Hey Linux People it’s been a while, so I wanted to post a little update about what has gone on with myself personally, with Linux, and more since last year.
Work and Linux
On the work front I am still doing my thing consulting. I have picked up a few more clients and easily doubled the amount of work I was doing a year ago. My 2 big projects are a company downsizing project as well as a Linux-based media solution. The company downsizing project has actually be going on for a couple of years now. I ended up moving an entire company from a huge office space and small data center down to no office (telecommuting) and 4 virtual machines in a private cloud. It was a little tricky shifting from about 20 infrastructure machines down in to 2, but it was really successful. 1 VM is a Windows server running Active Directory with 3 CentOS Linux VMs that provide Samba, DNS, NFS, web sites (internal and external), and more. I help support the network now, which is nothing more than clicking a button to update everything. The other project is a sweet media appliance running on top of Ubuntu Linux. My goal is to get them switched from 10.04 with 14.04, old Python to a newer Python, and moving a lot of their Python code base to a C/C++ code base. What have I learned from this project over the past year? MPlayer can suck, old developers and their spaghetti code need to disappear, old Linux people and their use of the root account need to chill, and the default Ubuntu Linux kernel is to bloated for small appliances (low-latency as well, thank goodness I can build a real-time kernel).
On a personal level, I haven’t been on my bike enough and I really need to get back on it. I probably spent too much time fishing last year. I rediscovered my love for the outdoors, which I have really missed. I just need to find me a way to get my workspace outside in the woods somewhere. I would probably be way more productive. I was there when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and I will be there again this year. Every home game, on the glass, is where you will find me throughout the playoffs and Stanley Cup. Can’t wait for that to start.
What I’ve learned over the last year
- Yocto Project is awesome and sucks at the same time. Awesome because if you know what you are doing and can execute, you can create an amazing embedded solution built on Linux. Sucks because it is super easy for people to create real garbage. I have taken apart a couple of embedded solutions that are big in the market, got to their cores, and just shook my head in disbelief. Just goes to show, people will spend a lot of money just to buy junk.
- Speaking of spending a lot of money to buy junk, I got bitten by the HiFi audio bug a bit, in a headphone kind of way. No, I did not go with the Fashion Accessories by Dre. See where I said spending a lot of money to buy junk? Well I didn’t. I spent wisely and got hooked up as well. Rocking studio-quality headphones by AKG and Sennheiser and I am looking at a DAC and Amp solution by Schiit as well. Imagine, a Schiit Magni and Modi combo with say the AKG K240 Studio headphones, for less than those fashion accessories by Dre. Only time my setup sounds muddy is if I accidentally drop it in the mud, otherwise it is the way music needs to be listened to (now, I am actually listening to Jono Bacon growl while writing this. I didn’t do this on purpose either. Shuffle FTW?
- Oh, that last one, I learned that the high-end audio market actually likes making sure their products work on Linux. A large percentage of the USB DACs on the market work out of the box with Linux and Mac. Windows needs you to install a driver of course.
- VA API, it is real, but for some reason nobody wants to add it properly. MPlayer said a year or so ago they need someone to help add it. Still not done, but thankfully last year someone created a MPlayer package with support, and they haven’t updated it in a year either. In 14.04, VA API still sucks, but don’t feel bad, it sucks for others too, like those in Debian Linux, but it seems to work just fine in the RPM-based Linux camps. Yes, I could help fix it, but I am to busy, looking at myself in the mirror.
- Media network synchronization, why is streaming the only recommended solution? If I have the same video or audio file on 2 different machines in 2 different locations on the same LAN, let me get some perfect audio sync going on easily.
See You Soon
That’s all for now. Just wanted to say hi again and let everyone know I am still alive. Excited for the 14.04 release to drop. That means I get to update a lot of client machines, which equates to money in my pocket. See, you can make money from Open Source. Hopefully this upcoming year I can make some changes to not only this site, but hop in and give back to Ubuntu again. There are packages that I have worked on that need to get into Debian and Ubuntu eventually as well as some patches I have come up with over the past few months working on a Linux appliance.