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Name: Steve George
Member since: 1999-11-11
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I'm a newbie to development but not a newbie to Linux. Hoping to help out with Gnome be that documents or code - I track the CVS so that I can find bugs (find few actually!).

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GNOME is very close to a new release so the final polish is going on at the moment. It makes reading the GNOME Planet very interesting. In fact so much has happened this week that I'm still trying to form (or inform) my opinions.

One thing I've been playing within during the release cycle is the new navigation system in Nautilus the GNOME file manager. When you click into a new directory you get a new window. I really am struggling to like it at the moment. I find it very confusing as you've no sense of where you are within the machines hierachy which makes it difficult to organise your files. If you have a deep hierachy you land up with a collection of windows which are not stacked in any particular order (not sure if this is the window managers fault). The fact that the left hand pane has gone means that you're also lacking additional context information. If you want the old way back there's no easily discoverable menu item to turn it back on - I think changing the default behaviour on a minor release without an easy way to get back is a particular sin to being user friendly.

You can use shift+click so that it replaces the contents of your current window with the contents of the new directory. I think there's a bug in this because the window doesn't keep it's placement or size (it's actually a new window) - you can see this clearly if you shift+click into a number of directories.

OS X which I use a lot has some similar ideas but they are more flexible as you can switch the view on the fly with one click. I'm sure that this is aimed at making GNOME easier for average users but I think usability experts sometimes confuse simple to use and simplistic. Just because the user may not be an expert I think we can assume that the 'tree view' is a pretty well understood concept.

The upside of the nautilus change is that it is now very, very fast. I'm still trying to be open-minded on whether the gain is worth the pain!

9 Feb 2004 (updated 9 Feb 2004 at 23:36 UTC) »

I've been playing with Yellowdog Linux on my powerbook. I got the machine because OS X runs Word which is a requirement for the business environment. If your RMS you can ignore those who send proprietary documents but unfortunately I don't think my boss would be too impressed if I did it. So the laptop is for work ... just work, and I absolutely promised myself that I wouldn't use it to hack around on but I fell into bad ways and loaded Linux on it... dang!

Let's not get into the whole 'why would you load Linux when Mac OS X is so much better', I'll simply say that I miss Linux. Yellow dog linux rulez, well it certainly does what it says on the tin. Using Linux on Apple reminds me of my first Slackware in 1996 - on a book of the same name. It's not really suitable for people who think Linux is only free if your time has no value, but it works with a little effort - even putting the laptop to sleep!

As with any small distribution, and on an odd arch you don't get as much variety of packages. The goings on at PlanetGNOME made me want to try some of the new stuff coming down the track. Last night I downloaded Garnome and set it to compile the whole system up. It really is pretty neat, I've had to load up some additional libraries but it does make amazingly short work of the whole thing. Of course the last time I tried something similar using the vicious-build-scripts I was on a dial-up so maybe that made the difference ;-)

Oh, and since there's a blog tool called adventurously gnome-blog on the panel so I had to try this little test!

Spent some of the day trying to write a Python script which would search through my logs and ignore stuff which I'd put in a separate file of ignores. For some reason this was particularly hard, probably because of the reverse logic. TIS toolkit has a similair script which is kinda cool as it lets you see the 'unusual' stuff. Think I cracked the search logic but it uses flags to work out if it's matched any of the lines in the ignore.file which is irritating me: one of those cases where you know there's a better way but can't figure it out.

Pretty slow day otherwise, quite warm here which always gets me badly - course this being the UK most people would find my concept of warm really strange!

Thing that made me chuckle today was this from some bloke called joss on slashdot:

"gtk is the obvious choice for anyone coming from a motif background. Nothing else is sufficiently awkward to program with - it just wouldn't feel natural. "

can you imagine the design meeting, 'OK guys we gotta make these widgets so nasty that it physically hurts to think about them' heh heh.

So a very long break from activity driven almost entirely by a new job which has sucked all my time. And to be fair some depression about how slow my progress was - it's weird realising you have enough books in your study that it will take until you're 30 to read them let alone use the knowledge ;-)

Been playing around with Python quite a bit which is a pretty neat language and definitely fits the 'do someting quickly' criteria. This weekend I decided to learn a bit about sockets using Stevens book and Linux Application Development for my guides: the chapter in LAD was very good and explained the wood from the trees. Anyway, in order to understand this I had to use C and wow did I realise how easy Python makes things - ugh worrying about pointers and nework byte order again! I also loaded the Cygwin libraries onto my work laptop which are Unix development libraries for win95/NT - pretty strange using bash on win98! Couldn't get them to use the sockets API properly - missing inet_pton and inet_aton didn't work, so I'll mess with that more. It would be neat to be able to do stuff on my work laptop while on the train!

With my new work I don't get to do anything useful during the week as I now travel and work quite late. But overall a pretty encouraging weekend.

Right, so it was my girlfriends birthday on the weekend and before that I was kidnapped by aliens and subjected to all sorts of South Park orifice examinations.......and this explains why I haven't done any diary entries in a week. Anyone who thinks otherwise I will callout to duel in the early morning mist with wet kippers!

Oh alright, I was lazy with the diary but I have been pressing on with the docbook/SGML thing. Learnt more elements, but my one tip would be make the type book, don't waste your time on article or anything else which is what I was doing until today. Luckily Dave Miller set me straight along with helping me out with some other confusions. I'm pretty happy with the structure so I can attack the style and content again - I'll then leave it to rest and apply some final polish. The ETA has slipped but that's hardly a surprise for me.

Of the 'Other Stuff' the most important is that lewing certified me as an Apprentice which I was both surprised and very happy about: more power to that hackers code!

Of course we are into the run into Xmas which is the end of the year where I work so lots of stuff flying round to get finished before we greet Y2K all raring to go and with the smell of smoking machinery in the background: imagine "Hamburger Hill" but without the heroics. So I'm probably going to be on dead-slow with my private work until the holiday but I hope to keep it ticking over(I do get 3 weeks holiday which I am v. pleased about).

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