About

Michael Zucchi

 B.E. (Comp. Sys. Eng.)

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Thursday, 21 June 2018, 00:35

Another shitty `technology' company

Oh FFS.

I have my previous workstation for work sitting idle so I thought i'd drop in an xubuntu install and try building openjdk & openjfx on it. It's got a 6x core I7-980 and plenty of RAM so it should be ok right?

Well all went well until I tried to build webkit, just for completeness. Result - consistent ICE inside g++. Blast. Well I thought it was consistent until I tried it with a fresh build of gcc 7.3, this also crashed but in a different place and when I went back to the system gcc I noticed the crash whilst repeatable wasn't in a consistent place. Actually it started crashing everywhere, even inside various jvm based tasks.

This is typically a symptom of system problems, specifically RAM. I looked in the BIOS incase it's been overclocked but it is so ancient there's no settings for RAM, I ran a few memory testers, I tried various numbers of threads for the build.

Then I remembered Intel and their notorious bugs this year causing system stability problems in some cases. I tried to find the options to turn off the bug mitigations but (in part due to isp maintenance at just that moment) I gave up and just booted with the 4.10.x kernel.

Oh look, works fine now (well, it compiles cleanly, webkit tests still fail!)

Perhaps this is a failure of Canonical, or the Linux developers? No, ultimately it's because Intel cut too many corners and have shit hardware. Then again any company that could design something as poor as HPET in this day and age is obviously fucking incompetent.

On a related note i've been eyeing off a Ryzen system every few months. I price one up and think about it but ultimately leave it for the time being. I'm just not doing enough computing beyond 'read internet' to justify it. Another thing I can't decide on is between some 'low-end' APU system or a beastly 2700X machine. The RAM is still so $$$ here and you need good ram for either. At least the last time I specced one up I noticed from some benchmarks than a 2700X would pretty much cream that old I7-980 at 1/4 of the price (or less, not that I paid for it).

Tagged rants.
Wednesday, 20 June 2018, 17:35

No nice things

So my experiment with bittorrent here has ended before it even started. I was running transmission-daemon as the seeder - but apart from a couple of short tests only had it running with no torrents being seeded.

Despite that i'm getting 500MB+ traffic PER DAY! just from peer requests (I guess, as there seems to be no way to find out what's going on inside transmission).

And the thing is I never publically released the torrent files it was seeding so some port scraper has done it and added it to some peer exchange. Despite blocking the port i'm still getting dozens of incoming packets per minute but I guess they'll quieten down over time.

Blah.

Fortunately I don't pay for traffic.

Tagged zedzone.
Wednesday, 20 June 2018, 14:39

Ahh google, the `great' advertising company!

Oh nice one, they've decided to block all of Blender's videos on youtube because they don't want to turn on advertising.

Essentially blackmailing them into becoming part of their slurping adversiting empire where they get to make most of the money from peoples labour whilst paying a pittance. Despite not being a real user of it, as one of the original supporters who helped fund the freeing of Blender way back when with a few hundred dollars I'm pretty apalled they would be treated this way (although not surprised).

Fortunately the technology is coming together so that alternatives exist to a monolithic/expensive server such as PeerTube which uses WebTorrent, or InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), and others. blender.org is experimenting with a peertube instance at video.blender.org already.

Of course that only works so long as bittorrent isn't blocked, or WebRTC isn't blocked, or backbone operators start to throttle protocols competing with those that are part of their corporate conglomerate or have not been paid for. Or regulatory capture though some pro-establishment law effectively bans it (like the EU Copyright `Article 13' crap happening now).

Even if some backlash makes them change their mind it's just another example of the problem of corporate centralisation/ownership of culture.

Tagged free software, rants.
Wednesday, 06 June 2018, 10:03

Free Software JavaFX

I've been keeping a (rather loose) eye out on the availability of a fully free-software JavaFX for a while. Whilst all distributions now ship OpenJDK by default and that works fine for anything not JavaFX, the OpenJFX stuff has still been work in progress and hasn't generally been available.

Anyway I thought i'd try to compile it myself. Of course the first thing I noticed was that a preview build IS now available but I decided to keep going anyway so I could build a complete integrated JDK/JRE rather than having to manually link it in at runtime.

For the first part of the problem, following the build instructions was quite straightforward, at least on Ubuntu 16.04. I manually installed a couple of the specific build tools required and a couple of extra -dev packages. I didn't bother with building the bundled webkit for now. Even on this gutless under-RAM'd machine it didn't even take terribly long. I used the openjdk 10 for the compiler.

Then I looked into integration witht the jdk (later section in the build instructions). I was too lazy to read most of the build instructions so I just went with configure && make, although after a few iterations I settled on:

$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ ../configure  --with-import-modules=../../rt/build/modular-sdk \
  --with-jtreg=../../jtreg \
  --prefix=/opt \
  --with-native-debug-symbols=none
$ make product-images
  

Some time later it's all done and I ran some simple tests and Bob's your uncle. Stripping the debug symbols just reduces the size of the install (significantly) although it's probably worth keeping them at this early stage.

The slowest part was checking out the mecurial repositories.

Oh, I couldn't get the jdk tests to run :-/ jtreg just complained that it couldn't determine the JVM version. Trying to search the interwebs has so far been fruitless - it's not terribly important for now and I successfully ran the bootcycle-build which self-compiles after bootstrapping which is at least some bit of testing.

Update: Not sure where I got it from but the jtreg I had was out of date so it couldn't handle the new version string. Starting on the jtreg page got me the latest (4.2b12) and now the testing is running.

Torrents

Although this box doesn't have much disk it does have enough for a few big blobs so I thought I'd look into distributing a build (because, well!). To that end I sussed out setting up a private tracker and seeding torrents directly from this machine.

Anyway i've mostly worked it out but it isn't quite ready but i'll get to it eventually.

Java 11

With the short lifetime of Java 9 and 10 i've basically just ignored them completely - i'm still using 8.x everywhere. But Java 11 is going to be LTS release so it's probably time to start into it.

Having a fully free build of the whole platform is an important part of that for my hobby code. Now I just need the motivation ...

Update 2: And NetBeans, which is still not supporting a Java that was EOL'd 3 months ago. I'm sure they've nearly go the licensing sorted out though!

Update 3

Ok so I guess i'm a bit out of the loop (and search engines failed me again, it took me hours to come across this stuff, mostly by accident).

JavaFX is going to removed from the JDK. And additionally the JRE will also go away(?) and basically replaced with standalone platform-specific builds via jlink. Actually i'm not sure how the latter will work, maybe that's just wrt the openjdk; and in any event Oracle are committing to another few years of Java 8 releases.

Given that all the 'action' is server-side I guess it makes some sense. Just not for me!

Huh, I wonder why the current jdk build process allows linking in the JavaFX module then. Unclear. Just doing so breaks the tests so it's probably just the build system lagging slightly. Then again the make_runargs.sh script used to run against the javafx module doesn't seem to work against openjdk11 anyway. Well unless there's some other meachanism but neither javafxpackager nor javapackager get built - does jlink do all that now? So far my searching has been pretty futile and a lot of the documentation is either out of date or hard to find. I suppose it's still basically work in progress and/or i'm just not that motivated to dig deep enough.

Well I did waste the day anyway so whatever. At least AMD announced some nice hardware and Intel made an arse of themselves with their 'first' 5Ghz cpu demo which needed to be plugged into a fridge to run for 10 seconds.

Oh, there is also openjfx in ubuntu repos, but it only goes to 8. I can't remember if i looked at it in the past, probably did but I think I was looking at java9 at the time not realising how short lived it would be. I should've just stayed with 8.

Update 4

Well I did find something about running against the standalone javafx on this blog post. I guess all that javapackager stuff is gone or something since webstart and applets are defunct? Not that I ever used it anyway. Shrug.

Also apparently using jlink and making a partial copy of the jre for every application will be `easier' than just sending out a jar and having a central single installation of a jre. Wot?

Everyone seems to be a bit upset that Oracle are only going to provide commercial support for the oracle jdk11+ too - but given how much they've invested in making the openjdk feature parity I think they did ok for such an `evil' company. I mean, it's not like they forked some public commons like Linux or something as Google did.

Tagged java, javafx.
Monday, 04 June 2018, 19:33

github and m$

I only had a couple of long abandoned projects on github but now i've deleted my account. I don't see the immediate reason why m$ would want to buy it but it can't be for a good one for anyone else.

I wonder if they'd have bought if it git had the same meaning in american as it does in english - i.e. bastard, fuckwit, etc.

But anyway I guess it's just as well I didn't move anything there when google code shut down, saves me the hassle of doing it again.

Tagged ffts, picfx, rants.
Tuesday, 15 May 2018, 19:00

Backend stuff

Winter has hit here and along with insomnia i'm not really feeling like doing much of an evening but i've dabbled a few times and basically ported the Java version of a tree-revision database to C.

At this point i've just got the core done - schema/bindings and most of the client api. I'm pretty sure it's solid but I need to write a lot of testing and validation code to make sure it will be reliable and performant enough, and then write a bunch more to turn it into something interesting.

But i've been at a desk for 10 hours straight and my feet are icy cold so it's not happening tonight.

Tagged hacking, zedzone.
Tuesday, 15 May 2018, 18:39

Evolution and S/MIME

So I noticed there was a S/MIME security fault in a bunch of email software - including Evolution.

Now my memory is a bit faded because it was 15+ years ago but I'm pretty sure we wrote the code to handle this case (mostly Larry and Jeff). For this each decoded segment was displayed separately with a special gtkhtml tag to reset the html parser between blocks. Although it might have only been on the signature level so I could be wrong but in general it didn't just dump the whole email to HTML for all sorts of reasons. The MIME parser could handle all sorts of broken streams so truncated HTML was expected to come up once in a while.

Of course that must've all been thrown away when the renderer was replaced by the 'better' renderer from apple going by some of the reports of the 'vulnerability'.

Not that i've ever used S/MIME or gpg - it's pretty much useless to me since nobody I know knows how to use it and hardly anyone uses email these days anyway.

I was also horrified to see that evolution now uses cmake. Well just as well I completely ignored the project after I took a voluntary redundancy ... I would've gone absolutely ballistic! Not that compiling with libtool didn't suck complete arse but at least it worked.

But GNOME was already going to shit back before I quit, both due to redhat throwing their weight around and Miguel being such an obnoxiously microsoft fanboi. Haven't touched it in any meaningful way (or Evolution) in over a decade and all I see of it is going backwards by continously copying the next shitty GUI-trend-of-the-month and/or being bullied into shitty designs by a bunch of fuckwits.

Tagged rants.
Sunday, 13 May 2018, 12:12

Oops

Had a bug in my fastcgi code, that broke the blog for some web clients depending on their ID string. It just happened to break on mobile phones more often. Oops.

Tagged zedzone.
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