Older blog entries for rillian (starting at number 85)

robogato, thanks for enabling multiple posts. It makes it a lot easier to have conversations through the recentlog.

Zaitcev, sorting topicality for different syndication points is what tags are for. Most blog software where generate tag-specific feeds, but it's not clear livejournal is among them. I'm not aware of a standard for including the tags in RSS items themselves, but there's an atom:category element that looks like it's for this. So maybe some combination of using a tag-specific feed from a blog and filtering by atom:category on the advogato side would work?

It's a pity so many people seem to have left, but it's also nice to be able to read the complete recentlog again. :)

SteveRainwater have you changed the "multiple posts in a day clobber each other" behaviour? I think the planets have demonstrated the value of letting people have multiple entries.

Hooray, Advogato has been saved. Thanks StevenRainwater.

nutella, certs are entirely one way, and they're always a positive assertion. The idea is that trust flows along certification links, so a spammer can create as many accounts as they want, but unless a significant number of people already in the trusted group can be pursuaded to certify those accounts, they will still be cut off because they look like an island.

So fake accounts making some random certs of real accounts makes the fake accounts look a little less fake, but actually hurts their chances of being trusted. As long as most people cert based on their knowledge of another person's work, the trust metric will continue to work.

All this spam cleanup is just about cleaning up the pool of untrusted user accounts, and preventing spreading google juice where it doesn't belong.

DOS

Whoever was hammering the advogato person index page this (wednesday) morning, please don't do that again. It's an expensive page to generate and, well, you brought poor apache to its knees.

That's bad for your karma.

Was in San Francisco yesterday for an Artifex staff meeting. Had dinner with raph and Silvia Pfeiffer who runs the annodex project. They've been strong supporters of free and open multimedia for some time and it was great to finally meet here in person.

recruiting

We're looking for someone to help out with Ghostscript integration in Free Software, on a part-time contract. Yes, that means paid work. Help sort, review and update patches from the distros into upstream, write a Firefox plugin, that sort of thing.

Please send interesting resumes to giles@ghostscript.com.

whacky medieval latin

raph and nymia, google suggests ojusdem might be eiusdem, the third person, singular, feminine, genitive pronoun.

So inter omnes curvas ojusdem longitudinus might be "between each of its curves lengthwise." But I know exactly enough Latin to be extremely dangerous with a dictionary. Caveat lector.

恭喜發財

freetype, the comment about phasing out M4 was from atai, not me.

I don't actually mind M4. The syntax is an odd marriage, which made it hard to learn ("even more fun with quoting!") but it's just a macro substitution language, and I'm not sure what a better alternative would be given the goal of outputting portable sh. You can't even define subroutines in portable sh! (that's why configure scripts are so big)

No, as I've said before, the complexity comes from the fact that you're trying to write an expert system in a combination of sh, M4, and the code of the autotools themselves. Most of the knowledge is embedded in code, and in many different locations and formats. That makes it difficult, and brittle.

As far as replacement goes, I can see wrapping the old macros in a newer scripting language like perl or python, so that the original M4+sh still gets expanded and run in an external shell, but newer code could be written directly in a nicer language. That way you could port macros one at a time and not lose the vast store of knowledge accumulated in the GNU autotools and builds that use it.

autotools

freetype doesn't give any examples of what autoconf is used for that GNU make + pkg-config can't do, but when I said that I was thinking more about autotools as a whole, not just autoconf.

Re configure scripts in repositories, I guess I'd always considered "lack of portability" of configure scripts to be a bug; having autoconf generate a portable sh script is the whole point. The valid objection to checking them into a source repository is that they're not source.

As machine-generated code, it's ugly, irrelevent, and if developers are using different versions of autoconf et al. it can generate a huge amount of noise in the diffs. The only advantage I can see (besides the mentioned working around buggy configure scripts) is that it removes some dependencies for random people building straight out of the repository.

raph, your comments on GNU autotools are pretty must spot on, but I think your point number 3 is inaccurate. It's not that everyone uses the GNU toolchain; there are applications where other compilers are still interesting, Solaris is still alive as a vendor unix in the free software space, and as you point out, Apple has heavily modified the linker in MacOS X. So there are at least three common platforms that require special logic for building shared libraries, for example.

Rather, I would say that the reduced diversity as the vendor unicies become less relevent brings the issue of dependency detection and configuration to the forefront. And those are precisely the areas where the autotools approach of a maximum-portability script that tests the local system configuration is weakest. The imake style where the build tool knows what's installed is much more efficient here.

In fact, if you already know sh (portable or not) and are willing to depend on pkg-config (as most gtk/gnome software now does) you can do almost as well with just GNU make + pkg-config. The text substitution operators of the former do most of the convenience (as opposed to portabtility) features of automake, and the latter can do most of what autoconf is now used for. The rest of the configure script can just be implemented in the Makefile rules.

Still, I'd also like to see one of the more modern build tools take off, especially something that would flatten the learning curve for these things. SCons seems to most promising of these, but it still has a ways to go before it becomes a compeling replacement for larger projects.

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