I’ve noticed that a lot of gifts people give to me do not really evoke the
positive feelings that they are supposed to. This happens often enough to
warrant a blog post, in which I go through different categories of
gifts and present my subjective verdict on each of them.
I want to emphasize that this lament is not directed towards anyone in
particular. However, there is a focus on types of gifts that are most commonly
given by family members and close relatives, since that’s where most of the
I have previously noted that I get all my TLS certificates from Let’s Encrypt, but since my usage of the client
deviates quite a bit from the standard, I figured I should take a few minutes to describe my setup.
When you visit this blog, the connection will be encrypted and thus
tamper-proof thanks to a free TLS certificate from
Let’s Encrypt. They’re currently running a crowdfunding campaign to
fund their operational costs. Since I use their service extensively, I gave 50
dollars. If you, too, like the idea of a more secure and privacy-respecting
web, please consider giving generously, too.
As the first actual content on my new blog, let me tell you the story of how I went absolutely crazy.
On my private systems, I ship configuration as system packages. Every distribution has their own tooling and process for
building these packages, but I eventually grew tired of the ceremony involved in it, and wrote my own system package
compiler. Since I’m using Arch Linux everywhere, the first version generated only Pacman packages, but I
was determined to make it truly cross-distribution. The first step was support for Debian packages, which I implemented
in a mere two evenings (one for understanding the format, one for writing the generator).
Next to dpkg, the other widely deployed package format is RPM, so I set out to add support for RPM as well. If I could
write the Debian generator in two days, then surely RPM support wouldn’t take that long, either. Little did I know that
I was embarking on a multi-month endeavor (including multiple week-long breaks to restore my sanity). To add insult to
injury, I stubbornly refused to add dependencies and use existing tooling (i.e., the rpm-build(1) command). I wanted
to serialize the format directly from my own code, like I did for Pacman and Debian packages.
I had known for a long time that I need a new blog. I had one years ago in the cloud
(it’s still live), but I definitely wanted something self-hosted this time. I had a
brief look at static website generators, and quickly decided that (as usual) I want a custom-tailored solution.
The first iteration is an nginx serving static files rendered by a
tiny Go program. Content comes from a
GitHub repo and is pulled every few minutes. Good enough for a first shot.
I might change the cronjob to be triggered by a GitHub webhook later on, but only if the delay until the next cronjob
run annoys me enough.