Take a Foot to Ubuntu

It has come to my attention that I haven’t shared the fact I’m now wearing a cast over my ankle. It would appear that my foot problems weren’t fully explained by the tendon rupture. According to my newly acquired orthopedic specialist, the fact my peroneal tendon hurts without any visible damage, but my ankle is relatively mild even with the rupture means she wants to isolate further. The cast is meant to totally immobilize my ankle and see if something hurts less in a month. So, on the 29th of June, I get the cast removed and will probably be scanned a couple times to see if the tendon has improved.

That was last Thursday. Now that I’ve spent a week in a cast, I have to say ambulating anywhere is more trouble than it’s worth. At least with the walking cast, I could rely on a single crutch and only have mild trouble with stairs. But with a full cast, I can’t rest any weight on my right foot at all. Now my puny, typically ectomorph arms are being forced to haul around my withered carcass on both crutches. This wouldn’t be a problem except our apartment is on the second floor. Thus, any trip anywhere requires my to use the handrails to swing myself downstairs, and since using crutches on more than a handful of stairs is inherently dangerous, I have to crawl back up.

On the other hand, it also means I can work from home, because I could pretty much never mount the first high step on the Metra, and I’m certainly not going to risk my wrists by using crutches for the two miles I’d have to migrate to and from the stations and work. I’ve acquired a wheelchair from Jen’s parents, but I don’t think the shuttle to the Metra has a working wheelchair ramp, since it’s been covered in a tarp the whole time I’ve lived in this apartment. I may try it once just to see what happens.

I’ve also purchased AT&T; internet, as our apartment complex has an exclusive contract with a company named Ramapo, which means cable and internet are both handled by the same inept and obscure company likely owned and operated by Chuck, Bill, Anna-Lee, and a single inbred nephew from a leaky double-wide embedded in a copse of trees up a dirt path littered with rusty Chevy pickups. Why inept? In the year we’ve lived here, there hasn’t been a single week where the internet didn’t go down; as a former BBS SysOp, I’ve had more reliable dialup. TV? Yeah, it’s not actually cable. Instead, Ramapo has combined about 90 DirecTV channels into a single arbitrary feed, so no TV guide anywhere will match our lineup unless we manually match by station callsign and time-zone. Laughably, this service cost more from Ramapo than AT&T.; And as a DBA working from home, a reliable internet connection is absolutely required, so I had no choice in the matter anyway.

As a public service, Ubuntu Jaunty users, please see bug #363695. If you use apt instead of Synaptic as any sane user does, purge the apt-xapian-index package from your system. As a DBA, I often index, search, and report on content stored in immense databases. Apt-xapian-index indexes all of the Debian package headers and contents for Synaptic’s quick-search feature. Now, why this requires 100% CPU, and intense disk IO for several minutes is beyond asinine, when I can query the contents of a table over 20GB in size faster. The contents of every installed Debian package header and description would fit in memory, making it absolutely trivial to index unless the programmer is retarded.

The only explanation I can see is that Xapian is issuing single scans for each individual package in a giant, intensive ‘for’ loop. What the hell Ubuntu? This is the fourth unfixed regression I’ve encountered from a previous release in the past month. What, was the disk and CPU usage considered trivial? Not everyone has an 8-core system and a 10-disk raid-1+0 comprised entirely of high-performance Intel SSDs. What about bug #356374? Sure, it’s not critical, but how do you not notice that any notification from the system closes the widget layer? Or how about #337910? Invalid? You asses! Nautilus goes into an infinite EAGAIN loop (according to my favorite tool: strace), and you mark the report invalid as a duplicate of a completely different problem? I guess I was just imagining the nautilus process I had to ‘kill -9’ before it stopped, then. Good to know.

I’ve been a proponent of Ubuntu for a while now, but I’m starting to reconsider. I may have to even try Mandriva, or SUSE, or even Fedora again.

Until Tomorrow