Un naufragio personal

Ángel Ortega

Seis para el camino

Tengo el placer y el honor de haber sido incluido como autor invitado con mi relato Seis para el camino en la revista online Círculo de Lovecraft en su número doble especial dedicado al universo de Stephen King.

Estoy muy contento y orgulloso de aparecer entre tanto talento. Editores, gracias por la oportunidad.

HOWTO Save Yourself From Ransomware Using btrfs

All these things must be run as root on a btrfs filesystem.

First, create the working path:

mkdir -p /path/to/data/snaps

Then create a subvolume:

btrfs su create /path/to/data/current

This last path is where you and your lusers will save your crap (of course, remember to set appropriate permissions and ownerships; it works mostly as a regular directory).

Then, from a crontab or similar, run this:

btrfs su snapshot -r /path/to/data/current /path/to/data/snaps/$(date "+%Y%m%d")

And that's all. If/when the intruders encrypt your data and ask for a ransom, you still have pristine copies inside the snapshots. Not even root can modify these files, they are pure read-only; the only thing that can be done with the snapshots is to delete them, which you should do a periodical basis.

If Jeff Bezos got a nickel every time I misspell snapshot as snaphost, he would be rich by now.

I'm 52 now


La antología Tormenta e Ímpetu, candidata a los Ignotus 2020

La antología Tormenta e Ímpetu de Tinta Púrpura Ediciones (coordinada por Josué Ramos) en la que he tenido el honor de participar con mi relato Tasso, Lamento e Trionfo opta al premio Ignotus 2020 en su categoría.

Enhorabuena a todos los implicados en este gran trabajo.

Y a los que podáis votar, hacedlo sabiamente.

A message from the new Minimum Profit Text Editor maintainers

A new, special version of the #MinimumProfit text editor has been released. The only real change is the people in charge: the original author and maintainer, Angel Ortega, has left this project under our hands. We are the TTC Dev Team. Thanks to him for the great work and for the necessary server resources and know-how.

It can be downloaded from the usual place. As well, some Github repositories have been created for the editor and its components:

We're excited with this announcement. We hope to add new features to the editor real soon. Stay tuned.

the ttcdt

I'm not the Minimum Profit Text Editor's maintainer anymore

I have an important change to announce regarding the Minimum Profit Text Editor development process: I have delegated its maintenance to a team of fellow developers.

Since several months ago my labour in this regard has been mainly to integrate patches written by others. My health and personality problems have proved to be a bottleneck and that had to be fixed. So, officially from now, the maintaners of the Minimum Profit Text Editor are the TTC Dev Team.

I wanted to keep using this host as MP's site (to avoid losing more users due to link rotting and such), so I've been busy this week preparing the infrastructure for the change of management to be as effective and painless as possible: a new email address, users in the server, permissions, etc.

I started this project in 1991, so it's about to be 30 years old, some months older than my son. Of course I still love it. Of course I'll still be here. Of course I'll watch closely.

Thanks to the new team for taking control. You are great, people.

OpenBSD in a laptop, part 3

And while I was deep diving into OpenBSD 6.6 [1, 2], OpenBSD 6.7 came to life.

I thought it was a great opportunity to learn how version upgrades work under OpenBSD. This is always a hairy process; a full-system upgrade has to take so many things into account, as every system is a unique one.

Of course, there is a detailed 6.7 upgrade guide. From it I learned that this used to be a complicated process (downloading a special kernel, boot from it...) but it's no longer: there is a tool aptly named sysupgrade that makes it much easier.

In the guide I was instructed to delete a user/group (that I didn't have) and to check for available disk space. Everything was fine so I ran the sysupgrade tool and it downloaded the new system, made me reboot into a special kernel, did many system-upgrade-y things, rebooted again and I found myself with a brand-new OpenBSD 6.7 system.

I still needed to manually execute syspatch (I remember a set of patches being mentioned in the previous step, I don't know why they weren't automatically installed) and of course pkg_add -u. I did this from a console because I didn't want unnecessary jump-scares from the GUI.

Summarizing: the 6.6->6.7 upgrade process is smooth, quick and without glitches nor surprises. Again, kudos to OpenBSD people, you are awesome.

Given that I don't plan to continue these post series, I finally decided to stop intentionally delaying the setup of the CUPS printing system, so I ran

pkg_add cups gtk+3-cups hpcups

My printer is an HP OfficeJet 6960 (connected by Ethernet to my local network), that's why I installed hpcups. I then needed to configure CUPS to run at system startup, so this is how my /etc/rc.conf.local ended up looking:

pkg_scripts="messagebus avahi_daemon cups_browsed cupsd"

I connected to the CUPS system web interface at localhost:631 with a browser and spent the usual huge amount of time finding the correct combination of connection type, printer model, small mammal sacrifice and PPD file until I found the one that worked (color do not look OK, though). Man do I hate CUPS. Concerning OpenBSD, this was not worse than in any other CUPS-infected system.

I also installed LibreFuckingOffice. Yes, I hate it too. I hate many, many things.

Regarding Bluetooth: I checked this laptop's specs and it does not have a Bluetooth chip, so I decided to buy a Bluetooth USB dongle, as they are cheap and capable these days. But then I learnt that OpenBSD does not support Bluetooth; it used to (at least partially), but because of lack of hardware drivers or security issues or whatever they dropped it. I think this is a mistake, but who am I to disagree. No Bluetooth headphones for Ángel in this machine, go listening to your crappy music somewhere else.

Anyway, my final opinion is that OpenBSD still fucking rocks. This great software project accepts and needs donations, so I did mine.

The Rise Of The Machines 6: Servomotor Reckoning

Printer: Color calibration, print head aligning and other vague operations described by intentionally ridiculous terms finished.

Me: Great, it has taken you ten minutes so it must have been a really careful procedure, so let's...

Printer: Wait, I'm also a scanner, so you must put this page I just printed full of funny and mystical symbols into my feeder and scan it.

Me: What for

Printer: Who is in charge here do it right now or succumb to my wrath

Me: OK here it is, I've just pressed the scan button.

Printer: Crunkie-crunkie clickety-click la-la-la the song of my people

Me: You're just a glorified photocopier, get back to work.

Printer: Now I'll print a new page for you to admire how crombulately scrumified are my printer heads and you better re-scan it

Me: I hate you scumbag printer

Computer (to me): Why do you always swallow her baits

OpenBSD in a laptop, part 2

This is a followup to my previous post, where I accounted my experience of installing and working with OpenBSD on a laptop. This new post is less of an article but an enumeration of things I consider remarkable.

Suspending to memory works out of the box. I didn't have to do anything. I remember this used to be a nightmare under Linux, but probably also works there these days; I simply don't know because is one of the first things I disable. I don't like it: my computers are either running or switched off. I don't want my machines to stop doing things because an arbitrary slice of time has passed. Anyway, kudos to OpenBSD developers because this is a feature that is very hard to do well.

I don't remember where I got that idea, but I thought that the only locale that worked in OpenBSD is en_US.UTF-8. I was wrong: I've set it to es_ES.UTF-8 and haven't found any issue yet. Unicode support in the text console is crap but who cares about that.

I also found that locale support in the regular expression library is incomplete: maybe I'm too accustomed to GNU regex. I had to resource back to the usual but not-really-ok /[A-Za-z\xc0-\xff]+/ to match words using the latin alphabet with possible diacritics.

I've worked unplugged for two hours and apm still reports a battery charge of 18%, impressive for a second hand laptop.

After looking at /var/log/messages and ~/.xsession-errors I found that some applications were complaining about being unable to connect to dbus, so I installed it. In /usr/local/share/doc/pkg-readmes/dbus said that I must add the following to my .xsession:

eval `dbus-launch --sh-syntax --exit-with-x11`

That was not enough, though: I also needed to add the following to /etc/rc.conf.local (I don't remember where I read about this):


After rebooting, the MATE battery applet appeared in the upper right corner.

I also read here that to be able to shutdown the machine from the MATE desktop menu I had to add my user to the operator group:

doas usermod -G operator angel

And magically a new option to shutdown the machine appeared in the menu.

I still haven't tried installing CUPS and printer support. Printers and I do not play well, so I'm intentionally postponing that moment because I'm sure it will be hell.

As an overall impression, I'm still pretty happy and satisfied with this OpenBSD experience.

The following are links to pages I found useful:

They win 4/1 against me in the issue "on a laptop vs. in a laptop". Meh. Fuck English prepositions.

And a final note: in my previous post I said that the vi text editor is for weenies and some people got offended and outraged. Well, there is nothing intrinsically bad in vi, except for the whole concept itself. Make no mistake: I've used that awful thing since my first experience with UNIX machines in 1987 or 1988, so it's not that I'm new to it or don't understand it or something like that (I'm a competent vi user, for that matter). But real programmers use a text editor written by themselves or the real one, ed. Take this last sentence as a joke or not.

Continues in OpenBSD in a laptop, part 3.

Hechos, parte 2

Me inquieta pensar que a mi edad Walter White estaba enterrando cincuenta millones de dólares en el desierto mientras yo estoy aquí planteándome si debo darme de baja de Filmin para ahorrar algo de pasta.