tromey is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Tom Tromey
Member since: 2002-03-10 08:11:55
Last Login: 2008-03-13 17:33:43

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Notes:

I've worked on free software since I first found out about it. That was around 1990 or so. I took a job that Brian Fox had previously had, and as part of my training he converted me to use Emacs and Bash.

My earliest hack was adding things to Bash. Most of that code is now lost, but some remains. For instance, I wrote the M-{ binding.

Since then I've done all kinds of things. I did a lot of Tcl and Tk hacking (both with and on). I wrote the Tcl editing mode for Emacs.

I've contributed to many free software projects over the years. An exhaustive list would be exhausting, and maybe not very interesting.

I started working at Cygnus in 1996. I was sick when I interviewed, and almost didn't get the job. But for some reason they hired me, and I've stayed since then.

Nowadays I work on Automake, in my spare time, gcj, and Eclipse for work. Well, mostly. There's still time for other hacks from time to time.

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gcj

Work here never ends.

Movies

Adaptation. Given my extreme negative reaction to Being John Malkovich (a movie that pushed many of my buttons), I went to see this with some trepidation. In the end I found I didn't enjoy it very much; Malkovich, while personally disturbing, was more expertly made on every level. I found the self-referential quality of Adaptation more irritating than clever. There were interesting parts, but it didn't live up to the hype I'd heard.

Revolution OS. This is playing in town now. I went to see it at a film festival and was disappointed. It has no emotional hook.

Java

Someone leaked a Sun memo about the pitfalls of Java. I read bits of it. It was interesting, though I see it largely as a condemnation of one particular implementation.

Lately I've been looking into bytecode verification again. It turns out that the libgcj verifier has some bugs (and the gcj verifier has rather more). I've been wondering how I could ever have confidence in a verifier implementation. A large-enough test suite would help, but it would hardly be definitive. Maybe someone can write a proof for a program like this. That would be genuinely interesting.

mharris: Interesting diary entry, thanks. It reminded me a bit of the reasons for the egcs fork, way back when. Basically, a limited set of maintainers who were unresponsive in some ways, with processes that didn't scale, and no real interest in changing.

Forking worked great for gcc in this situation. gcc probably has an order of magnitude more developers now than it did then. Bug tracking has improved, patch tracking has improved, and the compiler has a whole has seen much important evolution which would have been greatly slowed under the old model. So the culture of openness has really helped. I wish you good luck if this is the course you decide on.

gcc 3.3

Work proceeds. Today rmathew got his copyright assignment approved, so there are some patches to check in. Plus I need to get started on setting up test builds on various platforms.

Build Tool

Nothing recently, but I wanted to welcome bje to Advo.

I survived another holiday.

gcj 3.3

Work proceeds. As usual, a ton of patches have been waiting for the final stage of the release process. So now I'm spending a lot of time on gcj again. On the one hand this bodes ill for quality. On the other hand, we're pretty careful to test the patches we put in, and these days we have a large (but by no means comprehensive) test suite.

It's nice to see Anthony and rmathew here; both gcj hackers.

The New Year

I've thought a little about my hacking goals for the new year. Many revolve around gcj 3.4. In particular I'd like to get AWT working this year (probably achievable) get serialization working (or at least escalated to "don't break this" for patches), and pre-compile Eclipse ("stretch goal").

I also plan to do some work on the build tool. Ideally we'd have our first release this year. Whether that is possible depends on whether other people help out.

Perhaps this year I'll finally get started on the free software movie. It has been stalled since the funding didn't work out a couple years ago. These days I'm planning a different, low-cost approach: film it myself on DV, edit it myself with software I write (or find, though the state of video editing in the free software world is not that great). Most likely I'll start by working on my script and plans, and then interviewing local free software folks. There are other film possibilities, but that seems like a practical approach, given that it is readily broken down into smaller parts.

Build Tool

Ben got subversion running -- major progress! I bugged him about it yesterday, but it turns out that he has been making progress all along, and I just didn't know. And now the egg is on my face since I'm going out of town and won't have much chance to do anything.

gcj 3.3

The trunk unfroze yesterday, so today I checked in a bunch of pending bug fixes. I've also fixed a few bugs and worked out some of the remaining issues. There's a status page.

Wish List

Lately I've been dealing with a lot of libgcj patches. I write one, test it, back it out, and move on to the next. It would be convenient if, once I was satisfied that the patch was correct, I could submit it to some program that would apply it to a pristine copy of the trunk and the 3.3 branch, run the tests I'm interested in, and then send me the results. That is, automate all the annoying stuff I have to do for every patch.

gcj 3.3

Release season is upon us again, and with it the attendant stress and second-guessing. Have I done enough? Can I fix these last bugs? Should I do one last merge against Classpath? The holidays play into this situation in an unfortunate way.

This time I really don't know where I'm going to find the time to do all the things that need to be done. For 3.1 I basically spent several weeks working on the release full-time. This time around, though, I actually have other tasks I have to attend to. My current plan is to push work onto other, possibly less willing, people.

gcj 3.3 is shaping up to be the best gcj release ever. More platforms, more classes, more bug fixes, etc.

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