Older blog entries for davidw (starting at number 186)

raph, despite its lack of cool-new-thing hipness, the Tk toolkit performs pretty well cross-platform (and people are busy working on making it look more modern on Unix), and has a canvas... And should you so desire, it's not that hard to write new widgets and/or hack on the (very nicely written) C code.

I wrote an app for a client of mine in Tcl/Tk on my PPC Linux machine. The first time we tried it out on his windows machine, it "just ran".

apenwarr: if I were writing a program like that I would:

1) Create the whole thing in Tcl.

2) Check for bottlenecks.

3) Rewrite in C.

4) Go back to #2 and continue iterating as needed.

Tcl (and Python) have nice C API's that let you easily (IMO at least) communicate between C and Tcl. So what you could end up with is Tcl as the language that commands the fast bits, which are all in C. That way, you can easily switch around details of how things work (do this now, then this), and keep things fast.

At least that's the theory... I've seen it work pretty well in practice, too. Tcl is pretty reliable... I know people who are using it for industrial control systems that need to run for months at a time. It's not as fancy as some languages out there, but it's written very well and a lot of effort goes into making sure nothing breaks.

As far as Erlang, after having worked with it - what I don't like about it is that it has a tendency to want to be "the world", whereas something like Tcl plays very well with C or other languages, and the outside world in general. Very few languages can get away with this attitude, in my opinion. C and C++.... Java is seemingly making a go of it. Lisp tried (think Lisp machines) and failed, although the language itself is not a failure.

apenwarr - you need to look at Erlang. Ericsson runs telephone exchanges with it.

I have gathered some statistics on programming language popularity, to which I added a bit of commentary and conjecture. It is available here:


The Linux Incompatibility List is going even better than I'd thought, despite a premature slashdotting with blew the server out of the water.

Groklaw reports that SCO has closed its Italian offices. I hope it's true. I went to one of their silly meetings where the bastards had the gall to say that Linux users were basically thieves.

27 Dec 2003 (updated 27 Dec 2003 at 01:49 UTC) »
Alert: the movie Dogville is a stinker. Normally I wouldn't take the time to write this down, but this one's bad. Bad bad. Bad in the sense that adjectives like abominable, horrendous, atrocious, horrible, putrid, and vile roll off the tongue and are unsatisfying as a means for comunicating the awfulness of this film. Perhaps something more vulgar like "steaming pile of horse shit" begins to do it justice, but I wouldn't want to offend the horse shit with the comparison.

First of all, it's not really a film, it's more of a play. Or at least the set is a stage with some chalk lines drawn on it. Apparently by not having anything in the way of props, the viewer is supposed to focus on the characters. I would have settled by not having the film itself so that I could focus on doing something more pleasant with my life, like poking my eyes with hot needles. I wasn't expecting Lord of the Rings as far as scenery, but this film left me not only using my imagination to fill in the details, but using it to try and imagine myself doing something less painful and boring.

At least with a play, I could have watched it on my own terms, but instead, the director treats the viewer to a hurky-jerky-nauseavision style that makes even home handycam shots look like quality work.

Needless to say, being an "artsy" film, it drags on for over two hours, despite this version being cut down by the director from the original. It's divided into an introduction and 9 chapters that go by so slowly that it brought back memories of the clock ticking by at an impossibly slow rate in some hated class in school where seconds turn into minutes and minutes to hours. Only I paid to have this gem inflicted on me.

Apparently, the story, which is about a woman pursued by gangsters who hides out in a small colorado town which at first treats her well and subsequently heaps abuse on her (much like the director abuses the audience), is supposed to be about american foreign policy. No, I'm not kidding. I don't really see the relationship either, any more than watching a drunk man pee on a dumpster is a fascinating commentary on contemporary water rights politics in western canada. In any case, the film also deals with the cruelty of mankind, although midway through the film, you realize that the victim is not Nicole Kidman's character, but you, the viewer.

Conclusion: I have had more fun trying to get slivers out from under my fingernails. About as thought-provoking as the town crazy's shouting match with a light pole.


I have started contacting their distributors/resellers/etc in my area, to offer them help transitioning to Linux, and explaining why that's in their best interests - SCO is focused on lawsuits, not their products, which are outdated in any case. I figure it might be good for them, because they get an escape hatch from the SCO train wreck, and good for me, because if I work things right, I will gain some new clients, and get access to new people and businesses.

14 Jun 2003 (updated 14 Jun 2003 at 19:27 UTC) »

Since I never really get much feedback about my journal here, I decided to just concentrate on writing about living in Italy, which seems to be what most people find interesting anyway.

So, "The Padova Chronicles" are available here: http://www.dedasys.com/padovachronicles/

Hope you like it.

29 May 2003 (updated 29 May 2003 at 14:53 UTC) »

This definitely falls in the category of a wonderful surprise. I was frustrated because going to the European Tcl/Tk conference was looking really difficult, and I wanted to go meet the guys there... Infact, it hasn't worked, out, but out of the blue came another opportunity to go speak here:

Jornadas de Informática Universidade do Minho

Cool! So I'm really looking forward to going to Portugal - it looks like a fascinating place to visit. It would be nice to have more time and visit some friends in Spain too, but Ilenia and I hope to do that for a real vacation in September or October.

Having a bit of a nasty problem with Rivet, Tcl, Apache, signals and threads. Not quite sure what to make of it so far, but it promises to be a nasty one:-/

I have an API thought out for a new input layer that will let Rivet handle CGI apps with little or no rewrite - hopefully I'll get some time soon!

Looks like I won't be going to Germany for the European Tcl/Tk conference, which is unfortunate. On the other hand, there is a slim chance I might go to Portugal for another conference.

Scary: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/030527/168/4763y.html

The dollar continues to drop. There is an interesting article in the Economist about John Snow's lack of experience contributing to something that could go to far if it's not checked, unfortunately it's not linkable. The implication is that I need to get some European clients quick:-/

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