Tuesday 23 August 2011

GNU Hackers Meeting 2011 in Paris

In case you are in the Paris area and don't know already, there is a a GNU Hackers Meeting event being held from Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th August, 2011 at IRILL If you are a GNU user, enthusiast, or contributor of any kind, feel free to come. I guess you can still drop an email to ghm-registration@gnu.org.

For folks around on Wednesday (yeah, that's tomorrow), we are having a dinner around 8 PM at the Mussuwam, a Senegalese restaurant in Paris, near Place d'Italie. When you get there, just give them the secret password (which is 'GNU') and they'll show you were the rest of the crowd sits. Be sure to keep that password secret though. No one else should be in the know.

Happy hacking and I hope to see you guys there.

Sunday 21 August 2011

How to install a digital CA certificate on Red Hat based GNU/Linux distributions

This is just as a reminder for myself, as I keep forgetting about this stuff.

If like me you run a server with services that depends on SSL and need to install a certificate issued by a Certificate Authority (CA) like CACert, this might be interesting to you as well.

On Red Hat based systems the CA certificate for SSL is usually installed in the /etc/pki/tls/certs directory. The certificate is basically just dropped there in a file which name is its hash – built with the openssl program.

I wrote the shell scriptlet http://dodji.seketeli.net/install-ca-cert.txt. Download it, save it as install-ca-cert.sh and turn it into an executable.

Then, assuming your certificate is in a file named your-ca.crt, install it by doing:

sudo ./install-ca-cert.sh ./your-ca.crt

Voila. I don't know how that works on other distributions, though.


A wise person taught me about the c_rehash utility from openssl, that does the same thing as my dirty script above. To use it, you need to install the openssl-perl package. Thank you, Daniël.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Nemiver in Google Summer of Code 2011

For those of you who might not know it already, Nemiver has
been granted two Summer of Code projects.  This is exciting
news for me, and I am grateful to all the people who helped
make this happen.

In this post I'll present the hackers who presented those
two projects and give you some perspective about their

Seemanta has been active on the mailing list of the Nemiver
project for quite some time now.  He has shown great
interest in the project and has contributed ideas and code.

When you are debugging a program and you hit "Quit" in
Nemiver while the debugged program is still running, the
debugger kindly reminds you that said debugged program is
still around and alive.  This has saved me from accidentally
quitting the debugger quite a number of time.  Seemanta is
the person to thank (warmly) for this feature.

At some point in time some people have shown interest for
having a command line interface in Nemiver, coupled with a
way to script debugging actions.  I have kind of dragged
feet in that matter because my attention is taken by
nurturing more basic features.

I was excited to see Seemanta rolling up his sleeves and
proposing to look into supporting (Python) scripting in
Nemiver.  Think about it for two seconds.  This could have
some interesting impacts in debugging interactions for
Nemiver users.  Imagine a command line interpreter for the
graphical debugger, totally written (and extensible) in a
scripting environment.  I like the fresh air that this new
horizon is bringing.

  • Fabien Parent

Fabien has been active in the Nemiver project for a while
now.  He has been instrumental in testing and providing
astute feedback for features like remote debugging and, more
recently, the integrated disassembler of the debugger.  It
took me quite some energy to add that disassembling feature
so I did really appreciate the feedback of Fabien -- and
others (hey Luca Bruno!) -- about corner cases that I left
over here and there.  Without them the damn thing would
certainly be less streamlined than it is now.

More recently he added support for GSettings to the code
base, effectively taking his share of the effort of porting
Nemiver to the GNOME 3 platform.  Not only did he do that,
but he did it in a clever and maintainable way.  The code
base basically supports GConf *and* GSettings.  Both of
which are "just" backends of the internal configuration
interface of the Nemiver project.  And there is zero #ifdef
in the client code of said configuration interface, for
those who care.  This allows me (as a maintainer) to
contemplate -- with some serenity -- the support of Nemiver
on systems that will not necessarily jump to GSettings soon.

Looking at the Bugzilla activity around Nemiver, one could
sense that the way it uses the screen estate is not
necessarily optimal today, especially when you consider the
use cases of "wide" monitors that is getting more and more
the norm rather than the exception.  In other words, there
are people out there who would like to make a better use of
their horizontal screen space, during their debugging

I was thrilled when Fabien stood up to tackle this task of
providing Nemiver users with a better way of managing their
horizontal space during their graphical debugging sessions.

Please join me in congratulating Seemanta and Fabien!

Happy Summer Hacking!

Sunday 13 June 2010

SG45H7 power supply failure

A few weeks ago my shuttle box stopped booting. For the record, it's a one year old core2quad box with 8 gigabytes of memory and 1.5 Terabytes of hard disk. All packed in a little box that is no wider than an A4 sheet of paper.

When I hit the power button the fans would start rotating a little bit, maybe 25° and then nothing. The LEDs of the motherboards stay lit but nothing happens.

I opened the box, wiped the dust from the fans, measured the voltage and current coming out from the pins of the power supply. Both current and voltage were a bit lower than expected, but to my surprise, the box did boot again. I made sure my hourly incremental backup (rsync powered!) was doing OK, and I went back to hacking G++ as usual.

Then last Tuesday the box stopped working again. This time I removed most of the parts from the motherboard: Hard disk, DVD burner, memory sticks one by one. Each time I remove of a part, I'd try to power the box on. Still nothing.

At that point, I thought it was either the mother board or the power supply that was at fault. But how would I know? I bet it was the power supply as it was the less expensive part to replace :) So I did the "power supply paper clip test" and it appeared that the odds of the power supply unit being broken were quite high.

I figured I should probably order a more powerful power supply as the 300 Watts of the current one were probably a bit too tight for my usage.
I ordered a 500 Watts PSU (power supply unit) and got it two days later. And yes, the PSU was indeed the culprit!

Let's see how long is this new PSU going to serve.

Saturday 12 September 2009

Nemiver 0.7.2

Nemiver 0.7.2 is out. It is a bugfix, minor feature and translation update release.

NEWS | tarball | Fedora Packages

Saturday 1 August 2009

Nemiver 0.7.1

The first bugfix release of the Nemiver 0.7.x series is out.

This version addresses various nits here and there, takes care of some low level details to make sure Nemiver works well with the Archer branch of GDB and contains some updated translations.

News file and tarball are available from the usual places.

Thanks to the continuous good work of my fellows distro packagers, the binaries should appear on a mirror near you in a couple of days.

For what it is worth, Fedora 10, 11, and Rawhide packages are available for the impatients.

Happy hacking.

Thursday 30 July 2009

Maker's schedule, Manager's Schedule

I stumbled accross this gem from the always excellent Paul Graham.
It's a nice model to grasp how programmers and managers use their time differently. I guess we all felt this intuitively, but it takes a Paul Graham to express it clearly. A must read.