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Maxim Zakharov: dpsearch-4.54-2016-12-03

Sat, 2016-12-03 15:04

A new snapshot version of DataparkSearch Engine has been released. You can get it on Google Drive or on GitHub.

Changes made since previous snapshot:

  • added setting reading timeout to socket based on document reading timemout
  • added support for wolfssl and mbedtls libraries
  • added timeout tracking for https
  • removed adjustment on server weight before putting url poprank into url data
  • fixed compilation without openssl
  • improved OpenSSL detection
  • added --enable-mcmodel option for configure
  • corrected compilation flags for threadless version of libdpsearch if no apache module selected to build
  • switched to CRYPTO_THREADID for OpenSSL 1.0.0 and above
  • minor fixes and updates

Steven Hanley: [mtb/events] Alpine Challenge - 160km Trail run - Victoria

Fri, 2016-12-02 15:00

A big adventure out in the Victorian Alps (fullsize)
So I was keen to see if, after having fun doing a numebr of 100km trail running events, stepping up to 160km (what the Americans call a 100 due to their use of miles) would be just as fun. So not to take it easy I went and entered the hardest in Australia. The Alpine Challenge in the Victorian Alps, 160km on mountain walking trails and fire roads with 7200 metres of climbing.

I had not realy done enough training for this one, I expected to do around 30 hours, though would have loved to go under 28 hours. In the end I was close to expectations after the last 60km became a slow bushwalk. Still it is a great adventure in some of the most amazing parts of our country. I guess now I have done it I know what is needed to go better and think I could run a much better race on that course too.

My words and photos are online in my Alpine Challenge 2016 gallery. What a big mountain adventure that was!.

Colin Charles: Debian and MariaDB Server

Thu, 2016-12-01 21:01

GNU/Linux distributions matter, and Debian is one of the most popular ones out there in terms of user base. Its an interesting time as MariaDB Server becomes more divergent compared to upstream MySQL, and people go about choosing default providers of the database.

The MariaDB Server original goals were to be a drop-in replacement. In fact this is how its described (“It is an enhanced, drop-in replacement for MySQL”). We all know that its becoming increasingly hard for that line to be used these days.

Anyhow in March 2016, Debian’s release team has made the decision that going forward, MariaDB Server is what people using Debian Stretch get, when they ask for MySQL (i.e. MariaDB Server is the default provider of an application that requires the use of port 3306, and provides a MySQL-like protocol).

All this has brought some interesting bug reports and discussions, so here’s a collection of links that interest me (with decisions that will affect Debian users going forward).

Connectors MariaDB Server

Francois Marier: Persona Guiding Principles

Wed, 2016-11-30 06:42

Given the impending shutdown of Persona and the lack of a clear alternative to it, I decided to write about some of the principles that guided its design and development in the hope that it may influence future efforts in some way.

Permission-less system

There was no need for reliers (sites relying on Persona to log their users in) to ask for permission before using Persona. Just like a site doesn't need to ask for permission before creating a link to another site, reliers didn't need to apply for an API key before they got started and authenticated their users using Persona.

Similarly, identity providers (the services vouching for their users identity) didn't have to be whitelisted by reliers in order to be useful to their users.

Federation at the domain level

Just like email, Persona was federated at the domain name level and put domain owners in control. Just like they can choose who gets to manage emails for their domain, they could:

  • run their own identity provider, or
  • delegate to their favourite provider.

Site owners were also in control of the mechanism and policies involved in authenticating their users. For example, a security-sensitive corporation could decide to require 2-factor authentication for everyone or put a very short expiry on the certificates they issued.

Alternatively, a low-security domain could get away with a much simpler login mechanism (including a "0-factor" mechanism in the case of!).

Privacy from your identity provider

While identity providers were the ones vouching for their users' identity, they didn't need to know the websites that their users are visiting. This is a potential source of control or censorship and the design of Persona was able to eliminate this.

The downside of this design of course is that it becomes impossible for an identity provider to provide their users with a list of all of the sites where they successfully logged in for audit purposes, something that centralized systems can provide easily.

The browser as a trusted agent

The browser, whether it had native support for the BrowserID protocol or not, was the agent that the user needed to trust. It connected reliers (sites using Persona for logins) and identity providers together and got to see all aspects of the login process.

It also held your private keys and therefore was the only party that could impersonate you. This is of course a power which it already held by virtue of its role as the web browser.

Additionally, since it was the one generating and holding the private keys, your browser could also choose how long these keys are valid and may choose to vary that amount of time depending on factors like a shared computer environment or Private Browsing mode.

Other clients/agents would likely be necessary as well, especially when it comes to interacting with mobile applications or native desktop applications. Each client would have its own key, but they would all be signed by the identity provider and therefore valid.

Bootstrapping a complex system requires fallbacks

Persona was a complex system which involved a number of different actors. In order to slowly roll this out without waiting on every actor to implement the BrowserID protocol (something that would have taken an infinite amount of time), fallbacks were deemed necessary:

  • client-side JavaScript implementation for browsers without built-in support
  • centralized fallback identity provider for domains without native support or a working delegation
  • centralized verifier until local verification is done within authentication libraries

In addition, to lessen the burden on the centralized identity provider fallback, Persona experimented with a number of bridges to provide quasi-native support for a few large email providers.

Support for multiple identities

User research has shown that many users choose to present a different identity to different websites. An identity system that would restrict them to a single identity wouldn't work.

Persona handled this naturally by linking identities to email addresses. Users who wanted to present a different identity to a website could simply use a different email address. For example, a work address and a personal address.

No lock-in

Persona was an identity system which didn't stand between a site and its users. It exposed email address to sites and allowed them to control the relationship with their users.

Sites wanting to move away from Persona can use the email addresses they have to both:

  • notify users of the new login system, and
  • allow users to reset (or set) their password via an email flow.

Websites should not have to depend on the operator of an identity system in order to be able to talk to their users.

Short-lived certificates instead of revocation

Instead of relying on the correct use of revocation systems, Persona used short-lived certificates in an effort to simplify this critical part of any cryptographic system.

It offered three ways to limit the lifetime of crypto keys:

  • assertion expiry (set by the client)
  • key expiry (set by the client)
  • certificate expiry (set by the identify provider)

The main drawback of such a pure expiration-based system is the increased window of time between a password change (or a similar signal that the user would like to revoke access) and the actual termination of all sessions. A short expirty can mitigate this problem, but it cannot be eliminated entirely unlike in a centralized identity system.

Binh Nguyen: Saving Capitalist Democracy, Random Thoughts, and More

Tue, 2016-11-29 02:55
Given that we've looked at how the US Empire seems to be slowly breaking apart it should seem logical that we would look at some of the ways to save it (and capitalist democracy along with it). Namely, ways of kick starting economic growth once more:

Binh Nguyen: Challenges to the US Empire, International News Sites, and More

Tue, 2016-11-22 22:05
Over and over again in international media you hear about the strengthening and/or weakening of the US empire. It seems clear that in spite of a recovery from the GFC there are still problems Global Empire - What's Wrong with the USA POLICING THE COP Ft. Retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling https://

Linux Users of Victoria (LUV) Announce: LUV Main December 2016 Meeting: HPC Linux in Europe / adjourned SGM / Intro to FreeBSD

Tue, 2016-11-22 15:02
Start: Dec 6 2016 18:30 End: Dec 6 2016 20:30 Start: Dec 6 2016 18:30 End: Dec 6 2016 20:30 Location: 

6th Floor, 200 Victoria St. Carlton VIC 3053



• Lev Lafayette, High Performance Linux in Europe
• adjourned Special General Meeting
• Peter Ross, Introduction to FreeBSD

200 Victoria St. Carlton VIC 3053 (the EPA building)

Late arrivals needing access to the building and the sixth floor please call 0490 049 589.

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 venue.

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

December 6, 2016 - 18:30

read more

OpenSTEM: Growth fun: stock of physical resources

Fri, 2016-11-18 11:05

It’s most enjoyable being part of a growing company that’s helping to make a real difference for students and our future generation.

For our physical resources, we purposely don’t keep large stock as that would make things prohibitively expensive. The trade-off is that we can’t always do instant shipments. Typically, we do order in new items when we’re running low. It’s not an entirely straightforward process, since we have to assemble kits such as the Ginger Beer Classroom Kit and the Soldering Kit ourselves, by necessity from different sources.

When a product sees a particular spike in interest, we sometimes briefly run out. Actually that’s quite normal and it happens even with companies that keep lots of stock. When out-of-stock, we can generally fulfil the order within 1-2 weeks. A brief delay, but with the advantage that you get what you want, at a reasonable price, from a trusted Australian supplier with friendly service. We believe that these aspects adequately compensate for the lack of “instant gratification”…

So where are we at right now with our physical resources stock? A brief overview:

If you have any questions about any of our products, please don’t hesitate to ask! Contact us.

Donna Benjamin: Permissions: a Drupal poem by Quartz

Thu, 2016-11-17 11:02
Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 09:53

I wanted to remind you
of some very basic stuff
The type of thing you may forget
when dev work's getting tough

It is, just a simple thing
That many a mind perplexed
So how many of you
Know what's coming next?

If your custom content field
in your new created node
has a blank bit in the space
for a radio button to load

or your rules on field has value
doesn't show the said conditions
then the answer is the same
Go check your role permissions

If you know you've put that block
in the side bar on the right
but where its s'posed to be
is nothing but all white

Or your user lets you know
that the content type petition
isn't in their own menu
Then again it is permissions

If a visitor to the site
sees the gallery as a void
but they uploaded photos
and now they are annoyed

Or your view display is empty
On the file path position
Then you know what I will say
What about your role permissions

So now I hope that when you are
In front of your machines
doubting your state of mind
And staring at your screens

That you will think of this wee rhyme
In Dr Seuss tradition
and quick smart take yourself
to check on your permissions

Originally published at
"Permissions by Quartz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License."

Linux Users of Victoria (LUV) Announce: LUV Beginners November Meeting: Website working group

Thu, 2016-11-17 03:03
Start: Nov 19 2016 12:30 End: Nov 19 2016 16:30 Start: Nov 19 2016 12:30 End: Nov 19 2016 16:30 Location: 

Infoxchange, 33 Elizabeth St. Richmond


Website working group

We will be planning modernisation and upgrading of the LUV website. This will include looking at what features are used and what technologies are suitable for the future.

There will also be the usual casual hands-on workshop, Linux installation, configuration and assistance and advice. Bring your laptop if you need help with a particular issue. This will now occur BEFORE the talks from 12:30 to 14:00. The talks will commence at 14:00 (2pm) so there is time for people to have lunch nearby.

The meeting will be held at Infoxchange, 33 Elizabeth St. Richmond 3121 (enter via the garage on Jonas St.)

Late arrivals, please call (0490) 049 589 for access to the venue.

LUV would like to acknowledge Infoxchange for the venue.

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

November 19, 2016 - 12:30

Jeremy Kerr: OpenPOWER console implementations

Fri, 2016-11-11 23:01

I often have folks asking how the text & video consoles work on OpenPOWER machines. Here's a bit of a rundown on how it's implemented, and what may seem a little different from x86 platforms that you may already be used to.

On POWER machines, we get the console up and working super early in the boot process. This means that we can get debug, error and state information out using text console with very little hardware initialisation, and in a human-readable format. So, we tend to use simpler devices for the console output - typically a serial UART - rather than graphical-type consoles, which require a GPU to be up and running. This keeps the initialisation code clean and simple.

However, we still want a facility for admins who are more used to a keyboard & monitor directly plugged-in to have a console facility too. More about that later though.

The majority of OpenPOWER platforms will rely on the attached management controller (BMC) to provide the UART console (as of November 2016: unless you've designed your own OpenPOWER hardware, this will be the case for you). This will be based on ASpeed's AST2400 or AST25xx system-on-chip devices, which provide a few methods of getting console data from the host to the BMC.

Between the host and the BMC, there's a LPC bus. The host is the master of the LPC bus, and the BMC the slave. One of the facilities that the BMC exposes over this bus is a set of UART devices. Each of these UARTs appear as a standard 16550A register set, so having the host interface to a UART is very simple.

As the host is booting, the host firmware will initialise the UART console, and start outputting boot progress data. First, you'll see the ISTEP messages from hostboot, then skiboot's "msglog" output, then the kernel output from the petitboot bootloader.

Because the UART is implemented by the BMC (rather than a real hardware UART), we have a bit of flexibility about what happens to the console data. On a typical machine, there are four ways of getting access to the console:

  • Direct physical connection: using the DB-9 RS232 port on the back of the machine;
  • Over network: using the BMC's serial-over-LAN interface, using something like ipmitool [...] sol activate;
  • Local keyboard/video/mouse: connected to the VGA & USB ports on the back of the machine, or
  • Remote keyboard/video/mouse: using "remote display" functionality provided by the BMC, over the network.

The first option is fairly simple: the RS232 port on the machine is actually controlled by the BMC, and not the host. Typically, the BMC firmware will just transfer data between this port and the LPC UART (which the host is interacting with). Figure 1 shows the path of the console data.

Figure 1: Local UART console.

The second is similar, but instead of the BMC transferring data between the RS232 port and the host UART, it transfers data between a UDP serial-over-LAN session and the host UART. Figure 2 shows the redirection of the console data from the host over LAN.

Figure 2: Remote UART console.

The third and fourth options are a little more complex, but basically involve the BMC rendering the UART data into a graphical format, and displaying that on the VGA port, or sending over the network. However, there are some tricky details involved...

UART-to-VGA mirroring

Earlier, I mentioned that we start the console super-early. This happens way before any VGA devices can be initialised (in fact, we don't have PCI running; we don't even have memory running!). This means that it's not possible to get these super-early console messages out through the VGA device.

In order to be useful in deployments that use VGA-based management though, most OpenPOWER machines have functionality to mirror the super-early UART data out to the VGA port. During this process, it's the BMC that drives the VGA output, and renders the incoming UART text data to the VGA device. Figure 3 shows the flow for this, with the GPU rendering text console to the graphical output.

Figure 3: Local graphical console during early boot.

In the case of remote access to the VGA device, the BMC takes the contents of this rendered graphic and sends it over the network, to a BMC-provided web application. Figure 4 illustrates the redirection to the network.

Figure 4: Remote graphical console during early boot, with graphics sent over the network

This means we have console output, but no console input. That's okay though, as this is purely to report early boot messages, rather than provide any interaction from the user.

Once the host has booted to the point where it can initialise the VGA device itself, it takes ownership of the VGA device (and the BMC relinquishes it). The first software on the host to start interacting with the video device is the Linux driver in petitboot. From there on, video output is coming from the host, rather than the BMC. Because we may have user interaction now, we use the standard host-controlled USB stack for keyboard & mouse control.

Figure 5: Local graphical console later in boot, once the host video driver has started.

Remote VGA console follows the same pattern - the BMC captures the video data that has been rendered by the GPU, and sends it over the network. In this case, the console input is implemented by virtual USB devices on the BMC, which appear as a USB keyboard and mouse to the operating system running on the host.

Figure 6: Remote graphical console later in boot, once the host video driver has started.

Typical console output during boot

Here's a few significant points of the boot process:

3.60212|ISTEP 6. 3 4.04696|ISTEP 6. 4 4.04771|ISTEP 6. 5 10.53612|HWAS|PRESENT> DIMM[03]=00000000AAAAAAAA 10.53612|HWAS|PRESENT> Membuf[04]=0C0C000000000000 10.53613|HWAS|PRESENT> Proc[05]=C000000000000000 10.62308|ISTEP 6. 6

- this is the initial output from hostboot, doing early hardware initialisation in discrete "ISTEP"s

41.62703|ISTEP 21. 1 55.22139|htmgt|OCCs are now running in ACTIVE state 63.34569|ISTEP 21. 2 63.33911|ISTEP 21. 3 [ 63.417465577,5] SkiBoot skiboot-5.4.0 starting... [ 63.417477129,5] initial console log level: memory 7, driver 5 [ 63.417480062,6] CPU: P8 generation processor(max 8 threads/core) [ 63.417482630,7] CPU: Boot CPU PIR is 0x0430 PVR is 0x004d0200 [ 63.417485544,7] CPU: Initial max PIR set to 0x1fff [ 63.417946027,5] OPAL table: 0x300c0940 .. 0x300c0e10, branch table: 0x30002000 [ 63.417951995,5] FDT: Parsing fdt @0xff00000

- here, hostboot has loaded the next firmware stage, skiboot, and we're now executing that.

[ 22.120063542,5] INIT: Waiting for kernel... [ 22.154090827,5] INIT: Kernel loaded, size: 15296856 bytes (0 = unknown preload) [ 22.197485684,5] INIT: 64-bit LE kernel discovered [ 22.218211630,5] INIT: 64-bit kernel entry at 0x20010000, size 0xe96958 [ 22.247596543,5] OCC: All Chip Rdy after 0 ms [ 22.296864319,5] Free space in HEAP memory regions: [ 22.304756431,5] Region ibm,firmware-heap free: 9b4b78 [ 22.322076546,5] Region ibm,firmware-allocs-memory@2000000000 free: 10cd70 [ 22.341542329,5] Region ibm,firmware-allocs-memory@0 free: afec0 [ 22.392470901,5] Total free: 11999144 [ 22.419746381,5] INIT: Starting kernel at 0x20010000, fdt at 0x305dbae8 (size 0x1d251)

next, the skiboot firmware has loaded the petitboot bootloader kernel (in zImage.epapr format), and is setting up memory regions in preparation for running Linux.

zImage starting: loaded at 0x0000000020010000 (sp: 0x0000000020e94ed8) Allocating 0x1545554 bytes for kernel ... gunzipping (0x0000000000000000 <- 0x000000002001d000:0x0000000020e9238b)...done 0x13c0300 bytes Linux/PowerPC load: Finalizing device tree... flat tree at 0x20ea1520 [ 24.074353446,5] OPAL: Switch to little-endian OS -> smp_release_cpus() spinning_secondaries = 159 <- smp_release_cpus() <- setup_system()

we then get the output from the zImage wrapper, which expands the actual kernel code and executes it. In recent firmware builds, the petitboot kernel will suppress most of the Linux boot messages, so we should only see high-priority warnings or error messages.

next up, the petitboot UI will be shown:

Petitboot (v1.2.3-a976d01) 8335-GCA 2108ECA ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── [Disk: sda1 / 590328e2-1095-4fe7-8278-0babaa9b9ca5] Ubuntu, with Linux 4.4.0-47-generic (recovery mode) Ubuntu, with Linux 4.4.0-47-generic Ubuntu [Network: enP3p3s0f3 / 98:be:94:67:c0:1b] Ubuntu 14.04.x installer Ubuntu 16.04 installer test kernel System information System configuration Language Rescan devices Retrieve config from URL *Exit to shell ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Enter=accept, e=edit, n=new, x=exit, l=language, h=help

During Linux execution, skiboot will retain control of the UART (rather than exposing the LPC registers directly to the host), and provide a method for the Linux kernel to read and write to this console. That facility is provided by the OPAL_CONSOLE_READ and OPAL_CONSOLE_WRITE calls in the OPAL API.

Which one should we use?

We tend to prefer the text-based consoles for managing OpenPOWER machines - either the RS232 port on the machines for local access, or IPMI Serial over LAN (SOL) for remote access. This means that there's much less bandwidth and latency for console connections, and there is a simpler path for the console data. It's also more reliable during low-level debugging, as serial access involves fewer components of the hardware, software and firmware stacks.

That said, the VGA mirroring implementation should still work well, and is also accessible remotely by the current BMC firmware implementations. If your datacenter is not set up for local RS232 connections, you may want to use VGA for local access, and SoL for remote - or whatever works best in your situation.

Tridge on UAVs: Calling all testers! New ArduPilot sensor drivers

Fri, 2016-11-11 18:15

We'd love the diydrones community to jump aboard our testing effort for the new ArduPilot sensor system. See for details

We have just implemented a major upgrade to the ArduPilot sensor drivers for STM32 based boards (PX4v1, Pixhawk, Pixhawk2, PH2Slim, PixRacer and PixhawkMini).The new sensor drivers are a major departure from the previous drivers which used the PX4/Firmware drivers. The new drivers are all "in-tree" drivers, bringing a common driver layer for all our supported boards, so we now use the same drivers on all the Linux boards as we do on the PX4 variants.We would really appreciate some testing on as many different types of boards as possible. The new driver system has an auto-detection system to detect the board type and while we think it is all correct some validation against a wide variety of boards would be appreciated.

Advantages of the new system

The new device driver system has a number of major advantages over the old one
* common drivers with our Linux based boards
* significantly lower overhead (faster drivers) resulting in less CPU usage
* significantly less memory usage, leaving more room for other options
* significantly less flash usage, leaving more room for code growth
* remote access to raw SPI and I2C devices via MAVLink2 (useful for development)
* much simpler driver structure, making contributions easier (typical drivers are well under half the lines of code of the PX4 equivalent)
* support for much higher sampling rates for IMUs that support it (ICM-20608 and MPU-9250), leading to better vibration handling

..... see the posting on for more details on how to participate in testing. Thanks!

Michael Davies: Speaking at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona

Fri, 2016-11-11 09:26
Last month I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Barcelona, Spain to attend the OpenStack Ocata Summit where I was able to speak about the work we've been doing integrating Ironic into OpenStack-Ansible.

(Video link:
I really enjoyed the experience, and very much enjoyed co-presenting with Andy McCrae - a great guy and an very clever and hard-working developer. If I ever make it to the UK (and see more than the inside of LHR), I'm sure going to go visit!

And here's a few happy snaps from Barcelona - lovely place, wish I could've stayed more than 6 days :-)

Colin Charles: CfP for Percona Live Santa Clara closes November 13!

Fri, 2016-11-11 05:01

At Percona Live Amsterdam recently, the conference expanded beyond just its focus areas of MySQL & its ecosystem and MongoDB to also include PostgreSQL and other open source databases (just look at the recent poll). The event was a sold out success.

This will continue for Percona Live Santa Clara 2017, happening April 24-27 2017 – and the call for papers is open till November 13 2016, so what are you waiting for? Submit already!

I am on the conference committee and am looking forward to making the best program possible. Looking forward to your submissions!