Older blog entries for edd (starting at number 32)

9 Sep 2002 (updated 9 Sep 2002 at 11:48 UTC) »


I had promised myself not to get drawn into the recent resurgence of debate on removing the RDF from RSS 1.0. I fought long and hard in the past for the reformulation of RSS using RDF, so I feel I ought to say a little, maybe at least to justify why I'm not re-entering the debate in any way.

One of the major advantages of using RDF was that it decentralized control of the format. Anybody can write a module for RSS (and plenty of people have) without having to persuade, and perhaps get thwarted by, some central point of control. Furthermore, using RDF rather than just plain old XML meant that there were no nasty issues of DTDs or Schemas. RSS 1.0 became a bit more like a Perl hashtable, where you just inspected a file and took what you were interested in, rather than having to validate an entire structure. And, as a namespace is forever, nobody can alter RSS 1.0 to remove or change the core elements that exist in it.

Now people want to change things again, and remove the RDF syntax. Well, I'm not worried. RSS 1.0 achieved its purpose, and removed the point of central control. The RSS 1.0 namespace won't go away, and I can carry on using -- and extending if I wish -- RSS 1.0 to my heart's content. My other RDF software will be able to use terms from the RSS vocabulary just as before.

There's much more to say about why the direction some folk want to take now is advisable, but this isn't the place for it. Maybe the bar at OSCOM might be, if anyone's interested.

A very pleasant surprise today. Thanks to the hard work of Marc Boucher and Ben Herrenschmidt, there's now a Linux driver for the iBook2's internal modem (has some binary portions). This means I can stop carting around the external USB modem with me everywhere.

Kudos to Marc and Ben, and many thanks for helping me out with debugging my setup. The drivers are here. I also needed the 2.4.20-pre5-ben0 kernel to get things going OK.

1 Sep 2002 (updated 1 Sep 2002 at 19:33 UTC) »


Packaged and uploaded BlueZ 2.0 libs and utils to Debian unstable this weekend, also bluez-sdp too. My first upload to Debian since becoming a developer, all seems to have gone well.

Now to turn my attention to getting some more of BlueZ packaged. People are (obviously) keen to see the PAN support programs done.

One huge vacation in Peru now over. Work must now resume.

While I've been away I've been accepted as a Debian developer, so I can get the Bluetooth packages up to date. I've also got a hold of the Apple-retailed DLink USB dongle, so I'll be trying to get that working with BlueZ too. I've seen varied reports so far.

The latter half of this week has been taken up with hacking on my IRC/Semantic Web bots.

The Daily Chump is nearing a new release, incorporating a lot of features designed to adjust how chatty the bot is, requested by external users of the bot.

FOAFbot now understands how to read FOAF files that have been encrypted for it, allowing sensitive information to enter the FOAF web and only be readable by certain parties. It also now merges on SHA1 sums of mailboxes, meaning that people don't have to expose their email address in a plain text file, but can put it in an encrypted file.

I expect to release new versions of both these pieces of software at some point this weekend.

Great news. Thanks to thom, my packages for the BlueZ Bluetooth project have made their way into Debian unstable.

26 Jul 2002 (updated 26 Jul 2002 at 21:26 UTC) »

G3 day

So, the beige G3 300 arrived. And so did woe.

Well, it's not quite that bad. The thing is that I'd wanted to set the machine up standalone, so it wouldn't need MacOS. Unfortunately I've been unable to get Open Firmware to boot quik at startup time. So, I've had to resort to booting into MacOS and then quickly dropping back to Linux via BootX.

Everything else about the Debian PowerPC installation went just fine, fine. I'm a bit disappointed that I can't currently keep the box running without proprietary software though. I described my woes to the debian-powerpc list, but I'm not so hopeful of finding a way out.

Hardware-wise, I like the box. It's very easy to get inside and add or remove devices. I've got a USB PCI card and a Firewire PCI card inside it. They're working with kernel 2.4.19-rc3 just fine.

Maybe, if I close my eyes and wish hard enough, someone will know how to make it boot from Open Firmware. Just maybe.

Again, been off in the wilds when I should have been updating my diary here. So, some updates:


I've passed all the tests required of a new maintainer in Debian. I'm now sitting in the queue awaiting DAM approval, this could take a month or more. Soon hopefully I'll be a fully-fledged Debian developer. This should mean that the state of Bluetooth support in Debian improves. Meanwhile I'll keep bugging thom to upload my packages...

Semantic Web

I've created a new bot, FOAFbot, that acts as a "community support agent." It spiders people's FOAF files and answers questions on an IRC channel about them. It's based on top of dajobe's redland toolkit. Talking of which, it's nice to see dajobe land here.


Troubled with news of Palladium and my Intel dependency, I've decided to make a shift to PowerPC processors. The first step in this direction is to snap up a G3 300 from eBay which should be arriving soon. I'll be making a gradual progression to non-Intel dependency as funds allow.

One benefit of running PPC Debian is that a lot of non-free stuff just isn't available, it really helps you transition to 100% free software.

Long time no update. More Bluetooth hackery recently. The BlueZ packages are now dribbling their way into Debian. I've just packaged up sdpd, too, debs can be found in the usual place.

Yesterday was a big Semantic Web hacking day. I spent a lot of it hacking on Redland's Python interface. Redland's a great C-based toolkit for RDF processing, written by Dave Beckett.

My current project using Redland is noodling with rdfweb.org-based projects, like "friend-of-o-friend." Currently I have a Python program that can figure out where pictures of people I know are. Lots of fun.

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