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WTF is Jessie; PA4 paper size

12.12.2014 by tg@
Tags: debian pcli rant

My personal APT repository now has a jessie suite – currently just a clone of the sid suite, but so, people can get on the correct “upgrade channel” already.

Besides that, the usual small updates to my metapackages, bugfixes, etc. – You might have noticed that it’s now on a (hopefully permanent) location. I’ve put a donated eee-pc from my father to good use and am now running a Debian system at home. (Fun, as I’m emeritus now, officially, and haven’t had one during my time as active uploading DD.) I’ve created a couple of cowbuilder chroots (pbuilderrc to achieve that included in the repo) and can build packages, but for i386 only (amd64 is still done on the x32 desktop at work), but, more importantly, I can build, sign and publish the repo, so it may grow. (popcon data is interesting. More than double the amount of machines I have installed that stuff on.)

Update: I’ve started writing a NEWS file and cobbled together an RSS 2.0 feed from that… still plaintext content, but at least signalling in feedreaders upon updates.

Installing gimp and inkscape, I’m asked for a default paper size by libpaper1. PA4 is still not an option, I wonder why. I also haven’t managed to get MirPorts GNU groff and Artifex Ghostscript to use that paper size, so the various PDF manpages I produce are still using DIN ISO A4, rendering e.g. Mexicans unable to print them. Help welcome.

Note, for arngc, you need a server component (MirBSD-current, of course; we’re rolling release nowadays). Config included, but I’m willing to open my firewall to people I know, provided they won’t use “too much” traffic (running a couple of arngc instances is fine, according to what I estimated).

A largish article about how to use some other packages in the repo, such as dash-mksh, is yet to come. In the meantime, I wrote a bit more in README.Debian in mirabilos-support.

Bernhard’s article on Plänet Debian about the “colon” command in the shell could use a clarification and a security-relevant correcture.

There is, indeed, no difference between the : and true built-in commands.

Stéphane Chazelas points out that writing : ${VARNAME:=default} is bad, : "${VARNAME:=default}" is correct. Reason: someone could preset $VARNAME with, for example, /*/*/*/*/../../../../*/*/*/*/../../../../*/*/*/* which will exhaust during globbing.

Besides that, the article is good. Thanks Bernhard for posting it!

PS: I sometimes use the colon as comment leader in the last line of a script or function, because it, unlike the octothorpe, sets $? to 0, which can be useful.

Update: As jilles pointed out in IRC, “colon” (‘:’) is a POSIX special built-in (most importantly, it keeps assignments), whereas “true” is a regular built-in utility.

mksh R50d released

07.10.2014 by tg@
Tags: bug debian mksh news pcli

The last MirBSD Korn Shell update broke update-initramfs because I accidentally introduced a regression in field splitting while fixing other bugs – sorry!

mksh R50d was just released to fix that, and a small NULL pointer dereference found by Goodbox on IRC. Thanks to my employer tarent for a bit of time to work on it.

mksh R50c released, security fix

03.10.2014 by tg@
Tags: android bug debian mksh news pcli release security

The MirBSD Korn Shell has got a new security and maintenance release.

This release fixes one mksh(1)-specific issue when importing values from the environment. The issue has been detected by the main developer during careful code review, looking at whether the shell is affected by the recent “shellshock” bugs in GNU bash, many of which also affect AT&T ksh93. (The answer is: no, none of these bugs affects mksh.) Stephane Chanzelas kindly provided me with an in-depth look at how this can be exploited. The issue has not got a CVE identifier because it was identified as low-risk. The problem here is that the environment import filter mistakenly accepted variables named “FOO+” (for any FOO), which are, by general environ(7) syntax, distinct from “FOO”, and treated them as appending to the value of “FOO”. An attacker who already had access to the environment could so append values to parameters passed through programs (including sudo(8) or setuid) to shell scripts, including indirectly, after those programs intended to sanitise the environment, e.g. invalidating the last $PATH component. It could also be used to circumvent sudo’s environment filter which protected against the vulnerability of an unpatched GNU bash being exploited.

tl;dr: mksh not affected by any shellshock bugs, but we found a bug of our own, with low impact, which does not affect any other shell, during careful code review. Please do update to mksh R50c quickly.

mksh R50b released

03.09.2014 by tg@
Tags: mksh news pcli

The MirBSD Korn Shell has got a new bugfix release. Thought you’d want to know ☺

mksh R50, jupp 27 released

29.06.2014 by tg@
Tags: jupp mksh news pcli

Both the MirBSD Korn Shell and jupp – the editor which sucks less have seen new releases today. Please test them, report all bugs, and otherwise enjoy all the bugfixes.

Other subprojects will also have new releases… once I get around doing so after hacking them…

Update 03.07.2014: New release for MirCPIO, that is, cpio(1) and pax(1) and tar(1) in a somewhat portable package.

-r--r--r-- 4 tg miros-cvssrc 141973 Jul 3 19:56 /MirOS/dist/mir/cpio/paxmirabilis-20140703.cpio.gz

Dear FSF, stop recommending Enigmail.

05.06.2014 by tg@
Tags: debian pcli rant security tip work

Dear FSF, stop recommending Enigmail, please. It is broken, simple as that. Even if you switch everything HTML-related off, it still defaults to the latin9 (ISO-8859-15) encoding instead of UTF-8, and possibly some other nasties. Worse, it’s based upon obsolete Thunderbird/Icedove technology, which is dead since the release of Firefox® 17 and will only degrate over time.

Side note: I was asked recently how much entropy is used while generating a PGP key using GnuPG on Windows®, after having done the same for OpenSSL on Debian (and possibly almost all other OSes). I had to try to find out which was the actual code (GnuPG 2 with libgcrypt, it turns out), and it was not pretty. (You are hereby adviced to create a 600-byte file ${GNUPGHOME:-~/.gnupg}/random_seed from a good source before even attempting to use GnuPG 2 for the first time. OK, you can run gpg -k once, to create the GNUPGHOME directory from a skeleton.)

Stay off my computer, puppet!

18.04.2014 by tg@
Tags: bug debian fun geocache pcli rant tip work

I was out, seeing something that wasn’t there yet when I was at school (the “web” was not ubiquitous, back then), and decided to have a look:


Ugh. Oh well, PocketIE doesn’t provide a “View Source” thingy, so I asked Natureshadow (who got the same result on his Android, and had no “View Source” either apparently, so he used cURL to see it). We saw (here, re-enacted using ftp(1)):

	tg@blau:~ $ ftp -Vo -
	<!-- pageok -->
	<!-- managed by puppet -->

This is the final straw… after puppet managed to trash a sudoers(5) at work (I warned people to not introduce it) now it breaks websites. ☺

(Of course, tools are useful, but at best to the skill of their users. Merely dumbly copying recipes from “the ’net” without any understanding just makes debugging harder for those of us with skills.)

ObQuestion: Does anyone have ⓐ a transcript (into UTF-8) and ⓑ a translation for the other half of the OpenBSD 2.8 poster? (I get asked this regularily.)
Update: One person sent me the Kanji and Kana for it in UTF-8 「俺のマシンに手を出すな!」, and they and one more person told me it’s “Hands off my machine!” or “Don’t lay a hand on my machine!”. Now I’m not studying Japanese, but it LGTM in FixedMisc [MirOS], and JMdict from MirPorts says: ore no mashin ni te (w)o dasu na (roughly: my machine; particle; hands; particle; put out; prohibition) ☺ Thanks all, now I know what to tell visitors who wonder about that poster on my wall.

ObTip: I can install a few hundred Debian VMs at work manually before the effort needed to automate d-i would amortise. So I decided not to. Coworkers are shocked. I keep flexibility (can decide to have machines differ), and the boss accepts my explanations. Think before doing automation just for the sake of automation!

FreeWRT Archive

30.03.2014 by tg@
Tags: archaeology freewrt news pcli snapshot

As previously announced, the FreeWRT Project has been archived. You can access the content at the FreeWRT Archive Site on the MirWebseite.

ObRant: DST (Sommerzeit) sucks!


06.02.2014 by tg@
Tags: archaeology debian fun jupp pcli

Just saw this in my INBOX:

    B. The default init system for jessie will be a single /etc/rc script

I’d certainly vote that❣

In unrelated news, jupp 2.8 for DOS runs on cable3, which means it’ll still run on an original 8088/8086 ☻

Update 10.02.2014: The unobfuscated version of cable3 is called 8086tiny under the MIT licence. Thanks to the author for doing that (and not just dumping the IOCCC code) and to RT from the mksh(1) IRC channel for finding it on the ’net!

Thanks to Robert Scheck, jupp – the Editor which sucks less (a WordStar™-compatible Unix editor with lots of features, including a hex editor) is currently on its way to Fedora and EPEL (RHEL/CentOS 5 and 6).

Depending on your distribution, you will have it available within one to two weeks, I’m being told.

This adds another distribution to the list; jupp has been available in Debian and its derivates (some of which may not be named) for some time (due to user request), and the webpage contains Win32 binaries (made with Cygwin, an oldish version to be compatible to Win9x).

jupp is especially useful as programmers’ editor, but also used in teaching school-aged kids the joys of IT; Natureshadow has prepared a cheat sheet, which we will internationalise and localise, then link from the jupp homepage – so stay tuned! (I guess we’ll also need a concise list of jupp features, in lieu of advertising.)


18.07.2013 by tg@

Michael Langguth and Scalaris AG asked me to publish the mksh/Win32 Beta 14 source and binary archive, and it is with joy I’m doing this.

Checksums and Hashes

  • RMD160 (ports/ = 0dc8ef6e95592bd132f701ca77c4e0a3afe46f24
  • TIGER (ports/ = 966e548f9e9c1d5b137ae3ec48e60db4a57c9a0ed15720fb
  • 1181543005 517402 /MirOS/dist/mir/mksh/ports/
  • MD5 (ports/ = b57367b0710bf76a972b493562e2b6b5

Just a few words on it (more in the README.1st file included): this is a port of The MirBSD Korn Shell R39 to the native WinAPI; it’s not quite got the full Unix feel (especially as it targets the Weihenstephan unxutils instead of a full Interix or Cygwin environment) but doesn’t need a full POSIX emulation layer either. It’s intended to replace MKS ksh and the MKS Toolkit. Source for the compatibility library is also included under The MirOS Licence; we aim at publishing it as OSI Certified Open Source Software like mksh itself. (There is a situation with dlmalloc/nedmalloc being resolved, and the icon is derived from the BSD dæmon which is a protected unregistered trademark, but we’re not Mozilla and allow distro packages to keep using it ☺) Rebasing it on a newer mksh(1) followed by (partial) integration into the main source code is a goal.

Have fun trying it out and hacking on it. It’s currently built with -DMKSH_NOPROSPECTOFWORK (so coprocesses and a few other minor things won’t work), but a SIGCHLD emulation is being worked on – but if you want to help out, I’m sure it’s welcome, just come on IRC or post on the mailing list, and I’ll forward things to Michael as needed. Reports on testing with other toolchain and OS versions are also welcome.

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