15 June 2001

Doing a bit more work on libglade2. It is still broken,
but getting less broken as time goes on. Should get it so
that the build completes to keep Sander
happy 🙂

Since we are starting to get a number of functional free
web browsers, I had the idea that it might be a good idea to
create a Certificate Authority for free software projects
and people and get its CA cert preloaded in browsers like

Why do people use CAs like Verisign? Because people
trust them (rightly or wrongly), and their certs are
preloaded in almost all browsers so users don’t see a
disturbing dialog pop up when going to the site.

The free software community is probably in a better
position to verify the identity of people requesting
certificates. A group like Debian which already has a
strong web of trust between developers could set up a CA.
Requiring that certificate requests be GPG signed by a
debian developer who has positively identified the requestor
before issuing a certificate might provide a good balance
between security and ease of acquiring certificates.

Having the CA certificates preloaded in free browsers
such as mozilla, konqueror, etc would place them on an equal
footing with the existing CAs. Debian as a CA is just an
example, as they already have some of the infrastructure in
place for identifying people. It shouldn’t be difficult to
get CA certs added to free web browser’s databases. It
probably shouldn’t be limited to just free software related
CAs either.

Another interesting idea would be to setup (or adopt an
existing) alternative root zone that included a number of
TLDs related to free software (eg .gnu, .bsd, etc) along
with the existing ICANN and country code TLDs. If the major
distros shipped their nameservers pointing at this
alternative root, those TLDs would be usable (and not just
to Linux/BSD boxes — think about how many windows boxes
just forward all DNS requests to a Linux or BSD box for

Both ideas would take quite a bit to get off the ground,
so probably won’t happen unless someone is really motivated
to do it.

12 June 2001

Put out another development
pygtk snapshot
. I actually released it yesterday, but
my computer’s clock was out by 12 hours when I made the
release, but didn’t notice it (something weird must have
happened when bringing all the computers back up after the
brownout on sunday), and the ntp server on the gateway
didn’t start up correctly so it didn’t correct itself. I
hate clock skew.

I have some ideas on how to decrease the amount of
handcoded stuff in pygtk even further. The beginnings of
this code is included in the latest snapshot (the GBoxed
type). I haven’t gotten round to converting any of the
existing boxed types over to this new code or adjusted the
code generator yet though.

Cyrille, Lars, Steffen and Hans have been doing great
work on Dia. They
are responsible for most of the work on the recent 0.88.1
release of dia. There will probably be a 0.89 release soon.

Chema posted an initial tarball of glade
v2. I will have to look at it a bit closer. Libglade will
have to be ready for the gnome 2.0 API freeze, which will
probably be before glade2 is usable. The Sun guys want
accessibility support in glade/libglade, so we will see how
that shapes up.

At the office, I was attempting to get the amanda backup
client agent to compile under cygwin (with the aim of adding
some NT boxes to the network backup system). After patching
it to take into account “.exe” suffixes on some programs and
commenting out some of the fstab/block device code, it
finally compiled. By hooking it up to cygwin’s inetd, the
amcheck, amdump, etc programs on the backup server could
talk to the client agent on the NT box. Unfortunately, the
backup was really slow and was using 100% CPU 🙁 It sent
the dump to the backup server, but then had to create an
index or stats for the dump, or something, which was taking
a long time and caused a timeout 🙁

Cygwin is a very useful tool on windows boxes, but it has
its limitations. I found out about an Amanda
Win32 client
which I might try. It uses yet another
POSIX emulation layer.

14 January 2001

First entry for 2001. A lot of things have happened.

I went on a holiday to Paris for a week and then Oxford
for a week with the rest of my family. It was good, but a
bit cold. I got to meet Mathieu while in Paris which was

A few days after I got back, I was back on the plane for
Sydney (where I am writing this) for linux.conf.au. It starts
on Wednesday, and should be a lot of fun.