Archive for the ‘Hacking’ Category

CVS is not as bad as its evil reputation…

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Many Open Source projects, including FreeBSD, OpenPKG, RPM5, etc., for historical reasons even in 2008 still use the old Concurrent Versions System (CVS) — a popular Version Control System (VCS) of the ’90s.

At its zenith, CVS was the ultimative king, as it really dwarfed the older RCS or even the ancient SCCS. CVS was revolutionary because of its “checkout and commit at any time, resolve conflicts later on demand” instead of the “exclusively lock in advance for conflict-free checkout and commit” approach of other VCS. CVS also provided nice global symbolic revision and branch tags on top of the per-file revisions and branches, a consistent command line interface, and many more. Hence, in the ’90s CVS was really everywhere.

But in the last 8 years the VCS world changed dramatically: today we have the more “modern” Subversion, Git, Mercurial, Monotone, Bazaar… and now everybody considers CVS to be “just bad” and everybody still using it to be just “technology agnostic”.
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Sunday, January 6th, 2008

Unfortunately, there seems to be still great confusion about the “official” RPM. Although I’m strongly biased, let me tell you my personal point of view…

FreeBSD 7 ready for production

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Our lovely FreeBSD operating system officially is still at BETA stage during the release engineering for version 7.0, but experience in practice show that it is now really ready to be used in production environments.

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FreeBSD UFS/ZFS Snapshot Management Environment

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Based on various feedback I’ve now improved my FreeBSD Snapshot Management Environment. The new version 20071111.2 is now available. In the past this was an abstraction layer for UFS snapshots only. Now it is an abstraction layer for both UFS and ZFS snapshot management and this way allows one to deal with snapshots during daily work independent whether one works on UFS or ZFS.To recap, this abstraction layer mainly provides three aspects:

RPM 5.0a1 released

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

The RPM 5 project team now entered the official release engineering phase for RPM 5.0. Details of the proposed release engineering roadmap for RPM 5.0 can be found under The first step towards RPM 5.0.0 (scheduled for release end of this year) is the release of RPM 5.0a1 today. Find it under the files area

Distributed VCS + Central ACL

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

In the Version Control System (VCS) area there are currently mainly two camps: the centralized ones like the good old CVS, the successor Subversion, etc and the distributed ones like the modern Monotone, Mercurial, Git, Bazaar, etc.

The interesting point is that the central VCS style of working inherently allows strong access control while in the distributed VCS style of working the “share everything between everybody” is the primary mantra. If one wants to combine both distributed version control and central access control, it becomes between interesting and partly impossible.

Why is Lua such popular?

Sunday, September 16th, 2007


A steadily increasing community exists around the programming language Lua, especially in the games related industry. In case you don’t know it: for instance, games like Far Cry or S.T.A.L.K.E.R. use Lua as an embedded scripting language.

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And there are Unix applications like RPM 5 and Monotone which also embed Lua as their programming language for scripting extensions. In RPM 5 one can code .spec macros in Lua via %{lua:...} and in Monotone one can hook into the run-time processing of the application by declaring Lua callback functions in ~/.monotone/monotonerc. Having such an embedded scripting language in an application is great for hackers like me as it allows to adjust and extend applications easily and flexibly.

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