The World That Is

2018-05-02 00:00:00 +0100

New Port

The city formally known as Altdorf became the natural rallying point at the after the Chaos Invasion of the Empire lost its momentum. Here was where the remaining men and women of the Empire streamed to looking for leadership that was no more.

The only buildings in Altdorf that remained habitable after the war were the colleges of magic. These were suddenly thrust back into the real world with the failure of the magic that held them in secret. Mostly empty of wizards except novices in training and caretakers the colleges became hospitals and cook houses for the refugee camp that Altdorf had become.

What remained of the city leaders started to organise, given the almost complete lack of nobility left in the Empire they declare that the city council would be elected from the various groups of refugees. This motion kickstarted the new democratic era of the Empire.

Due to the tsunami caused by the sinking of Ulathan Marienburg and much of the Wasteland was now under the sea. This returned Altdorf to being the first city on the Reik.

Seeing this the newly elected council knew that in order to find food for a city of refugees they were going to have to get the port up and running and send ships to discover crops and herds that remained. So they started on the construction of the “New Port” just outside the city walls of old Altdorf. Because any refugee with skills was employed in this area on constuction they started to make their homes here too. As such over the years this area grew bigger and more populous than Altdorf itself. Eventually leading to the change in city name to New Port.

Old Altdorf eventually became a place of learning and rememberance for the old Empire and the lost heroes. The temples were rebuilt, the colleges of magic became the university. The slums were raised and replaced with gardens of reflection. The terrible wounds on the city slowly landscaped away. The buildings of New Port stretching now up the old docklanks making way for sea going ships.

A Month With Developer Box

2018-04-27 17:26:00 +0100

So a month ago I received a pre-release version of the Developerbox from Linaro HQ. Since that time I have been dogfooding to see how it is to work from a completely ARM based stack!

So first off the box by default will install the 17.12 release of the Enterprise Reference Platform from LEG (its even an award winning distro thanks ARM Techcon). For the geekier out there its based on debian stretch with a newer kernel (with needed ARM server patches that had not made it upstream yet) and a few updated packages.

The Firmware is UEFI based and currently passes a DT to the kernel, the plan for production boxes is for them to be fully ACPI capable. UEFI means the installing is just like how it happens on UEFI PC’s no surprise there.

Given the box has an nvidia card and nouveau does basic 3D accelleration I decided to give the box a bit of a workout by using the Cinnamon desktop. 4K was a bit of a stretch for the machine (but then the GF710 was never really designed for that), but at 2K res the desktop runs at a perfectly fine speed for everyday use. And in fact I was using every day as my work machine.

Chromium runs at an acceptable speed although a little slow on some tabs as the single core speed on the CPU in developbox is not great. But we are not intel we are supposed to be all about the parallel, thats why there are 24 CPU cores in the machine.

Kernel builds on the other hand are much fun, I have been building with -j28 and build positively fly compared to my other work machine (Dell XPS13). So it shows when you can take advantage of parrallel tasks it starts to show.

For debian kernel Image only

[linaro@xora-synquacer acpi (sinquacker-4.16)]$ time make -j28 Image
real	5m47.420s
user	111m15.325s
sys	9m35.070s

For the modules

[linaro@xora-synquacer acpi (sinquacker-4.16)]$ time make -j28 modules
real	25m20.982s
user	538m18.905s
sys	44m20.923s

Everyone loves a screenshot or two right?

Some htop action during kernel compile.

htop screenshot

Desktop running browser

htop screenshot

And playing the difficult to render track in supertuxkart.

htop screenshot

Sharp eyed readers will have noticed that I have upgraded the RAM to 8G, I have also added an SSD for storage. Next would be a picopsu supporting case to make the system dead silent.

So this machine is not perfect but it shows the world what could be done to make ARM Workstations a reality for Developers. I would hope it would also follow on that ARM laptops with standard firmware become a reality too.

Finding an Alchemist in Saltmarsh

2017-08-17 11:36:02 +0100

Blessed Joramy sent us onwards from the Serpents Eye, towards what men know as "civilization". Well my first impression of civilization on approach to Saltmarsh was it smells like Torbaks tent the morning after a night on the fermented yaks milk the desert tribes trade. Piss shit and puke mixed with something rotten. I already longed for a return to the mountains with their fresh smell of brimstone.

A couple of drinks in what they call an inn was all it cost us to find the location of the alchemist from the local drunk. Apparently his home is know known as the haunted house and was just outside town. Apparently he abandoned his friend who died in the house by ghosts. These civalized men have no stomach for adventure it seems. I trusted in blessed Joramy and doubted the house was haunted, we would be looking for more mundane fiends.

So off to the house we travelled, as the drunk had told us it was massively run down and in poor state. The well was unmaintained and dry, the doors off their hinges. On exploration of the house we found what I beleive to be the 2nd item of power Joramy has lead us to. A suit of armour, but the corpse it still wrapped was infested with rot grubs. So until we located the alchemist I was unable to retreive the armour.

An exploration of the house turned up no sign of the alchemist or his expected laboratory. We did find a strange fellow tied up in one of the rooms, he claimed to have been "exploring" the house when someone bashed him on the head. He did sport a head wound but his story did not ring true to us so we kept a close eye on him looking for proof of deceipt. Later in the day he was to show his true colours.

Eventually we discovered a hidden entrance we had missed in our first pass of the house. Down we went into a hidden cellar of the house. Disturbing a bunch of gentlemen in their business. They attacked us as was predictable as we charged in weapons drawn. After a relatively bloodless fight helped by the mages stunnind ability to put people to sleep we had captured the business men and tied them to their beds. I had to use Joramy's blessing on the business mens mage as he had met an accident thanks to our brutal and bad tempered dwarf. But Joramy was generous and his wounds closed over.

While the businessmen were recovering we discovered the alchemists lab in a secret room guarded by skeletons. Another of Joramy's blessings on some pebbles I had picked up earlier allowed the mage to decimate the skeletons with some expertly thrown stones. Inside the alchemists lab we found some form of seeing device. This device allowed the mage to read the proficy of doom.

Returning to the room where we had tied up the businessmen we got into a heated debate about their fate. I put forward my argument that they were business men, we had actually been the instigators of the violence and left to their own devices they would escape in an hour or two by the time we were well on the road and out of danger from retaliation. The mage seemed to agree in part with my argument, he seemed a good chap and not wishing to slaughter people just becuase we can. The rest of our group though are much more bloodthirsty. Led by the brutal grumpy dwarf the others were all for slaughtering the men in their beds. I am doubting Joramy's wisdom in some of my companions. Eventually I convinced the monk of the right of our ways and the Mage, Monk and myself left to recover the armour. With their help I was able to burn out the rot grubs and recover the armour of power.

I to this day do not know the fate of those businessmen, I hope the dwarf and ranger eventually saw sense and left them be, but I fear their dark sides won over that day and there is a basement of skeletons.

The Finding of the Serpents Eye

2017-07-12 11:47:35 +0100

Ah blessed Joramy, her ways are weird!

Sent out into the desert for Joramy know what reason (she said I would find someone to help me find the weapons of power we need to defeat the giants) I find a strange mage struggling through the sands on his last provisions. No idea how he got there but I lead him back to the safety of the mountains and found him some fresh water. Camping for the night when this grumpy dwarf trudges in and demands to share the fire. He claims he got bored of his clan and headed out adventuring, but from his look I think he is on the lam.

Joramy then sends me to a mountain monastery for another of the companions for my quest. Odd place totally deserted from the looks of it when we approached, but we could already smell the stench of Garlic. Inside is a lone monk, crazed as a hermit (no wonder with that Garlic smell). Who am I to argue with the blessed Joramy, the monk and his Doom Bell (mounted on his cart for some strange reason) joined our little questing group. We do not seem to be able to persuade him to wash though.

"You must find the serpents eye", says Joramy, "there you will find a friend and a book" (What the fuck is a book?), the mage seems to know though so thats ok! "It is over in the mountains yonder beyond the great plain of grass", says Joramy. Ok some trudging to be done there then. But its ok by Joramys blessing a number of Great Rocs swooped down and scooped us up carrying us to their nest.

Nest was full of shite and a cheery little Kobold fella, an even stranger companion. Ah, now we see when Joramy placed us here, we can see the serpent river and its eye glinting in the distance. Luckily we have foreseen to bring some rope so descending from the Roc's nest on the spire was not too difficult. Once down in the valley we started the long trudge to the island we had seen from the top.

The valley was filled with the strangest of creatures, its almost like the God's were testing our patience as we progressed down, undead, mudmen, hermits, overlarge crows, animated trees, and carnivorous rabbits were all sent to test us. But with the blessings of Joramy we finally made it to the island we sought. Somewhere along the line the monk and the dwarf seem to have had a barney. And the monk is scared of water. Thats a bit difficult when your travelling down a river. I am sure Joramy had her reasons, or maybe she just wants my hair grey.

Just before the Island our final companion joined us, apparently as punishment for a crime he was sent up the river (where we just came from) for the serpents eye, boy was he pissed at his elders when we told him where it was.

On the island we met one of his elders and decoded the cryptic writing (to be honest the mage was invaluable for this) and discovered about the caves under the island. We had to swim to the entrance of the caves across a fiery pool. I went first only to discover there was again some barney involving the monk and the rest of the group back where I had come from. I think eventually they just stuffed the monk on a sack and told him to shut up. Anyway they all made it across eventually.

Into the caves and the dwarf showed his battle prowess by picking a fight with the undead snakes. By Joramy's blessing I am sure we could have just walked past them but he was insisted they needed a good kick to the head. Who am I to argue with his prowess. Once past the snakes we found a tunnel that descended to behind a waterfall, not a good exit and a vertical shaft to another level. Obviously these caves had been worked by some creatures in the past.

On the lower level were more caves, we discovered a giant serpent keeping a fairy trapped with its hypnotic powers, serpent quickly dispatched by the Blessing's of Joramy.

We were exploring further when some dwarfs attacked us, our dwarf insists they are a different breed but I find it difficult to see the differences, short, grump, hairy. Anyway myself and the mage took some serious wounds in that fight but Joramy's Blessings allowed us to recover. We discovered the serpent its eye and the pile of arse wipings that is apparently a book. We returned the serpent to the elder above to fulfil our final companions quest then headed off over the grasslands to our next destination, a salty marsh!

PXE Grub and All in One Images

2015-12-19 15:36:49 +0000

So one little advertised feature of grub is grub-mkstandalone. Over the past week I have been playing with grub-mkstandalone to create grub.efi for a new board. We had an issue that the default grub with CentOS 7 performs badly on some EFI firmware when using tftp and it suddenly occured to me that grub-mkstandalone allows you to put file into the grub.efi itself.

So for the arm64 server I was working on.

grub-mkstandalone -O arm64-efi -o grub.efi boot/grub/grub.cfg Image

The contect of the boot/grub/grub.cfg

set timeout=5

menuentry 'Centos Image' --class os {
echo 'Loading Linux ...'
linux (memdisk)/Image earlycon=uart8250,mmio32,0x80300000 console=ttyS0,115200 acpi=force ip=dhcp root=/dev/nfs rw

# echo 'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
# initrd (tftp)/boot/initrd

And can now load Image without using the tftp implementation in grub :-D