First beta release of Vacation

Vacation beta1 is the first beta for the first bug fix only release in the 1.2.7 branch.

It contains only two bug fixes, firstly adding the Auto-Submitted: header as required by RFC 3834 and secondly stopping vacation munging the GECOS information of the user and instead just passing it in a quoted form for the MTA to deal with.

Both of these patches are from Dr Tilmann Bubeck who is the packager of Vacation for the Fedora project. I’m very grateful to him for his time and patience in submitting these!

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

Please Vote Formally

In Australia voting is compulsory, but often people who can’t be bothered do an “informal” ballot, one which does not meet the criteria for a definite vote. Apparently the former Labour leader Mark Latham was asking people to vote informaly “to send a message” – but that doesn’t make any sense at all. Robert Norris’s post on why he’s voting Green has a nice quote from the Conscience Vote blog:

And when you go to the polls tomorrow, don’t – don’t, I beg you – cast an informal vote. If you can’t stand either of the major parties, put your vote where your heart is – and donÒ€ℒt let anyone tell you that it won’t count. Because you can bet that when the figures finally come in from the Electoral Commission, strategists and analysts from both sides will be going over the fine detail. Every vote that bleeds to the Greens or a minor party is a signal of discontent with the status quo.

And you’re not “sending a message”, regardless of what Mark Latham tells you. You’re just lumped in with every ballot paper that was incorrectly filled in, illegible or just plain doodled on. If you want to send a message, do it with a valid vote.

Every single vote matters.

So no matter who you want to vote for, go do it, and do it properly.

Why I’m Voting Green on Saturday 21st August

This coming Saturday, 21st August 2010 will be my first opportunity to participate in Australian democracy. My citizenship came through a few months after the last election, had I’d been able to vote then I’d have cast my vote for Labour and against John Howard.

However, with the Australian Labour Party (ALP) lurching to the right on a number of issues such as immigration, continuing the failed intervention in the Northern Territory, failing to legitimise same-gender marriage, and their crazy idea of mandatory Internet censorship combined with a new do-nothing strategy on climate change (“let’s hold a citizens assembly to tell us what to do, just like we did in 2008!”) means my conscience does not permit me to give them my first preference. They at least have some vision with the NBN, but that’s about it.

As for the Coalition, well they’re just laughable. A leader who doesn’t understand science or technology, policies that promise to deliver half the current speeds of ADSL2+, obscene exaggeration and fear-mongering about refugees coming in by boat (here’s some much needed facts on the matter), wanting to make bible classes compulsory in schools (I suspect aimed at the even more right wing Family First to whom they are directing preferences) and even worse policies on climate change and greenhouse gases. Even more FAIL than Labour. πŸ™

So, I’m voting Green because:

  • They want to enshrine basic human rights in law (Australia is the only western democracy without legal protection of freedom of speech)
  • They’re against the mandatory Internet censorship scheme
  • They take the science of climate change seriously, and the challenges it poses
  • They believe that people who love each other should be able to get married, irrespective of orientation
  • They wish to treat refugees as people, not some mythical threat
  • They understand free, open source software and use it themselves

Most importantly I’m voting Green because THEY WANT YOU TO THINK! Not just about their policies, or other parties policies, but to think about how you direct your preferences. Sure they have preference deals, but what most impressed me was when they were announced Bob Brown said:

I don’t like back room preference negotiations with other parties. In fact I’m sick of it. And I think that we should be very well aware here that voters can get misled into believing that they should put their preferences where the Labor party or the Liberal party or the Nation party or the Greens or somebody else says. No that’s not true. People have a right to put, and I think an obligation to think about it, and put their preferences where they want to. That’s what’s important.

Watch the video on that ABC news article to hear that, it’s sadly not in the text of the report. They also have the best election advert that never was – The Gruen Transfer has been getting two advertising agencies a week to do an advert each for a political party and this one won the week they did The Greens.

Now I’m not under any illusions that they’ll form the next government, but voting for them will send a signal that I’m not happy with either of the major parties, and they should (hopefully) get the balance of power in the Senate.

Vacation Migrated to Git at SourceForge

After a long hiatus I’ve restarted work on Vacation and have kicked off proceedings by migrating from SVN to Git (which SourceForge started offering about 18 months ago) (( I ended up using the svn2git Ruby Gem to do this as the usual “git svn clone” didn’t seem to work that well. )). This means you can now clone the Git repo to do work with and have the complete history of the project available to you, even if you’re not connected to the Internet at the time.

You can find more information on using Git with SVN here:

I’ve realised from this that a lot of the bug fixes that had been done on the 1.2.7 branch had not been merged back into trunk whilst working in SVN, so I’ve now made those changes to the ‘master’ (what Git calls SVN’s trunk) and pushed those back to SourceForge.

I’m hoping to roll a release in the near future to pick up a few changes on the 1.2.7 branch that should really be out there.

Oracle HPC Going Going Gone ?

After El Reg’s article on HPC going down the gurgler at Oracle/Sun now HPC Wire are suggesting the same:

I, myself, have spoken with two credible sources that told me HPC engineering talent is also being axed. Although this has been rumored to have been going on for some time, the recent RIF last week was said to cut particularly deep.

One thing I hadn’t noticed though was:

If I still haven’t convinced you that Oracle is cutting HPC from its lineup, consider that the company has no exhibit at the Supercomputing Conference (SC10) in November, and as far as I can tell, is offering no presentations. Given that this is the largest HPC exhibition of the year, this should be a clear signal that Oracle is going to be leaving the teraflopping and petaflopping to others.

Now back at SC’09 in Portland I asked the Sun folks (whilst the whole Sun/Oracle deal was going through) what they thought, and they said they reckoned it would be OK because Oracle had already told them they would have a booth at SC10. Well sadly it seems that’s not the case and to me that is the clearest indication that Oracle are exiting the HPC market. Of course they won’t say that (Oracle don’t seem to say much at all, even to the OpenSolaris folks, and when they do it doesn’t see to be very nice).

Software Freedom Day Melbourne Photo Shoot

Last week I was invited to take some publicity shots for the Software Freedom Day Melbourne crew at the State Library of Victoria Experimedia centre. Asides from occasional complaints from my camera (the infamous Nikon ERR CHA happened 3 times) I managed to get about 200 shots which I’ve whittled down to 26 of the best and put them up as a set on Flickr.

DSC_0162.JPG DSC_0021.JPG DSC_0165.JPG

All done with free software (well, asides from the firmware in the Nikon D90) – Digikam rocks! πŸ˜‰