friends like these

I have a Word document that I have to read. Sure, it’s just two pages, and it just contains text with no markup whatsoever, but the author used Word to hammer it out, so here I am. In order to view it, I want to install “, that’s what they call their software)”: on my laptop.

I have at my disposal two tools designed explicitly for the purpose of fetching this sort of software, and its dependencies, with minimal hassle. In one corner, wearing the trunks with the foul output format and cryptic-even-to-me search interface, “yum”: Yum likes long walks on the beach, fetching dozens of headers one at a time, and, oh, what’s this?

: work; sudo yum install Gathering header information file(s) from server(s) Server: Fedora Core 1 – i386 – Base Traceback (most recent call last):   File “/usr/bin/yum”, line 60, in ?     yummain.main(sys.argv[1:])   File “”, line 188, in main   File “”, line 766, in getpackageinfofromservers   File “”, line 103, in HeaderInfoNevralLoad ValueError: unpack list of wrong size

Well, huh. (I tried updating yum with yum, in case, you know, stuff, but it worked as well as you would expect given the failure mode above.)

That’s OK, though, because I have at my disposal “rcd(joe wrote this, but I still love him)”:, which usually only eats 100% CPU on my systems for 30 seconds or so at a time, when it’s, uh, well, it’s something really important that it has to do a few times a day. When I start it up, though, it goes into daemon-apeshit-mode immediately, and stays there for quite some time:

  PID USER     PRI  NI  SIZE  RSS SHARE STAT %CPU %MEM    TIME CPU COMMAND 10462 root      25   0 13260  11M 2872  R    92.4  3.0    3:53   0 rcd

“Self”, I say to myself, “self, I wonder what it’s doing with all that CPU time. I bet it’s really exciting and important. Let’s take a look!”

: client; sudo ltrace -p 10462 > /tmp/rcd.ltrace 2>&1 : client; uniq -c < /tmp/rcd.ltrace   25043 memcpy(NULL, “”, 0)                    = NULL       1 memcpy(NULL, “”, 0

Are you excited? I’m very excited that it’s sitting there quite literally copying nothing to nowhere. I wonder if “Joe”: will be as excited.

: rpms; ncftp

I’m back to 1997!

8 comments to “friends like these”

  1. mom
    entered 24 December 2003 @ 11:40 am

    mail it to me and I’ll mail it back in pdf. already been there.

    love you!

  2. jwz
    entered 24 December 2003 @ 5:44 pm
  3. entered 25 December 2003 @ 12:46 pm

    Hey Shaver (remember me?), remove the contents of /var/cache/yum, and yum will both be fixed and regenerate them on its next run. That’ll fix the problem – I ran into it myself two months ago.

  4. Mike Hoye
    entered 28 December 2003 @ 1:18 am

    I don’t understand why people stick with rpm-based distros when there’s apt-get out there.

    I mean, it’s a dumb, stock-linux-weenie response – “the solution to your problem is to switch distros” – and I guess that the same thing Paul Graham said about computer languages is true of the various Linux flavors: they teach you to want what they can’t provide. But if that’s true, then RedHat must give you something in exchange for not-having-apt-get that makes it worth your while.

    If so, um, what is that? I’m not trying to be a dick here, I’m wondering what I’m missing.

  5. mom
    entered 28 December 2003 @ 7:54 am

    He he he… I installed OpenOffice on Win98 and didn’t have to change distro’s. How’s that for ironic?

    (I think Shaver is still on vacation — no responses/changes in a while)

  6. entered 29 December 2003 @ 12:22 pm

    apt-get and RPM are orthogonal issues. I can (and do) use yum and rug+rcd to access APT repositories full of RPMs. For once, RPM is not at fault, though the RPM software itself is…well, it’s still the holiday season, so let’s not spoil the mood. (rug/rcd aren’t available for debian, but I think that’s mainly because Ximian doesn’t ship anything else for that platform any more; the original redcarpet stuff worked just fine there.)

    If you’re asking why I don’t use debian, there are a host of other issues, including the fact that I find the Red Hat kernels much more to my liking, as do the customers who pay my salary. Also, debian-stable has things like mozilla-1.0.2. Pass.

    Pat Gunn: I do remember you! LTNS. How are the lizards? I solved the rug problem largely the same way, by blowing away my rcd cache, and then I’m able to use my lovely rug/rcd again. yum, for me, is a tool of last-resort.

    Mom: which form of irony is that?

  7. Mike Hoye
    entered 29 December 2003 @ 10:42 pm

    Well, that’s obvious enough for me to completely overlook. I’ve been using Sid for so long that I’d forgotten how, er, “thoroughly time tested” I guess, Deb-Stable is, and there’s clearly no way you’d want to use unstable or testing in a production environment.

    Still, I figured that you guys, and especially the Lustre-using people in the world, would be rolling your own kernels from source so you could be sure that everyone was playing on the same field. This is amateur figuring, of course

  8. entered 30 December 2003 @ 10:47 am

    Well, we do have our own patches for a variety of distribution and vanilla kernels, but the closer we stay to current “mainstream” kernels, the less we cry when there’s a security erratum or the like.