The Advisory Boar

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <>

Bring Ammu Home!

A link to my daughter's appeal to the Indian Government to repatriate Indian students stranded in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A tale of two Fondants

Wherein I discover the decadent French “fondant au chocolat” and overcome a shortage of baking powder.

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How are Unix pipes implemented?

; updated

This article is about how pipes are implemented the Unix kernel. I was a little disappointed that a recent article titled “How do Unix pipes work?” was not about the internals, and curious enough to go digging in some old sources to try to answer the question.

What are we talking about?

Pipes are “perhaps the single most striking invention in Unix” — a defining characteristic of the Unix philosophy of composing small programs together, and a familiar sight in the Unix shell:

$ echo hello | wc -c
6

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What is fsck up to now?

We had unexpectedly heavy snowfall the other day and, as always, the mains power supply came back only after a few days of repairing broken power lines in the forest. Meanwhile, the days were so overcast that the solar inverter couldn't charge the batteries enough to keep up with our minimal domestic load.

Which meant that when the sun came out again, I was left staring at something like this for a long time:

root@soot:~# ps -eo pid,cmd|grep '[f]sck'
756 /lib/systemd/systemd-fsck /dev/mapper/sdb1_crypt
757 /sbin/fsck -a -T -l -M -C4 /dev/mapper/sdb1_crypt
758 /lib/systemd/systemd-fsckd
759 fsck.ext4 -a -C4 /dev/mapper/sdb1_crypt

Long enough, in fact, that I began to wonder if I could tell what it was doing. (The volume in question is exported via iSCSI from a Synology NAS and fsck is still running long after the machine has otherwise finished booting up, so I have ordinary shell access.)

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More weird Hindi phrases

Not all of the strange Hindi phrases I've encountered can be traced to awkward translations. Here are some that I find baffling all by themselves.

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Renault Duster AWD 2019

We bought a Duster AWD in 2014. Five years later, we snapped up the last remaining older-model Duster AWD before the 2019 facelift, and before the model was discontinued in 2020.

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Bogus Hindi translations

A few common Hindi phrases are bogus translations of equivalent English phrases.

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I like volumeicon

volumeicon is a small mixer with sensible default behaviour.

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Resolving a conflict between manpages-dev and libbsd-dev

A simple backport from Debian unstable fixed a package conflict that left me without manpages.

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Restoring a #4 plane

My grandfather bought me a smoothing plane decades ago, and I was able to restore it and start using it again.

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