Wednesday 28 February 2007 is down

In case there are people who don't know and care, is down. You can switch to if you have a i386, amd64 or powerpc arch system.

For others, I'd recommend or

Thursday 22 February 2007

Useful and unknown feature of apt

Note: this feature was at least unknown to me.

If you have a local mirror and one which is further, you will most surely have the local mirror listed first in your /etc/apt/sources.list so that apt tries to download first from the local mirror. Nothing new here.

Add a laptop to that mix and moving frequently to another place, let's say office at work, where the link to the second mirror is waaay faster than the one to your home local mirror.

How do you make updates/installations via the most speedy connection, no matter if you are at work or near the local mirror at home?

Simple (if you count simple something I had to figure out in 1 months or so - to quote partially aj :-); apt will use that mirror if you comment out the lines that point to your local mirror and will use those without the need to run update.

Are you getting my drift? So, how does that add up? Throw in there laptop-net and its feature to replace files depending on profile and you got it all almost sorted out (you'll have to make a restore feature based on the ${PROFILE}/before-deselect hook).

So, to conclude, here are the instructions:
  • install laptop-net
  • create a profile for the local mirror connections (there is a skeleton example in /etc/laptop-net/profiles/_skel with some examples and pointers, please read the README, at least) that is meant for the place where you have the local mirror
  • create the files.d directory in the new profile and add there etc/apt/sources.list (with the intermediate directories) the variant that has the local mirror specification uncommented
  • modify ${PROFILE}/before-deselect hook script to replace the sources.list file with one that does have the local mirror lines commented (I created a files-back.d/ directory whose contents is copied over the / directory, exactly like laptop-net does itself for files.d/; that is not actually a backup, but is good enough)
Now you should be able to always install from the fastest mirror at all times.

Wednesday 21 February 2007

TDebs - still brainstorming

This is about TDebs.

Raphael Hertzog raised an important point about tdebs and mirror usage. Not sure how to deal with that yet.

OTOH, silent tdebs' selection doesn't sound bad at all. Thanks Filipus.

More info on TDebs issues:

Tuesday 20 February 2007

Bastian's dillema

Bastian, what about using sshfs (needs fuse)?

And thanks for the tip!

I wonder ...

... if these stats do something special about those acceleration keys. Of course, these don't make much sense in Debian context, but maybe these stats and others (KDE, Debian, GNOME etc.) could be integrated into a gettext-devel-tools package upstream so we avoid redundant work.

Monday 19 February 2007

I hope they don't see this

Now this is interesting, it seems that there is little spam with a subject pretending to be an answer.

BTW, I don't understand where the percentages come for, judging by the nuber shown, they don't make sense...

And in case you are wondering, this is mnenhy.

Sunday 18 February 2007

tdebs - archive layout (updated)

(Some updates, see at the bottom).

Today I have moved the wiki page for TranslationDebs under i18n/TranslationDebs, since it seemed to be a more proper place.

I also read again my proposal, made some corrections and gave the layout proposal some thought. I realised that both compatible layout proposal and the incompatible layout proposal have disadvantages and/or are somewhat inconsistent with the current way the archive and apt work.

So I went on and added yet another proposal which should be some middle ground between the previous ones. Now I am not sure if this new one has any real benefits as opposed to the previous ones and I am not sure if I am still on the right track.

Now I need some help. I suggest interested people to look at the proposals and their advantages before answering the questions below.

So the questions are:
  1. which of the following archive layouts seems to be the "right" format?
    • f.d.o/debian/dists/DIST/SECT/l10n/LANG/
    • f.d.o/debian/dists/l10n/DIST/SECT/LANG/
    • f.d.o/debian/dists/DIST/l10n/LANG/SECT/
  2. Do we want a binary-$ARCH level at the end of this path? Is the lack of it an inconsistency? Do we want l10n material to be treated so differently? Do we consider the LANG some kind of replacement for $ARCH? Is there any or a significant part of l10n material that is arch dependent?
  3. Do we want to have a compatibility layer for older dpkg/apt, i.e do we want both an empty Packages and a Translations file in there?
  4. Which of the following looks the best for translation selection ? (note that the change of format leads one way or the other to incompatibilities)
    • deb-tdeb-$LANG etch main
    • tdeb-$LANG etch main
    • deb etch main/l10n/$LANG
    • deb etch l10n/$LANG/main/
  5. Does the package naming needs some rethinking since the current proposal doesn't allow translation installations to be installed via current dpkg implementation?
Update (20070221-1): Filipus Klutiero suggested that it would be nice not to need to add something in /etc/apt/sources.list . I agree, this is a very good idea. There was no suggestion how to do this, but I thought maybe /etc/default/locale can be used for translation selection via a new variable in there. I'll add this to the wiki page, too.

Friday 16 February 2007

n?gettext usuall assumptions and problems

For those who care about i18n and especially to those that don't care, a mail that I wrote to the Wormux-dev mailing list might provide some insight on the regular issues that plague badly i18n-ed applications.

This is mostly not developers' fault, but the fact that many don't know the real capabilities of gettext.

The post is here.

Tuesday 13 February 2007

yet another disguised rant or how you won't run GDB remotely

I tried for the whole day to understand how I can debug remotely an application in a qemu machine.

Why would I want that?
  • I need to debug the i386 variant
  • I don't want to screw up my system
  • I need a large display since the program uses some big data structures and need to see them at the same time (no, pretty print is not enough)
  • actually I would like to use DDD or something like that so I don't feel (that much) like a cripple man (I always had this feeling when facing the task of using gdb - powerful but feels incredibly like a huge hack and the interface is planly ugly from an usability POV)
  • cgdb is not enough and has a marginal gain compared to plain gdb (and you loose tab completion)
  • I wasn't planning on installing X in the qemu machine
The closest I could get was to start by hand qemu with the guest qemu serial port set on a tcp socket, start gdbserver on (guest) /dev/ttyS0 and try to start gdb remotely on that socket opened by qemu. This resulted, as expected in some errors...

Now, after reading all kinds of threads on the net, reading qemu's docs and gdb's docs, I gave up, I am installing X in the qemu machine.

BTW, I couldn't find a way to tell DDD to connect to a socket to debug :-/.

Of course, any help and advices would be mostly appreciated.

Wednesday 7 February 2007

Debian Live HOWTO

In order to make a Debian Live image these are the steps you have to make (as root):

  • aptitude install live-package
  • make-live -d ${DIST} -p ${PACKLIST} -m ${MIRROR}
  • Enjoy!
Really, no lies! just make sure you replace ${DIST}, ${PACKLIST} and ${MIRROR}.

DIST can be etch or sid. I didn't try sarge.
PACKLIST is one of the ones in /usr/share/make-live/lists/ or you can make your own and place it there.

By default, these are available:

ls /usr/share/make-live/lists/
gnome kde kde-extra-i18n minimal x11
gnome-core kde-core kde-full minimal-net x11-core
gnome-full kde-core-i18n kde-full-i18n standard xfce
gnustep kde-extra kde-i18n standard-i18n

MIRROR is easy and it can be a local mirror

Tuesday 6 February 2007

Google Video restrictions?

"We're sorry, but the provider of this video has not authorized Google to display this video in your location."

This is what I got when I clicked on one of the videos on the first page at

Are they implementing restrictions like they do for China? Digital split anyone?

And in case you are asking, this is the URL:

Saturday 3 February 2007

kvm, qemu and qemuctl

Junichi, qemuctl provides a nice control panel that contains, among others, a save state button and a resume state button.

As a nice addition you could use qemu-launcher.

Not sure how kvm plays with qemu-launcher and qemuctl, but I guess it can be changed anyway.