This is a consequence of my recent adventures in repository conversion – a detailed discussion of how to do a high-quality lift of a CVS or Subversion repo to DVCS-land, how to make both git and hg users happy, and what sorts of good practices to teach to keep things tidy.
Another big repository conversion – the Hercules project – brings with it some new bug fixes and features, so reposurgeon 1.3 has shipped.
I just released reposurgeon 1.2 and am continuing to develop the tool. In order to test some of the newer features, I’m looking for repository conversions to do. If you run an open-source project that is still using CVS or Subversion, or some odd non-distributed VCS, I may be willing to lift it to git… Continue reading Looking for reposurgeon test cases
I upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04 a week or so back in order to get a more recent version of SCons. 11.04 dropped me into the new “Unity” GNOME interface. There may be people in the world for whom Unity is a good idea, but none of them are me. The look is garish and ugly,… Continue reading Ubuntu and GNOME jump the shark
I have interesting friends. Two of them, who shall remain nameless because it is possible they have let slip to me information that is technically classified, recently told me the best GPSD deployment story since the robot submarine. So, Friend A says “Hey, Eric, did you know GPSD is used in the on-board nav system… Continue reading You can tank me later
Four days after I got the word that Berlios is dying, I have saved GPSD from being pulled under as it sinks. A couple of observations on the project migration follow.
Protocol transitions are hard. Yeah, I know the experienced software developers reading that are thinking “Well, duh!“. Shut up already, I’m venting here. I’ve just spent the better part of two years – actually, if you include design time and false starts it could be closer to five years – designing a new application protocol… Continue reading GPSD 3.0 finally ships. It’s been a long epic.
Here’s hoping I’ve figured out how to extract a public permalink this time. The issue analysis.
Normally I post essay-length stuff here, but I’ve weighed in on a G+ policy dispute and thought this post should be there. Comments there too please.
One of my commenters pointed me at an article by John Sonmez over at ElegantCode, Why Software Development Will Never be Engineering. The article makes one very shrewd, well-argued point, but then disappointingly fails to build on it. Read it and see if you spot the problem before I analyze.
Technological change has a tendency to look inevitable in retrospect – “It steam-engines when it’s steam-engine time.” Likely this is true in many cases, but I often think we underestimate the alarming degree of contingency lurking behind ‘inevitable’ developments. To illustrate this point, I’m going to sketch an all-too-plausible alternate history in which the World… Continue reading World Without Web
A British tabloid revealed today that Apple has filed for a patent on a system for disabling the video camera on an iPhone or iPad when its user attempts to film a concert or other interdicted live event. This is a much more threatening development than most may realize.
Someone on the gpsd-users list asked: I was just wondering why gpsd doesn’t have a configuration file in /etc/gpsd.conf, like most other Unix/Linux software? Because configuration files are evil, and not to be countenanced unless they become an absolutely necessary evil. Which in gpsd’s case is not yet, and I sincerely hope not ever.
I’ve gotten used to being cited in computer science and software engineering papers over the last decade, but here’s a new one. Today I read a draft in which I and the GPSD project get cited a bunch of times and it’s – er – not about open source. It’s about Marine AIS in disaster… Continue reading Broadening my Deepwater Horizons
Some years back I wrote a book titled The Art of Unix Programming. My goal in that book was to convey the Zen of Unix to today’s generations of eager young Linux and *BSD programmers. In the spirit of that book, I feel impelled to point out out a program I’ve recently learned as a… Continue reading rsnapshot: you’re doing it right!
My post SCons is full of win today triggered some interesting feedback on scaling problems in SCons. In response to anecdotal assertions that SCons is unusably slow on large projects, I argued that build systems in general must scale poorly if they are to enforce correctness. Subsequently, I received a pointer to a very well… Continue reading Analysis of scaling problems in build systems
It’s not much of a secret that I loathe autotools and have been seeking to banish that festering pile of rancid crocks from my life. I took another step in that direction over the last four days, and have some interesting statistics to report.
I’ve been thinking recently about writing a shared-memory export for gpsd. The JSON-over-sockets client interface we have is very powerful and flexible, but more than is needed when network access to the server is not required. For embedded deployments, in particular – it would be useful to have a lower-overhead way of shipping results to… Continue reading Bookend consistency
A very curious thing happened with GPSD this week. In fact it’s so odd I’m still having trouble believing it. In software engineering we often have trouble getting seemingly simple things to work reliably. How does one react when an incredibly complex, fragile piece of bit-twiddling code works – perfectly – after six years without… Continue reading The bug that didn’t bite in the night-time: an anti-disaster story
Some months ago I wrote (in Flattening the Smartphone Market) about the real significance of the Android 2.2 announcement. That was the moment that Google made clear that it intended to take control of the smartphone feature list from the cell carriers. Subsequently, carrier-loaded crapware and suppression of features like hotspot and tethering have been… Continue reading The smartphone wars: Samsung folds under pressure