fjf is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Francis Franklin
Member since: 2005-03-09 14:44:19
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'God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus! -
Why look'st thou so?'

I have just built AbiWord as a shared library - the UNIX version, totalling just over 9MB.

It's strange to be working on a non-Cocoa build of AbiWord - must be about two years since I last did this. I remember (oh years and years ago, when I was but a twinkle in my parents' eyes) turning AbiWord (version 1, I think) into a library; this was the gtk1.2 version which I was maintaining on OSX 10.1 or something similarly prehistoric. This was before I discovered how to link plugins to executables on Darwin and I had the idea of turning Abi into a library. Can't remember whether it worked, but I do remember that compile time su-... er, wasn't good. Hardware is better these days, though.

I enjoy reading tf's blog. Here's a rant against democracy.


I'm no philospher, but the idea of a benevolent autocrat began, I think, with Aristotle's Philosopher Prince. The idea crops up from time to time, for example in Asimov's robot series and Frank Herbert's Dune series. I have also played with the idea in my (unpublished) novel. I discussed this idea with a German friend of mine a few years ago, and she was extremely hostile to the idea of autocracy, and I think just about everyone is, not necessarily because autocracy itself is bad but because in practice autocrats tend to be ruthless in pursuit of their own ideals.

I think that in order for an autocracy or a democracy to work, the governed need to trust the governor, to believe that the governor is doing what is best for them. More importantly, the governor needs to have an eye on the future - the long-term future.

Modern democracy in practice in dominated by commercial interests where nothing is sacred except money, by the short-term interest of re-election and the immediate-term interest of public image. Celebrity is worshipped. For these reasons, and others, we cannot trust those who govern.

Whether it's democracy or autocracy, it seems we cannot trust those who rule us.

So, what is democracy really? Partly it is, as tf says, justice - even those who govern are ultimately accountable, even though their power makes it harder for us to ensure this. Mostly, however, it is the "dark side" of democracy - beaurocracy - that we both crave and fear. Beaurocracy is about making the world safe for us, and it achieves this by gradually stamping out freedoms and repressing individuality.

One day the world will be perfectly safe: nothing bad will ever happen to us and everything will be completely predictable.


The trouble with Open Source is that everyone can hear you scream.

Tired after a long week in Italy and too much romantic (or unromantic, rather) stress, the last thing I needed was open warfare (sorry, free warfare - free as in speech, that is), and on the subject of warfare there's an amusing article at The Register.

April 1st, Day of Merriment. Here's my contribution - which no one noticed (well, no great tragedy).

Where was I? Oh yes. Stress. Here's what started it. I liked it, but it turned out to be too controversial.

Gone now, alas, before anyone even had a chance to play with it and tell me, from first-hand experience, that it sucked.

Alas, poor source code! I knew it, Horatio:
A menu of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy

Five to midnight... I'm tired of playing the fool.
Peace. Out.

My surface plot adventure continues with even more fractal fun. I've got the continuous potential method more-or-less sorted out, and I think I know what's causing the ripples; these only show up when colours are adjusted for a directed light source.

Off to Italy tomorrow for a week, for a conference in Turin. By complete coincidence, Benoit B. Mandelbrot will be giving a key presentation there...

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