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Gaia resurrection //at 20:35 //by abe

from the popular-request-for-addiction dept.

On Thursday, 24th of November 2006 evening (about one and a half week ago) we got an anonymous Symlink submission about gaia 0.1.0, a simple, but free (GPL‘ed) client for Google Earth, solely based on reverse engineering. Liked the idea of a really free client for such a popular service, so I posted it as Symlink article (German) quite shortly after noticing the submisson.

Since it’s under GPL and uses only libraries already being in Debian (OpenGL, SCons, cURL, SDL, libjpeg, libpng, libgps and Doxygen), I really would like to see it in Debian. But since I have never programmed with most of them, I did not try to compile gaia but instead took the easy way for myself and filed an RFP bug for it in Debian.

The next day in office, Gürkan, a coworker of mine and currently in NM, told me that he tries to package gaia for Debian and that it doesn’t compile on Sarge. So I gave him access to my Sid chroot and asked him if he has read about the RFP at debian-devel or debian-wnpp. To my surprise he answered that he didn’t read about it on Debian lists at all but on Symlink and therefore didn’t knew about the RFP at all.

So I pointed him to the RFP just to notice, that it wasn’t an RFP anymore but already an ITP. Strangely I didn’t get any mail notice about this change although the retitling happend only shortly after the initial RFP… Of couse, Gürkan wasn’t very happy about this, since he planned to maintain gaia himself, but at least he provided his working proof of concept package for Sid to Jordà Polo who intends to maintain an official Debian package of gaia. We then also met Jordà on the #debian-games channel in OFTC. He told us, that he’ll check some more licensing issues before uploading a package of gaia.

Well, since I had a working gaia package installed in my Sid chroot, you can probably imagine what I did half the evening? Right: Surfing around the earth with gaia and visiting my favourite places on earth. While virtually visiting places here and there, I listened to Venty’s first podcasts and seem to have downloaded 444 MB of Google Earth images (at least according to du -sh ~/.gaia). Goddamned addiction! ;-)

During the night from Friday to Saturday, I got a mail that the RFP/ITP has been closed and that Jordà was right with his suspiciousness: Google has sent a cease and desist letter to the gaia developers and they removed the downloads from their site. (So how was that Google motto? “Don’t be evil”? Well, good joke! Yet again the monopolist clearly shows that it doesn’t really mean what it says.) Since the gaia developers were allowed to post the mail from Google on their website, you can read parts of it there. I really wonder what was written in the left out parts of the mails. Job offers? ;-)

But it’s interesting to see that until one week ago gaia 0.1.0 already made it into the FreeBSD ports as well as into the ArchLinux User Repository. Both noticed, too, that gaia version 0.1.0 has been withdrawn by the authors.

Today in the morning Gürkan noticed that there’s a new version (0.1.1) of gaia at SourceForge using free NASA WorldWind / OnEarth imagery. Although the imagery is far away from the detailedness of the Google Earth imagery, this has one big advantage: There wasn’t really a X port for the windows-only client from NASA until now. (No real wonder, since they use proprietary and operating specific libraries such as .NET and DirectX…) And now we have gaia, a free client for free imagery on free operating systems. That made my day!

I hope that this will revive the packaging of gaia, at least Gürkan has already built a new proof of concept package of 0.1.1 for Sid. (Today in the afternoon, they released 0.1.2.) And if everything goes fine and Dunc-Bank manages to delay Etch until gaia has been 10 days in Unstable without bugs, we’ll have it even in Etch. ;-)


BarCamp Zurich — Resumé //at 02:02 //by abe

from the Geeks-are-not-equal-Geeks dept.

The BarCamp Zurich 2006 is over. On the way there I thought about what I would do during time slots with no interesting talks. But when I tried to make up my personal schedule, I noticed that I rather would have the opposite problem: Too many interesting talks at the same time… Well, to many interesting talks at all, although I only went to tech talks and left out the biz talks.

I first went to the Podcasting & Co. talk by Timo Hetzel, since I never heard or made a podcast, but was curious about podcasts in general. Besides statistics and rankings he spoke about where people listen to podcast (most listeners seem to do that during commuting), what people like in podcasts, why companies podcast, etc. And that a very big share of all podcast listeners use iTunes as podcast client and except juice (never heard of it before) all other podcast clients seem to be irrelevant.

My conclusion: I haven’t missed anything not having listened to or made podcasts neither do I need to listen or make podcasts in the future. They’re irrelevant. To me. :-)

Then I had to choose between the talks AJAX@localhost (PDF) by Harry Fuecks and Realtime Collaborative Text Editing and SubEthaEdit by the Coding Monkeys. I heard about realtime collaborative editing once know that it’s a challenging task for the developer. I also know what AJAX is (and that I would only use or recommend it for bells and whistles, but not for content in general), but “AJAX@localhost” sounded like writing normal applications using AJAX. It sounded interesting and evil at the same time. I had to go there! ;-) Others had similar expectations after reading the talk’s title, so I was quite surprised that it was about something completely different, namely about debugging AJAX on the localhost but under conditions usually only appearing if you’re running AJAX application not from localhost but from somewhere on the net: You may have different lags with every request, so some requests may reach the server before others, which may screw up the whole AJAX application, if the developers didn’t think about it and only tested it on localhost. (Hence the talk’s title…)

My conlusion: I will use and recommend AJAX even more seldom, since there seem to be even more design misconceptions than I thought before. But I’ll once have a look at the Webtuesday meeting, he mentioned.

For the third time-slot, I didn’t need long to decide where to go: I already knew a little bit about Microformats and I wanted to know more. Tag Trade also sounded interesting, but the second part of the talk’s title, Paid Learning sounded like business and so I had no scruples to cold-shoulder that talk. I probably didn’t learn anything really new in the microformats talk, but my knowledge about microformats is now more concrete, and after talking with Cédric Hüsler later during a break, I would even trust myself to start and define a new microformat.

Then I went to the HG Caféteria together with Gürkan and two German guys. While waiting in the queue, we were talking about our jobs and our favourite Linux distributions. I got some rhubarb pie and a rum truffles, assuming that the Caféteria uses no alcohol in their products like all other SV restaurant I know. But this one seemed to have quite a lot of alcohol, since it felt like my breath was burning… Well, this resulted in my second SV feedback form submission…

Next I went to Alex Schröder’s talk about multilingual websites, Oddmuse and the Emacs Wiki, although also the talk A-Life about simulating evolution sounded promising. Alex asked the listeners about their experiences with multilingual websites and showed what Oddmuse offers as partial solution to the general multilingualism problems. But regarding the comments from the auditorium, there probably won’t be a perfect solution until computers can translate perfectly…

The next talk I visited was Gabor’s talk about his master thesis Organizing E-Mail which resulted in a soon to be released Mozilla Thunderbird extension called BuzzTrack. From the other concepts he showed, I found Microsoft’s SNARF (Social Network and Relationship Finder) and IBM’s Thread Arcs most interesting as well as the fact that there is no e-mail client seems to have a majority at all.

Directly after Gabor I had my own talk about Understanding Shell Quoting, so I also couldn’t go to Adrian Heydecker’s talk about Learning with Hypertext and Search Engines. I had only about three and a half listeners of whom several to my surprise where here because they didn’t know what “shell quoting” is.

I really didn’t expect that.

But that seems to be one of the differences between a BarCamp and a Linux Conferences: People come here to see something new, something they haven’t heard about before. On Linux events most people come, because they already heard about some special topic and want to know more or learn something about it. On Linux event my shell talks usually were attracting many visitors while at a BarCamp, talks presenting an idea, a concept or a tool seem to much more interesting for the attendees. So for the next BarCamp I perhaps exhume my Website Meta Language talk which never seemed to hit the nerve of Linux event attendees, since it tried to “sell” a different concept of generating website than most were used to.

At least one listener excepted the talk to be named “shell escaping”, but IMHO escaping is only one quoting technic and it’s not only used for quoting. But perhaps I should take the word “escaping” in the title though for the next time.

Happily most of the listeners seem to have learned something new from the talk and Silvan Gebhardt was really happy about his new knowledge about ssh ~ escapes, although I mainly talked about how to quote them than how to use them. :-)

During the last slot I visited the session about the upcoming BarCamp Alsace 2 and the yet to be planned BarCamp Rhine, a BarCamp to be held on a ship traveling from Basel in Switzerland down the Rhine, stopping in Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, Rhein-Main-Area and perhaps even Cologne and Amsterdam.

Contrary to my initial thoughts, the day was over very fast and I had no single boring minute during the BarCamp. Wow!

After we’ve been kicked out of the building by ETH janitors, we joined again at the Bar N-68. On the way there I met Urban Müller who attended BarCamp Zurich, too. We talked quite a lot and it was very interesting to see behind the scenes of e.g. Later I joined the French speaking table, talking with Gregoire Japiot from WineCamp France and Alex Schröder.

Around 9pm I left the N-68 as one of the last BarCampers, tired but with new knowledge, new ideas, new acquaintances and a new hobby: BarCamping. What a luck that BarCamps aren’t that often, otherwise I couldn’t afford this new hobby. ;-)

As a relaxing end I met with Alex Schröder and Christophe Ducamp on Sunday morning for brunch in the restaurant Gloria in the Industriequartier. When we were leaving the Gloria I noticed their book board with a lots of BookCrossing books and I took “The Da Vinci Code” with me, since I saw the movie and people were telling me that the book is much better. I’ll see…


Next Shell Quoting Talks //at 12:33 //by abe

from the Wikipedia-meets-Flash-Mob dept.

There are a several events coming up where I plan to hold my Shell Quoting Talk: First, there will be the BarCamp Zurich on October, the 28th at ETH Zürich HG and then there will be the 8th on November, the 18th at the HTL at Dornbirn (Vorarlberg, Austria) organised by the LUG Vorarlberg. It’s also possible that, in addition to the Shell Quoting talk, I’ll also give a talk for beginners about Commandline Helpers. (Probably all the talks will be held in German.)

BarCamp Zürich I’m quite curious on both events, for very different reasons. On the one hand, a BarCamp is something completely new for me and it sounds like a very interesting mixture of a real life Wikipedia meeting and a flash mob to me.

On the other hand, this year’s will have several new facettes for me: First there were several changes in the organising team, so I wonder if and in that case how much this will change the face of the event. Then it’s the first since I live in Zurich, which means it’s the first Linuxday without 1000km travelling during that weekend, so I also have some time to meet friends in the area in advance to or after the event. Yeah!


The mouseless side of X //at 00:48 //by abe

from the Think-Emacs!-Think-screen! dept.

Although I like the idea of a tiling and completely keyboard focused window manager, I never fell in love with Ion because the default keybindings weren’t really intuïtive (to me). A few months ago I noticed, that ratpoison is also a tiling and completely keyboard focused window manager, only with much more intuitive usage: If you know screen and it’s keybindings, you also know ratpoison and it’s keybindings: Just exchange Ctrl-A with Ctrl-T. This sounds perfect for usage on my low performance laptops, where I have small screens and usually also no virtual desktops in use.

There’s only one thing which annoys me in ratpoison: If I use a mostly mouse driven application like e.g. a webbrowser with ratpoison, I have no problems to click on links, even if the webbrowser is not in the so called “current frame”. But if e.g. click into an input field, I usually notice much too late that while the mouse works fine in the browser, keyboard focus is still in some other window. Currently they all use flwm, the Fast and Lite Window Manager.

So what I would need is a tiling and keyboard focused window manager but with “focus follows mouse” politics. And since the laptops on which I intend to use such a window manager, all have a touchpad or thumbstick, the mouse there counts as keyboard focused, too somehow, doesn’t it? :-) I wonder, if an ion3 could be configured to use the same keybindings as ratpoison. That would probably fulfil this desire.

On the other hand, there are browsers which are fine without mouse. lynx or links2 for example, so the focus problem I have with ratpoison wouldn’t occur. But what if I need or want a keyboard driven and full blown webbrowser? Ok, Firefox as well as Opera are not that bad in keyboard only use, but they still are focused on the mouse using user.

But Gecko wouldn’t be Gecko, if there wasn’t some Gecko based browser with this features: On the ratpoison website I found a link to a very interesting Firefox plugin which makes Firefox a complete new browser, a keyboard driven webbrowser named Conkeror. It has no toolbars at all, no (visible) tabs, no menus, no nothing — it shows only the website in fullscreen, a status line and a multipurpose command line — exactly like the mini-buffer of GNU Emacs.

But not only the layout, even the keybindings are very emacsish: C-x C-f opens an URL in a new buffer -eh- tab, C-x 5 C-f opens an URL in a new frame (window), C-x C-v opens a new URL in the current tab (buffer) with the current URL as editable default value, C-x b switches to another tab, C-x k kills -eh- closes a tab, C-x C-b lists all open tabs, l goes back (remember the Emacs info reader, eh?), C-g quits accidently requested dialogs or stops loading a web page, Ctrl-s and Ctrl-r give you forward and backward i-search, C-n, C-p, C-f and C-b scroll, etc. Even M-x works, e.g. will M-x revert-buffer reload the web page. (Unfortunately Esc-x doesn’t work. Yet.) And for vi freaks, there is even M-x use-vi-keys. There’s even one lynxish keybinding: \ lets you view the source.

And although it’s one of the strangest webbrowsers I saw yet, I somehow like it and also would like to see it in Debian as package, since it is the perfect companion for ion or ratpoison. Looking through apt’s package cache as well as the wnpp bugs, I haven’t found any hint on somebody already packaging it, so I’ll have a look on it and on how to to package a Firefox extension for Debian.

BTW: While looking through the wnpp bugs, I found bug #335459, which is the ITP flock, an also Gecko based browser with a lot of cool features for blogger who like social network tools.

Another nice thing I found today in Debian was the xfonts-artwiz package whose small fonts are very suitable for small resolution screens, especially if a tiling window manager is used with a e.g. 800×600 resolution. Unfortunately they aren’t available in a charset with German umlauts.

Apropos tiling window managers: Anyone tried pconsole with an automatically tiling and resizing window manager? I wonder if it’s usable. At least on MacOS X with its cascading window positioning algorithm, pconsole is a pain. — But even without cascading windows, MacOS X is a pain for keyboard users. Just think of its default behaviour when using the tab key inside a form mask: It will skip all buttons, all checkboxes, all radio buttons and all select boxes. Argh!


Nice Shell Bloomer //at 16:39 //by abe

from the works-for-me dept.

While looking for users which still have “.” in their path, I found the following nice bloomer:


It’s obvious what the user tried to do. But why the fuck does this (more or less man or info page alike) quoting syntax work?

It took me a moment to realise that this kind of “quoting” works in nearly all Unix shells: The two backquotes as well as the two single quotes become an empty string and are therefor completely useless in this case.

The user probably read some uglily localized man or info page (like the German ones in Debian Sarge) and did some copy and paste to his .bashrc. And since it “worked” he didn’t see any reason to change it again.


Herbstumfrage //at 13:44 //by abe

Aus der G5 Abteilung

Über ein Blog-Posting von Priska bin ich auf die netten Fragebögen von gimme5 gestolpert.

Da will ich den Aktuellen grade auch mal beantworten, während die anderen Kaffeetrinken sind.

  1. Nenne 5 typische Herbstsachen.
    Näääbl (aka Nebel), rot-bunte Blätter, mit Blättermatsch bedeckte Waldwege, Drachenfliegen, es wird wieder früher dunkel.
  2. Würdest du Pilze essen, die du selber gesammelt hast?
    Vermutlich nicht. Ich sammel aber auch eh keine.
  3. Was würdest du mit farbigen Blättern von den Bäumen und Kastanien basteln?
    Herbarium und Kastanien-Männchen
  4. Welche Herbstgerichte schmecken dir am besten?
    Käse- —äh, Verzeihung— Chäsfondue. Ich muß unbedingt mal eine Fahrt im Fondue-Tram machen.
  5. Hast du schon mal einen Drachen gebaut? Ist er geflogen?
    Schon mehrmals. Einmal in der Grundschule oder im Kindergarten oder so und einmal selbst zuhause einen Miniaturdrachen (Butterbrotpapier, Holzspieße und Bindfaden) Geflogen? Bei dem aus meiner Kinderzeit weiß ich’s nimmer so genau, der Miniaturdrachen nur hinterm Ventilator (Huch, hier macht das Blog ja einen Autolink hin? Argh, nee, nicht der Ventilator ;-) und das auch noch recht instabil. Allerdings fliege ich seit mehr als 10 Jahren mit einem zu Schulzeiten gekauften und seither immer wieder geflicktem gelb-blauen Tandem-Lenkdrachen.


wApua now in Debian Unstable //at 00:38 //by abe

from the debut dept.

Hey, the actual version 0.06 of my Perl written WAP browser wApua now is in Debian Sid!

It’s the first software written by me which has entered the Debian repository as its own package (since pum is included in the package pisg which is in testing now for a while) as well as the first software debianized by me which reached Debian Unstable.

Things are always exciting when they happen the first time. ;-)

Thanks to Myon for sponsoring the package.


Fedora Legacy useless? //at 15:16 //by abe

from the we-provide-updates-only-if-we-provide-updates dept.

For a (much too long) time, we ran our three AMD 64 bit virus scanners and spam filter boxes with Fedora Core 4. Since the the official support ended a few months ago when Fedora Core 6 Test 2 came out, so we decided to switch them over to support through the Fedora Legacy Project.

For testing purposes we first switched over one of the three boxes. But the test failed: Although the changes (as documented on the Fedora Legacy home page) seemed to work fine, not a single update came until the end of last week, even though there were partially remotely exploitable security issues in OpenSSL, OpenSSH, gzip, etc. during that time. There were also no announcements on the list since FC4 switched over to the Fedora Legacy Project, not for FC4 nor for any other distribution maintained by the Fedora Legacy Project.

So what the heck does the Fedora Legacy Project if not security updates?

I would be very happy if I could switch over those boxes to Debian or even Ubuntu, but there’s no BiArch support (running 32 bit applications on 64 bit operating systems transparently) in Debian (and therefore neither in Ubuntu) yet without a lot of manual fiddling and chroots, so we can’t run our 32 bit virus scanners on those 64 bit boxes with a debianesk operating system yet.

Today we’ve upgraded the last of those three boxes to Fedora Core 5.


Mailing lists made my day //at 13:58 //by abe

from the ROTFLBTC dept.

Today actually two mailing lists made my day:

First Theo de Raadt’s mail to the FreeBSD security mailing list:

Date:       Mon, 02 Oct 2006 14:00:11 -0600
From:       Theo de Raadt <>
Subject:    Re: FreeBSD Security Advisory FreeBSD-SA-06:22.openssh 
Message-ID: <>

> The OpenSSH project believe that the race condition can lead to a Denial
> of Service or potentially remote code execution

Bullshit.  Where did anyone say this?

Why don't you put people in charge who can READ CODE, and SEE THAT

and Colin Percival’s dry reply pointing out who made the “ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT”:

Date:       Mon, 02 Oct 2006 14:25:05 -0700
From:       Colin Percival <>
To:         Theo de Raadt <>
Subject:    Re: FreeBSD Security Advisory FreeBSD-SA-06:22.openssh
Message-ID: <>

Theo de Raadt wrote:
>> The OpenSSH project believe that the race condition can lead to a Denial
>> of Service or potentially remote code execution
>                ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Bullshit.  Where did anyone say this?

The OpenSSH 4.4 release announcement says that, actually:

 * Fix an unsafe signal hander reported by Mark Dowd. The signal
   handler was vulnerable to a race condition that could be exploited
   to perform a pre-authentication denial of service. On portable
   OpenSSH, this vulnerability could theoretically lead to
   pre-authentication remote code execution if GSSAPI authentication
   is enabled, but the likelihood of successful exploitation appears

Colin Percival

Well, looks like an exquisite own goal. (Found by Squeeeez.)

Then, _rene_ cited a mail from the current Debian Project Leader Anthony Towns on debian-devel in, who thought that »Switzerland was some foreign word meaning “snowy place”«:

Date:       Tue, 3 Oct 2006 15:52:38 +1000
Subject:    Re: Bits from the DPL: Looking forward
From:	    Anthony Towns <>
Message-ID: <>

On Tue, Oct 03, 2006 at 03:39:20PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> BSPs in Vienna (Switzerland) [3], 

I was assuming, of course, that "Switzerland" was some foreign word
meaning "snowy place", but apparently it's actually a country all of
its own, entirely separate to Austria...

On Tue, Oct 03, 2006 at 03:43:52PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> (b) Firmware vote
> proposal, as amended by Manon Srivastava (Message-id:

And while _Manon des sources_ might've been a neat French film, I don't
think it's actually got all that much to do with Manoj...


And contrary to the usual biases, this geographic unawareness comes from Australia (which is unequal to Austria ;-) and not from the US. :-)

Guys, you all made my day. Kind regards from a currently not so snowy snowy place. :-)


MSIE und Geldautomaten //at 19:27 //by abe

Aus der ARGH Abteilung

Mir sind ja schon die Haare zu Berge gestanden, als ich von Geldautomaten mit Windows 95 als Betriebssystem hörte, aber das hier ist einfach die Höhe: Ein Geldautomat der Berliner Spaßkasse, bei dem bei der Geldausgabe der Internet Explorer einen Skript-Fehler meldet. “Zum Glück” lautet der Fehler “Zugriff verweigert”. Aber wir wissen ja, beim Internet Explorer ist selbst about:blank gefährlich.

Note to myself: Wenn Du das nächste Mal in Berlin bist, meide Geldautomaten der Berliner Spaßkasse.


wApua 0.06 released //at 03:33 //by abe

from the New-Queue dept.

I today released version 0.06 of my WAP browser wApua (Release announcement at Freshmeat).

The one big new thing is user friendly documentation: wApua and wbmp2xbm (which has been renamed from now have POD documentation and therefore also man pages. Besides that a lot of minor bugfixes and enhancements complete the new version.

The other big new thing is that there now is a Debian package of wApua. The package should work fine on Debian Woody (3.0), Sarge (3.1) and Etch (upcoming 4.0) and probably also works on other Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu.

Thanks to sponsoring by Christoph “Myon” Berg the Debian package is also in the Debian New Queue and hopefully will be included in Debian Etch.

wApua 0.05.1 released //at 03:26 //by abe

from the better-late-than-never dept.

After more than five years without new release, there is now a new version of Perl written WAP browser wApua: 0.05.1. (Release announcement at Freshmeat)

It mainly fixes the use with newer Tk version as shipped with recent Ubuntu and Gentoo releases (Sarge still works fine with 0.05, but Etch won’t). It also fixes the local installation documentation.

Thanks to all who reported these bugs.


Suizid im Stadtgebiet //at 14:57 //by abe

Aus der merk--und-hirnbefreiten Abteilung

Liebe (anderen) Velofahrer und -fahrerinnen von Zürich,

egal, wie multimobil ihr seid: Autofrei heisst weder hirn- noch beleuchtungsfrei.

Manchmal habe ich echt das Gefühl, in Zürich gibt es mehr hirnlose Velofahrer als hirnlose Autofahrer. Autofahrer ohne Licht sind dort nachts jedenfalls recht selten, aber Velofahrer ohne Licht sind nachts in Zürich eher der Normalfall. (Naja, spätestens im Triemli gibt’s dann hoffentlich einen Merkbefreiungsentzug.)

Hmm, ab wann Veltheim wohl auch Fahrsicherheitstraining für Velofahrer anbietet? Notwendig wär’s ja anscheinend.

Veltheims Palette für die motorisierten Verkehrsteilnehmer ist jedenfalls schon recht umfangreich, wie die LUGS heute mal wieder bei ihrem regelmässigen Schleuder-Event (leider diesesmal parallel zu multimobil und dem Klausenrennen) feststellen durfte.

Diesesmal war ich übrigens mit der Ente dabei, welche sich mit ihren 28 PS wider Erwarten sehr wacker geschlagen hat und durch ihre angsteinflössende Kurvenlage (Bilder und Filmli bei Priska) und entsprechenden Reifengeräuschen für die einen oder anderen beeindruckten Gesichter gesorgt hat. (Oder waren’s eher besorgte Gesichter?)

Now playing: J.B.O. — Schlumpfozid im Stadtgebiet


IrDA and Sound on the IBM ThinkPad 760ED //at 04:19 //by abe

from the Toy-Story dept.

Since I currently have Debian Sarge and a quite actual kernel ( successfully running on my 10 years old Pentium-1-ThinkPad bijou, I today thought I could see, if I get the builtin infrared port working.

Since lspci and lshw didn’t help much to find out the details about the IR port, I looked at Werner Heuser’s tuxmobil for such information. And I was right: tuxmobil listed all the necessary informations:

It’s an internal serial port infrared device on /dev/ttyS0 working without any special driver. It seems to only need the kernel modules irda, sir_dev and irtty_sir as well as probably also the Debian package irda-utils.

I could immediately play around with gnokii after configuring it ot use the right serial port and the right drivers for my Nokia 6310i. Also sending SMS via xgnokii worked.

It was funny to be able to play ringtones on the phone by clicking around on a virtual piano keyboard.

Inebriated by the success with IrDA, I decided to go on and try myself with the notorious Mwave DSP sound and modem card, which came with some of the ThinkPad 760 versions including my ED version.

This didn’t start as easy as IrDA since tuxmobil this time writes: But MWave and some other sound technologies won’t work or are very hard to get working, e.g. booting to DOS, loading a driver, then using the soundcard as a standard SB-PRO. So you might need a commercial sound driver.

Well, I too often noticed that negative information about hardware support in Linux found on the net with a search engine often is outdated and the formerly badly missed hardware support is available nowadays.

So even not giving up on a 404 for a promising site, I found the no more existing webpage of the Mwave Project for Linux in the WayBack Archive. There I found a still working link to Thomas Hood’s Debian GNU/Linux on IBM ThinkPad 600X page which mentions tpctl, the ThinkPad configuration tools for Linux. And happily, they’re included in Sarge as package tpctl. Another link still worked, too: The one to Dale Wick’s Thinkpad under Linux page, which tell’s what I’ve expected: Some of the information on tuxmobil seems to be outdated, although Dave’s page mainly concerns the modem functionality of the Mwave DSP.

So I first installed tpctl on bijou, then tried to compile the ThinkPad kernel modules from package thinkpad-source with my both current kernels, and using make-kpkg. The modules built fine for the 2.4 series kernel, but failed on the two latest 2.6 kernels ( and 2.6.18), I’m mainly running. So I switched over to playing around with the kernel.

The thinkpad modules loaded fine and I get access to a lot of the ThinkPad’s special hardware. But tpctl at least doesn’t work as expected regarding Standby and Suspend: It has no effect while requesting Suspend or Standby using apm still works fine. But nothing to see in direction sound, modem or mwave.

So I had a closer look at documentation around the mwave module. Tried to find out appropriate I/O and IRQ settings for the module, but what I found in the Linux ACP Modem (Mwave) mini-HOWTO didn’t help. The module just didn’t load.

Then I noticed that module seems to need an mwave daemon. A search in the Debian package repository found the package mwavem. No long thinking – installed it. But the installation script gave the same errors when trying to load the module.

man mwavem(8) gave the reason: Only the 3780i chip is supported. Earlier Mwave DSPs, which were used for sound generation as well as modem functionality, are not supported.

Also according to the kernel documentation for the mwave sound module, the only way to get it making some sounds seems to be to boot to DOS, load the Windows 95 drivers, then call loadlin and warm-boot Linux from DOS.

So native Mwave sound on IBM 760 ThinkPads under Linux is really still a dream while the Mwave modem is said to work nowadays.

I will continue my ThinkPad 760 journey with a closer look at the pcspkr driver and at eBay, where I’ll look for another 760 series ThinkPad, but with ESS1688 soundcard and no modem instead of the Mwave DSP, e.g. a 760L, 760LD, 760EL, 760ELD or maybe also a 765L.

But I won’t do that today. It’s already much too late. Should have gone to bed about two hours ago…

Now playing: Auld Lang Syne (monophonic on the phone :-)

Yet another old laptop //at 04:13 //by abe

from the old-hardware-rules dept.

My father got me a nice IBM ThinkPad from 1996 earlier this year, so the next old laptop he digged up was planned to become a christmas present for my brother. But my father didn’t manage to find out, how old nor how fast that laptop was. And when I found out that it was a Pentium I with 90 MHz, it was clear, that my brother wouldn’t have any use for it, so he got “only” the used 850 MHz AMD Duron midi tower and my parents declared that old Compaq LTE 5100 laptop as a christmas present for me. :-)

As my IBM ThinkPad bijou, this Compaq LTE 5100 is from 1996 and has a Pentium I processor. Both also have a 800×600 resolution, a double PCMCIA slot and a floppy drive, which can be replaced by a CD-ROM drive (if I had one). But that are all similarities. Technically the Compaq has 90 MHz instead of the ThinkPad’s 133 MHz, but therefore has 72 MB RAM in comparison to the 48 Megs the ThinkPad has. Also regarding disk space the Compaq outperforms the ThinkPad: 1.6 Gigs of disk space in comparison to the ThinkPad 1.0 GB hard disk. Another difference is the battery: While the ThinkPad can work over 2.5 hours without external power, the Compaq even didn’t manage to completely boot its currently installed Windows 98 (the ThinkPad had a Windows NT installed when I got it) when running on battery. (Will do that test again when I can confirm, that the battery was full before testing. :-) Yet another difference is the keyboard layout: The ThinkPad has an US layout while the Compaq has a Swiss-German layout. But the most obvious difference is the look: The black ThinkPad still looks like having a modern design while the Compaq looks very very outdated in its perfect computer beige and with its quite small display.

So retroperspectively, it was a good a idea to name the ThinkPad “bijou” (French for jewel, jewellery, gem, etc.; named after a very neat british two-door limousine built in the UK by Slough on a 2CV base during the ’50s). Because now I have the choice between a lot of not so nice looking (not to say ugly ;-) 2CV derivatives to name the Compaq after. My favourites currently are the Iranian “Baby Brousse”, the Greek “Namco Pony” and the German “Fiberfab Sherpa”, all canvas and flatbed style 2CV based buggies, similar to the original Citroën Méhari but with steel body instead of the Méhari’s controversial plastic body. And one of the not used names, I can use for further ugly Compaq laptops¹.

Another question yet to answer is the question of what operating system to install on it. Since the ThinkPad runs fine with Debian 3.0 Woody and I have a lot of other Debian boxes at home (running Woody, Sarge or Sid), I currently think about installing the very fresh NetBSD 3.0 (released on Christmas’ Eve 2005), FreeBSD 6.0 (released early November 2005), DragonFly BSD 1.4 (to be released in December :-) or DeLi Linux 0.7 pre (which was also released in early December 2005 and already uses X11R7). Another idea was to install grml 0.5, but since grml is a live CD distribution, it probably would be hard to install it over network. Same counts for ReactOS (version 0.2.9 was released shortly before Christmas 2005), which doesn’t seem to have a floppy disk plus network install. Since I always planed to upgrade my currently defective Toshiba T6400 i486 laptop ayca (maybe after getting an organ donor on eBay or so) to DeLi Linux 0.7 (and perhaps write a review about it for Linux Magazine or so) and I may get an Sun Ultra Enterprise 2 soon (on which NetBSD 3.0 would be the perfect OS since Linux’ performance still seems to suck on Sparc :-), I currently prefer the FreeBSD or DragonFly idea. If the Ultra doesn’t come, it probably will get NetBSD, since I haven’t a NetBSD box yet. (Haven’t a DragonFly box either, but a FreeBSD 4.x running somewhere. :-)

Well, I guess, I’ll take even more old laptops than last year to the Vintage Computer Festival Europe (VCFe) in Munich next May. And since the two 1996 laptops are now 10 years old, they’re even ontopic! Yeah! ;-)

¹: I have two other not yet working Compaq laptops, both from an elder generation than Pentium I. One I got on a Swiss flea market for a few euros and the other was the first laptop of my boss, which he else would have thrown away. Unfortunately both are without power adapter and neither the usual allround laptop power adapters from Conrad, etc. nor the one from the LTE 5100 fits. But since there is eBay, I expect to get such a power adapter once. :-)

Software Freedom Day 2006 //at 02:07 //by abe

from the Looking-for-Freedom dept.

Today, well, yesterday was Software Freedom Day and the Chaostreff Zürich organised an information booth with support of the Linux User Group Switzerland at the Orell-Füssli Bookstore at Zurich and giving out Ubuntu CDs — and only Ubuntu. (Ok, and also Kubuntu CDs, but that doesn’t make a big difference.)

After writing a Symlink article about the Software Freedom Day, I went to Orell-Füssl, of course equipped with my 10 years old Pentium-I-ThinkPad bijou which is though running Debian Sarge and the latest Linux kernels, namely and, both only about one week old.

Onsite, I tried to get access to the WLAN, but it didn’t work. Asking the network responsible guy from the Chaostreff, the reason was found quickly: The WLAN was WPA secured and older WLAN cards don’t work with that. No problem that far, but what I found very inappropriate was that this guy then told to put away that old computer since we only want to demonstrate on recent hardware.

First I still can’t understand why such intolerance happens even on a day having the word “Freedom” in its name and secondly I think that especially the ability to give old computers a second (or third) life is notable feature of Free and Open Source Software, Windows can’t offer at all.

So I did not feel like explaining someone the advantages of Free Software or Linux, since I’m not allowed to show some of it nicest features. I started folding some flyers which just had been printed. I accidently also started reading them and I found two grave errors in the content, especially in the context of a day about “Software Freedom” and not about “Open Source” or “Linux”:

  1. Free Software and Open Source Software were declared as being the same thing.
  2. Only the Open Source concept was explained.

So I used the rest of the event to chat with some of the SheGeeks I knew and a few people like Fabrizio who I just knew from mails and never met in real life before. I also had no guilty conscience to leave the event earlier since I didn’t like it — even if it probably was a huge success and I met there many people I like.

The late afternoon I helped a friend of mine moving. Well, actually I helped him transporting all the new furnitures he bought at IKEA to his new home with my CX Break.

And after returning home, I had to read on Symlink, that Rob Levin aka lilo from Freenode died yesterday after being hit by car while riding on his bike on Tuesday. May he rest in peace.

So somehow the Software Freedom Day 2006 was quite a sad day to me. :-(

Now playing (from compact cassette :-): David Hasselhoff — Looking For Freedom


Goodbye Woody, Welcome Sarge (Penultimate Part) //at 16:17 //by abe

from the It's-time-to-say-goodbye dept.

Since security support for Woody ceased recently, and with Kazehakase I’ve found a reasonable successor in Sarge for Galeon 1.2.x, I’ve dist-upgraded my 10 years old Pentium I ThinkPad bijou to Sarge this weekend. Even the XFree86 4, which made so much hassles in Woody by not regcognising nor configuring the graphics card correctly, worked fine from scratch. Well, at least after installing xfonts-base and xfonts-75dpi — the -transcoded versions somehow gave only the error message “default font ‘fixed’ not found”.

So goodbye Galeon, goodbye GNU Emacs 20, goodbye XFree86 3.3. I hope, I won’t miss you. Only my desktop gsa at home still runs Woody, but will be dist-upgraded soon, too.

What though still stayed on my laptop from Woody is Siag Office, since there is no adequate replacement for such a nice office suite with such a low resource footprint.

But it has also an impact on the talks I hold. I held all talks with a patched version of lynx (e.g. with LSS support) as presentation tool on that laptop because initially I didn’t get X running on that box. What started as a makeshift became my hallmark…

But I didn’t manage to get Sarge’s lynx patched so that it gives me the same output as my old version did. So either I would have to reoptimise the layout of my talks for a new lynx version or just start with something new.

Madduck recently showed me python-docutils, which he uses for presentations. Maybe I’ll use that although I have a severe aversion against Python. So it may also be that I’ll stick with WML, but get some new ideas from python-docutils how to use HTML for presentations.

Update: Found out that the interesting part of his presentation technic wasn’t python-docutils but S5: A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System which in entirely written in XHTML, CSS and JavaScript. S5 is really cool stuff, one of the first cases of useful use of JavaScript, and will surely be used for my next presentation — with Debian Sarge and Kazehakase on a Pentium I ThinkPad. ;-)

Dynamic vs Static Network Configuration //at 16:03 //by abe

from the Oh,-I've-found-a-default-gateway.-Hmmm,-I-don't-like-it,-I-drop-it. dept.

A guest researcher today called us, because his laptop with Fedora Core 4 didn’t get any working IP address. That problem was solved quite quickly: The “Internet Connection Wizard” didn’t allow him to choose a dynamic configuration via DHCP. It was greyed out and the static configuration was one for a private 192.168.* network.

I quickly found out, that “Network Device Control” allowed us to switch to DHCP. After deleting /etc/resolv.conf, it also got the right DNS servers.

But whatever I restarted, it didn’t set a default route although it did get one by DHCP and had it documented in its lease file.

After about one and a half hour of debugging configurations and network configuration scripts I found out, that if the environment variable $GATEWAY is set, it ignores the one given by DHCP. Then I grepped for GATEWAY in the config file. But I just found the default gateway configured for the old, now greyed out static IP configuration.

Although I told myself “No, it can’t be!” I commented out the default gateway of the now unused static configuration. And yes, I wasn’t mistrustful enough about Fedora: It worked. You really have to change parts of the not selected static IP configuration to make the selected dynamic one to work.

Thanks, Fedora! *bangingtheheadontothetable*

Fixing server bugs on client side //at 15:35 //by abe

from the *hrrrrng* dept.

On my new job at ETH Zurich I stumbled over a lot of HTTP requests in the web server log file, obviously trying to fetch the automatic proxy configuration file (usually called proxy.pac) but requesting it with the last character missing and therefore requesting the nonexistent file

195.176.XX.AB - - [16/May/2006:11:12:56 +0200] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 404 5261 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Win32)"
195.176.YY.CD - - [16/May/2006:11:16:32 +0200] "GET / HTTP/1.0" 404 5235 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Win32)"
195.176.ZZ.EF - - [16/May/2006:11:18:38 +0200] "GET / HTTP/1.0" 404 5235 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Win32)"
195.176.YY.CD - - [16/May/2006:11:24:16 +0200] "GET / HTTP/1.0" 404 5235 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Win32)"
195.176.ZZ.GHI - - [16/May/2006:11:31:44 +0200] "GET / HTTP/1.0" 404 5235 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Win32)"
195.176.XX.J - - [16/May/2006:11:33:35 +0200] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 404 5261 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Win32)"
195.176.ZZ.LMN - - [16/May/2006:11:35:18 +0200] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 404 5261 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Win32)"

WTF happend here? When I found a bunch of those request from a single host last night, I expected a local cut and waste typo on a single box. But during the day I got the same sort of defective requests from over 30 hosts in our network. So we looked at our dhcpd.conf, but all appearances of “proxy.pac” had its “c” at the right place.

WTF is happening here? After googling for a moment I found this mail on the squid users mailing list, stating the following:

WPAD worked reasonably well for WindowsNT and Windows2000; however, there was a problem with the file name in Windows2000 and the initial release of WindowsXP. The Microsoft DHCP Service returned the wrong byte count for the string returned for option 252. The DHCP Client compensated for this by decrementing the string length. This resulted in the file name being truncated when the ISC DHCP daemon was used. The solution was to define a symlink –> proxy.pac.

So in other words: Microsoft worked around a off-by-one bug in their own DHCP server by patching their DHCP client to parse faulty configurations — and obviously only faulty configurations by expecting some length statement to be always off-by-one. *hrrrrng*

Our solution was BTW to insert an appropriate Alias directive into our Apache web server hosting the file.

Parfüm im Kneipenklo //at 15:34 //by abe

Aus der Die-spinnen-die-Schweizer Abteilung

Nachdem ich gestern einem Freund beim Umziehen half, lud er mich im Anschluß zum Essen ins Cheyenne in Oerlikon ein. Das “Goat Cheese Foccacia” mit Grillgemüse war extrem lecker und auch sonst schien das Lokal ganz nett. Bis zu dem Moment, an dem ich mir auf der Toilette die Hände waschen wollte…

Wie so üblich in nicht-privaten Toiletten greift man zu dem Behältnis rechts neben dem Waschbecken, drückt daran auf irgendeinen Knopf und bekommt dafür ein wenig Flüssig- oder gemahlene Seife auf die Hand. Aus diesem Spender kam allerdings extrem wenig und sehr dünnflüssige Seife. Also halt noch ein paar Mal draufgedrückt und Hände gewaschen.

Hmmm, irgendetwas stinkt hier bestialisch. Und zwar nach Parfüm. Und besonders viel taugen tut die Seife auch nicht. Und wieso ist links neben dem Becken nochmals ein anderer Seifenspender? Ich schaue mir den Spender rechts vom Becken nochmal genauer an. Vielmehr als ein französisch klingender Firmen- oder Produktname scheint nicht draufzustehen. Doch, da unten, eine URL: www.$ Parfüm? Ja, spinnen die denn? Ich rieche an meiner rechten Hand und mir wird fast übel.

Ich habe dort dann mit der richtigen Seife meine Hände mindestens dreimal gewaschen, aber ganz weg wollte der Gestank trotzdem nicht gehen. Zuhause habe ich dann als erstes meine Hände nochmals mit parfümfreier Seife und einer Fingernagelbürste mehrmals gewaschen. So langsam kann ich meine rechte Hand wieder riechen (bzw. nicht mehr riechen, je nach Sichtweise ;-).

Offen bleibt jedoch die Frage: Was in aller Welt treibt einen Kneipenbesitzer dazu, einen Parfümspender, auf dem nicht einmal draufsteht, daß es ein solcher ist, auf der Herrentoilette zu installieren? Und dann auch noch an einer Stelle, die typisch für Seifenspender ist? Am liebsten würde ich ja denjenigen, der das verbrochen hat, solange in Parfüm baden, bis ihm schlecht ist.


FrOSCon, COSIN und ein zu Kazehakase bekehrter Ex-Galeon-Fan //at 03:16 //by abe

Aus der Nette-Wochenenden Abteilung

Bereits zwei Wochen her, aber trotzdem nett, war die FrOSCon (Free and Open Source Software Conference), auf der ich im normalen Vortragsprogramm drei Vorträge und am Debian Day einen weiteren gehalten habe. (Die Folien zu diesen Vorträgen sind seit dem Wochenende nun auch alle online.) Wie ich schon auf schrieb (und von der Online-Zeitung doppelpunkt: der Fachhochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg bereits zitiert wurde), war ich von der FrOSCon recht beeindruckt: Dafür, dass es diese Veranstaltung dieses Jahr zum ersten Mal lief, war sie verdammt gut organisiert. Und trotzdem schien keiner der Orgas Stress zu haben oder liess sich diesen zumindest nicht anmerken.

Die FrOSCon hat in meinen Augen definitiv das Potential, um sich neben den Chemnitzer Linuxtagen zu der Community-Konferenz im deutschsprachigen Raum zu mausern: Eine im Westen, eine im Osten. Ich freue mich jedenfalls schon auf das nächste Mal.

Dieses Wochenende war ich auf dem nächsten Event, der (oder “dem”?) Chaos Singularity (COSIN) im Kulturzentrum Bremgarten (KuZeB), einem bisher noch kleinen, aber dennoch feinen Schweizer Hacker-Treffen, welches von den verschiedenen Chaostreffs der Schweiz, den SheGeeks und organisiert wurde.

Neben dem Wiedertreffen bekannter Namen und Gesichter habe ich auch viele neue Leute kennen- und schätzen gelernt. Ich muss auf jeden Fall auch mal den Zürcher Chaostreff besuchen.

Und natürlich habe ich auch wieder mal einen Kommandozeilen-Workshop mit Lynx als Präsentationsprogramm auf meinem Pentium-1-ThinkPad bijou (ein Restaurant um die Ecke hieß witzigerweise genauso) gehalten, der anscheinend, wie im Rückblick behauptet wird, dafür sorgte, daß »einige der Besucher […] in bisher nicht gekannte Sphären ihrer Shell eintauchten«. Beeindruckend beim Workshp war für mich, daß extrem viele Zuhörer mitdachten, interessante Fragen stellten und z.T. auch gleich selbst beantworteten. Der beste Dank an den Referent war aber auch hier wieder die leuchtenden Gesichter von Spielkindern, die gerade ein neues Spielzeug gezeigt bekamen. :-)

Direkt nach dem Workshop bin ich noch mit Folken ins Gespräch gekommen und er hat irgendwann zwischendrin mal über Webbrowser geflucht und als in diesem Bereich in der Zwischenzeit sehr sensible Person konnte ich nicht anders und etwas in der anscheinend noch offenen Wunde herumstochern: Und siehe da, ein weiterer Galeon-1.2-Fan, der von Galeon 1.3 und von Epiphany und Firefox erst recht massiv enttäuscht ist. Während ich über viel Konfigurationsgerödel mit gconf-editor und anderen wilden Sachen meinen Galeon 1.3 einigermaßen gefügig machte, bis ich Kazehakase entdeckte, ging er einen wesentlich radikaleren Weg: Er stellte auf links2 im grafischen Modus um. Als ich ihm dann nach etwas Zappeln-Lassen Kazehakase und die wichtigsten Einstellungen (UI-Level auf “Expert” setzen) zeigte, gab es ein zweites Mal an diesem Abend leuchtende Augen. Wieder einen zum einzig wahren Browser™ bekehrt. ;-)

Sehr gut war auch noch das Essen (Dank an Beni vom KuZeB!) und sehr nett auch noch die abendliche Beschallung mit Welle-Erdball-SIDs von einem echten C64 aus. (Deswegen einen anlachen werde ich mir trotzdem nicht. :-)

Und da Venty ja dieses Wochenende im Triemlispital lag, hat er mir für diese Zeit sein TomTom zur Verfügung gestellt. Für die Hinfahrt war das ganz nett und funktionierte wunderbar, aber auf der Rückfahrt (mit tiCo zusammen zum Triemlispital um Venty zu besuchen) hat es uns sooft fehlgeleitet, daß wir per Landkarte vermutlich schneller gewesen wären, weil ich mir dann den ganzen Weg einmal im Voraus angeschaut hätte und nicht nach jeder vom TomTom fehlgeleiteten Kreuzung erstmal rätseln mußten, was jetzt schon wieder schiefgegangen war und wo wir wirklich hin sollten. Mal ganz davon abgesehen, daß eine Ente mit Navigationsgerät doch schon sehr komisch anmutete und Landkarten da einfach stilgerechter sind. ;-)


Vintage Computer Festival Europe 7.0 ahead //at 09:50 //by abe

from the good-platforms-never-die dept.

It’s only seven weeks to the most important vintage computing event in Europe, the Vintage Computer Festival Europe (VCFe) in Munich, which for the first time will be three days this year because of May the 1st being a Monday this year and an official holiday in Germany and some of the swiss cantons (at least Zürich). So the VCFe 7.0 will take place from April the 29th to May the 1st 2006 in Munich and it’s focus this year is:

Home Made Brains
Kit-Computers and Individual Designs

I’m currently thinking about which old hardware I’ll present at this year’s VCFe. There are a few ideas flowing around in my head:

  • Old x86 laptops (1989-1996). This was my exhibition last year, but ayca, my i486 Toshiba laptop is broke (probably the display controller) and the “new” Compaq LTE pony hasn’t been setup yet. Nevertheless, I’ll bring my (nearly) everyday ThinkPad bijou with me since it’s now 10 years old and therefore ontopic now. Yeah!
  • The HP 9000 Apollo Series 400 I got from dwalin and dyfa, if I manage to get a NetBSD installed on that box.
  • Buying a tux case but installing some old hardware in it instead of the current FOX board. On the other hand: There should be at least a Linux running on that box.

Anyway, I’ll be there, many other Symlinker (at least dino and Venty) also will be there. And I hope to see you there, too. :-)

Oh, and btw: One wish to the Debian community regarding the VCFe: Perhaps someone who’s familiar with the Debian m68k Port could give a talk about how Debian plans to save this port although the old hardware isn’t fast enough to fit the requirements for inclusion in a Debian release. This would give a really interesting talk about old and new hardware. Talks can be held at least in German or Englisch IIRC. TIA. :-)

Update 16:26h: I thought of this mail by Wouter Verhelst about how modern ColdFire computers could run buildds for a hybrid m68k and ColdFire port when writing this paragraph. See also this Symlink story [German] about that topic.

Back from Chemnitz //at 09:50 //by abe

from the Sleep?-What's-that? dept.

I’m back from Chemnitzer Linux-Tage (CLT) which were really great. The CLT organizers really know how to make an event for the community without forgetting the business people.

So, although Murphy hunted me with forgotten laptop power supplies, forgotten laptop power supply power cords (Thanks for the spare, Venty!), missed trains, late trains, unfitting train schedules, defective mobile phones (Hi Sven! :-), heavy snowing, addictive Play Station Portables and no time for attending a single talk except mine (I’m sorry, blindcoder), I held all three talks as planned — maybe except the duration — and had a lot of fun as expected.

The slides for my commandline beginner’s talk on Sunday were finished the same day at about 2am and are online since then. It was too long, but except the next presenter (Hi Werner!), nobody told me. I even thought that all those people entering the room were late listeners. I just didn’t notice at all that time was flying by so fast, since there was a lot of interesting discussion with and in the audience, something I didn’t expect from a beginners talk.

Thanks to all who already gave feedback to my talks. And thanks to Jens Kühnel and Henrik Heigl with whom I could drive back to Frankfurt.

Fahrsicherheitstraining, ABS und altersschwache Schläuche //at 09:49 //by abe

Aus der Ich-weiß-warum-ich-immer-vier-Liter-LHM-als-Reserve-im-CX-habe Abteilung

Gestern war ich dank Priskas Organisations- und Überzeugungstalent zusammen mit anderen LUGSern beim Fahrsicherheitstraining im Veltheim Driving Center im Aargau in der Schweiz.

Da die Ente momentan eh wegen verschlissener Motorlager darauf wartet, den Motor überholt oder ausgetauscht zu bekommen, und ich sowieso lange Strecken lieber mit meinem CX fahre, wenn ich mal wieder nicht ganz so viel Zeit habe, wie ich gerne hätte (bin am Abend —äh— Morgen vor der Fahrt in die Schweiz um 2 Uhr aus dm Büro), war ich mit dem CX dort.

Neben der Theorie, in der sich ein paar der Dinge, die ich vor 15 Jahren in der Fahrschule gelernt (aber — zum Glück — teilweise eh nie akzeptiert hatte) als falsch herausstellten und die meine Fahrphysikkenntnisse um einige feine, aber wichtige Details erweiterte, gab’s auch viele, sehr aufschlußreiche Erfahrungen mit dem eigenen Auto.

Read more…

LUGS-Mitglied //at 09:49 //by abe

Aus der Vereinsmeierei Abteilung

Sodele, meinen Mitgliedsbeitrag habe ich am 1. Januar gezahlt, beantragt habe ich’s am 2. Januar (bei Venty von meinem ThinkPad bijou aus mit Lynx), offiziell bin ich’s seit 9. Januar, wissen tue ich’s seit gestern und seit grade eben kann man das auch auf den Webseiten der LUGS nachlesen: Ich bin jetzt nicht nur Mitglied der LUGV und der DaLUG sondern auch Mitglied der LUGS. :-)

Now Playing: Mike Oldfield — Tubular Bells


Reflections about T-Shirt Slogans //at 09:51 //by abe

from the Wet-me,-I'm-a-t-shirt dept.

During the last days, I saw two people with interesting sayings or slogans on their t-shirts:

At FrOSCon, Petra from Kernel Concepts sold also some t-shirts from the Geekladen collection and so there were people running around with the slogan »Copyright is superstition™« (German: »Copyright ist Aberglaube™«, Picture), on their t-shirt.

First I thought “cool t-shirt” and “yeah, it’s superstitious to believe that copyright is the real solution to everything” and bought one, too. Then I noticed that the slogan “copyright is superstition” could be interpreted in many other ways, e.g. that the existence of “copyright is superstitious”, which is not really what I think about that subject. So what were the t-shirt makers’ intention? To make people think about the subject? To provocate? Or did they just not think long enough about that slogan?

Then yesterday, I saw a girl on the ETH campus wearing a shirt with »I’m smart. That’s why I’m single« written on it. So what do people want to say with this t-shirt? “Don’t date me, I’m smart enough to know that it won’t work”? Or “There are no other smart people out there, I can date”? Or should I read it “Help me, I’m smart, I can’t date”? (And no, I didn’t ask her. ;-)


WML builds and runs on cygwin //at 01:26 //by abe

from the there-is-no-reason-why-it-shouldn't-work dept.

For a long time the Website Meta Language (WML) did not build on cygwin, but nobody knew why or how to fix it. At the end of last year, the WML maintainer changed to Shlomi Fish and one of his goals was to get WML run under cygwin.

Many probably didn’t expect it to really happen since WML developement has stalled for the last three or four years, but the Subversion 2.0.x maintenance branch of WML now builds and works on Windows under cygwin. This shows that there is really something going on in the WML developement again.

Congrats and thanks to Shlomi!


Stadtfuchs //at 01:07 //by abe

Aus der überraschenden Abteilung

Ich war es ja schon aus Rheinhessen gewohnt: In den Rheinauen oder Weinbergen laufen einem immer mal wilde Tiere über den Weg, aber daß diese auch mitten in einem städtischen (aber zugegebenermaßen recht grünen) Wohngebiet begegnen können, das war schon ein nettes Erlebnis.

In der Zwischenzeit bin ich dem scheuen Höngger Stadtfuchs auf meinem abend- bzw. genauer nächtlichen Heimweg schon mehrmals begegnet. Heute ist er sogar kurz vor mir über den Fußweg gehuscht. Im Gegensatz zum Stadtfuchs scheinen sich die hiesigen Stadtkatzen kaum an Fußgängern oder Autos zu stören und bleiben in stoïscher Ruhe auf ihrem Plätzchen sitzen, auch wenn sie merken, daß die Aufmerksamkeit auf sie gerichtet ist.


LUGS-Vortrag für Einsteiger: Die Helfer der Kommandozeile //at 10:16 //by abe

Aus der Nix-für-Gurus Abteilung

Am nächsten LUGS-Treff (Donnerstag, 1. Juni 2006, 19:15 Uhr, ETH Zürich, HG, Raum E 21) werde ich einen etwa ¾-stündigen Vortrag für Kommandozeilen-Einsteiger halten. Der Vortrag soll einerseits ein wenig die Angst vor der Kommandozeile nehmen (“Kommandozeile ist ganz einfach.”) und andererseits die Gemeinsamkeiten vieler häufig genutzter Kommandozeilenprogramme aufzeigen: “Da ist (einigermaßen) System dahinter.”

Zielgruppe sind Linux-Benutzer, die bisher Linux nur auf der grafischen Oberfläche — sei es mit KDE, GNOME oder XFCE — kennengelernt haben oder sich noch nicht an die Kommandozeile heran getraut haben.

Dementsprechend würde ich mich auch freuen, wenn nicht nur die üblichen Verdächtigen -äh- Gurus selbst kommen würden – die werden an diesem Vortrag nix lernen – sondern diese auch all ihre Geschwister, Eltern, Großeltern, Kinder, Enkel, Freunde, etc. mitbringen würden, denen sie ein Linux oder ein BSD schon immer aufdrängen wollten, aber immer an so Fragen wie »Ich habe mich eingeloggt und sehe nur “linux FAQ) gescheitert sind.

Update 00:31 Uhr: Die vorläufigen Folien zum Vortrag sind online.

Now playing: Eagles — Hotel California via Radio 24


Slides for Berlin and Chemnitz online //at 01:47 //by abe

from the I-don't-need-no-sleep dept.

The slides for my next two shell efficiency talks are now online.

I’ll hold one 1.5h talk on Thursday, 2nd of March, 19:30h at the New Thinking Store in Berlin Mitte. Thanks to Sven Guckes for the idea and for bringing me in contact (again) with New Thinking.

The second will be a 3h workshop on Saturday, 4th of March at the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage.

I’ll also hold a short 30min talk for beginners about the “Command line helper” on Sunday, the 5th of March, 10:00h at the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage. The slides for this talk will follow during this week.

All talks will be held in German.

Update, 12:57h: I’ll travel from Berlin to Chemnitz with the famous LinuxBus and there are still some seats free. So if you plan to come from Berlin to Chemnitz and want us to join, please quickly contact Frank Hofmann <> for reservation.

New talk proposal, new Linux distribution found //at 01:47 //by abe

from the ray-of-hope dept.

After talking with some LinuxTag guys about which kind of talks are still missing for the upcoming LinuxTag, I submitted another proposal for a still only roughly sketched talk: KISS – Keep it simple and stupid, also on the web.

KISS – “Keep it simple and stupid” is an old and successful principle in the Unix world: Small and simple programs, doing only one thing, but they’re doing perfect, fast and reliable. This principle can also work on the web and make webservers or surf terminals out of already discharged computers.

I planned to show “simple” (or at least “simple to use”) tools like Blosxom or the Website Meta Language, a more slim webserver than Apache (e.g. fefe’s fnord or one of the ACME webservers thttpd, mini_httpd or micro_httpd), slim web-browsers (e.g. like Dillo, Opera, glinks, ViewML or Minimo) and one or more Linux distributions optimized for low end PCs. While thinking about low end PCs, usually the following distributions come to my mind: DeLi Linux, fli4l and Debian Woody.

But none of them seems to fit for my talk as perfectly as I would like:

  • DeLi Linux is no bad distribution, since it’s designed especially for 386 to Pentium I, but I have some strong disagreements with the maintainer of DeLi Linux, since he sees a very small package list as necessary requirement for a distribution for old PCs. He states that distributions for old PCs “don’t have that many harddisk space” (beyond other, more realistic arguments — but it seemed to be his main argument) while I see a rich package diversity as an quality criteria. (One of the reasons, why I like Debian and dislike Ubuntu.) So I’m not sure if I should present a very raped DeLi Linux to the audience, just to make it fit my needs, although I’m quite curious about his upcoming 0.7 release with the low end, KHTML based ViewML webbrowser. (Apart from me seeing PHP5 and KDE as a big nono on old PCs…)
  • Although I still like Debian Woody very much (you know that old story… ;-), it is just too old for making a talk about how to turn old PCs into being usable again. Sarge would be fine, but it was suggested to showcase an easy and fast way to get something ready to run, and I can’t give the auditors a list of all the Debian packages with low resource consumption and therefore usable on low end PCs.
  • I haven’t used it yet, but fli4l seems to be very good distribution to turn an old PC into a ISDN or DSL router, even without harddisk. The last time I had a look at fli4l, it used an Apache as (optional) webserver, which wouldn’t fit into my scheme, since I would like to show an alternative to Apache. But as I found out today the recently released version 3.0 of fli4l uses the already mentioned ACME mini_httpd. Cool! They’re on the right way! ;-) Unfortunately it only seems to be used for serving information pages about the fli4l status and not as common webserver. (Please correct me, if this is wrong! I would appreciate it, if I’m wrong at this point. :-)

Since I first read about viewml on the DeLi Linux page, I looked for Debian packages of viewml today. apt-cache search hasn’t found anything on Woody or Sarge and is still down, so I used Google. I found out,  that there at least was a viewml package in Debian since at least 2001, so I expect, it just didn’t make it to stable.

But I also found this interesting page on a webserver called Ubuntu Lite? That sounds very interesting, since I see Ubuntu not as the baddest idea (expect for it’s horribly resource hunger and only offering one package per application by default ;-), but having an Ubuntu derivative prepackaged for low end PCs and with several webbrowsers instead of only Epiphany (and probably Firefox, don’t they?) would be perfect for my purpose.

So I’m currently downloading an Ubuntu Lite ISO and will give it a try on one of my Pentium MMX boxes. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to support Pentium I or AMD K5 since Ubuntu itself only supports i686 and upwards. :-/

But this also means, that it’s no occasion for my Pentium I Compaq LTE 5100 (which I probably will name pony), but currently, after Bartosz’ recent post on Planet Debian, it looks like Debian GNU/kFreeBSD could also be an interesting OS, since it fits all requirements perfectly: Free, Modern, Exotic and all conveniences of Debian. ;-)

Now Playing: Jefferson Starship — We Built This City

Talk proposal for Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2006 accepted //at 01:47 //by abe

from the Gorl-Morx-Stodt dept.

My workshop proposal for the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2006 has been accepted last week. But in addition to it, they asked if I can also hold a talk for beginners about the basic command line utilities, since one presenter had to cancel his offer. But nevertheless they wanted such a talk in their schedule. So I’ll also give a short 30 minutes introduction to basic command line utilities as e.g. ls, rm, cp and mv.

Since I heard no contrary statement, I expect the talks to be held in German.

Now playing: Rockapella — Zombie Jamboree

LinuxTag 2006 Slides are online now //at 01:46 //by abe

from the better-late-than-never dept.

Just uploaded the slides to my two LinuxTag talks:

I’ll hold the KISS talk also at FrOSCon, the Free and Open Source Software Conference in the Rhein Sieg Area near Cologne at the end of June. There I’ll also hold my two command line talks: one talk for beginners and one workshop for advanced shell users.


Ausländerausweis, Halbtax, Parkplakette und Internet //at 01:30 //by abe

Aus der Vier-auf-einen-Streich Abteilung

Heute hat sich einiges bewegt hier: Morgens habe ich meinen Ausländerausweis abgeholt, danach den RailCheck der ETH Zürich am Bahnhof Wipkingen zu einem zweijährigem Halbtaxabo der SBB (für Deutsche: vergleichbar mit einer zwei Jahre gültigen BahnCard 50) eingelöst, dann es entgegen der Aussagen auf der Webseite der Stadt Zürich, dennoch geschafft, für den Subaru meiner Eltern (warum ich den gerade fahre, schreibe ich ein andermal en detail) eine Parkplakette für die Blaue Zone zu bekommen, auch wenn diese nur 45 Tage ab Anmeldung, d.h. nur noch bis 11. Juni gilt.

Und schlußendlich kam heute nachmittag noch das Kabelmodem der Cablecom, das ich dann heute abend auch gleich angeschlossen und ausprobiert habe. Und entgegen papos Erfahrungen und Befürchtungen, habe ich auch nix retournieren müssen und es hat auch alles recht gut geklappt (Mittwochnachmittag über die ETH bestellt, Montagnachmittag Internet) — immerhin schreibe ich diese Zeilen über meinen frischen Internetanschluß. Nur manchmal hat es etwas nervendes Lag. Aber naja, mir war ja bewußt, daß die Cablecom nicht das Gelbe vom Ei ist. Nur schienen mir bei ADSL vor allem in der Infrastruktur noch viel schlimmere Zustände zu herrschen…

Komischerweise hatte ich den einzigen Huddel bei der Cablecom-Bestellung mit dem Webformular und dem zuständigen Sachbearbeiter der ETH. Nachdem ich keine E-Mail-Adresse der Sorte user+firma@meinedomain.tld angeben durfte (sei angeblich ungültig), habe ich als E-Mail-Adresse halt nur firma@meinedomain.tld angegeben. Der naseweise Herr von der ETH meinte daraufhin, diese “Jux-Adresse” durch meine Firmen-E-Mail-Adresse ersetzen und mir dies natürlich erst nach der Weiterleitung an die Cablecom mitteilen zu müssen. *grumpf* Ergo war das erste, was ich machen durfte, meine E-Mail-Adresse bei der Cablecom ändern. Hoffen wir mal, daß sie da keine History führen.


Last day at work //at 19:00 //by abe

from the It's-hard-to-say-goodbye dept.

As some of my friends already know, I’ve quit my current job and will start working at the Department of Physics of the ETH Zurich in May.

Today is my last day at work here and I feel a little bit sentimental. Most co-workers became friends during the last four and a half years and I’ll move away from a bunch of friends at Darmstadt and from some friends in Mainz and Frankfurt/M. And I’ll leave the Rhine-Main area just shortly before LinuxTag moves in. Fsck.

But it had to be. Although I like creating dynamic web pages with Embperl and Apache, I became sick of working with SuSE Linux, sick of developing with OpenLDAP, sick of developing web applications which must (also) run with Apache under Windows or with MS Access. Since I understand that for the success of my current employer the use of these products can’t be changed that easily, the only solution for me was to quit the job.

My new job at the ETH Zurich will be administrating mostly Unix systems at the Department of Physics as well as some Unix user training. I won’t get rid of Windows and OpenLDAP there though, but I won’t have to develop software with them. What I’ll get rid of is SuSE: I will have my beloved Debian around me (which I can use here only for building Debian packages for customers) and some FreeBSD (no change here ;-), too. So I really look forward to my new job.

Therefore I’ll move to Zurich soon. And since I have down there a lot of friends, too — not only through Symlink and the Linux User Group Switzerland but also people from the 2CV scene — it’s not so hard to the leave the current environment and jump into a new one. Another advantage of moving more southwards is that I’ll be closer again to the rest of the Beckert family, at least the part I’m related to. (The biggest number of Beckerts seem to live near Chemnitz according to Geogen, so perhaps I should pay attention to this when visiting the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage the next time.)

But I’ll come back and visit the Rhine-Main area probably quite often, not only for LinuxTag.

P.S.: It maybe that further blog postings about my move to Zurich only appear in the German written part of my blog and therefore not on Planet Debian (but Planet Symlink).

Today is ircbot-day //at 18:33 //by abe

from the there-is-a-day-for-anything dept.

Today is ircbot-day. Let’s worship all those ircbots who serve us with information, announce new stories or submissions, keep an eye on our servers, annoy dkg, mirabile and others ;-), or just turn someone’s head.

So today I think of

  • jabba — for announcing every Symlink story, announcing any Symlink submission to the Symlink editors and for bothering anyone who says “re” on #symlink or #lugs. ;-)
  • gaby — for never letting an eye from any of the ETHZ Departement of Physics’ computers and for probably being the most sexy chatteress on #lugs. ;-)
  • MelOne — for always knowing what we said on #symlink.
  • blogbot — for remembering all our blogs and a little backlog on #blosxom
  • captu (aka Copyra Pasta) — for helping us to not paste a lot of waste into #lugs.
  • blutbot — for I just can’t remember what he did and what he could do. Maybe I also don’t want to know.
  • And of course also a thanks to all these NickServs, ChanServs, MemoServs and StatServs out there in the net for their ubiquitous services.

Thanks to all of you not war-making ircbots for existing. Without you, IRC would be less funny. ;-)


Und gleich die erste Feuerprobe: Geisterfahrer //at 13:34 //by abe

Aus der ausnahmsweise-mal-nicht-Murphy Abteilung

Da war man grade am Samstag bei einem Fahrsicherheitstraining und prompt darf man das gerade Gelernte auch gleich einsetzen: Auf der Rückfahrt gen Mainz kam mir in einer Autobahnbaustelle zwischen Rheinfelden und Lörrach ein Geisterfahrer entgegen: Vollbremsung auf nasser Fahrbahn — die beiden Fahrzeuge blieben etwa im Abstand von 10 bis 15 Meter stehen.

Der geisterfahrende Audi verzog sich dann holpernd aber recht flott über die die beiden Fahrbahnen trennenden gelbe Wulst mit kleinen roten Baken auf seine Fahrbahnseite und fuhr mit einem sichtlich verdatterten Fahrer weiter. Vermutlich war er mehr geschockt als ich.

Etwa ein Kilometer später wurde mir auch klar, wie das überhaupt passieren konnte: Dort endete die gelbe Wulst plötzlich und die (noch nicht ganz fertige) Autobahn sah aus wie eine Landstraße — oder eben wie die Fahrbahn einer normalen, zweibahnigen Autobahn, wenn man mal von dem doppelt durchgezogenen Streifen zwischen den beiden Spuren und den wirklich großen Schildern “Achung! Gegenverkehr!” absieht.

Warum man dann allerdings trotzdem auf einer leeren (vermeintlichen) Autobahn mit doppelt durchgezogen Streifen zwischen den beiden Spuren auf der linken Spur fahren muss, ist mir allerdings völlig unklar. Naja, die Wege mancher Autofahrer sind offenbar unergründlich. Und Murphy war dieses Wochenende wohl faul: Eigentlich hätte nach Murphys Gesetz sowas direkt vor dem Fahrsicherheitstraining passieren müssen und nicht danach. ;-)

Der provisorische Ersatz für den rissigen LHM-Rücklaufschlauch hat übrigens problemlos bis nach Hause gehalten (und hält immer noch), das Ersatzteil habe ich heute morgen bei Rosenstocks bestellt und wird am Donnerstag eingebaut.


Ente hat vermutlich Getriebelagerschaden //at 13:48 //by abe

Aus der Alle-Jahre-wieder Abteilung

Seit Sonntag macht die Ente beim Beschleunigen und bei der Motorbremse komische Kratz- und Klimpergeräusche von vorne. Erster Verdacht war, daß sich mal wieder das Luftleitblech um den Kühlventilator gelockert hat und an diesem oder einer der Riemenscheiben des Keilriemens streift. Aber irgendwie waren die Geräusche durch hin- und herbewegen des Luftleitbleches bei im Stand laufenden Motor nicht annährend in der entsprechenden Lautstärke zu reproduzieren.

Montagmorgen dann für Dienstagmorgen einen Werkstattbesuch bei Stefan ausgemacht. Da ich immer noch von irgendwas Losem rund um den Kühlventilator ausging, habe ich die Ente nicht groß ausgeladen…

In “Werk 2” der Werkstatt angekommen mehrte sich der Verdacht, daß die Geräusche eher aus der Gegend Kupplung und Getriebe kommen. Eine kurze Probefahrt über den Hof ließ die Vermutung, daß es sich um einen Getriebelagerschaden handelt, leider deutlich erhärten. Und das immer mal wieder aufgetretene Klimpern sind wohl die Reste des Lagers am Grund des Getriebes.

Daß man mit solch einem Getriebe nicht mehr groß rumfährt, weil permanent die Gefahr besteht, endgültig liegen zu bleiben, ist einleuchtend. Nur leider war zur Zeit kein Leihwagen verfügbar. Netterweise hatte mir Markus vom Werk 2 dann seine Ente geliehen, da er nur wenige hundert Meter vom Werk 2 entfernt wohnt und im Notfall auch noch andere Fahrzeuge zur Verfügung hat.

Da absehbar war, daß der notwendige Getriebewechsel eine größere Aktion wird, gab’s auch gleich den Auftrag für noch mehr Arbeiten: Neue Bremsscheiben vorne, neue Nebelschlußleuchte (die teuren Hella-Dinger halten keine einzigen Aufsetzer aus…), neue Verkabelung des Rückfahrscheinwerfers wegen Massefehler, neuer Heckscheibenheizungsschalter (leuchtet zwar schön, aber gibt kein Strom nach hinten), neue Heizbirnen, verschlissenes Luftfiltergehäuse flicken sowie Auspuff als auch Verbindung zwischen Luftfilter und Öleinfüllstutzen abdichten. Das werden mit Sicherheit wieder einige Hundert Euros…

Vorher durfte ich aber noch den ganzen Klumpbatsch, der so in der Ente rumflog, in Markus’ Ente umräumen: Campingausrüstung, Leergut, einen alten 15”-Monitor von dyfa, Werkzeugkasten, etc.

Und nach der Ente kommt der CX mit Werkstatt dran: Neuer Anlasser, neuer LHM+-Rücklaufschlauch, zwei neue Heckklappenschaniere und ein wenig Rostvorsorge. Vorher bekommt er aber noch zwei neue Scheibenwischer.


Das Valium Schwarz-Rot wirkt //at 14:36 //by abe

Aus der Ach-Du-Scheiße Abteilung

Im Gegensatz zur letzten Bundestagswahl hat sich bei den Landtagswahlen an den Spitzen nichts groß geändert. Das Valium Schwarz-Rot wirkt, sagt Parteienforscher Franz Walter so passend im taz-Interview.

Im unteren Prozentbereich hat sich aber zumindest in Rheinland-Pfalz leider sehr wohl was getan: Statt der SPD Stimmen abzugraben, hat die WASG den Grünen anscheinend vor allem bei den Grünen gewuchert und damit aus dem Landtag gekickt ohne selbst einzuziehen und damit auch der SPD die Möglichkeit zur Alleinregierung ermöglicht. Echt Klasse!

Naja, immer noch besser eine SPD-Alleinregierung als eine CDU-Alleinregierung. Trotzdem: Ich habe nicht das Gefühl, daß ich meine beiden grünen Stimmen verschenkt habe. Im Gegenteil, alle anderen großen Parteien sind in der Zwischenzeit unwählbar geworden (vor allem die SPD, der Rest war es eh seit Jahren schon).

Dafür haben die Grünen wenigstens in meinem Heimatländle um die 12% erreicht und sind damit drittstärkste Kraft im baden-württembergischen Landtag. Gratulation nach Stu’g’rt.

Trotzdem macht man sich echt Gedanken, wie man den Grünen helfen kann. Als erstes schaut man sich so mal deren Webseite an: — Daneben. Bei gelandet, dort gibt’s nur Touristik-Werbung. Nächster Versuch ohne Bindestrich: Das macht einen Redirect auf eine DeNIC-Fehlermeldung, die besagt, daß die “aufgerufene Domain […] derzeit nicht erreichbar” ist. Laut whois ist sie allerdings schon vom “BUENDNIS 90/ DIE GRUENEN Bundesverband” registriert, als Admin-C, Tech-C und Zone-C ist aber der DeNIC eingetragen. Sehr komisch. Anscheinend ist bei den Grünen auch IT-mäß nicht alles im grünen Bereich. Wenigstens tut noch und ist auch wirklich die Webseite der Grünen.

Dort kann man auch online eine Mitgliedschaft beantragen, aber mit der nach wie vor aktuellen Forderung nach mindestens einem Prozent des Nettolohns vergraulen die Grünen definitiv nicht nur mich sofort wieder sondern haben auch bereits einen meiner Kollegen vergrault.

Ich hab' gewählt… //at 13:37 //by abe

Aus der grünen Abteilung

… und zwar zwei Mal grün, da es nicht danach aussah, als hätte der CDU‘ler große Chancen. (Update 01:27 Uhr: Hatte er auch nicht.)

Das einzige was mich gewundert hat: Niemand wollte meinen Ausweis sehen. Bisher war ich das anders gewohnt und es nicht das erste Mal, daß ich draußen in der Pampa wähle… (Update 01:27 Uhr: Woanders wurden die Wähler teilweise nach ihrem Geburtsdatum gefragt, aber Ausweise wollte auch dort keiner sehen…)

Sodele, ich geh jetzt pennen. Ist spät genug… ;-)

Now playing: Reinhard Mey — Wahlsonntag


New old computers //at 23:41 //by abe

from the spare-parts dept.

My employer cleared out old hardware this week and besides saving an old Compaq laptop docking-station from the junkyard (will bring it together with a second one to the flea market of the next Vintage Computer Festival Europe in Munich), I got a bunch of old PCs (about 5 or so), starting with an old 486 DX 33, which was our firewall when I came into the company, ranging to my old workstation (without processor), which was thrown out after two harddisks left there life in there with a offset of only four months. Unfortunately three further gigahertz ranged mini desktops were not working anymore…

But the optical highlight was an Unisys Aquanta CP mini desktop (picture) with a passively cooled 200 MHz Pentium MMX, which I now call tryane. This nice monitor post probably becomes my new Sarge based gateway and firewall since the old Woody based one, called azu needs more space and current and had some ext3 filesystem problems which looked like setting it up from scratch wouldn’t be the baddest idea.

Spezi vs VCFe //at 14:34 //by abe

from the Mift dept.

After a phone call from Urs Kellermann, I noticed that this year’s Special Bikes Show (German: Spezialradmesse or short “Spezi”) is in parallel to the Vintage Computer Festival Europe 7.0: Spezi is from 29th to 30th of April while VCFe is from 29th of April to 1st of May. So I can’t visit Spezi this year since I’m usually helping the VCFe organisators here and there. Fsck!

But dino has even less luck: He told me, he knows five events he would like to visit that weekend. :-) He has chosen to visit the Anime Marathon and VCFe with switching events on Sunday.

Neu auf Planet Symlink: Das FUCKUP-Weblog und ein neues Logo //at 14:20 //by abe

Aus der Zeitgeist-und-Meta-Medium Abteilung

Sodele, nachdem Planet Symlink ja nun doch schon eine Weile existiert und Neuzugänge nicht mehr ganz so oft passieren, habe ich mir überlegt, daß es Sinn macht, auf neu aufgenommene Blogs kurz hinzuweisen. In diesem Sinne:

Seit heute neu auf Planet Symlink ist das FUCKUP-Weblog von Doener.

Der Name seines Blogs mag für den einen oder anderen recht aggressiv oder vielleicht sogar obszön (und für manch anderen VIEL ZU LAUT ;-) klingen, ist aber ein Literaturzitat aus der Illuminatus-Trilogie: “FUCKUP (First Universal Cybernetic-Kinetic Ultra-Micro Programmer) ist der fiktive Computer von Captain Hagbard Celine. FUCKUP, der sich auf dem goldenen U-Boot Leif Erikson befindet, ermittelt ständig, mittels eines virtuellen I Ging, die Wahrscheinlichkeit für den Ausbruch des 3. Weltkriegs.”

Weiter gibt es seit kurzem ein neues Logo für Planet Symlink: Der Symlink-Schriftzug mit dem Planeten schlechthin statt dem Symlink-Würfel im Hintergrund. Idee dazu und diese auch gleich umgesetzt hat Jiuka. Dafür ein Dankeschön an ihn. (Und ja, ein klein wenig müssen wir noch dran feilen. :-)

Achja, und noch ein Hinweis in eigener Sache: Ich komm’ mir ehrlich gesagt etwas doof vor, als einziger mitsamt meiner Hackfresse auf Planet Symlink aufzutauchen. Ich hatte ja gehofft, daß die Leute sowas direkt miteinsenden mit ihren Bloglinks, aber da war ich wohl mal wieder etwas zu optimistisch. Deswegen hier nochmal nicht nur per Telepathie und Wunschdenken sondern auch schriftlich (oder zumindest elektronisch): Falls Ihr also auch Euer Hackergotchi auf Planet Symlink sehen möchtet, einfach mir per E-Mail zuschicken. TIA.


RIP CitroNews //at 20:52 //by abe

from the no-news-are-bad-news dept.

CitroNews has closed its doors since there were no news for over two years. I liked the idea but it seemed to have neither that much readers nor many submitters. And since I’m not really that active in the Citroën or 2CV scene anymore, I seldom had something to send in.

Update, 20:37h: And no, this does not mean that I’ve sold or will sell any of my 2CVs. I just was on no 2CV meeting for IIRC nearly a year now. Too many Open Source events out there… ;-)


Queue für den Smart und andere automobile Schmerzen //at 01:23 //by abe

Aus der designfreien Abteilung

Gerade beim Nachbarn bebal entdeckt: Für den unsäglichen Smart (Getriebe serienmäßig kaputt und so) gibt es jetzt einen Queue (sprich: “Kö”) namens Clever-End.

Für einen Entenfahrer ist so eine Kofferraumerweiterung ja nichts unbekanntes (und optisch hat die Ente ja noch nie Ansprüche gestellt), aber an den Smart, dessen Länge eines seiner wenigen positiven Features war, einen pummelig-häßlichen GfK-Kasten (je nach Modell sogar ohne Heckscheibe) dran zu pappen, ist schon heftig.

Dann doch lieber einen alten Fiat Croma oder einen alten Seat Toledo per Heckklappenersatz zum Kombi machen. Zumindest den Toledo-Umbausatz gab’s wohl von Bieber Cabriolet in Borken. Der Umbausatz für den Croma war zumindest vom Konzept her mehr oder weniger identisch und könnte ebenfalls von diesem Hersteller gewesen sein.

Achja: Weitere automobile Schmerzen bei SpOn, auf die ich aber nicht weiter eingehen möchte: ein gechoppter, dreitüriger Porsche Cayenne von Rinspeed. Ein normales SUV ist ja schon schlimm genug, aber sowas da…

Die Autowelt hat einen neuen Elch //at 00:44 //by abe

Aus der Ehrlich!-Wir-haben-nix-gemacht! Abteilung

Die Autowelt hat einen neuen Elch: Der Billigwagen Logan der rumänischen Renault-Tochter Dacia legt sich beim Elchtest des ADACs flott aufs Dach. Tja, da muß der Renault-12-Nachfolger wohl noch ein wenig üben. (Danke an Ermel für den Hinweis.)

Und wenn wir schonmal grade AutoBlöd lesen, dann wenigstens auch mal was erfreuliches: Der 911er jetzt wieder mit runden Scheinwerfern statt Spiegeleiern.

What’s Your Summer Ride? //at 00:41 //by abe

from the cars-and-bikes dept.

When I was following the links to the What Are The Keys To Your Heart? quiz which was a common meme during the last weeks on Planet Debian, I noticed a quiz which made me much more curious than the above mentioned one or the What Language Should You Learn? quiz meme: What’s Your Summer Ride?

Since I know exactly what my summer ride is, I was curious what will come out. Since there were only a few questions (somehow I expected more), I was through after a quite short time:

Your Summer Ride is a Jeep
For you, summer is all about having no responsibilities.
You prefer to hang with old friends - and make some new ones.

Well, although there were a few question where I could have chosen more than one answer, the answer is not so bad. My perfect summer ride would be a white all-wheel drive 2CV, either a original, double-engined 2CV Sahara (Type “AW”) from the 50s or 60s or a “modern” 2CV with Weber 5-speed gearbox and Weber all-wheel drive.

Regarding the first question “If you had a ton of money, how would you spend your summer?”: I probably would take an all-wheel drive 2CV and would drive on small roads through Scandinavia or the Alps. Or along the Panameriacana or through the Yellowstone National Park if I wouldn’t have to travel to the USA for it.

So regarding the second question “Where’s the best place to go for a summer drive?” not only a forest path or a coastal highway are fine, but also a small path winding it way up a mountain which wasn’t mentioned in the quiz.

Regarding music in the car, I usually like the sound of driving and the car itself. But since there is also music which reminds of driving a car or even makes me wanting to take a ride in the car, I sometimes hear e.g. Jean Michel Jarre or Roxette while driving. (Hearing Roxette songs often makes me want to drive around with a CX which defaults to my own CX. :-)

And regarding the best summer smell, nearly nothing reaches the smell after a short but heavy summer thunder storm. Second place is probably a (not mentioned) fresh and salty breeze near the coast.

BTW: Second place (with changing only one answer — the secluded forest to the coastal highway) was the New Beetle Convertible falsely written as only “Beetle Convertible”. Well, since I hate the New Beetle, because it’s neither New (just Golf technic) nor Beetle (it has completely wrong proportions) and it’s plain ugly (ok, the convertible isn’t as ugly as the limousine but still ugly), I can’t agree with this answer. ;-) But I wonder, what are the other car answers are…

Now playing: Roxette — Sleeping In My Car

Athen plans to ban SUVs from the city //at 00:41 //by abe

from the Shit-Utility-Vehicle dept.

According to this Spiegel Online article Athen plans to “ban offroaders” from the centre of the city with the beginning of September 2006. Since the Greek governments argues about the traffic space these cars need, their drivers “only being posers” that have “nothing to do than driving around all the day”, I suspect, they mean SUVs and not offroaders. At least here in Germany, you usually don’t see offroaders in the cities, but a lot of Sport Utiliy Vehicles which usually just pretend to be an offroader (Wired, Guardian) but are perfect for parking with one or two tires on the sidewalk.

As outrageous as this sounds — it may have a real and reasonable reason: SUVs are usually bigger than other cars (especially in Europe), they need more parking space and have bad turning circles. They often have to back just to turn left or right in Athen’s narrow alleyways. Because of this, they are accused to cause most of the traffic jams in the centre of Athen

I’m still not sure, if I should believe this news, although SUVs are some kind of enemy concept for me. Why only SUVs? Why (AFAIK) also small offroaders like the Suzuki LJ or SJ? Why not being consequent and taking the Paris of ’50s (or ’60s? Can’t remember and Google and Wikipedia didn’t help…) as an example and creating a Zone Bleue (“Blue Zone”), in which only cars may enter, which have appropriate dimensions.

“Zone Bleue”? Back in the decades after WWII, Paris had problems with big lorries in the city, so Paris’ introduced the Zone Bleue (AFAIR) in the inner city, which was restricted to vehicles with a floor space less than 5m² or 6m² or so, so even some French car makers started build special “Zone Bleue” versions of their delivery vans with bumpers closer to the van body, tunneled rear lights and rolling shutter instead of outside lying sliding doors. And often high roofs for raising their capacity. (The only “Zone Bleue” van I found pictures of on the net was this Citroën HY Zone Bleue Pickup. You can best see the unusual rear bumper and the tunneled rear lights on the lower left picture.)

But back to Athen: Another reason which makes me sceptical about that news is that neither the Englisch Google News nor the the German Google News (also tried several other search terms…) finds any other news about this except the above mentioned Spiegel article.

Found via

Citroën ist wieder da //at 00:40 //by abe

Aus der le-retour Abteilung

Citroën ist wieder da — voll da. Zurück auf alten Pfaden, dort wo wir Citroën erwarten, dort wo Citroën hingehört: Weit weg vom Mainstream, mit Komfort und Avantgarde die seinesgleichen sucht — außer in der eigenen Geschichte.

Der Citroën C6 ist nach den immer aufgeweichteren Modellen der 80er, und den Peugeots der 90er wieder ein echter Citroën. Er hat es sogar geschafft, daß ich mir zum ersten Mal eine AutoBild gekauft habe (dort war der erste Test in Deutschland drin) und heute seit langem mal wieder eine ams, da dort der erste ausführliche Test in Deutschland drin war.

Der C6 beeindruckt. Durch Eigenständigkeit, durch Technik, durch Komfort und — was sowohl ams- als auch AutoBild-Redakteure vehement bestritten — durch Retro-Design. Nicht im ganzen, nein, das hat Citroën noch nie gemacht. Retro-Design ist bei Citroën eine teilweise gut in den Details versteckte Hommage an frühere Modelle.

War beim XM der Fensterlinienknick Seiner Majestät unverkennbar, so sah man die Rückleuchten des CX an ihm nur bei angeschaltener Warnblinkanlage oder — noch deutlicher — bei offenem Kofferaum.

Beim C6 muß man zwar etwas genauer hinschauen, aber der Kenner wird trotzdem schnell fündig: Nicht nur die Silhouette der Schräghecklimousine mit kurzem Überhang hinten und langem Überhang vorne, sondern auch die Abmessungen sind ein CX-Zitat, genauso die konkave Heckscheibe. (Liebe ams-Redakteure, in einem Satz “kein Retro-Design” zu schreiben und direkt darauf vom “Gag” der konkaven Heckscheibe zu schreiben, zeugt wahrlich von Unkenntnis der Materie.) Dann hintere Türen ohne Radausschnitte im Türblech, eine gegenüber dem Rest des Hecks versenkte Heckklappe, unauffällig nach unten verlängerte Karosserie durch farblich abgesetzte Schweller und Türunterkanten, die Art des Übergangs des Kühlergrills in die Karosserie, der riesige Kofferraum und trotzdem nur ein “Kofferraumdeckel”, Blinker mit einer weiteren Leuchte in der vorderen Stoßstange hinter dem gleichen Glas sowie Scheiben, die man nicht selbst putzen müssen will *duck*, auch hier läßt der CX grüßen. (Beim Verbrauch allerdings auch. Öhm. :-)

Dann endlich wieder mitlenkende Scheinwerfer! Wie lange haben wir darauf warten müssen… (Genau, seit über 30 Jahre — die DS wurde in meinem Geburtsjahr eingestellt.) Die geschwindigkeitsabhängige Servolenkung ist heute dagegen keine Besonderheit mehr, ihre extreme Leichtgängkeit aber sehr wohl. Und natürlich ein Zitat. Oder was meinen Sie, worin man mit einem Finger im Stand die Vorderräder mühelos voll einschlagen kann. Genau, im CX… Mal ganz davon abgesehen, daß auch der Name “C6” selbst ein Zitat ist.

Endlich mal wieder ein moderner Citroën, der sich sehen lassen kann. Definitiv eines der wenigen modernen Automobile, die mir gefallen. (Das einzige andere, das mir spontan einfällt, ist übrigens der Mazda RX-8.)

Und trotzdem erfüllt der C6 manche Citroënträume nicht: Auch wenn zwei der drei Lenkradstreben schwarz sind und die untere hell ist — ein Einarmlenkrad ist das noch lange nicht. Und der V6 ist auch kein 6-Zylinder-Boxer, wie man ihn für die DS geplant hatte (und aus Zeitgründen dann durch das absolute Gegenteil ersetzte: den langhubigen, stehenden Reihenvierzylinder aus dem Traction Avant) und auch kein Dreischeibenwankelmotor, wie er mal in den CX sollte. Dieser erbte dann auch nur Reihenvierzylinder seines Vorgängers.

Sind wir mal gespannt, was die Werkstätten zur Wartbarkeit und Reparierbarkeit des neuen Großen sagen, ob sie auch so begeistert wie von SM, CX und XM sind. Und, ob ein C6 Break kommen wird, denn schließlich gab es bisher noch von jedem großen Citroën (mindestens) eine Kombiversion, selbst vom Traction Avant. (Und sollte der C6 Break kommen, ist es wahrscheinlich nur noch eine Frage der Zeit, bis Tissier daraus Abschleppwagen, Krankenwagen und Kastenwagen baut. ;-)


Editor at The Unofficial Blosxom User Group //at 03:43 //by abe

from the multi-author-blogging dept.

A few days ago I joined Douglas Nerad as an editor of The Unofficial Blosxom User Group, an of course Blosxom running blog about Blosxom and full of quite up-to-date information (in comparision to the neglected official site).

Today I posted my first article there which covers an FAQ coming up again recently on the mailing list.


Tag clouds not being tag clouds //at 13:50 //by abe

from the cloudy-today-isn't-it dept.

I recently stumbled over two nice things just looking like a very impressive tag cloud without being one.

The first thing is a screenshot of a newsletter which seemed to make some bloggers to scent a marketing conspiracy against bloggers since bloggers tend to jump on everything looking like a tag cloud. (Well, doesn’t this posting prove this theory? ;-)

The second thing is semantically closer to a tag cloud: a search term cloud. Well, if that isn’t an idea for a new Blosxom plugin? ;-)

Which SciFi crew would I best fit in? //at 02:57 //by abe

In m³’s online pamphlete, I found a new quiz I immediately had to take:

Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in?

Before taking the quiz I already wondered which possible answers it offers and what I’d expect as result. The only thing I knew so far was that The Matrix was featured in the quiz since m3 scored as Nebuchadnezzar. Farscape came to my mind.

During the quiz some of the questions seemed quite obvious on which crew they would count resp. not count. Since I don’t like military, I knew that Star Trek crews won’t be on the top of my list…

Well, it seems as if had guessed quite well:

You scored as Moya (Farscape). You are surrounded by muppets. But that is okay because they are your friends and have shown many times that they can be trusted. Now if only you could stop being bothered about wormholes.

Moya (Farscape)
Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)
Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)
Serenity (Firefly)
Enterprise D (Star Trek)
Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)
Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)
Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)
FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)
SG-1 (Stargate)
Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)
Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
Created with

Interestingly the Enterprise D from Star Trek TNG is also in the list and not that far down as I expected it. So there seems to be at least a slight correlation between what SciFi series/movies I like most (Farscape, Star Trek TNG and DS9, the early Star Wars movies, The Matrix, Babylon 5) and with which crew’s philosophy I agree most as well as which ships appeal most to me (Millennium Falcon, Moya and many ships from B5, TNG and DS9) and vice versa: I’m not that big fan of Battlestar Galactica nor Star Gate neither do I like the design of the ships showing up there.

Another two things I noticed by this quiz: I should perhaps once have a look at Firefly which I haven’t seen yet nor do I know much about it. And I probably won’t find Cowboy Bebop that appealing if I would watch it once.

BTW: Series I missed in the list: Star Trek TOS, SeaQuest DSV and Futurama.


Die Rückkehr der Jedi-Ritter -äh- B*elefeldverschwörung //at 19:52 //by abe

Aus der Möge-der-Feed-mit-Dir-sein Abteilung

Aufgrund diverser, beunruhigender Ereignisse brauchte ich heute einen Link zur B*elefeldverschwörung.

Da ich wußte, daß eine ungenannt bleiben wollende, aber mir persönlich bekannte Person einen Mirror des ursprünglich auf einem Server der Uni-Kiel gehosteten Ursprungsdokuments im Netz hatte, wollte ich dieses verlinken. Dummerweise fiel mir die korrekte URL nicht mehr ein, schließlich dürfen SIE ja nichts davon erfahren. Aber ich wußte, daß nachdem vermutlich SIE das Ursprungsdokument aus dem Netz entfernten, dieser Mirror u.a. bei Wikipedia verlinkt ist.

Also bei Wikipedia vorbeigesurft und in den Weblinks gesucht. Der Link war nicht mehr drin. Sowas. Waren da etwa wieder SIE am Werk? Doch was sehe ich stattdessen dort: Einen Link zur “Originalseite von Achim Held”? Achim lebt? Juchhu! Und ich dachte immer, SIE hätten ihn erwischt und aus dem Verkehr gezogen… Das muß gefeiert werden!


Blosxom Plugin Tagging Version 0.02: New Features //at 19:17 //by abe

from the featuritis dept.

Just hacked a few new features for my Blosxom plugin Tagging. It now shows you how many times you’ve used that tag. The number is always shown as title attribute to the link, but can optionally also be shown in parentheses behind the tag name or by the (CSS based) font size and/or color (start and end sizes/colors configurable). Also some default values changed (to my current configuration :-).

I saw that font size feature quite often during the last weeks and I liked it. I first tried to figure out, which system offers that feature and found that at least Serendipity’s freetag plugin offers it, but didn’t want to download Serendipity just for the plugin. So I decided, the algorithm for calculating the font sizes shouldn’t be that hard to find and coded it from scratch by my own. :-)

And while coding it I noticed that changing the color instead of the font size could be done the same way and that this feature isn’t much more difficult. So I implemented it, too.

Another new feature is that you now can configure the minimum number of postings a tag should have to show up in the list of tags.

The result can be seen in my blog on the right side under “Tag cloud”.

Now playing: Falco — Der Kommissar

Some new old non-x86 hardware //at 16:39 //by abe

from the HPsUX dept.

Because dyfa and dwalin are moving they had some old hardware (but not only hardware) to give away.

I got from them an old HP Apollo 9000 Series 400 Model 400t from 1990 (with an MC68040 processor like some Amigas had, 24 MB RAM and some 1992 HP-UX as operating system), which I decided to call »tub« (“Le TUB” was the prototype of the Citroën HY), a Sun Sparcstation IPC (which I decided to call »acadiane«) and two terminals, one true DEC VT320 and one VT100 compatible.

The IPC unfortunately seems to have a defect power supply, so I probably have to look around at eBay a little bit. The Apollo boots fine and probably also had the correct date in the hardware clock, but the software didn’t accept it. So it asked for the current date. Went fine. Until it asked me for the current year:

WARNING: bad date in real-time clock--check and reset the date

You will be prompted for the daten and time.  Please enter all values
numerically, for example January is 1.  The values in the paraenthesis
give the acceptable range of responses.

Please enter the month (1-12), then press [Return] 9

Please enter the day of the month (1-31), then press [Return] 28

Please enter the last two digits of the year (70-99), then press [Return] 05
Value out of range. Please try again.

Please enter the last two digits of the year (70-99), then press [Return] 

Using cal, I found out that 1977 has exactly the same calendar as 2005 and is in the same distance to the leap years. So I set the year to 77.

Yet another case of programmers not believing how long their software will run. And this box was only ten years old when Y2K came — some parts of the operating system on it even only eight years… Well, I hope, that’s history when NetBSD runs on that box.

Haven’t tested the the terminals yet, although I don’t expect any Y2K issues with them. ;-)

Now playing: Roxette — Real Sugar


Tagging with Technorati style in pure Blosxom //at 03:22 //by abe

from the blosxom-voodoo dept.

Short summary: I can’t stay away from coding Blosxom plugins. Perl rules. PHP sucks. ;-)

Supporting Technorati style tag URLs

After releasing the last version of my Blosxom plugin tagging, I noticed that Technorati only seems to like URLs ending in “/tagname” but not ending in “=tagname” (as they do if you use classic query strings instead of the path info), even if the a tag has a rel="tag" attribute. And not only I noticed this but also some other users of the plugin. (Although I do wonder how Furl made it to a Technorati partner with URLs like…)

So I somehow had to change the syntax style for my tags. This wasn’t very hard for the links, but I wanted them to still link to my blog and not to Technorati, Flickr, Wikipedia or any other external resource.

Implementing Technorati style tag URLs

The obviously easiest solution for someone who’s using and administrating Apache web servers for nearly ten years now was to use some mod_voodoo—eh—mod_rewrite:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^/cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi/tags/(.*)$ /cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi?-tags=$1 [PT]

That way I could use Technorati style tags and had a well performing solution. But somehow this solution wasn’t that satisfying since it wasn’t pure Blosxom and therefore had some dependency including access to some Apache config file. (Even if the config file was called .htaccess. ;-)

A pure Blosxom solution

A few days ago I somehow noticed that in general a special behaviour on some URLs could also be implemented using Blosxom’s API. Using the entries function to modify the Blosxom internal path itself before Blosxom or e.g. the entries_index runs but not returning any hashes, allows to have some path like URLs not being treated as a path by Blosxom.

Unfortunately this couldn’t be incorporated into the tagging plugin itself, since plugins doing such path interpreting voodoo needs to be ran before any plugin supplying an entries function runs. But the tagging plugin must run after such a plugin. So I created the small add-on plugin pathbasedtagging which is solely thought for use together with the tagging plugin (but may have other, yet unknown purposes).

And since I got asked if they could use the tagging plugin to link to external tag URLs instead of the own blog, I included a ready to use list of more or less popular external tag URLs including Technorati, Flickr,, and Wikipedia.

from the slashdot dept.

Since I’ve always liked the often sarcastic or even evil comments inside Slashdot’s subtitle alike dept. lines and since I’m also used to use them at Symlink, I wanted them in my blog, too. Time for a new plugin.

The basic work of parsing out the data from the text files the posts reside in was already written for the tagging plugin. So I just had to use that code, simplify it and add some little more code to get the dept plugin whose results you can see in my blog directly beneath the title of a posting since a few days now.

Update 02:52h

Hey, see my Technorati profile: It worked! Technorati recognised the tags! Yeah!

Stöckchen fangen: Vier Dinge //at 01:27 //by abe

Aus der Wurfübungen Abteilung

Nu mussich aber, nachdem jetzt nicht nur Priska sondern auch dyfa mit Stöckchen um sich wirft, und Jiuka seines auch schon recht flott gefangen hat. Übrigens haben sowohl dyfa als auch Priska das Stöckchen von der Thildkröte gefangen. Bei SvenK habe ich das Stöckchen als erstes gesehen, dort hieß es allerdings noch “Tag”. :-)

Read more…


Must have tux case //at 19:04 //by abe

from the how-to-convert-geeks-into-money-giving-machines dept.

Waah, I must have one of these very neat tux shaped computer cases. And if Acme Systems once will also follow hubertf’s wish for a BSD daemon case, I must have another one. In Germany, you can buy them at Elektronikladen.

And after getting one, I can think about what to do with a Linux box with a 100 MHz, 32 bit RISC CPU and 16 MB SDRAM. ;-)

Giving root access retroactively //at 18:59 //by abe

from the we-don't-need-no-security-levels dept.

How often did you start to edit a file from your usual Unix user account and then noticed, that you only can save the file as root? I often did.

Sec wrote a little tool named presto which helps in this situation on FreeBSD. Initially only being a proof of concept tool to show that write access to /dev/kmem is as good as root access, the tool now has a useful purpose: Called from any editor or other tool (e.g. via sudo), it gives that tool super user privileges retroactively. So in vi, you just can type :!sudo presto to save the opened file, even if only root can write to it. (Works only with security level 0 or -1.)

Oh, and btw: Don’t use presto with Emacs. Emacs isn’t an editor for one file…. ;-)


Blosxom plugin multcat released //at 19:58 //by abe

from the multiple-feline dept.

I like the idea of categorising blog posts and I like blosxom, but blosxom doesn’t allow you that one post belongs to several topics on different branches of the topic tree. And since there doesn’t seem to be a plugin providing such a feature — even not after looking through the blosxom plugin repository for the third time — I wrote it by my own…

So here is the blosxom plugin multcat, version 0.01. License is GPL v2 or higher.

multcat allows you to have postings in multiple categories by setting appropriate symbolic links without having them multiple times on the main page (or any category’s page which includes at least two categories, the posting appears in). It is designed to work together with categorytree, which still counts all occurrences of a posting.

CERT vs Cert //at 17:11 //by abe

from the abbreviation-vs-acronym dept.

When I read the headline of the Heise Security article “Bürger-CERT freigeschaltet”, I thought, this “Bürger-CERT” would be a certificate authority for end-users (Bürger = citizen) similar to CAcert. I wondered why the German government seems to see a need for such an institution.

Then I read the article itself. Well, the “CERT” in “Bürger-CERT” neither stands for “certificate” nor for “certification” but for “Computer Emergency Response Team”. I never noticed, that with “cert” we have yet another abbreviation having two different meanings in IT (with one being an acronym) although I already used it with both meanings. I just didn’t notice it.

Seems as if I really should visit Ireland once //at 15:44 //by abe

from the Guinness dept.

When I loaded Planet Debian today, the first story was «Pardon my French…ness?» by Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho. There seems to be a new meme going on, trying to find out «Who’s Your Inner European?» Antti-Juhani’s Inner European is French: «Smart and sophisticated. You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.» Well, since I’m quite francophile in many ways (cars, food, laissez-faire, etc.), I expected to get a similar result, but it was quite different:

Your Inner European is Irish!

Sprited and boisterous! You drink everyone under the table.

Who’s Your Inner European?

Well, I like what I read or saw of the Irish countryside in books or on tv, but drinking? Alcohol? Sorry, that’s just plain wrong. Doesn’t choosing the cute classic Citroën (They wrote it without diaeresis! Philistines!) suffice?

Well, maybe I shouldn’t have chosen «Those damn British - they really get under your skin», but the newest idea of the British government to sponsor voyeurs with access to public surveillance cameras to enforce their Respect Action Plan (German written Telepolis article about — BTW: Has Telepolis no more english translations?) really really goes under my skin. (Although stories about implanted RFID chips even go deeper under my skin…) One annotator of the Symlink article (German, too) about that British government programme associated their ideas with the concept of the Blockwart (“block warden” or “wonk” in English according to the forum, Wikipedia also mentions “block leader” and “block attendant”) during the Nazi régime in Germany: They were the lowest officials in the NSDAP and the local contact persons to SS and Gestapo. I wouldn’t wonder if the British government gets a Big Brother Award for giving this “respect” to privacy and human rights.

But back to the quiz: Well, let’s see with which of the questions I wasn’t sure what to answer. If I change Tiramisu (yeah, I know, that there is alcohol in it, and I only like it with nearly no alcohol in) to Apple pie, nothing changed. Same after switching Pasta to Seafood and vegetables. Hmmm, well let’s try one of the obvious but not really wrong answers: Mousse au chocolat instead of Tiramisu. Et voilá! La France! :-)

Oh, and yes, the ideas of the French government to make open source software, the web and other cultural achievements illegal aren’t my French favourites either…

Update, 21:03: Christian Perrier suggested that the quiz could also be used to find out, which Inner European you’re definitely not. Well, somehow I hoped, it would tell me, I’m not German (I also marked Mercedes in that round ;-), but it told me, I’m not Russian, which is also fine since the quiz seems to focus the prejudices about Russians on alcohol consumption.

Now playing: Europe — The Final Countdown

Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar — das gilt auch für die CDU //at 15:44 //by abe

Aus der 11.-Gebot:-Kenne-Dein-Grundgesetz Abteilung

Ja, ich empfinde tiefe Genugtuung über das Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts zum Luftsicherheitsgesetz: Auch bei akuter Terrorgefahr darf die Bundeswehr kein Passagierflugzeug abschießen. Die Bundeswehr darf eigentlich überhaupt nichts und niemand im Inland abschießen, selbst wenn die CDU das will. Auch das haben die Richter nochmals betont und das Luftsicherheitsgesetz für verfassungswidrig und damit nichtig erklärt.

Und ich stimme Bettina Gaus vollkommen zu, daß die CDU ihr wahres Gesicht zeigt, nachdem sie das Urteil aus Karlsruhe anscheinend als Aufforderung zur Grundgesetzänderung versteht: Daß sie nicht die Gefahrenabwehr sondern lediglich ein politisches Ziel im Sinn hat: den Einsatz der Bundeswehr im Innern. (Und IMHO auch die Herabsetzung der Menschenwürde auf ein Niveau deutlich unter dem einer angeblichen, aber nicht garantierbaren Staatssicherheit.) Und alles nur wegen dieser doofen und vollkommen unnötigen Fußball-WM. Für was alles die Leute heutzutage ihre wichtigsten Werte aufgeben… *kopfschüttel*

Da fragt man sich doch, woher das “sozial” im Namen des Koalitionspartners kommt. Aber der sitzt bei diesem Thema anscheinend nur als Stimmvieh rum wie zu Kohls Zeiten die FDP. Trotzdem scheint die SPD Telepolis zufolge im Nachhinein (das Gesetz trat im Januar in Kraft) genug Mumm zu haben, um das Thema zum Koalitionsstreit auszuweiten. Na, hoffen wir mal, daß das ein Grund sein könnte, die Koalition zerbrechen zu lassen und die SPD wieder zurück auf den richtigen Pfad™ zu führen.

Passend dazu übrigens auch die heutige Karikatur in der taz.


No meat today, my game has gone away… //at 02:38 //by abe

from the noone-wants-backup-everyone-wants-restore dept.

Jick seems to have wrecked the main KoL database and restore doesn’t seem working as expected. So KoL will be down for a while. Which means for me: More time in the evenings. ;-)

Now playing: Hermit Permit -eh- Hermits Herman’s — No Milk Today

The right Religion for me //at 02:34 //by abe

from the psychology-light dept.

While having a look at HE’s blog, I found an online self test called Which religion is the right one for you? (new version) and the result was mostly as expected but some of the results made me wonder a little bit:

You scored as agnosticism. You are an agnostic. Though it is generally taken that agnostics neither believe nor disbelieve in God, it is possible to be a theist or atheist in addition to an agnostic. Agnostics don’t believe it is possible to prove the existence of God (nor lack thereof).

Agnosticism is a philosophy that God’s existence cannot be proven. Some say it is possible to be agnostic and follow a religion; however, one cannot be a devout believer if he or she does not truly believe.


Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with

Agnosticism is indeed, what I think is the only “right” religion, although I believe that there is no god at all, so Atheïsm is also an expected result. Also expected was the low rating for Christianity since I never really understood Christians although probably a lot of my real life is based on some of their principles.

Less expected was the high ranking of Satanism, but Wikipedia helps understanding the result: “Many Satanists do not worship a deity called Satan or any other deity. Unlike many religions and philosophies, Satanism generally focuses upon the spiritual advancement of the self, rather than upon submission to a deity or a set of moral codes.”

Oh, and please always remember: “I believe” means “I do not know” or sometimes even “I do not want to know”. — or in German: Glauben heißt nicht wissen (wollen).

Visited Countries Meme //at 02:34 //by abe

from the map dept.

It’s meme time again on Planet Debian: This is a map with all countries I already visited marked in red.

So I haven’t left Europe yet (except for Tunisia, which is geographically quite close to Europe), but inside Europe I already visited quite a lot of places.

But there are still a lot of countries, I would like to visit once, e.g. the UK (especially Wales and Scotland), Ireland, Iceland, Poland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. And the islands Sicily, Corsica and Tasmania. The USA I currently do not want to visit, although the Grand Canyon probably would be worth the journey. But unfortunately there is also the list of countries, I want to visit again: Finnland, Norway and Denmark. :-)

Quiz’n’Meme time again: What’s your Perfect Major? //at 02:34 //by abe

from the oh-no-not-yet-another-meme dept.

Although the recent Inner European quiz meme is currently much more popular on Planet Debian, the following quiz somehow shows how the result of such a quiz should look like and what the quiz system, which the Inner European quiz used, misses: Having more than only bit-like answers. With answers like this, neither I would have had to change answers to see how close I was to different answer nor would have Christian Perrier had to do the quiz with worst fitting answers.

You scored as Engineering. You should be an Engineering major!


What is your Perfect Major?
created with

Since I always saw computer science more as an engineering discipline than a derivative of mathematics (at least the way I studied and like it ;-), I seem to have taken the right major. But also most of the other highscorers aren’t that unfamiliar:

Well, if you see how much philosophy is behind open source or politics, being engaged in open source software and interested in politics doesn’t seem to be that wrong. ;-)
I like journalism somehow and I sometimes think about if this could have also been (or even be) a nice profession for me, especially since I managed to combine journalism and computer science in being an editor at, a Swiss based and German written news and discussion site all around Open Source, IT politics and privacy. Sure, it’s no professional journalism and also not classical journalism, since it’s built on the same ideas (and software) as Slashdot.
If I would have more time and leisure, I probably would also try to draw, paint or sculpture more again as I did during my school time. And since my brother and my mother are both active artists I expect that the results wouldn’t be that bad either. ;-) On the other hand, I also like to design CSS styles which IMHO can also satisfy my artistic bone…
Although I see more the engineering than the mathematics in computer science, mathematics still was one of my two majors in school (the other was physics) and in comparison to many other people I can say that I like maths.
That’s the only thing IMHO not fitting in here in such a high position since I’m neither good at foreign languages (see my English in the blog… ;-) nor do I like studying languages. And even if I should see that as “Literature” or “German” (my mother tongue) instead, it just doesn’t seem to fit. (Ok, journalism also has to do with language(s)…)
Biology was the voluntary science course at school I took until I finished school. At university it became my minor subject. I wonder why it’s that deep down in the statistics?
That was my second voluntary science course at school, but I dropped it before I finished school.
Well, no, I don’t think that actor would be good idea for me…
I’m not sure, if sometimes being glad not to understand how my brain works is a good base for diving into psychology. (On the other hand: Would I write so much text about this quiz, if I’m not at least a little bit interested in psychology? ;-)
That’s again more interesting.
If this can include computer linguistics, than it’s definitely something interesting for me, since it usually involves artifical intelligence and I wrote my diploma thesis about an AI subject and our research group did work a lot in the area of computer linguistics.
No. I’m glad it’s that far down there. Just wonder how it got even 42%.
Well, that’s again an interesting subject, but probably not a subject I would work in. So being that far down is completely ok.

So in general, I think the quiz works mostly fine as well as I probably did choose the right subjects for me. *grin* Only thing I missed in this quiz was Physics as a possible result since I don’t think, it’s impossible (especially compared to the rest of the result) that I haven’t scored for anything typical for physicians.

Now Playing: Falco — Mutter, der Mann mit dem Koks ist da!

For those who care about memes, interior design or optical illusions //at 02:33 //by abe

from the running-gag dept.

Sorry, but I just couldn’t resist to at least once use FTWCA. (I guess it will become some kind of meme on Planet Debian and the Debian lists the one or the other way round… (And isn’t “meme” just another name for running gag? ;-)

Via dyfa I found a page with very impressive optical illusions in interior design just resulting from the right perspective. Unfortunately my flat is way to small for such a cool decoration. (These orange holes would fit perfectly regarding the colour. :-)

Gothic Darkness Savings Time //at 02:33 //by abe

from the night-worker dept.

I’m neither into Gothic nor do I hate daylight. And even despite the title of my blog I’m definitely everything else than a pessimist. But I do like the night (e.g. for coding or travelling) and I sometimes hear ,,slightly” dark music like e.g. Skyclad. And so I can grin about Nikolai Lusan’s suggestion to introduce the Gothic Darkness Savings Time (GDST) in his blog Blogging is futile. :-)

Now playing: Bloodhound Gang — Bad Touch

Oh no! Yet another WML //at 02:33 //by abe

from the TLA dept.

As if I have not enough troubles to explain that there is not only the Wireless Markup Language (of the WAP consortium) named WML but also the Website Meta Language, there is now yet another WML: The Wesnoth Markup Language for the game The Battle for Wesnoth, of which version 1.0 was released two days ago. (Via Isaac Clerencia)

Although I usually don”t play games of that type, I’m quite curious about it, maybe because it’s dangerous. ;-)

Trojans must stay out //at 02:32 //by abe

from the self-adjusting dept.

On Heise’s security site HeiSec, Microsoft is advertising (in German) with a Flash animation of a rolling, black horse approaching the reader. Then suddenly a red gate closes and a text apprears:

Trojans must stay out.

If we translate this back to ancient greek history, it would say:

Microsofties must stay out

since Trojans were the inhabitants of Troy (German: Troja) and in the horse were the Greek aggressors. So I strongly agree. ;-)

I really hate it, if people just reverse the meaning of something by abbreviating it (here by turning the adjective into a noun). And then not noticing it. The term Trojan Horse in computing is just one (unfortunately) often seen example…

But no wonder that Microsoft doesn’t care about such things. They care about so less (e.g. stable software, secure operating systems, users, administrators, trust, etc.) except keeping their monopoly, making money and making even more money.

I love and hate Unicode //at 02:30 //by abe

from the love-and-hate dept.

When I first saw Joey’s wish for a Unicode bumper sticker, I just parsed

 I [?] Unicode

as a little bit sarcastic »I ♥ Unicode«, but when nion posted it, too, I noticed, that it may also be read as »I ☠ Unicode«. Maybe, that this — both — is exactly what Joey intended to say, and I have to acknowledge this: I hate Unicode in my mutt since Sarge because it doesn’t work with screen out of the box anymore, and I hate Unicode in my Emacs since Emacs 20 because it screws up everything. But I love Unicode in my irssi and on the web. Strange world. But this virtual bumper sticker expresses that feeling somehow perfectly.

I changed my mind. I want a camera mobile phone. //at 02:29 //by abe

from the considerations dept.

Today I read and wrote about Semapedia, a service respective toolset to encode Wikipedia URLs (and also others) as dot-matrix barcode, print them out on leaflets together with mentioning Wikipedia and the URL. Then any visitor with a modern camera cell phone can take an image of the barcode, decode it with the right software on your phone, which passes the decoded URL directly to the phones webbrowser.

This is the first useful application of camera phones I ever heard about. But I see it as so useful that I may consider buying me a camera cell phone with the next contract renewal, although until now, I focused all my search for a worthy successor to my Nokia 6310i on non-camera phones. (Update: And I’m not alone with the wish for a useful mobile phone.)

The 6310i had nearly everything I needed: A big memory, long standby times (1.5 to 2 weeks), WAP incl. WAP browser for reading Symlink on the road, GPRS, GSM 900/1800, T9, Infrared, gnokii support, the same battery bay than my former mobile phones (Nokia 6210 and 6130) and the Nokia typical, very intuïtive and blindly usable user interface. (Siemens mobiles suck!). It also had some things, I didn’t need yet, but sounded useful: Voice dialing and voice recording, Java for playing with own programs, Bluetooth for a cableless headset or so and GSM-1900 because perhaps also other countries than the USA use that frequency band. (I refuse to travel to the USA, so I won’t need the GSM-1900 there.)

It had nothing I didn’t want to have in a mobile phone: Camera, radio, MP3 player, standby time munching color display, e-mail client, MMS, MP3 ring tones or flip covers. The only thing I missed, was a more modern Java VM and even more memory when Opera Mini came out and maybe polyphone ring tones, so I could have the Monkey Island theme as ring tone. ;-)

So what now? Being able to use Opera Mini and Semapedia means to have a mobile phone with camera and — and that’s the drawback — a color display. Anyone knows a Nokia camera phone on which Opera Mini runs but without color display? And with the battery bay from the 6x10 series? No?

Or maybe I should just stay with the 6310i and get me a second one in better condition (no broken case) from eBay or so? There were also (yet unconfirmed) rumours that my GSM provider E-Plus will have the Linux based internet tablet Nokia 770 for a contract renewal plus 80€ to 90€… Difficult decision…

Shell Efficiency Talk at DaLUG today //at 02:29 //by abe

from the testbed dept.

I just uploaded the slides for my shell efficiency talk at the Darmstadt Linux User Group (DaLUG) today at 18:30 CEST at the Technical University of Darmstadt. (The talk will be held in German.)

I will also hold a workshop about the same subject on the 29th of October 2005 at Linux-Info-Tag Dresden. (Will also be held in German.)

Probably moving from tcsh to zsh. Bash sucks. //at 02:29 //by abe

from the habits dept.

The grml-T-Shirt, Alfie was wearing at the Debian QA Meeting in Darmstadt this weekend reminded me, that I wanted to download a grml-ISO. While looking for the ISO I found a link to the grml zsh Reference Card. Beneath the links to the reference card there were a pointer to zsh-lovers, “a small project which tries to collect tips, tricks and examples for the Z shell.”.

There were a lot of nice tricks mentioned, e.g. redirection to multiple files. So I spawned a zsh and checked for the main feature, which keeps me using tcsh instead of bash: History Tab Completion. And see there: zsh does History Tab Completion. And even nicer: Completion results don’t create a new prompt, but just show up (and vanish again with e.g. ^C) beneath the prompt while the prompt only moves (up) if there’s not enough space for all the possible completions. Some kind of meta-cool is the set of configuration variables starting with CSH_JUNKIE_. Guess, I am such a (t)csh junkie. ;-)

And global aliases seem also a very fine (but also very dangerous) feature. Think of cd ... just doing what you want it to, namely cd ../... As well as the advanced history handling which includes incremental sharing with multiple simultaneous shells. Or the spelling corrections based on keyboard layout.

On the other hand, zsh offers everything from bash I missed in tcsh: ^R and usable loops (mostly while (true); do ...) on the command line. The only thing none of the three shells can is Mind Tab Completion. ;-)

The zsh page from Adam Spiers seems to be good source for informations about the zsh. Another nice collection of zsh tips (which often also work in other shells) was in the links section of the grml zsh page.

Funnily several people tried to convince me to use zsh before, but they just didn’t use the right arguments. :-) So it looks as if I found the right arguments by myself and should really give zsh a try after 10 years of tcsh. Although I already found something less amusing in zsh: echo '\n' and echo "\t" behave both very strange, but I still hope, I find the switch to turn it off…

But my upcoming shell efficiency talk will definitely not only feature bash and tcsh but also zsh.

Now playing: R.E.M. — Losing my religion

Berlinux and Linux-Info-Tag Dresden //at 02:28 //by abe

from the near-east dept.

Like alphascorpii, I’ll be at Berlinux in Berlin next weekend as well as at Linux-Info-Tag in Dresden the following weekend.

At both events I’ll present the Website Meta Language (WML) in a talk (similar to the WML talk I held at Oscomtag 2005, only more detailed) and in Dresden I’ll also hold a workshop about understanding and efficiently using command line shells (based on the Shell Efficiency talk at DaLUG last month). It will be focused a little bit more on shell beginners and intermediate users than on shell cracks. At Linux-Info-Tag they should better have a look at Sven Guckes’ zsh workshop.

After Dresden, I’ll be on holiday for a week.

Next planned shell efficiency talks //at 02:28 //by abe

from the calendar dept.

Today is the deadline for proposing talks for this year’s LinuxTag (3rd to 6th of May, Wiesbaden, Germany) and last week was the deadline for talk proposals for this year’s Chemnitzer Linux-Tage (CLT, 4th and 5th of March 2006, Chemnitz, Germany). For both events I submitted my already at other events held Shell Efficiency talk. For LinuxTag I marked the proposal as “German preferred, English possible”, so if they ask for the English version, I’ll offer the slides in English, too, of course. I’ll probably also build a DocBook version of the talk, since LinuxTag prefers the DocBook format.

But even if these both talk proposals are not accepted, I’ll be on both events together with the rest of the Symlink crew and have fun! ;-)

Additionally I will hold the talk a few days before CLT on Thursday the 2nd of March 2006 at the New Thinking Store in Berlin-Mitte, Tucholskystraße 48 at 19:30 (which is unfortunately in parallel to this year’s German Perl Workshop from 1st to 3rd of March 2006 in Bochum). The entrance to the talk is free. (Thanks to Sven Guckes for suggesting this talk and bringing me in contact with New Thinking.)

Now Playing: Jethro Tull — Orion

Back from Berlinux 2005 //at 02:27 //by abe

from the home-sweet-home dept.

I was at Berlinux 2005 this weekend and though the very chaotic — because understaffed — organisation it was interesting and also funny.

Thursday I arrived around 20:15 in Berlin, met Klaus Knopper and others at the train station, headed to Sven Guckes’ appartment for dropping all my luggage, then going back to meet with Klaus and the others for a theremin concert with Dorit Chrysler. No wonder that it sounded sometimes like one of my favourite musicians, Jean Michel Jarre, since — according to the Wikipedia theremin article — he also plays this instrument.

On Friday I held my talk about WML in front of a — for that topic — surprisingly high number of auditors (around 30, maybe 35). In comparision to my WML talk at OscomTag 2005 all people who asked questions had understood about what the talk was, so the questions were most time interesting and justified. As usual I held the talk using Lynx with LSS support (picture by Sven Guckes) on my nine year old Pentium 1 ThinkPad bijou running Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 aka Woody.

Before and after the talk I helped out at Werner Heuser’s xtops booth (another picture by Sven) and the booth of the Debian Project (yet another picture by Sven :-) directly beside Frank Ronneburg’s Debian powered model railway. (picture by you-know-who ;-) In the evening I was at the social event, hanging around with alphascorpii, Tolimar and Joey and being surprised that Joey studies biology — as I did as minor to computer science.

On Saturday I was on alphascorpii’s talk about why being a BOFH is not funny, hung around at the same booths as the day before, fixed the X configuration on my laptop after hints on a unknown Debian booth visitor. Before the exhibition closed I heard a very interesting talk about web accessibility held by Sebastian who is blind himself. Although or maybe because I’m interested in that subject, the talk opened my eyes regarding two things: First »Captchas are evil« and »Blind HTML tables aren’t as evil as all the priests of web accessibility are always preaching«. They are easier than frames for blinds and seem to have only little disadvantages against a CSS based layout for blinds nowadays if used the right way. Oh, and btw. — nested tables are still evil. :-)

Saturday evening I had dinner together with Stefan Gerdelbracht, Frank Hofmann, Klaus Knopper and Manfred Krejcik. Later Thomas Winde joined us. It was very interesting evening, especially talking with Klaus and Manfred.

On Sunday, after having brunch with Stefan and Manfred, we met with Sven (who was our host at Berlin, thanks again!) and shortly after that, Stefan left for visiting some other friends in Berlin. Sven, Manfred and I visited C-Base where Sven stumbled over a sound editing seminar while Manfred was preparing his zipFM show for Monday which mainly consisted of an interview with Klaus. After that we headed to a small but fine birthday party of a friend of Sven and were back home around 2:30.

My train left Monday morning at 8:56 and I was at home around 14:30. And on Friday I’ll go to Dresden for the Linux-Info-Tag by train just to go back to Berlin afterwards, where I meet my parents for a two week baltic sea holiday in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania near Rügen. But due to the Systems fair at Munich and autumn holidays I have to stay at work this week.

And yes, I wrote this and the other postings posted today offline, so they’re dated quite close together. :-)

Orpheus on Woody //at 02:26 //by abe

from the low-resource dept.

Nobse’s blog posting about his ITP the text mode menu- and window-driven front-end to mpg123, mpg321 and ogg123 orpheus made me curious since I was also unsatisfied with the audio players I used so far and mostly ended up in using mpg123 -Z *.mp3, because it works fine and is not as resource-hungry as XMMS. And for CDs I usually used a self-written perl wrapper around the command line tools of cdtools (mostly cdir and cdplay).

I first installed orpheus from sources on my SuSE box at work today while waiting for a windows box to upgrade to some service pack. At home I took nobse’s debian packages sources and recompiled the package on my Woody running desktop. After installing the required build dependecy dpatch from, the package compiled through without any problems and I now have a very useful and slim text mode audio player.

orpheus and aumix in transparent aterms

And orpheus and aumix look fine together inside transparent aterms.

Now playing in orpheus of course: Jean Michel Jarre — Je Me Souviens

Linuxland is slow //at 02:26 //by abe

from the not-only-debian-has-slow-release-cycles dept.

Linuxland is slow. I just got a newsletter e-mail from them with subject Debian 3.1 r1 ist da!” (engl.: Debian 3.1 r1 is here!”) announcing the availability of 3.1.r1 in their shop. My first thought was: “Oh, I thought it would take a few days more.” Then I noticed that they talk about 3.1r1 which was released on 18th of December last year and not the upcoming and already announced 3.1r2 which should be released at the end of February or at the beginning of March.

Supporting Free Software via vendors //at 02:25 //by abe

from the cash-flow dept.

Steve wrote in his blog:

I’ve seen this argument before “Buy distribution of GNU/Linux and support free software programmers”. The only problem I have with it is that it is incorrect. Buying GNU/Linux distributions helps the vendors who created it, certainly, and may indirectly help pay for some free software in the sense that the vendors might ship free software they wrote (e.g. SuSEs Yast{2]). However plonking down real cash-money for a boxed set of SuSE gives no money to the people who created MySQL, no money to the people who created Firefox, no money to the people who created Emacs, Vim, Bash, and Catan/Pioneers, etc.

I think, in general you’re right. And if you — as you did :-) — take SuSE, it usually works. And you’re probably also right for most people who just know the big, commercial distributions. But what if you take a free distribution like Debian or some of the BSDs, e.g. OpenBSD? How much truth is in there then?

Especially in the case of OpenBSD your view doesn’t seem work, because if you buy an (official) OpenBSD box, you pay the developers — or at least a few of them — of the operating system core and some mission-critical applications.

But what if you take community based distributions like Debian? You distinguished between distributor and authors of free software. In my eyes especially Debian, but also some other community based distributions are both at same time. So IMHO you can put them on the author side of your view.

And since many Debian vendors (at least those I saw) donate a part of the profit they make from selling Debian CDs or DVD to the Debian Project. Or they offer additional shopping cart items “Donation to Debian” if you order a Debian item. (Example:

Another question in this context would be, how the FOSS world would look like if there are or were no commercial distributors. It probably would be much smaller because some marketing and some lobbying would be missing. Although that’s the only implication which comes to my mind, I’m sure, there are many more possible views on this subject.

But as I said, IMHO you’re right for most cases.

Debian QA Meeting in Darmstadt //at 02:24 //by abe

from the quark-assurance dept.

After having a nice DVD evening on Friday with a friend (X-Men 2 and Dogma) in Darmstadt, I attended the Debian QA Meeting in Darmstadt for the rest of the weekend. Although I not really that deep in QA, there were interesting talks, discussions and people. Looking though the list of the oldest Debian packages with RC bugs, I even found a package (elvis-tiny, which I have installed on some boxes) with an RC bug and some more bugs I could fix during the QA meeting.

Debian’s newest developer and AM, Myon, NMU’ed the package for me and so elvis-tiny 1.4-18.1 is the first package I build to enter Debian. The package was btw initially built on my Unstable box at home, which is an about 10 years old Pentium 1 with 133 MHz and 64 MB of RAM called m35. I was working there via ssh and screen using my ThinkPad bijou — which is also an Pentium 1 with 133 MHz and therefore in the same performance class as m35.

Later in the afternoon, djpig filed another RC bug against that package because the above mentioned list of old RC bugs hasn’t been updated yet, so this package probably won’t get into testing that fast. On the other hand: The package is really old and seems unmaintained, because the three bugs weren’t that hard to fix. So it’s probably not so bad that this bug report was filed. And as HE wrote in his blog today, it probably saved him work, because he planned to find all such packages and file the appropriate bugs against them…

While doing some keysigning with the people who were sitting beside me (Amaya and h01ger) I also learned how to use caff and directly found a bug and filed it, while Myon just had uploaded a new version shortly before. But late in the night, he seemed to upload the next version where the bug is already fixed… And thanks to Emme installed the missing dependency for using gnupg-agent on the console (pinentry-curses) on Saturday, I’ve now no more excuses for not yet having signed all the keys from the Key Signing Party at Linuxtag in Karlsruhe.

When most of the meeting was over, I drove Ganneff and HE to the train station and — although they seemed skeptical regarding the idea of being driven in a 2CV — they had obviously fun with it and asked a lot of questions while mostly being amused or surprised by my answers. (Yet another reason to drive a 2CV… ;-)

Can the spam problem be solved? //at 02:23 //by abe

from the never-say-never-again dept.

Many have tried to solve spam problem, even Micrsoft (with a quite strange solution ;-), but except personal solutions like well working and well-kept spam filters, no well-working general technical solution has been found yet.

Although I really would like to see a technical solution and often think about this problem, I currently believe that this primarily is a social problem which cannot be solved solely with technic. UserFriendly’s Erwin seems to see it the same way and proposed today a quite drastical solution.

There are good ideas out there (e.g. SPF, RBL, Greylisting and Teergrubing), but all seem to have their problems, too. Especially RBL often have administrative problems, i.e. if an entry is justified or not. Greylisting simply can be bypassed by being SMTP conform and trying again, so it’s usefulness will decrease permanently. And against Lutz Donnerhacke’s teergrubing, spammers seem to have found workarounds quite quickly. Haven’t heard much about it in the last years. (I just can’t remember what the drawback of SPF was.)

For myself I’ve solved the spam problem with a learning SpamAssassin and sorting mail by spam-level into several mailboxes. The higher the spam-level of such an inbox, the more seldom I look into it. Works fine. For me. No general solution though, since the SpamAssassin needs to be fed with fresh spam regularly.

Cheap blue pills //at 02:22 //by abe

from the I-should-have-taken-the-blue-pill dept.

I just got an obvious spam e-mail with subject “cheap blue pills” and it took me quite a moment to realise that they don’t want me to buy pills which let me keep everyone I love and everything that I have built my life upon. What a pity. But why don’t they sell also red pills? ;-)

Blosxom plugin tagging released //at 02:22 //by abe

from the if-it-doesn't-exist-you-have-to-write-it-yourself dept.

I like the idea of categorising blog posts and I like blosxom, but even with multcat adding a post to multiple categories is somehow limited. In other blogs I often saw the technic of tagging articles with a keyword. I wanted that feature, too, but there weren’t any appropriate plugin for blosxom. Until now, because again, I just wrote it by my own…

So here is the blosxom plugin tagging, version 0.01. License is GPL v2 or higher.

tagging expects one or more “header” lines starting with “Tags: ” and being located directly under the first line, which always is the title. Those lines you can fill with comma seperated keywords (seperation by blanks possible via config) and shows them with appropriate links in $tagging::tag_list for the story template and $tagging::global_tag_list with all used keywords for the head or foot template.

Filtering is done using the -tags parameter in the query string. It uses the same delimiter as configured for the Tag header lines inside the posts.

Image based captchas are evil //at 02:20 //by abe

from the accessibility dept.

I always found Captchas annoying. But since I also had or have problems with guestbook or comment spamming, I understood that people and especially companies saw no other choice against comment or wiki spamming, mass account grabbing, etc. But since most captcha are based on the fact that people can still read deformed or garbled texts in images while machines can’t or at least only with a big effort, there is one big drawback with them: They are even more an insuperable obstacle for blinds or visually handicapped people than for machines.

The blind computer science student Sebastian Andres showed at Berlinux how blinds navigate and use the web and where they (must) stop. So because of GMail uses visual captchas as a defense against mass account grabbing, he couldn’t get such a “free” e-mail account. (And yes there exist non-visual captchas. But they’re seldom used.) Thanks Sebastian for this insight.

Uncyclopedia: Misinformation rules //at 02:20 //by abe

from the nonsens-united dept.

Uncyclopedia is an encyclopedia full of misinformation and utter lies. It’s sort of like Congress or Parliament (or Funkadelic). Unlike Congress or Parliament (but not Funkadelic), however, we do have a sense of humor.”

Sounds a little bit like the German written Kamelopedia which has any information about camels, even that information, that doesn’t exist.

Now playing: J.B.O. — Verteidiger des wahren Blödsinns

Implemented a blacklist for blog comment spam //at 02:12 //by abe

from the the-last-straw dept.

Just killed all the remaining comment spams (I hope) and implemented a simple regexp based blacklist which should get most medicaments, potence pills, casinos, lotteries and other frequently posted junk. I hope, it does not hit too many valid posts. If you have problems posting comments, feel free to contact me by e-mail or on IRC.

In other news, I installed the blosxom plugin comments_recent and adapted the mail feature of writeback notify to my (in the meantime heavily modified) instance of the comments plugin v0.6. I also made it symlink-safe for use with multcat.

Blacklisting comment spam in blosxom //at 02:12 //by abe

from the it-seems-to-work-so-it-has-to-be-released dept.

Since the demand for blosxom anti-comment-spam solutions respective appropriate blosxom plugins seems to be really high, I’ve decided to polish up my apparently quite well working although still in beta state being anti-spam enhanced version of the comments plugin (ZIP) by putting the blacklist outside in an external file and writing some (still short) docs.

I use it since 11th of January this year and got only two spam comments and many more normal comments since then, so it should work. Although: I also got a question if my trackback doesn’t work. Hmmm. So no warranties, just an offer for help fighting against comment spam. ;-)

Another feature which is basically ported from the writeback notify plugin is notification of the blog owner about new comments by mail. Since on the server on which my blog runs the used Perl module Mail::Sendmail was not available, I used Mail::Send instead for my version.

For installation you first need to download the ZIP file of the original comments plugin, install it’s templates and then install my anti-spam enhanced version of the plugin itself.

Now playing: Rockapella — Come on Eileen

Blosxom like alternatives to Blosxom //at 02:10 //by abe

from the write-once-read-never dept.

I really like the simplicity of Blosxom as blogging framework and I also like Perl very much. But somehow this Perl 4 alike global variables madness of Blosxom v2 sucks in several ways: It effectively prevents Blosxom from being used with mod_perl and it’s just not what I would call an API. I would like to have a more object-oriented plugin API and it should be save for use with FastCGI, mod_perl or similar possibilities to cache the parsed script code instead of reparsing with each request. Another thing should be a tagging facility. Had to write that by myself for Blosxom v2. (Wasn’t that hard though.) But since Blosxom v3 development seemed to have stopped in May 2004, I have been thinking about and looking for alternatives.

First thought was to write a Blosxom clone by myself using Embperl as framework (as I did with web galleries after not finding any web gallery software fitting all my needs).

But since I got infected with Ruby recently, I also thought about writting a Blosxom clone in Ruby, which would give me quite a lot of Ruby experience and would make a good fit since Ruby as well as Blosxom have some kind of Zen (or KISS) philosophy. The next thought was: I can’t be the first to come up with that idea and googled a little bit.

First thing I digged up was Rage, some kind of Blosxom on Rails. But I didn’t find any source code although the author seems to prefer open source software. Seems as if it is seems to be ready for production but not ready for public release.

The next thing I found was hint to some Blosxom clones in the Ruby Application Archive (RAA). Unfortunately two of them (sakura and lily) seem to have Japanese only web pages. :-(

But for luck the third Ruby based Blosxom clone found in the RAA, Blosxonomy, seems to be quite well featured, under actual development, has a english written web page and one of if its main concepts is taggability. And also the other core concepts sound fine: simplicity, extensibility and compatibility. Sounds really perfect and I’ll probably give it a try, but not on my current blog host: There is no Ruby installed and it’s not my own box.

Now playing: Rolling Stones — Ruby Tuesday

Some new plugins, XFN, Technorati and //at 02:09 //by abe

from the web-2.0 dept.

After blathijs and I today talked a little bit about blosxom plugins on the #blosxom IRC channel, I installed the listplugins plugin. Since I’m a perfectionist in some things, I had to configure it to link every plugin I use to it’s web page or source.

While going through my plugin list, I noticed that there were three additional plugins I wrote myself and of which I thought I should share:

  • acronyms works similar to and is losely based on Fletcher Penney’s autolinks but instead of setting links it marks configurable keywords as abbreviation or acronym and show their expansion when hovering over the keyword (all using standard XHTML).
  • xml_ping_generic is based on xml_ping_weblogs and can ping an arbitrary number of URLs to be pinged with the’s XML RPC ping API. By default it pings and
  • date_rfc822 is nothing else than the 822-date command (which returns a date in RFC 822 conform format and is written in Perl, too) wrapped into a blosxom plugin. Work similar to date_fullname. I use it for including <pubDate> tags in the RDF.

All plugins are published under the same open source license, they initially came with.

In other news…
I started using XFN, the XHTML Friends Network, at least the blogroll, and created accounts at Technorati and at, a German clone formerly respective yet still known as

Now playing: Battle Without Honor or Humanity — Hotei Tomayasu (from the Kill Bill Soundtrack)

A new toy //at 02:09 //by abe

from the First-Post! dept.

I once decided not to have a blog, because I feared, the time I will spent blogging would vanishing from my Symlink time. But due to Symlink not being a real blog but rather a news and discussion website with a journalistic attitude and limited subjects, there are topics missing I would like to write about.

And due to not wanting to spam my beloved IRC channels with all those uninteresting subjects, a blog seemed to be the right place: Nobody needs to read it, but anyone can read it. And since Blosxom (which I first noticed at zobel’s and at alphascorpii’s blog) is fully the way I would design a blog (technically), I installed it today, tweaked a little bit the httpd.conf of our Apache and there it is: My never wanted but inescapably closer coming weblog named Blogging is futile.

And it will probably be mixed, German and English.

Blosxom Plugin Tagging Version 0.03: Featuring related stories //at 02:08 //by abe

from the relationship dept.

Wim de Jonge, an (as he writes) happy user of my blosxom plugin “tagging” asked, if the tags used in the plugin couldn’t be used to find related stories by looking for stories which share a number of tags with the current story.

Version 0.03 of tagging is the result of his suggestion. You can see in my blog how it looks like.

He also found a division by zero bug in the plugin which happend if there were only a few posts in a blog and therefore all tags only occurred once. This bug should be fixed now, too.

Now playing: Toto — Africa

Update 14:50h: Released version 0.03.1 as a bugfix releases since there was a slash missing in the related story links and some minor issues. Thanks again Wim for pointing out the error.

Wikipedia at your fingertips //at 02:07 //by abe

from the shell-script dept.

Via nion’s blog I got notice of two other blog entries of two people of whom each wrote a shell script to display Wikipedia articles as plain text in a pager.

While the first one called wiki2 queries Google and fetches then the first Wikipedia hit there, the second one (funnily just called wiki) queries Wikipedia directly, supports different Wikipedia languages and has a lot of other nice features.

Since the idea and especially the second script definitely belongs to the group of programs you never thought about, but, when you found it, you knew, you missed it until now, I decided to use it as the first program, I want to package for the Debian project to be included in the next release which will be called Etch.

Because of “wiki” being a quite ambigous name, I plan to name the package wikipedia2text.

Galeon, GNOME and all the rest //at 02:07 //by abe

from the never-ending-story dept.

I feel that I still owe a few answers on the recent Galeon discussion on Planet Debian and apparently also other planets, so here they are… (But I try to keep them short. :-)

First, Erich’s question Why are not-gnome users complaining about Gnome? — Because some people do not use GNOME but do use GNOME applications like Galeon. They don’t use them because GNOME is cool, useful, user-friendly or what else — they use them because these applications are cool, useful, user-friendly or so. They would also use them if they were plain GTK or maybe even KDE applications. For example, I also use Gnumeric or AbiWord, because I like them and not because I like GNOME. (Which — in general — I do btw.) I also use KDE applications although I don’t like KDE in general. (I don’t like KDE for much more emotional reasons compared to Galeon 1.3 btw., so I won’t rant about that. ;-) ark is a nice example for a KDE application I like. Unfortunately some distributions seem to have dropped it. At least I missed it recently on some box.

Then there was Gunnar Wolf’s question if it wasn’t Galeon 1.2 which went off the path. He maybe right, since I’ve never seen a Galeon version before 1.2 and the fact that the former Galeon lead developer dropped Galeon for the very spartanic Epiphany also suggests that. But since Galeon 1.2 took the right path in my eyes, Galeon 1.3 seemed at least to change (back) again to some wrong path from that point of view. We’ll see if Kazehakase really keeps following the “right” path.

JFTR: Interesting to read were also the discussion between Og, Erich and some more in Og’s journal as well as Wouter’s postings on the subject.

Oh, and in general: Thanks for the really nice discussion. Rants seem always to get more constructive responses than just asking for them. That’s one reason why I like to rant. ;-) Another reason is that it frees your mind if you know that people have read about what bothers or annoys you. So also thanks to all who followed the discussion (or still are following it if it hasn’t ended yet ;-).

Now playing: Roxette — The Look

Galeon is dead //at 02:07 //by abe

from the the-end-of-the-story dept.

According to an announcement of the Galeon developers on their website and the Galeon announcement mailing list, Galeon is more or less dead. It has been superseeded by the more actively developed Epiphany and most of the Galeon (1.3 to be correctly) features which are not already in Epiphany (can’t be that many *harhar*) will be either implemented as Epiphany plugin or — if impossible as plugin, like e.g. middle click in menus or similar things — shall be ported to Epiphany. The Galeon developer team will focus their work on the Epiphany plugins, but still plans to once release Galeon 2.0. (Somehow I always thought, Galeon 1.3 is what meant to be Galeon 2.0.) Having read this, I’m even more convinced that Kazehakase will fill the gap Galeon 1.2 has left behind.

Oh, and btw Erich: plugins or extensions are the only thing I sometimes missed in Galeon, as well in 1.2 as in 1.3. :-) But having no turing-complete extension language is the drawback you have, if you want a fast and stable browser…

Breathetastic™ Premium Canned Air //at 02:06 //by abe

from the anagram dept.

One thing I love the Kingdom of Loathing for are the countless allusions to movies and songtexts. Today I found something, which can’t be anything else than an allusion to one of my favourite movies:

Screenshot of the Breathetastic™ Premium Canned Air item window

When I only read the name of the item I was immediately reminded to a scene from Mel BrooksSpaceballs (IMDb entry, Wikipedia entry) when President Skroob drinks -eh- breaths a can of Perry Air. (Which itself is an allusion to “Perrier”. But I only found German written references to “Perry Air”, so it may be that the original version didn’t have this allusion, since the script directly refers to “Perrier Salt-Free Air”.)

BTW: Nice typo in the English Wikiquote article about Spaceballs: “Dark Helmut” instead of “Dark Helmet”. :-)

Now Playing: Alphaville — Forever Young

eBay with meat //at 02:03 //by abe

from the meationaire dept.

Stumbled over KoLBay at today when shopping at some store (forgot which) in the KoL mall. It just seems like eBay (only even more colorful ;-), but you bid with your KoL meat instead of money. Sounds funny somehow although I don’t know what I should think of those auctions outside the game. There are also KoL items or even whole KoL accounts offered at the real eBay sometimes.

Now playing: Newsboys — In The Belly Of The Whale (Veggie Tales, Jonah Soundtrack)

Pisg User Manager released with pisg 0.67 //at 02:01 //by abe

from the initial-release dept.

With the release of pisg 0.67 this Thursday also the Pisg User Manager (PUM) I started has been released and become part of the pisg distribution. (See also Credits and Changelog.)

The days of addalias are counted — pum is coming //at 02:01 //by abe

from the rewrite-from-scratch dept.

Although it’s quite a while ago that I wrote version 3.0 (the initial version) of pum — the pisg user manager — and that it’s even longer ago that Myon and I decided that the current pisg user editing -ehm- web frontend called addalias needs to be rewritten from scratch or replaced, only now pum seems to get ready for the pisg community:

Myon asked me yesterday, if I could send him and Azoff a copy. So I did. When I today asked for feedback, Myon pointed me to Azoff’s WebCVS and I was quite surprised (positively) that someone continued my work on pum, added new pisg features and raised the version number to 3.1.

So today Azoff and me worked further on pum, me mostly fixing some of my own old bugs and typos. I’m sure, we’ll have a publishable version quite soon. So the days of addalias are counted…

ii: irc improved — or just ircii without “irc”? //at 02:01 //by abe

from the internet-relay-quack dept.

On nion pointed me to a new, ingeniously sick project of him: ii or irc improved, an IRC client with a radically new concept: Input is a FIFO, output is directly into the logfiles organised in a irc/$SERVERNAME/$CHANNELNAME directory hierachy. You just irc by reading the logs and piping to some FIFO.

He immediately took my only half serious comment that he could use loco for nick highlighting.

Looking further through his blog, I mentioned, he was experimenting with IRC clients not only since ii. He was trying WeeChat instead of irssi.

OpenLDAP sucks! //at 01:58 //by abe

from the lacks-documentation-and-performance dept.

Not only that in an access_ctrl of OpenLDAP up to version 2.1 access to dn=bla really means access to dn.regex=bla and therefore matches also all children of an LDAP entry (for luck they fixed this in 2.2), but already being in rage the following nearly made me bite into the edge of my desk:

/etc/openldap/access_ctrl: line 7: unknown dn style "exact" in to clause

<access clause> ::= access to <what> [ by <who> <access> [ <control> ] ]+ 
<what> ::= * | [dn[.<dnstyle>]=<regex>] [filter=<ldapfilter>] [attrs=<attrlist>]
<dnstyle> ::= regex | base | exact (alias of base) | one | subtree | children

Also the man page mentions exact as DN style:

For all other qualifiers, the pattern is a  string  repre­
sentation  of  the entry's DN.  base or exact (an alias of
base) indicates the entry whose DN is equal  to  the  pat­

Yet another day I could throw OpenLDAP into the trash can!

The Galeon 1.3.x Rant, Part 2: Kazehakase is the real succssor of Galeon 1.2.x //at 01:57 //by abe

from the the-easiest-way-to-get-a-problem-solved-is-to-rant-about-it-in-public dept.

Well, I’m somehow suprised that my Galeon 1.3.x rant got so much response and especially so many constructive, non-ranty responses. Thanks, guys, you made my day!

A few of my arguments against Galeon 1.3.x are solved now (which of course was one of the targets of the rant ;-)… On the other hand, some of my statements were claimed false, but I still believe them to be right. I just strongly disagree with pure simplification being the right way in UI design.

But more important, I now know that Galeon 1.3.x will never be like Galeon 1.2.x and that it’s no legitimate successor of Galeon 1.2.x, because the focus and the design principles changed to more focus on beginners who may be confused by too many options and features and therefore excludes people which — for working efficently — need a tool being highly configurable regarding their customs.

I also never saw Galeon as part of GNOME, but as a very useful browser which unfortunately has this GNOME stuff in, but still is faster and more useable than Mozilla or Firefox with their XUL rendered GUI. So I used it and used parts of GNOME with it. I always wished SkipStone would have been as powerful as Galeon. But already the first comment to my Galeon 1.3.x rant pointed me to the true Galeon 1.2.x successor — without GNOME and just with pure GTK: Kazehakase. Thanks Miroslav Kure!

Galeon and GNOME developers should take a leaf out of Kazehakase’s book: They claim to be user-friendly by castrating the configuration window without any pointer in the program (help doesn’t count here!) to more options via the gconf-editor or about:config and therefore castrating their old users which are just used to have the power to modify the behaviour of an application.

Kazehakase just does what both, beginners as well as experienced users want and e.g. Lynx also does since ages: Letting the user (and not the developer) choose the user’s level. On the first tab of the Kazehakase configuration window, you can choose between UI levels “Beginner”, “Medium”, “Expert”. The default was “Beginner”, I’ve chosen “Expert” and I’m happy with it. GNOME developers may choose “Beginners” — for their clientele which I no more belong to.

But that’s not enough. Tommi Komulainen pointed me to about:config for the details. That’s fine. But Galeon doesn’t. Which isn’t fine. Kazehakase does. It has a menu entry “Detailed preferences” which just opens a new tab with about:config. IMHO a very elegant if not perfect solution. I really hope that at least this will be copied by the Galeon developers. So, Tommi, please tell the Galeon Developers on the GNOME Developer’s Summit in Boston next weekend, that I wish just two more menu entries beyond “Preferences”:

  • “Detailed browser preferences” which opens a new tab with about:config and
  • “Detailed UI preferences” which opens gconf-editor /apps/galeon.

With this, you probably help a lot of disappointed Galeon 1.3.x users. (And I know for sure that I’m not the only one. /me winks at Myon.)

OK, enough ranty sentences. If you want a more detailed and less ranty discussion, read on…

Read more…

Why Galeon 1.3.x and GNOME 2.x still suck and I stay with Woody on the desktop //at 01:56 //by abe

from the rant dept.

Many of my friends and probably also many people from the channel know that I stick with Woody on my desktop because I hate GNOME 2.x and especially Galeon 1.3.x which is a complete rewrite of Galeon 1.2.x from GNOME 1.x, but with many features missing. I often get asked for the “why”, so here are the reasons, why I won’t switch to GNOME 2.x and Galeon 1.3.x…

Thanks to gconf-editor, I could enable some more features in Galeon 1.3.x, which cannot be changed using the configuration interface of Galeon 1.3.x or the GNOME 2.x Control Center (but could be changed in Galeon 1.2.x or the GNOME 1.x Control Center, which counts already as big minus for Galeon 1.3.x and GNOME 2.x). The main thing belonging here is the position of the tabs and detachable menus. I prefer the tabs on the bottom and menus being detachable. (Another thing, which sucks in Firefox but works in Opera, too.)

Another set of configuration items are only available via about:config, e.g. the deactivation of “type-ahead find”. (Although I think, that “type-ahead find” is a good idea and feature, it also sucks in Galeon 1.3.x because of some focus bugs removing focus from input fields when a meta-refresh starts in another tab. After the focus is removed, further typing triggers “type-ahead find”.)

Other features I missed in earlier version seem to be implemented in Sarge’s version of Galeon 1.3.x, e.g. automatically focus the address input field after hitting Ctrl-T, Ctrl-N or the equivalent buttons. Similar, many of the “use middle button or Ctrl to open in new window/tab” features on buttons are now available in nearly all necessary places (address field, smart bookmarks, back button, up button, new button, etc.)

But there is still a lot missing, so here’s the big list on why Galeon 1.3.x still sucks and therefore my desktop will not be upgraded to Sarge until I managed to get Galeon 1.2.x running under it, or Etch is released with a Galeon 1.3.x which has all the features I’m missing since 1.2.x:

  • The state of tabs isn’t shown in the list of all tabs. In Galeon 1.2.x tabs still loading were marked red, already loaded, but not since then visited tabs are marked blue. In Galeon 1.3.x only the tabs itself but not the list entries in the menu are marked that way. (What I also dislike, is that you can’t get the list of all tabs anymore by right clicking any of the tabs. That way you can change tabs much faster then first selecting the “Tabs” menu from the menu bar.)
  • Scrolling through the list of tabs using the arrows beside the tabs bar switches instantly to the next selected tab instead of just scrolling through the tab bar, which makes scrolling endless slow and urges you to use the list of all tabs to change to another currently not shown tab, but as mentioned above, this list isn’t accessible anymore by right clicking any of the tab. *grmpf*
  • There is no more “Related Links” button or equivalent feature to access any relationship information about the currently visited page.
  • Editing key-bindings was as easy as just pressing the wanted key-binding for a menu entry when hovering with the mouse over it in GNOME 1.x. Haven’t found out yet, how to change or add key-bindings in Galeon 1.3.x…
  • Pressing Ctrl-U in the address line or any smart bookmark opens the source code of the current tab instead of just clearing the input field (without copying its content to the clipboard).
  • There is no more “search in current page” widget for the toolbar anymore. You have to open a (very slowly opening) popup window, if you want to have a search function besides the type-ahead search function.
  • If you click the “New” button for opening a new tab, it always opens at the end of the tab list instead of directly after the current tab. So I always have to move that tab back to where it should be. This sucks in Firefox, too. In Galeon 1.2.x there was a switch for this behaviour (as well there is in Opera), so both behaviours were possible: “Insert new tabs after current tabs”.
  • You cannot Drag & Drop a link from a window into itself in Galeon 1.3.x. This was a useful trick in Galeon 1.2.x if you want to work around barefaced hyperlinks with target attribute or want to temporarily not send requests with referrer header.
  • You can’t switch the proxy temporarily on or off just via the menu. You have to click “Edit → Preferences → [Wait for a few seconds] → Network → Configure Network Proxy → [Wait for even more seconds]” and then you can switch it temporarily on or off. In Galeon 1.2.x it’s as fast and intuitively as “Settings → Proxy → Disabled”.
  • And in general: Galeon 1.3.x is just fucking slow compared to Galeon 1.2.x. Every menu I open, every mouse click I make, every key I press, … 1.3.x is just not as responsive as Galeon 1.2.x was. (Although I guess that this is more a GNOME 1.x vs 2.x than a Galeon issue. But, well, you probably guessed it: GNOME 2.x sucks, too. ;-)
  • The bookmark editor in Galeon 1.3.x just sucks:
    • First, it’s just horribly slow (the rest of Galeon 1.3.x seems quite fast compared to it).
    • Drag & Drop often doesn’t work as you are used to how Drag & Drop works, e.g. you can’t drag items from the right folder content view pane to a folder in the left tree view pane.
    • Although I see that I may make sense in some environments, I dislike the “feature” that some of input fields for proprerties have been moved to a tabbed popup window. So you can’t scroll through your bookmarks anymore and have a look at e.g. when you added it whitout having to do a few click for each bookmark.
    • Also the tree view structure was easier to recognise than the new one without the helpful tree being shown as lines.
    • The Galeon 1.3.x bookmark editor doesn’t show the favicons neither in the folder content nor in the tree view. This another big step back in ergonomy.

And the following is the list, why Galeon 1.3.x also sucks. But these issues aren’t big problems for me, since I solved them somehow or can live with them:

  • Not all configuration options can be changed using Galeon’s configuration interface nor using the GNOME Control Center. Which user knows that he can change even more options by using gconf-editor or opening the URL about:config by typing it into the address field?!? A big minus in ergonomy for GNOME 2.x and Galeon 1.3.x.
  • The toolbar icons and the spinner are no more themeable.
  • There are no more buttons for toggling the history or bookmarks pane.
  • The toolbar isn’t editable by right clicking on a blank part of it.

Oh, and Epiphany even sucks more, because it has even less of my favourite Galeon 1.2.x features than Galeon 1.3.x has. Same counts for Ubuntu btw: There even is no Galeon in the standard distribution. (And no, Universe and Multiverse just don’t count for me. The philosophy “one application for one purpose” always sucks but does even more suck if we look at web browsers. Seems as if Ubuntu hasn’t learned from the history of Microsoft and the Internet Explorer. *slappingallaround*)

But not only to argue about Galeon 1.3.x, there are also some few details better than in Galeon 1.2.x, e.g. that the arrows for scrolling through the tab bar are located on both sides of the bar and not ony on the right. And the optional split view in the bookmark editor is quite fine (if Drag & Drop would work right)…

And yes, from the security point of view, Galeon 1.2.x sucks. It’s no more under developement, Galeon 1.2.14 from 17th of June 2004 was the last release. Also the Gecko releases based on the Mozilla 1.8 line (aka SeaMonkey 1.0 and Firefox 1.5) won’t be supported in Galeon 1.2.x, because anti-aliassing support for GTK1 has been dropped in those versions of Mozilla respective Gecko. But I’m sorry, sometimes, user interface and ergonomy come before security…

Oh, and btw: I would love it if somebody proves me wrong in any of my arguments against Galeon 1.3.x. (I just don’t think, someone will… ;-) But nevertheless feel free to leave a comment in the blog — They should work since now…

Now playing: Roxette — Jefferson

The Galeon 1.3.x Rant, Part 2½: Two completely different minds? //at 01:55 //by abe

from the flamewar dept.

Hmmm, there are people who left Usenet for Blogging. I never understood how blogging could replace Usenet. But at the moment I realize that Erich’s and my flamewar discussion about Galeon, GNOME and UI design is just like some thread in some newsgroup. That frightens me. But I have to answer to his recent posting, though, since his blog has no comment function. ;-)

So here’s my reply to his reply. :-)

Please, never claim again that kazekahase as a good UI. It’s sooo stupid.

Well, I haven’t played around with it long enough and already found some bugs to claim that, but it at least shows the right approach to how I expect a web browser to be: Fast and intuitively to use and configurable. So I do not claim that — yet.

close tab icon in the toolbar on the very left

Firefox has that, too, just on right side. If Kazekahase would have that as the only close button for tabs, I would agree that this isn’t that good. But it also has configurable close icons for each tab. And if the toolbar would be configurable, you easily could get rid of it. (I would remove it, too.)

preferences icon in the toolbar (I want to work, not toy around with my preferences!)

Just don’t click on it. And while you talk about it: Yet another thing I dislike with Galeon 1.3.x over 1.2.x is that it has no more “Settings” in the main menu. *eg*

No default keybinding for view source, view source opens in the back

Changed that easily by hovering with the mouse over “View source” and pressing Ctrl-U. Regarding the opening in the back, I agree with you. But since Kazekahase is still in a quite early state (in comparison to Galeon) I expect that this will change…

user level setting is useless, as shown by nautilus. Everone wants to punish himself by seeing all the options he has (and doesn’t understand)

There! Look! You said it: “Everyone wants configrability.” So why don’t give it to the users? Do you like dictators? I don’t. (With the usual exception: “Except if me being the dictator…” ;-)

A little bit later, you wrote:

No! Don’t tell people that there are more options. Don’t make them waste time by investigating what they could do, just let them use the browser…

You like censorship, too? Sorry, but since when a developer has to and can decide if looking through the configuration options is a waste of time or not for the user?

Do you think, looking through the list of packages to know what is available in dselect or aptitude is a waste of time? I’m sorry, but for me that’s the biggest fun in a new installation or after an dist-upgrade. Same counts for configuring a newly discovered application. What do you think was the first thing I did after starting Kazekahase? Yes, I went through all the configuration menus before loading a single web page.

two search fields wasting screen real estate (I already hate the one in firefox up there…

Yeah, history search could be done using the location field. But regarding “waste”: The default toolbar of Galeon 1.3.x wastes quite a lot of space by putting the location field in a toolbar of its own. (Can’t remember how the default toolbar in Galeon 1.2.x was… :-)

Default encoding: arabic […] Font settings let me choose the arabic fonts first…

Yeah, wondered about that, too, and will probably file a bug report about that.

autodetection disabled according to prefs.

Not sure about this. I saw that with other browsers (Galeon 1.3.20 under Sid for example *eg*), too, and it just meant “on” in comparsion to the other options which just hardwire the charset.

Fixed tab width not using my screen efficiently (“GNOM”) is all fitting on the tab label, thats a total waste!

Gotcha! Yet another thing I hate with Galeon 1.3.x. In Galeon 1.2.x this was configurable, in Galeon 1.3.x all tabs have the same width. Really a waste of space. But you probably can tell me how I can change this since you have changed it in your Galeon, too, or? (You have changed something in the configuration of your browser? Really?!? Woah! SCNR.)

Why do I have a “switch proxy” checkbox in the menu when I don’t have a proxy?

Why there is a possibility to configure a proxy if you don’t have one?

Don’t tell me that it makes more sense to you to setup stuff like Emacs- vs. windows-style keybindings in every single application you use. That is just stupid, sorry.

It may be of use to configure some keybindings globally. But there always should be the possibility to change them locally. BTW: AFAIK GTK offers such global keybindings, but GNOME is just overkill for me.

Also I don’t like mouse gestures.

You don’t have to use them. Just keep them switched off. But don’t disregard the thousands of people who use and like them.

When they were introduced in Galeon I tried them, but I never got a hang for them.

Mouse gestures in fact were initially my main reason to use Galeon and not Mozilla. I first heard about mouse gestures in Opera 3.x and in my HCI classes at university. I like them and started using them with Opera 3 under Windows. I very quickly found out that the Linux browsers I used, didn’t have them, because I got so used to them, that I kept making mouse gestures in browsers which have never heard about it. And Opera wasn’t available for Linux at that time. So I found Galeon (1.2.x of course ;-).

And in general they are not faster in my opinion.

It’s just like gear shifting in a car: After a while you just don’t even have to think about it anymore. You just do it. You’re used to it. You can’t say, that counts for click back buttons, do you? (Well, it counts for hitting escape buttons, depending on you keyboard. ;-)

They lack interim feedback IMHO.

Does Alt-Left has feedback? Do you have a force feedback keyboard?

Apart from using the mouse usually is quite slow anyway…

You use always the tab key to navigate through web sites or your bookmarks? (As far as I remember, you aren’t a big fan of type-ahead find either…)

I’m a keyboard and command-line freak, I hold talks about command-line efficiency. But when it comes to the web, I need mainly two things to navigate: A location bar with history completion and auto-suggestion and a mouse with at least three buttons and a scroll wheel. My web browser is also the only graphical application I use regularly. Everything else runs in text-mode.

I consider mouse gestures to be another big hype.

Well, then it’s a hype which works very good for about eight or nine years for me.

I load about 50 (internal and external) web pages when I log in.
Oh my god. I would DIE if I had to work that way!

You don’t have to, but I want to. Why should I open all that pages manually, if Galeon can load sessions?

I let you use browsers the way you do (just use them and adapt yourself), and you let me use browsers the way, I do (configure and adapt them).

Today, also Wouter Verhelst joined the discussion with visualising very nice and clearly what the core of our discussion is: How to deal with experienced users who know what they want at same time as with beginners who should be able to start working right off.

Regarding Wouters rhetoric question, why he left GNOME, my answer is: Because I just don’t need it. I tried sawmill/sawfish and metacity with GNOME, but it just didn’t satisfy me and it doesn’t have anything I really need. fvwm2 with the keybindings a friend of mine and me developed during our HCI studies at university (about 8 or 9 years ago) worked better and were easier to implement. So after a few months of using a GNOME desktop I got back to good ol’ fvwm, which still works fine and fast on my 400 MHz desktop, although fvwm evolved over the years from version 1.0 to 2.5 since then.

Theory Girl //at 01:55 //by abe

from the cover dept.

“Theory Girl” is a cover of “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel played by The CSE Band (you can also get the MP3 on their website) with insightful, computer science related lyrics. They also have some other nice CS related parodies like “Mr Grad TA Man” (“Mr. Tambourine Man”) and “The End Of Grad School” (“Sound of Silence”).

Now playing: The CSE Band — Theory Girl

Tell me which music you like and I tell who you are //at 01:55 //by abe

from the now-playing dept.

The German science news site is reporting that your music taste is very closely related to your personality and that it’s easier to judge people by the music they hear than by seeing pictures or videos of them. Source is a scientific study by Dr. Samuel Gosling and Peter Rentfrow from The University of Texas at Austin.

Man, that would give an interesting quiz meme on the Planets! ;-)

I wonder, how my usually negative or decade-based definition of my music taste is that way analysable: I like nearly every music from the ’60s to the ’90s except hip-hop, rap and techno. :-)

Now playing: Jethro Tull — Something’s On The Move

German voting statistics viewed from a Debian System //at 01:54 //by abe

from the screenshot dept.

The last years I always sticked to the voting statistics of the ARD Tagesschau, since the only acceptable other news source in German television, ZDF heute corporated with MSNBC.

But this year, also the Tagesschau showed the Microsoft logo in some statistic on TV, which the German Linux association LIVE tried to get removed by stating that this an illegal advertisment in a political TV show.

Well, they weren’t successful, but at least the statistics on the web don’t show an M$ logo. But they have another problem:

My desktop system, a Pentium II with 400 MHz and 578 MB of RAM, is still running Woody, because I yet can’t live without Galeon 1.2.x, which was replaced on Sarge by Galeon 1.3.x — a complete rewrite which lacks most features I liked in Galeon 1.2.x. Galeon 1.2.x doesn’t show the above mentioned website that good, so I tried some browsers from Sarge. But none of them showed that page correctly:

Galeon 1.2.5 based on Mozilla 1.4.2 from Debian 3.0 Woody

Firefox 1.0.4 from Debian 3.1 Sarge

Konqueror 3.3.2 from Debian 3.1 Sarge

Dillo 0.8.3 from Debian 3.1 Sarge

So interestingly, the page is best readable in Konqueror and Dillo while only Firefox doesn’t show all of the main content of the page.

Somehow I fear, the pages have been “optimised” for MSIE, while the ZDF voting statistics page just don’t work at all: It needs JavaShit and Flash. *plonk*

Regarding the published extrapolations: I’m at least happy that CDU (black, right conservative) and FDP (yellow, business liberal / free market) probably won’t have a majority. But what this will result in is still unknown. There are too many options open for our politicians to do any prediction. I would probably prefer Red-Red-Green or Red-Green as we have it at them moment. Worst case for me would be Black-Yellow.

Heute nacht regnet’s eh nicht… //at 01:45 //by abe

Aus der Murphys-Gesetz Abteilung

Dachte ich. Und der Wetterbericht auch. Und so ließ das Dach der Ente offen. Komm’ ich morgens schneller weg, dachte ich.

Dann nachts aufwachen, weil irgendwas plötzlich so rauscht. Nach ein paar Sekunden war ich in meiner Jeans und meinen Tevas auf dem Weg nach unten, raus aus dem Haus, zum Auto hinrennen, den Regen nach kurzem Grummeln ignorierend. Es schiffte in Kübeln.

Murphy vs. XTaran — 1:0

So schnell es geht, das Dach zugerollt, auf den Fahrersitz gesessen und das Dach von innen eingerastet (was normalweise nur von außen geht, erst recht mit dem zusätzlichen Sonnensegel über den vorderen Sitzen) und zugemacht. Uff. Das Sonnensegel hatte wenigstens die Sitzflächen der Vordersitze einigermaßen trocken gehalten. Glück im Unglück.

Read more…

Das Merkel wird Kanzler //at 01:44 //by abe

Aus der Och-menno Abteilung

Ob Treibholz jetzt immer noch stolz auf dieses Land ist? SvenK nimmt’s wenigstens mit Humor, auch wenn er vor ein paar Wochen noch suizidgefährdet klang.

Naja, das Merkel ist ja zum Glück nicht ganz so schlimm wie Dubya, aber ich frage mich grade trotzdem, ob nach nun auch kommt. Geben tut’s das ja schonmal, gehören einem Herrn Reiner Rusch aus Haan, leitet aber auf eine W3 Solutions GmbH in Berlin weiter. Schade…

Hmmm… oder gibt’s allerdings noch nicht. Und zeigt in einem Frame auf, was aber grade nicht erreichbar ist. Naja, wenigstens dafür entschuldigt hat sich der Besitzer ja mit der Domain schonmal…

*weiterles* Soso, Stoiber wird also Wirtschaftsminister. Da werden sich die Dealer aber freuen.

Nuja, wollen wir mal hoffen, daß die Große Koalition nicht — wie einer meiner Kollegen hier schwarzmalt — die Zweitstimme bei Wahlen und die Bürgerrechte abschafft. Letztere sind eh schon tief genug gesunken. Und wir wollen hoffen, daß Gysi Recht behält und die Große Koalition recht bald wieder auseinanderbricht und man dann — ohne Schröder — auf Rot-Rot-Grün hoffen darf. Denn schließlich hat Schröder […] aus der SPD eine zweite Union gemacht, wie Gysi so schön im taz-Interview formuliert. Schröder scheint nun aufgegeben zu haben. Und ohne den Möchtegern-CDUler Schröder kann man wieder Hoffnung für die SPD haben. (Und ja, ich bin unverbesserlicher Optimist. ;-)

Now playing: Skyclad — Fainting by Numbers

Nachtrag, 19:45 Uhr: Gerade lese ich in der taz in einen Artikel um die Direktkandidatur des wegen antisemitischer Äußerungen aus der CDU ausgeschlossenen Martin Hohmann: Sollte Hohmann wirklich die meisten Erststimmen bekommen und direkt in den Bundestag einziehen, würden die Zweitstimmen der Hohmann-Wähler ungültig. Das sieht das Wahlgesetz bei Direktkandidaten vor, die keine Landesliste im Rücken haben. Kann mir bitte jemand den Sinn hinter dieser Regelung erklären und wieso ich trotz ausfühlichsten Unterrichtungen über das deutsche Wahlrecht zu Schulzeiten und politischem Interesse noch nie etwas davon gehört habe? (Nebenbei: Hohmann hat immerhin 21,5% der Erststimmen bekommen, die CDU aber trotz Befürchtungen das Direktmandat mit 39,1% der Stimmen vor der SPD mit 29,7% gewonnen.)

Jesus Christus Sohn des Fliegenden Spaghettimonsters? //at 01:44 //by abe

Aus der Was-Dubya-kann-können-wir-schon-lange Abteilung

Nachdem insbesondere der Präsident eines gewissen Staates (United States of Jesus oder so ähnlich), in dem es offiziell genauso wie unserem Staate eine Trennung von Staat und Kirche geben soll, massiv die Lehre vom “Intelligenten Design” des Universums propagiert und dies auch als Zweifel an der Darwinschen Evolutionstheorie im Biologieunterricht lehren läßt, hat sich eine sympatisch-zynische Gegen-Religion gebildet: Die Pastafari, die an das Fliegenede Spaghettimonster als Gott “glauben”. Sie haben sich zum Ziel gesetzt im Schuluntericht in Kansas gleichberechtigt mit der kreationistischen Ansicht von Dubya gelehrt zu werden.

Boing Boing bietet sogar 1 Millionen US-Dollar Belohnung für denjenigen, der empirisch widerlegt, daß Jesus Christus Sohn des Fliegenden Spaghettimonsters ist.

Nette Religion das ist, genauso wie der Jediismus. Aber Darwinisten, Atheïsten und Agnostiker sind mir trotzdem wesentlich sympathischer.

Now playing: Herbert Grönemeyer — Amerika

Read more…

Genialer Blondinenwitz //at 01:44 //by abe

Aus der muahahaha Abteilung

Normalerweise sind ja Blondinenwitze IMHO nix, was in ein Blog gehört, aber der hier ist so genial wie alt (erste Vorkommen datieren auf Juli 2003 :-), der muß einfach verlinkt werden. *grins*

Die CDU schreckt im Wahlkampf auch nicht vor Urheberrechtsverletzungen zurück //at 01:43 //by abe

Aus der Wir-ziehen-die-Dinger-durch-vor-denen-wir-Euch-immer-gewarnt-haben Abteilung

War zwar schon letzte Woche, aber ich hab’s trotzdem erst heute über de.alt.netdigest mitbekommen: Die CDU bedient sich ja seit einiger des 73er Rolling Stones Hit “Angie” zu Werbezwecken. Anscheinend allerdings ohne die entsprechenden Rechte dazu zu haben. Sowohl die eurpäische Vertretung der Stones als auch eine Sprecherin der Stones erklärte, die Stones hätten keinerlei Zustimmung dazu erteilt. Die CDU verweist dagegen auf die GEMA, mit der sie das Problem im Vorab “geklärt” hätte. Die GEMA aber widerum läßt nur das verlauten, was auch zu erwarten war: Sie können dazu gar keine Erlaubnis geben und sie hätten der CDU dies sowie daß sie sich an die Rechteinhaber persönlich wenden müßten, auch “klargemacht”.

Wie war das nochmal mit “Hart aber gerecht”?

Nur leider scheint’s sowohl die europäische Verwertungsgesellschaft als auch den Stones selbst nicht allzu sehr zu jucken, d.h. sie werden keine Klage anstreben, womit die CDU im Gegensatz zum gemeinen Raubkopierer ungehindert weiter Songs spielen darf, bei dem komischerweise grade mal der Titel zu Wahlkampf paßt: “Angie, Angie! With no loving in our souls and no money in our coats, you can’t say we’re satisfied…”

Erst die Bewohner der neuen Bundesländer als Kälber und Idioten beschimpfen, und dann fröhlich gegen Urheberrechte verstoßen. Hoffen wir mal, daß die Union die nächsten Wochen so weiter macht, sonst sehe ich schwarz mit dieser Republik.

Now playing: Herbert Grönemeyer — Mit Gott

Von taz-Lesern und Christen //at 01:41 //by abe

Aus der provokativen Abteilung

Heute habe ich meinen ersten Leserbrief an die taz geschrieben:

From: Axel Beckert <>
Subject: Von taz-Lesern und Christen

Öffentlicher Leserbrief zum Kommentar "Zwischen Hysterie und
Desinteresse" von Stefan Reinecke aus der taz vom 7.1.06

Lieber Stefan Reinecke,

ich mag ja die taz und auch die Kommentare in der taz, selbst wenn
bzw. gerade weil sie manchmal recht bissig sind und auch hin wieder
dem Leser etwas unterstellen. Aber der gesamten taz-Leserschaft zu
unterstellen, sie seien alle Christen, ist schon heftiger Tobak.

  Ist das Alte Testament mit dem Grundgesetz vereinbar?

Als ich das las, kamen mir ungefähr folgende Gedanken: »Nette Idee. Da
findet sich sicher was. "Du sollst keine anderen Götter neben mir
haben." klingt z.B. nicht so, als wäre es mit der Religionsfreiheit
nach Grundgesetz, Artikel 4, Abs. 1 vereinbar: "Die Freiheit des
Glaubens, des Gewissens und die Freiheit des religiösen und
weltanschaulichen Bekenntnisses sind unverletzlich."«

Und dann kommt sowas:

  Überlegen Sie gut, denn wenn Sie falsch antworten, steht Ihre
  Verfassungstreue in Zweifel.

Wie bitte?!? Ja, klar, das gilt für Christen, aber das steht hier als
hätte der vorherige Satz auch "Ist die taz mit dem Grundgesetz
vereinbar?" lauten können -- dann wäre der Hinweis nämlich

Sicher, der Kommentar will zeigen, wie abstrus die Politik der CDU im
Ländle isch -äh- ist, und er hat sicher auch beim einen oder anderen
Christen die gewünschte Wirkung gezeigt und ihn recht kalt erwischt,
aber z.B. bei Agnostiker und Atheisten, von denen es in Deutschland
und insbesondere unter den taz-Lesern sicher nicht gerade wenig gibt,
geht der Schuß kräftig nach hinten los.

		Mit freundlichem Gruß, Axel Beckert
/~\                                    | Axel Beckert
\ /  ASCII Ribbon Campaign             |
 X   Say No to HTML in E-Mail and News |
/ \                                    |

Bin mal gespannt, ob er abgedruckt wird. :-)

Ist die NPD am Verzweifeln? //at 01:41 //by abe

Aus der Na-hoffentlich! Abteilung

Oder warum stellt sie zur Bundestagswahl Kandidaten mit so richtig deutschen Namen wie “Rene Rodriguez-Teufer” auf?

Mal ganz davon abgesehen, daß sich das Endergebnis der Wahl dank der NPD vermutlich um zwei Wochen verzögert

Bloggen und Usenet //at 01:39 //by abe

Aus der Quoted-Printable Abteilung

Der heutige bzw. jetzt schon gestrige UserFriendly hat etwas erfaßt, was Kris K=F6hntopp schon länger fest gestellt hat. Aus den Fachbegriffen der Informatik:

404: Blog
Ein Haufen Scriptkiddies ist gerade dabei, USENET in bunt neu zu erfinden, und machen derzeit einen Haufen Fehler neu, die schon seit 20 Jahren nicht mehr Gegenstand der Forschung sind. (Kristian Köhntopp)

Komischerweise soll angeblich genau jener Herr K=F6hntopp dem Usenet abgeschworen haben und jetzt nur noch bloggen. *g*

Ich hab dem Usenet zwar nicht abgeschworen, aber auf mich trifft ein anderer Fachbegriff der Informatik zu bzw. genauer trifft er bei mir nicht zu:

79: Usenet
Ich habe zuviel Freizeit. (Florian Kuehnert)

Leider nicht. Aber zum Glück braucht Bloggen wesentlich weniger Zeit als Usenet. :-)

Now Playing: Rockapella — The Gummi Bears Theme Song

Wir leben in Kleinbloggersdorf… //at 01:39 //by abe

Aus der Saarland-Effekt Abteilung

Tja, da spielt man ein wenig mit GeoURL rum und was muß man dabei entdecken? Das nächste Blog “steht” gleich ein paar Straßen weiter.

Die Welt ist klein, im Saarland, im IRC, in der Open-Source-Szene und anscheinend auch in Kleinbloggersdorf. :-) Schade, daß es nicht mehr gibt.

Und nein, liebes Google, ich meine nicht Kleinblittersdorf im Saarland, das kenne ich noch aus meiner Studienzeit. :-)

Mein erster Löschantrag in Wikipedia… //at 01:39 //by abe

Aus der /dev/tonne Abteilung

Meinem ersten Löschantrag in Wikipedia wurde bereits nach 4 Minuten stattgegeben. Beantragt habe ich die Löschung eines Redirects von “Das hässliche Entlein” auf den bereits im Oktober 2004 gelöschten Artikel “Das häßliche Entlein”. Daß das bis dahin noch niemand gemerkt hat… Aber das ist halt Wikipedia… :-)

P.M. und die Aktualität //at 01:38 //by abe

Aus der Peter-Moosleitners-aktuelles-Magazin Abteilung

Auf der Suche nach interessanten News für Symlink schaue ich hin- und wieder mal bei P.M. rein. Dort stieß ich heute auf einen Artikel “NASA kann Gedanken lesen”.

Klingt alles schön und gut, aber da ich bei den P.M. “Wissensnews” gewohnt bin, daß unter zirka jeder zweiten Story ein Link “Original-Artikel bei Freenet” druntersteht (welcher dann meist ein paar Monate alt ist), bin ich mißtrauisch und finde untendrunter auch prompt einen Link “ORF”, der zu einem FutureZone-Artikel verweist. Allerdings einem nach deren, seit Monaten nicht mehr unterstütztem, altem URL-Schema, das nur noch “Error in application futurezone — Object not found.” bringt.

Nun gut, Monate alte Inhalte in P.M.-Artikel ist man ja gewohnt, aber daß sie dann nicht einmal die Links dazu überprüfen, akaschiert das nicht wirklich besonders gut. Also machen wir uns auf die Suche nach der neuen URL der FuZo-Story.

Aber bei der FuZo gibt es keinen Suchen-Link mehr. Sehr verwunderlich. Dafür gibt es auf der ORF-Startseite an mehreren Stellen einen Link zu Dort präsentieren sich einem tausend Suchfelder. Das erste hervorgehobene ist anscheinend “nur” eine Google-Suche, also nehmen wir das allererste, etwas dezenter gehaltene, neben dem irgendwas unleserliches steht und tippen ein “nasa gedanken”. Fehler: Ein Nickname darf keine Leerzeichen enthalten. Äh, hallo? Ok, nochmal nur nach “nasa” suchen: “1 Nick gefunden” *aufgeb* Der ORF will anscheinend nicht, daß man einfach und schnell auf den ORF-Seiten suchen kann.

Google hilft, wenn auch mit dem selben kaputten Link wie P.M., nur hat Google die entsprechende Seite netterweise noch im Cache.

Datum des FuZo-Artikels: 20.03.04 — Klasse, das sind bei P.M. also “News”?!? Ich glaube, das brauche ich echt nicht mehr lesen. Aber andererseits, was will ich auch von P.M. erwarten: P.M. fand ich eh auch schon inhaltlich selten so interessant wie früher das hobby Magazin der Technik (RIP) oder die nicht ganz so aber dennoch recht populärwissenschaftlichen Magazine Spektum und Bild der Wissenschaft. Nur eines muß man den P.M. Wissensnews lassen: Sie geben ihre Quellen an. Im Gegensatz zu z.B. Golem oder insbesondere Heise.

Ach, und bevor Klagen kommen: Ja, auch bei Symlink, Slashdot oder einem sonstigen Community-Ticker kommen ab und an mal etwas ältere Nachrichten, aber kaum so häufig oder so alt. Mal ganz davon abgesehen, daß P.M. das professionell macht — professionell bzgl. des Zwecks, nicht der Art und Aufmachung her. ;-)

Bei manchem Spam ist man froh, daß SpamAssassin ihn nicht erwischt… //at 01:38 //by abe

Aus der Lustiges-in-der-Inbox Abteilung

Mir ist zwar noch nicht klar, warum der SpamAssassin diesen Spam nicht erwischt hat, aber ich bin froh drüber. Denn diese automatisierte Übersetzung ist zum totlachen:

Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 13:17:30 +0000
Subject: LifeProfit Inc.
X-Spam-Status: No, hits=1.6 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_44,DNS_FROM_RFCI_DSN,
        autolearn=no version=2.64

LifeProfit Inc. kann Ihnen helfen, Ihre Traume zu zwingen, sich, bekommend
das monatliche Gehalt, das das Internet einwirkt, zu verwirklichen.

Um mit LifeProfit Inc. zu arbeiten, brauchen:
? Ein B?rger Deutschlands zu sein
? das Vorhandensein der Rechnung in der Bank
? die Vereinigung des Computers zum Internet
? ist ein wenig es Ihre freie Zeit

Wie es arbeitet:

Arbeitend f?r uns wie die Bezahlung, Die den Manager bearbeitet, werden Sie
Teil Aus der neuen Tendenz im weltumfassenden Banksystem. Die Pflichten Die
Lage ist einfach, und das Einkommen hangt nur von Ihren Bem?hungen ab.

Sie Sollen - die Zahlungen der Sendung zwischen unseren Kunden, die Ihr
Interesse von jeder Operation bekommen, machen.
Hauptsachlich werden es 5 %, mit jeder Sendung, die Ihr Interesse z?chten
wird. Unsere Kunden bekommen 1000 EURO zu 20000.

LifeProfit Inc. sorgt sich um Ihr Bl?hen. Machen Sie Ihr Leben besser
zusammen mit der LifeProfit Inc.!

Und daß Postbank und Deutsche Bank jetzt zur Deutschen Postbank fusioniert haben, weiß ich auch erst seit dieser netten Mail:

From Tue Sep 20 21:53:14 2005
From: PostBank <>
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 15:45:19 -0400
Subject: PostBank online banking
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook, Build 10.0.2616
X-Spam-Level: ****
X-Spam-Status: No, score=4.7 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_50,FORGED_OUTLOOK_HTML,
        autolearn=no version=3.0.2

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   Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
   In Verbindung damit, daß wir in unserem Land in eine schwierige
   Situation mit online - Banking geraten sind, wurde uns empfohlen, alle
   online - Konten von unserer Bank zu kontrollieren, um die
   "Tageskonten" festzustellen, die von den Betrügern dazu benutzt
   werden, das gestohlene Geld zu waschen. Demzufolge bitten wir unsere
   Kunden inständig, das Formular einer Kontobestätigung, das sich auf
   unserer offiziellen Web-Seite befindet, auszufüllen.
   Jene Konten, die bis zum 27.08.05 auf diesem Formular nicht angegeben
   werden, werden bis zur Feststellung der Bedingungen ihrer Eröffnung
   und Benutzung blockiert. Diese Revision betrifft sowohl die
   Privatkunden, als auch die Firmenkunden.

   Wir bitten um Verzeihung für die Unannehmlichkeiten, die wir Ihnen
   bereitet haben, wir hoffen auf Ihre Hilfe und gegenseitiges
   Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
      © 2005 Deutsche Postbank AG


   Visible links
   Hidden links:

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Klasse, nicht?

about:blank ist unsicher sagt der MSIE //at 01:37 //by abe

Aus der Ich-bin-die-Software-vor-der-ich-Dich-immer-gewarnt-haben Abteilung

Ich habe auf meinem Windows-2003-Testrechner im Büro about:blank als Startseite des MSIE eingestellt. Trotzdem kommt seit einem der letzten Windows-Updates beim Starten des MSIE immer irgendeine Microschrott-Seite. Einmal nach einem Update kann ich das als Marketing oder sonstwas noch verstehen, aber jetzt dauerhaft?

Zum Testen, ob wenigstens der Button “Startseite” noch tut, habe ich drauf geklickt. Und bekam das da:

Screenshot einer MSIE-Warnung davor, daß about:blank aufgrund der verstärkten Sicherheitskonfiguration nicht angezeigt werden könne

Die Konfiguration auf diesem Rechner ist eine etwas gelockerte Windows 2003 Standard-Konfiguration.

Inhalt von about:blank ist übrigens:


Danke, Microsoft, daß Du mich vor einer solch gefährlichen Seite bewahrt hast!

WYSE: Jetzt mit Linux 6! //at 01:36 //by abe

Aus der Terminator Abteilung

dkg hat gestern auf Pro-Linux einen Artikel über die neue grml 0.6 geschrieben. Soweit so gut und alles ganz toll. Nur ist da dieser Flash-Werbebanner von WYSE über dem Artikel.

Als erstes stieß mir das “Wo f hlt sich Tux am wohlsten?” auf. Kein Umlaut. Nuja, mag vielleicht noch an der frisch auf 10.0 geupgradeten SuSE liegen. (Ausführlicher Rant Bericht dazu kommt noch. *eg*)

Heftiger war allerdings die Antwort: “In einem Winterm ThinClient mit Linux Version 6!”

<sarcasm>Linux 6?!? Da ist aber ein altes Linux drauf. Ich hab’ schon Linux 10!</sarcasm>

Mal ganz davon abgesehen, daß ein Klick auf das Banner zu führt, was per META-Refresh mit einer Sekunde Verzögerung auf weiterleitet und damit auch nicht grade von sehr viel Durchblick in Sachen Medium und Leserschaft zeugt sowie den Groll desjenigen, der wissen will, was verdammt nochmal mit “Linux 6” gemeint sein könnte, nur noch weiter aufheizt.

Wann lernen die Marketing-Fuzzies endlich mal, daß es (noch) kein “Linux 6” oder “Linux 10” gibt, dafür aber wesentlich schnellere, bessere und sinnvollere Methoden als META-Refresh? (in diesem Fall z.B. die Werbung direkt mit der eigentlichen Seite verlinken… *hinthint*) Sorry, aber mit so ‘ner Werbung ist man zumindest auf Pro-Linux gewaltig fehl am Platz und vergrault sich eher potentielle Kunden als welche zu gewinnen. Ich werde jedenfalls WYSE zukünftig genüßlich meiden.

SuSE: Amüsantes im Abo //at 01:35 //by abe

Aus der Marketing Abteilung

Ein Blog-Eintrag bei Jörn (das Blog habe ich über einen Blog-Kommentar bei nion entdeckt) erinnerte mich daran: Gestern kam in der Firma die SuSE 10.0 aus dem Abo an. Was mich am SuSE-Abo ja am meisten amüsiert sind die Werbesprüche auf der Packung:

Früher (bis SuSE 7.3) waren da ja mehr amüsante als hilfreiche Texte drauf, so z.B. die Fragen der FAQ:

  • »Nach der Installation bekomme ich immer die Fehlermeldung “login:”. Was mache ich falsch?«
  • »Ich habe mich eingeloggt und sehe nur “linux #” – Wie komme ich denn nun in Linux hinein?«
  • »Ich habe mir versehentlich einen Kernel kompiliert. Wie bekomme ich wieder den originalen SuSE-Kernel installiert?«

Danach kam erstmal eine Weile Bücherwerbung auf den CD-Verpackungen, seit einiger Zeit aber wieder zumindest milde amüsantes Marketingblabla:

  • »Keine langwierigen Downloads, direkt von CD oder DVD installieren« — Hmmm, warum habe ich mir (bzw. in meinem Fall der $BRÖTCHGEBER) das Zeugs wohl gekauft?
  • Oder der hier: »[…] im openSUSE-Projekt […] treffen sich Linux Entwickler, Software Designer, und Anwender, um die beste Linux Distribution weltweit zu entwickeln.« — Ahja, kaum tut man so, als sei man keine kommerzielle Linux-Distribution mehr, darf man größenwahnsinning werden? Wobei, ja, ich vergaß: Vergleichende Werbung für kostenlose Dinge ist ja schon seit Ewigkeiten in .de erlaubt. (Von den ganzen fehlenden Bindestrichen des Marketingsprechs will ich hier mal abgesehen…)

Aber nicht nur der Amüsantheitsfaktor, auch die Qualität der Verpackung wird immer schlechter: CDs und DVDs sind diesesmal in Papiertüten in einer kleinen Box. Das letzte Mal war’s wenigstens noch ein Pappheftchen mit unübersichtlich vielen Faltungen… Tja, früher war halt auch bei SuSE alles besser. (Bis auf YaST oder so… ;-)

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert


This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

Links to internal pages are orange, links to related pages are blue, links to external resources are green and links to Wikipedia articles, Internet Movie Database (IMDb) entries or similar resources are bordeaux. Times are CET respective CEST (which means GMT +0100 respective +0200).

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Just read

  • Bastian Sick: Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod (Teile 1-3)
  • Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: Good Omens (borrowed from Ermel)

Currently Reading

  • Douglas R. Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach
  • Neil Gaiman: Keine Panik (borrowed from Ermel)

Yet to read

  • Neil Stephenson: Cryptonomicon (borrowed from Ermel)

Always a good snack

  • Wolfgang Stoffels: Lokomotivbau und Dampftechnik (borrowed from Ermel)
  • Beverly Cole: Trains — The Early Years (getty images)