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If you install the xfonts-base package from my APT repository you now not only get the FixedMisc [MirOS] type from The MirOS Project type foundry for the X Window System, but now also for GNU GRUB2:

FixedMisc [MirOS] for GNU GRUB2 – Screenshot

Just add GRUB_FONT=/usr/share/grub/FixedMisc.pf2 to /etc/default/grub, make sure gfxterm is enabled (usually by commenting out GRUB_TERMINAL=console and removing the comment sign before GRUB_GFXMODE=640x480), run sudo update-grub and be happy at the next reboot.

The combining and Katakana characters depicted in the above screenshot are the result of manual grub.cfg editing and for demonstration (bragging) purposes only.

The RSS feed of my APT repository will also contain such news…

Go enjoy shell

27.08.2015 by tg@
Tags: debian fun pcli

Dimitri, I personally enjoy shell…

tglase@tglase:~ $ x=車賈滑豈更串句龜龜契金喇車賈滑豈更串句龜龜契金喇
tglase@tglase:~ $ echo ${x::12}
tglase@tglase:~ $ printf '%s\n' 'import sys' 'print(sys.argv[1][:12])' >
tglase@tglase:~ $ python $x

… much more than Python, actually. (Python is the language in which you do not want to write code dealing with strings, due to UnicodeDecodeError and all; even py3k is not much better.)

I would have commented on your post if it allowed doing so without getting a proprietary Google+ account.

For these who similarily suffer from having to use Googlemail at work. If anyone else has more of these, please do share.

Deactivate the spamfilter

The site admins can do that. Otherwise, you will have work-relevant eMails, for example from your own OTRS system, end up in Spam (where you don’t see it, as their IMAP sucks) and deleted without asking 30 days later. (AIUI, the only way to get eMails actually deleted from Google…)

Do not use their SMTP service

Use your own outgoing MTA. This brings back the, well, not feature but should-have-been-granted-but-Google-doesn’t-do-it-anyway that, when you write to a mailing list, you also get your own messages into your own INBOX.


I have no solutions for this. I stopped using the Googlemail calendars because they didn’t think it a problem that, when I accept an invitation in Kontact (KDEPIM as packaged in Debian sid), the organiser of the calendar item in the sender’s calendar (for which I do not have write permissions) changes to me (so the actual meeting organiser cannot change anything afterwards) and/or calendar items get doubled. I now run a local uw-imapd (forward-ported to sid by means of a binNMU) for sent-mail folders etc. and a local iCalendar directory for calendars.

exciting news, or so

07.04.2015 by tg@
Tags: debian event fun geocache mksh news personal pkgsrc plan rant security work

I implemented <? support (including <?php…) script embedding support for *.inc in MirWebseite today; the specific syntax was explicitely requested by Natureshadow. Ugh.

My own hacking activities are progressing, even if slowly. I do some other interesting, funny, social, beneficial, etc. stuff in between, though. I’ll even have to get some of my DD buddies to sponsor me some QA uploads of packages I formerly maintained, whereever changes are queued up… such as better old-format repo compatibility in cvs(GNU) ☺ Though some of the stuff I do at work is currently done only there… sorry.

Also: prepare to be fully enlightened about just what evil (nice picture) Docker is. I especially liked the comparison of containers to a herd of cattle, mere numbers, replaceable, whereas VMs are cats, each with their individual name, lovely petted each day, etc.

ObHint: Some may have noticed I do have a Twitter account now. I do not really use it much. I got it because I wanted to rant at someone who only gave Twitter as means to contact them (a European company running a lottery for USA citizens only). But I found one nice thing: @HourlyCats (though @FacesPics and @BahnAnsagen are funny too, and the Postillon anyway). The internet is there for cat content, anyway.
Ahem. Do not contact me there, use IRC, more specifically, the Freenode network, and possibly memoserv to mirabilos instead, I can’t fit things into 140 chars, that’s just ridiculous. Also, don’t follow me. It may contain rants, it’s NSFW, and I’m not censoring there. As I said: I do not use it. So should you. (But kudos for having a mostly functional “fallback” site (the “mobile” one), which even works in PocketIE (Windows Mobile) and Opera 9, though not so much lynx(1)…)

odc (from #!/bin/mksh on IRC) is hacking support to use mksh instead of GNU bash for bootstrapping pkgsrc® (e.g. on Solaris). Nice! Good luck!

… à propos mksh(1), dear Debian armel and armhf buildd maintainer colleagues, pretty please with strawberries and chocolate ice on top (I just had that on waffles at my favourite ice salon, so I may be biased), do like s390x and update your chroots and wanna-build give-back mksh, as we requested, so the privacy fix makes it into jessie. Thanks in advance!

Oh, and Y_Plentyn and I both have been putting more and updated packages into my APT repository. XTaran held a talk at CLT 2015 mentioning it… maybe I should write up some docs about how to use it for which purposes (e.g. how to avoid systemd but not get the other packages from it, or how to use it with systemd (trivial but has to be stated, it’s freedom of choice after all), etc.)?

Besides decent fanfiction (the stories in the Uzumaki Naruto universe seem, on average, to be much longer than those in the Harry Potter one), the weather is becoming good, so I’ve already been enjoying going out for some geocaching and will have the bike fixed at the shop RSN (it suffers a bit each winter, as it stands outside, since our basement is mouldy, which is worse than a bit of rust IMHO) to get more activity in. Also planning to head to the GPS Maze in Mainz and, besides what time FrOSCon (including preparation) allows, heading to DebConf for a while.

mirabilos’ Waypoints

… to my shame I must admit I fucked up, and we still do not have support in libssl for SHA2-signed X.509 certificates. Also, StartSSL fucked up, so currently https for is toast.

Also more on the rant side, services offered by web-based platforms, be they web (e.g. Groundspeak’s GC.COM) or not (Googlemail, which $orkplace switched to against my express veto some time ago) are getting worse and worse over time. I had hoped they realise that and improve, especially when seeing small signs (such as GC.COM pages shrinking to 20% of the formerly served bloat) but… no.

After seeing what the Wildfly (formerly JBoss AS) and Liferay combo does to /tmp, and somewhat attempting to fix it, I saw JVM_TMP in the Debian tomcat7 init script and thought, oh no, not another one.

Is that even safe, what they do here, or is that a possibility to instantly pwn?

The net is full of literature for how to obtain temporary files and directories, but there is nothing about how to reliably obtain paths under /tmp or, more generally, directories not just writable for one single user (think the g+w thing that got FusionForge CVE-2013-1423).

The scenario here is: I am root, and I want to start something as another user, and pass it a stable path, such as /tmp/liferay. So I can just mkdir /tmp/liferay || die; chown thatuser /tmp/liferay and, in the “stop” process, rm -rf /tmp/liferay, right? (Of course not. Also, bad example, as the liferay thing can also be started as thatuser, and our devs regularily need to do that, the init script is there just for the admin convenience and reboot-safety. But I still am interested if there is a secure way to achieve this.)

The tomcat7 scenario is “trivial”: on That Other Init System™, it would just get its private /tmp declared in the .service file, and good is, no more hassle. That's one I have to give you. (No idea if this is actually shipped in jessie. Our production systems run wheezy anyway, so there is not even the slightest bit of temptation. Plus, it would not solve the liferay issue, see above. Still, a point for going into the right direction.)

The idea here is the same. It creates a directory on start and tears it down on stop. If there was nothing to do on start, the init script could just use mktemp -d. Heck, maybe it still should, but it would need to note down, and communicate to the stop instance, the actual name used. What a drag…

This is something I see popping up from time to time. I want to use stable paths for SSH session multiplexing control sockets in my ssh_config(5) file, but have them on tmpfs (Linux) or mfs (BSD) so they get properly removed on reboot. No Unix traditionally has per-user temporary directories that are clean and created after reboot. (Adjusting the paths is trivial once you have them.) Android has it worse, what with not having a world-writable tmp directory, which the shell needs e.g. for here documents; there are two components here, to have a directory the current user can write to, and to know its location. Some fail at the first, some at the second, some at both, and the classic /tmp is not the cure, as we have seen. (But if you ever see mksh erroring out due to lack of write permissions somewhere (including /sqlite_stmt_journals which used to be it) as non-root on Android, or even as root, set TMPDIR to something writable; it's tracked, so the change gets active immediately.)

TIL: the encoding of the catalina.out file is dependent on the system locale, using standard Debian wheezy tomcat7 package.

Fix for ‘?’ instead of umlauts in it:

cat >>/etc/default/tomcat7 <<EOF
export LC_CTYPE

My “problem” here is that I have the system locale be the “C” locale, to get predictable behaviour; applications that need it can set a locale by themselves. (Many don’t bother with POSIX locales and use different/separate means of determining especially encoding, but possibly also i18n/l10n. But it seems the POSIX locales are getting more and more used.)

Update: There is also adding -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 to $JAVA_OPTS which seems to be more promising: no fiddling with locales, no breakage if someone defined LC_ALL already, and it sets precisely what it should set (the encoding) and nothing else (since the encoding does not need to correlate to any locale setting, why should it).

TIL: the init script of tomcat7 in Debian is asynchronous.

For some piece of software, our rollout (install and upgrade) process works like this:

  • service tomcat7 stop
  • rm -rf /var/lib/tomcat7/webapps/appname{,.war}
  • cp newfile.war /var/lib/tomcat7/webapps/appname.war
  • service tomcat7 start # ← here
  • service tomcat7 stop
  • edit some config files under /var/lib/tomcat7/webapps/appname/WEB-INF/
  • service tomcat7 start

The first tomcat7 start “here” is just to unzip the *.war files. For some reason, people like to let tomcat7 do that.

This failed today; there were two webapps. Manually unzipping it also did not work for some reason.

Re-doing it, inserting a sleep 30 after the “here”, made it work.

In a perfect world, initscripts only return when the service is running, so that the next one started in a nice sequential (not parallel!) init or manual start sequence can do what it needs to, assuming the previous command has fully finished.

In this perfect world, those who do wish for faster startup times use a different init system, one that starts things in parallel, for example. Even there, dependencies will wish for the depended-on service to be fully running when they are started; even more so, since the delays between starting things seem to be less for that other init system.

So, this is not about the init system, but about the init script; a change that would be a win-win for users of both init schemes.

Update: Someone already contacted me with feedback: they suggested to wait until the “shutdown port” is listened on by tomcat7. We’ll look at this later. In the meantime, we’re trying to also get rid of the “config (and logs) in webapps/” part…

PS: If someone is interested in an init script (Debian/LSB sysvinit, I made the effort to finally learn that… some months before the other system came) that starts Wildfly (formerly known as JBoss AS) synchronously, waiting until all *.?ar files are fully “deployed” before returning (though with a timeout in case it won’t ever finish), just ask (maybe it will become a dialogue, in which we can improve it together). (We have two versions of it, the more actively maintained one is in a secret internal project though, so I’d have to merge it and ready it for publication though, plus the older one is AGPLv3, the newer one was relicenced to a BSDish licence.)

A coworker and I debugged a fascinating problem today.

They had a tomcat7 installation with a couple of webapps, and one of the bundled libraries was logging in German. Everything else was logging in English (the webapps themselves, and the things the other bundled libraries did).

We searched around a bit, and eventually found that the wrongly-logging library (something jaxb/jax-ws) was using, after unravelling another few layers of “library bundling another library as convenience copy” (gah, Java!), which contains quite a few com.sun.istack.localization.Localizable members. Looking at the other classes in that package, in particular Localizer, showed that it defaults to the java.util.Locale.getDefault() value for the language.

Which is set from the environment.

Looking at /proc/pid-of-JVM-running-tomcat7/environ showed nothing, “of course”. The system locale was, properly, set to English. (We mostly use en_GB.UTF-8 for better paper sizes and the metric system (unless the person requesting the machine, or the admin creating it, still likes the system to speak German *shudder*), but that one still had en_US.UTF-8.)

Browsing the documentation for java.util.Locale proved more fruitful: it also contains a setDefault method, which sets the new “default” locale… JVM-wide.

Turns out another of the webapps used that for some sort of internal localisation. Clearly, the containment of tomcat7 is incomplete in this case.

Documenting for the larger ’net, in case someone else runs into this. It’s not as if things like this would be showing up in the USA, where the majority of development appears to happen.

OK, time to clean up ↳ tarent so people can work again tomorrow.

Not much to clean though (the participants were nice and cleaned up after themselves ☺), so it’s mostly putting stuff back to where it belongs. Oh, and drinking more of the cool Belgian beer Geert (Linux upstream) brought ☻

We were productive, reporting and fixing kernel bugs, fixing hardware, swapping and partitioning discs, upgrading software, getting buildds (mostly Amiga) back to work, trying X11 (kdrive) on a bare metal Atari Falcon (and finding a window manager that works with it), etc. – I hope someone else writes a report; for now we have a photo and a screenshot (made with trusty xwd). Watch the debian-68k mailing list archives for things to come.

I think that, issues with electric cars aside, everyone liked the food places too ;-)

As I said, I did not certain events that begun with “lea” and end with “ing” prevent me from organising a Debian/m68k hack weekend. Well, that weekend is now.

I’m too unorganised, and I spent too much time in the last few evenings to organise things so I built up a sleep deficit already ☹ and the feedback was slow. (But so are the computers.) And someone I’d have loved to come was hurt and can’t come.

On the plus side, several people I’ve long wanted to meet IRL are coming, either already today or tomorrow. I hope we all will have a lot of fun.

Legal disclaimer: “Debian/m68k” is a port of Debian™ to m68k. It used to be official, but now isn’t. It belongs to, which may run on DSA hardware, but is not acknowledged by Debian at large, unfortunately. Debian is a registered trademark owned by Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

If you’re a Unix person instead of e.g. a Microsoft® Windows® person, you’ve probably been annoyed by Iceweasel (or Mozilla™ Firefox®) creating a ~/Desktop directory, among others (things like ~/Downloads).

Here’s a quick fix I found somewhere in the ’net:

mkdir -p -m0700 ~/.config
cat >~/.config/user-dirs.dirs <<'EOF'

Upon next start, Iceweasel (and other XDG-compliant applications) will throw stuff into ~/ instead.

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.

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