Older blog entries for gwm (starting at number 26)

It's been a few days since I officially quit mantainership of Conectiva Linux. Feels quite strange, I might say, and I'll certainly miss having final say over a number of things. It's a bit disappointing to see that people can come in and completely change (to your eyes, break) a year or so of your effort, but it also serves to proof that nothing is immutable, and that's the way it should be. Not that I was doing any enthusiastic actual work before officially stepping down, though. What you are supposed to do and what you really do are usually very different things, and nothing in the world can force you to do what you don't want to, and failure to realize that is a management sin.

Weird thought I had one of these days: if computer RPGs had a Iberic rather than anglo-saxon inspiration, would the System of Virtues of Ultima resemble the Roman Law? What about references to Greek/Roman deities instead of Pagan mythology? And none of those cute "races" like elves, dwarves, trolls, etc.? If you know a RPG game (or any kind of game where culture takes a central role) that is not built on anglo-saxon culture, or you are developing one, I'd love to hear from you. Mail me at gwm at conectiva dot com dot br.

First nice day at work in a year.

I'm addicted to Ultima VII. And Exult is great. And there should be a <project> tag.

Logs for yesterday's IRC talk are available here. It was simultaneously translated to Spanish, translation available here. I can't comment on the translation, as I don't know Spanish, but I can warn you it's not a full translation - I don't know if the problem is lack of translation or lack of logging for the rest of the session.

10 Dec 2000 (updated 10 Dec 2000 at 01:15 UTC) »

I had fun today.

acme, epx, andreas and I were invited to give a IRC talk today on the future of Linux distributions. Very entertaining, and the first time I did such a thing. The whole talk lasted more than two hours. acme talked about Conectiva history, epx talked about CUPS, aRts and his initscriptsNG proposal (which you should check out). Then I went to talk about apt - maybe this wasn't exactly what the discussion should be all about, but people seemed to want to hear about it. This is where I started to talk endlessly about a bunch of disconnected facts, with a English do bad I'll probably be ashamed for years to come. andreas discussed briefly about security issues and apt, but I basically stole everyone's right to talk with my bad, overly long speech. Maybe next time I'll have more experience and can manage to speak less and more concisely. But at least it was fun :)

Netscape 6 is the greatest non-event in Netscape history ever. I'll ignore it completely. The five first and last minutes I used it, it behaved like Mozilla M15. Mozilla M18 is more stable (I used it all day long without a crash, unless I visit stupid websites I shouldn't be visiting anyway) and I like it. It has even driven me away from lynx for quick consultations.

Free and totally unrequested-for plug: OpenProjects, #conectiva, enough said.

8 Nov 2000 (updated 14 May 2007 at 20:09 UTC) »

Dinner with rodarvus, ruda and kojima last night. As always, rodarvus's comments were the kindest, and his complaints were true and to the point.

5 Nov 2000 (updated 5 Nov 2000 at 04:27 UTC) »

After a hiatus of a few months, I'm Debian-enabled again, having installed it on my Rev. C (or is B?) iMac. Oddly, both potato and woody seem to be broken, so I cannot install things like Window Maker. I wonder what's going on.

Things to do:

  • Buy a 3-button USB mouse. If anyone would accept a USB hockey puck as part of the payment, please get in touch.
  • Find a USB keyboard with a ABNT-2 layout, though I don't think such keyboards exist yet. US keyboards suck.

Today I sympathize with KDE. In the past, I have been very hostile to it, but the imense quantity of high quality translations to a a impressive number of languages has enchanted me. Human languages are very interesting and important cultural marks to be ignored in favor of some "English is enough" philosophy. My comments are based purely on my perception, and may be very unfair, but Gnome doesn't get anywhere near KDE with regard to cultural respect. This is probably because Gnome is mostly based in the US, and KDE mostly in Europe, and Americans have this awfully stupid idea that "Everyone knows English".

Brazil is even worse when it comes to languages - the US at least has millions of immigrants who take their cultures with them, but Brazil is a Portuguese-only country. There are no major groups speaking any other language. The Brazilian computer culture has widely adopted English, though, (even if not everyone's ability with English is great, as you can see in this diary entry) and demonstrated very little respect for Portuguese while at it. Years of 8-bit unclean code and incompatible character sets have given place to a horrible byproduct of written Portuguese, with all accents ignored or at least changed to a informal two-character encoding set. The relative verbosity of Portuguese (English is so compact) caused people to invent a number of ugly abbreviations.This entire scenario means many Brazilians, even in their blissfully monolingual country actually prefer English to Portuguese on their computer screens. Low quality localized software plays a great role in this - I have been advised to stick with the English version of MacOS on my Macintosh, for example. Gnome is also a great example of this - yes, Gnome comes with gettext support, but this is only a small part of the game. A gmc window, for example, has buttons with descriptions, and the lenght of these descriptions defines the minimal width of a window. With gmc properly translated to Portuguese the windows won't fit into 640x480, and will take considerable screen space on 800x600. This isn't exactly attractive, and if the translators didn't invent some alternative though not very proper terms, this could be a very good reason for not using Portuguese at all.

This decayed descendent of English and Portuguese that's used in Brazil is actually one major obstacle to popular adoption of computing. Nobody wants to learn a new language (and another culture) before sitting in front of computer, and a technical conversation is probably not even possible without using a number of English words. And even people who can at least read English shouldn't want to see a non-native language on their screens, nor settle with low-quality localized software. KDE is a great environment, and it is culturaly respectful at least to the cultures I care about. Maybe Gnome will be successful in the US, but everywhere else it can't match KDE.

But then, I'm only whining, I may be completely wrong and unfair to the hard work of a number of people, I don't follow nor contribute to either project, and my text is extremely confusing - I intended only to talk about how cool KDE's translations are when I started.

Just a quick note to avi: rpm need not change name. I believe that, officially, RPM now stands for "RPM Package Manager". If people keep calling it "Red Hat Package Manager", it's because they want to. Of course, Red Hat seems to still call it Red Hat Package Manager, but so do I, at times. Furthermore, rpm is not Linux-specific, so the lpm name would not be a good idea. And I don't see what makes sourceforge.net more neutral than rpm.org.

One more thing about the Freshmeat editorial claudio wrote: several people (including people I never heard of) have asked me if the opinions in the article are Conectiva's (with one n:)) official position. Well, no. But the discussion it raises will hopefully be useful. I like to see people got tired of discussing irrelevant things like package managers endlessly, it shows the community is a little more mature. Package managing is a extremely boring thing, and the less people care about it, the better (I think). Kudos to claudio for the editorial.

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