Saturday, 13 October 2012

The vicissitudes of life


I realise in this world there are people with far worse tragedies and far worse issues to deal with than my own so I've been reluctant to make a big deal of my own issues online, even though I have a mildly public persona. However I've been touched by the many warm wishes people have sent me over the last month when I mentioned that I had a family tragedy to deal with which was keeping me offline, despite the fact most of you did not even know what it was.

While I usually prefer to keep my private life separate from my online life, many of you have asked what it was that was so traumatic. Initially it was very difficult to talk about but now I find it somewhat helpful to speak about.

I'm from a family that has always been very close and I have two older brothers. On the Australian Father's day, 2nd September, my eldest brother George, who is the father of  two himself, was involved in a motor vehicle accident which gave him critical head injuries. Unfortunately he has been left with massive brain damage with very little prospect of recovery. He also had asked me many years previously to be his enduring power of attorney. Over the last month I have had to deal with the grief of his (effective) loss, been the medical contact for the family since I'm the only doctor in the family, deal with issues of choices to do with end-of-life decision making versus potential life in a vegetative state, support for various people affected by this tragedy, dealing with lawyers, financial institutions, credit card companies, utilities, gaining access to email, work authorities, insurance bodies and so on. The "system" does not seem well set up to take over someone's life if they're indefinitely incapacitated.

I don't really wish to go into any greater detail about this online, but suffice to say it has been the worst month of my life and I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemies.

And yes, my parents are still alive, and they are, without doubt, taking this the hardest.

The only good news, I guess, is that I'm working towards what I call the "new normal" in my life. I'll be hacking on BFS and -ck again fairly soon.


P.S. BFS and -ck for 3.6 is up in the usual place...

EDIT: Courtesy of  Matthias Kohler, this patch may fix boot issues if you have them:


  1. I'm not very good at being encouraging, but here it goes,

    good luck, I know I probably couldn't handle anything like that

  2. Thank you for sharing these tragic moments with us. My thoughts are with you.

  3. Thanks.

    Actually it didn't take long to sync up, so new BFS and -ck is in the usual place.

  4. After reading your post, I actually felt saddened as if listening from someone, in person.
    Considering I only know you as someone whose C code helps my OS experience, I find this fascinating.
    I almost felt like I would like to be your friend in this very moment to support and comfort you.
    Thanks for your continued work.

    May your memories give you strength.

  5. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into the darkness in which you and your family have been mired. I too went through a significant loss early on in my life and as you said, found some sort of release in sharing/talking as I dealt with it. It is strangely cathartic. My warm wishes are with you.

    For those who do now know to, or for those who are too lazy to, I plugged the kanji into the wikitonary. It is quite poetic.

  6. We all have heroes and there are many in the FOSS community, we users tend to believe those that are most influential live perfect lives dealing just with difficult programming task and frequent "I made it" statements, unfortunately is not the case.
    I just knew about you because I use the product of your work everyday and today a friend at the forum posted about this and I felt the need to tell you that even if I can't do anything about it I still can read it and felt for you. I hope time heals the pain of all your family soon.
    I don't know if you are a religious person but I think only something bigger than us can help to endure the death of a son, I wish to your parents the strength of spirit and resignation needed to deal with this.


  7. thank you,

    you will get confront and overcome this problem ... is quiet

  8. I am so sorry to hear about this most tragic news. My condolences to you and your family.

  9. Dear Con,

    I don't know if condolence is the right word. If I read your words correctly, he, your brother is still alive?! So, he'll have a chance.
    I include your family into my prayers (though I'm not religious, I practice praying to some greater "one" usually) and wish for the best for all of your family!

    Your "Online-Community" is with you, too!

    Best hopes, Manuel Krause

    P.S.: Your -ck1 for 3.6 compiled fine and is up and running with 3.6.2 on here. Thank you!

    1. Thanks. You read correctly. He is still alive,.

  10. That was very sad to hear, Con. I hope your family and you will be OK.

  11. Hi Con,
    Your 3.5-sched-bfs-425.patch is great for linux-3.6.2 !
    Thank you very much!

    Also me and some other users knew that it needs not that many changes to adapt Bfs to linux-3.6 - nobody of us was able to do find the correct places to do the needed changes :(
    We need you doing this :)
    And we all are happy about you coming to normal life again!

    Many greeting from Hamburg in Germany,
    Ralph Ulrich

    PS: Did you read this story about numa scheduling:

    1. hey, my patch wasn't that aweful.

    2. exactly, until the official patch was released some people and me were using your patch ... and it was working fine, thanks again!

  12. I have problem with new patch and new kernel 3.6.2 after apply and reboot with patch stay on black screen only, after reboot and remove ck1 patch kernel boot without problem.


    We are with you!

  13. Con, I'm not good at expressing my feelings, but my thoughts are with you and your family. I hope you make the right choices.

  14. [Offtopic]
    Maybe this doesn't fit in here very well, now. But I know you guys/girls beeing affected by low latency desktop experience and maybe someone of you can help me out.
    Maybe you know that my machine is very old and is cheaper to replace than to discuss about.

    My actual problem I search a solution for is: I have unpredictable audio stuttering when playing .avi video in SMPlayer and also in VLC. It happens every 6 to 15 min, is not file dependant and so not reproducible and understandable by rational means.

    Yesterday I tried to remove pulseaudio within my openSUSE 12.2, but that didn't help much. Seems like too many other packages depend on some remaining pulseaudio libs. Now I have a half alsa / half pulse setup, I assume. So I've got at least one typical time related error message from VLC message log: alsa warning: broken pipe... (and then resyncing, what works).

    From former kernels in former days I know there were many enhancement guides flying around the web in order to enhance the audio.

    Can someone of you point me to actually usable guides or hints?

    Thank you in advance,

    Manuel Krause

    1. [Offtopic]Manuel change you distribution! That SUSE is a place of chaos the last months! With you old hardware give Gentoo a chance! I will see you there at as manuSomething?
      Ralph Ulrich

    2. Hi Manuel,

      in the past I had pulseaudio deactivated, but since 12.1 I use it and there are no problems (even on older hardware) with it.

      If you deactivate pulseaudio deamon (with yast) or in the ini, than you doesn't need to uninstall the pulseaudio packages (some are always required at all, as you already know ;) )

      But if you use pulseaudio, than you must give the deamon more priority. Change your limits.conf

      @audio - rtprio 99
      @audio - nice -20
      @audio - memlock 4000000
      @pulse-rt - rtprio 99
      @pulse-rt - nice -20

      Maybe the @audio group is enough, could be that Opensuse doesn't use pulse-rt group anymore. And of course, you should be member of audio ;)

      Hope that helps.

      Regards Mike

      CU sysitis

    3. Thank you both very much for your replies!
      New weekend, new spare time to test & fiddle around ^^ ;-)

      @Ralph: I'm almost married with openSUSE for years now, I don't want to risk anything more at this point.

      @Mike: I experienced many weird things when trying to apply your settings (and also setting them in /etc/pulse/daemon.conf) in steps of decreasing your horribly high values -- including KDE at first not starting i.e. locking up. Then "emulating" these settings by rescheduling with appropriate schedtool settings after startup I at least got better results in SMPlayer.
      But it seems like the VLC pulse audio output plugin is still not working correctly.

      Can you both -- or all other readers -- imagine kernel options that may cause audio dropouts? Perhaps wrong choices of timer/clock components like RTC, enhanced RTC, HPET etc. ?

      Thank you in advance again,


    4. Hi Manuel,

      that's are not my values, I only use it (got it from here: Could be, that the memlock value is a little bit high, maybe you could leave it. But these values are limits. At the moment, pulseaudio runs here on all my machines with nice -11 and realtime 5 (as defined in the original /etc/pulse/daemon.conf). Check it as user with cmd 'pulseaudio -vvv'.

      Important, pulseaudio should run as user deamon, not system deamon!!

      Btw. all my machines are using these values on 64bit OpenSuse 11.2 with KDE (4.9.2 or 4.8.x, ok my old Dell X200 with Pentium M and 640MB Ram is on 32bit LXDE, but this is for testing only :) ). No problem with standard OpenSuse kernel and with my default ZEN (BFS, BFQ and other tweaks) kernel.

      My player choice depends on the hardware, sometimes smplayer ist better, some times vlc, and sometimes even Kaffeine ;) Depends on graphics card. But there are no sound drop outs at all (besides on vlc over hdmi with onboard chipset radeon DKMS driver on one machine, but that's because I tried to pimp the cheapy speakers in my monitor with some pulseaudio equalizer settings :)

      Btw, all my HPET settings are on.

      Regards Mike
      CY sysitos.

      PS: I think, if you have further questions, we could email this, or there are more OpenSuse users on Con's blog? ;)

    5. Hi Mike, and all readers,
      just want to report back on this offtopic topic. Only adjusting the priorities did not help.
      Second of all I spent much time on reinvestigating the web-pages regarding pulseaudio and realtime audio & s.o. (Quite an Odyssee!)
      That leaded back to reenabling some RTC related options within kernel config (that I'd thrown away before, in order to have a more "lean" kernel setup).
      As these re-added options didn't show a complete relief regarding audio dropouts (smplayer) I went back to my PCI Chipset tuning settings. And I've found a solution for my chipset finally.

      The vlc video+audio via pulse has still problems, though, as ever.

      Best regards,

    6. BTW, Mike, I don't have your email address. I'd posted mine some threads before on here. Please use this to start an email dialogue. I got enough SPAM due to this, to not repost my addy again.


  15. hi, i have trouble with 3.6-ck1 and 3.6.2 this is the log:perf_event_intel PEBS disabled due to cpu errata SMP boot cpu 1,the system hang at this line,no way to boot system i have used aufs and ck patch,with only aufs the system boot without problem,

    1. Experiencing the same problem.
      I already sent a patch to Con.

  16. Thanks to Matthias Kohler, this patch may fix boot problems if people are having them:
    Fix boot issue with BFS and linux-3.6.patch

  17. As per

    Don't use 3.5.7 or 3.6.2 or 3.6.3 kernels if having ext4 filesystems.

    "serious progressive ext4 data corruption"


    1. I may have been bitten by this bug, not sure.

    2. Well... after all... it would be only in some corner case within some other corner case... (non-usual barrier settings + crash)
      Those not in this situation can safely ignore.
      Sorry for the noise.

    3. 3.6.4 is out anyway, ext4 fixed.

    4. just wanted to add a few things:
      (a) whatever problem I had was most lkely not related to this bug
      (b) this bug is triggered by very unlikely conditions
      (c) afaics there is no related patch in 3.6.4

    5. No, 3.6.4 does *not* attempt to fix the ext4 issue.

    6. And at last... in 3.6.5 it *has* ben fixed.

  18. Any chance of getting the BFS patch working on newer 3.4.x kernels?

    1. Yes, just patch this BFS patch!
      Ralph Ulrich

    2. It fails to patch a file/hunk

      patching file arch/powerpc/platforms/cell/spufs/sched.c
      patching file Documentation/scheduler/sched-BFS.txt
      patching file Documentation/sysctl/kernel.txt
      patching file fs/proc/base.c
      Hunk #1 succeeded at 342 (offset 4 lines).
      patching file include/linux/init_task.h
      patching file include/linux/ioprio.h
      Hunk #1 succeeded at 64 with fuzz 1 (offset 12 lines).
      patching file include/linux/sched.h
      Hunk #2 succeeded at 275 (offset -2 lines).
      Hunk #3 succeeded at 1275 (offset 30 lines).
      Hunk #4 succeeded at 1415 (offset 33 lines).
      Hunk #5 succeeded at 1647 (offset 31 lines).
      Hunk #6 succeeded at 1722 (offset 31 lines).
      Hunk #7 succeeded at 2106 (offset 24 lines).
      Hunk #8 succeeded at 2809 (offset 11 lines).
      patching file init/Kconfig
      Hunk #1 succeeded at 29 (offset -3 lines).
      Hunk #2 succeeded at 644 (offset -45 lines).
      Hunk #3 succeeded at 732 (offset -60 lines).
      Hunk #4 succeeded at 869 (offset -188 lines).
      Hunk #5 succeeded at 1266 (offset -176 lines).
      patching file init/main.c
      Hunk #1 succeeded at 700 (offset -1 lines).
      Hunk #2 succeeded at 806 with fuzz 2 (offset -2 lines).
      patching file kernel/delayacct.c
      patching file kernel/exit.c
      Hunk #1 succeeded at 133 (offset -12 lines).
      patching file kernel/posix-cpu-timers.c
      patching file kernel/sysctl.c
      Hunk #1 succeeded at 126 (offset -1 lines).
      Hunk #2 succeeded at 246 (offset -6 lines).
      Hunk #3 succeeded at 261 (offset -6 lines).
      Hunk #4 succeeded at 379 (offset -6 lines).
      Hunk #5 succeeded at 847 (offset -6 lines).
      patching file lib/Kconfig.debug
      Hunk #1 succeeded at 880 (offset -33 lines).
      patching file include/linux/jiffies.h
      Hunk #1 succeeded at 164 (offset -9 lines).
      patching file drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq.c
      Hunk #2 succeeded at 1458 (offset -19 lines).
      patching file drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_ondemand.c
      patching file drivers/cpufreq/cpufreq_conservative.c
      patching file arch/x86/Kconfig
      Hunk #1 succeeded at 790 (offset -7 lines).
      patching file kernel/sched/bfs.c
      patching file kernel/sched/Makefile
      Hunk #1 FAILED at 11.
      1 out of 1 hunk FAILED -- saving rejects to file kernel/sched/Makefile.rej

      and fails to compile.

      3.4.15 vanilla

    3. Fetch the patch from there :
      It works for me, at least on a 3.4.9

    4. Will not work with kernels released after the beginning of October

  19. CK, first of all, I wanted to tell you that you have a lot of well wishers. Me and my family will be praying for you and your family to recover from this tragedy.
    And thank you for all of your time and efforts you have put into -ck.

  20. I want to confirm this. I pray for your family's best regularily.

    Manuel krause

  21. Keep strong, and try to make the best of a bad situation!

    Your work is much appreciated!