Fri, 24 Sep 2004

People to thank: Thiemo Seufer

I couldn't resist to publicly thank Thiemo Seufer for all the invisible work he (with others) has done to fix a series of problems in the mipsen toolchain. Thanks to his work on binutils and gcc, mozilla and offspring are now compilable on our 11 architectures, which was a quite big sarge blocker.

Sometimes I feel this kind of jobs are not rewarded by users as much as "package the latest GNOME/KDE/X/whatever" kind of job because it's not as visible, unless you pay attention to apt-listchanges or the BTS. But without them, there would be no GNOME or KDE packages at all!

Thu, 23 Sep 2004

ALSA packaging getting better

The observative Debian developers will have noticed that the Debian ALSA team hadn't been as good as usual at delivering new upstream versions a few days^H^H^H^Hweeks after it was released.

There were several reasons for this. The three team members (StevenK, ElectricElf and me) got busy in other fronts, and the bug count didn't stop going up. At one point, the BTS was too full of ALSA bugs for us to be able to handle it, which just added a bit more to the problem, because we never found time to sit down and do triage.

Also, when we started the Alioth project, SVN or Arch weren't available, so we went for a CVS setup which involved importing the upstream sources to CVS and then working on top of that. I never quite understood why we needed the whole sources in CVS, but as I never got involved in the import business, I was more or less ok with the setup. We would then use cvs-buildpackage to build the stuff, and it worked quite well.

The problems came when ElectricElf started to be busy and away from IRC. I dared not try to import the new upstream versions myself, as I had managed to break the import twice in the past (no, it's not so trivial), requiring Elf intervention to cleanup after me. StevenK more or less managed to do stuff, but when something went wrong, he also needed ElectricElf to look after the repo. In short, we were depending on the Elf, who was just too busy to do the stuff.

ALSA 1.0.6 was released over a month ago, and we hadn't tried seriously to update the packages until now, because nobody was stepping up to do the import stuff. So the three of us recently considered adding new blood to the ALSA group, and we asked Thomas Hood, who had been very helpful doing some BTS work on our bugs in the past, to join us.

The last week has seen new vitality in pkg-alsa activity thanks to him, but again the CVS issue was a showstopper. We managed to do more or less sane alsa-oss and alsa-utils uploads, but importing alsa-driver, which is always the bitch, failed again. Thomas and I agreed that the setup was way overegineered for a few packages that never touch the upstream sources directly anyway, as we use dpatch, and I considered switching to SVN. StevenK is an Arch dude though, and was reluctant. This morning, to my surprise, he told us we could try SVN so I rushed to import our stuff in.

The result is that after the quick and clean import of just our debian/ dirs into our new SVN repo, we've done 1.0.6 uploads of the alsa-foo packages in less than one day. And we've got more fixes on the way...

Hmm. This was a long way of saying "ALSA packaging moved to SVN". Procrastination is sometimes like this... :)

Manoj: sorry if I moaned about cvs-buildpackage before... nothing wrong with that, it's just our ex-setup which was quite inconvenient...

Wed, 22 Sep 2004

1 out, 3 to go

Time flies and today was the day.

I went to the dentist to get the first of my wisdom teeth removed. I went in a bit nervous, like a 10 year old, but I was more annoyed than frightened about the removal. I was quite happy of having grown up with no teeth decay and with all my teeth in good shape, and now I had to get some removed even if they are healthy.

Anyway, it all lasted for about 25 minutes, including the short wait for my turn and the wait for the anesthesia to do its job. After that, the doctor started pulling and doing stuff and voilà, it was out, and my mouth full of blood. He gave me my tooth so I can do whatever I want with it. It's long, and the part that was exposed is cleaner than what wasn't. I'm keeping it for a while, maybe I get a great idea of what to do with four long Wisdom teeth. I tried to get two teeth out at once, but the doctor said it wasn't possible, as that would involve both sides of the mouth, and that can get annoying when eating. The next two to go out will involve surgery. That won't be as easy as today...

The rest of the evening was spent at Kike's house and trying to go to the bicycle demonstration for the "Day without cars", but we got to the starting point late and never found them. So, while we looked for it, Kike told me Ferran Torrent is about to publish the third part of the book saga "Societat limitada" and "Espècies protegides". Not finding the group of bicycles, we moved to FNAC to look for the new book, but it isn't out yet. I'll raid the "Tres i quatre" bookstore to get it as soon as it's out. I can't wait.

Oh, before the dentist I met Kike and Raúl to plan our next cycling trip during the October 9-12 long weekend. The route is decided, and it's going to be *tough* once again!

Sun, 19 Sep 2004


Even if I said I had finished season 2004, I ended signing up for the last triathlon of the 2004 calendar, in Pinedo (hey, it was free after all!). This was a wild idea, even if the triathlon is sprint distance and oriented to attract new people to triathlon, with easy courses for the bike and run. I have not trained at all since I came back from Oxford, and today it showed a bit...

First, I went to Pinedo after having very, very little sleep during the whole weekend, and very tired. I was one of the first guys to get boxes setup, so 40 minutes before the start I was walking around half naked in the cold of dawn.

When it was finally time to get into water to warm up, I started waking into the sea and came across a large rock that was hiding inside the dirty sea water (Pinedo's is the first beach near the entrance to Valencia's big sea harbour, and it sucks), and hit my knee quite hard. I didn't give this much importance besides the usual loud cursing and swearing, and went swimming for a while. When I came out to get ready for the triathlon start, someone told me "hey, what the fuck is that?", pointing at my leg. Eww, it was completely red, from the blood coming out of my knee. It didn't hurt, so I just cleaned it with some water and a few minutes later the race started.

As usual, I got many blows until I got to the first buoy, and I wasn't getting any good sensations. I came out of the sea quite behind my normal positions, I guess, and quickly came out for the cycling. I managed to link with the pack ahead of me and all was well until I completed the second lap of four. Then, the knee started to hurt a little, then a bit more, until I lost my group and a few others that came from behind. I was very close to abandon the race after the third lap, but decided to do the last 5 kilometres to see if the run was ok with my knee.

As soon as I started running, I realized my knee hurted still, so I abandoned after the first 500m because I didn't want to run the full 5 kilometres just to finish. I would if the triathlon was a bit interesting, but not this one...

A pitty, it's the first time I don't finish a triathlon I've started, and I've had worse injuries in other races...

After the race, there was a very cool race, an aquathlon, with phisically disabled people from the Valencian Disabled Sports Federation. It was great to see people who can't walk or have other mobility disorders swim some good 400 metres, get out of water and then race with their wheel chairs down the promenade.

After the adapted race, there were a series of aquathlons for children. I served as "buoy man" for the smaller ones (around 7 years), which had to swim 50 metres, so I stood in the middle of the sea with my teammate Montxi watching them come. That was great too, watching very young kids being introduced to this kind of sports that early.

The aquathlons were the only positive moments of a quite bad morning. I was quite fond of not having abandoned any race until now... :|

Wed, 15 Sep 2004

jordi aka Oskuro

For a long time I had been thinking about abandoning my old nick Oskuro and start using something simple like jordi.

I picked up Oskuro 8 years ago, when I got involved in a MUD at University. As I came in just a few days after Josep and Raúl started the project, I was given the chance of participating in the development, so I had to pick a nickname. As I had no experience at all in role-playing, I found it difficult to come up with a cool nickname for my Demi-God character, and at some point someone suggested me "Oskuro", as I was going to play the role of the God with bad alignment. Well, how could I imagine at that time that this nickname would follow me until mid-2004 and that so many people would know me by my nick and not for my real name...

I was directly involved in the MUD development until a bit more than 3 years ago, when I joined Debian and the time I could use for mudding activities quickly vanished. I got in touch with Debian's IRC while I was mudding though, so the nick stuck with me in the Debian world. But hey, it's a stupid nick (translates to dark in English, if you don't mind the spelling mistake), and it doesn't make much sense anymore. Many people think I'm dark-skinned when my skin is pale and my hair slightly blonde... :)

I made this change on my jabber profile months ago, and today I finally changed my nick on OpenProjects and OFTC, not yet on GIMPnet as "jordi" is owned by Jordi Mas in that network. I guess I'll stick to jordim there, which is my * user name. I'll keep using both randomly as a transition, but at some point I'll abandon my old nickname for good. In short, look for me at jordi@OPN/OFTC on IRC!

Wed, 08 Sep 2004

GNOME 2.6 transition complete

Today's testing run finally allowed eog 2.6 to enter testing, which was the only missing piece of the GNOME meta-packages in testing. Sarge users will get a few new packages pulled by the gnome-desktop-environment and gnome packages, and new Sarge installs will finally get a complete GNOME 2.6 desktop installed.

The only big missing bit now is gdm 2.6, which is missing an arm build (already built, just not uploaded) of libselinux. With this version of GDM in Sarge, GNOME users will be able to shutdown the computer directly when they close their session, which is probably a feature many want to see in the release. And that's about it... I guess I'll do a final sarge upload with a few minor tweaks (version bumps and other tightening), and then will start to work on updating the dependencies for the GNOME 2.7/2.8 packages in experimental.

So, in short, Sarge finally has completed the GNOME 2.6 transition. Even before GNOME 2.8 is released upstream!

Sun, 05 Sep 2004

End of season 2004

Today I was supossed to run a promotion triathlon in Moncofa, but I ended up not turning up. One reason is that I had a very bad contracture in my right shoulder. Another reason, and probably more important, is that I didn't think there would be a triathlon at all. On Saturday I went to have lunch to the beach and after all of these days of bad weather, the sea was very rough. An indication of bad weather in València is when the Malvarosa beach is packed with windsurf sails, and yesterday it really was.

Óscar and I decided to not go at all, because waking up at 6:30 for nothing would have been very annoying... and we were very right: this morning the triathlon was cancelled and the ran a duathlon instead.

I wanted Moncofa to be the final competition this year, so I'm officially on triathlon vacation now for a few weeks. This means no kind of training for a few very good days until we start the new season in late September. Of course, a few changes in my life are going to keep me quite busy in the next few weeks, so all of this extra free time is very welcome.

The season could have gone a lot better. During Winter, I had to overcome a variety of injuries in ankles and knees, plus a never-ending cold. And when the good weather came, I was quite unmotivated, which really doesn't help in this sport. I am only happy about the result in Santa Pola and Oliva. I hope 2005 goes better overall.

Hardware disaster

The big storms of the past days not only affected some trees and the cars below them. On Saturday I went to where my main server lives and discovered the primary hard drive had developed a new musical skill: every time the BIOS tried to access it it would reply with a funky loud sound I have never heard before (and no, it's not the usual high pitch sound of a drive when it's dying). After getting quite worried about those backups I never made, I managed to make it go quiet and boot again (that was just before I wrote the previous blog entry). I know I shouldn't be trusting that drive much more, but I have no time to look for a replacement right now. I hope there are no more big storms in some time...

Besides that, my main Debian computer just would not react to the power switch at all. I first thought the power supply was completely fucked, but a few minutes ago I managed to get it back to life after fiddling inside the box, randomly unplugging and plugging power cords back and forth.

In short, it seems my computers are not in their best shape ever. This reminds me (again) that I really need to look for a UPS for the two boxes. Any cheap recommendation that works well with GNU/Linux? And of course, this is the signal that I fucking need to make backups of my stuff!

Aww, Erinn, when I wrote about the storm the other day I didn't know that you were being evacuated due to Frances. I hope all is well!

Sat, 04 Sep 2004

Violent storms

(Readers from Florida, skip this entry as it's probably insulting that I talk about big storms when that hurricane is approaching your houses :)

On Thursday, there was a big rain storm in València, one of the biggest I've seen in my life. By pure bad luck, I was inside a bar in Benimaclet at 00:15, saying good bye to my friends when it started to rain. As I had to cycle back home and it was raining a lot, I decided to wait until it stopped. 3 hours later, I was still inside the bar, watching how the rain got heavier and the square where it's located was flooding, as the sewers couldn't deal with all the water that was coming in. A few minutes later, the water was so high that it started getting in the bar, but luckily it stopped raining so intensely and the water level started to go down again.

When I got home, I found the living room was full of water, as well as the kitchen. Cleaning that made me go to bed at 4 or so, making me a zombie next morning at work...

Last night I went to Bétera to have dinner with some team mates, and I was able to see the most impressive electric storm of my whole life. The lightnings were continuous, and the storm seemed to move towards our direction. At one point it started raining very heavily, and water started pouring into the house even with the windows closed. The extremely strong winds did the rest: we could see how huge, 20m tall trees around us just broke as if they were matches, with quite bad results for the cars that were at one side of it, which were basically crushed.

It's incredible how small and irrelevant we can feel when nature shows its real power...