josef is currently certified at Journeyer level.

Name: Josef Spillner
Member since: 2000-11-20 21:41:00
Last Login: N/A

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FS/OSS Zealot.


  • Lead Developer on MindX
  • Developer on GGZ
  • Contributor on KDE

Recent blog entries by josef

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Met up with jzaun in the wonderful old city of Marburg. We had a beer or two, and talked a lot about both differences between life in Europe and the US, our common enemy (companies dictating government policies), studies, and of course open source project work. The bzFlag stats system, as being worked on by him, is very advanced already and we should more or less catch up to that level on the www side of life. Having had a look at pictures of current multimedia applications on Windows and OSX in Keys magazine, we found out that none of these actually comply to any HIGs, and the same applies to games of course. Thus, while GNOME and KDE UI designers should care about the average desktop user, it should not be forgotten that the lack of specialized applications comes from the fact that custom UIs and desktops are not yet well-integrated. (I'm talking not about proprietary applications, those should vanish of course - I'm talking about nice interfaces to powerful free software libraries.)

For checking email later in the day, we've been to an Internet Cafe. The two guys who run the business didn't seem to speak English, and were even less skilled to administer PCs. Equipped with Windows ME, they had neither an alternative browser on it nor could handle 1024 bit cipher suites that certain online banks require. Oh my, they made my day in there :)

On my way back, I ended up in Berlin, watching camels being fed, walking nearby several heavily guarded embassies, and going back home in the early afternoon.

User-Mode-Linux is still among the top entries of my TODO list. I've started writing a KDE administration client for it (voilĂ ), which goes quite well thanks to the SMTP-like protocol. Well, except for the application name, sad there aren't any suitable K-names left.

While we're at it, Kexi looks very promising, but doesn't support PostgreSQL yet. Hm...

Advogato carries many meta discussions currently, and this is one of them :)

elanthis: A good program should always be able to handle input from /dev/urandom: don't lockup on arbitrary data, but, in case the data might probably be valid, be able to handle data of any size, without artificial limits. Yet there are too many tools which need to be fixed with regards to this problem. Another such issue for me is that a library function should never call exit(). Libraries are intended to be helpers, and their functions (or an object's method, for that matter) are equipped with return values for a reason. Yet some programmers disagree here, and call exit() in a library if an error is encountered. The golden rule is that one never knows in which environment a library is being used, so that exit()ing can always be considered wrong behaviour.

Health status Not doing very well yet, but survived the 3rd virus attack this year. A very odd year, and not much coding possible right now. Yet I'm confident I can meet a fellow developer (jzaun) in real life soon, as long as he'll be staying on this continent.

LinuxTag Chemnitz
We got a bunch of KDE t-shirts today, they're very nice (thanks promo team). The day was spent helping to setup the facilities at the university, and then finishing the presentation slides, and hacking some smaller bits. I even managed to update X11 and OpenOffice due to nasty PPC bugs, and it helped a lot. Although normally a sid system shouldn't be updated directly before presentations, that's second only to having to reboot without a journaling file system...

Updated the web interface so if a player wins or loses, it is instantly visible with a browser from anywhere in the world. Neato. Lots of work will have to go into supporting SQL tables, mostly for technical name -> real (i18n'ed) name lookups. Now if only all the games and clients would support the new features. Tomorrow, I plan to spend some minutes with chrisime to improve at least the GNOME 2.x client. This will set all KDE fellows at odds, but I've always wanted a rewrite of the old KDE applications, and don't have the time for it right now.

GGZ The project server is up and running, with ongoing migration of web pages onto it. On the source side of things, deprecation of the old autoconf and automake versions is now enforced for developers, which is really a good way to drop obsolete code. Heck, the fact that so much time is spent on the build system instead of on the code is disgusting, but build system work doesn't scale the same way as coding work, it requires a minimum of attention which is clearly above what could be done by a casual developer.

Hackers vs CS Theory Now that's a topic which still concerns me. I've been into software development for so many years, and only the recent months put development into perspective with the theory behind the code. Will I aim at being a hacker forever? A lousy software manager? A think-tank type of guy? Time will tell...

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