Archive for February, 2003

PhD Ideas

Monday, February 17th, 2003

[ from the avoiding-real-life(TM)-perhaps? dept. ]

I am pondering the idea of continuing with Computer Science. I would like to research in the area of “Dynamic Fault Tollerance in Distributed Systems” for example in Operating System design and recovery for such applications. The trouble at the moment is deciding whether I am really in a position to do this right now – funding, where, when, etc. are all issues. The problem with Nottingham that relates to this is that nobody here really does this kind of thing. Arrrgh!!! Perhaps I’ll take a job for a while and figure things out but then I may never want to go back in to Education again or something.

Dilemma. Someone offer me a sponsorship, please? :-)

Meanwhile, I shall continue playing Genesis on the SPARC, it makes a very reasonable CD player or generic X workstation really. Amoeba will be happy. Maybe I will stick ChorusOS on one of these machines too – not sure yet but I might be in a random experimentation mood or something. I mean, I might even have a FreeBSD box at home soon.


Introducing Sparky

Sunday, February 16th, 2003

[ from the how-many-computers-does-jcm-have? dept. ]

Picked up another SPARCstation 5, from Biggles. At the moment she is running Debian Woody, which means I now have Woody running on three different architectures (Intel, SPARC, Power PC). Soon I will add another SCSI SCA disk and shove Amoeba on there as well as getting another couple of SPARCs to complete the cluster. I am getting a PICSTART this week hopefully, in order to program the larger 40pin USB models. I like this growing collection of pizza boxes – especially now I don’t have to dual boot Solaris and Debian :-)

Scary news! jok and I were humming the theme music from Super Mario Bros and it occured to us that in not too distant a future, CS undergrads will come in to departments like ours without knowing the joy of a NES, Spectrum, BBC, whatever. In not too long from now, most CS undergrads especailly here will have never used anything other than a Windows PC from perhaps Windows 95 onwards. It really is disgusting – particularly that there is little encouragement to do anything about it once they get on to a degree. Perhaps, like smoking, advertising or similarly promoting Windows products should be banned now to protect the sanity of myself and others :-)

Thanks to various friends, I am ill but recovering at the moment. Today I shall try to get done what I can but from tommorrow I must make a determined effort to get this project to a milestone by the end of the month.


eCos Magic

Friday, February 14th, 2003

[ from the maybe-that-will-work dept. ]

eCos supports psim simulation. I am going to try to get this working properly this afternoon and then study the HAL layer implemented for psim which hopefully will be reasonably reproducable. A development board with suitable tools would be ideal but as I do not have such a board here, psim will hopefully do quite nicely…at least I really hope so.


Laptop Power!

Thursday, February 13th, 2003

[ from the something-useful dept. ]

Yay! Finally I will be able to attach my laptop to the power/data sockets in part of the CSiT building for work purposes. Great. This means I can get some useful work done.


Power PC Simulation Problems

Thursday, February 13th, 2003

[ from the psim-would-be-great-if-anyone-knew-how-it-works dept. ]

I am starting to wonder whether there are really any psim guru’s left out there. This is the powerpc simulator which now ships with gdb and has not changed much since 1996. The problem is that the documentation is now out of date and information is becomming harder to find…I need a working simulator dammit! :-)


SMX Minix

Monday, February 10th, 2003

[ from the things-to-do-instead-of-sleep dept. ]

I built SMX Minix, partly for my project work, partly as a big hint that I think should be using it in teaching. Such a fantastic tool is freely available, why, it’s almost like using hundreds of Windows workstations when Debian is Free…

So I had to hack a little at mcc to get the compilation (or should that be “complication”?) to work. I set a -mv8 since otherwise nice issues with missing .mul and .div and so forth arise due to local oddities. The included libraries needed a little tweaking though it does all work now and is sitting in /stud/ug/jcm00u/local/smx/sunbin for those students interested. Perhaps I should package SMX Minix so it can be installed with pkgadd and pkgget…hmmm…there’s an idea in that.

Obligatory mention of how the NEW NTL DOWNLOAD RESTRICTIONS SUCK (1GB/day or 1/4 of the bandwidth we actually pay for). I would not chose NTL now if I were a new customer – as an existing customer I will be ending my contract in the summer anyway and now have no plans of becomming another one. Perhaps if they realised nobody likes this RESTRICTIVE BULLSHIT then they might change their minds. Certainly we will not be upgrading to 1MBit/s I feel – what would be the point, NTL?


CSiT Binaries

Sunday, February 9th, 2003

[ from the more-fun-for-everyone dept. ]

Hello. I have created a number of binaries over the last few years in Perhaps someone will take care of them for me later on, here’s the list in /stud/ug/jcm00u/bin and /stud/ug/jcm00u/local/bin: ar, bochs, bximage, cdp, cdplay, chroot, date, des, echo, flea, gchroot, gdate, gecho, ggroups, gid, gnice, gnohup, gprintf, groups, gsleep, guname, guptime, gwho, gwhoami, id, ls, make, mpg123, mutt, muttbug, ncftp, nice, nohup, pagewrap, pgpring, printf, psim, pstree, scp, screen, slrn, smbclient, ssh, strip, test-x11-fonts, uname, undes, uptime, who, whoami, whoami-full, Many of these may not be required for Solaris 9 as it is less in need of GNUification out of the box. If anyone wishes to look after these then feel free to do so – some people still use the ones directly from my home directory so it would be helpful to them.