Recent blog entries for aaronl

mustapha: Because it's C++. C++ automatically defines a type associated with a structure, unlike C.

I share your pain of being in a class that uses the idiotic AP classes. As if C/C++'s built in types aren't good enough...

schoen: What is so offensive about "The world is the whole of the facts, not the things."?

The Napster settlement has been bothering me a lot, especially since it sets absolutely no precedent. A single music company agreed to drop a suit. Great. What if on the new SuperNapsterPayPerDownload service some kiddie starts trading music from different labels than BMG, and those other labels (which might be small and independent) for some reason do not want their music distributed in this way? Is it OK just becuase Big Business is behind the pay service? BMG will get money from the new Napster service, but small independent labels will most likely not.

This is depressing because many had hoped the Napster case would clarify this confusing aspect of copyright law. As far as current copyright law stands, I see no reason why an independent label could not sue Napster/BMG and have just as large a case as the RIAA did.

What was settled was not settled between all parties that had claim to the money that "Napster had taken away from them". All that happened was that one of the larger parties got what they wanted. This does not clarify anything and does not solve any problems that other companies claim they had. If smaller record companies sue, do they have a chance?

I am also unhappy about the distinction that seems to be arising between the legalities of a non-pay service versus those of a costly service. If Napster was aiding people in piracy when it was public, why will it be any different when it becomes an exclusive club of piracy? Audio that BMG does not hold the copyright to still will be traded. Many companies, and even people blamed Napster for facilitating this piracy, and therefore being liable for it. Once Napster comes up from the underground, how will it be any different? If I record farting noises, sell CD's of them, and they get put on Napster, can I sue Napster? Well, this was basically what companies were doing to Napster before the BMG deal.

The involvement of Big Business should not change the percieved or real legality of a service

Goddamnit. I wrote my diary entry in Netscape and it HAD to crash when I was about to post it. Back to trusty vi. _______________________________________________________________________

This weekend was eventful. I started it off in a hacking sense by writing a minor patch for console-apt while waiting for Star Trek: TNG: Interface to air on Saturday morning. The patch fixed some strings, a bit of Debian packaging, and some mixed-up keys. I posted several wishlist items on console-apt also. I am about to submit a bug on GtkMozEmbed stating that pressing the spacebar in a TEXTAREA form causes the entire document to scroll, which is obviously very annoying, and is also the reason why I didn't write this diary entry in Skipstone originally :/.

A Javur(tm) applet that I have been anticipating for some time has finally appeared. The basic principle is that people have too many passwords to remember, and that it is not acceptable to compormise by using the same password for every site/machine. This applet hashes a master password with the site name to produce a password for the individual site which cannot be used to deduce the master password or the password for any other site without practically impossible amounts of computing power or major advancements in codebreaking techniques. I realized that if I used this, the first thing I would want to do after the hashed password had been computed would be to copy it to the clipboard, since I don't like typing in 16-digit hexidecimal numbers :). I added a button to the applet to do just this and sent a patch. No, I don't know Java. Don't ask :).

I was excited to see that Gnapster, XMMS, and X-Chat all won Linux Journal Readers' Choice awards. I have contributed code to all of those projects.

XFree86 4.0.1 is in Debian Woody, and some really cool packages including Gnapster-1.4, imlib2, feh, and scrot are in Incoming. Beaujolais!

Now a query: I'm running a 10kRPM SCSI drive in my workstation, and it performs great. But I am not cooling it at all. It seems to be roughly the same temperature as my trusty EIDE drive, but I've heard that cooling a 10kRPM drive is very important. Is there a safe way that I can cool this drive without replacing my case with a more ventilated one? Would a chasis fan be sufficient or is direct cooling required? I do not want a box looking like Zork.

Halloween

I just don't get it. All throughout the year, we have morals and responsibilities. As always, there is an exception. Halloween. What really bothers me is that kids are encouraged by their parents to demand candy from neighbors in a rude, disrespectful way, and their kids have come to expect this candy. Someone needs to tell them that this kind of behavior is not acceptable. I, personally, am very disturbed when I am working and dozens of people ring my doorbell because it is social convention that I am to give them candy for no good reason. I do not observe halloween and I would find it similarly offensive if people demanded church taxes or some other nonsense from me on christmas.

When I was young, I used to give in to this becuase my parents told me it would be fun. As an older, possibly more mature person, I now know that it is wrong to knock on strangers' doors and demand candy. Now that I know this, I am doing my best to try to educate children about it.

In short, my hopes are very simple: that parents will strive to educate their children about what conduct is permissible, not what conduct is acceptable to society. The example of this not happening that I am most shocked by is Halloween, which is probably the easiest to recognize becuase it is so stupid. The whole idea of Halloween, involving dressing up in odd costumes and running around threatening neighbors over candy is so remarkably stupid ti any reasonable person that it becomes apparent that such behavior is unwelcomed and an accident of society. The problem with society is that once any holiday is established, it is extremely hard to antiquate. This is the same reason as why holidays get added at an unsustainable pace and will continue to be shoved into the calendar until we are stuck with a great number more than 366 holidays annually. But of more relevence, it is a reason why Halloween is not socially depricated, like other stupid immoral and stupid practices such as witchburning censorship already are. This makes Halloween a very difficult annoyance to combat. For now, the best way to go about that is probably to educate parents on how Halloween rampages are obnoxious to neigbors and are detrimental to society.

Mustapha, iain: Ummh, I never forked Gnapster. I don't know where you get the idea. I am implementing this as an official feature. Stop being uninformed.

I've been ranting a lot recently, so here's another one to go along with them.

iain said he wanted to turn Gnapster into a bonobo component.

So I'd like to rant about component systems. Note that when I refer to "Bonobo" I am talking about component systems in general. This particular rant is about software design philosophy, not gnome-bashing.

Component systems blur the boundries of what is one application and what is another. This would be nice if it could be put to good use. But the fact is that the only thing it is good for is bloat. Once an application supports Bonobo or a similar library, it can do anything. As proven by Nautilus, it can browse the web, manage files, play MP3's, view images, launch progams.... I'm not saying that that code could be writen to make them do these things, as is the situation with Emacs, I'm saying that they can do them. By design. So, the application has no clear purpose. Well, except Nautilus. Nautilus' purpose is to do everything. But what about all other applications? Is there no need for new programs?

Let's assume for now that it is a good thing to abolish applications and only write new components. These would all run inside a huge mega-application like Nautilus. Doesn't this defeat the purpose of having a multitasking operating system? What if Nautilus crashes? What if Nautilus' UI doesn't match what would be needed for a specific application? In a classic X window-system display, you can run Gnome applications, KDE applications, Motif applications, etc etc. These might look and/or act a bit differently. But if we were to abandon applications and move to a component-based model, you would need one mega-app for gnome components, one mega-app for KDE components, etc... And then traditional X applications would look out-of-place.

My biggest gripe about component architecture is that I just don't understand when it would ever be needed. What are the shortcomings of a gtk widget in a shared library that Bonobo addresses? Mozilla, XEmacs, and other applications have sucessfully been embedded using GtkWidgets. I can understand why embedding might be nice in some circumstances, but I don't see why everything should become a component rather than a chuck of code in a library that the application using it calls directly.

Bonobo sounds like ActiveX: something that could embed parts of an application in a way that would be inferior to just running the application directly.

Bonobo does not sound like Emacs: A powerful, exstensible application that is oriented to a specific set of jobs. Emacs is for text editing and processing. Emacs cannot browse the web. Sure, you can write code that will let you browse the web in Emacs (and such code has been writen), but this actually has to be implemented inside Emacs. With a component system, your text editor can become a web browser if a component for web browsing is installed on the system. Say, for a real web browser to use. Now, instead of the code being in the web browser, it's in a component that can be used by any application.

I am definetely not anti-functionality, but I can't for the life of me see any reason why I would want to browse the web inside my word processor. It would be a neat hack, but in a realistic sense it is stupid. If I wanted to browse the web, I would lanuch my web browser. I would keep functionality seperated cleanly. So, flexibility is good, but I weigh the pros against the cons of every individual situation. And when there are no pros, the answer is usually very simple to arive at: the flexibility of this particular thing has no purpose, and therefore sucks.

mjs: Are you trying to say that a gnome application takes up less memory or equal memory than an equivilent GTK program? I pointed out long ago that I was never trying to arive at accurate figures.

itp: Suit yourself. I'll use the programs that I want to use. As for your claims that "one extra dependecy" is resonable:

gnome-bin gnome-core gnome-libs-data libgdk-pixbuf2 libgnome32 libgnomesupport0 libgnomeui32 libgnorba27 libgnorbagtk0

...looks like a hell of a lot more than one dependency to me. If it was one library, I might not mind as much. This is not even including the libraries that the Gnome libraries depend on, such as audiofile, esd, etc.

itp: Wow, you really ARE an idiot. Considering the fact that only very few programs on my system use Gnome libraries, shared memory has nothing to do with this at all. It is extremely unlikely that I would run two Gnome apps at one time. Now, you claim that Gnome has advantages?? Consistany of interface? HAHAH! Let's make some completely unrelated applications have exactly the same interface for doing different things! No thanks. I do not care for the ugliness or so-called "features" of gnome-libs. Therefore, I have decided it has no purpose on my system other than trying to convince me to run that crappy desktop environment. And therefore, it must go. Considering the fact that only a few applications on my system use Gnome, this is not such a hard task. I am doing it for my personal convenience and for others who want a gnomeless system. Freedom of choice is a good thing, but the Gnome developers don't seem to think so.

You go develop applications for Gnome and have fun. Unfortunately, many people will not use them. And it will also make you look like an idiot for not seperating your engine code from your sissy desktop Windows 95 emulation. But then again, it is far too late for anyone who has read this to not think you're an idiot or ever have their mind changed, so that shouldn't matter much.

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