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John Goerzen: Computer Without a Case

Planet Debian - Thu, 13/11/2014 - 00:37

My desk today looks like this:

Yep, that’s a computer. Motherboard to the right, floppy drives and CD drive stacked on top of the power supply, hard drive to the left.

And it’s an OLD computer. (I had forgotten just how loud these old power supplies are; wow.)

The point of this exercise is to read data off the floppies that I have made starting nearly 30 years ago now (wow). Many were made with DOS, some were made on a TRS-80 Color Computer II (aka CoCo 2). There are 5.25″ disks, 3.25″ disks, and all sorts of formats. Most are DOS, but the TRS-80 ones use a different physical format. Some of the data was written by Central Point Backup (from PC Tools), which squeezed more data on the disk by adding an extra sector or something, if my vague memory is working.

Reading these disks requires low-level playing with controller timing, and sometimes the original software to extract the data. It doesn’t necessarily work under Linux, and certainly doesn’t work with USB floppies or under emulation. Hence this system.

It’s a bridge. Old enough to run DOS, new enough to use an IDE drive. I can then hook up the IDE drive to a IDE-to-USB converter and copy the data off it onto my Linux system.

But this was tricky. I started the project a few years ago, but life got in the way. Getting back to it now, with the same motherboard and drive, but I just couldn’t get it to boot. I eventually began to suspect some disk geometry settings, and with some detective work from fdisk in Linux plus some research into old BIOS disk size limitations, discovered the problem was a 2GB limit. Through some educated trial and error, I programmed the BOIS with a number of cylinders that worked, set it to LBA mode, and finally my 3-year-old DOS 6.2 installation booted.

I had also forgotten how finicky things were back then. Pop a floppy from a Debian install set into the drive, type dir b:, and the system hangs. I guess there was a reason the reset button was prominent on the front of the computer back then…

Categories: Elsewhere

Jonathan Wiltshire: A chilly week

Planet Debian - Thu, 13/11/2014 - 00:03

It’s finally become properly autumnal, in the real world and in Debian. One week ago, I announced (on behalf of the whole release team) that Debian 8 “Jessie” had successfully frozen on time.

At 18:00 that evening we had 310 release critical bugs – that is, the number that we must reduce to 0 before the release is ready. How does that number look now?

Well, there are now 315 bugs affecting Jessie, at various stages of progression. That sounds like it’s going in the wrong direction, but considering that over a hundred new bugs were filed just 8 hours after the freeze announcement, things are actually looking pretty good.

Out of those 315 bugs, 91 have been fixed and the packages affected have already been unblocked by the release team. The fixed packages will migrate to Jessie in the next few days, if they continue to be bug-free.

Thirty-four bugs are apparently fixed in unstable but are not cleared for migration yet. That means that the release team has not spotted the fix, or nobody has told us, or the fixed package is unsuitable for some other reason (like unrelated changes in the same upload). You can help by trying to find out which reason applies, and talking to us about it. Most likely nobody has asked us to unblock it yet.

Speaking of unblocks, we currently have twenty-four requests that need to be looked at, and a further 20 which are awaiting more information from the maintainer. We already investigated and resolved 260 requests.

Our response rate is currently pretty good, but it’s unclear whether we can sustain it indefinitely. We all have day jobs, for example. One way you could help is to review the list of unchecked unblocks and gather up missing information, or look at the ones tagged moreinfo and see whether that’s still the case (maybe the maintainer replied, but forgot to remove the tag). If you’re confident, you might even try triaging some of the obvious requests and give some feedback to the maintainer, though the final decision will be made by a release team member.

After all, the quicker this goes the sooner we can release and thaw up unstable again.

Footnote: the method used to determine RC bug counts last week and this week differ, and therefore so could the margin for error. Surprisingly enough, counting bugs is not an exact science. I’m confident these numbers are close enough for broad comparison, even if they’re out by one or two.

A chilly week is a post from: jwiltshire.org.uk | Flattr

Categories: Elsewhere

Joey Hess: continuing to be pleasantly surprised

Planet Debian - Wed, 12/11/2014 - 21:33

Free software has been my career for a long time -- nothing else since 1999 -- and it continues to be a happy surprise each time I find a way to continue that streak.

The latest is that I'm being funded for a couple of years to work part-time on git-annex. The funding comes from the DataLad project, which was recently awarded by National Science Foundation. DataLad folks (at Dartmouth College and at Magdeburg University in Germany) are working on providing easy access to scientific data (particularly neuroimaging). So git-annex will actually be used for science!

I'm being funded for around 30 hours of work each month, to do general work on the git-annex core (not on the webapp or assistant). That includes bugfixes and some improvements that are wanted for DataLad, but are all themselves generally useful. (see issue list)

This is enough to get by on, at least in my current living situation. It would be great if I could find some funding for my other work time -- but it's also wonderful to have the flexibility to spend time on whatever other interesting projects I might want to.

Categories: Elsewhere

Phase2: BADCamp Sprinting Success Story : Drush make files support YAML

Planet Drupal - Wed, 12/11/2014 - 20:26

After a very successful drush code-sprint at BADCamp 2014, drush make now supports YAML format!

Instead of the old INI format

api = 2 ; Set contrib directory. defaults[projects][subdir] = "contrib" core = "7.x" projects[drupal][type] = "core" projects[drupal][version] = "7.32" ; Remove scary ajax error when autocomplete terminates: https://www.drupal.org/node/1232416#comment-8748879 projects[drupal][patch][] = "https://www.drupal.org/files/issues/D7-fix_autocomplete_terminated_error-1232416-179-do-not-test.patch" ; Ensure plain text fields evaluate line breaks. projects[drupal][patch][] = "http://drupal.org/files/text-plain-1152216-24.patch" projects[addressfield][version] = "1.0-beta5" projects[addressfield_tokens][version] = "1.4" projects[admin_views][version] = "1.3" projects[field_collection][version] = "1.0-beta7" ; Field collections are ownerless https://drupal.org/node/1954124 projects[field_collection][patch][] = "https://drupal.org/files/issues/field_collection-ownerless_fields-1954124-23.patch" ; Fixes fatal error in migrate code: https://www.drupal.org/node/2315921#comment-9028779 projects[field_collection][patch][] = "https://www.drupal.org/files/issues/migrate-fatal-error-2315921-01.patch"

YAML can be used with the latest version of Drush 7:

api: 2 # Set contrib directory. defaults: projects: subdir: "contrib" core: "7.x" projects: drupal: type: "core" version: "7.33" patch: # Remove scary ajax error when autocomplete terminates: https://www.drupal.org/node/1232416#comment-8748879 - "https://www.drupal.org/files/issues/D7-fix_autocomplete_terminated_error-1232416-179-do-not-test.patch" # Ensure plain text fields evaluate line breaks. - "http://drupal.org/files/text-plain-1152216-24.patch" addressfield: "1.0-beta5" addressfield_tokens: "1.4" admin_views: "1.3" field_collection: version: "1.0-beta7" patch: # Field collections are ownerless https://drupal.org/node/1954124 - "https://drupal.org/files/issues/field_collection-ownerless_fields-1954124-23.patch" # Fixes fatal error in migrate code: https://www.drupal.org/node/2315921#comment-9028779 - "https://www.drupal.org/files/issues/migrate-fatal-error-2315921-01.patch"

Included .make files whether local, or discovered recursively within downloaded projects, can be in either YAML of INI format.

In order to use the newly-supported YAML format, simply name files with a .yml extension, such as my_project.make.yml.

The best part? This can be used now! Even though YAML files are mostly a new concept for Drupal 8, drush make will parse YAML make files for Drupal 7, and even Drupal 6. Want to learn more about DRUSH make files? Check out Joe Turgeon’s “Getting Started With Grunt Drupal Tasks

Categories: Elsewhere

Liran Tal's Enginx: Drupal Performance Tip – removing unused modules

Planet Drupal - Wed, 12/11/2014 - 20:22
This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Drupal Performance Tips

In the spirit of the computer video game Doom and its skill levels, we’ll review a few ways you can improve         your Drupal speed performance     and optimize for better results and server response time. These tips that we’ll cover may be at times specific to Drupal 6 versions, although     you can always learn the best practices from these examples and apply them on your own code base.

Doom skill levels: (easiest first)

  1. I’m too young to die

  2. Hey, not too rough

  3. Hurt me plenty

  4. Ultra-violence

  5. Nightmare!

  This post is rated “I’m too young too die” difficulty level.


If you’re using a Drupal distribution which is great for kick-starting a project with many features built-in, you should still review added modules which are managed through the installation profile as they might prove un-necessary for your product as time goes and your product evolves and matures. Remember that even if you’re not using a distribution, you might have added some modules to meet a functionality, which you no longer use and you disabled through CSS, through the menus, through the theme, but you forgot all about removing the actual module. These un-used modules account for memory footprint as they are loaded through PHP and they can also account for Drupal hooks, which is even worse in terms of performance for you.

Remember to review your installed modules base on Drupal and remove any un-used functionality:

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The post Drupal Performance Tip – removing unused modules appeared first on Liran Tal's Enginx.

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Watchdog: Watch Over My Shoulder

Planet Drupal - Wed, 12/11/2014 - 19:47

One of the best ways to learn useful tricks at the command line is to sit with someone and watch what they do. Due to the distributed nature of the Drupal community, we don't do nearly enough pair programming. Too often we work in isolation and then push our work on others when we finish. In this article I invite you to sit down beside me and watch over my shoulder as I explore Drupal 8 from the command line.

Navigating Drupal in the Bash Shell

The instructions in this article will work for OSX, and Linux systems, such as Ubuntu, but not Windows.
When reading command line instructions, there are two important characters we need to know about: $ and #. When applied to the beginning of a line, these refer to the prompt. We don't type these characters when issuing our command. $ signifies the command should be run as a regular user; # signifies the command is run as the administrative user (“root”).

As a themer, the first thing I want to explore is, of course, the themes. Let's begin by navigating to our Drupal folder. I start by opening up a terminal application. At the command line, I type cd, and then, using Finder, locate my Drupal folder. I then drag this folder onto the terminal application. It will automatically paste the path to the Drupal folder into my bash prompt. I press return, and bingo – we have navigated to the Drupal folder!

Let's take a peek inside the core folder of themes: we’ll navigate to the folder core/themes and then list (or ls) all files.

$ cd core/themes $ ls

There should be four things listed. See them all?

Categories: Elsewhere

Drupal Association News: How to Read the Association Financial Statements

Planet Drupal - Wed, 12/11/2014 - 19:37

I've had a couple of questions related to Association finances lately in various communications channels. I know that most of you are not finance professionals for a living, so rather than answering in several different silos, I thought I might write up this post about how the Association financials are structured and how you can read them. You know, for when you need a break from your other Drupal work! So if you're into this sort of thing (and I am not judging here, because I am WAY INTO this sort of thing), read on!

What are financial statements?

A financial statement is a formal record of the financial activities of the Drupal Association. The financial statements present information in a structured way that should make it easy to understand what is happening with the organization's finances. In other words, financial statements should tell a story about what is happening with the Association's money. Generally, financial statements include three standard reports:

  • Income Statement (or Profit & Loss): This report shows the revenue that is recognized as received and spent during a given period. It is tempting to compare the income statement to your checkbook register, but it's not quite that simple. The catch is that the income statement shows RECOGNIZED income and expense. One of the US accounting rules, for example, is that we can not recognize revenue for a DrupalCon ticket until the month in which the event happens. So, if you buy your DrupalCon Barcelona ticket in June, and the event is in September, your ticket revenue will not show up until our September income statement. Until then, that revenue sits on our Balance Sheet. So, the income statement alone does not give you a full picture of the organiztion's financial position. It simply represents the movement of recognized revenue in a specific time period. The income statement also represents some non-cash changes, such as depreciation.
  • Balance Sheet: The balance sheet shows us the assets and liabilities for the organization for that given time period. Reading the balance sheet, you can get a better understanding of how much money is in the bank, and where we owe, or might possibly owe, money. These things are not reflected in the income statement. Going back to our DrupalCon Barcelona example, prior to the Con, any revenue from sponsorship, ticket sales, or training sales would be held on the balance sheet in two ways. First, it will simply be reflected as cash in our bank account. Secondly, it is reflected as a liability, broken out specifically as sponsorship or ticket revenue. It's a liability because if we cancel the Con, we have to give you your money back! When preparing the September financials, we move the ticket revenue from the balance sheet liabilities session to the Income Statement, where it is treated as recognized revenue. 
  • Cash Summary: The cash summary (or cash flow) is the report that simply shows the movement of money into and out of our accounts. It does not account for depreciation or other non-cash accounting.

Those three reports are the standard set that organizations issue when reporting their financials.  The Association, however, issues additional reports to add clarity and transparency around the programs that you care most about.

About the Drupal Association Financial Statements

The Drupal Association financials are created on a monthly basis, and then are reviewed by the Finance Comittee of the board. On a quarterly basis, the Finance Committee presents the financials to the Board in executive session, which, if there are no serious questions, approves the financials. At that point, we publish the three months of financials to the community. They are promoted in a blog post about the meeting, and are also always available on the board materials page on the Association site. 

As I mentioned above, the Association financial statements go above and beyond the standard reports. In addition to the main three, our monthly financials also include the following: 

  • "PL All Classes:" This is an income statement report, showing recognized revenue and expenses for the month, but it is broken out by program area. This gives you the opportunity to see, for that month, the recognized revenue and expense for the upcoming Cons, or Drupal.org, or our Drupal Product Marketing efforts, for example. This report is for the month only, so keep that in mind. If you are looking at the May financial statements, the numbers in this report are for May only.
  • "Revenue:" This report was designed to show how our various revenue lines are performing. One of our board mandates is to diversify revenue so that DrupalCons are not our primary source of income. Taking this pressure off the Cons to perform financially will allow us to make different kinds of choices for the Cons, and it provides us more stability as an organization. This report helps us monitor progress for those revenue lines.
  • "PL DC ConName:" We create one of these report for each of the Cons we are working on. They are income statements for those Cons, year to date (YTD). YTD means that the report reflects all income and expense for that year, not just the current month. In these reports, you can see detailed information about expenses, with revenue generally not recognized on the report until the month of the Con.

And, keep in mind that all Association financial statements are reported in US Dollars.

How to Read the Financial Statements

A goal of financial statements is that they are supposed to make financial information easier to understand. However, the truth is that it is difficult for mere mortals to read financial statements. It takes both training and practice. However, let's see if I can walk you through some details. I'll use the March 2014 financial statements in this example.

Income Statement

The Income Statement presents the income and expenses for both the month of the report (in this case, March) as well as the year to date, or YTD, amounts (in this case, 1 January through 31 March 2014). So the top of the report looks like this:

Here's what what the columns represent:

  • Actual: Amounts for the month the financials report represents. In this case, March 2014.
  • Budget: The budgeted amount for the month the financial report represents. In this case, the amount we budgeted for March 2014.
  • YTD Actual: Total amount for the year, through the month the financial report represents. In this case, 1 January through 31 March 2014.
  • YTD Budget: Total budgeted amount for the year, through the month the financial report represents. In this case, the amount we budgeted for 1 January through 31 March 2014.
  • Var %: The percent difference between the YTD Actual and YTD Budget. This gives you a sense of how good a job we did at budgeting. Variance can occur because we receieved or spent money faster than we anticipated, or our models were off entirely. Remember that the Association only began budgeting and reporting in these formats 18 months ago, so we're still learning about what our cycles of revenue and expense are, so we expect the variance to decrease overall throughout the next few years as we get better at this.
Balance Sheet

The Balance Sheet presents the assets and liabilities as of the month of the report, which is March 2014 in this example. The balance sheet almost always also shows a comparative period - the same period the year prior, which is March 2013 for this example. This gives you the opportunity to see how things have changed in the last year. The report looks like this:

Cash Summary

The Cash Summary report shows the flow of money into and out of the organization in the given period. For compartive purposes, it also includes a Year to Date (YTD) column that shows all cash movement for the year, which is 1 January through 31 March in this example. The Cash Summary looks like this:

What our Financial Statements do not show

Simply put, our financial statements do not show a lot of information. The point of statements is to take complex and copious amounts of data and distill it into something digestable. We do not, for example, show each of the tickets sold for a DrupalCon and who they were sold to. We don't show each invoice that was received for Association software as a service subscriptions. We have the data, and I'm not oppposed to sharing it (as long as I check that we are not violating any privacy or other laws - you never know). However, it does not make sense for us to publish this level of detail on a monthly basis. 

That said, if there is something our financial statements do not show you, you can always ask. If it's not published here, it's not because we don't want to share the information. It's because we want to share information that can be meaningfully understood.


That should help you get through some of our financial statements a little better. I am not an accountant, but I am always happy to field any questions you have about these documents, and our amazing Operation Team of Kris and Leslie love to help. Just drop me a line via email or go ahead and post in a public channel like Twitter or a forum. Give me a heads up and I will get back to you.

Flickr photo: Doug88888

Categories: Elsewhere

David Stoline: Fake DNS Hosts with Behat with custom behat parameters

Planet Drupal - Wed, 12/11/2014 - 18:06

I was recently working on a Drupal project that had some internal DNS managed via hosts file. Tell me about it. Having no publicly accessible DNS or IP creates a challenge when your SaaS based Jenkins runs the tests.

The solution for this is a little custom work in your FeatureContext constructor and a BeforeScenario method.

And a little glue in the behat.yml to pass the custom hostHeader variable to the FeatureContext. Make sure that you're also setting the IP of the server for base_url and you're all set.

You can use this same pattern to pass around other variables from behat.yml to your FeatureContext.

Categories: Elsewhere

Paul Booker: How to set up your own Git server.

Planet Drupal - Wed, 12/11/2014 - 18:02

From your local machine ..

1. Create your keys

ssh-keygen -t rsa

2. Upload to your server

scp ~/.ssh/paulbooker.pub root@

From your server ..

1. Install Gitolite.

apt-get install gitolite

2. Create a user for Gitolite.

adduser \ --system \ --shell /bin/bash \ --gecos 'git version control' \ --group \ --disabled-password \ --home /home/gitolite \ gitolite Adding system user `gitolite' (UID 103) ... Adding new group `gitolite' (GID 105) ... Adding new user `gitolite' (UID 103) with group `gitolite' ... Creating home directory `/home/gitolite' ...

3. Setup Gitolite

su - gitolite gl-setup /tmp/paulbooker.pub The default settings in the rc file (/home/gitolite/.gitolite.rc) are fine for most people but if you wish to make any changes, you can do so now. hit enter... /usr/bin/select-editor: 1: /usr/bin/select-editor: gettext: not found 'select-editor'. /usr/bin/select-editor: 1: /usr/bin/select-editor: gettext: not found 1. /bin/nano <---- 2. /usr/bin/emacs23 3. /usr/bin/vim.tiny /usr/bin/select-editor: 1: /usr/bin/select-editor: gettext: not found 1-3 [1]: 1 creating gitolite-admin... Initialized empty Git repository in /home/gitolite/repositories/gitolite-admin.git/ creating testing... Initialized empty Git repository in /home/gitolite/repositories/testing.git/ [master (root-commit) 7e358c3] start 2 files changed, 6 insertions(+) create mode 100644 conf/gitolite.conf create mode 100644 keydir/paulbooker.pub

4. Add the Gitolite user to your SSH configuration file.

nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config PermitRootLogin yes #without-password PasswordAuthentication no AllowUsers root gitolite #no commas service ssh reload # /etc/init.d/ssh reload .. Rather than invoking init scripts through /etc/init.d, use the service(8) utility, e.g. service ssh reload

On your local machine.

nano ~/.ssh/config Host Git user git hostname port 22 identityfile ~/.ssh/git Host * user paul hostname * port 22 identityfile ~/.ssh/paulbooker

1. Clone your gitolite repository

$ git clone gitolite@

Cloning into 'gitolite-admin'... remote: Counting objects: 6, done. remote: Compressing objects: 100% (4/4), done. remote: Total 6 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0) Receiving objects: 100% (6/6), done.

2. Add a test repository

cd gitolite-admin vi conf/gitolite.conf git commit -a -m "Add a test repository" [master ee674e9] Add a test repository 1 file changed, 3 insertions(+) git push Counting objects: 7, done. Delta compression using up to 2 threads. Compressing objects: 100% (3/3), done. Writing objects: 100% (4/4), 399 bytes, done. Total 4 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0) remote: creating test... remote: Initialized empty Git repository in /home/gitolite/repositories/test.git/

To gitolite@
7e358c3..ee674e9 master -> master

3. Clone the test repository.

git clone gitolite@ Cloning into 'test'... warning: You appear to have cloned an empty repository. cd test echo "test" > README git add . git commit -m "Initial commit" [master (root-commit) 21e352e] Initial commit 1 file changed, 1 insertion(+) create mode 100644 README git push origin master Counting objects: 3, done. Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 224 bytes, done. Total 3 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0) To gitolite@ * [new branch] master -> master

4. Add committer to the repository.

Add public key to the gitolite-admin key directory and edit the gitolite configuration file gitolite.conf

repo gitolite-admin RW+ = git repo testing RW+ = @all repo repo1 RW+ = git = paulbooker paul$ git add -A Paul-Bookers-Mac-mini:Git paul$ git commit -m "Updated configuration" [master 511d9af] Updated configuration 2 files changed, 5 insertions(+) create mode 100644 keydir/paulbooker.pub Paul-Bookers-Mac-mini:Git paul$ git push Counting objects: 10, done. Delta compression using up to 2 threads. Compressing objects: 100% (5/5), done. Writing objects: 100% (6/6), 1012 bytes, done. Total 6 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0) remote: creating repo1... remote: Initialized empty Git repository in /home/git/repositories/repo1.git/ To git@ 05c16f3..511d9af master -> master 5. Commit and push changes to the server. git commit -m "Initial commit to repo1" git remote add origin git@ git push origin master Tags:
Categories: Elsewhere

Rapha&#235;l Hertzog: Freexian’s third report about Debian Long Term Support

Planet Debian - Wed, 12/11/2014 - 17:56

Like last month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

Individual reports

In October 2014, we affected 13.75h works hours to 3 contributors:

  • Thorsten Alteholz
  • Raphaël Hertzog worked only 10 hours. The remaining hours will be done over November.
  • Holger Levsen did nothing (for unexpected personal reasons), he will catch up in November.

Obviously, only the hours done have been paid. Should the backlog grow further, we will seek for more paid contributors (to share the workload) and to make it easier to redispatch work hours once a contributor knows that he won’t be able to handle the hours that were affected to him/her.

Evolution of the situation

Compared to last month, we gained two new sponsors (Daevel and FOSSter, thanks to them!) and we have now 45.5 hours of paid LTS work to “spend” each month. That’s great but we are still far from our minimal goal of funding the equivalent of a half-time position.

In terms of security updates waiting to be handled, the situation is a bit worse than last month: while the dla-needed.txt file only lists 33 packages awaiting an update (6 less than last month), the list of open vulnerabilities in Squeeze shows about 60 affected packages in total. This differences has two explanations: CVE triaging for squeeze has not been done in the last days, and the POODLE issue(s) with SSLv3 affects a very large number of packages where it’s not always clear what the proper action is.

In any case, it’s never too late to join the growing list of sponsors and help us do a better job, please check with your company managers. If not possible for this year, consider including it in the budget for next year.

Thanks to our sponsors

Let me thank our main sponsors:

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Categories: Elsewhere

Last Call Media: Baltimore Drupal Camp

Planet Drupal - Wed, 12/11/2014 - 17:22
Categories: Elsewhere


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