A new cat

Well, OK, more a kitten than a cat.. πŸ˜‰

We felt that our adult cat Mini needed a companion and a bit of research indicated that for an adult female a male kitten would give the best chance of a good match. So it was off down to the RSPCA to talk to them about what was possible, and we found they had 3 kittens of which one was male, and he had only just arrived after their internal quarantine and was lovely, so we picked him. Then we hit a hard question – we had to do the registration form for the council and that demanded a name! We were stuck, but then it occurred to us that given we had an adult called “Mini” the obvious choice was going to be “Maxi”.

So meet Maxi Samuel!

Maxi, our new kitten, looking very innocent.

He’s remarkably well camouflaged in our house, though that’s not been a problem for him yet.. πŸ˜‰

Maxi, our new kitten

Happy Newtonmass All

With just one sleep left to the annual celebration of Sir Isaac Newtons birth on the 25th December I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Newtonmas and may gravity not weigh you down too much in the coming new year. πŸ™‚

Summer sunset through the grass

This photo was taken this evening at Cardinia of the sun setting through grass, the choice of where the real horizontal lies is yours.

Brett Smith (Free Software Foundation) talks on the TPP in Melbourne – March 5th!

Updated: new (larger) venue now finalised.

Brett Smith is in Melbourne to talk to government negotiators about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the impact on free software. This public lecture will introduce free software and discuss recent issues in free software licensing, including the TPP. Members of the public are welcome. No technical knowledge is required.

It will be on Monday 5 March, 2012, 6 p.m. in Theatre 1, ICT Building, Barry Street, Carlton.

This talk will introduce free software, explain why it’s important, and explore the many places where free software interacts with the law. Brett Smith will illustrate how copyright, licenses, patents, trade agreements, and other laws all play a role in deciding whether and how we can create, use, and share free software β€” and by extension, who controls our computers. Members of the public are welcome. No technical knowledge is required.

Brett is a GPL Ninja. He works in the Free Software Foundation’s Licensing Compliance Lab, as license compliance engineer. Brett answers complex licensing questions from the public, writes widely read and timely posts for the FSF’s blogs, codes up Python programs, and dashes across the country to give input to policy makers. Brett also ran the GPL version 3 drafting process.

Please register here: http://apps.freesoftware.asn.au/invite/brett-smith-fsf/

Vacation Released

Vacation is a bug fix only release which now complies with RFC-3834 “Recommendations for Automatic Responses to Electronic Mail”. A big shout of thanks to Dr. Tilmann Bubeck, the Fedora packager, for bug fixes and a German translation of the manual page.

You can download this latest version of Vacation from: http://sourceforge.net/projects/vacation/files/vacation/

It includes:

  • a fix from Dr. Tilmann Bubeck to stop Vacation from munging the GECOS information of users and instead pass it quoted to the MTA for it to deal with (fixes Fedora bug #553505 and SourceForge issue #2928189).
  • Vacation now adds the Auto-Submitted: header as per RFC3834 (fix from Dr. Tilmann Bubeck).
  • Vacation now abides by the RFC 3834 header “Auto-Submitted:” (fixes SourceForge issue #3062665).
  • Fixes up some Coverity grumbles (a redundant fopen() and others).
  • Compiles cleanly with GCC 4.6.2.
  • Now includes a vacation.spec file contributed by Magnus Stenman.
  • The old HTML version of the manual page was out-of-date and so it has been removed (along with html2man) leaving the nroff version the master.
  • Added German translation of the nroff manual page (Dr. Tilmann Bubeck).
  • Note that the English man page has been renamed to vacation-en.man and vacation.man is a symlink to it, so German speakers can just change that symlink before installing to pick up the German translation.
  • Clean up of some old directories in the source code that have been made obsolete by source code control (they contained old, applied, patches).

You can be involved in the development of Vacation by subscribing to the vacation-announce and vacation-list mailing lists and/or logging bugs and feature requests on the SourceForge tracker.

First Release Candidate for Vacation

Vacation rc1 is the first release candidate for the first bug fix only release in the 1.2.7 branch.

This release fixes up a warning for orighdr in GCC 4.6.x. It also includes a German translation of the manual page courtesy of Dr. Tilmann Bubeck, the Fedora packager, and some cleanup work (removing obsolete directories).

Note that the English man page has been renamed to vacation-en.man and vacation.man is a symlink to it, so German speakers can just change that symlink before installing to pick up the Dr. Bubecks translation.

Please do grab this and test it out!

If I don’t hear any problems before next weekend I intend to release this as the official Vacation

Second beta release of Vacation

Vacation beta2 is the second beta for the first bug fix only release in the 1.2.7 branch.

This release just fixes up some issues that Coverity revealed, none of which appeared to be harmful.

NB: If you compile with GCC 4.6 and see a complaint about orighdr being set but never used in rfc822.c don’t worry, its already fixed in git and will be in the first RC (assuming nothing bad is found in this version).

Please grab this beta release and test it and report any problems!

VLSCI: Systems Administrator – High Performance Computing, Storage & Infrastructure

* Please note: enquiry and application information via URL below, no agencies please!
* Must be Australian permanent resident or citizen.

Executive summary

Want to work with hundreds of TB of storage, HPC clusters and a Blue Gene supercomputer and have an aptitude for handling storage and data ?



VLSCI currently has in production as stage 1:

  • 2048 node, 8192 core IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer
  • 80 node, 640 core IBM iDataplex cluster (Intel Nehalem CPUs)
  • ~300TB usable of DDN based IBM GPFS storage plus tape libraries
  • 136 node, 1088 core SGI Altix XE cluster (Intel Nehalem CPUs)
  • ~110TB usable of Panasas storage

There is a refresh to a much larger HPC installation planned for 2012.

Both Intel clusters are CentOS/RHEL 5, the front end and service nodes for the Blue Gene are SuSE SLES 10. The GPFS servers are RHEL5. Panasas runs FreeBSD under the covers.

Job advert


Position no.: 0022139
Employment type: Full-time Fixed Term
Campus: Parkville

Close date: February 3rd, 2011

Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative, Melbourne Research

Salary: HEW 7: $69,608 – $75,350 p.a. or HEW 8: $78,313 – $84,765 p.a. plus 17% superannuation.

The Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI) is a Victorian Government project hosted at The University of Melbourne which aims to establish a world class Life Sciences Compute Facility for Victorian researchers. The Facility operates a number of supercomputers and storage systems dedicated to High Performance Computing. The VLSCI wishes to recruit a Linux Systems Administrator with knowledge of file systems and an interest in working with technologies such as GPFS, TSM, HSM, NFS.

This position is an opportunity to become involved in leading science and computing fields and work as part of a small but self-contained team. Expect to find yourself learning new skills and developing new and innovative solutions to problems that have not yet been identified. You have every opportunity to make a real difference and will need to contribute to a high level of service and creativity.

More Details

Selection criteria and more details are in the Position Description (PDF) here:


Apologies for the URL shortener, the original URL is a horribly long one.. πŸ™

Wordcamp Melbourne 2011

This coming February (26th-27th) there’s going to be “WordCamp Melbourne 2011” held at North Melbourne Town Hall.

If you’re into WordPress – the free and open source personal publishing platform – then you’ll love WordCamp – a casual, locally-organised conference catering both to budding bloggers and experienced developers alike. The first such event to be held in the city, WordCamp Melbourne 2011 features a range of guest speakers including Glenn Todd and Bronson Quick.

I know that my friend Rich Boakes has been enthusiastic about them in the UK so I’m hoping I might be able to make it to this one!

(Hat tip to Kathy Reid for pointing this out on Twitter)

Relicensed All My Flickr Photos – Please Reuse!

After some thinking I’ve decided that my previous choice of the Creative Commons “attribution, non-commercial use, share-alike” (BY-NC-SA) license doesn’t really square with my feelings on free-software and culture in general, so I’ve taken the plunge and relicensed all my photos on Flickr under a simple Creative Commons attribution (BY) license. This means you can reuse any of my photos for any purpose, whether you make Linux distributions, want to make a collage, are looking for media for an advertisment, anything. I’d really get a buzz if you do use them, all I ask is that you credit me.

Here’s a couple of examples (there’s over 500 there as I write this!):

Bee Line Partial lunar eclipse from Melbourne, 26th June 2010 DSC_0079.JPG Senator Kate Lundy talking about Gov2.0 at SFD Melbourne Tree Fern DSC_0162.JPG

DSC_0017.JPG Steve teeing off on Iains birthday round of golf at #Olinda Geeks with phones DSC_0038.JPG Ladybird DSC_0054.JPG