Magnitude 8 Quake in Pacific, Tsunami Generated

ABC news is reporting:

Deaths have been reported in Samoa and American Samoa after a powerful 8.3-magnitude quake sparked a tsunami and sent residents fleeing to higher ground across the region this morning.

USGS reports (all times local time) an 8.0 near Samoa Islands at 06:48am, 5.6 near Samoa Islands at 07:08am, 5.6 near northern Cook Islands at 07:20am, 5.8 near Tonga at 07:21am, 5.0 near Tonga at 07:29am.

ABC says:

The tsunami warning was also in effect for American Samoa, Samoa, Niue Island, the Wallis and Futuna Islands, the Tokelau atolls, the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Kermadec Islands, the Baker and Howland Islands, Jarvis Island, French Polynesia and the Palmyra Islands.A tsunami watch was issued for Vanuatu, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Kosrae Island, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Pohnpei in Micronesia, the Wake Islands, Pitcairn and the Midway Islands.

10 23 foot wave reported in Samoa.

Response to Greg Black on ZFS & FUSE

Catching up on PLOA I noticed a posting from Greg Black bemoaning the lack of ZFS in Linux so I thought I should make a couple of quick points in response to it.

  1. The CDDL/GPL thing is just down to the fact that their requirements are incompatible (Sun based the CDDL the MPL), so you can’t mix that code. Just have to live with that.
  2. A major issue with ZFS is that there is ongoing patent litigation in the US between Sun and NetApp over it – it’ll be interesting to see what Oracle do when they finally take over Sun (assuming Sun doesn’t expire before the EU regulators comes to a decision on the takeover)
  3. ZFS-FUSE isn’t dead! Whilst Ricardo has stopped work another group has taken up the challenge and there is a new home page for it – – complete with Git repository (no more Mercurial, huzzah!).
  4. The ZFS-FUSE mailing list is active too, if you want to learn more.

Anglo-Saxon Hoard Discovered in Mercia

A metal detectorist has discovered a hoard of precious items (now declared treasure under the Treasure Act 1996) in land that was once part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia in England. Archaeologists were called in and recorded around 1500 items altogether, with around half being precious metals and gems.

It looks phenomenal, and is far larger than the hoard found at the Sutton Hoo ship burials which itself was impressive enough. What is really interesting to me is that these are often fragments of larger items and even the whole items haven’t been treated with care by whoever assembled the hoard – crosses are folded up for example – indicating that it was the previous metals and gems rather than items themselves that were valued. One of the experts who examined the hoard wrote:

The material is predominantly associated with war – swords, sword fittings, bits of helmets and the like – but all the precious metalwork has been stripped. That means they’re not treasuring the objects as wholes, they’re taking the precious metals off and keeping them.

Basically it looks like the collector of this was an Anglo-Saxon magpie, on a massive scale! 🙂

I’m glad to see that this is a case where the Treasure Act and the Portable Antiquities Scheme worked out really well; the find was reported immediately allowing archaeologists to excavate the items in situ and record all the vital information that lets us put these items into the wider context which is otherwise lost if these things are just ripped out of the ground and disappear into a private collection or onto the black market. All too often we are losing that valuable information about our past forever when that happens. So big props to the finder and the landowner for doing the right thing (not to mention they’re up for a massive reward, which is also the right thing to do).

Nominum Ignorant of Own Security History

Oh dear, so Nominum crop up on ZDNet decrying “freeware” (by which they probably mean open source) as bad and closed source as being good by saying:

Nominum software was written 100 percent from the ground up, and by having software with source code that is not open for everybody to look at, it is inherently more secure.

Because, of course, that security through obscurity approach works so well for people like Microsoft (have you patched the SMB2 remote admin attack on your Windows boxes yet?). They go on to justify this by saying that you should look at all the security patches that get applied to BIND et. al and contrast that with their own software.

Nominum has not had a single known vulnerability in its software.

Which would be almost impressive, if it were actually true, which it isn’t. That quote is from 22nd September 2009, but over a year earlier they had to release a security patch for their software (PDF document), because:

Cache poisoning allows an attacker to selectively control destination web sites for users accessing a compromised DNS. For example, if a cache entry for Google is poisoned, a user typing in would not get the Google website but rather a site controlled by the attacker.

In fact it wasn’t just one piece of software they wrote that had a bug, it was two..

This vulnerability affects all customers using versions of CNS and Vantio released before June 4th, 2008 regardless of what features are being used.

So perhaps people in (smoked) glass houses shouldn’t try and throw stones…

Microsoft Hypervisor Code to be Removed from 2.6.33 ?

Chris Smart has pointed out an interesting little titbit in Greg K-H’s “Staging tree status for the .32 kernel merge” blog post:

hv (Microsoft Hyper-V) drivers. Over 200 patches make up the massive cleanup effort needed to just get this code into a semi-sane kernel coding style (someone owes me a bit bottle of rum for that work!) Unfortunately the Microsoft developers seem to have disappeared, and no one is answering my emails. If they do not show back up to claim this driver soon, it will be removed in the 2.6.33 release. So sad…

So after all that hope about MS releasing GPL’d code it turns out to be a one off code dump (presumably to get them out of a license violation hole otherwise they’d be showing more interest) with no intention of doing anything further with it.. 🙁

Great Quote on Early Computing

Found this great quote whilst reading up more about Alan Turing being the first person to really comprehend what a modern computer would be like, a quote by Howard Aiken (of Harvard Mark I fame) in 1956 (the year after Turing’s death):

If it should turn out that the basic logics of a machine designed for the numerical solution of differential equations coincide with the logics of a machine intended to make bills for a department store, I would regard this as the most amazing coincidence that I have ever encountered.

Luckily Turing was right and he was wrong.. 😉