Arctic Wargame by Ethan Jones
Book Review / May 12, 2014

Arctic Wargame by Ethan Jones My rating: 2 of 5 stars This review may contain spoilers! Since I got this book in a give-away, I really hoped I’d like it. Alas, it was not to be. First of all, the plot is thin. Thinner than a sheet of ice on a puddle. Evil Danes (or rather: a single evil Dane, being blackmailed by clichée russians) attacking Canada with a bunch of common criminals. On the other side are some non-descript Canadians (our bland hero), some noble natives (one of them constantly drunk, corrupted by the evil white men!) and a compassionate American nurse which fight the evil criminal Danes. Oh, and there’s the hero’s love interest who happens to be around for no discernible reason – she adds nothing to the story, doesn’t seem to have any useful talents and is usually just being an accessory. I’m absolutely willing to suspend my disbelief; I might even have accepted the ridiculous notion of a small country like Denmark attacking Canada, an ally, if the storytelling hadn’t been so incredibly boring. The entire story is so unbelievably predictable that only a feeling of obligation towards the author made me finish it. The characters are…

Stages – some changes
Exherbo / May 7, 2014

As most of you know from my earlier stage building post, our stages for amd64 and x86 are being built automatically using Jenkins. And that won’t change.   Recently, there has been a discussion about adding Emacs to the stages in addition to vim. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative; even more so than I had expected.   Since…   I’m the one who spends his time and actual money on building stages, deploying them to, dealing with fall-out from changes, etc., there’s no real argument against adding Emacs but “it’s not POSIX!” and “stages should be minimal!”, “only having Vim is a nice filter against the kind of user we don’t really want anyway”, “use the editor outside the stage”, etc. people are told to use e4r, which stands for “editor for retards” and is neither Emacs nor vim and, thus, doesn’t fix the problem,   … this is what I’ve changed effective by May, 7th 2014…   I’ve added Emacs to the stages I build unilaterally (the first stage with Emacs included will be built on May, 8th 2014), I’m not going to change the stages set because that would influence any stages not built by me, I’ve stopped deploying the stages I build to…

Miscellaneous Updates to Gerrit, Jenkins & friends
Exherbo / April 16, 2014

Over the last few weeks, I’ve made a few changes to Exherbo’s Gerrit and Jenkins installation: Build artifacts are stored in Jenkins: If a build is unsuccessful, the Paludis build log, config.log (if it exists) and the cave-resolve command used are stored. Since build artifacts are associated with a project (i. e. the repository) and not individual builds, the files have the build number prepended in their file name: 77_build.log 77_cave-resolve.txt 77_config.log If a build is successful, only the cave-resolve command and the detected dependencies are archived: 78_cave-resolve.txt 78_dependencies.txt This change is effective immediately for all exheres repositories in Jenkins. If you have further suggestions of files to archive, please let me know.   Due to the recent OpenSSL Heartbleed bug issue, I’ve re-issued the SSL certificates on my machines on April, 11th 2014. If you have a password login on galileo, now is the time to change it. For, the host key fingerprints are as follows: 1024 a8:8c:7d:87:3d:a6:61:78:8d:59:f5:52:d7:b1:3c:34 (DSA) 256 f1:08:b0:12:66:1c:72:af:2d:d8:c7:15:ca:13:f6:f2 (ECDSA) 256 68:1c:27:e2:8e:b5:42:62:98:8a:f3:04:45:c1:60:f9 (ED25519) 2048 37:38:6e:81:4a:53:24:4d:b0:fb:c7:3e:f0:1d:63:8c (RSA1) 2048 06:57:ff:b7:e6:6f:c8:31:76:c8:9a:7c:37:d7:f5:47 (RSA) The web server’s certifacte has the following fingerprints: SHA-256 Fingerprint: 85 3D 47 8B A5 44 76 A0 09 96 9F 15 4A 9A F8 C5 1C…

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth
Book Review / March 9, 2014

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth My rating: 4 of 5 stars I didn’t really know what to expect from this book. I thought the topic of the Normans was interesting but didn’t get my hopes up high since I had never heard of the author before, popular history books are usually not my taste and the cover was somewhat attention-seeking. I very quickly got drawn into the book deeply, though. Brownworth definitely succeeds in explaining the main Norman rulers and their feats. I was a bit worried about all the names and references but most of the time, a chapter or a few later, Brownworth picks up and expands on the subject he mentioned before and one gets an excellent overview. Sometimes, the chapters are a bit short and there would likely be more to say about the respective protagonist (e. g. Frederick II deserves more attention than he gets here, I think) but all in all, this book makes a very interesting read. I like how Brownworth isn’t shy to voice his own opinion about the respective protagonist at the end of almost every chapter – I don’t always agree with his assessment but I…

Re-testing patches in Gerrit with Jenkins
Exherbo / March 5, 2014

A recent request concerned the possibility to re-test patches patches in Gerrit with Jenkins. I’ve now added a very simple switch for that: In any given given change (but your own!), you can add a comment with “+1 Retest” set as a “verdict”. On the old change screen (really, change to the new one, it’s much nicer), it looks like this:   On the new change screen, it looks like this: It’s really, truly easy. You can even do it multiple time – just uncheck the “Retest” checkbox (new screen) or set “0 Retest” (old screen) first and then set it again. This works for any change as long as you are a registered user – any change but your own. Unfortunately, the Jenkins’ Gerrit-Trigger plugin simply ignores the “CommentAdded” event completely for ones own changes. If you want those re-tested, just amend your commit (no need to actually change anything; the commit timestamp will be updated) and Jenkins will see the patch’s new revision and re-run the test.   On a side note, I’d like to apologise for the instability for about 1,5 days earlier this week. There were some really nasty hardware/software issue that I had to sort out. This is…

Automated stage building with Jenkins
Exherbo / February 27, 2014

For quite some time now, I’ve been working on the automatic creation of Exherbo stages for AMD64 (x86_64) and X86 using Jenkins. Till now, Exherbo’s stages were created manually by one of us Exherbo core developers and usually basically “on-demand” or when they were major changes. This finally changed yesterday. Using the jobs stage_amd64 and stage_x86 respectively, the stages… are built using a modified stage building script – each stage is build from scratch. The latest stage gets unpacked and used to build a new one. I call this: Implicit pro-active quality assurance. No pbins are used in the entire process. Everything is fresh and new, just for you. the sources are kept right next to the stages at You can see right there what sources were used. the XZ archive is added to the job (the most recent ten stage archives are kept on their respective job). Like this, you can always check the exact build log for the stage you want and rest assured both are right there at your fingertips. next, the successfully built stage is deployed to is undergoing maintenance but you really want your Exherbo? Download a stage from this alternative location, sync your repositories from Gerrit and you’re unstoppable!…

A Life Without Fear by Leo King
Book Review / January 10, 2014

A Life Without Fear by Leo King My rating: 2 of 5 stars This book is the sequel to The Bourbon Street Ripper by the same author, Leo King. If you’re interested in this book, you basically have to read the first book because this one starts right after it. You can read my review of the first book here:… That said, this review must be split into two parts. Basically, “A Life Without Fear” is more of the same in a good way. It definitely improves upon the first book and I definitely enjoyed reading most of it – it’s another page turner. Unfortunately, the same criticisms apply here, too: Some scenes (more than in book 1) are overly gory. It’s not like that was necessary at all but Leo King obviously enjoys writing such scenes. I can live with that but I don’t exactly like that aspect. Furthermore, quite a bit of suspension of disbelief has to be applied – superhuman abilities, strange alliances but I don’t really have a problem with that. Personally, I smiled and decided to let me get carried away by the story. 🙂 There are still the voodoo elements and some hints…

Jenkins: Build-testing for every single commit
Exherbo / January 3, 2014

As of yesterday, I’ve drastically increased the number of testing machines in Jenkins (from two to 21!). This enables me to poll for changes in git every five minutes and automatically start a testing run for every single commit – regardless of it entering via Gerrit or not. (Note: This is in addition to the Gerrit trigger I’ve been using from day one on, not replacing it.) Here’s an example from today: Apart from looking at Jenkins directly, you can join the #exherbo-bots channel where the jenkins-exherbo bot announces all test results. Here’s an example for that: [03.01.2014 13:42:59] <irker657> Exherbo: pipping arbor:master * 76ec9309669d / packages/sys-apps/grep/grep-2.15.exheres-0 packages/sys-apps/grep/grep-2.16.exheres-0: grep: Bump to 2.16 [03.01.2014 13:46:50] <jenkins-exherbo> Project arbor build #67:SUCCESS in 1 min 5 sec: I hope you’ll find this useful and will actually look at the results since it will find out if you missed a dependency. And it potentially shows you automagic dependencies.  

News about Gerrit, Jenkins & friends
Exherbo / December 29, 2013

Here are a few things I’ve updated on Gerrit, Jenkins and associated tools: Gerrit The Gerrit bot, gerritwk23, has now support for !pl (and pl in a query). It’s just like zebrapig’s !pl. I’ve updated Gerrit in mid-Decembre. Since then, you can switch to a newly designed “Change View” which you’ll find under your account’s settings in the “Change View” option. There’s also an associated “Diff View” option to set your preferred diff style if you switch to the new Change View. 2. Jenkins In its build logs, you’ll now find the mounts, the cave resolve command and the (likely) dependencies gathered from the installed package. Dependency information might not be 100% accurate so please take it with a grain of salt but it’s usually a good indicator. Look out for “**************************************************************” to find that information.   If you have any ideas about what else to improve, please let me know.

Chasing the Storm by Martin Molsted
Book Review / December 19, 2013

Chasing the Storm by Martin Molsted My rating: 2 of 5 stars This is undoubtedly an ambitious book; something debut novels often are. Just as often, they don’t live up to those ambitions as is the case with this one. The protagonist, Togrim Rygg at first seems to be just some kind of business man – and suddenly, out of nowhere, he acts like James Bond. He refuses to take a map because he has “everything memorized. Safer.” and likewise he declares “All hackers have big heads”. There’s absolutely no indication at that point in the book how he would know that – it’s completely out-of-character. This is most likely the crudest way I’ve ever seen an author use to convey to the reader that there might be more to the unlikely hero than immediately meets the eye. Similarly, his friend, Marko Marin, tells Rygg “That is what I need from you. Keep us in form.”. At this point of the novel, Marin has no way of knowing that Rygg might be more than a random business man. Such inconsistencies are marring the entire book. That’s not all, though: Throughout the entire book, Rygg switches between being a James Bond…