Where did I disappear? A collection of random status reports

Before people end up thinking I’ve been hiding, or was eaten by the grues while thoroughly labelling my cables – by the way, a huge thanks goes to kondor6c! By running this cleanup operation I finally understood why Yamato and Raven had problems when power was cut: by mistake the AP bridge connecting me to the rest of the network was not connected behind the UPS – I would just like to quickly point out that the reason why I seem less active than usual is that I’m unfortunately forced to spend a lot of time on a daily job right now, namely writing a final report on LScube which will serve as a basis for the future documentation and, hopefully new website.

Speaking about documentation, I’ve been receiving a number of requests to make Autotools Mythbuster available as a single download — I plan on doing so as soon as I can find enough free time to work on that in a relaxing environment.

You might remember though, that originally intended to work on the guide on something nearing full time under compensation; this was not a matter of simple greed but the fact that, to keep it relevant and up to date, it requires more time than I could afford to give it without something paying my bills. Given that, I plan on adding an offline Flattr barcode on the cover when I’ll make it available in PDF.

If you wish to see this happening sooner rather than later, you can generally resort my priorities by showing your appreciation for the guide — it really doesn’t matter how much your flattr is worth, any bit helps and knowing you do want to see the guide extended and available for download is important to me.

Next up in line on the list of things I have to let you know is that in my Portage overlay you can now find a patched, hacked version of pcsc-lite making the libusb device discovery feign being libhal. The reason is a bit far-fetched, but if you remember my pcsc-lite changes Gentoo is dropping HAL support whenever possible; unfortunately pcsc-lite considers HAL the current discovery and libusb the “legacy” one, with the future moving to libudev as soon as Ludovic has a plan for it. In the interim, libusb should work fine for most situations.. fortunately (or not, depends on the point of view) I hit one of those situations where libhal was the only way to get it working properly.

In particular, after a security device firmware update (which has to happen strictly under Windows, dang!), my laptop – of which I have to review the opinion, the only things not working properly right now are the touchpad, for which work is underway, and the fingerprint reader, that seems to be a lost cause – now exposes the RFID contactless smartcard reader as a CCID device. For those not speaking cryptogeek, this means that the interface is the standard one and pcsc-lite can use it through the usual app-crypt/ccid driver it uses already to access the “usual” chipcards. Unfortunately, since the device is compound and exposes the two CCID interfaces on a single address, it has been working correctly only with libhal, as that was the only way to tell the CCID driver to look for a given interface. My patch works this around, and compound devices are seen correctly; I’m waiting to hear from Ludovic whether it would be safe to apply it in Gentoo for all the other users.

So I’m not gone, just very very very busy. But I’m around by mail mostly.

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