Bonnie++ Results for XFS on Dell E4200 SSD

I’ve been playing with my new work laptop, a Dell E4200 (which I chose as I wanted something light) and thought I’d run Bonnie++ on my XFS /home partition on the SSD (a “SAMSUNG SSD Thin uSATA 128GB M” according to dmesg) to see how it compares to spinning disk. Here’s the results with Ubuntu Intrepid (8.10):

Version 1.03c       ------Sequential Output------ --Sequential Input- --Random-
                    -Per Chr- --Block-- -Rewrite- -Per Chr- --Block-- --Seeks--
Machine        Size K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP  /sec %CP
sys26            2G           68551  27 38896  23           90404  30  1356   6
                    ------Sequential Create------ --------Random Create--------
                    -Create-- --Read--- -Delete-- -Create-- --Read--- -Delete--
              files  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP  /sec %CP
                 16   556   8 +++++ +++   679   7   605   8 +++++ +++   442   5

real    3m56.775s
user    0m0.580s
sys     0m36.930s

So comparing with some old results on my home desktop system seems to show that the block I/O numbers are better, but the file manipulation stuff is much worse! Once I can get btrfs on here I’ll have to try again. πŸ˜‰

OpenMoko in Search of X11 Driver Developers for Glamo

The graphics hardware in the Neo Freerunner (Glamo) is missing support for some of its 3D support, and so the OpenMoko folks are looking for developers who can help them out with this:

Having said that, if someone wants to seriously develop for the glamo, please get in touch with me and we will find a legally correct way to extend the smedia documentation to you.
In fact we have done that in a few cases before already, but I’m not sure how much actual codes have come out of that. I think very little πŸ˜‰ So we need some really serious coders that don’t mind a tough challenge.

Looks like another person to contact might be Graeme Gregory:

Over the next few weeks I shall be working on Xglamo to bring it into the Xorg family of drivers. If people come up with interesting patches while I am working on this I can certainly give them a tryout.

Book Meme

Seeing as everyone else on PLOA is doing it.. πŸ™‚


  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open it to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  • DonÒ€ℒt dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

So here’s mine:

This was spotted quickly, and a patch was shipped, but almost a hundred U.S. government systems in Germany were using unlicensed copies of the software and didn’t get the patch, with the result that hackers were able to get in and steal information, which they are rumoured to have sold to the KGB.

That’s from “Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems” (second edition) by Ross Anderson. I’m on page 76 of 891..

It’s the only book I have with me here for SC08 in Austin, Texas, so you can’t say I rigged it! πŸ™‚

Patent Trolls Attack OpenMoko Project

It appears that the patent trolls Sisvel are attacking the OpenMoko project, and as part of their strategy the project has chosen to pull all of their downloads whilst they remove any support for MP2 and MP3 files.

The short story is that we are in a protracted battle with some patent trolls. Google for Sisvel. In order to get ourselves in a stronger position, we want to make sure no copies/instances/whatever of patent-infested technologies like MP2 and MP3 exist on our servers. Our phones never shipped with end-user MP3 playback features, but we want to use this opportunity to make sure it’s not even in some remote place somewhere.

As Sisvel aren’t the only ones to sue over MPEG related patents (( note that Microsoft won on appeal very recently, reversing the decision )) it really does bring the message home that MPEG is not a safe technology for audio files and that things like Ogg-Vorbis and FLAC are far better (and safer!) choices in the long run.

Dulce et Decorum

Today is the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War, a horrific slaughter of youth from across the world in the name of politics, alliances and patriotism.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owens writing from the front.

Lest we forget..

First Flight on an Airbus A380!

Well I’m now in Los Angeles on my way to SC’08 in Austin, Texas and I’ve got a few minutes to blog about flying here on Qantas’s only A380 before crashing out (if you’ll excuse the pun).

First of all, boy is an A380 big! I’d seen a couple briefly at Singapore but always from a distance. This time seeing one close up at the gate at Tullamarine, next to a 747, really brought it down how big it is. As we were waiting to board a 737 trundled down the taxiway behind it looking for all the world like a toy. Photos will have to wait as I’ve forgotten my USB cable, d’oh!

OK – first for the good points:

  • Quiet – much quieter than a 747 or similar in the cabin!
  • Power sockets – standard Aussie ones, hidden down below the center armrest of the seat in front.
    Self service “bar” at the back of the plane with soft drinks, plenty of apples, snacks.
  • Wide-screen safety video. πŸ™‚ What I mean is that even in economy you’ve got a widescreen aspect ratio LCD which looks very nice. It also works all the time, you don’t need to wait for the staff to turn on the entertainment system. This leads nicely on to..
  • Skycam! There’s a camera mounted at the top of the tail which provides streaming video that you can see from your LCD screen (in the “Information” menu section). It also shows how big the A380 is when you notice that it’s about level with the roof of the terminal buildings at Tullamarine! It’s impressive to watch during taxi, takeoff and landing and you even can get good views of sunset and sunrise when you cross the terminator going from Australia to the US. Very boring at night, no stars visible, just the flash of the navigation lights..
  • Seats in economy seem well built and nicely designed, and the screen is great.

Now the not so good bits:

  • Economy class seats don’t seem any larger than other planes (not that surprising I guess).
  • The network point in the seat doesn’t work – I could get a 100Mb/s link negotiated but nothing responded to DHCP and there were no packets at all visible. πŸ™
  • Donna and I were seated on opposite sides of the isle in row 68, the staff reckoned that might be because that’s usually the back row in a 747 and they’re sets of two and we’d have been together in that configuration. On an A380 it’s 3-4-3 all the way back.
  • Donna’s seatbelt didn’t work. She noticed just before takeoff that it wasn’t keeping its tension and would just slack off if you pulled gently. Fortunately the middle seat in the row of 3 I was in was free.
  • Before Donna moved the sound stopped working on her entertainment system. So it did for a couple of other people and one person behind me had theirs lock up. Mine seemed to restart itself once when I was selecting a menu but otherwise worked OK. So obviously some teething issues around that.
  • When the cabin lights are right down for sleeping on a long haul flight you can no longer tell whether a toilet is occupied or not because the indicators aren’t lit! People resort to trying the handles all the time which is disconcerting if you’re in one..

So all in all an interesting experience, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I had terrible restless legs at one point I’d have slept a lot more than I did!

Qantas are apparently going to be taking delivery of a second A380 quite soon and are aiming for about 20 of them in the fleet all up.

Android Copies What You Type…

…not in a malicious way, but in a rather amusing and potentially destructive one.. πŸ™‚

It seems as though there is a /system/sbin/sh running in the background with
/dev/console as stdin. That could explain why typing “reboot” and then enter (in
ConnectBot or otherwise) will reboot your phone. If you type “telnetd”, telnet into
your phone, and look at the /proc/XX/fd tree for the /system/sbin/sh process, you can
see it clearly.

Until you’ve grabbed the RC30 update that fixes this it’s probably best not to do much sysadmin work from one, especially if that involves rm -rf foo.. πŸ˜‰ This was via LWN, which has the priceless comment:

I wonder how many android phones were running at half speed after someone replied “yes” to someone…


Technology predictions

I’ll add three to the ones that Stewart just posted:

  • Two years: The distinction between laptops, netbooks and mobile phones will get even more blurred with consumers demanding mobiles with more power and lighter and lighter laptops/netbooks;
  • Two years: Tivolised/Androidised Linux mobiles will grow, but there will be a few more open Linux phones around (mainly due to the convergence of mobiles, laptops and netbooks);
  • Five years: Peak oil will start to affect pricing of consumer electronics directly through raw materials.