Tue Apr 22 20:40:09 CEST 2008

PsyOps: Project Swamp

After long hours of research (or huffing kittens, depending on who you ask) we've been able to track down the historical background of what is now known as Paludis.

It started all in the late 80s, when the KGB tried to infiltrate as much of the american computer-market. Some of the middle managment of Novell got taken over, and some strategic parts of Microsoft got influenced too. In the following collapse of the russian empire most of the infiltrators went into hibernation and just kept on doing their thing.
In the early 00's Gentoo was the rising star among the Linux distributions. Both Microsoft and Novell saw the potential and danger. Their need to react enabled the russian-trained specialists to engage in a PsyOps operation to break Gentoo through internal struggles.

And so a team of specialists was assembled to tear the naive geeklings and their dreams of a unified software environment apart. To demonstrate their desire to make Gentoo sink into a murky pool of mediocrity they found a great codename - "swamp", which was what they wanted gentoo to lick. And translating it to fake lating gave them "Paludis", which was also not yet taken as a trademark.

Their lead man, a turk by the name of Erton Dlev, comes from an engineering background. After long years in the army he got dishonourably discharged for unknown reasons and then went on to work as a consultant for different Think Tanks. He is well known for his temper, which is as short as his stature, and an obsessive desire to code in Haskell.

Second in command, but most vocal, is Ciara Nathalie "Brandy" McCreesh. After studying psychology and writing a thesis on power structure in simian colonies she spent a short while in marketing before being assimilated by Microsoft. Learning about computers and programming there left a permanent mark. Ciara still owns four pet monkeys.

The most silent, but maybe most productive of the team is Simon-Peter Bernstein, an ukrainian expat living in San Francisco. Coming from an astronomy background he is well known for his superstitions and fear of armageddon, but living in a liberally gay city allows him to keep these fears under control. He was hired by Novell when he managed to predict the food in the cafeteria for that day, but has never been right since.

Phillip Anton Roper, an australian crocodile hunter, was hired when he demonstrated his superior intellect in multiple bar fights (he was the one standing upright at the end, making him the smarter of the two). His short temper and unconventional mode of discussion make him valuable to keep the rest of the team at peak efficiency and also causes lots of time-consuming discussion on the mailinglists, IRC channels and forums he visits.

Ferdinand Otto "Ferdy" Meier has been the driving force in making paludis actually work. A strict nationalist tyrolean by birth and italian by choice he annoys people with his fake accent. But as he had a proven track record in writing VisualBasic scripts he was the most competent person available to Microsoft and was promptly hired.

The backgrounds of the other members of this infiltration team are not yet known, but we'll keep you updated as we uncover more fun.

As for the coding - most of the actual programming is done by some indian interns at Microsoft. Whenever their code passes the internal review a chunk is sent to one of the "coders" who then commits it to the public repository. Since this is done by the cheapest contractor the quality varies a lot, and Microsoft can hide the expenses easily as that contractor is officially working on WinFS.

This explains some of the design patterns, which are really cute but have no place in serious software. But the talented marketing people manage to confuse users often enough to make them try their product (the first shot is always for free), just to see them trapped in an unsupported configuration that can't be reverted easily. This made some users actually contribute patches to fix errors, but as this would improve the quality too fast most of these are denied by the internal revision team. As a result, though, Gentoo has entered a state of constant infighting and has lost its top spot at the edge of innovation.

Mission accomplished, MicroVell.

Oh, for the humor impaired - none of the above is what it seems. It made at least one person and two dogs laugh and is obviously the result of either too many or too few drugs.

Posted by Patrick | Permalink

Sun Apr 20 23:58:33 CEST 2008

Motivating people

For a short time the mighty KDE overlay has motivated people to use paludis to install kde-svn. That in itself is quite impolite, it imposes things on users that an overlay should not.
One minor point of contention is of course that it kills your local configuration quite nicely. Some people will now say "but paludis has a portage-config compatibility mode" which is mostly correct (apart from some minor bugs in parsing config files, but let's ignore those for now). The only problem with that is that in portage compat mode it also only uses portage-like capabilities, so you can't use it like that for the kdebuild-1 ebuilds that were added. Which means you will have to shred your configuration files to make The Package Mangler happy.

So, because I got bored, which seems to happen every now and then, I had a look at the overlay today. And I noticed one thing - there is absolutely no techincal reason to not use EAPI=1. As it happens I just had an editor nearby, and after about 15 minutes of stabbing things they were quite ... portagey. About 20 edits all in all to fix things that were not portage-compatible - and they make users migrate to an unsupported package manager for that? Meh, I say. Meh!

Result if this little exercise is a publically accessible repository that is almost, but not completely unlike the official KDE overlay. And it has one phat bonus: You don't need to change a thing. It just works. With portage, pkgcore and maybe even paludis.


There be it, have fun using it (and please don't make people unhappy by reporting errors and bugs in any official paludis channel, that will only make people angry. We'll have some mode of communication available soon ... )
P.S. Forcing people to migrate just because you can is a nice abuse of power. It's impolite, not needed and makes me want those responsible will have to use Windows98 at work for a looong time.

Posted by Patrick | Permalink

Thu Apr 3 18:18:35 CEST 2008

Instant Karma

An old recipe for Instant Karma

25 Angstrom of World Peace (dry)
125 milligram Happy Photons (sad photons don't work well)
a pinch of harmony
a quart of confidence
one big slice of optimism (Fair Trade tastes best)
one good deed for each day
two giggles or a small laugh, depending on availability
some forgiving, sliced and diced

Many people like to season it with multiple hugs, a backrub or fine compliments, but that is left as an exercise to the motivated cook.

Posted by Patrick | Permalink