Older blog entries for trow (starting at number 31)

Tim, Owen, JRB and Havoc are my Heroes

I built GNOME2 out of CVS for the first time the other day. I haven't played much with the gnome-core bits (in particular, the 2.0 panel kept crashing), but I've started looking at the part I really care about -- the development environment.

Mostly I've played with glib/gtk+, and the new versions are so much nicer than the old ones. I've always been fond of gtk+, but there always were some huge annoyances that made programming with it much more painful than was really necessary. I'm happy to report that the situation is now vastly improved... the APIs clean-ups are fabulous, and I'm loving the new tree and text widgets. Everything seems well-thought-out, which is about the highest compliment I can think of.

I love GObject. I didn't really realize how badly I needed interfaces -- now that I have them, I can think of a dozen places where they can really make a difference in my code.

I was worried that Pango was going to make things more complicated, but now I see how it makes everything so much easier, at least from the developers point-of-view. The fact that we haven't been able to do things as simple as mixing bold, italic and 'normal' text is totally idiotic. Now it is trivial, as it should be.

Now we just need to do something about the signal emission overhead...

We really have a great bunch of candidates for the GNOME Foundation board. Picking just eleven to vote for was not easy.


As Evolution finally makes the 1.0 mark, I've been recovering from the final mad dash with a just-for-fun weekend hacking project that I dropped into Gnome CVS a few minutes ago: GnomeChart (CVS module 'gnome-chart') is a little app that grabs stock data from Yahoo! and displays it chart form using libguppi. Give it a try! (Warning: I'll probably make another Guppi release soon, but until then GnomeChart requires guppi3 CVS.)

I'm off to Boston tomorrow for a few weeks "in residence" at Ximian.

Idiocy Abounds

Well, I finally met a person who believes that the WTC attack was a conspiracy by the Mossad to create a pretense for war against Islamic countries. I knew these people existed, but I hadn't encountered any of them in the flesh until this weekend.

Interestingly enough, the conspiracy theorist in question was not a Muslim; he is a young Eastern European Catholic who has lived in this country for a few years. His "reasoning" was rather interesting: he asserted that crashing the planes into the towers was an act of aeronautical skill that only "a few top pilots in the world" could accomplish. "Who has those kinds of pilots? The Mossad!"

I saw no point in getting into an argument with him (who I'm somewhat acquainted with, and who is otherwise a perfectly nice and seemingly rational fellow), so I just smiled and nodded. He comes from a rural area in one of those countries that may not have liked being overrun by the Germans, but which enthusastically participated in the liquidation of their Jews... so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that he soaked up a certain amount of Zionist-Bankers-Rule-The-Worldism that may still be sloshing around in the culture there.

But that doesn't make it any less depressing.

Guppi & Gnumeric Play Nice

We've got primitive graphing working in gnumeric now. Yes, we had primitive graphing working in gnumeric a long time ago, but now for the first time we can also:

  • Load and save graphs in .gnumeric files.
  • Import some graphs from XL (or so Jody tells me).
It isn't much, but it is a beginning. There will probably be a dual Guppi/Gnumeric release within days.

I just noticed that DSL backwards is LSD. Makes you think, doesn't it...

My DSL went away on Monday, due to bankruptcy of whoevers wires my data was travelling on. Today my new DSL came to life, and is three times faster than it was before. Five days of dial-up was enough for me.

This Diary Entry is 100% Taliban-Free

I've been having some problems with my main development machine, so I'm upgrading to a 2.4 kernel to see if that will solve some of my problems. Here is the proof that I'm getting old and crotchety: I used to enjoy fiddling with system, but now it just seems like a drain on my time.

Still, I'm eager to see the extent to which SMP performance is better. And for the first time I've got DRI working; now all I need are some OpenGL apps...

Just Say No

Just to go against the trend and say something good about the Taliban: it was fairly widely reported earlier this year that the Taliban cracked down on opium cultivation, banning it on the grounds that it is "un-Islamic". This link contains a copy of the NYT article that has favorable quotes about the Taliban's drug policy from the DEA officials and Colin Powell.

I've heard a number of "talking heads" on TV, including a few senators, talk about the Afghanistan/Heroin link over the last week. But while the Taliban obviously have a number of fairly awful policies, this doesn't seem to be one of them.


A few recent diary entries have mentioned Rwanda in one context or another. Most people probably don't realize that a huge amount of blame can be assigned to the mind-blowingly awful policies of the French government. For example, see this link. (I'm not sure what axes this author might have to grind, but his account basically matches what I've read in other places.) An excellent book about Rwanda is We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch. I recommend it highly.

In all fairness, the U.S.'s role in the tragedy in Rwanda is nothing to be proud of. In March 1998, during his trip to Africa, Clinton said:

"All over the world, there were people like me sitting in offices who did not fully appreciate the depth and speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror."
(Source: http://www.alternet.org/story.html? StoryID=9494. This analysis in this link may be biased, but I'm assuming that the quote is accurate.) This statement by Clinton is demonstrably false: the Hutus made very little attempt to conceal what they intended to do. Most of the world just didn't want to know.

Efficient Use of Resources

I think most people agree that we need to greatly increase the amount of money and manpower devoted to law enforcement in order to investigate terrorist threats and to provide additional security on airplanes, at airports, at government buildings, and at other public places. Let's stop wasting our resources on the idiotic War on Drugs, and instead apply those efforts to actually protecting American lives and property.

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