18 Jan 2001 jameson   » (Master)

Improbability factor 262144:1 and falling...

On monday, which just happens to be the the last monday prior to the intended FreeSCI CVS freeze, my router's root HD finally decided to go the way of all hardware and leave me without net access. The same day, my car started leaking massive amounts of oil, rendering it effectively unusable.

Improbability factor 2048:1 and falling...

So starbase42 (the router) was destroyed. Deciding that net access was more important than mobility, I set out to buy a new HD and install Debian rather than SuSE (nothing personal, I just happen to like apt). Everything went well, until I started loading the ISDN modules: it took me 7 hours to find out that hisax.o was not autodetecting the IRQ correctly- 7 hours I intended to spend refining my slides for a presentation, which, not surprisingly, happens to be tomorrow.

Improbability factor 1:1... Normality... Repeat, we have normality...

Most things are still very broken ATM. rei (my workstation) still doesn't have a 'net connection due to missing ipchains on starbase42 (which I should probably rename to starbase42-A now), my father has to use an old KDE snapshot and no StarOffice until apt finishes updating, and so on.

Well, I'm still mostly alive, which is not really surprising since I wouldn't be able to suffer otherwise.

FreeSCI
One of the new sound guys, Stuffed Crust, is starting to dig into the code and change things in preparation for a sound implementation. This means that we might have a 0.3.2 release pretty soon after the 0.3.1 one (and yes, we should start freezing features in CVS for it RSN.) One problem we kept on having was memory leaks. A lot of memory was being lost during the game (e.g. all game resources were present twice, and stuff like that...); using dmalloc, we managed to track down most of them. FreeSCI now uses 25 MB RAM on my box, in 640x400 16bpp, which is less than two thirds of the initial value it used there (and you no longer loose 1.5MB each time the background pic changes).

One thing that is concerning me are the numerous calls for SCI1 support (SCI1 is, very roughly, a name for the the first VGA versions of the SCI interpreter). We still aren't fully stable in SCI0 yet- Colonel's Bequest, Conquest of Camelot and Hoyle's Book of Games have known problems- and I'd rather fix existing problems before starting the vm re-organization we will need for SCI1. However, a lot of effort appears to have gone into SCI1 research already (still waiting for documentation...), so I don't really want other people from working on it with the things we have in FreeSCI either...

I guess the best approach to this would be to fork off the 0.6 development branch right after the 0.3.1 release. Thus, SCI1 people would have something to work on now. (Most of the remaining pre-0.4 work is related to refining the graphics subsystem, adding sound support, and fixing bugs. This is relatively orthogonal to the VM reimplementation, so forward-porting should be rather simple in most cases).

Linux 2.4.0
Somehow, I feel much less thrilled than I felt with the 2.2.0 (aka "Brown Paper Bag") release. I haven't installed it on any of the boxes I administrate- I don't need any of its features on the ia32 one, I'm not going to trust my Alpha to it just yet, and the SGI Indy isn't anything I'd want to run Linux on.

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