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#377: A Dramatic Episode

Published Tue, Apr 2, 2024, recorded Tue, Apr 2, 2024
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Michael #1: justpath

  • Inspect and refine PATH environment variable on both Windows and Linux.
  • Raw, count, duplicates, invalids, corrections, excellent stuff.
  • Check out the video

Brian #2: xz back door

  • In case you kinda heard about this, but not really.
  • Very short version:
    • A Microsoft engineer noticed a performance problem with ssh and tracked it to a particular version update of xz.
    • Further investigations found a multi-year installation of a fairly complex back door into the xz by a new-ish contributor. But still contributing over several years. First commit in early 2022.
    • The problem is caught. But if it had succeeded, it would have been bad.
    • Part of the issue of how this happened is due to having one primary maintainer on a very widely used tool included in tons-o-Linux distributions.
  • Some useful articles
  • Don’t think your affected? Think again if you use homebrew, for example:
  • Notes
    • Open source maintenance burnout is real
    • Lots of open source projects are maintained by unpaid individuals for long periods of time.
    • Multi-year sneakiness and social bullying is pretty hard to defend against.
    • Handing off projects to another primary maintainer has to be doable.
      • But now I think we need better tools to vet contributors.
      • Maybe? Or would that just suppress contributions?
  • One option to help with burnout:

Michael #3: LPython

  • LPython aggressively optimizes type-annotated Python code. It has several backends, including LLVM, C, C++, and WASM.
  • LPython’s primary tenet is speed.
  • Play with the wasm version here:
  • Still in alpha, so keep that in mind.

Brian #4: dramatic

  • Trey Hunner
  • More drama in the software world. This time in the Python.
  • Actually, this is just a fun utility to make your Python output more dramatic.
  • More fun output with terminaltexteffects
    • suggested by Allan




Joke: Definition of terms

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