What I'm Thinking

Sourceful Debugging in Ubuntu
12 September 2018

At the recent Canonical sprint I mentioned that I liked getting source listings while debugging problems across project boundaries. My team-mates did not know about this and it’s not documented on the debugging program crash wiki page, so here’s some documentation for how to do it. The Problem Recently, Bionic went through the libglvnd transition. This is the first step to the long-promised magical future where hybrid laptops have both Mesa’s libGL and NVIDIA’s libGL installed at the same time and have most programs using the integrated Intel card but power-hungry programs using the much more powerful discrete NVIDIA card. ... Read More

Running Mir CI Locally
8 February 2018

For the Impatient In order to run Mir CI locally, you need: A version of spread with various fixes, such as can be found here LXD installed To enter the Mir source directory, and run something like spread lxd:ubuntu-16.04:…:amd64 A Fuller Exposition Background For Mir we use Travis CI. We want to be sure we can build on a bunch of different systems - currently: Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 17. ... Read More
Being for the benefit of those-who-Google In summary With a firmware extracted from their router and the 4.13 kernel, the Asus PCE-AC88 WiFi card works well under Ubuntu. The story so far… Because I’m an inveterate tinkerer I’ve got a server box at home. Because consumer WiFi routers are an astounding collection of out of date software necessarily exposed to the Internet at large I’ve been considering folding routing duties into my server box. ... Read More
In which I remember that I have a blog and can host Opinions on it. This take recently scrolled across my feed: An excellent guide to the state of cryptocurrencies, their strengths, and their weaknesses (hint: bubble warning): https://t.co/2mjCbumI9k — Charlie Stross (@cstross) October 17, 2017 The post is surprisingly restrained for someone working at a blockchain-adjacent startup. I think it’s still wildly optimistic. Firstly, and least importantly, decentralised applications are already widespread. ... Read More

GPG Key Transition
3 September 2017

As an Ubuntu Core Dev, my GPG key effectively has root privileges on millions of physical machines and a very substantial number1 of public cloud instances. Although there are safeguards in place - I’m notified by email of any uploads signed by my key, and all uploads to stable releases get a layer of manual review - I’m still aware that my key is a valuable target. I also need access to my key to get any uploads done, which means I need to have access to my key wherever I’m working. ... Read More

Mathematics education
22 September 2013

In response to Jonathan Lange poking me with Lockheart's Lament. It seems that I haven't addressed that in any public space yet. We looked at this essay in passing in the mathematics portion of my teaching degree. I agree with some of it. Parts of it match my understanding of the Australian mathematics curricula and teaching practice, parts of it don't; these parts may match American curricula and praxis, but I can't speak to that. ... Read More

XMir Performance
15 July 2013

Or: Why XMir is slower than X, and how we'll fix it We've had a bunch of testing of XMir now; plenty of bugs, and plenty of missing functionality. One of the bugs that people have noticed is a 10-20% performance drop over raw X. This is really several bits of missing functionality - we're doing a lot more work than we need to be. Oddly enough, people have also been mentioning that it feels " ... Read More

Artistic differences
18 March 2013

The latest entry in my critically acclaimed series on Mir and Wayland! Wayland, Mir, and X - different projects Apart from the architectural differences between them, which I've covered previously, Mir and Wayland also have quite different project goals. Since a number of people seem to be confused as to what Wayland actually is - and that's not unreasonable, because it's a bit complicated - I'll give a run-down as to what all these various projects are and aim to do, throwing in X11 as a reference point. ... Read More
…Or possibly server owned buffers One of the significant differences in design between Mir and Wayland compositors¹ is the buffer allocation strategy. Wayland favours a client-allocated strategy. In this, the client code asks the graphics driver for a buffer to render to, and then renders to it. Once it's done rendering it gives a handle² to this buffer to the Wayland compositor, which merrily goes about its job of actually displaying it to the screen. ... Read More

Mir and YOU!
13 March 2013

This is still based on my series of G+ posts But Chris! I don't care about Unity. What does Mir mean for me? The two common concerns I've seen on my G+ comment stream are: With Canonical focusing on Mir rather than Wayland, what does this mean for GNOME/Kubuntu/Lubuntu? What about Mint? Does this harm other distros by fragmenting the Linux driver space? What does this mean for GNOME/Kubuntu/etc? The short answer, for the short-to-mid-term is: not much. ... Read More