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Ponyhof

Dysfunctional Programming

Goodbye Gnu-EFI!

The recommended way to link UEFI applications on linux was until now through GNU-EFI, a toolchain provided by the GNU Project that bridges from the ELF world into COFF/PE32+. But why don’t we compile directly to native UEFI? A short dive into the past of GNU Toolchains, its remnants, and a surprisingly simple way out.

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Exec in VM

Almost everyone these days relies on continuous integration. And it seems, once you got accustomed to it, you never want to work without it again. Unfortunately, most CI systems lack cross-architecture capabilities. As a systems engineer with lots of C projects, I was desperately looking for a solution to run my tests on little-endian, big-endian, 32bit, and 64bit machines. So far, without any luck. Hence, I patched together qemu, docker, fedora, and some bash scripts to get a tool that allows me to execute scripts from the command-line in a VM ad-hoc.

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Cross-Bootstrap Fedora

I recently had to assemble linux distribution images to be run in containers and virtual machines. While most package managers provide tools to bootstrap an entire distribution into a target directory (e.g., debootstrap, dnf --installroot, zypper, pacstrap, …), I needed to do that for foreign architectures. Fortunately, Fedora got me covered!

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Rethinking the D-Bus Message Bus

Later this year, on November 21, 2017, D-Bus will see its 15th birthday. An impressive age, only shy of the KDE and GNOME projects, whose collaboration inspired the creation of this independent IPC system. While still relied upon by the most recent KDE and GNOME releases, D-Bus is not free of criticism. Despite its age and mighty advocates, it never gained traction outside of its origins. On the contrary, it has long been criticized as bloated, over-engineered, and orphaned. Though, when looking into those claims, you’re often left with unsubstantiated ranting about the environment D-Bus is used in. If you rather want a glimpse into the deeper issues, the best place to look is the D-Bus bug-tracker, including the assessments of the D-Bus developers themselves. The bugs range from uncontrolled memory usage, over silent dropping of messages, to dead-locks by design, unsolved for up to 7 years. Looking closer, most of them simply cannot be solved without breaking guarantees long given by dbus-daemon(1), the reference implementation. Hence, workarounds have been put in place to keep them under control.

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Moved Blog!

The Ponyhof blog was moved over from wordpress to here. Lets see how this will work out!

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