1 Feb 2004
(updated 2 Feb 2004 at 05:27 UTC) »
Presently there are two versions of iRATE radio. Version 0.1 was built with the Swing GUI toolkit, but Swing is non-free - just try to find a Debian package for any part of Sun's Java; Sun doesn't allow it. Version 0.2 has two versions, one built from Swing and another from the SWT toolkit that is part of Eclipse. Besides being GPL-compatible, SWT is a lot faster than Swing. The SWT versions are very noticably more responsive than the Swing versions.
iRATE is nearing its 0.3 release, and while tremendous progress has been made in the SWT build, the Swing build has fallen behind somewhat. I offerred to help get the SWT version to work on Mac OS X. Most people who use the Swing version are using it on OS X.
One advantage of Swing admittedly is that it is pure Java so it can be used on any platform that has Sun's JRE; SWT include a Java Native Interface library that makes use of the native widgets for whatever platform it's being run on. (However, I suspect that the better performance of SWT is not just from using native code, but in avoiding the thick layers of indirection from which Swing is architected.)
Although I've been cheerleading for iRATE for months I've never actually worked on the code. Last night an iRATE developer named Robin Sheat chatted with me on Jabber (which I installed just for this purpose) and helped me to get it to build on my Panther Mac.
I encountered the apparently common problem that the native SWT library couldn't be found and used Google to find the unpleasant workaround of placing it in the JDK's libraries directory. That works for now but of course we can't distribute it that way. Robin was previously able to get it to work right when he built the SWT iRATE as an OS X ".app" bundle, a small directory heirarchy that the Finder presents to the user as a double-clickable application program.
I'm going to try now to get it working right and provide a test build by late tonight. If you have Mac OS X and would like to help test my work, watch for it in iRATE's unstable builds page.
Update: - no build tonight
Bonita needed some quality time.
Real Soon Now. Like tomorrow night.
There is a Swing build of the release candidate available though, that will work on OS X, or any system with a JRE.
I'm Gonna Run for Governor
I decided I wanted to be Governor of California someday so I joined the gym at the community college here in town (it's open to the public for a fee, not just students). I've worked out twice so far, just lifting weights.
I'm too embarrassed to tell you how much weight I'm lifting, lest you think I'm a pathetic wimp, but I guess it must be the right amount because I was sore for several hours after working out yesterday.
Despite that I have the physique of a good computer programmer, I've actually worked out with weights on a few other occasions and gotten into good shape that way.
I'm looking forward to the Spring when I can start bicycling again. There was a time many years ago when I used to bicycle all the time, and I think I felt the best that I ever have back then.