Older blog entries for davidr (starting at number 20)

It's that time of year again. Christmas is upon us and soon it'll be the New Year with all the changes that brings. It's also traditional to look both back and forward at this time of year and as I've been doing that here are my thoughts :)

Personally this year has seen highs and lows with a life altering experience being the main incident that stands out. It really brough home how valuable friends are and how much they can help when the days look blackest. A big vote of thanks goes out to all those in the open source community who were there for me when I was in need (they know who they are!) :)

In terms of my involvement with open source the year has been mixed. I've been quite depressed by the way that anumber of projects I was/am involved in have changed over the last 12 months - mainly for the worse. One of the things about the oss community that I always liked was the way that people were allowed to express opinions and a level of respect was given by the rest of the community. This tended to lead to a nice collaborative environment in which good work was possible and even encouraged. Over the last 12 months I've seen this ideal disappear and be replaced by an attitude towards people and ideas that borders on the aggressive. Left unchecked this change is truly destructive and could well be the start of the end of many projects and their associated communities.

My day job requires that I have the ability to work with a diverse group of people in a challenging environment, often with situations that can rapidly escalate into problems. It's amazing how often a misspoken word or a percieved slight can cause communications problems. Email compounds this vastly and if I had a dollar for every time I've seen this sort of problem this year I would be a very rich person indeed. Quoting people's emails out of context or missing relevant sections ot alter the meaning is a common tactic used by some on mailing lists. Such tactics are ultimately self defeating and cause untold harm to the community. Given that the communities in general feel that they are mature enough to control and police themselves (and some have reacted violently to suggestions that more oversight would be a good thing) then these childish tactics don't fit with this vision - so why do people continue to use them? I suppose if I could answer that question I wouldn't be sitting here about to go to work :)

As for the coming year, I'd like to think that we (the internet community) would start to exert our power a little more. We are a large group of people with a diverse set of interests and desires. This gives us untold power. What do we do with it? Very little. There are many places where people complain about things, but very few people do anything about it. Companies exist by selling products to make money. If the community got together and decided that they were going to send a message by boycotting a product this would be a clear signal that couldn't be ignored. Email campaigns are all well and good but they are easily ignored. Slashdot is a great site for geeks, but how many CEO's care about the contents of it's stories? Maybe 2003 will be the year we finally get a clue and start to exert our muscle. Obvious targets include the copy-protection of CD's.

Maybe if everyone who owned a computer stopped buying CD's for a month the companies would get the message? Maybe if we stopped buying just the CD's with the protection we'd send a clearer message? I think so and if anyone has a link to a web site that gives details of which CD's are so protceted I'd like to know :) January 2003 would be a good month to start with!

Well, that's some of my random thoughts about the year past and the year to come. I'm involved in some projects that will hopefully reach releases in the first 6 months of the year and so I forsee me being busy for quite a while to come!

Happy coding :)

Had made good progress on my Win32 project but now, alas, I've been called upon to go to work :( Hopefully I'll complete the win32 stuff so I can get back to doing some Apache development upon my return next week.

Also, I've almost done with repopulating the photot gallery so it should be ready to be moved over to the live sites before too long, which will be another lon term project completed :)

Well, bag packed, time to go!

Enjoy the weekend.

Well my last diary entry actually provoked a response! Wow people do read these things :)

Well, in a moment of weakness I bought Warcraft 3 and have been playing it for a day or so now. It's good but not as good as the C&C/Red Alert games that are the best I've played. The interface is OK though I don't think the game quite lives up to it's hype.

I'm working on my revised photo gallery code and it's coming along though I'm having trouble deciding how I want it to look and then trying to get the html to display something like I want! Still, it's getting there and then I have the harder task of merging together 3 older sets of databases that drive the various web photo galleries I have.

This week sees the start of 3 weeks of standby at work so I just sit at home and wait for the phone to ring. Could be an opportunity to get some serious coding done though :) Now if I can just get the interest level up...

1 Sep 2002 (updated 1 Sep 2002 at 12:07 UTC) »

Can't figure out whether I should write this as an article, so (due to the large yellow stripe down my back) I'll write it here and it'll get no coverage, but I'll feel better :)

What am I talking about? I'm talking about everyone concerned with "alternative" OS's (by that I mean anything that isn't Windows) working together and boycotting certain hardware manafacturers. Why? Well, there are a lot of hardware companies that publish enough details of their hardware that people with enough time and desire can write drivers for any operating system. There are however a lot more companies that don't publish any details making drivers almost impossible to write in some cases.

These companies only seem to understand sales and have ignored efforts, in some cases concentrated efforts, and requests to have the details made available. Whilst this is annoying it's actually counter productive but at the moment it's hard to figure out ahead of time whether a company is "alternative OS (AltOS) friendly" or not. It's time we fixed that and published lists of companies that are willing to work with the AltOS community. Of course we should also publish lists of companies that are NOT AltOS friendly - boycotting their products totally as this seems to be the only form of signal these companies will understand.

The commonly supplied arguments against releasing enough specs to write a driver never seem to hold water. 1) It's propriety and we don't want to give our competitors the information.
Surely these companies aren't niave enough to think that as soon as their products are available their competitors don't do some reverse engineering on them anyway? 2) It costs too much.
As the information must be avilable to these companies own engineers why not simply publish it on the web? It doesn't have to be pretty or well organised(though it's better if it is) as long as there is sufficient detail. I mean how much does FTP cost?

Those are the most common arguments I've seen and as I pointed out I don't think either really hold water. Given the way the industry is moving I really don't understand why companies are so resistant to having their products useful on as many computers as possible. The windows market is shrinking and will continue to shrink. Despite the Linux fanatics shouting there isn't a single OS replacing it nor will there ever be (IMHO).

So, here is my first list of companies I won't be buying anything else from and would urge others to follow my example.

- Logitech - Sony (memory stick port and jog dial thingy on their laptops)

I'm sure there are others that I meant to add and have forgotten!

Well, another trip done and I'm home again!

Met up with Rene in Dallas and we went to the JFK museum which was cool and more interesting that I thought it would be. Quite amazing to see just how much the site looks like it does on all the pictures of the time. Expected it to have been altered, but they've kept it the same.

Openbeos's net team seem to be changing their direction for the worse. http://www.freelists.org/archives/openbeosnetteam/08-2002/fullthread41.html While I was team led I integrated a lot of the "lower" level code into the kernel to get the best performance from it and keep it as simple as possible. With the plan they're outlining and planning to use things will be worse and the performance issues that beos networking have always had are likely to continue. Every time I read this sort of thing it makes me glad I left the project when I did.

I'm trying not to be too negative (in the bitter and twisted way that so many people get when leaving project) but the progress being made is all superficial and "edge" stuff that really doesn't move the project on, in my opinion. Ah well. It could have been a good project, but it doesn't look like it'll ever get anywhere now.

My driver continues to progress with ISO transfers now being run. I'm still fighting with trying to figure out how to size/create/use the ISO buffers correctly under the beos model as the buffers I pass in are always returned as NULL's. Oh and I have kernel crash on exit that I think is due to my driver :) Still, a lot of progress in a short time.

Time for some well deserved sleep now!

Back from Houston and despite being back at work for just 3 days feels like I've not been on holiday! Until I tried to cut the grass that was :) Reminder to self - never leave the grass that long between cuts again!

I've started fooling with a device driver to get one of the webcams I have here working under beos as I'm still looking for a suitable way of getting pictures onto a website and none of the camera's I've got work well enough with the alternative tools at hand, and besides I like to have a project.

So far the biggest problem is figuring out the beos usb module and how you use it fully. Still, hopefully that'll be sorted before too long and progress can be made again.

Off to Dallas in the morning - guess I'm back at work!

Amazing how 2 weeks away can give you a sense of distance isn't it?

I'm just back from 2 weeks walking in central europe, and despite the fact that it rained on 10 of the 15 days (constant, depressing, annoying rain) I had the opportunity to do a lot of thinking. Additionally not actually using a keyboard for 2 weeks is a great feeling! I was home over 24 hours before I felt the need to switch my home systems on and that must mean something :)

Just before going on holiday I resigned from the OpenBeOS project. The project announced it while I was away (the announcement) and I had a few emails asking for reasons. why is it that people can't simply accept that when you say "I don't want to talk about my reasons" they respond with requests for even more information?

Why did I leave OpenBeOS? Well, as no-one ever reads these diary postings ( :) ) it's safe enough to say that I have little faith that it'll ever be something I wish to be involved in. As with virtually all OSS projects it's the people that will move it forward, and the people involved in OpenBeOS aren't going to be able to do that :( I now find I have more time and so will be tidying up a lot of the things that have recently been left unfinished and unloved :) I'm sure I'll be busy enough for a while.

Well, time to get back to my tidying efforts!

Has it really been that long! Guess it has.

Quick round up of what I've been doing over the last year: - continued keeping apache on beos building - working on the openbeos project but I've just pulled out as I wasn't very happy with the way it was working. - doing some windows work for a project to speak xml over ssl (interesting) - had my garden landscaped so I have somewhere to go sit and chill

So basically not a lot, though I have also visited a lot of interesting places and met a lot of interesting people.

Now that my email doesn't take up 6 hours of every day (leaving mailing lists is a wonderfully liberating experience) I'm taking time to chill out and relax a little more than I have done recently. I'm also about to head off on holiday for 2 weeks so the new super chilled me should be in stores soon!

Not enirely what sure I want to do next, but probably try and get back into some more APR work.

Enjoy the summer. I plan to.

Wow, long time no write.

What can I tell you. Well, life has settled down again, and I'm actually coding again! The change in my job means that I have a bit more time to myself and so some of the things on my ToDo list have been getting some attention.

I've added a wireless 802.11 network at home. To help with this I've also added a dedicated 24/7 server for DHCP and DNS. Whilst in SF for the ApacheCon Ben and I actually wen tot one of the BAWUG meetings which was interesting and I'm following the efforts of Consume here in London.

The web server I run has also had a big upgared and is now running using Postfix/Cyrus Imapd instead of Sendmail and UW. The conversion wasn't that straightforward and stole a bit of my time last week :(

Work on writing a new libtool for BeOS continues with Jeff Trawicks OS/390 code acting as the base. It's interesting and shows just how complex the whole thing really has become. How did we ever manage to get ourselves into such a situation? Surely with the benefit of hindsight we can all agree there *should* have been an easier way of building software on multiple platforms... The good news is that as the libtool is written in C it's much faster than the shell version we've been using.

Apache 2 still wanders along towards a release. There has been some discussion about the direction the project is going in but genrally it's moving where I think it should. ApacheCon was good and it was nice to see everyone again. The next one is in Dublin so time to get my leave arranged again :)

well, the grass won't cut itself in the morning, so time for me to get some sleep... :)

Happy coding!

Hey, long time no post! Guess what, I've been busy. Yeah, it'll come as very little surprise, but my life has been running at 110% again recently so now things are calming down a bit I thought I'd try to update this.

Well, my conversion course is almost done, with 4 of 12 completed on the final stage, and so the last 6 weeks hasn't been totally in vain :) It's been a hard slog and my brain still hurts from cramming so much information in such a short time. Spending a couple of days lazing around a pool has definately helped some, but I think more of this sort of work is required as soon as possible :)

Given the amount of effort required for the course it probably wasn't the most sensible time to start really pounding on GDK again, but then for some reason I did anyway. The good news is that real progress has been made and the code now builds! Not only does it build but we have a testgdk program that responds to mouse clicks and runs tests! there's still a long way to go but the new web site and a new group of people interested and contributing (shock horror) has definately helped things move along nicely. http://www.david- reid.com/gtk2/

Apache is back to building again on BeOS and BONE continues to go from strength to strength. It'll give a few people a surprise when it's released. There's also been more involvement from a couple of guys who've been helping with apache for a while now, but the downside is they now kick my butt on new-httpd if the code doesn't build :) Peer pressure can be a great motivator can't it?? :))

Well, time to get some sleep as tomorrow is another day.

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