bash4 is out!

Yerterday (monday 23 of Feb) the GNU team released a new version of bash.

This new version contains a lot of interesting features, for example asociative arrays (yep!), autocd … and more!

The notices was published in the bash mailing list.

pkgcore experience

Last days I reinstalled my Gentoo in my desktop computer, a Dell Dimension C521 using the new package handler pkgcore.

The last months I’ve use official portage, and also new replacement called paludis. The main advantage of this one is being written entirely in C++, so paludis is very fast, but also you can detect some problems when you need to compile some “specials” packages, such qemu, which requires to be compiled with gcc3. If you compile paludis with another version of gcc, you can find a beauty error related to dynamic linking. Obviously, you can solve this problem by hand or with sonme tricks ;), but I don’t like tricks in production machines.

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Physics at MIT

I see in the “People of the Web” the last interview to the Professor Walter Lewin, at MIT. I have no comments about him and his classes, only two comments: 1) the great phrase: “Physics work!”, and 2) can other people regarded teacher? I don’t need to think more about it…

Entanglement: the greatest mystery in physics

Book cover

Last days I was read the book titled “Entanglement: The greatest mystery in physics”, which is written by Ph.D. Amir D. Aczel, famous for his books about physics. This one is about quantum physics, particularly the entanglement phenomenon. The entanglement is an effect of quantum objects (if we can call them “objects”) consists in a relation between the quantum state of implicated objects, so when we alter one of them, the others “know” automagically the change, even though the objects are spatially separated.

I’m surprised at how easy is to read, it’s funny and clearly (as much as quantum theory allows) and I recommended to people who are interesting in quantum theory and it’s history.

bash ini parser

In some situations i like to use INI files as configuration files, as python do. But bash do not provide a parser for these files, obviously you can use a awk code or a couple of sed calls, but if you are bash-priest and do not want to use nothing more, then you can try the following obscure code:

Update:Added support spaces between keys and values, described in comment #364

Update:Added a writer function, described in comment #370 with examples.

Update:Fix bug when values or keys contains a ‘#’ sign, as described in comment #397. Now only comments at the beginning of line are allowed.

Update:Fix bug in section evaluation when a file which match section expression exists in cwd, as described in comment #436. Fixed also a bug related with
parser when brackets are escaped (read #437.

cfg_parser ()
	ini="$(<$1)"                # read the file
	ini="${ini//[/\[}"          # escape [
	ini="${ini//]/\]}"          # escape ]
	IFS=$'\n' && ini=( ${ini} ) # convert to line-array
	ini=( ${ini[*]//;*/} )      # remove comments with ;
	ini=( ${ini[*]/\	=/=} )  # remove tabs before =
	ini=( ${ini[*]/=\	/=} )   # remove tabs be =
	ini=( ${ini[*]/\ =\ /=} )   # remove anything with a space around =
	ini=( ${ini[*]/#\\[/\}$'\n'cfg.section.} ) # set section prefix
	ini=( ${ini[*]/%\\]/ \(} )    # convert text2function (1)
	ini=( ${ini[*]/=/=\( } )    # convert item to array
	ini=( ${ini[*]/%/ \)} )     # close array parenthesis
	ini=( ${ini[*]/%\\ \)/ \\} ) # the multiline trick
	ini=( ${ini[*]/%\( \)/\(\) \{} ) # convert text2function (2)
	ini=( ${ini[*]/%\} \)/\}} ) # remove extra parenthesis
	ini[0]="" # remove first element
	ini[${#ini[*]} + 1]='}'    # add the last brace
	eval "$(echo "${ini[*]}")" # eval the result

cfg_writer ()
    IFS=' '$'\n'
    fun="$(declare -F)"
    fun="${fun//declare -f/}"
    for f in $fun; do
        [ "${f#cfg.section}" == "${f}" ] && continue
        item="$(declare -f ${f})"
        eval $f
        echo "[${f#cfg.section.}]"
        for var in $vars; do
            echo $var=\"${!var}\"

And then you can parse your ini files as following:

# parse the config file called 'myfile.ini', with the following
# contents::
#   [sec2]
#   var2='something'
cfg.parser 'myfile.ini'

# enable section called 'sec2' (in the file [sec2]) for reading

# read the content of the variable called 'var2' (in the file
# var2=XXX). If your var2 is an array, then you can use
# ${var[index]}
echo "$var2"

Unfortunately, the cfg.parser() function do no support embedded spaces
in section names… yet

bashdoc: just another documentation tool

bashdoc is a small utility to make documentation automatically from bash scripts, using awk to frontend parser (and you can add your own frontends in awk language), and reStructuredText as backend parser. bashdoc parse the object script (using awk) and create an intermediate documentation in RST, which is parsed in next step using RST backend.

The fronted allows you to parse more complicated scripts (or other than bash scripts) and the backend allows you to make the output in different formats.

You can download the source code from launchpad project page or using bzr version control system:

$ bzr get lp:bashdoc


comida is a bash script designed to create a FTP (or HTTP, or rsync or…) mirror and maintain the archive synchronized with the source. I design this tool when I was working at the Free Software Office (OSL) in the University of A Corunna, and decided to create a new mirror in Spain which host a lot of free software projects. But, we wanted a single tool to manage all mirrors in the archive, with full integration in our web page (yes, we wanted on-the-fly status page).

You can download the source code from launchpad project page or using bzr version control system:

$ bzr get lp:comida


tcptraceroute was another friend of the network administrator. Probably you known classical traceroute, which use the TTL field in IP header to determinate the hops in the route to a specific destination. In each hop the TTL value is decreasing (according to internet protocol), and when TTL is equal to cero, a ICMP is returned to sender IP. So, the classical traceroute technique, send a UDP packet with TTL field setted to 1, and get the IP address of the first hop from returned ICMP, and likewise for other hops.

Unfortunately, today many host are firewalled and ICMPs are blocking. The classical traceroute design fails, and we only obtain a list of useless “*”. The tcptraceroute use TCP packets instead of UDP packets, and try to connect to usual port enabling the SYN flag. If port is closed, a RST flag is returned, and if port is open then return an ACK flag. So we don’t need ICMPs anymore.