Older blog entries for haruspex (starting at number 22)

18 Nov 2003 (updated 18 Nov 2003 at 07:49 UTC) »
markonen: your comparison of licenses needs to include a column for price. Looking at the license cost of Office X versus any of Apple's software, I think you'll find the former is typically an order of magnitude greater. It would be fairer to ask why doesn't M$ allow nine laptop installs, instead of criticising Apple for relatively decent pricing of single licenses.

Oh wait...nearly forgot: software is supposed to be free.

16 Nov 2003 (updated 16 Nov 2003 at 13:07 UTC) »
I want group calendaring and scheduling for an office of about 18 people (browser based)
Hmmm. Spent several hours today getting OpenGroupware up and running on a Debian 2.2 box (kernel 2.4.18-pre7). Unfortunately - despite a painless by-the-book install - the application server seems rather fragile; it's easy to hit exceptions which effectively shut down a session.

If stability doesn't get any better than what I saw today, then I can't use it. And that is very disappointing. However, I haven't given up yet: I'll try not using the Debian packages and build from source instead. Although my knowledge of the package and its build process is minimal right now!

Feature wise, OGO looks like it probably does what I want, and quite a bit more. If anyone has any anecdotes about it, good or bad, please speak up here.

On the other hand, I installed the Debian packages for PostgreSQL 7.2 and was able to set it up behind OGO without a hitch. It's the first time I've installed or used PostgreSQL (I've done a lot with MySQL) and so far I am impressed.

Why on earth don't you just use eBay? A 21x4x based card is probably ideal - e.g. Farallon. These typically work with OS 9 (driver req), OS X, Linux, etc.

BBC BASIC is not "based on" or even arguably "influenced by" Modula-2. By Acorn's own admission (The BBC Microcomputer System, Master Series Reference Manual), its only concessions to "structured programming" are:
  • IF...THEN...ELSE (!!)
  • REPEAT...UNTIL - most likely borrowed from Pascal
  • ON...PROC - a poor man's switch()
  • "Multi-line" user-defined procedures and functions
  • Procedure and function parameters and local variables.
While Modula-2 shares some of these constructs, this does not reflect BBC BASIC's ancestry. In my opinion, while BBC BASIC was well ahead of its contemporaries, the above features are only the vaguest gestures towards good program structure. The procedure/function call mechanism was in practice quite limited, and of course, the language did not support anything beyond BASIC's traditionally spartan data types. Absolutely no structured types! If you needed such extravagances you would likely turn to Acorn's Pascal environment, or a Z80 Tube coprocessor with CP/M and Turbo Pascal.

Probably the most innovative feature of BBC BASIC was its built-in assembler; but this of course did nothing to promote "structured programming" either, apart from providing a neat way to integrate assembly where required.

Sad to see once proud Kasparov reduced to increasingly desperate and pathetic circus tricks and gimmicks for the sponsors. And when he ceases to pull crowds, out the back for a merciful bullet?

I used BBC BASIC for several years. If it had anything to do with Modula-2, it's news to me.
Recursive Make Considered Harmful is not about problems with make; it's about abuses of make. I imagine it's fairly easy to abuse autoconf also.
13 Nov 2003 (updated 13 Nov 2003 at 12:11 UTC) »
...I am thinking about a place where plugins play nicely somehow.

Go further down this path: you click on a presentation in some format and it just appears in the browser (or whatever it is now called), seamlessly. You click on a PDF. No more "do you want to open with ... or save" dialog boxes or launching Adobe Acrobat embedded in the window. Instead, the document just shows up on the screen like a web page. Links inside the document work like a web page. If it is indeed Acrobat or something xpdf-based doing the rendering I don't want to know!

None of this stuff is easy. The pieces more or less exist, ... It seems that most of the existing pieces would need extensive brain surgery. But it is a nice thought experiment ...

It's been done. Several times, in fact. You're describing component software; and one of the most "shippable" implementations was OpenDoc, by Apple:

OpenDoc is a cross-platform technology that replaces conventional applications with user-assembled groups of software components.

Coincidentally, the flagship application for OpenDoc ended up being Cyberdog...a web browser.

11 Nov 2003 (updated 11 Nov 2003 at 12:32 UTC) »
robilad: If you're looking for X11 for OS X 10.2, try here:
  • public.planetmirror.com
  • www.au.horde.org
  • download.au.kde.org
  • mirror.aarnet.edu.au


    Well it seems that Belkin are going to remove the feature from their router's firmware .... I'm glad they saw sense, but did they have to wrap it in marketing speak? (Probably, to make it legally watertight.)
    The law is supposed to see right through marketing speak. If it doesn't, it's broken too!

    The Belkin issue was too idiotic for words. I am sure it's done the brand a whole heap of damage, and deservedly so. The Pinto of wireless routers?

  • Uraeus: +1 Insightful
    16 Oct 2003 (updated 16 Oct 2003 at 08:55 UTC) »
    If every prediction spewed forth by greenist and leftists were true we would have no oil and 50 billion people on the planet or so.
    Oh, we'll get to that point, berend: it's just a matter of when. Oil is a finite resource and I don't see any downward trend in consumption, do you?

    E.F. Schumacher wrote a book about it: Small is Beautiful - A Study of Economics as if People Mattered (1973).

    Happy 20th birthday, GNU!

    23 Sep 2003 (updated 23 Sep 2003 at 12:33 UTC) »
    Bram: <p> and <br><br> do have different meanings. The first begins a new paragraph; and the latter means begin a new line, and then begin another one. Makes sense to me. Effective style sheets, in particular, require that they not be regarded as equivalent.

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