Monday, November 21, 2005

new RPMs for GNUstep

I worked hard and had to do quite some tests... but I finally got new RPMs for GNUstep and its applications, they represent quite an improvment over the last version and I have also added applications compared to the last time.

The packages and source pakages are here.

As always the packages are made with MkLinux in mind, but I made them more general removing some weird hacks, thus I think they will work on more distributions, especially if starting from source.

I put all applications and tools in their own "GNUstep" category now.

Apart from several updates, I have added TextEdit, Terminal, FTP, TimeMon...

Thanks to the patience of its developer, Andy Ruder, TalkSoup was made compilable on gcc 2.95 and thus is available for MkLinux too!!

The great apps that are missing are GNUMail, which compiles and runs but has then problems finding the Inbox folder, and ProjectCenter which compiles bug segfaults on Mklinux. Both applications work on my Gentoo system instead. If someone has hints... let me know

Try the source RPMs out at your place!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New releases for GAP

This weekend Battery Monitor 0.2 and FTP 0.1 were released for the GNUstep Application Project. I hope with this small contribution to help out a bit the GNUstep problem which is, in my opinion, also a general lack of tools and applications.

Battery Monitor checks ACPI and to do this peeks inside the /proc file system. Once again working with it makes me thing on how weak and bad the idea of files versus syscalls is. I am forced to parse files with a useless overhead. Furthermore linux did also a very poor standardization effort and the /proc/acpi changes from laptop to laptop as well as from kernel to kernel version!

Also I have a worried thought for the future, I spread myself thin over a couple of projects now, all of which I think are useful. As I fear to get more busy in the future and as I hit some problems in the current design of the applications, I seriously fear that without external help and collaboration the projects are going to stagnate and be left unfinished, which would be indeed a pity. But it once again reflects another aspect of the GNUstep community.

This also reminds me to tickle Nicola again about the possibility to use kaffe with JIGS! Java integration can only do good to us.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Zeta and BeOS

Yesterday and today I tried Zeta, the successor of BeOS by YellowTab, on three different computers. The impressions are mixed. One can see that yT put a lot of effort in it. It runs now fine on a centrino and recognizes it 10/100/1000 ethernet card. The overall impression of speed and usability is fine. I dislike however the GUI changes that were done, I think they are only for the sake of looks (the highlight in the menus for example, the scrolling pane at the left in the new preferences application and other similar details) and which also clearly affect speed. On a Pentium II one can materially see those "new" widgets redraw (especially the menus) in a quite unacceptable way: even gtk on freebsd is faster on that box. Many applications themselves impress with their speed and typical BeOS style (like the email reader for example or the old but trusty Netpositive). Startup times are often negligible. The Gobe office suite is nice and light. Thus all-in-over I think there is improvement although the whole picture is "patterned" between old and new and slow and fast in performance. I hope yT will offer a real "old school" fast theme again (the current one isn't good) and fix perfomance issues here and there. Once notices "non native" applications like Firefox quite immediately for their slower speed and slightly different look (but this could open a big discussion for most platforms). The new joined preference panel is a good idea (except for the pane at left) since now settings are clear and grouped. The old-style system, very reminiscent of old Macintosh times, isn't handy for managing many settings.

On the Unix flavor side... the experience wasn't so good. I tried to compile jikes and it aborted compilation with some wide-char type problems (possibly a jikes problem) and then pico server ( which aborted compilation due to missing unix-style sockets. Thus for now I can't do any testing on how kaffe would work here...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

gnustep on gentoo fine again

Thanks to the fixes Adam made with libgif and linubgif, core GNUstep compiles fine again on gentoo. I had to recompile/relink all applications (I don't thinkn this is nice, if the dependency is brought in by a library). Enrico also fixed also GWorkspace to compile without DBKit.. so finally the whole environment of base applications is in good shape again.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

feeling like a bug...

(the post was mysteriously lost, so I try to write it again... and of course it didn't came out the same... some of the initial feeling was lost as I thought about it again)
I watched a video by Alan Kay [ part 1 ] part 2 ] and it made me feel small and bad. And it was not because of some nostalgia that sometimes creeps up my back when I see stuff from the pioneering time of computer science. I was impressed what was done in those times! And some things can't be still done today such easily

Maybe the most impressive thing were the small programs written by children! They were nice and stimulating programs and I would have a hard time doing something alike with the tools I know (even using languages as Objective-C or Java), really! And those kids wrote one or two pages of code for drawing programs with interactive menus and design constraints? I think that controlling the computer and being able to program it is very important and today, even after almost 20 years of programming, I feel it distant and unnatural.

Another interesting thing were the interfaces. Today due to use of the Mac and the interfaces derived from IBM's CUA (motif, windows, os/2) and theyr blind clones like KDE or GNOME limit our perception. OpenView would be regarded strange (not to speak of Amapi's natural interface).
The interfaces of the programs presented tehre are instead very clean and present concepts that aren't used much today. The Alto programs striked for example with the non-intrusiveness of their menus, the modeless use... but also older programs were interesting in their use. The direct manipulation of objects in the Rand program reminds me a lot of the Newton.

We have now very powerful hardware and operating systems, but their programs run at reaosnable speed on their systems... while today often we think about excess in functions or eye-candy... and less about usability. Also thing pile up. The interface to write this blog isn't as nearly as intuitive as the text editor on the Alto was (well... it also lost my first blog entry). I write inside a browser which handles dynamic contents... the browser runs on the OS itself. The result is miserable, even if a lot of power is "stimulated" little power is "unleashed".

One last thought is about the use of the computer in education. I feel warm and cozy that Alan thinks like me: an important liberal art is important. (I translate this into: teaching to use Office in elementary school is horrible). Also kids could be teached a much more creative use of the computer as the Alto examples show. When I was 14 years old I was tought LOGO, now people at high school learn visual basic... I think I was better off! Much better!

Monday, August 29, 2005

gap comes along...

Thanks to the keen help of Robert and Gregory I was able to fix so,e s,all but annoying bugs in both FTP and Graphos and thus both applications made a further step towards usability. I think that FTP is almost ready for a first "beta" release, I am waiting for some feedback, especially bug reports.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Kaffe on Solaris/Sparc

Good news! I compiled kaffe on sparc solaris 2.6 using JIT and pthread on my dual-processor box... and yay all regression passed! included te 4 jni tests. I have never seen this on that box since years. Cheers!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Kaffe on Darwin

Kaffe on Darwin is fine again, using interpreter and pthreads. It passes all regressions happily.

last night efforts... wx and DOM

I continued my effort to shape wxMotif in a better form on IRIX but until now no real progress... The code is ugly and although Vadim (vadz) was kind to me and spotted various methods to improve... the output was still none (ok, apparently I didn't break anything either).

The other interesting discussion I had was on IRC with Stefan. The problem is again the lack of applications in some areas and the quality of others. Today's menu was "browser". Apart from the usual talk of porting other engines... the idea of writing our own rised up again. ANd this one it seems promising.
We should start the browser work in making a sort of webcore. That one should be based on a DOM renderer, so that the translation of XML, HTML or whatever into o a DOM can be a separate module. Help in this regard could come from the Iconara DOM framework and the expat library. Makign a simle XML parser should be easy with these tools and so we could concentrate on other issues like the rendering without loosing time in the parser. Once the foundations are set, an HTML->DOM plugin could be done and added inserted into Iconara. Also this approach would force us into a good separation of tasks and thus in the future even iconara itself migh be replaced.
If this talk will have a future I don't know, but I'll think of a project code-name!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The beginning

Everything has a beginning... and so also my blog. After different people showed interest in a potential blog by my side, concerning mainly my open source activities, I decided to create one and see how well I come along with it.
I do not promise regular updates... nor is the life of this blog guaranteed.

I assume that the main focus will be on my development activities in Kaffe, GNUstep... and possibly generic comments about my visions of the world of computing.

Maybe also comment on my current music, photography and vision of the world will find a way here... we shall see.