James Ogley

My Blog

30 Dec 2006, 21:34: Saturday spoutings

More work on GNOME:UNSTABLE this morning, resulting in fewer packages now failing to build. This, my friends, is a good thing.

Lunch at our functional local, the Cadland which was lovely.

Wrangling with the iPod and Banshee this afternoon. This is truly weird - it works fine on my laptop but on Amanda's desktop, it fails to transcode from Ogg to MP3. We have (apparently) matching GStreamer installs and yet, no joy. Oh, lazy web: before I report this as an apparent bug, if you can help me solve it, please get in touch.

Related to the iPod issue is a new LifeDrive issue. A while ago, I formatted the drive in it using the LD's own facility for doing so. Since then, hald won't mount it automatically when it's in Drive Mode. It detects that it is a drive and creates a device node (normally /dev/sdb1) but then doesn't actually mount it. This seems to be because the LD now misreports details of the drive. Specifically, the hal value fsusage is empty, when it should be filesystem. Because the device is created, I can then format it from within Linux and when I then enter Drive Mode again, it's detected and mounted. Hooray! But no! The problem is that if I do that, I then can't see it on the LD. Again, any help would be gratefully received (and yes, I've done a Factory reset).

29 Dec 2006, 20:33: Wailing like a...

Man, Banshee rocks my socks in a box by the docks.

Amanda bought herself an iPod today (Nano, 4G) and to configure it in the Less Free OSTM is a right pain - plug it in, wait for ages while it gets detected and some software installed then ...


... yes, you guessed it - reboot! Even in XP! Then you've got to install iTunes etc etc etc ...

So, openSUSE 10.2. Plug it in. Banshee gets started with it there, ready to go. Drag tracks to it and synchronise. In terms of time, by this point I hadn't even rebooted in Windoze. All our music's encoded in Ogg Vorbis. This isn't a problem for Banshee though, oh no! It merrily converts them all before copying.

Expect to see the iTunes Music Store plugin for Banshee in my home repo and then in GNOME:Community soon.

29 Dec 2006, 18:53: GNOME:UNSTABLE progress

Stanislav and I have been blitzing GNOME:UNSTABLE today and we're getting closer to having a full package set building with /usr as prefix and /etc as sysconfdir.

One source of annoyance to me is that the Qt4 bindings for poppler currently won't build on x86_64 because of hard-coded paths in configure. Reckon I'm going to have to patch it to use pkg-config correctly.

28 Dec 2006, 14:44: Old Linuxes

Found in a drawer today while looking for something completely different ...

[Old Linuxes]
Left: Red Hat Linux 4.0; Right: SuSE Linux 6.3

Red Hat 4.0 is, I think, the oldest version of Linux for which I own media. SuSE 6.3 (correct capitalisation for that version) was the first version of [open]SUSE I used. I was given that set of media when I went for my interview there around Christmas 1999.

Now, to see if I can find some really old Slackware media to trump them, I know I have a floppy disk box somewhere...

28 Dec 2006, 13:28: Unneccesary coolness

Well, this is a screencast of me using Beryl on openSUSE Factory with some effects enabled. Let me talk you through them ...

This is creating and closing a window with the Fire/Burn effect.

This is minimising and unminimising a window using the Magic Lamp effect.

This is fading and unfading a window using an effect, the name of which escapes me.

Here's the instructions on how to get and use Beryl. I'm using it with the NVIDIA drivers and starting automatically. You don't need to add beryl to the startup programs - beryl-manager takes care of that for you.

Stopping the screencast recording now so I can save it and reference it below before submitting.

See the movie here (Ogg Theora, 1280x800, 1.8M)

27 Dec 2006, 20:28: Wednesday

Well, like Justin, I'm going to try to get back into the habit of blogging more regularly. I've got really bad at keeping this up to date, so a new leaf needs to be turned over. The ironic thing is that quite often something will be in the news and I'll plan to post something about it (rare for me not to have an opinion after all) and then not get around to it.

Well, no more! This is a promise to vent my spleen and voice my opinion on the issues of the day. Should I fail to do so, well, you can have your money back(!)

26 Dec 2006, 23:11: It's a show about ... nothing ...

A day spent mostly watching Christmas present DVDs. Watched Groundhog Day this afternoon. Incredibly, I'd never seen it before. For that reason, Amanda bought it for me - loved it! Bill Murray was just sublime, as always. Andie MacDowell gave what I consider to be her best performance (don't even mention that British movie) in spite of having more accent changes than costume changes. Five stars.

This evening, we watched season one and some of season two of Seinfeld. What more needs to be said - the sharpest sitcom ever to grace the small screen. The beautiful thing about this program is that, being a fan from the UK, and, having been a fan from the outset, one is able to quote or paraphrase the programme in every-day life and the vast majority of people will simply assume you're being very witty indeed.

In between, we watched some of the 2006 World Series of Poker on Bravo 2 - the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha championship won by Lee Watkinson.

25 Dec 2006, 21:19: Festive openSUSE work

Well it may be Christmas Day (and indeed, it is) but I've done a bit of openSUSE work anyway:

  • Updated the laptop to the latest Factory, all went smoothly.
  • I've not mentioned it here, but my home repo contains a testing package called gaim-unstable - you can probably guess what it is. Well, today I added a patch to allow GNOME Keyring support which was the one piece of functionality missing from the 1.5.0 packages. If you're brave, please give it a test.

25 Dec 2006, 11:08: Nadolig Llawen

From the currently growing Ogley clan, to all readers of my blog, a very happy Incarnation-tide.

R.I.P. James Brown.

Rowan seeks to keep Israel-Palestine high on the agenda.

23 Dec 2006, 10:37: 10.2 install

Well, my openSUSE 10.2 box arrived, and I've installed it on Amanda's machine. Have to say it's a very easy install. The one annoyance I had was that, because I was doing a DVD install, I was unable to add network based add-on products (such as Build Service repos). This was basically down to the network interface not being brought up because of it not being a network install. I'll be mentioning this on the Factory list of course. It does mean that you have to finish the install and then log in before being able to add the NVIDIA drivers. That said, the %post scriptlet in them might have broken when installing without the xorg.conf in place.

Anyway, once I'd finished installing, adding the extra repos was a breeze. I installed Pascal's Smart packages. These already include a bunch of repos which I wanted, including PackMan. Having done that, I added the NVIDIA repo along with GNOME:Community and my home repo (Hint: just add the .repo file as a URL in Smart).

I also created a new user on the machine to see the default GNOME look and it's really smart and professional. openSUSE 10.2's a fantastic distro, the small annoyance allowed, if you've been waiting to take the plunge, now's the time to go for it.

21 Dec 2006, 07:59: Fog

Why do some people seem to think that in quite serious fog (obviously not a pea-soup situation, but still fairly thick) that side lights are all they need to turn on on their cars?

You have fog lights for a reason! Idiots!

Oh, and don't even get me started on the pillocks who didn't even have side lights on...

19 Dec 2006, 22:35: Poker

A successful night saw me win the 4-way tournament tonight. Commiserations to Chris, Mark and Amanda, but kudos for four games very well played, especially from the absolute beginner.

Tonight the unofficial college champion, tomorrow the world?!

19 Dec 2006, 16:45: Scattered showers

  • Sounds like Amanda's baby shower last night was a lot of fun - lots of useful (and cute) stuff for the baby too. Ante-natal class this morning was okay although the midwife was rather annoying. Her grammar was appalling (for example, writing What causes mothers to stop on the flip-chart as a question - note the lack of query mark!)
  • Poker tonight.
  • Tomboy in GNOME:Community has been updated to version 0.5.2 and there's a package of the latest Beagle in my home repo.

17 Dec 2006, 23:06: The week ahead

Well, it's going to be a busy week leading up to Christmas... Tomorrow my mother and auntie are visiting us during the day and then it's Amanda's baby shower c/o Focus in the evening. Tuesday we have an ante-natal class in the morning, then in the evening it's poker (5 no-limit Texas Hold'em tournament). Thursday we're looking at a possible curacy (although I'm not disclosing where).

Going to be knackered by the time it's the weekend again.

15 Dec 2006, 08:54: "A good day to bury bad news"

So said Jo Moore, special adviser to Stephen Byers, then Transport Secretary, of 11 September 2001.

So, it would seem, thought the government of 14 December 2006. Lord Stevens had made it known well in advance that that would be the date he would publish his report into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. It was therefore known what would be the focus of interest of much of the tabloid press[1] (and, since the Express seems to still have a Diana story on its front page every other day, that didn't take a lot of working out).

So, with all that in mind is it a coincidence that also on that day, Tony Blair was interviewed by Scotland Yard over the loans-for-honours scandal and the Serious Fraud Office dropped an inquiry into BAe Systems and the alleged corruption involved in their dealings with Saudi Arabia[2]? It is hard to attribute these things to mere coincidence. It is doubly hard to do so with a government as duplicitous as the current Labour one. The spirit of Jo Moore still walks the corridors of power, even if she herself does not.

[1]In The Independent, it only made page eight, mercifully.
[2] Apparently, this country is more interested in supplying arms to a repressive government such as that of Saudi Arabia than it is in fighting corruption in its own largest companies. Makes one proud to be British, doesn't it?

14 Dec 2006, 17:35: Christmas Bash

Tonight is the college Christmas Bash (photos in the gallery soon after). It's a black tie affair and, when the photos are up, you can see my interpretation of black tie.

Had the final Hebrew session of term this afternoon and I think most of us left feeling pretty good about the progress we've made over the last ten weeks (of which we've only had sessions in eight due to other modules). Picked up the timetable for next term.

Amanda's having a baby shower next week, organised by some of Focus (the college spouses' group). Not sure which night it will be yet but hoping to organise a poker game for whichever night it may be.

13 Dec 2006, 13:05: Wednesday

  • Shopping.
  • Some trivial work on GNOME:STABLE - gnome-commander should build on 10.1 now. Another step towards a complete build on 10.1, but there are large hurdles to get over for some of the remaining packages.
  • Chris and Bernie initiated a catch-up of our year at college (most of whom finished in the summer), so sent them all an update of where we are.

12 Dec 2006, 10:54: GNOME:Community Factory move

Because the name of the distribution has changed, starting with 10.2, to openSUSE (instead of SUSE), the path to the GNOME:Community repo for Factory is changing (as soon as the packages are built). Please update any references to //software.opensuse.org/download/GNOME:/Community/SUSE_Factory or //repos.opensuse.org/GNOME:/Community/SUSE_Factory to be //repos.opensuse.org/GNOME:/Community/openSUSE_Factory

07 Dec 2006, 07:33: Best ... Similie ... Ever!

Miguel: You say that the guy from MIT had a date and then go on to say he reminded you of Comic Book Guy - surely the two are completely incompatible or, as he might put it, unrealistic! [;)]

05 Dec 2006, 22:22: Tuesday

  • Very full day at college - five hours on Developing Preaching followed by placement group.
  • Watched Liverpool lose 3-2 to Galatasary.
  • Did some work on GNOME:STABLE
  • GNOME:Community and my home repository now include openSUSE 10.2 repositories as well as 9.3/10.0/10.1 and Factory

04 Dec 2006, 16:51: Stuff

  • Friday was Amanda's last day at work - yay!
  • Have added irrepressible.info to my site - this posts information that is censored somewhere in the world on the site which has a two-fold effect:
    1. It helps (in a small way) circumvent the censorship of countries that crack down on freedom of speech on the internet such as China, Vietnam, Iran, etc, etc
    2. It draws other people's attention to the fight for freedom of the speech on the internet, and provides a handy link to irrepressible.info, which is an Amnesty International initiative.
  • GNOME:STABLE is coming together for 10.1 nicely, the gimp-unstable package in GNOME:Community has been updated to the latest version. Coming soon: a new abiword-unstable tree - haven't had one since SUSE 9.3.

01 Dec 2006, 09:01: World Aids Day

Today is World Aids Day. This is why my site is red today.

Over 25 million people have already died from Aids. A further 40 million men, women and children are living with HIV[1].

You can help stop Aids

[1] Source: The Independent

30 Nov 2006, 08:58: Realtek 8168

Was all set to post a short HOWTO on getting a Realtek 8168 NIC working on openSUSE after Realtek released version 1.05 of their Linux driver which both builds and works. Was then trumped when I plugged in my ethernet cable and the card sprang to life using the r8169 module. Seems the openSUSE kernel packages were updated on November 15th and this included this update. See my message on the openSUSE list.

If you're using a version that's older than Factory/10.2, you may still need to compile the driver. In that case follow the link above and download the tarball. Unpack it and make sure you have the following packages installed:

  • make
  • kernel-source
  • kernel-syms
  • gcc
Make sure you're root and in the directory created by unpacking the tarball do the following:
  • make - This will build and install the module, which is why you need to be root already.
  • depmod -a - This sets up all the module dependencies correctly.
  • modprobe r1000 - This loads the module.
Once all that's done, you can set up the card as normal in YaST.

The problem is that, because it's not provided by openSUSE as part of the kernel package, you'll need to rebuild it (make clean && make && depmod -a) whenever the kernel is upgraded.

26 Nov 2006, 19:07: Test

This is a test

22 Nov 2006, 11:35: Poker? I hardly know her!

Poker night tonight. A six-person £5 no-limit Texas Hold 'Em tournament with some guys from college. Hopefully it'll be a good night, especially since quite a few people have expressed interest in being in future games.

The glib2 issue is now in bugzilla.

The server that hosts my mail at home.rubberturnip.org.uk and my photo gallery will be offline for essential maintenance. All mail for all of our domains will be queued by our ISP.

If you need to get in touch, and you know the address, please use my GMail address in the meantime.

Update: It's back online again.

17 Nov 2006, 23:06: More GNOMEy goodness...

Rock on! Aaron's joined the GNOME:Community crowd, so the latest Banshee packages are in there now.

Testing Tomboy 0.5.0 packages in my home repo before updating the version in G:C.

Update: The Tomboy packages are now in G:C

15 Nov 2006, 08:50: Fishing from toadstools

So far have moved the following packages from my home repo to GNOME:Community:

  • gnome-themes-extras
  • mail-notification
  • sensors-applet
  • tomboy
None of us can figure out why glib2 isn't building in GNOME:[UN]STABLE - and suffice to say it's blocking lots of other things as a result.

This week, I'm doing a week-long module (which means it's pretty well full-time) on Chaplaincy with John Coyne - very interesting so far.

10 Nov 2006, 13:47: GNOME Blog/GNOME on Build Service

A morning spent wearing my openSUSE team hat. Been working on #216352. Also finally logged the gnome-blog.desktop bug (#219794).

The various GNOME projects on the Build Service are now in existence, so I'll be moving some packages to GNOME:Community real soon.

09 Nov 2006, 21:48: openSUSE GNOME stuff

Well, there's been some discussion on the Build Service list about GNOME stuff and, since that's a matter of public record through the archives, I'm going to mention a few things that are happening/will happen.

Firstly, there will be two 'official' Build Service repos. These will be called GNOME:STABLE and GNOME:UNSTABLE. You can probably work out what will be contained within them. The core GNOME packages that are included in numbered distro releases go in here. STABLE contains the versions that are in the current stable GNOME release and UNSTABLE those which are in the current unstable release. We, the GNOME team, will maintain these

In addition to these there will be GNOME:Community. This will, finally, replace the old usr-local-bin repository that I run, hosted elsewhere. It will contain packages that are not, currently, part of the core distro package set. I'm guessing we're going to be open to other community packagers being added to this.

08 Nov 2006, 13:09: Holiday write-up

Since I keep getting hassled to produce my holiday write up, here it is at last:

We went to Italy.

It was good.

I liked it.

07 Nov 2006, 13:15: GNOME Blog menu location

Wanted from the community: Suggestions of where the menu entry for the non-applet version of GNOME Blog should go.

Currently it resides in System/Desktop Applet, but this just seems plain wrong. It's not a system tool and it's not an applet (at least in the GNOME sense, I suppose if you take applet to mean small application then yes, it is one). So, where should it go?

My suggestions are: Utilities/Editor or Internet/Insert Category Here. Your choice, or a write-in nomination on a postcard (well, email) to the usual address please.

06 Nov 2006, 06:50: 10.2beta1 issues

Fred: you will make sure you file these in bugzilla, won't you? [:)]

At the same time, this is a note to myself, when I have time I must file my niggly gnome-blog.desktop issue along with a patch.

05 Nov 2006, 19:48: Midterms

America goes to the polls on Tuesday (well, most of it does anyway) and, unlike previous US elections, I've not really said much about it. Anyone who reads my blog knows what my key issues are. As a Christian, I believe the Iraq war not to be just. I believe in the easing of poverty (and that it is government's job to facilitate this). I believe that we are stewards of the earth and that we should do all we can to combat climate change. I believe that it is not the government's job to enforce the perceived morals of a vocal minority.

In short, I believe that the Democratic party is the right choice both for the American people and the world at large. It's looking positive, people of America: you can make it happen. Get out and vote on Tuesday. Vote Democrat!

Click for www.electoral-vote.comClick for www.electoral-vote.com

05 Nov 2006, 15:42: A nice email to get

This is the text of an email I received today:

Subject: Regarding your blog entry: Novell, M$ and the openSUSE project
Dear James,

I take the opportunity from this specific entry at your blog to say that despite being out of the Suse community a couple of years now I keep on reading your blog because I really appreciate the job you do for OSS all these years and it is always good to see some clear thinking at moments like this one.

Keep on the like this.

Ignore the slightly ropey English (the sender's English being waaay better than my attempts at his native tongue) please, this was a great email to get. Thank you.

It turns out this is possible, but it requires some GConf-Fu!

  1. Make sure you have the gconf-editor package installed
  2. Open the following option from the Applications menu - System: Configuration: GNOME Configuration Editor
  3. Navigate to /desktop/gnome/applications/main-menu/file-area
  4. Edit the user_specified_apps key by double clicking on it. For example, if you want Evolution instead of F-Spot (WHY F-SPOT?!?!?!?), change the f-spot.desktop entry to evolution-2.8.desktop.

Update: Seems you can right-click on applications in the Application Browser (you get that by clicking "More Applications"

These are more musings on this subject, prompted by a short (so far) email discussion with a friend of mine at Novell (I'll not name the person in question, just to be on the safe side).

My biggest concern is that it implicitly says that there are patent issues that people need to be protected from. Once that is conceded then other Linux/FLOSS users are vulnerable to litigation and royalties now, and Novell customers are vulnerable once this agreement passes. The reason I say this is that courts, should it come to that, wouldn't care about in intricacies, they'll listen to the company with the most lawyers - guess who that would be.

The other thing is that these things don't happen overnight, negotiations toward this agreement must have been happening for months at least and that seems duplicitous to say the least.

At the moment I'm inclined to give the openSUSE project the benefit of the doubt, if not Novell. I will probably be calling for greater independence from Novell for the project this coming week such as its own Bugzilla etc (even if these things are hosted by Novell).

The bottom line in terms of the community is that, in all likelihood, Novell have blown whatever goodwill they have had in the space of a day. That's really sad for the community. They may also have signed their own death warrant - no-one has ever got into bed with Microsoft and come out in good shape - which is sad for most people connected with Novell, with the possible exception of their major share holders should it be a buy-out that sees their demise.

03 Nov 2006, 07:57: Novell, Microsoft, nVidia...

This makes me more than a little bit nervous. I just saw the news this morning - didn't get any tech news yesterday - so I've not looked deeply into it but phrases like "patent coverage" make me twitchy. If this agreement is in place until 2012, what happens in 2013? Remember software patents are bad, so any agreement that is based on them is tainted too.

Miguel has a list of links relating to the story.

Discussion on opensuse-factory regarding the removal of tiny-nvidia-installer from the distro. Ends up discussing the legal implications of shipping NVIDIA drivers. Incidentally, the current method of installing them is a RIGHT PAIN! Now, I'm able to use them, and that's fine, it's just an annoying delay when the kernel package is updated to have to reboot (have to do that anyway for the new kernel) and select runlevel 3. Then rebuild the drivers and enter runlevel 5. For a non-technical user, they're better off not having hardware acceleration and sticking to the nv driver.

If NVIDIA GPLed the drivers, they could either be integrated into the main kernel tree or legally patched in by distros.

Alternatively, if some intrepid kernel hackers (Greg?) were to attempt to write pukka GPL kernel drivers for NVIDIA cards, this could allow the nv driver to be extended. This would probably a seriously popular piece of code because NVIDIA chipsets are so prevalent in the market.

01 Nov 2006, 15:17: Updates
Have made some changes to various packages in my repo today. This means that a bunch of expansion errors have been fixed. Abiword, Beagle and GIMP Unstable now all build on FACTORY. This makes me very happy indeed.
30 Oct 2006, 19:13: 10.2 Beta1

I installed 10.2 Beta1 yesterday and I have to say I think this is going to be a really good distro when it's finished. In the meantime, I've filed seven bugs so far today:

One gripe I have, and I'll raise this on a list because it's not a bug, is that the traditional three part menu (Applications/Places/System) was replaced automatically by the new SLED style GNOME Main Menu (recently proposed for GNOME 2.18) without me asking. Now, I like the new menu up to a point but I don't want it to be forced upon users. I knew about it, but seeing it there where the old one had been confused me at first. Imagine the reaction of a user who doesn't know about it, upgrades and it's all different.

My other gripe about it is 'Favourite Applications'. It's not immediately clear (or indeed even a day later) how I change this list. My question, therefore, is whose favourites are these? They should be mine, I suspect they're Novell's.

Finally, the Application Browser accessed by clicking More Applications on it is rubbish! What would be much better would be if clicking that button spawned the Applications menu.

The new menu looks like this:
[New Main Menu]

28 Oct 2006, 11:45: YouTube usable at last!

Finally got around to installing the Flash 9 Beta and sure enough, YouTube is now usable, video and audio in sync.

This means that you can now enjoy this video of Lex leading worship at Week A this year. The reason I chose this video is that at 00:30 or so in it, you can also see the work done by our team on the big screen.

Yes, I know it's entirely unscientific but among those people who read the technology section of BBC News Online and could be bothered to vote, Firefox is the more popular browser. What surprised me was the number of people who said they use both.

[BBC Browser Vote]

27 Oct 2006, 13:21: Update

Update to my earlier post...

It's not just SSH I can't do, it seems the only open ports here are 80 and 443.

Current repository status: mostly good. Things that require PyGTK on Factory are blocking on bug #214046 at the moment - that's beagle and gimp-unstable.

27 Oct 2006, 12:57: Friday

Spent the evening with Carole and Andrew last night. Was just lovely to see them and the food was excellent.

I'm posting this from Presence on Watford High Street, a cracking shop and coffee house where a lot of my friends work and which provides free wi-fi. Only thing is I don't seem to be able to SSH home for some reason which means I can't check my email.

openSUSE 10.2 Beta1 is out, and feel the goodness: Firefox 2.0, GNOME 2.16.1, KDE 3.5.5, X.Org 7.2RC etc etc etc. Think it's time I moved to this branch rather than 10.1...

18 Oct 2006, 11:00: Blog of Britain

So, what did I do yesterday?

Well, I had a couple of hours of Acts and Mission at college and finished the day with a research induction session looking toward dissertations and all that malarky. In the evening, we watched some telly and I 'cashed' in a play money Hold'em tourney on PokerStars.

Think by the end of the day I'd come down with Amanda's cold and this morning confirmed that. Pah!


This evening, I shall post an entry which will discuss what I've done today and then I'll add it to the blog of Britain. If you're in Britain, I suggest you do the same. Who knows what future generations will make of it, but I bet they won't really care all that much.

17 Oct 2006, 11:16: Justin's palm


Justin: What model of Palm and what method are you using to blog from it? I occasionally SSH from my LifeDrive to my web server and vi myself a blog entry.

13 Oct 2006, 10:42: Compositing manager in Metacity

A while ago there was some discussion on the Factory list about the compositing manager in Metacity. I've built packages that enable this (and the required package libcm), which intrepid testers can grab from the Factory section of my repository. When I next deal with mail at home, I'll post the same message on the list.

01 Oct 2006, 16:16: Build Service repo changes

Have removed the multisync-gui package from my repository, it's been moved into the main OpenSync repo and at some point may well replace the current FACTORY package. The result of this is that my repo no longer depends on the OpenSync package.

28 Sep 2006, 19:55: Clinton on War

Thanks to The Independent for this quote:

It is so much cheaper to alleviate poverty, put kids in school, fight disease, build government and economic capacity in a poor country, than it is to fight a war
Bill Clinton to the Labour Party Conference
Well said, Mr President.

22 Sep 2006, 14:58: Connected Nottingham

On my way between Nottingham and Beeston his afternoon, I decided to use my LifeDrive to see how many open and unencrypted Wi-Fi hotspots I could find. There were quite a few. For people who live in the area, this was along the 36 bus route, down Derby Road and then wiggling into Beeston town centre. This is an unscientific and totally non-exhaustive survey. Nevertheless, my results are below. They're not in order, simply the order I remember them and this is in no way intended to encourage people to use these hotspots, which I imagine are on people's domestic DSL connections, but to encourage the owners to tighten them.

  • default
  • henry
  • chester home
  • Several called belkin54g
  • ineedbroadband
  • At least a couple called linksys
  • ProximusPrime
Of the above, the bus lingered long enough in the coverage area of a couple for me to get an IP. There may well be others just along that one bus route that the bus passed before I could pick them up.

People of Nottingham, secure your Wi-Fi!

Glad Roger pointed this out. The government continues to use and abuse the media (who, in some cases, are all to willing to help) to keep the ambient fear level in society high. Why, you may ask, would a government want to do that? Well, the more afraid of whoever the current boogeyman is (it's Muslims[1] at the moment, twenty years ago it was the Irish[2]) the population are, the more willing they are to accept the increasing erosion of their civil liberties. Detention orders, identity cards, biometric passports, increased surveillance, the list goes on and they're just issues that occur to me off the top of my head.

This is what lies behind the many operations against alleged terrorist suspects. This is why Jean Charles de Menezes was shot, why the house in Forest Gate was stormed, why the tanks rolled into Heathrow and why there are still restrictions on hand-luggage on transatlantic flights. The thought process they want to instill in you is "okay, so de Menezes was innocent but he could have been a terrorist, the people arrested at Forest Gate were normal, law-abiding citizens but they could have been terrorists".

The government is very happy, even eager, to make sure we all know how many people have been arrested under anti-terrorism legislation because they know that, if that is all they say to us, the assumption will be that they must be the real thing, right? Well, wrong. Of the 1000+ Muslims arrested as alleged terror suspects only just over 2% have ultimately been convicted and most of them not of terrorism charges but other, minor, offences discovered in the process[3].

What Abu Izzadeen said (well, shouted) to Dr Reid was absolutely right. He, and the government he represents are enemies of Islam, however much they protest to the contrary. Unfortunately, it will also send exactly the message Reid wanted to the country.

Update: Forgot to mention, it seems that 'torture may be worse now in Iraq than under Saddam Hussein'. More for us to be proud of.

[1]I do believe that the US and UK governments want to paint a picture of all Muslims being involved in terrorism
[2]In the same way as they did with the Irish
[3]Note, this is not due process, but why let a small thing like the law get in the way of a conviction?

21 Sep 2006, 11:48: Housekeeping

Apologies to Fred and Narayan for the delay in switching to their new blog locations on Planet SUSE, it's now done.

Anyone got a spare 5,000 Euro? [:)]

19 Sep 2006, 16:15: Tuesday

Well, it's about time I said this here for anyone reading this to see. Amanda's pregnant and the baby is due at the end of January. We're both very excited about this new stage in our life together and as a family and look forward to the, hopefully healthy, arrival of our son or daughter.

Wrote some code yesterday! Wrote a Perl script to produce the necessary copyright information for the summer events by parsing the Presenter song lists and song files. To say the code is ugly would be quite accurate, but it did the job. Might produce a generic one that would produce the information churches need to provide to CCLI.

Pimp my bug: Novell bug #206659.

08 Sep 2006, 10:44: Alpha4
ISO images are downloaded and ready to go:
[email protected]:/home/install/ISO/openSUSE/10.2/Alpha4> md5sum *
1adbb29f42572edc67ff7dd25848be6b  openSUSE-10.2-Alpha4-Addon-BiArch.iso
1ce1d5963a18ec0cb2c8bfb450077e70  openSUSE-10.2-Alpha4-i386-CD1.iso
4e9781a8e1f4af9cb67857e5c3d81761  openSUSE-10.2-Alpha4-i386-CD2.iso
a60613037c2a7b38b67c0014adee0f7d  openSUSE-10.2-Alpha4-i386-CD3.iso
54e9d9d2ef0286e57457a690b7db3a12  openSUSE-10.2-Alpha4-i386-CD4.iso
bb24d4c25126c43d9b499f88050f360f  openSUSE-10.2-Alpha4-i386-CD5.iso
So, either over the weekend or, more likely, next week I'll be installing it.
07 Sep 2006, 11:48: Spoke too soon...

Alex released Tomboy 0.4.1 less than 24 hours after I built 0.4.0 [:)]. The packages are currently building.

I forgot about the non-OSS ISO that forms part of each Alpha/Beta release, I may grab the images later on.

07 Sep 2006, 08:28: Lizard heads

Updated some packages yesterday. tomboy's now at 0.4.0 which is the version in GNOME 2.16. gimp-unstable got a rebuild because of a small mistake I'd made in the script that launches it correctly when parallel installed with the stable gimp package. The mistake meant that double-clicking an image didn't open it in the GIMP, it merely ran the GIMP with no arguments. mail-notification had an error in the .spec file that meant it wouldn't build on FACTORY, this is now fixed.

openSUSE 10.2 Alpha 4 is out and, like FACTORY, includes a GNOME 2.16 beta. Expect 2.16 in 10.2 final. Starting to think about moving to the Factory tree or the alphas. Big thing to check before I do is whether wlan-kmp is included, as well as the other gubbins needed to run my ipw3945, I suspect not.

Added a hackergotchi-style head of my large Geeko to entries on Planet SUSE from anyone who doesn't have their own. I give you Geekogotchi:


04 Sep 2006, 14:16: I'm at war with Hotmail!

That's right folks, I found a new reason to hate them! You see, they think I'm a spammer (I'm not, of course). Or, at least, their dumb-ass filter does. Basically it seems to be any mail sent from my home server. It can't be (I hope) that it's on a blacklist because it's not an open relay or anything dumb like that. Far as I can make out, it must be because the mail headers reveal that the server runs Linux or that I use a non-Microsoft MUA.

It's an issue for me because I know a number of people who use Hotmail and they won't have been receiving mail from me. Suffice to say I've mailed their support department about it. I'll post any reply here of course...

Update: With the help of Nick, I've run a couple of tests. Nick's employers use an off-site spam filtering service that uses SpamAssassin. I sent a mail to Nick using Evolution, and one using mutt. Each mail basically scored zero in SA's tests. Furthermore, I checked the SpamHaus blacklists and neither my machine, nor my ISP are listed.

This really is beginning to look like Microsoft abusing its position, I await their response.

31 Aug 2006, 14:02: Hardware FIXMEs

In light of my new found love for Realtek, here's a list of the hardware that's still an issue for me in my new laptop:

  • ipw3945 WiFi adaptor
    Mostly working, provided I don't try to make my WAP support 802.11b as well as g. See Novell bug #202619.
  • Integrated SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro reader
    This is a Ricoh R5C822/R5C592 host adapter. The module to support this was merged with the main kernel tree starting with 2.6.17-rc1 and versions from 2.6.18-rc1 onwards contain a rewrite the followed a major audit of the code following the release of the specification of the interface. This means it should work with Factory/10.2.
  • Internal modem
    Who cares?
  • The various 'special' buttons around the keyboard
    See the modem comment [:)]
Mad About You just started on LivingTV - happy happy joy joy...

31 Aug 2006, 13:47: Kudos to Realtek

This morning, I emailed Realtek's NIC support line to ask about the Linux driver they offer for download for the 8168 NIC in my laptop. It's a source-code download (nice one) but it has never compiled on SUSE (not so nice one).

Having sent the email, I went out, had some lunch and did some shopping. I returned to a reply from one of Realtek's Tech Support guys. It wasn't the standard "thank you for your email, we're looking into it" email either, it had a tarball of the latest beta version of the driver attached. This update had clearly (based on the changelog) been produced as a result of my email. Best of all, it worked. I built the module and installed it. Then I fired up YaST and was able to configure it.

Now, to try and determine the license, line 98 of r1000_n.c reads

However, no copy of the GPL is included. If it turns out that it is GPL (or at least OSI approved), I'd love to see this included in openSUSE for 10.2.

30 Aug 2006, 09:32: Yesterday

...oh I believe in Yesterday! I do - I was there, it really happened.

Morning was 'fun'. There was a coffee morning at college, part of the welcome assault for new students. I was planning to go but also hoping to not get rained upon. When the rain stopped I seized upon my chance but had barely got to the end of the road when the heavens opened again. Still, it was nice to meet some of the new arrivals.

Popped in to see Steve and Ali on the way home and to meet Grace who was three weeks old yesterday - she's tiny!

Did some housework in the afternoon, I'm doing what I'm calling an Autumn Clean (since it's not Spring right now) and then started looking into my wlan issue. In addition to the mailing list thread I linked to the other day, I posted one of my own. Turns out that the wlan-kmp-* packages contain quite an old version of the ipw3945 module (even in Factory) and the way that the packages are built meant that I wasn't able to simply rebuild the IEEE802.11 subsystem and module and slot them into place (the ieee80211* modules are also quite old).

Need to find out if we can get that package and the kernel package updated. Time to post a bug...

Update: It's now bug #202619.

30 Aug 2006, 08:57: Miriam

Congratulations to Michael and J. on the arrival on Mirriam Julia Mercy. One question: What channel had back-to-back All Creatures... at that time of night?

28 Aug 2006, 20:55: Wi-Fi

Well, having sorted out my Ogg Vorbis playback issues on the Life Drive yesterday, I decided to address the issue of it not talking to my Wireless Access Point. Initially I thought it might be a problem with it authenticating via WPA-PSK. It then occurred to me that it might be that it doesn't talk 802.11g. Checked the specs and sure enough, it only supports .b.

So, logged into the router/WAP and changed its settings to support .g and .b. The LifeDrive went right ahead and connected once I provided the authentication key. Problem solved.

Well, not quite because with the WAP accepting .b and .g, my laptop (which frankly it's more important to be able to use Wi-Fi with) only communicates at 1Mb/s rather than the 54 I'd expect. I confirmed that this wasn't just nm-applet getting confused in reporting the speed by pinging a machine on my LAN, the response times with .b and .g enabled were about twice those with just .g enabled.

The wireless adaptor is an Intel Pro/Wireless 3945ABG which uses the ipw3945 module and I've confirmed that it's not the adaptor itself that uses the slower speed when both are available by booting in to the Less Free OSTM and it connects at 54Mb/s then.

I've looked at the README and checked the mode, normally it is mode 7 (802.11abg) but even if I set it to mode 4 (802.11g only) it still only connects at 1Mb/s with both types enabled on the WAP. One interesting thing is that when I enable both types on the WAP, nm-applet reports the connection strength as being 60% or so whereas normally it is 90%+ in this room.

I've searched a lot and come up with no more help, so I ask the Planet SUSE/Planet GNOME UK communities if they are able to help. If so, please get in touch.

Oh yes, if it helps, it's roughly the same as this problem but the suggested solution - iwprive - is what I've tried to no avail.

28 Aug 2006, 20:23: Mad Penguin

Users of Mad Penguin who are syndicated on Planet SUSE (Fred, Narayan) should drop me an email as soon as they know what arrangements they're going to make for their blogs once MP apparently goes the way of the (mad) dodo.

27 Aug 2006, 22:17: Derby

Had a lovely day yesterday. We had lunch together at the Cadland before heading over to Derby. We spent the afternoon with Liz and it was just wonderful to see her. When it got to the evening we popped round the corner to Simon and Jo's and, once they'd put the boys to bed, we had a glass of wine and ordered chinese food.

Today addressed the issue of Ogg Vorbis playback on my LifeDrive. Discovered that the bundled version of Pocket Tunes that comes with it doesn't support plugins (you have to buy the Basic or better version from them) and so can't play Ogg files1. A quick hunt around revealed two real possibilities. The first, which would be my preference if it supported background play, is the Open Source Core Pocket Media Player. Since it doesn't support background play, I've gone for the free version of AeroPlayer. I don't have any MP3s, so I don't need to pay for it. When I plugged the LifeDrive in in Drive Mode to copy music to it I discovered something odd. In spite of the fact that it reports 2.3G of free space on the drive, the OS reports the external drive that it is mounted as as having only 50.8M free! No idea why...

1How bizarre - the free version supports MP3 which should require a royalty payment whereas to play the royalty-free Ogg Vorbis, one must pay!

26 Aug 2006, 12:59: YaST2-GTK+ on x86_64

Many thanks to Bjørn Lie who gave me the information I'd requested. The yast2-gtk packages have now been updated and build on x86_64 too. If you install it, remember to read the contents of /usr/share/doc/packages/yast2-gtk before trying to use it.

24 Aug 2006, 21:59: Home!

We're home and our house now has a drive - yay! [:)]

Pack-down last night went well with just a minor hiccup when the crew dealing with the kids work venue pulled the power on the CTP machine in there while I was taking an image of the Presenter install so that we can ensure that all righteousness is fulfilled regarding copyrights.

Popped in to Bristol on the way home to see Caz, lovely to see her although then getting out of Bristol was a pig. Still, we made it.

yast2-gtk packages are now in my Build Service repo, they don't build on 10.0 because they require the new libzypp based package manager. They're available for 10.1 and FACTORY on i586, but they fail on x86_64 with the following:

rm: cannot remove `/var/tmp/yast2-gtk-0.1_r284-build/usr/lib64/YaST2/plugin/libpy2gtk.la': No such file or directory
That file has been installed into /usr/lib/.... Now, I don't have an x86_64 box to check this on so can someone tell me if that's correct or if lib64 is correct for where YaST sticks its plugins. One way or the other, once I know which it right I'll fix either the %build or %install section of the .spec accordingly.

23 Aug 2006, 19:53: Blogging from my Palm
Rather than try to use a text editor and FTP client, an SSH client with a half-decent soft QWERTY keyboad will do the job.

Christoph has very kindly sen me he spec and tarball that will form the yast2-gtk package du to land in FACTORY soon. In a day or so it'll be in my Build Service repo for 10.1 an 10.0, assuming it builds on them both of course.

23 Aug 2006, 14:49: Home tomorrow

Yes, that's right folks, tomorrow I get to go home. I'm currently sat in the lounge on site, trusting that at some point the power's going to come back on and bring the wi-fi back with it.

Had some fun yesterday repatching composite cables in the big top yesterday. Someone had managed to lose the video feed on the DVD channel to the mixer/switch. We still had the audio feed to the sound desk[1] but no pictures.[2] Anyway, it was a right old mess down the back of our desk, but after much cable tracing, the connections were made and we had life.

Had the pleasure of meeting Carolyn Kitto, who it turns out knows Mordecai Vanunu, someone for whom I have nothing but total respect. Carolyn and her husband Fuzz have been here doing some seminars. Fuzz also occasionally pops in to MCYM to do a bit of teaching. MCYM is based at St. John's.

[1]Ooh, the power came back then. But only briefly.
[2]Back again!

Summer of Code is over and Ricardo's announced YaST-GTK. I'll package it up when I get home. Don't think I'll have time today. This is great news though and fantastic to see a project I proposed come to fruition. Next step: A usable YaST-GTK for installation.

20 Aug 2006, 22:41: Photos

Just uploaded the first batch of photos from Soul Survivor to the gallery. Haven't added any comments to them yet, but I will - I promise.

YouTube/Stakes on a Plain goodies:

20 Aug 2006, 17:23: Momentum

We're now into Momentum, which is the conference for students and young adults. Yesterday was the first day and we had the worst rain I've seen in a number of years. It was actually cascading through the roof of the big tent and a number of venues (as well as people's tents) were flooded out.

An interesting thing, that I have a couple of photos to prove, is that in the speakers/team leaders' lounge, there is a much larger number of laptops running UNIX based OSs than Windoze. Mostly Macs, but at least one Linux [:)]

19 Aug 2006, 15:53: GIF is now Cif (not really)

Jakub blogged about a relatively unknown feature of the GIF standard that allows the use of local palettes. You can add the 'Blazer' browser on PalmOS to the list of browsers that have a funky ZX Spectrum style loading effect for that sort of GIF.

With reference to Joe, how long until SoaP is confused with SOAP?

19 Aug 2006, 15:44: Minor Christian Celebrity?

(This was originally prepared on my Palm yesterday, but it turns out life's just too short to try blogging on a PDA...)

I'm blogging this backstage at the last night of Soul Survivor B and I just had a very weird experience. A guy from SS New Zealand told me that one of the team down there wanted to know if I blog my backstage experiences... Could it be that I have joined the ranks of the Minor Christian Celebrities (MCCs)? [;)]

Look forward to my photos of the events, coming soon...

18 Aug 2006, 16:34: Friday

Final day of Soul Survivor B, Momentum starts tomorrow.

Beagle 0.2.8 is out and I've added it to my Build Service repo. At some point I'm sure it'll start to build and I can start to figure out which patches have been folded into the main tree.

Welcome to Planet SUSE, Martin and Will.

Oh yes, the new Beagle packages also include a new sub-package, beagle-thunderbird, which contains the new ThunderBird backend.

18 Aug 2006, 14:18: Cool things

Cool thing for today: Using your Palm to SSH to your home server because your laptop is otherwise engaged. Next step is to install an FTP client on it so I can blog from it too [;)]

13 Aug 2006, 15:55: Soul Survivor

That's where I am, where I've been since Wednesday. We went down to Amanda's parents' on Tuesday and then up to site the following day. The event's going well - about 10,000 people at Week A and even more booked in for Week B (which starts tomorrow) apparently. CTP started hairily (that's not a real word, I know) with equipment not working and too many PCs dieing at inconvenient times but it now seems to be going swimmingly.

It's been great catching up with people who we've not seen in a while (and in one case since university!) and they're far too numerous to list here.

So, what's been going on in the world while I've been offline? We have access to TV news so I've been monitoring the situation surrounding the alleged terrorist plot as much as I can. This is very convenient timing for western governments who want to push through a weakened resolution at the UN. It also serves to help those who want to keep the people in a state of terror. That's not the 'terrorists' that are banged on about ad nauseum by those in authority but rather the 'hawks' within the UK and US governments and security services. A handy link to Roger's blog with a list of other events in the last few years that have resulted in some yolk and white on the faces of the security services. It also helps John Reid who, in Blair's absence, has supplanted Prescott as the person apparently in charge. Could it be that the Blair camp in the Labour party are using this event (be it real or concocted) to push their candidate for the leadership? Surely not even they would be so craven. Would they?

The terrorists continue to bomb Lebanon back to the Stone Age and the UN (well, mostly the US and UK actually) continue to do nothing to try to stop them. Thank goodness we now have a resolution that requires them to withdraw, but it doesn't require them to cease 'defensive' operations. Now I have no problem with Israel, or any country, being able to defend itself, but (a) that's not what Israel have been doing, they have been bombing civilians, especially when those civilians have been trying to escape the bombs and (b) Israel describes the whole war as a defensive operation, whose job is it to determine what is and isn't defensive? It should be the UN but is the US really going to allow any vote that might cause Israel to be censured?

openSUSE is one year old - happy birthday to this rocking, kick-ass project. Celebrate by downloading the latest version.

It's 1-1 at half-time in the Community Shield - come on you reds!

07 Aug 2006, 12:28: Icons

With reference to my previous entry, I often get emails when I post screenshot type things asking what the icons on my panel are, so from left to right in that short, you can see:

07 Aug 2006, 09:35: Old age

Look at the date in this image:
[7th August]
I'm 30! I'm officially old.

Going out for a meal with a few people connected with college tonight.

Had a few more songs sent through for the conferences, they're all now set up in Presenter. We head down to Somerset tomorrow for the events.

Planning to add the latest gimp-unstable version to my Build Service repo. Anyone who wants to test the multisync-gui package from there needs to use the OpenSync repo as well.

05 Aug 2006, 17:14: Productivity...

...is my middle name.

Mowed the lawn this morning, no mean feat given the size of our garden, then set about doing some more work using the Build Service. The repo is in the process of being reorganised, but basically you want Factory, 10.1 or 10.0 depending on your SUSE version. The following packages are currently available from this repo:

  • mail-notification
  • multisync-gui (note, this package also requires you to be using the OpenSync repo
  • tomboy
Not all packages are available on all SUSE versions yet.

02 Aug 2006, 17:18: Score!

Yes, that's right folks, mail-notification is now in my home repository on the Build Service. If you're using 10.0, 10.1 or FACTORY on i586 or x86_64 then you can get it.

The repo is here and you can either download directly or add the repo to your favourite package manager.

02 Aug 2006, 11:10: Build Service/GNOME

I finally got around to getting myself a Build Service account and I have to say it's really nifty although I've got to add BuildRequires lines to all my spec files. I'll do that as I move my packages over to the service. At the moment I'm trying to get mail-notification 3.0 to build for 10.1.

We've opened #openSUSE-GNOME on freenode for GNOME discussion. If you're interested in GNOME on openSUSE then pop in and say 'hi'.

31 Jul 2006, 17:13: Monday

Well, it's taken the best part of the day, but all the songs I've been sent so far for the conferences are now set up for Presenter. Still waiting on others but least I'm not behind.

IRC meeting regarding GNOME packaging tomorrow. Been trying JHBuild and it's failing on libXrender at the moment because it's looking for x11.pc which isn't provided by xorg-x11-devel on SUSE 10.1.

28 Jul 2006, 23:25: Hail to the Chief

Last episode of the West Wing.


All the best to President Santos as he takes office.

Nine inaugural balls!

After Soul Survivor, I'm planning to watch every single episode of every season (156 in total) back to back before the start of term. Stay tuned for the Great West Wing Marathon.

"What's next?"

27 Jul 2006, 13:01: Quick catch-up

I promise to write about my holiday soon, it's going to take a while to do though. Anyway, Tuesday night Steve and Ali put a team together to do the pub quiz at the Cadland and we won! Finally!

Thanks to my mum for her early birthday present for me, a Palm LifeDrive. All I need to figure out now is why it won't talk to my WPA-PSK encrypted Wi-Fi router. It can see it but the signal icon seems to suggest it thinks the signal is basically zero and then it fails to connect. So, oh LazyWeb, can you tell me what I might need to do?

I can't help but be amused anytime I see one of the GNOMErs talk about the WSOP. I always initially think of the other WSOP [:)]

LifeDrive Update: It works fine with the unencrypted Wi-Fi connection at Caffé Nero so it must be something to do with the encryption. Interestingly my laptop (well specifically the wlan adapter's microcode) isn't happy at Nero at the moment. Since the last kernel update when I come here there are loads of errors dumped to /var/log/messages about problems with the microcode by NetworkManager. No problem whatever at home though. Weird. And it's not about the connection either, happens even before it attempts to connect.

24 Jul 2006, 08:28: Photos

I've uploaded my photos from Italy to the gallery. They're divided into four galleries.

Sermon last night went pretty well although I was a little long (32 minutes by my reckoning).

Will write-up the holiday soon.

23 Jul 2006, 08:24: Whoops!

When I powered off my mail server before going away, I somehow didn't consider the possibility of a 12hr (or whatever time scale) timeout on mail delivery. It seems I've lost all mail for the week. If you emailed Amanda or me during that time, would you please resend it?

Holiday notes coming real soon, along with around 150 photos, but got a sermon to finish right now.

13 Jul 2006, 21:26: NetworkManager/libnotify

Rob: From opensuse-commit...

+- Update to NetworkManager 0.6.4
+ - Lots of bugfixes
+- Drop upstream patches
+- Remove libnotify support and drop dependencies

Why remove libnotify support? I for one find the little popups very handy...

11 Jul 2006, 11:57: Aching shoulders

Spent the morning mowing the lawn (see the webcam) and trimming (significantly) the hedges and now I'm in a small amount of pain. Playing golf this afternoon which might help - getting some movement in the shoulders.

Big shout out to Andy and Liz who will be joining us at St. John's in the autumn. They're currently in Africa and it's good to read what they're up to.

Waterfall by the Stone Roses on 6music [:)]

10 Jul 2006, 20:24: Verbification

As usual great to hear things from the horse's mouth as it were, but just wanted to respond to what you've said. This is in no particular order and entirely off the top of my head.

You say that people aren't interested so much in the kernel but more in the services provided. I agree with you to a point. The kernel does matter to people. The reasons it matters are in terms of performance. A poor kernel (be that in terms of speed, memory management, I/O performance, stability or whatever) passes on its defects indirectly to whatever runs above it in user space. This is one of the main reasons people switch from less free kernels (including Netware) to Linux. It has a profound impact upon TCO, which for suits is the bottom line, and uptime, which is one of the key points of interest for techies.

Please be careful singing the praises of ZENworks. Many people who have installed SUSE 10.1 have experienced problems with this package. Now, I know that updates are being tested and becoming available but it leaves a bad taste in people's mouths. My advice to anyone using 10.1 would be to abandon ZENworks/YaST for software management and updates and use Smart (included in the distro in the smart-* packages, or you'll do better to grab Pascal's packages and get some channels pre-configured).

I hope you know that when you use words such as leverage people find it hard to take the rest of what you say seriously, irrespective of how much sense you make.

All that said, always good to read what you have to say. [:)]

10 Jul 2006, 07:39: Advanced warning of absence

From this Friday I shall be out of the country for eight days. I'm not taking my laptop and I shall be shutting down the servers at home. Mail for rubberturnip.org.uk, usr-local-bin.org, jamesthevicar.com and amandaloveshamsters.com will be queued by my ISP and the main website will obviously remain available but the photo gallery will be offline as will the webcam.

When I get back, I'm anticipating having a lot of mail to deal with, so please don't be surprised if I take a while to respond to anything I get sent.

09 Jul 2006, 16:48: Sunday

Updated packages of AbiWord to 2.4.5 (i586/i686). At the moment the following plugins are missing: Link Grammar; MathView; Aiksaurus; GDA and XHTML is built without all options. I'll be working on adding as many of them to the next build as possible. This week, sermon preparation for when we get back from Italy is going to be my priority though.

08 Jul 2006, 11:03: About time too

Did something I should have done a long time ago this morning. I set my DNS server up to act as a DHCP server as well instead of using my DSL router for the task, given the router's limited feature set in terms of DHCP.

I'd actually never done this before (hard as that may be to believe), so I referred to the relevant chapter in the book (the server runs 9.x) and it was just a breeze. Thanks to whichever of Justin and Roger wrote that chapter.

05 Jul 2006, 16:51: Wednesday

Have spent most of today doing housework. Well, specifically washing up because I'd managed to let it get a bit out of control. Also had my hair done this morning. Gosh, what an exciting life I lead.

Down in Watford and St. Albans tomorrow. Meeting with the DDO in the afternoon and popping in to the offices in the morning to touch base ahead of the conferences. Having lunch with Hils which will be nice.

Had an email yesterday from JPR about GNOME packaging and stuff. Should be having an IRC meeting next week sometime to discuss it.

I think I need to get out more:
<Riggwelter> Hmmm, the CPU fan in my DNS server just dropped by a few RPMs by the sound of it...

04 Jul 2006, 14:54: YaST2 GTK+ Progress

Been looking at the notes on the YaST2-GTK+ project for the Summer of Code. Good to see progress being made. I've downloaded the code and it builds and even runs!

Glad to note that the target date for this is the autumn with inclusion pencilled in for 10.2. I'll look into producing packages for 10.1 when it's nearing readiness.

03 Jul 2006, 08:50: Weekend

Wow, what a weekend. We've done both London and Derby's ordinations yesterday and today (photos in the gallery). Was amazing to see Jo, Liz, Simon, Mike P and Sarah S undergo the ontological change.

The London ordination clashed with the match. I was listening to it on fivelive. Still haven't seen any of the game and I suspect I'm now at the stage where I'm unlikely to see anything like extended highlights. Anyway, seemed to me that once England went down to ten men they were in the ascendancy. Sounded like Gerrard started playing in a role more like that he plays at Liverpool and became the driving force. Someone needs to have a serious talking to Rooney though.

Anyway, the interesting thing was that the winning penalty coincided exactly with the dismissal from the Bishop of London. Afterwards we went to Jo's post-ordination party, along with Pete Broadbent, among others.

Today was the ordination of Liz and Simon to minister at St. Alkmund's, Derby. A much smaller-scale affair followed by a lovely buffet lunch at the church.

Update:Fixed bad HTML that made this entry make no sense whatsoever.

30 Jun 2006, 15:49: Talking at Notts LUG?

Vague invitation to speak at Notts LUG about [open]SUSE. Nice.

Will be sticking this on opensuse at opensuse dot org too, but I'm going to throw this open to my fellow hackers and packagers to say:

What should I tell them about SUSE?
Would I be able to get hold of any official freebies to give away?
Haven't done a tech-type talk since I presented on the SUSE stand at the Linux Expo back in 2000.

29 Jun 2006, 11:26: Nero

We've got a new Caffe Nero in Beeston. It's so new, in fact, that it's not even in their online store locator yet. Anyway, I'm sat there at the moment, and in spite of the fact that their leaflet on Wi-Fi says it's a pay-for service, I'm online for free. I suspect it's not their service I'm picking up but don't know for sure. Anyway, it means that I have a nice, air-conditioned coffee shop, with free wi-fi and relatively ethical coffee, to sit in. Now, if only they had some power outlets about the place...

[Mmmm, free Wi-Fi]

As might reading this blog or this article. That's right folks, it's time we kissed goodbye to any notion of free speech or especially freedom of press in this country. Under the guise of fighting terrorism1, this government has been steadily eroding our freedoms our liberties and our rights since 1997. It is time for it to stop. When possessing copies of an article from Vanity Fair (Vanity Fair for goodness' sake!) is deemed to be an action against the state, when people can be jailed for up to five years without being tried or even committing acts that are illegal, when suspicion and hearsay are enough to put someone under effective house arrest it is time for it to stop.

All that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. All that is required for the state to control the people is for the people to do nothing. It's time to do something, people. We still have the ability to kick this authoritarian, reactionary, lying, cheating, dishonest, cynical, controlling, corrupt, sleaze-ridden government out of the power it craves but does not deserve. It's only just over a year since the last general election, which means that at most it is a little under four years until the next. Don't let them win, find an alternative. Use your vote or lose your freedom. In the meantime, write to, email or fax your MP to ask them to vote against ID cards and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill2. Keep yourself informed about what's going on, and most of all, keep your mind open and free.

Finally, in the words of Winston Churchill, "It is better to perish than to live as slaves".

1Judging by the things they are combating, I think I qualify as a terrorist, so look out.
2This bill, should it become law, would allow ministers to enact laws with reference to our elected representatives -- Parliament. It would, in effect, bring to an end our democratic system as we currently know it. It is being proposed under the guise of improving efficiency and speeding up government. It must be stopped.

26 Jun 2006, 20:54: More second amendment musings

Okay, so I had an email from one Richard Meyer which got me giving some further thought to the issue of the second amendment. First off, it needs to be said that Richard's an Aussie (commiserations on the Italy game incidentally, that was never a penalty) and I'm a Brit, so the constitution doesn't affect either of us directly. The thing is that I happen to think that the US Constitution is one of the most profound statements of democracy there is and as such it behoves those of us who are committed to democracy, freedom and liberty to take an interest in it.

Now, I accept that perhaps I wasn't quite as clear as I should have been in my earlier post. It cannot be stated categorically what the 1791 authors of the Bill of Rights had in mind in terms of the militia they refer to, but it could well have been all men of fighting age. The thing is that this is a very different world to that of 1791, and the statement that a militia is necessary for a free society doesn't hold water anymore. Once you remove the reason for the right to bear arms, the supposed right is also removed. The interesting thing is that the wording of the amendment suggests that the right to bear arms was a presupposed right, rather than one being conferred by the bill.

In the twenty-first century perhaps it's time, in the words of President Bartlett, to "agree it's a stupid-ass amendment that was written before there were street lamps, much less police forces, and move on". The thing is that the need for a regulated militia composed of the general public is obviated by the existence of police forces, local, state and federal. The need of a civilised and free society was not for a militia itself, but for the enforcement of law and order.

So, perhaps it's time for a new, 28th, amendment that doesn't ban gay marriage, but revokes the second.

26 Jun 2006, 17:21: Tell me why...

...I don't like Mondays...

Well, today's been okay actually. Had a nice lunch with Rachel (I provided pickle, cos y'know, sometimes you just have some pickle to hand) and morning prayer at college was pretty cool - it's a liquid worship type affair this week, and I'm providing some percussive sounds.

Updated Mauricio's hackergotchi on Planet SUSE.

Linux on the LifeDrive. Interesting.

26 Jun 2006, 09:37: Random, disconnected thoughts

Nice one Stephan on the Kerry 0.2 packages, and for providing Beagle packages, I've also got 0.2.7 packages up (must get myself a Build Service account...) which include the risky, unstable, do not use unless you have a death wish, insecure Epiphany extension and the Python bindings. Oh yeah, you can get them i686 optimised too if you want.

I once didn't get a job because I use vi (actually, Vim) and the interviewer used emacs.

Was having a drink with an American last week and we were talking about the second amendment. She pointed out that the amendment does not provide the right to bear arms to all people, but only to a militia. Having had another look, I'm not sure that's 100% true, but it does seem to be the jist - it would seem the people writing the Bill of Rights did not envisage a free-for-all on weaponry.

25 Jun 2006, 18:20: Ecuadooooooor!

England 1-0 Ecuador
Absolutely rubbish performance by England, save for about five minutes or so after the Beckham goal. None if Eriksson's experiments worked in my view. Carrick was useless in the holding role, most of the time when the ball came to him he just passed it back to one of the centre-halves (who were also both having shockers) and on the rare occasions he tried to push forward, his passes were poor and incomplete. Rooney as a lone striker wasn't able to do the business. Everyone else in the world knew this would be the case before kick-off, why didn't Eriksson? Beckham was looking sick for a large part of the second half, but Eriksson left him on pitch until the 87th minute. Lennon looked good when he replaced the skipper, but didn't really have the time to make a difference, perhaps if he'd been utilised earlier it would be a different story.

They're going to have to do much, much better or they're just going to be taken apart by Holland or Portugal, oh and can we go back to 4-4-2 please?

Last night, thought Mexico were unlucky. The Argentinians were not the better side and perhaps they've peaked early. Heinze should have been sent off twice - once when he was only booked in the first half and once when he should have been booked for raising his arm against a Mexican player and nothing was given - symptomatic of the referee apparently favouring the South Americans in the majority of decisions.

24 Jun 2006, 16:02: Food, food, food

Dinner with Liz last night, was great to see her and catch up (after all, it had been a massive six days since we'd seen her!). It's her ordination next Sunday. She made a lovely chicken dish in BBQ style sauce followed by a gorgeous chocolate brownie, hot with ice cream.

This morning was the Extension Studies commissioning. I was leading worship with Amanda singing and Marc on bass. Service went well and it was a lot of fun. Nigel di Castiglione who's on the college council (and whose son, James, is in the first year) preached.

23 Jun 2006, 11:23: A whole week has passed

And what have I achieved?

  • CTW204 and BS204 were in on time.
  • Had a very fruitful meeting at Trent Uni on Tuesday before spending the afternoon tidying, cleaning etc so that I could have the guys round to watch the England match in the evening.
  • Wednesday had the induction for year three at college which was very helpful and illuminating.
  • Yesterday was a pretty light day, watched the Italy-Czech Rep. match in the afternoon and then chapel and pub in the evening.
  • Had the inaugural meeting of the new college Learning & Teaching Group this morning
So, about the England match. First half I thought they were very good, especially given the enforced change after Owen's injury so early on. Hargreaves had a great game. Two fantastic goals and some schoolboy defending. Must try harder but reckon we'll beat Ecuador before going out to Holland or Portugal.

19 Jun 2006, 09:12: Weekend

What a weekend! Saturday was the college Commissioning Service (photos), quite an emotional time saying farewell to this year's leavers. Saturday evening we went to Derby to warm Liz's house with a BBQ. Quality moment at about 18:59 when a chorus of "Doctor Who time!" went up and everyone decamped to the living room to watch it.

Yesterday we were down in Watford for a leaders' day ahead of the conferences. Great to see loads of people we'd not seen in ages, catch up and chat.

Today I need to finish CTW204 and shall be focusing on nothing else. Period. I promise.


16 Jun 2006, 11:35: Friday morning

Firstly, last night. England 2-0 Trinidad and Tobago. Well, the match clashed with the weekly college service, so we watched it "as live" on tape-delay on the big screen in the Common Room after the service. England were abject for most of the ninety minutes, the only light for most of the match being Steven Gerrard (how often, as a Liverpool fan, has that been the experience?). They'll have to do a lot better if they're going to mount a serious challenge. That having been said, job done. Two wins, no goals conceded and qualification from the group stage assured. Lennon looked great when he came on and Rooney was running after everything when he replaced Owen. Crouch stank the place out for most of the game but frankly, having broken the deadlock, who cares?

Right, today. Making very slow progress on CTW204, but will be uploading abiword packages shortly. These packages fix Novell bug #162346.

15 Jun 2006, 09:17: Yesterday

Well, as I mentioned in my post last night, it was another karaoke night at the Double Top last night.

Prior to that, I finished BS204, although I think I'm going to tweak it slightly before submitting it.

Annoyingly, the hard-drive in weasel seems to be giving up the ghost, disk errors being thrown as the kernel just gives up on trying to read it, and the BIOS sticking at Verifying DMI Pool Data. Time to get a new drive.

14 Jun 2006, 23:20: Karaoke

Photos of tonight's karaoke.

13 Jun 2006, 15:03: Tuesday

Native Google Earth for Linux is now available. It's the latest beta (version four), but seems rock steady. Just download the installer and run it. You can install it locally as a user, so you don't even need to be root. Runs pretty quickly on my machine (Intel Core Solo 1.66 GHz/512M/GeForce Go7300+OpenGL), I suspect it might be a bit ropey without hardware accelerated OpenGL . The thing is, it's very pretty and very cool, but I'm not actually sure what it's for - doesn't serve any useful purpose for me.

Interesting discussion about finally dropping GTK+ 1.x from the distro.

Mixed day really. My intentions to start work on my CTW204 essay were scuppered for reasons for too mundane to go into. I'll be attacking BS204 tomorrow instead. Deadline for both is a week today, so time's not too tight.

After that, some interesting discussion on opensuse-packaging about GNOME 2.15, wherein Jonh and I might be helping Stanislav with the packaging ahead of 10.2, the aim being for 10.2 to include GNOME 2.16. Jonh's also working on one of the SoC projects, and will hopefully be on Planet SUSE soon.

Watched Australia beat Japan this afternoon, absolutely cracking game, especially the last ten minutes or so. Those Aussies just don't know when they're beaten. Watching USA v Czech Republic at the moment, it's 0-1 right now, but still early days.

Out for a chinese tonight with the others in my year who will be doing a third year.

11 Jun 2006, 16:54: Guantanamo suicides

Three Guantanamo hostages (sorry, I cannot use the term inmates, these men are hostages, plain and simple) have committed suicide. In a typically hawkish statement, the camp commander described this as an act of war. Subsequently, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy (whom the BBC describe as a 'top US official', seems pretty low to me, third tier of a role that isn't a cabinet post) described it as a PR move. If this was an act of war then it's possibly the most futile of all time, but why should the facts get in the way of a good bit of rhetoric? The reality is far more likely to be that the men in question were at the point of utter desperation. As Ken Roth, head of Human Rights Watch said, they were being held lawlessly.

Totally unrelated, but the BBC's World Cup coverage's theme tune is Thine be the glory.

10 Jun 2006, 11:07: Green curry

Thai meal for Jo's birthday was fantastic, had a great time. The amusing thing for me was that on Thursday night, the college meal was Thai green curry.

Also on Thursday it was, as most Thursdays are, a college open day. I was hosting a prospective student who's an engineer at HP. He mentioned he was thinking about switching (a) to a laptop and (b) to Linux so I went and got my new machine. To say that both elements impressed would be an understatement. In fact the Xgl desktop effects are turning a lot of heads at St. John's.

After the meal Thursday night, we set up the chapel for last night, this year's College Summer Bash, Gameshow Gala which was a right laugh.

Amanda got home yesterday, so good to see her I'd missed her like crazy last week.

07 Jun 2006, 18:23: Wednesday

Amanda's bag was stolen this morning! Thankfully she got it back, but all the cards were taken (and so, cancelled). So annoying, and to say what I think about the people (or person) who did it wouldn't look good for a proto-vicar.

New DSL router arrived today, with a built in WAP, so I'm now online wirelessly at home at last. The NIC in my new laptop not working wasn't the end of the world because I happened to have a PCMCIA card handy which uses the tulip module, but so much better to be wire-free, especially with a near four hour battery life(!)

Happy Birthday Jo! So far today we've had a cooked breakfast and tea and cake. Tonight we're going out for a Thai meal.

06 Jun 2006, 23:40: Laptop

New laptop arrived today, and it's niiice. SUSE 10.1 is now installed, installation went like a dream - Windows partitions were resized perfectly. Interestingly, I've managed to find a laptop where the WLAN adaptor is supported out of the box (Centrino), but the NIC isn't[1]. So, I now have a nice, widescreen, Xgl-enabled notebook.

[1]02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. Unknown device 8168 (rev 01)

04 Jun 2006, 22:12: Weekend
Spent a fair proportion of Saturday in Derby helping Liz celebrate her birthday, saw the last 15 minutes or so of the England - Jamaica match, so not in a position to comment other than to say that a hat-tick from Goal Machine Crouch can only be good news. I look forward to seeing the robot dance in Germany.

Today was Steve's (the vicar) tenth anniversary at St. Luke's. There was a real air of celebration at the service, plus it's Pentecost today, so that helped the mood. I debuted an alternative third verse to Matt's song, Lord, let Your glory fall with a particular Pentecost focus.

Amanda heads down to London tomorrow for a course with work, so I'll be fending for myself until Friday.

03 Jun 2006, 09:58: Laptops
R.I.P. "The Beast". It was finally pronounced dead yesterday, and this morning I have ordered its replacement - a much lighter option with a longer battery life. It should arrive Monday or, more likely, Tuesday.

Happy Birthday Liz!

01 Jun 2006, 22:27: JUNE!
Holy moly, how did it become June so soon?

Been a good couple of days, dinner with John & Linda last night which was cool. Today I actually did some reading for my CTW204 essay. Out for a drink tonight with Andy and Anthony who's up for a couple of days from his curacy. Top banana to see him, and glad to hear he's doing well.

30 May 2006, 22:22: Tuesday
Helped Liz move into her curate's house in Derby today. pretty wierd - the start of the end of an era. Over the next month or so the lion's share of my year group at college will be leaving to start their curacies. Thankfully Liz is just up the road, but some, such as Jo, will be quite some distance away.

England 3-1 Hungary
What did we learn tonight?

  • Steven Gerrard can play anywhere. That's not to say he should, he's definitely best when he has the freedom to break from midfield as he does for Liverpool, but he looked very good in the "just off the striker" role tonight.
  • Owen's not as sharp as we'd like. He's not anywhere near it in fact, in the 65 minutes he was on the pitch tonight, he was very anonymous, barely did anything. If he doesn't look better on Saturday, it's very worrying.
  • Beckham is very important to us. Okay, he may not be the best player on the pitch over ninety minutes, in my opinion he's not among the best five players for us, but those set pieces are like gold dust. Like it or not, he has to start.
  • This is not the time for Walcott. He did nothing when he came on, was only slightly less anonymous than Owen who replaced. The World Cup is not the place to blood players who have never played top flight football before. People will liken him to Owen in 1998 and Rooney in 2004, but both those players had had experience in the domestic top flight.
  • Eriksson persists in playing men out of position. Tonight we had Carragher as a holding midfielder, Gerrard as a second striker and Walcott on the pitch. They should be, respectively, centre-half, attacking central midfielder, in the Arsenal reserves. Why does he view versatile players as people who can be played out of position like this, rather than starting them in the positions they perform best in and then moving them should that be required due to injury as the game goes on?
  • Crouch is a serious option. When he came on, he showed excellent touch, vision and movement especially the goal. He took it with the poise and precision of a man a foot shorter than he is. Not many people you can say that about.
Friday is D-Day for the laptop. By the end of Friday it'll be repaired or written off.
30 May 2006, 07:44: usr-local-bin on 10.1
Realised this morning that I'd never updated the information on installing usr-local-bin packages on SUSE 10.1. Admittedly, those packages are a couple of months out of date since I've not had a build machine, but now that 10.1 is out, it made sense to update the info.

See the updated info here.

[Ref] So, the latest underhand tactic employed by the Bush regime is to plant fake news stories on dozens of US TV stations to, among other things, talk up the "success" of the conflict in Iraq. This should come as no surprise after he and his colleagues spent the time after 9/11 trying desperately to scare the American people into believing there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaida, when there was none[1].

Think it's too late to do something about Bush? You're wrong. Firstly, you can vote Democrat in this year's mid-terms, more Democrats on the hill means it's less likely that Bush can execute more anti-American plans. Secondly, you can impeach Bush for intentionally misleading Congress and the public in order to justify a war in Iraq.

[1]In which respect it that "link" was just like the Weapons of Mass Destruction: There were none, there never were, there was no likelihood of there being any any time soon, and the White House knew this.

27 May 2006, 16:55: Saturday
Well, yesterday we had our final lecture as a whole year group, which was also John Darch's final lecture before he takes up his new post as DDO of Blackburn Diocese. We had cake. I like cake. [:)]
26 May 2006, 07:07: Microsoft are coming to get you
They really are, and if you're a Windows user, they're going to more or less control everything about your PC. If you're a Windows user, find someone you know who uses Linux and ask them to help you migrate. You will want also to read this.
26 May 2006, 06:29: Friday morning
Soooo tired, got to bed well after midnight last night. Party was great though, had a great time, took some photos which, along with all the other sets I've still got on the camera, I will upload at some point. Reason I've not done it is that the /home partition on Amanda's machine is currently quite small and full compared to that on the laptop, so I'm waiting until I have a laptop again whether that be the beast, or a replacement.

YaST2=GTK+ Google Summer of Code project now has a student coder who in turn has a collection of mentors. Apparently it was the most popular project in terms of applicants. Seems GnUSE could well have a native YaST at some point - w00t!

SUSE Linux 10.1 boxed copy arrived yesterday too - many thanks to SUSE for providing this.

24 May 2006, 22:14: Cricket
Well, first match (and only match actually) of the season this evening, a sixteen over a side affair against the Church of the Assumption, Beeston. It was an enjoyable match, that finished in an Assumption win. They posted 123/1 in their sixteen overs, we managed 58/4. However, given that they play thirty matches a season and some of us had never played a match before, we did quite well.

That was the conclusion to a very full day, with no work being done at all. Tomorrow night is a '100th Birthday Party' in honour of the fact that Amanda, Liz and myself are a total of 100 years old when our birthdays this year are added together, so this morning I was shopping for nibbles for that. After lunch I went out for a couple of drinks with Fiona N who's up visiting this week. Good to get news from the front. Thing was that that meant I barely had time to get home and get changed (well, managed to bash out a couple of pressing emails too) before getting back to college a bit early so I could see Amanda (who had a music practise) before heading out to the Rec Ground for the game.

23 May 2006, 16:22: Jem Report article
Just posted this article to Planet SUSE News. One thing I would like to say regarding it, but can't be bothered to say in the site's forum thingy is that the author only mentions PackMan as an external installation source. Now, I know the article is looking in this case as at a specific area of functionality that the PackMan crew cover (namely the availability of Win32 codecs), but it gives the impression that they are the only source of third party packages, simply not true. In addition to my repository and Pascal's, there are a large number of other installation sources to choose from.
23 May 2006, 07:07: Out of the habit...
Wow, I've really got out of the habit of blogging this month. I suspect it's a combination of not having done a great deal outside of college and still not having my laptop, so not being able to work on anything openSUSE related. Anyway, last Wednesday, we went out for an Italian meal and cocktails with the rest of the Naughty Table gang from college. Simply a fantastic evening, we had a lot of fun, but it was also quite emotional because all of us with the exception of myself, and possibly Rachel, will be getting ordained in the next six weeks or so and it's going to be very strange not having them around college every day. I forgot to take my camera too, so I have no photos of the evening.

I've been asked to add this blog to Planet SUSE, but I don't know the name or email address of the maintainer. If you are that person (I assume you read PS given you link to it), please get in touch if you would like to be added.

Laptop: New mainboard was fitted and the machine powered on at which point it exhibited the original error, which is annoying. Waiting to hear back.

14 May 2006, 16:53: Catch-up (2)
So, to finish my catch-up of the last ten days or so. Friday afternoon was the latest Community Day at college. As part of the day's activities, we cleared out the Chapel music & sound store room of all the junk that had accumulated in there over goodness knows how many years. The difference was remarkable, for one thing we can actually see the floor in there now.

What a day, what a game and what a goal to take it into extra time. Liverpool were, for large portions of the game, as poor as I'd seen them all season, but Gerrard was brilliant as always. Reina did a Dudek - villain during the final to hero of the shootout. Gerrard though - wow! Possibly the greatest player ever to wear the red jersey, could well become the best player in the world because he just keeps on improving. That's 23 goals for him this season and I think only Henry and van Nistlerooy have scored more this season in England.

Laptop: A replacement mainboard has been sourced, all being well I should have it back in the middle of the week.

Ref 1; Ref 2: I am a proud member of the openSUSE staff.

14 May 2006, 10:39: Catch-up
Goodness me, it's been a long time since I blogged. So, what have I been up to? Well, last weekend, we were @lancs.ac.uk for the weekend. I actually managed to go the entire weekend without logging on, and only checked out one lab. Friday night we did a mini bar crawl on campus. Fantastic night, great to see some people we hadn't seen in a very long time, but also to put faces to some names that we'd never met in the flesh before. We started at Grad Bar, before moving on to Furness, and finally, the new-look County Bar (where Cartmel Bar used to be).

Saturday, we had lunch in the best pub anywhere, Ye Olde John O'Gaunt before mooching around the new South-West Campus, including a visit to the new Lonsdale Bar. I have to say that I found the new campus area to be totally soul-less. It's block after homogeneous block of very modern, very expensive accomodation. The bars, if Lonsdale is a reasonable example, reminded me of a trendy city-centre bar and as such will date very quickly. The colleges won't have the finance to keep refurbishing in the way that the big bar chains can. By contrast, Grad Bar, which only opened in 1998 if my memory serves me, was designed to look like a traditionalish English pub and so, like the John O'Gaunt, has not aged. The John actually has not changed one iota, they didn't even appear to have reprinted the menus - and long may it remain so. Saturday night we had a meal at The Honey Tree, Morecambe which was superb as always. It's just about our favourite Chinese restaurant in the North-West.

Sunday was the purpose of our visit, the dedication of Lauren Hamilton at Morecambe Community Church. It was a lovely service, very accessible and very moving too. There was a buffet lunch afterwards with some of the best stuffed olives I've ever had [:)] Was great to catch up a bit with Neil and Emma, as well as everyone else who was there, some of whom we hadn't seen in quite a while.

Wednesday, there was a college trip to Alton Towers. Five of us went and, with it being school term time and university exam time, it was really quiet and we hardly had to queue for anything. We had a great day, loads of fun and good to do something together, albeit a small number of us, before the majority of my year group are ordained and move on into curacies.

05 May 2006, 12:30: YaST2-GTK+
w00t! Go Michael, can't wait to have a machine I can build that on.

You actually beat me to doing mockups, which I was going to try to do when I had some time. I dunno how feasible it would be, because I've not looked at the YaST2 codebase, but it would be very cool if YaST2-GTK+ was HIG-compliant as far as possible. My vision for the GTK+ frontend is that it allows YaST2 to appear more integrated with GNOME (and XFce) and the HIG will help that of course.

02 May 2006, 20:36: GnUSE
Okay, the GnUSE Vapo-Project I mentioned a while ago now has a Summer of Code project that you can sign up for through openSUSE.

Look at the list of openSUSE projects, and select the really neat idea of a new GTK+ frontend for YaST. Then, apply, get accepted, and get your code-fu on!

Help the GnUSE Project, you know it makes sense.

02 May 2006, 20:23: What a day!
Been a really full day even by St John's standards. Started at 8am of course with Morning Prayer and then five hours of lectures, with a break for lunch. Then, we had the first cricket practice of the summer or, in my case, of the last ten years. Bowling went quite well, was happy with my length and, most of the time, my line. Plus was getting some nice turn on the ball. What made it difficult for us on both batting and bowling fronts was that the college field gave almost no bounce whatsoever. After that was music practice for Thursday evening, so I got home, finally, at about 6pm.

Laptop news is that the mainboard needs replacing, the repair guy's going to try to get hold of one, but Acer don't make that model anymore so he's going for second hand. Seems more likely with each bit of news that the end result is that I buy a new laptop.

29 Apr 2006, 20:57: Happy Birthday to Beagle
Wow! Two years since Beagle was first unleashed (geddit? unleashed, beagle? Oh, suit yourself!) on the world. Really honoured to be included in Joe's list of contributors, especially being right next to Jakub (yes, I know that's because it's alphabetical). My contributions have been confined to a couple of lines of code so far (although I'm planning to invest some time in learning C# a bit more this summer) and packaging. On that note, as soon as the laptop situation is resolved one way or the other, I'll make sure that the packages for SUSE are up-to-date.
29 Apr 2006, 15:09: Planet SUSE
Have switched all Blogger blogs to their Atom feeds rather than the FeedBurner versions on Planet SUSE.

Congratulations to Chelsea on retaining the Premiership title. Just a pity it took billions of money cheated out of the Russian people to do it. You know that as long as Chelsea are backed by Abramovich they deserve no respect at all.

29 Apr 2006, 12:05: Laptop
Latest situation on the laptop is that the repair was done, and it was working fine, but when the repair guy powered it on the next day it was back to how it was at the outset. Further investigations are being done and I should have an update on Tuesday.

Have to say though that I'm not liking my chances so much now, looks like the outcome is going to be that I have to buy a new laptop.

29 Apr 2006, 11:32: Loony Republicans
Many thanks to Linux Today for posting a link to this insane article by hard-right republican blogger "Shelley". In it you can read the "truth" about how radical left-wing liberal (eeew, evil!) European and Chinese hackers (and I suspect it's using that in the incorrect way[1]) have created it to undermine America. Read the dangerous "truth" about Osama bin-Laden's use of Linux to circumvent DVD encryption(!)

I have to hold my hands up here and say that I can't tell whether this article and the site as a whole is real or if it's a spoof. The views are so extreme, so racist in some cases that they must be a spoof surely? Also, the grammatical errors and occasionally broken English suggests it's actually written by a non-native English speaker. Even for an American it's poor.

Anyway, it gave me a little chuckle this morning.

[1] See definition 8 in this entry of the Jargon File (maintained by noted right-leaning (GUNS! GUNS!) Linux and Open Source advocate ESR).

27 Apr 2006, 15:07: The end for Labour?
Someone posed the question on LuBBs Alumni of whether the current round of cock-ups spells the end for the Labour government. Here is my response (originally posted on LA)

It really could be the beginning of the end not for Labour, but for Blair[1].

Some of us really do care about affairs, because if someone can lie to their spouse day in day out for two years (I think that was how long the affair lasted) then they can certainly lie to the electorate, probably with even less of a conscience-prick.

The Clarke scenario is a real blunder. Let's ignore the fact that people who don't have a British passport are treated unfairly and differently to UK citizens (and see also this story in yesterday's Guardian, along with this letter from the letters page) and skip to the fact that the Home Office, which everyone knows is a nightmare to run because it covers such a diversity of areas, was unable to put 2 and 2 together and figure that when the law says that foreign nationals commit certain crimes they are to be considered for deportation[2] on their release. In terms of what the law says should happen, it is undoubtedly a resigning matter, but Blair won't accept his resignation (at least, not yet) because it would leave him even more isolated than he already is.

As for the NHS, well, if I was Pat Hewitt I'd be very glad of Clarke right now. To say that it's having its best year ever while at the same time laying off thousands of care staff, struggling to justify the fact that PCTs across the country are failing to break-even[3] and admitting that whole hospitals may have to close is hubris to say the least. To say the most it is out and out lieing (or spin as we also call it) and she should go.

The big problem in both these cases is who would replace either Clarke or Hewitt.

The big problem if this were to prove to be the end of Labour is who would replace them? Unfortunately, the Lib Dems cannot be considered a realistic government after the next General Election, which only leaves Cameron's New Tories. That just makes me shudder.

[1] Yes, I know in one sense the beginning of the end for Blair was when he announced he won't contest the next GE, but I mean the real beginning of the end.
[2] Note: considered for deportation, but actually deported.
[3] Since when did profitability and breaking even matter more than the health of the nation's citizens?

27 Apr 2006, 06:28: Wednesday
Well, yesterday was the first Wednesday of the new term. Not normally something of significance except that this term we have no lectures on Wednesday and this early in the term I can't really use that time to write the assignments. So, other than work out, what did I do with myself?

Well, I helped Jenny and Dan with their home networking and had a pub lunch before spending most of the afternoon in the kitchen cooking for Andrew and Elaine who recently had their first kid.

26 Apr 2006, 10:14: I think I may die...
Jogged part-way into college today (like, about a minute's worth) and then used the mini-gym for about 20 minutes. I'm so out of shape it's not funny.

Need oxygen...

25 Apr 2006, 06:17: Planet SUSE RSS
Have fixed the Planet SUSE RSS feeds. The 2.0 version is done now, the 1.0 will be done in the next update (which should be any minute because the system clock on that machine is off again).
22 Apr 2006, 21:19: A birth!
Many congratulations to Nick and Rosie on the birth, yesterday, of Harvey Daniels.

Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool! We're gonna win the cup, we're gonna win the cup...

22 Apr 2006, 10:14: Saturday
I love it when I find a 'bug' that I'm sure I can fix. Now if only I had a machine that I could actually build Beagle HEAD on.

Been thinking a bit about the openSUSE 1 CD install project that's looking a little defunct at the moment (especially the GNOME one) and how neat it would be to do somethig based on this as just a straight GNOME install, no QT libraries at all - not even for YaST! It would need someone to write a GTK+ frontend to YaST of course, but how neat would that be for SUSE generally? Would mean YaST could look 'native' in both GNOME and KDE. Thinking about the name GnUSE for it, anyone interested in lending a hand if I do it?

21 Apr 2006, 10:40: All done!
Yes, that's right, I've finished PT201 which means that all my writing for over the vacation is done. I've actually lost count of how many words I've written over the last few weeks, but it sure feels good to see my placement report chugging away in the printer.

What it means is that on Monday all I have to do is photocopy some sheets of paper to form an appendix to one of my reflections and hand it all in.

20 Apr 2006, 17:26: Thursday
Mixed day in terms of success really.

On the positive side, PT201 is now only about 1400 words away from being done and so I should polish it off tomorrow in time for my hair appointment at 16.15.

On the negative side, finding books in the college library was like finding a needle in something or other - I forget what, but it was the sort of thing that it's tricky to find needles in.

Soup possibly...

19 Apr 2006, 08:59: Still not 9am yet!
Have upgraded Planet SUSE to the Planet 1.0 code this morning, if you see any weirdness, please let me know at the usual address. (I know about the (feed) link for each blog not being right, so don't hassle me about that please, because I've now fixed it in the template ready for the next update.)

Hoping that this might mean I can move away from using Feedburner for Blogger XML feeds.

Update: It seems to have had the desired effect, so I'll be gradually moving the Blogger feeds over from Feedburner to use their native Atom feeds. It's also fixed Marc's feed.

18 Apr 2006, 17:26: Tuesday
We bought some garden furniture yesterday, which is quite exciting. Kind of makes mowing the lawn in the back garden worthwhile now that we can actually make use of it.

PT201 is about 30% complete now, plan is to hit 50% tomorrow morning and try to finish it off on Thursday. Then I can use Friday to polish off the loose ends in time for term starting on Monday.

Welcome to Planet SUSE, Miguel.

Have suggested that working on cross-distro .spec files might form part of a Summer of Code project sponsored by GNOME. If anyone wants to work on this, I'd be very happy. I won't have time to do so myself over the summer, I'm away quite a lot this year.

18 Apr 2006, 16:13: LuBBs Alumni
LuBBs Alumni is back after the hosting issues, and I'm working on a MyCroft plugin for it.
14 Apr 2006, 09:45: Good Friday
...and then they crucified him...

Matthew 27.27-61
Mark 15.16-47
Luke 23.26-56
John 19.1-42

14 Apr 2006, 09:38: Friday
Had my final debrief at St. Luke's yesterday afternoon, which went well.

Jenny and Dan's wedding tomorrow in the college chapel. All the best to them as they start their new life together.

The following IPs have been added to my block list as a result of attempting to compromise my server:
Updated my Cross Distro Spec Files notes on GNOME Live!
13 Apr 2006, 08:03: Clarke stamps on rights
So, yesterday a High Court judge told the world what some of us had known all along, that Charles Clarke's "control orders" are incompatible with human rights.

The orders which basically amount to a form of house arrest, and can actually go as far as full-blown house arrest, are applied to people suspected of having a connection with terrorism.

Suspected. That's a big word folks. These people have never been charged or tried, never mind convicted, of any terrorism offence. If they had, they'd be in jail. If there was a scrap of evidence against them, this government would waste no time in going through the courts so I think it's fair to say that in all likelihood they have not (yet) done anything wrong.

I also have not (yet) committed an act of terrorism[1] and under the regime introduced by Clarke[2] I could be placed under house arrest, my passport confiscated and my movements monitored.

The Labour government has shown itself time and time again to have scant regard for legality, human rights, civil liberties and the dignity of the people of this nation. Some people in England and Wales have an opportunity in a couple of weeks to pass judgement on local representatives of the Labour party, and I hope they give this reactionary government a kicking. When the next general election rolls around, it's time for a change, it's time to elect a truly liberal government.

[1]Nor do I intend to incidentally.
[2]My views on Clarke are well known, he's a thug and bruiser. He's worse than Blunkett and shouldn't be in government.

13 Apr 2006, 07:32: Naughty, bad people!
Yesterday afternoon I noticed A LOT of traffic going across my DSL router when I wasn't logged in and it wasn't a time when a cron job would be doing anything, a quick bit of investigation revealed that home.rubberturnip.org.uk was the subject of a sustained attack on the SSH daemon. Looked like a brute force job, and it wasn't being successful unless the intention was to piss me off.

It triggered me to finally install logcheck on that box (thanks Justin for the package) and I noticed that there were other machines attempting similar attacks (is there a worm abroad at the moment that I'm not aware of?) although not quite as sustained as that first one, which was doing it for about two hours!

So, firstly, I've started blocking the originating IPs (and I reported the first one to the ISP in question), and secondly I'm going to post offending IPs here. The IPs I am currently blocking then are as follows:
Other news: CTW203 finished.
Did some work on Planet SUSE this morning, it was having some cache issues. This has now been fixed, with the result that Scott's posts appear again, sorry for losing you mate. It also meant that I had to remove Togan's blog. It hadn't been updated in around two years, so I'm assuming he's not blogging anymore. Andreas G's blog has also vanished, although I've not removed that from the blogroll yet. If either Togan or Andreas are reading this and you've simply relocated your blog, please let me know. If anyone else who sees their name down the right hand side of Planet SUSE doesn't see their blog posts on the site, please also let me know and I'll look into it. I'm afraid I don't have the time to check every blog and news feed I aggregate there.

Have got the pre-writing preparation for PT201 finished, but I'm not starting work on writing yet, I have a meeting with Steve, the vicar of St. Luke's tomorrow to talk about it. Instead, today, I'm going to finish off CTW203, current word count is 2159.

Laptop status is that it seems to be the main chipset on the mainboard that's faulty, not the VGA chip. This is a bit of a relief as the VGA chip would be considerably more expensive to replace. I'll be so glad to get it back, I have packages that are in serious need of updating and the keyboard on Amanda's box is driving me insane.

09 Apr 2006, 18:14: Sunday
It's supposed to be April. Look at our back garden, that white stuff you can see, that's hail! (I know it looks like snow, but it's really hail.) Looking out the front window, the cars look like it's December. What's going on?
[Webcam shot]

Work status (as of close of play Friday): CTW203: 2159 words (3000 +/- 10% target); PT203a: complete; PT203c: 1447 words (1500 +/- 10% target); BS205: 1383/1606 words (2x1500 +/- 10% target); PT201: Not yet started (7000 +/- 10% target)

07 Apr 2006, 08:36: SUSE Stuff
Firstly, Planet SUSE. A big welcome to Jeff and Jared. Jeff is Novell's CTO, and Jared works for Novell, hacking on iFolder I think, but also doing the "submit patches to fix bugs" thing on other stuff [:)]

I should have mentioned earlier, but my laptop being out of action means I can't build packages at the moment because it's my build machine. The latest news is that it's away for repair and apparently there's no display at all now on either the TFT or the external VGA. Quite worried about that.

05 Apr 2006, 11:30: Are You Web 2.0 Enabled?
Web 2.0 is here, it's now and it's the future. You better believe it baby because all the cool analysts say it is. But, I hear you ask, how do I know if I'm down with that phat fun of Web 2.0? Follow my simple test below, and you will know if you are truly Web 2.0 Enabled.

Do you have an RSS icon or link on your website?

If you answered Yes, then you are Web 2.0 Enabled.

If you answered No, then you are not Web 2.0 Enabled, you must try harder to get with the programme.

04 Apr 2006, 11:31: Jeff Jaffe
Novell's CTO, Jeff Jaffe, has launched his blog. I'd love to add it to Planet SUSE, but want to ask his permission first. Could someone at Novell ask him to drop me a line?

And anyone else who hacks on SUSE who blogs, or plans to blog too [:)]

Update: A couple of people have emailed me to say they've contacted Jeff, no-one else need do so now...

04 Apr 2006, 09:28: Work status
Well, managed to achieve nothing yesterday[1], so today really need to make good progress on PT203c, and hopefully make a start on CTW203. Just couldn't quite get focused yesterday after being thrown by the laptop situation. Need to nip up to college as well today, so it's going to be a squeeze as far as getting stuff done is concerned.

By the end of the week, I really need to have PT203a&c, both elements of BS205 and CTW203 complete, so I can attack PT201 (which is much longer) over the remaining two weeks of the vacation. Good job I've left this Friday unplanned as a catch-up day. May need it.

[1]Well, that's not quite true. I actually made a couple of corrections in the Romans bit of BS205 and did the footer for PT203c.

03 Apr 2006, 11:08: Weekend
So, what did we do over the weekend (and my word, it's been a long time since I blogged before today!)? Well, we went down to Knightsbridge where we had a photo shoot done at Studio64. It was a prize in something Amanda entered, and we were made up and our hair done for it. The results are in the gallery - check them out.

Looks like it's probbaly the backlights that have gone in the notebook, which is something of a relief if that is all it is. Could be so much worse.

03 Apr 2006, 09:40: Dead notebook display
Well, okay, note quite dead, but very, very dim. [:(]

My Acer Aspire's display is very very dim and dull today since I powered it on, and in fact at one point almost totally blacked out. Thankfully I was able to SSH to it and rsync my $HOME onto another machine.

Have called a local notebook repair place, and am waiting for them to get back to me with details, and hopefully an estimate on the cost.

Really hope it's an easy and cheap fix, can't really afford to replace it (it's out of warranty).

21 Mar 2006, 21:38: Anniversary

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary, we've been out for a lovely italian meal, which was fantastic.

Birmingham 0-7 Liverpool - RAR!

Updated banshee packages to the latest version, and added subpackage, banshee-plugins-default to match the SUSE package nomenclature.

19 Mar 2006, 22:06: Sunday

Well, as of today, my placement at St Luke's has officially concluded. We're going to stay at the church as much as is possible though, they've been really great to us.

Liverpool beat Newcastle 3-1 this afternoon, pretty confident for third place in the Premiership now, but with Man Utd having two games in hand over us, I think second would be a bit optimistic.

18 Mar 2006, 15:52: Packaging

Okay, first usr local bin packages for Factory/10.1 are available now. I've not updated the instructions of how to obtain them yet, but you can download them from here, or add that location as a YaST2 source (or YaST2 repository in Smart). The packages available so far are:

  • banshee
  • beagle
  • gnome-themes-extras
  • sensors-applet
  • tomboy
  • ulb-themes
Of course, they're all the latest versions, and any dependencies are also available. These are all i586, i686 or noarch packages, but should rebuild fine on x86_64 or ppc.

12 Mar 2006, 22:11: Palm annoyance

My wretched Palm m105 has done it again! Batteries were running low, so I swapped them for new ones, and even though I did well within the minutes you supposedly have before data loss, everything went again! I'm this close ][ to giving up on the bloody thing. And, I've found the PDA that I think I would like to replace it with (if I could afford it of course), the Palm T|X (with a 2GB expansion card).

Now, in comparison with my ideal portable device it has two shortcomings:

  • It's not a phone. Now, I know that Palm also make the Treo smartphones, but they're really expensive, and don't have the memory expansion slot that the T|X has. But to be honest, integrating my phone in with my PDA is not a deal breaker.
  • No DAB digital radio. That would just be wishful thinking.
Of course, even better would be the LifeDrive [:)]

11 Mar 2006, 22:38: A couple of links...

...to sum up Saturday.

A lazy lie in, followed by tweaking my CTW202 essay slightly was followed by heading into Nottingham where we had lunch at one of Nottingham's Slug and Lettuces, which was nice. Hadn't been before, but it was good food, and the wine was excellent.

Are you an alumnus of Lancaster University? Were you a user of LuBBs while you were there? Missed it since you left? Then your self on to LuBBs Alumni (or should that be AlUMNi?), the replacement bulletin board for ex-lubbers. Notable by their presence are myself, HAZEL, THE RIBENA KID, TENEBREUX, PI, MORDRED, MR BLUE SKY, TESCHI (WOWBAGGER), PHOENIX. Notable by their absence? You! Get it sorted now, register baby!

10 Mar 2006, 17:04: Friday

BS202 is approaching being finished. Got down to it at about 15.00 today after the college community day. I was on a small team that cleared out the games room/gym. So we can now actually get at all the equipment in there. Who knows, I may start using the exercise bike in there...

Timo: Cool beans! And hey, get Christian blogging! [:)]

Update: BS202 finished! It and CTW202 will be handed in Monday morning.

09 Mar 2006, 15:53: We'll always have Istanbul

Wasn't able to see the match as it was on Sky Sports, and to be honest given the outcome and apparently woeful display by our forwards, especially Morientes, I'm quite glad. I still have photos from that night in May up in my study, and this year there's still the FA Cup, and who knows, we could still get past Man Utd for second in the Premiership.

BS202: 874 words ...

Update: BS202: 2066 words ...

08 Mar 2006, 22:22: Achievements

  • CTW202 finished. In fact, I went over the upper word limit, and had to edit it down.
  • Bled all our radiators and re-pressurised the boiler this evening, which has allowed the house to be a lot warmer than it has been in a long time. [:)]

08 Mar 2006, 11:55: Wednesday

Wow, another ton of updates from Factory. One thing I've discovered is that Smart isn't happy with doing a full Factory update, this is (I suspect) because when you download over 2G of packages which it then has to install, it has to put the lot in memory (look at the output from free -m next time you do so if you're a Factory/Smart user like me). Some more investigation will probably result in a bug report, but for now I'm going to gradually do packages that are important to me or do it in YaST, which I think does each package individually.

We've had another rash of new members of the Planet SUSE community: Fred and Timo. Welcome on board guys. Planet itself is moving apace towards a 1.0 release and I'm going to make sure I do a package for 10.1.

CTW202 was at just over 1200 words when I left it last night, hoping to knock it off this afternoon, and then get on to BS202 (and who knows, with a couple of hours open tomorrow afternoon I could have it done by then). Will be working into the evening today, even though Amanda's going to be home tonight - normally I only work at home when she's out, but this time I have left it a bit late - oops!

Hopefully while I'm doing so, Liverpool can see off Benfica at Anfield.

07 Mar 2006, 16:27: Monday

Yesterday was the college quiet day, and my fellowship group went down to Edwalton to share communion before spending the morning in quiet prayer, reading etc.

Last night was the latest Worship Space evening at college. I was leading the meeting, and Mike was supposed to be speaking but unfortunately broke down on the way, so I spoke instead. Seemed to go well, so that's good.

Attacking CTW202 tonight. It and BS202 are due in on Monday.

05 Mar 2006, 22:32: Factory

Loving the goodness, reporting bugs, ranting on the opensuse-factory list. This is good, and I like it.


  • Package up Gimmie, and patch it to behave right on SUSE
  • Do all the appropriate usr local bin packages
  • Okay, mad idea, but a way for me to get into C#/Mono programming, want to write a replacement for the (frankly awful) ooqstart (that seems to have been dropped in 10.1) using Mono/gtk-sharp. Plan is for it to use the Notification Area, and perform basically the same function as the Quickloader that OOo itself provides on win32. Whether it'll happen or not, I dunno but hey, might as well think about it...

A while ago a posted information on how to obtain and configure commercial plugins on SUSE Linux OSS 10.0 along with a package, setup-commercial-plugins, to do the leg-work for you.

Well, you don't have to do that any more thanks to the wonderful magic of the "Extra" repository. This has been around a while, but I've never mentioned it because shortly after posting that information, I switched to the boxed version of 10.0.

Anyway, you can get them directly from here, or you can add ftp://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/suse/ftp.suse.com/suse/i386/10.1/inst-source-extra/ as an installation source in YaST, or as a YaST2 channel in Smart (I'll be doing the latter). You don't need the extra package, SUSE's packages put the plugins in the right place.

Incidentally, you can get smart and smart-gui for the Betas/Factory from here.

Update: You can get the MS TrueType font collection by downloading and running (as root) this script.

04 Mar 2006, 12:10: Blair and God


Blair: "If you believe in God (the judgement) is made by God."
Reg Keys[1]: Mr Blair was "using God as a get-out for total strategic failure".

Blair was also asked if he had prayed about whether to invade Iraq, and said that of course he wrestled with his conscience.

My inclination is that Mr Keys is right here. Blair is trying use God to deflect difficult questioning. No-one is suggesting that praying about a decision is wrong, but saying "you can't judge me, God will" (paraphrase) is bang out of order for an elected leader.

This is (one reason) why we need to separate church and state, and why the US is the poorer for the continuing erosion of that separation to the point where you can't get elected unless you're seen to go to church.

I should also point out that the church and faith communities across the world have been very vocal in their condemnation of the unjust. immoral and illegal invasion of Iraq.

Three cheers for new Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, for putting pressure on Blair to push for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp (ref).

[1]Reg Keys' son was killed in Iraq, and Mr Keys stood as an anti-war candidate against Mr Blair in his Sedgewick constituency at the last General Election.

03 Mar 2006, 15:41: Election over

Polling closed at 14.00 yesterday, and the result will be announced in Morning Prayer today (08.00). So, I've removed the links to my campaign site from my sidebar, and between all four candidates, we've cleared college of all campaign literature ready for the Vice-President election for which nominations close at 16.00 today.

Update: I can now confirm that the new student president will be Mr Chris Ramsey. Congratulations to Chris.

02 Mar 2006, 07:13: Deja Vu

Roger: Congrats! I think I cracked your cryptic code, so are there any of the old gang still there?

01 Mar 2006, 22:07: Mardis Gras
I did feel pretty "gras" by the end of yesterday I have to say. Had some lovely pancakes with Amanda before heading over to Karen's for a murder mystery night. Also provided was a three course (!) dinner with, yes you guessed, pancakes for dessert. Yum, but fat.

So, today's Ash Wednesday of course, first day of Lent, and this year I've given up a few items that probably have some hold over me: caffeine, chocolate and sweets (barring mints - that would be unfair on those around me[1]).

Laptop is currently installing 10.1 beta 5 (well, it's probably asking for CD3 at the moment, and will simply have to wait till I get home). After checking that the partitioner wouldn't blat my existing /home, I realised that I wanted to redo my whole partition table anyway. So, I ended up backing everything up onto weasel (Amanda's machine) and removing all the Linux partitions before starting over. Have to say that the new bootsplash theme is pretty gorgeous.

[1]And to be honest, being around me while I give up caffeine for Lent is unfair enough on them...

28 Feb 2006, 06:56: Campaign trail

Well, things went a bit quiet in the election over reading week, but they're going to hot up today as I, and the other three candidates, are introduced to students at the Midlands Centre for Youth Ministry and some of the students from Partner Churches. (We'll then do the same with a different group of each tomorrow). Good to have a chance to answer a couple of questions, and say a little bit about why I believe that students should be represented by me.

I'm not expecting to win the election - that would be crazy (and so much hubris), but with four candidates and a Single Transferable Vote system - who knows...

If you're a St John's student, be sure to fill in your ballot paper in full, ranking all four candidates, remembering that who you choose as choices 2-4 will not affect the chances of who you choose as choice 1.

26 Feb 2006, 09:14: On the factory floor

Well, I like AJ's response to my query about the partitioner in Beta5, so I think I'm dropping 10.0 (and with it support for it within usr-local-bin).

Thing is that I've run out of CDs to burn, so I need to pick up a fresh spool before doing the install.


Thinking about switching my laptop to Factory, and while this potentially screws up my package building (certainly means no more usr local bin packages for 10.0) I've been getting really frustrated with using 10.0 with the supplementary GNOME packages. My big problem is bug #152399. At the moment whenever I want to upgrade, I'm having to let Smart remove evolution (and any packages that depend on it) and then reinstall all of them (and at that point let Smart downgrade evolution-data-server and gnome-panel).

So, I've got the ISOs for 10.1 Beta5 downloaded, and I'm planning to use them as the starting point for my Factory transition if I like the response to this mail on the Factory list.

Thing is that at the moment, Factory isn't what I'd envisioned it being back in September. My vision back then was to have two permanent trees within the OpenSUSE project (which would equate to what are currently named Stable and Factory), with a third (Beta) being created a fork from Factory when the beta program for each release started. It would then become the Stable tree at release. Thing is that, although at the moment there are apparently three trees in play: Stable, Factory and Current (10.1 Beta 5), the Current tree (ie what I would expect to be the Beta tree) is basically a stripped down version of Factory made into ISOs.

I think that Factory should be a no-holds-barred bleeding edge tree. If it's not likely to blow a hole in your CPU, order pizza on your credit card or sleep with your daughter, then it's too safe for Factory! It's quite simply not that though, and that's probably because it's the same as the Beta tree. There has to be some degree of stability in Beta[1] because of the intention of it being used to iron out bugs for the next stable release, but Factory should be for moving forward. Example: Factory should have GNOME 2.13.x in. It should currently be carrying the first release candidate of 2.14, but it's not, it still has 2.12. This not only means that it's not fulfilling what I think its remit should be, but it also means that GNOME 2.13/2.14 is not getting the testing it could be getting from the OpenSUSE community.

On the future of my packages, once we have the Build Service available, that issue is done I suppose, and that's likely to be before 10.2. Also, this is around the time in the beta process that I normally switch to the incoming version anyway.

In other news, a whole bunch of OpenSUSE types are at FOSDEM - have a great time guys!

[1]Reckless new package manager not withstanding [;)]

25 Feb 2006, 18:29: WPA in NetworkManager

Rob: That rocks pretty hard - nice one. Can't wait to see it land in Factory.

24 Feb 2006, 10:32: Xgl

Well, I installed Xgl this morning, using the instructions found here (also updated it to have the correct versions of packages it links to) and I have to say it simply rocks my socks.

Might have to add a note to that page about having to manually edit gdm.conf but otherwise, went very smoothly.

One thing that's annoying me is that when I have a conversation window open in Gaim and the person I'm chatting to types something, that window now grabs focus. Quite confusing when I was in the middle of typing an email... [;)]

20 Feb 2006, 16:47: Banshee

Banshee 0.10.6 is out, and you can get packages for SUSE from the usual place (updated ipod-sharp packages too).

College reading week this week, and I have a 1,500 word reflection to write by Thursday - shouldn't be a prob. Also on my TODO list for this week:

  • Finally update the full GStreamer 0.10 stack for 10.0
  • Write a piece on the importance of a political system for appointing student representatives
  • Prepare for leading worship at St Luke's on Sunday

16 Feb 2006, 19:48: Nominated

Today I was nominated for Student President, and so the campaign really began this afternoon. Posters have gone up, and manifestos made available. Have spent a fair amount of time pressing the flesh as well.

Tomorrow's my mother's birthday, and since I know she reads my blog, Happy Birthday Mum!

14 Feb 2006, 21:34: Elections

It's time again for college elections, and hopefully by the end of this week I will have my nomination in for student president, along with Jenny and Chris who are already nominated. I've launched my campaign website, and my literature is ready for deployment at college.

11 Feb 2006, 17:22: Saturday

  • Uploaded new banshee (0.10.5) and gimp-unstable (2.3.7) packages. Note the change in package name from gimp-beta - this is to match the SUSE nomenclature for this package.
  • Tonight is the College Revue, with myself and Marc as comperes. Reckon it should be a good night, and will hopefully have photos available after the event.

10 Feb 2006, 06:57: Xgl in Factory!

Check it out. A mail sent yesterday by Andreas J to the announce mailing list mentioned that Xgl is now in Factory.

Here's the mail - it's the final paragraph that you should read.

07 Feb 2006, 23:22: Tuesday

Michael, my DDO was in college today, met up with him this afternoon for an hour and had a good and fruitful chat.

Have sent a patch with the Tomboy changes to Alex for him to check before I commit.

Novell has announced its contribution of the Xgl subsystem to the X.org project and boy is it schweet! Check out the videos, especially the spinning cube. Eye-candy-a-plenty. Can't wait to see this starting to be utilised.

06 Feb 2006, 22:03: Tomboy

Tomboy changes are now ready to commit, just need to make sure I don't need to include any dependency checks for the two plugins in question. A day away from the code (at college) and then revisiting allowed me to see that I'd missed a $ in my checks for Fixed Width.

05 Feb 2006, 22:12: Weekend

Preached at St Luke's this morning: Jesus in the power of the Spirit: Healing. Seemed to go pretty well, although will have to watch it back before being sure of that. It was my video-assessed sermon. What got it off to a really good (!) start was that the clip-on mic decided to fail just as I was starting after we checked it before the service. I had to go grab the handheld, and in doing so dropped part of my notes on the floor. Anyway, none of this was the end of the world.

Working on allowing the non-core plugins for Tomboy to be enabled by the configure script, but for some reason the fixed width plugin doesn't get enabled. Sure it's something simple I'm missing, but as far as I can tell I've basically done the same for it and for Note of the Day, but NotD works. Could be at the can't see the wood for the trees point, so will revisit.

Think I'm coming down with a cold, which is pretty sucky, or it could just be my body not quite knowing how to process the fact that this evening I ate a meal that contained nothing but vegetables - I made a very hot chili-stir fry vegetable dish, and it was gorgeous. Blew our heads off though.

Liverpool really need to get back to winning. The 2-0 loss to Chelsea today puts us six points behind Man Utd, the two games in hand potentially put us level on points, but they have a far superior goal difference.

03 Feb 2006, 18:16: Friday

tomboy package updated to version 0.3.5 and new sub-package, tomboy-plugins added.

Pretty full day at college today; preparing for the College Revue followed by prep for Thursday night's service this afternoon.

02 Feb 2006, 21:07: Fix my bug!

Big thanks to William Jon McCann who has fixed my bug in gnome-screensaver. There are fixed packages of the latest CVS version available now.

Congrats to Davis and Ann on the birth of their child.

01 Feb 2006, 23:32: Santa Monica Boulevard

After cell group tonight went and joined the college Karaoke Night at the Double Top pub. Time was short to register before the night was up, so I recklessly chose the first song I saw that I knew I know. It was All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow (or, All I Wann Do by Cheryl Crow as it appeared in their list). Big mistake as it's about 4 keys too high for me. Maybe next time I'll do Every Rose Has Its Thorn...

01 Feb 2006, 16:33: Pimp my bug!

I have a gnome-screensaver bug open.

It's GNOME bug #329311 and Novell bug #146434.

Fix it, and if you're ever in the Nottingham area, a beer on me is yours.

(I know it's not quite GNOME Bounties, but I'm not made of money... [:)])

01 Feb 2006, 16:13: History

Have removed the Make Poverty History banners from my site and Planet SUSE because the organisation has reached the end of its intended lifespan. Don't forget to keep keep campaigning though. There are many organisations with campaigns happening in 2006. Please join at least one, and continue to make a difference.

31 Jan 2006, 22:11: GStreamer

Updated gstreamer010-plugins-good to enable the libcaca plugin. That means that the only plugin not enabled now (in good anyway) is sunaudiosink. Since we don't have a SPARC port at this time, I don't really consider that a big issue [;)]

Also built gstreamer010-ffmpeg and at some point I think I'm going to do a gstreamer010-complete meta-package that will pull the whole lot in.

31 Jan 2006, 17:10: Tomboy/Galago

Someone else found my Galago bug in Tomboy, and it's fixed. Looking forward to that new release. In the meantime, new packages with all the other plugins enabled have been uploaded. Have then made the necessary changes to tomboy.spec to strip out the plugins as a a sub-package tomboy-plugins.

Have had an Inbox purge, was previously at around 250 mails and I got to the point saying, again, Happy Zero Day!

30 Jan 2006, 22:25: Monday catchup

  • Packages: tomboy 0.3.4, beagle 0.2.1 (currently building)
    Tomboy package doesn't currently include the new Galago presence plugin because it wouldn't build - need to investigate why at some point and then fix it (if needs be). It also doesn't include any of the new plugins that are not installed by default, new packages to do so will appear soon.
  • Church: Started working on my sermon for Sunday. The passages are Luke 5:17-26 and Isaiah 11:1-5.
  • Today is my brother Philip's birthday. Somehow it just seems wrong that both of my younger brothers are in their late 20s...

28 Jan 2006, 15:55: Saturday updates

Have uploaded updates to the full GStreamer 0.10 stack - including plugins (although, please note that plugins-bad has simply been rebuilt against the updated main package to meet the dependencies). Also updated are gnonlin and pitivi.

26 Jan 2006, 23:41: Thursday

Uploaded updated gnome-python-extras and rhythmbox packages (i586 and i686 architectures). This is because PackMan updated their totem package which screwed the dependencies of SUSE's latest packages. This weekend I'll be building the latest gstreamer010* packages, as well as the latest pitivi.

Been out for a curry with various people from college tonight, and it was a fantastic evening. Seriously beer and curried out! [:)]

This week it's been announced that the West Wing is to be cancelled after season seven. I have to say that this is no surprise as it'll be a natural point in the plot arc to call it a day, but I'm still in mourning for the passing of the most erudite, intelligent and witty political drama in a long, long time.

Bartlett for America!

21 Jan 2006, 15:30: Beagle 0.2.0

Beagle 0.2.0 has been released, and I've uploaded SUSE packages. Note that the beagle-firefox package is currently empty, because it's not installed by make install. I'm assuming this is because it doesn't work with Firefox 1.5. The package remains to ensure RPM database sanity. Since Joe had a screenshot of it, I figured I would too...


19 Jan 2006, 23:14: Smart

Have finally got around to putting instructions up on how to access my packages using Smart. They're listed along with all the other methods, and have supplanted APT as my preferred option.

19 Jan 2006, 20:47: Now you see it...
Damn, this looks good (from beagle/ChangeLog):
2006-01-19  Lukas Lipka  <*****@*****.***>

        * search/Search.cs: Hide the search window when we click the tray icon.
        This must have been deleted during merge, since it worked before.
        Spotted by James Ogley.

That's my patch that is! [:)] New packages have of course been uploaded and are available for your searching pleasure.

Have been at home today, was ill overnight and pretty rough this morning. Thankfully feeling better now so will be able to be back at college tomorrow.

18 Jan 2006, 19:22: Wail like a ...

... Banshee!

That's right folks, Aaron has released version 0.10.4. It includes a full-on plugin infrastructure, as well as four plugins to get you started. When more are added, I'll strip them out into a sub-package. There's a funky new tooltip on the notification icon too. Not sure, but it looks like it uses libnotify, and that's just packed with creamy goodness! [:)]

Guess where you can get SUSE packages! Go on, have a guess!

17 Jan 2006, 18:37: Beagle again

Hope no-one's getting bored of Beagle stuff [:)] Currently road-testing more new Beagle packages. These represent a massive 24 hours (or thereabouts) worth of CVS commits. More to the point they represent my first non-translation contribution to Beagle (See bug #327223). Most of the commits are to the new UI, which is the point of me doing this round of packages, so it made sense.

16 Jan 2006, 17:45: Beagle

Uploaded new Beagle packages (versioned 0.1.5, which is today's CVS). These use the new UI and it's seriously cool. Have followed the new SUSE package naming and stripped out a couple of extra sub-packages, so here's the full list of what's been uploaded:

beagle-0.1.5-1.0.i586.rpm            beagle-firefox-0.1.5-1.0.i586.rpm
beagle-0.1.5-1.0.i686.rpm beagle-firefox-0.1.5-1.0.i686.rpm
beagle-0.1.5-1.0.src.rpm beagle-python-0.1.5-1.0.i586.rpm
beagle-devel-0.1.5-1.0.i586.rpm beagle-python-0.1.5-1.0.i686.rpm
beagle-devel-0.1.5-1.0.i686.rpm libbeagle-0.1.5-1.0.i586.rpm
beagle-epiphany-0.1.5-1.0.i586.rpm libbeagle-0.1.5-1.0.i686.rpm
beagle-epiphany-0.1.5-1.0.i686.rpm libbeagle-devel-0.1.5-1.0.i586.rpm
beagle-evolution-0.1.5-1.0.i586.rpm libbeagle-devel-0.1.5-1.0.i686.rpm

16 Jan 2006, 08:14: Weekend

Spent the weekend celebrating Amanda's birthday, which was yesterday. Went out for a lovely meal Saturday night at Trattoria Antonio in Nottingham.

Have also spent some of the weekend wrestling with Beagle CVS and SUSE's patches. I think I've won at last so by the end of today I hope to have packages uploaded that use the new UI (formerly briefly known as Holmes).

13 Jan 2006, 07:59: Friday the Thirteenth

Unlucky for some... [;)]

Add Danny to Planet SUSE. Danny works for SUSE, on mobile devices. (Does that mean laptops, or PDAs?)

We're gradually getting Bailey used to his new home, and to being handled and he's starting to get quite friendly which is nice.

11 Jan 2006, 19:04: Wednesday

Wrote just over 2100 words on CTW201 today, and handed both it and BS203 in. In fact, CTW201 went in on the stroke of 16.00 (the deadline) and boy was it a relief!

10 Jan 2006, 23:41: Tuesday

Uploaded new abiword packages of version 2.4.2. These come with a fully loaded plugin set across the two plugin sub-packages.

We got our new hamster at the weekend - he's a long-haired honey rust, and his name is Bailey.

BS203 exam on Monday seemed to go okay. The text study for it, and the CTW201 essay are due in tomorrow.

07 Jan 2006, 11:25: Saturday

Big thanks to Stanislav for the two-line patch to enable cdparanoia in gstreamer010-plugins-base. I realised when I looked at his why mine didn't work - I was making the same changes to configure that he was making to configure.ac, but of course I was then running autoconf and obliterating my changes - daft bugger! Anyway, those packages are now built and uploaded, and by the way, that means that all the plugins in that particular set are now enabled and included in my package. Will start trying to make some head-way on enabling the missing ones in good and ugly too. bad is less of a priority [;)]"

Really should do a downloadable channel information file for my packages to add them to Smart, especially now that Pascal has built packages with the YaST2 repository support enabled but for the time being you can do:

smart channel --add usr-local-bin-yast2 type=yast2 name="usr local bin 10.0" \

We're going down to Watford today, seeing various people and then tomorrow we're picking up our new hamster - rock on!

06 Jan 2006, 16:35: Friday

  • Uploaded updated gstreamer010-plugins-base packages that remove the broken post install and uninstall scripts - expect an error when upgrading as the previous version's broken uninstall script is run. Thanks to Stanislav will be doing another update with the cdparanoia plugin enabled.
  • CTW201: 625 words

04 Jan 2006, 16:10: Banshee

I've uploaded packages of Banshee that use GStreamer 0.10, and add support for NJB based MP3 players (Creative Nomad, Zen, Zen Micro, Dell DJ, and more). The GStreamer 0.10 backend is experimental at this time, so be careful [:)]

03 Jan 2006, 14:33: GStreamer stuff

Just before Christmas, I noticed that SUSE had built GStreamer 0.10.x packages and put them in the GNOME supplementary repository (package name is gstreamer010), but hadn't built any of the plugins to go with it.

So, I've uploaded what you need: gstreamer010-plugins-[base/good/bad/ugly] as well as gstreamer010-python (Python bindings) and pitivi, a new video editing application (and gnonlin another library it requires). PiTiVi is very much a case of only use it if you want to help fix it - be sure to report any bugs to the developers.

Oh yes, anyone who wants to know why the plugins have been divided as they are should read this.

02 Jan 2006, 22:57: VMware Player

Thanks, Stephan, this could be a really handy way of maintaining multiple VMs for package maintenance on different versions of SUSE, I shall have aplay with it...

Well, 2005 was an incredible year for a variety of reasons. This isn't going to be anything like a review of the year, but just some thoughts.

First off, the most important thing that happened last year was the MakePovertyHistory campaign. 2005 was a year to remember, and combined with the Live8 concerts (which revived the notion of the rock concert as demonstration) have actually made a genuine change in the world. I think it was Bono who said that this generation will be remembered for three things: the Internet; the War of Terror; and the way we treat the world's poor. In July, 250,000 people took to the streets of Edinburgh to tell the leaders of the G8 that we need to treat them better. This has always been about aid, debt and trade, and some movement happened, but we need more.

So, what have we achieved? The G8 summit signalled an extra $48bn a year in aid by 2010 (of which up to $20bn is new commitments). But this is nowhere near enough, the pressure needs to stay on the world's politicians. The G8 also agreed to cancel up to $1bn per year of debt for 18 of the world's poorest countries, but this still needs to be ratified by the IMF and World Bank, and is a fraction of the $10bn per year needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The area where the least has been achieved has been in the area of Trade Justice where the rich countries, including the UK, EU and USA favoured their own interests over the world's poor at the WTO Ministerial conference in December. Read full details of what was achieved in 2005.

So, what do we do in 2006? Well, maybe it's time to match talking and demonstrating about poverty with action. Oxfam have launched a campaign to get 1,000,000 people committed to act to end poverty, so sign up to say "I'm in". By no means should stop campaigning though, join the Million Faces petition to demand a global arms trade treaty, and campaign to make trade fair.

2005 has an incredible year, hopefully 2006 can be even bigger.