June 2008 Archives

Well, I'm having surgery tomorrow - so I asked the doctor's office if I could get the prescriptions that I'll need for pain today since I live by myself, and it would be easier for me to get them filled while I'm still feeling like a human being. "Sure, just come by the office. They're narcotics, so we can't call them in".

Why not? I realize the need to control distribution of drugs that are frequently abused (such as what they gave me), but I don't see how me going all the way to the doctor's office (which is pretty far out of my way), picking up little slips of paper, and then presenting those slips of paper to a pharmacist achieves that goal any better than this Utopian system:

Doctor prescribes medication, via a secure website (or some other electronic means), accessible to all pharmacies in the state (or country, for that matter). Pharmacy gets prescription , verifies my ID, fills the prescription, and I go on my way. No pointless trips to the doctor's office, no little slips of paper to lose/be stolen/whatever, and all in all a better experience for the patient. Instead of being an affair that takes 2 hours out of my day, it could take the 30 minutes that it took for the prescriptions to actually be filled.

OK, I'm done complaining. Hopefully I'll be out of commission no more than a few days from this surgery.

Well, as you know, I ran for the Fedora board and was not elected. That's OK, I didn't really expect to be, and I'm quite happy with the results of the election and the state of the Board. However, the results and the ending composition of the Board has sparked a great thread on fedora-advisory-board that I felt obliged to respond to. As some of you know, I broke my arm immediately before Summit/FUDCon (and went anyway), so my pace of blogging/replying to e-mail has been a little less than what it perhaps should be in these circumstances. I'm going to try and make that up here, responding to some of the topics that have been brought up. 1. Request for voter representation by employer statistics I think that this is utter hogwash, wanting to know how many votes were @redhat.com vs. those that weren't. To me, there really is no distinction. Take folks like Jesse Keating, Mike McGrath, or Seth Vidal for example (two of whom were elected to the Board this cycle). Red Hat hired those people, FROM THE COMMUNITY, in order to enable them to do more great work on Fedora - not to further some corporate interest. There are also people that Red Hat hired long before Fedora existed - take Tom Callaway. He's been a Red Hat employee since the dark ages I think, but I don't view him as any less of a community member or leader than Jesse, Mike, Seth, or anyone else. We also have community leaders such as Máirín Duffy, who leads the art team. She also happens to work for Red Hat, however, Fedora is not her primary responsibility - she works on the RHN Satellite team. Is she less of a community member or leader than anyone else? I don't think so. 2. Red Hat's commitment to the community I don't see anything in Fedora right now that in any way brings into question Red Hat's commitment to the community in my mind. They just paid a rather large amount of money (and do so every ~6 months) to put on FUDCon, for example. There's nothing that states that as a requirement, in fact, I'd be willing to venture that it was a pretty hard sell inside of Red Hat to start doing these. 3. Voter Turnout I have to agree that with a turnout of 250 out of 4069 possible voters, that there is something broken with this system. If you are reading this and did not vote, I'd really like to know why not. If you do not understand the importance of what the Fedora Board does, it's not a bunch of guys in suits that gather in a room and smoke cigars, it's a REAL, ACTUAL decision making body that has been empowered to decide the future of Fedora in various ways. Even though most of the Board's meetings and communication happen behind closed doors, there's no secret about what the board does, generally (except when it comes to matters that they can't discuss - legal matters for instance). I don't think that the lack of turnout (at least to this degree) expresses that the community is content with the status quo. I believe that we are missing large segments of the community in the electorate, and need to find a way to reach out to them and encourage them to vote. I think that's all I have to say for now. I am going to continue with what I ran for the Board on (the recruitment and retention of non-traditional contributors to Fedora). I'm going to need all the help that I can in finding these folks, though :). Congrats to those who are on the Board, I know that you will serve us well. To Dennis, Josh, and JonRob, everything that you do for Fedora is appreciated, and you are no less leaders in this community than you were before these elections.
I broke my arm instead, at the joint of the shoulder :). In official sounding medical terms, I have a "right proximal humerus fracture, avulsion greater tuberosity fragment". Unfortunately, this means surgery to put the bone fragment back where it belongs, and rejigger (yes, that's a technical term :) ) the muscles of the rotator cuff. I'll never have full range of motion in my right arm again, but most of it will return.

Surgery next Tuesday, which is outpatient. No idea when I can be back online after that - hopefully no more than a few days. After that comes physical therapy in order to regain range of motion. I'm doing exercises now to keep the muscles loose, too.

AA fail

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I'm travelling back home from Boston today. I've just been deplaned from the airplane in Boston, not having gone anywhere. I had forgotten to create a flight status notification on aa.com, so I went to go do it, and found that my flight was listed "In transit", having departed at 3:43. That sounds about like the time that we pushed back from the gate the first time. Well I figured I'd still try and create the notification, but it tells me that I'm trying to do it for a flight that's already taken off. I'M SITTING RIGHT HERE IN THE %@#@ AIRPORT, it's not gone anywhere!

Massive fail. Maybe I'll get to JFK sometime tonight,

I'm happy to report that the code of RHN Satellite has been open-sourced, under the name Spacewalk. For those unfamiliar with Satellite, this is a huge addition to the pool of available opensource management software. It provides management, provisioning, and monitoring for both Linux and Solaris platforms. It is immediately available in both source and binary forms, with a yum repository being available at https://fedorahosted.org/spacewalk/wiki/HowToInstall, while the source is available as a git repo at http://spacewalk.redhat.com/repository.html

First, let's take a brief look at the features of the project. First and foremost is software inventory and management. Through the use of software "channels", you control what package are available to which clients. You can use this functionality to move software between development, QA, and production, for example, and not have to have multiple copies of the software in various yum repositories if that is how you've managed software up to this point.

Another advantage of using a management tool such as Spacewalk instead of various yum repos is that you have a centralized view of packages that are on a given system, and an easy way to get systems that are out of compliance easily up to date, without even logging in to the host.

Have you ever needed to compare the package sets of two systems, perhaps because one was behaving eratically and the other one was working fine, and you couldn't tell the differences between the two systems? Spacewalk makes it trivial to compare AND reconcile differences between two systems with the click of a button.

Tired of deploying configuration files by hand to multitudes of machines? Through the use of configuration channels, that's no longer something that you need to spend your time doing. Unlike some configuration tools, both global configurations may be specified, which are applied to any system subscribed to the channel, as well as local overrides to those configuration files at the individual system level.

All of the items listed above can either be scheduled for execution as soon as the machine checks in with Spacewalk, or at some arbitrary time in the future. The architecture is that of a 'pull' - the end systems run a daemon that periodically checks in with the Spacewalk server. Also available is functionality, enabled via a Jabber server, to schedule actions for more precise time-based execution.

Most of the functions of Spacewalk that can apply to more than one system can be executed via the System Set Manager (SSM) in order to have the same change applied to a set of systems at the same time.

Some of the short term goals for Spacewalk include the integration of Cobbler to replace the existing provisioning functionality and migration of the backend database to something open source. Some longer term goals include integration of Func (possibly to replace/supplement OSAD), and possibly using Puppet for the configuration management functionality. A very short term goal is to get Fedora, CentOS, and RHEL manageable within the same organization - there are currently some technical limitations to this happening. In the meantime, however, these are manageable in separate organizations.

The opening of the Satellite codebase allows the usage of Spacewalk, and the downstream RHN Satellite product, as an integration platform for best-of-breed open source management technologies, rather than having to grow all of the functionality internally within Satellite itself. It also allows users of the commercial product a lot of input into the direction of where the product goes, and if a feature is a priority for them, they are free to implement it themselves upstream!

Broke my shoulder

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Well, I fell and broke my shoulder on Monday, went to Boston for FUDCon and the Summit on Tuesday. Going back to NJ tomorrow, where I get to deal with finding an orthopaedic surgeon. I'm likely to venture into NYC for this, since I don't really think that there's viable medical care in Jersey City (at least at Jesey City Medical Center) after reading what I've read online. I'll call my primary (who's in NYC) on Monday and see if I can get a referral to an orthopaedic that can see me sooner rather than later.

More to come on this saga as it develops.

I just read this at the Hudson Reporter (thanks Google News for ever-increasing features that gets me locally relevant news!) which says that the Jersey City Council agreed to a proposal to spend $600,000 to relocate a power substation required in order to redevelop the historic H&M Powerhouse that provided power to the H&M Railroad, the predecessor to the current PATH system. The Powerhouse is currently an eyesore that I walk past every day on my way to work:

The structure was completed in 1908, but operated until only 1929. It's been abandoned since, though the Port Authority does maintain a smaller substation on the property. The plan is to redevelop it. The developer that has been selected is David Cordish, who has lots of experience in revitalizing old structures, in particular powerhouses. He successfully redeveloped Baltimore's Inner Harbor Powerhouse into a Barnes and Noble and ESPNZone. They are also developing Ballpark Village in St. Louis.

This project is designed to link the Jersey City waterfront with the rest of downtown Jersey City by creating the Powerhouse Arts District. This will be a 11-block mixed-use community, with residential, restaurants, and cultural attractions. All of this is being developed right on my doorstep. An exciting time to be a Jersey City resident.

This should also hopefully resolve some discontinuity with the powerhouse and it's surroundings:

Well, I just got back from the R.E.M. concert at Jones Beach Theater. Make that the most memorable concert of my life. Yes, the music was great, but it's what happened before that made this concert unique.

First off, the theater got struck by lightning before R.E.M. could even come on the stage, forcing the evacuation of the theater. The show got rescheduled for 10PM, and by around 9:50 they were letting people back to their seats. Though the major part of the storm had passed, there was still a quite steady rain throughout the whole show. I had lost my umbrella and had nothing else, so I wound up getting absolutely soaked, until soemone handed my umbrella back to me (come to think of it, I don't think it was actually mine - though it was the same model and color).

Michael started with "Welcome to R.E.M. Survivor 2008!", and burst into Credence Clearwaters's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain". Following that, "So. Central Rain", then a song I can't for the life of me remember (again, relating to rain). Then on to the normal set, starting with "Living Well Is The Best Revenge".

Some of the highlights of the evening were a mostly acoustic version of "Let Me In", a great (supposedly unrehearsed) "It's The End Of The World As We Know It", and of course all of the stuff from the new album - highlights including "Hollow Man" and "Man Sized Wreath"

The peformance through the whole thing was absolutely spectacular. You might think that a band getting to their age couldn't tour anymore - think again. These guys sounded GREAT! I would have loved to see these guys at MSG instead of (or maybe in addition to) Jones Beach, but alas, I'll be at the Summit and FUDCon in Boston on Thursday when they play at MSG.

Transportation to Jones Beach was easy and relatively fast - PATH to Penn Station, LIRR to Freehold and on to the N88 bus to take me to Jones Beach. The buses were waiting at the LIRR station, and right outside at the end of the concert - no worries there.

UPDATE: Apparently I got the original artist wrong on "Have You Ever Seen The Rain". That error has been corrected.

R.E.M. Concert

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R.E.M. Concert

Well, I went to the REM concert at Jones Beach tonight - kinda. They say the shows happen rain or shine, but woth the weather as it is now, it is unsafe for anyone to be outdoors. The immediate storm seems to have passed, but when there's lightning within 20 yards of the venue, well that's a different story. They're mopping off the stage from the biblical but short storm and are hoping to reschedule for 10PM. We'll see how that goes.

Well, the elections for the Fedora Board have officially begun. If you have signed the Fedora CLA, then you can vote! I'm on the ballot, so I'd encourage you to vote for me :)

My Fedora related qualifications are many and varied, from being the lead of the bug triage project, to doing tons of QA work, am a package maintainer, and do various odd jobs around as needed :).

My personal qualifications are that I'm a very dedicated individual, and can think outside of the box to solve any problem that I might be presented with. In the event of a dispute, I can come up with a solution that's amenable to both parties most of the time. In Fedora, sometimes tough decisions have to be made, and I'm prepared to make them - this isn't about politics or an ill-conceived popularity contest, rather, making the best decision that can be made given the information that we have is paramount.

More of my qualifications are outlined at the wiki page detailing my nomination, and I am of course receptive to any questions that voters may have. Feel free to email me directly, or post to some mailing list that I frequent (Paul suggested fedora-advisory-board, which I do frequent and would be a great place to get the take of all of the candidates on any given issue).

I possess no notable superpowers, however, for a superguy like myself, I don't think that's a problem! I'll work on it, though, I promise!

Well call me a liar

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No sooner do I brag that PATH service is reliable than this e-mail greets me in my inbox. Meh, and I have to go to the city tonight. Good thing I was planning on using the WTC station anyway, it'll just be super-crowded at rush-hour when I need to use it :/ This same thing happened just over a month ago - can't they learn that fires are bad? :)

PATH service between 33rd Street and the Journal Square and Hoboken stations will be suspended in both directions throughout this evening due to power cable damage caused by a track fire between the Christopher and 9th Street stations. PATH stations at 33rd Street, 23rd Street, 14th Street, 9th Street and Christopher Street stations will be closed this evening. PATH will operate regular service on its Newark to World Trade Center and Hoboken to World Trade Center lines, and also will operate between Journal Square and Hoboken stations. NJ Transit will cross-honor PATH tickets on its trains and buses at Penn Station New York and Penn Station Newark. PATH passengers also can use the New York City subway system to pick up PATH service at the World Trade Center Station.


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+1 to Dave's post :)

Also, for the love of all that is holy, PLEASE don't advertise your hosting service on your blog. You know who you are. kthxbye

If you're in the NYC area, I'm going to be giving a talk/discussion this evening at Think Coffee (the one on Mercer, around W 4th and Mercer) about the Fedora distribution compose tools and Fedora infrastructure, and holding the (better late than never) NYC Fedora 9 release party.

So if you're around show up! We'll be in the downstairs meeting area. For bonus points, RSVP here.

Well, Seth is all over train travel again, complaining that there's not viable train service along the east coast. News flash! Around 2001, Amtrak introduced the Acela Express. This is the closest thing that the US has to a bullet train, and is the only way to travel in the Northeast Corridor (from Washington DC to Boston) from my point of view - it's cheaper, better, and faster than an airplane all said.

That's for regional transportation. For local transportation, the New York City Subway is simply unbeatable. Reliable, safe (even at 3AM), and running 24/7, there's no other practical way to get around the city. While I live in Jersey City and have to take the PATH to get in to the city, it may as well just be an extension of the subway system (it takes different fares and is run by a different organization), running 24/7, safe, and reliable.

I don't own a car, and for regional travel, rail is the way to go. So with all this, am I going to Boston via train for the Summit and FUDCon? Nope, via air because of stupid Amtrak service disruptions due to the replacement of a bridge apparently.

Note that my opinion probably differs strongly from Seth's, since he's down in Raleigh and I'm actually in the civilized world (/me ducks :) ). Seriously, about two-thirds of the nations rail passengers live in NYC.

It's been a few days since I've posted anything here, so I hope that this still works on Planet Fedora :). I created the right file, but haven't posted here since the config change.

Anyway, I tried (and failed) to install Testopia today using our first cut at a package. So I figured that I'd install from upstream (the entire stack, Bugzilla and Testopia), and I'm happy to report that I now have a working installation. Next comes working with Dave to get the RPM in order (he seems to have that under control), and next, figuring out what in the world to do with this thing. The user interface looks really nice!

My installation is available at http://i.am.jds2001.org/bugzilla/. Have fun!