27 Jan 2002 apm   » (Journeyer)

Picked up the new C++ Network Programming Volume 1 - Mastering Complexity with ACE and Patterns by Schmidt and Huston yesterday. I knew about ACE but I'd never really looked into it too closely. Now I think I might. I'm always much happier to use a third party library if I know about the "philosophy" behind it. I'm always pretty cautious about adding dependencies on third party software to Suneido. It really is a "dependency" - if they have bugs or don't support what you need you can be in trouble. Even if it's open source, that doesn't mean you've got the time or understanding to fix it yourself. But at the same time, leveraging off other people's work can have major benefits. Suneido uses Scintilla for source code editing. We could have rolled our own, but we got a lot nicer component for a lot less effort. Of course, something like that is not too serious a dependency - it could be replaced fairly easily. If I rewrote Suneido's networking to use ACE, that wouldn't be so easy to change. My other concern is size. ACE is large! I don't want to double the size of Suneido just to get a little better networking! I'll have to play around and see what kind of size increase it would entail.

The other nice part about getting a "good" computer book is that it tends to really motivate me, not just in the area of the book, but all over. Maybe because it's "inspiring" to read about other people doing a really excellent job. It makes you want to raise your own standards, do better work, improve stuff. I started thinking about multi-threading Suneido's database server - something I've always been nervous about. And I thrashed out how to clean up the database history mechanism to be cleaner and more complete.

I spent a little time playing with VMware the other day. I really like the idea of being able to run multiple operating systems without re-booting. It would be really useful for testing. And it would let me run Linux as well as Windows. (Too much of my work is Windows based to run Linux most of the time.) In fact when I recently got a new computer I deliberately put more memory (512mb) and more disk (80gb) in order to have space for VMware. But ... as soon as I installed it, Windows XP started to act flaky. Strange delays, networking problems, video problems. All intermittent and unrepeatable. So, much as I like the idea, VMware had to go - Windows is flaky enough as it is. Besides, how much use would it be for testing if it's flaky? Who knows what the source of the problems was, but I don't have the time to try to track it down. Maybe it isn't fully compatible with Windows XP? Or my hardware? Another aspect that scares me away is that there doesn't seem to be any way to "turn it off". Even when you're not using it, it's got all kinds of stuff running - yuck! I wonder if using Linux as the host OS would be better? Maybe I'll give that a try at some point. It's too bad, the idea is cool.

I wonder if I'll ever make Master on Advogato? Without sounding too egotistical, I think my experience, expertise, and investment in open source is as great as many of the other people rated as Master. But I don't know anyone "important", and I'm not working on a highly visible project. (I know that "major project" is part of the criteria, but many of the masters don't seem to be working on "major" projects.) I guess in a way it's a weakness of the rating system - people have to know you. Of course, it doesn't really matter - it is just an ego thing - everyone likes recognition :-)

Enough thinking out loud - time to do a little work!

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