Older blog entries for gilbertt (starting at number 26)

Long entry warning. It's been a while.

So. I've been busy. The new job is working well, the 16 hour days are cutting into my hacking time, but it pays the rent :-)

Also the work is switching over the corporate website from a proprietary platform to linux, a nice challenge and an honourable one IMO.

So the website redesign is going right on track. The VA linux servers arrived and are all installed (by yours truly). We have apache, we have tomcat, we have mod_jk, all working together nicely and serving jsps and static content. (That was me too ;-)) The SSL area is nice and tight (me), and running in the background is an application server. (Oh yeah, I did that). Oh yes, and I've been writing stuff in java, even some enterprise beans ;-) Who would have thought it?

Thoughts on java? Well, apart from the not-really-free beef I have, it's a fantastic language to code in. I really love it. Pretty much makes sense in a lot of ways. This is good. The implementation aspect still sucks a little, a small daemon I wrote to keep an SQL server database (ick) synched up to an openLDAP one works great, and was nice to write, but just sitting there doing very little it uses ~12Mb resident and that's a lot more than it's perl script equivalent ;-)

Still, the fact that I can just take this code and plug it into the app server and let client-side jsps interface with it pretty well rocks IMO. (Let's not mention the appserver DEMANDS a box with half a gig of RAM to run on ;-))

So, anyway, I think we'll hit the deadline, and along the way lots of other little things spin off to please the Management. Better site traffic monitoring and analysis, better uptime, off-site maintanence and updates, heavy automation compared to the current setup and I persuaded them to switch to mailman for client bulletins.

That's all fun, and in the little free time I have I am redesigning geist, and re-coding it in C++. The codebase was growing large, and rapidly becoming hard to manage with my object-model-in-C strategy. C++ is making things a lot more doable.

So far I just have some base classes, but it's going to be easy to grow up from once those are nailed down. The strategy is that everything is a composite object. So a window has a ->render() which calls render() on the document in it, which calls ->render() on it's children, which all render their children until the leaves actually draw themselves :-) There is a lot more to it than that, but getting this bit right is utmost if the rest is going to follow through nicely.

I've also written a website for smoothwall, a firewall mini-distro I am about to help write a better UI for.

Still hacking on camE, gom, feh, scrot as time permits of course...

Other than that I'm looking forward to xmas and wishing there were several more hours in the average day :-)

Hehehe. My pro-debian rant has succeeded in converting a total of 29 people to debian already, at least to try it for a bit, and that's just the ones who emailed me to tell me so. I doubt many will revert. Viva la revolution! :-)

Iain: it may help you to know that of the 80 people normally in #E, maybe 2 of them are Enlightenment developers. The flack you get is from users (and non-users) of the window manager. This is par for the course when it comes to IRC, from my experience, abusing people who don't know the facts make people feel big, or something.

There are maybe 4 people who hack on E and related projects full time, and about 6 more who do stuff now and again. Only a couple are in #E a lot. I idle in there all the time, but all serious #E related talk occurs in a vastly higher signal/noise developer channel.

The developers that do hack on E are genuinely busy working on it pretty much all the time, and so won't sit in #E answering questions about obsolete test software like EFM. We respond to bug reports and offers of help, and to any discussion involving nudity, goats or pants.

There is zero elitism on behalf of the developers, we are really genuinely busy trying to cut an awful lot of code. It's just the standard IRC bullshit you have to try and filter out IMO. There are a lot of people sitting on IRC in an awful lot of channels, waiting to look good by making someone else look bad. There's nothing special about #E in that respect.

What would be nice would be if those bitter folk would turn to the light and help us write the damn software! But I don't see it coming ;-)

Damn. Traditions can be pretty screwy. I was walking past a fireworks display today, and paused for a moment to watch a crowd of children and adults dancing and cheering as a man-sized dummy was burned at the stake. It chilled me a little. Then I realised I'd been doing the same thing for 20-odd years without a second thought. I wonder if half the people around that bonfire really knew what they were symbolising? I mean, not only is burning someone at the stake a pretty morbid thing to get excited about, it's also pretty nasty to be celebrating the horrid death of someone by such means for a couple of hundred years, no matter what they did to "deserve it".

Of course it could be just me. This crack pabs sold me is pretty nasty...

aaronl: 3 ghosts will be visiting you in the small hours to put a bat up your nightdress.

Now playing : Coldplay - Trouble.
Looks like I maybe got me a new job. Will know by the end of the week. Looks like a good 'un.
I'd say things were looking up, but then I don't have a good track record with that kind of prediction lately.

In an effort to put the evil lack-of-job related stress out of my mind, I coded for 17 hours straight today. I feel kinda fulfilled now, although I'm currently having trouble seeing. I got two complete apps written and a lot of hacking done on my long term projects. Here's what I ended up with:

scrot (SCReen shOT) is a commandline screen capture utility which uses imlib2. I wrote it from scratch as a handy alternative to ImageMagick's import command. It has the benefit of imlib2's dynamic image saver modules, meaning I support lots of image formats without much work. Plus I like the name ;-)

camE (continuing the funky naming tradition) is a v4l webcam grabber, using (can you guess?) imlib2. This means you can label your cam image using antialiased truetype fonts and blend them onto the image with transparency if you like. Lots of other features, like ftp or scp uploading and the ability to run as a daemon forever (no X connection needed). It's pretty fun and you can see the results on my webcam page.

Geist now has font styles (antialiased truetype fonts with shadows, outlines, blurs etc), a font style editor, a selection rectangle, half-written polygon code, a faster wordwrapping algorithim, and a slightly more optimised renderer.

Feh got some long needed luvvin' and I fixed a coupla little buglets that had been around for a while.

Got some work done on more of the backend libs we will need for Enlightenment's DR17 release. As some of you may know, this is a complete rewrite (see DR16's codebase for hints why ;-)) and so there is a lot to do. But using imlib2, evas and some of the other abstraction layers we are currently working on, e17 will be a wonderful thing. In maybe 2 years time ;-)

Anyway, I feel better for that. I put up snapshots of most of this stuff on my site, even some rpms (will make debs tomorrow) for people to check out. Now we have finally made a stable imlib2 release, I thought I may as well get some example apps out there for people to toy with.

Yesterday I took a look at Python. I have to say, I kinda liked it. The OO stuff is quite nicely implemented, and no matter how much source code I read, it always seems unusually readable... Now that's a nice feature. Plus the XML and ODBC modules are really, really nice to use. I might play some more.

Continuing my experimental mood, I also wrote a WAP/WML interface to my website. You can view it at http://linuxbrit.co.uk/wap/ if you have one of those fancy phones. I don't actually have such a phone, so I have no idea if my WML is clean, or even renders, but it looks good from here. The big plus is that I set it up to automatically generate from the meta language I write my site in, so it's no extra work to maintain. Super ;-)

At some point soon I'll start freaking out about the job thing, but today for the first time I appreciated the extra time I had for Open Source. Just wish I could keep a roof over my head and continue coding :-) I guess we all do though?

As my eyesight blurs and fades, I think I'll head off to bed.

Trying to put my life back together. Picking up the pieces, dealing, etc.

For legal reasons I still can't really talk about the reasons behind our closure. I'm sure you can all make a good guess though, huh?

There is some light at end of the tunnel. Lots of people have gone out of their way to help me find a new job. I have had help from unexpected sources, which was flattering, to say the least.

A couple of slim chances for next week. Great jobs which I am unlikely to get, after that I have to get less fussy.

The resume is up to date, and out there. I guess I have to sit back and hope now. Maybe brush off the suit too ;-)

It's times like this I really resent all this real life stuff and want to just curl up in a corner and code. It is a shame that even corners cost a lot to maintain in London, and a corner without a roof is no fun in winter ;-)

8 Oct 2000 (updated 8 Oct 2000 at 19:15 UTC) »

The really scary thing about taking the plunge from a steady, dependable, stable career in a stiflingly large corporate environment into the dynamism, involvement and whirling pool of instability that is a small startup is what happens when it all goes horribly wrong and you end up in the shit.

There is nothing worse in the world than being given something better than you ever expected, realising it is exactly what you wanted, where you wanted to be, and suddenly having it all taken away.

Well, maybe there is, but it hasn't happened to me. Yet.

Fucking useless uselessness.

aaronl: That's nothing. I just forked wget because it links with xlib. Oh wait. It doesn't. Duh!

So anyone coming to apachecon next month? I'll be there, my company has a stand (between Sun and IBM) and I'll be there showing off some web clustering and video streaming etc. Should be a lot of fun.

Oh, I'm all moved in to my new place in London now. It's really nice. I ate out at Waggamamma the other night. Awesome Japanese food. Really cool place.

Gonna join Lonix next week, they tend to meet in a pub in SoHo - London rocks :-)

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