Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2007

When did that holiday wish turn into a political statement? I don’t know whether to blame the left for political correctness and excessive caution not to offend anyone; or to blame the right for excessive sensitivity being so offended by non-offensiveness. I think I’ll blame them both, since now if you wish someone Merry Christmas you’re suspected of leading a new crusade to forcibly convert your neighbor from Judaism. And if you instead wish them Happy Holidays you’re suspected of renouncing your faith.

Well how about this? When I wish you Merry Christmas it simply means that I hope that you and your family are happy this holiday, on and around Christmas day. I am not imploring you to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, nor am I imploring you not to. And if I should wish you a Happy Diwali next September it will simply mean that I hope you have a happy holiday, perhaps even enjoy seeing the festival of lights. Not that I wish for you to revere the goddess Lakshmi or Lord Vishnu.

So I also hope you have a nice Alban Arthuan, Las Posadas, Kwanzaa, Twelfth Night, and a Happy New Year!


Bali summit for ordinary people

December 20, 2007

Jan 10, 2008 – OpenEco Energy
Camp free event in San Francisco – the unconference. Sun is hosting this event to bring together environmental leaders, business leaders, open source developers, and people who want to make a difference. The attendees will set the agenda and steer the discussion. Dave Douglas, Sun’s VP of Eco Responsibility will kick off the meeting. For more information and to register go to

article on SPECpower_ssj2008

December 14, 2007

George Ou wrote the most detailed article I’ve seen on SPEC’s new energy benchmark for Java server workload. You could reasonably think I like the article because he mentions my name. But actually I’ve been a fan of Ou’s column for some time, like when he wrote about the Green Grid consortium, Wifi security, and how to build a 50 watt home PC out of commodity parts.

taming Ubuntu packages 32/64

December 12, 2007

Thought you had escaped the old package dependency trap? Ubuntu and other Debian derived systems have nice package managers that automate all the dependency checking. But frequently they don’t work because I have a 64-bit AMD Athlon and I get errors like this one for Skype:

package architecture (i386) does not match system (amd64)

Of course amd64 runs i386 just fine, but try telling that to the package manager. Well, if you run dpkg manually you can use the –force-architecture flag, but then it’s up to you to sort out all the package dependencies. Worse, when you seem to have all the required libraries the executable may fail to run because a dynamic library is only available in 64-bit version and it wants 32-bit.

I finally got Skype running by tracking down all the required 32-bit libraries from But it seems there is a tool to make it much easier to manage a 64-bit Ubuntu in a world of 32-bit applications: getlibs. This utility examines an executable and finds all needed libraries. Thanks to Shameel Arafin for his posting that led me to this valuable information.

Indulging myself in a moment of grumpiness: I never have these problems in Solaris! Not on SPARC, nor on x86, nor on amd64. Indeed I never even have to think about whether I’m on SPARC, x86, amd64, or intel64. Grumpiness over, I still like Ubuntu a lot.

Update: Don’t fool around with –force-architecture too much on system libraries. My PC wouldn’t wake up. Networking and X were trashed, and I reinstalled the OS – quicker fix than troubleshooting. I guess Linux doesn’t keep multiple versions of dynamic libraries like Solaris does, and if you get the wrong one you’re in for trouble. I expect the getlibs utility, had I found it first, would have saved me from this. And yes, I still like Ubuntu.



SPEC announces SPECpower_ssj2008

December 11, 2007

Today SPEC announced SPECpower_ssj2008, the first industry standard power performance benchmark. It measures electric power used at various load levels from active idle to 100% of possible throughput. The workload tested is a server side Java workload. The methodology is applicable to many workloads, and I hope in the future we will see more standard benchmarks, and application of these methods to measuring power consumption of customers’ own workloads. This benchmark is the result of long hard work by dedicated engineers from many companies, universities, and Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory. Congratulations!


Buscemi: Retro Nuevo

December 10, 2007

I found Buscemi’s Sahib Balkan while looking for something else, listened to a bit more of their music, and ended up getting the entire Retro Nuevo album. You can hear influences from house music, Brazilian, African, and Middle Eastern music. However, Buscemi is really Dirk Swartenbroekx, from Belgium. Since Fay Lovsky is the only female singer credited, she must have a very wide range. 


MySQL default admin password on Ubuntu 7.10

December 9, 2007

After installing MySQL on Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) I couldn’t connect to the database. Usually MySQL is installed with a blank root password which you should immediately change. Here the package I installed already had the password set to something, but what? I found many blog and forum postings telling how to change the password – assuming you already knew it. And I found many saying that you would be prompted for an initial password when you installed it. Not so for me.

 I found the solution that worked at linuxweblog, posted by sandip. You start the safe daemon with an option to disable grant tables, and set the password. Don’t forget to kill the safe daemon and restart MySQL normally.