Older blog entries for murrayc (starting at number 178)

I love smartpointers

Yes, ncm, I am also becoming obsessed with smartpointers. Not only do I think C++ badly needs a standard-approved reference-counting smartpointer, but I'm even beginning to think it should be part of the language syntax, though I might be nuts.

Seeing and believing are both often wrong

The Fog of War is fascinating. Robert McNamara, the Rumsfeld of his day, is remarkably honest and precise about his mistakes and successes, while just following orders. I don't believe that he didn't know about Napalm though.

A running theme is that conflicts are often caused by leaders who obessively believe in false realities. There's a damning recording of a bloodthirsty LBJ outright reversing Kennedy's Vietnam withdrawl plan, because he was so convinced of the Domino theory.

Mobile ranting

Articles like this give me hope. There has been so much buzz about Linux on mobile phones during the past year, with Motorola, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and others planning linux-based phones and investing in the technology. I've worked a lot in this industry, and I've seen the vast savings that can be made by using a common platform. Some companies are killing themselves by locking themselves into obscure software platforms because they want to lock their customers into buying certain hardware. But delivering working products at reasonable prices is a better business strategy. It's not just Motorola that realise this. There's a lot of Chinese and Korean manufacturers who just want to get the job done. Linux lets them offer phones with more functionality. Some day one of these companies will do some usability tests and then really clean their clocks.

An interesting article in last week's Economist shows both that the large handset firms are already outsourcing the complete design and manufacture of some of their handset models to Taiwanese "original design manufacturers" (OSDMs), so they are not afraid of profitable change, and shows that those OSDMs are already taking market share with their own-brand handsets.

Torture is wrong. Now you know.

Rummy says he takes "full responsibility" for the torture at Abu Ghraib but, bizarrely, isn't resigning. Obviously , therefore, he isn't interested in taking responsibility for stopping it, or the torture at Guantanamo.

Some people will become gradually accustomed to each new outrage, but hopefully most U.S. voters can begin to see that something has gone terribly wrong. And this time, it's the voters' responsibility.


Near the end of series 3 now, having caught up with the episodes as they are shown. Since Season 2 the good guys have often resorted to torture as a last resort in desperate circumstances. But in the real world torture happens out of habit, not purpose.

I wonder whether Palmer will still be president in Season 4. At some point they have to acknowledge that the president is not a virtuous black man and that they are at war in Iraq.


Recent versions of Devhelp use gecko instead of gtkhtml, so now it can handle the links in gtkmm's html documentation. For instance, the search feature now works. It's useful.

Platform Bindings

We'll have pygtk in the GNOME Plaform Bindings for 2.7/2.8, That covers GTK+ and libglade, though nobody is claiming mainantership of the extra gnome-python tarball.

3 May 2004 (updated 3 May 2004 at 18:12 UTC) »

Glade 2.6 does good stuff

I noticed that, not only does Glade 2.6 support the new GTK+ 2.4 stuff, such as GtkAlignment padding, but when you create a GtkFrame, it even sets the invisble border, adds the bold label, and adds a child GtkAlignment with left padding. Instant HIGification.

And I see that Damon Chaplin is also working on Glade 3 now.

New gdm weirdness

I'm trying to use my debian partition full-time, at least until Fedora Core 2 arrives. I've got gnome 2.7 built with jhbuild, but the new version of gdm seems to have changed. it doesn't use scripts from /etc/X11/gdm/Sessions/ anymore. Apparently I'm supposed to put .desktop files in /usr/share/xsessions/ instead. But when I try to use that session menu entry in gdm, it starts KDE. I know that it's using the correct .desktop file because it complained when I mistyped "/home/bin/jhbuild run gnome-session" in the .desktop file. This is freaky.


I'm impressed with libgda so far. It has most of the API I need and the API seems to be sensible and seems to work. I recommend that other projects use it more so that it gets totally rock solid. I have had such bad experiences with other database-access APIs (MySQL, Sybase, the Roguewave tools.h++, Oracle) that I had started to feel they are cursed to be awful. I used to feel the same way about all C coders until I discovered GTK+. I'm happy to be proved wrong again.

Please. Stop.

This is one of my favourite end-of-thread messages ever.

Building consensus is difficult. Even the mildest statement will invite attack, and anyone trying to work with large groups of people has to develop a certain unhealthy stubborness, balanced with constant self-doubt just in case. I can do it, but it's really not fun and I wish I believed in a better way. I suspect that every project maintainer or coordinator feels that way lots of the time.

No matter how ridiculous the opposite view is, it always upsets me to argue. One way to aleviate this might be to publically state some things which I consider beyond question and which I won't bother arguing about any more:

  • Building from source is a bad way to get GNOME for everyday use.
  • glade-generated-code is a stupid way to develop software - use libglade.
  • The earth is round.

list populations

Updating yesterday's entry, I hear that gtk-list has 1901 subscribers, desktop-devel-list has 937, and pygtk has 599.

Version number scarcity

Version numbers are a crappy way to give information about your modules. Anything more than "even-numbers=stable", "major numbers=major changes", and "larger numbers=newer" gets awkward. But it's convenient to keep version numbers more or less in sync, so you can easily see what belongs together.

But that gets awkward fast. GNOME 2.8 will use the same GTK+ 2.4 API that we had in GNOME 2.6. So how can we have unstable testing releases of new API in the GTK+ bindings during GNOME 2.7? At the moment, I don't have any answer other than "be very careful - don't break API even during the unstable releases", which is risky. And I can't tell them not to add API during GNOME 2.8, because they shouldn't have to wait that long before adding API. Mathematicians, can we have some new numbers between 4 and 6. please?

danielk redux

Daniel Elstner is back online again. I think he's doing a little work on regexxer, reverting my gnome-vfs usage for now, which is fair enough.

22 Apr 2004 (updated 22 Apr 2004 at 14:06 UTC) »


I have a theory. Every time I mention the number of gtkmm-list mailing list subscribers, we get 50 more. There are currently 578. I have a fantasy about them all turning up to a GUADEC. I wonder how many are on big lists like gtk-list and desktop-devel-list.

21 Apr 2004 (updated 22 Apr 2004 at 14:12 UTC) »


At the very least, I want to put a company name on my current freelancing work, so I have something to build gradually. I spent some time investigating the various types of German companies, and I think I've reduced it to either an e.K. or a GbR. An e.K. is a bit crappy-looking because it's specifically for one-man companies. I think a GbR must have 2 or more partners, but opinions vary. A GmbH looks even more professional, but you pay more tax, and you need 25,000 euros starting capital - I almost have the cash, but that's what I plan to live on for the next year.

Like thomasvs. says, it's really hard to come up with a company name. It's hard enough to find a company name that is not used, but it's almost impossible to find any word in the dictionary that is not already registered as a domain. And those made up words are so impersonal.

Munich Blogs #2

The guy who runs ToytownMunich emailed me. It's a kind of blog-based news site, though it doesn't have actual personal blogs. There's loads of fascinating local information there, and he seems to put a lot of work in to it. But the comments section is mostly full of unpleasantly small-minded British people.

I think I'll try to set up a Munich blogs aggregator because there isn't a working one at the moment. I'll also try to install my own blogging software instead of using advogato. I generally avoid doing that kind of thing, but I want to use topics/categories and make things a bit prettier.

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