May 2012


Ubuntu23 May 2012 04:33 pm

I’d mentioned to some people at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Oakland that I am currently training to climb Mount Saint Helens in Washington and they seemed somewhat interested in my plan hence this post. The climb is actually a non-technical hike to the rim of the crater on the south side of the mountain. I did this hike before in September of 2006, but this time I talked one friend, Kees Cook, and my family to do it with me. We bought our permits for August 24th, 2012 to allow us plenty of time to train and for the snow to melt. While I made it last time I was rather slow and remember being quite sore so this year I thought we’d train more than I did last time. Well that and I like hiking.

I tried searching the internet for training schedules and didn’t find anything right away other than a post on a geocaching forum. They’d suggested climbing points, hills or mountains that increase in elevation change in increments of about 500 feet. That seemed fairly reasonable to me so I scoured hiking books and sites, particularly the great nwhiker.com, to come up with a list of things to hike. Luckily, I live in the Columbia River Gorge which provides a wide variety of prominent peaks which are right next to major highways.

Kees and I came up with the following schedule.

training schedule

The first column is the tentative date, the second the elevation change, and the third the point or hike’s name. You might notice we didn’t include the distance of the hikes at all, this was a rather large oversight which ended up hurthing my dog the most. I ended up having to carry her up and down stairs in the house! Cooper Spur has a question mark next to it as it is a special hike. That hike is at a similar elevation to Mount Saint Helens and we thought it might be interesting to see if anything is different about hiking at those higher heights. Depending on snow levels the date for that particular hike will change.

We just reached the 2600 level with our hike on the 20th of Indian Point. Every hike we go on I bring my Garmin GPS with us to record a track of where we’ve been. I then import the gpx file into two great pieces of software in Ubuntu.

I use gpsprune for editing the gpx track and removing bad data points for example when the gps is first receiving a signal. It is also handy for those times where I leave the gps on while driving to the hike as I can then split the gpx file into to two separate ones. gpsprune is also good for generating a 3D model of your hike which was helpful confirming that we had hiked a trail on the opposite side of a canyon we thought we’d hiked on but weren’t positive.

gpsprune 3d view

And I use pytrainer for keeping a ledger of hikes that we’ve made, the dates that we did them and comparing our hikes.

pytrainer ledger

One interesting thing to note is the difference in elevation changes and ascents. Indian Point is listed as an elevation change of about 2600 feet as that is the difference between the elevation at the start of the hike and the end of the hike. However, pytrainer tells us that we ascended 3600 feet! This is of course due to ups and downs on the trail.

Next up is Dog Mountain but my dog won’t be joining us⸮

Ubuntu21 May 2012 04:03 pm

In Ubuntu we receive a multitude of package installation failures due to people misconfiguring their /etc/default/grub file. During this release cycle we plan on putting some work into helping people resolve these misconfigurations and subsequently we need to understand what changes people make to /etc/default/grub.

Fortunately, the grub apport package hook includes /etc/default/grub in the information that it gathers and uploads to Launchpad. So we just need to get all those attachments from Launchpad. Sometime ago I did this for the X org team with xorg.conf files and used the Launchpad API directly. However, now we have lp-grab-attachments, part of the lpltools package, which can make this much easier:

lp-grab-attachments --package grub2

Now I have a bunch of /etc/default/grub files on my local system and I can use grep to search them locally. The most common errors all related to quoting as we had expected. People either neglect one of the quotes in the pair or use unicode quotes instead of ASCII ones.

Ubuntu01 May 2012 03:56 pm

A short time ago I ran across a couple of bugs with the same title reported by the same Launchpad user something like:

package xyz failed to install/upgrade: subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 139

Upon further investigation I discovered that those two bugs were duplicates but it made me wonder how many other Launchpad users had reported the same bug more than once.

I figured that the easiest way to query this information would be to use the Ultimate Debian Database, which also helpfully contains Ubuntu bug information. Using my local copy, I queried for Ubuntu bugs with the same title and reported by the same user about the same source package. The vast majority of these were package installation failures, some of which actually had consecutive bug numbers and others where the user just kept trying to upgrade over time without resolving the original issue.

I didn’t keep great stats but the quantity of apport-package bugs decreased by at least 175 when I got through marking duplicates.