Older blog entries for djm (starting at number 8)

Life has been good. One week ago I finished a Masters degree (business) and the relief from responsibility is palpable. I have had time to read, watch videos, go out to the cinema and work a bit on the house. Lovely.
I have just started playing with Python, after a couple of years of almost-but-not-quite motivation. It is quite a nice language which lends itself to a more disciplined mode of work than, say, perl. Unfortunately I suspect that it will take a while to get used to all its nuances and idioms. I expect that this will become my language of choice for short non-text-munching programs and especially for GUI tools. I expeted that the whole "whitespace as syntactic element" was going to annoy me no end, but I hardly noticed it at all.
The reason I have started playing with Python. Wow. This library is really well structued and the whole of Python+SDL is much more than the sum of the parts. My stupid "blast the politician" game is fully functional with graphics, sound and joystick support in 250 lines of code. Still trying to figure out how much of the really cool sprite architecture works when using OpenGL though.
Silly Desktop
I am starting to get frustrated with Metacity; it has some really stupid behaviors and the developers seem more intent on pleasing mythical "real users" than people who submit bug reports backed up with patches. Worse, there is no obvious knob to turn to switch window managers to something less patriarchal.
I posted the code to a relatively niche project of mine and was suprised to receive three sets of patches in the first week. More scary was that someone else has already built pretty much the same thing, right down to the commandline options. Theirs is a weird "GPL but you have to pay us first" licensing approach, so I don't feel like I have wasted my time.
27 Oct 2002 (updated 27 Oct 2002 at 11:40 UTC) »

Lots of trolls on Advotgato now. Thanks raph for allowing me to ignore them easily!

Unfortunately John Howard represents exactly the opposite: doctrine without decency. Remember that this is the man who installed a former head of a church as Australian head of state - I can't imagine a more ridiculous action in such a multicultural society

A good quote I noticed in the local paper today:

"Terrorism is not a substitute for war, but a preparative. The purpose of instilling terror is to force a polarisation of conflict by making neutrality an impossibility, so that armed confrontation becomes inevitable." - Germaine Greer, "The awful day Australia stopped being everyone's best mate", The Melbourne Age, 2002/10/21

I have been using Redhat 8.0 for a couple of weeks and the "(null)" beta for a few weeks before that. I am very impressed with the usability of the desktop, but less impressed with its stability. gnome-terminal leaks memory like a pig, forcing me back to xterm. X tends to lock up if left in a GL screensaver too long.

The integration of widget sets is sweet and the font AA is very nice. The only blemish on this is the inconsistency and ugliness of OpenOffice (which is otherwise a brilliant product) - I wish Sun had bit the bullet and ported it to Gtk.

By the 8.2 release, I would find it difficult to argue in favour of spending AUD$1000 on MS Windows and Office for a business desktop.

OpenSSH: I think that the recent release went very well. Anyone who did not have their head in the sand knew and had an opportunity to close the vulnerability. A few people are complaining that Theo "cried wolf" in not just recommending that the offending feature be disabled. Perhaps they would feel differently if it was a feature that mattered to them (as it matters to the people who use it)? A typically selfish attitude to take.

Quoth jfleck:

The problem, as many of the recent whiners on Advogato do not seem to grasp, is that free software is about doing something. It's not about complaining about what other people do.

This is so true, but the problem isn't limited to Advogato. It seems that Free Software has come to mean "Free to complain, abuse and belittle developers' contributions".

Perhaps people assume that everyone hacking on Free Software is paid to do so. Perhaps they don't stop to think that their actions demotivate individuals who frequently try to squeeze Free Software development time in around very busy work and personal schedules.

Home: My fiancee and I bought our first home - a very scary and exciting prospect. Making the place a satisfying home will take a lot of my energy over a prolonged time. there is much to be done, starting with toilet in the back yard...

OpenSSH: I haven't had a chance to work much on OpenSSH for nearly two months now :( Meanwhile Markus & Niels have implemented something excellent which will make future OpenSSH versions much more resistant to attack. Making this work in the portable version is a bit more tricky, mainly because PAM is such a dog.

SSSCA: I look on with amazement and horror as the USA slides towards a corporate-police state. It boggles the mind that a country with such an inspired consitution is so corrupted by shortsighted greed. Even more amazing is the fact that most of the population seems too numb and apathetic to do anything about it. (Not that I expect the citizens of .au to be any better when our time comes). The greatest trick that political manipulators have pulled over the public is to convince them that politics is irrelevant and boring.

PERL: I have started liking Perl again. This has been due to exposure to a cow-orker who is much better at it than I and the discovery of The Template Toolkit. My standing objection is that Perl is still way to easy to write horrid code with. (Un)fortunately, Perl is so damned convienient. Are there any strongly-typed scripting languages?

Busy busy busy.

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