What's Up? (April 2022)

Posted on Apr 17, 2022

So, I guess it’s time for a new status update post! I find this idea super cool, especially in times in which I feel a bit less active on the FOSS side of things. Let’s get started, shall we?

Happy Easter!

First things first! Happy Easter Sunday everyone! Our Lord was raised from the dead, overcoming death to save us from our own. Let us all rejoice in the Glory of God!

Coding

Woah, since last time there’s been so much chaos in my code. I’ve released scalc 1.0.0, and every single other project has seen releases as well; have a look at my sourcehut projects page because I’m feeling pretty lazy about posting links for every single them.

And part of that laziness comes from the fact that some of the releases required patches because I had messed things up! schain 3.0.1 is probably a good example of this. That revision release fixes a bug I had introduced in 3.0.0 just because I had read the output of the program incorrectly!

Not feeling sorry… these things happen! Hey, I can’t be perfect.

And you might be aware of my effort to preserve strlcpy() in a sane, reusable way. I wrote a post about it, here.

If you follow my non-project git repos, you may have noticed that I’ve been fighting against the effects of using or not using set -e on some shell scripts I’ve written. I wanna write about that mess soon, because although I usually praise POSIX shell scripting as a tool worth of learning… it isn’t perfect, it carries a lot of legacy baggage on its back… and stuff like set -e is one of those things I feel would benefit from a rework especially regarding documentation. And no, bash’s extensions to set don’t seem to be the way to me either.

In a nutshell, those git logs show me going back and forth with set -e in ways that I’d probably wouldn’t if these were “serious” projects like the ones I’ve set up mailing lists and trackers for. Nope, not a series of commits I’m proud of at all.

Currently I’ve been wrapping my mind around an idea I’ve got maybe a month ago. I’m mostly answering the question “What is this for?,” more than I’m writing any code for it… but I have laid down some ideas in some code already. I don’t know if anyone else goes through the very initial stages like I do, but I do mix writing up notes, writing some mock-up code, and imagining how I would use that program… and then how others might too as well. The actual “design,” i.e. modules, data structures, I/O, etc., comes afterwards… and of course, well, this is meant to be FOSS, so I’m so sure that the first public code will look totally different to what an eventual 1.0 version would!

But I love that, to be honest, seeing how your initial idea matures commit by commit into something that retains the initial thoughts, but has grown into something much better. I can assure this has happened with all the projects I’ve published so far… and you know, the git log never lies, honey!1

Small Rant on the Linux Kernel

OK, I don’t wanna spend a whole blog post on this, so I’m just including it on here. I was affected by the ath9k bug in kernel versions 5.16.15, 5.16.16, 5.17, and 5.17.1 that rendered using any Atheros 9000-series Wi-Fi card useless. The patch was merged into 5.17.2, but the nice Arch maintainers backported it into the distribution version of 5.17.1 because it was nasty.2

Apparently someone had totally butchered how I/O worked within the driver so the affected wireless cards reset themselves as soon as a (very low) threshold of network traffic was hit. A nasty bug because you didn’t realize it was there until you actually used the internet.

The kernel dev team is amazing and I adore the transparency on the LKML, but seriously such a patch (which just consisted of a rollback of a previous commit; no new code required) shouldn’t take four stable releases to be pushed to upstream.

Also, I find the way that the different branches relate to each other too confusing. I guess it’s unavoidable in a project of the magnitude of the Linus kernel, but I remember scratching my head a lot while following where the patch was being merged to and how it was released, as I said, four stable releases later.

I think this is the first serious kernel bug affecting me in many, many years. I can’t remember when the last one hit me, seriously. This is good news, of course… and while I complain here about an issue that’s been solved already, who knows what nasty critical bugs are affecting other people right now.

My complaint, I guess, is that this bug wouldn’t have happened if the commit that broke the I/O had been reviewed thoroughly in the first place. Again, the patch that solved this bug was a simple rollback… the faulty commit didn’t really solve any previous issue (it “refactored” code). I know, I know, it’s volunteer work… but seriously, breaking the driver for a whole series of models of Atheros wireless cards massively used in all sorts of computers?

Just venting here, don’t take me too seriously on this.

Life

OK, this is the harder part of this post. Life’s been a bit weird lately. There’s the ongoing economic and political crisis due to current events, and that makes some things in life harder. I think we’re all sharing in it in some way or another, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone. I pray to God peace will come and that the ambitions of political leaders stop costing the lives of innocent people.

On the other hand, I’ve been considering moving from Pamplona, possibly back to Barcelona. Don’t get me wrong, Pamplona is a very nice place, very quiet, and I needed a season in a place like this to put a lot of things in order in my life. But… my priorities are shifting (I guess that’s a sign of growth!) and I’m wondering about what’s my mission in this life and that also means where should I pursue it…

No answers yet, but I’m feeling that change of gears in my heart. Again, I feel it as a good thing, especially after some years under a lot of stress just to get by and literally survive. Thank God the storm has ended, but now… where should the boat go?

One of the key factors is weather… more precisely, sunlight conditions. OK, you might have this image of Spain being all sunny, all hot all year round, but that’s not true at all. Here up north the weather can get pretty darn harsh already in fall, not to speak about winter. It gets cold, it’s very rainy, but the worst of it is the lack of sunlight because the sky is covered in dense, gray clouds.

Some people are more affected than others by this, but to me it can be psychologically crushing. Fortunately we’re in spring now, DST saves my mental health a lot, so I can take a needed rest from the literal winter darkness that hits this region every six months.

However, let’s face it… Navarre (the region of which Pamplona is the capital) is probably the best choice economically speaking in Spain. This is the Spanish equivalent to German Bavaria, so to speak.

I would move to Florida, though (and I even have some friends there)… but nope, I’ve got not enough money to enjoy the Little Havana scene all day, with sun, some hurricanes, and summer clothes most of the year… 🤣 I know, I’m probably operating from a cliche here. Don’t blame me… Hey, one can dream, can’t I?

So in summary I’m seeking answers. I know God will help me, so I’m calm… but the wait does sometimes feel long. In the meantime, I should focus on what I already have right now, do my job, code, dance a bit, enjoy this small town, and keep on healing and growing from the inside out. In general, though, I’m super grateful for this second chance I’ve been handed.

And That Would Be It!

And that would be it for this month’s Status update! I have some posts planned so I think this won’t be the last you’ll read from me this month. I wish you all a great week, lots of blessings, and love! 😘


  1. If you’re not an evil person who uses git rebase on public branches, that is. If you do, you’re evil! 😌 ↩︎

  2. “Use an LTS kernel!” Nope, the LTS kernel had backported the faulty driver too. Check the bugtracker ticket. ↩︎