Recent blog entries for Josiah

I'll finish that story at the bottom of the post, first I'll talk about a few other things.

I've been spending way to much time on IRC lately. It's getting addicting. We have some of the oddest conversations. Today I just blerted out for no appearant reason:

Unicode needs that wierd Prince/The Artist Formally Know As symbol...

That would make a great character to replace the Euro symbol, I think I'll write a proposal. Why not? They are thinking about adding egyptian hyroglyphs for those in the scientific community. What about the music community?

I also watched the birth of a new open source project in #python. I don't know where it came from, but all of a sudden everyone got excited about writing an IRC bot. While they were asking about what to name the bot, I decided to butt in and offered the name Monty. It got accepted! The final project name is: MontyPybot. So if you see a person on IRC named Monty, who knows, you could be talking to the AI/bot I helped name. I wonder if I can put this on my Advogato list of projects I helped contribute to...

I may offer another suggestion in a day or two. We had the idea on another # about a month ago. The co-dependent bot. It begs and pleads people to stay in the chat room. Threatens suicide if they leave. Makes marriage proposals to complete strangers. Asks for hugs whenever it's feeling bad, ie: all the time.

I'm excited, it's great how open source can make programming fun again. Even for idiots like me.

Now back to my story:

I finally got Linux installed, but in the search to get all my hardware to work and an internet connection to work I probably re-installed between Redhat 6.1, 6.0, and Mandrake 6.0 about 20 times. My ISP has almost no way to find out the DNS number and I don't even know if they know it themselves. Sadly, I ended up going into a Windows help room and using my parents computer ran winipconfig which tells you those magical numbers. That probably took a night in itself. Then I wanted to get my soundcard, a SB Live! Value. It worked by default in Mandrake, but nada in Redhat. So I finally got the majority of my hardware working in Mandrake before I tried installing the SDK. Appearantly, Mandrake has the same bug every distro on the planet based off of RH 6.2 has that kills the SDK. Something about ncurses 5 being marked as 4 and everything being compiled against the wrong version so you can't just replace the rpms without recompiling your entire system. So it was back to Redhat where all I had to figure out was how to compile the sound drivers. I was really impressed with how easy it was to get the sound drivers to work. It took me too tries, but it wasn't too painful and I found a good tutorial on it before I screwed it up the second time.

Since I now had my system working and the Amiga SDK installed, I started to work learning VP. The language itself isn't that bad and is really well suited to being converted to almost any machine language in existance. So as a portable assembly it hits the nail on the head.

Unfortunatly the OS still has several gapping holes/bugs that just make developing for it at the moment a variable nightmare (from a newbies perspective). It doesn't flush output very frequently (or at all) which kills piping tools together, the compiler needs a few additions to make it more useful at finding bugs in the code. That I can tell, it doesn't check the parameter lists fitting with the parameter definations, so you don't know that a function call is correct till it is made and your program crashs. Along the same lines it needs to be able to check system tool calls to the actual tools themselves for spelling. It took me over an hour to find that freevent and freeevent were not the same thing. The GUI API needs to be improved a little, but at the moment that is forgivable because it is in such an early stage.

As a rebellion against all that was Amiga, I switched to learning Python. Actually, I figured that whatever I program in Python will end up being portable sooner or later so either way I'm still programming for it. Just that now, I'm in a better development environment.

I really wish I could feel the Amiga dream, but as time goes but it gets harder and harder. They are thinking about making people pay extra for the Windows SDK even though they have already paid for the Linux SDK. It doesn't seem like it would be that big of a deal, all the would have to be replaced is the runtime environment, everything else they can keep using from the CD because of the portable assembly stuff.

Ohh well, till next time.

Well, it's been over two weeks since my last diary entry. I guess I'll start where I left off, the night of the Linux install.

I've installed linux before and thought this would be the same type of thing, just pop the CD in, intall the packages I want, and then reboot to a LILO prompt. Not this time, I install, reboot, and am welcomed by the lovely Windows 2000 boot up screen. Oops. Maybe it screwed up near the end, the X-Window at the time when it was finishing up looks kind of strange, I'll reinstall. Same thing. Well fugg. Maybe Windows 2000 doesn't like having other OS's on the machine. That's simple, I'll just delete Windows 2000. I then wave good-bye to Windows for the last time. Litereally waving, and grinning, and waving. "Buh-bye! Buh-bye!"

This time during my Linux install I deleted the Windows 2000 partition (keeping my fat32 data partition that I store at the end of the drive). I reboot and am greeted with the friendly message "No OS found." Gee, that sucks, maybe my Redhat 6.1 CD is bad, lets try a different distro I know works, Mandrake 7.0. "No OS found." Well, I guess getting rid of the Windows 2000 partition doesn't make Windows any friendlier. Maybe if I get Partition Magic in there working on the boot sector I'll be able to get it working. So Partition Magic runs and tells me that one of the partitions is to large and asks me if I want to let it fix the partition. Sure! So after that, PM finishs loading and tells me that the entire disk is one bad partition. *eek!*

Well, it might just be PM, so I try to install Linux again and get nada for my data partition. Getting a little scared, I make a DOS bootdisk with fdisk on it and hope that that might fix it thinking that Win2K does bad things to the master bootrecord. So an one "fdisk /mbr" later, I am able to go c: and see all my lovely data. So what's my next move? Well, of course I try to screw up everything I have accomplished! Thinking that the MBR is fixed, I actually belived that maybe Linux will install. Nope. "No OS found." I twiddle with the PM/fdisk/diskdruid/install linux thing for a few more hours and finally give up being able to acess that c drive with my data. It had been over 10 hours and I got almost nothing accomplished.

I figure the next step would be to back up that data that I love so much on a friends hard drive, and just format the entire drive. My friend sleeps late however, so I got some sleep while waiting for the right time to go over to his house. I pop out my hard drive, put it in an anti-static bag, and make my way over to wake his sleeply butt up. He is nice enough to loan me 600 megs for a few days while I get my computer working, and I get to go home knowing that my data is safe.

(On a side note to this story, I got to watch him play Diablo II. It seems alot like the normal Diablo but with a few added extras. A little more strategy with the items. It steels an idea from FF7 about adding gems to weapons/armour that give you special abilities/upgrades. I'd buy it if it ran in Linux or if I could use to same CD to play the game in both Linux and Windows if I ever make the trip back to M$ land.)

When I get home, I try to grab some more sleep before I begin battleing the evil Win2K mbr. With my data safe, I start up Partition Magic and fry the entire drive. A complete format. Once again, I try to install Redhat 6.1, reboot and find the same message "No OS found." Arg! Does it never die? I scroung around my box of computer stuff and find the manucaturers disk that fixs all things hard-drive. This time I format it for real and get linux up and running.


To be continued...

Got the brand new Amiga SDK today, and decided that it wouldn't be a bad idea to create a developer journal to keep track of my progress on the new system. I'll be up all night installing and testing. I still need to install Redhat 6.1, the SDK, and start learning VPcode, the Amiga version of a "portable" assembly language.

In a few days, I'll probably start work on porting snes9x and on writing some free tutorials about working with the new system because the SDK comes in at a whopping $99 and people should be able to get a feel for it before they go out and spend that kind of money.

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