Simon Désaulniers: [GSOC] Week 1 - Report

Planet Debian - sam, 11/06/2016 - 19:06

I have been working on writing serializable structure for remote filtering of values on the distributed hash table OpenDHT. This structure is called Query.

What’s done

The implementation of the base design with other changes have been made. You can see evolution on the matter here;

Changes allow to create a Query with a SQL-ish statement like the following

Query q("SELECT * WHERE id=5");

You can then use this query like so

get(hash, getcb, donecb, filter, "SELECT * WHERE id=5");

I verified the working state of the code with the dhtnode. I have also done some tests using our python benchmark scripts.

What’s next
  • Value pagination;
  • Optimization of put operations with query for ids before put, hence avoiding potential useless traffic.

The Query is the key part for optimizing my initial work on data persistence on the DHT. It will enhance the DHT on more than one aspects. I have to point out it would not have been possible to do that before our major refactoring we introduced in 0.6.0.

Catégories: Elsewhere

Shirish Agarwal: The road to debconf 2016, tourism and arts.

Planet Debian - sam, 11/06/2016 - 08:55

A longish blog post, please bear, a second part of the blog post would be published in few days from now. My fixed visa finally arrived, yeah But this story doesn’t start here, it starts about a year back. While I have been contributing to Debian in my free time over the years, and sometimes paid time as well, I had never thought of going overseas as the experiences I knew from friends and relatives, it isn’t easy to get all the permissions and paperwork done to say the least (bureaucracy @ work). But last year, when Debconf 15 was being launched, there are/were 2-3 friends of mine who are studying, doing their Ph.D. in some computer/web stuff, living in Germany currently that they goaded me to apply. The first few times I gave some standard excuses, but when they kept on for a while, just to shut them up I applied to the debconf team applying for food, accommodation and travel sponsorship.

I didn’t have high hopes as there obviously are many more talented peers around me who understand FOSS and Debian at a much more fundamental, philosophical as well as technical level than me. Much to my surprise though, about a month (and around two or three weeks just before the event was about to take place) I got the bursary/sponsorships for food, accommodation as well as travel. I was unsure that the remaining time was enough to get a visa hence declined that time around.

That whole episode gave me the confidence that perhaps my application would be accepted if I applied again. Using my previous years understanding, decided to give it a shot again as this would also enable me to get a feel of visa bureaucracy as well as gain a bit of novice understanding about what factors go in choosing a flight and believe me the latter part proved to be pretty confusing. While the visa business seems easy, the form at least is easy and what they ask, it can be troublesome as far as visa-processing process is concerned. It took a better part of the month to get the visa which I needed. The in-between time is and can be a bit stressful as you have committed funds for travel i.e. the airline tickets and are in a limbo as you didn’t know that if the visa is cancelled for some reason, your tickets would be refunded or not. A little history is needed and hopefully is helpful for anybody who’s applying for a short-stay Visa in South Africa.

Exactly, A month and day back I had applied for visa. The visa I had applied for is 17 days as the flights within my budget was for those days only. The visa I got was for 10 days only which was ending in the middle of the conference. I tried many avenues to get information and was told that I needed to write a correction letter telling/sharing the information about the correct time period and dates in BOLD with a heavier weight/point which is what I did and gave to VFS office without any further payment on my part. It took a bit more time than the first time around but the consulate co-operated. While I can understand the oversight as they probably get more visas requests along with special and urgent requests so such occurrences can happen. I am and was happy that there was a recourse rather than starting from scratch which probably would have made me more anxious due to the first experience .

Apparently I was lucky that I had done with Qatar Airways as later came to know that there are other airways which don’t refund money even after visa rejection . This information I got to know pretty late in the game otherwise I wouldn’t have been much stressed. As had committed knew had to go the whole hog and whatever barriers are there, have overcome at least as far as the visa part/process is concerned.

Now after few days, will probably start to worry about the actual travel, part nervousness, part excitement, nervousness as it will be an alien land, am obese so traveling economy on 787-8 and 777-300 ER will be tricky. The 787-8 will probably be a rough ride as it’s a 9 hr. journey and the seat are a mere 18″, the cattle class as shared by one of our esteemed politicians. This blame has to do with Boeing 787 rather than anybody else. Hopefully, if there is a next time, would make better choices.

Anyways,have selected an aisle seat so that will be able to walk every hr. or so to get the circulation in legs going as leg room in economy is not much from my domestic air travel experiences. If I do survive the travel, then will see South Africa and try to get some free time and explore South Africa and try to figure out how are they able to get one and half time tourists while we get around half figure for a whole year even though we are bigger (area-wise) to South Africa. I did find something positive for us as well, it’s not all doldrums all around.

Now, I had been thinking about if I know any South African music and movies. I had explored djembe while growing up in teens but other than that, not much. The only music I have heard is Harry Belafonte . So I hope to bring some Indian movies and music with me so that people if they have not explored Bollywood as well as Indian classical music could explore some of it, of course it will be pale imitation of what ‘Sawai Gandharva Music Festival‘ for instance gives. I also hope to hear and get some music and movies to learn more about South Africa.

Filed under: Miscellenous Tagged: #bollywood, #Debconf Germany 2015, #Debconf South Africa 2016, #Debconf15, #Debconf16, #djembe, #South-African consulate, music, tourism, visa
Catégories: Elsewhere

Hideki Yamane: Which compression do Debian packages use?

Planet Debian - sam, 11/06/2016 - 05:50
gzip: 4576
bzip2: 54xz: 46250none: 9
90% of packages use xz. Packages use bzip2 should migrate to xz.
Catégories: Elsewhere

Paul Tagliamonte: It's all relative

Planet Debian - sam, 11/06/2016 - 05:45

As nearly anyone who's worked with me will attest to, I've long since touted nedbat's talk Pragmatic Unicode, or, How do I stop the pain? as one of the most foundational talks, and required watching for all programmers.

The reason is because netbat hits on something bigger - something more fundamental than how to handle Unicode -- it's how to handle data which is relative.

For those who want the TL;DR, the argument is as follows:

Facts of Life:

  1. Computers work with Bytes. Bytes go in, Bytes go out.
  2. The world needs more than 256 symbols.
  3. You need both Bytes and Unicode
  4. You cannot infer the encoding of bytes.
  5. Declared encodings can be Wrong

Now, to fix it, the following protips:

  1. Unicode sandwich
  2. Know what you have
  3. TEST
Relative Data

I've started to think more about why we do the things we do when we write code, and one thing that continues to be a source of morbid schadenfreude is watching code break by failing to handle Unicode right. It's hard! However, watching what breaks lets you gain a bit of insight into how the author thinks, and what assumptions they make.

When you send someone Unicode, there are a lot of assumptions that have to be made. Your computer has to trust what you (yes, you!) entered into your web browser, your web browser has to pass that on over the network (most of the time without encoding information), to a server which reads that bytestream, and makes a wild guess at what it should be. That server might save it to a database, and interpolate it into an HTML template in a different encoding (called Mojibake), resulting in a bad time for everyone involved.

Everything's awful, and the fact our computers can continue to display text to us is a goddamn miracle. Never forget that.

When it comes down to it, when I see a byte sitting on a page, I don't know (and can't know!) if it's Windows-1252, UTF-8, Latin-1, or EBCDIC. What's a poem to me is terminal garbage to you.

Over the years, hacks have evolved. We have magic numbers, and plain ole' hacks to just guess based on the content. Of course, like all good computer programs, this has lead to its fair share of hilarious bugs, and there's nothing stopping files from (validly!) being multiple things at the same time.

Like many things, it's all in the eye of the beholder.


Just like Unicode, this is a word that can put your friendly neighborhood programmer into a series of profanity laden tirades. Go find one in the wild, and ask them about what they think about timezone handling bugs they've seen. I'll wait. Go ahead.

Rants are funny things. They're fun to watch. Hilarious to give. Sometimes just getting it all out can help. They can tell you a lot about the true nature of problems.

It's funny to consider the isomorphic nature of Unicode rants and Timezone rants.

I don't think this is an accident.

U̶n̶i̶c̶o̶d̶e̶ timezone Sandwich

Ned's Unicode Sandwich applies -- As early as we can, in the lowest level we can (reading from the database, filesystem, wherever!), all datetimes must be timezone qualified with their correct timezone. Always. If you mean UTC, say it's in UTC.

Treat any unqualified datetimes as "bytes". They're not to be trusted. Never, never, never trust 'em. Don't process any datetimes until you're sure they're in the right timezone.

This lets the delicious inside of your datetime sandwich handle timezones with grace, and finally, as late as you can, turn it back into bytes (if at all!). Treat locations as tzdb entries, and qualify datetime objects into their absolute timezone (EST, EDT, PST, PDT)

It's not until you want to show the datetime to the user again should you consider how to re-encode your datetime to bytes. You should think about what flavor of bytes, what encoding -- what timezone -- should I be encoding into?


Just like Unicode, testing that your code works with datetimes is important. Every time I think about how to go about doing this, I think about that one time that mjg59 couldn't book a flight starting Tuesday from AKL, landing in HNL on Monday night, because United couldn't book the last leg to SFO. Do you ever assume dates only go forward as time goes on? Remember timezones.

Construct test data, make sure someone in New Zealand's +13:45 can correctly talk with their friends in Baker Island's -12:00, and that the events sort right.

Just because it's Noon on New Years Eve in England doesn't mean it's not 1 AM the next year in New Zealand. Places a few miles apart may go on Daylight savings different days. Indian Standard Time is not even aligned on the hour to GMT (+05:30)!

Test early, and test often. Memorize a few timezones, and challenge your assumptions when writing code that has to do with time. Don't use wall clocks to mean monotonic time. Remember there's a whole world out there, and we only deal with part of it.

It's also worth remembering, as Andrew Pendleton pointed out to me, that it's possible that a datetime isn't even unique for a place, since you can never know if 2016-11-06 01:00:00 in America/New_York (in the tzdb) is the first one, or second one. Storing EST or EDT along with your datetime may help, though!


Improper handling of timezones can lead to some interesting things, and failing to be explicit (or at least, very rigid) in what you expect will lead to an unholy class of bugs we've all come to hate. At best, you have confused users doing math, at worst, someone misses a critical event, or our security code fails.

I recently found what I regard to be a pretty bad bug in apt (which David has prepared a fix for and is pending upload, yay! Thank you!), which boiled down to documentation and code expecting datetimes in a timezone, but accepting any timezone, and silently treating it as UTC.

The solution is to hard-fail, which is an interesting choice to me (as a vocal fan of timezone aware code), but at the least it won't fail by misunderstanding what the server is trying to communicate, and I do understand and empathize with the situation the apt maintainers are in.

Final Thoughts

Overall, my main point is although most modern developers know how to deal with Unicode pain, I think there is a more general lesson to learn -- namely, you should always know what data you have, and always remember what it is. Understand assumptions as early as you can, and always store them with the data.

Catégories: Elsewhere

Drupal Console: Help us complete the Drupal Console stable release

Planet Drupal - sam, 11/06/2016 - 00:52
If you are reading this you maybe are aware or have an idea what the Drupal Console is, but in case you are not; this is a brief explanation. Drupal Console is “The new CLI for Drupal”. A tool to generate boilerplate code, interact with and debug Drupal. Why are we asking for help? The Drupal Console as many other Open Source projects is created and maintained with the effort and free time of contributors and maintainers, which is great but, sometimes the community requires those tools earlier than the contributors can produce using only in their own time. One example of that is the Drupal 8 Accelerate program,  d8rules funding program, and D8 Module Acceleration Program with the aim to bring to the community those products as soon as possible, getting money to sponsor contributors office hours to complete those products. Our situation is not so different from other projects, even though the core maintainers have some hours per week sponsored by our employer or business. But this time is not enough, and we need to use our personal time to continue with the development. We need to assign more time to check the issue queue, currently with 200+ pending issues and feature requests, to provide support on the Gitter channel, to do a much better work with the documentation, and improve the test coverage. Therefore, we need some financial assistance to try to deliver our first stable release as soon as possible. For more information and to know how to help us, please read the article in full.
Catégories: Elsewhere

Guido Günther: Debian Fun in May 2016

Planet Debian - ven, 10/06/2016 - 19:38
Debian LTS

May marked the thirteenth month I contributed to Debian LTS under the Freexian umbrella. I spent the 17.25 hours working on these LTS things:

  • Fixed CVE-2014-7210 in pdns resulting in DLA-492-1
  • Fixed the build failure of Icedove on armhf resulting in DLA 472-2
  • Forward ported our nss, nspr enhancements to to the current versions in testing to continue the discussion on the same nss and nspr versions in all suites including some ABI compliance research (thanks abi-compliance-tester!), resulting in 824872.
  • Backported Icedve 45 and Enigmail to wheezy to check if we can continue to support it - we can with a minor tweaks. Upload will happen in June.
  • While at that added some autpkgtests for Icedove 45 resulting in 809723 (already applied).
  • Released DLA-498-1 for ruby-active-model-3.2 to address CVE-2016-0753.
  • Reviewed the Updates of ruby-active-record-3.2 for CVE-2015-7577 and eglibc.
Other Debian stuff
  • Uploaded libvirt 1.3.4 to sid, 1.3.5~rc1 to experimental
  • Uploaded libosinfo 0.3.0 to sid
  • Uploaded git-buildpackage 0.7.4 to sid including experimental multiple tarball support for gbp buildpackage
Catégories: Elsewhere


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