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By apotheon ·
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Understanding OSes: Booting

by jmgarvin In reply to Understanding OSes: Booti ...

Cool!  I look forward to that!  Kernel modularity is one thing I'm really keen on and I'd like to hear more!

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Wikimedia downtime

by apotheon In reply to bITs and blogs

<div style="text-align: justify">
<p>Tuesday morning this week (tomorrow), there will be a Wikimedia planned network outage at approximately 7AM UTC (that's 3AM EDT, which is local time for the servers in Florida). The reason is that we'll be moving the entire network from one physical location to another. The span of this outage is at this time unknown, but should't be terribly long, barring unexpected delays. The most popularly known website that will be affected by this will be <a href="http://www.wikipedia.org">Wikipedia</a>. I think the admin devs are planning to switch access load to squids in France, providing read-only access for the bulk of the network outage, but it's entirely possible that I imagined that aspect of it all. I'm just the datacenter technician.</p>

<p>This means I'll be working with several others unplugging, hauling, and reconnecting servers in the wee hours of the morning. Should be fun.</p>
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Wikimedia downtime

by Jay Garmon Contributor In reply to Wikimedia downtime

Yipes! Better get cracking on my next Trivia question before my crutch gets taken away.

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quotes from IRC

by apotheon In reply to bITs and blogs

<div style="text-align: justify">
<p>16:31 <b>d</b> "Much of the cruft results from C++'s attempt to be
backward compatible with C. Stroustrup himself has said in his
retrospective book The Design and Evolution of C++ (p. 207), "Within
C++, there is a much smaller and cleaner language struggling to get
out.""<br />
16:32 <b>me</b> . . . and it's Objective-C.<br />
16:32 <b>me</b> Actually, it's probably not.<br />
16:33 <b>d</b> could be java.<br />
16:33 <b>T</b> c# ?<br />
16:33 <b>d</b> it is cleaner and smaller, just in the wrong ways...<br />
16:33 <b>* T</b> awaits the flames<br />
16:33 <b>d</b> C# is java with a different syntax...<br />
16:34 <b>T</b> runtime is a bit different too<br />
16:34 <b>T</b> although you could argue that the language is independent from the runtime<br />
16:34 <b>c</b> c# is a little better lang wise than java<br />
16:34 <b>c</b> but they still suck<br />
16:34 <b>d</b>
the fact you have a language that runs in a virtual machine yet has
introspection slower than Smalltalk on 20 year old hardware says
something...<br />
16:35 <b>T</b> hehe, until last year washington mutual ran all their home loan software on a smalltalk app on os/2<br />
16:36 <b>d</b> cool<br />
16:37 <b>T</b> then they replaced it with a browser-based javaish frontend on top of MS xslt crap middleware on top of MS crap servers, spent
billions of dollars, and cut productivity down to 1/5 of what it was<br />
16:38 <b>d</b> wow.<br />
16:38 <b>T</b> amazing how a company like that can be so IT-stupid<br />
16:40 <b>me</b> funny as ****, too<br />
16:40 <b>T</b> funny if you don't work for them...<br />
16:41 <b>c</b> verizon is trying to do the same<br />
16:41 <b>c</b> but they havent been able to eliminate their mainframe dbs<br />
16:41 <b>c</b> they cant duplicate the functionality</p>

<p>Of course, I blame Sun for all this. Java was a nifty idea, and some
good ideas were incorporated into it, but the truth of the matter is
that the implementations of Java that are actually advantageous are
quite limited. It's a "virtual machine"-based language, compiled to
"bytecode" that is then interpreted by a VM at runtime, which means
that execution is slow ? in some cases, slower even than languages that
use a traditional interpreter. In addition, much of the reason for
Java's failure to live up to expectations for WaMu, despite the fact
that Smalltalk is also a VM language, is that the JVM is basically
broken by design. I'm not as clear on the internals of the Java virtual
machine as some, but I know people whose judgment on the matter I trust
with nothing good to say about the JVM.</p>

<p>Much like Microsoft, though, Sun subscribes to the notion that
something new should be sold to everyone as a panacea. Thus, Java has
been put into use writing static platform applications, games, and even
server software. Server software! That's nuts. The whole point of Java
from the beginning was portability of client application code. What
advantages Java can provide are all best suited to client software in
unknown computing environments. For some reason, though, a language
whose implementation is anything but spry, combining the performance
and flexibility detriments of interpreted and compiled languages in one
single package, is being used for server-side dynamic webpages,
database management systems, server-side accounting software, and
everything else under the Sun. Speaking of that, I do blame Sun. Java
has been made a buzzword, and as a result it has been used in numerous
implementations that are entirely inappropriate for its use.</p>

<p>Java employs some C-like syntax and Smalltalk-like object oriented
structure, but manages to screw them both up; it is essentially what
Objective-C would be if designed by a marketing executive instead of a
mathematician ? broken, but capable of fairly portable code (just as
C++ is what Objective-C would be if designed by a computer scientist ?
broken, but at least a good performer). Of course, that portability can
as easily be achieved by use of framework libraries and good OOP
modularity rather than a virtual machine. You really can't fight hype,
though.</p>

<p>Now, we've got .NET, which is a little closer to what Java should
have been. There's even a Java spin-off language called J# that'll run
on the .NET framework (which, despite the name, is really just a
glorified VM with extensions). .NET (and its non-MS implementations,
including Mono) is almost as limited in appropriate scope as Sun's
Java, but we can expect that it will be pushed as the next great
panacea. People will be trying to use it everywhere, for everything.
ASP.NET is in full swing now, for instance, despite the inadvisability
of running .NET server-side. What good is bytecode-compiled server-side
software, anyway? Either run something interpreted (or, even better,
compile-at-runtime), or just use a compiled language for better
performance.</p>

<p>. . . or, you can continue training for your career as a
Pointy-Haired Boss in the grand tradition of Dilbert's manager. Have
fun with that.</p>
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quotes from IRC

by jmgarvin In reply to quotes from IRC

What!?? .Net isn't the silver bullet?  It isn't the ultimate pancea!?  NO!<br />
<br />
While I think the JIT that MS built is far more capable, I see MAJOR
security issues down the line with ASP.Net.  I don't know in what
for they will take, but I have a feeling it will be holes in the .Net
framework or with the way ASP makes server side calls to the .Net
"stuff" it needs.<br />
<br />
'Course I'm a PHP kinda guy anyway, so I'm a little biased.<br />
<br />
My big question is what ever happened to REAL interpreted
languages!??  Something like Perl or Python (I'm not starting a
Perl vs Python war...many were left dead or mamed after the Perl vs
Python battle of '00).  I love how these language work and how
they interact with their environments.  While they aren't perfect
(ok...Perl is ;-) ) they do do some things VERY well.<br />
<br />
<br />

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cheatsheets

by apotheon In reply to bITs and blogs

<div style="text-align: justify">
<p>So I've been absent from this blog for a bit. Get over it.</p>
<p>In other news, I've decided to start aggregating helpful "cheatsheets" on one of my websites. They'll be plain text files, each relating to a single area of interest. You'll be able to find them at http://www.apotheon.org/cheat for your browsing convenience.</p>
<p>So far, all I've got there is a set of basic executable commands that are very commonly used from the shell on Linux systems. Some of the commands are specific to the Debian distribution, at the moment, but I may eventually create a viewing script for these cheatsheets that will allow the viewer to filter the content of each cheatsheet to suit his or her needs (such as filtering out Debian-specific commands, and add in Fedora-specific commands). For now, though, it's just a text file. Since most Fedora-specific commands open captive interfaces anyway, they wouldn't really be appropriate for this particular cheatsheet.</p>
<p>Look forward to stuff about specific configuration files, useful captive interface tools like vim, and maybe even stuff not strictly related to computers. I also might throw some of my deep, but these days largely unused, Windows knowledge in there to help the unenlightened hoi polloi out with their own aggravations.</p>
<p>That is all. Carry on.</p>
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cheatsheets

by jmgarvin In reply to cheatsheets

I look forward to seeing the cheat sheets.  I like what you have so far!<br />
<br />
Glad to see you blogging again, and no, I won't get over it ;-)<br />

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two minor epiphanies

by apotheon In reply to bITs and blogs

<div style="text-align: justify">
<p>
<ol>
<li>All bloated GUI apps are unstable. Really. I know some of you are
out there thinking "No, but not such-and-such an application! This
application is very stable." Well, sure, compared to (for instance)
Outlook. Compared to a daemon that runs in the background, though, or a
command-line tool, it's downright vertiginous. I mean, compare Firefox
and IE for a moment: in that context, Firefox looks rock-solid. On the
other hand, I clicked on a link about half an hour or so ago and the
entire program VANISHED, taking a dozen or so web pages in tabs with
it. I hope none of that was important. This, of course, would account
for how unstable Windows itself is. It is, after all, a gigantic,
monolithic GUI application tied together with other gigantic,
monolithic GUI apps.</li>
<li>Windows Mobility 2003 is friggin' ridiculous. Here's this GUI
desktop-on-a-palmtop miniature OS, with no less than four different
built-in wireless networking options, and it includes no functionality
for network browsing. None. I had to find this out the hard way,
futzing with it, reading documentation, finding more documentation to
read, and eventually calling the vendor of the device to ask them about
it. Finally, what I found out is that in order to access any network
resource you need to connect to it by direct ActiveSync, then (if you
still feel like it) by ActiveSync over the wireless network, or by
setting up Windows Terminal Services to allow you to directly connect
to one particular Windows machine. Even accessing the Web requires
something like that, as you need to specify a proxy server! This is
insane. Seriously. What good is this crap? The real joy of all this is
that the only reason I found out about WM2k3's shortcomings is that I
have to somehow get PerlCE installed on this thing and write a network
client for an inventory tracking system. More luck: I don't have an
ActiveSync cradle for the device.</li>
</ol>
</p>
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two minor epiphanies

by apotheon In reply to two minor epiphanies

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the life of a professional enthusiast

by apotheon In reply to bITs and blogs

<div style="text-align: justify">
<p>Yesterday ? Tuesday ? I got a call from the organizer for the local
LUG meetings that occur on the second Tuesday of every month. He had
two things to ask of me.</p>
<p>The first was whether I'd be willing to run the meeting that night.
He wouldn't be able to make it, and wanted me to fill in. I pondered
for a moment, and assented.</p>
<p>The second was whether I had enough time to take on a part-time
network admin job in addition to everything else I'm doing. I'd put in
about twenty hours a week, fairly flexible hours, during normal
business hours. Four or five hours a day, four or five days a week. He
told me I was on his short list of people to recommend at a company
that needed such help, since he'd no longer be available to fill those
needs for that company himself. I assured him that, yes, I'd be able to
do that.</p>
<p>I went on to the LUG meeting, bringing two people with me who'd
never attended meetings for this LUG (one of whom was an occasional
Linux user who mostly stuck with Windows these days for reasons of
specific application needs as a musician, and the other of whom is
looking into migrating from Windows). All told, the meeting was a
success, with me at the helm. I heard only good things about my
handling, including an impromptu presentation on the installation and
use of the centericq multiprotocol IM client, and I know for sure that
at least some of those accolades were entirely honest. Judging by what
I've seen going on with the usual meeting organizer's life lately, I'm
guessing he might be sorta grooming me as a candidate to replace him as
the organizer for the meetings. If that's the case, there's an outside
possibility I may end up running LUG meetings, almost entirely by
accident ? assuming I don't run screaming the other way.</p>
<p>The potential job situation is an interesting proposition for me.
It'd mean I'd essentially be working part-time billable hours with
three distinct employers. One is the Wikimedia Foundation, one is an IT
consultancy, and one is a middling-sized corporation. I might even end
up with a startlingly large payday situation, and three simultaneous
employers, if I'm not careful. Add to this the fact that my IT
consultancy boss is moonlighting as the vice president of projects at
an RFID services consultancy, and he might have me get on-board there
as well, I might end up in middle-management in a fourth employer's pay
as well. Where ever shall I find the time?</p>
<p>Interestingly enough, if I end up with all these jobs at the same
time, I'd probably end up making the most at the RFID position, as what
I'd probably end up doing is lead development on programming projects,
most of whose development work would be contracted out with me
coordinating and writing the glue code that ties it all together. Thus,
an odd sort of middle-management, but no pointy-haired boss by any
stretch.</p>
<p>All four of those positions, as well as the possibility of running
LUG meetings, arise from my enthusiasm for and knowledge of Linux
systems, at least in significant part. There's also some
platform-inedependent programming and Windows expertise involved in
some of these positions, to varying degrees, but the one unifying
factor is Linux.</p>
<p>Don't let anyone tell you that Microsoft is the key to your IT
career. I'm Microsoft certified and, of five potential rewarding work
experiences (two of which are already actualities, and a third of which
is rewarding for reasons that don't involve pay), not one has anything
to do with my Microsoft certs. Frankly, nobody gives a rotten fig about
my MS certs.</p>
<p>Once in a while, it's good being me.</p>
<p>By the way, I do intend eventually to continue my survey of the
characteristics of OS design, and I do intend to start the next
installment with a reference to kernel modularity, but there've been a
lot of things on my plate lately (in case it wasn't obvious).</p>
</div>

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