Saturday, 15 November 2014

Formal key transitiion to 4096 bit key

Following mini-Debconf and submitting my key to keyring-maint, here's a copy of the note marking the transition. I do retain a copy of the old key: it has not been compromised or revoked (until I'm sure my new key reaches the Debian keyring) and my vote in the GR is validly signed with the old key.

Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2014 08:11:53 +0000
From: "Andrew M.A. Cater"
Subject: Debian RT - new key for amacater
User-Agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

Hash: SHA1

pub   1024D/E93ADE7B 2001-07-04
      Key fingerprint = F3FA 2752 1327 7904 846D  C0DE 3233 C127 E93A DE7B
uid                  Andrew Cater (Andrew M.A. Cater)
sub   1024g/E8C8CC00 2001-07-04

pub   4096R/22EF1F0F 2014-08-29
      Key fingerprint = 5596 5E39 93E0 6E2B 5BA5  CD84 4AA8 FC24 22EF 1F0F
uid                  Andrew M.A. Cater (Andy Cater)
uid                  Andrew M.A. Cater (non-Debian email)
sub   4096R/923AB77E 2014-08-29

This is intended to replace the old key by the new key as part of a key transition from old, insecure keys

All the best,

Version: GnuPG v1


This because Google (and Planet Debian) are more reliable than my email inbox.

[Keys exchanged at the mini-Debconf have now been signed with the new 4096 bit key]


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Still at the mini-Debconf in Cambridge

Lots of talks, hopefully being live streamed.

Lots of side chats going on - also a room full of folk typing on laptops while lectures are going on - multi-tasking, as ever.

New ideas bouncing around as people see interesting possibilities - all good fun, as ever.

Friday, 7 November 2014

At mini-Debconf Cambridge:

Much unintentional chaos and hilarity and world class problem solving yesterday.

A routine upgrade from Wheezy - Jessie died horribly on my laptop when UEFI variable space filled, leaving No Operating System on screen.

Cue much running around: Chris Boot, Colin Walters, Steve dug around, booted the system usng rescue CD and so on. Lots more digging, including helpful posts by mjg59 - a BIOS update may solve the problem.

Flashing BIOS did clear the variables and variable space and it all worked perfectly thereafter. This had the potential for turning the laptop into a brick under UEFI (but still working under legacy boot).

As it is, it all worked perfectly - but where else would you get _the_ Grub maintainer, 2 x UEFI experts and a broken laptop all in the same room ?

If it hadn't happened yesterday, it would have happened at home and I'd have been left with nothing. As it is, we all learnt/remembered stuff and had a useful time fixing it.
Here at the Debian mini-conf in Cambridge at ARM.

16 developers sat in near-total silence, the only noise keyboards and a server sitting next to me.

Some of them I've seen only on video presentations: one I first knew 20 years ago, one wrote all the HOWTO's I knew a couple of years before that - and was the second Linux user ever.

The release team is in another room behind me: Jessie froze the night before last - whatever else will be said/done, we're on the path to release.

It feels very strange and comforting to see Debian in the round: to be able to talk to someone you might argue with in email and see a real person.

And HUGE thanks to all at ARM for time, effort, chasing around and to Sledge and Jo  Jo most of all for being stuck on a front desk waiting for people :)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Not quite the last of the 32 bit machines ...

I've just got back my daughter's netbook. About 5 years old. Originally cost me £100 as part of a deal with my ISP.

1.6GHz Atom N270 processor, 2GB of memory, 120GB of Samsung hard disk.
It's a "Freedom" netbook - almost certainly made by Quanta. Atheros chipset for wifi. [A9285 for wifi, Realtek 8101E for Ethernet]

This is the sort of machine that is probably going into landfill round about now. It's been running XP and mostly used by my father, who has given up on it now it won't update.

I used the unofficial Debian 7.5 cd which includes firmware because I was going to be using wifi to install Debian and because I didn't know what wifi chipset was in there. I had previously tested and run a Debian live USB image but faced problems - the cursor wouldn't play although the KDE desktop appeared fine.

An expert install selecting KDE worked fine but produced immediate problems: cursor was erratic, the screen blacked out and I couldn't switch it off - I had to remove the mains power and battery to kill it.

A second install over the top of this, wiping out the first install but selecting LXDE worked perfectly and works well. It's possible that a full KDE desktop is stressing this litle 10 inch laptop's 2GB and display memory a bit too much.

I'm very pleased to have rescued this machine and got a Linux that "just works" albeit a bit more slowly than I'm used to. Even if it gets used just as a terminal for amateur radio / a spare emergency machine in a corner somewhere, it's better than  being junked. Best of all, installing vrms shows that, although I enabled non-free in the initial install, this machine requires no non-free firmware so has saved me the cost of buying an FSF approved secondhand Thinkpad.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Debian - last of the 32 bit machines here just given away

Just passed on my only Intel procesor machine - second hand, from my father - and the last of the 32 bit machines (because my daughter's netbook is elsewhere at the moment, running XP unti April 8th)
 It's probably about ten years since I first bought a 64 bit machine and I've had and passed on quite a few machines but this does feel like the end of an era.

I still have 32 bit ARM machines - like most of the world - but I'm more than confident that, as soon as I can get hold of a 64 bit ARM, Debian will run from day one.

There is a Compaq 386SX laptop in the garage somewhere - it ran Debian 2.0 and still would if I plugged it in and the disk spun up. 4MB of memory and an 80M disk, It was installed from floppies -  that seems  so long ago now. We've come a long way in the last 19 years and should be proud of it