I've been spending most of my time lately trying to mash down bugs in the SourceForge bug tracking system. Many of these lately have had to do with pixel roundoff errors. It's a tricky area, but very satisfying when you get it right :)
I also put the new www.ghostscript.com up today. It's based on vanilla mod_virgule (rather than lkcl's interesting mods. If you consider yourself a part of the Ghostscript community in any way, please come on over and sign up. Now that it's an official part of the Ghostscript project, I get to justify at least a little time to work on it. One thing I'd like to work on is more gatewaying between virgules, for example for diaries.
The rate at which Max is growing and developing continues to astound me. He's sitting up by himself now, can pull himself to standing while holding onto something, and is a mobile crawler. Not to mention the fact that outfits that were loose and floppy only a few days ago (or so it seems) are now bursting at the seams.
Alan is funny too. We carved a pumpkin on Sunday, and he came up with the word "ginga" (two hard "g"s) to describe the stringy, pulply insides of a pumpkin. I think it's a good word. I wouldn't be all that surprised if it shows up in the dictionary many years hence.
Last night, he offered Heather "forty five dollars" if she would give him some ice cream for dessert. When she handed him the bowl, she asked, "where's the money?" He responded, "it's magic money."
Clearly, he's destined to become a venture capitalist for Linux companies :)
I've gone through a period of thinking very critically of free software. I still very much believe in it, but am really sick of all the hype and delusional thinking from what Dave Winer calls the "open source promoters." The fact of the matter is that good software is extremely hard to come by. Yes, free software has had a few successes, but for what most of what people use computers for, proprietary software is generally of higher quality. In some areas that I care about, such as creative tools for graphic arts, the gap is so immense that it is difficult to visualize how it will ever be bridged. yosh and I had a good discussion of some of these issues over Chinese food at Long Life Vegi House in Berkeley on Saturday, also.
From where I sit, I see a few more problems. For one, I'm very wary of the various businesses trying to make money off free software. I'm beginning to wonder if the main problem with proprietary software is not so much the license per se as the attempt to create a lock-in. Just about all of the big distros (and wannabe distros and pseudo-distros) these days are trying to do for-pay managed services for updating. I'm concerned on a number of fronts. First, there seem to be at least a half-dozen serious efforts out there for package updating alone. None of them seem to be seriously working with any of the others. A lot of the work is being done more or less in secret, even though the final releases are free. This doesn't smell like free software to me; it smells like business.
It's not just managed services. In all the brouhaha about RedHat's fork of the gcc distribution process, the one thing that stuck out for me was Red Hat not notifying the development community what was happening until very late (see Toon Moene's letter printed in lwn for details). That also doesn't smell to me like free software.
But my main point here is not to piss and moan about the tension between business and free software. My main point here is to piss and moan about the lack of critical thinking and analysis. You're sure as hell not seeing it on Slashdot. You're not seeing it in the traditional press. About the one bright spot is lwn, which continues to rock. Instead, you mostly get porn-and-mp3-downloading sideline cheerleaders saying how perfect free software is and how Microsoft is going to go down on the one hand, and people on the other hand who dismiss Linux as a hacker toy. To me, both sides are missing the essential truth.
I'm going to do some more editorials here as I continue to work through my thinking. At least that way I'll be doing something about the lack of critical analysis, rather than simply bitching about it. Now that smells like free software!