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Anthony Towns
Works at Red Hat Software
Attended University of Queensland
Lived in Brisbane, Australia
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Anthony Towns

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WTF? Informative and apparently accurate reporting on a subject I'm familiar with from a local(ish) paper?

http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/security-it/heartbleed-disclosure-timeline-who-knew-what-and-when-20140415-zqurk.html
Ever since Heartbleed was made public there have been questions about who knew what and when.
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Anthony Towns

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Hmmm, to get myself a Novena board for Christmas or not.... 

http://www.crowdsupply.com/kosagi/novena-open-laptop
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 A realization that I recently came to while discussing the whole systemd controversy with some friends at the Collab Summit is that a lot of the fear and uncertainty over systemd may not be so much about systemd, but the fear and loathing over radical changes that have been coming down the pike over the past few years, many of which have been not well documented, and worse, had some truly catastrophic design flaws that were extremely hard to fix.   For example, I still have the following magic installed in /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/dont-bug-me.pka:

[Don't Bug Me]
    Identity=unix-group:sudo
    Action=*
    ResultActive=yes

I added this because Network Manager insisted on popping up a window and asking me to type my password whenever I tried joining a new network.   And figuring out how to make Network Manager not do such a brain-damaged thing was so painful, that after going through reams of poorly documented XML schemas, and 50 language translations interspersed with actual configuration in various XML files, I just gave up and used the Big Hammer to make policykit just Completely Go Away.

I could tell similar horror stories about dbus when I had to debug various suspend/resume failures, which is something else which is similarly opaque and impossible to understand, but the point is that many of these failures have caused many people to want simple shell scripts, instead of having to crawl through badly designed XML schemas, or someone else's complex C or C++ code, just to figure out what the hell they did and how to patch around their design fail.

It's not entirely fair to charge all of this to Systemd's account, but I think one of the reasons why this happens is because +Kay Sievers and +Lennart Poettering often have the same response style to criticisms as the +GNOME developers --- go away, you're clueless, we know better than you, and besides, we have commit privs and you don't, so go away.

That being said, I recently did try moving my laptop to systemd, and I was pleasantly surprised by the Debian's integration --- it didn't blow away my rsyslog configuration, or do any number of a things that I'm worried about.  +GNOME  may start depending on more and more of systemd's features, and thus make it even harder to configure away its design failings, but that's +GNOME's problem, not systemd.   And besides, this is why I'm using XFCE and not GNOME.   :-)

I do find it very difficult sometimes to figure out why a particular systemd service gets started, and when I tried putting together a battery target which would automatically shut down various daemons that I don't need when I want to save power, it apparently somehow caused the brightness keys (fn-F5 and fn-F6) to mysteriously stop working --- and as I expected, it was impossible to debug.   So instead of using a systemd target, I'll just hack together a shell script that runs the necessary "service <foo> stop" instead of using a systemd target.  If things start breaking horribly, I'll file debian bugs, and try to find ways to work around the brain damage.   The fact that I won't be able to edit shell scripts to work around brain damage is still a little anxiety-producing, and the fact it's much more difficult to create a runlevel which is "just like runlevel 3 but without certain services running" is unfortunate, but I'll give it a try and see how much pain is involved.

At least with Debian, it's relatively easy (at least at this point) to roll back to sysvinit if systemd proves to be intolerable.   I figure I might as well try it now before I'm forced off of sysvinit and then discover all of the things that break and which can't be easily worked around.
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Anthony Towns

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sigh
 
I'm sure +Yonatan Zunger will love this - http://milrivel.github.io/LHC/

(Yes, payback for addicting me to 2048 in the first place! ;)
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Clever!
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Anthony Towns

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Heh
In late February, the City University of New York announced that it had tapped Princeton economist and New York Times blogger Paul Krugman for a distinguished professorship at CUNY’s Graduate Center and its Luxembourg Income Study Center, a research arm devoted to studying income patterns and their effect on inequality.
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Anthony Towns

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Making Windows 8 bearable by installing Linux instead.
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Anthony Towns

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"octohipster - A hypermedia REST HTTP API library for Clojure"

That's a bingo!
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Anthony Towns

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Wait, what? eatmydata isn't packaged for Fedora?? https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1007619
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Time to block the release, critical bug :)
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Anthony Towns

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My take on accessing http+json REST APIs with python: https://github.com/ajtowns/beanbag  (comments appreciated!)
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This looks awesome! I'm gonna play with it against Redmine and see how it turns out. 
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Anthony Towns

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HATEOAS? There's an acronym only an academic could come up with...

I'm a bit troubled by whether I actually want to do a REST interface or an "RPC" interface. Informally, they're not necessarily different things -- you can do an RPC interface that's (a) stateless, (b) uses URIs named after resources, (c) uses different HTTP verbs to match the type of action being taken (read with GET, delete with DELETE, create with POST, modify with PUT/PATCH), and (d) can be cached/proxied. And lots of people do.

There are two additional requirements for REST. One is "code on demand", which is optional -- it lets the server send along chunks of code (eg, javascript) rather than just data, that the client then runs. Great idea, I hope I can use it, not relevant.

The other is the aforementioned HATEOAS - "hypertext as the engine of application state". (Seriously. Worst acronym ever.) It's great for generic clients like web browsers that have a human controlling every step -- you put some text in the web page describing something, then a link to it. That's not necessarily a bad thing for an API either -- the implication is that a human should be able to go to the base API url and discover everything about it, just by clicking around. That in turn, is basically a self-documenting API, which, again not a bad thing.

But "the engine of application state" goes further, implying that the client shouldn't make assumptions about the API, but should rather discover it itself through hyperlinks (or downloaded code?). Now again, downloaded code has some appeal here, but if what you're trying to build isn't a website or a webapp, but a command line tool that accesses a server API, I don't think it makes sense to try to make it adapt to http://foo/ changing one of its resources from being names users/ to people/, or to suddenly describing things in XML instead of JSON the same way that you could replace an image with a movie inside a webpage.
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Have him in circles
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Education
  • University of Queensland
    Maths, Computer Science, 1996 - 1999
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Hacker
Employment
  • Red Hat Software
    Release Engineer, 2011 - present
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Brisbane, Australia - Hay, NSW, Australia - Deniliquin, NSW, Australia
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