Planet Linux Australia

Syndicate content
Planet Linux Australia -
Updated: 12 min 40 sec ago

Colin Charles: MariaDB 10 – XtraDB & InnoDB versions

Sun, 2014-05-04 00:26

I’ve had this question several times when presenting and once via an internal email thread so I figure I might as well write about it: What is the default transactional engine in MariaDB 10.0? The answer is simple – it is XtraDB.

However this answer has some history: initial releases of MariaDB 10 actually shipped with InnoDB from MySQL 5.6. Only in 10.0.9 RC did the default switch back to being XtraDB. As MariaDB users previously know, XtraDB was the default InnoDB in 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, and 5.5 too. As always, you can switch easily between InnoDB/XtraDB – read more in: Using InnoDB instead of XtraDB

How do you tell what version of InnoDB or XtraDB you are running? Simply, run: SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE 'innodb_version';

MariaDB 10.0 (read more: What is MariaDB 10.0):

Version InnoDB XtraDB Status Date 10.0.10 5.6.15 5.6.15-63.0 * GA 31 Mar 2014 10.0.9 5.6.15 5.6.15-63.0 * RC 10 Mar 2014 10.0.8 5.6.14 * 5.6.14-62.0 RC 10 Feb 2014 10.0.7 5.6.10 * 5.6.14-62.0  Beta 27 Dec 2013 10.0.6 1.2.6 * n/a Beta 18 Nov 2013 10.0.5 1.2.5 * n/a Beta 7 Nov 2013 10.0.4 1.2.4 * (5.6.10 merge) n/a Alpha 16 Aug 2013 10.0.3 10.0.3-MariaDB * n/a Alpha 11 Jun 2013 10.0.2 10.0.2-MariaDB * n/a Alpha 24 Apr 2013 10.0.1 1.2.1 *  n/a Alpha 6 Feb 2013 10.0.0 1.2.0 (5.6.5 merge) n/a Alpha 12 Nov 2012

The asterisk (*) denotes the default engine choice.

Why are there odd InnoDB versions from 10.0.0 – 10.0.6? I can only point this to merge oddities. storage/innobase/include/univ.i is the file which contains common definitions such as INNODB_VERSION_MAJOR, INNODB_VERSION_MINOR and INNODB_VERSION_BUGFIX. INNODB_VERSION_BUGFIX in 10.0.6 pointed to MYSQL_VERSION_PATCH which you get from the VERSION file. For XtraDB, you will also see PERCONA_INNODB_VERSION in univ.i.

So, when XtraDB is the default (10.0.9 and 10.0.10 and releases going forward) you can put in my.cnf to load InnoDB:


When InnoDB is the default (10.0.8 and 10.0.7) and XtraDB was merged, you can put in my.cnf to load XtraDB:


Percona Server only became GA with 5.6.13-61.0 which was 7 Oct 2013 which explains why the MariaDB 10.0.6 beta didn’t include a XtraDB.

Percona Server only ships XtraDB (source code in storage/innobase) while MariaDB ships both InnoDB (storage/innobase) as well as XtraDB (storage/xtradb).

If you want older release information about InnoDB plugin versions, a great resource is Chris Calendar’s blog post: InnoDB Plugin Versions. I’m just glad that going forward the InnoDB version will just match the release version as you can see with 10.0.7 and later.

Related posts:

  1. MariaDB in Red Hat Software Collections
  2. Where is MariaDB today?
  3. Using MariaDB on CentOS 6

Michael Fox: Backyard – Drainage Progress – Part 2

Sat, 2014-05-03 21:26

Yesterday since I had to look after the kids for the day, I decided to do more work in the backyard with the drainage. The aim was to setup the drains and back fill with blue metal. As you can see below it came up very good.

Next step is to now back fill with some soil so that we can cover over the area with some other material, as we will be moving the kids big trampoline back to this spot as it won’t be a grassed area any more.

I put the hose in the last drain and left it running for a bit and like my previous test the water will hit the junction and go into the storm water line that goes to the street. So the water naturally finds the path along the trench in which I now have the arg line laid and covered it with blue metal.

Russell Coker: Source Escrow for Proprietary Software

Sat, 2014-05-03 16:26

British taxpayers are paying for extra support for Windows XP due to a lack of planning by the UK government [1]. While the cost of this is trivial compared to other government stupidity (such as starting wars of aggression) this sort of thing should be stopped.

The best way to solve such problems is for governments to only use free software. If the UK government used Red Hat Enterprise Linux then when Red Hat dropped support for old versions they would have the option of providing their own support for old versions, hiring any other company to support old versions, or paying Red Hat for supporting it. In that case the Red Hat offer would probably be quite reasonable as competition drives the prices down.

It doesn’t seem likely that the UK government will start using only free software in the near future. It’s not impossible to do so, there are organisations dedicated to this task such as which aims to develop e-government software that is under GPL licenses [2]. The Wikipedia page List of Linux Adopters [3] has a large section on government use, while not all entries are positive (some have reverted) it shows that it’s possible to use Linux for all areas of government. But governments often move slowly and in the case of wealthy countries such as the UK it can be easier to just tax the citizens a little more than to go to the effort of saving money.

But when governments use proprietary software they shouldn’t be restricted in support. It seems that the only way to ensure that the government can do what it needs is to have a source escrow system. Then if the company that owned the software ceased supporting it anyone who wanted to offer support would be able to do so. This would probably require that software which is out of support be released to the public domain so that anyone who wanted to tender for such support work could first inspect the code to determine if they were capable of doing the work.

People who believe the myths about secret source software claim that allowing the source code to be released would damage the company that owns it. This has been proved incorrect by the occasions when source code for software such as MS-Windows has been released on the Internet with no apparent harm. Also Microsoft have a long history of licensing their source code to universities, governments, and other companies for various purposes (including porting Windows to other CPUs). It’s most likely that some part of the UK government already has the full source code to Windows XP, and it’s also quite likely that computer criminals have obtained copies of the source by now for the purpose of exploiting security flaws. Also they stop supporting software when they can’t make money from providing the usual support, so by definition the value to a company of the copyright is approaching zero by the time they decide to cease support.

Given the lack of success experienced by companies that specialise in security (for example the attack on RSA to steal the SecurID data [4]) it doesn’t seem plausible that Microsoft has had much success in keeping the source to Windows XP (or any other widely used product) secret over the course of 12 years.

In summary source code to major proprietary software products is probably available to criminals long before support expires and is of little value to the copyright owners. But access to it can provide value to governments and other users of the software.

The only possible down-side to the software vendor is if the new version doesn’t provide any benefits to the user. This could be a problem for Microsoft who seem to have the users hate every second version of Windows enough to pay extra for the old version. The solution is to just develop quality software that satisfies the needs of the users. Providing a legal incentive for this would be a good idea.

Related posts:

  1. Some Proprietary Platform Issues Android vs iPad I’m currently in discussions with a client...
  2. source dump blog Inspired by Julien Goodwin‘s post I created a new blog...
  3. The Lenovo U1 Hybrid – an example of how Proprietary OSs Suck Lenovo have announced their innovative new U1 “Hybrid” laptop [1]....

Matt Palmer: How *not* to do a redirect

Sat, 2014-05-03 15:25

This is the entireity of a (purportedly) HTML page I just got:

<script language="javascript"> window.location = "" </script>

To compound the pain, this didn’t come from a site run by people who wouldn’t be expected to know any better – it’s associated with a rather popular web-oriented test framework. So it should contain at least one person who might pipe up and say, “WTF, don’t do that!”.

I’m up to about 7 things that are wrong with this. Anyone want to weigh in with their own enumeration of why this is shockingly bad?

TasLUG: TasLUG Annual Statewide Meetup - May 24th - Ross Town Hall

Sat, 2014-05-03 15:25
Hello LUGgers!

It's May! That means... Winter is Coming... It's time for TasLUG's annual state-wide meetup in Ross. It's a great time where warriors defending the wall in the North, and houses from Kings Landing come together to defeat the Wildlings... no wait...

WHEN: Saturday 24th May 2014, 10am to 6pm

WHERE: Ross Town Hall map link

This is a great opportunity for those who have come to TasLUG in the past to take a drive in the country to the idyllic town of Ross and meet up with those on the other side of the state.

Bring your FOSS gear - PCs or embedded stuff that you've been working on. Bring what makes you log on to your Linux machines each day and tell us all about it. For those who have given a presentation to either the Hobart or Launceston meetings in the past 12 months, you may be called upon to give an encore performance to tell the rest of the state what you've been up to.

At the meetup we will also be opening nominations for positions on the TasLUG committee for the next year, so here's your chance to get involved to keep TasLUG going, and to meet people from across the state who would like to help out.

There will also be some time set aside for discussion of upcoming events - GovHack (June), Openstack Birthday Meetup (July), and Software Freedom Day (August). We would like many of you to get involved as there's some organising to do and we need your ideas!

There will be tea and coffee available at the venue. The laid back atmosphere means you could also take some time out exploring the town and it's charms - there are some eclectic antique stores nearby (no vintage PCs though!), and perhaps get some lunch at the local pub.

Hope to see many of you there!!

There is no Hobart meetup this month to encourage as many as possible to make it instead to this statewide meetup. If you need a lift out there, get in contact with us - you could try the TasLUG mailing list ( or our IRC channel (#taslug on Freenode) to help find someone to give you a ride.

Colin Charles: MySQL Central @ OpenWorld

Sat, 2014-05-03 12:26

Via Dave Stokes, MySQL Community Manager:

MySQL Central is truly a MySQL Community show. This year there are five tracks and the majority of the sessions in all the tracks except Performance and Scalability had many more submissions from the MySQL Community than from Oracle/MySQL.

This is impressive. There are about 200 submissions, 50 slots, a 1/4 chance of a talk getting in, and if we follow this logic we will see that MySQL Central @ OpenWorld will truly be a community event (in previous years, majority of the talks came from the MySQL team at Oracle). I can’t wait to see the final program, but as an attendee to the past two MySQL Connect events, I am looking forward to seeing this event grow and be a part of the main program (i.e. not the weekend before).

As Dave says, register now. Though I presume many will wait for the program first. Apparently it is mid-June when speakers will be notified so one can presume an agenda should be out by the end of that month.

Related posts:

  1. SCALE 10x – there’s lots of MySQL there!
  2. o’reilly mysql conference & expo 2010
  3. Jono Bacon speaks to Oracle on the MySQL Community

Michael Fox: Simpana 10 – Linux FS iDA interactive installation on Ubuntu 14.04 Server LTS

Fri, 2014-05-02 23:26

A few days ago I recorded this demonstration showing the Simpana 10 Linux FS iDA interactive installation on Ubuntu 14.04 Server LTS. Hope you enjoy.

Colin Charles: MySQL 5.6 + GTID & MariaDB 10 replication

Fri, 2014-05-02 21:26

While at the keynote of Tomas Ulin at Percona Live MySQL Conference & Expo Santa Clara 2014, he asked the audience what they were running, and most of the audience was on MySQL 5.5 while about 15% of the audience was on MySQL 5.6. This number is steadily increasing I’m sure, so one thing that becomes important is that people will probably start turning on Global Transaction Identifiers (GTIDs). 

As you may already know, MariaDB 10 has a different implementation of Global Transaction ID. To me, this poses a problem in a mixed use environment (or even a migration scenario). Which is why MDEV-4487 is so important: it is a feature request to allow replication from MySQL 5.6+ when GTID is enabled on the master

If you think the issue is important, you can vote and watch the issue on JIRA. I for one think this should be fixed for 10.0.11 or 10.0.12 and not wait for the 10.1 timeframe. Best not to comment here, focus on the JIRA request, MDEV-4487.

Related posts:

  1. MySQL 5.6 system variables in the MariaDB 10 server
  2. Replication features of 2011 by Sergey Petrunia
  3. Upcoming MariaDB 10.0.7 will have more engines – mroonga, OQGRAPH

Colin Charles: MySQL related IRC discussion channels

Fri, 2014-05-02 21:26

There are many MySQL related IRC discussion channels as the ecosystem itself grows. I join the following. Are there any that I’m missing?

Freenode (

  • #mysql – main channel for all kinds of end user MySQL related discussions (the noisiest of the lot, naturally)
  • #maria – main channel for all kinds of MariaDB related discussions
  • #webscalesql – for all kinds of WebScaleSQL discussions
  • #percona – main channel for all kinds of Percona related discussions
  • #tokutek – main channel for Tokutek discussions (TokuDB or TokuMX)
  • SkySQL-specific channels: #maxscale and #mariadb-mgr


  • #debian-mysql – for all kinds of Debian MySQL related bits (packaging, bugs, etc.)

Related posts:

  1. Biggest MySQL related news in the last 24 hours
  2. Biggest MySQL related news in the last 24 hours, Day 2
  3. Security fixes in MySQL & critical patch updates

Michael Still: A couple of days of turning

Fri, 2014-05-02 14:28
So... I finally got my chisels on Wednesday and so I've done a little turning at home in the last few days. There are two other items not shown here: a tool handle (cause its boring) and a bowl where I had depth fail and it came apart. Its also clear to me that dust extraction in the garage is a thing in my future, because a shop vac just doesn't cut if for cleanup.


Tags for this post: wood turning 20140502-woodturning photo


James Bromberger: Load Balancing on Amazon Web Services

Fri, 2014-05-02 02:26

I’ve been using Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) service for about a year now, and thought I should pen some of the things I’ve had to do to make it work nicely.

Firstly, when using HTTP with Apache, you probably want to add a new log format that, instead of using the Source IP address of the connection int he first field, you use the extra header that ELB adds, X-Forwarded-For. It’s very simple, something like:

LogFormat "%{X-Forwarded-For}i %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\"" fwd_combined

… and then wherever you’ve been using a Log statement with format “common”, just use “fwd_common”. Next, if you’re trying to use your domain name as your web server, eg “” instead (or as well) as “”, then with Amazon Route53 (DNS hosting) you’ll get a message about a conflict witht he “apex” of the domain. You get around this using the elb-associate-route53-hosted-zone command line tool, with something like:

./elb-associate-route53-hosted-zone ELB-Web --region ap-southeast-1 --hosted-zone-id Z3S76ABCFYXRX6 --rr-name --weight 100

And if you want to also use IPv6:

./elb-associate-route53-hosted-zone ELB-Web --region ap-southeast-1 --hosted-zone-id Z3S76ABCFYXRX6 --rr-name --weight 100 --rr-type AAAA

If you’re using HTTPS, then you may have an issue if you chose to pass your SSL traffic through the ELB (just as a generic TCP stream). Since the content is encrypted, the ELB cannot modify the request header to add the X-Forwarded-For. Your only option is to “terminate” the incoming HTTPS connection on the ELB, and then having it establish a new connection to the back end instance (web server). You will need to load your certificate and key into the ELB for it to correctly represent itself as the target server. This will be an overhead on the load balancer having to decrypt (and option re-encrypt to the back end), so be aware of the costs.

One of the nice things about having the ELB in place, even for a single instance web site, is that it will do health checks and push the results to CloudWatch. CloudWatch will give you pretty graphs, but also permit you to set Alerts, which may be pushed to the Amazon Notification Service – which in turn can send you an email, or call a URL to trigger some other action that you configure (send SMS, or sound a klaxon?).

James Bromberger: Amazon Linux, EC2, S3, Perl, SSL Wildcard Certificates

Fri, 2014-05-02 02:26

Amazon Linux, one of the distributions that is recommended for Amazon EC2 customers, recently had an update — 11.09. In this there was an update to a whole raft of libraries, including the Perl LWP (libwww) library in perl-libwww-perl-5.837 (previously 5.8.33), and other related modules.

One of the changes that happened is a change of the default for “verify hostname” in the SSL protocol when using LWP::UserAgent; previously verification of the certificate to the hostname given was default disabled, and in an effort to improve security, this was turned on. You’ll see this mentioned in LWP::UserAgent documentation “The no checks behaviour was the default for libwww-perl-5.837 and earlier releases”. What’s unusual is the no-checks behaviour change is DIFFERENT in Amazon Linux’s package of 5.8.37 compared to this statement – I suspect this one line got back ported into 5.8.37 to change this default ‘in the interst of security’.

Unfortunately, this breaks a lot of scripts and other modules/libraries out there, one of which is the Amazon-issued S3 libary. S3 is the Amazon Simple Storage Service (SSS => S3), with which a user (customer) has their data arranged in “buckets”, with data in objects identified by ‘keys’ (like a file name). All data is put to, and read from the S3 service over HTTPS – it’s not locally mounted (though some cleaver fuse stuff may make that look possible – but it is still over HTTPS.

A bucket in S3 has a name, and for the example I have, the name looks like a domain name ( When accessing this bucket, the Amazon S3 Perl library connects to an alias hostname (CNAME) made up combining the bucket name above with ““, so our example here becomes ““. This site is using a wildcard certificate for “*” (you can see it as an Alternate Subject Name extension in the SSL certificate). This permits the certificate to be considered as valid for any hostname directly under the domain. However, subject to RFC 2818, the only thing permitted before “” is a single name – not a (seemingly valid) dotted domain name. So “” is OK with a wildcard certificate, but “” is not.

There are several solutions. The easiest is to turn off SSL certificate verification again in your script. A handy ENV environment variable may be set to do this: $ENV{PERL_LWP_SSL_VERIFY_HOSTNAME}=0. Alternatively, if you are using LWP directly, you can pass an initalisation parameter to LWP of ssl_options => { verify_hostname => 0}. Both effectively abandon any certificate verification.

Somewhat more complicated, you can define a custom validation callback (procedure) to further determine if the certificate is valid. This is in contravention to RFC 2818, and seems like a lot more hassle to work around.

Perhaps the easiest solution here is to avoid using period/dot/’.’ in Bucket Names in S3, thereby removing the conflict between the strict checking.

The most important thing is how lax we have been at verifying SSL certificates, and have come to rely on that just working. It is good to verify the SSL certificate matches the host in scripts: I don’t want to start communicating authentication information over an SSL channel if we can easily see we’ve been duped on the remote end. I was not familiar with wildcard certificates only being valid for one component of a domain name; this kind of reduces their effectiveness in my mind in some sense.They’ve always been more expensive than standard certificates, but being better aware of the FQDNs they will validate on is useful.

I’ve seen several other instances outside of this S3 example where invalid certificates have blindly been accepted by scripts (a CloudWatch example I saw with a redirect ‘hop’ through an SSL site); this default change from lax to legitimate certificates may actually encourage better adoption of the security that SSL can give — when we’re already paying for SSL certs — or lead us (as developers and architects) to acknowledge when we’re actively ignoring that layer of protection.

It’s early days now but as this default change filters into Linux distributions (and Perl distributions on other platforms) then we’ll start to see a lot of FAQs on this.

James Bromberger: Rusty’s talk at PLUG

Fri, 2014-05-02 02:26

What a week for PLUG. After months of organisation, we were honoured by Rusty Russell flying to Perth for PLUG. He presented a talk entitled “Coding: lets have fun“, which showed the simplicity and beauty of a regular expression engine in around 20 lines of C, to a wireframe Flight Sim from a recent IOCCC where the code itself was formated in the outline of an aircraft, and then a dotted history of his experiences and where he has found joy in coding.

After a pizza dinner break for the 46 (or thereabouts) people present, Rusty was then corraled into a panel discussion with Dr Chris McDonald from UWA CompSci, and Assistant Professor Robert Cunningham from UWA Law for a chat on various topics; seems like cloud computing was on everyone’s thoughts.

The PLUG AV crew streamed this event live, and recorded it: videos of the talk (93 MB mp4) and the panel (115 MB mp4) are now available (both are around an hour and a quarter). Older videos are here.

Rusty was very generous in refusing to accept the collected funds for the expenses, so we have money now to repeat this exercise of flying in another speaker. It’s up to PLUGGers to try and decide who they would like to see next! Time-wise its likely to be Q2 next year as PLUG has a full schedule until then.

Big thanks to Chris, Robert and Rusty for speaking – they were all excellent. Also to Daniel Hamrsworth for co-ordinating tickets, the AV crew for their recording, and for everyone who put their hand in their pocket to help the event come together.

Andrew Pollock: [life] Day 93: A whole lot of running around

Thu, 2014-05-01 21:26

This morning Zoe woke up again at around 4am and ended up in bed with me. I don't even remember why she woke up, and neither does she, but she's assuring me it won't happen tomorrow morning. We'll see.

As a result of the disturbed night's sleep, we had a bit of a slow start to the day. Zoe was happy to go off and watch some TV after she woke up for the day, and that let me have a bit more of a doze before I got up, which made things vaguely better for me.

ABC 4 Kids has been showing a lot of ads for Ha Ha Hairies, which airs at 10:20am, lately, and it's one of the shows that isn't available on iView. Zoe had been lamenting that she never got to see it, and asking me if she could. Today the schedule was fairly open, so I made sure we were home at 10:20am. That involved a quick dash out to Woolies first to get a few bits and pieces for Zoe's birthday party.

While Zoe watched the Ha Ha Hairies, I did some bulk egg hard boiling in the oven. After the Ha Ha Hairies and a little bit of general mucking around, we drove out to Spotlight to pick up the helium tank I'd rented. Zoe nearly fell asleep on the way out there.

We picked up the helium tank and headed back home. That errand alone probably took a bit over an hour all up. We got back home and had lunch, but by the time all of that was out of the way, Zoe seemed to have missed the window for her nap. She did have a bit of a rest in bed, flipping through her library books, and I got to read some of my book as well, so that was nice. During that time, I got the call from Bunkers saying they were about half an hour out with the delivery of Zoe's bunk bed (my birthday present for her). That worked out well, as it was towards the start of the two hour window they'd advised me of.

The bunk bed was delivered and then we popped out to Overflow to see if they had any food covers for the party food (they did) so we picked up a few of them. Today I learned that "As Seen On TV" is trademarked, and so "Similar To As Seen On TV" is the trademark dodging thing to put on cheap knock-offs. As Overflow is two doors down from Petbarn, we stopped in there as well and grabbed some more kitty litter. One does not just pop into Petbarn with Zoe, so we spent some time there looking at the fish and assorting aquarium paraphernalia. They also had some hermit crabs now too.

On the way back home, we stopped in at (a different) Woolies to pick up the half slab of chocolate mudcake that I'd ordered for Zoe's birthday cake. I'd decided that the upright Minion cake I'd initially wanted to do was just way too adventurous for my abilities and not a good use of my time (and the quotes I'd sought for outsourcing it had come in at over $300). I scaled things back to just a flat slab Minion, which may still exceed my cake decorating abilities, but we'll find out tomorrow.

There'd been a miscommunication at Woolworths, and my half slab hadn't been boxed up and wasn't ready for my collection. All the bakery staff had already gone home, and I didn't really want to come back tomorrow, because I had this crazy idea of possibly starting on the cake tonight (not going to happen), so a couple of non-bakery staff had to find the cake and figure out how to extract a full slab from the baking tray and cut it in half and box it up. It provided some entertainment for Zoe and I.

We finally got home, and I rehashed some frozen leftovers for dinner. I decided to try something different for the bath time and bed time routine to see if it'd reduce procrastination. I got Zoe to pick out the three books she wanted to read at bed time before we got to story time, so we'd have something concrete to negotiate with. I also threw in the possibility of a "bonus story" if she didn't muck around. It seemed to work, and we had a fairly streamlined bath time. There's no doubt she was pretty tired today, and she went to bed without any fuss, so I'm hopeful that we'll have a good night tonight.

Michael Still: Another bowl

Thu, 2014-05-01 11:28
Here's a bowl I made last weekend. My sister hurt herself at her Roller Derby match, so she ended up with the bowl of condolences. At first I thought this wood was ash, but its acutally catalpa.


Tags for this post: wood turning 20140428-woodturning photo


Russell Coker: Links April 2014

Thu, 2014-05-01 11:27

Yves Rossy is the Jetman, he flys with a wing and four jet engines strapped to his body, he gave an interesting TED talk about flying along with some exciting videos [1].

Larry Brilliant gave an informative and inspiring TED talk about stopping pandemics [2]. I thought that Smallpox was the last disease to be eradicated but I was wrong.

Michael Shermer gave an interesting TED talk about pattern recognition and self deception [3]. It’s a pity that the kissing prank shown at the end only pranked women, they should be less sexist and prank men too.

Raffaello D Andrea gave an interesting TED presentation about “Athletic” quadcopters [4]. It’s very impressive and has the potential for several new human/machine sports.

Lisa D wrote an insightful article about Prejudice Spillover discussing the way that people who aren’t in minority groups only seem to care about injustice when a member of the majority is targetted by mistake [5].

Ron Garret wrote an insightful post about the Divine Right of Billionaires which debunks some stupid arguments by a billionaire [6]. Ron says that “it’s often instructive to examine incorrect arguments, especially when those arguments are advanced by smart people” and demonstrates it in this post.

Lisa D wrote an interesting post about her problems with financial aid bureaucracy [7]. She intended the post to be a personal one about her situation, but I think it illustrates problems with the various aid programs. If aid was available to her with less bureaucracy then she would be doing paid work, completing her studies, and heading towards post-graduate studies.

Mark Shuttleworth wrote an insightful article about ACPI, security, and device tree [8]. It’s the first time I’ve seen a good argument for device tree.

TED presented an interesting video-conference interview with Edward Snowden [9]. It’s unusually long by TED standards but definitely worth watching.

Tom Meagher (who’s wife was raped and murdered two years ago) wrote an insightful article about rape culture [10].

Key Lay (the Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police) wrote a good article encouraging men to act to stop violence against women [11]. It’s particularly noteworthy when a senior police officer speaks out about this given the difficulties women have had in reporting such crimes to police.

Emily Baker wrote an insightful article about the lack of support for soldiers who survive war [12]. A lot of attention and money is spent remembering the soldiers who died in the field but little on those who live suffer afterwards, more soldiers die from suicide than enemy fire.

Daniel Pocock wrote an informative article about the failings of SMS authentication for online banking [13]. While he has good points I think he’s a little extreme. Stopping the least competent attackers is still a significant benefit as most potential attackers aren’t that competent.

Jess Zimmerman wrote an interesting article for Time about the “Not All Men” argument that is a current trend in derailing discussions about the treatment of women [14].

The Belle Jar has an insightful article “Why Won’t You Educate Me About Feminism” about some ways that men pretend to care about the treatment of women [15].

Jon Evans wrote an article for Tech Crunch about the “Honywell Bubble Count” measure of diversity in people you follow on social media [16]. Currently on Twitter I follow 57 accounts of which 15 are companies and organisations, so I follow 42 people. I follow 13 women 31%, for a visible minority group other than my own it’s 2/42 or 5%, for people who live in other countries I think it’s 8/42 (although it’s difficult to determine where some people live) which is 19%. So my Honywell number is 55.

The Top Stocks forum has an interesting post by a Coal Seam Gas (CSG) worker [17]. It seems that CSG is even worse than I thought.

Ashe Dryden wrote an informative post for Model View Culture about the backlash that members of minority groups (primarily women) receive when they speak out [18].

Related posts:

  1. Links April 2012 Karen Tse gave an interesting TED talk about how to...
  2. Links March 2014 Typing Animal wrote an interesting article about the dangers of...
  3. Links February 2014 The Economist has an interesting and informative article about the...

Tridge on UAVs: An open letter to Paul from witespy

Thu, 2014-05-01 00:43

Hi Paul,

I don't know if you know me. I'm a lead developer for the ardupilot project. You know, the project that you just accused of not being open source in an interview on I write about half the code for the project, so maybe you've heard of me.

If you've been following my work for the last 4 years on ardupilot then you would know that I'm generally a pretty mild mannered person. I try to keep my posts polite and helpful, to generally raise the tone of diydrones and open source projects in general.

Well, you better don your asbestos suit now, because I also have a rarely seen darker side. Just occasionally someone does something that pisses me off so much that I get really really annoyed. Your recent actions have done that, so here comes a flaming.

Some background

A real flaming doesn't generally come with a background introduction, but hey, I still have a mild side too (despite the fact that I am seething with anger at you right now), so why not.

I'm a long time open source developer. I started contributing to open source in the late 80s. There is a good chance that when you read this letter the bits are getting to you via computers running open source code that I've contributed to. On the wall behind me is a Free Software Foundation award for the advancement of free software. I teach a masters course on how to build and contribute to open source projects. I'm not an open source newbie. Perhaps you should have checked before making outlandish claims about ardupilot, a project that I've put my heart and sole into for so long?

I've been working on ardupilot for 3 and a half years now. In that time I've contributed over 5000 patches to the project. Given your amazing statements on the crashcast podcast and on your website about you being a defender of open source I expected to see your name in the contribution list. Strangely enough, it's not there. Did you use a pseudonym in all the contributions you have made or did you just accuse a project that you have no association with of not being open source?

How Open Source Works

As I describe in my course, open source is different for different people. Me, I'm a free software radical. I like everything I do to be FOSS (free and open source software). If I can't do something with FOSS then I see if I can write a FOSS tool to do it, then distribute it to the world. As a result I've started about 30 FOSS projects over the years and contributed to dozens more. I'm such a radical that many people in the FOSS world (including Linus Torvalds) have accused me of being too radical, and pushing the "free software or death" line too hard.

One of the big misunderstandings about open source is the insane and self-serving idea you have been pushing that the ardupilot project is somehow required, because of open source principles that you somehow fail to explain, to provide your company with binaries of our software that work on your board. That is utter and complete drivel and rubbish. You're wrapping yourself up in the open source flag while not even having the faintest idea of how open source works.

Open source project leaders can choose which hardware they support. As a lead developer of the ardupilot project I have chosen to try to make the code work on as many boards as possible. So in fact the site (which I maintain) does provide firmware that will probably work on your RTFHawk boards. I've also worked with people who want to port ardupilot to completely new hardware platforms. Did you notice I merged in support for Flymaple boards a few months back? Did you notice I merged in support for the VRBrain too? Did you notice the work I've been doing on porting ardupilot to the BeagleBone?

I'm guessing you didn't notice any of that or you wouldn't be making such grandiose and idiotic claims about ardupilot not being an open project.

So here's the deal. Open source project leaders get to choose what code they accept, what code they write and how the projects get managed. Really basic stuff really. I have chosen to make ardupilot widely portable and flexible, but I didn't have to. It would still be open source if I wrote the code to only work on one brand of board.

Michael Oborne is the project leader of the MissionPlanner project. He has done an awesome job building up MissionPlanner from scratch, and making it a GCS that people love to use. As the project leader for MissionPlanner he gets to set the policy. If he wants it to only load firmware to only blue boards with pink edging that have butterflies embossed on the PCB then that would be his right. I might give him some odd looks if he did that, but I'd defend his right to do it.

Because MissionPlanner is an open source project you can make it do something different if you like. If you don't like what it does then why not try something really radical like talking to him (you _did_ talk to him before accusing him of heinous crimes against the open source world? right? yes?). Hey, you could even send him a patch! Now there is a radical idea. If that fails then you could fork MissionPlanner and make it do what you want it to do. That is the fundamental succinct definition of open source after all - the right to fork. You have that right, even if perhaps you don't deserve it after all you've said in recent days.

Why do we work closely with 3DR?

If I were to believe the crap you said on that podcast then it would seem that I'm held hostage by 3DRobotics. Help, I'm an open source developer being supported by a hardware company that uses my software. Oh no!! Help me get out!!

The fact is the ardupilot developers work closely with 3DRobotics because it benefits the project. Think about that. We choose to work with them because working with them advances the aim of producing the most awesome free software autopilot that we can.

I regularly get asked by Craig Elder from 3DRobotics if there is anything he can send me to help me with my work on ardupilot. If I say "well, I fried my last Pixhawk while testing the power handling to its limits" then he pops a couple of new ones in a fedex pouch and sends it down to me in Australia. It's great!

They even pay me! I get 100% copyright on all the work I do, I get complete discretion on what code I put in and I get paid to do it. Yep, open source developers can get paid!

In fact, most large open source projects have lots of paid developers. Ever heard of the Linux kernel? Last I heard about 80% of the code is written by people who work for hardware companies that benefit from the project. This is normal. I've been paid to develop open source software by numerous companies for 20 years.

The main difference with 3DRobotics is that they are one of very few companies who have been enlightened enough to pay the ardupilot core developers. In the case of Linux there are hundreds of companies that have understood open source enough to pay the core developers. Chris Anderson from 3DRobotics saw that pitching in money to pay the people who have been working on ardupilot for so long is a good thing both for the ardupilot project and for 3DRobotics, so he did it. Now you throw that back at him and try to use it to accuse him and 3DRobotics of being some evil company perverting open source. What sort of insane logic does that stem from?

I looked in my letter box today and I didn't see any hardware from you. I bet if I talk to all the other ardupilot devs they would tell me you didn't send any hardware to them either. I haven't seen any code from you. Yet you get up on your high horse and try to claim that we owe you something? Please just crawl back into the hole you came from.

That OTP thing

The thing you have built your edifice of open source outrage on is the way that MissionPlanner checks the OTP area of Pixhawk boards and doesn't load firmware unless they match a particular public key. I have stated publicly that I don't like that behaviour. I have also made it clear that it is Michael's decision as project leader for MissionPlanner.

I have been working with other developers to try to come up with a better solution. That is how things are done in the open source world. Contributors to projects tell the project leader if they don't like something the project does and the project leader takes their ideas into consideration. Ultimately the project leader (Michael in this case) gets to choose.

So we agree?

You might think that because I also don't like the current OTP mechanism that we are in agreement. We are not. I wouldn't be flaming you in such a long winded fashion if I agreed with you.

You are taking advantage of the OTP behaviour for your own ends, and those ends have absolutely nothing to do with protecting open source.

Let's have a quick look at your actual behaviour with regards to open source and your RTFHawk project. Given your rabid defence of open source I presume you've read the license of the projects you are criticising so loudly? It's the GNU GPLv3. I happened to be on a committee that helped develop that license, so maybe you don't know it quite as well as I do. Here is a refresher. When you distribute binaries that are built from source code that is under the GPLv3 you need to (among other things) do the following:

  • make the recipients of the binaries aware of their rights under the GPL. Have a look at for how we do that
  • offer the source code to anyone who asks for it (which is why making them aware of this is so important)

So, let's see. On your website you have a binary copy of MissionPlanner modified to upload firmware to your board. Do you tell people who go there that it's GPLv3 software? Do you link to the source code? Do you offer the patches you've done? Nope, nope and nope.

What is more, you are wrapping yourself in an open source flag and trying to use that flag to sell your clone boards. You do this by criticising 3DRobtotics, a company that has done more for open source autopilots than any other company I know of. You are doing this as a company that has, as far as I am aware, done absolutely zero to benefit the ardupilot project or MissionPlanner that you are criticising.

So what now?

First off, go read up on open source. Read some of ESRs essays. Read the FSF site.

Then go away. One of the things a open source project can do is ignore people who really piss them off. You have really pissed me off. I would not accept a patch from you in future, even if you ever could be bothered to get off your ass and make a real contribution.

I will accept patches from other hardware vendors, and I look forward to working with other hardware vendors who make boards that run ardupilot, just like I have done ever since I got involved in this project. I love working with any hardware vendors who make great autopilots and who want to work with the project. I will do it regardless of whether they contribute money or hardware, because I love to see the platform grow. I won't however work with you because you have decided to start off the relationship between your company and the ardupilot project by insulting it and using those insults to further your own aims. So congratulations, you are the first company that I have banned from working with the ardupilot project, or at least working with me on it. Maybe you'd like to put that on your website?

Time to get some sleep.

Michael Fox: Ubuntu 14.04 Server with TvHeadend and Realtek RTL2832U USB tuner

Wed, 2014-04-30 22:26

If you seen my previous posts here and here. I can confirm that the instructions I provided on the post here are still applicable to the installation of TvHeadend on Ubuntu 14.04 Server.

I just installed Ubuntu 14.04 Server tonight and tested the installation process of TvHeadend per my other notes and it works fine.

Ironically enough so far I really like Ubuntu 14.04 Server, so I will leave it running for a bit and see how much I do like it after a few days and/or weeks.

Andrew Pollock: [life] Day 92: Kindergarten, cleaning and more birthday party preparation

Wed, 2014-04-30 21:26

I'm mostly back into my normal routine now. Next week should be spot on. Today, after my chiropractic adjustment and another walk to the post office to collect another package, I got stuck into cleaning the house.

I got that mostly done before my massage, and knocked out the rest of it before I picked up Zoe from Kindergarten.

Zoe seems to have successfully dropped her day time nap at Kindergarten now, which certainly makes a huge difference to getting out of the place on time.

I'd underestimated the number of kids coming to Zoe's birthday party, so I needed to get some extra goody bags made up, so we headed directly out to Westfield Carindale to raid the The Reject Shop for some more bits and pieces.

After we got home from that, Zoe watched a bit of TV and helped me assemble the extra bags, and then we had dinner.

After some epic procrastination (on Zoe's behalf) I managed to get her to bed approximately on time. I really need to try some different approaches to getting through the bath time routine, because it's just taking too long. I gave myself a couple of time outs because I could see the situation deteriorating if I didn't. It's unhelpful that my blog seems to be the third hit in Google at the moment for "positive parent procrastination". I don't have the answers.

Ben Martin: Actobotics and ServoCity, addictive Robot fun!

Tue, 2014-04-29 22:50
I have had the great fortune to play around with some of the Actobotics components. The main downside I've seen so far is that its highly addictive!

What started out as a 3 wheel robot base then obtained a Web interface and an on board access point to control the speed and steering of the beast. The access point runs openWRT (now) and so with the Beagle there are two Linux machines on board!

The pan and tilt is also controlled via the Web interface and SVGA video streams over the access point from the top mounted web camera. There is a Lithium battery mounted in channel below the BeagleBone Black which powers it, the camera, and the TPLink access point. That block of 8 AA rechargables is currently tasked with turning the motors and servo.

It's early days yet for the robot. With a gyro I can make the pan gearmotor software limited so it doesn't wrap the cables around by turning multiple revolutions. Some feedback from the wheel gearmotors, location awareness and ultrasound etc will start to make commands like "go to the kitchen" more of a possibility.