Running 32bit applications on 64bit Ubuntu

After upgrading to 64bit Ubuntu 11.04, I wasn’t able to get some applications to work and was getting a very cryptic error

nullin@null-in:/work$ p4
bash: /build/bin/p4: No such file or directory

Even though /build/bin/p4 exists, on running the command, the system was complaining that the file doesn’t exist. I soon realized these were 32 bit applications and to fix this, one just needs to install ia32-libs:

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

After doing this, things starting working properly again:

nullin@null-in:/work$ p4
Perforce -- the Fast Software Configuration Management System.
p4 is Perforce's client tool for the command line.  Try:

VMware Workstation 7.1.4, Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity

Three days back I installed Ubuntu 11.04 Beta onto my work machine. I tried getting Workstation to work but it kept crashing. In Unity session, it would start up and even start the VMs but would keep crashing on trying to switch to the VM console. In gnome session workstation would startup, switch to console session but crash while trying to move files in and out of the VM.

Version 7.1.3 has known issue with running in the new Unity session and v7.1.4 was supposed to fix this. Going by some comments online, it has seemed to fix it in many cases to. For me it just wasnt working. After looking around for a while I found a workaround on VMware community forums. For making VMware Workstation 7.1.4 with work with Ubuntu 11.04 in Unity Session, just start it from cli as follows:

$ export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/vmware/lib/
$ vmware

This fixes the glib related errors that were crashing the software and you can start using your VMs. See this forum thread for more information.


Happy New Year

Happy 2011 to everyone. Also, Happy Prime Year.

We had a fun time going to SF for the fireworks off Embarcadero near Pier 14. Lots of people on caltrain and on the streets. The best part was that even though rain was forecast to start at 8pm, we only had a few drops until the fireworks finished. And once they did, there was a downpour. Luckily, my OCD means I check the weather a lot and we were carrying umbrellas.

Clicked a couple of photos from my 3GS.

13 Page Resume!

Recently interviewed a candidate whose resume had 13 pages! I didn’t bother printing more that 4. It’s crazy that he thought someone would go through all that information before talking to him. The highlights section was a beauty as well.

13 Page Resume
13 Page Resume

I personally, try to keep my resume as short as possible. It’s currently at just about 2 pages.

HemingwayEx v1.8 released

I played around a bit with WP 3.0 Menus and was able to incorporate it into HemingwayEx. Also, with this theme, users can decide to have a single column homepage instead of have the two columns.

Setting up WP Menus was quite straightforward actually, based on information in Nicholas’s article. Then there was some work needed to show drop down menus and for that I chose to use the Superfish JQuery Plugin. The site’s got everything you need to get the Superfish menus working. I just needed to make a few tweaks to the arrow images to change the color from white to black and had to fix the CSS.

One thing that caused me considerable amount of headache was invoking the superfish js using jQuery when document loads. Because other parts of the theme were also using jQuery and other JavaScripts, I had to use the JQuery NoConfict mode. I had to change the following:



And then everything worked perfectly. Hope you enjoy this release.

I have started hosting HemingwayEx code and downloads on Github now. v1.8 is available for download right now.

Logging tests to separate files

We have been using TestNG to run our tests for a while now. When we initially started, our code was written using Log4J and we were able to configure it to log all the tests to a single file. This made the logs very unwieldy and looking for issues very difficult. Looking at 100+ MB of logs isn’t an easy task. Changing this to rolling files only made the matters worse. So, I started looking for ways to log each test case into a separate file (meaning a test named foo, would be logged to foo.log).

My first attempt was to do this using log4j itself. Log4J doesn’t provide an easy way of doing this. It’s possible if you follow certain conventions in declaring your loggers and how you use MDC, but I wasn’t able to get it working with all my code. On looking a bit further, I found Logback. And SiftingAppender in Logback is just what I needed.

So, using slf4j, logback, MDC and a few simple coding conventions, I was able to get per test log files working. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Start using SLF4J for your logging. If you are using Log4J, moving from L0g4J to SLF4J is pretty simple
  2. Write functions to set MDC at start of a test and unset it at the end of a test
  3. Update the test cases, such that the MDC set/unset functions are invoked
  4. Configure logback.xml to use the SiftingAppender

I’ll expand a bit more on the above.

Using SLF4J

Starting to use SLF4J or moving to SLF4J from other logging frameworks is pretty straightforward. I didn’t bother using the java application at and found it much easier to just to regex to do the job. There were some places where had to be changed to but that wasn’t a whole lot of pain.

Code to set/unset MDC

Logback’s documentation on MDC is very extensive and explains the concept quite clearly. Essentially using MDC would allow us to share a key/value across a thread hierarchy. Using MDC is as simple as putting a key/value into a Map. This value will be accessible anytime in the thread and any children of that thread. At the beginning of the test, we’ll put <"testname", $test_case_name> as the key/value into the map. At the end of the test, we’ll remove this key. This MDC value would be used by the sifting appender to create logs at runtime.  I wrote a simple class to encapsulate this functionality:

package com.nm.examples;

import org.slf4j.Logger;
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory;
import org.slf4j.MDC;

 * Class to handle setting/removing MDC on per test case basis. This helps
 * us log each test case into it's own log file. Please see
 * {@link}
 * and {@link}
 * @author nullin
public class TestLogHelper
  private static final Logger log = LoggerFactory.getLogger(TestLogHelper.class);
  public static final String TEST_NAME = "testname";

   * Adds the test name to MDC so that sift appender can use it and log the new
   * log events to a different file
   * @param name name of the new log file
   * @throws Exception
  public static void startTestLogging(String name) throws Exception {
    MDC.put(TEST_NAME, name);

   * Removes the key (log file name) from MDC
   * @return name of the log file, if one existed in MDC
  public static String stopTestLogging() {
    String name = MDC.get(TEST_NAME);
    return name;

Update test cases

Now, you just need to make sure that you invoke TestLogHelper.startTestLogging(String testname) as early as possible during the test execution. Eventually, by the end of the test you should invoke TestLogHelper.stopTestLogging() to ensure that no extra logs get logged into this log file.

As we are using TestNG, for us it was a very simple matter of creating a method annotated @BeforeClass or @BeforeMethod as per requirements and put this code in there. For example, I use the following two methods in the base class for all our tests:

   public void testSetUp() throws Exception {
      //start logging to test specific log file

      //Do some setup specific stuff here

   public void testCleanUp() throws Exception {
      try {
         //Do some cleanup specific stuff here
      } finally {
         //stop test logging to test specific file
      return true;

   public String getTestId() {
      return ((testId == null) ? (this.getClass().getName()) : testId);

Configure logback.xml with SiftingAppender

The last part is to configure the logback.xml to use a SiftingAppender. You can look at the documentation for SiftingAppender to see the different examples. Following is a snippet of the configuration that I am using:

   <appender name="RootSiftAppender" class="ch.qos.logback.classic.sift.SiftingAppender">
         <appender name="FILE-${testname}" class="ch.qos.logback.core.rolling.RollingFileAppender">
            <rollingPolicy class="ch.qos.logback.core.rolling.FixedWindowRollingPolicy">
            <triggeringPolicy class="ch.qos.logback.core.rolling.SizeBasedTriggeringPolicy">
            <layout class="ch.qos.logback.classic.PatternLayout">
               <Pattern>%d{ISO8601} %-5level %C{1} [%M:%L] [%thread] - %msg%n</Pattern>

This configuration says that the test cases would specify the MDC value using a key “testname” and if logback finds no such key, it’ll just log the statements into testrun.log.

And that’s it. You should be good to go.

HemingwayEx v1.7 released

I finally found some time yesterday to fix a bug and made HemingwayEx compatible with WP3.0. It’s been a long time since the last official release. A lot of work has gone into this theme between the last few revisions and most of it was done by db0. He spent a great amount of time enhancing the theme and adding support for many plugins.

I have moved the source of HemingwayEx to Github. It’s a great place to code socially because it makes it very easy for anyone to create a patch and submit it for addition to the main project.

Anyways, you can get the latest version of HemingwayEx at github.