This article on OSNews elicited a response. Here it is:
Horrible to get these issues confused. A standard says: “there’s one way to do X because without a single way of doing X, the benefits of system Y would be useless or unavailable to most users and/or developers.” A lack of choice says: “There’s only one way to do X… just cause.”
So, yes, HTML, CSS, these are standards. Are they suboptimal? Maybe. But if there were 65 different markup languages/style sheet specifications out there, the web would be useless. So a standard was necessary.
That’s why good standards tend to last a long time. Other ones tend to get phased out. For example, HTML is a standard, but XHTML (some might argue) is a better standard, which may be phasing HTML out (in the long term). ASCII was a standard for a long time. UTF-8/Unicode is now considered a better standard, and is phasing ASCII out.
There’s no paradox in saying, “I want to have the choice to use emacs, vim, or gedit, but I also want there to be only one encoding for text files so that I can send those files to my friends or cut and paste their content into other programs.” Again, if there were no text encoding standard, then computer systems as a whole would more or less break down as there would be no application interoperability.
So please be clear on these definitions! I don’t think UNIX developers want to “have it both ways.” I think they are being completely sane about this. Edit: Think about it: what better way to increase the power of choice than to enforce good standards? We want choice in applications, but standards among them!
Some scary stuff going on in the discussions at Slashdot today over Microsoft’s “Trusted Computing” initiative.
They [Microsoft] have already made the deals w/ Phoenix to make a MSFT certified BIOS that will enable them to not boot �insecure� OSs [read: Linux]. They are in talks to get the RIAA to support a format to make CDs unreadable in machines other than those running Windows (I presume this would include insecure versions of Windows as well). They are working to get the MPAA to agree to allow them to distribute movie materials via WMP which will likely lead to DVDs �protected� with MSFT products…
Sure, you can run all the free software in the world on your OpenBIOS computer. You will not be able to watch media, listen to media, surf the net, etc, because everything will require a “trusted” computer.
Yeah, it’s paranoid, yeah it’s probably [it seems] unlikely, but this is where we are headed whether we like it or not.
I wrote a quick patch for the mbox-dedup.pl script I found online awhile ago. Basically, the author wrote a script that takes an mbox and creates a new mbox with all duplicate messages removed. I have to deal with duplicate e-mails constantly due to some weird incompatibility between Evolution and my Argosoft Mail Server (Windows), which I’ll have to figure out some day soon.
This script is just a temporary solution. I modified it so it now creates three files: $f.bak, a backup of your old mbox; $f, your new, dupe-free mailbox; and $f.dup, which is a mailbox which ONLY contains messages detected as duplicate. You can probably get rid of f.bak and keep f.dup around in case there were any mistakes in duplicate detection (which is what I’m doing). How annoying through. Anyway, if this bothers you, download the script, but use at your own risk.
Read it here. It encourages programmers taking breaks to think about the bigger issues and reduce code bloat.
I understand now why programmers end up so conflicted. They have to work to meet deadlines, but often problems could be solved much more elegantly if there were extra time.
If I ever did run a software development company, one of the rules would be that everyone runs Workrave, a great free tool that forces you to take breaks from your computer every once in awhile. Not only does this reduce your chance of RSI/Carpal Tunnel, but it also provides a way for you to sit back and think about a problem in the abstract, rather than code your way through it.
I know deadlines are a reality. But in a perfect world, programming projects would be done “when they’re done.”
Man, Linux actually crashed. My little Workrave window was about to come up telling me to take a break, and before it could be drawn by GTK, the whole computer hard-locked. That teaches me to run a development kernel (2.6.6-rc2) when there is a newer, stable release out.
Luckily I didn’t lose anything since I constantly save my work. But hard-locks are exactly why I switched away from Windows, so this was disheartening.
Once August rolls around I’ll upgrade my kernel to something more stable.
Just got back from Northampton today. Was able to do some work remotely but not as much as I wanted, so I’ve been working late into the night. Still much to do, but at least I got JavaMail working properly and am finally, finally, finally finalizing my form design with JSP/Servlets on the UAC project. In the meanwhile, in Noho I was able to use my notebook to put together new form designs to be plugged in later.
But in more interesting news (not much more interesting)…. Wow! Lots happened while I stayed out of touch with the major news websites. Eclipse 3.0 (including new native builds) is well-received. Mono 1.0 was released. Java 1.5 (or, ahem, 5) Beta was released. Looking Glass was open sourced. Apple’s OS X Tiger was previewed and is now being scrutinized by Mac lovers. Wow, wow, wow, wish I had more time to explore all this good stuff.
Man, Dashboard is what gdesklets should be. Once we have a solid X system that is actually 3D accelerated in Linux, then we’ll be able to have more fun on the desktop.
Spotlight seems very cool, but I think Gnome Storage will be better. This may be an armchair code pundit speaking, but I think Linux geeks know how to do searching better than Apple geeks. Spotlight’s integration with Finder will look nicer, but Gnome Storage will actually find me my files.
Argh, gonna lay off this blog for a few days ’till I can say work isn’t bogging me down.
I think I must be doing the funkiest development on the planet right now. Connecting to a Debian Linux server running under VMWare Server under Windows 2000 Server as my test server, which is modeling the production server, a Redhat environment.
Locally, I’m connecting to this virtual Linux server via NFS, and plugging Eclipse right into the NFS exported directory, using uid/gid mapping to make sure permissions are okay.
Finally, running VMWare Workstation locally (for access to Dreamweaver/Photoshop) and connecting to the NFS mounted drive by connecting to the mount point on my local machine via SAMBA! That is, I have a mount point on my machine /mnt/server1 which maps to the IP of my server via NFS. And I made /mnt/server1 shareable via samba to my VMWare “Virtual Machine’s” IP address. So that means when I write a file from VMWare, it’s using the Windows SMB implementation which is interpreted by Linux’s SMB daemons, which are then sent over the Internet to my server using the NFS protocol and finally written to my server’s disk. All in milliseconds, no less.
Wow! That’s a lot of layers to peel off when something goes wrong. But so far, nothing has (this is very surprising for me).
Just wanted to post this here in case anyone else runs into this little quirky thing. A lot of the time running Linux you want to see your log files (like /var/log/messages), and so someone has been nice enough to code a gdesklet called MultiTail that sticks the output of your log files on your desktop. This is useful for me not only for monitoring server output (like tomcat, apache) but also for monitoring things like apcupsd (my UPS daemon) and even error messages coming from Gnome programs, etc.
But I started noticing this annoyance, that every few minutes I’d see an entry that went was just — MARK — show up in my log, which unnecessarily cluttered MultiTail. Well, you can actual get rid of that (which is just syslogd telling you he is still alive) in the following ways.
Nice follow-up to yesterday’s post. I’m frustrated with things not “just working.”
The light bulb for my torchiere light went out a couple days ago. Turns out it’s a weird bulb, so I had to buy it online (at topbulb.com), but then I stuck in the new bulb, and nothing turned on. Turns out the bulb didn’t die (though it seemed that way), the fucking light died!
Then I realized the recently-installed cheap CD changer still doesn’t play MP3 CDs properly. Better than before, but it still skips. And it can’t be a power issue anymore since it’s getting it direct from the battery. Grr. I hate stuff like that. I may just return the damn thing.
Oh yea, and Windows XP crashed while I was recording something off TV for Olivia. Nice. Luckily I rebooted and I think I only lost 2 minutes of commercials from the recording, so no harm there. But still.
On a final breakage note, yesterday I hit CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE by accident went I meant to hit CTRL+ALT+DELETE. When running X, CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE shuts down XFree86 entirely, if you don’t know (while CTRL+ALT+DELETE does nothing–I needed to send that command to my Windows server which I was VNC’ing into). Well, it turns out that somehow, by shutting down X at the wrong time, my Gnome panel’s clock applet wouldn’t start. Had to dig around the error message to find the solution, but in the end I had to copy my root account’s gconf entries for /apps/panel/profiles/default/ and then re-customize my gnome-panel. Havoc sure was right awhile ago when he said gconf can corrupt sometimes. I didn’t listen, and I had to rebuild my panel as a result.
Now I have to get to work. Let’s just hope things work while I work.
You know, my philosophy about buying things used to be, never buy high-end because you’ll always have to replace it/upgrade it within a few months. But now I’m starting to reject that whole idea entirely.
I mean, I’ve already posted on other sites about how new PDAs don’t impress me because I still use a Palm Vx and it does everything I need in a PDA, and then some. Everything I need. No, it doesn’t play seven or eight MP3s in its Flash memory. No, it doesn’t play video clips I record with the tiny video camera embedded in the back. No, it doesn’t connect to wireless internet access if hotspots are available.
Nope, all it does is keep track of my todo lists, download articles from AvantGo and download maps, directions and listings from Vindigo. I can also set reminders, create shopping lists, and play DopeWars. All in 8MB of RAM. Plus, it’s thin, it’s beautiful, and it’s made in the USA.
Now that computers keep getting faster and faster and most software is not proportionally taking advantage of it, I find it easier to say, “Okay, I’ll have this computer for a few years.” That’s a good thing. In retrospect, these last five years have moved so quickly that it really made us geeks spend a ton of cash. I mean, I’m on a 2.6Ghz machine with a gig of RAM. I never use more than 300MB of RAM unless I’m running VMWare (which I’ll admit, is often nowadays). My CPU never gets cranked unless I’m doing video processing. I mean, things aren’t as speedy as perhaps they should be (I/O being the bottleneck), but I haven’t felt my computer “lagging” in years.
As a side note to that, software needs to get smarter. At 2.6Ghz of raw power, my computer should be doing more for me automatically 🙂