About Archive Tags RSS Feed


Entries posted in November 2005

Holidays + Xine + Stats

4 November 2005 21:50


I missed a holiday

I managed to fail to go away on holiday for four days by virtue of being asleep and missing the train.

That sucks.

Although on balance probably for the best, I was very tired.

xine-ui bug triage

I did a minor amount of triage upon the xine-ui package.

There's been an annoying bug in the package for about 40/50 days - where if you right-click upon the screen the GUI would crash.

This had been reported four or five times, so I merged all the bug reports together added a patch which I'd tested. Then I mailed the maintainer asking if they'd object to an NMU to fix it.

Today I got a go-ahead, so I'll be making an upload shortly.

Debian Admin webstats
Almost more hits upon the website in the first four days of this month than in last month combined.


We're averaging close to 50,000 hits a day. When I think things like that I get all paranoid and have to remember that it doesn't matter how good the writing is ..,

| No comments


Name Overload

4 November 2005 21:50

Name Overload?

First there was Debian Planet then along came the Planet Debian, unfortunate naming collision, but something we could mostly get used to and understand.

If you're not confused yet: well done. You soon will be:

Guess which site that is? A third completely new name comprised of the two words "Debian" & "Planet".


Think that was fun? Lets try again. Stick with me:

First there was Debian Help - now there's another new site which is comprised of the two words "Debian" & Help>


Now I'm personally of the opinion that competition is a good thing, but please people - can we all just get along without confusing our users/visitors?

I'll sidestep the whole trademark issue, in case my site is in trouble too ;)

| No comments


Things I have never written #1

8 November 2005 21:50

Coding Mistakes

I broke my debian administration website yesterday. Predictably enough I'd woken up around 9AM and thought that it would be a good time to make significant refactering changes.

Tested them on my laptop, committed them to CVS, then updated the live site. Had a quick play to make sure nothing had obviously broken - but didn't try to leave a comment on an article.

Went to sleep and woke up around 4pm to find 15 emails telling me things were broken. Most mails on the site in a single day!

Should be fixed now. But I'll never again make changes before lunchtime, I'm just not good with the whole sleepy-coding thing.

Things I have never coded: 1

Inspired by Joey Hess's "Ten years of free software". Things I have never coded part 1.

I have never coded a text editor.


In the past I have written simple wrappers around the various text controls in different environments - for example under Windows I once coded a tabbed text editor called MyNotepad, which featured a novel dockable tree-control to the side which allowed navigation and loading of files easily.

When I first started working with Java I coded a similar thing, but with the ability to load external Java .class files as plugins. This editor was called Rosetta, inspired by the band Rosetta Stone (who were in turn inspired by the actual Rosetta stone )

At times I think about text editors. I use them daily, obviously, and I love working with some more than others.

My editor is usually GNU Emacs but I'm also partial to Vim. I will use both happily; although neither is pleasant without my personal customizations.

Simple text editors are a traditional project for coders, and freshmeat is littered with their discared corpses. Probably the only reason I've not started - that and apathy.

My ideal editor would be:

  • Both curses and x11 based.
  • Scriptable (Lua is love?)
  • Extensible.
  • Portable between (at least) GNU/Linux and Solaris.
  • Modeless.

| No comments


Things I have never written : #2

12 November 2005 21:50


I have never once written anything using Qt. Why not? I have no real dislike of the toolkit, license, or implementation language. It just hasn't ever been necessary or appropriate for me to use it.

Generally speaking I only dabble with coding online applications in Perl/PHP (Perl is my preference, sometimes I get suckered into using PHP). Any software which I've needed to write with a GUI usually ends up being coded using the raw X11 libraries (xlib, etc).

A few times I've needed to have something be stable, sharable, and GUI-driven and xlib didn't cut it I've chosen to use the GTK libraries. Mostly that has been down to three reasons:

  • Finding small examples of code is very simple; as it is well-used.
    • By contrast many Qt applications are larger pieces of code. Finding examples using the functions you're interested in is harder.
  • I love C++, but generally I develop in Perl, or C.
  • I don't have to worry about the moc preprocessor, writing Makefiles, etc.

I'm sure that sometime in the future I will experiment with Qt, and possibly even install KDE to try it out. But it won't be soon.

(I think that desktop environments are a good thing, and can be attractive, productive, and useful. However I've only used Gnome briefly and tend to stick with the more lightweight IceWM environment).

Once upon a time I did install and tinker with KDevelop, but nothing much came of it. When I lost my desktop machine due to hardware failure I didn't feel the need to re-install it. Instead I stuck to using GNU Emacs + Vim for editing code.

Right now I've written that I shall go back to shaving my head. To make me look more like my avatar.

| No comments


Things I have never written: #3

13 November 2005 21:50

A secure Network Server


| No comments


Things I have never written: #4

15 November 2005 21:50

Weblog Software

I've been keeping an online journal over at LiveJournal since 23rd February 2002. To support them I actually bought a "Permanent Account" a while back, an example of putting money behind companies and/or services which are useful - even when it isn't required.

After getting into the swing of things there I started the blog which is used upon Planet Debian and have also been enjoying that.

Livejournal is a nice service, and they have great software powering the site. The Livejournal code is available and it is reasonably simple to install. (I've setup a few installations of the codebase, and played with them. I admit I've never run it in anger).

Obviously it is completely overkill to run your own installation of Livejournal - unless, perhaps, you're a school or a large company.

So for my personal blog I use Wordpress.

I don't particularly enjoy using wordpress. To be honest I need only four features/abilities of weblog software:

  • The ability to create posts.
  • The ability for users to be able to leave comments upon entries.
  • The ability to search previous entries.
  • The ability to export the blog entries as a feed.

Everything else is utterly overkill. The downside of using Wordpress is threefold:

  • Because it is popular there are multiple bots crawling the web and leaving spammy comments.
  • Because it uses some funky addressing system any replacement would leave lots of broken links.
  • It has historically had a couple of security issues.

I've been telling mysefl for the past few months:

  • This software has got to go.
  • I'll wait until there is another security hole discovered.

So .. HTML::Template &; CGI::Application will at some point come to the rescue. I'm just not sure when.

I guess this means I've not yet written a bloggin system…. ;)

I want to only cover the basics:

  • Multiple users.
  • Multiple catagories/tags.
  • Comments with a sane anti-spam system.

PS - The Sisters of Mercy rock.

| No comments


The Chronicles of ... Steve

22 November 2005 21:50


I'm sleeping a lot more than I should be which is making me pretty apathetic at the moment.

Even checking email is a real effort. Let alone replying.

Last Post

As previously mentioned I'm utterly unfranchised with WordPress.

This will be my last post using it.

All future updates will be made using Chronicle, a simple Perl-based application I've been working on for a while. (The best part is the name!)

So far I've got code to :


  • Import old comments.
  • Add code to handle displaying/editting/deleting comments.
  • Add some mod_rewrite magic so that all my old links still work.

The application is pretty nice, comprised of several perl modules and built using the CGI::Application base-class.

I realise this contradicts the apathetic stanza above …

| No comments


rm -rf /bin?

27 November 2005 21:50

My solution to a hasty rm /bin/*.

This only worked because I had the Perl Compress::Zlib module installed.

Alternative approaches / horror stories welcomed, either here or there.

| No comments