chalst is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Charles Stewart
Member since: 2000-09-19 22:55:04
Last Login: 2014-03-28 08:51:35

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Contribute to free software? Well...

I'm a freelance copy-editor and consultant working from Berlin, working mainly for academic publishers in medicine, linguistics and mathematical sciences. Until May 2006 I was a post-doctoral theoretical computer scientist. I use and promote in my work many free software tools, such as pdftex, Gnu ghostscript and libart.

I'm in a 18 year love-hate relationship with UNIX, and I've been using GNU utilities since my very first days. I've been aware of Linux since about 1994, but only took the plunge of using it in early 1999. Today I use Debian Linux linux and FreeBSD most days, though I'm mostly using a non-free OS to provide my GUI...

I've been coding for 25 years (started on a Sinclair ZX80) but mostly for personal consumption or a few of my close colleagues. I have rather a preference for functional languages, though I use C, C++, Java and Objective C when they are appropriate, and I make a lot of use of Tcl for system admin tasks. I haven't made much in the way of substantial contributions to important free software projects.

I'm also in a pretty intense relationship with the TeX suite of document representation and typesetting software. If you are bored, you can send me an email and hear my tex* rant of the day.

My contact info is available from my website, linked to above. I post comments more often to Lambda the Ultimate than here; I don't often crosspost. I've got an OpenId account cunningly hidden as a subdomain on my website.


Articles Posted by chalst

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Turning circle

Cited with little context from a post of Russ Allbery, regarding the decision to create Canonical:
Debian was then, and is even more today, a huge ocean liner of a project with a very bad turning radius.

Incidentally, are redi and badvogato the only members who are still posting unsyndicated diary entries as often as most months? Advogato's circle for turning out of the way of spammers can also be considered rather bad. I have a suggestion for a patch that should be simple enough to be feasibly applied that should fix the problem. I'll post an article shortly.


From the Advogato page at

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social media, used car dealer, seo, dealership, Honda, Honda Certified, Honda Civic, Honda Dealer, Honda Vehicles, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Networking, Accord, advertising, artists, Auto, automobiles, automotive, bjj for kids in jacksonville, Car, car dealer check, car dealer reviews, car dealers, Carpet, cars, Ceramic Flooring, chat, community, Dealer, deals

Click on those links to find lists of people who advertise that they have been creating spam accounts. So far I haven't found any that still exist.
15 Sep 2013 (updated 15 Sep 2013 at 15:01 UTC) »
Where is the mod_virgule TO-DO list?

The project page for mod_virgule gives as its project TO-DO list a link to
but that is a broken link.

Is there a most-current version of the project's TO DOs?

8 Aug 2013 (updated 8 Aug 2013 at 09:16 UTC) »
Long time

Has it really been over 21 months since I last posted to recentlog? I've been more active with my account at G+.

I'll crosspost something I wrote there: a recommendation for cabal-dev as a way of making Haskell package management sane:

Cabal is a package manager that by default compiles packages either to a system database (if invoked as root/admin) or a per-user database. Since Haskell code is very often fussy about exact version numbers, and because Cabal offers essentially no way to uninstall packages, this is very painful. cabal-dev is a front-end to Cabal that gives you per-directory repositories: suddenly conflicts go away, and you can remove packages by deleting the directory's repository and reinstalling everything again. It's a kludge, but it is very helpful.
28 Oct 2011 (updated 28 Oct 2011 at 12:06 UTC) »
Feeding the backstabbers
mjg59 wrote about how his experience of talking about the Linux experience to the Linux community differed from someone else.

He cited an HN thread, Female FOSS dev quits tech industry due to harassment, and in particular this post from jxcole: I was going to start a rant about how this behavior is encouraged by the macho men online, but this was just one guy harassing her. "Due to harassment" reads as due to harassment from the community, but she gave in to one idiot. She let him win.

I answered as follows:
Well, I kind of agree with this in part, but it is often trotted out as a reason why it's the victim's fault. Let's see what's badly wrong with it by looking at things another way.

Standing up for what is right is not something that we weaker mortals should leave to the heroes. We have a breaking point, a point above which we can't take it. That does not mean we should not take risks to do what we find right. You should not be "disappointed" with the victim, but supportive, and we should be encouraging others to take these risks to do what is right as well. The more of us there are, the we achieve.

On a more general point, be aware that if you regard yourself as supportive of women in free software and on their side, but you are vocally undermining of said women when they face this sort of shit, be aware that you are a fair-weather friend and some sort of a backstabber.

Since I'm on the subject, let me plug Skud's long post, On being harassed: a little GF history and some current events.

Despite the event that lies behind this post, I'm more optimistic than I was a year or so ago that the free software community can sort itself out on this one, since the fair-weather friends do seem to sometimes be a bit more aware that there might be something wrong with their behaviour. Skud deserves special praise for her efforts that have made a positive difference, as does Matthew Garrett. who I suspect will not find himself unable to continue with free software.

280 older entries...


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