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Posts tagged with 'general'

Colin Watson

Launchpad build farm improvements

We’ve made a number of improvements to the Launchpad build farm in the last month, with the aim of improving its performance and robustness.  This sort of work is usually invisible to users except when something goes wrong, so we thought it would be worth taking some time to give you a summary.  Some of this work was on the Launchpad software itself, while some was on the hardware.

(To understand some of the rest of this post, it’s useful to be aware of the distinction between virtualised and devirtualised builders in Launchpad.  Virtualised builders are used for most PPAs: they build untrusted code in a Xen guest which is initialised from scratch at the start of each build, and are only available for i386, amd64, and a small number of ARM builds by way of user-mode QEMU.  Devirtualised builders run on ordinary hardware with less strict containment, and are used for Ubuntu distribution builds and a few specialised PPAs.)

ARM builders have been a headache for some time.  For our devirtualised builders, we were using a farm of PandaBoards, having previously used BeagleBoards and Babbage boards.  These largely did the job, but they’re really a development board rather than server-class hardware, and it showed in places: disk performance wasn’t up to our needs and we saw build failures due to data corruption much more frequently than we were comfortable with.  We recently installed a cluster of Calxeda Highbank nodes, which have been performing much more reliably.

It has long been possible to cancel builds on virtualised builders: this is easy because we can just reset the guest.  However, it was never possible to cancel builds on devirtualised builders: killing the top-level build process isn’t sufficient for builds that are stuck in various creative ways, and you need to make sure to go round and repeatedly kill all processes in the build chroot until they’ve all gone away.  We’ve now hooked this up properly, and it is possible for build daemon maintainers to cancel builds on devirtualised builders without operator assistance, which should eliminate situations where we need urgent builds to jump the queue but can’t because all builders are occupied by long-running builds.  (People with upload privileges can currently cancel builds too, which is intended mainly to allow cancelling your own builds; please don’t abuse this or we may need to tighten up the permissions.)  As a bonus, cancelling a build no longer loses the build log.

Finally, we have been putting quite a bit of work into build farm reliability.  A few problems have led to excessively long queues on virtual builders:

  • Builders hung for some time when they should have timed out, due to a recent change in su; this is now fixed in the affected Ubuntu series.
  • Xen guests often fail to restore for one reason or another, and when this happened builders would fail in ways that required an operator to fix.  We had been dealing with this by having our operators do semi-automatic builder fixing runs a few times a day, but in recent months the frequency of failures has been difficult to keep up with in this way, especially at the weekend.  Some of this is probably related to our current use of a rather old version of Xen, but the builder management code in Launchpad could also handle this much better by trying to reset the guest again in the same way that we do at the start of each build.  As of this morning’s code deployment, we now do this, and the build farm seems to be holding up much more robustly.

This should make things better for everyone, but we aren’t planning to stop here.  We’re intending to convert the virtual builders to an OpenStack deployment, which should allow us to scale them much more flexibly.  We plan to take advantage of more reliable build cancellation to automatically cancel in-progress builds that have been superseded by new source uploads, so that we don’t spend resources on builds that will be rejected on upload.  And we plan to move Ubuntu live file system building into Launchpad so that we can consolidate those two build farms and make better use of our available hardware.

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In Silicon Valley, tech startups typically build their businesses with help from cloud computing services — services that provide instant access to computing power via the internet — and Frenkiel’s startup, a San Francisco outfit called MemSQL, was no exception. It rented computing power from the granddaddy of cloud computing,

But in May, about two years after MemSQL was founded, Frenkiel and company came down from the Amazon cloud, moving most of their operation onto a fleet of good old fashioned computers they could actually put their hands on. They had reached the point where physical machines were cheaper — much, much cheaper — than the virtual machines available from Amazon. “I’m not a big believer in the public cloud,” Frenkiel says. “It’s just not effective in the long run.”

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Amazon CDN (Content Distribution Network) service CloudFront is now in India. They have launched with edge servers in Mumbai and Chennai.

If you are already using CloudFront, you don’t need to do anything. Now users in India will get faster services through the CloudFront.

Read more on the announcement.

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From Forbes:

Cost savings… elasticity….  scalability….  load “bursting”….  storage on demand…  These are the advertised benefits of cloud computing, and they certainly help make for a solid business case for using either third-party services or a virtualized data center.

But after the agreements are signed, systems and processes are set up, and users are retrained, something unexpected happens. The  initial use cases are realized, but then additional benefits begin to emerge — sort of like the icing on the cake, but often, these unforeseen benefits provide far more value to the business than initially planned.

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IBM is backing Cloud Foundry the Open Source PaaS platform.

By teaming up with Pivotal and Cloud Foundry, IBM wants to help developers focus on getting apps to the cloud without having to worry about whether the underlying technology will be compatible.

The first product of the IBM-Pivotal partnership is IBM WebSphere Liberty, a lightweight version of IBM’s WebSphere Application Server that helps developers respond to enterprise and market needs more quickly by getting less complex, rapid development and deployment of Web, mobile, social and analytic applications using fewer resources, according to IBM.

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According to an article published on Thursday by the British newspaper, internal National Security Agency memos show that Microsoft actually helped the federal government find a way to decrypt messages sent over select platforms, including Web chat, Hotmail email service, and Skype.

The Guardian wrote that Snowden, the 30-year-old former systems administrator for NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, provided the paper with files detailing a sophisticated relationship between America’s intelligence sector and Silicon Valley.

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It all sounds good in theory… Not too long ago, Mark communicated the vision for Ubuntu and Unity for 2013 as “[...] Unity in 2013 will be all about mobile – bringing Ubuntu to phones and tablets [...]” and my team is responsible for taking Unity to these hardware platforms. What you should expect to […]

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Canonical is hiring and I am looking for 4 roles in my teams: Software Engineer – Unity APIs – join Thomas Strehl’s team and produce APIs everybody wants to use. In this role you will be working on the inner guts of Unity, all the relevant services that drive the Unity UI. The spectrum ranges from […]

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The documentation for Mir is growing and we also have instructions out how to get Mir running on your computer, I wanted to briefly summarize the necessary steps to get Mir up and running and how to go back. Please be warned that while I tried to carefully document all necessary steps you might end […]

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Vamos con las pelis

Varias vistas, pero no tantas, :/. Vamos a ver si le podemos poner ritmo...

  • Battle LA: -0. Una peli de acción pasable, pero ya no me banco más al concepto de "hay que mantener militares yanquis porque van a salvar al mundo algún día".
  • Casino Jack: -0. Aristas interesantes, muestra un poco lo que es el juego del "lobby" en EEUU, pero después no tiene mucho.
  • Fair game: +1. Muy buena película sobre construcción de la verdad desde el gobierno sobre la misma gente...
  • Freakonomics: -0. Conceptualmente interesante, pasa mucho tiempo con boludeces; no vale la pena.
  • Les misérables: +1. Nunca pensé que un musical me fuera a gustar tanto. Los actores están bárbaros, la música perfecta... la historia es conocida, pero igual no le resta.
  • Malice in Wonderland: -1. Demasiado loca y volada, no me gustó.
  • Middle men: +0. Más allá del nudo de la historia, que es interesante, se mezcla todo y se desenlaza todo de una forma interesante. Las actuaciones podrían ser mejores, pero está bien (o quizás es que Luke Wilson no me gusta nada nada).
  • Resident evil: After life: -0. Estúpida y sensual Milla Jovovich. Pero ya está, no veo ni una más.
  • Seres: genesis: ??. No la pude ver... no la conseguí bajar por ningún lado, :/
  • South of the border: +1. Genial serie de entrevistas de Oliver Stone a presidentes latinoamericanos, dejándolos hablar pero también repreguntando, todo mezclado con el punto de vista de USA sobre estos mandatarios, con lo que se generan opiniones y puntos de vista que normalmente no se conocen.
  • Super 8: +0. Un tanto trillada y "peli de adolescentes", pero más allá de eso, muy buena peli.
  • The freebie: +0. Muy interesante como plantean el tema y cómo lo desarrollan, especialmente al momento de hilvanar la historia. Pero tampoco es nada del otro mundo. Y no conseguí subtítulos en castellano.
  • The good heart: +0. Muy buena visión sobre dos personalidades complejas y atípicas; hay un concepto para desarrollar y está muy bien, pero la peli es oscura, enrevesada, y el punto álgido muy previsible...
  • The tourist: +1. Acción, mistero, Johnny Depp y Angelina Jolie. Say no more.
  • Transformers: Dark of the moon: -1. Mucha acción, no te aburrís, pero que película de mierda, toda una propaganda de los milicos yanquis. Es para perderle el respeto a Spielberg por ser productor ejecutivo de esta cagada.
  • Unknown: -0. Muy buen giro, pero no llega a hacer valer la peli.

Y todas estas nuevas. Me estoy quedando atrás...

Finalmente, el conteo de pendientes por fecha:

(24-Sep-2008)   15   6
(21-Ene-2009)   18  18  12   1   1
(09-May-2009)   13  11  10   5
(15-Oct-2009)   17  16  15  14
(01-Mar-2010)   18  18  18  18  16   4
(12-Sep-2010)   19  18  18  18  18  18   9   2
(14-Dic-2010)   13  13  13  13  12  12  12   5
(13-Abr-2011)       23  23  23  23  23  23  22
(09-Ago-2011)           12  12  11  11  11  11
(06-Ene-2012)               21  21  18  17  17
(27-Jul-2012)                   15  15  15  15
(26-Nov-2012)                       12  12  11
(09-Feb-2013)                           19  19
(19-Jun-2013)                               19
Total:         113 123 121 125 117 113 118 121

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Semana ganada

Yo sé que mucha gente lo dice del deporte en general, pero a mí me pasa con el tenis: es un vicio.

Al contrario de lo que me pasa con la heroína, cuyo consumo mantengo estable [0], juego muchas veces tenis una vez por semana, a veces no juego, y otras semanas juego dos veces. Cuando me pasa que juego dos veces, el segundo día estoy mucho más afilado, estable, dinámico... juego mejor, bah. Y cuando termina el segundo día, quiero tener tenis al otro día también!

En fin, ¿por qué lo de semana ganada? Este jueves jugué un partido "de entrenamiento" contra un rival que normalmente me gana, ya que tiene un nivel superior al mío. Pero ayer le gané (6-4, 1-6, 10-8), aplicando varias cosas que aprendí en las clases en las últimas semanas.

Y ayer viernes, repetí tenis. Tenía la final de la ronda perdedores del torneo del club. Esta es mi segunda final en un torneo (sin contar los de pool en Las Vegas [1]), y la primera vez la perdí en dos sets.

Pero esta vez jugué bárbaro, y no le dí chance al rival: 6-2 6-3.

Estoy chocho :)

[0] No probé heroína jamás, así que el consumo es estable en cero
[1] Contando los torneos de pool en Las Vegas también, porque nunca jugué ninguno (es más, no conozco Las Vegas)

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Raspberry Pi cloud

Computer scientists have made a working model of multi million pound cloud computing technology using just Lego bricks and a handful of 20 mini computers.

The University of Glasgow’s Raspberry Pi Cloud project links together 56 Raspberry Pi computer boards in racks made from Lego, which mimic the function and modular design of commercial cloud computing infrastructure.

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Victor Palau

So a few months later, the game I was working on has now got to Beta stage. Since last time, I have added a few extra things:

  • Proper dogfight with a T50 fighter
  • Plane shadows
  • Scaling for multiple size screens
  • Revamp and multitouch controls
  • Collisions and explosions
  • Full keyboard control
  • Added 13 levels, loaded from level.txt JSON file
  • Tutorial walkthrough
  • and lots of bug fixes

Still only a Beta, but all the game play is now completed, now it is just fixing bugs ;) All the code is here, and some screen shots.


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Malena, un mes

Hoy Male cumpre un mes, y para festejar (?!) subo cuatro fotitos de la pequeña en distintos momentos.

La primera es con Felipe, en un momento de cariño:

Malena y Felipe

Acá están en pleno baño, con cara de circunstancias:

Malena en pleno baño

Al final de dicho baño, con Moni:

Luego del baño reparador (?)

Y apoliyando, que de eso sabe un montón...


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 Public cloud services market in India is forecast to grow 36 per cent in 2013 to total $443 million, research firm Gartner today said.

The public cloud services market stood at $326 million in 2012, Gartner said in a statement.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), including cloud compute, storage and print services, which was the fastest- growing segment, grew 22.7 per cent in 2012 to $43.1 million.

It’s expected to further grow 39.6 per cent in 2013 to $60.2 million, Gartner said.

Software as a service (SaaS), which is the largest segment of the cloud services market in India, comprised 36 per cent of the total market in 2012.

Gartner expects that from 2013 through 2017, $4.2 billion will be spent on cloud services in India, of which $1.6 billion will be spent on SaaS.

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El siguiente es el análisis de todos los gastos durante el primer año al auto que compramos con Moni el año pasado, un Sandero Stepway 1.6.

La idea es poder ver cuanto cuesta tener y mantener un auto mediano, y cuales son los rubros que más impactan en ese valor.

Los gastos están separados en distintos rubros, algunos fijos y otros variables (en función del kilometraje). Estos rubros son los que yo uso para llevar mi contabilidad casera, por eso los tengo separado así.

Los rubros son:

  • Estacionamiento: no pago cochera fija por mes (ni en casa (y yo laburo en casa), ni cuando Moni va a trabajar), así que este gasto es el estacionamiento cada vez que voy a Capital o parecido, más alguna que otra fichita de parquímetro.
  • Seguro: el auto tiene seguro contra terceros completo en La Caja a través del Automóvil Club Argentino (ACA), pero aparte de ese costo, acá incluyo el mismo valor que yo guardo como "autoaseguro" (que es un yeite que me rinde más que pagar directamente un seguro más caro). En otras palabras, el valor este es mitad para "el seguro", mitad para un "sobre" en el que guardo plata para gastos que el seguro cubriría si fuese más alto.
  • Patente: eso, la patente, tener en cuenta que el auto está anotado en Provincia de Bs As.
  • Mantenimiento: principalmente el ACA por mes y algún que otro lavado del auto, ya que como el auto es nuevo y está en garantía no tengo gastos de mecánico (pero justamente por esto, acá están incluidos los gastos de los dos servicios, de 10 y 20 mil kilómetros); un detalle es que los primeros tres meses del auto no pagué el servicio ACA porque me los bonificaron al tomar el seguro.
  • Nafta: más claro echale nafta: los gastos de ídem; ojo con sacar algún rendimiento a partir de este valor, ya que el gasto de nafta está afectado muchas veces por el descuento del ACA o de pagar con la tarjeta el domingo.
  • Peajes: los gastos de peajes automáticos en Capital y Gran Buenos Aires, pero no los correspondientes a los peajes en ruta (porque esos los pago en efectivo y los considero como gastos de los viajes mismos, casi siempre vacaciones).


A esos rubros, le agrego lo que es la amortización de la compra del auto en sí, considerando el valor que pagué en su momento, y que el auto se amortizaría en cinco años (teniendo en cuenta un valor residual chico).

En este año, que al auto le hicimos 23742 km, los gastos fueron:

  Estacionamiento: $ 3761.25
  Seguro:          $ 4457.00
  Patente:         $ 2545.20
  Mantenimiento:   $ 3539.00
  Nafta:           $11641.92
  Peajes:          $ 1281.69
  Amortización:    $14300.00

El gasto total en este año (considerando gastos fijos y variables) es de $41526, lo cual da $3461 por mes: $2070 de gastos fijos ($878 sin contar la amortización), y $1390 de gastos variables.

El costo total por kilómetro es de $1.76. Este valor es interesante porque toma en cuenta todos los gastos fijos, más variables, más el costo de comprar el auto (teniéndolo cinco años y luego vendiéndolo), y me da la pauta que (en mi caso!) conviene tener auto que moverme en remis.

Otra conclusión interesante es que la nafta representa el 28% del costo total total del auto, ¡nada despreciable!

Pueden ver los cálculos en este PDF, pero si quieren les dejo el notebook ipython que armé, para que jueguen con él (lo bajan y hacen ipython notebook costoauto1.ipynb).

Es interesante por si quieren ver por ejemplo el costo total por kilómetro si le hacen mucho menos recorrido (por ejemplo, porque viven en Capital y se moverían en subte), y de ahí comparar si les conviene tener el auto o usar remises; o agarrar las cuentas y sumarle un valor de estacionamiento fijo, etc. Y obvio, para actualizar el precio de compra que hoy es más que el año pasado...

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The recent controversy about the AICTE offering about 7.5 million Office 365 accounts in Indian technical education institutions is based on the A2 plan, which Microsoft is offering free of cost. But then, what is the catch?

Reaad More.

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My friend Kiran from HasGeek has got coverage at the FirstPost.

The idea for HasGeek came to him after experiencing first hand the travails of sustaining community-driven events.

“Community events were just not sustainable. Proto, Barcamp, LUG (the Linux Users Group), MoMo (Mobile Monday) Bangalore and OCC (Open Coffee Club) were all community-driven events that died in one way or the other. Not because there was no need for them, because learning from your peers in a bottom-up, community-driven manner still has value. But because its tough for a few committed volunteers alone to keep organising those events year after year,” he says.

What if someone could take away the pain of actually organising the events, leaving the community free to learn from one another?

“I realised then that if you do these events as a full-time commercial activity, they can become sustainable. HasGeek came in not as a representative of the community, but as a “community service provider”,” he says.

HasGeek events are based on an unsubsidised user-pays model with prices ranging from Rs 1000-2000 per day of attending. Sponsors’ funds are used in non-core areas like T-shirts, swag or upgrading the quality of food served. “Doing this has freed us from being sponsor-driven, which is a radical achievement in the events space. For our last two major events, the majority of our revenue came in from participants, something unheard of,” says Jonnalagadda.

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Despite everyone’s high hopes for Windows 8 reviving the slumping PC market, Microsoft’s operating system has exacerbated its losses instead. Windows 8 has been met with mixed reviews, and is often criticized for its steep learning curve and hybrid system of tiles optimized for touch-screen devices.

Bleak numbers from research firm IDC strongly suggest that the release of Windows 8 has contributed to the current free fall of the PC market. For the first quarter of 2013, IDC estimated that global PC shipments declined 13.9% year-on-year to 76.3 million units, worse than the 7.7% decline that it had previously forecast. U.S. PC shipments dropped 12.7% year-on-year. The Asia-Pacific region declined 10.3% year-on-year, with China and India posting the steepest drops.

Global PC shipments have declined for four consecutive quarters. This was also the PC market’s worst decline since IDC started tracking the PC market’s performance in 1994. Total quarterly shipments, at 14.2 million, also dropped to their lowest level since the first quarter of 2006.

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