Older blog entries for dmerrill (starting at number 106)

The Joy of Certs
Certifying Bram boosted him up to Master certification. I don't know Bram personally, but he obviously knows his stuff and has more than earned a cert. So, bumping him up felt good.

Ill Health
Got very sick today. Very sick. Home from work waiting on a doctor to call me back right now, in fact.

My big project that I've been working on at various intensities for the past year (and based on what I did the year before that) is maturing into a beta candidate.

There's a test server running. Be aware that it is live code (not even committed to CVS!!!) that changes as I work and test my work. It goes up and down, especially when I'm working on a new feature or refactoring code. Stil, it almost always works. Only if you get the same error at a one hour interval should you consider it a real bug that I don't know about.

The test server has more information about the system, especially on the About Lampadas page.

Late night hacking run last night. I have to steal hours for Lampadas now that I'm gainfully employed again.

I rewrote the way Lampadas manages Makefiles, used when building the document output formats (text, html, omf from the sources (texinfo, wikitext, sgml, xml, text). I wound up writing a generic Makefile class, which simulates the behavior of `make` actually running a Makefile. I looked on python.org for a similar module, thinking surely someone had thought of this before, but nothing was to be found.

The benefit of this approach is that the user of the Python Makefile.py module can monitor what's going on and report success or failure and other pertinent data about the make process and each target in it.

Working out some kinks right now, but I made a lot of good progress so far. Hopefully I will wrap it up today, and Lampadas will have taken a big step forward.

I'm adding an asset management system to Request Tracker for my paid job. It's great getting paid to code FSS!

In my copious free time, I'm recoding the topic (or category) hierarchy for Lampadas. I had a hard-coded two-level system, which wound up falling short of the Gnome requirements. I'm recoding it to support arbitrary depth.

Now we really need to adjust ScrollKeeper categories so they will support both Gnome and the LDP, and other projects. Right now, ScrollKeeper's enforced topic hierarchy is heavily slanted towards Gnome. It's understandable, since it started as a Gnome project, but it will limit its usefulness if we cannot come up with a set of categories that handles documents from other sources equally well.

It seems there are several of us inked and/or pierced. I have a full back piece (about 11 hours in the chair for that one), and smaller pieces on both arms, plus a 0 gauge P.A. and a few other odd bits.

But I clean up real well for interviews. :-)

I woke up this morning to unrecoverable ECC errors on my primary server, and ordered some new RAM. It took a bit of hunting to find just the right kind, since AlphaServer 800s have been out of production for awhile. Trying to navigate Compaq's website gave me a headache.

Taking advantage of the kick in the butt, I'm installing the LDP services that were running on my machine onto the iBiblio machine which was set up for that purpose awhile ago. I have data backups, so that's not a problem.

I quickly installed Debian on my old firewall machine which has just been sitting unused for two months, so I can get my mail again. Since I should have RAM for the Alpha in one week, I'm just going to let my personal website stay down until then.

Oh, I almost forgot. I have a JOB, coding free software. For several year's I've been hunting it, and now I have it. I start Monday! Woo hoo!

Lampadas development is proceeding quickly and lots of loose ends are coming together. I still expect to go to beta at the end of the month.

At this point, it is pretty much ready to manage meta-data and coordinate work, just like the old LDPDB. It has all the same meta-data support, and more. It can generate a dynamic or static site, with a simple CMS included, so theoretically we can generate the LDP website directly from the meta-data in Lampadas. If configured properly, it should look almost the same as the existing LDP site, but will be completely localized. (Right now we have translations in German, French and English, and need translators to add support for others.) The Lampadas dynamic site seems to be pretty solid, but will need fine tuning and optimization before it is ready to run a site as popular as the LDP.

The Gnome Documentation Project is looking at Lampadas for managing their work, particularly translations. I need to make some changes to fill their needs, but that's no problem. I am quite happy to do it, and as they are pretty sharp folks, their input will make it a better system. I hoped from the very beginning that it would be adopted by some other projects. Now that the day is approaching, I am very excited about it.

I'll spend the rest of the month tweaking things to satisfy the LDP and GDP volunteers so it will have whatever features they consider essential, and fixing bugs of course.

Future releases will add CVS support and interactive features oriented more towards readers. Those were the features I originally started Lampadas for, but I think it is good for Lampadas and good for the doc projects to start with this base set of features and get them tweaked until we're all running smoothly on it. Then we can worry about the more whizz-bang stuff.

I'm still looking for a job. I had a great interview on Friday with a company who wants a programmer to hack on SquirrelMail and some other Free Software code that they run their business on. I think they will make an offer Monday. I sure hope so; the job would be really fun. The pay wouldn't be great, but that is not so important to me as enjoying the work.

I'm interested in your Dublin Core editor. I support OMF, which is based on it, and I have a web-based editor for the meta-data in Python -- see demo.lampadas.org. It isn't exactly an OMF editor, but I've been thinking about making it more compliant. At a minimum it would be interesting to see what you're doing.

The LDP will soon include five languages: English, French, Brazilian (Portuguese), Spanish and Korean. We decided awhile ago to actively work on bringing the translation projects, which traditionally have been separate efforts, into our fold as our equals.

Within the next few weeks and months, these sites will gradually be integrated into the LDP. This is really exciting for all of us, but there are a lot of technical hurdles to work through.

This is an extra incentive for me to have Lampadas ready soon. And also, the Gnome Documentation Project folks are seeking a solution to their management issues, because their DocTable has been broken for some time. Lampadas will do what they need, but it isn't ready yet and they need something soon. So, another incentive for me to get a 1.0 out the door soonish.

This weekend and today I've gotten huge amounts of Lampadas code banged out. I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of Python. The timing couldn't be better.

I posted a demo running the current cvs code at http://demo.lampadas.org. It is populated only with default data right now, so you can't really see much. I'll update it occasionally as I finish significant features.

Estimated beta date is still on schedule: end of July.

Still plugging away on Lampadas. I created an entirely avoidable problem on the mailing list by acting like a fool. Big surprise, huh? So here's the gist of what happened...

What I did was complain about people adding copyright claims in CREDITS when they had submitted very little code. Of course the claims are entirely valid and I had no right to make the complaint. So I made a fool out of myself and had to apologize.

I probably shouldn't be advertising my own foolishness, but I figure maybe someone else can learn from my mistake. I also think one should admit to one's mistakes, learn from them, and then move on. So that's what I'm going to do.

Bite me.

I mean really. Your sarcastic attitude and whining are not going to make our documentation better. I know as well as anyone that we have a lot of work to do if we are going to get our documentation up to the standard we all want it to meet. There are many problems with our documentation infrastructure as you say, I'll not deny that, although you completely misunderstand the nature of the problems. Hint: it's not the license. But it pisses me off when smart asses like you criticize in such completely unconstructive ways.

Hundreds of volunteers give freely of their time for the LDP and many other projects, all in an effort to make things actually better. What a concept - see a problem, fix it! It seems you'd rather see a problem, bitch about it!

Instead of whining like a spoiled little child, why don't you actually *do* something about it? And no, the Anti User Hostility Documentation License is not "doing something about it".

Oh yeah, that's right. It would require you to work instead of complain. Never mind.

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