Older blog entries for ralsina (starting at number 607)

New Nikola Feature: wordpress.com Importer

I implemented a first drat of a wordpress.com importer for my Nikola static site/blog generator It's a work in progress but it works well enough that it can turn this blog into this blog

What works:

  • Posts
  • Pages
  • Drafts
  • Tags
  • Personal information

What doesn't work:

  • Comments
  • Links across posts/pages are left untouched
  • The output is pretty generic

This needs testing, so feel free to get master and try it. Asuming foo.xml is your data from wordpress.com:

nikola_import_wordpress foo.xml
cd new_site
doit && doit serve

And point your browser to http://localhost:8000 to see the result :-)

Minor tweaking of the generated conf.py is generally needed for improved results.

Syndicated 2012-09-02 15:22:53 from Lateral Opinion

More Lost Pictures: Budapest

Last year I was in Budapest for UDS-O. Not many pictures since I had no camera other than a very bad phone.

But here they are

Syndicated 2012-08-31 16:15:30 from Lateral Opinion

The Steady State of Open Source

The Steady State Theory says, in rough terms that the universe has been and will be more or less as it currently is, because there are parallel processes of creation and destruction.

So, galaxies exhaust but then there are new galaxies, and the thing, as a whole, remains unchanged, in a way. Sure, it's not the same galaxy, and nothing that was in the old galaxy remains, but if you avoid specifics, things are the same.

I feel the same thing happens in the free software universe. The two forces are reaction and features.

Reaction is the creative force. Most, if not all, free software is reactive. It itches, I scratch, scratching is reactive. There are many examples:

  • There is no free desktop! Let's create KDE!
  • KDE is not the right kind of free, sort of! Let's create GNOME!
  • KDE and GNOME are too heavy, bloated and whatever! Let's create XFCE!
  • XFCE is not as lean and mean as before! Let's create LXDE!
  • LXDE is (we'll find something) let's create WHATEVER-DE!

This even happens within a project:

  • Hey, we created KDE!
  • KDE 1.x has no object model and GNOME does, let's do KDE 2.0 on CORBA!
  • Hey, that sucked, let's do KDE 2.0 on DCOP and KParts!
  • Well, that's old an crufty, let's do KDE 3.0 cleaner!
  • KDE 3.x looks old, let's throw all the UI away and do KDE 4!

And I am sure those familiar with any software product that has lived long enough to go through major rewrites and upheaval can do similar lists.

However, sometimes, the complains just don't go away.

  • Netscape 4.x is slow and crufty! We rewrote it as Mozilla!
  • Mozilla (SeaMonkey) is slow and crufty! We rewrote it as Firefox!
  • Firefox is slow and crufty! We wrote Chrome using webkit!

And guess what people say about Chrome? It's slow.

So, the lesson there seems to me that writing a lightweight, generally useful, web browser is impossible. Why? Because of features.

As projects age, they grow features. Like the strange ear and nose hair men start growing in their 30s, features are a fact of the lifecycle. And with features come code, because that's how you do features.

And code is a liability, as (I hope) you all know. The more code you have, the more expensive it is to add things, and to be swift about improving your application. Most successful projects die, or grow senescent, hobbled by the weight of their features.

So how does a project stay young? I can think of a few ways.

It may have a benign (or evil, for that matter) dictator, with the right amount of hostility towards features (Linux). It may be so exquisitely modular that features don't couple with each other (emacs). It may reinvent itself every 5 years and throw everything away (KDE). It may have a very clear focus on one feature and a culture around it (Bacula).

And for each of those mechanisms, there are incountable examples of projects with too annoying dictators, projects overengineered to absurdity, stalled rewrites that never release and absolute focus on a feature noone cared about.

Sorry, the universe is a tough place.

Syndicated 2012-08-31 09:47:52 from Lateral Opinion

Nikola: New Tag Index Pages

Short and sweet:

In Nikola my static site/blog generator, the Tag pages used to just be a big list of titles linking to the posts in the tag. Now they can (optionally) look just like the blog does, but filtered. Check it out.

Minor tweaks still needed (like, mentioning the tag somewhere in the title), but the basic functionality (filtering, pagination, layout, etc) is complete.

To enable it in your site, just use master from git and enable TAG_PAGES_ARE_INDEXES = True in your conf.py.

Syndicated 2012-08-27 22:09:23 from Lateral Opinion

The end of lateral.netmanagers.com.ar

This site has been lateral.pycs.net, lateral.fibertel.com.ar, lateral.blogsite.com, and has been, for several years, lateral.netmanagers.com.ar.

Well, I am slowly going to deprecate that URL, and the new URL will be http://ralsina.com.ar where you already can find it since a few months ago.

It will involve some work moving comments around and such, but nothing much should change, all old links should remain valid, and all comments should stay attached to the right post.

I will contact the various planets that aggregate it, but since the feed will remain constant thanks to feedburner, I expect not to lose anyone in transition.

Syndicated 2012-08-26 22:33:55 from Lateral Opinion

Qt Mac Tips

My team has been working on porting some PyQt stuff to Mac OSX, and we have run into several Qt bugs, sadly. Here are two, and the workarounds we found.

Native dialogs are broken.

Using QFileDialog.getExistingDirectory we noticed the following symptoms:

  • If you do nothing, the dialog went away on its own after about 20 seconds.
  • After you used it once, it may pop up and disappear immediately. Or not.

Solution: use the DontUseNativeDialog option.

Widgets in QTreeWidgetItems don't scroll.

When you use Widgets inside the items of a QTreeWidget (which I know, is not a common case, but hey, it happens), the widgets don't scroll with the items.

Solution: use the -graphicssystem raster options. You can even inject them into argv if the platform is darwin.

Syndicated 2012-08-25 14:24:36 from Lateral Opinion

Istanbul, The Lost Pictures


I will probably never take a better picture than this one.

I found a camera today at home, and then it hit me: this was the camera we took to Istanbul, dropped on the floor, never worked again, and I never found after we came back! And it still had the SD card in it!

So, here are the pictures (not even filtered), so family can see them.

Syndicated 2012-08-20 22:31:18 from Lateral Opinion

Cloud Atlas

Finished reading Cloud Atlas, gave it 5 starts. Here's a quick review:

I am not going to explain this book. It's enough, I think, to say I loved it, and that it's strange, and that it's a bit of a mistery.

Imagining a universe in which all the contents of the book could be real at the same time in a way that would allow all the pieces to be written as they are and yet, be, somehow, not the novel they are, but a found artifact, is both depressing and ellusive.

At the end, I felt something I can only describe as retrospective hope, the feeling that things were supposed to end up better, but that even as terribly as they did end, were it not by that earlier hope, they would have been more grim.

The control the author has over his own style is impressive. This book feels written by half a dozen completely different writers.

Some quotes (which may only make sense once you read the book):

"The sun was deaf'nin' so high up, yay, it roared an' time streamed from it."

"In the first set, each solo is interrupted by its successor: in the second, each interruption is recontinued, in order. Revolutionary or gimmicky? Shan't know until it's finished, and by then it'll be too late"

"What wouldn't I give now for a never-changing map of the ever-constant ineffable? To posess, as it were, an atlas of clouds."

Syndicated 2012-08-17 22:45:41 from Lateral Opinion

Nikola 4 Released

I have just uploaded release 4 of Nikola my static blog/site generator. Here are some of the changes in this version:


  • Previous/Next post links
  • Teaser support
  • Support posts with HTML "sources"
  • Site checking script (nikola_check)
  • Maximum image size in galleries
  • Image descriptions in galleries
  • Image exclusion in galleries
  • Special "draft" tag
  • Pretty code listings ("code galleries")
  • Page descriptions
  • Easy theme tuning via Bootswatch
  • Support for WebAssets bundles
  • "Filters" for powerful file post-processing


  • Improved HTML output
  • Support multiple time formats in post metadata
  • Slugify tag names for URLs
  • Archive path and filename configurable
  • Galleries sorted by date (supports EXIF)
  • Rotate gallery thumbnails (EXIF)
  • Tag feeds in tag pages
  • Colorbox support in restructured text figures
  • Fix for content displaying too wide
  • Changelog

As usual, you can discuss bugs or make feature requests at the nikola-discuss group and I love to know of sites using Nikola.

Hope you like it!

Syndicated 2012-08-17 10:10:03 from Lateral Opinion

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