15312 if you're interested in helping with this.

Mozdev sysadmin meeting minutes for 2008-01-22

Present: davidwboswell (David Boswell), gjm (Gerry Murphy), silfreed (Douglas Warner), tanker (Michael Dosser)

Discussion was held publically in #mozdev

Discussed developer priorities

  • continuing to get mozdev code working with PHP 5.2
  • migrating mozdev code into CVS - updated in Hovercraft project now
  • mozdev code is checked out on and running from CVS
  • decided not to have mozdev code auto-update to allow developer more control over the process that gets new code on the server
  • added DoS prevention to to keep single IPs from hammering the server too much - this was the cause of some downtime a little over a month ago
  • added caching of various download stats and front page content
  • ready to get's website code running from CVS; need to schedule a time w/ sysadmins to move some directories around
  • continuing to track down problems w/ register_globals = off on; lots of problems have been resolved already (main site works, most admin tools work)

Discussed sysadmin priorities

  • both servers have been updated to the lastest FreeBSD 6.1 patch level and rebooted to apply the new kernel updates
  • various monitoring updates
  • troubleshooting cvs/mail problems on
  • Friday evening amavisd died somehow; email queue grew over the weekend until the problem was fixed Sunday
  • became unavailable after fixing amavisd on Sunday but became available before any diagnostic could be performed; possibly a network connection problem
  • has been showing some disk errors; no conclusions about this yet (SMART test was clean)

Staging server migration

  • Mozilla is offering colocation space, but not VMs or hardware
  • developers need a staging machine that doesn't have production data synced over top of their development code
  • potentially look into purchasing a new machine for failover and ship that and current staging machine to Mozilla
  • gjm and tanker are both busy with current problems so davidwboswell will see if a board member is available to keep the process going

Dealing with newsgroups

  • no progress yet

Mozdev Status Update for W3-2008

  • Project tagging - Project tagging is essentially complete; I need to move on to a search interface to make finding projects easier, but I'm thinking that might be another bug (to be filed).
  • Upgrading Mozdev's PHP - Continued work to get Mozdev's code up-to-par with PHP 5.2.
  • Migrate Mozdev site code to CVS - Having Mozdev's site code in CVS will help with testing code changes between our staging server and our live server since it'll be easier to port patches between the boxes. The code is now updated in the Hovercraft project and running on, so we just need to schedule a time to get this done on our main server.
  • Added DoS prevention and stats caching to D.MD.o - I've added download limiting to D.MD.o in order to keep certain clients from abusing our server. I've also implemented some caching of download stats in order to ease the I/O load on our server a bit.
  • Caching of items on front page items
  • Research into Apache modules for rate-limiting connections - We have certain apps that we try not to mess with the internals much (cvsweb, bugzilla, mailman, drupal) that can be hit fairly hard by spiders and other abusive clients; we'd like to rate-limit the connections to these apps so our server can remain more available to our other users. So far I've found that mod_cband looks like it might work, but haven't gotten to testing anything yet (or filing a bug).
  • Log file parsing to determine what apps are slow to be served - I haven't come to a conclusion here yet, but I've definitely noticed that D.MD.o gets a lot of hits.

This week I'm hoping to finish getting our site's code running from CVS as well as finish testing Mozdev's code with PHP 5.2. I hope to be able to get started on a search framework for the site so finding projects is easier.

Reflecting on FUDCon

This past weekend was great; I met a lot of people I've only seen in IRC or on mailing lists, hacked on MyFedora (mockup) a bunch, attended and filmed a bunch of sessions, and just tried to get some of the "Fedora vibe" and see how everyone interacts.

Todd and I arrived at the hotel late Thursday night, around 22:30. We visited the lobby for a bit to see if any Fedorites where there, but there weren't. I informed Todd about the dress code for the NCSU State Club and we promptly decided to hit Walmart. Unfortunately, they closed at 23:00 so we were SOL for the night. Back to the room to hang out on IRC for a bit and sleep.

Up early Friday to get breakfast and pants at Walmart. The State Club at NCSU was an awesome place; I should have pictures up soon, hopefully. While there were a number of sessions going on, I ended up in the Fedora Infrastructure room working on MyFedora with John (J5) Palmieri, Luke Macken, and Toshio Kuratomi. My python's not nearly as good as my PHP (mostly just lack of understanding basic structures and what classes are available), but I was able to pickup enough about the TurboGears framework they were using to get the widget configuration written and aide in the basic design of the RSS widget so that we can write new widgets in only 3 lines of code!. I was really surprised at the number of people that turned out for the hackfest, and apparently so was Fedora; at 78 people total, it was over twice what they were expecting and had planned for lunch! The staff at the State Club were great, though; the food was excellent as well.

Friday evening Todd and I went out with a large group to eat and sat down with Kevin Fenzi and his girlfriend. Afterward we all went back to the hotel bar to hang out with a bunch of other Fedorians.

Saturday was the Barcamp and was I was surprised to see how many showed up for this event. Max's opening State of Fedora address was great; it was very nice to get insight from someone that has to have a high overview of what Fedora has done and where it is going. He also announced Paul Frields taking over, and even from the little I was able to see of him, it looks like we'll be in good hands.

I managed to get to about 4 sessions out of the various blocks throughout the day. Everyone attended Michael Tiemann’s talk on “Fedora in the Enterprise" which turned out to be a great discussion on how enterprises can and need to contribute to the open source process. Next I attended Mike McGrath's talk on Fedora Infrastructure and how they're both similar and different from your regular IT shop. After lunch (provided by Fedora) I hit up the MyFedora talk lead by John, then decided to take a break and hang out in the big room while the Cobbler talk was going on. I picked up at the end of Seth Vidal's talk on Yum/CreateRepo to ask about "suggested packages". I was glad to hear that they've definitely have though of this, and while there are some technical problems (RPM would need to support it) it's more of a problem of "how do we present this to the user". I'll definitely have to keep an eye on this and see if any of the other upcoming technologies like PackageKit could help frame this any better. My last session for the day was the TurboGears talk by Luke. Out of all those sessions, I managed to film the State of Fedora address, Fedora in the Enterprise, Fedora Infrastructure, MyFedora, and the TurboGears sessions - I have some transcoding to do, it seems ;-)

Saturday night was FUDPub; first at the Flying Saucer where Fedora bought the first round (thanks!) and then onto a couple other bars; one with karaoke, one without. I mostly avoided the karaoke one and hung out with people at the other one (I can't remember either bar's names).

We arrived a bit late to Sunday's hackfest; I got to work on MyFedora again and almost managed to get user-to-widget associations saving. Well, actually, I think that part works, but there's some minor detail about restoring the widgets. Sunday wasn't nearly as productive as I would have liked, but with people running around trying to rebook cancelled flights and exhausted from such a great weekend, it's not surprising.

We ended up leaving around 14:00 and got back to my place about 20:45. Long drive, but the trip was definitely worth it to meet all the people and learn lots of new things; most of which I probably am not even aware of yet. Here's to another great year for Fedora!

Mozdev sysadmin meeting minutes for 2008-01-15

Present: davidwboswell (David Boswell), ericjung (Eric Jung), gjm (Gerry Murphy), silfreed (Douglas Warner), tanker (Michael Dosser), buanzo

Discussion was held publically in #mozdev

Mozdev DNS outage

  • The Web Stop has had a series of outages that affect Mozdev for lengthy periods
  • the feeling is that TWS can't be used any more; even for staging
  • sysadmins will move primary DNS to
  • secondary servers will be handled by
  • buanzo offered his DNS servers as secondaries as well
  • buanzo also offered to handle backup MX; sysadmins feel that backup MXs aren't needed at the moment
  • we should investiage VMs at various organizations as part of the move
  • TWS should be notified to no longer serve the DNS

Discussed developer priorities

  • Project tagging is live; been spending some time cleaning up various bugs
  • making preparations for the PHP 5 upgrade; testing, coordinating with POs
  • up this week is working on a Search engine for finding projects and PHP 5 code updates
  • moving mozdev code into CVS is going to be a higher priority as it will ease making changes to code on both servers
  • Google can't be used for finding projects as it doesn't know enough about the problem domain to make finding projects easier

Project tagging policy

  • there is feeling that any tag should be allowed that is not inappropriate
  • Mozdev is worried that a project will "spam" the tag cloud
  • possibly only show tags with >1 project - this would make the current tag cloud fairly unusable
  • we will continue to discuss the tag policy on the list

Discussed sysadmin priorities

  • updates for service monitoring, spam catching, stats
  • no real update about the cause of the outage from The Web Stop
  • the outage seems to be power related as vebzom only has 4 days uptime, was shutdown uncleanly, and was down for ~2.5 hours
  • DNS zone was fully transfered after the outage was over
  • servers will need rebooted for maintenance; silfreed will notify POs

Dealing with newsgroups

  • gjm looked into the list creation/newsgroup problem and only found that Pete is the only one with the knowledge of the process
  • gjm also found out that there are only 60 active newsgroups
  • gjm will check with Pete to gain insight on the newsgroup creation process

Who to call for outages

  • davidwboswell will make sure everyone has a copy of the contact list again
  • tanker offered that he is on call 24/7 for emergencies
  • contact order for emergencies will be tanker, then others as available
  • individuals need to ensure they have a copy of the contact list avaialable offline for cases when MD.o is unreachable

Reschedule meetings?

  • 7am PST is a bad time for davidwboswell; move to 08:00 PST/11:00 EST/16:00 UTC

Mozdev DNS outage is currently experiencing a DNS outage due to our one hosting company being offline. We're aware of the problem but currently don't have an ETR. We'll be looking into making DNS available from more hosts in the near future so that problems like this don't cause outages for

Mozdev Status Update for W52-2007 - W2-2008

I've been taking a bit of a break from Mozdev over Christmas, so not as much got accomplished, and I'll be down at FUDCon tomorrow so I figured I'd do my status update early.

  • bug#7021 - Project tags - I've added project tagging to so that projects owners can tag their projects with short descriptive phrases to make finding their project easier; you can see the results on the tags page (as well as the homepage). Our goal is to add a search interface that allows people to search the tags, applications supported by a project, and project description to find projects easier; we'll see how that goes.
  • bug#15312 - Upgrade to PHP 5 - I've been working Mozdev's backend code to get our site working with PHP 5 - this mostly means working with register_globals = off for us. There's a lot of places that rely on this currently, and I'm sure it's not going to be a perfectly smooth transition. I posted to the project owners list detailing the change, so people should be aware of it. Hopefully people have an easy time getting their code updated.

I plan on continuing to work on PHP 5 support as well as beginning to look into how to implement a search system for next week when I'm back from FUDCon.

Disabling PHP's register_globals in userland

So you have a large PHP deployment that is (still? - this is 2008!) using register_globals. How do you test individual pieces of the site without being able to change the ini variable via .htaccess? Try this code out:
if (ini_get('register_globals'))
        $__sgs = array('_ENV', '_GET', '_POST', '_COOKIE', '_SERVER');
        foreach ($__sgs as $__sg)
                $__k = array_keys(${$__sg});
                foreach($__k as $__v)
                        if (isset($$__v) && ${$__sg}[$__v] === $$__v)
                        } // end if superglobal var = local var
                } // end foreach superglobal key
        } // end foreach superglobal
} // end if register_globals

FUDCon 2008 this weekend

Heading down with Todd Zullinger today to Raleigh, NC to hit up FUDCon.

I'm pretty excited about this trip; I've been a user of Red Hat products for about 9 years now, and while I've done some packaging for several years I've only recently become a Fedora contributor and have been trying very hard to improve my packaging and am finally getting into seeing what other areas I can help with.

While both Todd and I are signed up for the GPG keysigning session (I wish there were more people going to that), I think I'll probably head over to the yum hackfest to see what I can learn about RPM and yum to see what could be done to improve "suggested packages" support.

I also have a lot of interest in the sysadmining, so I might checkout the Infrastructure hackfest, and I'd also love to see a better init system, so I might head there.

Overall, there's a ton of stuff to try to take in at this short gathering, and I hope I can make the most of it.

I'll also have my new Canon HG10 camcorder and a recently-purchased Canon DM-50 shotgun microphone to bring to the event, so I'll be taking videos of the sessions. Feel free to try to grab me if you have any other ideas for things I could take videos of.

My biggest concern with the videos is going to be what quality to store them in; 5.5 hrs at 15Mbps doesn't sound like much for the whole weekend, but I don't know if we want lower quality or not (if the final result is just YouTube, it probably doesn't matter). I would appreciate any ideas people have about this.

Mozdev sysadmin meeting minutes for 2008-01-08

Present: davidwboswell (David Boswell), gjm (Gerry Murphy), silfreed (Douglas Warner), tanker (Michael Dosser)

Discussion was held publically in #mozdev

Discussed developer priorities

  • project tagging is moving along well; the PO interface for editing tags is complete; the user interface for browsing tags (tag cloud and project lists) is complete; the admin interface for managing tags is complete. Tools that are left are an admin interface for managing tags per project and a search interface.
  • David and Doug will get together on how to best integrate into the site

Discussed sysadmin priorities

  • bugzilla sanity check cleanups went well on
  • bugzilla UTF-8 conversion mostly worked (there were problems with a few records that will need manually looked at)
  • UTF-8 conversion is ready to go; Doug will handle announcing to POs when downtime is needed
  • vebzom is running apache2 & PHP 5
  • performance with PHP 5 is a bit worse; Doug suggested trying php eaccelerator to make up for the difference
  • a "final" php 4 version was released to fix bugs but no freebsd port is available yet

Dealing with newsgroups

  • no update yet

Sheller Wedding in St. Mary's

This past weekend we went to St. Mary's, PA to attend a wedding; that was quite the drive.

We drove about 3.5 hrs on the way there (left around 05:15) on the 29th, then came back Sunday morning the 30th and took about 4.5 hrs.

The wedding was very nice; the first time I've been to a catholic ceremony. It was much shorter than I expected at about 45 minutes, and other than some ceremonial differences it really wasn't that different from the other protestant weddings I've been to.

The reception was also very nice; it was held at a country club where they had the entire dining facility booked. We had hoped to do more dancing, but things drug on a little too long and Jocelyn needed to get back to the hotel so we left.

The drive back we tried to see some elk (the big thing in the north, apparently) and succeeded. Those pictures should hopefully be uploaded soon.

In the meantime, enjoy these profile charts and maps of the trip.