Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Art House Asshole Joe

Transactional NTFS.

LCA Speaker's Baloon Ride over Canberra

Reiser4 supports transactions but, otherwise, this is a long wanted but seldom investigated feature for Linux.

Update: Nikita informs me that, while Reiser4 provides atomic filesystem operations, the support for user-level transactions is not implemented. Bummer.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Back Stateside

Holy shit, Jeff got married? My gift:

Outside LCA, Friday

It has been brought to my attention that I have not made an irrelevant and unqualified post on economic issues for some time now. Crap, sorry.

For various reasons, the United States badly needs tax reform. Among them: To reduce complexity and thus compliance costs, favor taxation of consumption over investments, and eliminate the wellfare trap. The stratifying complexity of the current code and crap such as the AMT are but two obvious problems.

A negative income tax is a flat tax coupled with a credit given to all citizens and the abolishment of basic wellfare. A negative income tax solves several problems with the current system, including the wellfare trap. As an example, consider a flat tax rate of 25% and a credit of $10,000. An individual with no income would walk away with $10,000. Consider a person making $4,000. They would pay $1,000 in taxes, receive a $10,000 credit, and thus net $13,000. An individual earning $40,000 would break even, paying the same amount in taxes as the credit. As income approaches infinity, the tax credit becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of total income and thus these individuals end up paying close to the full 25% tax rate.

They etch little shamrocks into the Guinness

The system eliminates the wellfare trap, as there is always an incentive to earn more money, since a dollar earned is always worth the same.

Some also view a negative income tax as a social dividend or subsidy on employment, allowing for the removal of minimum wage, thereby resulting in a long-term reduction in unemployment with no change in net wages.

A further step would be a move toward a consumption tax. I do not believe that a national sales tax is a viable replacement for our current income tax system, the least of which because it would require a rate over 50% in order to remain revenue-neutral. Current US tax deferment programs for savings are not really the right answer either, as studies show they do little to encourage savings--instead, they just shift savings from one asset to a tax-sheltered asset. One plan would be to allow the deduction of all savings, thereby taxing only consumption. Such a system would be easy to implement, encourage savings, and avoid the issues arising from taxation of investments such as of dividends.

The flat tax rate can, of course, be set to any value, allowing the government to remain revenue-neutral. The credit can also be set to any value, including one high enough to provide a guaranteed minimum income.

Eastern Europe--Estonia (24%), Latvia (25%), Russia (13%), Slovakia (19%), and Ukraine (13%)--has had recent success with a flat tax. We should follow their lead.

If it is not clear, my taxes were a bitch this year.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Astonished that Joey Shaw was not elected Pope

Australia is beautiful. The climate reminds me of northern California and I must say that the coffee here--what we Americans would call espresso--is absolutely scrumptious. Even the airport barista made a cup of cappuccino to rival 1369.

Massive congratulations to Jeff Waugh on the occasion of his wedding! My gift to the newlyweds:

At the Wig and Pen, last night

Rusty and I's tutorial went well. We pistol-whipped our students with a charming mixture of wit, knowledge, and lies. We taugh kernel basics around a series of interactive assignments, having the attendees write a driver for the LoveRusty 3000 hardware cryptography engine that Rusty implemented in QEMU. Starting with a Hello World! module, we had them add PCI support, an interrupt handler, sleep and wake up, a character device, and locking, although we ran short of time at the end. I know Rusty and I had fun; I hope the attendees learned a bit, too.

Desktopcon CFP! Get on it.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Naked Tuesdays

F-Spot is a killer app, if I've ever used one. I finally got around to importing and tagging all of my photos--it was a cinch--and I enjoy using it. It is really just a well designed chunk of code.

The amazing thing about it is how the interface is just right, learnable yet usable. Also, it scales real well: It does not flinch one bit at all my photos.

Screenshot of F-Spot

Leaving tomorrow in a jet plane for Australia. Not looking forward to that flight whatsoever.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Time for a Sabbatical

The imitable Eli Dow wrote an awesome article on monitoring Linux file system events using inotify over at IBM DeveloperWorks.

heterosexuals in cowboy hats
Office attire includes large, foam cowboy hats

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

By the Beard of Zeus

Inotify work is culminating. The last few patches have been stable and without major incident, mostly addressing the concerns of other kernel developers. We definitely know our interfaces work; user-space loves us. And after the locking rewrite, I am quite confident in the internal implementation. So now is the time, folks. I could use your support. Be vocal, be bold.

The latest patch is 0.22. I have long wanted to replace our internal data structure locking with semaphores, moving away from spin locks. Being kernel code that deals with user-space, semaphores are a much more applicable locking mechanism, allowing cleaner code and a welcome ease of sleep. Locking concerns precipitated by existing spin locks made this conversion difficult but, with this latest release, I am proud to unleash semaphores on the world.

2.6-mm has carried inotify for awhile, too, providing another option.

I wrote a glib-based sample application demonstrating the simplicity of inotify usage, integrating inotify with the glib main loop using GIOChannels.

Finally, SUSE 9.3 users can grab ready-made kernel packages.

The new Keyhole satellite shamble on Google Maps is absolutely amazing.