GDPR?

Generic Data Protected Reduction or something like that. Everyone in EU (those in UK too) knows about it due to amount of spam from all those services/pages you registered in the past.

I would not bother writing anything about it but we had a discussion (beer was involved) recently in a pub and I decided to blog.

So to make sure you know: there is some data stored in this system. Every time you leave a comment all that data you wrote is recorded. And can be used to identify author so we can agree that those are personal details, right?

If by any chance you want those data removed then write to me. With url of comment you wrote, from email address used in that comment. I will remove your email, link to website (if present) and replace your name with some random words (like Herman Humpalla for example).

If I remember correctly there is no other data stored in my system. All statistics done by WordPress are anonymous.

Android at Google I/O: what’s the point?

Another year, another Google I/O. Another set of articles with “what’s new in xyz Google product”. Maps, Photos, AI, this, that. And then all those Android P features which nearly no one will see on their phones (tablets look like dead part of market already).

I have a feeling that this part is more or less useless with current state of Android. Latest release is Oreo. On 5.7% of devices. Which sounds like “feel free to ignore” value. Every 4th device runs 3 years old version (and usually lacks two years of security updates). Every 3rd one has 2 years old Nougat one.

How many users will remember what’s new in their phones when Android P will land on their devices? Probably very small part of crazy geeks. Some features will get renamed by device vendors. Other will be removed. Or changed (not always in positive way). Reviewers will write “OMG that feature added by VENDORNAME is so awesome” as no one will remember that it is part of base system.

In other words: I stopped caring what is happening in Android space. With most popular version being few years old I do not see a point in tracking new features. Who would use them in their apps when you have to care about running on four years old Android?

Mass removal of image tags on Docker hub

At Linaro we moved from packaged OpenStack to virtualenv tarballs. Then we packaged those. But as it took us lot of maintenance time we switched to Docker container images for OpenStack and whatever it needs to run. And then we added CI job to our Jenkins to generate hundreds of images per build. So now we have lot of images with lot of tags…

Finding out which tags are latest is quite easy — you just have to go to Docker hub page of linaro/debian-source-base image and switch to tags view. But how to know which build is complete? We had some builds where all images except one got built and pushed. And the missing one is first in deployment… So whole set was b0rken.

How to remove those tags? One solution is to login to Docker hub website and go image by image and click all those tags to be removed. No one is so insane to suggest it. And we do not have credentials to do that as well.

So let’s handle it as we do that in SDI team: by automation. Docker has some API so it’s hub should have some too, right? Hmm…

I went through some pages, then issues, bug reports, random projects. Saw code in JavaScript, Ruby, Bash but nothing usable in Python. Some of projects assume that no one has more than one hundred of images (no paging in getting list of images) and limits itself to some queries.

Started reading docs and some code. Learnt that GET/POST are not the only methods of doing HTTP. There is also DELETE one which was exactly what I needed. Sorted out authentication, web paths and something started to work.

First version was simple: login and remove tag from image. Then added querying for whole list of images (with proper paging) and looping through the list with removal of requested tags from requested images:

15:53 (s) hrw@gossamer:docker$ ./delimage.py haerwu debian-source 5.0.0
haerwu/debian-source-memcached:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-glance-api:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-nova-api:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-rabbitmq:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-nova-consoleauth:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-nova-placement-api:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-glance-registry:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-nova-compute:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-keystone:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-horizon:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-neutron-dhcp-agent:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-openvswitch-db-server:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-neutron-metadata-agent:5.0.0 removed
haerwu/debian-source-heat-api:5.0.0 removed

Final version got MIT license as usual, I created git repo for it and pushed code. Next step? Probably creation of a job on Linaro CI to have a way of removing no longer supported builds. And some more helper scripts.

XGene1: cursed processor?

Years ago Applied Micro (APM) released XGene processor. It went to APM BlackBird, APM Mustang, HPe M400 and several other systems. For some time there was no other AArch64 cpu available on market so those machines got popular as distribution builders, developer machines etc…

Then APM got aquired by someone, CPU part got bought by someone else and any support just vanished. Their developers moved to work on XGene2/XGene3 cpus (APM Merlin etc systems). And people woke up with not-supported hardware.

For some time it was not an issue – Linux boots, system works. Some companies got rid of their XGene systems by sending them to Linaro lab, some moved them to ‘internal use only, no external support’ queue etc.

Each mainline kernel release was “let us check what is broken on XGene this time” time. No serial console output again? Ok, we have that ugly patch for it (got cleaned and upstreamed). Now we have kernel 4.16 and guess what? Yes, it broke. Turned out that 4.15 was already faulty (we skipped it at Linaro).

Red Hat bugzilla has a Fedora bug for it. Turns out that firmware has wrong ACPI tables. Nothing new, right? We already know that it lacks PPTT for example (but it is quite new thing for processors topology). This time bug is present in DSDT one.

Sounds familiar? If you had x86 laptop about 10 years ago then it could. DSDT stands for Differentiated System Description Table. It is a major ACPI table used to describe what peripherals the machine has. And serial ports are described wrong there so kernel ignores them.

One of solutions is bundling fixed DSDT to kernel/initrd but that would require adding support for it into Debian and probably not get merged as no one needs that nowadays (unless they have XGene1).

So far I decided to stay on 4.14 for my development cartridges. It works and allows me to continue my Nova work. Do not plan to move to other platform as at Linaro we have probably over hundred XGene1 systems (M400 and Mustangs) which will stay there for development (hard to replace 4.3U case with 45 cartridges by something else).

Shenzhen trip

Few months ago, at the end of previous Linaro Connect gathering, there was announcement that next one will take place in Hong Kong. This gave me idea of repeating Shenzhen trip but in a bit longer version.

So I mailed people at Linaro and there were some responses. We quickly agreed on going there before Connect. Alex, Arnd, Green and me were landing around noon, Riku a few hours later so we decided that we will meet in Shenzhen.

We crossed border in Lok Ma Chau, my visa had the highest price again and then we took a taxi to the Maker Hotel (still called “Quchuang Hotel” in Google Maps and on Booking.com) next to all those shops we wanted to visit. Then went for quick walk through Seg Electronics Market. Lot of mining gear. 2000W power supplies, strange PCI Express expanders etc. Dinner, meeting with Riku and day ended.

I have woken up at 02:22 and was not able to fall asleep. Around 6:00 it turned out that rest of team is awake as well so we decided to go around and search for some breakfast. Deserted streets looked a bit weird.

Back at hotel we were discussing random things. Then someone from Singapore joined and we were talking about changes in how Shenzhen stores/factories operate. He told us that there is less and less of stores as business moves to the Internet. Then some Chinese family came with about seven years old boy. He said something, his mother translated and it turned out that he wanted to touch my beard. As it was not the first time my beard got such attention I allowed him. That surprise on his face was worth it. And then we realized that we have not seen bearded Chinese man on a street.

As stores were opening at 10:00 we still had a lot of time so went for random walk. Including Shenzhen Center Park which is really nice place:

Then stores started to open. Fake phones, real phones, tablets, components, devices, misc things… Walking there was fun itself. Bought some items from my list.

They also had a lot of old things. Intel Overdrive system for example or 386/486 era processors and FPUs.

From weird things: 3.5″ floppy disks and Intel Xeon Platinum 8175 made for Amazon cloud only.

Lot and lot of stuff everywhere. Need power supply? There were several stores with industrial ones, regulated ones etc. Used computers/laptops? Piles after piles. New components? Lot to choose from. Etc, etc, etc…

After several hours we finally decided to go back to Hong Kong and rest. The whole trip was fun. I really enjoyed it. Even without getting half of items from my ‘buy while in Shenzhen’ list ;D

And ordered Shenzhen fridge magnet on Aliexpress… They were not available to buy at any place we were.

25 years of Red Hat

Years ago I bought Polish translation of “Under the radar” book about how Red Hat was started. Was a good read and went to bookshelf.

Years passed. In meantime I got hired by Red Hat. To work on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. For AArch64 architecture.

Then one day I was talking with my wife about books and I looked at shelf. And found that book again. Took it and said:

You know, when I bought that book I did not even dreamt that one day I will be working at Red Hat.

Today company turned 25. Amount of time longer than my career. I remember how surprised I was when realised that some of my friends work at company for 20 years already.

This is the oldest company I worked for. Directly at least as some of the customers of companies I worked in past were probably older. And hope that one day my work title will be “Retired Software Engineer” as my wife once said. And that will be at this company.