Older blog entries for tromey (starting at number 37)

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.

10 Dec 2002 (updated 10 Dec 2002 at 23:43 UTC) »

jbucata: The situation is a bit ironic. I don't believe that IBM, Intel, et al, are process-ignorant. It is more that they aren't always very adept at following processes in place for free software projects. I've heard occasionally that this can happen when the company doesn't allow access to the cvs server (making it much harder to participate fully). So education may have to happen in IS more than engineering; I don't know.

For Eclipse (which is largely run by IBM) I've found that the processes do exist, but they aren't disseminated very well. So, for instance, Eclipse nightly builds include automated tests, but figuring out how to run those tests for yourself is not trivial. My impression is that inside IBM, the releng groups runs the tests and nobody sees much need for anybody else to know how to run them. This is a bit contrary to how things are usually done in the "free world".

Eclipse

Yesterday, after a lot of bug fixing and also a couple of questionable hacks, I managed to get Eclipse to start up using gij. This is pretty exciting! There's still a huge amount of work to be done, though, and for the time being I can only do it in my spare time. I expect progress to be slow.

My long term goal for Eclipse is to make it very useful for free software development. Right now we have an integrated development environment on the client side, and then another one (think sourceforge) on the server side. So the next step is to more fully integrate across that boundary. Some ideas along those lines:

  • Let the project inform Eclipse about its processes. For instance, easy automation of patch submission, bug tracking, etc. Likewise, things like standard build commands, testing, could be set up automatically on a per-project basis.
  • Perhaps if you have a project open in Eclipse it could automatically register you as "online" for instant messaging through the server. Closing the project would deregister you.
  • The project could tell Eclipse about its coding standard, and Eclipse could adjust its editors automatically.
  • The project could list its dependencies and Eclipse could automatically check them out (or otherwise ensure they are installed).
That's just a random brainstorm. I don't know if I'll ever implement any of it. Still, it is worth thinking about. As always, I'm open to ideas -- what would make Eclipse useful to you?

Movies

Lilo and Stitch. I enjoyed it, though not as much as Monsters Inc. Parts were a bit cheesy for my taste.

Zaitcev: I've had the same "here's a drop" experience when working with large companies. A single large patch of mixed quality without rationale is more or less what we expect to get from Intel, IBM, etc, on the Classpath project. (Actually IBM has been a bit better and actually split it into multiple logical changes, though still without justifications.) More education is required here. Someone could go to these companies and give talks on the standard development processes.

gcj

Lately, class loaders are getting a lot of attention. mjw basically rewrote URLClassLoader. I've been doing some work in this area as well; every time I look here I find bugs and oddities that also spill over into the interpreter. You'd think all these bugs would have been ironed out years ago, but I suppose most people precompile their code and avoid the interpreter.

Movies

Analyze That. Not as funny as the first one. I was a bit bored.

Boulder

Lately I've been interested in converting the city to Linux. I think the first step will be to find a friendly way to approach the city IT manager and probe his perspective, the city's requirements, etc. I've been putting off actually doing anything until after the holidays though.

Eclipse

Today I finally finished my patch to teach Eclipse about the common free software cvs repositories. I sent it in. I expect to have to rewrite it again. Right now it only knows about 7 repositories; I'm sure there are a bunch of important ones I'm missing. We've come a long way! Back in the day, says grandpa, there were no public repositories at all. It's hard to believe how primitive things were in 1990.

Not sure what I'll work on next. Probably humdrum bugs again.

Today wondered idly whether the Eclipse platform could be used as the base for a movie editor. I'm guessing there would probably be some significant problems doing it.

gcj

Lots of gcj patches from various people lately. At some point the 3.3 branch will be made and we can start making major changes for 3.4. Now if we can just find somebody to do major work on the front end and on gdb.

Build Tool

Not much lately. Waiting for Ben to make the repository.

Movies

Man From Elysian Fields. Many people loved this movie, but I found some of the acting to be flat (the main character) and the characters unsympathetic. I loved James Coburn though. Still, don't bother seeing it.

Elling. Delightful movie, quite funny.

Hacking

Lately depressed about hacking. Seeing old projects slowly become irrelevant and die is sad. Accepting that all is impermanent is a difficult, ongoing lesson.

My most recent consideration here has been: why is it that Mono seems so much more successful than gcj? There could be any number of reasons, and I'm curious to know all of them.

Movies

Die Another Day. Ridiculously bad.

Harry Potter 2. I liked this more than the first one. It was darker, more sinister. Unfortunately I still feel that something is missing, there is a core of flatness to the movie. Nevertheless I enjoyed it as a social event. I wonder how they will film book 4, which is twice the size of book 2, which already made for a long movie. Maybe they'll have to split it in two.

Eclipse

Today I finally got interested in actually doing something to Eclipse. I started adding some code to the cvs perspective so that Eclipse will know about the standard free software repositories and make it easy to check out your favorite projects.

I find it is easier to engage if I think about how I can change Eclipse to make it more useful for free software hackers. This isn't a surprise; I've known my agenda for a long time.

Another thought I had was to have a way for a project to specify its coding standard in some top-level file. Then the Eclipse editor would automatically adjust. Implementing this is probably tricky. I wonder why Emacs doesn't already know how to do this.

I'm generally interested in ways to make Eclipse fit with the free software community better. If you have a cool idea, send it my way. Well, send it my way knowing that I can't promise to implement it.

Movies

Bowling for Columbine. I think Michael Moore is pretty funny. Plus, once I briefly met him while standing in line at a film festival (the personal event makes someone more likeable). This movie was darker than I expected, and turned a pretty ordinary afternoon into an emotional event. However, I was also disappointed by some of Moore's inaccuracies, and also a few cheap shots he took. Sometimes that can be funny, but it was out of place in this film.

Femme Fatale. I saw this since Roger Ebert liked it. Ordinarily I don't do that, but his essay swayed me. I've seen him speak a couple times here, and that gave me more appreciation for what he does and how he thinks. Nevertheless, I hated this movie. In fact, I think the plot device De Palma uses (I'm not going to spoil it here) should be banned henceforth from film. And books and poetry, too. This trick (if you've seen it, it is the scene where the main character wakes up in the bath tub) overshadowed whatever other enjoyment I got from the film (there was some, I grudgingly admit). In fact I ranted about it all week to my friends and was quite a bore on the subject.

On the subject of movies, from time to time I look into movie editing for Linux. The field is pretty empty. I've considered writing my own editor, which would be pretty fun, but unfortunately time is scarce. It will be more pressing once I've got something to edit, I suppose.

I've been out of town a lot lately.

gcj

gcj is getting some good attention lately. I keep hearing from people wanting to use it. Inspired by this, this weekend I did some AWT debugging. I've eliminated all the outright crashes from the test program. It's easy to make progress on this; I just wish more people would give it a try.

Movies

The Gleaners. Saw this again and liked it just as much. I'll probably end up buying this one.

I Spy. This got bad reviews, but I saw it and laughed. Parts are dumb, and overall it is predictable, but I enjoyed it. Owen Wilson's goofy persona sometimes wears thin. I picture him playing a Woody Allen-like character in some future movie.

Build Tool

Discussion on the build tool is proceeding nicely. Ben's class is ending, so hopefully soon he'll have more time to work on it; it will be nice once the subversion server is set up and people can play with the prototype. Currently we're mostly talking about front end issues, but also some use cases. Also, Ben's going to give a talk on our plans in Australia (I don't know exactly where).

Movies

Super Troopers. I rented this on advice from a person at Video Station. Video Station, btw, is an awesome local video store here in Boulder. The employees are very knowledgeable. I talked to someone who applied for a job there; they give you a movie quiz that most people fail. Anyway, this movie struck my funny bone in a way few movies do. I had to pause the tape since I was laughing too hard. It literally hurt, and tears were coming out of my eyes. Still, I suspect the movie isn't really as funny as I thought; sometimes you happen to see a movie when you're in exactly the mood required to fully appreciate it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it, especially the character played by the director (who I thought was a fine actor).

Secretary. This is an odd movie; I'm not quite sure what to write about it. I found the ending a bit unsatisfying, since it seemed to be a very mundane, happily-ever-after ending for what had been up until then an anything-but-usual relationship. It absurdly reinforces the dominant cultural values, against its own apparent logic. It is worth seeing, though I probably won't ever see it again. (Watching a movie twice is a real test for it.)

Movies

The Transporter. This movie has laughably bad dialog. I literally laughed out loud, probably to the irritation of the mostly adolescent audience. Parts of it were creative, though shot in an over-the-top style reminiscent of The Brotherhood of the Wolf. I enjoyed it the appropriate amount.

Build Tool

Not much work lately. Still thinking, doing some reading, running through various scenarios in my head. Currently I'm composing a message with a strawman for one approach (the "new language") to a front end. Later I may write up another approach (the "reuse" approach). This phase has taken on a sort of circular, conclusion-free flavor that I am not enjoying.

After playing more with ant, I've decided I definitely don't like it. Perhaps I'm missing something, but to me ant seems in many ways less useful and capable than make.

Eclipse

For now I've stopped trying to get Eclipse to work with gcj, and am instead looking at fixing bugs important to a Linux audience. For instance, the Ecilpse cvs plugin doesn't preserve the executable bit on checkout.

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