Rhymin & Stealin – Monday at linux.conf.au

First thing Monday I decided to go to the Virtualisation Miniconf to
something labeled “Keynote”. Unfortunately it appears their schedule was
completely screwed so one of the later talks was happening. I didn’t find
this interesting so I snuck off to Debian and caught the “State of the Debian
Project” talk which was pretty interesting.

Due to the brochure being printed a few weeks ago, the timetables from
many of the Miniconfs are out of date. While this is 100 times better than
last year when nothing had been printed it is still frustrating. The organisers
were really cool and let me print out a couple of our the Sysadmin Miniconf
schedule so I’ll hang this outside our room tomorrow to give people the
latest schedule.

At this point I really have to thank the organisers, so far they have been
incredible efficient and helpful beyond the call of duty. So when I’ve asked
for weird and non-standard stuff like printouts they have been really
nice, helpful and complete good about doing all them. I’d like to give them a
big thank you and a “You guys rock!” .

I dropped into the Multimedia Miniconf for the next session and caught
an overview of some new Dirac codecs from one of the people at the BBC
and then 3 quick talks. The first was a great update on the ogg
projects by [Chris Montgomery](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Montgomery) ,
the second was a report on a FOSS survey which was a little wasted when the
presented spent the first 10 minutes going on about her organisation and
I missed the 3rd.

For lunch ended having a very nice Italian lunch of pasta and bruschetta
( I love bruschetta) with some guys so I was a bit late back to the next

I caught the end of a session at the virtualisation Miniconf ( I
apparently missed the good ones this morning) and then over to
debian for a discussion about “Why don’t the big guys love Debian”, some
good points discussed although I think some people are hung up about
shipping binary modules, for large companies that want to run Debian on
servers binary modules are not important, solid support and someone to
yell at is. For the last session I squeezed into the security Miniconf
to heard about ssh exploits

Afterward a bunch of us went to Lydon St for the Sysadmin ( and friends)
dinner. After a bit of problem with the venue we ended up in a nice
place and had a good pizza dinner with a bit of ice cream afterward


Time to get ill

After a few problems with delayed flights I finally got into Melbourne.
for linux.conf.au. Meet some people from NZ and we shared a taxi into the
venue ( $42 total ).

I arrived around noon on Sunday and the registration for my accommodation
( Trinity ) didn’t open till 1pm so I sat in the shade chatting to people
and trying to get my cellphone to work.

My room is on the 3rd floor and a little old but nice enough, the whole
college has an old feel with hundred year old main buildings (at least
they look) 100 years old.

The conference venue is just 10 minutes walk away from Trinity so I
wandered over and signed up. I’m professional this year so a bit more
stuff than previously. After that I went with some people to Lygon St
for an ice cream.

The newcomers session was pretty good, some others have already blogged
about it. Afterward about 50 people went to a local pub (across the
road from trinity ). The pub had just opened just last week so it was
still not 100% work with staff fairly new and only a few a couple of
beers on tap. In the end I was feeling a little sick so I went home a
little early. Talked to plenty of people during the day and caught up
with a few people from previous years, this would of course be easier if
I actually could remember names and faces, roll on the Sense Cam clone


No Sleep to Melbourne

Just one day till the start of [linux.conf.au 2008](http://linux.conf.au) so
I thought I should do a few posts. This one was supposed to out yesterday
(Saturday) but I ended up getting distracted. So just pretend this was
posted 12 hours ago.

For the rest of this week I’ll be in Melbourne attended linux.conf.au and
related events. If you are new to LCA then see the [main site](http://linux.conf.au) or
read the [First timers](http://www.darkmere.gen.nz/2007/0129.html) that I
wrote a few months ago.

The Main event I am looking forward to is the [System Administration Miniconf](http://
sysadmin.miniconf.org) on Tuesday which I am helping to organise. The programme
is online [here](http://sysadmin.miniconf.org/programme08.html) although there
might be a last minute change or two.

Monday is the first day of the Miniconfs with Community Wireless, Debian,
Education, Embedded, Fedora and Multimedia, Security and Virtualisation all
happening. I’ll probably spend most of the day at the virtualisation Miniconf
but I have to do a detailed check of the other miniconf’s schedules to spot
cool talks elsewhere.

On Monday night an informal dinner has been arranged at a local Italian place
for the the Sysadmin Miniconf and anyone else who wants to attended. Details
are here


Paul Brislen kills 2 birds

In a burst of productivity, IT Journalist Paul Brislen reports comments made by
Vodafone spokesman Paul Brislen in [this herald article](http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10485091).

I guess later in the year the paper will have rookie journalist Helen Clark
uses her unprecedented contacts to interview the Prime Minister and senior
government figures.


Home network getting there.

After a bit of playing around I got Xen going nicely a few weeks ago. One of the
tricks seems to be to make sure you have “gutsy-updates universe” setup. Since
then I’ve been rebuilding my home setup.

I’ve been creating documentation on every step as I go so I keep track of
weird stuff (trying to keep this to a minimum) and so I can repeat it
later. So I have a little document on create a new Xen instance (10 minute job),
another on a dozen things to configure it as a long term server (backups, email, etc)
and a few specific ones like Setting up Spamassassin and a Wiki.

Everything now looks like:

* 2 * Workstations
* Server
* Storage and NFS server
* Backups
* Virtual machines
* Mail / spamd / DNS Server
* http / Wiki / dhcp / DNS Server
* Various temp test servers.
* Switch
* DSL Router
* Eee Laptop

Which is a bit quieter than I had in the past with 3 server machines


Updates LCA / Miniconf / Cabinet

A few updates.

1. [Julien Goodwin](http://julien.studio442.com.au) is serialising and
adapting my [Linux.conf.au: First timers Guide](http://www.darkmere.gen.nz/2007/0129.html)
on [his blog](http://laptop006.livejournal.com/).

2. My [little post](http://blog.darkmere.gen.nz/archives/2007/11/20/) about “hidden”
information in the cabinet paper attracted a bit of attention in the papers. I
notice that while blogs give credits there was no mention of my name in any of
the papers (or even a hit of how the information came to light). I’ve heard this
is common with the MSM and I wonder if it’s a good policy for them in the long term.

3. The [Sysadmin Miniconf](http://sysadmin.miniconf.org) is getting there. About 86%
of the [presentations](http://sysadmin.miniconf.org/presentations08.html) are
sorted out and with luck the rest should be in a few days time.

4. And last off [NZNOG 08](http://2008.nznog.org/) is finally taking registrations.


Update on home network

The Xen bug is still open but a nice person on the Ubuntu Forums suggested
using aptitude to install the packages. Aptitude was smart enough to
downgrade libc6 in order to get around the dependency problem.

So I am now about half way through step 8 (Create new default Xen image)
of [my plan](http://blog.darkmere.gen.nz/archives/2007/11/13/). I’d hope
I can get a draft tidy Xen image sorted out in the next couple of days


Work :(

Every day it looks more like management have decided me and the rest of the
team just get to look after old stuff until another team builds and runs the
replacement. We have been trying to fight this for a while but it doesn’t look
like we are going to be able to fight this.

Half the “interesting” stuff (products not technology) is already gone and
most of the rest looks like following over the next 1-3 years (things don’t
move fast).

Looks like my main option is to go elsewhere, so if anyone knows of anything…


Govt accidentally releases information?

So the government releases a Cabinet paper on [this page](http://www.digitalstrategy.govt.nz/templates/Page____1075.aspx) about
“New Digital Advisory Body to be established” and invites people to:

Download a copy of the cabinet paper [Potential Merger of Higrowth and the Digital Strategy Advisory Group](http://www.digitalstrategy.govt.nz/upload/Press%20releases/Merger%20HiGrowth_DSAG.pdf) confirmed on Monday 12 November by Cabinet.
*Some items in this cabinet paper has been removed because it refers to financial or other sensitive information*.

So I download the PDF document and find I can highlight blank section with my mouse and read the financial and other data. Only problem
is that I don’t know if it supposed to be secret or not. Anyway. told a few people just in case.

Tight timeframe

National Library and SSC consider the timeframe for establishing the new
body is "ambitious."

No Xen in Gutsy :(

As detail in my [previous post](http://blog.darkmere.gen.nz/archives/2007/11/13/) I
am upgrading and installing Xen on one of my servers to replace a dodgy one. However
I got stuck earlier in the week because Xen is currently broken in the latest
version of Ubuntu ( 7.10 or Gutsy). See this [bug 161783 on launchpad](https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/xen/+bug/161783) for
details of the problem. So far nobody in Ubuntu seems to have noticed the
bug so I don’t know when it’ll be fixed, hopefully in the next few days.

I had a little play about bypassing it but I really don’t want to hack libc since
that’ll completely kill the box if I make a mistake.

Another separate thing I noticed this week is that since I don’t watch any TV ( I
watch TV programmes but not broadcast TV ) I don’t have any idea what the latest
cool ads are (at least not the New Zealand ones). Perhaps somebody could create
a simple system where I can watch the “hot” ads that I currently miss on TV. Like
the “Mr T” one that I’ve been hearing about.