I've moved (only a couple of blocks from where I was before), and as the new place has Webpass I've reluctantly given up my Sonic.net connection, along with its static IPv4 address and ISP IPv6 tunnel. Hard to resist a 200Mb/s ethernet connection for the same price I was paying for 18Mb/s ADSL2 though.
However that leaves my DGN3500 router somewhat inappropriate for providing my net connection. Freed from the need for an ADSL/cable router I decided it was time to build an all in one house server (I'm a believer in as few always on boxes as possible). I already had a nettop acting as a media box, but wanted to build something that would handle:
Probably in that order if it turns out I'm asking too much. The intention is the box is the only one that always needs to be on, so I wanted it to be low power consumption. I also wanted the option of hooking it up to the TV if it turned out to have enough grunt, so the case needed to be something suitable for the living room.
I like Intel's approach to graphics drivers, in particular the existence of Free video acceleration support, so I went with an Intel Core i3-3220T as the processor. It's a 35W Ivybridge processor with HD 2500 graphics, plus I got it for a decent price.
For the case I chose a CFI A2059. There's a local supplier I was able to pick it up from, it has a couple of large fans which helps keeps the noise down while keeping things cool and as I was aiming for backup / file sharing being more important than a media box the 2 hot swap bays tipped the balance away from an AV style case.
The small case limits the motherboard options. I wanted twin GigE ports so the external was entirely separate from the internal (my switch does VLANs so I could have made do with a single port, but with a 200Mb/s connection I didn't really want to share the port). The Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI seemed to fit the bill, with the added advantage of a built in WiFi card (an Intel 2230 in a mini PCI-E slot) which leaves the PCI-E slot free for either a TV tuner or a second WiFi card to cover 5GHz.
I maxed out the board with 2 8G G.SKILL DDR3-1600 DIMMs. I normally go Crucial because I've found them reliable, but these were slightly cheaper and available from the same place as the motherboard.
Finally I added a Seagate ST4000DM000 for storage. It actually came from a Backup Plus that Costco were selling for about $20 less than the bare drive sells for. The plan is to add at least another 1T drive to RAID1 the most important bits (or possibly a 2T - it depends which of my existing drives I can tidy stuff off most easily).
Of course it's running Debian and I took the opportunity to try out the RC1 Wheezy image. For extra giggles I did an EFI install; this all worked fine except I didn't end up with grub-efi installed at the end, instead I had grub-pc. I booted with legacy BIOS enabled and followed Tanguy's switch to UEFI boot instructions.
Further notes on software setup to follow...
Eat, Drink and talk LinuxEvent Date and Time: Wed, 03/04/2013 - 19:30 - 23:00
I hope everyone is enjoying the long bank holiday weekend and, if you celebrate it, Easter. It’s strange to be celebrating the spring when there’s so much snow about, but there’s only one thing to do in these circumstances!Pin It
Arbitrary tweets made by TheGingerDog (i.e. David Goodwin) up to 01 April 2013
I have no objection if you want to get up an hour earlier. I don’t even object if you think it makes the daylight longer / gives you more sunlight / or whatever silly reasoning you have. Just don’t make me do it too, ‘m kay?
The video of Richard Harman’s talk is now online at YouTube. Interesting use of virtualization and tools to analyze malware (in Windows VMs).
This weekend I have mostly been reading Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time .
In modern times we divide the earth up into rings of lines, latitude and longitude, as wikipedia will explain.
Finding your latitude is easy, finding your longitude is a difficult process, and it was vitaly important when people started to sail large distances, the book contained lots of stories of sailors being suddenly suprised by the appearance of land - because they'd misjudged their position.
Having four ships, containing garlic, pepper, and other goods of value exceeding the total wealth of the UK, sink all at once was a major blow. Not to mention the large number of sailors who lost their lives.
There were several solutions proposed, involving steady hands and telescopes, etc, but the book mostly discusses John Harrison and his use of watches/clocks.
John Harrison was featured in Only Fools & Horses, as the designer of the watch that made Delboy & Rodney millionaires.
The idea of using a clock is that you take one with you, set to the time of your departure location. Using that clock you can compare the time to the local-time, by viewing the sun, etc. Calculating the difference between the two times allows you to see how far away, in degrees, from your port, and thus how far you've traveled.
Until harrison came along clocks weren't accurate enough to keep time. His clocks would lose a second a month, until then clocks might lose 15 minutes a day. (With more variations depending on temperture, location, and pressure. Clearly things like pendulum clocks weren't suitable for rocking ships either.)
All in all this book was a great read, there were mentions of Galilao, Newton, and similar folk who we've all heard of. There was angst, drama, deceit, and some stunning craftmanship.
Harrison was a woodworker, and he made his clocks out of wood (+brass where necessary). Choosing fast/slow-grown wood depending on purpose, and using wood that secreted oils naturally allowed him to avoid lubrication - which improved accuracy, as lubricants tend to thin/thicken when temperature/pressure change.
A lovely read, thank you very much.
In other news I received several patches for my templer static-site generator, and this has resulted in much improvement. I've also started using Test::Exception now, and slowly updating all my perl code to use this.
As some of you may know the dash team has been working to get the new smart scopes functionality in the dash ready for 13.04; this functionality delivers a far more comprehensive dash experience, performing searches over 50 or more different data sources. This feature makes the dash dramatically more useful by searching a far wider range of data sources and returning more relevant results.
The team has been working in a PPA to get the feature ready, and as we are past feature freeze, had filed a Feature Freeze Exception (FFe) to get this into 13.04. After an extensive amount of work to get the feature ready, unfortunately the dash team doesn’t consider it mature enough for 13.04 — it is nearly there, but doesn’t meet the quality needs for Ubuntu. As such the team has decided not to pursue landing in in 13.04 and to instead move it to the Ubuntu 13.10 cycle where it will be developed as soon as the archive opens. As I mentioned earlier, this feature has been developed in a PPA and has not landed in 13.04 yet, so there are no actual changes to the archive.
Some of you may have some questions about this so we have prepared a short FAQ below. I have also notified our governance boards to ensure they are aware of the change. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!
The FFE (1154229) got a sabdfl override and is now being rejected, how come?
A sabdfl override always has high requirements regarding code quality and User Experience. After looking at the current status of the smart scopes project we decided that the User Experience simply needs more work and it does not meet the quality requirements for Ubuntu. We would prefer to delay the feature until the next release cycle to ensure that it is rock solid.
Why was this feature being pushed at the last minute?
We believe the feature does provide additional benefit to Ubuntu Users by improving the search experience in the Dash, which is Unity’s weak spot. Landing the feature in 13.04 would have given us 1 additional cycle on the way to 14.04 to train and improve the suggestions provided by the server and further refine the overall Dash experience.
When, if at all, will the feature make its way into Ubuntu?
We are planning to provide the feature in a PPA for Ubuntu Raring which will be always rebased on Unity shipped on Raring. It will land it as soon as we are confident enough on the feature quality in Ubuntu S.
What about the in-dash purchases feature? Will that be landing?
There were some final outstanding issues with in-dash purchases and we are striving to have a conclusion to this ready for early next week (week beginning 1st April).
What about the privacy enhancements that were part of the smart scopes project?
It is unfortunately not possible to get the privacy enhancements from the smart scopes projects without the larger project itself. Smart Scopes would have allowed to disable individual scopes and limit network access for searches at all. In Ubuntu 13.04 you will still be able to disable all server communications through the settings apps. You can also remove the scopes and lenses you are not interested in using them by directly uninstalling the corresponding packages.
A few weeks ago I bought a pair of Devolo 500AV Ethernet over mains units to replace/extend a pair of 200AV units I already had. Someone asked if could use iperf to see how much faster they were.
To baseline what I had I ran the test from my desktop to my server over a 1 Gig switch and the most I could get was a feeble 333 GBit/s. I then tried from my laptop to the server on the same switch and that got a much better 740 GBit/s. The Marvell Yukon card on my desktop is a PCI device and the JMC250 in the laptop is a PCI-e so that may partially explain the differences.
Trying my laptop to the server via a 200AV/500AV/Gig-E switch gave a throughput of 56 GBit/s - about what you would expect. I then tried the laptop through a combination of 500AV/500AV/Gig-E but that wouldn't work as the JMC250 refuses to detect the 500AV. I then tried the laptop with different switches, it refuses to talk to my second Gig-E switch or my old Ethernet hub.
After some Goggling it turns out that the JMC NIC is a bit fussy and often fails to auto-negotiate with some "green" Gig switches, such as in the 500AV or my newest GBit switch, but is happy with older switches and plain Fast Ethernet. If you manually set the speed with ethtool then it's okay. I downloaded the latest driver from JMC and that is a bit better but while it will connect to my 500AV and my newer Gig-E switch automatically, it won't negotiate the correct GBit speed, falling to the older 100 MBit setting.
Footnote: The JMC250 is a 1 Gig Ethernet NIC from JMicron Technology Corporation, not something from the Jupiter Mining Corporation...
I haven’t really talked much about it on my blog as we have been fixing up the rough edges, but I wanted to share a little about it now.
As some of you will know, I have been increasingly getting into BBQ as a hobby. I love being outside and cooking, I love cooking over fire, and the art and science of BBQ facinates me. Don’t think there is a science? Well check out amazingribs.com and see just how much detail, science, and engineering can be involved in creating awesome BBQ.
One of the tips people give you when you start learning grilling and smoking is to maintain a notebook where you track the details of your cooks. You can then refer to what you did, learn from what works and what doesn’t, and improve your ‘cue.
Being of the nerdy persuasion, I was not going to use no stinking paper and pen, so I wrote a web app to track my cooks.
Originally I wrote this as something just for me, and then it struck me that this could be of general interest. I was chatting to Aq one day and he loved the idea so we decided to build what you now see at www.bbqpad.com. The sites works on your computer, mobile, and tablet.How BBQpad Works
So what does BBQpad let you do?
Well, with it you can create any number of cooks; each cook is a place you track the details of each cook session, such a meal for your family, practicing to improve your cooking, a party for your friends, a BBQ competition, or anything else. Go and see an example cook.
Within a cook you can add as many cookers and foods as you need (we maintain a database of cookers and foods to make this easy).
When you start cooking you can then track lots of different things:
We also allow you to add photos for the final food products as well as photos through the cook to show how your food is evolving. Photos can be added from your desktop, or mobile devices such as your phone or tablet.
When you have finished cooking an item you can then rate it for taste, tenderness, and appearance; these are the same ways people rate food in a BBQ competition setting.
Continuing the competition theme, we then provide a cook score based upon the certified KCBS competition scoring format for each of your food items as well as an overall score for the cook. This provides a neat way of seeing which cooks or items were better than others.
An example cook.Getting All Social
One of the goals of BBQpad is not just to provide a place to store cooks, but to also make BBQpad as social as the cooking itself. BBQ is all about cracking open a few beers, cooking some food over fire, enjoying the spoils with friends, and having a great time.
The social aspect of BBQpad is built right into the cooks.
On every cook page there is integrated discussion where people can leave comments and offer tips, advice, and other comments while you are cooking. We also have integrated social media to post your cooks to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Reddit.
One area where BBQpad is really handy is pointing people to the details of a cook. As an example, you may join one of the many BBQ forums/communities online and ask a question about an aspect of your cooking and you can easily point people to the cook page on BBQpad where people can get a good idea of the context of the cook. We have also seen many users tweet about their cooks so folks can follow along as they are happening, often leaving feedback and comments on the cook page.
Another neat part of BBQ is the community. Here you can see the latest photos from cooks, most active pitmasters, new users, active cooks happening right now, recently completed cooks, and more.
The community brings BBQpad pitmasters together.
Another feature is the most popular page which shows you the most popular cookers, woods, and fuels that the community uses in their cooking. We plan on expanding this page with other most popular items soon.
See what our pitmasters prefer.
Clicking on one of these products will also take you to a product page which shows you information about the cooker, the prices on various sites (right now Amazon, but we will add other vendors soon), and a place to have discussion about that product.
Product information for the Weber Performer grill.Cooking Together
Another cool feature that we added recently is the ability to do online cook offs.
The idea is simple: there will be a number of cook off events on BBQpad in which everyone is welcome to join and participate in. The cook off will happen on a specific date period and cover a specific food, and pitmasters from around the world will all cook together, tracking their cooks on BBQpad.
To take part you simply go to the event page on the date(s) of the event, create a new cook as part of the event, and track your cook in BBQpad. As you and others cook you can see the latest cook updates from these different cooks all in one place, as well as discussion from those watching the cook off. We also encourage those of you who tweet to tweet about your cooks with the #bbqpad hashtag, and those tweets appear on the cook off page too. This provides a great way of cooking together and having fun with the cook off.
Congrats to Jason Perlow for winning our first cook off!
We did our first cook off recently and it was a lot of fun; go and see the The Ultimate Rib Cook Off. We plan on doing another cook off soon (most likely chicken).Upgrades
BBQpad is completely free to use, and we want it to be a fantastic community resource for the wider BBQ community. Naturally we have some running costs, so we have added some discrete ads to the cook pages to help cover these costs. We also gather a small amount of affiliate revenue when someone buys one of the products linked on Amazon. As such, if you want to buy a cooker or charcoal, go and buy it from BBQpad.
We also have a few cheap upgrades people can buy. Our view is simple: all cooks by default are publicly available and thus shared with the wider community, and when people provide these cooks we feel they have earned the right to use BBQpad for free. Some folks (such as competition cooks, restaurateurs, or just private people) may prefer to have private cooks so they don’t share their techniques and recipes.
We offer private cooks as part of BBQpad Pro (which includes blocking ads) for $24/year, which is only $2/month. You can also just block the ads for $10/year.
The private cooks feature is pretty cool: you can choose whether cooks are private or not on a per-cook basis, so if you want to use the community features on the site (such as cook offs) you can make those cooks public, but if you want to practice for a competition and keep those cooks private, you can do so with the click off a button.The Technology
Now, many of you in the technology world who follow me will be curious about the site and how it was built. In a nutshell, we are using the awesome Django platform (and the always lovable Python) as well as Twitter Bootstrap as our CSS library. We are managing the source code with Bazaar and hack on it on Ubuntu Desktop using Geany. All imagery was created using Inkscape and the GIMP. We test across a number of different browsers, and primarily use Firefox for debugging. The site is deployed and running on Ubuntu Server.
In terms of development methodologies Aq and I both hack on the site and we manage our work using Trello and drafted and reviewed UI designs using Balsamiq. We have also deployed staging and live servers and we each code review each fix before it lands.
The site is currently in beta and has evolved significantly since we first launched it. This has included two rounds of user testing that have proved to be tremendously valuable in refining the user journey on BBQpad.
I know some of you will want to know if this is Open Source or not. Right now BBQpad is not Open Source but is a free web service that everyone is welcome to use. We may consider Open Sourcing it in the future, but right now it is not a priority; we would rather focus on adding extra features and refining the site.
BBQ is a lot of fun and our hope is that BBQpad makes it even more fun and social. Come and join in the fun!
Starting in libguestfs ≥ 1.21.23-2, bash tab completions of guestfish, guestmount and virt-* tools have been rewritten and greatly improved.
Note you will need to install the libguestfs-bash-completion package to enable this feature.
You can now tab complete all long options on most tools:$ virt-df --[tab] --add --domain --human-readable --uuid --connect --format --inodes --verbose --csv --help --one-per-guest --version $ virt-resize --[tab] --align-first --help --no-extra-partition --alignment --ignore --ntfsresize-force --debug --lvexpand --output-format --debug-gc --lv-expand --quiet --delete --LVexpand --resize --dryrun --LV-expand --resize-force --dry-run --machine-readable --shrink --expand --no-copy-boot-loader --version --format --no-expand-content
Where appropriate, the -d option will now expand to the list of libvirt domains:# virt-df -d [tab] archlinux20121201x64 f19rawhidex32 f18x64 f19rawhidex64
Finally, guestfish commands are expanded on the command line:$ guestfish add /tmp/disk : run : list-[tab] list-9p list-events list-md-devices list-devices list-filesystems list-partitions list-disk-labels list-ldm-partitions list-dm-devices list-ldm-volumes
To make this less intrusive, so you can really use it daily, I left the default readline expansions enabled. This means that filenames and so on can continue to be used in every position on the command line, and should mean that bash completions won’t try to be cleverer than the user.
Libguestfs bash completions are also demand-loaded now, so that if you’re not using them, they don’t consume any resources in the shell.
Someone asked me to test the speed of some Devolo 500AV ethernet over mains units I have as compared with some older 200AV units. In preparation I ran a simple test from my desktop box (that I plan to replace) to my server showed a throughput of about 333 MBit/s over a GigE switch. My younger laptop to the same server with a more modern (but still cheap) NIC gets 727 MBit/s to the same server over the same switch.
The desktop is using the common (at the time) Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88E8001 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 13) and the skge driver. ethtool reports all is well and that it's running at 1000 Mb/s as expected, but it clearly can't manage that on a simple iperf check.
Now I am planning on replacing the box anyway but just wondered if anyone knows and good tuning tips for Gig Ethernet?
We have asked Moray Allan, one of the three candidates for DPL elections 2013, to tell our readers about himself and his ideas for the Debian Project.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm Moray Allan, from Edinburgh in Scotland. I'm 32. After working in academic research for a few years, I'm now working freelance on a wide mixture of topics, with recent projects in Indonesia, Romania and Kuwait. When I'm not working, I'm likely to be found walking through a city or the countryside, or otherwise relaxing at home reading a novel in French or Spanish.
What do you do in Debian and how did you started contributing?
In recent years, most of my Debian time was taken up organising the annual Debian conferences. But I still have a load of packages, mostly connected to an upstream Linux-on-handheld-computers project I was working on before I joined Debian to create packages for it.
Why did you decide to run as DPL?
I've been involved in Debian for about 10 years now, including working for the last few years in DebConf in a way similar to how the DPL acts within overall Debian. Previously I'd ruled out running due to lack of time, but currently I'm in a more flexible work situation. It seems the right time to put myself forward, and see if the ideas in my platform interest project members.
Three keywords to summarise your platform.
Transparency, communication, openness. (Three ways I'd like us to think about teams in Debian.)
What are the biggest challenges that you envision for Debian in the future?
I think the biggest challenges are for free software in general.
End-users are moving to more closed hardware -- will our software be able to run on the phones and tablets people are shifting towards? At the same time, end-users and server users are moving to "the cloud", and often depending more heavily on non-free infrastructure outside their own control.
What are, in your opinion, the areas of the project more in need of technical and/or social improvements?
In my platform I give a few ideas about teams and delegations, coordination and mediation, and both internal and external communication, including more organised fundraising. These are areas where I think relatively simple changes can give big benefits.
Why should people vote for you?
I have proven leadership experience within Debian, as I've been working on coordination and mediation tasks for some years already. At the same time, I do regular packaging work, and work in other parts of Debian like the press and publicity teams, so I'm in touch with the experience of normal Debian contributors. People should vote for me if they support my platform, which is about coordination-level changes that I would have no mandate or authority to push through unless I am elected.
Name three tools you couldn't stay without.
APT, emacs, ssh.
What keep you motivated to work in Debian?
I've used Debian on all my computers for a long time, and by now
working on the distribution myself feels a natural part of that.
Fortunately I'm constantly positively surprised by Debian and by the Debian community.
Are there any other fields where you call yourself a geek, besides computers?
Certainly history (such as the eastern Mediterranean region in late antiquity), languages (including dead ones) and music (especially Josquin to Monteverdi).