Smolt and School

A status update.

Smolt's gotten some pretty big or small changes since the last time anything's been mentioned. I've been spending alot of time fixing up random issues in the logic level, because there are a suprising number of edge cases we've come across. The more I work with Smolt, the more I realize this is alpha software. It certainly won't be that way soon enough though. It certainly is in a far better state to download and try out on your local machine than it was before. The only catch is that it requires DB specific things from MySQL, and the requirement is only going to get worse, not better. I hope we could switch to Postgresql, but that remains to be seen.

Today I worked on two big changes. Firstly, everyone's been sharing links to their Smolt profiles. Since I hate security through obscurity, I'll come out and say right away, DON'T. The link contains your UUID which identifies your machine. Currently it's the only authentication token needed to update your machine. Seeing how the fine work on FAS is maturing, I plan on added that as an optional security layer. In the meantime, there is a way to share your profile using a different token that gives the viewer read only access. It's in the source control, so all we need is a certain someone to deploy the change.

Secondly, I fixed a pretty critical bug. Browsing item information by Hardware class presented by HAL is a pretty heavy operation on the database. Well, it's cached too. Practically everything slow is cached now, so it's unlikely there'll be any showstoppers in the future where something doesn't work. After I make the information presented cleaner and more useful, I'm going to experiment with some custom query generators that will be of better use to hardware vendors, like seeing how many 'live' systems as opposed to dead systems are still using their hardware.

As for school, well it's going to get busy. I have ultimate bum schedule at least. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have one hour of class at 1 PM. I could feasibly be drunk Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, and still make it to class. Not that I do these things.

The class lineup? As if you actually care :P
Social Implications of Computing Technology
Professional German 1
Reading Literary Texts (that's in German)
Swedish I
Structure of Programming Languages

Finally, whoever manages the Peoplesoft system at the University of Pittsburgh must be a God amongst Oracle hackers. It runs decently fast, is not hard to navigate, does not break common usage patterns, and ultimately lets you get the information you need. Some things require one or two more clicks than absolutely necessary, but overall the experience is good. I think a little village in Norway froze over.


Well, my internship is coming to an end.

Of all things, I enjoyed working on Smolt the most. Turbogears and SQLAlchemy are a blast to play with, and make life so easy. Maybe I'm spoiled now, but I doubt I could ever do another web application in Java again. I don't see a reason to do so.

I see alot of blogs pointing out things about Smolt, that to me is just simply old news. So allow me to highlight what is going on with Smolt. Please keep in mind these are in the development version currently.

  • SELinux stats are collected
  • Ratings are collected, although the implementation is a little buggy.
  • The server has been rewritten to be a little more robust, so it will be easy to make some widescale improvements pretty quickly.
  • Smolt is compatible with Fedora, RHEL, openSuSe, SLED, Debian, Ubuntu, Archlinux, CRUX, Frugalware, Mythdora, and Mythvantage. We still need help packaging for these distros though.
We plan on getting out a community release of the client in the next couple of days, such that it's possible to start packaging things. I can guarantee that this client will work with any version of the server that we are running, although we haven't set any deprecation dates yet.

I also have plans to make the web interface more informative. Right now it only spews out a ton of junk collected from hal, and we really need to make it give you more information in human terms. There'll also be links to a wiki where users can comment on any part of their system, so others can find out how to fix things that are broken, or where to complain to their hardware vendor.

On the vendor side, we plan on giving more information and statistics that will be useful to you. Want to know how many people can't get your wireless card working? Just check Smolt.

We'll have some exciting things ready for Fedora 8.


You take a glass...

1) Fill half way with baby killer (cheap vodka)
2) Fill near the top with cherry ginger ale
3) Add a splash of diet coke and a splash of red wine

Et voila, you have a drink that will do more than just kill babies.