Archiv für April 2009

PostgreSQL 8.4beta1 available for testing

Some days ago, the first public beta of PostgreSQL 8.4 was announced. I uploaded a CVS snapshot to Debian experimental two weeks ago, but it didn’t make it out of NEW yet.

Packaging the actual 8.4 bits was actually pretty easy, just took me half a day to adapt the 8.3 packaging and eventually figuring out how to build the entire documentation from SGML sources with Debian/Ubuntu’s broken docbook-utils.

I spent much more work work on supporting 8.4 in postgresql-common, especially with the new per-database locales, migrating changed postgresql.conf parameters in pg_upgradecluster, and so on. Now almost all of the > 1000 tests pass, so I believe it is pretty solid now.

The only exception is the changed behaviour in verifying the server side’s SSL certificate from the client side. At first I thought it was a bug, and reported it to upstream, but it evolved into a pretty lengthy and interesting discussion about the right defaults for SSL verification. I’ll work on better defaults, and the test suite to pass 100% soon.

I invite you give the beta a good beating. Packages for Ubuntu 8.04 LTS and 9.04 are in my
postgresql PPA. Due to postgresql-common, you can safely run 8.4 in parallel with existing 8.3 instances, test-upgrade your 8.3 ones to 8.4 and compare them, etc.

Feedback appreciated!

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Presentations of shell commands

Today I was sitting in the plane from Dresden to San Francisco, and worked on my DKMS demo for the Linux Foundation summit. DKMS is a command line tool for managing device driver packages.

I wondered how to present this. The commands and features I wanted to show are quite complex, and typing all of them during the presentation is too cumbersome. Besides, I’m just a lousy typer when someone else is watching. On the other hand, pasting them into classical slides is too static; I find it much easier to understand something that reveals itself step by step.

So what I needed is to prepare the chain of commands in advance, and then send them through an interactive “step by step” interpreter. A quick apt-cache search did not reveal any readymade solution, thus I hacked together a small script “shellpresent” which does exactly that:

  • a line with a command gets echoed, then it waits for a keypress, then runs the command and waits for another keypress (so that you can explain the output)
  • a comment line starting with # is printed in green, and doesn’t wait for a keypress
  • a blank line clears the screen
  • commands are prepended by a red “$” sign to indicate a command prompt

It now does exactly what I want. Perhaps it is useful for someone else out there as well.

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