The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, January 31, 2001


I've had enough. While IDSL is nice and all, I have noticed that periodically, the connection will just simply drop. For about ten to twenty seconds or so. So I wrote some software to record the outtages. I'll let it run for about a week or so, then send the results back to Velotel.

In the hour I've been running it, I've already recorded some outtages.

This might be worse than I thought.

There's a bug in the RAID …

While talking with Mark today he mentioned having a problem with Linux on a client's machine. It seems that the latest kernel, 2.4.1, doesn't like the client's hardware—it doesn't boot at all.

Now this client has an AMI MegaRAID controller, in addition to dual processors. The reason for the upgrade, other than the occasional kernel panic, is to have better network throughput, as the networking stack in 4.2 will actually work correctly in an SMP configuration.

Only it doesn't work. Mark was able to track down the problem to a call to reqeust_region() which seems to possibly have undergone a return value change since 2.2 and this particular driver wasn't updated; there's no contact or authorship for the driver other than Dell Corporation.

But the general consensus of both Mark and I is that Linux is slowly sinking into software bloat and general chaos. There are design decisions that Linus Torvalds is making that hamper the growth of Linux (one of the bigs ones—no revision control system. Another—he hates modular kernels (and modular in this sense doesn't mean kernel modules, more a sensible ABI or API between the kernel and various drivers and subsystems. Oh, and no enterprise support in the Linus' version of the kernel). A kernel split is, I think, imminent.

A mutanous paradise

In general surfing I came across several sites for the island of Pitcairn, a small island in the south Pacific halfway between New Zealand and South America and home to the descendants of mutineers from the HMS Bounty.

The island itself is approximately 1 km by 2 km, very rocky and mountainous and other than a rather expensive Internet connection (some US$3.50/minute) and inconsistent travel accomidations (you can get there only by sea, and even then there's no regular route and even if you arrange for transportation (at a typical price of $700 one way) if the weather or sea is too rough, tough. No landing, do over again.

But you can register A Pitcairn domain!

Binding BIND

I downloaded BIND 8.2.3 and in poking around the source code, found the offending code that prevented the parsing of DNS zone files in a certain format. It was a one line modification to fix the problem:


getnonblank(FILE *fp, const char *src, int multiline) {
        int c;

        multiline = 1;  /* hack to fix --spc */
        while ((c = getc(fp)) != EOF) {
                if (isspace(c)) {
                        if (c == '\n') {
                                if (multiline)
                                        goto eol;
                if (c == ';') {
                        while ((c = getc(fp)) != EOF && c != '\n')
                        if (c == '\n') {
                                if (multiline)
                                        goto eol;
                return (c);
        ns_info(ns_log_db, "%s:%d: unexpected EOF", src, lineno);
        return (EOF);
        ns_error(ns_log_db, "%s:%d: unexpected end of line", src, lineno);
        /* don't ungetc(c, fp); as the caller will do this. */


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Obligatory Miscellaneous

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