Older blog entries for CharlesGoodwin (starting at number 16)

20 Mar 2004 (updated 25 Mar 2004 at 01:53 UTC) »

I'm not sure quite how to state how awesome Gnome 2.6 is.

It just has a lovely feel to it. Things feel snappier, more polished. The interface is so clean (although so was Gnome 2.4) and things work really well.

Nautilus is so fast... is it really Nautilus? I think they kidnapped Nautilus and put his physically superior twin brother in there.

GStreamer just worked. (No configuration craziness!)

In other awesome news, what is sure to be an open source darling for years to come got an update today: The Battle for Wesnoth

Warning: don't follow that link if you value your productivity for the next week or two. And don't install the addictive Solarwolf either, another excellent open source game. In fact, there are so many great open source games; we should appreciate them more... Freeciv, Vegastrike, Boson, Stratagus (formerly Freecraft), Freecnc, Simutrans (not open source, but fun nonetheless), Pingus, Trackballs, Neverball, and many more.

Unsurprisingly, updating Gnome whilst using Gnome does funny things to your desktop experience.

Learnt enough XSL today to actually do something with it. I can't understate how awesome libxml is, the tools it provides are high quality and invaluable for any XML work.

I also made some progress with Ibex today. A few patches to the core have helped but instead I concentrated more on the structure of the widget code and made some decisions that should improve working with themes.

And a surprising but welcome development on the "how does one make money from working on Free Software" front when I received an informal approach to be paid by the hour for working on Ibex, from somebody who has been monitoring the project's progress. I really hope something comes of it.

On another note it's 2:24am. I see that staying up all night Monday really fixed my sleeping pattern. Perhaps I should just try pholyphasic sleep cycles instead. (Yeah, right.)

Just saw Mark McLoughlin's post about adding wireless support to gnome-netstatus which is cool. Calum did the UI but I wonder why the '100%' is to the right of the indicating bar graphic. Shouldn't it be to the left for English (and other left-right reading languages) since that's where our eyes naturally look first?

I wonder if that's part of the Gnome HIG. It probably is and, if in the unlikely event it isn't, probably should be.

Last night was the best sleep I've had in ages. Perhaps I should stay up all night more often as I did the night before. It certainly forces me to get to bed early the next day.

Then again I slept in 'til 9:30am when luckily a phonecall woke me up.

Must get job... or get contract work... or anything. A good few hours of cold calling. Fun fun fun!

16 Mar 2004 (updated 17 Mar 2004 at 10:23 UTC) »

[Didn't realise Advogato doesn't support blog titles] Am I the only person... ...that's getting annoyed by Michael Meek's constantly edited blog? I get the Gnome Planet RSS and it seems that every time Straw syncs the RSS, he's done a minor edit of his most recent blog. 20 or so times daily. Which means that whenever I'm using my computer (more than is healthy) I keep getting interrupted by a non-update. Argh!

Or am I getting the wrong end of the stick and is this a Straw or GP bug?

Either way it's damned annoying. And if it is the former, and if Michael ever reads this: you aren't limited to only one blog per day! And it needn't be perfect!

Gave myself a crash course in XSL/XML today. Found out that to merge together XML documents you need to use XInclude. It's crazy how hard it is to find out about XInclude given how useful it is.

My father once told me that I'd know I was grown up once I started to get irrationally paranoid, and that I'd know I was an adult when I recognised my responsibilites.

Whenever I use cheap shampoo I swear I get uncontrollable dandruff. I'm beginning to think it's a ploy to make you purchase the more expensive shampoos... "Pay up or accept ailments!".

I've been out of work for too long, it's time to get a job to make sure I can pay my mortgage.

Development pace has been disappointing. I made progress with Ibex, with quite a few widgets now working including a rudimentry tabpane implementation! But my GNOME Office work has been slow and I've failed (despite making promises) to deliver the website this weekend. It is now a priority.

It helps if you don't have to spend the best part of 2 hours washing dishes. At one point it felt like an insurmountable task. Battered and bruised, I only just survived.

Never let the girlfriend cook a fry-up for Sunday dinner - I spent a couple of hours recovering from severe indigestion. I never have indigestion. At least, never before now.

There is hope! [1] [2]

We've made some real headway with Ibex over the last few days. Adam finally awoke from his slumber with a mass of patching ensuing. (He'll disappear for weeks but then code in a few days more than most developers could do in a month.)

Anyway, his patches introduced a few regressions which we (myself and Tupshin) quickly backed out [3]. I know there's a few undocumented bugs still with the core that I've encountered - documenting them was difficult until some of the existing bugs were fixed - but now most of the important bugs are fixed, I should be able to isolate them over the next few days.

[1] There's quite a lot of Ibex code (code running on Ibex) involved in those simple widgets, a lot of what we need to go onto create the more complex widgets. Stuff like org.ibex.theme.base.border-img or ibex.lib.selectable which will both be widely used.

(They're just plain text files so I don't know why Epiphany is being so anal about opening them up, especially when it displays .wmv files inline as garbled text. I hope stuff like that is fixed for GNOME 2.6 which I'm eager to switch to.)

[2] Check out the antialiased text. That's freetype compiled into mips and run using mips2java at runtime. That way we can make anything that can be compiled into mips code run over Ibex. Crazy stuff but very preferrable to having to rewrite Freetype in Java.

[3] Darcs rules. It's one of those relatively unknown gems out in the Free Software world. It certainly makes our development life a lot easier than CVS or any centralised server.

As HP writes: In other news, increasing dependencies on the proprietary JDK in OO.org, which forces the codebase shipped by Red Hat, Debian, and other companies who won't rely on a JDK license from Sun to diverge more and more from the mainline. Not to mention the StarOffice vs. OpenOffice.org delta.

If ever there was a case for needing GNOME Office, that is it. Otherwise most Distributions will be finding themselves dependent upon licenses from Sun. I think Ximian backed the wrong horse with OOo. I just hope I can help the GO team prove it.

Hacking on the Ibex widgets continues. Hopefully tonight the first few widgets will be complete. A few bugs in the core, however, will prevent us from releasing a demo. There's not much I can do about that, though, than wait on and nag the core developers.

I'm so tired right now. Still, I wasn't overly fond of HP's take on GNOME Office.

GNOME Office was not viable 2 years ago as anything other than a meta project. A lot of hard work by the AbiWord, Gnumeric, and GNOME-DB teams has changed that. Now a GNOME Office suite is a viable target, and the excellent work by the 3 member projects (member, not associated) at moving towards a shared architecture looks set to deliver that.

Jody is abstracting the plugin framework, among other things, out of Gnumeric into libgoffice which will provide an excellent starting point for decent integration between the suites.

And whilst there may be differences - such as the cross-platform implementation - between the projects, this is nothing that would be solved by a merger. No, what is needed is cooperation and collaboration. And Jody, Dom, Rodrigo, and the other involved talented developers have been working towards that for several months now.

Hell, we have developers from Inkscape, Conglomerate, Planner, and even GnuCash in on the discussions. There is even a rudimentry presentation app bundled with Inkscape called Inkview that may well develop further.

Now the opportunity is available to make GNOME Office a competetive suite. We now have viable, world class applications that can and are aligning their direction and goals.

I just dropped my car keys 3 times between getting out of the car and the 5 yards to my front door. Sleeping improperly really does affect motor control and I'm just glad the mistakes were that trivial and not occuring from behind the wheel. Must not drive tired.

Also I think I'm obsessive. I was pissed off that I didn't have any worthwhile email after my 4 and a bit hours of sleep.

Now it is a choice between going for a run and going back to bed. I should go for a run... but sleep is so nice.

Just saw MisterP's comments on BURT and emailed him about GnuCash which sounds like a closer match.

Speaking of GnuCash, the GNOME Office list has been alive this week with discussions on how GnuCash could use parts of GO and vice versa. It started off really well but the deteriorated a little as linas went off on a bit of a tangent, writing off the Gnome-DB project for use by GnuCash (or more specifically, QOF, a project spawned by GnuCash) by:

  1. Confusing the role of libgda ("my project is better than your project" - no, it's different)
  2. Judging libgda using 2-years-ago experiences of (what was then an immature) gnome-db instead of the current state of the project

All along Rodrigo (rodrigo) kept politely pointing out QOF might be able to use libgda rather than manually do all the datasource abstraction work itself. He did well to stay civil.

Anyway, it seems that the GnuCash/QOF guys are intent on doing everything the hard way. Which is amazing considering the barely-dated statements regarding the state of the GnuCash project. There's no indication that they will compromise or be pragmatic about anything. The GnuCash team have admirable goals for the project, but they're just so unrealistic for the short/medium term.

My opinion: AbiWord and Gnumeric (and even Gnome) have become great applications by setting realistic goals and achieving them relatively quickly. GnuCash has floundered by setting ludicrous targets, taking years to get there, and then wondering why the project is so far behind the rest of the field. But they'll tell you it's because of a lack of developers and manpower.

We're not going to see GnuCash2 this year which is a crying shame, especially when the developers claim that, "Our users are everything." The users want a Gnome2 port! Now! Not a robust, multi-user, server-client, swiss-army-knife, uber-majig.

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