Category Archives: Personal

Personal story of a ports committer

You all know that sometimes you end up dealing with all the ugly stuff instead of doing useful work. Over the last few months I was kept busy at $dayjob got assimilated by portmgr and had to look after redports. All of those new challenges are nice on it's own and I really enjoyed being part of the FreeBSD community and ecosystem but then 11/11 happened.

At that day quite a lot has changed for me since redports was isolated as a precaution and all ports building clusters of portmgr were effectively shut down. That situation was quite a mess since all automated systems and clusters were gone. No INDEX builds, no QAT, no pointyhat so also no exp-runs anymore. Whenever someone broke the ports tree we didn't even knew. It proved to be quite hard to get back on track again after that incident. INDEX checks and a very very limited QAT are already running again but pointyhat and redports are still dead. :(

The daily frustration and dealing with all that strange decisions that are taken because of the need to get stuff done is hard sometimes. But It's almost Christmas and without redports I have much more spare time so I try to calm down and focus on stuff that I can hack on my own. And that worked out quite nice so far ...

I've noticed in the XBMC 12.0 release notes that they have included the PVR branch and thus support DVB-S2/C/T in XBMC. Well actually they only provide some backend configuration interfaces and rely on a backend like mythtv or tvheadend to handle the DVB stuff. Mythtv would be okay for that task but It's huge for such a small job. Tvheadend is a nice and small TV streaming server that suites perfectly and only does the bare minimum without a lot of dependencies. Configuration is done in a web based GUI or can be done in XBMC. So I started working on a tvheadend port. A few weeks later I'm at the point now where tvheadend compiles fine and also starts. I've just ripped out all that epoll stuff and linuxisms that I stumbled accross so it doesn't run properly yet. Adding kqueue support is the next step now.

Due to redports being unavailable the vbox work has also frozen. I tried to collect all that patches and complains in my inbox so that they don't get lost. Since the situation did not improve I temporary created a github repository for the virtualbox ports and committed all the accumulated patches there:

This includes almost all patches that were flying around on mailinglists and updates vbox to 4.2.6 / 4.1.24 but testing was very limited so take care if you give them a try. Testing will show us if we can commit it to the portstree by New Year's Eve.

Three days in Milan

This morning I had to go to the US Consulate in Milan to get the visa. I’m in Milan since Wednesday, hosted by Max Stucchi.

On Wednesday night, GUFIPizza took place: it’s the monthly meeting of the GUFI (FreeBSD Italian Users Group) members who live near Milan. Since I was there, other members who don’t usually show up showed up ( ;) ), Cris, _Oity_ and satu among the others. It was fun because I didn’t see some of them since 2 or even 4 years. We proved that geeks cannot speak about anything but computers when they meet, even when they don’t want to. That night, the main topic was Facebook. Anyway.

Yesterday I went to NewOldCamera and bought two Voigtlander-Cosina rings to mount my Leica screwmount lenses on my Leica M (actually CL) body and I even bought a Billingham L2 bag. It’s soooo well made. =)

Today is a raining day in Milan and I have neither an umbrella nor a jacket… :| 4.0 setzt auf OpenSource

Nachdem ich Ende August bereits die meiste Hardware meines kleinen Netzwerks umgestellt hatte ist nun auch die Software fertig umgestellt.

Das wichtigste war mir dabei, dass ich möglichst unabhängig von ClosedSource Produkten werde. So laufen mitlerweilen alle Server und 2 Clients unter FreeBSD 6.1 sowie ein Router unter OpenBSD 4.0. Als Desktop-Umgebung kommt auf den Clients dabei das schlanke Xfce 4.2 zum Einsatz.

Mein WLAN Access Point läuft unter OpenWRT und ist somit ebenfalls frei von ClosedSource. Sogar mein IPod mini (1st Generation) läuft mit einer OpenSource Firmware namens Rockbox die sich nicht auf iTunes und MP3 versteift sondern einem die freie Codec Auswahl überlässt.

 Zugegeben es war viel Arbeit um ohne ClosedSource Produkte auszukommen aber das war es definitiv wert. Für Notfälle habe ich zwar noch einen Windows Rechner herumstehen da es leider immer wieder Kleinigkeiten gibt die unbedingt ein Windows verlangen aber er wird nur mehr sehr selten benötigt.

Die Belohnung dafür ist eine zuverlässige und vollkommen transparente Arbeitsumgebung die einem keine unnötigen Einschränkungen macht. Außerdem kann man sich selbst helfen wenn es mal irgendwo klemmt oder man muss eben auf Patches warten.