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Binh Nguyen: Memorable Quotes - Part 5

Wed, 2014-12-03 03:55
A follow on from: - "The problem with trying to disabuse someone of a conspiracy theory is that any argument you make becomes part of the conspiracy, so I don't know if it's possible to convince the Chinese that it's not about encircling them," she said.   - M: Today I've repeatedly heard how irrelevant my department has become. "Why do we need agents, the Double-0 section? Isn't it all antiquated?" Well, I suppose I see a different world than you do, and the truth is that what I see frightens me. I'm frightened because our enemies are no longer known to us. They do not exist on a map. They're not nations, they're individuals. And look around you. Who do you fear? Can you see a face, a uniform, a flag? No! Our world is not more transparent now, it's more opaque! It's in the shadows. That's where we must do battle. So before you declare us irrelevant, ask yourselves, how safe do you feel? Just one more thing to say, my late husband was a great lover of poetry, and... I suppose some of it sunk in, despite my best intentions. And here today, I remember this, I believe, from Tennyson: "We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find, AND NOT TO YIELD." When someone is bluffing with chips, their actions are often stilted and visibly precise, with a notable pause to think before they are carried out. Look for his responses that don't appear to flow naturally; these are the ones that should require further examination.

- the doctrine, developed after Rwanda's genocide, that the international community must act if governments fail to protect their own citizens. The Henry Jackson Society, a UK think-tank, has also argued that legal authorisation from the General Assembly could be based on the "Uniting for Peace" resolution of 1950, which was used to overcome the Soviet Union's obstruction at the Security Council in the Korean war.

- "We can't wait for growth, we must go find it," Hollande said. "The euro zone has long since stopped being a brotherhood for increasing prosperity and mutual stability. It has transformed itself into a school of gladiators in which everyone fights for his own advantage and his survival." "Peace, like air and sunshine, is hardly noticed when people are benefiting from it," Chinese President Xi Jinping noted in his opening speech at Boao. "But none of us can live without it."

- "We turned the inside of our tent into a circus. 'Cause inside of our circus, we cannot be injured. Inside of our circus, we cannot be touched."

- The fact that the polls now seem to be locked into an easy Coalition win on September 14 has meant that the prospect of Anthony John Abbott, Prime Minister, has finally to be confronted as emerging reality rather than a possible future scenario, so the punters are reluctantly turning away from the easy pickings of the carcase of the Labor Party to take a few cautious sniffs at the fresh meat of an incoming government. And, by and large, they are not too keen on the smell.

- But leadership, especially for someone who has achieved that level of power, requires three elements: It must communicate a clear vision and a commitment to its realization; it must mobilize and inspire others into action; and it must produce results."

- "He may be a sonofabitch, but he's our sonofabitch."

- Today's nugget of investing wisdom comes courtesy of a refreshing post from Joshua Brown of The Reformed Broker.

So often in investing, people feel the need to break out fancy trading equipment, glue themselves to their computers all day and employ a host of complicated math equations to make the best decisions.

 Not so, says Brown:

"The fancier the math one uses to justify an entrenched investment opinion, the more obscure and arcane the indicators employed, the more desperate and wrong that person is," he writes.

"We don't resort to algebraic equations when we're on the winning side of a trade and confident that we have gotten the broad strokes right. It is only when our backs are against the wall and the core beliefs we've publicly held have proven to be ineffective or incorrect that we resort to mining for "new" data from decades ago to re-prove our original thesis. This is more about saving face and nursing a bruised ego than it is about making money."

In fact, as an individual investor, you may have insights that the professionals who get paid to trade could never possess.

- "In some ways the devastation is beautiful. There is regrowth and regeneration, it's part of nature and relative to the debate about global warming and climate change."

- Intrusive government regulations and high costs, uncompetitive labour agreements that lock in above market wage increases, and insufficient volumes for economies of scale all played a significant role in Ford's demise. Another important factor is excess capacity in the global car market due to foreign government subsidies.

- A newspaper comes out once a day and needs to be put together differently every time. It can no longer be used to find out what's going on, except by a rapidly diminishing group of people who don't really want to know what's going on.


Newspapers must be reinvented to be sort of daily magazines, bought for reading rather than finding things out, and that should have happened years ago. Websites need to be fast-moving, constantly updated, accurate sources of information and analysis. The glory of mountain climbing lies in the fact that success is never guaranteed.

- "Things are changing way faster than they were in the 1970s or 1980s with technology, capital and talent available everywhere in the world, which was not the case then. This is making the lack of action, vision and priorities a much more difficult thing and a much bigger sin than before."

- "Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked, 'Account overdrawn." -Ayn Rand

- "We are not engaging in a purely material enterprise, we are engaging in a human enterprise which will promote peace and mark a major step for civilisation".

- But leadership requires more than an unusually elevated dose of political vitamins: it requires a disciplined intellectual framework that can shape an understanding of the past, underpin mastery of the present and guide the search to enlarge the future. Lacking that, no number of resurrections can transform persistent failure into enduring success. To believe otherwise is to court ultimate disaster, with nothing but disappointment along the way.

- "We seem to be standing by --and, frankly, asking -- for perfectness in science,"' Sullivan wrote in the 2007 CNA report. "People are saying they want to be convinced, perfectly. They want to know the climate-science projections with 100 percent certainty. Well, we know a great deal, and even with that, there is still uncertainty. But the trend line is very clear. We never have 100 percent certainty. We never have it. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield. That's something we know. You have to act with incomplete information. You have to act based on the trend line. You have to act on your intuition sometimes."

- "We don't don't get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? We've all chosen to do this with our lives. So it'd better be damn good."

- "You need brilliant minds to write good reports. But you also need efficient practitioners to apply those recommendations," he said.

- In his book Mother Earth and Mankind, celebrated historian Arnold Toynbee wrote that if the Chinese remain mindful of their past and future, "they may do a great service, not only to their own country, but to the whole of mankind at a critical stage in mankind's enigmatic course." Wall Street fails to understand the compounding power of a viral feedback loop. Hence, traditional financial firms underestimate the global demand for Tesla automobiles and related products. Most Wall Street firms are linear thinkers, and they do not understand the non-linear mathematics of viral feedback loops. Consequently, their linear models miscalculate the power and impact of viral marketing.

So get with the loop.

- In an age dominated by economic fears and corroded by loathing for politicians, the irreducibles of life make the health service the sole arena where the visceral issues of love, birth and death bind parliamentarians and the people. The NHS, a conduit through the no man's land separating the governing and the governed, is not the creaking relic of Tory myth.

Its problems are not, at heart, poor management or regulation (though neither help) but that it is being asked to do too much with too few staff. And yet, with demography and demand stacked against it, it accounts for 9.6 per cent of GDP, compared to 17.9 per cent in the US for far worse care. Some golden future of privatisation is a neverland sustained only by the erroneous notion that private services offer better and safer treatment. The public, who queue at GPs' surgeries, who languish in A&E and who, too often, see their parents or grandparents condemned to live and die like cattle, know all of this.

That is why the battle for the NHS is so bitter and the prize for offering a 21st-century settlement so immense. Ed Miliband is sitting on the big idea which might just save the health service. He should back it. Political memoirs are their own thing. There is inevitable self justification, sometimes outright delusion. There is record setting and score settling, foes touched up, fellow travellers flattered.

Some are stagey and allegorical, their true purpose all too transparent - the text is a bridge to life on the speaker's circuit after politics, a crude marketing exercise. Some hold back, constrained by dull instincts, cramped rooms, cut lunches and wooden formulations. Some are gossipy and gonzo, like Bob Carr's magnificently picaresque romp through the foreign affairs portfolio published earlier this year.

The best contributions tell the truth, or if not the truth (a vexatious and flexible concept, given history's tendency to be somewhat in the eye of the beholder) - then at least truth according to the person providing the story. The reflections are authentic, and ring true. There is an attempt to interrogate events and emotions and experiences.

Andrew Pollock: [life] Day 306: Running, Kindergarten visit, Christmas party

Tue, 2014-12-02 21:25

After helping out with Saturday's New Farm parkrun by being the timekeeper, I felt additionally motivated to get out and go for a run again. It was overcast and cooler this morning, so that helped. I managed to get out and running pretty early.

Annoyingly, my phone decided it had a completely different idea of distance than reality (I think it decided my approximately 7 km run was 20 km, which was very annoying) so the record of the run is pretty much useless. I hope this isn't a sign of further problems with Android 5.0 on my phone.

After that, I pottered around home for a bit before getting ready to go spend a chunk of time at Kindergarten. I had to pick up some stuff from the supermarket on the way, and I ended up getting there a bit later than I'd intended, but it seemed to work out well with the schedule they were running to at Kindergarten.

I've been wanting to go and spend a day with Zoe at Kindergarten all year, it's just taken me until the second last week to get my act together and make it happen. I know some of the mothers had done baking and stuff with the kids, but I thought that I could do something technological instead. I'll go into all the technical details in another post.

I had a really fun morning with all the kids. Initially it was just with the kids from Zoe's unit, but after all of them had had a bit of a turn, Zoe's teacher asked me if I wanted to do it with the kids in Megan's unit as well, so I moved over to the other classroom and they all had a turn too. It was lovely to properly meet all of the kids, especially the ones I didn't already know by name.

I stuck around until Zoe had lunch, and then left when they had their rest time, and went home for a bit of a rest myself. Zoe was super happy that I was able to spend some time there.

I drove back for pick up time, and we just hung out at home afterwards.

It was my Thermomix branch Christmas Party, and I'd booked the same babysitter that had nannied for me previously. That seemed to work out pretty well.

Michael Still: Specs for Kilo, an update

Tue, 2014-12-02 15:28
We're now a few weeks away from the kilo-1 milestone, so I thought it was time to update my summary of the Nova specifications that have been proposed so far. So here we go...



  • Expand support for volume filtering in the EC2 API: review 104450.
  • Implement tags for volumes and snapshots with the EC2 API: review 126553 (fast tracked, approved).


  • Check that a service isn't running before deleting it: review 131633.
  • Enable the nova metadata cache to be a shared resource to improve the hit rate: review 126705 (abandoned).
  • Enforce instance uuid uniqueness in the SQL database: review 128097 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Implement a daemon version of rootwrap: review 105404.
  • Log request id mappings: review 132819 (fast tracked).
  • Monitor the health of hypervisor hosts: review 137768.
  • Remove the assumption that there is a single endpoint for services that nova talks to: review 132623.


Containers Service


Hypervisor: Docker

Hypervisor: FreeBSD

  • Implement support for FreeBSD networking in nova-network: review 127827.

Hypervisor: Hyper-V

  • Allow volumes to be stored on SMB shares instead of just iSCSI: review 102190 (approved).

Hypervisor: Ironic

Hypervisor: VMWare

  • Add ephemeral disk support to the VMware driver: review 126527 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Add support for the HTML5 console: review 127283.
  • Allow Nova to access a VMWare image store over NFS: review 126866.
  • Enable administrators and tenants to take advantage of backend storage policies: review 126547 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Enable the mapping of raw cinder devices to instances: review 128697.
  • Implement vSAN support: review 128600 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Support multiple disks inside a single OVA file: review 128691.
  • Support the OVA image format: review 127054 (fast tracked, approved).

Hypervisor: ironic

Hypervisor: libvirt

Instance features


  • A lock-free quota implementation: review 135296.
  • Automate the documentation of the virtual machine state transition graph: review 94835.
  • Flatten Aggregate Metadata in the DB: review 134573.
  • Flatten Instance Metadata in the DB: review 134945.
  • Implement a new code coverage API extension: review 130855.
  • Move flavor data out of the system_metadata table in the SQL database: review 126620 (approved).
  • Move to polling for cinder operations: review 135367.
  • Transition Nova to using the Glance v2 API: review 84887.
  • Transition to using glanceclient instead of our own home grown wrapper: review 133485.


  • Enable lazy translations of strings: review 126717 (fast tracked).



  • Dynamically alter the interval nova polls components at based on load and expected time for an operation to complete: review 122705.


  • Add a filter to take into account hypervisor type and version when scheduling: review 137714.
  • Add an IOPS weigher: review 127123 (approved, implemented); review 132614.
  • Add instance count on the hypervisor as a weight: review 127871 (abandoned).
  • Allow limiting the flavors that can be scheduled on certain host aggregates: review 122530 (abandoned).
  • Allow the remove of servers from server groups: review 136487.
  • Convert get_available_resources to use an object instead of dict: review 133728.
  • Convert the resource tracker to objects: review 128964 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Create an object model to represent a request to boot an instance: review 127610.
  • Decouple services and compute nodes in the SQL database: review 126895 (approved).
  • Enable adding new scheduler hints to already booted instances: review 134746.
  • Fix the race conditions when migration with server-group: review 135527 (abandoned).
  • Implement resource objects in the resource tracker: review 127609.
  • Improve the ComputeCapabilities filter: review 133534.
  • Isolate the scheduler's use of the Nova SQL database: review 89893.
  • Let schedulers reuse filter and weigher objects: review 134506 (abandoned).
  • Move select_destinations() to using a request object: review 127612.
  • Persist scheduler hints: review 88983.
  • Stop direct lookup for host aggregates in the Nova database: review 132065 (abandoned).
  • Stop direct lookup for instance groups in the Nova database: review 131553.


  • Provide a reference implementation for console proxies that uses TLS: review 126958 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Strongly validate the tenant and user for quota consuming requests with keystone: review 92507.


  • Allow direct access to LVM volumes if supported by Cinder: review 127318.
  • Enhance iSCSI volume multipath support: review 134299.
  • Failover to alternative iSCSI portals on login failure: review 137468.
  • Implement support for a DRBD driver for Cinder block device access: review 134153.
  • Refactor ISCSIDriver to support other iSCSI transports besides TCP: review 130721.
  • StorPool volume attachment support: review 115716.
  • Support iSCSI live migration for different iSCSI target: review 132323 (approved).

Tags for this post: openstack kilo blueprint spec nova

Related posts: Specs for Kilo; How are we going with Nova Kilo specs after our review day?; One week of Nova Kilo specifications; Compute Kilo specs are open; Juno nova mid-cycle meetup summary: slots; Juno nova mid-cycle meetup summary: nova-network to Neutron migration

Comment News: Speaker Feature: Mark Smith, Roan Kattouw, Mike Tarantino

Tue, 2014-12-02 07:28
Mark Smith Building Services in Go!

1:20pm Friday 15th January 2015

Mark is a little bit of everything. He's done time as a software engineer, a MySQL DBA, a sysadmin, and even managed an operations team. He's worked for the likes of Google and Mozilla, started a successful open source project (Dreamwidth Studios).

In his free time, he likes to write code in Perl, Go, and Python as well as fly small aircraft. He believes strongly in the Oxford comma and wishes to move back to Iceland one day.

For more information on Mark and his presentation, see here.

Roan Kattouw Tails from the Trenches: Battling Browser Bugs for “Fun” and (Non-)Profit

10:40am Thursday 15th January 2015

Roan has been hacking on MediaWiki since 2007. In 2009, he crossed over to the dark side and became a front-end developer (he’s one of those “children” who started front-end development when jQuery already existed).

Since then, he has attempted to make the dark side a little bit less evil by working on ResourceLoader (a JS/CSS loading system for MediaWiki) and VisualEditor (a next-generation editor for wiki pages).

For more information on Roan and his presentation, see here.

Mike Tarantino Mixing In The Free World

2:15pm Friday 16th January 2015

Mike is a Grammy-nominated recording engineer with 13 years of professional experience, working with artists such as James Blunt, Pete Murray, Badly Drawn Boy, Sloan and Michael Jackson. As a songwriter and musician, his songs have been used in a variety of places from popular TV shows to the sleaziest burlesque halls in Brooklyn.

He was the composer of a neo-swing musical, Buddy Cianci the Musical, performed in New York. He takes inspiration from his cyborg lawyer wife to find free and open solutions wherever he can, as proved by writing the popular theme song of the free software oggcast, Free as in Freedom.

For more information on Mike and his presentation, see here.

Jan Schmidt: Network clock examples

Tue, 2014-12-02 01:26

Way back in 2006, Andy Wingo wrote some small scripts for GStreamer 0.10 to demonstrate what was (back then) a fairly new feature in GStreamer – the ability to share a clock across the network and use it to synchronise playback of content across different machines.

Since GStreamer 1.x has been out for over 2 years, and we get a lot of questions about how to use the network clock functionality, it’s a good time for an update. I’ve ported the simple examples for API changes and to use the gobject-introspection based Python bindings and put them up on my server.

To give it a try, fetch and onto 2 or more computers with GStreamer 1 installed. You need a media file accessible via some URI to all machines, so they have something to play.

Then, on one machine run, passing a URI for it to play and a port to publish the clock on:

./ http://server/path/to/file 8554

The script will print out a command line like so:

Start slave as: python ./ http://server/path/to/file [IP] 8554 1071152650838999

On another machine(s), run the printed command, substituting the IP address of the machine running the master script.

After a moment or two, the slaved machine should start playing the file in synch with the master:

If they’re not in sync, check that you have the port you chose open for UDP traffic so the clock synchronisation packets can be transferred.

This basic technique is the core of my Aurena home media player system, which builds on top of the network clock mechanism to provide file serving and a simple shuffle playlist.

For anyone still interested in GStreamer 0.10 – Andy’s old scripts can be found on his server: and News: Speaker Feature: Karen Sandler, Marco Ostini, Joel Stanley

Mon, 2014-12-01 07:28
Karen Sandler The Low Down on IRS status for Free and Open Source Software Non-profits in the US.

11:35am Thursday 15th January 2015

Karen M. Sandler is the Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. She is known for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. Prior to joining Conservancy, she was Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation where she has recently been elected to the Board of Directors. Before that, she was General Counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center.

Karen co-organizes the award winning GNOME Outreach Program for Women and is an advisor to the Ada Initiative. She is also pro bono General Counsel to QuestionCopyright.Org. Karen is a recipient of the O'Reilly Open Source Award and co-host of the oggcast, Free as in Freedom.

For more information on Karen and her presentation, see here.

Marco Ostini The Imperfect Penguin

10:40am Wednesday 14th January 2015

Marco is an Information Security Analyst for AusCERT, and has been an active member of various open source groups and endeavours. Since the early '90s Marco has been hands-on with Linux, deploying it along with other FOSS goodness in infrastructure within one of Australia's larger universities. When it comes to the desktop Marco attempts to be slightly distro agnostic always using both a dpkg and rpm based distro in tandem.

Marco was on the team that hosted LCA in Brisbane - a team that will always be hero's in our minds!

For more information on Marco and his presentation, see here. You can follow him as @Marcoostini and don’t forget to mention #lca2015.

Joel Stanley FPGA killed the video capture star

3:40pm Wednesday 14th January 2015

Joel is an embedded hardware hacker with a background in Electrical Engineering. His fascination with FPGAs started when he created a FPGA based quad-core Gameboy emulator. Since then he has been seen flying High Altitude Balloons with Project Horus, hacking on Android powered software defined radios, and working on the FPGA parts of timsvideos as a Summer of Code mentor.

While not hacking on his hobbies, he works on the Linux Kernel at IBM OzLabs.

For more information on Joel and his presentation, see here.

Sridhar Dhanapalan: Twitter posts: 2014-11-24 to 2014-11-30

Mon, 2014-12-01 01:27

Andrew McDonnell: Running FreeBSD on the carambola2

Sun, 2014-11-30 23:26

The carambola2 is a small module built around the Atheros AR9330 SOC. Manufactured by 8devices, it has 64MB RAM, 16MB flash, two Ethernet ports and a host of GPIO pins, some of which can be configured as i2c, SPI or i2s. The carambola2 is shipped with OpenWRT a Linux distribution targeted at small devices and as a replacement firmware for consumer routers.

I have previously presented on using the carambola2 at the Sysadmin Miniconference at LCA2014 (slides here, video here)

To try something different, I thought I’d take FreeBSD for a run on this board. This became an extensive learning exercise as I knew absolutely nothing about any of the *BSD distributions other than their unix heritage and that they use BSD type licenses instead of GPL for the kernel and most of the userland.


As with any of these things, there are a bunch of perceived or actual pros/cons between OpenWRT and FreeBSD.

Some of these I only discovered during this process.

My requirements included:

  • Being able to do a complete firmware build from source, which is possible for both OpenWRT and FreeBSD
  • Easy access to LED and GPIOs
  • Run the image from a RAM filesystem

Some pros/cons of either include:

  • The build system used is actually the standard build system for FreeBSD. You could probably build OpenWRT under OpenWRT but you usually dont.
  • The build system when used for cross compiling is functional but not as elegant as OpenWRT
  • OpenWRT builds actually take significantly longer from scratch for some reason
  • FreeBSD may be regarded as more secure under some circumstances, for some definition of security. But see below…
  • FreeBSD ships with two firewalls: pf, and ipfw. This adds quite a learning curve when doing a bottom up build like this.
  • Many common packages (the BSD “ports” system) do not cross-build correctly for mips under FreeBSD
  • FreeBSD 10.x ships with llvm as the default compiler but falls back to gcc for cross-building mips. But the gcc supplied with FreeBSD is only 4.2      O_o      Apparently this is for licensing reasons. This can be worked around  but I haven’t had time to try it yet. Ramifications of this likely include weaker security.

The carambola2 and the mips platform in general is actually reasonably well supported by FreeBSD, although it is treated as a ‘beta’. As to be expected, to build a firmware for FreeBSD requires a host FreeBSD system (at least this would be the path of least resistance!)

I built a virtual machine using kvm and was able to install FreeBSD 10.0 with minimum of hassle. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get up and running to OpenBox. FreeBSD has ‘pkg’ as a binary package manager and it worked similarly enough to ‘apt-get’, or ‘yum’ that I had a build machine up in about half an hour.

I did need to install bash and vim and gedit, some things are just too hard to give up!

Build Process

There appeared to be more than one way to cross-build, including the use of qemu as a build host inside FreeBSD, but rather than chasing turtles on this occasion I went with a tool called ‘freebsd-wifi-build‘. This was actually quite straightforward and produced me a working firmware out of the box, with some caveats. The firmware includes only binaries from the FreeBSD base userland, and only a limited subset at that. Initially it also wanted to build as the root user, which was both an annoyance and a shock to discover, although I soon resolved that problem; I hope to soon have patches accepted into the project to change the default to build as user!

In general, constructing a firmware using FreeBSD is more manual than OpenWRT, as it lacks the all-encompassing configuration of packages and the packaging infrastructure provided by OpenWRT opkg. It is more  similar to the Linux buildroot or even Gentoo.

The end result is a build script that automates the process I used to customise things, this is published at , for use as you see fit.

To flash the firmware, I used scp to copy the image to my host machine then using minicom to connect to the board, flash via tftp.

freebsd-wifi-build produces separate kernel and filesystem images, I was able to combine them into one file to simplify flashing.

Easy Wins
  • Network worked, with caveats
  • I was able to toggle the LED using ‘/dev/led’, although overall Linux has much better access to GPIO / LED hardware
Tweaking required along the way
  • FreeBSD swaps the ethernet ports relative to OpenWRT, and also by default configured them in switched mode instead of independently routed. I resolved this by rebuilding the firmware with the latest FreeBSD kernel from -CURRENT, which made the ethernet PHY configuration configurable.
  • As part of resolving that, I by chance discovered I could built the FreeBSD-release-10.1.0 userland and the bleeding edge FreeBSD-CURRENT kernel and have them cooperate together!
  • Only some of the FreeBSD ports easily build with the default cross compiler configuration. This limits the software that can be installed (at least, if built using the ports infrastructure)
  • Defaulting to gcc-4.2 means various important security measures, such as -fstack-protector, are disabled
  • I also had to tweak the default FreeBSD kernel configuration provided for the carambola2, to turn on the FAT filesystem (for USB transfer) and to enable additional GPIO
  • FreeBSD ignores uboot environment and arguments on the ar71xx platform, I managed to patch the kernel to support that

I’ll keep using OpenWRT on most of my devices for the forseeable future. But I will have a couple of FreeBSD gadgets thrown into the mix, just so I can keep learning new things, and also because ironically FreeBSD supports another router I have, the dir-632 ( I blogged about this device previously) which is not officially supported in the mainline OpenWRT and probably wont be anytime soon, but does work in a FreeBSD fork, zrouter.

It will also be interesting to compare the performance of pf against iptables.

Potential future exploration ideas: running Debian kFreeBSD on the carambola2.

Andrew Pollock: [life] Day 303: Baking, Tumble Tastics and TuKindergarten Christmas party

Sun, 2014-11-30 21:25

I've left this post too long, and I can't remember how Zoe slept.

We did some baking in the morning, and made our first batch of Christmas mince pies. As usual, the shortbread pastry dough is going to require some tweaking to be workable enough for my liking, but I was fairly happy with the first batch.

We made a quick foray at the supermarket for more baking ingredients before it was time to leave for Tumble Tastics.

The weather was looking a bit dubious, so we walked to Tumble Tastics, and Zoe did lots of puddle jumping with her rain boots.

After lunch we made another batch of mince pies, and then headed over early to Zoe's Kindergarten Christmas party, as I'd said I'd help with set up.

The party went really well. I got roped into doing emcee duties with the local politicians for the raffle draw, before the kids performed.

The kids' performance was very cute. Zoe went home with Sarah and I stayed behind to help with the pack up. It's hard to believe Zoe only has 5 more days of Kindergarten. The year has gone by so quickly.

Ben Martin: FingerTech Mecanum meets Actobotics

Sat, 2014-11-29 10:20
Sparkfun sell some nice little omniwheels made by FingerTech Robotics. These come with a grub screw mount for a 3mm axle. While it is said around the webs that one might drill out the mount to accept up to a 6mm axle, I wanted a more flexible solution for mounting these wheels onto an Actobotics structure. It turns out that the four screw mounts (using what I think are x-40 screws) are in an extremely close location to the four screws on the Actobotics hub mount. Unfortunately it was a tad hard for me to get a hold of longer x-40 screws to attach the hub mount, so I ended up taking the wheel apart and replacing the standoffs with the Actobotics ones. The result is shown below:

The below shows the mecanum wheel taken apart. The three standoffs you see vertical in the image are the original ones from the wheel. These are about 1 inch long, so you'll be wanting some 1 inch actobotics standoffs to replace them with. When you unscrew the original standoffs then the hub mount part (centre of the red alloy), will be able to fall out and be removed. This lets you screw the Actobotics standoffs on and then on the other side use slightly longer bolts to attach the hub mount to the wheel to get the assembly shown above.

Apart from a clean 6mm hookup for the stepper motors that I plan to use, this is a handy modification allowing the 1/4 inch hub mount or other sizes to be substituted in instead. This is handy if you want to switch from 6mm to 6.35mm (1/4 inch) axles as you can easily change your mind just by changing the actobotics hub mounts.

Andrew Pollock: [life] Day 302: Playdate, swim class and a supercell storm

Fri, 2014-11-28 23:25

Zoe managed to sleep all night for a change, and instead, I had Smudge going mental on the doormat outside my room at around 2am. It's a conspiracy to not give me a solid night's sleep, I swear.

I'd organised another play date with Chloe, this time at our place. They were a bit late arriving, so we just hung out and watched some DVDs until they arrived.

The girls had a good time playing together, and I made some breadrolls for lunch and gave Kelley a bit of a one on one Thermomix demonstration.

They hung around after lunch until it was almost time for Kelley to pick up her older daughter from school, and we biked over not long after that to go to swim class.

Hampton Swim School was having their SwimSAFER week this week, and instead of normal classes, they had a bunch of different stations set up around the pool where they did different safety activities. It seemed pretty cool.

Unfortunately not long into her class, Zoe came over to me complaining of ear pain at the top of her ear. On quick inspection, it turned out that somehow a large ant had gotten trapped in her ear (fortunately it wasn't the ear canal) and had bitten her. I have no idea how it got in there.

I managed to fish it out with one of my keys, but it must have been hurting a lot, as she was very upset, and didn't want to go back to her class. I tried using some Stingose from Hampton's impressive first aid kit, but she was done and wanted to go home, so we did.

We biked back home, and I gave her some ibuprofen and a more surgical application of Stingose. Our downstairs neighbour, Deana, popped up with her baby daughter for a chat, and I think that served as a good distraction as well.

Meanwhile, a massive storm rolled in, with some very impressive thunder and lightning, and also what was possibly Zoe's first hailstorm.

It was a crazy loud storm, and Zoe handled it pretty well. She initially thought the hailstones were Mentos. I managed to catch some of storm on my phone, and I've uploaded a video to YouTube. I've never heard anything quite like an approaching hailstorm on nearby tin roofs before it hit locally.

The storm passed pretty quickly, as it was moving pretty fast, but with all the excitement dinner was a bit late.

Tridge on UAVs: Learning the ArduPilot codebase

Fri, 2014-11-28 14:56
I've put together a wiki page on learning the ArduPilot code base. Perhaps you are a ArduPilot user who is looking for something to occupy them while recovering from too much turkey this weekend? Try some of the exercises on this wiki page as a sure fire cure for the effects of overindulging: Best wishes for a great weekend from the ArduPilot team

Ian Wienand: rstdiary

Fri, 2014-11-28 13:26

I find it very useful to spend 5 minutes a day to keep a small log of what was worked on, major bugs or reviews and a general small status report. It makes rolling up into a bigger status report easier when required, or handy as a reference before you go into meetings etc.

I was happily using an etherpad page until I couldn't save any more revisions and the page got too long and started giving javascript timeouts. For a replacement I wanted a single file as input with no boilerplate to aid in back-referencing and adding entries quickly. It should be formatted to be future-proof, as well as being emacs, makefile and git friendly. Output should be web-based so I can refer to it easily and point people at it when required, but it just has to be rsynced to public_html with zero setup.

rstdiary will take a flat RST based input file and chunk it into some reasonable looking static-HTML that looks something like this. It's split by month with some minimal navigation. Copy the output directory somewhere and it is done.

It might also serve as a small example of parsing and converting RST nodes where it does the chunking; unfortunately the official documentation on that is "to be completed" and I couldn't find anything like a canonical example, so I gathered what I could from looking at the source of the transformation stuff. As the license says, the software is provided "as is" without warranty!

So if you've been thinking "I should keep a short daily journal in a flat-file and publish it to a web-server but I can't find any software to do just that" you now have one less excuse.

Linux Australia News: Declaration of election and call for nominations

Fri, 2014-11-28 08:26

Dear Linux Australia Community,

Pursuant to clause (15) of the Linux Australia constitution [1] we

hereby declare an election open and call for nominations to the Linux Australia

Council for the term January 2015 to January 2016.

All office bearer and ordinary committee member positions are open for


* Nominations will open from 19 November until 17 December

* Voting will open 17 December until 13 January 2015

* Results will be announced at the AGM in Auckland at on or

after 14 January

The election can be viewed here:

What do I need to do?

First of all, make sure your details are correct in MemberDB [2]

If you wish to nominate, identify the positions you wish to nominate for

and get an understanding of what they involve. Think about what you

might bring to the role and prepare a short pitch. Then, accept the

nomination you've been given by clicking the 'Accept nomination' link.

If you wish to nominate another person for a position, you may wish to

contact them first and have a chat to make sure they're happy being

nominated. Then follow the 'Nominate' link to nominate them.

Once voting is open, you will be able to vote for candidates. Results

will be announced at the AGM at

Why should I nominate?

Being a member of Linux Australia Council is a fun way to meet new

people, work on exciting projects and expand your skill base. It gives

you excellent transferable skills to help build your career, and allows

you to grow your professional network. It looks great on a CV, and is

also a chance to give back to the vibrant Linux and open source

ecosystem in Australia and globally. If you're passionate about Linux

and open source, it's a great opportunity to help drive and steer

Australia's contribution in this field.

The roles do require a time commitment - generally around 2-3 hours per

week - so please consider this with your nomination.



As always, your feedback and questions are warmly welcomed. If you'd

like to have a chat with anyone on Council around what it involves,

please do make contact.

With kind regards,



Kathy Reid


Linux Australia

secretary at

Linux Australia Inc

GPO Box 4788

Sydney NSW 2001


ABN 56 987 117 479 News: Student's Competition

Fri, 2014-11-28 07:28

We want you to have an opportunity to demonstrate your skills, not to us - to the sponsors (your potential new employer).

Send us a piece of work that you have achieved in the last year - something that you are proud of and you think would make a prospective employer very interested in talking to you.

We will pass your submissions directly to the sponsors so that they get to see all of them.  Your submission may interest a sponsor even if you don't win and sponsors are always looking for talent.

Prizes will include upgrading your ticket to Professional (which means attending the Professional Delegates Networking Session and the Penguin Dinner) and possibly hardware prizes.

Note: We know that this will be something that you have worked very hard on, so it will be treated with care and your copyright will be respected.

Why should you, as a student, attend LCA 2015?

LCA 2015 provides an amazing experience and opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best in the industry. The talks span many categories providing insights into places where Open Source technologies are being utilized - from deployments of systems after the Christchurch earthquakes to the phone currently in your pocket. LCA 2015 will provide an awesome opportunity to get to know people involved in the Open Source industry, companies who are currently hiring!!

What does it cost?

The heavily-subsidised ticket cost available to students is NZ$149, all that’s required is a valid student ID. (Lasts year's one for new graduates is fine.)

Limited funding for students otherwise unable to attend is available, please see below.

Can you receive help with funding?

LCA 2015 and Internet NZ are proud to support diversity.

The Internet NZ Diversity Programme is one way we ensure that LCA 2015 continues to be an open and welcoming conference for everyone. The programme assists Open Source contributors to attend from across New Zealand and the Pacific region.

You can apply for the Internet NZ Diversity Programme funding here.

What do you need to do?
  • Register and pay for your ticket.
  • Fill out the form and submit.
  • Attend the conference, meet people and have fun!
Looking for more information?

For information about anything else, including accommodation, a great place to start is the wiki.

Andrew Pollock: [life] Day 301: Kindergarten, self-care, errands galore

Thu, 2014-11-27 22:25

Yesterday felt like a bit of a blur, probably because I had a late night the night before.

I was up pretty early. I had my chiropractic adjustment and did some tidying up before the cleaners arrived.

I popped out to OfficeWorks to do a test print of my Christmas card while the cleaners were here, and then went straight to my massage appointment.

From there, I went straight to the Kindergarten to chair the last PAG meeting of the year. It's hard to believe there's only a couple of weeks of Kindergarten left. The year has flown by.

We popped over to Bunnings and the pet shop to get some more kitty litter, before dropping in at Hannah Photography to pick up the photo on canvas from our photo shoot. Zoe had fun playing with Hannah's cat, Charlie.

Sarah dropped in to spend a bit of quality time with Zoe, and I used the time to tweak my Christmas card a little bit. After Sarah left, we did another run to OfficeWorks to get them printed.

After that, it was time for a late dinner and off to bed. News: Speaker Feature: Jeremy Kerr, Paul McKenney, Michael Kerrisk

Thu, 2014-11-27 07:30
Jeremy Kerr OpenPOWER: Building an open-source software stack from bare metal

2:15pm Thursday 15th January 2015

Jeremy Kerr is a Power platform architect at IBM's Linux Technology Center. His background is in Linux development (specialising in Linux bringup on new hardware), and operating systems research.

Jeremy has been hacking on open source software development for over 14 years. As well as the kernel, Jeremy has contributed to a range of other open source projects, including petitboot (a Linux-based bootloader), K42 (a research operating system), patchwork (a web-based patch-tracking system) and nfsim (the netfilter simulation environment).

For more information on Jeremy and his presentation, see here. You can follow him as @jeremymeep and don’t forget to mention #lca2015.

Paul McKenney Bare-Metal Multicore Performance in a General-Purpose Operating System (Adventures in Ubiquity)

3:40pm Thursday 15th January 2015

Paul E. McKenney has been coding for more than four decades, more than half of that on parallel hardware, where his work has earned him a reputation among some as a flaming heretic. Over the past decade, Paul has been an IBM Distinguished Engineer at the IBM Linux Technology Center.

Paul maintains the RCU implementation within the Linux kernel, where the variety of workloads present highly entertaining performance, scalability, real-time response, and energy-efficiency challenges. Prior to that, he worked on the DYNIX/ptx kernel at Sequent, and prior to that on packet-radio and Internet protocols (but long before it was polite to mention Internet at cocktail parties), system administration, business applications, and real-time systems. His hobbies include what passes for running at his age (AKA "hiking") along with the usual house-wife-and-kids habit.

For more information on Paul and his presentation, see here.

Michael Kerrisk An introduction to Linux namespaces

10:40am Thursday 15th January 2015

Michael Kerrisk is the author of the acclaimed book, "The Linux Programming Interface", a guide and reference for system programming on Linux and UNIX. He contributes to the Linux kernel primarily via documentation, review, and testing of new kernel-user-space interfaces. In Auckland, he will be celebrating having recently passed 10 years as the maintainer of the Linux man-pages project.

Michael is New Zealander, working as a trainer and consultant in Munich, Germany.

For more information on Micheal and his presentation, see here.

Francois Marier: Hiding network disconnections using an IRC bouncer

Wed, 2014-11-26 22:00

A bouncer can be a useful tool if you rely on IRC for team communication and instant messaging. The most common use of such a server is to be permanently connected to IRC and to buffer messages while your client is disconnected.

However, that's not what got me interested in this tool. I'm not looking for another place where messages accumulate and wait to be processed later. I'm much happier if people email me when I'm not around.

Instead, I wanted to do to irssi what mosh did to ssh clients: transparently handle and hide temporary disconnections. Here's how I set everything up.

Server setup

The first step is to install znc:

apt-get install znc

Make sure you get the 1.0 series (in jessie or trusty, not wheezy or precise) since it has much better multi-network support.

Then, as a non-root user, generate a self-signed TLS certificate for it:

openssl req -x509 -sha256 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout znc.pem -nodes -out znc.crt -days 365

and make sure you use something like as the subject name, that is the URL you will be connecting to from your IRC client.

Then install the certificate in the right place:

mkdir ~/.znc mv znc.pem ~/.znc/ cat znc.crt >> ~/.znc/znc.pem

Once that's done, you're ready to create a config file for znc using the znc --makeconf command, again as the same non-root user:

  • create separate znc users if you have separate nicks on different networks
  • use your nickserv password as the server password for each network
  • enable ssl
  • say no to the chansaver and nickserv plugins

Finally, open the IRC port (tcp port 6697 by default) in your firewall:

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 6697 -j ACCEPT Client setup (irssi)

On the client side, the official documentation covers a number of IRC clients, but the irssi page was quite sparse.

Here's what I used for the two networks I connect to ( and

servers = ( { address = ""; chatnet = "OFTC"; password = "fmarier/oftc:Passw0rd1!"; port = "6697"; use_ssl = "yes"; ssl_verify = "yes"; ssl_cafile = "~/.irssi/certs/znc.crt"; }, { address = ""; chatnet = "Mozilla"; password = "francois/mozilla:Passw0rd1!"; port = "6697"; use_ssl = "yes"; ssl_verify = "yes"; ssl_cafile = "~/.irssi/certs/znc.crt"; } );

Of course, you'll need to copy your znc.crt file from the server into ~/.irssi/certs/znc.crt.

Make sure that you're no longer authenticating with the nickserv from within irssi. That's znc's job now.

Wrapper scripts

So far, this is a pretty standard znc+irssi setup. What makes it work with my workflow is the wrapper script I wrote to enable znc before starting irssi and then prompt to turn it off after exiting:

#!/bin/bash ssh "pgrep znc || znc" irssi read -p "Terminate the bouncer? [y/N] " -n 1 -r echo if [[ $REPLY =~ ^[Yy]$ ]] then ssh killall -sSIGINT znc fi

Now, instead of typing irssi to start my IRC client, I use irc.

If I'm exiting irssi before commuting or because I need to reboot for a kernel update, I keep the bouncer running. At the end of the day, I say yes to killing the bouncer. That way, I don't have a backlog to go through when I wake up the next day.

Linux Users of Victoria (LUV) Announce: LUV Main December 2014 Meeting: A vain attempt to rescue Australian democracy with a little JavaScript / holiday gifts

Wed, 2014-11-26 17:29
Start: Dec 2 2014 19:00 End: Dec 2 2014 21:00 Start: Dec 2 2014 19:00 End: Dec 2 2014 21:00 Location: 

The Buzzard Lecture Theatre. Evan Burge Building, Trinity College, Melbourne University Main Campus, Parkville.



• Paul Foxworthy: A vain attempt to rescue Australian democracy with a little JavaScript

• Andrew Pam: Holiday gift suggestions for Linux lovers

The Buzzard Lecture Theatre, Evan Burge Building, Trinity College Main Campus Parkville Melways Map: 2B C5

Notes: Trinity College's Main Campus is located off Royal Parade. The Evan Burge Building is located near the Tennis Courts. See our Map of Trinity College. Additional maps of Trinity and the surrounding area (including its relation to the city) can be found at

Parking can be found along or near Royal Parade, Grattan Street, Swanston Street and College Crescent. Parking within Trinity College is unfortunately only available to staff.

For those coming via Public Transport, the number 19 tram (North Coburg - City) passes by the main entrance of Trinity College (Get off at Morrah St, Stop 12). This tram departs from the Elizabeth Street tram terminus (Flinders Street end) and goes past Melbourne Central Timetables can be found on-line at:

Before and/or after each meeting those who are interested are welcome to join other members for dinner. We are open to suggestions for a good place to eat near our venue. Maria's on Peel Street in North Melbourne is currently the most popular place to eat after meetings.

LUV would like to acknowledge Red Hat for their help in obtaining the Buzzard Lecture Theatre venue and VPAC for hosting, and BENK Open Systems for their financial support of the Beginners Workshops

Linux Users of Victoria Inc., is an incorporated association, registration number A0040056C.

December 2, 2014 - 19:00

read more

Michael Still: The Human Division

Wed, 2014-11-26 12:29

ISBN: 9780765369550


I originally read this as a series of short stories released on the kindle, but the paperback collation of those has been out for a while and deserved a read. These stories are classic Scalzi, and read well. If you like the Old Man's War universe you will like this book. The chapters of the book are free standing because of how they were originally written, and that makes the book a bit disjointed. The cliff hanger at the end is also pretty annoying given the next book hasn't been released.

So, an interesting experiment that perhaps isn't perfect, but is well worth the read.

Tags for this post: book john_scalzi combat aliens engineered_human old_mans_war age colonization human_backup cranial_computer personal_ai

Related posts: The Last Colony ; Old Man's War ; The Ghost Brigades ; Old Man's War (2); The Ghost Brigades (2); Zoe's Tale Comment Recommend a book