Graphical installer for Debian GNU/kFreeBSD

September 12, 2010

Now that Debian’s graphical installer flavour has migrated to X11, porting it to GNU/kFreeBSD became a low hanging fruit, so I shamelessly picked it up and here comes a version of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD installer with graphical support.

Oh, and a screenshot too:



Debian Installer with ZFS

September 6, 2010

Long time no see… Not much hacking in the last few months. Not much ranting either (some of you I’m sure will appreciate ;-).

Anyway, I recently grew excited to learn that ZFS is coming to Debian. I decided to bite the bullet, patched the missing bits in GRUB and Parted, a few small changes in D-I and there’s now a modified Debian Installer with ZFS support for you to play with. Enjoy!

Note1: I didn’t have time or interest in warping D-I into the N:1:M model used in ZFS. Instead, this installer assumes each zpool has exactly one device and exactly one filesystem.

Note2: Don’t ask for i386, it was intentionally left out. ZFS is designed with modern CPUs in mind. It can work on i386 with special tuning but I don’t want to encourage users to do this unless they’re well aware of what they’re doing.

Cooperative geolocation

January 29, 2010

I’m about as much annoyed by geolocation as everyone else, but I think this controversial proposal for cooperative geolocation is a good thing.

Up untill now, geolocation is being imposed on you by using an IP-to-location map. With cooperative geolocation, you’re the one in control. You can disable it if it bothers you. Perhaps you can even pretend to be somewhere else (useful e.g. when traveling), assuming they didn’t add any idiotic authority-based authentication to it (which I didn’t check).

GRUB gets new face

January 11, 2010

My friend Jo Shields added the missing piece by writing the first theme that fit the basic requirements (uses only legal & free fonts and images with no external dependencies), and now GRUB gets a new face!

This is just one of the ton of possibilities our new graphical menu framework was designed for. If you want to try it out, grub-pc 1.98~experimental.20100111.1-1 has just been uploaded to Debian/experimental. For non-Debian systems, Jo’s blog post provides a standalone tarball which can be used with GRUB Experimental branch in Bazaar.

Many thanks to everyone who made this possible, including Jo, Colin for developing the gfxmenu framework and Vladimir for his extensive work reviewing and polishing it.

Now for the obvious question (before anyone asks): when is this reaching mainstream? Well, there’s lots of code being added, and keep in mind GRUB is a bootloader and it must not compromise on its main feature (being able to boot!), so we need a pack of brave souls to try out the code, find bugs and report them. Once we’re reasonably sure the new code is mature, it’ll find its way to GRUB trunk and eventually GRUB 1.98. So you can help us out! Install it; spread the news; make your desktop a bit nicer and come to us if you find that something went terribly wrong ;-)

Gnote 0.7.0

December 31, 2009

I was very glad today to discover (yes, shame on me for not noticing earlier) that the Gnote project has come back to activity. A new maintainer, Debarshi Ray, has just released 0.7.0.

I’m very pleased to see that Gnote continues being maintained. It’s even more important now, as Fedora ships it in its default GNOME desktop, and so does gNewSense (the 100% free GNU/Linux distribution). It’s nice to see that the community doesn’t let down those who, for one reason or another, committed to Gnote and put their weight on it.

As for me, now that 0.6.2 has migrated to testing, I’ll get back to rolling out package updates. Expect 0.7.0 to land in Debian sid soon!

Multiple GRUB terminals

December 25, 2009

To be found in Vladimir’s “multiple terminal” branch, GRUB 2 displays in multiple terminals simultaneously, with a separate menu viewer for each one, resulting in menus with different metrics rendering the same content!

In this screenshot, GRUB running in QEMU with a serial terminal attached to it in a separate window:

Expect this to land in GRUB Experimental branch soon.

GRUB i18n

December 21, 2009

Better late than never. We promised internationalization and here comes GRUB with gettext support. Many thanks to Carles Pina for bringing GRUB a bit closer to end users.

Here’s GRUB menu in Catalan:

GRUB menu

And here’s the Catalan version of GRUB command-line interface:

GRUB command-line

Help is much welcome from translators who want to add their own languages! Like many other GNU projects, translation support for GRUB is coordinated by the Translation Project. If you’re excited by the idea that your strings will be the very first localized message that is displayed on every user’s box, or simply want to bring our cause for computer freedom further, get in touch with your language team.

GRUB on Yeeloong reaching maturity

December 12, 2009

From preliminar/experimental port to almost-complete in 48 days. Nice work, Vladimir.

GRUB gfxterm on Yeeloong

GRUB news

November 18, 2009

This is being a busy month for GRUB. Quick catch-up of GRUB news:

fake DSNs

October 26, 2009

Dear lazyweb, this morning I got bitten by fake Delivery Status Notifications. You’ve probably seen this a thousand times:

  • Spammer sends mail to non-existant user in existant domain.
  • Idiotic mail service accepts mail, even though:
    • My domain’s SPF record is telling them not to.
    • Destination address doesn’t even exist.
  • Another component of idiotic mail service (hurray for qmail modularity!) realizes this address is invalid, and generates a DSN for the mail sender, even though they don’t really know who that is.
  • I receive a gazillon of bounces informing me that some mail I didn’t send couldn’t be delivered.
  • Do you know of any blacklist containing all hosts and/or domains that do this?

    Alternatively, I think a blacklist containing all qmail domains would probably cover most of it.