Older blog entries for khazad (starting at number 9)

writings
Autotut is out. Read, copy, distribute, email to that friend who is lost in Imakefile dimension.

eboard
Getting tastier each minute, 0.1.6 will be out later today when I finish implementing examination mode.

job
If I don't get a Un*x-related job soon I'll grab my guitar and start playing it for money. You _don't_ want me to do that, the music scene will never recover from the damage. (I am known for having performed the Free Software Song worse than RMS -- the guitar performance was decent but I sing much worse than he)

GNU Chess Sucks
GNU Chess support was already planned for eboard, but someone concerned with crafty's non-freeness got me adding support for it earlier than I expected. So I go to GNU's FTP directory, and start looking for GNU Chess...

1. The only tarball, for 5.02, is 30 MB long. There are no older versions at the site. I look to the 33.6 kbps modem. It looks to me.

...4 hours later...

2. uncompressed the thing, as expected there is a 103 MB PGN file for the book. Those who can't write chess engines add huge game databases. No documentation, Makefile or configure script in the toplevel directory.

3. Entered the 'doc' dir. So I must go to the src directory, run autoconf, configure and make. Sounds right.

4. When I try to compile I get an error from GCC about trying to use sp as general register for register variables. Peek the code. Peek the Makefile. Removed the -O3 switch. Ok, it compiled this time.

5. I was almost su'ing and 'make install' when I had a bad feeling. A voice says 'check the Makefile before'. This is the install target:

install:
  cp gnuchess.exe /cygdrive/c/winboard/gnuchess.exe

GNU Chess assumes you are running Microsoft Windows. (scream) How did this crap got to bear the GNU on its name ????????

6. The doc file said I should build the binary book file from the 100-MB PGN file. I follow the exact instructions and... nothing happens. No file is written, no error message, no crash, no nothing. It just does nothing. The 100 MB file that made the whole thing so slow to download is completely useless (I can use it for Crafty, but it's useless for GNU Chess unless it builds the damn binary file)

Well, GNU Chess (in fact, any engine that talks the xboard protocol version 2) support is added to eboard, the changes are already on CVS. Wrote a harsh document about the whole experience, also on CVS by now.

I must now look for older versions of GNU Chess, maybe they suck less. I must also start looking for GPL'd (or at least free in the Debian Free Software Guidelines sense) engines. If you know of any, drop me a note.

28 Apr 2001 (updated 28 Apr 2001 at 19:03 UTC) »
jtauber: bug severity 0: programmers using CMM without really understanding why -- their bosses or company policies just told them to --, spending more time reading about "quality standards" than browsing source code or reading technical texts that would help them accomplish their tasks better and teach about other people's mistakes before they fall themselves in the same traps. (source code browsing is hindered by the fact that at many places developers don't even know there is any code but theirs to browse) This kind of bug is really tough to fix.

Similar comments apply to UML and Rational Rose enforcement. If one can't picture the structure of the software by himself without the aid of a diagram-drawing, code skeleton generation program (pencil and paper is ok) or agree on extensions by talking with the workmates, he shouldn't be developing software in the first place.

eboard
released 0.1.2 yesterday, it's going fine, still got some bugs in observation, looking into that.

job
not yet

writings
wrote a tutorial on the usage of automake and autoconf, should be published on an "official SEUL URL" soon (as soon as Roger comes back from the 6th dimension), one of the copies I sent for review is here: autotut

gBib
Since last entry, released gBib 0.1.1, a Gnome BibTeX editor, quite a nice program (the main developer is Alejandro Sierra), had some nice fun hacking the bibfile parser.

mrorganic: let me see: George Bush (father) makes a government known for ignoring ecological issues. After a cheated election (which we, brazilians, laughed a lot on -- voting here is done with 100% electronic ballots), his son: halts peace process in Israel, says relationships with Russia should come to 1980's levels, announces development of new weapons, pronounces himself against the reapproximation of the Koreas, refuses to apply the Kyoto Protocol to reduce pollution levels and, now after invading foreign territory, without permission, with a spyplane, he DEMANDS the plane and crew back. I do wish China unassemble the whole aircraft, erase any and all data media and return only the pieces, if any (just like US did to a MiG-25 that crash-landed in Japan many years ago).

spent the night hacking gBib (Gnome BibTeX manager) to make it tasty.

should have spent some time playing around with chessd

meanwhile, in a job interview last wednesday...
...we work with the latest and greatest of technologies: Microsoft's leading line of products, such as ASP, IIS, SQL Server and we also are a major player with open source technology, using Java, JSP and Oracle extensively...

That's self-control: I managed not to fall down laughing when the guy called Java and Oracle open-source.

2 Apr 2001 (updated 2 Apr 2001 at 22:47 UTC) »
nevermind the previous rant

While still upset at sgmltools' lack of documentation, I'm more upset with pkgtool failing to tell me "this tgz file is incomplete".

30 Mar 2001 (updated 30 Mar 2001 at 22:53 UTC) »
eboard
eboard is already capable of playing games at FICS (but misses features such as last-move highlighting or move animation, and can only play, not observe nor examine games). Being stuck to the fact that every time I implement a new feature I must login to FICS, play a game against someone risking a core dump, repeat to test it, I'm now writing the interface connection to Crafty so I can test with a local chess engine.

GNU Chess
BTW, GNU Chess 5.0's tarball is 30 MB and GNU removed all the previous versions of GNU chess from the site...ack! Better than getting a chess engine to win out every GM in the world, a chess engine programmer's challenge should be building efficient/"smart" search algorithms - searching the good positions and discarding fast the bad ones. Including a (required) 20 MB book (I haven't downloaded the beast to check the size yet, but I can only presume the huge size is due to a huge game book) looks dumb - what people want when playing chess with a computer ? That the computer reproduces every move from a GM game held in 1987 it has in the database or to challenge the CPU's transistors to outthink him ?

gPS

Fixed two nasty bugs in the rgpsp protocol (the remote gPS polling), version 0.10.2 is out.

eboard

I spent the weekend coding eboard, after some weird GtkText behaviour I spent the last night modifying xchat's xtext widget to display ICS output -- a little line wrapping oddity still remains but it looks good. This week I'll hopefully focus on writing the chess-related code and have an interface capable of playing a regular chess game on FICS by friday. :)

Someone posted an entry recently about getting the Crafty chess engine to run in a MOSIX cluster and was searching for strong players to try with. The FICS (Free Internet Chess Server) provides computer accounts, so that you can login with a chess program and get it pplaying with either other computers or human players. Notice 1: one of the fics boxes (particularly the one that is the web server) is down again this week, the link above will probably only work again by the end of the week or even next week. Notice 2: the Free in FICS is for free beer, not free as in freedom. Notice 3: to reach FICS while the web server is down, telnet to freechess.org, port 5000, login as guest user.

Meanwhile... still looking for a job, preferrably one I don't have to see Windows again.

gPS version 0.10.1 has been put out with the new quickbar mode. Meanwhile at ACME labs...

Brain: Do you know what we're gonna do tonight, pinky ?
Pinky: Uhh... I dunno ... go out with those hot chicks ?
Brain:NO PINKY! We're gonna log to that evil Red Hat 7.0 box and find out why rgpsp (the remote gps poller) is dumping core on RH 7 while it runs fine with...ahnn...normal distros like our Slackware.

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