A DVCS migration howto

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.

You can tank me later

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

GPSD 3.0 finally ships. It’s been a long epic.

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.

A modest proposal for Google+ handles.

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.

Categorized as Software

Will software ever be engineering?

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.

World Without Web

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

Configuration files and switches considered harmful

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.

SCons is full of win today

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.

Bookend consistency

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

Categorized as Software

The bug that didn’t bite in the night-time: an anti-disaster story

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

Categorized as Software

The smartphone wars: Samsung folds under pressure

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