13 Aug 2000 Josiah   » (Observer)

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.

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