Recent blog entries for obi

ak: you might want to check out unison, it's cross-platform, works with SSH, and it's a pretty flexible bidirectional file synchroniser. (like 2-way rsync). I was looking at intermezzo for disconnected operation, and was pretty disappointed with its current state. Unison on the other hand, may not be a caching file system, but it's a good tool nonetheless.
mpr (and others):
Too much Matrix hype? I'd say quite the contrary, I've seen way more people being (overly?) critical of the movie, than people extolling its virtues.

In my mind, the movie introduced ideas that weren't exactly new but interesting nonetheless to a much wider audience. And it did so in an appealing package. I think that's a very nice achievement. It's nice to be able to have a meaningful conversation about these topics with non- [ techies | philosophy students | ... ]

Personally, even though I think the dialogue was a bit wooden at times, reloaded wasn't bad, and if they're a bit smart with the third one, the entire trilogy will be really good. (of course there's just as much chance they'll fuck it up completely in the third one, but we'll see that when it happens)

I think you have to ask yourself the question if realism is really that important when you go see a movie. It's like saying that unless a game is completely realistic (like a flight sim) it has no value. As for the fashion sense: it would be just as silly to try to predict what will look cool in the future. Fashion is not timeless. The clothes look cool for the time the story is set in (well, in the matrix at least)
6 Jun 2003 (updated 6 Jun 2003 at 16:29 UTC) »
I don't want to sound pedantic, and maybe I'm missing something, but how is one to verify that you are really who you say you are? Anyone can whip up a website with a phonenumber, say they're "Dan York", create a gpg key, and refer people to that website.

Maybe they were just paranoid, but the people who told me how to use GPG/PGP also told me to only sign some person's key if you actually met them in person, with some kind of proof that they are who they say they are (photo-id). Or maybe by checking the key fingerprint over the phone if you know the person, and his or her voice.

If I'd sign people without properly checking, the result would be that when people notice this, they'd simply adjust the trust they assign to my key, so that it wouldn't "weigh" as much in the trust calculations.

Hope everything works out with your little girl. Glad to hear she didn't lack oxygene. As for the eating, well apparently I had a similar problem when I was born: I had an "open" stomach, and couldn't keep any solids down for more than a year. Things worked out perfectly though, and I never had any problems with it afterwards.

As for XFree86: I'm glad to see _something_ happen at the very least.

If nothing else I would hope they do what you say, and they refactor the whole thing in smaller pieces: the hardware abstraction (XAA/DRI/Input/...), the networking layer, Xlib etc etc. Loads of projects have a valid reason to use opengl (DRI) or the 2D drivers without X. There's PVR boxes like MythTV, PicoGUI, Fresco, E17's evas, and many others I'm sure. Instead of duplicating hardware drivers (like KGI WIP or DirectFB do for instance), everyone could use a common base - it would improve the quality of the drivers since they'd be maintained and used by lots of different projects and in different ways. Some of these people looked into using XAA without X, but it quickly became clear that the XFree86 people had zero interest in it. The general impression was that "there's nothing but X". Similar thing with DRI - it doesn't have to be linked to XFree86 (see the DRI FAQ or FBDRI), but is so in practice.

I wasn't there when Linus refused to merge KGI in the kernel, but the impression I got was that he did so because he didn't see where it was going (lack of focus), and he didn't want to commit everyone to this in particular. (lock-in) A lot of people got away with the message that the GGI/KGI approach was inherently wrong - I don't think that was the intention. These days we end up with a whole collection of interfaces in kernel (DRM, FBDev, mplayer mods, nvidia, etc) and userspace (Xfree86, DRI, utah-glx, directfb, GGI, etc), and I'm not so sure we're better off.

Sorry for this rant. If you've had enough of politics feel free to skip this.


It's worrying to see the recent developments. Let's see what people agree on:

  • Saddam is really bad.
  • If you're in one of the countries sending troops, you probably hope they all come back safe, and support them.

That being said:

  • Saddam being really bad is not enough reason to invade the country. A lot of people may (or may not) be better off afterwards, but if you think like that ("the end justifies the means") then you basically say: the US can attack anyone whose governement it doesn't like. It simply needs to show it "harbours terrorists" or something similar - and in these times of media self-censorship that's rather easy to do. There's a reason why there's so many barriers to start a war. It's because it really is a last resort.
  • Saddam being in breach of Resolution 1441 doesn't automatically need to result in war. If "serious consequences" really meant war, this resolution wouldn't have been adopted by a lot of the member states as such.
  • "Running out of patience" is not enough reason for war either. As Robin Cook mentioned in his resignation speech, Israel has been in breach of resolution 242 for over 35 years, but noone's losing patience there.
  • There's legitimate public doubt about whether Iraq is a clear and present threat to the US/UK or others. On the one hand, they're selling the war by saying it would be a "quick and clean war" without much opposition and on the other hand, a justification for the war is that they have the means to hurt us in a significant way. Despite Bush's continual repeating that Iraq is linked to terrorism, this hasn't been proven. The nuclear path was also discounted by the atomic commision, and we didn't have problem with Saddam having biological and chemical weapons, when they were provided to him by - among others - the US and the UK. To top it all off, they're under very close scrutiny by the rest of the world, so they wouldn't have much of a chance to create a real weapons program. So, what's up with the urgency?
  • France didn't use its veto. A second resolution wasn't even submitted, so it didn't need to. There was a lot of talk before that they'd submit a second resolution to prove that France was intending to use its veto "unreasonably". Blair mentioned long before the UK would consider going to war in the faced with a lone veto. However, it seems they didn't even get support from 9 out of 15 members of the security council, otherwise they would have submitted it for sure, and proven to the world how alone France is in it's anti-war stance.

Additionaly, the US and UK are looked at with even more suspicion these days:

  • Bush's insistence on linking Iraq and terrorism, to sell it to the American public - even though the evidence was disproven, and no new facts were given. Note that a lot of it's allies (Saudi Arabia for instance) are more easily linked to terrorism.
  • The falsified nuclear evidence
  • The fact that positive reports from the weapon inspectors were seen as "bad news" by the US. It's clear their minds were already made up.
  • Despite Blair's pre-empting of the issue in his excellent speech (Blair mentioned that the natural riches of Iraq would be put in a trust for the Iraqi people), there's still a lot of doubts and cynisism about all the interests involved in this war. The Halliburton angle, the matter of control of this trust, the regime change the Americans seem more interested in than the disarmament, etc. Blair's speech, excellent as it was, didn't do enough to alleviate all the lingering questions. And it seems in the US noone wants or dares to question Bush. He hasn't been articulate at all in selling his war.
  • The complete media blackout. Accountability in this war will be completely gone. Terrorism and the media self-censorship that goes with it, the fact that none of the media wants to be seen as unpatriottic, the complete control of journalists on site, being fed exactly the bits the military wants them to report. Propaganda is flowing freely once again. Precision bombing, gasing his own people, torture, rape, etc. I'm not saying all this propaganda is always untrue, I'm just saying it's news disproportionally reported as a means to a goal.
  • Bush's commitment to the middle-east peace process. Like many people, I'll believe it when I see the results. Now it just looks like a hastily put together press release to sweeten the pill.
  • And finally: The Perpetual War on Terrorism. A war against an enemy you can define at will, for an undefined duration, where nobody can ever know when it's actually over. This is the choice political tool for dictators. They can use it to shape the policy in whatever way they want. Policy, Military, Media, even the judicial system, they're all subject to it. It just seems another holy crusade, bringing "democracy" and "our way of life" to the unenlightened.

I don't know if it really solves the problem you're having, but you can try to deal with the problem by using the so-called "nested set model".

It's much faster to SELECT all the results you want (you need only one select for a node including all its children (several levels deep), any way you want). But there's a cost when inserting a node: you need to update all the numbers yourself that get affected by the insert. So this model is good when you read alot, but don't write as much.

Other nice properties is that its extremely easy to count the number of nodes in a (sub)tree, find a level, do a "group by", etc.

As always it's a tradeoff. Check: this link or search google for "worm tree sql" or "nested set model"

... was great! We (hunger and me) were there to see some speeches and talk to some developers, and to give a presentation on Fresco (we were on the "open sessions" track). It was better received than we expected! We thought there would be a lot of criticism ("There's no need for this, we have X", "corba sucks, it's slow", "if you guys would be going any slower you'd go backwards ;)") - but we got none of that. People definately got why we think it's important, grasped the basic architecture and ideas behind it, and understand that it's a hard project to do. Some people even said in the questions afterwards that they thought it "was one of the bravest projects around". That's nice to hear, to say the least.

In general the level of the people at fosdem was just great: if you picked any random person there, in 90% of the cases they would tell you they were working on this or that open source project. Other events like LinuxTag or similar, are interesting for developers too, but it also has this business and/or user focus.

All in all, a great experience, and kudos to the organisation, it seems to be getting better every year.
At first I thought it was hilarious, but when someone sent me more of thesame, I started feeling that sites like this really make me want to become a vegetarian. I mean, why do they feel the need to market meat like this? It's not like all of a sudden a large percentage of their "market share" will become vegetarian or simply stop eating. I wonder if this kind of thing is considered normal or acceptable in the States.

Once again, life imitates a Simpsons episode.
mwh, jaq

The problem with procmail and exim is that its rules are too static to my taste. I'd like to whip up a filtering system for me and my users, where by simply using an imap client to move messages to specific folders you create your "rules".

On regular intervals word lists/tokens would be created for every folder (maildir), and incoming mail would be matched to the most appropriate folder (based on what's already in it).

This would make it simple for my non-technical users who cannot set up a procmailrc (or exim filter)

Additionally, sometimes I put certain private mail together with mail from a specific mailing list. (if it's on thesame topic or whatever). A dynamic/automatic filtering system would take this into account too.

Such a system is currently used for spam for a lot of mailfilters and MUA's - I don't see why it's use should be limited to spam/ham classifying.

mwh:Thanks for the pointer to ifile - i'm going to look into it.

mwh mentioned courier-imap and Maildirs.

In general I'm very happy with the entire courier-mta -imap -pop suite. It was a breeze to setup compared to some other mta's, and it's more than flexible enough for me.

I like the idea of Maildirs, but can't understand why it's not better exploited

One thing I'd love to have is a "categorizer", that, just likes the bayesian spam filters that are so in vogue now, goes over all my (sub)maildirs and finds the best match for a certain incoming message.

That way, I wouldn't merely have a spam filter: The minute I subscribe to a mailing list and I put some of the messages in a certain folder (maildir) through my imap mail client, it would put new mail that matches these messages in the right folder

Another cool little toy is Mairix, a program that can create maildirs popuplated with symlinks to messages in other folders that match a certain search criteria. Server-side vfolders. Very cool.

Uraeus said:

I also saw someone posting about MAS the other day and comparing it to GStreamer. Well we (GStreamer) do not consider MAS to be direct competition even if there are some areas of overlap. In fact we have met up with Mike and Leon on several occassions and are planing on making a MAS plugin as soon as MAS is released. We are also considering to propose MAS as the official sound server for GNOME if it turns out ok.

Judging by what you said, it seems like I misunderstood the scope of MAS or Gstreamer. Can you tell me what Gstreamers design offers that MAS's architecture can't provide? Why do you feel MAS is no direct competition - they also intend to provide plugins, video, audio, etc...

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