Mar 212017

Apple to Ubuntu

For almost the last 20 years, an Apple laptop of one variety or another has been my main computing device. Imagine my surprise when I finally learned today that Apple keyboards don’t have an Insert key. In almost two decades I have never needed it, but that changed this morning.

While working in my favorite Python editor, Wing IDE by Wingware, some sloppy touch typing resulted in the cursor changing from the blinking vertical line I am used to a blinking underline. That change was subtle enough that I missed it, but as soon as I began typing and the text I was entering started overwriting the existing code, I knew something was up. WTF!

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Feb 152017

SWI-Prolog Logo

I know that this post will probably be of interest to about a dozen people worldwide, and even those few may be disappointed by it. Since the official SWI-Prolog packages aren’t often kept up to date and because compiling and installing SWI-Prolog from source should be both quick and straightforward, that is the recommended way to do it on Linux and other *nix systems.

If you are looking for tips, tricks or assistance with an installation problem, you likely won’t find it here. The instructions provided on the SWI-Prolog site for building and installing SWI-Prolog from source code “just worked” for me. Nevertheless, I want to document what I did, and if you are looking for the Cliff Notes version, then by all means, read on.

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Dec 092016

GIMP logo

For several years now, Adobe Photoshop has been the sole reason that I have continued to run Mac OS X. During that time, I have done the majority of my work in an Ubuntu instance running in a Parallels virtual machine. I’ve finally bitten the bullet and installed Ubuntu as the primary operating system on my MacBook Pro. I couldn’t be more pleased with how the transition has gone, and I regret not doing it earlier.

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Nov 012016

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)

In the course of troubleshooting a pseudo-distributed mode installation of Apache Hadoop on my Ubuntu 16.04 vm, one of the tips I stumbled across suggested disabling IPv6.

For any networking neophytes, Internet Protocol version 6, aka IPv6, is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the system governing the assignment of addresses to networks and computers on the Internet. IPv6 was created to replace IPv4 which, why still predominantly used by most systems, is quickly running out available addresses. Unlike IPv4, which is a 32 bit addressing scheme offering 2^{32} or roughly 4.3 billion addresses, IPv6 addresses are 128 bits, meaning that there are theoretically 2^{128} or roughly 3.4 \times 10^{38} addresses.

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May 042016


If you’ve just installed the Arduino IDE on Ubuntu, you’ve likely encountered an error similar to the one above the first time you tried to upload a sketch to your board. The error that I specifically get reads:

avrdude: ser_open(): can't open device "/dev/tty/ACMO": Permission denied
ioctl("TIOCMGET"): Inappropriate ioctl for device
Problem uploading to board. ...

I got this error today while doing a fresh install of Arduino 1.6.8 on Ubuntu 15.10, aka Wily Werewolf, but I’ve also run into it on previous Ubuntu versions as well. As I suspect this is not the last time I’ll encounter it, I figure I should write up the solution here instead of having to hunt it down again the next time it stumps me.
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Feb 032006

In a post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) last week, Linus Torvalds plainly stated that the Linux kernel would not be moving to the third revision of the General Public License (GPL). The reasons given in his post included the the requirement that developers publish their private keys and the amount of effort it would take to track down every kernel contributor to gain their permission to update the license of their code. Interestingly, he did not initially comment on the new, rigid restrictions version 3 places on using GPL software in conjunction with any Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems. Many in the community have conjectured the new DRM clause has influenced Torvald’s decision as much as any of the other changes, and has published a summary of 3 posts that Linus has made to LKML over the last two days regarding this issue.

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Feb 022006

Earlier this week, I wrote that ZDNet UK had recently spoken with Alan Cox about his opinion of the third revision of the General Public License (GPL). The original CNET article was a little light on content, offering a few quotes from Cox but not much else. Today CNET has published the full interview which took place last week after a Cox speech at the Trusted Computing conference in London. In addition to GPLv3 the interview covers OSS, DRM, software patents, and Linux kernel development. The interview offers no surprises since most of Cox’s opinions on those subjects are well known and have not changed. I did, however, learn that this interview took place before Linus’s shootdown of GPLv3 on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) last week. That would explain why Cox, who is leaning towards the new revision, did not address any of the issues raised by Torvalds.

Jan 312006

Alan Cox

After Linus Torvald’s outright rejection of the third revision of the General Public License (GPL) last week, it appears that Alan Cox, the Linux kernel’s unofficial number two man, remains open-minded, sticking by his wait-and-see approach to the revision which will be open to public discussion for most of 2006. Cox spoke recently with ZDNet UK, and his comments to them are similar to those he made in the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) thread that brought Linus’s misgivings about the new version to the public’s attention.

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Jan 262006
Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds

Even though the first discussion draft of the third version of the General Public License is only a little over a week old, Linus Torvalds, father of the Linux kernel, has made it clear that the kernel source code will remain under GPLv2. The revelation came in a message Linus posted to a thread in the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) yesterday. In addition to clearing up some confusion about the language the kernel’s license was originally published under, Torvalds succinctly and definitively summarized his position about transitioning to v3 saying, “Conversion isn’t going to happen.”

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Jan 172006

GNU General Public LicenseThe Free Software Foundation (FSF) released the first draft of the General Public License (GPL) version 3 on Monday at the First International Conference on GPLv3, a two day conference held at MIT. As expected, the draft addresses patent litigation protection and digital rights management (DRM) systems among other issues. The new version, when finally adopted, will be the first major revision of the widely popular software license in the more than fifteen years since version 2 was adopted in 1991.

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