vendredi 4 avril 2008

NFS and NBD fight

The fight has started last year, when NBD replaced NFS as the default protocol for root device for thin-clients in Ubuntu. But, there was a lack of scientific data about benefits of NBD.

Few weeks ago, a team from Birzeit university started to work on the topic. They have compared boot time using NFS and NBD. Results show that a thin-client booting with NBD is 44% faster than with NFS. More testing is underway.

One big issue with NBD is that it's not as robust as NFS. For example, the client doesn't reconnect if the nbd-server is terminated. The thin-client is left in a unknown state, and must be rebooted. While this is not a big issue in small scale setup, it's not an option when you have central boot server and thousands thin-clients. The team plan to work on the availability issue as well.

Stay tuned, the final battle is starting.

dimanche 23 mars 2008

Interaction design patterns

I do have 26 years old, and I'm still doing homeworks for school. But this time, I admit that the topic is useful.

I read a book about patterns. You probably know object oriented design patterns. There are patterns everywhere, to save us to reinvent the wheel.

Patterns I read is about interaction design. It's about usability of electronic devices. The goals are mainly :

  • Design the interface as to make it familiar for users
  • Reduce memory load on users to let them concentrate on their main task
  • Reduce the time it takes to complete a task, navigate, find something
  • Make the device fun, easy and efficient to use
The book is written by Jenifer Tidwell. It's a really good book, it contains what we need to know to start designing any UI. I did some empiricaly previously, and I would have saved so much time by reading this book first.

Now, I'm able to evaluate an interface. A bad interface make the user dig into deeply nested dialogs, let the user waiting without a clue that something is going on, etc. There are mistakes all over the place.

There are also good design out there. And to complete my homework, I will search for UI design patterns in KDE 4. That will be pretty cool to see how much it's usable. Stay tuned.

samedi 22 mars 2008

Hello World

Hey, this is my first blog on blogger.

Alone in universe. That's how I feel these days. I wonder if someone else could understand me. It's like if I was on another planet. So, in next few weeks, I will try to explain that feeling. Anyway, I'm almost sure that nobody will care about this blog, so that will be the proof that the name is perfectly appropriate.

And, BTW, that will be the occasion to share my toughts, my findings and my soul. Stay tuned.