Elsewhere

Steve Kemp: I eventually installed Debian on a new desktop.

Planet Debian - Sun, 07/12/2014 - 09:12

Recently I build a new desktop system. The hightlights of the hardware are a pair of 512Gb SSDs, which were to be configured in software RAID for additional speed and reliability (I'm paranoid that they'd suddenly stop working one day). From power-on to the (GNOME) login-prompt takes approximately 10 seconds.

I had to fight with the Debian installer to get the beast working though as only the Jessie Beta 2 installer would recognize the SSDs, which are Crucual MX100 devices. My local PXE-setup which deploys the daily testing installer, and the wheezy installer, both failed to recognize the drives at all.

The biggest pain was installing grub on the devices. I think this was mostly this was due to UFI things I didn't understand. I created spare partitions for it, and messaged around with grub-ufi, but ultimately disabled as much of the "fancy modern stuff" as I could in the BIOS, leaving me with AHCI for the SATA SSDs, and then things worked pretty well. After working through the installer about seven times I also simplified things by partitioning and installing on only a single drive, and only configured the RAID once I had a bootable and working system.

(If you've never done that it's pretty fun. Install on one drive. Ignore the other. Then configure the second drive as part of a RAID array, but mark the other half as missing/failed/dead. Once you've done that you can create filesystems on the various /dev/mdX devices, rsync the data across, and once you boot from the system with root=/dev/md2 you can add the first drive as the missing half. Do it patiently and carefully and it'll just work :)

There were some niggles though:

  • Jessie didn't give me the option of the gnome desktop I know/love. So I had to install gnome-session-fallback. I also had to mess around with ~/.config/autostart because the gnome-session-properties command (which should let you tweak the auto-starting applications) doesn't exist anymore.

  • Setting up custom keyboard-shortcuts doesn't seem to work.

  • I had to use gnome-tweak-tool to get icons, etc, on my desktop.

Because I assume the SSDs will just die at some point, and probably both on the same day, I installed and configured obnam to run backups. There is more testing and similar, but this is the core of my backup script:

#!/bin/sh # backup "/" - minus some exceptions. obnam backup -r /media/backups/storage --exclude=/proc --exclude=/sys --exclude=/dev --exclude=/media / # keep files for various periods obnam forget --keep="30d,8w,8m" --repository /media/backups/storage
Categories: Elsewhere

Gregor Herrmann: GDAC 2014/6

Planet Debian - Sat, 06/12/2014 - 23:07

positive feedback is motivating (probably not only) for me. a recent example showing that our work on creating a great operating system is appreciated was sent to the debian-project list yesterday. – thanks!

this posting is part of GDAC (gregoa's debian advent calendar), a project to show the bright side of debian & why it's fun for me to contribute.

Categories: Elsewhere

Holger Levsen: 20141206-distro-collaboration

Planet Debian - Sat, 06/12/2014 - 20:21
Distro collaboration...

So it seems I now use h01ger.id.feforaproject to mentor a Debian applicant for GNOME's Outreach Project for Women to improve Ubuntu's apparmor software

Thanks to the Fedora Project for this nice service to the community!

Categories: Elsewhere

Hideki Yamane: security.debian.org for Asia/Pacific region

Planet Debian - Sat, 06/12/2014 - 09:48
Thanks to DSAs' deployment, now there is security.debian.org mirror in Japan. It means users who live in Asia/Pacific region are not annoyed with slow download speed for stable security update - anymore :)
New security.debian.org mirror is kindly hosted by Sakura Internet, Inc. (さくらインターネット株式会社) as well as debian-mirror.sakura.ne.jp mirror server in Ishikari, Hokkaido (北海道石狩市).

Kudos to Sakura Internet! (twitter: CEO Kunihiro Tanaka and PR)
Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Bits at Web-Dev: Manage Drupal Feature Updates

Planet Drupal - Sat, 06/12/2014 - 05:38

When using Features module to move changes from one  development environment to the next, it can be tricky to track which Feature ought to be 'reverted' in order make the new code be incontrol.  Sure you can revert them all in one shot with `drush features-revert-all`, but that is pretty intensive to do especially on a production site and can lead to some race conditions.

Categories: Elsewhere

Code Karate: Drupal Role Assign Module: Controlling who can assign what roles on your Drupal site

Planet Drupal - Sat, 06/12/2014 - 00:27
Episode Number: 183

By default a Drupal site has a lot of flexibility when it comes to assigning user roles and permissions. There are times however when the default flexibility is not quite enough. The Drupal Role Assign Module extends this flexibility a little by allowing more fine grained control over setting user roles.

The Drupal RoleAssign module allows you to allow other roles to assign users roles... confused yet? An example might be helpful. Assume you have the following Drupal roles on your site:

Tags: DrupalUsersDrupal 7Drupal Planet
Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Association News: Announcing the Drupal 8 Accelerate Program

Planet Drupal - Sat, 06/12/2014 - 00:16

We are thrilled to announce that, in collaboration with the Drupal 8 branch maintainers, the Association is launching a brand-new program: Drupal 8 Accelerate. Modeled after our Community Cultivation Grants program, Drupal 8 Accelerate is a $125,000 fund to help solve critical issues and accelerate the release of Drupal 8.

The Drupal community is filled with a plethora of opinions and ideas, but there’s one thing we likely all agree on; we’re ready for Drupal 8 to be released! This anticipation is underscored by the record number of contributors to D8 - over 2400. Now it’s time for the Drupal community to rally and finish the job. The Drupal Association wants to help you make that happen. After all, our mission is to unite a gobal open source community to build and promote Drupal.

The Drupal 8 Accelerate Program is a $125,000 fund provided by the Drupal Association (and by extension, all the Association members and Partners who fund our work - so thank you). Grants will be made in two categories: branch maintainer requests and community requests. This two-branch system means that funds can be directed by the people most intimately familiar with the project needs while still allowing for our amazing community to come up with innovative ideas that have a big impact. The Association will also be providing logistical support to the branch maintainers throughout the process.

While the Association is providing the funds and the support, we are not deciding WHAT gets funded. This gets handled by the branch maintainers, keeping the Association on the right side of the “we don’t direct the project” line. The Drupal 8 Accelerate program is a fantastic opportunity for the Association to support and amplify community efforts. All of our favorite work at the Association follows this model - DrupalCon session selection, Community Cultivation Grants, Global Training Days, and DrupalCamp Fiscal Sponsorship to name a few. We’re here to make it easier for you to innovate, and this program is yet another example.

Of course, this is the first time our community has tried anything like this, so we expect that we’ll be learning a lot as we go. As always, we are looking for your feedback and help so that we can improve.

How can you help? Let me count the ways:

  • Help promote the program. Share this blog post on Twitter, Facebook, and other places your Drupal friends hang out online.
  • Apply! Take this program back to your user group, company, or friends and dream big. If you have a great way to help push Drupal 8 to release, we want to hear about it.
  • Help fund the grants. The Association has pledged $125,000 because we think this program is THAT important. But we’re looking for community support to help make this investment. You can become member, a partner, or talk to us about making a contribution directly to the fund.

A huge round of thanks goes to Angie, Jess, Gabor, Cathy, Nate and the other branch maintainers who helped develop and review this program. We’re excited to see what happens next!

Categories: Elsewhere

Rhonda D'Vine: Fiona Apple

Planet Debian - Sat, 06/12/2014 - 00:16

I do hang out in #debian-women on IRC, which shouldn't be much of a surprise after my last blog entry about my Feminist Year. And for readers of my blog it also shouldn't be much of a surprise that Music is an important part of my life. Recently a colleague from Debian though asked me in said IRC channel about whether I can recommend some female artists or bands. Which got me looking through my recommendations so far, and actually, there weren't many of those in here, unfortunately. So I definitely want to work on that because there are so many female singers, songwriters and bands out there that I totally would like to share with the broader audience.

I want to start out with a strong female voice who was introduced to me by another strong woman—thanks for that! Fiona Apple definitely has her own style and is something special, she stands out. Here are my suggestions:

  • Hot Knife: This was the song I was introduced to her with. And I love the kettledrum rhythm and sound.
  • Criminal: Definitely a different sound, but it was the song that won her a Grammy.
  • Not About Love: Such a lovely composition. I do love the way she plays the piano.

Like always, enjoy!

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Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal core announcements: Priorities for the upcoming Drupal 8 critical issue sprint (Dec. 10-14 in Ghent, Belgium)

Planet Drupal - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 23:32

It's just a few days now until our Drupal 8 criticals sprint in Ghent! The sprint will be held December 10-14, 2014 and hosted at the Wunderkraut offices.

Upgrade path blockers

Our top priority for the sprint will be to make progress on D8 upgrade path blockers (critical issues with the 'D8 upgrade path' tag) that affect the Entity Field API, Views, and the Configuration System. Here are the specific issues we have targeted:

#2372855: Add content & config entity dependencies to views
#2341357: Allow the entity area to use UUIDs instead of IDs and provide autocompletion

Discuss and plan our approach. (The second issue, #2341357, is a soft blocker that covers part of the scope of the first, #2372855.)
 

[PP-1] Figure out what to do in Views when entity schema changes

Discuss and plan our approach.
 

#1934152: Figure the out if we want global config overrides to stick (settings.php overrides don't work on all pages)

Discuss, make a decision, and move forward.
 

#2278017: [PP-1] When a content entity type providing module is uninstalled, the entities are not fully deleted, leaving broken references
#2338873: [PP-2] Modules providing non-configurable field storage definitions can be uninstalled, leaving orphaned unpurged data

These issues are postponed on #2335879: Change SqlContentEntityStorageSchema::requiresEntityDataMigration() to ask the old storage handler if it has data rather than assuming yes unless NULL storage, but that will hopefully land before the sprint. The first issue (#2278017) is proceeding well and can hopefully be wrapped up in the sprint, and then the second (#2338873) will hopefully be a straightforward application of the same pattern. In addition to these issues, we may also want to create a new issue to add a config validator that does the same validation check during a config deployment.
 

#2183983: Find hidden configuration schema issues
#2387149: Display extenders are not possible to describe with config schema
#2387157: Cloning display into another display also stores options that are not supported by the new display type

Agree on the API needed for the Views child issues. Then, continue to resolve outstanding failures in the main issue. It would be great to either finish these by the end of the sprint or get far enough to know the reason for each remaining failure to have confidence there's no lingering huge problem! (#2387141: Missing field configuration schemas across core tests should be hopefully done before the sprint starts.)
 

#2232477: Fatal when adding new fields with NOT NULL constraints in a base table that contains existing entities

This issue was discussed in Amsterdam, committed, and then reverted. yched has been working on the patch since; we could probably focus on this issue together and discuss the issues with the previous patch to move this forward.
 

Critical issue triage

Another goal of the sprint is to triage critical issues in the core queue to assess their relevance and priority. (You can help by making sure any open critical issues you are following have up-to-date issue summaries.)

Sponsors

Thanks to the Drupal Association and Wunderkraut for sponsoring this event!

More information

If you have any questions about the upcoming sprint, contact xjm.

Categories: Elsewhere

David Norman: Drupal 8's installer and Xdebug don't mix

Planet Drupal - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 23:20

Anecdotally, Drupal 8 is slower than anything before it - maybe 4x slower. While installing Drupal 8.0.0-beta3 so I could work on upgrading the Masquerade module, I found the installer dreadfully slow. I started a timer when I got to the Batch API-enabled "Install site" page. The installer ran for 10 minutes to get as far as step 32 of 37. Then it errored-out.

An AJAX HTTP error occurred. HTTP Result Code: 200 Debugging information follows. Path: http://localhost/drupal8/core/install.php?langcode=en&profile=standard&i... StatusText: OK ResponseText: ( ! ) Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in /Users/davidnorman/Sites/drupal8/core/lib/Drupal/Core/Extension/ModuleHandler.php on line 261

I've installed Drupal probably thousands of times and I knew my MacBook Pro Retina, 3rd-generation quad core i7 processor with a SSD wasn't a bottleneck. At the time, I only had one extra PHP extension enabled - Xdebug (see my phpinfo()). It only had a basic configuration. Sometimes I enable things like xdebug.collect_assignments or xdebug.show_local_vars, but even those weren't enabled at the time.

[xdebug] zend_extension="/usr/local/Cellar/php56-xdebug/2.2.6/xdebug.so" xdebug.auto_trace = On

To get Drupal to install, I commented the Xdebug zend_extension at /usr/local/etc/php/5.6/conf.d/ext-xdebug.ini, did a brew install php56-apcu, and restarted my MacBook.

After I swapped Xdebug for APCU, the "Install site" portion of the Drupal 8 installer took only 30 seconds to complete and did not time-out, versus the 10 minutes with ultimate failure while Xdebug was enabled.

At this point, I'm seem to be left to conclude that if I wanted to use Xdebug to debug the installer, that my only option is to increase the default 30 second timeout in my /usr/local/etc/php/5.6/php.ini. Alternatively, if I want to use Xdebug for day-to-day module development, that I'll need to disable Xdebug temporarily to get a local install setup.

Drupal 8 does a lot more stuff to process a page. Core developers have succeeded in moving most of the code to use object oriented methods with namespaces and protected variable spaces, but at the expense of turning a vanilla install into about 76MB. Drupal 7.34 is only 15MB.

To make a point, I inserted a debug_print_backtrace() in EntityAccessControlHandler::access(). This is a basic call in core that would check access on anything that's an entity - users, nodes, etc. After Firefox choked on the resulting output, I attempted to make a snapshot of the page using Evernote to link to in this article. Instead, even Evernote told me that the page was too big to capture.

I guess I don't really have any other point to make. It's not like this article is going to make Drupal 8 faster. I don't have advice for making it lightweight. It's what we have to live with now in the supposed pursuit of progress and modern sophistication. I'm just leaving my breadcrumb for other developers who might find it impossible to even get Drupal 8 installed using an environment that worked for Drupal 7 since I was able to get through the "Install site" part of the Drupal 7.34 installer with Xdebug enabled and with APCU disabled in only 14 seconds.

Post categories Drupal
Categories: Elsewhere

Mediacurrent: A better Access Denied (403) page with Panels

Planet Drupal - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 22:53

What happens when a user bookmarks an access-protected page? If their session expires before they next visit the bookmark, they'll see an "Access Denied" message with no login form. How confusing for the end user! Let's change that.

Categories: Elsewhere

Gregor Herrmann: GDAC 2014/5

Planet Debian - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 22:48

today I had a short chat with a fellow DD living in a neighbouring country. nothing spectacular in itself; but it reminded me again that debian is more than creating an operating system together for me – it's also about a couple of friendships that grow out of it & which are dear to me.

this posting is part of GDAC (gregoa's debian advent calendar), a project to show the bright side of debian & why it's fun for me to contribute.

Categories: Elsewhere

Joey Hess: clean OS reinstalls with propellor

Planet Debian - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 21:24

You have a machine someplace, probably in The Cloud, and it has Linux installed, but not to your liking. You want to do a clean reinstall, maybe switching the distribution, or getting rid of the cruft. But this requires running an installer, and it's too difficult to run d-i on remote machines.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could point a program at that machine and have it do a reinstall, on the fly, while the machine was running?

This is what I've now taught propellor to do! Here's a working configuration which will make propellor convert a system running Fedora (or probably many other Linux distros) to Debian:

testvm :: Host testvm = host "testvm.kitenet.net" & os (System (Debian Unstable) "amd64") & OS.cleanInstallOnce (OS.Confirmed "testvm.kitenet.net") `onChange` propertyList "fixing up after clean install" [ User.shadowConfig True , OS.preserveRootSshAuthorized , OS.preserveResolvConf , Apt.update , Grub.boots "/dev/sda" `requires` Grub.installed Grub.PC ] & Hostname.sane & Hostname.searchDomain & Apt.installed ["linux-image-amd64"] & Apt.installed ["ssh"] & User.hasSomePassword "root"

It was surprisingly easy to build this. Propellor already knew how to create a chroot, so from there it basically just has to move files around until the chroot takes over from the old OS.

After the cleanInstallOnce property does its thing, propellor is running inside a freshly debootstrapped Debian system. Then we just need a few more Propertites to get from there to a bootable, usable system: Install grub and the kernel, turn on shadow passwords, preserve a few config files from the old OS, etc.

It's really astounding to me how much easier this was to build than it was to build d-i. It took years to get d-i to the point of being able to install a working system. It took me a few part days to add this capability to propellor (It's 200 lines of code), and I've probably spent a total of less than 30 days total developing propellor in its entirity.

So, what gives? Why is this so much easier? There are a lot of reasons:

  • Technology is so much better now. I can spin up cloud VMs for testing in seconds; I use VirtualBox to restore a system from a snapshot. So testing is much much easier. The first work on d-i was done by booting real machines, and for a while I was booting them using floppies.

  • Propellor doesn't have a user interface. The best part of d-i is preseeding, but that was mostly an accident; when I started developing d-i the first thing I wrote was main-menu (which is invisible 99.9% of the time) and we had to develop cdebconf, and tons of other UI. Probably 90% of d-i work involves the UI. Jettisoning the UI entirely thus speeds up development enormously. And propellor's configuration file blows d-i preseeding out of the water in expressiveness and flexability.

  • Propellor has a much more principled design and implementation. Separating things into Properties, which are composable and reusable gives enormous leverage. Strong type checking and a powerful programming language make it much easier to develop than d-i's mess of shell scripts calling underpowered busybox commands etc. Properties often Just Work the first time they're tested.

  • No separate runtime. d-i runs in its own environment. Propellor drops into a live system and runs there. So I don't need to worry about booting up the system, getting it on the network, etc etc. This probably removes another order of magnitude of complexity from propellor as compared with d-i.

This seems like the opposite of the Second System effect to me. So perhaps d-i was the second system all along?

I don't know if I'm going to take this all the way to propellor is d-i 2.0. But in theory, all that's needed now is:

  • Teaching propellor how to build a bootable image, containing a live Debian system and propellor. (Yes, this would mean reimplementing debian-live, but I estimate 100 lines of code to do it in propellor; most of the Properties needed already exist.) That image would then be booted up and perform the installation.
  • Some kind of UI that generates the propellor config file.
  • Adding Properties to partition the disk.

cleanInstallOnce and associated Properties will be included in propellor's upcoming 1.1.0 release, and are available in git now.

Oh BTW, you could parameterize a few Properties by OS, and Propellor could be used to install not just Debian or Ubuntu, but whatever Linux distribution you want. Patches welcomed...

Categories: Elsewhere

Richard Hartmann: Release Critical Bug report for Week 49

Planet Debian - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 21:24

Look at that bug count!

At that pace, Jessy will happen before FOSDEM ;)

The UDD bugs interface currently knows about the following release critical bugs:

  • In Total: 1101 (Including 169 bugs affecting key packages)
    • Affecting Jessie: 226 (key packages: 119) That's the number we need to get down to zero before the release. They can be split in two big categories:
      • Affecting Jessie and unstable: 147 (key packages: 85) Those need someone to find a fix, or to finish the work to upload a fix to unstable:
        • 28 bugs are tagged 'patch'. (key packages: 22) Please help by reviewing the patches, and (if you are a DD) by uploading them.
        • 10 bugs are marked as done, but still affect unstable. (key packages: 6) This can happen due to missing builds on some architectures, for example. Help investigate!
        • 109 bugs are neither tagged patch, nor marked done. (key packages: 57) Help make a first step towards resolution!
      • Affecting Jessie only: 79 (key packages: 34) Those are already fixed in unstable, but the fix still needs to migrate to Jessie. You can help by submitting unblock requests for fixed packages, by investigating why packages do not migrate, or by reviewing submitted unblock requests.
        • 54 bugs are in packages that are unblocked by the release team. (key packages: 18)
        • 25 bugs are in packages that are not unblocked. (key packages: 16)

How do we compare to the Squeeze release cycle?

Week Squeeze Wheezy Jessie 43 284 (213+71) 468 (332+136) 319 (240+79) 44 261 (201+60) 408 (265+143) 274 (224+50) 45 261 (205+56) 425 (291+134) 295 (229+66) 46 271 (200+71) 401 (258+143) 427 (313+114) 47 283 (209+74) 366 (221+145) 342 (260+82) 48 256 (177+79) 378 (230+148) 274 (189+85) 49 256 (180+76) 360 (216+155) 226 (147+79) 50 204 (148+56) 339 (195+144) 51 178 (124+54) 323 (190+133) 52 115 (78+37) 289 (190+99) 1 93 (60+33) 287 (171+116) 2 82 (46+36) 271 (162+109) 3 25 (15+10) 249 (165+84) 4 14 (8+6) 244 (176+68) 5 2 (0+2) 224 (132+92) 6 release! 212 (129+83) 7 release+1 194 (128+66) 8 release+2 206 (144+62) 9 release+3 174 (105+69) 10 release+4 120 (72+48) 11 release+5 115 (74+41) 12 release+6 93 (47+46) 13 release+7 50 (24+26) 14 release+8 51 (32+19) 15 release+9 39 (32+7) 16 release+10 20 (12+8) 17 release+11 24 (19+5) 18 release+12 2 (2+0)

Graphical overview of bug stats thanks to azhag:

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Watchdog: Drupal in Context

Planet Drupal - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 19:57
Column

A funny thing happened in 1991, when the Americans with Disabilities Act started compelling businesses to make their premises more accessible. People discovered that long-handled faucets are easier to turn when your hands are wet; wheelchair ramps enabled parents to bring their strollers inside; and athletes relied on handrails after twisting their ankles during practice. In short, ease of use benefited everybody, not just the targeted population.

It's a lesson the Drupal community has struggled gamely to learn: consider Drupal 7's extensive (and expensive) user-interface revamp. And yet beginners still find Drupal much harder to use than, say, WordPress. Meanwhile, technologists who are weighing Drupal against its competitors reach for the handrail, find it missing, and assume that this lack of “polish” is more than skin deep.

Sometimes, they're right.

'tis a Gift to be Simple

If the history of technology teaches us one thing, it's this: Simplicity wins every time. It beats features, security, and price. Examples abound both within and outside of the world of computers: Packaged goods beat out bulk service even as they partly eliminated customer choice, and Twitter dumbed down blogging to become an essential part of digital life. But fighting against the need for simple, reliable tools is quixotic: It's easier and more fun to create new features than to perfect the ones you have.

Certainly Drupal has long been guilty of this. We've held onto poorly implemented core features, even when their function has diminished and the market has passed them by. The mostly pointless and hard-to-use Actions module is a great example. The disease is evident outside of core, too. Features get more attention than interface bugs in the queues of contributed modules; and five years after its release, the Mac version of Acquia Dev Desktop still can't serve web pages on the standard HTTP port 80, or shut down gracefully when you restart your computer.

Categories: Elsewhere

Commerce Guys: Drupal Commerce Site Spotlight: Flixbus.de

Planet Drupal - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 19:20

We're always on the lookout for great sites built with Drupal Commerce, our truly flexible software that's changing the face of eCommerce one site at a time.

Traveling this Holiday Season? Well if you're in Germany, you might be taking FlixBus. And if you are, then chances are you just purchased your ticket on their new site hosted on Platform.sh. The site features a robust ticketing engine powered by the flexibility of Drupal Commerce and was built by the talented team at Wunderkraut, a Drupal Commerce Delivery partner that has just recently announced their plans to move all the organizations development to Platform.sh, our Continuous Delivery Cloud built to enable and enhance agile development from day one.

 

To see Drupal Commerce sites we've Spotlighted in previous weeks view Other Spotlight Sites

Categories: Elsewhere

Iustin Pop: Jump!

Planet Debian - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 19:02
Jump!!! What
  • Tandem skydive! or alternatively: a real "one-way" plane ticket ☺
  • Start point: ~4'250 meters above the ocean (14'000ft)
  • End point: on the beach
  • Total time: less than ten minutes
  • Time in "real" free fall: according to Wikipedia, around 12 seconds, with most of the terminal velocity being reached at about 8 seconds
  • Terminal velocity: ~190Km/h, ~120mph (again, according to Wikipedia)
  • Time in "fake" free fall until the chute opened: around one minute
  • Time spent going slowly down, with a few fun manoeuvres: don't remember, 3-5 minutes?
Why

At the end of November, we had a team offsite planned, with lots of fun and exciting activities in a somewhat exotic location. I was quite looking forward to it, when - less than two weeks before the event - a colleague asked if anyone is interested in going skydiving as an extra activity. Without thinking too much, I said "yes" immediately, because: a) I've never done it before, and b) it sounded really cool! Other people said yes as well, so we were set up to have a really good time!

Of course, as the time counted down and we were approaching the offsite, I was thinking: OK, this sounds cool, but: will I be fine? do I have altitude sickness? All kinds of such, rather logistical, questions. In order to not think too much, I did exactly zero research on the topic (all mentions of Wikipedia above are from post-fact reading).

So, we went on the offsite - which was itself cool - and then, on the last day, right before going back, the skydive event!

How it went

The weather on the day of the jump was nice, the sky not perfectly clear, just a bit of small clouds and some haze. We waited for our turn, got the instruction for what to do (and not to do!), got hooked into the harness, prepared everything, and then boarded the plane; it needed only a very short run before taking off the ground.

It took around ten minutes or so to get to the jump altitude, which I spent partially looking forward to it, partially trying to calm the various emotions I had - a very interesting mix. It was actually annoying just having to wait and wait the ten long minutes, I wished that we actually get to the jumping altitude faster. The altimeter on the instructor's hand was showing 4'000, then 4'100, 4'150, then he reminded me again what I need to do (or rather, not to do), and then - people were already jumping from the plane! I was third from our team to jump, and I had the opportunity to see how people were not simply "exiting" the plane, but rather - exiting and then immediately disappearing from view!

Finally we were on the edge of the door, a push and then - I'm looking down, more than two and a half miles of nothing between me and the ground. Just air and the thought - "Why did I do this"? - as I start falling. For the first around ten seconds, it's actually a free fall, gaining speed almost at standard acceleration, and the result - Weightlessness - it's the weirdest feeling ever: all your organs floating in your body, no compression or torsion forces. Much more weird a roller-coaster that never ends; then most I had on roller-coasters was around one second of such acceleration, and you still are in contact with the chair or the restraints, whereas this long fall was very confusing for my brain - it felt somewhat like when you're tripping and you need to do something to regain balance, except in sky-diving you can't do anything, of course. There's nothing to grab, nothing to hold on, and you keep falling.

After ten long seconds we reached terminal velocity, phase 1 ends, and phase 2 begins, in which - while still falling - the friction with the air compensates exactly the earth's pull and one is falling at a constant speed and it's the most wonderful state ever. Like floating on the air, except that you're actually falling at almost 200kph, and yes, the closest feeling to flying, I guess. It doesn't hurt that you're no longer weightless, which means back to some level of normality.

The location of the skydive was very beautiful: the blue ocean beneath, the blue sky above, somewhere to the side the beach, and the air filling the mouth and lungs without any effort is the only sign that I'm moving really fast. The way this whole thing feels is very alien if you never jumped before, but one gets accustomed to it quite fast - and that means I got too comfortable and excited and forgot the correct position to keep my legs in, the instructor reminded me, and as I put my legs back in the correct position, which is (among others) with the soles of the feet pointing up, I felt again the air going strongly into my shoes, and a thought crossed my mind: what if I the air blows off one of my shoes (the right one, more precisely) and I lose it? How do I get to the airport for the trip back? Will I look suspicious at the security check? The banality of this thought, given that I was still up in the air somewhere and travelling quite fast, was so comical that I started laughing ☺

And then, an unexpected noise, the chute opens, and I feel like someone is pulling me strongly up. Of course nobody is pulling "up", I'm just slowing down very fast on this final phase (Wikipedia says: 3 to 4g). And then, once at the new terminal velocity, the lack of wind noise and the quietness of everything around gives a different kind of awesome - more majestic and serene this time, rather than the adrenaline-filled moments before.

Because one is still up and the beach looks small, you actually feel that you're suspended in the air, almost frozen. Of course, that feeling goes away quickly when the instructor start telling me to pull the strings, and we enter a fast spin - so fast that my body is almost horizontal again - a reminder that we're still in the air, going somewhat fast, and not in "normal" conditions.

I'm again reminded of the speed once we get closer to the earth, the people on the beach start to get bigger fast, and now we're gliding over the beach and finally land in the sand. The adventure is over, but I'm still pumped up and my body is still full of adrenaline, and I feel like you've just been in heaven - which is true, for some definitions of ☺.

The first thing I realise is that the earth is very solid. And not moving at all. Everything is very very slow… which is both good and bad. My body is confused at the very fast sequence of events, and why did everything stop??

Conclusion

I learned all about the terminal velocity, how fast you get there, and so on a day later, from Wikipedia and other sources. It helped explain and clarify the things I experienced during the dive, because there in the air I was quite confused (and my body even more so). Knowing this in advance would have spoiled the surprise, but on the other hand would have allowed me to enjoy the experience slightly better.

Looking back, I can say a few of things. First, it was really awesome - not what I was expecting, much more awesome (in the real sense of awe) than I thought, but also not as easy or trivial as I believed from just seeing videos of people "floating" during their dive. Yep, worth doing, and hard to actually put in words (I tried to, but I think this rambling is more confusing than helping).

Phase one was too long (and a bit scary), phase two was too short (and the best thing), phase three was relaxing (and just the right length).

I also wonder how it is to jump alone - without the complicated and heavy harness, without an instructor, just you up there. Oh, and the parachute. And the reserve parachute ☺, of course. Point is, this was awesome, but I was mostly a passive spectator, so I wonder what it feels like to be actually in control (as much as one can be, falling down) and responsible.

And finally, as we left the offsite location just a couple of hours after the skydive, and we had a 4½ hours flight back, I couldn't believe myself how slow everything was. I never experienced quite such a thing, I was sitting in this normal airplane flying high and fast, but for me everything was going in slow motion and I was bored out of my mind. Adrenaline aftershock or something like that? Also interesting!

Categories: Elsewhere

Stefano Zacchiroli: Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant

Planet Debian - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 16:51
Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant

I'm glad to announce that I've been awarded a 5,000 USD "Flash Grant" by the Shuttleworth Foundation.

Flash grants are an interesting funding model, which I've just learned about. You don't need to apply for them. Rather, you get nominated by current fellows, and then selected and approached by the foundation for funding. The grant amount is smaller than actual fellowships, but it comes with very few strings attached: furthering open knowledge (which is the foundation's core mission) and being transparent about how you use the money.

I'm lucky enough to already have a full-time job to pay my bills, and I do my Free Software activism mostly in my spare time. So I plan to use the money not to pay my bills, but rather to boost the parts of my Free Software activities that could benefit from some funding. I don't have a fully detailed budget yet but, tentatively: some money will go to fund Debsources development (by others), some into promoting my thoughts on the dark ages of Free Software, and maybe some into helping the upcoming release of Debian. I'll provide a public report at the end of the funding period (~6 months from now).

I'd like to thank the Shuttleworth Foundation for the grant and foundation's fellow Jonas Öberg for making this possible.

Categories: Elsewhere

Michal Čihař: Weblate 2.1

Planet Debian - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 15:25

Weblate 2.1 has been released today. It comes with native Mercurial support, user interface cleanup and various other fixes.

Full list of changes for 2.1:

  • Added support for Mercurial repositories.
  • Replaced Glyphicon font by Awesome.
  • Added icons for social authentication services.
  • Better consistency of button colors and icons.
  • Documentation improvements.
  • Various bugfixes.
  • Automatic hiding of columns in translation listing for small screens.
  • Changed configuration of filesystem paths.
  • Improved SSH keys handling and storage.
  • Improved repository locking.
  • Customizable quality checks per source string.

You can find more information about Weblate on http://weblate.org, the code is hosted on Github. If you are curious how it looks, you can try it out on demo server. You can login there with demo account using demo password or register your own user. Ready to run appliances will be soon available in SUSE Studio Gallery.

Weblate is also being used https://hosted.weblate.org/ as official translating service for phpMyAdmin, Gammu, Weblate itself and others.

If you are free software project which would like to use Weblate, I'm happy to help you with set up or even host Weblate for you.

Further development of Weblate would not be possible without people providing donations, thanks to everybody who have helped so far!

Filed under: English phpMyAdmin SUSE Weblate | 0 comments | Flattr this!

Categories: Elsewhere

Creative Juices: I Survived Drupalgeddon: How Hackers Took Over My Site, What I Did About It, And How You Can Stay Safe

Planet Drupal - Fri, 05/12/2014 - 14:32
I Survived Drupalgeddon: How Hackers Took Over My Site, What I Did About It, And How You Can Stay Safe Fri, 12/05/2014 - 08:32 matt
Categories: Elsewhere

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