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Ciro's tutorial: Linux Kernel Module Cheat.
Ciro's word of caution for 2019 aspiring system programmers: Should you waste your life with systems programming?
This is basically a direct consequence of backward design.
The higher the level you can operate at, the better.
C is better than assembly, userland better than kerneland.
The ideal level to operate at, and one of humankind's greatest ambitions is "AGI, make me money", the highest possible level.
Only go down a level when it seems necessary.
Magic software that allows you to write a single program that runs on a wide range of hardware.
Bare metal programming is to run a program without an operating system below it.
Or in other words, it is basically implementing an operating system/firmware yourself ad hoc, together with your actual program.
It ain't perfect, but it's decent enough.
From a technical point of view, it can do anything that Microsoft Windows can. Except being forcefully installed on every non-MacOS 2019 computer you can buy.
Ciro Santilli's conversion to Linux happened around 2012, and was a central part of Ciro Santilli's Open Source Enlightenment, since it fundamentally enables the discovery and contribution to open source software. Because what awesome open source person would waste time porting their amazing projects to closed source OSes?
Ciro's modest nature can be seen as he likes to compare this event Buddha's Great Renunciation.
Particularly interesting in the history of Linux is how it won out over the open competitors that were coming up in the time: MINIX (see the chat) and BSD Operating System that got legally bogged down at the critical growth moment.
Figure 1. xkcd 619: Supported Features. Source. This perfectly illustrates Linux development. First features that matter. Then useless features.
Video 1. Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs by Epic Rap Battles of History (2012) Source. Just stop whatever you are doing, and watch this right now. "I'm on Linux, bitch, I thought you GNU". Fandom explanations. It is just a shame that the Bill Gates actor looks absolutely nothing like the real gates. Actually, the entire Gates/Jobs parts are good, but not genial. But the Linux one is.
The fact that this foundation has a bunch of paid, closed, certification courses makes Ciro Santilli not respect them at all. They should be making open access content instead!
Documents the Linux kernel. Somewhat of a competitor to Linux Kernel Module Cheat, but more wordy and less automated.
As of 2020, no one knows how to build the major desktop distros fully from source into the ISO, and especially so in a reproducible build way. Everything is done in build servers somewhere with complicated layers of prebuilds. It's crap.
merlijn.sebrechts.be/blog/2020-08-02-why-one-snap-store/ has some very good comments on how snap is more closed than Flatpak.
However, many, many, many terrible horrors come with it:
The video folder is DCIM/Camera.
Respect. Big respect. Those people are hardcore from scratch hackers, and their wiki is amazing: wiki.archlinux.org/
It's just that Buildroot is more hardcore ;-)
But can you build the ISO full from source: Linux distribution buildable from source
Buildroot is good.
This thing is sexy.
Ciro Santilli's Linux distro of choice as of 2019.
It ain't perfect, but it's decent enough.
The greatest advantage of it being that it has the likely largest desktop user base, and therefore the highest likelihood that your problems are solved on Ask Ubuntu, and goes together with Ciro's philosophy that "people should do everything in the same way to factor stuff out", especially the open source losers.
Ciro considers that the killer flaw of Ubuntu, and most desktop distros of 2020, is that no one under the Sun knows how to build them fully from source: Linux distribution buildable from source. This is why Ciro based the Linux Kernel Module Cheat on Buildroot, see also: Linux distribution buildable from source.
Their crash system does not have an amazing user interface.
Tested on Ubuntu 21.10.
After something crashes, look under /var/crash for a crash file, which helps to determine which package to report under on Launchpad.
E.g. a file /var/crash/_usr_sbin_gdm3.0.crash makes you want to file the bug under gdm at: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gdm/+filebug
Then, while reporting the bug, you want to give the developpers access to that .crash file. But you can't publicly upload it because it contains memory dumps and could contain secret information. The way to do it is to look at the ID under:
sudo cat /var/crash/_usr_sbin_gdm3.0.uploaded
Ubuntu's crash report system has already uploaded the .crash for you, so you just have to confirm it and give the ID on the ticket.
You can view a list of all your uploaded errors at:
xdg-open https://errors.ubuntu.com/user/$(sudo cat /var/lib/whoopsie/whoopsie-id)
and each of those contain a link to:
https://errors.ubuntu.com/oops/<.uloaded error id>
which you yourself cannot see.
Running:
sudo apport-unpack /var/crash/_usr_sbin_gdm3.0.crash /tmp/app
splits it up into a few files, but does not make any major improvements.
apport-retrace
sudo apt install apport-retrace
sudo chmod 666 /var/crash/_usr_sbin_gdm3.0.crash
apport-retrace -g /var/crash/_usr_sbin_gdm3.0.crash
opens GDB with the core dump. Debug symbols are supplied as separate packages, which is a really cool idea: so you should be able to download them after the crash to see symbols. askubuntu.com/questions/487222/how-to-install-debug-symbols-for-installed-packages mentions how to install them. Official docs at: wiki.ubuntu.com/DebuggingProgramCrash#Debug_Symbol_Packages
Tried:
echo "deb http://ddebs.ubuntu.com $(lsb_release -cs) main restricted universe multiverse" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ddebs.list
echo -e "deb http://ddebs.ubuntu.com $(lsb_release -cs)-updates main restricted universe multiverse\ndeb http://ddebs.ubuntu.com $(lsb_release -cs)-proposed main restricted universe multiverse" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ddebs.list
sudo apt install ubuntu-dbgsym-keyring
but then sudo apt update fails with:
E: The repository 'http://ddebs.ubuntu.com impish-security Release' does not have a Release file.
GDM crashes sometimes when switching windows right after opening a new window: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gdm/+bug/1956299
Does not happen every time, only some times. Can't figure out why. Usually happens when has suspended for a longer time.
bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/nvidia-graphics-drivers-470/+bug/1946303 sounds like a likely report, Nvidia driver version 470, but can't find those error messages anywhere. The last line of:
journalctl -o short-precise -k -b -1
once was:
PM: suspend entry (deep)
which is when sleep starts.
This suggests that it is not a video bug then, seems that it is not waking up at all? Gotta try to SSH into it. OK. I did SSH into it, and that was fine, so it is just the video that won't start.
PM: suspend exit
bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/1949977 is another possible bug, based on kernel version. I'm running 5.13, which is one of the failing versions on the report. Can't find any interesting dmesg though.
In another crash:
journalctl -o short-precise -k -b -1
had the following interesting lines:
nvidia-modeset: WARNING: GPU:0: Lost display notification (0:0x00000000); continuing.
[24307.640014] NVRM: GPU at PCI:0000:01:00: GPU-18af74bb-7c72-ff70-e447-87d48378ea20
[24307.640018] NVRM: Xid (PCI:0000:01:00): 79, pid=8828, GPU has fallen off the bus.
[24307.640021] NVRM: GPU 0000:01:00.0: GPU has fallen off the bus.
[24328.054022] nvidia-modeset: ERROR: GPU:0: The requested configuration of display devices (LGD (DP-4)) is not supported on this GPU.
[repeats several more times]
[24328.056767] nvidia-modeset: ERROR: GPU:0: The requested configuration of display devices (LGD (DP-4)) is not supported on this GPU.
[24328.056951] nvidia-modeset: ERROR: GPU:0: Failed to query display engine channel state: 0x0000927c:0:0:0x0000000f
[24328.056955] nvidia-modeset: ERROR: GPU:0: Failed to query display engine channel state: 0x0000927c:1:0:0x0000000f
[24328.056959] nvidia-modeset: ERROR: GPU:0: Failed to query display engine channel state: 0x0000927c:2:0:0x0000000f
[24328.056962] nvidia-modeset: ERROR: GPU:0: Failed to query display engine channel state: 0x0000927c:3:0:0x0000000f
[24328.056983] nvidia-modeset: ERROR: GPU:0: DP-4: Failed to disable DisplayPort audio stream-0
[24328.056992] nvidia-modeset: ERROR: GPU:0: Failed to query display engine channel state: 0x0000947d:0:0:0x0000000f
and there was a corresponding /var/crash/_usr_sbin_gdm3.0.crash.
Legal issues stalled them at the turning point of the Internet, and Linux won. Can't change history.
Did Apple just fork it and made Mac OS X without giving anything back?
If you are a programmer, grep becomes a verb: "to grep" means "to search text files".
The OS that the Gods ordered be made.
One is reminded of Ulillillia, see also: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-79yOZ13qg The Story of Ulillillia by Atrocity Guide (2019)
For a quick and dirty introduction to the format, see: ELF Hello World Tutorial.
Whenever Ciro Santilli learns about molecular biology, he can't help but to feel that it feels like programming, and notably systems programming and computer hardware design.
In some sense, the comparison is obvious: DNA is clearly a programmable medium like any assembly language, but still, systems programming did give Ciro some further feelings.
  • The most important analogy perhaps is observability, or more precisely the lack of it. For the computer, this is described at: The lower level you go into a computer, the harder it is to observe things.
    And then, when Ciro started learning a bit about biology techniques, he started to feel the exact same thing.
    For example when he played with E. Coli Whole Cell Model by Covert Lab, the main thing Ciro felt was: it is going to be hard to verify any of this data, because it is hard/impossible to know the concentration of each element in a cell as a function of time.
    More generally of course, this is exactly why making any biology discovery is so hard: we can't easily see what's going on inside the cell, and have to resort to indirect ways of doing so..
    This exact idea was highlighted by I should have loved biology by James Somers:
    For a computer scientist, a biologist's methods can seem insane; the trouble comes from the fact that cells are too small, too numerous, too complex to analyze the way a programmer would, say in a step-by-step debugger.
    And then just like in software, some of the methods biologists use to overcome the lack of visibility have direct software analogues:
  • The boot process is another one. E.g. in x86 the way that you start in 16-bit mode, largely compatible into the 70's, then move to 32-bit and finally 64, does feel a lot the way a earlier stages of embryo development looks more and more like more ancient animals.
Ciro likes to think that maybe that is why a hardcore systems programmer like Bert Hubert got into molecular biology.
Some other people who mention similar things:
Docker is good.
As a lightweight virtualization however, it does break more often than full proper virtualization like QEMU after some updates.
The images also appear to randomly update slightly and break things, even though you've specified e.g.:
FROM ubuntu:20.04
One of the things Ciro Santilli really likes, see: Linux Kernel Module Cheat.
If computational physics simulates physics, emulators simulates computers.
The leading open source cross architecture and KVM emulator of the 2010's.
Great way to understand how operating systems work, which Ciro Santilli used extensively in his Linux Kernel Module Cheat.
Ciro Santilli has some good related articles listed under: the best articles by Ciro Santillis.
Notable mentions:
Other notable people that are likely also awesome but Ciro has less familiarity with their contributions:
Co-founder of PowerDNS, an open source dNS implementation.
Homepage: berthub.eu/ says:
I sometimes contribute to science, I care a lot about Europe, innovation, biology & health
. All stuff Ciro cares about too! Cool dude! In particular Ciro loved his quote of I should have loved biology.
He's writing a fun-sounding book about molecular biology as of 2022: berthub.eu/dna-book. Appears to be closed source though. Ciro wonders if he really needs to sell the book for money after all those years though, rather than just publishing it online for free.
Looking at Bert just brings the Dutch Golden Age, and more in particular Antonie van Leeuwenhoek to mind. Epic.
Video 2. How life is Digital by Bert Hubert (2021) Source. Just a "boring" overview of the central dogma of molecular biology ;-)
Amazing systems programming tutorials. Whenever you Google a hard topic, his blog comes up.
Also has many great contributions on Stack Overflow: stackoverflow.com/users/8206/eli-bendersky
As of 2016, Eli worked at Google (reference). TODO before that, I had found his earlier info previously but lost it.
Eli focuses mostly on compiler toolchains, apparently with specific focus on
Creator of QEMU and FFmpeg, both of which Ciro Santilli deeply respects. And a bunch other random stuff.
What is shocking about Fabrice this is that both are insanely important software that Ciro Santilli really likes, and both seem to be completely unrelated subjects!
Google made billions on top of this dude:
At last but not least, Fabrice also studied in the same school that Ciro studied in France, École Polytechnique.
It is a shame that he keeps such a low profile, there are no videos of him on the web, and he declines interviews.
Another surprising fact is that Fabrice has not worked for the "Big Tech Companies" as far as can be publicly seen, but rather mostly on smaller companies that he co-founded: www.quora.com/Computer-Programmers/Computer-Programmers-Where-is-Fabrice-Bellard-employed

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