Older blog entries for slef (starting at number 40)

Good deeds for the day: tried answering khazad's points about angelsun's project. It's actually quite close to being very good again, after the big OO rewrite. I also started digging into one other patch sent to the list (not Frank's, though, which will probably miff him) and started on the rewrite of the LUG web site.

Other people: mbp, why does everyone reference that UI Design for Programmers document? I read it over xmas and while it tells you not to throw out everything MS did just so for Windows-bashing, it pointlessly Linux-bashes at least three times IIRC. nymia, thanks for the list, but "make the GUI similar" must not mean "make the GUI the same". If we cannot correct blatent mistakes, there will be no progress.

Idle wonder: Why are talkers so peaceful compared with all the politics, agression, dick-size-wars etc of IRC?

Happy note before the storm: saerEmail is now useful for reading email (<1 day development). It needs some refactoring and installation parts writing for it, but then I'll put it on the web somewhere.


Sorry, I forgot to mention the %s indicate +q'd nicks. Your description is inaccurate, though: they are bans (and implemented as such) except they don't prevent you joining the channel. They also aren't recognised by any client that I know and generate the extremely cryptic message "the channel demigods have stolen your voice" if you try to talk, as well as other "funny" errors. (nb trying to be humourous in error messages is nearly always a usability mistake: the program is not only erroring, but rubbing the user's nose in it!)

I really don't understand why opers stand behind lilo publically. If you support his views, support his views, but if you don't, then please don't betray everyone. It might indicate a problem that needs fixing. If you discover that you have no support, then drop it as unimportant, but never be afraid to raise something.


i think people (notably slef) need to stop bashing lilo and openprojects. for crying out loud, it is not a horrible server.

It is becoming a horrible server because of the way it is developing and directed. Who wants kicks that look like parts? Who wants bans that break IRC clients? Who wants channel modes that only opers can set? Wake up and smell the coffee!

im sure there are plenty of other servers for you to use, go use them and shut the hell up. if your favorite channel wont switch to such-and-such network, deal with it. stop criticizing their work. its not as if they're trying to piss you people off with "poor" service.

Yes, there are other networks and I'm voting with my feet in starting to use them for channels that I have a stake in. The "don't use it if you don't like it" line that is trotted out so often ignores the fact that OPN have successfully made themselves the default IRC server for lots of projects and they won't all move overnight. Indeed, their gradual loss may be masked by the generally increasing numbers of participants in all projects, so that line is as bogus as the "hardly anyone has complained to us" one the #openprojects kick-masters trot out. (That'll be because most people will silently suffer or go elsewhere and those that do complain, you don't listen to!)

It would be far simpler to fix OPN than to move our poor community. OPN has become fix-resistent, though?

and, whats with all this poor service and such? i havnt noticed any real problems. [...]

Don't you think that maybe I'm not making this up? Don't you think that maybe daniels, hacker or the other departed opers may have legitimate concerns? Don't you think that something must have been wrong for lilofree.net to have started? Lilo's verbose frequent globals (for lilo doesn't wallop much) are just the tip of the iceberg, but no-one is talking about these problems. No-one is willing to address them in public.


No, arseholes are those who won't confront problems. After all, if your head is in the sand, what "face" are you presenting to the world?

We interrupt your normal diaries for this short rant:

I'm shocked. Here's the ban list from #openprojects, edited for lengths

*** #openprojects %*!*@*no-dns-yet.ntli.net
*** #openprojects %*!*@
*** #openprojects %*!*@*.t-dialin.net
*** #openprojects %*!*@*.btopenworld.com
*** #openprojects %*!*@
*** #openprojects %*!*@host*.btinternet.com
*** #openprojects %*!*@pc-*lp.blueyonder.co.uk
*** #openprojects %*!*@*pc-lp.blueyonder.co.uk
*** #openprojects aurikan!*@*
*** #openprojects *!*@dhcp239.mc01.dsl.fastucson.net
*** #openprojects %*!*@*.ma.us.prserv.net
*** #openprojects %*!*@*.popsite.net
*** #openprojects %aurik-away!*@*
*** #openprojects %idunno!*@*
*** #openprojects *!*@pc1-guil4-0-cust177.gui.cable.ntl.com
*** #openprojects %spikon!*@*
*** #openprojects %meiso!*@*
*** #openprojects %daniels-work!*@*
*** Total number of bans on #openprojects - 27

Note particularly the ones in bold. Between them, they cover the ISPs of 4 million people in the USA and the ISPs of the old state telcos in the UK and Germany, as well as another large UK one. That's wonderful if they want help in the network help channel, isn't it? The last one is just surprising because of who it is.

What gets you banned in the OPN help channel? Well, you can say that you have lilo on ignore, and he'll add you. You can criticise pretty much any aspect of his administration of OPN and he'll add you. You can grumble about those excessively wide lame bans on the network help channel (some of which have been there since last week) and you'll be added. Better not criticise the ircd, either. Woe betide you if you say you'd rather get wallops than global notices! Anything other than 100% praise is condemned as trolling. The opers have either left or closed ranks behind lilo, AFAICT.

Time to move on, it really is. It's a shame that two channels I like (#brits and #lisp) are still there, so I'm a bit tied for now. The strapline says "open technology, open information" -- not on OpenProjects!

MartBrooks is taking jokes from userfriendly? (Was that where there was a Cat-Five?). olandgren wasn't talking to me. hacker shares my sadness, but more so. Why does IRC always attract such politicians and overgrowns? I remember linpeople too, then LISC, then OPN. I was elsewhere.

Finally started on my email client, which is just a nice GUI wrapper (well, three and a shell script) around nmh. It's got a name now: saerEmail. Basic mail reading, deleting and replying works now, but there's no folder operations (not even a "view current folder") yet. More on that when it approaches useful and/or clean.

I'm trying "spanish hours" roughly, this week. Start early and take a long lunch. More on that on or after Friday.

This short ill-tempered entry is called "I don't like being antagonised all evening, then kicked from the channel and it being made to look like I left of my own free will", or alternatively "The status is that Rob Levin should get a life".

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow, probably after removing OPN from my default network list and trying to get two more channels I care about off of it. One will probably go to a UK net and the other one to something like lilofree.net or sourceIRC. Better IRC nets than OPN are rather easy to find.

Back on-net, slowly hacking my way through absurd email quantities and angelsun's responses to my patches. I didn't carry one of my wide-ranging changes quite far enough and so I'm responsible for a bug in 1.0.15 -- oh well, the patch for it is on the list now.

Done very little on any other projects. Poor old site-engine... I know what I need to do, but it isn't done yet. I must do that this week really. Watch out for an Earthquake if it works as well as it looks like it will. Then I just move it to the "servlet container" and I can experiment with the object prevalence ideas.

Looking at others: lilo seems to be spinning for all he's worth. The strong "editorial policy" taken by OPN admins is a dangerous way to go. If #FreeBSD wants to be a hell-hole (in their opinion), why can't it? Once you start trying to edit IRC on the basis of anything other than TOS or AUP, you are in a minefield.

It's good to see Denny back here. Perhaps we should start a "hackers with gorgeous partners" section of the new web site when I get it up? Of course, I'll be using site-engine rather than YAWNS. ;-)

shlomif obviously reads different perl to me.

tk: Scheme is unituitive? No shit... programming isn't exactly a natural activity. I think what you mean is "scheme doesn't look like what I'm used to so I am scared by it," which isn't a terribly good way to approach things.

While I'm ranting about you, I think your "pragmatism is wonderful" piece misses many points. FS "fundamentalists" (which I think is what you call "idealists") may upset some people, but they are necessary. So-called "pragmatists" are the biggest threat that we have to face today: these people would gladly exchange all our progress for a perfectly working closed system. I find it confusing and contradictary that there are so many involved in GNU/Linux development today. My recommendation is "realism", which I will get around to writing about in more detail one day. Summary: you follow the basic ideas of Free Software and help to move it forwards, but accept that we're not there today, so occasional comprimises have to be made by some people. Sometimes even yourself, although it makes you unhappy.

Your other argument is the old chestnut that "free software is dirty code". I think that can be dismissed very quickly, as most software is dirty code, while free software actually has peer pressure to make it tidier. Sometimes people are lax on coding standards, but they soon learn.

Why don't I like the term "OSS"? Firstly, it was cooked up by a monopolist quoted by ESR, as far as I can tell. Secondly, it is a pure "spin" campaign by pragmatists that adds no value. Thirdly, the term "open source" doesn't actually mean what OSI wanted it to mean, while free software is better established and easier to explain in the marketplace. You only have to look at some of Apple's, Microsoft's or Sun's "open source" releases to see that it adds nothing to our value. That fact is largely ignored by both your article and those of the OSI. "Open source" is a corrupted term being used by proprietarists to confuse the issues and must be discarded.

Why should software be free? Simply, we must build on each other's work to have an efficient development model. The method of the past -- ignoring all past work in a field, often by legal compulsion -- just isn't going to allow us to progress at the speed we could. Purely opening the source code relies on developers to follow this because of some altruistic/ socialistic desire to make money for the company that owns the code. There will be some, but I don't find that a particularly fair development model, with the companies getting rich off of the work of non-employees. Free software allows developers to make money from their development work more easily, as they can sell their own work and package it with the work of those who went before. So, I think the question is "why should anyone work on open source?".

9 Dec 2001 (updated 9 Dec 2001 at 01:27 UTC) »

Nothing like mentioning that you haven't noticed any PHP advocacy to bring a cohort of foaming proponents forwards.

Quick responses

deekayen: Debian doesn't install sendmail by default. That's a pretty major distribution to overlook. Also, PHP is marketed as simple to learn and good to expose to the outside world from day one. C does neither. Big difference.

Waldo: Yeah, right(!) Then again, I think most of today's sliced bread is over-hyped over-processed pap too. We must have different ideas of what is good.

rasmus: I agree with you that PHP is a triumph of hype over substance, being pushed into places it was never designed for. Scheme has so little syntax that it is actually easier to pick up, but most of the texts currently available are targeted at Comp Sci freshers. That will change. And, for what it's worth, I didn't complain about PHP's lack of lambda, so maybe you want to watch your attributions.


Up until some insecure PHP "k0derz" started answering an allegation I didn't make, I'd only mentioned it in one diary entry here. Now, if I wanted to irritate, I would have said Open Source is dead, long live Free Software.

But I don't, so I shan't.


async, thanks for the replies. Some of them made me laugh and one of them is actually quite sage. I'll leave you guessing as to which one.

rasmus, huh? No remorse for making it very easy for half-wits to start writing public-facing code without even the most basic study (which I rate alongside leaving the gun cabinet unlocked and the guns loaded while renting the gun room out for an unattended playgroup)? No comment on the linguistic features that are still missing? Just "we have something like lambda now"?

The original bit wasn't directed at PHP, though. I don't recall seeing much PHP advocacy here lately. That said, I see how the harshness of the linked page on PHP (calling it our equivalent of VB) could make it look like that.

I must try to write in a less attention-grabbing manner. That was basically a repost of a rant from elsewhere earlier in the day ;-)

Why do people still publish new HTML 3.2 web sites? It was obsolete four years ago and it's obsolete now.

Why do people keep assuming GNU GPL implies "no commercial programming"?

Why didn't I see how simple web applications could be before?

Why don't I do more useful things and less idle chatter online when I'm not working?

Why do contracts come in the feast-famine cycle at the moment?

Why do people keep using whatever old rubbish was installed on their PC when they bought it, even when I offer to upgrade and support it for free?

Why do people keep advocating the wrong languages in their diaries?


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