I am a freelance Linux consultant by trade, a sysadmin by vocation and an Open Source developer by conviction. Welcome to my soapbox !

UMTS to the rescue, Red Hat only seconds behind

When I installed CentOS 5.2 on my Thinkpad X200s only to discover that neither my onboard ethernet (e1000e), nor my onboard wireless (iwlagn) was supported by CentOS 5.2's 2.6.18 kernel, I managed to manually configure my Bluetooth UMTS connection to my cellphone to fix my connectivity problems and get back in business in no time.

Funny how the newest technology (UMTS) apparently is better supported by older kernels than ethernet or wireless (ieee 802.11) technologies.

Red Hat bugtracker indexed by Google

After my blog article 2 weeks ago, I am pleased to discover that Red Hat's bugtracker is now being indexed by Google. According to their robots.txt they started offering an index (sitemap) of bug reports to spiders since 23 december 2008.

So we can now search google for common problems and find Fedora, RHEL and CentOS specific bug reports (and solutions) just by using Google.

Kudos to Red Hat for making it possible !

Firefox memory weirdness

Dear Interweb, please explain me this:

If I have 80 tabs open in Firefox and I have 2GB of physical memory and I then restart my browser. It eats up 1GB easily and then slowly grows until it hits 1.5GB of memory (almost all available).

If I have the same 80 tabs open in Firefox and I add 2Gb of physical memory (total being 4GB) to exactly the same machine and I then restart that same browser. It eats up only 300MB of memory and never really grows much beyond 400MB.

What am I missing here ?

Tested on a CentOS 5.2 with Firefox 3.0.5.

My rationale for the Lenovo Thinkpad X200s

My christmas present arrived early this year. Unfortunately, this one I had to buy myself but given the price-tag that is not a surprise.

I didn't need a new laptop per se, but the weight I was carrying sometimes (my own Thinkpad T43 and the customer Thinkpad T60) caused some neck pains. It probably is not completely related to that, but every excuse to buy a newer laptop is fine by me.

So what laptop was under the hypothetical christmas tree ? Well, the title gave it away already ;-)

Status update from Belgium

After the recent scandals in one of the smallest countries on this planet, here is a status update.

Belgium (about 10 million people) consists of two main, partly independent regions (Flanders and Wallonia) that differ in many aspects of which language is the most important one (respectively Dutch and French).

The government is (by law) split into two sides and neither one of them accepts changes to legislation that would (after calculations or spin) benefit the other region more than its own.

Crisis killing Linux cynics ?

It is a bad time for being a Linux cynic, after we lost the Linux Hater's blog we are now also losing Planète Béranger.

I cannot say I am sad about this, nor am I really happy. Different viewpoints help people choose what they find important and sometimes we can learn from it. But it also does not surprise me since it is much more rewarding to construct, help and share than it is to destroy, trash or conceal.

Making Red Hat bugzilla indexable by Google

Based on Joshua Daniel Franklin's comment about searching Red Hat Bugzilla by Component I rediscovered a comment made by Anonymous.

This got me to think about something I remember discussing last LinuxTag during a Fedora dinner when Red Hat's Bugzilla was the subject. Currently RHbz is not indexed by Google and in my opinion this is hurting the Red Hat, Fedora, but also the CentOS community.

When bugtracking systems are fences, not bridges

Today, in my quest for a media center solution that suits me, I started fixing some issues with running Elisa on CentOS 5. Elisa looks very interesting in the sense that it is written in python, it is a relative young project and it is esthetically pleasing (more than one of the other projects I investigated). And soon in RPMforge for CentOS (albeit not without issues yet).

Setting up MythTV and getting disappointed

I was not very impressed by the MythTV installation process (after having installed the packages for 0.21). The documentation does not really explain well what the different steps mean, but instead repeats the same labels as on screen with little or no additional information.

So if you get stuck because of something, the documentation does not help you at all. Lost a good hour because of doing the same things wrong over and over without a good explanation. And then because of sheer irritation simply added all the missing values directly in the MySQL database. Something was not right...

Nokia E71 firmware update

About every 2 weeks I backup my phone and in the same effort see if there is a firmware update from Nokia. Because of a few glitches in the current (original) firmware I was hopeful Nokia was listening.

  • 5 to 10 sec unresponsiveness (once or twice a week)
  • spontaneous reboot when using mostly in addressbook (once a month)
  • inability to enter addressbook, quits immediately (3 times in 6 months)
  • WPA and WPA2 authentication does not work (luckily dd-wrt can have different auth on a single AP)

And today I found the shiny new v110.07.127 firmware update ready to be installed. Time will tell if those glitches are gone. (The WPA problem still exists for me) Does the new firmware feel much more interactive, or is my mind playing tricks on me again ?

After the firmware upgrade and restoring the backup I did loose some applications. I don't know why exactly, it seems that the applications on my phone's memory were either not backupped, or not restored :-(

CentOS in the top500 supercomputers

Browsing through the top500 supercomputers list, I noticed that in the OS listing, 5 supercomputers are running specifically CentOS (1%) while 389 are running some sort of Linux (not specified).

From the Linux list undoubtedly more are using CentOS, but the remarkable fact is that this known 1% CentOS is the same amount as the 5 Windows supercomputers.

Is KernelTrap dead ?

When I was a student I had the time to follow LKML and even compile a kernel a few times a week, but those days are long gone and I ended up settling for LWN and KernelTrap.

But the past weeks no new stories have been reported on KernelTrap, not even a notice of what has happened. So is KernelTrap dead ?

RHEL 5.3 Beta released

The CentOS community is pretty limited in what we can do to the core distribution. Since our mantra is "aiming to be 100% compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux" we cannot fix bugs or improve the CentOS core without waiting for Red Hat to make those modifications first. We have limited leverage and a 6-month release cycle against us.

But that is not the complete truth, Red Hat usually has an internal, a vendor and a publiccustomer beta period and everything that is found within that time-frame might get fixed before it is being shipped (and frozen) for the next 6 months.

Today RHEL 5.3 Beta was announced with a lot of interesting improvements.

Spontaneous acts of cannibalism

Empirical evidence (some very recent) made me conclude the following:

Thewe is a highew chance to bite youw tongue, lip or innew-cheek duwing dinnew wight aftew you did it once.

I would recommend to stop eating for half an hour :-)

When ham and spam do not cover the spectrum


As long as we do not make the distinction and call everything spam, we make it harder to find solutions. Mollom takes away the pain of what is typical spam, and that's why I am now only confronted with the atypical spam that is very targeted, takes effort to remove and some may even accept those comments as useful (or are being tricked into it).

What's even more, if Mollom does not make the distinction, I and others are making Mollom less effective because the atypical spam is diffusing the extremes.