15 Dec 2000 johnm   » (Journeyer)

David A. Desrosiers, who sometimes calls himself hacker, writes:

Palmsource 2000 is winding down
[...]
I was asking them some pretty heavy questions about their position on linux and unix support with Bluetooth. They were hesitantly evasive
[...]
Again, somewhat evasive
[...]
Ugh. They're so blind sometimes.

Sometimes, David, I wish you would be a little less confrontational and perhaps give people the benefit of the doubt occasionally. "Hesitantly evasive" usually means that the person hasn't previously considered the point you've raised, doesn't want to give an implicit commitment to something that they haven't thought through, wants to be helpful so wants to avoid a flat NO, can't give you a full answer for stupid confidentiality reasons but doesn't want to turn you away, isn't involved in that area and doesn't know what other people in the rapidly expanding company might have already done in that area, or generally a combination of all of the above.

I happen to know all of the people in the talks you mentioned, and I can tell you that it's not very fair to accuse them of being evasive or blind. On the contrary: they're all very keen to help people's cool ideas become reality. Your cool ideas, so don't alienate them! :-)

A lot of engineers work at Palm. Not all of them know much about what we're doing with Linux or with free software, but that doesn't mean that it's not happening. All of my work and Keith's work is free software and runs on Unix. I think David knows that there are many people -- such as Kenneth, Flash, and me -- inside Palm who care about pilot-link a lot. We also spend a lot of time evangelising for these things within the company.

To be perfectly honest, it's kind of hard to stay motivated to fight the good fight when people oversummarise and tell you you're blind and you get close to zero support or assistance from the community for your open projects!

In other news, in the labs tonight the Llamagraphics people showed me another bug in CodeWarrior which partially screws up something we're trying to do in our SDK (yeah, that one that David's going to interrogate me about tomorrow). It whines that you can't do this static_cast with an incomplete type:

struct S;
S* foo (void *pv) { return static_cast<S*>(pv); }

By my reading of the C++ standard, this violates paragraph 10 of 5.2.9 ("Static cast"), in particular because a pointer to an incomplete struct type is indeed a pointer to an object type (3.9 paras 6, 9), and see also 3.2 para 4 (and pretend it's decreeing the converse :-)).

Bah. Fortunately, while walking back to the office after talking to Catherine and Stuart, I realised there's a workaround for full on C++ programmers who don't want to fall back to a C-style cast: use reinterpret_cast. Okay, so that's not great either, but it's not our fault! Get a real compiler!

3am. Still writing my slides for my talk tomorrow. Silly boy.

7:30am. Still here. Slides almost done. My talk is in three hours. I'm cobbling together a 2.1pre1 release to collect all the miscellaneous little bugfixes over the last few months. It's on the fourth hour long RPM build now, and it should actually work this time. Unfortunately I've just found out that not only does SourceForge have scheduled downtime tonight so that nobody will be able to download my release, but also the uploader has been broken for the last week so I can't upload it either.

I sure picked a good day to try to make a release on SourceForge!

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