Recent blog entries for digitect

I just posted four years ago, so I'll try to keep this brief.

I'm now using Fedora 17 although two versions behind the current 19. No matter, Linux is now stable and feature-full outside of the GNOME GUI which we abandoned a year or two ago in favor of XFCE.

Although I rarely update Cream, I still regularly build gVim installers for Windows. I hope to get Cream 0.44 out the door shortly with some bug fixes and features I've added for myself that others may be interested in. Wow, 43 releases to date.

The big news is that I've founded SteveHallArchitecture and have devoted my professional endeavors to architecture that is both beautiful and efficient. In a way, this is the very same philosophy as my approach to Cream: simple, yet elegant.

Another year, another post. This is my 10 year anniversary of using Linux, fifteenth year of having email, and Cream still gets minor updates here in it's eighth year (started December 2001).

Well, here we are. It's been almost two years, so time for another post.

Cream is still in maintenance and minor update mode. I continue to enjoy getting into the code, but it happens less than is necessary to add major features.

The CAD front on Linux continues to be quite disappointing. I now believe it will be at least 5 years before there is even the possibility of Free Software available to industry. The area is overrun with modelers, but nobody who writes these remotely understands the point of CAD, dimensioned drawings, scale, etc. With 3D CAD software like Rev*t becoming mainstream, Linux will continue to get even farther behind.

I finally gave up on GRAMPS and bought a copy of RootsMagic for my old Windows box. It is such a joy to use--the interface is deceptively simple and yet the data structuring and tools are exactly what an experienced genealogist needs. GRAMPS has gone down the road of a huge interface with lots of supposed features, but it has tried to be so flexible and politically correct (design by committee) that it forgot what its main purpose is. I never got the impression that any of the developers have even a fleeting interest in genealogy, so, no surprise. After 9 years of Free Software, I'm finally comfortable purchasing the rare software again if it does exactly what I need.

I'm getting ready to upgrade to Fedora 9. My first (successful) Linux install was Red Hat 5.1 and I've never missed a release in between. Wow, I think this will be the 20th version I've used. (And I've yet to loose a single piece of data.)

Until next time...

Despite being more than three years since posting my last diary entry here, I'm contributing more to Free Software than ever before. Cream is better than ever, and open source has grown bigger than I could have imagined.

Reflecting back, I realize now that even small skills can add quite a bit to projects. I've become proficient in building Nullsoft installers, and can now offer them to various projects that can use one.

I've been 100 percent Free Software for several years now. This has meant the suspension of genealogical research waiting for GRAMPS to mature, but that time is quickly approaching. It has also meant I've been able to do no CAD at home, but I hope that in the next three years this, too, could change. Hopefully, it won't be 3 years until the next posting, but we'll see.

Yet another Cream release. With the recent job change, I'm not in a position to work on it much at all any more. I never used to understand why so many Free software projects withered on the vine or had total lack of polish. Now I'm starting to understand--good software needs a lot of love.

I'm most pleased with our CVS progress and the various scripts to update and build all the differenet release packages we manage on both Windows and Linux. Having a good project infrastructure really helps us focus on the code itself. A reliable release system means drops are less effort, and thus more likely. Not having to worry so much about these types of details also means less mental energy expended on keeping track of the tentacles. It's easier to leave the project for a week or two and come back to it without having to remember where we were. Hopefully this will relieve enough pressure to let us explore Python.

The new HDD setup is working like a champ. Just need to find time to migrate stuff, but it can be put off to whenever is convenient now. Although I still haven't figured out CD burning in Linux with my hardware. Gotta get that straight before we can use it as our primary OS, that's the backup system. Simple stuff mostly, I just need to do it via command line given that the Nautilus burn:/// is completely hosed. (Rather it freezes up half way through the CD. Gotta be a desktop interface thing, not a kernel or command line utilty problem.)

The new employer depends on more sophisticated Windows tools, and to a greater extent. Makes sense, given their international size and reach, but it means less input from me on the global scale. That's actually quite ok, I view it as an opportunity to learn and to drift back into userland a little more. 3D rendering looms larger as a result--I'm looking forward to using the creative side of my brain again. Not sure how Blender or PythonCAD could work in this Windows shop now, but those have always been personal interests rather than professional ones. Just need to make sure I don't become schizophrenic. ;)

Ugh, and now we want to move to a bigger house, too. *sigh*, Where does one find the time?

Whew, finally finished another Cream for Vim release. I never realized how much effort was involved in a Windows one-click installer. Also looking forward to learning RPM so we can release proper packages in the future rather than just tarballs. I've gained a new respect and will have more appreciation (and caution!) when I use someone elses.

Hopefully Vim 6.2 will be released soon. It's always nice to have an official release level to point folks to rather than trying to explain why patching would solve a particular problem.

I (still) hope to get a new hard drive soon, so I can get on with installation of the GNOME 2. My Red Hat 7.2 is starting to get a little worn, and a clean install to a new hdd with RH9 will be a refreshing change.

Now that Cream is settling down a bit, it may give me a little time to explore PythonCAD, and to learn Python. This seems a bit overwhelming at the moment, but I hope in a year to be as emboiled in that effort as I am now in Vim.

FINALLY was able to get a screenshot of the Arabic support patch working in Vim on Windows today. This has been quite a challenge since I know nothing of either C or Arabic. ;) Hopefully it will get into the official tree soon. It's been fun trying to support the effort with my meager binary factory.

We're moving ever closer to getting an installer for the Windows version of Cream for Vim. But NSIS sure has a curious script format. I don't understand why we can't all just get along on scripting, you would think a little standardization would go a long way. Everybody always wants to re-invent the wheel.

The Free Architecture list discussion has been a good exercise lately. Bruno obviously knows his tools and has proposed a very interesting concept for a versionable CAD file. I'm glad to have written the SQL idea for historical reference, but the speed issue will likely be a significant roadblock for the foreseeable future. While this has been a good exercise, I'm anxious to design a detail library system that solves practical issues that architectural firms face. Architects need help, but I don't think there are many who even realize the problem, let alone can define it well enough to be solved.

Of course! The point is that the diary is threaded random thoughts for inspiration. I'm such an idiot. All this time, I was thinking reading diaries required work. It's amazing how much there is to know and how little any one person has. (My old favorite joke, the Bachelor degree is for those who know it all, the Masters for those who realize they don't know anything, and the Ph.d when you realize that neither does anybody else.)

Anyway, I/we released a new version of Cream for Vim today. It's even a little more rough than our usual, but given the busy month we had with the new baby, respectable enough. The biggest satisfaction is finishing the last of the feature additions before 1.0. There's still at least four or five more releases, but we're essentially just cleaning up behavior and interface until then. Hard to believe the project is a year old, and that pure interface work would take this long. What a hobby!

I guess I don't really understand online diaries (blogs, whatever). Why would anybody post personal comments unless they're really intended for others to read, playing off general human voyeuristic tendancies to nose around in other people's affairs? Then they function as rant/props pages, sneakily disguised as private thoughts, but accessible to all. What better way to air the laundry and still be able to claim, "that wasn't meant to be public." We should all do a little better speaking appropriately and privately. Reserve public accessible forums for public speech only.

Ironic, wasn't that? I at the same time stirred the waters with comments both inflammatory and conflicting.

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