Recent blog entries for xtifr

Grr, I hate when things break for no apparent reason. Someone sent me a Russian translation of one of the text files in my WMMail deb package. So, I stick it in, and go to rebuild, and blammo, it won't build. What changed? Damndiffeyeno.

I do know my source didn't change. So, something in the build tools changed. Which scares me. Wonder how many other deb packages have magically stopped building when nobody was looking? Or maybe it's just me.

What I need to do is try on some other systems, preferably a debian-stable system. If that works (which it should), then I can examine it to see how it differs from the build that's failing on my box. Or so I hope. And so, a 10 minute job has turned into a many-hours job. Oh well, I've been in the biz long enough to know that that's just how things go sometimes.

But first, since this job is not a 10 minute job after all, maybe I'll go hunt down some real bugs first. My apologies to the Russians, but their translation just didn't end up as my top priority this week.

Hmm, over a year since my last entry -- guess that says something. It is a little interesting to look back and see where I was a year ago.

I haven't become a libpng guru, but I did end up learning a whole bunch about how the library has changed over the time, and how to live with that.

When I got in touch with the author of WMRack about some fixes for bugs reported by Debian users, he said that he was no longer maintaining it. So I volunteered to take over and set up a Source Forge page, which I have done. I've made a minor-bug-fix release, and I'm currently working on re-working the main loop a bit (in a mis-labeled CVS branch). My first serious goal is to make it work better on non-Linux systems (e.g. the BSDs). I'd also like to make it a little more modular, and maybe create some plug-ins.

I got ORBit v2 packaged up for Debian sid, and am more convinced than ever that I dislike libglib. On the other hand, I'd rather use an ugly wrapper library to gain portability than use one to lose it, as so many MS programmers do.

Fun, fun, fun, upgrading to Xf86-4. Actually, this all went much better than I had expected, thanks to the excellent work of Overfiend and the Debian-X crew. In one way, it was a step backwards, since I lost the use of utah-glx, and haven't gotten DRI working yet. But utah never worked quite right anyway, so it's not exactly a huge loss...

Adopted another poor orphaned Debian app, and yes, it's another wmaker dockapp. That makes three dockapps in a row I've adopted. And they're first three packages I've maintained for Debian that I actually use on a day-to-day basis. (Which would make you suspect that I run wmaker, but, in fact, I don't. I admire wmaker, and I recommend it to my friends, but I don't use it myself. But I do love the dockapps, and my fvwm buttonbar is full of 'em.)

The new adoptee is, a nice little dialer with traffic monitor. And the second I announced I was adopting it, a nice Debian user named Chris Gray popped up with several useful patches. Very handy to have someone familiar with the code on tap, since the upstream maintainers seem to be MIA.

Still beating my head against one nasty bug in Ted, another app I maintain. The PNG handling seems to be completely broken, and there seem to be a number of #defines involved, and some strange dynamic linking issues, all of which makes gdb less useful than it could be. I hate to admit I'm licked on something like this, but I'm not a libpng guru, and I'm afraid I may have to bounce this one back upstream.

Got my new Debian Woody workstation set up. Foolishly decided to try a UDMA100 drive, since I'd seen on kernel list that this was well supported. This may be true in theory, but none of the Debian boot disks spoke UDMA100. Hard to install a system when you have one machine that doesn't work, and one whose drives you can't access. I ended up building a kernel at work and stuffing it onto a Debian rescue floppy.

Now, with a functioning workstation, it was time to try setting up My First Lan. (I had all the parts, and was about to begin when the old box started flaking out.) For all the years I've used Lans, I've never rolled my own before. This was a lot of fun, and (mostly) went smooth as silk.

At last, after over a month of running on a crippled, all-but-dead box, I was ready to return to active duty with Debian. (Fortunately, Takuo Kitame had volunteered to make some NMUs for me while my box was down. I owe him some sincere thanks.)

I happened to notice that a couple of programs I use had been orphaned within the Debian project, so, with my new box all ready to start crunching on new code, I posted my intention to adopt them, and grabbed the source & patches. The first (WMMail) seems to be produced by an author who doesn't grok the CVS export function. (An all too common problem in OSS projects, I'm afraid.) The second (WMRack) exposed a hole (at least I think it's a hole) in the Debian cvs-buildpackage system. I'm investigating workarounds, but for now, I'm maintaining both packages without the benefit of CVS, which is less than thrilling.

I've still got a little catchup to do on some of my older packages, and I've got one that needs some massive cleanup (perhaps a complete repackaging from scratch), but at least I'm back on track and moving in the right direction once again.


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