[sf-lug] On hearing the sounds crickets make

jim jim at well.com
Sun Feb 1 18:51:28 PST 2015

[top posting, with apologies to those who may be bored.]

[Note that this thread deals with roles that humans occupy
in working with technology as well as some technology
itself, so some of the discussion might be useful for people
unfamiliar with some of this stuff.]

     I'm the listadmin, yes, never tho't differently; i respond
to all MailMan prods, which are mainly notices of posts by
non-members. I rarely let the number stack up to low
double digits.
     I'm glad to get the weekly dump of the roster and save
it in my special place.
     I'm not Michael's admin. My listadmin work is carrying
the hod of making sure your, and our, system is not overly
burdened. With respect to Michael's participation, I think he
should reply; I don't want that kind of leadership authority,
it's not necessary for this group.
     Forgetting reasons for past neglect, I now am backing up
the sf-lug archives, and have done so about a week ago. I'll
puzzle through the means of getting incremental backups
(given no reply to my query last week as to how the process
might work, and that's okay with me, not a big deal).

     As usual, thanks for the clarification of the environment that
cron uses.
         For those who may not be clear, "the environment"
         is an area of memory that stores lines of text in a
         key=value format. The key is often referred to as a
         variable. Every process running in memory has an
         See my tutorial on BASH shell scripting
         section 3.6 The Environment
         Also see section 7.0 Inheritance, which, I hope,
         clarifies how the environment for one program may
         be quite different from that of another program.

     My comment re "the nature..." was probably too oblique,
my fault.
     Trying again: there is something of an ad hominem color
to some of this thread and occasionally other threads. My
sense is that this color is unpleasant for some folks.
     As listadmin, I see the unsubscription notices, and their
increased frequency follows such threads that have a
somewhat hostile tone.
     Please, Rick, I am not comprehensively ignoring you. I
usually read your and other people's comments as comments
to the group. Sometimes when I'm tired or busy I don't read
     If you want my response, it will help if you ping me as to a
previous message, not required, of course. I may not have
read the message or may have figured it was for the group
or may have gotten the feeling that I cannot reply competently.
     Also, it may help to use my name and possibly write a brief,
pointed message.
     The above seems a reasonable request for email users
in general.

     As to inviting people to join the sf-lug mailing list, there is no
one I know of to send such an invitation. If members want to
invite particular people, please let me know and I'll do so.

     As to dual boot, I did set up some systems for dual boot,
but just as an exercise. My tho'ts were speculative. I decided
not to implement dual boot systems for myself.
     Thanks, Rick, for the suggestion that dual booting is
problematic; I haven't considered the topic for a few years,
reminders are helpful. It will be helpful to read a cogent
explanation of the downsides to dual booting; I know there
are people even these days who are running dual boot hosts.
I don't know of any problems, so I'll be interested in learning.

     As to VMs, I personally don't see a need. A host running
a bunch of processes works fine for my purposes. I have
participated in setting up VM systems; it's just that I don't
see a need for my uses.

     The idea that learning something new is beyond me more
exactly means I personally see no problem the new stuff
solves for me and my experience is that learning a fair
amount of new technology is a matter of fighting through
misleading or omissive or poorly written text. My thanks to
anyone who's contributed documentation, and some docs
are great (e.g. the man page for the dash shell is
outstanding, partly because the dash shell is compact,
partly because the writer has clear understanding).

     As to killing init, my descriptions were a stretch, I was trying
to express the fears that a newbie might imagine.
     Note that in that paragraph I explained that killing init has
the effect of immediately respawning init with the same PID (1).

     As to driving down, I'd offered in some message, perhaps
for some other problem. I'm willing to drive down or up and
anywhere else to help out. It's not for me to invite myself:
if someone suggests a date, I usually reply with a yes or

     Thank you for your suggestion to import mail messages
into Thunderbird (my current email client). An import/export
facility is not part of the default Thunderbird setup on Ubuntu
12.X (the release I'm using, one rev back by policy).
     Thunderbird has some add-ons that include an import/export
     I've not yet found information that Thunderbird by default
uses the mbox format, and have not felt sufficiently confident
  in my understanding of mbox that I can determine by looking
at the file structure on my system:

.../Mail/iris.well.com$ ls -l
-rw------- 1 jim jim         0 Jan 19 22:43 Archives
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jim jim      2692 Jan 23 09:23 Archives.msf
drwxr-xr-x 3 jim jim      4096 Jan 19 22:43 Archives.sbd
-rw------- 1 jim jim   1131631 Feb  1 18:19 Drafts
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jim jim      4197 Feb  1 18:19 Drafts.msf
-rw------- 1 jim jim 151663343 Feb  1 18:17 Inbox
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jim jim    259176 Feb  1 18:19 Inbox.msf
drwx------ 4 jim jim      4096 Jan  6 11:27 Inbox.sbd
-rw-r--r-- 1 jim jim       177 Mar  5  2014 msgFilterRules.dat

     I see directories ending with .sbd, which is similar to what
I have seen with Evolution (which uses mbox format), and
there are huge text files with long lines, also similar to
Evolution's mail tree....
     Given the discussion, I'm now guessing that Thunderbird
on my system is using the mbox format. There are also
some differences between what I see for Thunderbird and
what I recall of the Evolution tree....

     I'd prefer further discussion be off-list as a matter of
sparing the large majority of our 300+ users having to
discard or ignore.
     I have no wish to offend you, Rick. If there's anything
you want of me, please ask (good to name me and write
a brief, pointed message, preferably off-list).

On 02/01/2015 03:33 PM, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Jim Stockford (jim at well.com):
>>     Per the example asking if Michael
>>     should also receive weekly data, I think that's a
>>     great idea, but also think that Michael should
>>     respond, not I.
> The reason I ask you is:  You're the listadmin (and SF-LUG founder).
> (See near bottom of this message for incontrovertible proof that you are
> the listadmin despite any rhetoric to the contrary.)  Impliedly, I was
> also asking, basically, who should get the roster.  I finally took
> initiative on my own to ensure that _someone_ got it, that being you by
> default (you being listadmin).  I figured further refinement should be
> as decided by you -- or whoever else I'm told should be consulted.
>>         (Let me add: I am quite grateful to Rick for
>>     creating this weekly dump!)
> Yr. welcome.  Past time that I did it, and, as you saw, it was really
> dead simple.  (Really the only significant trick to writing lines in
> cron jobs is to remember that crond runs with a very impverised
> environment and you cannot assume things are in its environment space
> that are in yours.  In particular, you should always fully qualify the
> pathnames you use, as $PATH typically has no useful contents in the cron
> runtime environment.)
>> * The nature of the observations preceding crickets
>>     strikes me as less straightforwardly technical and
>>     with a "human behavior" element that's less
>>     prominent in discussions on conspire and svlug.
> 'I'm sorry, I don't understand your question' or 'Would you mind further
> explaining [foo] before I try to address that?' strike me as better
> alternatives to comprehensively ignoring someone who's trying to help
> you.
>> Back to the overwhelm part.
> Also 'I want to comment on that, but am under a pile of things and need
> to get back to you' strikes me as a better alternative to
> comprehensively ignoring someone who's trying to help you.
>>      I've had cricket experiences, too. I've occasionally
>> asked if anyone would like to participate in working
>> on a project, primarily as a learning experience, to
>> build skills.
> One difference is, in every case I cited, I had directly asked a polite
> question to a _specific person_.
>> JS: I have no idea why to use this feature. I know of no one to whom
>> it seems appropriate to send such an invitation. Seems to me best to
>> let people use the URL for signing up.
> Because it's a markedly streamlined process.
> Normally, joining requires a request (via Web or e-mail), followed by a
> confirmation notice from the mailing list software, followed by a
> requirement that the user confirm that the request actually came for
> him/her.  This is called a three-way handshake confirmation processs.
> The 'invitation' method streamlines the process to a two-step one
> instead of a three-step one.  You as listadmin induce the mailing list
> software to send out invitation e-mails to a roster of people.  Each
> person receives a customised notice that includes a custom acceptance
> URL.  The user loads that URL if he/she wishes to join, and immediately
> becomes a member.
> The attraction is less bureaucracy for both parties.
> My understand that you-plural have a roster of people who you-plural
> think ought to be mailing list members.  The 'invite' is the obvious and
> most effective way to deal with that problem.
>>> JS: at the time, VM seemed beyond me....
> It's a whole lot simpler than dual-boot, which is why it's a
> head-scratcher when I keep seeing people juggling accident-prone
> bootloader setups -- when instlling VirtualBox, for example, is just
> running through a slick graphical installer without needing to even
> decide anything.
> What you mean is you never _tried_, and just assumed it was 'beyond you'.
> Which, in turn, is the sort of thing suggesting that I ought to give up
> trying to help you, given that you keep ignoring useful suggestions
> without making the least effort to even try them.
> I don't attempt to help you with the _specific_ aim of wasting my time,
> and there are other people who actuall do listen whom I can spend time
> helping, instead.
> And the point is that not merely that you didn't attempt what I
> suggested, but that -- as in other cases cited -- you (or in some cases
> the other SF-LUG person in question) didn't even bother to acknowledge
> what I said.  Crickets in all cases.
>> For my purposes, even now, I perceive no need for VM.
> Sounds crazy to me, given that problems people have with dual-boot and
> the disruption to workflow that happens inevitably every time you switch
> to the other OS.  However, I'm certainly not going to twist your arm.
> If it's possible that I've somehow managed not to be clear about why
> dual-boot is usually a bad mistake, maybe I'll get around to an essay on
> that for my Web pages.
>>> JS: more overwhelm. I see no need to learn PGP keysigning.
> The point is that the person I was replying to _did_ see a need -- and
> said it would be a 'good idea', but, the moment I referred him to a
> couple of detailed guides telling him exactly to do it, he neither did
> anything whatsoever nor responded to my help.
>> JS: I can sympathize with the fear that killing init would totally hose
>> my system, make it unbootable, create CPU overload that burns out all
>> traces on the motherboard, etc.
> I can't.
> Why would killing any process whatsoever risk making the box unbootable?
> Killing a process doesn't even write anything to disk.  It just kills
> the process.  The point is, at worst, you reboot.
> If you treat your Linux installation as if it were made of glass, you'll
> never learn anything.  And yet, even as you imagine that attempting to
> kill init would be dangerous, which it couldn't be even if it were
> successful, you have no fear of fooling around with dual-boot
> configurations, which obviously _is_ dangerous?  This doesn't make any
> sense whatsoever.
> And why would you think I'd suggest something that might 'burn out all
> traces on the motherboard' through some bizarre magic I cannot even
> begin to understand, anyway?  You think I'm trying to destroy people's
> hardware?  Does this sound sensible to you?  Really?
>> JS: I think this is a little off base. I am, if anything, willing to
>> drive to places to help people accomplish stuff. I've occasionally
>> offered to drive to Rick's place and bring things or help work on
>> things. Mainly my focus is on "carrying hod", which is to say to take
>> on necessary but boring, non-technical aspects such as carrying
>> equipment, going to the store, supplying food, etc. Also, I did not
>> percieve a proposed day-time so in my mind the proposal was to some
>> degree floating. Rick, I don't think it's right to suggest that I don't
>> get off my duff; I get off my duff for some things and not others. In
>> short, probably a sense of overwhelm and distraction.
> Methinks you protest _way_ too much.  You asked me to go to extra steps
> to help you compensate for your utter failure to do timely backups
> during the many years I pleaded with you to do so.  And instead of
> giving you the brush-off, I said yes, told you exactly how that could be
> done, and waited for a reply about coming down and getting the data.
> The point isn't merely that nobody (you included) drove down.  The point
> is that nobody _either_ drove down or even acknowledged my offer.  It
> seemed as if you lost interest the moment it became a task that required
> your participation rather than all work being offloaded onto me as if I
> were your unpaid servant.
> And this is part of the pattern.  You guys ask me for things or ask me
> for questions.  I give you help and complete answers.  *I* ask for
> anything, and I get... crickets.
> You say this asymmetry and piss-poor response to my hospitality is
> because you're 'overwhelmed'.  Uh-huh.  You sure you want to go with
> that?
> Really?
>>> JS: I have a dovecot web page about mbox format open; I'm still
>>> reading and re-reading, wondering here and there what it's talking
>>> about, hoping I might be able to understand the format well enough to
>>> create the desired email in mbox format.
> Dude.  Just import it into Thunderbird.  That's an mbox.
> No index or metafiles needed.  Just the mbox.  It typically is given a
> filename extension of '.mbox'.
> When I said 'an mbox file', I meant an mbox file.  Not indexes, not some
> other marching brass band.  _A file._  Specifically, an mbox file.  This
> actually isn't complex.
>> JS: yes it would, but I'm just one person in this group. I have no
>> special status other than a kind of data janitor.
> Look at http://linuxmafia.com/mailman/listinfo/sf-lug  .  See what it
> says at the bottom?  You're the listadmin.
> This should not be news to you, as it's been true continuously for ten
> years.   And we've been over it a number of times.
> If you don't want to be listadmin, you can make someone else be it.  But
> at the moment, you're The Man.  Don't say you aren't, because I can just
> point to that page and say 'Reality does not concur.'
> _______________________________________________
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