This is my (in)activity log. You might like to visit my employer
SUSE which is an amazing company, and also
Dell who in days of yore provided me with a
free laptop for Gnome development / conferences.
Also if you have the time to read this sort of stuff you could enlighten
yourself by going to Unraveling Wittgenstein's net or if
you are feeling objectionable perhaps here.
Stuff Michael Meeks is doing
Up early, dealt with babes while J. slept. Cleaned and
tidied house, and tried (with limited success) to train M. in
Helena, James and Rose arrived for lunch; vast spread,
and sat by the fire, playing games and chatting until tea.
Prodded at repsnapper some more in the evening.
Up; feeling extremely groggy, spent much of the day sleeping
on the sofa on and off. Helped J. file her tax return (one of two
down) while the kids watched Ice Age 2. Attempted to give money to
various incompetant charities, how can it be that two payment sites
are down, and another requires the horrible 'Stewardship: you
have to create an account' nonsense - perennially irritating.
H. wrote a small python game with me - "guess a number";
fun. Victoria over for dinner, caught up with her.
Up early - live mouse caught in trap requires dispatching;
pondered the problem for a while; not a pleasant job - that'll teach
me to leave the back door open.
Played card games with the babes, poked at my repsnapper port;
coming along nicely, and looking much better. Interested to play with
gtkmm - missing some things in the binding though; eg. a GtkButton's
clicked signal should get a pointer to the button (surely) ? or perhaps
I'm missing some easy way to build more detailed closures.
Lydia, Dianne, and Janice around in the evening. Sometimes I
get depressed about the state of the Linux Desktop; and then I'm asked
to try to fix someone's Windows machine: using 100% CPU most of the time,
fan constantly on, Task-Manager showing nothing using the CPU (is it a
self-hiding virus ? - but AVG is installed), network mis-configured, very
slow to boot, and horribly unpleasant to fix, etc. fun.
As the previous cold moves on, the next one is arriving: fun.
Up early, J. slept a little. Barabara & Colin came for
lunch and the afternoon, lovely to catch up with them. Drove home
in the evening, good road conditions mercifully, still coughing up
Up early, out into town to buy bling for the wifelet.
Managed to find some suitable bits eventually, back on a bus
a tad late. David Mansergh over for the afternoon. Lunch.
Babes dropped down into Brighton with Grandma, Rob
& Ilona for Cinderella the Musical. Chatted with David,
and Thomas, dinner, and played Pictionary / dictionary
definition game to much amusement.
Up earlyish again; tried to go to the HTB plant (St Peters)
in Brighton. Arrived, to dicover no service; bother. Played in the park
on the level briefly, and home.
Slugged, while J. went roller-scating with M., H. and Chris.
Re-hash of Christmas lunch, Beccy arrived, enjoyed talking with
assorted brothers, and playing PIT etc.
Christmas day; up earlyish, breakfast, off to St Lukes
for a service; back for snacks, and a fine Christmas lunch.
Slew of present opening in the afternoon, feeling
pretty groggy, with a hacking cough to match. Played games
in the evening.
Mini lie-in, up, breakfast, off shopping for a present
for Thomas with E. Lots of stumping around Brighton with her,
followed by an exciting bus ride home.
Lunch, then out to the park to rid the girls of their
'rush'. Home, slugged about. Robert & Thomas arrived,
dinner, Ilona arrived - house filling up.
Put babes to bed, set too peeling vegetables etc.
much fun with the brothers, bed.
Slugged in bed for a bit; packed the car up, and set off to
my parent's for Christmas, excellent roads and travel time - phew.
Arrived, lunch. Took the babes out shopping for a present for John
and Joan, and a run in the park.
Much sitting around, talking, started my planned re-factor
of repsnapper in the evening while chatting with the parents.
Up late, at home all day. Ham for lunch. Watched
'How to train your dragon' again with the babes, and took
the DVD back; start packing things.
Prodded at getting a working Sanguino setup going,
finally discovered my problems were a missing avr-libc, no
longer packaged in the latest openSUSE - hmm.
Lie in, slugged with the babes, while J. shopped. Lunch.
Bert popped over for tea and help getting into his house. Out to
the heath with H. N. and E. for some sledging fun down the footpath
(the only smooth piece to pick up real speed on) - much excitement
for a while, followed by cold-feet induced misery and return home.
Interested to see Groklaw's take
on Novell's work on interoperability.
My personal conclusion: an interesting article (for me at least) on
the Windows and OS/2 background. However, making Free Software interoperate
with proprietary products is not per-se evil. Though it brings some risks
it brings enormous benefits to our customers and users. Our
on formats is unchanged with ODF as our default file format, and
abstaining on the OOXML standardisation issue.
- Firstly Groklaw are once again doing a good job at
pointing people at things of interest, and having this sort of
discussion in the open can only be good. Clearly having a first
draft of history to hand is useful, though naturally I'd like to
point out some of the more drafty pieces.
- The context seems to be of a transcription of a
from a trial, which outlines Microsoft's response to IBM's ultimately
un-successful assault on Windows via OS/2, one part of which appares to
be to break compatibility and/or interoperability between Windows and OS/2.
This is then transposed to a concern, that Microsoft today wants to create
incompatibility in the Office domain, and exploit it to their advantage.
Of course, those that don't learn from history are doomed
to repeat it, and caution is useful, however - the Novell association
is via a published agreement
whereby Microsoft helps to fund the development of improved interoperability
between the Free Software desktop world, and Microsoft Office - which
at least on the face of it appears to be the opposite of creating
Why would they do that ? and is Novell per-se evil for writing
this software ? In part, it is true that having a second implementation
of OOXML is helpful to improve the standard, and make it more acceptable.
Given their need for that, I prefer a Free Software second implementation
(available to all under the LGPLv3) instead of a proprietary alternative.
Novell has different needs: to serve its customers, who have real
interoperability requirements which this work helps to meet.
Another, interesting charge is that this creates private
interoperability between only Novell and Microsoft's Office suites at
everyone else' expense. Indeed by reading the repeated mention of things
like "Novell OpenOffice productivity suite" you could easily be annoyed
into that conclusion.
Of course, this is not the case. Since we cannot promise
something that other people deliver - it is necessary to phrase
everything in terms of an abstract Novell Office product; obviously.
However, all of our code is publicly available to others under the
LGPLv3. Furthermore, there is no private or
special information we have on the standard or implementation beyond
what is published and public.
There is also concern about implementing Microsoft's extensions
to OOXML which are published
and covered by the OSP
(a hard requirement for us to touch them).
This extension mechanism attempts to provide a forward and backwards
compatible way of serializing both an extended version of a feature, and
a compatible fall-back version. The alternative is fairly clear -
breaking forward compatibility and/or dropping data on the floor. Implementing
this, unarguably, makes a Free Office suite's interop. seem better, for
all the cases where a feature is not supported, and the extended object not
edited. Presumably that lets us compete more effectively, until such
time as the last feature gaps can be closed. For feature gaps in the
reverse direction using the same extension mechanism can potentially
let MS Office users edit parts of an OOXML document, without destroying
ODF specific features embedded in the document. It is not clear to me that
the alternatives - loosing data, or permanantly freezing the feature set
are better for anyone.
There are a few amusing pieces - of the Pope-is-Roman-Catholic
variety: that Microsoft wants partners to show up to and participate in
related standards forums for example. Emphatically, Novell's presence does
not imply uneqivocal support for any standard, and we give our candid
opinion, and demos of Free Software in those situations. Finally, there is
the historic chestnut about bing.com returning no hits for openoffice; which appears
to have been related to a robots.txt configuration issue on openoffice.org,
rather than some hideous, partisan, product specific censorship attempt.
Papers committee IRC meeting for GUADEC/Akademy 2011, Lydia
over in the evening.
Up early, dealt with the babes - mini lie in for J.
Then off to Ickworth House (a National Trust wonder) - for a
family / focus group testing of their new entertainments
for all the family for their renovated basement. Lots of fun
making mince-pies, examining old clothing, household equipment,
lantern making and so on.
Off to the lake for some fine sledging action, the first
ever for most of the littlies. Back in the afternoon - babes
watched a DVD, while I set-too soldering together the recently
arrived Reprap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield (or RAMPS
for short). The 'shield' bit means it sits over, and plugs into a
bog-standard Arduino Mega, and wonder of wonders - packs all the
electronics (modulo the odd opto-end-stop board), into a single,
small sweet package. Quite a contrast to the five separate PCBs
Prodded mail in the evening, glad to see that the LibreOffice
OIN announcement happened, and that RC2 is
tagged, and presumably cooking.
Up very late indeed; J. having handled babes. Large
roast lunch, out to practise the Church christmas / nativity
playlet with the kids. Lots of paternal stiffening of N.'s
spine for violin solo action - which she did well, and was
please (after the fact).
Party tea, wandered around enjoying people's company
and a sequence of excellent cheese & onion wraps. Back.
Got the babes into bed, prodded at the web, pottered around
doing not much, sleep.
Up early; packed everyone into the car, and set-off (minus
mobile) to Horsenden. Hit snow eventually, which got deeper and
thicker, until we were doing some impressive wheel-spinning action
at Ellesborough, finally got through to Sue & Clive's despite
some hair raising skidding action into their road.
Had some lunch, dithered, but eventually set out for the
Christmas steam train (with Father Christmas), again via some
extraordinary slewing and cornering action - apparently the trick
is high gear, and not slowing down. Babes suitably pleased, back
to Sue & Clives.
Consulted weather forecast, highways agency, minimum
nightly temperatures, traffic loads, the good Lord, etc. set
off with some trepidation at 5pm.
Decided big, flat roads are really the way to go; got
to Aylesbury with no trouble, tried to take the A41 south east to
the M25: shut by the police, no problem - tried the north east
road: A418 - also shut; wow. Eventually escaped north on the
A413 to Buckingham. Never seen a car leaning gently against a
hedge before showing off its underneath. Had to suddenly
overtake a number of lamers who had decided (somehow) to slow
down on the hills - and thus got stuck; concerning. Eventually
made it to Buckingham, then onto Milton Keynes, by now driving
skills on ice improving. Eventually over the M1, and home after
only five hours - thank God.
To work, call with Fridrich, prodded mail and code changes,
tried to work out when I need to be at work for misc. meetings during
my vacation (Monday until Jan 5th). Long conf-call in the morning,
booked vacation. Up-loaded Bernhard's nice new download icons to the
Lunch, poked my cygwin
mv dir1 dir2 dir3 newdir
command - still running after four hours; it has somehow managed to
move only 850 files, all to the same partition / drive; magic, sigh.
Prodded at scp2 stuff and make_installer.pl with Fridrich,
Tor, Petr & Rene until late. Amazed that pre2par.pl took 55
seconds for a simple file on my fast laptop; to turn two ~1000 line
files into a 25k line file; turns out it was doing endless re-parsing
of both of them. Cleaned, shrunk the code, now it takes two seconds
the net compile time of scp2/ went from 11m54 secs to under 3 minutes
for identical output. Meanwhile the lads got Windows help-packs
building beautifully - great news. Discussed a vcl re-factor with
Norbert, seems my vtable slot counter is useful after all.
To work, via cleaning up after a poor ill H. Plugged away
at build testing - finally got around to some of the backlog of
administration: updating travel details for the US visa waiver
program eg. Lunch.
More admin, Novell LibreOffice team meeting. Pleased to see
that Monty is implementing
an LGPL client library for MariaDB /
Did some review on the new layout work that Ricardo
H. ill still, prodded mail; found the missing link in
my incremental win32 (server 20078rc2) build, and suspended/aborted
a few scp2 builds. Turns out that is a bad idea - ended up with a file
in the (local)
file-system un-owned by anyone; and totally resistant to deletion /
movement even by the administrator: "You do not have permission to
view this object's security policies, even as an administrative user" -
apparently re-booting is the canonical solution to this problem; ho
hum. The moral is clear: pray harder before building, and/or don't
kill processes when they are busy creating files (or something).
Salivated briefly over an Herringbone Geared
Extruder design, and back to mail and build testing.
Lunch; amused to get a translation of my paper on the problems
with Copyright Assignment from Paul Bukhovko into Belorussian,
Corporate conf call; Jared's staff, more wrestling with the
nastiness in make_installer.pl until late.
To work, lots of mail. Plugged away at windows branding
builds some more - what an hideous platform to build anything on;
Reviewed a patch from Kohei, and remembered Caolan's great
work with unit testing; knocked up a nice calc unit test for this
piece of code. Managed to get my build working, and nsis tweaks in.
It turns out to be by far the easiest to test locale specific code
LANG=pt_BR.UTF-8 wine LibreOffice.exe is
infinitely less click, re-boot, didn't work, click, click, ... than
Lydia over for dinner; plugged away at misc build related
bugs into the evening; interspersed with reprap wiring. got my ATX PSU to
give me power with a paperclip to short pins 15, 16.
It seems I had
foolishly assumed that when the DC motor drivers failed on the
extruder controller they would fail safe ( 'the smoke has already
come out' ). Pleased to see my first ever example of a small area
of glowing silicon through the (smoking) plastic packaging,
amazing; perhaps best to de-solder that before ongoing work (it
turned out that driving a stepper motor with two DC motor drivers
was a lame idea anyway).
Up early; down to work, read mail; lots going on. Merged
psankar's nice bootchart2 patch to do cumulative I/O rendering,
should be rather useful for all those I/O limited bootcharts.
Did some more size analysis of LibreOffice on Windows;
still lots of duplicated licenses, poked at a weirdo dependency
problem as well - missing duplicated filenames in a makefile
Prodded at the .ott template files; we have 33Mb of zipped
files for all the languages, and we blow this up yet further by
duplication while building the installer to ~71Mb. Amusingly if you
unzip those files, and cat them together, we get 25Mb gzipped, or
2.3Mb (two point three) lzma'd, hmm, quite a jump.
Calls with JP, then Kendy & Thorsten, back to compression
Installed openSUSE 11.3 on my reprap controlling netbook,
so I could build the latest version of repsnapper - its nice to
have the required software pieces; printed out a few PrusaMendel
pieces, though the slide bushings defeated me.
Up late; somewhat rested. Off to NCC, Tony preached.
Back for a quiet lunch, and sogging with babes.
Lots more reprap wiring action;
finally managed to discover repsnapper's foibles with object
rotation and get the Z opto endstop spring printed. Switched
the UI rotation units to degrees not radians. Printed an
object on my acrylic bed (a thin sheet on ply) for the first
time - wow, it stuck down so hard I could hardly remove it:
perhaps this is the real solution to my warping problems.
Up early, Claire & Keziah arrived to baby-sit/play.
Set off with J. and Ellis, to drop car for Tyre changes in
Cambridge (apparently near the RedHat office).
Bereavement counselling discussion / notes / outline,
discussion of loss etc. interesting stuff. Bespoks lunch, bid 'bye
to the fantastic group of guys we've been learning with &
missed the last session to go to family party.
Arrived at Tim & Julie's - rather a mobile-phone,
and internet black-spot - thank-God for thick client mail and
office clients. Eventually got onto the TDF steering call,
interesting but length, finally back to the party.
Enjoyed catching up, albeit too briefly with Julia's
wider family, good to see Bruce looking well after his stroke
recently. Julia's cousin Georgina (amazingly) worked for
Attachmate seven years ago, until the Workload IQ merger,
Home; worked away at RepRap electronics wiring /
stepper motor fixing, etc. not confident that underneath the
machine is a great place for it, so tacked on the side near
two related stepper motors. Looking forward to the much
Listened to a great Gordon sermon on Gideon's men
and fear vs. faith; v. interesting; then some of a history
of the world in one hundred objects - while re-orienting
the Y axis ( just before afixing the opto-end-stop,
discovered I had assembled it the wrong way around;
Up early, dropped the babes off at School. Off into London
to visit Intel, cake and coffee, lunch with Matthew & the lads,
great to catch up with them all. Onto find The Park Lane (Sheraton)
Hotel, via the Dorchester (that is actually on Park Lane), meetings.
Train back to Cambridge.
Pleased to read Henri's nice blog on open
Popped into Collabora's office for coffee, warmth and table
football with Sjoerd on the way; then Taxi to counselling course. Met
up with the wife. Last session with interesting prison counsellor, on
depression. Back with Ellis, relieved Laura's kind baby-sitting, up
late round the fire with some cider & Ellis.
Up; poked mail quickly, added a few more Easy
Hacks - we seem to have a good set of free ones just now.
Nursed test Win32 builds with Fridrich; Sebastian helped
shrink theme wasteage. Lunch, and out to Hannah's Christmas play -
very good fun, you can do more with the older children.
Back, it seems we saved ~70Mb on the LibreOffice Windows install
size; down to 269Mb (with sixty languages) from 342Mb, and still plenty
more to save. Re-spun my Linux 3-3 build, a great reminder of how things
were so much worse tooling wise only a month ago.
LibreOffice tech steering call minutes, looking good.
Reviewed and committed a nice patch removing the need for 150
duplicate 'missing icon' icons which should help our install size in the
future, a little.
Up early; dug through mail, tried to respond sanely to much
of it. Back to digging into packaging, quick interview. Lunch, more
mail thrash, and scp2 prodding, cleaned up the license duplication
and the .otp mess, and dunged out the repositories and build structure
a fair bit too, fun. Call with Jared, then with JP. Dinner, Clarity.
Up late, plugging away at Windows builds.
Up early read mail, finally caught up on the bylaws thread:
starting to look really good. Reprap pieces arrived (Christmas
presents) from Joachim's Reprap
Source - beautiful.
Added a run-time gtk+ version check to the quickstarter; fun.
Compiled cabextract, and started digging into cab file size breakdowns.
Really pleased to read Jim Getty's detailed explanation
of why my Groupwise IM connection reliably dies (due to latency) when
I am doing a large download in parallal; something I had often intended
to investigate. Time to start the Free Front For Forcing Functioning
inFormation Flow ?
Spent some considerable time analysing our Win32 .cab files to
find out exactly which silly duplications of data were the most
important size-wise. Lots of fruitful investigation.
Lydia over in the evening, soldered up reprap opto end-stops and
made up cabling while talking with her and J.
Read mail, got the latest LibreOffice master snapshot built
while doing so. Really encouraged to see RC1 announced, great work from the team,
testing much appreciated. Quick call with Kendy, more mail processing.
Reviewed / committed some patches. Chat with Fridrich, more
mail thrash / processing. Installed LO RC1 to the system as well from Petr's
Lunch, call with JP.
Merged the port to gtk+ 2.10 of LibreOffice's systray code from
Christopher Backhouse, nice to remove another tiny library (libegg) from
the linking picture, a clean build (only 54 minutes) and all is well.
I loathe the idea, propagated
in the media that Assange, for whatever his moral failings, is an
'outlaw' - as far as
I can see he is innocent until proven guilty by a Jury of his peers
and is worthy of all the protections of British Law.
Did my counselling assignment homework, and mailed it off.
M. ill in the night, nose-bleeds etc. poor dear. Took the
others to church; back for a big lunch with Lydia, Tony & Janice,
and Peter & Dianne.
Out to see Solomon & Peace, replaced a fuse, explained
the function of convecting radiators, condensing boilers, and prodded
a malfunctioning door catch. Tried at great length to find a rough
price for gas by the cubic metre: here it is, approx 11kwH in a cubic
metre, so ~66p for the first bits, then ~33p afterwards (in todays
Home, bathed babes, put them to bed. Plugged away at repsnapper
a little, it seems it has moved to here. Updated old
svn/git repos to have a README pointing to there, committed some cleanups
to triangle processing.
Gordon sermon on Gideon in the evening, extremely encouraging.
Up earlyish; breakfast, out with the two littlest babes, first
to the toy-shop (M. got to the end of her sticker chart) - to buy
yet-another Tiara (a toy of incredible fragility). On to Homebase to get
some acrylic, Ridgeons to try to find magnetic secondary glazing sealer
tape, and a Kwik-fit.
Home, lunch; set too cutting acrylic into shapes to fit over the
loose leaded windows in our hall, through which the wind blows. Got that
fixed up; replaced broken picture-frame glass too for J.
Sucked into watching 'Night(mare?) at the Museum' - with the
babes, seemingly telling them in advance it was 'very scary' had a
positive result: they didn't think it was, good.
Babes to bed; played with the reprap; cutting ply to shape,
soldering fragments of bread-board to cables to get wires connected,
all sorts of fun. Bed late.
Up early. Amused that Wikileaks now has a DNS via twitter
feature. Interested in this cautionary
tale of the woes of Corporate Trademark ownership. Further
confirmation of the intrinsic richness of the Mono environment was found
in its Lake.
How did we manage to wedge so many evolutionary metaphores into one
Lake is also home to one of the most productive aquatic ecosystems on earth ...
Mono Lake water has an unusual chemical brew of sodium,
carbonates, sulfates, borates, and even trace amounts of
arsenic. Yet, it is astonishingly productive. Sure, you won't
find fish, and most aquatic life on earth can't survive in
Mono's waters, but if you think it's toxic, spending an hour
at the shoreline during summer will tell you a strikingly
different story. Sad to see the UK
Department of Health not grasping their desparate
need for Free Software.
Interesting paper on how to grow
your project into an extra-large one, that I suppose re-states the
recieved wisdom of truly open-development. Found the nice riastats website pretty - though
amusingly you need flash to see, essentially a static image with
Lunch, reviewed draft TDF bylaws in the wiki, looking good,
file un-paid leave. Quick call with interviewee Joseph Powers
who has been doing some great work on LibreOffice. Plugged away at
reviewing and merging old patches.
Up early, took babes to school - sliding on the ice
here and there in the car. Plugged up every available spare
netbook in the area to beef up my icecream build farm; thirteen
CPUs (or hyper-threads) going at it all at once - nice quick
Dug through the surface of the mail queue, fixed
configure options so we have the best / easiest defaults
wherever possible for new hackers (once again). Great to see
Ricardo involved again, hacking away at VCL / layout. Joe
wrote a nice review of our progress yesterday it seems.
Plugged away at Gert's fun OLE object export patch;
merged it as an experimental feature for now. Chewed over java
bits, it seems we can default to without-java if Kendy's fix
really nailed the deluge-of-annoying-you-need-a-jre warnings
bug (rather a pre-requisite). Scratched head to produce more
easy hacks to be done.
Did some more python learning / training with Hannah
in the evening - not sure if it is the best place to start
(urgh), but still I started with BBC BASIC, and then moved
onto an assembler-up understanding of the stack, so perhaps
it will work out; got the concept of a variable embedded
(somehow). LibreOffice call in the evening worked late.
Up early; packed babes off to school. Mike kindly took me
to TEAM again; more Bible Overview goodness on the Law, then onto
Revelation, and finally some interesting talk prep pieces.
Appalled by the ham-fisted approach to Wikileaks advocated
by Sarah Palin (hunt him down like [sic.] Osama Bin Laden), and Mike
Huckabee - who seems both to have discovered that a (non-US national)
can commit treason
against a country not his own. Huckabee should have more sense - as a
minister, the death penalty, if permissible at all (and there are many
practical problems with it), should surely be confined to first degree
murder. Perhaps the more worrying thing is that (despite appearances)
I don't believe either of these guys are idiots - ie. that they must
speak for a very size-able proportion of the (highly polarised) North
American constituency - what saddens and interests me is that, often,
they speak for the people who have the most irrational (to my mind)
fear and distrust of their own government / Beast. So - why, when
that same government has egg on its face - are they rushing to prop
it up so, with such ridiculous rhetoric ? my suspicion: raw national
pride - the death penalty for attracting some reflected silliness to
the wider USA.
Home, and out to the smaller children's christmas play; great
execution: singing, wandering on and off stage etc. message-wise a
travesty of Norman Vincent Peale proportions.
Back home, and to work - checked out the new LibreOffice
bootstrap / build system, fixed a few issues, and left it building.
My content in this blog and associated images / data under
data/ directories are (usually)
created by me and (unless obviously labelled otherwise) are licensed under
the public domain, and/or if that doesn't float your boat a CC0
license. I encourage linking back (of course) to help people decide for
themselves, in context, in the battle for ideas, and I love fixes /
improvements / corrections by private mail.
In case it's not painfully obvious: the reflections reflected here are my
own; mine, all mine ! and don't reflect the views of SUSE, Novell, The
Document Foundation, Spaghetti Hurlers (International), or anyone else.
It's also important to realise that I'm not in on the Swedish Conspiracy.
Occasionally people ask for formal photos for conferences
Michael Meeks (email@example.com)