November 2008 Archives

mkdir(1) and the -p option

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So I joined the upstream coreutils mailing list a few weeks back, because mkdir -p -m wasn't producing the desired results. I searched my almighty friend Google and couldn't come up with anything, so I assumed it was a bug and reported it upstream.

Well, as it turns out, it's not a bug, it's a requirement of the POSIX standard. But I couldn't find anything on Google about it, so I figured I'd post here so the someone may find it, since the same question was asked on the mailing list last week.

Basically, when you create directories with -p -m , only the last element has the desired mode. This is due to the above referenced standard, which states that the behavior of -p is to create the parent directories as defined by the current umask, adding write and execute permissions for the owner if he would not get them per the current umask, and finally to create the final directory with the specified mode.

Stupid standard, in my opinion, but hey, it's laid out right there in black and white. Above my pay grade to change it :)

Throwing my name in

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Well, a few days ago I threw my name in for re-election on FESCo, but I had a bit of a dilemma to contend with. Should I or should I not run for the Fedora Board at the same time?

I solved that today, and decided that I would. There are a number of other very qualified candidates running for the Board, and it's an honor to join them in this election. Each candidate brings a unique perspective to the position, and I figured that I'd highlight a few below, and then mention a few of my own

Dimitris Glezos leads our translation team. Via a team of hundreds or thousands of (mostly) volunteer translators, Fedora gets translated into many different languages for use around the world. This extends the reach of Fedora (and FOSS in general) to folks whose native language is not English. I count around 90 languages on As someone who speaks only English, I can't even imagine how difficult that task is :)

Michael DeHaan is the primary upstream maintainer (I guess you could call him that) of func and cobbler, however he is more of a community enabler than a dictator. Michael is one of few people that I've met that truly understands the open source development model, and the fact that you need BOTH community and corporate contributions in order for a project to be viable as a true upstream project. Through "Community EKG", we can see that some projects are doing better at that than others.

Which brings me to what my unique qualifications are. As someone who has a vested career interest in FOSS (I've been a Linux sysadmin for about 10 years now), however is not a developer, what I see my role as is three things:

  • An advocate of Fedora and FOSS in general
  • Someone who removes obstatcles for all contributors
  • A person to get more users into being contributors (both as developers and in the many non-development roles that Fedora has to offer)
For my "hard" qualifications, I'm a current member of FESCo, and I lead the bug triage effort in Fedora, along with John Poelstra. I maintain a few packages. and co-maintain a few in EPEL.

I will be taking part in the "town-hall" style meetings, and I invite people to email me privately with any questions. I am also available on Fedora Talk, at extension 5102788 or If I don't know what's causing pain, I can't do anything about it :).

Got my XO

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So, I finally got my XO today, and am typing this on it, trying to get the feel of it, so if there are more typos than normal here, that's why :).

I applied for a devkey first thing out of the box, since that takes 24 hours to process. Then I upgraded it to build 767 (no, it has nothing to do with airplanes) which is much better. The one weird thing that I notice is that the little menu bar at the top in Blogger is all garbled for some reason...time to look for/file a bug on that I guess (on the OLPC tracker since I'm running Sugar right now).

I bought two SD cards to use for Fedora testing - the standard 4GB one and a 16GB one (both SanDisk Extreme III). Why the huge one? If I need to get profiling or crash information off, it's incredibly helpful to have debuginfo, and I'll be able to spin a LiveCD with debuginfo and throw it on the large card.

That's about all I've got for now, more to come as it develops!

Halloween - some thoughts

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Halloween is supposed to be a time of ghouls and ghosts and in general good times.

While I for the most part had a good time this halloween, going to Spitzer's corner (a great beer bar) with my friend Dan, and then heading over to the venerable Burp Castle, where I met my friend Sean and his girlfriend Katherine, it's after that which became truly memorable, and not in a good way.

After spending some time at the castle, we decided to head off to a little place called 1 and 1, which is a place at (you guessed it) the intersection of First Street and First Ave. All my friends presented their ID's to the bouncer at the door and promptly gained admittance.

I presented my ID at the door, and was flatly denied admittance, with no reason given. I can only presume that the reason was that my ID was from the great state of New Jersey, which is commonly viewed as a second class citizen in New York. We're just there to cause problems and deny the experience to "true" New Yorkers.

Well, needless to say, I didn't put up any type of fight with the bouncer (anyone who knows me knows that I'm not that type of person), however, I promptly called over my friend who had just gotten in the door. The bouncer explained that there was "no negotiation" which wasn't a problem for me or Sean.

Except that there is negotiation in situations like this. The negotiation of the mighty dollar. In times like this, you would think that bars would welcome customers with six-figure salaries that had money to spend there (after all, I'd just happily paid a tab in excess of $100 for me and Dan at Spitzer's Corner). Apparently not this one. Since they didn't welcome me, they didn't welcome my friends either. Their loss, mine and my friend's gain.

"One and One", you've just lost a customer for life. And entirely likely, the several others that were with me as well. I'm none the worse off for it, I have money that I may not have otherwise, that could have belonged to you. I encourage everyone else reading this to likewise refrain from patronizing this establishment.

How does this relate to open source in any way? Well, from 1st and 1st, I walked to 9th and 6th (without event, mind you), and waited for the PATH train to take me back to "scumbag New Jersey", I had to get on the train taking me to midtown, since the downtown one was apparently too full.

Now, there was this person that got on the train that was dressed in a penguin costume. I asked if it had anything to do with Linux, and he said that I was the second person to ask that tonight! He said that while he himself didn't run Linux, some of his friends did. How I wish I would have had a LiveCD with me tonight! It would have all been worth it.