Older blog entries for edd (starting at number 56)

Late night hacking and long term feelings of guilt led to the release of version 0.5 of FOAFbot. FOAFbot's an IRC bot that acts as a community support agent, helping people to get to know one another through information they provide in their FOAF files.

It can also do some nifty stuff like find codepictions and read the RSS output from chump bots.

The brief story on this is that I last made a release of this software in August 2002, but it had become very slow due to lack of native support for context tracking in Redland, dajobe's RDF framework. Dave has done great work in implementing contexts since, and so I have been able to revive the code, simplify it considerably and make it a going concern once more.

Released another version of my prototype GNOME Bluetooth Subsystem. Implemented Bluetooth file push (OBEX PUSH) and a gnome-vfs plugin for discovered devices. You can now send a file to your phone, PDA, whatever, by dragging and dropping in Nautilus. I wanted this feature complete before I show off the work next week at GU4DEC.

New Epiphany release, 0.7.0. After a little bit of tweaking uploaded it to Debian sid.

Played a bit with SMan (warning, weird frame script on that page, to find SMan go to the 'Droll Software' link on the left first). It's a nice set of hacks for the P800 phone.

Mad update time.

Debian. Put a lot of time into the packaging of Epiphany recently. Dealing with the bug reports now takes more time than the actual packaging work itself. The advent of gcc3.3 in Debian has brought with it a few issues, too.

Conferences. Just got back from WWW2003. Lots of ideas and renewed enthusiasm to resurrect some of my semantic web work, but first need to concentrate and finish my paper for GUADEC.

walters, I hope you'll continue to post here on Advo. I've no got time to hare off to individuals' web sites, but I enjoy reading the advo diaries to get an overview of what my favorite hackers are doing.

28 Apr 2003 (updated 28 Apr 2003 at 08:04 UTC) »

Now back with my head just above water following the inevitable catch-up operation that comes after a vacation. I had a great time in India, but it took a week to recover afterwards!

Conferences. May to July is the busiest season for conferences. The biggest event on the horizon is XML Europe (5-8 May), for which I'm programme chair. There have been several last-minute dropouts so I've got some juggling to do. (Ankh -- I really hope you can make it, despite the SARS uncertainty.) These are not easy times for running conferences, unfortunately. Even if you get over the nervousness about travelling, there are budgetary constraints to overcome. Many conferences have gone to the wall in the last couple of years. Happily, we seem to be on track compared to last year, and I'm really excited about the programme. Later in May I'm going to WWW2003, which from what I hear has also been finding it somewhat difficult.

Hacking. I managed to fit more time in with gnome-bluetooth last week, and added a primitive OBEX server, so I can now send photos and other files from my shiny Sony Ericsson P800 to my PC. I'm busy hacking on support for sending files the other way now. My talk on Bluetooth and GNOME has been accepted for GUADEC, so I've got quite a lot of writing to do on this topic.

Debian. Just after I went on vacation, Marco released epiphany 0.5, so I also had to find time to update my Debian package last week, as folk were already clamouring for the new release (give me a break, people, I only had 10 days vacation! :) I built it against Mozilla 1.3, which seems to have various issues, but at least this means epiphany builds against a few more architectures. Roll on, Moz 1.4....

A day of some small achievements. Got external video working on my iBook (500 MHz model) thanks excellent help from some LinuxPPC kernel hacker types. Booked flight and accommodation for GU4DEC. Started work on a GNOME OBEX server so I can properly send stuff from my phone to the computer over Bluetooth. Hope to have most of that done by the end of the week.

Keeping it brief: been very busy due to XML Europe work. However, managed to package four new upstream BlueZ releases for Debian. Also did more SyncML-related work. I had been going to junk my XML/WBXML translator in favour of wbxmllib, but found that while wbbxmllib is excellent, it wasn't suitable for my one, very specific purpose. So I'll press on with my work but won't bother generalising it too much, as those who want a general WBXML toolkit can't go far wrong with wbxmllib.

Finally got a few moments to do a bit more hacking on my phone manager applet. There's something rather satisfying about having it reconnect automatically to my Bluetooth-enabled phone when I wander back into the house. Anyway, I got message sending going now, too. The remaining task to make it really useful is hooking it up to one or more addressbook sources.

Finalised the picks for the Apps track of the O'Reilly Open Source Convention. We've got 14 talks, spanning desktop, hacking, sysadmin and standards. The quality of submissions was excellent, and I'm very pleased with the way the track's looking.

The needle almost went off the distract-o-meter scale this last week. Need to pull it back into focus for the coming week. Here's some highs and lows of my free software work.

Highs: bluez-pan got accepted into the Debian sid archive (enables dial-up and ethernet networking over bluetooth devices.) Also the debs of the Epiphany browser (called epiphany-browser in sid) got accepted. I am struggling to identify whether this is good, or I've just laid myself open to processing endless bug reports. Finally, did some work on gnome-bluetooth which separates out the bluetooth GObject from the bonobo object, I have a user who just wants the GObject stuff for use in a handheld environment. Again, users are good, but mean more work!

Lows: failed miserably to get Epiphany compiling against MiniMo, a reduced footprint branch of Mozilla. The idea is the for embedders, you ship your own small distribution of Mozilla along with your browser. This would be ideal for Debian, where the only other alternative is compiling against the mozilla-snapshot. Unfortunately mozilla-snapshot moves at a slower pace than Epiphany, which is tracking Mozilla's CVS HEAD. I guess I just don't have enough Mozilla-l33tness and, per my policy of not getting too distracted, really oughtn't to spend the time acquiring it just now. Sigh.

16 Feb 2003 (updated 16 Feb 2003 at 19:41 UTC) »

Another 11pm project that got out of hand.... Out of curiosity I tried compiling epiphany, a new Gecko-based browser for GNOME: it strips all the excess away and concentrates on being functional and clean. After half an hour I was utterly hooked and wanted Debian packages for my system. At 3.30am I had them, after a few hiccups.

Somebody else had filed the ITP for epiphany on Debian but not pursued it recently, we're now talking about co-maintaining it. So, with a bit of luck epiphany could hit Debian unstable soon. Now, back to all those other bits of work I really needed to do.

11 Feb 2003 (updated 12 Feb 2003 at 00:02 UTC) »

For various reasons I've found a namespace-aware XML parser for C++ hard to come by (no thanks, I don't want Xerces). So today I wrote a first attempt at a C++ wrapper for the XmlTextReader API from DV's libxml2. It's incomplete, but it works, so I sent it to the libxml++ mailing list. Unfortunately this list doesn't seem to be archived online anywhere. I expect to be berated for my poor understanding of C++ and lousy style etc, etc, but I hope showing willing will get some movement going on this.

Now I have a lightweight C++ namespace-aware XML parser I can carry on with my SyncML work... It's amazing how many diversions this project is taking me on.

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