LSB Distro Testing, Redux

A while back, I posted a set of instructions on how to test a Linux distribution for LSB compliance. With the 3.1 update, testing has gotten a lot easier.

The most notable enhancement in the update is the LSB Distribution Test Kit Manager, or “DTK Manager” for short. This is a framework which controls the execution of the entire test suite and collecting the results.

So, it’s time to update the instructions.

First of all, as before, your distribution must ship a few things. There must be a “lsb” package, which depends on everything required by the LSB; if it’s not installed by default, you will need to install it. Your distribution must have a facility for installing RPM packages; this will usually either be RPM itself, or a converter such as alien. (The alien utility is used mostly by Debian-based systems, such as Debian, Xandros, or Ubuntu.) Once those are in place, you should install the “Xvfb” or “xvfb” package provided by your distribution. Since Xvfb is a part of, it is almost always available.

When your system is ready, download and install the “lsb-dtk-manager” package, found on the Linux Foundation’s download page. Several bundles are available; find the one that matches the architecture of the distribution you are testing. You may use the “lsb-dist-testkit-manager” or “lsb-dist-testkit” tarballs. Once the tarball is downloaded, unpack it, change to the directory it creates, and run the script.

After is done, start DTK Manager. This is done with the following command:

/opt/lsb/test/manager/bin/ [port-number]

This will start the manager back end, and attempt to run a browser to present the user interface. If this doesn’t work, point a browser at the port number you gave the script. The port number defaults to 8888 if you don’t give one.

If this has all worked, you will see a welcome page in your browser. Click “Get Certified”, fill in the information it requests, such as your name and the name of your distribution; this information will be stored in the test results. Then click “Run tests”.

And that’s it! The tests will take quite a while to run; the browser will display a status window. You can close the browser and do other things while the tests runs; point the browser back at the DTK Manager port and click “Execution” to see progress.

When the tests are done running, you will be presented with a results page, which tells you how the tests went. You can fix any problems you find and re-run the tests by going back to the “Get Certified” link. If you pass most tests and fail only a few, you can use “Custom Tests” to run just the test suites with failures.

Of course, you can still run the tests the old way if you prefer; the journals are all that we need for certification. Give the new DTK Manager a try, though, to see if it’s easier.

It’s certainly made my job easier. Besides the ease with which the tests are run (meaning fewer requests for help from testers), it’s possible to completely automate test runs, which will ensure that we can test the next release of the LSB more extensively and learn about problems sooner in the development process.

Like what you see? Thank the Insitute for System Programming at the Russian Academy of Sciences. They’ve done an excellent job.

When Censorship Is Good

The whole Kathy Sierra incident is coming to a close, with an NPR interview and a call for a blogger’s code of conduct. (Details at the links; basically, Kathy wrote an innocuous blog about software development, and was harassed into quitting her blog by a few nasty commenters.)

The latter item has touched off a rant by Teresa Nielsen Hayden, about the necessity of moderation:

Bloggers can ban anonymous comments or not, as they please. The problem isn’t commenter anonymity; it’s abusive behavior by anonymous or semi-anonymous commenters. Furthermore, the kind of jerks who post comments that need to be deleted will infallibly cry “censorship!” when it happens, no matter what O’Reilly and Wales say.

Anyone who’s read ML for more than a couple of months has watched this happen. Commenters who are smacked down for behaving like jerks are incapable of understanding (or refuse to admit) that it happened because they were rude, not because the rest of us can’t cope with their dazzlingly original opinions. It’s a standard piece of online behavior. How can O’Reilly and Wales not know that?

By coincidence, I got mail from Charlene Blake recently. Back when I bought my current van, I explained some of the reasoning behind my choice: poor customer service from Toyota caused me to decide to buy the Honda. In that post, I linked to a petition and some other information Charlene had put out there. Little did I know that Charlene had her own little “fan club” who liked to search for references to her and troll their little hearts out, trying to stifle any criticism of Toyota by lies, intimidation, fraud, and other nasty stuff. At first, I tried to be civil, but the stalkers got so vile that I was forced to do some “censoring” to keep my site from becoming an anti-Charlene haven.

Well, it’s two years later, and they’re still at it. As far as I can tell, she attempted to get some advice on cyberstalking from, and got a lot of abuse instead. Here’s a sample:

If you can dish it out, you have to be able to deal with the
push back. Evidently you can’t. Whining about those who
don’t agree with you won’t get sympathy from myself, and
undoubtedly most other folks who read similar pathetic
moaning from anyone!!
It is clear you are the kind of individual who always blames
others for your problems.
My advice–get a life!

Interesting legal advice, that.

Now, it’s possible that the fine folks at just take a dim view of Charlene. You’d expect, though, that if these people were regulars at, they’d have more posts on the site than just posts attacking Charlene. So let’s take a look at some of the names of the people who replied to her: Dave Nightingale, Garnet Williams, Roger Francis, Cheryl Martell, Marisa Decker, Vincent Gagnier, Bruce Coristine, Walter Matthews, and Rick Fasan. Right now, not a single one of those searches returns a post that isn’t about Charlene Blake. (Just in case they try to obfuscate the point with irrelevant posts elsewhere: try to find a post by any of those people on that was posted before April 24, 2007.)

By contrast, here’s one other poster on that thread: CK in Delaware. The person’s Charlene comment shows up, but so do a number of other posts, some of which predate Charlene’s initial post. That’s what a regular (or something vaguely close to a regular) looks like. If any of the names above really were regulars, they’d have search results looking like CK’s.

(For the sake of completeness, there’s only one poster left besides Charlene: T. Tonary, a defender of Charlene, also appears to be a one-timer. Ironically, “Bruce” above accuses Tonary of being a shill!)

It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

Charlene comes across to me as a tough woman; certainly she has to have backbone to have pursued this for so long and with such opposition. But why do the Charlenes and Kathys of the world have to put up with this stuff? People talk about “censorship” in regard to deleting nasty comments, and I suppose it is. But Kathy is no longer posting, and Charlene can’t seem to post anywhere without vicious stuff following her. It seems to me that Kathy and Charlene are the ones getting censored.

And if we’re going to have censorship, of one stripe or another, better it be the pond scum than Kathy and Charlene.

Sadly, even I have been made to participate in the anti-Charlene campaign, even if by accident. If you search for Charlene Blake on Google, my blog is the second link, and Google’s excerpt from my initial post linking to Charlene’s petition is from one of the troll commenters. If you don’t actually click the link, you get the impression that I’m trashing her in the main article.

Oh, well. Time to make amends.

New Debian Release

The old testing release is now Debian 4.0:

The Debian Project is pleased to announce the official release of Debian GNU/Linux version 4.0, codenamed etch, after 21 months of constant development. Debian GNU/Linux is a free operating system which supports a total of eleven processor architectures and includes the KDE, GNOME and Xfce desktop environments. It also features cryptographic software and compatibility with the FHS v2.3 and software developed for version 3.1 of the LSB.

That last bit needs to be proven, which I’ll be doing this week.

Almost Made The Paper

My chess club, in the news:

Sean Hollick and Jim Klee run two different clubs on the same day and time with contrary ideals. Yet the two agree that whether it is for the competition or simply for fun, the game of chess is a joy in which everybody should partake.

The Noblesville Daily Times doesn’t believe in keeping stories available online, so you can’t read more than the blurb at Susan’s blog. Sean’s club (the Circle City Chess Club) is where I play; it’s more intense, requiring membership in the USCF to play in tournaments, and having ratings, dues, and the like. The other club (the Hamilton County Free Chess Club) is more casual, with no dues or memberships, talking during games encourages, etc.

The online story included a picture of Sean playing his son, Maxx; the paper edition had that picture, plus two from the HCFCC.

I was at the Circle City meeting when the reporter came by to do his research. He talked to Sean and a few others of us, and took pictures of several of us playing. Sadly, they decided not to use any pictures of me.

UPDATE: This link may work.