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, February 23, 2000

Hack the Source

So I wound up at Mark's house last night. He wanted to get AppleTalk running so he could mount his Linux drives on his Macs.

He was going to do this on his primary development machine kwalitee, but was relunctant to loose the uptime on it. I suggested ortho, his primary file server.

He was overwhelmed by the sheer obviousness of the suggestion.

Compile kernel. Download userland code. Install. Reboot. Select “Chooser” on the Mac. And there is ortho, ready to serve up files. We were both amazed at how easy it was—especially given the difficulty of Samba, or the insanity that are the automounter documentation (the man pages, how-to's and other documentation for the automounter bear no relationship to the actual program that he used. It's like learning Unix from MS-DOS manuals).

Until he had to make a slight configuration change. The AppleTalk server wasn't returning the correct type or application for MP3s (I'll save the discussion of finding and uncompressing an MP3 player for the Mac for later). Okay, tweak a configuration file and restart the AppleTalk daemon.

Only it won't restart.

Nothing we do will restart it short of a reboot. So we reboot.

And reboot and reboot and reboot and reboot. Any change we make to the AppleTalk configuration file requires a reboot of Linux. Had Mark made the driver a module and unloaded it, then we wouldn't have to reboot. But having a modular kernel as a server is a potential security hole and Mark doesn't want that risk.

So it's reboot reboot reboot.

We then scour the net for updated anything.

It seems it's a known problem that you have to reboot if you change any configuration for AppleTalk.

Linux is Open Source, right?

Mark wants to reconfigure AppleTalk and not have to reboot. He's got this itch, right?

So, he hacks the kernel.

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