Yesterday I upgraded my Debian distribution. I usually use Debian Testing but I don’t run
apt-get upgrade frequently. Many years ago, when I was studying, I used to do it every day but nowadays I do it a few times a year.
Yesterday I upgraded the system and I got a new Firefox version, LibreOffice 4 (the load speed of some of my spreadsheets is much faster), systemd and many other new packages. So far so good!
I use korganizer as a calendar application (I prefer to have it locally instead of using Google Calendar). To be able to access the calendar remotely I have a small script called by cron that reads the vCalendar files that korganizer creates and prepares an HTML and CSS. The script uploads them to the server and then I can access my calendar from any browser. I can’t change it remotely but I don’t usually need to. This system might sound complicated but I like it and it’s a bit of a hobby project.
Anyway, after the system upgrade the ical2html application didn’t work anymore. I quickly realized that the script was using /usr/local/bin/ical2html binary and it couldn’t load a shared library due to the aforementioned system upgrade. I didn’t remember why I was using /usr/local/bin/ical2html instead of the Debian binary (/usr/bin/ical2html). I assumed that when I prepared this calendar system the Debian package had some problem so I downloaded a newer ical2html and installed in /usr/local/bin
Then I thought that this time I would try to use the Debian binary. I changed my script to use the /usr/bin/ical2html and it failed because the script passed the option “-m” which wasn’t recognized. I deleted the “-m” option from the script and I got the calendar in HTML as expected. But the week started on Sunday instead of Monday.
Then, what we do? Well, as a good software engineer with many years of experience in programming languages, systems, toolkits, integrations, etc. I Googled for “ical2html monday” and I found a Debian bug report #679194 that had a patch! So cool! Someone needed the same as me and sent bug report with a patch, thank you very much!
When I was reading the bug report I saw:
Locale: LANG=ca_ES.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=ca_ES.UTF-8 (charmap=ISO-8859-15) (ignored: LC_ALL set to ca_ES@euro)
How interesting! Someone with Catalan localization sent the bug report. Who was the person? (let’s see if I know him to thank him)… I scrolled up… IT WAS ME!, 2 years ago.
I had completely forgotten. I had added the option “-m” for Mondays. I sent the patch to the original developer who I think said that he was not maintaining ical2html anymore. I sent the patch to the Debian bug report system and no-one answered. Now I applied my own patch again and I have /usr/local/bin/ical2html with -m (for Mondays) support again. Thank you Carles-2-years-ago, I really appreciate it!
This also shows that code is better released than stuck in the hard disk – in this case I probably wouldn’t have remembered it since I would have never searched on my hard disk for this patch. Even though I had it a few centimetres from me I downloaded it from the other side of the world.
Something similar has happened to me before: I sent a patch, I forgot about it. Years later I started receiving emails from some project and I didn’t know why I was receiving it. Then reading the emails I realized that someone was commenting on some very old patch for something that I wasn’t using anymore.