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One of the things you should pay attention to when writing a scientific paper is the layout of the tables. Never, I repeat never, use vertical lines or even a “grid” with lines between all cells. Instead, use only horizontal lines—one at the top, one between the column headings, and one at the bottom. The documentation for the booktab package [pdf], which is appropriately written by a Swiss, explains this nicely. Two more things: the table should be in a smaller font than the text (about 10%) and span the whole width of the text. As scientific papers are always typeset in two-column mode, you may have tables one column or two columns wide. The latter is done like this in LaTeX:

First column & Temperature (°C) & $D$ (nm)\\
Foo & 210 & 10\\
Bar & 300 & 15\\
\caption{\label{tbl:mylabel} This is the table caption, where you
should explain what identifiers like $D$ above mean.}

Units go into the header, or into a separate header line (which is IIRC recommended by DIN). The amount of l at the end of the third line is equivalent to the number of columns. That means you should exclusively use left-aligned columns. Also, don’t be afraid to make tables wider than high, or with only one line of data. I have seen this in Wiley-VCH journals, and it comes out alright.

To make the table only one column wide, replace table* by table and \textwidth by \columnwidth in the example above. Do however leave the asterisk in tabular*.

Es ging also zum GUUG Frühjahrsfachgespräch nach Karlsruhe. Nun, die Stadt kannte ich ja schon vom LinuxTag (meines Erachtens auch der beste Austragungsort für jene), aber diesmal eine neue Ecke. Hotel, Einzelzimmer, bezahlt vom Arbeitgeber; Event auch. Tutorium okay, lehrreich (auch was man nicht will), die Vorträge wechselnd gut aber in der Regel es auch wert. Aber wie auf jedem Event lernt man viele neue Leute kennen, oder auch Gesichter zu den (Nick)namen. Das fand ich gut. Das „social event“ entsprach dem auch, wir waren im lokalen Brauhaus, und das Buffet… nunja, ich bin kein Freund von Buffets und „kompliziertem“ Essen, aber bin gut sattgeworden, nur die „Mousse“ war eher… interessant im Biolekschen Sinne.

Natürlich war ich auch zwischendurch Couscous Merguez essen, frischen Minztee trinken, und beim Geocachen meinen Laptop schrotten. Hmpf. Immerhin laufen die Flüssigkristalle nicht aus. Drückt mir die Daumen, daß der Händler meinen X40 auf Kulanz repariert, da innerhalb der Garantiezeit (1 Jahr; ist knapp unter 6 Monate her, daß ich das Teil brauchte). Immerhin 3 gefunden, einige nicht gefunden (dafür aber ne hiesige Cacherin) oder nicht angegangen (zB da nicht so lebensmüde, auf ein >4m hohes Verkehrsschild zu klettern, oder da die Koords zu weit weg vom Startpunkt waren).

Dummerweise werde ich also jetzt eher an nocd (win2k) und nwt (80486er Kiste) hängen und nicht weiter entwickeln.

Ich denke, ich sollte mal selber meine Founds durchnumerieren und in eine Liste packen, da die meisten eben nicht in allen Datenbanken gelistet sind.

Hier dann die aktuellen „Statistiken“:
(Update: images moved here)
Drei mehr dabei, aber leider kaum auf OC

Unterstützt JamesDoe nicht, boykottiert seine Caches, schreibt die Logeinträge bei ihm ausschließlich auf hin, sodaß er die Listings dort wieder pflegen möge, oder schreibt ihm, was ihr von seiner Aktion haltet, die Listings auf zu orphanen!

getting closer, slowly

02.03.2009 by tg@
Tags: bug geocache

We’re slowly getting closer to spring! It was about 12°C even in the late afternoon of the weekend, and I took out my bike on Sunday (helped a friend with cleaning up after moving on Saturday). Sadly, three DNFs (one search aborted due to the law enforcement approaching, one not even attempted due to too many muggles – although I already had logged another cache with almost the same name in exactly the same location –, and the third one not done because a certain institution’s garden has different opening times during winter period and I didn’t quite want to risk using the fire fighters’ entrance, like some other logger. Not even for a coin.

Anyway, the tpm driver bugs me a little (it’s possible to hang it from user space), and I can’t make -fwrapv default because -ftrapv wouldn’t disable it then. Unless I look more into gcc’s source again. But I hereby officially announce that code on MirBSD™ can assume wrapping semantics and 8/16/32/64 bit wide integral types, big or little endian. No 9 bit bytes, 36 bit PDP endian integers, saturation arithmetics. Ever. It’s a promise.

The IcedTea cross-compile patch and the OpenJDK BSD patchkit are not build system compatible. I probably need to go the route of using compat_openbsd(8) for it. Kurt Miller said if I sigh Sun’s agreement chances are good MirBSD support making it upstream (into the patchkit, for now, but maybe eventually into OpenJDK 7). MirUsers will just have to use a binary package I provide for bootstrap.

More… some other time. Still wish humans would hibernate too…

Uhm, Benny… times in the web source are supposed to be in UTC…

I just created i386-mirbsd-toolchain and sparc-mirbsd-toolchain Debian packages (for my own use, mostly). Because we can.

Maybe I can cross-compile IcedTea with it, to be used to natively compile OpenJDK?

Dr. Pfeffer (happy birthday btw) thinks it’s cool. Comrad is also interested.

Even though I had added a “mmake bulk-build” target to MirPorts’ top-level Makefile some time ago, one thing has always been broken: if one port in a bulk build fails to build, we do not want to abort the whole thing. Using mmake -k however leads to 0-byte packages and corresponding bulk cookies being created erroneously. This seems to be a consequence of the “indirect” inter-target dependencies used by MirPorts.

The fix turned out easier than I thought: there is a REPORT_PROBLEM variable that can be set to a command run when mmake fails. The default is exit 1. For bulk builds (i.e. when BULK is set), we now default to a new failedport script, which records the directory and flavour in ${PORTSDIR}/Failed and exits with status 0. Thus, the build continues at the next port, as is should.

The next thing I want to do is a HTML report of a finished bulk build with links to all build reports. I saw this in Rodrigo Osorio's “Porting applications in FreeBSD” talk on FOSDEM 2009, and thought it was quite nice.

one (lonely) day at work

23.02.2009 by tg@
Tags: bug grml

Today is Rosenmontag, so we were only four people in total today. Anyway, we tried to use Mondo to back up and, subsequently, clone a Gemeinschaft system with CentOS/amd64.

We learned a few lessions:

  • a grml CD is handy, even if it’s just a grml-mir
  • CentOS sucks, RPM sucks, YUM sucks
  • Very few software is available for CentOS
  • Upstream software sucks (RPM and DEB versions differ)
  • Mondo sucks, it can’t deliver what it promises, has a shitload of bugs and is very hard to use
  • You’ll have to install a bootloader yourself after a rescue
  • The GNU GRUB-legacy from CentOS cannot access (even read-only!) a filesystem created with mke2fs -j /dev/sda1 on grml-mir. Neither can ports/sysutils/pxegrub from MirBSD.
  • Debian Lenny/amd64 comes with a working GRUB1, but not with a pxegrub image… anyway, copy to pxebsd.0 on the netboot server we already have, enter it into pxelinux.cfg/default and use boot> machine exec grub tftp:/stage2 to chain to it. Then copy all the stuff from /usr/lib/grub/… and the binary /usr/sbin/grub to it, remove /boot/grub/stage* first, copy the Debian stuff over, and install (./grub). Voilá.
  • GNU bash sucks. Especially with a foreign keyboard layout where the ‘-’ key produces a ‘ß’, which inserts a multibyte UTF-8 character. Of course, “yum install mksh” worked, thanks to rsc.
  • Any kind of vi(1) sucks. Just some, like vim, suck more.

In the end, we got what we wanted, with a combination of the MirGRML ISO, stock Debian packages, a call to rsync after mondorestore, and my cool bootloader. By the way, this means that both using boot(8/i386) as direct boot image and as “pxebsd.0” image chained(!) from PXELINUX are tested now. (Do not chain to “” as PXELINUX will unload the PXE/UNDI stack before calling it, possibly. It insists that PXE boot images¹ are called *.0…)

① which, according to hpa’s FOSDEM talk, must be smaller than 32 KiB… the hell… but if such a situation should ever arise, PXELINUX is, in fact, smaller. I haven’t yet such a pedantic NIC yet, though.

Too bad that cost me almost the entire afternoon, since I had planned on beginning to cross-compile Java™ 6 to MirBSD™ using Robert’s IcedTea patches, and hack some more on FreeWRT. But at least, we have achieved something (the second server is running just fine now) and learned a lot in the progress.

In unrelated news, mikap has integrated bsd4grml into the new grml-live version. Although a few commits to the bootloader (cd9660), getextent_cd9660(1), kernel, installer, tpmrng(8) are still pending; he will be provided with a new version of bsd4grml then.

History lesson

21.02.2009 by bsiegert@

Today I read “The unknown hackers”, a piece about Bill and Lynne Jolitz, the creators of the 386BSD operating system.

On exhibitions and conferences, we are often asked by visitors why the hell we forked form OpenBSD. The same argument, namely that we should have been content with submitting patches instead of forking, is sometimes brought forward by OpenBSD devs. But here is the thing: We did this at the beginning but nobody wanted them—not even a reply to the mail in most cases. What is funny is that according to the article, the situation was very similar in the early 1990s, when FreeBSD and later NetBSD forked from 386BSD:

“The Jolitzes [...] seem to have tried to control quality by doing most of the work themselves. This inevitably made their release cycle slow, but it was also an implied snub to would-be collaborators – who took their contributions elsewhere. [...] By the time 1.0 was released, the x86BSD user community had fragmented. Some developers had moved to the more active and open NetBSD and FreeBSD teams. [The Jolitzes] were criticized for their autocratic style. The strength of their convictions did not endear them to people who wanted to do things differently.”

Funny how history repeats itself, isn't it?

The MirOS Project News in the upcoming February issue of the BSD magazine contains a mention of mksh R37 with a new memory allocator. This will, however, be postponed, because I could not get it right in time (even though I learned from the first tries – and wish I could write it in i386 assembly) and lost interest for now, as the current one still does work. I may revisit that at a later date.

Fixing the PS1 bug, maybe changing the echo builtin to SUSv3 (and nothing more), maybe porting, are on the list, besides continuing the Coverity Scan fixes.

still recovering

16.02.2009 by tg@

I admit I hacked a little for leisure tonight, but I’m still recovering from a rather bad case of the “common cold” (grippaler Infekt) so I’ll yet have to do some catch-up on my duties, read and respond to mails and other communiques, etc. So don’t get your hopes up too soon. But I could go to my dayjob again today, which my doctor gave me a permit to not do for the end of last week. Paid about 50 € for remedies and the health insurance *grml…*

Not exactly sure where my priorities lie at the moment. The computer related things will come a little short in the next while; I’ll probably hack some more entropy and bootloader related stuff for fun, do another snapshot, while trying to get tear finally done, but that’s about it. The debs are postponed, no matter how much a decent lynx-secure package (linked against OpenSSL!) is needed; other MirOS work probably too. (Except little things here and there; helping the users which give actual feedback, especially for mksh; maybe, once we have enough Qs, put up a FAQ.)

I guess I have some catching up on sleep, life duties, and non-computer-related activities to do, considering how much the new job and the FOSDEM preparations strained.

FOSDEM is over

09.02.2009 by tg@
Tags: event

CDs and the “m” at FOSDEM 2009
(picture courtesy of Christian “taleon” Ruesch from #pcc)

FOSDEM 2009 is over, we are all sober again (I hope), any spotted bugs are getting fixed. I tended to the disklabel sector size issue, although that has yet to be tested, and we might want to see what upstream does about it. mksh changes will be coded when I get to it, and we’re looking forward towards the next event(s).

Is there anyone interested in making a Virtual Appliance (for qemu, VMware, Parallels, you name it) out of MirOS? I could, of course, do a standard install one, maybe add some packages, like with the live CDs, but I’m not good for desktop style ones. Maybe we want a server and a desktop appliance. Benny could bake a GNOME version, just to show off (note that I still quite dislike it… and expressed it with one of these yellow stickers at the “GNOME HATE” side at FOSDEM ☺).

MirOS/sparc users, show yourselves, if you want snapshots to be built and provided more often. Talk to us, so we see the effort to support a second platform is not in vain.


08.02.2009 by tg@
Tags: event

Alle englischen Flyer weg, alle CDs heute Vormittag weg. Die (alten) deutschen sowie die französischen Flyer gehen okay, aber die Mengen und Verhältnisse sind echt nicht planbar.

Die Vorträge sind okay, aber leider für mich nichts dabei zum rausziehen. Pläne schmieden geht aber.

mksh hingegen ist mehr als nur ein Erfolg, auch wenn mir gruselt, wenn Leute eine ohne den emacs-Modus haben wollen.

Hm, irgendwie läßt sich das Event nicht gut in Worte fassen. Es hat sich auf jeden Fall für uns alle gelohnt. Das Hotel war spaßig (insbesondere der Versuch, eine Rechnung zu erhalten); gestern Abend gabs Couscous Merguez + Lamm in einer verdammt kleinen aber gemütlichen Bude (mit Couch!), wo wir frischen Minztee getrunken haben (fünf Kannen; ich alleine zwei oder so).


07.02.2009 by tg@
Tags: event

Das Aufbauen verpaßt, aber wir haben ein „m“ (Bild wird später nachgereicht, sollte smultron freuen), viele Kontakte, und die englischen Flyer sind jetzt schon alle, die CDs runter auf ¼ oder so.

Der Unicode-syscons-Vortrag war für mich leider nicht so ertragreich; dadurch, daß wir vt100 wscons(4) haben, und durch meinen script(1) -lns Hack, haben wir schon mehr Probleme gelöst und Wissen angebaut als er. Ed Schouten ist aber anscheinend ein vielversprechender talentierter Jungentwickler.

Cool, ich habe ein bißchen WLAN! Mal schnell ein bißchen wlog Einträge verfassen, Benny und gecko2 wollen ja nicht.

Jetzt nur noch den NetBSD®-Kollegen neben uns zum Installieren des RANDEX-Plugins verlassen…

Wer setzt uns eigentlich direkt neben OpenBSD? Zum Glück gibts eine große Barriere, daher ist bislang, außer Laserpointerattacken (sogar direkt in Bennys Auge) noch nichts passiert…

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