• New Apple keyboard

    I recently went from this:To this:The reason for the change was that the old keyboard was not comfortable any more after around two years of usage. I think that the old keyboard model (in general, not the specific one I had) developed problems after some months of intensive use: its keys lost the smooth pressure feeling they once had.  (Maybe adding some kind of oil beneath them might fix this problem, though, as the keys can be easily detached from the keyboard.)  Due to that, it was becoming extremely hard to type on that keyboard without mistakes. Plus I have lately got used to laptop-style keyboards: short and soft keys.The new keyboard model feels nicely so far. It surely is basically a desktop-sized laptop keyboard, as its keys are very short and soft. But overall I like how I type on it, and my error ratio has lowered back to almost zero again :-)  If you are dubious about buying this keyboard, give it a try! [Continue reading]

  • Problems booting Debian on the PS3

    I had been running Fedora 8 for a long while on my PlayStation 3, but I got sick every time I had to run a yum update: that process was very slow. Furthermore, I prefer Debian as a Linux distribution due to its administration utilities and strong policies, so I thought to give it a second chance on my PS3. Second? Yes, I already installed it a while ago, but given that the Cell SDK is only packaged for Fedora made me switch. Anyway, as I'm not doing as much Cell development as I thought at home, I don't care any more and want to install something I'll enjoy. Eventually that'll be NetBSD...So I installed Debian 4.0 using the experimental installer. The process went flawlessly, but I chose to do manual partitioning: I created a 1GB partition for swap as /dev/ps3da1 and a 9GB ext3 partition for the root file system as /dev/ps3da2, in that order. Then, after installation, I was greeted by an unbootable system: for some reason, kboot failed to mount /dev/ps3da2 as its root file system and hence it couldn't parse its kboot.conf. Salvaging that situation was easy though: just mount that file system by hand, check the contents of /etc/kboot.conf and manually enter the command on the command line.But why was that failing? I already found this problem some months ago with the first attempt at installing Debian. And, for what is worth, things worked fine in Fedora 8, and it had the boot loader configuration files in the same place. After Googling a bit I found no answer, so I opted to read kboot's init code. And there was the explanation: when looking for a root file system, it checks if the file system is marked as active and skips it if not.The solution was to install the pmac-fdisk package under Debian, access the partition table of /dev/ps3d, mark /dev/ps3da2 as active, save the changes and reboot to see the system boot automatically. [Continue reading]

  • Google Summer of Code 2008 and NetBSD

    Google has launched the Summer of Code program once again this year, and NetBSD is a mentoring organization for the fourth time as announced in a netbsd-announce post. Unless things go very wrong in the following days, I will not take part this year as a student because I will be intering at Google SRE during the Summer!However, I will try to become a mentor for the "Convert all remaining regression tests to ATF" project. If you are looking for some interesting idea to apply for, this is a good one! Why?It will let you get into NetBSD internals in almost all areas of the system: you'll need to understand how the source tree is organized, how to add new components to it (because tests are almost in all aspects regular programs), how the current pieces of the system interact with each other...You will need to gain knowledge in some areas (such as the kernel or the libraries) to be able to port tests from the old framework (if it deserves that name ;-) to the new one and, if you are really up to it, even add new tests for functionality that is currently uncovered by the test suite. But adding new tests is something you will not be required to do, because the sole task of migrating the existing ones is a huge task already.Get involved in ATF's development because, as you study the existing test cases and their requirements, you will most likely find that it lacks some important functionality to make things really straightforward.And, of course, make a unvaluable contribution to the NetBSD operating system. Having a public test suite with high coverage means that the system will gain quality. Yes, you will most likely uncover bugs in many areas of the system and give them enough exposure so that someone else may fix them.Note that this project is really a Summer of Code project. It does not have a long design phase on its own so, once you have got used to the system and ATF, you'll just code and immediately make useful contributions. In the past, projects that had a heavy design phase involved were not good because, in the end, the student did not finish the code on time.So... don't hesitate to apply! I'm looking forward to see your applications for this project :-) [Continue reading]