Arnt Gulbrandsen
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Thanks, Devuan

Sometimes one friend or another has computer problems. I am pleasantly surprised by the number of times these problems might have affected me but do not, because I've switched to Devuan everywhere. No more Debian, no more Ubuntu, even my minimac runs Devuan now.

Devuan, for those who do not know, is Debian with an absolute rejection of systemd. Some devuan people also dislike anything else that's new, but I don't mind that. Haters somehow always find something to hate, and at some point I seem to have learned to let them hate.

Devuan has something I like: The unix tradition of valuing simplicity over a complete feature ticklist, and it has the debian package repository. Simple, mostly good enough. Sometimes the unix tradition sucks, for example syslog and text log files aren't really good enough, but simplicity is a feature that I personally value highly.

In a few years unix will be fifty years old, and I think that at that point, devuan will be the pinnacle of unix.

Open source is succeeding, and rms is unhappy

This summer Dropbox released an image compression thing called Lepton, effectively a better way to encode JPEG (same principles, same pixel results, considerably better execution of various implementation aspects). Dropbox didn't have to do that. But one does nowadays, it's become part of modern programming culture. Using and releasing open source is a best practice, as the buzzword goes.

Around the same time Richard M. Stallman posted a condemnation of companies that both support free software and teach classes in use of nonfree software. Condemnation is the word he chooses, not my choice. No fraternisation with the enemy!

That enemy is us, now. The enemy is those who follow today's conventional best practices. A stealth-mode startup I am talking to has ten projects on github, because the CTO there has decided that whatever good programmers consider good is what shall be done in his realm. Most of the projects are forks, some with PRs for upstream, others described as the code in this fork isn't really suitable for upstream, but take it if you want. Good, polite behaviour, best practice indeed, and very different from the GNU purity that rms requires.

What is left of rms' following if the good programmers are declared to be enemies? The outlook for the GNU project is poor.

Clueless in the cloud

What Amazon wrote:

We have noticed that one or more of your instances are running on a host degraded due to hardware failure. [...]

The host needs to undergo maintenance and will be taken down [...]

What Amazon might have written:

Thought you were clever, eh? Running that fancy Cassandra cluster? I bet you didn't expect your redundant copies on several Cassandra nodes to really be stored on the same crummy drive. […More…]

Making Maven compile faster

jam -g is the best make system I've ever used. Best for the simple reason that when the build fails, it usually fails quickly. I start the build, and a second later I'm already looking at my mistake. That feature outweighs any and all drawbacks.

Sadly, I don't use jam very often at the moment. I mostly use maven 2, which starts the build by determining from first principles which source files to use and which libraries to download. In practice the set needed hasn't changed in the past minutes, […More…]