Stupid Portage Tricks - DOC_SYMLINKS_DIR

Ever have a package that installs HTML documentation into /usr/share/doc that you want to create a local bookmark to? For example, I find it useful to keep the quick reference page of the Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide (app-doc/abs-guide) open in a tab, and because I sometimes need to work offline I want to link to the local copy instead of a web page.

One of the headaches you'll quickly encounter trying to do this is that package directories have versioned names, meaning every version bump breaks your links. This gets really old really fast. Fortunately portage has a solution: DOC_SYMLINKS_DIR.

The idea is that if you set DOC_SYMLINKS_DIR to a path, portage will create unversioned symlinks for packages installing HTML docs and update them automatically when the version changes.

So for example after you set DOC_SYMLINKS_DIR="/home/dirtyepic/doc/" and emerge abs-guide:
  $ tree -d ~/doc
  `-- app-doc
      `-- abs-guide -> /usr/share/doc/abs-guide-6.3/HTML

You can then just bookmark file:///home/dirtyepic/doc/app-doc/abs-guide/refcards.html and never have to worry about updating it.

As I mentioned above, portage will create symlinks for any packages installing HTML docs (determined by looking for "html" or "HTML" subdirectories). Personally I don't like my doc directory cluttered up with a bunch of packages I don't care about so I just enable DOC_SYMLINKS_DIR on a per-package basis:
  $ cat /etc/portage/env/app-doc/abs-guide 

Some notes:

- If you want the symlink dir under your home then use the absolute path (ie. /home/someone/doc, not ~/doc). Portage's ~ is ${PORTDIR}.
- This only works if the package's doc dir contains an "html" or "HTML" directory, and it links directly to that directory, which is unfortunate.

Back again

Finally back online. Between graduating from SIAST in the field of Geomatics Technology, moving to Yorkton, starting back at work for Altus, getting dumped into the position of senior field surveyor for Mosaic's new potash mine, and working 60 hours every week, I haven't had the time until now to even get my internet hooked up, never mind unpack.

So if you're waiting on me to do something, I'll be with you in another month or so. I just have these 18000 emails to go through first...

Call for Barry testers

I just bumped app-pda/barry in the tree to version 0.17.1. This was a major ebuild rewrite that should fix a bunch of outstanding issues. Unfortunately I won't have access to my Blackberry until I go back to work next month so I was unable to do much in the way of runtime testing.

If you're a Barry user please give the new version a try and file bugs for any problems you run into. I'm not sure the udev rules are correct and have no idea how the tethering/pppd stuff works. The pppd files are just installed into /usr/share/doc for now since I'm not 100% sure where the proper place for them is. There is also a new plugin for opensync that could use some testing.

For more info on using Barry there is some good documentation at

New laptop

My Thinkpad T61 has served me pretty well for the last couple of years but now it's time for something new. I shopped around a bit but ended up going back to Lenovo and customized a W510. It helped that right when I was trying to make a decision between brands they went on sale (coinciding with the release of Sandy Bridge?) and I got it for half of what I was expecting.

The shit:
Core i7-820QM Quad-core
16GB DDR3-1333 RAM
NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M (1GB DDR3)
Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN Wireless
500GB 7200RPM HD (no SSD for me, thanks)

I'm not big on nVidia, but I'm also less than impressed with the Intel GM965 I have now. The only laptop I could find with ATI wasn't even close to what I wanted (and cost more). I find myself needing good 3D for AutoCAD these days so I'll give it a try. I was also tempted to get an i7-940XM, but I just couldn't justify it.

So I expect to be elbow-deep in kernel configs and rebuilding for most of the weekend.

Faithless - Insomnia

Deep in the bosom of the gentle night
Is when I search for the light, pick up my pen and start to write
I struggle and fight dark forces in the clear moonlight
Without fear... insomnia

I can't get no sleep

I used to worry, thought I was going mad in a hurry
Getting stressed, making excess mess in darkness
No electricity, something's all over me, greasy
Insomnia please release me and let me dream
Of making mad love to my girl on the heath
Tearing off tights with my teeth
But there's no release, no peace, I toss and turn without cease
Like a curse, open my eyes and rise like yeast
At least a couple of weeks since I last slept
Kept taking sleepers, but now I keep myself pep
Deeper still, the night, I write by candlelight
I find insight, fundamental movement
So when it's black, this insomniac, taking original tack
Keep the beast in my nature under ceaseless attack
I gets no sleep

I can't get no sleep
  • Current Music
    Faithless - Insomnia
  • Tags

relative vs. absolute

Note to users of RTK GPS systems. Taking a check-shot two meters east of your base does not confirm your base coordinates are correct. It confirms you have successfully walked two meters east of your base.

Prelink and glibc 2.13 warning

As phajdan.jr mentioned,

if you've upgraded to glibc-2.13 and you have prelink installed, assuming your system is still working:

- edit /etc/conf.d/prelink
- run prelink -au
- uninstall prelink

If this is coming too late, then there are recovery instructions and bitching here:

Please keep the bitching in the forum thread. The bug is long enough.

I'm currently recovering my laptop, so I'm right there with you.