Tag Archives: Haxx

Haxxup – cheap remote backup

The pains and guilty consciences from having a lacking backup concept established are widely common. I honestly don't know anyone (and I mean it) that can say that they have their (home, private) backup covered with a straight face. We all know we should backup locally and remotely, so that we can do fast recovery for the easy things we mistakenly remove or ruin, and if we get burgled or the house burns down we need to have a backup remotely.

The importance of private computer backups has only increased over time, as these days most of us have vast amounts of family pictures and videos stored as well, things that in the old days were stored (and lost) separately.boom

A growing problem with remote backups is of course that we all have ridiculous amounts of data to backup. Getting a commercial remote backup deal for say 300GB (and growing) isn't cheap. And we're also very often at loss when it comes to get a solution that works on Linux.

In Haxx, we also recognized and suffered from these problems. We came up with a scheme to fix a distributed networked backup among ourselves! Getting large hard-drives to use locally is fairly cheap. We all have fairly good fixed-fee no-bandwidth-limit internet connections (although admittedly the uplink speeds are lacking for us typical ADSL users).

We decided that among us 4, each of us gets an account at two of our friends' servers and we'll be able to upload our backups to those at our own pace to store whatever we want. We decided on getting two places for everyone to decrease the risk even further, especially if you for example urgently need to get something back and one of us have a network problem (not completely unheard of) or something else.

My current total backup is about 100GB and I have a 1mbit uplink. If I use the entire bandwidth for this, other things get a little sluggish so I've capped the rsync job to 90KB/sec... My first run thus completed in roughly 13 days. Luckily I don't add contents at a very high pace so the ordinary sync jobs from then on should be much smaller and should be able to complete within hours. As long as I add less than ~3.5GB during a 24 hour period, it should be able to keep up to sync to two remote places.

Going to FOSDEM 2011

Fosdem 2011We're going to FOSDEM again. This year we'll ship over the entire company (all three of us) and we'll join up with a few fellow Rockbox hackers and spend a weekend in Brussels among thousands of fellow free software and open source hackers.

During this conference, 5-6 February, I've submitted a libcurl-related talk to the embedded-room that wasn't accepted into the regular program, but I've agreed to still prepare it and I then might get a slot in case someone gets sick or something. A bit ungrateful as now I still have to prepare my slides for the talk but there's a big risk that I've done it in vain! I've also submitted a suggestion for a second talk in the opensc/security room (also related to stuff in the curl project) but as of now (with but 16 days left) that schedule is yet to be announced so I don't know if I'll do a talk there or not.

So, I might do no talks. I might do two. I just don't know. We'll see.

If you're a friend of mine and you're going to FOSDEM this year, please let me know and we can meet and have a chat or whatever. I love getting faces to all the names, nicks and email addresses I otherwise only see of many people.

Update: My talk in the security room is titled "libcurl: Supporting seven SSL libraries and one SSH library" and will start at 14:15 on Saturday the 5th of February.

Getting a new look

Haxx logo

Recently we have refreshed our logo design, and subsequently we've now also refreshed our web site to use this new look and design that already have influenced how our presentations, business cards and more look and will look in the future.

When I say "we" did it, there should be little surprise that we did engage with someone else to do this for us, since all of us at Haxx are quite incapable of doing designs that look tasteful.

We're quite happy with the new look. We like the cool blue colors. More machine, less human, less colorful. This logo should also work slightly better in grayscale than before and getting rid of the border will also make it easier to use on various merchandise.

git, patents, meego and android

dotse-logoAt this Tuesday afternoon, almost 100 people apparently managed to escape work and attend foss-sthlm's fourth meeting. This time graciously sponsored by .SE who stood for the facilities, the coffee etc. Thank you .SE! Yours truly did his best to make it happen and to make sure we had a variety of talks by skilled people and I think we did good this time as well! This meeting took place at the same time the big Internetdagarna conference had their 6(!) parallel tracks in the building just next to ours, so it was also rather fierce competition for attention.

Robin with git

Robin Rosenberg started off the sessions by telling us about git and related dives into JGit, EGit, gerrit, code reviews and Eclipse. Robin is a core developer in the EGit/JGit projects. While I think I know at least a little git already, Robin provided an overlook over several different things in a good way. (It should be noted that Robin was called in very late in the game due to another talker having to drop out.)

As a side-note, I will never cease to be amazed by the habit in Java land to re-implement everything in "pure Java" instead of simply wrapping around the existing code/tools and leveraging what already exists and is stable...

Jonas with patents

Jonas Bosson spoke about the dangers with software patents and how they are not good, they're hindering innovation and cost a lot of money for everyone involved. He also pledged the audience to join FFII to help the cause. You can tell Jonas is quite committed to this subject and really believes in this! And quite frankly, I don't think a lot of people in this surrounding would argue against him...

Andreas with MeegoMeeGo

Andreas Jakl, just arrived from a rainy Helsinki, then told us (in English while all the other talks were in Swedish) about how to develop stuff with Qt for Symbian, Meego or desktop using the same tools. He showed us the latest fancy GUI builder they have called Qt Quick and how they use QML to do fancy things in a fast manner. He also managed to show us the code running in simulator and on device. Quite impressive. Andreas is a very good speaker and did a very complete session. As a bonus point, he used 'haxx.se' as test site for demonstrating his little demo build and of course you can't help loving him more then? 😉

Johan with Android

Android

Johan Nilsson started off just after the coffee break with educating us how you can do push stuff from your server applications to your mobile device. How it works and how to control that in various way. Johan's presentation was into details, in a way at least I really appreciated it, and his (hand drawn on paper then scanned) graphics used in the presentation were stunning! The fact that Johan sneaked in a couple of curl command lines of course gave him bonus points in my mind! 😉

Henrik with FribidFribid

Henrik Nordström took the stage and briefed us on the status of the Fribid project, which is a very Swedish-centric project that works on implementing full Linux support for "bankid" which is a electronic identification system established by a consortium of Swedish banks and is used by a wide range of authorities and organizations these days. The existing Linux client is poor (and hard to get working right), closed source, saves data encrypted with private hidden keys etc.

Food, Talk, Tablets

We_Tab-140-Motiv_4-3

In the restaurant after the seminaries, we gathered in a basement with beer in our glasses and chili on our plates and there was lots of open source and foss talks and we had a great time and good drinks. Two attendees brought their new tablets, which made us able to play with them and compare. the Android Samsung Galaxy Tab and the german Meego based WeTab.

Samsung Galaxy TabTo me there really wasn't any competition. The Galaxy Tab is a slick, fast and nice device that feels like a big Android phone and it's really usable and I could possibly see myself using it for emails and browsing. It was a while since I tried an Ipad but it gave about the same speed impression.

The WeTab however, even if it runs a modified Meego that isn't "original" and that might suffer from bugs and what not, was a rough UI that looked far too much like my regular X Window system put in a touch device. For example, and I think this is telling, you scroll a web page down by using the right-side scroll bar and not by touching the screen in the middle and dragging it down like you'd do on IOS or Android. In fact, when I dragged down the scroll-bar like that I found it far too easy to accidentally then press one of the buttons that are always present immediately to the right of the scrollbar. Of course, the Galaxy Tab is a smaller device and also much more expensive, so perhaps those factors will bring a few users to WeTab then still.

I don't think I'll get a tablet anytime soon though, I just don't see when I would use it.

Summary

I didn't do any particular talk this time, but I felt we had a lot of good content and I can always blurb another time anyway. I really really like that we so far have managed to get lots of different speakers and I hope that we can continue to get many new speakers before we have to recycle.

It was a great afternoon and evening. All the good people and encouraging words inspire me to keep up my work and efforts on this, and I'm now aiming towards another meeting in the early 2011.

I will do another post later on when the videos from these talks go online.

Haxx – the first year

Last year I left my former employment, and focused on Haxx full-time. My brother joined me a few months afterward (January 2010). Today, at October 1 2010 we celebrate the official one year anniversary of Haxx AB as employer.Haxx

The history of Haxx goes far longer back than so. Linus Nielsen Feltzing and I first registered the company Haxx back in October 1997 and we used it then primarily as a way to market and do business on the side of our "real" jobs. To have a way to charge and do things we wanted to, that wasn't conflicting with our day jobs. And of course we also bought the domain and could setup our "permanent" email addresses etc, which turned out great since I've thus used the same email address since back then and I hope I never need to change it again!

The first year of Haxx has been nothing but great fun and a major success.

As we're contract developers and consultants, we of course need to make sure that our employees are sold to customers to a high degree with as little gaps as possible. Our projects are typically going on from a few months up to a year or two. During this year, both me and Björn have worked with several end customers and we've thus both managed to change assignments several times and none of the times caused any gaps - at all. Our services seem to be in high demand.

Being only two employees brings challenges on how to deal with sales, financial accounting etc as we're just a few guys and we're experts on development! We have found a few great partners that "sell" us (and of course we pay them a certain amount of percentage, but that's a price we need to accept and is nothing but fair anyway since we can then remain doing what we're good at and what we love) and we're buying the bookkeeping etc from another company that is specialized at doing it for companies like us.

We're looking forward to many more years of great fun. We also hope to be able to grow the company slightly over time, so if you're a kick-ass embedded open source guy with networking experience and some 10+ years in the business and you live in the Stockholm Sweden area, do get in touch! As I've mentioned before, we're gonna start out our second year with Linus onboard.

I'll get back with an update next year! 🙂

Fossgruppen – Swedish fossers

Haxx is dedicated and committed to work with open source as much as possible, and we love and praise the virtues of free and open source software.

We have teamed up with a bunch of friends here in Sweden that share a lot of our mindset and spirit, and together we've created Fossgruppen, The Foss Group, and as an umbrella organization the group is all about making it easier for companies and people in Sweden and the world to find open source professionals. We offer open source consultants, foss-related training/courses and more.

If you're looking for Open Source professionals in Sweden, no other company or association can compete with the amount of experience and core hacker geekness that Fossgruppen possesses. Together we also have contributors and maintainers of a range of foss projects. If you have any insights at all into foss in Sweden, there is no doubt that you will recognize more than one name in our group.

The guys in Fossgruppen are also involved in some of the biggest recent foss-related events in Sweden: foss-sthlm and FSCONS.

Fossgruppen currently consists of this team of elite guys:

  • Daniel Stenberg
  • Björn Stenberg
  • Simon Josefsson
  • Henrik Sandklef
  • Jonas Öberg
  • Johan Thelin
  • Henrik Nordström
  • Andreas Nilsson
  • Jeremiah Foster
  • Mathias Klang
  • Peter Stuge
  • Marcus RejÃ¥s

The web site is basic so far, and we don't really have a shiny logo to show off with yet but I'm confident we will sort all that out over time!

Snaxx 23

For the 23rd time we're gathering friends in the Stockholm Sweden area who're interested in technology, open source, beers, Monty Python, reverse engineering, rewriting things into assembler for the fun of it and similar very important topics.A pint of guinness

Snaxx-23

Haxx happily invites you to waste an evening by talking and drinking at October 18th 2010 with us and friends in our spirit.

[ we should get ourselves a snaxx logo, so if you're reading this and have some talent consider yourself wanted and appreciated! ]

Haxx gets Linus over to the good side

Linus Nielsen Feltzing and I founded Haxx a long time ago, so therefore it is extra fun to welcome him to join me and Björn to work full-time for our small but already now skill-packed company. Starting December this year, Linus will do all his consultancy and contract work wearing his Haxx hat and no other. Employee number three.

He comes from an employment at the same consultant company I was employed by before (and Björn was too a while ago). With this addition Haxx is now having three full-time consultants with more than 20 years of experience each within software development and embedded systems. We have a long and thorough experience in Linux and networks, in embedded and in larger systems.Haxx

Björn and I originally got to know Linus back in 1988 when we visited a "copy-party" in Alvesta Sweden. There we (the C64 demo group named Horizon) competed against the other teams in the demo competition. We won the competition with our demo "Love This Now" while the fellows in Microsystems Digital Technology (MDT) came at second place with their "Bonanza".

MDT consisted of two persons, and one of them was Linus.

After Alvesta, Linus and Jörgen (the other MDT member) joined Horizon and we've known each other since. We've worked on the same companies since the late 90s something until the day last year when I started working full-time for Haxx.

Linus is a hardcore embedded developer, working close to hardware and the OS, writing primarily C and assembler code. He has worked a lot with various RTOSes and Linux.

Linus is also known as one of the founders of the Rockbox project together with me and Björn.

professional libcurl hackers look this way!

In my company, Haxx, we work as consultants and we do contract development for customers who pay for our skill, time and dedication. We help them develop stuff.Haxx

We're a small company, with basically two full-time employees. Most of our working days, we are involved with a single customer each who pays for our full-time involvement during a number of months. This is all good and fine. We love our jobs and we love our customers. We're in it for the fun.

Now, these days we can see that the economy is slowly but surely gaining ground again and is getting up to speed. We hear more and more requests for help and potential assignments are starting to pour in. That's great and all. Except that we're only two guys and can't accept very many projects...

Recently we've experienced a noticeable increase in amount of requests for support and other development help that involves curl and libcurl. I am the originator and maintainer of curl, there's really no surprise or wonder that these companies contact me and us about it. I'm always very happy to see that there are companies and persons who are willing to pay for support of open source and in many cases pay for extending and bug fixing libcurl and have those fixes going back to the mainline sources without complaints.

Since we fail to accept a lot of requests, I'm interested in finding you who are interested in helping out with such work. Are you interested in helping out customers with curl related problems? Customers often come to us when they've got stuck within something they can't easily solve themselves and they turn to us as experts in general, and experts on curl and libcurl in particular. And we are.

Before you think this is a great idea and you send me an email introducing yourself and your greatness in this area, please be aware that I will require proof of your qualifications. Most preferably, that proof is at least one good patch posted to the libcurl mailing list and accepted into the mainline libcurl code, but I'm open to accepting slightly less ideal proofs as well if you can just motivate why you failed to provide the ideal ones. Of course you will also need to be able to communicate in English without problems. Your geographical location, gender, race, religion, skin-color and shoe size are completely uninteresting.

I'm looking for someone interested in contract development, not full-time employment. We still do these kinds of jobs on a case by case basis and there may be one every two days, one per week or sometimes even less frequently. I want to increase my network of people I know and trust can deliver quality code and services for this kind of projects.

Can you help us?

Going Fosdem 2010

Oh what the heck, we plan to bring every single employee of Haxx over to Fosdem 2010. Yes, that means all two of us!

I hope we'll manage to join up with fellow Rockbox hackers then and it would be great fun to meet other friends from other projects and open source activities too.

I've not been to Fosdem before, and I've offered to do a talk there but so far I've not gotten a response from the responsible guy in the "embedded dev room". We'll see how that ends.