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How's Ubuntu 10.10

Ubuntu install

I installed three releases ago and then only updated. Maybe 10.10 installer is faulty, I don't know. Anyway I always install from the "alternate" media, which performs a real installation package by package as opposite as slapping a precooked image on the hd.

With the live media I always get a corrupt file system, I don't know how can it be so popular. Maybe it's because I install over xfs rather than the default ext4, but the alternate media always works fine so I never investigated.

I tried Edubuntu 10.10

I tried edubuntu 10.10.
First couple of installs hung. I burned another DVD. Tried again. This time the install completed successfully, but it took almost 50 mins (including LTSP). Then no connection to the internet. Tried all the tricks I know. ifconfig looked normal, but I could not ping anywhere except localhost.
Rebooted and ran it live from the DVD. Internet was back and working fine. Reboot from HD - no internet. I am seriously unimpressed.
Next test: Will Edubuntu 10.10 run on my trusty Acer travelmate 260?
Answer: No! I got a nice jingle from the speakers but screen remained blank.
Next test: Will my trusty Acer travelmate 260 boot from Edubuntu LTSP server?
Answer: No! It gets as far as the login screen, I type my name, press enter and it dies! Bah!

Ubuntu 10.10

The system is great, but the GUI is definitely not. With all the developer power they claim to have, they could patch Gnome into a finished product. Instead, they leave it as the half arsed attempt that it is, only fixing security issues.

So Ubuntu - because of Gnome and the laziness of Canonical - makes Linux look like something with no system sounds, no ability to execute scripts at logout, no logout sound, half working workspace applet when Compiz is enabled, the list goes on. All minor issues, for a workstation, but for a home desktop?

That said, it is still the best Gnome implementation around, and the least time consuming OS around, proprietary ones included, at least in my personal experience.

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  • Intel CPU Bug Affecting rr Watchpoints
    I investigated an rr bug report and discovered an annoying Intel CPU bug that affects rr replay using data watchpoints. It doesn't seem to be hit very often in practice, which is good because I don't know any way to work around it. It turns out that the bug is probably covered by an existing Intel erratum for Skylake and Kaby Lake (and probably later generations, but I'm not sure), which I even blogged about previously! However, the erratum does not mention watchpoints and the bug I've found definitely depends on data watchpoints being set. I was able to write a stand-alone testcase to characterize the bug. The issue seems to be that if a rep stos (and probably rep movs) instruction writes between 1 and 64 bytes (inclusive), and you have a read or write watchpoint in the range [64, 128) bytes from the start of the writes (i.e., not triggered by the instruction), then one spurious retired conditional branch is (usually) counted. The alignment of the writes does not matter, and it's not related to speculative execution.

In Memoriam: Robin "Roblimo" Miller, a Videographer and Free Software Champion

Videographer Robin Roblimo Miller

Robin "Roblimo" Miller was a clever, friendly, and very amicable individual who everyone I know has plenty of positive things to say about. I had the pleasure of speaking to him for several hours about anything from personal life and professional views. Miller was a very knowledgeable person whose trade as a journalist and video producer I often envied. I have seen him facing his critics in his capacity as a journalist over a decade ago when he arranged a debate about OOXML (on live radio). Miller, to me, will always be remembered as a strong-minded and investigative journalist who "did the right thing" as the cliché goes, irrespective of financial gain -- something which can sometimes be detrimental to one's longterm health. Miller sacrificed many of his later years to a cause worth fighting for. This is what we ought to remember him for. Miller was - and always will be - a FOSS hero.

May everything you fought for be fulfilled, Mr. Miller. I already miss you.

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