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blosxom


Contact/Impressum

       
Sat, 25 Dec 2004
Number of GPL violations still rising

Over the last couple of days I've again verified a number of GPL violations. It's a real pity that those companies still don't get the message.o

It hurts especially, that there are two cases (Netgear, Siemens) where companies with whom we already had a amicable agreement published new devices that again don't comply with the GPL (Netgear WGT634U and Siemens M740-AV). Apparently they don't really care despite the fact they should know better.

Also, we have another number of cases where companies signed an agreement with us, but failed to fulfill that agreement only a couple of months later with exactly the devices mentioned in the agreement.

I'm sick of those cases. What the hell is so difficult to put the source code and the GPL license text on a CD-ROM that has 500MB unused and ships with the device anyway?

[ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

Thu, 23 Dec 2004
Preparing the 21st Chaos Communication Congress

As every year, the Chaos Communication Congress takes place in Berlin, Germany.

For six years, I'm part of the team that takes care of audio and video recording and streaming. Since this year I've become head of the a/v documentation project, I decided to use a 100% Linux based solution instead of the Apple Quicktime stuff that we've had for the last couple of years.

Thanks to the great ffmpeg software, we can even encode four different streams on a off-the-shelf Pentium IV.

Today, I've been with the technicians at the congress center who set up the PA and lighting. This was to make sure everything really reflects our demands, and we have the correct audio signal delivered to the appropriate place, etc.

Setup of the congress will continue over the holidays. Especially the NOC (Network Operations Centre) will have a hard time setting up the internal network for about 3000 attendees, certainly each bringing more than one networked device on average.

[ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

Wed, 22 Dec 2004
ffmpeg is undocumented, ffserver broken

I've been experimenting a lot with ffmpeg and ffserver over the last couple of days. The fact that ffmpeg is very little documented is a pity, but not exactly a problem for someone experienced with free software and C development (use the source, Luke).

However, the ffserver program seems to be horribly broken in a number of ways. Independent of the kind of configuration, it regularly segfaults, glibc complains about double-free's, and valgrind or Electric Fence have numerous complaints.

All information you can find after browsing through mail archives, is that it's apparently broken for a number of years. Maybe I'll spend some time at it and fix it at least partially. So I spent about two days to familiarize myself with the source of libavformat, libavcodec, ffmpeg and ffserver. It's not exactly easy to understand, but I think I now got a good understanding of what's going on where.

Another fundamental insufficiency of ffmpeg seems to be that it cannot put the output of one codec into multiple output files. So let's say I want to encode some MPEG2 video and AC3 audio. This is to be written to a .vob file and at the same time sent as a transport stream over the network. The only way you can achieve this now is to encode the input data twice - which I cannot afford due to CPU limitation.

So I was pondering something like streaming the output over multicast RTP plus running something like rtpdump on the same machine to create the local file.

As a summary, I think it's a pity that there is good encoding software like ffmpeg, and that nobody volunteered yet to fix the remaining issues required to turn it into a good streaming and recording solution.

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Thu, 09 Dec 2004
More and more cases

Today has been a sad day with regard to gpl-violations.org. I just ordered five potentially infringing devices from three different vendors. Apparently the message has not been conveyed to all respective parties yet...

So let's see how they will react if someone actually is in a position to ban their products from all-important pre-christmas sale.

This really sucks. At some point I want to start coding on a day without having to have information in my inbox about yet another gpl violation case.

[ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

Sun, 05 Dec 2004
linux-bangalore 2003
I've just returned from lb/2003, the major linux conference in India. I've had a great time there.
Besides giving two presentations (one about SMP effects in kernel programming and another about the netfilter internals), I've done some travelling to Mysore and Mumbai.
Thanks again to the lb/2003 organizers. They did a great job comforting the speakers in any possible way.

[ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

Sat, 04 Dec 2004
Shopping in Bangalore

Today I went shopping in Bangalore. The first thing I had to learn, is that you need a lot of travel through the heavy traffic in order to get to the respective stores.

Secondly, buying/finding a Sari (Including the blouse and the Petticoat) is not as easy as buying women's clothes in the western world. The choli (blouse) is made-to-measure, and they require more information than the usual under bust / over bust / waist measurements. So I only bought one this time, let's first see how it fits Elisabeth before I buy more items that in the end don't fit.

Getting Hindi learner books (apart from the usual Devanagari alphabet training) in Bangalore turned out to be more difficult than expected. Students tend to get the books from the Schools, and the local language is Kannada. But finally we managed to get them, too.

Finding Bollywood DVD's is obviously the most easy task ;) I got a stack of 8, and I'll probably be buying more of them once I get to Mumbai on Tuesday.

[ /personal | permanent link ]

Fri, 03 Dec 2004
Linux Bangalore is Over

The three-day lb2004 is now over. About 80 presentations from all areas of free software, ranging from hardcore technical subjects to user-experience.

One of the interesting parts was that one developer managed to port the "DotGNU Portable.net" framework to the Simputer in only three days during the conference. Apparently this spawned a lot of media interest.

In the end, the conference went really fine, if it wasn't for the strange rules and regulations of the IISC that tried to undermine the event.

Oh yes, than there is the air condition to which I probably owe catching a cold last year - and this year again :(

[ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

Thu, 02 Dec 2004
Day one of Linux Bangalore 2004

So today lb2004 started, but unfortunately there are lots of problems, some of them really outstandingly ridiculous.

The less problematic issue was that even though the zd1201 driver now works, the access points would not actually get a link to a switch, independent of the kind of cable. So the whole wireless network idea was basically abandoned.

As for Internet access at the conference, there was none. There's not even CDMA reception on top of the roof, and even though that the auditorium is part of the Indian Institute of Sciences there is no connection to the IISC LAN within the complex. Also, they IISC apparently has so little bandwidth, that it's insufficient for their own purpose, let aside connecting some conference.

Then the really interesting thing came up: Because of about 2800 attendees, there was an 500 seat additional auditorium built. Apparently the IISC gave permission to build the auditorium tent on their ground, even charged money for using the ground - but they informed the lb2004 organizers that they were not allowed to use it. They've only given permission to build the auditorium, not to actually use it to give any presentations in there, or even use it only as a lounge.

Believe it or not, it became worse. Someone wanted to fetch food from the catering to the speaker lounge. He was stopped by a security guard, stating that in the room officially designated as speaker lounge by the IISC, there was no food permitted, and a fine would apply if anyone actually tried to do so.

Oh yes, and they suddenly introduced a new rule, active on 1st of December, that as soon as there are more than 25 cars parked on the grounds, another fine would apply.

This is just incredibly ridiculous. This is the Indian Institute of Science, and the conference is held in exactly the same premises for the third time. None of those issues came up in the previous years.

Also, this is the same IISC which boasts himself to have denied an event with Dr. Kalam (India's president and one of the biggest promoters of Free and Open Source in India) at the J.N.Tata Auditorium.

It's very hard to understand that they just want to sabotage that kind of event in any possible way. It makes me feel sick and sad. Somebody should organize a demonstration. Call off half a day and make a 3000 attendee protest in front of the office of the director of the IISC.

[ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

Tue, 30 Nov 2004
Visiting Infosys

Today, the international speakers of LB/2004 were invited to visit the sponsor Infosys, apparently India's largest IT outsourcing company.

They've been growing from 7 to 35,000 engineers very rapidly, and their Bangalore campus is certainly the most luxurious and westernized part of India I've seen so far (not that I've seen much of India either).

Anyway, we were informed about their recent Linux and FOSS related activities, met their internal InfyLUG (Infosys Linux User Group), met one of the seven founders and Andi Kleen gave a lecture about the kernel development process, that was attended by 300 employees and streamed to all the other Infosys campuses.

[ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

Making a broken ZyDAS zd1201 based USB Wireless work

It's amazing what kind of strange and broken USB devices there are. Here at Linux Bangalore, they've got a bunch of 'combo USB WLAN and Flash Disk Sticks' that turned out to be TwinMOS B241 devices. But let's forget about this for a moment and join me on my journey...

They ship with a Linux driver preinstalled onto the flash disk. Unfortunately that driver consists of some hacked wlan-ng driver. For most people who've worked with wlan-ng, they know that it's overly complex, and not really the standard Linux way of doing things.

That modified wlan-ng source code would only build for 2.4.x, the machines here are running Fedora Core 3.

Also, the machines would totally lock up their USB stack as soon as you would enable the WLAN part, even without any driver.

Since the wlan-ng was a modified prism2 USB driver, I though I could somehow merge the changes into the orinoco_usb driver that is in the standard kernel.

After some deeper look, it turned out that the device has no relation with Intersil, and definitely doesn't have a Prism2 chip on the PCB, so my tries to get this working were useless.

Apparently, they didn't even do 'copy+paste', but they did 'edit and forget', i.e. forget about prism2 devices and only support some totally different chipset without actually changing file names or comments in the driver.

So I opened one of the devices and found a AU9254A21-CBS (4 port USB hub), a K9F1G08UOM (the Flash memory for the USB drive), a IC1114-F48LQ (usb storage controller for the flash), and some unknown chip labelled ZyDAS ARM. Also there was a Cyprus semiconductor chip that I though of the EZ-USB controller that connects the alleged prism2 to the USB bus. This fits the driver design, since it has to download some 'bootup code' to the usb device before being able to use it.

After some further analysis, the Cyprus CY62137CV30LL-70BVI turned out to be some SRAM chip, and the ZyDAS ARM the real 802.11 MAC. And luckily, some people are working on a very clean 2.6 style stand-alone driver.

And the driver even worked after just adding the USB device ID to it's list of known devices, at least on little endian platforms.

If the devices specs or documentation would have told us that it is a ZD1201, the driver clearly indicated that it has no relation with prism2 or somebody who wrote the driver actually had a clue how to do this, this would have saved me about four hours of time, at least.

Oh yes, and the usb stack lockup comes from violating the USB specification and only supporting one particular flavour of USB bus enumeration. So nobody actually ever tested it for USB spec compliance, even though there are compliance tests available by the USB forum. *sigh*

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Sat, 27 Nov 2004
Make CyberJack drivers issue a key-press confirmation beep

This is a very useful feature, especially for blind people. Unfortunately there is no unique way of issuing some beep sound on Linux-based systems, so there needs to be some magic that determines whether running under X11 or not and call the appropriate code for beeping.

[ /linux/cyberjack | permanent link ]

Successful TomTom Visit

As indicated before, TomTom B.V. has invited Christian and me to visit them at their offices. Apart from some consulting/training regarding Free Software Licenses and the Free Software Community, they were particularly interested in getting us involved with their Linux kernel related development.

I stressed the fact that it is very important to clean up all the drivers, make them use standard interfaces and eventually get them merged to the mainline kernel. As it seems, they agree and want to contract one or some of the OpenTom developers to do so.

[ /linux/opentom | permanent link ]

Leaving for Linux-Bangalore/2004

I'm at the moment packing my suitcase, and I'll be sitting in the plane about 24 hours from now. Do not expect any fast email replies or IRC presence of me before December 9th.

[ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

Sun, 21 Nov 2004
Never ride trains on weekends

If I'm ever about to travel by train on a weekend, please somebody remind me not to do so. All these crowds trying to find available seats, incredibly busy, delayed trains, ...

Travelling during the week is just so much more convenient.

[ /personal | permanent link ]

KNF Kongress: Meeting old friends

Today I've given my two gpl related presentations at the annual KNF Kongress. Apparently it helped some people to understand legal requirements of dealing with various free software licenses, which is good.

Also, I was a the OpenTom presentation and could it actually see working with a 2.6.x kernel, sound, framebuffer, USB keyboard, USB CD-ROM and even playing some low-res-movies with mplayer on the console. Great work.

Apart from that, I was just chatting with a lot of people. As a side-note, I've also mentioned the CCCB's current search for a pc-based logic analyzer that either comes with developer documentation or Linux software. People suggested of building the logic analyzer on our own, by using available FPGA's, some SRAM and a USB interface. If you think about it, this actually sounds quite feasible. Now I'll do some research on FPGA's that ship with a free development environment, unlike the proprietary stuff shipped by Altera & Co :(

[ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

Thu, 18 Nov 2004
Two presentations at KNF Kongress coming up

I'll be giving two presentations at the upcoming KNF Kongress 2004, entitled "The GNU GPL Revisited" and "Copyright helps Copyleft".

Also, Christian Daniel from the OpenTom group is going to present on his re-engineering efforts.

If you happen to live in southern Germany, it's probably a good idea to check out the yet small but great KNF Kongress. Looking forward to meeting you there.

[ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

I'm pleased to present at Linux Bangalore 2004

Following up my presence last year's Linux Bangalore 2003, I'm very pleased to again be invited to present at this year's incarnation.

Unfortunately I had to shift the main focus of my presentations a bit towards political/legal issues, so there's one presentation about How to interact with the Free Software Community, one about The GPL is not public domain, and for all the tech savvy guys, there's A tour through the Linux 2.6 network stack.

I'm happy to present on those political and legal issues, because I think this is the opportunity to get this kind of knowledge into the Indian IT outsourcing industry, before it is too late (like apparently happened with most of the Taiwanese embedded Linux vendors).

I'm happy to see an increasing number of high profile speakers at Linux Bangalore, and it's now becoming (to the best of my knowledge) a big internationally recognized Linux event.

[ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

Wed, 17 Nov 2004
More work on the REINER SCT CyberJack drivers

I'm not sure if I did mention it on this blog, but I've been contracted by REINER SCT to work on a Linux driver for their CyberJack series of smart card readers for quite some time.

In the last days I've been spending quite an amount of time hunting down user-reported bugs in the driver, which is good. Sometimes it's really surprising to see in what kind of bugs stupid mistakes eventually result.

Also, I've now managed to make the driver work on x86_64, so it's working in little-endian 32 and 64bit, big endian 32bit. I have to test it on my UltraSPARC box to see whether 64bit big endian also works.

[ /linux/cyberjack | permanent link ]

Tue, 16 Nov 2004
Working on lots of Presentation Slides

I didn't even notice it before, but within two weeks I'm now scheduled to give six presentations. Unfortunately, none of them is exactly the same subject on which I've presented before, so the amount of recycling I can do is quite limited.

I've always considered doing slides for a presentation as "necessary evil", but it's OK if you do it once every so often. But preparing six presentations in a row is no fun at all :(

You can follow the progress in the svn repository

I sometimes really feel the need for a secretary... or someone who does boring small jobs like HTML/Postscript conversion of all my presentations, and makes them more conveniently accessible on the net. *sigh*. Sorry guys..

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Sat, 13 Nov 2004
No more time for OpenTom at the moment

Due to an increasing workload, I won't be able to work on the OpenTom project for at least some weeks. I've published the current state of the SD Card driver in my personal directory of the OpenTom Subversion repository. If you want to pick up, feel free. I'll answer questions by email.

[ /linux/opentom | permanent link ]

Sun, 07 Nov 2004
More hacking on the SD Card driver

re-engineering the SD card stuff turns out to be more time consuming than expected. Not that it's particularly fancy or complicated - just obfuscated. Apparently there are some quite complex data structures involved, that are hard to analyze by looking at the disassembly.

[ /linux/opentom | permanent link ]

wiki.opentom.org online

We've put together some information on our OpenTom efforts at wiki.opentom.org. Feel free to check it out. Additions of content very welcome :)

[ /linux/opentom | permanent link ]

Fri, 05 Nov 2004
The OpenTom Project was founded

Our distributed efforts in opening up the TomTom GO have now found a common home, the opentom.org domain. There's the OpenTom website and the svn.opentom.org subversion server.

There's still a lot under construction, expect more news here in this blog and in the subversion repository.

[ /linux/opentom | permanent link ]

2.6.10-rc1 kernel for OpenTom

Christian Daniel has managed to get 2.6.10-rc1 running on the TomTom GO. This includes a 2.6.x-rewritten frame buffer driver, USB Host and Device support.

The kernel tree has been made available on svn.opentom.org.

[ /linux/opentom | permanent link ]

All GPL issues with TomTom B.V. settled

I'm very happy that the GPL issues with TomTom have now all been settled, and despite some early disagreements we're now very happy with the way TomTom has handled this case.

The TomTom GPL page contains the latest source of their 4.42 firmware. Pretty much all of the drivers have been released with their source code (touch-screen, framebuffer, USB device, accelerometer, GPS). Only (obviously) the SD-Card driver is missing in the source and provided as kernel module. This is due to the stupid SD Card Alliance licensing agreement, which basically puts every recipient of the Documentation under an NDA.

So at the moment you have to put all of the OS into the initrd, which is loaded by the bootloader.

We're working on a solution for the card reader, though. At least MMC Card support should be available soon.

[ /linux/opentom | permanent link ]

Back blogging again

I had some severe hardware problems during last week, resulting in almost one week of server outage. We had to change power supply, ram, mainboard and cpu in order to get the machine back running again - basically a whole new machine.

Sorry for anybody trying to access www/ftp/.gnumonks.org over that time. Email was not affected, since email is dealt with on a totally different box.

Thanks to my Towersoft friends who took care about the physical repairs of the machine (it's located some 500km from my place).

[ | permanent link ]

Thu, 28 Oct 2004
Chaosradio about Biometric Information in Travel Documents

Yesterday I've participated in a Chaosradio show about the recent international push towards biometrics in travel documents such as passports.

Our focus has been on the flaws of biometric systems, the current plans of the ICAO about MRTD's (Machine Readable Travel Documents), the risks involved and why they are not an applicable tool to prevent terrorist attacks.

If you're interested in listening to a recording of the show, it is available at the usual location, ftp.ccc.de.

[ /politics | permanent link ]

Sun, 24 Oct 2004
GPL Agreement with TomTom B.V.

Two days ago I signed an amicable agreement with TomTom B.V., a Dutch vendor of GPS navigation systems. The press release is as usual at the gpl-violations.org homepage.

According to the agreement, they have a grace period until Oct 30, but apparently they already published some source code.

Unfortunately it's still incomplete to some degree, but I'm looking forward to getting this sorted out.

Also, this source is not enough in order to run your own kernel on the TomTom GO, you will need some information on the firmware image layout and a particular blowfish key. For more details on the internals of the TomTom GO, please see the OpenTom of Christian Daniel.

I'm looking forward to convert to TomTom into a all-in-one car computer, including wardriving (USB WLAN with kismet) support and MP3/Ogg-Player with USB hard drive :) Not to forget bluetooth keyboard support, etc. :)

[ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

TomTom and your own kernel

I've started to merge the TomTom specific patches into a plain 2.4.27 kernel. Most of it is quite straight forward, since apparently they backported half of the kernel to 2.4.18-rmk6 (which is what they use as base). I don't really get it why companies still develop new products for 2.4.x, especially for really old version like 2.4.18. In the windows world, nobody still writes windows 3.11 applications, why do they start this kind of crap with Linux? *sigh*

Anyway, I'm thinking about a 2.6.x kernel port at some point, but obviously this is not an important issue on my agenda and I'd rather get some netfilter stuff running first.

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Sat, 23 Oct 2004
Berlinux 2004

Some time ago I was approached if I would be able to give a presentation at Berlinux 2004, Berlin's local incarnation of a Linux conference, organized by the Berlin Linux User Group.

This should be the first contact to any user groups I've had for about five years. I've tried to avoid Linux user groups exactly because of the 'User' part. I have a hard time dealing even with Linux-savoy iptables users, let aside users who need explanation how to install a given Linux distribution or even how to use a file manager.

Unfortunately Berlinux seems to be very user-oriented, too. I arrived about 40 minutes early and am now waiting for a presentation explaining the principles of mounting and the Linux file system layout to finish.

I'm surprised that Berlinux is so small, considering that Berlin is about seven times the size of my old hometown of Nuernberg, and the ALIGN Linux Setup Parties had about the same size.

Oh yes, does the idea trouble you that you know somebody at every international Linux conference, from Bangalore to Ottawa - but at an event in your own hometown you have a hard time finding any person whom you know? That's how I feel. Misplaced, at the wrong event :(

[ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

Fri, 22 Oct 2004
GPL Agreement with Gigabyte Technologies

I've managed to get an amicable agreement with Gigabyte Technologies B.V., yes that's the big worldwide known vendor of Mainboards and other PC equipment :)

The press release is at the gpl-violations.org homepage

[ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

Porting PPTP conntrack/nat helpers to 2.6.x

I've always refused to do the port of the PPTP conntrack/NAT helper I wrote for 2.4.x because there's higher priority items on my agenda.

Apparently it helped, as I was told Mandrake did a port to 2.6.x. I thought that is great news, and I thought it'd take an hour or so to get it merged.

Unfortunately that 'port' was totally incomplete. NAT couldn't have worked at all, and if you sent it a nonlinear TCP packet it would very likely crash your kernel.

In the end I spent the whole afternoon at it, with a resulting patch that is about the same size as the original code :(

The code is now in our subversion repository, I didn't have the time test it so far, so any testing you (yes, you, the reader) might give it would be appreciated.

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

Another patch submit day.

Today I've submitted hashlimit, CLUSTERIP and CONNMARK to the 2.6.x kernel. After resolving some glitches with CLUSTERIP, DaveM took all three :)

This means we're again one step further submitting stuff from patch-o-matic into mainline, which is always a good thing.

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

Wed, 20 Oct 2004
I should do more press releases

I'm sorry for that. GPL-enforcement progresses meanwhile. I've been able to obtain amicable agreements with three more vendors (D-Link, Gigabyte, TomTom), and there are two more open / ongoing cases at this point.

Expect more news and even an official press release during next week

[ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

Sat, 16 Oct 2004
Yet again more cases coming up

I've authorized my lawyer to act in five more new GPL violation cases. As usual I will not disclose their names until some kind of agreement (or a court order) is in place.

In one of the cases we unfortunately now had to go after a reseller, since the warning notice to the Dutch vendor was unanswered. Apparently the strategy is working, since the German reseller now put pressure on the Dutch vendor, who suddenly now replies to us ;)

[ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

Fun with incompetent BMW employees

So during the repairs of my BMW F650's carburetor, I lost the choke plunge. Not a big deal, just a tiny part regulating the fuel/air ratio at engine startup time.

So I picked up the phone and called the spare part department of BMW in Berlin, and told them the exact part I wanted. "Chokekolben" is 100% not possible to be misinterpreted, there is no other part with the same name. So I was told that this part is not available on it's own, but just in a set bundled with the linkage/string that actually attaches to the plunge.

One day later I was called that the part had arrived. It took me about an hour to get to the BMW subsidiary, only to find out that they had ordered the choke string, but it came without plunge.

They showed me the exploded view of the carburetor, and it was very clear that the plunge is sold separately for about EUR 3. I have no idea how one can misunderstand the exploded view and/or the spare part list associated.

After ordering the plunge, I asked them if they made the exploded views available for customers, so they could directly order a particular spare part number in order to avoid such misunderstandings. Apparently they only provide those spare part catalogues to their BMW partners, and they see no way how they could provide me a copy. *sigh*. So I will have to rely on some brain dead spare part sales assistant who has most likely never disassembled that bike ..

Luckily, there's eBay and I found somebody who sold the original BMW spare part catalogue on CD-ROM. What would the world be without eBay.

BMW, this happened about two weeks ago, and I still don't have that spare part.

[ /personal | permanent link ]

Fri, 15 Oct 2004
Conntrack events for 2.6.x

I've separated out Patrick McHardy's conntrack events from the nfnetlink-ctnetlink patch and ported it to 2.6.x. The patch was posted to netfilter-devel, in case you're interested.

For those of you who don't know what this means: It means that the first part of what is required for a 2.6.x ct_sync port is now done ;)

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

Thu, 14 Oct 2004
ct_sync ethereal plugin

While doing some more ct_sync testing/debugging, I found out that for some reason my ctnl_dump program didn't work anymore. Instead of fixing it, and updating it to CTSP (conntrack sync protocol) version 2, I decided to write a plugin for the well-known packet analyzer ethereal.

Due to the nature of the CTSP, it passes arch- endian- and configuration-dependent data structures between master and slave. This means that it is virtually impossible to write a analyzer that will work in any of those combinations.

My plugin now assumes that you use a little-endian 32bit machine with the pptp-conntrack-nat patch applied.

The plugin turned out to provide very useful information, and I was able to fix some issues in ct_sync using it.

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

Tue, 12 Oct 2004
No big news this week - I'm in Astaro labs

I'm about to do one week of benchmarking and profiling using an Ixia four-port Gigabit Traffic generator and a Sun Fire v20z dual Opteron box in the Astaro labs. Let's hope I can find some code pieces in the network stack that can be optimized in order to achieve higher performance...

[ /linux | permanent link ]

xfrm_user.c doesn't use netlink correctly

If you read the netlink documentation (and look on how existing users such as rtnetlink or ipt_ULOG uses it), then all messages part of a dump have the NLM_F_MULTI flag set, and the dump is terminated with a NLMSG_DONE message.

The code in net/xfrm/xfrm_user.c however dumps those messages without the NLM_F_MULTI flag. I've hacked a first patch, but apparently it doesn't catch all cases.

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Sun, 03 Oct 2004
Motorbike problems

I wanted to take pictures of a recently detonated old building in Berlin. I wanted to go there via motorbike. Unfortunately the bike got some problems: After about 3km from my home, it suddenly stopped and refused to start again. While trying to get it running, I suddenly noticed vast amounts of fuel leaking from the air filter. That's a bad sign, it basically says that somehow the carburetor is getting fuel into the wrong direction.

I went home by public transport (no photos taken), and luckily found a truck rental that was open on Sundays. So I managed to get the bike back home, take everything apart and clean the carburetor. I couldn't find something serious like a worn out fitting... all I found was a minimal amount of dirt.

I'll put the bike pieces back together tomorrow, let's see whether cleaning the dirt actually helped. Jeez, as if I hadn't enough to do already...

[ /personal | permanent link ]

Sat, 02 Oct 2004
Generalized Linux network statistics

While working on the neighbour cache, I introduced some generic neighbour cache statistics. They are done in the core, but exported to userspace for every ncache separately (arp, ndisc, atm_clip, decnet). I used the same techniques and file format as rt_stat.

Martin Josefsson also recently introduced ctstat, the same kind of statistics for ip_conntrack. He did a copy+paste 'port' of the rtstat userspace program. I now also needed four more new copy+paste 'port's. And I couldn't do it. Copy+Paste style ports are what I am fighting in the iptables world for two years, so I certainly don't want to introduce them elsewhere..

The result is what I call lnstat. It's a generalized version of rtstat, it works with neighbour cache, routing cache and conntrack statistics - either separately or all at the same time. It has user-defined formatting (field width) and key selection, as well as some other bells and whistles. Let's hope this gets integrated with iproute2 soon, so people can benefit from it.

I also thought about writing some daemon, but abandoned that idea in favour of writing a ulogd2 plugin for it... this means ulogd2 will be able to log per-packet, per-flow and generic things such as statistics...

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Linux Bangalore / 2004

The LB/2004 organizers have officially appointed me as speaker recruiter ;). Apparently they have some trouble in contacting various Linux developers due to over-reactive spam filters (blocking everything from India, heh?).

This means I end up writing emails trying to convince folks such as Alan Cox, Andrea Arcangeli, Russell King, Erik Andersen, Robert Love, ... to attend this wonderful Indian conference.

Did I mention that I'm going to be there this year, too ;)

[ /linux | permanent link ]

2.4.x backport of neighbour cache rework

I've finished my 2.4.28 and 2.4.21 backports of our recent neighbour cache re-work (see netdev of last two weeks in case you're interested). 2.4.28 was quite straight-forward, just the missing per-CPU hurt a bit. 2.4.21 was pretty hard, since the neighbour cache apparently changed quite a bit between 2.4.21 and 2.4.28.

But well, it's over now. Thank god :)

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Sat, 25 Sep 2004
Proceedings of Developer Workshop 2004 online

I finally managed to finish the write-up and markup of the proceedings. They are available in a number of formats at the documentation section of the netfilter home page.

In theory, there could still be lots of semantic markup added, but well, who cares...

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

First Solaris-based contract in four years

For more than four years, I did 100% linux based work. But apparently there are still people interested in Solaris stuff, since I just got my first solaris based contract in quite some time.

Spent an incredible amount of time getting Solaris 9 installed on my Ultra 5, which was only running Linux before. I never understood how Sun could rectify Solaris being so much slower than Linux on their own hardware ;)

[ | permanent link ]

Fri, 24 Sep 2004
pkttables finally making some progress

I've found some time to work on pkttables again. Isn't that great news? If my brain is not completely broken, I've now worked out a RCU-powered way to have full table traversal with a completely lock-less reader path, while providing atomicity either on table- or chain level.

Also, I ripped the "struct nf_attr" and NFA_xx macros from the nfnetlink core, since they get replaced by my vTLV (Versioned TLV) code.

With some luck I'll be able to continue my pkttables work next week

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

Tue, 21 Sep 2004
Reworking the Linux neighbour cache

Since I've lately had some customer issues with regard to neighbour cache overflows, I studied the current code quite a bit. From my point of view, it has a couple of shortcomings.

The general problem goes like this: What do we do, if we're attached to let's say a /16 (formerly 'Class B') network that has a theoretical limit of 65535 neighbours at layer 2, and somebody sends us a single packet for every one of those neighbours. We now start to send ARP requests for all those neighbours, and until those time out (1sec default), thus flooding our neigbour table. The current Linux strategy is to configure a static limit (default: 1024), and as soon as we reach the limit, we start deleting old entries. 'old' entries are those for real hosts to which we've recently had connectivity... We do not expire any of the incomplete neighbour entries in order to avoid ARP-floods.

So if you want to avoid that, you always have to set the gc_thresh3 value to at least the theoretical number of total machines that could be directly reachable at layer 2. While this is not a problem with /16, it suddenly becomes one with /8, or with the extremely large IPv6 prefixes.

The problem is further increased, since the number of hash buckets is very low (static number of 32), and the used hash algorithm apparently has a bad distribution. So either we increase the hash table, increase the number of buckets and improve the hash algorithm, or we change the expiration scheme to also drop incomplete entries. But the current situation is definitely not good.

So I picked up some old 2.4.x patches from Tim Gardner, ported them to 2.6.x and brushed them up. The number of hash buckets is now a kernel boot parameter (if not specified, the hash is dynamically sized, like the TCP syn-queue, fragment queue or ip_conntrack hash). The hashing algorithm now uses a Jenkins hash, just like all other parts of the kernel use, too. The patch is in testing at my machines at the moment, but I think I'll push it soon.

[ /linux | permanent link ]

CLUSTERIP is in patch-o-matic-ng

About one year ago I did some work for SuSE in implementing load-balancer-less load-balancing clusters ;) This is achieved by replying to ARP requests with a link-layer multicast address, so all nodes receive all packets. Hashing parts of the ip header now determines whether the packet is to be passed up the stack on a given node.

The result is called the iptables CLUSTERIP target, and I've now finally put it in patch-o-matic-ng, since it was only available in my undocumented public CVS tree so far.

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

Siemens is violating the Settlement

Siemens is offering the SE-505 firmware on their homepage without any reference to the source code, the GPL, or the GPL text. This is in violation of the signed settlement agreement that I have concluded with them.

The lawyer is already informed, and we'll see what kind of legal options we now have in pushing Siemens [again *sigh*] for GPL compliance.

[ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

Mon, 20 Sep 2004
libiptc2 bugfix (upcoming iptables-1.3.0 prerelease)

Since the segfault-bug in my recent re-implementation of libiptc has now been fixed, I think we're about one week before a iptables-1.3.0 prerelease for public beta-testing.

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

Sun, 19 Sep 2004
NAPIfied natsemi driver

I've now successfully NAPIfied the second NIC driver: natsemi.c... this was the only remaining driver that I care about, since it is used in the PC Engines WRAP embedded systems that I use as routers/bridges/wlan-gateways.

The result is that I can now get about 34kpps routed on an embedded 266MHz Geode CPU at full 148kpps 64byte single-flow udp flood on the input NIC.

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Wed, 15 Sep 2004
Adding NAPI support to the sungem.c Ethernet driver

Yesterday I implemented NAPI support for the sungem.c driver. This was done because I was annoyed by the fact the my notebook (Apple Powerbook with on-board Gigabit Ethernet) could still be killed by a machine running pktgen and flooding it with some 700 kpps.

After submitting the patch, David Miller pointed out that he has added NAPI support to sungem.c to the bitkeeper tree about four days ago :( So I spend a number of hours in duplicating work that was already there... not that I didn't have other stuff to do.

Well, at least I learned a bit more about Linux NIC drivers..

I'm now facing the task of implementing NAPI for the natsemi.c driver, which is used in the PC Engines boards that I've been using recently as embedded Routers / Firewalls.

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Tue, 14 Sep 2004
Working on the summary / proceedings of the 3rd netfilter developer workshop

Spent a couple of hours putting the notes of the 3rd netfilter developer workshop together in a single file, adding lots of Docbook-XML markup, ...

It's still far from being complete, but I have to finish this ASAP..

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

Mon, 13 Sep 2004
Intel e1000 (82546) TX performance

After recent discussions with Robert Olsson at the netfilter workshop, I've decided to investigate a bit further, why the Intel e1000 gigabit MAC's are quite limited when it comes to TX performance and large numbers of pps.

My first assumption was that the in-kernel pktgen.c code might not keep the transmitter busy at all times, resulting in only 760kpps (out of the theoretical maximum of 1480kpps).

So I hacked the e1000 driver to hardcode a refill of the Tx queue with the same skb over and over again. Using a 2048 Tx descriptor ring, I was able to keep the transmitter busy at all times (E1000_ICR_TXQE interrupts).

Unfortunately, I still didn't get more than the 760kpps in this setup (PCI-X, 66MHz, Dual-Opteron 1.4GHz, DDR-333 (PC-2700) RAM. So either we're seeing a limitation of the 82546 chip, or the PCI-X bus / memory latency / whatever.

I'll try the same experiments on a different machine with PCI-X 100 / 133MHz in order to find out what exactly is causing this limit.

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Wed, 08 Sep 2004
netfilter workshop / Linux Kongress 2004

I've not been able to write any articles for this log over the last few days, since I've been busy with the third netfilter developer workshop and Linux-Kongress 2004.

The netfilter workshop went really well, apparently the

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

Fri, 03 Sep 2004
Started a new 2.6.x based mini router distribution

I'm in the process of deploying a couple of PC Engines WRAP.1C embedded x86 boards deployed in my apartment. They make neat little playgrounds for Router/NAT/VPN/WLAN/... style appliances.

Unfortunately I didn't find any embedded Linux distribution project that was up to my demands. Apparently they all use age-old kernels (2.4.17 or something ancient like that). And they very rarely come with a decent automatic build system that would allow you to rebuild it from scratch, adding your own patches, ...

So what did I do? I started my own :(. Not that I'm proud of it, but it was necessary. My home VLAN/firewall/PPPoE/NAT/VPN router is now running the very first image of this new distribution I called 'gRouter'.

It's main features are kernel 2.6.8.1, uClibc-0.9.26, busybox-1.00rc3, pppd with in-kernel PPPoE support, quagga, iptables-1.2.11, openvpn-1.6.0, and dropbear for SSH. It all fits in about 8MB of compact FLASH.

The build process is semi-automatic, apart from a few glitches the whole image compiles itself. I stole some of the build magic from the WISP-DIST project (part of LEAF), although this is all quite simple scripting.

After some more cleanups and testing, I plan to release this distribution. Please don't expect any support, or any configuration tools. It will be available for Linux experts who can configure and setup their system from scratch, and want to have the gadgets of the latest software releases.

On the todo list is cross-compilation support (well, since it is uClibc based, it already does cross-libc-compilation), madwifi support, and especially IPsec using the 2.6.x kernel implementation.

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Getting the external VGA of my Apple Powerbook (TiBook IV) working

If you've attended one of my presentations during the last 12 months, you will certainly have noticed the poor quality of the slides. Yes, the content and the presentation is poor, too - but I'm mostly referring to the optical quality.

I've already spent at least a whole day in the past in trying to get the external VGA working with Debian/ppc, with little success so far. I really don't care whether the external port mirrors the content of the display, or if it runs in dual head mode.

Today, I spent some three more hours in trail-and-error with the radeon driver of the dri-trunk XFree86. I tried CloneMode, Dual Head, with and without FBMode, and about any other parameter within XF86Config-4.

In the end it turned out that the man page was not up-to-date, and the preferred way to get it running was the so-called MergedFB mode. This wasn't as easy to configure as expected, and I still got lots of 'Signal 11' segfault-style crashes.

The crashes seem to be totally unrelated to my graphics setup. In fact, it crashes when eth0 is not configured yet, but works after the network device is up. Now please somebody step up and explain...

[ /linux | permanent link ]

Finishing preparations for upcoming netfilter developer workshop

I've spent a significant amount of time over the last couple of days with the final preparations of the upcoming 3rd netfilter developer workshop. This is the first one where I'm in charge of every tiny bit of the organization, and I hope I got everything right.

The first attendees are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. They might even arrive before me, since I'll be heading the 500km down south tomorrow.

[ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

Sat, 28 Aug 2004
On VIA's failure to provide adequate Linux support

VIA is definitely one of the most innovative producers of PC-hardware. Their EPIA-series mini-ITX and nano-ITX mainboards are ideal for small appliances, such as firewalls, VPN-gateways, and especially home entertainment platforms such as PVR/DVR applications, DVB-Receivers, DVD/VCD/AVI-players, VideoLan receivers and such.

Just two days ago, VIA made a press release on their new VeXP 3.0 release, a VIA-enhanced fork of xine. To the unfamiliar reader, this press release raises the impression that VIA is really involved with Linux and the Free Software community.

This is just terribly wrong. They do anything but to support GNU/Linux. Comparing this press release with reality, I think VIA's Linux involvement as a whole is nothing more than a PR strategy.

I've recently investigated the "Linux support" they make available for their EPIA platforms. Even from the first glance it was obvious, that VIA just doesn't have any idea on on what it takes to "Support Linux".

All they do is to publish proprietary, pre-compiled kernel frame buffer and XFree86 display drivers for a limited number of particularly old GNU/Linux distributions.

Oh yes, I almost forgot it: They also publish the source to some 'lite' driver which lacks all the functionality needed for hardware-assisted MPEG2 decoding. This is obviously useless, since the whole point of buying a small fan-less board with hardware MPEG acceleration and TV-Out is to use the acceleration.

So their "Linux Support" is so good, that a number of people have to spend days and days in reverse engineering their binary proprietary drivers. You can find more information about the reverse engineering effort. My special thanks are going to Ivor Hewitt for doing all this work.

But wait, wasn't that what the Linux folks usually did with Windows drivers? Welcome to the world of "VIA Linux support", where instead of reverse engineering Windows drivers, we now have to do it with Linux drivers.

If VIA was really interested in providing good GNU/Linux support for their EPIA products, they would

  1. write full source code drivers licensed under appropriate Free Software licenses.
  2. make those drivers use standard interfaces, the respective project's coding style, contain useful comments.
  3. publish those drivers as patches against the latest development version of the respective project (kernel, XFree86, Xine)
  4. Work with the respective project maintainers to integrate those patches
  5. not have to care about maintaining RPMs for each and every distribution
  6. not have to care about porting their drivers to ever-changing API's, since they are included in the respective Free Software projects
  7. Provide documentation for their hardware down to the register level, so the Free Software community can continue development extending to features maybe not yet covered by the current driver.

Related Links:

  • http://lwn.net/Articles/99464/ VIA's original press release
  • http://www.viavpsd.com/ VIA's EPIA homepage
  • http://www.viaarena.com/ VIA's support forum and driver downloads
  • http://www.epiawiki.org/ The comprehensive source of EPIA/Linux related information
  • http://www.ivor.it/cle266/ The reverse engineered driver page
  • [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Fujitsu Siemens Corporation not fulfilling amicable agreement

    As part of an amicable agreement, Fujitsu Siemens Corporation (FSC) agreed to make a donation to the German Unix Users Group. It came to me as a surprise, that GUUG has not yet received the funds even four months later!

    Again, I am very disappointed by the behaviour of the former GPL violators. It should be in their own best interest not to produce any negative publicity.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    More Allnet Devices contain Linux

    I've now successfully proven that the ALL0185A, ALL0186, ALL1297, ALL2100, ALL2110 and ALL6100 devices contain the Linux kernel and are not distributed according to the GPL.

    Considering the out-of-court agreement that I have concluded with them earlier this year in ALL0277, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed that this happened again. It should be in their own best interest to distribute within the GPL license terms, and not first try to infringe and wait until somebody complains.

    I've contacted them, and they promised to publish the source code and adhere to the license within a short term. Let's see how this continues.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Fri, 27 Aug 2004
    Video Documentation on 21C3

    I've attended a meeting on the subject of providing audio/video documentation at the 21st Chaos Communication Congress. During that meeting, I was appointed as being responsible for this part of the 21C3 conference.

    So we want to do on-the-fly encoding of four video signals from DC1394 cameras to DVD-compatible MPEG2, low-resolution MPEG4 for live-streaming, and OGG audio only for live streaming.

    I did some preliminary experiments with the available experimental x86_64 assembly patches for ffmpeg, and it turns out that at least theoretically a 1.6GHz AMD64 should have enough power of doing those three encodings at the same time.

    Unfortunately the dv1394 device at the moment only supports one encoder mmap() ing the ring buffer of incoming 1394 frames - but that should be fixed pretty easy.

    I'll do some more experiments in the next couple of weeks, stay tuned.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Wed, 25 Aug 2004
    Main netfilter.org server has been replaced

    Yesterday I finally got around moving almost all netfilter.org services from our old Sun Ultra5 to the new XServe ClusterNode.

    Unfortunately there were lots of complications, so I had to stay awake until 5am in order to get all services running again. At least for now, everything seems to run smoothly.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Tue, 24 Aug 2004
    Using a human-based data acquisition plugin

    Why buy expensive data acquisition boards, if you can have a cheap human being entering the data on some terminal? No, just kidding.

    Anyway, GSPC now has a gpsc_acquire_user.c plugin that retrieves measurement data via a ncurses-based dialog instead of any data acquisition board. This is useful for testing, but also in some real-world cases.

    [ /linux/gspc | permanent link ]

    Two hard drives dying in one week

    This week already the second hard drive in one of my workstations died.. both times it was the same model: IBM DTLA-307060, produced Nov 2000 in Hungary. If that isn't some coincidence. Maybe they have a built-in 'best before' date :(

    So both my main workstations (Dual PIII-733 and a Dual Apple G4-500) were inoperable, isn't that great? The good part is that they've been replaced with silent Samsung SP1213N models, significantly reducing the noise level in my office.

    [ | permanent link ]

    Off-the-shelf multi-port serial cards and Linux

    This is now the third time I've bought some PCI serial multi-port card (6 to 8 ports) that claimed to have 'Linux support'. If you then read the document, the vendor bluntly tells you that Linux generally doesn't support more than four ports, so if you have two built-in ports, you can only use two more. I've never read such bullshit anywhere else ;)

    So after some minor twiddling, I now submitted a patch adding support for this particular 6port device. Apparently there is either a wide variety of such boards, or almost no Linux users... A couple of years ago I added support for an AFAVLAB 8port serial card, to the Linux serial driver.

    I think I now know way too much about the serial driver. Not stopping with those two PCI 8250 based boards, I did lots of serial driver hacking for the XServe G5 and also for my recent ARM embedded work. Let's hope I can again advance to some more exciting work in the future.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Mon, 23 Aug 2004
    Attaching an UW-SCSI hard disk to an embedded ARM922T

    No, I'm not doing this for fun, this is part of work. It turned out that nfsroot is a bit of a problem while you're hacking the core network stack (and everything breaks all the time). So I now attached an 18GB UW-SCSI disk to an old aic7xxx controller and plugged this into my ARM development board. Seems to work quite fine, as long as the aic7xxx_old driver is used. The new one apparently calls pci_alloc_consistent from interrupt context ?!?.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Wed, 18 Aug 2004
    News on the GPL Violation Front

    It's been some time that I've reported news on the GPL violation side... Thus, no news is good news, one could think. Unfortunately to the contrary, I've been receiving a number of new GPL violation reports, unfortunately none of them containing my copyrighted work - and thus I am now looking for the respective copyright holders in order to get this issue sorted out.

    Stay tuned...

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Performance of system logging

    One of my customers recently had a serious performance issue with one of his installations. Surprisingly, it wasn't even the real applications software itself that had performance issues, but the mechanism used for logging from this application.

    So I started to think about the way logging usually works within a Linux-based system.

    The server applications can be divided within two groups. One of them logs via syslog(), the other logs directly to it's own files. The logging itself happens synchronously, i.e. blocking the normal code flow until the log line was written. In the case of syslog, it might block because the syslog pipe is full - in case of stand-alone files, the file/io might take some time to complete.

    Even in a multi-threaded or forked model of a network server program, this might pose considerable problems with regard to threads waiting for their log i/o to complete.

    Syslog itself might not be as bad, especially since the 2.6.x pipe implementation works with only the minimal necessary amount of copying, and supports larger pipe sizes to avoid writer blocking.

    Some people however tend to use something like syslogger in order to redirect the log output from programs with no syslog support also into syslog. This means that you have one pipe between your application and syslogger, and another pipe between syslogger and your real syslog daemon.

    Comparing this issue with networking is actually not too problematic. In networking, we have packets that are passed from one process to another... with logging it's not a packet but usually one or more lines of text (that is, about 60 to 240 characters per entry).

    You don't want to copy this data around and around... and in a lot of installations you'd rather want to use a couple of log lines than to slow down your application just for some statistics that you might collect.

    Of course, you don't want to modify any of the existing applications, too - they should just be able to use syslog() calls as usual. OF course you could load a LD_LIBRARY_PRELOAD lib and redirect the syslog() calls, if needed.

    So what I came up with, is something like a partially mmap()able pipe. The logging process would log to that pipe like it would with any other file descriptor. Internally, that 'pipe' has a ring buffer of configurable size. The pipe-reader could now mmap() this ring buffer into his address space in order to read the log.

    This scheme should have the advantage of not blocking the writer if the pipe is full (it would just wrap around the ring buffer), and it avoids copying the data from some in-kernel pipe buffer into the user-space of the pipe reader.

    Did you notice, this now looks perfectly like the DMA ring buffer of your Ethernet device and the Linux softirq handler ;)

    Anyway, as I didn't do any vm / vfs hacking in Linux so far, this is not a trivial thing to implement. And I have lots of other work at this point. However, I'd certainly like to investigate the possible performance gains [losses?] of this idea. Comments welcome.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Upcoming Chaosradio episode on software patents

    The next Chaosradio radio show will be about the ongoing debade on software patents, especially the recent development within the European Union.

    Being part of the anti software patent movement for about 4-5 years now, I am more than happy to help with the radio show on this subject.

    The radio show will be on air on Sept 01, 10pm GMT+2. If you understand german, there's a MP3 live stream available on the homepage.

    [ /politics/swpat | permanent link ]

    Working on embedded Linux ARM SoC project

    While there hasn't been any update on this weblog for quite some time, I've been buried under a lot of work.

    One of the most interesting projects is an embedded ARM-based SoC project with special network acceleration hardware. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to talk too much about it at this point, but be assured it is very exciting, and of course runs Linux :)

    During development I found it quite comfortable to run the small embedded system with nfsroot mounted from some larger box. The nfsroot contains a debootstrap'ed installation of Debian sarge for ARM.

    The main problem for this kind of operation is the limited on-board memory. But I'm tempted to put a 64MB graphics card into one of the PCI slots and hack the Linux kernel to treat this framebuffer as (somewhat slow) RAM :)

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    IETF work on NAT behaviour

    Apparently some people within the IETF have started a new working group called 'BEHAVE'. It is about the behaviour of NAT devices on the internet, and their inconsistent and incompatible behaviour. The working group aims to give guidelines to ipmlementors, in order to assure interoperability with new applications such as VoIP and peer-to-peer protocols, as well as multicast and others.

    Certainly a topic that is in in the main focus of my interest, so I decided this is the right point in time to start participation in the IETF.

    For more information about behave, see the mailinglist.

    [ | permanent link ]

    Thu, 05 Aug 2004
    Booting from a md raid device on powerpc

    Apparently, nobody has ever tried to do this so far, since the mac partition handling code in the Linux kernel had no provisions for enabling auto-detection of md software raid.

    I've now written patch for Linux 2.6.8, available at http://gnumonks.org/ftp/pub/patches/linux-2.6.8-mac-autoraid.patch implementing this feature. All you need to do is apply that patch, and make sure your md partitions have the type 'Linux_raid_autodetect' in the mac partition table.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Wed, 04 Aug 2004
    Figured out the fan control on the XServe ClusterNode

    I spent the last couple of hours figuring out the missing bits of the fan/thermal control on Apples Dual XServe ClusterNode. Luckily it's very similar to the design Apple used in their Desktop G5 machines, so I can build on the work that Benjamin Herrenschmidt did with his thermal_pm72 driver.

    So in case anybody is interested in the technical details: Eight fans are controlled by the FCU (Fan Control Unit), which is attached to a i2c bus of the Apple U3 northbridge.

    There are three RPM controlled fans per CPU. The Left CPU (viewing from the front of the machine) has fans #1,2,3. The right CPU: #4,5,6.

    The other two fans are not RPM controlled, but just PWM controlled... so instead of setting an RPM, you have to set a pulse-width between 10 and 100%. PWM Fan #1 is located between RPM-fan 3 and 4 (between both CPU's) and it's job is to keep the U3 chip cool. PWM Fan #2 is located behind the PCI-X slots and thus cooling them (too bad in my machine there is no card to be cooled *g*).

    Regulating the CPU fans is quite easy, since there is a per-CPU temperature sensor, and also a voltage and current reading, so we can calculate the power consumption of each CPU and tune the fans accordingly.

    For the U3 it is a bit more difficult.. I have not yet found a way to get a temperature reading for it, but I'm quite sure there is some temperature sensor somewhere.

    As for PCI cards, there is apparently some way to read the power consumption - but of course again undocumented and not reverse engineered yet. As I don't have PCI boards in my box anyway, I personally don't care that much. But I should now stop arguing rationally, since a machine hosted in some rack-space is very unlikely to need fan control at all :)

    I'll try to make a somewhat cleaner unified driver for PowerMac7,2 and RackMac3,1 and post a patch in the next couple of days.

    I really wonder why Apple is not releasing their FCU driver source code for Darwin... it's really annoying. And I doubt they can claim that it contains any valuable intellectual property that their competitors are not allowed to see ;)

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Tue, 03 Aug 2004
    Finally the XServe ClusterNode runs Linux!

    Yes, it does. I now have two partitions: One running the experimental Gentoo ppc64 port, and another one running the overly-conservative Debian woody ppc32. The plan is to boot into Gentoo, and run publicly-accessible production services within the Debian woody chroot.

    So how did I make it? Well, I gave up on the idea that the usual installation process of any distribution would work. So instead of trying to fix up whatever goes wrong in the installation scripts, I just escaped to a shell ASAP, run mac-fdisk, mkfs.ext3, extracted the stage3.tar.gz and did the rest of the Gentoo install.

    Debian was then installed using the convenient debootstrap tool.

    One of the major remaining questions is however: Does the Apple XServe Hardware give you anything similar to Sun boxes, where you could just send break over the serial line and get into OpenFirmware? This is very convenient for remotely resetting machines without any local 'reset-staff' present.

    After some chatting with Benjamin Herrenschmidt, apparently nobody is working on getting fan rpm/speed/temperature control implemented on the XServe so far. Well, as it's a rack-mounted machine sitting in some hosting center I don't really care about the noise anyway.

    More interestingly, the Apple KeyLargo2 based machines have a Hardware Watchdog. Driver Source code is available within the public part of the Darwin kernel, so it should be easy to implement a Linux driver for this. Maybe I'll find some time to dive into this.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Database Design + Content for GPL-Violations

    In order to keep track about the gpl violations that I am encountering myself or that are reported by fellow users, I really need some semi-automatic system to keep track of this.

    Being a RDBMS geek in my former life, I designed a SQL-based data model to cope with the individual objects such as vendors, products, product-firmware-versions, violations, settlements, compensations, comments, documents, contracts, ...

    It all turned out to be more complex than I thought initially. But I think it was really worth the effort.

    This database is for strictly internal use, since there is a lot of confidential information in there. However, according flags indicating the public/private nature of the data records are included in the data model. At some later point I might extract the public information to create some web pages at www.gpl-violations.org.

    It's main target is to allow me keep track with what's going on, and also keep track about what has been verified where, if for new upcoming firmware images the source code was made available, if the source was complete, ...

    I've already filled in lots of the existing data I have, but it's far from being complete. This needs some more time of filling in data records.

    And yes, I built some simple forms using GNU Enterprise Designer and Forms. It's still in 0.x stage, but usable for easy tasks.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    IPv6 packet filter benchmarking

    It seems like a German university is currently doing feature analysis and benchmarking of IPv6 packet filters. Coincidentally, I'm going to near that university next week anyway, so I'll stop over for a short visit and help them with their ip6tables evaluation setup.

    I would be very interested to see some numbers on ip6tables... as we just discovered at the networking conference in Portland, nobody seems to be doing benchmarking / profiling on the Linux IPv6 code so far.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Sat, 31 Jul 2004
    Putting multiple SATA drives into a XServe ClusterNode G5

    Apple is selling two different models of their Dual G5 XServe: One 'Normal' model, and another 'ClusterNode' Model. They are pretty much the same, but the ClusterNode doesn't have things you usually don't need in a rack-mounted 1U server anyway: CD-ROM and VGA-Card. However, it is also limited to a single hard drive.

    I guess Apple's reason is that in a scientific cluster computing environment, the node's local storage is insignificant - whereas on a real server you most likely want multiple (mirrored) drives.

    However, the significant price difference (Dual G5 ClusterNode has the same price as the Single G5 XServe) made me ponder buying a ClusterNode and adding another drive.

    Fortunately, the hardware is quite similar. It turns out that the Mainboard has three SATA connectors, and the space for the 2nd and 3rd IDE drive was left empty. Also, the Backplane for Apples hotplug drives is not fully assembled - it is missing the connectors for the 2nd and 3rd drive :(

    So Putting the drive in place and attaching it via a fixed cable to the SATA connector is no problem at all. However, Power is a slight problem. The whole machine has not a single standard power connector, so my only remaining option was to solder some wires onto the drive backplane PCB. This is ugly, but well.. who cares ;)

    I'll put some photos of the modification online soon.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Installing Linux on a G5 ClusterNode XServe

    Now that I got this decent new dual G5 box, I wanted to install Linux. This turned out to be an extremely difficult job, as apparently nobody has ever tried to install Linux on any of the new XServe G5 Series machines, neither 32bit nor 64bit kernels.

    There are a number of challenges:

    • No internal IDE or SCSI CD-ROM
    • Only serial console
    • A very new hardware with little Linux support

    First I tried a number of ready-built installation ISO images, including the current sarge Debian-installer image for PPC, and the 32bit and 64bit live images of Gentoo.

    The first thing I had to do is to disable autoboot and enable the serial console. Luckily, the box actually ships with a manual that instructs you how to put the OF boot console on the serial port. You have to press the admin (!) Button at the front of the box a magic number of times.

    To permanently make the serial console work, use the following OF commands:

    > setenv input-device scca
    > setenv output-device scca
    

    Next I had to figure out how to boot from the external firewire cdrom.. apparently this depends on your OF device tree and the GUID of your firewire device. On my particular box it works with

    > devalias cd /ht/pci@5/firewire@e/node@00d04b3c50090210/sbp-2@c000/disk@0
    
    Using Commands like
    > dir cd:,\
    
    I was then able to list files on the CD-ROM. To boot the yaboot loader on a Debian installer cd image, you can use
    > boot cd:,\install\yaboot
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 load-size=239a4 adler32=a5cf5aa0 
    
    Loading ELF
    
    
    
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 Config file read, 2907 bytes
    
    
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 \
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 Welcome to Debian GNU/Linux sarge!
    
    This is a Debian installation CDROM,
    built on 20040729.
    
    The default option is 'install'. For maximum
    control, you can use the 'expert' option.
    
    If the system fails to boot at all (the typical
    symptom is a white screen which doesn't go away),
    use 'install video=ofonly' or 'expert video=ofonly'.
    
    The plain options are for the powerpc family of
    processors (from 601 to G4). The *-power3 options
    are for IBM Power3 boxes, and the *-power4 options
    are for IBM Power4 and Apple G5 boxes. Press the tab
    key for a list of options, or type 'help' for help.
    
    ************************************
    If in doubt, just choose 'install', and if that 
    doesn't work, try 'install video=ofonly'.
    ************************************
    Welcome to yaboot version 1.3.12
    Enter "help" to get some basic usage information
    
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 boot: 
    
    I tried all of the provided images, with different options - no success. A common option to be used because of the serial port is "console=ttyS0,57600". All I got was:
    boot: expert-power4
    Please wait, loading kernel...
    
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2    Elf32 kernel loaded...
    copying OF device tree...done
    starting cpu /cpus/PowerPC,G5...failed: 00000000 
    Calling quiesce ...
    
    erasing fff06000  of Micron B1 part
    flashing fff06000  of Micron B1 part
    swapping blocks
    DO-QUIESCE finishedreturning 0x01400000 from prom_init
    

    Playing with the Gentoo live cd images didn't bring me any further at all.

    I then tried to compile a current 32bit ppc 2.6.8-rc2 kernel by hand (for G5 CPU's). Putting this kernel on the debian installer ISO didn't get me any further. So apparently either the serial port is not working, or the kernel crashes somewhere.

    Using a cross-compiler running on my dual G4 PowerMac, I compiled the same 2.6.8-rc2 kernel for ppc64 target platform. Putting this on the debian boot cd helped a lot, I now got it as far as:

    boot: expert-g5-64 console=ttyS0,57600
    Please wait, loading kernel...
    
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2 
    sbp2:Open ->login?
    speed=ffffffff 2 2    Elf64 kernel loaded...
    Looking for displays
    OF stdout is    : /ht@0,f2000000/pci@3/mac-io@7/escc@13000/ch-a@13020
    Opening displays...
    Calling quiesce ...
    
    DO-QUIESCE finishedreturning from prom_init
    Found U3 memory controller & host bridge, revision: 53
    Mapped at 0xe000000080000000                          
    Found a K2 mac-io controller, rev: 96, mapped at 0xe000000080041000
    PowerMac motherboard: XServe G5                                    
    Starting Linux PPC64 2.6.8-rc1 
    -----------------------------------------------------
    naca                          = 0xc000000000004000   
    naca->pftSize                 = 0x17              
    naca->debug_switch            = 0x0 
    naca->interrupt_controller    = 0x1
    systemcfg                     = 0xc000000000005000
    systemcfg->processorCount     = 0x2               
    systemcfg->physicalMemorySize = 0x20000000
    systemcfg->dCacheL1LineSize   = 0x80      
    systemcfg->iCacheL1LineSize   = 0x80
    htab_data.htab                = 0xc00000001f800000
    htab_data.num_ptegs           = 0x10000           
    -----------------------------------------------------
    [boot]0100 MM Init                                   
    [boot]0100 MM Init Done
    idle = native_idle     
    Linux version 2.6.8-rc1 (laforge@dathomir) (gcc version 3.4.1) #4 SMP Sat Jul 31 16:12:42 CEST 2004
    [boot]0012 Setup Arch
    via-pmu: Server Mode is disabled
    PMU driver 2 initialized for Core99, firmware: 0c
    nvram: Checking bank 0...                        
    nvram: gen0=204, gen1=205
    nvram: Active bank is: 1 
    Adding PCI host bridge /pci@0,f0000000
    Found U3-AGP PCI host bridge. Firmware bus number: 240->255
    Adding PCI host bridge /ht@0,f2000000                      
    Can't get bus-range for /ht@0,f2000000, assume bus 0
    U3/HT: hole, 0 end at 9fffffff, 1 start at b0000000 
    Found U3-HT PCI host bridge. Firmware bus number: 0->239
    Can't get bus-range for /ht@0,f2000000                  
    PCI Host 0, io start: fffffffffd800000; io end: fffffffffdffffff
    PCI Host 1, io start: 0; io end: 3fffff                         
    Top of RAM: 0x20000000, Total RAM: 0x20000000
    Memory hole size: 0MB                        
    On node 0 totalpages: 131072
      DMA zone: 131072 pages, LIFO batch:16
      Normal zone: 0 pages, LIFO batch:1   
      HighMem zone: 0 pages, LIFO batch:1
    [boot]0015 Setup Done                
    Built 1 zonelists    
    Kernel command line: ro debconf_priority=low devfs=mount,dall init=/linuxrc console=ttyS0,57600
    PowerMac using OpenPIC irq controller at 0x80040000
    [boot]0020 OpenPic Init                            
    OpenPIC Version 1.2 (4 CPUs and 120 IRQ sources) at e000000082ccd000
    OpenPIC timer frequency is 25.000000 MHz                            
    [boot]0021 OpenPic Timer                
    [boot]0022 OpenPic IPI  
    [boot]0023 OpenPic Ext
    [boot]0024 OpenPic Spurious
    [boot]0025 OpenPic Done    
    Slave OpenPIC at 0xf8040000 hooked on IRQ 56
    [boot]0020 OpenPic U3 Init                  
    OpenPIC (U3) Version 1.2  
    [boot]0025 OpenPic2 Done
    PID hash table entries: 16 (order 4: 256 bytes)
    time_init: decrementer frequency = 33.333333 MHz
    Console: colour dummy device 80x25              
    Dentry cache hash table entries: 131072 (order: 8, 1048576 bytes)
    Inode-cache hash table entries: 65536 (order: 7, 524288 bytes)   
    Memory: 498688k available (3840k kernel code, 4120k data, 212k init) [c000000000000000,c000000020000000]
    Calibrating delay loop... 66.56 BogoMIPS
    Mount-cache hash table entries: 256 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
    PowerMac SMP probe found 2 cpus                           
    Processor 1 found.             
    Synchronizing timebase
    Got ack               
    score 299, offset 1000
    score 299, offset 500 
    score 299, offset 250
    score 299, offset 125
    score 299, offset 62 
    score 299, offset 31
    score 239, offset 15
    score -107, offset 7
    score 101, offset 11
    score -5, offset 9  
    score 63, offset 10
    score -51, offset 9
    Min 9 (score 5), Max 10 (score 87)
    Final offset: 9 (61/300)          
    Brought up 2 CPUs       
    NET: Registered protocol family 16
    PCI: Probing PCI hardware         
    U3-DART: table not allocated, using direct DMA
    PCI: Probing PCI hardware done                
    PCI: no pci dn found for dev=0001:04:0f.0 Apple Computer Inc. K2 GMAC (Sun GEM)
    PCI: no pci dn found for dev=0001:05:0c.1 PCI device 1166:0240 (ServerWorks)   
    SCSI subsystem initialized                                                  
    usbcore: registered new driver usbfs
    usbcore: registered new driver hub  
    nvram_init: Could not find nvram partition for nvram buffered error logging.
    rtasd: no RTAS on system                                                    
    VFS: Disk quotas dquot_6.5.1
    Dquot-cache hash table entries: 512 (order 0, 4096 bytes)
    devfs: 2004-01-31 Richard Gooch (rgooch@atnf.csiro.au)   
    devfs: boot_options: 0x1                              
    Installing knfsd (copyright (C) 1996 okir@monad.swb.de).
    Initializing Cryptographic API                          
    pmac_zilog: 0.6 (Benjamin Herrenschmidt )
    ttyS0 at MMIO 0x80013020 (irq = 22) is a Z85c30 ESCC - Serial port 
    ttyS1 at MMIO 0x80013000 (irq = 23) is a Z85c30 ESCC - Serial port
    RAMDISK driver initialized: 16 RAM disks of 4096K size 1024 blocksize
    loop: loaded (max 8 devices)                                         
    sungem.c:v0.98 8/24/03 David S. Miller (davem@redhat.com)
    
    So apparently, there were some issues finding the OpenFirmware dn (distinguished name) for the Ethernet Chips and the ServerWorks chips. I tried to put some printk's into the arch/ppc64/pci_dn.c file to see what's going on. This then led me to the earlier error messages about the U3-DART. After reading some more code, it appeared like the DART is Apple's IOMMU, and it is supposed to be needed only when running with >2GB RAM. My box had 512MB, but I tried to force usage of the DART by putting "iommu=force" into the kernel commandline.

    Great, this was apparently the problem, since now I got up to the point where it wanted to mount the root filesystem. I thought I didn't really need an initrd, since the kernel contained all drivers statically linked in. However, Debian installer seems to be running inside initrd only.

    First try was just using one of the pre-supplied initrd.gz images. Yes, they have the wrong versions of the modules - but I don't want/need those modules anyway.

    Of course this wouldn't work either:

    RAMDISK: Compressed image found at block 0                 
    Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(0,0)
     <0>Rebooting in 180 seconds..                       
    
    No errror message, nothing. So I thought the problem is with devfs, and I tried passing several different root parameters ('root=/dev/ram', 'root=/dev/rd/0') without any success.

    In the end I found out that the structure sizes of the cramfs superblock (include/linux/cram_fs_sb.h) are arch-dependent, so I cannot use an initrd that was built on a ppc32 machine. Unfortunately it is also endian-dependent, and at this time I only have 32bit big endian and 64bit little endian boxes at home.

    Next step was to use an ext2 initrd, since reasonable filesystems don't have any strange host/byteorder/wordsize dependencies.

    Now it is able to load the initrd, and mount it... although then some other stuff goes terribly wrong. No time yet to investigate this.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Sun, 25 Jul 2004
    OLS2004 is over

    After holding a BOF on GPL-Violations, and the traditional netfilter/iptables BOF, OLS ended with Andrew Morton's Keynote.

    Obviously, there also was the traditional OLS Social Event at the Black Thorn Pub, which I left quite early in order to get some more work done on the ulogd2 flow accounting work.

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    David Miller survived my 13-patch patch-bomb

    This is good news, DaveM accepted all the 13 netfilter related patches that I had pending for 2.6.9. The patches included a number of optimizations, the ctstat, connection-based accounting, TCP window tracking, and some conversions to new in-kernel-API (seq_file, module_param).

    Now let's hope that 2.6.8 will be released soon and we can start the 2.6.9 cycle...

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Fri, 23 Jul 2004
    Final court opinion on Sitecom Appeal released

    The court handling the Sitecom appeals case has now released it's final opinion. For those of you who happen to understand legal German, the 20 page document is available as PDF. An English translation will be available soon.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Thu, 22 Jul 2004
    Merging 2.6.8-rc2 changes into patch-o-matic ng

    I just started the boring job of merging 2.6.8-rc2 with patch-o-matic-ng... I'm happy that Jozsef, Martin and Patrick did this for the last couple of kernel releases. However, I need to get more into this job again in order to determine which patches still have to be submitted to the mainline kernel...

    Expect some pom-ng breakage over the next couple of days...

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    IPFIX / ulog integration

    After some more in-depth study of the IPFIX IETF drafts, I finally started coding. Having written the first dozens of lines, I discovered that on an abstract layer IPFIX doesn't do something too different from my good old ulogd. Ignoring the minor difference that ulogd deals with individual packets and IPFIX with flows, the ulogd_iret_t structure is very similar to what IPFIX templates are trying to describe.

    So I now forked a ulogd2 branch off the current ulogd subversion tree and started to reorganize the tree.

    For more flexibility, I am going for a stackable plugin infrastructure, where the sysadmin can configure stacks like: ULOG->ulogd_BASE->flow aggregation->IPFIX-over-TCP-export or ctnetlink->IPFIX-over-SMTP-export.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Group Photo of the Kernel Summit

    At http://gnumonks.org/static/photos/ks2004/ are the group photos of this year's Kernel Summit. You obviously won't find me on those pictures, since I was behind the camera ;)

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Wed, 21 Jul 2004
    First day of OLS

    OLS started today (well, it started with the official beer-drinking BOF yesterday night). Like at the kernel summit, there are massive problems with the wireless network, forcing me to operate in offline mode most of the time.

    The presenters are apparently all running in slow motion, so I can allocate a small time-slice to listen to them and spend most of the time working on some code (conntrack-accounting/ipfix, qsearch, browsing through Rusty's patches). OLS thus starts more productive than I would have thought ;)

    Had lunch with Daniel Phillips, who is now working on clustering infrastructure at RedHat. We detected a general shift from the 'everything is a filesystem' to 'everything is a socket' mentality.

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Working towards IPFIX based on conntrack

    I've written a patch to add 64bit packet and byte counters for both directions of every ip_conntrack. This should enable a clean and efficient implementation of flow based accounting, when combined with ctnetlink events and a userspace daemon picking up those events.

    I need to study the IPFIX (IETF Working Group) specifications in more detail before writing the respective daemon...

    The patch is apparently working, you can read the counters via /proc/net/ip_conntrack and also use a modified/extended/updated version of the 'connbytes' match.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Mon, 19 Jul 2004
    Pattern-matching API in the 2.6.x Kernel

    There are various places in the kernel where we need to do some kind of pattern matching on the packet contents. Applications range from connection tracking helpers (looking for FTP PORT command, ...) over the 'string' match to intrusion detection systems.

    Two years ago, Phillipe Biondi once came up with something called libqsearch. It implements a generic pattern matching API, supporting plugin based algorithm implementations.

    I now took the liberty of porting this into a 2.6.x kernel, resulting in lots of changes that make my qsearch port now incompatible with what Philipe wrote. Anyway, I'm now in the process of combining this with Rusty's recent work on skb_walk() and skb_iter(), so we can pattern-match against a fragmented/nonlinear skb without any copy.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Day one of the Kernel Summit

    So this was day one of the famous kernel summit. Apart from meeting lots of friends, this basically meant lots of in-depth technical discussions on various subjects.

    Most noticeable were long discussions about the deficiencies of the power management API, problems with 3-level-page tables on AMD64, and last but not least: The first-hand technical information from AMD, Intel and IBM on their upcoming CPU generations.

    My personal favourite (AMD) will be shipping dual core (not hyper-threading, but two real cores) CPU's by mid 2005. They share the same Hyper-transport and Memory interface, and therefore have to divide I/O Bandwidth between them.

    Also had some interesting discussions with Jamal about netfilter performance and the future l3 generalized connection tracking (called nf_conntrack). Maybe I can talk him into attending the netfilter workshop for further discussion of his ideas.

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Tue, 13 Jul 2004
    Just arrived in Portland, OR for the Linux networking conference

    Getting to Portland (via Frankfurt) turned out to be no problem. But getting though Portland and to the reserved hotel was a bit problematic. Apparently there was a jam of MAX light rail trains, and we had to wait for quite some time before the journey could continue.

    Then I decided to get off at Beaverton station. My assumptions was that at such a terminal, there would certainly be some cabs nearby. However, there weren't. Maybe I forgot that this is the U.S. and public transportation is not like what I'm used to.,

    Anyway, I switched to the bus.

    However, i went the wrong way. My destination was close to 158th Avenue, but the bus went to 185th Avenue. As it was getting late already, I decided not to go back by bus to Beaverton, but rather walk from 185th to 158th Avenue. Despite the hot sun (27 centigrade in the shade), my backpack and the suitcase, this was only a 40 minutes walk. This reminded me to hiking in southern France with the boyscouts ;)

    Well, the hotel did not yet cancel my reservation, and after a cool shower and checking my email I went to sleep. Due to the jetlag I was awake at 3:30am. Not too bad, considering a 9 hour time shift.

    Let's hope the trip from the hotel to the conference venue will be less complicated ;)

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Mon, 12 Jul 2004
    Apple Xserve Dual G5 ClusterNode arrived

    I still cannot believe it. After waiting only four months, the Dual G5 XServe has just arrived today. Unfortunately I'm leaving for a two week trip (Linux Networking Summit, Linux Kernel Summit, Ottawa Linux Symposium) tomorrow, so I don't really have any time to play with it.

    Just had a quick look under the hood, and it seems like putting some additional drive in place isn't difficult at all. The Mainboard has three SATA connectors (two empty), and if you remove the front panel you can access the two empty 3.5" drive bays. The PCB for Apples hot swap bays is also present, but unfortunately missing the SATA and Drive connectors.

    The only remaining issue is getting power to the SATA drive, but that should be pretty easy to find out...

    So you might ask yourself why I didn't buy the non-ClusterNode in the first place? Because it's way more expensive and apart from those tiny details exactly the same hardware.

    Another interesting part will be bootstrapping Debian/ppc onto that box - without any VGA board and only a serial console. Apparently there is no distribution that really supports installation via Serial console (even on x86)... despite being extremely easy to implement... *sigh*

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Wed, 07 Jul 2004
    Make ESTIC compile with recent gcc

    I doubt there are many readers who know about ESTIC. It is a multi-platform (Dos, Windows, Linux, *BSD, OS/2) configuration software for some ISDN PBX systems (ISTEC 1003/1008) that used to be common in the early to mid 90's in Germany.

    The original vendor of the PBX went out of business long time ago, and the author of the ESTIC tool even removed his ESTIC homepage in 1997.

    Anyway, I still have some of the old ISTEC boxes in use, even at friends places. It turned out that we needed to reconfigure one of these old boxes, so I took the source code (yes, it's open source) and made it compile with recent gcc. Jeez, I never liked C++...

    So if anybody is interested in the patch to compile estic 1.60 with gcc-3.3.4 on Linux: it's located at ftp://ftp.gnumonks.org/pub/patches/es160src-linux-gcc3.3.4.patch.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Adding support for multiple data acquisition boards

    Tomorrow I'll be hacking GSPC to support multiple data acquisition boards in one system. The main focus will be testing, since GSPC already contains the untested code for this. However, the vendor-supplied driver is hardly able to deal with this situation *lol*.

    [ /linux/gspc | permanent link ]

    Sun, 04 Jul 2004
    New all-in-one fileserver

    I just put my new all-in-one fileserver [called 'sunbeam'] into production. It's a Athlon64 based system, with five 200GB SATA drives. Since there's now a working (but still unofficial) Debian AMD64 Port, I can even run a 64bit distribution on it. As far as production machines go, I have the policy to only run debian on them.

    This machine replaces the old box [now called 'shiva'], (Athlon 1000 with eight hard drives 80-120GB] which now serves as main storage server for my network-wide backup system.

    As new backup solution, I chose to use Bacula. The architecture just looks like the 'right thing'. The catalog is maintained in the SQL RDBMS of your choice, every to-be-baked-up machine runs a client (bacula-fd). A director running on one server then directs the clients to write their data to one or more storage servers of their choice. This now also means that I can have one centralized directore for three different physical locations (yes, my machines are spread over three distinct locations with low bandwidth interconnection). Every location just has it's own storage server :). Oh yes, of course, this is on-site backup to hard drives only. Won't help if my house went fire.

    [ | permanent link ]

    Mon, 28 Jun 2004
    The Karlsruhe Cemetery

    On Sunday morning the weather was fine (sun shining but not too hot), so I finally went to the Karlsruhe Hauptfriedhof (main cemetery) for some photo shooting. For those of you who don't know it yet: Photography [especially of historical cemeteries] is one of my hobbies.

    To my big surprise, there were a number of beautiful graves, angels, statues, ... Normally 99% of all cemeteries in Germany look the same, since most of the graves are from 1950 to present - and apparently nobody has the money (and the taste) for something different than a standard grave stone.

    Also, this was one of the first occasions to get some more experience with my new digital SLR camera, the EOS-300D. I really hope that the convenience of digital photography won't prevent me from still doing real chemical b/w photography... Especially with my lack of time, I fear this possibility.

    Now you may be asking yourself: Where are the pictures? Well, I really want to show you all of them, but first I need to get the database-enabled photo repository finished. Stay tuned.

    [ /photography | permanent link ]

    Sat, 26 Jun 2004
    LinuxTag 2004

    The annual LinuxTag... Germany's biggest Linux / Free Software event. Well, apparently I start to get bored by conferences, especially mostly end-user or sysadmin oriented ones. The only interesting part is meeting with old friends, talking to fellow developers, ...

    Unfortunately no Brazilian Linux hackers present, so I ended up talking Portuguese to a German guy who lives in France ;) Discovered that my pt_BR is really really rusty these days. I should find myself some conversation classes at home in Berlin.

    If it wasn't for Astaro (whose main office is in Karlsruhe), I guess I wouldn't have been at LinuxTag anymore.

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Tue, 22 Jun 2004
    Initiative for Freedom of Information Act in Germany

    As I became aware today, there is a new initiative for something like a Freedom of Information Act in Germany at pro-information.de.

    Surprisingly, this apparently has not been communicated a lot, considering the small number of about 2000 signatures so far.

    If you feel like Germany should enact a FOIA in order to give citizens, journalists and historians access to all kinds of files of the administration, please support support the pro-information campaign by signing it.

    [ /politics | permanent link ]

    Apparently even shareware authors disrespect the GPL

    I just received an email claiming that there is a proprietary shareware program called "DVDxDV" sold for USD 80. The author of the email claims that DVDxDV includes code from the GPL licensed liba52 project (formerly known as ac3dec).

    While I didn't do any tests on this alleged infringement (yet), there seems to be more information about this issue on http://gpl-cowboy.blogspot.com/

    Maybe I'll find some time to investigate soon...

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Interview about my GPL enforcement efforts

    The German IT News Portal "golem.de" has just published an Interview with me, entitled "The freedom of the GPL has limitations".

    I wish I had sometimes used less complex sentence structures - but hey, I'm not very used to give interviews anyway.

    Sorry for you English speaking people out there. I would love to give that interview in English, but no English news portal asked for one ;)

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Mon, 21 Jun 2004
    New iptables-1.2.11 and patch-o-matic-ng-20040621 release

    I have just released iptables-1.2.11 and patch-o-matic-ng-20040621 on the netfilter homepage.

    Seems like we'll never have an iptables release that doesn't introduce some severe bug that requires releasing another version immediately later. To some part, I blame the users. Seems like not enough of them try the CVS snapshots and report bugs back to us.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Fri, 11 Jun 2004
    GPL enforcement efforts honored by Prof. Eben Moglen

    At the WOS 3 conference during a panel on the future of copyright, Prof. Eben Moglen (Columbia Law School, Chief Legal Counsel to the Free Software Foundation) honored our efforts to enforce the GPL within the German jurisdiction.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Mon, 07 Jun 2004
    WLAN Router project

    I've started to work on a WLAN Router project based on the PC Engines WRAP.1C platform.

    I decided to go for the wisp-dist LEAF branch, modified to work with uClibc and a 2.6.x kernel.

    The major part, however, is adding the required WDS functionality to the madwifi driver.

    But this definitely is a fun project to work on :)

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Bought a new camera: Canon EOS 300D

    In the past I've been doing only chemical b/w photography, using SLR cameras from the mid-80s. Recently I decided to explore color photography, too - but certainly not with chemical film. Developing color prints in your own darkroom is way more complicated than b/w, and it requires to buy completely different equipment.

    The entry-level digital SLR cameras have just gone below the EUR1000 line, so I decided to go for the Canon EOS 300D. Despite not having had much time for exploring it, the pictures it produces are really great.

    The only thing I don't like is the physical quality of the case. Coming from metal cased chemical SLR cameras, the plastic case of the EOS 300D feels extremely volatile. Also, the lens frame made from plastic is really disturbing... I'm sure this camera won't last 20 years like my two existing chemical SLR's.

    Maybe finally I'll also find some time to work on www.cemetery-photography.org - which is still empty at this point. Not that I'm lacking the [digitized] photographs, I just don't have the time to set up the website, design the templates, and so on.

    [ /photography | permanent link ]

    I'll be speaking at WOS3

    Wizards of OS is a conference on the future of the digital commons, to be held at Jun 10 to Jun 12 in Berlin, Germany.

    I'll be participating on a panel on the future of copyright, where I'll present my recent success in enforcing the GNU General Public License.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Extremely busy

    I've been horribly busy during the last week(s), so I didn't even have five minutes per day to fill this weblog. Apparently things have now settled down and I will start to have some more time again.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Wed, 19 May 2004
    Preliminary Injunction withholds Sitecoms appeal

    The court hearing about the Sitecom appeal to our preliminary injunction went fine :) According to my lawyer, Dr. Jaeger, the court rejected any claims they made in their appeal.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Sun, 16 May 2004
    The never-ending story continues

    I have just discovered three move violations. Legal proceedings are underway. It seems like this is a 'barrel without floor' (German proverb). The more publicity our legal proceedings get, the more new reports I receive.

    Most of the newly-discovered violations are based on the TI Ar7 chipset, which seems to be quite new for WLAN devices like routers/ap's/bridges. The TI website even says that they ship Linux based development kits to their customers. Let's see if it's TI or their customers who withhold the respective source code.

    On wednesday, there will be the court hearing on the Sitecom appeal against the preliminary injunction. I'll be at a conference at that time, so I won't be personally present. Of course we expect our injunction to persist.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    The big move...

    Well, it's been quiet on this weblog for quite some time. The reason is that about everything related to my move (within Berlin, Germany) became way more complicated.

    As an example, it took two of the largest German Telcos (Telekom and Arcor) four days and five technicians to determine that they accidentally switched two wires in my basement - causing a total phone (ISDN) and DSL blackout.

    Anyway, stuff is getting settled. I now have VLAN-tagged 1000base-TX Ethernet to the servers in my basement, most of the furniture is set up again, and I even have light in almost all rooms. There seems to be some further debugging on the electrical installations necessary in the living room, though.

    If you sent me email during the last couple of weeks and didn't receive a reply so far: sorry. I'm totally overloaded :(

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Sat, 15 May 2004
    We have a dog!

    Since the cat of my fiance has disappeared, we decided to get ourselves a dog.

    We went to the 'animal shelter' and got a 8-year German Shepard's dog mix. She's a bit smaller than a Shepard's dog, about 20kilos of weight. Photos of Lucy will follow later.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Sat, 08 May 2004
    Phone Terror

    I'm receiving such an incredible number of bogus calls at the moment (phone is ringing something like 10 times a day), that I'm very unlikely to answer the phone at all. In fact, I'm [again] inclined to stop having a phone at all, or to only run an answering machine with no recording capability and just an announcement to send emails.

    I really, really hate phone calls. They're like interrupts, always put you out of the context you were working on. I much rather prefer asynchronous communication such as email, letters and fax. I can poll them when I think it is appropriate.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Thu, 29 Apr 2004
    Offline for three days

    I'll be offline until May 3rd. No updates until then.

    [ | permanent link ]

    Lecture on "Data protection and Security on the Internet"

    I'll be presenting the CCC's point of view on that subject at this event.

    It's going to be a non-technical introductory talk about the various methods and of data collection and data processing of person-related data on the Internet.

    [ /politics | permanent link ]

    Wed, 28 Apr 2004
    Court Hearing on Sitecom's appeal to the preliminary injunction

    The court hearing is scheduled on Wednesday, 19 May 2004, at 11:25am, Room Number 501, Landgericht Muenchen I, Muenchen, Germany.

    As of now I am not sure if I'll be able to attend. This is the last day of a three day conference I'm attending. I also don't expect the hearing to be very exciting, since no discussion about technical issues or about the GPL will take place.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Switches that claim to do VLAN but don't

    Recently I discovered the Allnet ALL0478A 8 port gigabit ethernet switch, that apparently has support for configuration via serial console, trunking, mirroring and VLAN. At least that's what the specification claims.

    Nice idea, I thought this would be ideal to save some more PCI slots in my server (why do computers always have such a little number of PCI slots?). I could just connect one [or two trunked] interfaces from the switch to the server, and then connect DSL modem, various internal LAN segments and the WLAN AP to other ports at the switch. The linux server would then provide different network devices for every VLAN tag I use

    Nice thought, but it doesn't work. Apparently they advertise something like 'switch segmentation' as VLAN. However, this kind of fake VLAN has no relation with 802.1Q VLAN - and thus cannot send you packets including a VLAN header :(

    [ | permanent link ]

    Interview about the netfilter/Sitecom GPL case

    Orangecrate.com has published an Interview about the current state of the netfilter project / Sitecom case.

    The same interview is also covered at this newsforge article.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Tue, 27 Apr 2004
    Discussion on "How much Security can Freedom tolerate"

    Yesterday evening I spend listening a discussion on that subject (organized by a member of parliament of the green party). Unfortunately the spokesperson for the conservative party didn't show up, and there was not too much discussion but consensus between the panel and the audience.

    [ /politics | permanent link ]

    Mon, 26 Apr 2004
    Another article about my successful GPL enforcement

    news.com has an article about my successful enforcement of the GNU GPL in the Sitecom case.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    If you sent me snail mail during the last couple of days

    Then it will most likely return. Some jerk removed the name sign from my mailbox, thus the postal service had to return all mail with "destination unreachable" :(

    Please just re-transmit the respective letters... let's just hope that I didn't miss any important legal documents.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Sun recalls the V20z Opteron systems

    Apparently the power supply is missing the German "VDE" certification and is thus not compliant with German standards for security of electrical devices. This means that I will have to send back the V20z systems I have *sigh*. Looks like this will keep me from having fun optimizing netfilter/iptables on AMD64 for some time.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Fri, 23 Apr 2004
    Sitecom appeals to preliminary injunction

    I just learned that Sitecom has filed a letter of appeal against the preliminary injunction. Apparently they argue that Sitecom Europe B.V. in the Netherlands is responsible, not their German subsidiary, Sitecom Deutschland GmbH.

    This is so disappointing. What kind of business practise does this show? Oh yes, we use GPL licensed code in our products, and yes, we don't respect the license terms. And by the way, our German subsidiary is not responsible, it's the Dutch mother company.

    I intend to use any legal means, including a lawsuit in the Netherlands, to get Sitecom to fully comply with the GPL.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Wed, 21 Apr 2004
    Incomplete Source Releases

    Apparently some of the companies upon whom we've put legal pressure for GPL compliance still don't comply. That is sad, and we won't tolerate this behaviour. The sources need to contain the tool for creating the firmware image, and they need to compile ;)

    Fujitsu-Siemens and Sitecom are still lacking the firmware build tool. We're threatening Fujitsu-Siemens with enforcing the contract penalty set forth in our out-of-court settlement. Sitecom is threatened with enforcing the penalty stated in the preliminary injunction.

    I don't do this for fun, and I would feel much better if I hadn't to threaten anybody with anything. Apparently even under such threat, those companies find themselves unable to comply with the GPL. Why can't they just make everybody happy and release those missing pieces.... *sigh*

    I've heard rumors that Belkin and Asus sources don't compile. As my time is very limited (esp. considered the large number of cases): Please report to me if you have problems with the respective source releases. I am very happy to act on your behalf. After all, I'm doing this mostly for you users. There aren't any valuable modifications in those firmware sources that I need to integrate... all I want to achieve is enabling the users/customers of those WLAN-AP's to be able to exert their GPL-granted right to modify the firmware and to run modified versions of the firmware.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Doing lots of benchmarks / tuning / profiling lately

    During the last weeks I've been working on tuning/benchmarking/profiling the Sun V20z dual Opteron boxes for high-speed packet filtering purpose.

    Some of my findings:

    • i386 kernels give you higher pps than x86_64 (because sk_buff is smaller)
    • e1000 are way faster than tg3 boards (could be hardware or driver issue)
    • Intel PRO/1000MT Quad e1000 boards suck (apparently problems with the onboard PCI-X bridge)
    • Connection Tracking performance is not that bad...
    • ip_tables performance sucks, even if the ruleset is empty ?!?
    • 2.4.x has slightly worse results than 2.6.x if you use IRQ affinity, but really sucks if you don't, since the kernel doesn't balance IRQ's by itself (and irqbalance daemon only balances every 10 seconds)
    • You can route up to 1Mpps at 64bytes packet size
    • ip_conntrack and iptable_filter at suck at least 300kpps, giving 700kpps as a result

    Expect a more detailed report within the next weeks.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Sun V20z is a Newisys 2100

    I just discovered that the Sun V20z dual Opteron systems are actually developed and produced by Newisys.

    Newisys apparently is a extremely pro-Linux company. Not just for marketing purpose, but they mean it. They release all drivers (IPMI, jnet, ...) under the GPL, even actively contribute them back to the free software community.

    They're even looking into running LinuxBIOS on their boxes... While LinuxBIOS is actually an improvement, I'd rather like to see OpenFirmware. What is the point of putting Linux there? OpenFirmware provides you with whatever you need, even device-drivers written in forth / f-code. Well...

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Fri, 16 Apr 2004
    Public Press Release about the netfilter/iptables preliminary injunction

    See the press release issued by the netfilter/iptables core team, the LWN.net article, the Slashdot article, the heise.de article, and the groklaw.net article.

    Here's a transcribed version of the preliminary injunction, as issued by the munich court:

    			Landgericht Muenchen I
    			Lenbachplatz 7 80316 Muenchen
    
    Az: 21 O 6123/04
    
    			Einstweilige Verfuegung
    
    In dem Rechtsstreit
    
    Harald Welte, Xxxxxxxxxx. XX, XXXXX Berlin
    
    - Antragsteller - 
    
    Prozessbevollmaechtigte:
    Rechtsanwaelte Jaschinski Biere Brexl, Steinsdorfstr. 5,
    80538 Muenchen
    Gz.: 131/04
    
    				gegen
    
    Sitecom Deutschland GmbH, vertreten durch den Geschaeftsfuehrer
    Petter Hemmer, Haydstr. 2, 85354 Freising
    
    - Antragsgegnerin -
    
    wegen Unterlassung
    
    erlaesst das Landgericht Muenchen I, 21. Zivilkammer am 2.4.2004
    folgende
    
    			Einstweilige Verfuegung
    
    1. Der Antragsgegnerin wird bei Meidung
    	- eines Ordnungsgeldes von EUR 5,- bis zu EUR 250.000,-,
    	  an dessen Stelle im Falle der Uneinbringlichkeit eine
    	  Ordnungshaft bis zu 6 Monaten tritt, oder 
    	- einer Ordnungshaft bis zu 6 Monaten,
    	zu vollziehen am Geschaeftsfuehrer
    	fuer jeden einzelnen Fall der Zuwiderhandung gemaess
    	$$ 935ff, 890 ZPO
    
    	verboten
    
    	die Software "netfilter/iptables" zu verbreiten und/oder
    	zu vervielfaeltigen und/oder oeffentlich zugaenglich zu
    	machen, ohne entsprechend den Lizenzbedingungen der GNU
    	General Public License, Version 2 (GPL) dabei zugleich
    	auf die Lizenzierung unter der GPL hinzuweisen und den
    	Lizenztext der GPL beizufuegen und den Sourcecode der Soft-
    	ware "netfilter/iptables" lizenzgebuehrenfrei zugaenglich zu
    	machen.
    
    2. Die Antragsgegnerin hat die Kosten des Verfahrens zu tra-
       gen
    
    3. Der Streitwert wird auf 100.000,-- festgesetzt.
    
    
    Kaess			Mueller			Rieger
    Vors. Richter		Richter			Richter
    am Landgericht		am Landgericht		am Landgericht
    

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Mon, 12 Apr 2004
    A new day starts... with new hardware issues

    I woke up in the morning just to find out that my network is down. Why is it down? Because my all-in-one Linux Server has just died. Apparently it was the power supply, two exploded electrolytic capacitors strongly indicated such diagnosis.

    Of course this has to happen on a public holiday. *sigh*. Oh yes, I used to have a spare power supply somewhere... somewhere in the boxes that I had already moved to my our new appartment.

    Well, in the end it really only was that power supply, thank god.

    [ | permanent link ]

    CDK bug-fixing

    One should think that console-based applications are common under Linux, as on any other *NIX-like OS. Furthermore, one would assume that there is at least one, if not a variety of curses-based widget toolkits available.

    The largest such project seems to be CDK (Curses Development Kit), so I choose it for the GSPC software.

    Apparently, CDK isn't used that frequently either - otherwise it would be impossible for me to find that many bugs, even without trying to do something wicked. Let's say you want to add an item to a scrolled list... and after adding about 8 items, the toolkit segfaults. It turns out the list items are dynamically allocated, but only reallocated if you replace all of them (as opposed to just adding a single one).

    Or let's say you want the "END" key to work in such a scrolled list, independent if there are less, equal or more items than fitting in your viewport.

    So Unix is supposed to be the text-oriented world, and still there are way more (and more stable) widget toolkits for X11 than there are for text mode. *sigh*

    [ /linux/gspc | permanent link ]

    Sun, 11 Apr 2004
    Sun V20z Opteron Systems arrive

    I just received two neat Sun V20z dual Opteron 1U systems on Saturday. I'm preparing them for submitting an netfilter/iptables based commercial firewall product to participate in a multi-vendor benchmark.

    I really like the AMD64 aka x86_64 aka Opteron architecture. For one part, AMD seems to have done about everything right. 8 more registers [optionally even in 32bit mode], transparent execution of 32bit and 64bit instructions. Not to forget the neat Hyper-transport interfaces, the built-in memory-controller, ...

    But I've been working with an AMD64 system for almost a year by now.. so there's nothing that new about it. However, Sun takes this already brilliantly designed CPU and system architecture another step ahead.

    If they would have contracted me as consultant to design a high-end server with all the features a power Linux sysadmin needs, I would have ended up with a very similar proposal.

    Most importantly, nobody ever wants to have a monitor or keyboard attached to a Server. I wonder why vendors of server mainboards even bother to put a VGA chip or AGP slot on there. So the least you can expect from a decent machine is a real serial console - one that allows you to access CMOS Setup (erroneously referred to as BIOS) via the serial port.

    The V20z is even better: Apart from your dual Opteron system, there is a whole separate independent second computer on the mainboard: The 'Service Processor'. This is actually an embedded MPC860 system with 64MB of RAM, running at 64MHz speed. And yes, it is running Linux 2.4.18 :). It has a separate 100-base-T Ethernet port, using which you can SSH into the SP.

    Once logged into the SP, you can power cycle the Opteron System, monitor System Health, and access the Opteron Host system's serial console over LAN. This saves you from buying an extra serial terminal server, expensive serial boards and lots of extra serial wires. It even supports console logging on a NFS mount, including logfile rotation.

    Everything is built using stock free software components. Linux, OpenSSH, conserver. You immediately feel at home. Oh, by the way: The SP is running ip_conntrack and ip_table by default :)

    And yes, the box even includes a printed copy of the GPL (!) - however, no source code or any written offer included in the box :(

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Sat, 10 Apr 2004
    Wizards of OS3 started

    The third Wizards of OS conference has just started. I'm looking forward to presenting my recent success in GPL enforcement at the Copyrights panel scheduled for 5pm today.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Wed, 07 Apr 2004
    Fighting for more open network at LinuxTag

    I'm currently in discussion with the networking team and trying to talk them into a more open policy for their conference network.

    In the previous years, they have adopted a security policy that effectively blocks any traffic that is not for a very limited list of destination ports (spop3, simap and others). You were unable to use protocols like cvspserver, rsync or even IPsec.

    Apparently this kind of policy was adopted on behalf of the ISP who sponsored network access, in fear of the legal risk of providing an open network.

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Had to turn down invitation to LSM

    The great Libre Software Meeting conference has invited me to become co-chairman of the Security Topic. I feel greatly honored, but I had to turn down the offer. The LSM date is too close to other conferences I have already agreed to attend...

    Maybe I can make it to LSM next year again... it's definitely one of the friendliest conferences I've seen so far - and one that is really about free software, not just Linux.

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Some more ct_sync bug hunting

    It seems like there's still a number of bugs left in ct_sync. I've spent the major part of the last three days hunting them down. Seems to be really hard ones, that only appear when compiled with recent gcc-3.2 versions... Learned a lot about objdump and strange x86 "instruction encoding artefacts", though.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Tue, 06 Apr 2004
    Judge granted preliminary injunction on GPL infringement

    It's too early to discuss the details in public, but the netfilter project has reached the first preliminary injunction on non-fulfillment of the GPL in Germany (maybe worldwide?).

    This basically means that the company is no longer allowed to distribute their gpl infringing products within Germany.

    The injunction now has to be formally sent to the infringing company (by the court). Expect some more details once this has happened. Stay tuned :)

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Sun, 28 Mar 2004
    Cancelled my Holiday Trip to India

    For those of you assuming that I'd be gone from Apr 3 to Apr 18: I have to disappoint you. I just cancelled that trip: Too much work at the moment, can't afford to take off for two weeks.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Sat, 27 Mar 2004
    Finally committing Pablo Neira's optimization patches

    Subject says it all... I've found some time to review his patches. With some luck, DaveM will receive them later today.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Fri, 26 Mar 2004
    revived the dropped table

    After about two years in deep freeze, I revived the idea of a dropped table. For those of you who haven't heard about it in the past: The idea is to gather all packets that are dropped at any place within the network stack. This is very useful for auditing and debugging.

    Userspace support is included in libiptc/iptables for ages, so all you need is patch-o-matic-ng from >= today.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Wed, 24 Mar 2004
    Settlement with ASUS

    ASUS has now signed a "declaration to cease and desist" on their infringing use of GPL licensed software in their WL-500g product. More news to be announced soon.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Initial version of gpl-violations.org website up

    Today I found a couple of spare minutes to bring an initial version of the www.gpl-violations.org website online. The biggest and most important task, the database of known violations, is not yet present. What's also missing is a nice logo... any volunteers?

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Sat, 20 Mar 2004
    Survived a day of CeBIT

    I generally don't like trade shows. As their name clearly indicates, their main goal is trade. You will have to try very hard to find really technical people. All you find is vendors who try to sell you solutions. Who's interested in solutions? I want some nice equipment and tools, then solve the problems on my own.

    Anyway, I had an important appointment, so I went there. Despite the truckloads of consumers, gamers and the like, I was able to wade through the masses. Luckily Astaro and Balabit were friendly enough to offer me shelter in their booths ;)

    Let's hope I won't have to do it too often.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Fri, 19 Mar 2004
    Another GPL Violations settled out-of-court (Securepoint GmbH)

    Securepoint was offering software-only firewall products based on Linux and netfilter/iptables without correctly reproducing the GPL license terms or a written offer for the source code.

    An agreement has been reached now, watch out for the press release on netfilter.org later today.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Thu, 18 Mar 2004
    Allnet source code offering incomplete

    According to an email I received yesterday, the Allnet source offer does not contain the full sources for the product. As an example, uClibc seems to be missing. Luckily, I'll be meeting their CEO on Saturday, and I hope we can resolve that issue.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    FSC sources corrupt

    As I found out yesterday, the sources offered by Fujitsu-Siemens are corrupt (and thus incomplete). Seems like one really has to check every single bit, otherwise they are unable to comply. *sigh*

    I'll keep you updated.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Wed, 10 Mar 2004
    Why is it so quite over the last couple of days?

    I'm mostly working on some paid-for commercial/proprietary software during the last couple of days, there's not much time left for free software at the moment. I expect this to change until the end of the week.

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    A black day in the history of EU legislation

    In an undemocrating manner and without public discussion, the European Parliament has passed a "IP rights enforcement directive" to "counter intellectual property piracy".

    How can it happen that the wife of the head of one of Europe's biggest Media Companies (Vivendi International) can propose a Directive in January, that passes the Parliament in early march, when usually this process takes half a year to years?

    This makes me sick and angry. I start to completely loose faith into European lawmakers. While fighting another EU directive on the patentability of software for years, another directive gets proposed and passes so quickly, that no public reaction can take place, nobody can even contact their representative MEP's.

    For more information, see

    [ /politics | permanent link ]

    Wed, 03 Mar 2004
    German Constitutional Court rules in favour of privacy

    According to this article (in German) the German constitutional court ruled in favour of privacy and declared some recent changes in law as illegal. The respective changes made it much easier for law enforcement agencies to wiretap.

    [ /politics | permanent link ]

    Tue, 02 Mar 2004
    Another iptables GPL infringement resolved

    Today it is my pleasure to announce another resolved iptables infringement case. The netfilter/iptables project and Fujitsu Siemens Computers have reached an amicable agreement. For more details see the article I wrote for LWN and the corresponding press release.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Sun, 29 Feb 2004
    New gnumonks.org mail server online

    Recently I pointed out that I'm about to move my personal mail away from KNF. The new server ganesha.gnumonks.org is now co-located at noris.net, where netfilter.org is hosted, too. The netfilter and gnumonks machines are within a private VLAN, with a dedicated firewall in front of them.

    Putting that machine in place turned out to be come much more difficult than expected. It seems that Intel recently decided to give their e100/e1000 chips new PCI device ID's, which in turn means that old (e.g. Debian woody install kernels ) Linux drivers don't recognize them. So in the end I had to install SuSE into a swap partition and debootstrap the system from there. *sigh*.

    Thanks to the noris.net crew for their assistance, I know they spent way too much time with me considering I bought their smallest entry-level housing product.

    [ /knf | permanent link ]

    Tiramisu - Why is it so hard to get?

    Another dinner at the local Italian food place. Again I asked for Tiramisu (which is on their regular menu), and they didn't have it. This would make it a total 12% availability of Tiramisu over the last year. Every time I go to this place (which is quite frequent), I ask for Tiramisu - and still they don't bother regularly preparing one.

    And it's not even only at that place. It's almost the same with all Italian restaurants, judging by my past experience. Why don't they get it? They won't sell anything by just putting it on the menu - they actually need to have it available. *sigh*.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Added a new 'licensing' section on the netfilter homepage

    Since recently more and more vendors seem to disobey the terms of the GNU GPL, I decided to put some more detailed information on how to comply with this license online. It was written for the netfilter/iptables project, but should apply to any other GPL licensed free software project. You can find the section here.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Sat, 28 Feb 2004
    Found a new apartment

    It seems like searching for a new apartment was surprisingly easy. The landlord didn't yet sign the contract, but we found a decent place in Treptow. More details will follow soon.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Wed, 25 Feb 2004
    Continued work on libiptc2

    I finally find some time to work on what I call 'libiptc2'. It is basically a re-implementation of the 'chain cache' inside libiptc. This should remove the last O^n complexities we have in there. While I would really enjoy working on new stuff like pkttables, this kind of work keeps me from doing it :(

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Mon, 23 Feb 2004
    Finally some time for a new 'commercial' homepage

    I started to work on www.hmw-consulting.de, the first professional/commercial homepage for my business in five years :)

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Sun, 22 Feb 2004
    The brave (slow, buggy) new world of XML

    Some time ago I decided to write the new netfilter.org project homepage in docbook-website XML. I thought (and still think) that this was _the_ way to deal with HTML. Have some nice XSL's, generate XHTML and put all formatting information in CSS.

    However, after trying to use more and more advanced functions, I have to admit that this is far from being easy or documented in any way. I didn't even manage to get the XBEL example for docbook-website running. xsltproc would return 'No template found for xlink'. I tried to find any information on the web if xsltproc did at all implement xlink. No way. All I managed to find out is that libxslt/libxml2 did in fact implement xlink, but no information if xsltproc took advantage of that.

    In the end I found out that using Xinclude seemed to work. Great. Now all I need is the netfilter link collection in XBEL format

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Fri, 20 Feb 2004
    Submitting patches

    I finally got around to initiate another one of my patch submission cycles. This means that DaveM is receiving a number of patches that have been pending in the netfilter patch-o-matic repository.

    Apart from that, pom-ng needs some more work. It turns out I will have to do some perl scripting again.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    New package 'reveng-tools' started

    Since I'm reverse engineering quite a number of embedded firmware images lately, I have started a new project called 'reveng-tools'.

    The idea is to provide a set of tools that can be handy if you want to do that kind of work. For one part, you need a tool to scan a binary for signatures of well known file/compression/archive types. This part is already finished and called 'magic_ofs'.

    I'm now working on an endian-safe cramfs extractor and a bFLT de-compressor. Stay tuned.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Thu, 19 Feb 2004
    A day of patch-o-matic-ng merging

    Since there are slight syntactical and semantical differences in the API for iptables matches and targets between 2.4.x and 2.6.x kernels, a minimum editing has to take place in order to make even the most simple 2.4.x extension work with 2.6.x. With more than 65 extensions in current pom-ng, this can take quite a while.

    Apart from a minor bug in the Netfilter_POM.pm perl module, we should now be ready for the first official pom-ng release. Finally, people will be able to use our extensions with a 2.6.x kernel.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Ordered two external Firewire Cases, both broken

    Sometimes you really have to wonder what kind of stuff one of .de's largest computer suppliers is selling. I ordered two external cases, both of them broken. The 2.5" is about 1mm too small for my hard drive. The 5.25" comes with screws that are too short, and the electronics are completely broken. As soon as it is attached to a bus, all other devices will vanish, too.

    Which brings me to another issue: Why are there no external SCSI cases with built-in firewire bridge? I mean, the IDE ones you can buy everywhere have to do something like IDE -> SCSI -> SBP2 -> Firewire. So they already include a SCSI layer, at least to some degree. I have tons of SCSI devices that I would then be able to connect to my notebook and other machines.

    Also, why are there no four or eight devices external firewire towers? Something where you can put all your CD/DVD/whatever drives into and connect them to any of your machines. Now I have to buy one case per device, which each has their own power supply, ...

    [ | permanent link ]

    Wed, 18 Feb 2004
    netfilter/iptables reached settlement with Allnet GmbH

    Today we have successfully announced our out-of-court settlement with Allnet GmbH on their infringing use of our GPL licensed software. Please see the original press release.

    I'm extremely happy that this could be solved in such cooperative manner. It's great to see companies are paying attention if they get informed the right way.

    Some people are asking me: Why didn't you just ask them, why go via a lawyer and send them a legal note? The answer is quite easy: If you just send an email to any company, you will end up with technical support. The tech people most likely already know about the GPL and it's conditions. On the other hand, if you have a lawyer send a note, then you gain attention among the administrative staff. And that's the kind of people you want to reach for a real change within a companies policies.

    There is quite a number of other companies that are using netfilter/iptables without compliance to the license term. Now that we have succeeded with the first, we are going to pursue this path and subsequently ask each of them to comply to the license.

    Again, it's important to state that we very much like to see more Linux and netfilter/iptables based products. We do not oppose commercial use of our code at all. We just want the license conditions to be fulfilled - and that's just fair.

    [ /linux/gpl-violations | permanent link ]

    Tue, 17 Feb 2004
    redesign of dstlimit match

    A couple of weeks ago I first published the dstlimit match. It provides an easy way of rate-limiting certain packets on a 'per destination ip' or 'per destination ip/port' tuple base.

    However, it turned out that it had several flaws. One of them was that you could create two /proc/net/dstlimit/ files with the same name. proc-fs doesn't actually check if some file already exists, if you want to create it (within the kernel). Several hours of research within the vfs (of which I have no idea) and conversation with some other kernel developers revealed that there is no reliable way to check if a specific file already exists. Even if there was, you would never be able to atomically check-and-create.

    So in the end I had to implement some major changes in the dstlimit code. However, this again changed the kernel/userspace structure layout, so you will have to recompile both in order to use it

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Sat, 14 Feb 2004
    Evaluating GTK+ / GTK-- for GSPC graphical interface

    After not having done any GUI programming for the last five years or so, I'm now investigating the world of GTK+ / GTK--. GSPC will soon need a graphical frontend, running directly on the framebuffer (potentially DirectFB), with no mouse and only a very limited keyboards as input device.

    [ /linux/gspc | permanent link ]

    The netfilter/iptables project is looking for a hardware donation

    The project's mail/web/ftp/cvs/list/... servers are highly loaded, and as usual the load always increases. We're getting more list members, more downloads and more page views every month. However, our current hardware is not growing by itself. Thus, we need to buy a new machine soon.

    All of the current (and past) hardware was bought from my personal wallet. While I could afford this in the past, I would very much like to see one of our corporate netfilter/iptables users step up and show his support for netfilter/iptables by donating a new machine. This would be an ideal opportunity to show the development community that you are not just using free software, but also putting in your part to make it work.

    We have very specific needs with regard to the hardware we use: It has to be a 1U system, and non-x86. This basically leaves us with Sun UltrSPARC based systems, and the Apple XServe line. Both options would cost about EUR 3500 to 3800.

    If you are interested in sponsoring such a system, please contact Harald to discuss the details. Thanks in advance.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    My powerbook is now able to use the external VGA!

    After hours of trial+error and reading the XFree86 radeon driver, I now finally managed to get the external DVI/VGA port of my Apple TiBook IV to display something useful. CloneMode didn't work for some strange reason, but I'm now running a multihead setup.

    This means, that at the next conference I can give my presentation with just one single notebook, no need for second notebook, crossover cable and remote X display anymore. If that isn't good news...

    [ /linux | permanent link ]

    Finding a suitable math parser

    GSPC currently uses spar-0.5.10, a quite nice math language parser. However, it is unmaintained, still contains a lot of bugs and is incomplete. Can anybody tell me why in this big world of free software there is not a single simple mathematical parser that can be embedded into an application? I just want to evaluate simple statements like "(X*3.56)-max(y*1.23,z*1.341)".

    The author of spar has since started a new project, called Iguana. It is a whole language, not only simple mathematical statements. However, it still lacks some of the functionality spar used to have - and it has a totally different syntax.

    Now I face the choice between extending the good old spar with stuff like variable length argument functions, or convert everything to use Iguana (and implement the missing bits from spar in Iguana).

    [ /linux/gspc | permanent link ]

    moving gnumonks.org mail/web/ftp server

    After being hosted in the basement of my former office, connected via an SDSL line to KNF, I have now made the decision to move my mail/web/ftp server to a commercial hosting center.

    Connectivity behind that old line was becoming increasingly unreliable due to various problems at the University of Erlangen, which is part of my upstream routing path.

    Unfortunately the old gnumonks.org machines are all desktop/mini-tower systems, so I now have to buy an expensive 19" 2U server. It will be hosted at noris network, where the netfilter.org machines are hosted, too.

    [ /knf | permanent link ]

    Thu, 12 Feb 2004
    Jozsef made my day by finishing pom-ng

    Jozsef was kind enough to implement the missing features in patch-o-matic-ng. This is really great. It was one of the most important pending items on my TODO list.

    This basically means that we are at the brink of the first official pom-ng release, enabling 2.6.x kernel users to benefit from the vast collection of netfilter/iptables features contained in patch-o-matic.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Wed, 11 Feb 2004
    Survived another birthday

    I hate birthday parties. Why is it worth celebrating every single year of life that has passed? Can anybody explain that, please? I really don't see any value in celebrating that day.

    For those of you who tried to call me: I did intentionally not pick up the phone, since I really don't like to receive congratulations for something trivial like having survived another year.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    GSPC: Gnumonks.org Statistical Process Control

    This is some piece of software I wrote about a year ago for a German massive forming technology company. Luckily, they agreed to make this software available under the GNU GPL. To my knowledge, it is the only GPL-licensed software for statistical process control.

    Unfortunately I didn't have the time to write any decent documentation or put up a homepage for that software so far. I will to do so shortly.

    During the last week, I was contracted to extend GSPC to support up to 16 inductive displacement transducers, and support multiple data acquisition boards per system.

    [ /linux/gspc | permanent link ]

    Fri, 06 Feb 2004
    Idea of a new conntrack-based accounting system

    There has been discussion about this before, but it now came to my mind (again).

    If you want to do some accounting on Linux based routers, you don't have any reasonable way of doing so. All you can do is

    • capture all packets, do any kind of evaluation later
    • This is what you can do with nacctd, ULOGD/ulogd, and various other approaches. The problem is, that you collect an incredible amount of data which needs to be processed.
    • insert iptables rules, account only what you're really interested in
    • This requires prior knowledge of exactly what you want to account. You immediately get the results, and it's not possible to do any arbitrary calculation at some later point.

    So there is a need for something else: conntrack based accounting. The idea is: Let connection tracking count how many bytes+packets a connection has. When the connection terminates, the total amount is sent to some userspace process. This means you will have one record of accounting data per connection. In the worst case of extremely short-lived connections, you would end up with almost as much DMA as in the nacctd approach - but even then, significantly less processing for the actual accounting itself.

    I haven't looked into the details yet, but even generating netflow data should be possible quite easy this way.

    As for the implementation, a single set of counters should be sufficient. Adding per-CPU counters doesn't make sense, since the cache lines of the conntrack entry have to be valid on the current CPU anyway. We're also already under ip_conntrack_lock, so writing two more counters per packet shouldn't be that expensive. Per-CPU counters also don't make sense if they are within the same cache line...

    One set of counters would have to be: bytes for each direction, packets for each direction. They could be u_int32_t, since almost all connections have less than 4GB traffic these days.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    more work on the fail-over code

    I'm getting more and more of the fail-over code done. It now implements conntrack exemption (NOTRACK) for the sync device, and also blocks all incoming/outgoing network traffic on any node that is currently in 'slave' state. This means that all interfaces can be configured, any applications can be running, sockets bound, ... - but none of that will be visible to the network until the node is propagated to master state.
    This needs explicit support for new netfilter hooks in the core network stack (I call them l2hooks, other people NETFILTER_PACKET).

    Main parts that are missing:

    • Correctly deal with sync packet loss situations
    • Replicate expectations (needs conntrack expect notifications)
    • Testing on SMP systems, there might be locking bugs

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Tue, 03 Feb 2004
    A quiet week for my weblog

    This is going to be a quiet week in this weblog. I'm currently at [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Thu, 29 Jan 2004
    "Parlamentary Evening" about software patents

    Yesterday I was invited to a parlamentary evening organized by FFII e.V., a non-for-profit organization lobbying against the introduction of software patents in the European Union.
    As you may know, they've been quite sucessful during the last year, since the European Parlament passed a directive that prevents any patent on computer software. However, due to the strange way the EU works, this directive has to be approved by the EU council before it gets enacted. The council is composed by representatives of the executive government, not by directly elected members of parliament.

    The purpose of this event was to raise awareness about the dangers of software (and pure algorithmic/logic) patents. Among the invited guests were members of Bundestag (the german parliament), and various Officials of BMWA, BMBF and BMJ (economy, research and justice ministries).

    I received the event as quite well. We were able to make our point and make them understand why a piece of software is different of somebody making an invention in the field fo mechanics.

    [ /politics/swpat | permanent link ]

    Tue, 27 Jan 2004
    Trying to make 2.6.x IPsec and conntrack/nat work

    Spent some time thinking about how to possibly solve the long standing problem with conntrack/NAT and the 2.6.x in-kernel AH/ESP implementation.
    The recent discussion on netfilter-devel was quite productive, although most of my ideas turned out to be without technical possibility :(
    For example, iptables cannot attach the same CHAIN to multiple HOOKS. That would be so neat. Would somebody remind me that that has to go into pkttables?
    Anyway, I've now written a surprisingly small (but still ugly) patch that should do about 60% of the solution upon which we agreed on the mailing-list.
    Unfortunately, I don't have the time to set up a full IPsec test bed right now, so I have to rely on others to test it..

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Ulogd is becoming a flow accounting subsystem

    Some nice Russian guy wrote a patch to add BSD like ipacct flow accounting to ulogd. This is something I had on my wish list for quite some time.

    He has written an OUTPUT plugin that does all the flow accounting and file-writing itself. However, I have an idea of how this could be implemented in a more generic way: Implement flow accounting as interpreter, and return a pointer to a struct flowinfovia a new ulog_iret_t. This way any output plugin could reference flow information for the current flow.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Why do people have to make winter holidays?

    I tried to get a train reservation on Friday/Saturday between Berlin and Nuernberg. All the trains, even the night trains (sleeper trains) on Friday or Saturday morning are fully booked out.

    Apparently winter holidays in Berlin are starting and everybody is heading south to Bavaria and Austria for winter 'sports'. Kind of annoying that you cannot even get a single ticket five days in advance.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    More work on the fail-over code

    Currently Astaro is paying me for my development on the netfilter conntrack fail-over code. That's what I'm supposed to be working on, at the least... I should stop reading my email in the morning, because otherwise my whole day will be filled with other stuff that just results from reading emails.

    Anyway, the fail-over has been progressing, slowly but steadily. I should expect some working code any day now.

    Thanks again to [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Mon, 26 Jan 2004
    Upcoming software patent / DRM / biometrics events in Berlin

    There's a couple of interesting events upcoming in Berlin:

    • A meeting of the FFII with members of Bundestag (the German parliament) on the issue of software patents.
    • A Symposium on DRM and its alternatives.
    • A meeting between CCC and representatives of the German green party on the issue of biometric data in passports

    I hope I can make it at least to the former two, despite my time constraints.

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Back home

    After LWE, I've finally arrived at home again... at least for one week (when I'll be heading to Karlsruhe). Feels somehow strange to use Euro coins again ;)
    Well, I see a week packed full with work, ranging from netfilter fail-over stuff to dealing with gpl violations, reading all the pending snail mail, paying bills, visiting important events (see other entry in today's blog).

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Sun, 25 Jan 2004
    Bought three interesting books

    During my stay in NYC went to the NYU computer bookstore, just for browsing, not looking for anything in particular. In the end, I spent more than 150 bucks on three books:

    • Telecommunications Technologies Reference (ISBN 1-58705-036-6)
    • This makes an excellent reading for somebody with an Internet background who wants to learn about the general architecture of modern telephone systems, SS7, frame relay, ATM, SONET/SDH, ISDN BRI/PRI protocol layers, encodings, multiplexing, ...
    • 802.11 Wireless LAN Fundamentals (ISBN 1-58705-077-3)
    • A comprehensive guide on the 802.11 standards, ranging from MAC to PHY layer, advancing to encoding and modulation techniques used. It also covers roaming, Mobile IP, WPA, WEP, 802.1x. A good read for those who want to learn more about the 802.11 family.
    • Practical VoIP
    • A book about the VOCAL implementation of SIP/SDP user agent/proxy/gateway functionality, with solutions to interconnect with H.323 and MGCP. Also includes introductions to the respective protocols, however after having read the SIP relevant RFC's I had skipped that part.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Wed, 21 Jan 2004
    First day at Linux World Expo

    This is the first day of LWE 2004. It's much smaller than I expected it. The exhibition area is definitely not as large as at Linuxtag in Germany. As you'd expect at an event organized commercially, everything is perfectly organized. Too perfect for me, I'd rather like a more chaotic community-organized event.

    At least I've met two people I know: Mats Wichmann and James Bottomley.

    Anyway, going to give my presentation tomorrow. Let's see how many people will attend the programming tutorial.

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Mon, 19 Jan 2004
    Guggenheim Museum, Chinatown and Aquarium

    The weather remains incredibly cold, which means that any activity outdoors becomes a challenge. Apart from the Guggenheim Museum and the Aquarium, we've spent a couple of hours exploring various shops in Chinatown.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Sat, 17 Jan 2004
    A day of shopping

    Since NYC seems to be the capital of the capitalistic world, it offers a paradise for shoppers. Unfortunately we're not really in the mood of shopping, but we decided to ignore that and make the best out of it. So we ended up bring numerous books, from Hindi grammar to historical sewing techniques.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Fri, 16 Jan 2004
    Second day in NYC: Metropolitan Museum of Art

    The second day was fully spent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which seems to be a universe of it's own. Quite impressive Museum, just a bit odd for us old-world European that the paintings are organized/sorted by collector instead of by artist or age. I guess that is what happens if even art in museums is commercialized.

    One of the main reasons why we went to the museum is it's "costume institute". According to what we've read, they have tens of thousands of historical costumes. Unfortunately, the exhibition area is only large enough for hardly one hundred of them, and currently this space is occupied by some stupid "men in skirts" exhibition. Hey, I own more skirts than trousers... what's so special about that subject? Am I now worth exhibiting? And what happened to the interesting historical costumes? They are hidden away :(

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Wireless Internet access in NYC

    Staying in the 36th floor of a hotel in midtown Manhattan has the advantage of receiving about 35 wireless networks, many of them unencrypted and with pre-configured IP address range ;)
    So the hotel doesn't even have to bother offering Internet access to their customers, I guess.
    The real problem is to stick with one AP, since everybody seems to use the pre-configured 'Linksys' ESSID, and the client thus thinks it can roam between them... which obviously doesn't work.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Thu, 15 Jan 2004
    Arrival in NYC

    After a quite decent flight with Singapore airlines, Eli and I have arrived in New York City. I'm here for LWE, and we thought It'd be a good idea to add a couple of days for sightseeing. I've been in NYC the last time 9 years ago. Jeez, I feel like I'm getting old.

    It seems like we're visiting NYC at it's coldest time ever. The ground staff at the airport was fighting with a snow storm, and temperatures are at about -12 Celsius. But this isn't all, we also have extremely cold arctic winds.

    On our first half day (arrived at about 1:30pm at the hotel), we didn't do much but getting over our jet lag and having some fast-food.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Wed, 14 Jan 2004
    Infrequentness of weblog entries

    Shortly after starting the weblog, entries become less frequent :( I'll try to improve over the next couple of days. Heading off to New York for LWE 2004 where I'll be giving a netfilter programming tutorial on behalf of my sponsor Astaro.

    Four hours left for sleep, I'd rather use the time and write some stuff here tomorrow.

    [ | permanent link ]

    Fri, 09 Jan 2004
    Final work on new netfilter homepage

    The last section of the homepage (security advisories) has now been converted. The security advisories in their text form are just placed into a certain directory, and some makefile, perl-script and docbook-xml magic takes care of the rest.

    With some luck, the new homepage will be online tomorrow

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Thu, 08 Jan 2004
    Sorry for all the pending email replies

    Meanwhile, there's way too much pending email I need to take care of, both netfilter-related and private email. Sorry to everybody out there who is still watiting for a reply.

    [ | permanent link ]

    More work on the new netfilter.org website and people.netfilter.org

    I've finished the scripts for auto-generation of the mirrors.html page from the DNS zone file, and the HOWTO-link-generation similar to what the current netfilter homepage has. Also done some final tweaking of the style sheets.

    With regard to the people.netfilter.org blosxom configuration: I've now finished some nice blosxom templates (flavour, how it likes to call these itself) that resemble the exact layout of the docbook-website generated netfilter homepage... in fact, it is using the same CSS :)

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Harald arrives back home for a full week

    After lots of travelling, I'll finally be at home for a whole week. After that, I'm going to fly to NYC, heading for LinuxWorldExpo, where I'll be giving a presentation on behalf of Astaro.

    While travelling to lots of conferences can be quite nice, I have actually concluded that I spent less than half the year 2003 at home in Berlin. This sucks. I moved to Berlin because there's so much interesting people (lixnke the CCC), culture and community. 2004 is going to be way less travelling than the previous years. A hand full of conferences (LinuxTag, Linux-Kongress, OLS, Kernel Summit) and that's it. Sorry guys.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]

    Wed, 07 Jan 2004
    libiptc2 woes

    After quite some time, a posting on the netfilter-devel list reminded me of my unfinished work on libiptc2. The problem with old libiptc is, that it has a n^2 complexity when adding rules to an in-memory ruleset. This slows down the time for iptables-restore with large rulesets.

    Old libiptc has a so-called chain cache that contains pointers to the start of each chain within the ruleset blob. This chain cache has to die, and libiptc2 needs a totally separate representation of the ruleset. Every rule as a malloc()ed chunk of memory, put into a linked list (which builds a chain, which are in turn linked lists). Only at the iptc_commit() stage this libiptc-internal representation is compiled into the ruleset blob.

    Let's hope Andre Uratsuka Manoel will find the time to continue this work, since I really don't even know to start with my ever-growing TODO list :(

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Tue, 06 Jan 2004
    installed blosxom on gnumonks.org

    From previously being just installed on my notebook (debian testing), I've now managed to install blosxom on gnumonks.org (debian woody). This was quite a hassle. First, there was no blosxom backport for woody available on the net (what a shame). Second, rebuilding the blosxom .deb on woody didn't seem to be as easy as usual due to some strange interaction with fakeroot+gpg. Didn't solve the problem, but rather built the package as root.

    After that, I had to discover that the blosxom 'isp' plugin doesn't work quite well with debian suEXEC enabled apache. The problem is that ~laforge/weblog is outside of the documentRoot and thus suEXEC refuses to execute /usr/lib/cgi-bin/blosxom. The only kludge I could manage to do is to copy blosxom into somewhere below ~laforge/public_html in order to make suEXEC happy. As I want to move to static pre-built html files anyway, I didn't bother to find a real solution to the problem.

    Now I'm thinking about the netfilter.org integration. Since the new homepage is built with docbook-website, a good choice would be something like a 'docbook-xml' flavour for blosxom. Need to think more about this.

    [ | permanent link ]

    Mon, 05 Jan 2004
    20c3 - the 20th incarnation of the annual CCC congress
    I've spent the last three days at the 20c3.

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Kiblix/2003 Linux festival, Maribor (Slovenia)

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    netfilter homepage v3 using docbook-website
    Over the last couple of weeks I've converted the netfilter website to docbook-website. Let's hope this will be the last and final re-design of our project website.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Openfest 2003 conference in Sofia, Bulgaria

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    netfilter developer diaries
    I've started to use blosxom as the designated tool for the upcoming netfilter developer diaries. If the test phase works out well, every netfilter/iptables developer will have the possibility to host their own homepage including a blosxom-enable blog on this server.

    [ /linux/netfilter | permanent link ]

    Ottawa Linux Symposium 2003, Ottawa (Canada)

    [ /linux/conferences | permanent link ]

    Thu, 01 Jan 2004
    Harald got engaged
    I've proposed to the wonderful Elisabeth, who has enlightened the last 6+ years of my live. She accepted my proposal and we became engaged. Now if that isn't good news :)
    Though we've first met on IRC in early 1997, she's not a frequent computer user these days... so there's no homepage (yet) I could point the curious reader to.

    [ /personal | permanent link ]