Lemme get the iPad rant out

I suspect most people who are interested in BSD or open source in general have the same reaction to the iPad: it’s pretty, it looks neat, and hey Apple wait what do you mean I can’t use it the way I want to?  I’ve managed to hold out for a few days on commenting about it, and the benefit is a bit less incoherence.

It’s relevant because it’s a BSD-based device without the normal freedoms you’d associate with it.  I’m going to just point at these three articles that do a good job of describing what rubs me the wrong way.

Messylaneous for 2010/03/08

I gots a Summer of Code org application to write up, so you get a linkdump:

An mp3 of “PFSense II, Rocking The Datacenter” at NYCBUG, via Dru Lavigne.  Also, her “BSD for Linux Users” at the SCALE website.

A 5-part series about Scripting Vim, written by a terribly smart guy?  Interesting!  (Yeah, I did link to a part of it before…)

Have you ever wondered if building more than one pkgsrc package at a time can be a problem?  Others have too, and apparently there’s a fix.   If you don’t want to have to get to a command line to find the answer, it’s:

PKGSRC_LOCKTYPE?= none
The type of locking that will be done if competing processes
attempt to do work on one package directory simultaneously.

Possible values:
* none: No locking takes place at all.
* once: When the lock has already been aquired by another
process, the current process is terminated.
* sleep: When the lock has already been acquired by another
process, the current process will sleep for PKGSRC_SLEEPSECS
seconds and then try again.

You should also set OBJHOSTNAME when you are using the same
copy of pkgsrc on different hosts, maybe via NFS. This is because the locking process writes its process ID into the lockfile, and process IDs on different hosts are unrelated.

See also: LOCALBASE_LOCKTYPE, WRKDIR_LOCKTYPE.

Obligatory iPad mention

The iPad is BSD-based, which is neat.  I like the notion of covering more BSD devices and products here on the Digest.

But: do you like even the vague concept of open source?  The iPad is expressly designed to limit your choices, especially with media consumption and the programs you run.  It’s sort of like owning a TV circa 1975 – you get what large media groups and the network (Apple) want you to see. I don’t want to come across as someone who’s complaining because it’s different – I’m complaining because it’s not different.

There’s other people arguing the same idea, with even more reasonsThis is one of the most specific.  Plus, there’s the natural progression

Messylaneous for 2010/02/16

It’s like someone turned on the activity faucet; there’s so much to post about lately!

  • PkgsrcCon 2010 is May 28th to 30th, in Basel.  The date’s been declared, but not much else – yet.
  • Chunks of KDE in pkgsrc are now updating to the KDE4 versions by default.  This only affects pkgsrc-current users, not pkgsrc-2009Q4.
  • An interesting story about computer manufactuing and MicroSD problems.
  • In Praise of Online Obscurity – this article makes me think of communities like DragonFly and the other BSDs.  In essence, growth causes smaller independent groups to form out of a larger membership, because a social group can only be maintained to a certain size.   Perhaps this is why FreeBSD’s evolved a core group, or other groups form, like Wikipedia ‘editors’.  (via)  I’m catering to my own interests in group dynamics here.
  • Jan Lentfer’s brought in his hostapd and wpa_supplicant work, mentioned previously.

A week’s worth of posts for you

I can’t keep up with all the things to post.  I desperately want to clear my inbox, so here’s a week’s worth of posts all smushed together.  Enjoy!

Phew.