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Programming/Development: Minicoin, GNU Gengetop and Python

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  • Building and testing on multiple platforms – introducing minicoin

    While working with large-scale (thousands of hosts), distributed (globally) systems, one of my favourite, albeit somewhat gruesome, metaphors was that of “servers as cattle” vs “servers as pets”. Pet-servers are those we groom manually, we keep them alive, and we give them nice names by which to remember and call (ie ssh into) them. However, once you are dealing with hundreds of machines, manually managing their configuration is no longer an option. And once you have thousands of machines, something will break all the time, and you need to be able to provision new machines quickly, and automatically, without having to manually follow a list of complicated instructions.

    When working with such systems, we use configuration management systems such as CFEngine, Chef, Puppet, or Ansible, to automate the provisioning and configuration of machines. When working in the cloud, the entire machine definition becomes “infrastructure as code”. With these tools, servers become cattle which – so the rather unvegetarian idea – is simply “taken behind the barn and shot” when it doesn’t behave like it should. We can simply bring a new machine, or an entire environment, up by running the code that defines it. We can use the same code to bring production, development, and testing environments up, and we can look at the code to see exactly what the differences between those environments are. The tooling in this space is fairly complex, but even so there is little focus on developers writing native code targeting multiple platforms.

    For us as developers, the machine we write our code on is most likely a pet. Our primary workstation dying is the stuff for nightmares, and setting up a new machine will probably keep us busy for many days. But this amount of love and care is perhaps not required for those machines that we only need for checking whether our code builds and runs correctly. We don’t need our test machines to be around for a long time, and we want to know exactly how they are set up so that we can compare things. Applying the concepts from cloud computing and systems engineering to this problem lead me (back) to Vagrant, which is a popular tool to manage virtual machines locally and to share development environments.

  • GNU Gengetopt - News: 2.23 released

    New version (2.23) was released. Main changes were in build system, so please report any issues you notice.

  • Abolishing SyntaxError: invalid syntax ...

    Do you remember when you first started programming (possibly with Python) and encountered an error message that completely baffled you? For some reason, perhaps because you were required to complete a formal course or because you were naturally persistent, you didn't let such messages discourage you entirely and you persevered. And now, whenever you see such cryptic error messages, you can almost immediately decipher them and figure out what causes them and fix the problem.

  • Sending email with EZGmail and Python
  • Creating and Importing Modules in Python

More in Tux Machines

xfce4-terminal 0.9.0 development release

  Welcome back! Since I became maintainer of xfce4-terminal I've worked on replacing deprecated parts of the codebase, closing old bugs and merging Merge Requests which have been sitting around for a while. Read more

Emmanuele Bassi: GWeather next

Libgweather, the small GNOME library that queries weather services, is getting a major version bump to allow applications using it to be ported to GTK4. In the beginning, there was a weather applet in the GNOME panel. It had a bunch of code that poked at a couple of websites to get the weather information for a given airport or weather observation stations, and shipped with a list of locations and their nearest METAR code. In 2007, the relevant code was moved to its own separate repository, so that other applications and system settings could reuse the same code as the panel applet: the libgweather library was born. Aside from the basic weather information and location objects, libgweather also had a couple of widgets: one for selecting a location (with autocompletion), and one for selecting a timezone using a location. Since libgweather was still very much an ad hoc library for a handful of applications, there was no explicit API and ABI stability guarantee made by its maintainers; in fact, in order to use it, you had to “opt in” with a specific C pre-processor symbol. Time passed, and a few more applications appeared during the initial GNOME 3 cycles—like Weather, followed by Clocks a month later. Most of the consumers of libgweather were actually going through a language binding, which meant they were not really “opting into” the API through the explicit pre-processor symbol; it also meant that changes in the API and ABI could end up being found only after a libgweather release, instead of during a development cycle. Of course, back then, we only had a single CI/CD pipeline for the whole project, with far too little granularity and far too wide scope. Still, the GWeather consumers were few and far between, and the API was not stabilised. Read more Also GNOME: Alexander Larsson: Quadlet, an easier way to run system containers

today's leftovers

  • Realtek 802.11ax WiFi Driver "rtw89" Queued Ahead Of Linux 5.16 - Phoronix

    Arriving in the wireless-drivers-next branch this week is the "rtw89" driver as a Realtek-contributed open-source 802.11ax WiFi driver. This new rtw89 Linux Wifi driver is initially for supporting the Realtek 8852AE 802.11ax ASIC. A new driver was developed rather than extending the existing Realtek wireless kernel drivers since the register address ranges have been totally refined, new formats, and other fundamental changes over existing Realtek wireless chipsets.

  • SALSA Back In Development As A Small ALSA Library For Linux Systems - Phoronix

    Linux sound subsystem maintainer Takashi Iwai of SUSE is back to hacking on SALSA, the "small ALSA" library that he started a decade ago but hadn't seen a new release in six years or any code activity for the past four years... until this week.

  • Is Linux a Waste of Time and Should You Stick to Windows?

    But Linux is not bad just because it's different. Far from being a waste of time, Linux can be one of the most rewarding operating systems to learn, because once you gain knowledge about how it works, that knowledge lasts for a long time. No one company has the authority to substantially change how all of Linux works from one release to the next. So if you want a computer you can learn and stick with for a long time to come, Linux can be more than worth the investment of your time.

  • How We Hired Our Last Employee: Equitable Hiring Processes for Small (and Large) Organizations

    It's really hard for Conservancy to hire new employees. Like many small organization that are overloaded with work, it's hard to make the time to conduct a proper hiring process, and no one on staff is dedicated to making sure the process goes smoothly. Because it is very important to our organizational values to make sure that our hiring is fair and also that we wind up with the best person for the job, we were very careful in how we designed our search.

  • Week numbers in LibreOffic Calc

    I use week numbers for all sorts of things. It gives me more granularity than a month, and they’re more accurate for certain use cases. For example, people assume a month has four weeks, but 48 leaves us four weeks short of the 52 weeks in a year. Renters and mortgage payers know all to well the fun of realising a specific month has three payments, not two.

  • Google clarifies Spanner/PostgreSQL interface • The Register

    Google has clarified details of the interface between its popular distributed SQL database-management-cum-storage-service Spanner and the open-source RDBMS PostgreSQL. According to a blog published this week, Spanner's PostgreSQL interface uses "the familiarity and portability of PostgreSQL" to make developers' lives easier. "Teams can be assured that the schemas and queries they build against the Spanner PostgreSQL interface can be easily ported to another PostgreSQL environment, giving them flexibility and peace of mind," said Justin Makeig, product manager for Cloud Spanner.

  • It's Safety First as 'All Things Open' Returns In-Person on Sunday - FOSS Force

    On Sunday when All Thing’s Open kicks off at the Raleigh Convention Center it will mark a return to in-person events for the open source conference. Like most in-person events, last year ATO was forced to go digital in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. To use a term that tech usually reserves for cloud deployments, this year’s All Things Open will be a hybrid event — meaning it’ll take place as an in-person event at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and online for folks at home. Even the presentations will be hybrid, with some being live streamed as they take place before an in-person audience, and others being prerecorded and available only online. We asked Todd Lewis, the creator and chair of the event that in 2019 drew over 5,000 attendees, how it felt to be launching the in-person part of this years conference now that vaccinations have made that possible, despite the continuing spread of the COVID virus.

  • How to disable Gtk-Message warnings in your app
  • Legacy Social Media: Free as in Beer, Not as in Speech
  • A first for search and rescue from space

    "Once it was confirmed that we could detect the faint transmissions on-board I used 'GNU Radio' to build the signal processing system that would run on the satellite. GNU Radio is a free and open-source library that breaks down complex signal processing systems into simple blocks. The ability to reprogram the SDR payload for any type of signal demonstrates the versatility when open-source software is combined with a powerful space platform such as OPS-SAT."

Software Licence/Licensing in Russia and in EU (EUPL)

  • The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation has developed an open license - itsfoss.net

    In the git repository of the software complex “Data showcases of the NSUD”, developed by order of the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation, the text of the license entitled “State open license, version 1.1” was found. According to the explanatory text, the rights to the text of the license belong to the Ministry of Finance. The license is dated June 25, 2021. In fact, the license is permissive and close to the MIT license , but it was created with an eye on Russian legislation and is much more verbose. The terms of the license contain many clarifications, already following from the legislation of the Russian Federation. At the same time, the license contains controversial points in terms of definitions. Thus, the source code is defined as “a computer program in the form of text in a programming language that can be read by a person”, which does not necessarily imply the possibility of obtaining executable code from it, and also that this code is not generated from the real source code (that is, code in the preferred form for making changes).

  • Article from Krzysztof Żok, Faculty of Law - University of Poznań

    Krzysztof Żok, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland), publishes in the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology (volume 15, winter 2021) a well-documented article on the EUPL and in particular on the reference to “a work or software” as the factor determining the scope of the licence.

    Here are the summary notes that the author provides in conclusion: [...]