Older blog entries for leio (starting at number 5)

29 Apr 2006 (updated 30 Apr 2006 at 11:51 UTC) »

Long time no blogging. Hmm, maybe I should work on that more.

So, I have some news and discoveries here.

wxWidgets and Google Summer of Code

wxWidgets has been accepted as a Google Summer of Code Mentoring Organization. And guess what, I'm a possible mentor :)

I did some quick (and lame) elaborations on some of the items on our project ideas list. I'll do some better elaboration on the items that I have knowledge about once I've slept and had my morning coffee after that :) Perhaps I'll also add some, will have to think about possible projects a bit more deeply.

So, if you qualify for the Google Summer of Code as a student and have some interest towards our great cross-platform framework, make sure to check the list out regularly and stay tuned! Other mentors are hopefully working on elaborating on the worthy ideas as well, but you could of course always have your own, too! Check Google's SoC Students FAQ about that, I guess.

Me, wxWidgets and Gentoo Linux

I was contacted by a Gentoo developer a while back with a query if I'd be interested in helping maintain the wxWidgets related ebuilds in Gentoo's portage tree. Seeing the sad state of wxWidgets in Gentoo, and having thought about helping out earlier, I of course agreed, and we've version bumped wxGTK and wxPython to 2.6.3.2 version by now in unstable and some application version bumps as well, together with clean-ups to the ebuilds in question. Now I have this ebuild quiz here... we'll see what happens related to that ;)

The sad state of wxWidgets related packages in Gentoo is hopefully over soon.

Linux-2.6.16 and cold benchmarking

I stumbled on a easy to parse list of new stuff in Linux, and found out that Linux-2.6.16 has now support for dropping the clean caches, dentries and inodes from memory, causing that memory to be free. This effectively means that there is an end to the ugly hacks some of us in the performance and benchmarking crew (GNOME rockstars) were doing to do benchmarks with a cold disk cache. Reading large unrelated files to get the relevant-to-benchmark disk data out of RAM and other dirty things.

Just "echo 3 >/proc/sys/vm/drop_caches" with a 2.6.16 or newer kernel, and all the disk cache and other stuff is gone with the wind. The multiload_applet-2 also instantly shows the effect - the buffers and cached memory color is replaced with the color for "free memory" :)

From kernelnewbies.org the description: "Add /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches. Writing to this will cause the kernel to drop clean caches, dentries and inodes from memory, causing that memory to become free. This is mainly useful for benchmarking, for getting consistent results between filesystem benchmarks without rebooting. To free pagecache: "echo 1 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches", to free dentries and inodes: "echo 2 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches", to free pagecache, dentries and inodes: "echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches". As this is a non-destructive operation and dirty objects are not freeable, the user should run `sync' first (commit)"

Of course there is lots of hot cache benchmarking to do, lots of low hanging fruit to pick in the performance land. So cold benchmarking isn't all that interesting just yet. Nevertheless this thing can be helpful once in a while.

That's it folks. Someone should beat me to blog more often, or something.

Been a while since I last posted here, so lets see a little what's been up.

The wxWidgets Bug Day went rather good. Still have to make a recap on that - hopefully will get to that soon.

Another news is that I am now unemployed. So, if you have some interesting work (probably looking for short-term freelancing/outsourcing) for me in my expertise field, I'm all ears.

Also, I'm taking some courses at college again. Maybe one day I'll even graduate :)

wxMUD has been progressing along nicely. Might even get to do a release at some point soon, if we don't drift too much into reworking the code for more maintainability, instead of getting things into shape for a release ;) I think I should update the homepage of wxMUD a bit, so people don't think we aren't working.

That is all for now. /me gets busy

Aight, so I announced the wxWidgets Bug Day just now. I hope it will be a success. The announcement follows:

Hello,

I'm glad to announce that during this weekend, the first wxWidgets Bug Day will be held.

A what? ========

Bug Day is an organized day for bug triage.

That is, we try to clean up the bug trackers:

* Close bugs that appear to have been fixed already; * Make sure bug reports have enough information, * try to provide more information if necessary; * Make sure bug reports have the appropriate settings, with regards to category, priority, status and more; * Perhaps even fix some easier ones on the way; * And so on...

The idea is to clean up the bug trackers, provide more information for the reports, and organize the tracker, so that the trackers can serve better for the developers.

As of this moment there are 945 open bug reports for wxWidgets. That has got to change.

When? ======

The first wxWidgets Bug Day will take place Saturday 21st January between 9:00AM EST (14:00 GMT) and 9:00PM EST (02:00 GMT), but also beyond that if there is interest.

You can find the start time in your timezone from here: http://timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?month=1&day=21&year=2006&hour=9&min=0&sec=0&p1=179

Where? =======

The wxWidgets Bug Day happens world-wide, but more usefully, it happens on irc.freenode.net in channel #wx-bugs

If you don't know what IRC is, just have a peek at, for example, http://irchelp.org/ or http://freenode.net/using_the_network.shtml

I will declare the bug hunting season open there!

We will be hunting them. We will torture them; we will get information about themselves out of them. We will sort out the bad from the worse. We will deal with longstanding convicts. We will sign their death sentences.

I, and other people who know the woods, will provide the guns. This means, we will help anyone to get on their way with the bug hunt. All it takes is the wish to help!

Take as many bullets with you as you can spare. That is, every little chunk of your time can help the effort.

If you have looked for a way to assist the wxWidgets development efforts, here is a chance! Your own little bug is still living? Join us!

If you have any questions before the weekend, feel free to ask on wx-users mailing list, in the appropriate wxForum thread, or ask me directly. You can also always pop in to the #wxwidgets IRC channel on the same IRC network.

Your bugmaster for the weekend, Mart Raudsepp, a member of the wxWidgets development team

Now where did those extra spaces before some lines come from, hrm.

10 Jan 2006 (updated 10 Jan 2006 at 11:18 UTC) »

User-friendly GNU/Linux distributions exist?

I've always in the past year told to my friends, that Linux being hard is just a myth, and there are easy for beginners distributions out there, like Fedora core, Ubuntu, Mandrive, suse, and so on. Lately I've been suggesting Ubuntu based on the hype to friends that I certainly can't classify as complete dumb-users, but quite knowledgeable people with computers - but not GNU/Linux.

Results:

One could install Ubuntu and talk with me over MSN, only to let out the frustration about it: estonian keyboard layout didn't work despite best efforts in configuring it in the keyboard preferences of GNOME; could after long messing around get just one program to work with mp3's (I hope Fluendo's recent MP3 plugin for gst will have a remedy there); NTFS partitions were inaccessible; videos didn't work (codecs likely).

So him I walked through editing xorg.conf to get a more permanent solution than setxkbcomp after each reboot. I also instructed him to edit /etc/fstab accordingly - turnt out it did have the mountpoints in /media, but only accessible to root. After failing with a proper umask, a uid option did the trick in /etc/fstab. No way he could have figured that out by himself without looking hours for the answer. To be honest, I don't know if there is a GUI front-end to fstab in Ubuntu, but it certainly wasn't findable for him. Video playing support is postponed right now.

Update: He got videos to work after messing on his own for a couple hours (extra repositories, and so on).

Another one tried Ubuntu too. Result: reboots during installation process, leading to nowhere near of getting the thing even installed.

In the first half of last year I suggested Fedora to another friend. He could get it installed, but to get it close to usable to his needs, I had to hack on the system myself for quite many hours, after he failed in a couple days of trying.

So, what distribution ought I suggest for my friends who want to get away from the (to me) inferior OS?

19 Dec 2005 (updated 19 Dec 2005 at 23:57 UTC) »

On the xorg mailing list Benjamin Herrenschmidt posted "Radeon mem map fix(#2): Need regression tests please", that includes a patch that hopefully makes the "radeon memory map finally sane, removing all sort of hacks, and possibly fixing all sort of weird bugs".

Well, here's a modularized version of this patch, and here's a little overlay for bleeding-edge gentoo users that includes this patch. Use it at your own risk, you might end up having to restart your system, or worse... or get something fixed. Please follow the mailing list for details, I'm just publicizing an ebuild and modularized patch of this.

7 Dec 2005 (updated 7 Dec 2005 at 00:26 UTC) »

This appears to be my first blog (diary?) post - ever. So don't reprimand me in any way ;)

I suppose I should introduce myself for starters:

I'm your 21 year old regular hacker from Estonia. I currently reside in the capital city, Tallinn, and work at the Centre of Registers of Ministry of Justice. In my free time from college and work I have been mostly involved with various GUI related libraries and applications. I'm a member of the wxWidgets development team, working mostly on various areas of the wxGTK port. I became closer involved with wxWidgets by working on an advanced cross-platform graphical MUD client called wxMUD, of which I promise to make a first release one nice day (this time I'm not giving any promised deadlines, however). From there I've been slowly moving to lower levels too, such as diving into the internals of pango and GTK+, test release candidates of Xorg, and so on.

I am also the GTK+ port maintainer and developer of the OMGUI open source multiplatform GUI toolkit, which is still in its infancy, but progressing steadily thanks to Robin McNeill's tremendous efforts in moving it forward and making me and others catch up with the various ports.

My OS of choice is GNU/Linux and distribution of choice Gentoo Linux. I will probably mostly blog in the future about wxGTK, OMGUI, wxMUD, GTK+, pango, X.org, and things related to GNOME and open source overall.

It appears that writing this all isn't all that quick of an effort (in case of the first time at least), so as its quite late, I shall go to sleep now and write more at a later date.

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