Older blog entries for AlanShutko (starting at number 17)

Wow. Been busy lately.

Got my domain name working, so everyone can visit my incipient website. I haven't maintained a website in at least 3-4 years, so this is from scratch. Learning CSS and catching up on HTML4 so that it hopefully sucks not as much as other sites.

While I'm doing this, I've started a sourceforge project for Album (now Scrapbook). I intend to do a quick replace of the names and upload CVS onto there, then do a quick release of things as they are now. It isn't a perfect app, but it works for me and hopefully more users will induce me to spend more time improving it. I'll post a link to the project as soon as it actually has something up... at least a minimal webpage or something.


Does this help you out?

ANSI C grammer for Yacc

Gack. A general malaise has set in. I don't know what... I think I go need to fly a kit, but I haven't had the right wind for it.

Lots of things I want to play with at the moment, just not sure what to do next. Write house LaTeX styles? Learn more about databases? Fix mmm-mode so it does heirarchical regions for cweb? Who knows. I should just keep watching for some wind.

2 Mar 2001 (updated 2 Mar 2001 at 19:46 UTC) »

You, too, seem to misunderstand the difference between free software and open source.

Take a look at this FSF page. Here's my quick explanation.

Specifically, free software does not require that the software be copylefted. Even RMS acknowledges that X-licensed software is free software.

In general, free software is the same software as open source software. But the emphasis is different. The free software movement emphasized the freedom to do whatever you want with software. This scares companies, so the open source movement deemphasizes this (though it's still in the OSD) and emphasizes the improvement in code that you get from having many people work on your code.

History: "Open source" as a term came about because of ambiguities in the term "free software". Unfortunately, it's just as ambiguous, as shown by people thinking SCSL software is open source.

other news:

Well, my delightful wife got me springies.com for my birthday. It's the domain name that came to me in a dream. I don't have any real hosting for it right now... just the domain name and some free services from the registrar pointing http://www.springies.com somewhere else. I want to switch to DSL and run the domain from home, but haven't gotten fully into DSL Roulette yet.

More fun with mmm-mode.

16 Feb 2001 (updated 16 Feb 2001 at 01:27 UTC) »

What to say....

Debian experiments put off for some time when the junk I need is in stable. Knowing little about debian, it's too much of a pain to fix things which break in unstable, when I can just reboot into RH. I'll try again later. For now, I have work to do.

Speaking thereof, I installed Fisher. What was I just saying about unstable software? 8^) Well, at least fisher is not a moving target, and I've been using RH since 3.0.3 and I can fix most RH problems without noticing them. Besides, it mostly works.

Other than that, not much up. Haven't done much recently beside have a nice v-day with my wife.

I am loved!

Ok, loved by idiots, but it's nice. I've finally been hit by one of those email viruses! It's about time. After all the fuss that goes up on each one, you feel really depressed that you're in nobody's address books.

Not that it could do anything to me... Gnus is nice. But it's the thought that counts.

Not much else up around here. mmm-mode hacking dissuaded by Sourceforge's switchover and my inability to access writable CVS. So I installed RHL Fisher and have been busy playing with things that broke. Unfortunately, not much did (as usual... I never seem to run into the problems everyone else does).

Learning Metafont and CWeb lately. Along with that, I've been beating more on mmm-mode to support CWeb. There are a number of areas where mmm-mode doesn't do things the best way for cweb, so I'm doing a bit of hacking on its internals. CWeb looks like a good choice, because it's different enough from what mmm-mode handles already that by the time I get a submode class for it, mmm-mode should be able to handle almost anything easily.

Shipped off some quick patches for mmm-mode. Now it works enough to see that it works, but since I don't actually use the languages it has built-in support for (besides RPM specs, but that's broken slightly by Emacs 21) I haven't used it much. My copy of the CWeb book should be arriving today (along with the Computers and Typesetting boxed set!) so I'll be putting together some support for that soon.

mmm-mode looks very promising. It's more sophisticated than multi-mode.el, which is good and bad. It doesn't have to switch between modes all the time like multi-mode, but it can't yet handle cases where you add mode delimiters without using its interface (it uses overlays to keep track).

Other news, updating my resume. Anyone looking for a guy on Long Island?

Ok, useless weekend. Needed to clean things way, way too much. So finally got rid of the big plasticky green thing with the glowing lights, moved the fish so the cat could torment it in a new place, moved around furniture and vacuumed lots. Nothing fun got done this weekend.


I agree that tag translation should be done as part of the end app, but in my case my marc convertor was just an offshoot written using code from what may someday be the end app, so it was trivial to make it translate the tags. It would be nice if we had a common file format for the tag info... I have a simple format that I load in to do the mappings, but now that xml libraries are more widespread, it should probably be converted. There are just so many fields, subfields, indicators that it's pointless for every project to have to translate them, and most end up never translating them at all.

Ah, it's the weekend. Time to relax and figure out why my wireless access point periodically goes crazy and requires a reboot. Well that's the problem of playing with new toys, but it's really nice to wander around cleaning with a laptop near me at all times.


I'm not sure why you think using spaces instead of tabs will make source more difficult for someone else to read. At worst, it'll make them read it exactly the way you wrote it. How is that bad? If they don't like your style, they'll have problems anyway... there are more differences between C styles than tab stops.

If you only use TABS at the beginning of lines, you'll probably do alright with people using different tab widths. But sooner or later people will want to line up things which come after text... maybe variable names in declarations, maybe comments after code. That's when tabs are a big problem, because what lines up for you at 8 spaces per tab may suddenly not line up at 4 spaces per tab. Spaces don't have that problem.

Funny thing, I also have a MARC binary->ascii converter. I wrote mine as part of a larger project to make an EndNote-like app for X. My MARC converter also can display human-readable names for fields and subfields, btw.

My project has been put on the back burner, but if you're interested in something like that maybe we can get it off the ground.

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