Introduction One and a half year ago I switched to a self-built OSTree based minimal i3 desktop and never looked back. Despite running Fedora updates-testing and finding/reporting lots of regressions, I have never had a situation where a simple rpm-ostree rollback would not have saved the day. There is zero cruft accumulating, neither due to upgrade drift from config files nor due to piling up added/changed files in /usr. And development or trying something out are now more flexible and comfortable than ever, mostly thanks to the progress in the container space. ... Read More

Learning meson
6 November 2020

Last Friday at Red Hat the fourth Day of Learning happened. This time I picked the meson build system. More and more projects have switched to it, like systemd more than 3 years ago, or most of GNOME. Back then I was really impressed by how much faster a systemd build became with meson – but now I actually want to learn it, peek behind the curtain, be able to contribute to projects that use it, and to know if a conversion makes sense. ... Read More
Being a paper hater, I have kept all my work and private notes in digital form pretty much forever. The tools have changed over the times of course, but I’m really happy with my current system now. I am a strong proponent of plain-text formats for just about everything, due to being simple, efficient, universal, implemementation/tool agnostic, and effectively trackable in revision control. I spend my entire work life as a software developer in vim and mutt, so it’s just straightforward to do the same for notes and TODO lists. ... Read More
Motivation Last Friday at Red Hat we have another “Day of Learning”, the third one now. As will all repeated things, as an engineer I want to automate things – so this time I wanted to look into machine learning ­čśë. This was also an excuse to finally learn about NumPy, as that’s such a generic and powerful tool to have on one’s belt. At school in my 11th grade, I worked on speaker dependent single word speech recognition as my scientific project. ... Read More
Motivation Today at Red Hat we have another “Day of Learning”. To this day I have never touched Android development, just installing various flavours and configuring it. But I’ve been curious about it for a while now, mostly to be able to fix a little thing here and there in all the great things available on F-Droid. So today was an excellent opportunity! SDK Installation The first thing to do is to install Android Studio. ... Read More

Die gro├če Vier-Null
14 April 2020

Da wacht man nun eines sch├Ânen Morgens auf, und schwupps ist man vierzig! Zu meinem 30. gabs damals ein gro├čes Go-Kart-Rennen und eine Party mit Familie und Freunden. Auch dieses Jahr wollte ich das wieder wenigstens ein bisschen feiern, aber wegen der COVID-19-Pandemie und die damit einhergehenden Kontaktsperren und Ausgangsbeschr├Ąnkungen lief der Tag sehr ruhig ab. Annett hat mir wieder einen tollen Kuchen gebacken (Zupfkuchen mit Rharbarber ­čśő), und meine Eltern haben in einer lokalen Konditorei eine tolle Torte bestellt: ... Read More
Motivation Today at Red Hat we have a “Learn something new” day. After so many years of doing software development, I’m quite well versed in tools like strace, gdb, or good old printf() debugging to examine how an individual process (mis)behaves. But I occasionally run into situations where a system-wide scope of examination is necessary. For example, when I was working on optimizing Ubuntu’s power usage ages ago, I wanted to hunt down processes which were opening/reading/writing files and thus waking up the hard disk. ... Read More
Background A major future goal for Cockpit is support for client-side TLS authentication, primarily with smart cards. I created a Proof of Concept and a demo long ago, but before this can be called production-ready, we first need to harden Cockpit’s web server cockpit-ws to be much more tamper-proof than it is today. This heavily uses systemd’s socket activation. I believe we are now using this in quite a unique and interesting way that helped us to achieve our goal rather elegantly and robustly. ... Read More
Introduction I’ve always liked a clean, slim, lightweight, and robust OS on my laptop (which is my only PC) – I’ve been running the i3 window manager for years, with some custom configuration to enable the Fn keys and set up my preferred desktop session layout. Initially on Ubuntu, for the last two and a half years under Fedora (since I moved to Red Hat). I started with a minimal server install and then had a post-install script that installed the packages that I need, restore my /etc files from git, and some other minor bits. ... Read More
A year or two ago I bought Lindsey Stirling’s Album Brave Enough. It’s wonderful all around, but I really fell in love with Gavi’s Song. Three weeks ago I took a stab at playing this on my guitar. It’s technically not actually that difficult – After listening to the original and trying to repeat it for several days, I can now actually play through it without too many hiccups (still far from being YouTube’able, though). ... Read More