APOD Picture-of-the-day wallpaper hiatus

This post is created with the hope of helping me to better understand how the POTD code works and its interaction with the providers. My Slackware (distribution) systems recently had an outage with the NASA (APOD) provider. There was no issue connecting with the other providers (e.g. Bing, NOAA, National Geographic, Flickr, USRA, etc.). One of the things that puzzled me was this was true on both my development systems (aka “current”) as well as the stable release (Slackware 15.0). The outage with NASA/APOD provider seemed to occur after June 28th (2023) - the last working wallpaper image. The connection with this provider was working when I returned from my travel on July 16th. So it must have been restored sometime before this. I had shut down all my systems when I left for my travel on July 7th. So the outage was definitely at least from June 29th to July 8th. I had created cron scripts to fetch and apply the wallpaper with wget and plasma-apply-wallpaperimage executables. The trouble with cron of course was getting DBUS permissions set. I had to export a slew of environment variables and restart the kactivitymanager daemon and plasmashell service. Even this didn’t work quite right to get the plasma-apply-wallpaperimage binary to execute from cron.

So I have to think that the POTD code must fetch the wallpaper images from the provider and then post them to a temporary site like somewallpaperplace.freedesktop.org. Then the code has to run the get script (wget, lftp, etc.), download it to a temp place and the finally apply the wallpaper.

It would be wonderful if the code can be modified to dump a log file to avert or understand outages like this in the future.

Can someone (a developer) please clarify the exact sequence of what I described above so I can better understand what broke?

Thanks in advance!

Maybe this answers some of your questions

1 Like

I think I do recall one of the other providers not working during my debug/test in this period. This (other provider) could very well have been Unsplash - and so it is possible these providers (APOD & Unsplash) are/were related to the outage. The date range cited above does seem to overlap.

That said another data point is that during my debug, I booted one my Plasma systems to KDE4 and the APOD wallpaper was accessible there during that same period. The code for Plasma POTD wallpaper and KDE4 POTD has clearly diverged.

1 Like