Kommandeering Developers Everywhere

Monday, October 31, 2005

Porting effort results

2 dumpsters (3 cubic yards each) filled in 2 hours. I'm going to need about 10 more at this rate - my house must have been silently amused at my feeble attempt to rid it of debris.

A basement room I previously thought was empy is filled with wood. Wood? Yes, wood. Like a couple of 2X4s? No, not like a couple of 2X4s. Like Noah's Ark has been found. Like several tons of wood. How did I not know about this room? Because I had to clear 10 piles of junk to get to this pile. The real world analog to fixing a compile error that allows you to see 5 new errors.

So what to do. Could I build a new ark to prepare for global warming? Probably. Could I make a new KDE HQ as a huge tree house? Yeah, I'd guess. Could I make a massive rickety Trojan Rabbit to catapult into the Gnome camp? Now we're talking.

Friday, October 28, 2005

My own porting effort.

The internal plumbing is rough. Rewiring needs to be done. Total cobwebs. A Clawhammer will speed things up. Tons of garbage collection taking place.

Is Wade finally shutting up and helping with the QT4 port? Nope, I'm talking about finally beginning to work on my basement. I'm remodeling an old Victorian house, and the basement is beyond description. Let's just say it's very appropriate that I begin this job right around Halloween. But with heating costs in the US, time is short to get some better insulation in place.

So even though it'll be fantastic out this weekend (65 and sunny in Minneapolis - Global warming will make Minneapols the Miami of the 22nd century - my house may yet be oceanside!) I'll be in the basement taking out my frustrations with a 30 pound maul. Not many ways to use that legally.

Two dumpsters in my driveway, so if you need to throw out any QT3 code or "Gnome Sweet Gnome" buttons or SCO training manuals, stop on by - plenty of room.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sun Microsystems is the answer!

Unfortunately, the question continues to be, "What would happen if you took a bunch of bright engineers and surrounded them with somewhat less talent?"

Working with Sun Micro for the last decade, I'm not sure I've understood a press release of theirs since ${fill in horribly dated pop bad here like Ace of Base or Insane Clown Posse or Color Me Badd; it doesn't really matter if the dates match up} was popular.

This morning's bemusement was based on this article. Apparently, they're going to "make sure the JDS is prolific on all Linux distributions." Ok. I hope my desktop is prepared.

In case you're one of the 98% of this planet that can't figure out what JDS is, please review this link. It's obviously a Linux distro or a desktop manager on top of a linux distro or software on top of a desktop manager on top of a linux distro. Either way, we know it's a "comprehensive enterprise desktop software solution." Clear now?

SuSE backend + Gnome + Mozilla + Java + Looking Glass + Some Sun Code (tm)+ Star Office = Prolific.

I hope I'm not risking any lawsuits for giving away this formula. And they want this all to be prolific. Sun does quite a bit of good, but when will they stop wandering around in the desert?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Last OSDW post...I promise

HOW: The OSDW conference happened only because certain people put in a lot of worked and some companies understood the value and helped sponsor the event.

WHEN: OSDW was held recently on October 13-14th. Future workshops have not been announced publically to my knowledge.

WHY: Because, as referenced in my interview with aseigo, there is plenty of interest in learning more about OSS and developing cross-platform applications. And hopefully the positive response from attendees bolstered that stance.

WHO: Who's interested? Students, professors, Linspire employees, local businesses, OSS contributors. There was a good mix of attendees. Fewer lonely supermodels than I would have expected, but there's always something to build on.

WHERE: At Linspire's office in Sunny San Diego. For those that haven't had the fortune of spending time in La Jolla, a suburb about 15 minutes North of San Diego where Linspire is located, it doesn't suck (tm).

CONCLUSION: IMHO, the very first and hopefully nowhere near last OSDW went smoothly. The host (Linspire) really helped make a professional conference and the KDE contributors that I met (Aaron/George/Matt1/Matt2/Ryan/Adam/Ian/etc) reinforced my belief that KDE is in good hands.

My only problems:
* I always want to say OSDW workshop, but that redundant like saying PIN number. Somebody is to blame here, and I want answers.
* I didn't get to properly pay off my promised bar tab debt to Matt and Ryan. Somewhere, sometime though, they will wake up on a park bench, and know it was because of me.
* I forgot how much I missed San Diego. Now like Ed Norton in Fight Club, I have to look for excuses to go back there. Seminars on growing old gracefully, lung cancer, quilting, or Chinese Star Throwing Certification...whatever it takes to get me back.

Monday, October 17, 2005


After a blustery and bumpy red-eye flight, I find myself back in the land of 10,000 Lakes (Minnesota); with coffee in hand, I will now begin half-heartedly reading over hundreds of unread and unloved personal and private emails.

In short: OSDW was great. Enough can't be said about Linspire and the other sponsors. The workshop went smoothly and was professionally run. If you are one of the Linspire naysayers or have preconceived notions, I'd ask you to reconsider and learn more about them. They left little doubt in my mind (and I'd guess the other attendees' minds) that they care about making a good product and love having KDE at the center of that product. From web designers to executives, I spoke with employees who are interested in working more closely KDE in the future. Expect to hear more on that topic.

Of course, personally, getting the chance to meet other KDE contributors for the first time was certainly a bonus. Doh - apparently work issues are calling. More later!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tango and Cash

But who will cash in from Tango? Oh mylanta, that's got to be my worst one yet. Can't we get voting going? People should be allowed to voice their outrage over my assault on sensibilities.

It's 10:30 at night, and I just saw this pointing to this.

Now, I have no idea how this relates or conflicts with this, but hopefully I'll get some answers while here doing this.

Monday, October 10, 2005


In San Diego, after several doses of liquid courage at the bar, I plan to approach Aaron with the following concept, I think he'll like it.

We have release names, and each one is the name of an animal, and an adjective that starts with the same letter, or maybe even rhymes as an option. I can't wait - I'm pretty confident no project is doing something similar, so let's keep it a secret.

I'm just torn between offering up "Spunky Monkey", "Albino Rhino", or "Wiccan Chicken." Which personifies KDE the most? Maybe a user poll is in order.

In other random news, the program manager of this very large project (on which I'm consulting - he probably manages about 100 peeps) randomly walks up this morning and asks me if I've seen the VH1 show "Breaking Bonaduce." Then continues, "I'm not taking any sides, but it seems like whenever he wants to get lucky, the wife gives him the Heisman."

Now, I'm glad that such a lofty indivual is curious on my opinion, but was he looking at me in partiular and guessing that I know about VH1, roid rage and child TV star escapades? I don't remember any of that on my resume.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Random bits

Rapid fire opinions, devoid of value. Here we go:

1) Documentation: Yes good compared to other OSS projects. Yes can be better. Trolltech's API documentation and surrounding info is nice, and you should expect that when you work with a company that gets paid to make a product. Amazing how KDE continues to prove that OSS and commercial offerings benefit from one another.

So let's be proud of what's already documented and thank those that have put in the hours, but there's always work to be done. Other groups should be saying, "We need to get to a KDE-level of documentation" for depth, breadth and clarity. And I'll try to help over the next year, to avoid being just another person throwing their opinion around.

2) Ajax: Momma mia. When will it join the Push-Technology/Cue-Cat/VRML Death March? Talk about a solution in need of a problem. Ajax would make sense if there were no alternatives to client-server communication efficiency and presentation. But to hype a new option that seems inferior to current solutions *and* has a less room for growth?

I worked on a team in 1999 that implemented Javascript/DOM dynamic-client rendering and processing connected to servlets and RMI on a server. Looked cool with the added benefit of being the most illegible code in existence. And this was with extremely talented programmers; I pity those new to the paradigm. Why are we working toward browser-based separation of presentation and logic only to wind up with Ajax? This falls firmly into my 'can do' versus 'should do' rant.

"You know that tiny, tiny corner case where you want way less graphics than Flash, less network traffic than ASP/JSP/PHP and way less processing power than a fat-client or even an browser-based embedded app, and you don't care whatsoever about variant DOM-support and Javascript/ECMAscript-support or code mantainability because it's static? Oh and using a slow interpreted ill-formed language? Well, Ajax is your answer. Hey, wait, where are you going?"

3) Google-Sun: Talk about user profiling. Fits perfectly here. If you're someone that doesn't care about content privacy, loss of ownership or power-user (cliche alert!) application options, this is for you. Obviously any sane business would scoff at using this product, but maybe students who are by nature nomadic, dealing with mundane content and have access to decent supported bandwidth, this would be awesome.

As always with any free storage offer, like gmail basically, I always just think about opening up accounts and embedding my ogg files in there, and seeing if they'll ever notice, giving me a free music server. Talk about giving your account info out and getting in DMCA trouble. Yeah yeah yeah, I'd probably at least zip them up - the lazy man's obfuscation via file extensions.

But this is interesting in the continuing saga of client processing power and network reliability. In an age where OpenOffice still takes 30 seconds to kick open on my AMD64, I won't hold my breath for awesome browser-based apps. Unless of course they're built with Ajax. Then it's Good Times (tm). Should be only about 6 months until we have a browser-based Autocad, Avid and Blender, right?

I wonder where the pendulum of binary creation vs transfer will slow down on network-based apps this decade.

4) I was the one who shit in tuxipuxi's cereal. You got me.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Where there's smoke, there's FUD

I swing back and forth on the concern of FUD. As the old business saying goes:

You haven't made it until you've been sued.

The more hysterical propaganda and FUD is generated about you, the more you can be assured that you're on the right track. And if this is the case, Linux and KDE are hot on the trail of success!

But how effective are such tactics? In U.S. political campaigns, an election always turns ugly. Always. Why? Because consistent polling year after year shows that Americans can't help but be biased by slander, regardless of truthfulness. "How can that man hate education and cuddly kittens? My vote's going the other way Mister!"

So today, my mood ring reads, "I'm flattered by all the attention, really, but your luncacy is tedious at best."

Q: What's the difference between this link and this one?
A: One is incoherent rambling by someone who's publicly paid by MS, the other is someone who's privately paid by MS.

Can you believe that such people get paid? Don't get me wrong, I've read too many osnews.com posts over the years to get riled by another ill-informed commentary, but that doesn't stop the need to be vigilant.

And why did I by chance pick these two articles? Possibly because on the same day one talking head chastises OSS for copying MS and always playing catch-up, and the other proudly talking about MS's new ability to export to PDF.

After 120,000 self-proclaimed requests per month to export to PDF, Microsoft makes the empowering decision to finally implement this feature and publically announce this feature in the short span between a Mass. open document decision and a OpenOffice 2.0 release. Quel chance! But to ask the most-talented monopoly in all of Redmond to also implement the open document format? Quel horreur! It sounds as if such a task is akin to moving the mountain to Mohamed. Possibly as difficult as removing IE from the OS itself. Men were never meant to reach such lofty heights. And why bother when virtually no customers, outside one of the more populous states in the nation, have requested this miracle?

Meawhile, Monad and Metro are being fitted for cement overshoes.

Be clear, Microsoft is not compelled to innovate, and it has never been their forte. But they do know enough to see what's going to succeed, and how long they can stall to implement, based on competition. At this point, Apple and OSS are the rudder and the motor for the Titanic that is Microsoft. One steers and give directions, and the other pushes and prods it forward. And hopefully the 90% userbase is ignoring the FUD and putting on their life preservers.

Alternative analogy: When will we stop prodding that Longhorn forward, and just fire up the grill? (PETA endorses this mesage, because nothing can convert more people to vegetarian lifestyles than the unpalatable taste of MS).