Older blog entries for mvw (starting at number 3)

4 Nov 2000 (updated 4 Nov 2000 at 16:57 UTC) »
Compiler writing

After having spent some time with lexical analysis, today's topic was syntax analysis, top down parsing to be more precise.

As a physicist, I am still impressed by the bloat found in the language of theoretical computer scientists. This came to my mind when I took a look into a book on computability earlier this day, that managed to obfuscate even the rather simple things behind mathematical formalism, and also today when I read through a classic book from Nikolaus Wirth (Pascal, Modula 2, Oberon) which manages to cover stuff in 10 pages, where other books wasted 100.

About books: Wirth's book ("Compilerbau") is 120 pages, the Dragon Book (US) covers 800 pages and it's german translation is split into 2 volumes of about 500 pages each (I'm still dazzled where the additional 200 pages come from).

Other nice books are the ones by Gueting/Erwe (a medium sized book on the topic, this is the one I hope to get tackled completely) and Wilhelm/Maurer (the only book I know of, that goes into OOP language compilation as well, I consider it the most up to date book presently). I also have a book an lex and yacc from O'Reilly, but this only for convenience and examples, as it is not strong in the maths force.

I am not through yet with bottom up parsing, but at least I understand the principal difference now, that a top down parser predicts so long until it got the whole program matched (so much for prophetics in computer science :-) while a bottom up parse reduces the program until it has managed to turn it into the start symbol. Wow.

Advogato related

Thanks to those kind people who trusted me I was able to post the link on the goat book on advogato.
I hope it was not mentioned earlier -- a search engine would benefit this site.

Another good thing for advogato would be a general submission queue for registered or anonymous folks, where some kind of voting scheme could be used to push interesting stuff to the frontpage. At this time, users with observer status tend to use the diary for general communication - that works, but I would rather channel that kind of use into a more explicit form.

3 Nov 2000 (updated 3 Nov 2000 at 20:27 UTC) »

Interesting opinion in the articles section on the recent Advogato statistics:

Certification level is irrelevant, posted 3 Nov 2000 by Zaitcev

Only the list of certifiers is interesting.

This was brought up already when a bunch of FreeBSD goofs showed up and certified each other as master. One of them was close to the trust root and the rest is history.

Raph told you already that certification works only if majority of Advogato members apply the certification metrics as instructed. Instead, the majority uses certification as an old buddy network, with levels higher for those who are better known to them.

This shows a disturbing lack of faith in the trust metrics.

As I feature quite high (at 5) as certifier, I can't spare this comment. The folks I certified as master, deserve that title. If you think otherwise, send me mail.

Point is, that Linux and FreeBSD developer communities are different beasts. So in my case, as FreeBSD developer, it is natural that I know more of these people (not in the sense of knowing their name but in the sense of having read from and discussed with them and using their software for years) than in the Linux camp.

Pretty normal if you ask me. The free software world is not just Linux.

I did my advogato duty :-) and certified everyone I know ..
Ugh, I should change my name into Aarie Aas or something similiar. Hope I did not oversee someone at the end of the alphabet, when my eyes got tired. :-)

31 Oct 2000 (updated 31 Oct 2000 at 15:55 UTC) »

Today I lost some faith in Slashdot functioning as a hacker news ticker:

I submitted a news item about the 'goat book', the long awaited autoconf/automake/libtool book.
IMHO a really important book for people who have to set up software project nowadays.

And it is another fine book, available online and for download for free.

That submission was rejected within ten minutes.. sigh.

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!