Migration to Debian 10 complete

The servers that host this website have been successfully migrated from Debian 9 to a fresh installation of Debian 10. As part of this migration quay.net now resolves to 99.79.1.85 and is no longer available on the old server, hal9000.

This upgrade means that the website now supports TLSv1.3 and a number of other improvements. If you come across any missing content or bugs, please let me know.

Asking all Canadians to vote on October 21, 2019

At the best of times politics can be complicated and there are a lot of reasons to avoid its discussion online these days!

The 43rd Canadian general election will be held on Monday, October 21, 2019. Elections Canada has a very good website dedicated to information on a variety of topics including how to ensure you are registered to vote, what sort of ID is required, and how you can go about casting your ballot.

Frustration with Ottawa’s seeming inability to govern in a unifying manner and the divisive nature of modern politics leads to at lot of less than ideal outcomes. This situation has had the effect of pushing people away from the process instead of engaging the public with the issues that face us in the 21st century. I’ve always felt that one of Canada’s strengths is that collectively we are pretty reasonable people even when the political class and populist politicians engage in pointless and self-serving grand standing. Broad public participation is one form of insurance that our representatives in Ottawa remain engaged in the hard work and compromise required to maintain peace, order, and good government in the immense country, of not insignificant complexity, that is our inheritance and charge.

With this view I ask that you consider voting on October 21st.

Sincerely,
Gabriel

Disable terminal bell in WSL

Windows Subsystem for Linux is pretty nifty, but Windows has a very rudimentary terminal interface compared to most modern Unix implementations; though I do have high hopes for the new Windows Terminal project. One particularly annoying issue is that there is no way to directly disable sound, this can be a particularly annoying issue when using tab completion or backspace.

The easiest solution to this lack of functionality is to disable the bell in the Linux shell by modifying the readline(3) configuration in /etc/inputrc or ~/.inputrc.

# do not bell on tab-completion
set bell-style none

Using ssh-agent with Windows Subsystem for Linux

Update: I’ve since revised these instructions in this post.

This is fairly basic, but you never know what might be useful to somebody!

Due to the fact that WSL doesn’t bootstrap itself with a normal init/systemd process it can be a bit frustrating to work with SSH keys.

Thankfully the ssh-agent command is designed to set up an environment for key management without much hassle. The trivial method of doing this is to insert the following command into your ~/.bashrc or ~/.profile script:

# start ssh-agent
eval `ssh-agent`

This will initialize a socket to manage your keys and you can then use the ssh-add command as you would on a normal Linux system.

For completeness, stick the following in your ~/.bash_logout script:

# unset ssh-agent
ssh-agent -k

This will remove the socket and unset the environment so that your keys don’t remain loaded after you close your WSL session using exit or CTRL-D.