Greg
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February 2002
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Friday, 1 February 2002 Echunga
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More administrative stuff today, and also some work arranging the AUUG annual conference. I'm more on top of things now, down to only 60 unhandled mail messages. Two weeks ago it was 500. Now I can go travelling and get behind again.

More work on JFS. I won't have much to show before I leave for my conferences on Tuesday.


Saturday, 2 February 2002 Echunga Images for 2 February 2002
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A little less work to do today, though I thought it prudent to update my slides for my talk on Thursday. Also, the weather was dull enough for me finally to take a new photo to put on my home page, so did that, which also involved updating all the hardware information, thus taking quite some time.

In the process, decided to finally restart X on echunga. It had been running for a month, but all the menu files were wrong, and I also wanted to try a configuration tweak which setuid claimed will get the thumb button on my mouse to work.

It didn't. Instead, the very latest version of XFree86 told me that the protocol wasn't supported. Did some further investigation and discovered that XFree86 compiles a special version of the mouse driver for BSD systems, and it doesn't include Intellimouse support. Grrr. Apart from that, had a surprising amount of trouble with ssh. It really doesn't like me.


Sunday, 3 February 2002 Echunga
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More work on the talk for linux.conf.au. Also had time to do some work in the garden, and finally fitted the blade to the new whipper-snipper I bought a while back. Presto! it chopped up the dead reeds with no problems at all. One of these days, the garden may look worthwhile.


Monday, 4 February 2002 Echunga
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Spent most of the day finalizing preparations for my trip to Brisbane and San Francisco. I had left a surprising amount of other things slip, and they took up a lot of the time. As if I didn't have enough problems, there's a state election on Saturday, and I hadn't received postal vote papers, so I had to go to Stirling to the AEC and vote in advance. There were a total of 54 candidates for the State Assembly, most of them crackpots. I would have liked to have taken a spare ballot sheet (A2 size) just for the fun of it, but of course that's not allowed.

Finished my slides. 200 total, mainly incremental.


Tuesday, 5 February 2002 Echunga –> Brisbane
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Spent most of the morning tidying up before leaving; at least it wasn't as hectic as is often the case.

To see Leigh Windsor in the afternoon to arrange refinancing of the house, then to the airport and off to Brisbane with Alan Modra, where things went without much of a hitch. There are a number of restaurants near the hotel, and we had dinner at a Greek one. Then the rest of the mob called, and off to watch them eat Chinese. Early to bed, but not very tired.


Wednesday, 6 February 2002 Brisbane
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First thing in the morning I tried to connect to the SkyNet Global service in the hotel, but the coverage was pretty terrible. Later discovered that there was in fact no access point on my floor, and arranged to move to another room.

Off to the conference, which was at the St. Lucia campus of the University of Queensland. The access wasn't ideal: 20 minutes by boat up the river, then another 10 minutes walk, to wait for an hour to get the registration.

In the morning, Rusty did a talk on kernel hacking, quite interesting but too short. Lunch at the Student Union, then back to listen to Rasmus on PHP (what else?). After that back to the hotel by taxi, which proved to be remarkably cheap. Obviously that should be the end of the boat rides.

Changed rooms and discovered that I couldn't talk to the DHCP server. Got the hotel engineer to come and take a look. Found that one of the access points was dead, and a number of cables weren't connected. After that all worked well.

Back to the university for the speakers' reception. Fun enough, but it's becoming clear that it's always the same people who speak at these conferences.


Thursday, 7 February 2002 Brisbane Images for 7 February 2002
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First day of the conference. After my experience yesterday, decided to take a taxi to the conference, discovering in the process that it's a lot slower in the other direction at 8:30 am.

Tridge and Jeremy Allison did the keynote, after which I spent a bit of time polishing my presentation, which was in the third slot. It went across relatively well, though I was left wondering whether I had adapted enough to the audience. Finished off with a faked Slashdot web page and a photo of Jeremy Allison wearing a 4.4BSD T-shirt (the latter was genuine):

 
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Lunch at the Student Union. I had forgotten what it was like to have to wait for fast food.

In the afternoon, listened to Jeff Dike on User Mode Linux (he's the author). Maybe I was a little hasty in discarding it last month; in any case, it's probably worth another look.

Professional user's cocktails in the evening, in the same place as dinner last night. After that back to South Bank and had a rather salty pizza. People faded fast, and I was the last to leave at about 9:30 pm.


Friday, 8 February 2002 Brisbane
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Keynote was by Michi Henning, about misconceptions about computers. Quite amusing, but a little too Microsoft-centric. In the middle of that, I was called out by Yvonne to tell me that her Nokia phone had failed-again. That's the third time in two months. Off she went to complain, but this time they want to repair it. I'm not too happy about that: we can't keep sending it in for repair every 3 weeks. In addition I missed half of David Gibson's talk, which I wanted to hear. Grrr.

Looking back, it looks as if I listened mainly to Ozlabs talks. As at the AOSS3, we seem to have provided the backbone of the conference. Apart from David's talk, listened to Ted Ts'o, Alan Modra and Rusty Russell, all from LTC.

Conference dinner in the evening, after which I made the mistake of following Rusty and his followers to the bar. Late to bed.


Saturday, 9 February 2002 Brisbane
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Up later today after last night, and trickled into Ted's keynote, ostensibly about 10 years of Linux, but in fact much more about the path ahead.

In the afternoon, BoFs, in which David Gibson and I finally got together and got ad-hoc mode working between Linux and FreeBSD. As I suspected, it's a question of terminology. Basically, cards such as the Orinoco have three modes of operation:

In the evening to dinner with Greg Rodgers. Tracy was supposed to come along too, but she never showed.


Sunday, 10 February 2002 Brisbane –> San Francisoo Images for 10 February 2002
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Up at a leisurely pace this morning and out to the airport. My first time flying Qantas First Class. They now have seats which will recline completely and which are (barely) long enough to lie flat on.

Somehow the food wasn't as good as I would like. Plenty, yes. I had the biggest fillet steak I have ever seen, unfortunately overcooked:

 
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After Auckland we had the same thing with lamb chops. Watched a video tape, a great improvement on streaming video, but it ran long enough to make it impossible to get a full night's sleep. Somehow these flights from Auckland to Los Angeles are an hour or two too short.

In LA, to the American Airlines Admiral's Club. Once again I wasn't able to connect to the wireless network: they were experiencing a “brief interruption in service”:

 
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This obviously included DNS service, since they didn't have a name for their server, a thing that I take as an indication of technical incompetence. I really need to count how often it has ever worked for me. Called MobileStar's technical support number, which informed me that I should call on a business day, and offered help with connections, explaining how to set up IP addresses. I was then offered the choice of leaving my phone number and being called back the next business day. I wonder what kind of service these people think they're providing. Over to the Admiral's club in Terminal 3, which was much lower key, and didn't have any wireless coverage at all.

On to San Francisco, where American Airlines made us wait for 30 minutes before delivering the baggage, then to the hotel and checkin. Somehow the Con looks a whole lot quieter this year. The wireless networking was up, sort of, but sending mail was a problem. Spent some time with Tony, the USENIX tech, working out what had gone wrong, and found an inappropriate MTU. Fixed that and everything worked.

After that, had a bite to eat, then a “welcome session”, where I bumped into the French contingent (Ollivier Robert and friends). Started fading rapidly, and to bed before 8 pm.


Monday, 11 February 2002 San Francisco
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Didn't sleep too well, but acceptably. Up in time for the class, and found the network had fallen apart again. Tony finally gave up and went to buy an ADSL router; seems that there are still some problems with PPPoE.

To Kirk McKusick's kernel class, unfortunately a little too basic for me. Still, a few things of interest.

In the evening met up with Mark Murray, and spent some time talking and drinking with him, and later with the French contingent again, before going to check my tutorial stuff. Good thing I did: the bug I demonstrated so effectively in November has mutated, and it's not clear whether I will be able to reproduce it tomorrow.


Tuesday, 12 February 2002 San Francisco
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Tutorial today. A good thing that I have done this before, but on the other hand it's not clear that it made any difference. Somehow I tore through the material much faster than before, and by 2 pm I had just about finished my material. To make matters worse, my panic was not reproducible, and the panics I did get made no sense. Ah well, I suppose it's not fair to expect people to think that things are really easy.

In the evening off to dinner, and ended up alone with Julian Elischer. Since we were both interested in Larry McVoy's ideas about large numbers of CPUs, we gave him a call, and he came along and talked to us. I'm still by no means convinced.

That was putting it mildly. Larry started by describing how the cluster would look non-uniform to the user, and I was so shocked that I couldn't get over that concept and discuss whatever other merits his idea might have had. We parted on less than happy terms.

In April 2005 I discussed this matter with Paul McKenney of IBM, Daniel Phillips of Red Hat, and Stephen Hemminger of OSDL. Larry was in the news for quite different reasons, and I expressed the concern that I had been less than fair to his idea. It turned out that Paul (who had referred me to Larry in the first place) and Stephen had also spent a lot of time talking to him about the idea, and had been equally unimpressed. At least I now feel less worried about lack of due diligence on my part.

Back to the hotel, and had a drink with the British contingent, who had just arrived, and also Maddog Hall, who apparently is also coming to the conference.


Wednesday, 13 February 2002 San Francisco
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First day of the conference. Things look a whole lot quieter this year than last, and a lot of the regular attendees weren't there. It's interesting to note that this is pretty much what I said about the USENIX annual conference last year. A number of interesting talks, but again I didn't listen to too many.

Had lunch at an Indian restaurant round the corner, the Maharani on Post just round the corner from Polk. If I'm unhappy with Indian restaurants in Australia, this would help make me appreciate them. The food was terrible, and quite expensive at that.

Conference dinner in the evening, then to a Foundation BoF, then out to a pub with the British contingent, and on returning ended up in the hotel bar with Perry Metzger and Warner Losh. Far too late to bed.


Thursday, 14 February 2002 San Francicso
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Up a little later today, despite the efforts of the hotel laundry service, who kept trying to deliver some laundry. Again a couple of marginally interesting talks. Richard Sharpe turned up at lunch time, so spent some time introducing him to various people.

In the afternoon met Jeff Roberson, who has been sending me interesting diffs for Vinum. He seems to have a lot more. They're making Vinum the basis of their embedded streaming video server. Later spent some time talking to the FreeBSD Foundation people, then off in the evening to a Thai restaurant on Polk, the first reasonable food I have had since arriving here.

After that along with Ollivier, Élodie and Greg Sutter to try our wines. I had brought a Norman's Adelaide Hills Chardonnay and a Rosemount GSM (Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah), and Ollivier had brought what promised to be a good Gevrey-Chambertin. Unfortunately, they all tasted terrible; presumably they didn't survive the transport. What a pity.


Friday, 15 February 2002 San Francisco Images for 15 February 2002
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Despite not getting to bed until about 1:30, managed to find my way to the kernel summit on time this morning. They provided a “breakfast”, but it wasn't to my taste, so first off to have a real breakfast.

The summit was much better than last time (at the USENIX annual conference, in June last year). At least we had time to talk, and Robert Watson proved efficient in keeping things from running over. It also showed some weaknesses of the project: there's some interesting stuff going on, but we don't hear about it. Justin Gibbs is working on yet another simplification of the bus code, and that looks like it should be worthwhile.

SMPng was another matter. People just didn't want to hear that we have to plan things. I made quite a bit of noise nonetheless, and finally people started discussing what we can do. I fear it won't be enough. We really need some very clear project goals or it will be a failure. As it is, our plan is to release 5.0 on 20 November 2002, nearly 2½ years after we started, with reduced performance. The intention is to increase performance, but so far nobody has thought about performance measurements.

Had lunch with Thomas-Henning von Kamptz, Greek food and not too bad. Thomas-Henning has been pretty quiet, both on the project and during the conference, but I think he could be quite productive. It's also amusing to have more than one committer whose name matches the regular expression .*-Henning.*Kamp.*.

Another interesting part of the summit was Murray Stokeley, our release engineer, who is really planning the releases carefully—see the planned release date for 5.0 above. That's a welcome change from our current apathy.

In the evening, out for dinner with the British Contingent yet again. I fear the Americans are thinking that I don't want to talk to them, but I just find it difficult to have a meal with 20 other people, whoever they are. The others went to last night's Thai restaurant, and we went to an Ethiopian place nearby. Interesting food, but I can understand why it hasn't caught on like East Asian food.


Saturday, 16 February 2002 San Francisco –> somewhere in Southern California Images for 16 February 2002
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What a night! To my great disgust, the big toe joint of my right foot started developing the same symptoms of arthritis that my left foot has been showing for 5 years, which caused some pain. In addition, one of the noisy people next door (I think there are three of them, to judge by the nature of the noise) obviously had some digestive problems and went to the toilet every 20 minutes. To add insult to injury, the flusher seems to have problems, and caused a spectacular water hammer every time.

Up at 8 am because people were making such a noise, and noted that my foot was very tender. After breakfast, off to the airport to pick up a hire car to drive to Los Angeles with. There was a pickup depot three blocks away, but it would have cost me $60 more to pick it up from there. For the first time in my recollection, I got good and prompt service at the airport, along with an upgrade in car size. Maybe my hobbling helped there. Off to Sunnyvale to visit Roberto Tomasi, whom I haven't seen since the last BSDCon in October 2000. Then did some shopping and off to look for Richard Sharpe, but he wasn't there.


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Bought a modem and some CDs at Fry's, despite my vow to the contrary last time, then to a South Indian restaurant I know on the corner of Central and Lawrence Expressways, between Central and Arques. Finally some good food, and a reminder of how absolutely terrible the stuff in San Francisco was.

After that, South towards San Luis Obispo, where I wanted to spend the night. I made it as far as Gilroy before tiredness overcame me, and I slept an hour in the driver's seat, rather to my surprise. As a result, I didn't arrive in San Luis Obispo until 7 pm, where I discovered all hotels in the vicinity were booked out. Called Lynn Kinsky, whom I had wanted to visit tomorrow, and she made some suggestions, most of which didn't help: hotels in a 100 mile strip were all booked out. The one that did help was the offer of using her RV, which I ended up doing.


Sunday, 17 February 2002 somewhere in Southern California –> Los Angeles –> Images for 17 February 2002
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Up this morning as Lynn started feeding her horses, and then inside to talk and have breakfast. Took some photos of her horses before heading off to see the dancing stallion, Huaco Dorado, who is also the sire of La Tigre.


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There are a surprising number of Peruvian Pasos in the valley here, probably more than in all of Australia. The weather wasn't very conducive to good photos, unfortunately, and I suspect Yvonne will have to come back when the weather is better.

Trickled down slowly to Los Angeles, having a late lunch on the way, and once again succumbed to tiredness. At least today my foot isn't hurting any more; for once the medication worked fast. Drove down Highway 1 through Malibu and Santa Monica, and far too early arrived at the airport, where Qantas still hasn't arranged for wireless networking, not even in the First Class lounge. Presumably that's a result of sharing the lounges with other international carriers. I suppose it would have been MobileStar anyway, and I have a strong suspicion that it wouldn't work because they have changed their authentication without telling me.

On the plane, was able to confirm once again that Qantas First Class is more comfortable than Business Class, and the flat beds are good, but the food is still not as good as Pan Am was ten years ago.


Monday, 18 February 2002 Images for 18 February 2002
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[never happened]


Tuesday, 19 February 2002 –> Echunga
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Arrived in Sydney more or less on time to discover the most incredible congestion at the international terminal. There must have been a queue of over 100 people at the transfer desk to domestic, and Qantas staff were running around like chickens with their heads chopped off. Eventually got a normal bus to the domestic terminal and re-checked in my baggage there.

Spent a couple of hours in the Qantas club collecting my mail of the past few days, about 4500 messages. Why is there always so much important mail when I've been off the net for a while?

Back home, and spent the afternoon going through some of the more important mail, also listening to the CDs which had arrived while I was away, about 100 of them. Had a relatively early dinner, and early to bed.


Wednesday, 20 February 2002 Echunga
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Why is it that people always get so active in mail after a conference? It was bad enough having so many messages waiting for me when I got home, but then people started talking about so many things I really needed to look at that even by the end of the day I still had about 200 unanswered mail messages. Not surprisingly, didn't get much else done.


Thursday, 21 February 2002 Echunga
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More mail catchup today, but also managed a little bit of work on JFS1. I still have my book to look at; the latest deadline is the end of the month, and it doesn't look like I'll make that.


Friday, 22 February 2002 Echunga Images for 22 February 2002
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Finally I'm making some headway with my mail, and also getting some other stuff done. More impetus on the JFS1 stuff.

In the evening, another German visitor came to stay, Bernd Otto. Also invited Essey and Mark Deayton along, and took some rather excited photos. Late to bed.


Saturday, 23 February 2002 Echunga
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Yvonne off with Bernd to look at some clicker training this morning, while I caught up with my mail and other odds and ends, also revised another two chapters of “The Complete FreeBSD”. It's looking unlikely that I'll be done by the end of the month, but it won't overrun too long.

As a result, had some time to do some other things, like mowing the lawn. The west side of the pond is obviously a little porous, and the grass grows like fury even in the middle of the summer. Interesting to note how many frogs there were in it.


Sunday, 24 February 2002 Echunga
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Got a mail message this morning from a Guy Poland, asking me if I had gone to King's College, Taunton, the school which I attended from 1962 to 1966. Apparently he had read my diary for May 1967, in which I mentioned meeting a student teacher called Mr. Rogers in Srinagar. It seems that Mr. Rogers is now the head of the English Department there, and is due to retire soon. In addition, it eventuated that Guy is the son of my school friend Roger Poland (though I had forgotten his Christian name; we always spoke to people by their surnames at school). Discovered a reference to him in my diary, only a few days beyond what I had already typed in. Roger is a house master at King's now; what a small world.

More work in the afternoon. Finally got the AUUG stuff more or less up to date.


Monday, 25 February 2002 Echunga
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Fun in the morning: the CFS came to the house with the news that a cow had got out on to the road and caused an accident, and was it one of ours? Spent a bit of time investigating: I had found on of Greg Edmonds' cows in the garden a couple of days ago, and we couldn't work out how it got there. A search revealed nothing, though, and later Greg came by and confirmed that all his cows were in the paddock.

More work on JFS1 today. Based on the information I have, I think it's better to bore out the file system dump program I wrote in November and make a kind of utility. At least that way I can demonstrate that my approach works.


Tuesday, 26 February 2002 Echunga
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More work on the JFS1 stuff this morning, and made some pretty good progress, so much that I had difficulty getting up and going into town to pick up Jörg Micheel at the airport.

With Jörg to his hotel, where a colleague was having problems with his laptop: he had managed to take out the fuses on the entire floor by plugging in the power supply. Contacted Hewlett Packard, who told him it would take 10 days to get a replacement power supply. That's a really good advertisement for their products. Tried to buy an off-the-shelf power supply, but couldn't find anything suitable, so took the machine home with us to see what I could do with it, and to my surprise discovered that it worked perfectly. We suspect an intermittent problem in the power cord, which fortunately can be replaced pretty easily.

Jörg stayed over night. He has yet another project running, selling dags to the Americans.


Wednesday, 27 February 2002 Echunga
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Another flame war in the FreeBSD project today. We really need better policies to avoid these things, but straightforward project management would also help a lot.

Spent the day working on the userland JFS1 program, and had it pretty well finished by the evening, though it's evident that there are a lot of things I don't understand, for example 32 bit mode information in the inodes. Still, a satisfying day's work.


Thursday, 28 February 2002 Echunga Images for 28 February 2002
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More work on the userland JFS1 tool today, and finally got it working, not without discovering a few surprises. I'm still getting a number of positioning errors, which I suspect are related to the old version of EVMS that I'm using. Next will be to try it on Linux file copies of the AIX volumes.


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