Recent blog entries for jbrefort

Free software, bugs, and users

I'm sometimes disappointed by what users say about free software. I currently read things like: I can't use this software just because... and there follows various things, generally a missing feature, but it might also be a bug. These people seem to not know that they can (and should) send feature requests or bugs reports to the developers. And even, sometimes, the feature exists but they could not find it, but that's another point. Free software gives a lot of rights to the users, I'd like a lot if they more often used the right to report bugs.

Now, another common issue, where the bugs should be reported? My personal opinion is that upstream is the best unless the issue is clearly related to packaging. Many users report to the bugs database of their distribution and not all distributions relay the information to upstream, so some easy to fix bugs can exist for a long time before upstream developers become aware of the issue. Yesterday evening, while searching the net for bugs, I found this one. It took around one minute to understand what happened and five to fix, but the report had been there since four months, and, as it was not correctly triaged, we had actually not a lot of chance to know about it. I don't know if it has been fixed in oocalc or whatever exists in libreoffice.

My conclusion is that we should say to all users, that if anything does not go the way they want, they should report, not wait things change spontaneously.

18 Jul 2009 (updated 29 Oct 2009 at 21:45 UTC) »

Embedding a Gnumeric sheet in Abiword

With the upcoming Abiword-2.8 and Gnumeric-1.10, this will become possible (on unix like systems only, MS-Windows™ users might have to wait for eternity). Here is a screenshot:

Now don't think that Gnome Office exists or will exist one day. This is a quite different thing.

10 May 2009 (updated 10 May 2009 at 15:48 UTC) »

GChemPaint canvas progress

The current stable GChemPaint version would display:

This is not consistent with usual chemist's habits, but was easy to implement using pango.

There are two issues: the minus sign should be the unicode minus sign instead of the more usual ascii character and, more importantly, it should stay above the stoichiometry coefficient. This is not possible using a single PangoLayout. I needed to split the text between several layout objects and now get:

Just if you are not a chemist, this string represents the phenylsulfonate anion.

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