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Month: December 2011

The Importance of Posting Solutions

About 10 days ago I ran into a technical problem (looking for the git source and git-manpages archives) that wasted hours of my time because I wasn’t able to find a worthwhile search result. I pulled up MarsEdit and wrote about the solution I found, in anger.

Within three days of writing the post; I had used it as a reference four times. Without posting the solution it would have been worse for me because I would have had to dig through the entire day’s browsing history or my bookmarks to find the page again.

I’m sure almost everyone in a technical field has been in this situation:

XKCD #979

The original poster never posts the solution to his or her problem which is incredibly frustrating if it is a one-off thing (as most hard IT problems are).

The Stack Exchange network has been great for getting solutions to some of the problems I’ve had and I’m quite happy searching through it for some types of answers but it’s not perfect for everything. Small, short problem solution sets don’t really fit in very well; you, basically, have to ask the question and then answer it yourself. Which is fine, but, seems a little bit too much work for a quick problem/solution.

There’s something cathartic about posting the problem and solution to a problem somewhere. It can be Twitter, Github, Stack Exchange, a personal blog, Tumblr, or any number of other places. The important thing is that you do post the question and answer, somewhere.

Since the problem has already been solved the opportunity costs of 5-10 minutes to write it up are very low. So, take some time and post your solutions to the problems you run into; save someone else the hours you spent researching and testing…then charge consulting fees!

Where did the kernel.org git archives go after the hack?

I’ve been building and rebuilding an RPM for git since the RPMs that are published by pbone are full of junk that I don’t want with it i.e., Gitweb, or missing pieces that I do want. The original RPM was built before Kernel.org was hacked (the full story can be found at [TheRegister](http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/31/linux_kernel_security_breach/)) so the sources were pulled from [kernel.org](http://kernel.org/pub/software/scm/git/).

After the hack, the git sources are no longer stored in the same place. There are only a couple of old builds listed in the directory. WHAT THE FUCK? How can all of the sources for git just be gone with no explanation? I asked the same question, there’s not even a note, a bullet, a text file, or anything anywhere explaining why.

Building the manpages for git is a notorious bitch, I’ve tried building them ~10 times and each time fails with some error…after fixing 9 different problems I was pretty much done with it so I thought I’d just download the git-manapages-N.tar.(gz|bz2).

That was the second mistake. Those files were gone too. I know, I’ll just go to the Google Code [git-core downloads page](http://code.google.com/p/git-core/downloads/list)! Any release before 1.7.6 isn’t there. After a couple of hours searching Google, Blekko, and Bing I finally found a couple mirror sites:

[http://distfiles.exherbo.org/distfiles/](http://distfiles.exherbo.org/distfiles/)

[http://ftp.sh.cvut.cz/MIRRORS/sourcemage/mirror/?C=M;O=A](http://ftp.sh.cvut.cz/MIRRORS/sourcemage/mirror/?C=M;O=A)

Those are the only sites I’ve been able to find that have a full set of Git archives including the manpages! Hopefully, the next time someone needs a git archive that was released after 12 September 2011 his/her search will land them here where the links are readily available.

The packages I was looking for were: git-manpages-1.7.4.1.tar.bz2, git-1.7.4.1.tar.bz2, and git-htmldocs-1.7.4.1.tar.bz2. All of which are found there with a quick search.