Drew DeVault's Blog

on Drew DeVault's blog

An old-school shell hack on a line printer

It’s been too long since I last did a good hack, for no practical reason other than great hack value. In my case, these often amount to a nostalgia for an age of computing I wasn’t present for. In a recent bid to capture more of this nostalgia, I recently picked up a dot matrix line printer, specifically the Epson LX-350 printer. This one is nice because it has a USB port, so I don’t have to break out my pile of serial cable hacks to get it talking to Linux 😁

Status update, October 2019

Last month, I gave you an update at the conclusion of a long series of travels. But, I wasn’t done yet - this month, I spent a week in Montreal for XDC. Simon Ser put up a great write-up which goes over a lot of the important things we discussed there. It was a wonderful conference and well worth the trip - but I truly am sick of travelling. Now, I can enjoy some time at home, working on free and open source software.

How to fuck up software releases

I manage releases for a bunch of free & open-source software. Just about every time I ship a release, I find a novel way to fuck it up. Enough of these fuck-ups have accumulated now that I wanted to share some of my mistakes and how I (try to) prevent them from happening twice.

RaptorCS's redemption: the POWER9 machine works

This is a follow-up to my earlier article, “RaptorCS POWER9 Blackbird PC: An expensive mistake”. Since I published that article, I’ve been in touch with Raptor and they’ve been much more communicative and helpful. I now have a working machine!

Why Collabora really added Digital Restrictions Management to Weston

A recent article from Collabora, Why HDCP support in Weston is a good thing, proports to offer a lot of insight into why HDCP - a Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) related technology - was added to Weston - a well known basic Wayland compositor which was once the reference compositor for Wayland. But this article is gaslighting you. There is one reason and one reason alone that explains why HDCP support landed in Weston.

RaptorCS POWER9 Blackbird PC: An expensive mistake

November 2018: Ordered Basic Blackbird Bundle w/32 GB RAM: $1,935.64

Don't sacrifice the right ideas to win the right words

There is a difference between free software and open-source software. But you have to squint to see it. Software licenses which qualify for one title but not the other are exceptionally rare.

Status update, September 2019

Finally home again after a long series of travels! I spent almost a month in Japan, then visited my sister’s new home in Hawaii on the way eastwards, then some old friends in Seattle, and finally after 5½ long weeks, it’s home sweet home here in Philadelphia. At least until I leave for XDC in Montreal 2 weeks from now. Someday I’ll have some rest… throughout all of these wild travels, I’ve been hard at work on my free software projects. Let’s get started with this month’s status update!

How I decide between many programming languages

I have a few old standards in my toolbelt that I find myself calling upon most often, but I try to learn enough about many programming languages to reason about whether or not they’re suitable to any use-case I’m thinking about. The best way is to learn by doing, so getting a general impression of the utility of many languages helps equip you with the knowledge of whether or not they’d be useful for a particular problem even if you don’t know them yet.

Building interactive SSH applications

After the announcement of shell access for builds.sr.ht jobs, a few people sent me some questions, wondering how this sort of thing is done. Writing interactive SSH applications is actually pretty easy, but it does require some knowledge of the pieces involved and a little bit of general Unix literacy.