Thu Jun 23 10:06:07 CEST 2005

To infinity and beyond!

For some time I've been trying to convert my flatmate to Linux. Everytime we agreed on a test-installation there were some problems - some of them just config issues, some of them usability problems, and then the random bugs you find every now and then.
Last week I set up his notebook (noname Centrino) for another test. This time for a potential customer who hasn't found a media player in windows that can run for more than a few hours without problems (hehehe. he. hehehe).
And to be honest: Linux is improving at an amazing rate. If this momentum stays it'll steamroll MacOS XVII, Longnose and those other unfree thingies.
During the first install the XFree driver was so buggy that after starting X no textmode was available. On the second install xorg managed to switch, but never displayed a full image.
Guess what? It all works now. Sound, Graphics, lm_sensors, ...
Now add some configuration / installation helpers, some more automation and I'll be able to Gentooify everyone in my vicinity :-)
A great thanks to all the people that keep on improving Linux!

Posted by Patrick | Permalink

Wed Jun 15 11:54:28 CEST 2005

A poem

While cleaning my homedir I found this poem I found a long time ago on slashdot. I think it describes how many people feel about computers (and it even mentions Gentoo!)

Once upon a midnight dreary, gcc compiled, growing weak and weary,
code obfuscated like ne'er seen before.
I could hear a faint grinding,
As the preprocessor went on finding,
it was a noise I could plainly say I abhor.
T'was an executable destined to dump quite a core.

It was a nice sunny day, I remember, in May,
and there lay pizza boxes scattered all o'er the floor.
But because of this Gentoo,
I felt I was being sent to
the depths of hell for damnation evermore.
All for a program that would dump its core.

In time, day diminished, and gcc was finished,
and the program was a size worthy of lore,
because of the a.out,
my hard drive near ran out,
as the program took up gigabytes galore,
and when I ran it, quoth the output, "I've just dumped a core."

Posted by Patrick | Permalink

Tue Jun 14 15:47:10 CEST 2005

hacking for fun

My weekend has been quite amazing. On Friday I helped our team 0ld Eur0pe in the UCSB CTF contest. It's a hacking contest where teams from different Universities try to keep their servers alive while killing the others.
Our team did some really amazing work, until we got pizza delivered (by our professor even!) we were leading. Then, while we devoured the pizza, someone managed to *ahem* wipe our box. Yes, you read that right. "rm -rf /".
Within seconds we took the server offline and started rebuilding it (since the server is a preconfigured VMWare image that's not so hard to do). We lost about 30 minutes securing our new server, dropping back to fifth place in that time. Then we went back online and showed the others what students from an elite-university do when you annoy them: We hit them harder than before. Our box had another rootshell installed after that, but we had no serious problems. The others, well, we hit them really hard and gave them a run for their money. 10 minutes before the end we retook the first place in the statistic!
That score was a trendscore, in the final results we were just barely beaten on the second place. It was a lot of fun, and on July 22 the next event will take place. I've started planning our defense, this time our box will be paranoid.
On the upside, we were defense champions even after getting rooted twice and being offline for half an hour ... 0ld Eur0pe rulez :-)

Posted by Patrick | Permalink