This is my (in)activity log. You might like to visit my employer
Novell 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
- Cycled H. to school. Dug at bugs. Call wiht Vincent, fixed the
SmsGenerateClientID calls in gnome-session - trivial patch, Vincent kindly
auto-buildified it: why spend minutes (on aggregate) generating random numbers,
when you can do it ~instantly instead ?
- Magnus pointed out that it was not clear that I have been for some
month or so the Linux Desktop Architect at Novell (with a special OpenOffice
interest) - hopefully it is now clear: what it means though, if anything is
another matter. Clearly filling the inimitable Robert Love's shoes will be
- Worked on a couple of papers, filed misc. bugs etc. Discovered
pop.ximian.com has returned: with 51k un-read mails (mostly spam no doubt);
interesting. More bug work.
- Lunch with Lydia then OO.o team meeting. Massaged some web
bits with Jon. More bug filing, commenting etc. Poked at Clarity - back-filled
my timesheets with sensible-ish data.
- Cell group in the evening, dropped 1 meeting.
- Poked at mail. Amazed to discover that setting up the machine with
a non-resolving hostname is apparently a non-bug; despite the appalling symptoms
of timeout-ness that it brings. Dug at reducing the worst breakage here, it seems
SmsGenerateClientID cause serious grief when the networking is broken - of course,
even starting an interactive shell also takes serious time in such a situation, urgh.
- Poked at the sabayon login performance problem I'm seeing, submitted
a fix. Back to back conference calls. Call with Dave, on to evolution bug filing,
built the latest gnome-2-22 packages to try to isolate the bug. Call with Radek,
Kendy & Jon.
- Spent the evening with slices of the wife - between lengthy incoming
phone calls for her; started The Box of Delights in the not-horribly-abridged
version: wow, the book not only makes more sense, but is far better too.
- Cycled H. to school, mail shovelling. Most interesting mail
from Michael Wolf on the garment-ISBN idea:
- Apparently clothier's don't like the idea: clearly fewer
garments might be bought if there were fewer simpler models, or
clear "most popular, hard-wearing, 10-million sold" type designs.
- Having said that, if I could easily buy an identical copy
of my shoes-that-fit and-don't-look-impossible-lame I would pay a premium,
if only to avoid the existing hole in the sole problem. But I'd
need to be certain it was an identical copy.
- Ultimately my problem is not a lack of willingness to buy
new clothes - simply an appalling level of frustration at the
body-shape-warping field that appears to exist in clothes shops: such
that what fits inside, doesn't outside. Sitting in a chair inside eg.
is comfortable - but as you sit down to drive your car home - your
reproductive chances are instantly crippled: why ?
- Similarly shoes - when (apparently) by random you strike
on something that actually fits, and doesn't look impossibly incongruous:
it would be wonderful to be able to order an indefinite line of replacement.
The alternative of course is to always buy garments 10 at a time, which
beside the expense is inevitably going to suffer from scarcity: only 2 on
the rack, or quality - why did I buy 10 when they wear out after only 6
- Then of course there is the time - no doubt there are hordes
of men (secure in their sexuality), who simply love the tactile experience
of pushing through odiferous, heaving hordes of people, queueing, caressing
canvas, tweaking tweed etc. and who willing spend hours finding a new pair of
shoes that actually fit (nevermind being reasonably priced): however I
am not among this group - I like to spend my weekends relaxing with the
- More mail & bugs. Chat with Keith Curtis - dug into a most
curious configmgr bug. Most amused by The
- Interestingly, Don Smith pointed me at Leapfrog IP which
might help solve my clothing woes one day, but looks a bit far out.
- Fixed some bugs for Martin, and released a new iogrind-0.0.3
(with Sankar's pre-warming work).
- Off to NCC, leaving J. at home to look after a sick M. Did
creche, home again - bummed about - mostly with M. sleeping / sogging on
me. Got the new DVD machine setup, Mole & Cinderealla DVDs for the
- Martin, Simon, DT & Zoe over in the evening to watch the
final Return of the King movie in the evening - the super, mega
extra extended version: loong, but good. Bed late.
- Up early, into town to the market & on a shopping spree.
Lovely to see a mother hen & beautiful baby chicks at a stall in the
market (where we buy our free-range eggs) - a wonderful
picture of tender care & protection as the chicks bury
themselves under their mother's wings.
- On to Currys to buy a DVD player - pleased to see they are
running OpenOffice on Win32 on all their point-of-sale machines: saddened
to see (from the splash) it's (up-stream) OO.o 1.0 - and calc crashes on
start. Interesting to notice their POS vertical app is Java / Eclipse.
- Back, Charles Tallack
structural engineer, arrived to examine our existing loft conversion &
work out how to make our extension structurally sound: an interesting
problem it seems. Nice to be able to discuss static indeterminacy, hogging,
vaulting, bending moments & so on once again. Pleased to discover that
the wall I thought was cinder/fluff is actually brick supporting the center
of the floor. Amused to hear of a lady knocking through her entire ground
floor - at a cost of UKP 270k Everything must be knocked through !.
- Jane & Lilly popped over to play with the girls, James &
Kate came for tea & we managed, once again, to stay up exceedingly late
without either noticing, or covering much of what we meant to speak about:
still very unconvinced wrt. the non-existence of nation states before C18.
- James gave a great pointer to
At this point you may be asking, "How about the important tasks
at the top of the list, that one never does?" Admittedly, there is a potential
As a perennial procrastinator, this is pure gold: the brief paper on
perfectionsm, also invaluable: Philosophers' - who would be without them ?
- Up in the night - dug at mail; hacked at a small test app
for helgrind, and sent it to Julian, back to bed. Myriam had a temperature
when it woke. It sat reading (the pictures) in a book & singing in it's
own little way behind me while J. went to work: lovely.
- Pleased to see
Kohei's nice work to make OO.o's structure more comprehensible
for beginners, a sample wrt. calc:
and of course the monster
odg file so far (YMMV - re-factoring bit-rots such things over time etc.)
- Call with Florian. Ted wrote an interesting blog on
OpenSolaris - a telling critique of trying to use "Open Source" as a
veneer: As a tactical measure, astroturfing is certainly a valid marketing
trick. But after three years, the excuse of "just you wait a little
longer, we're just trying to figure this open source community stuff
out", is starting to wear a little thin.. My experience suggests that if
you care about creating an open (transparent, fair anyone?) &
organic community there are a ton of structural and open-ness issues that
have to be tackled head-on, that go far beyond simply including the
word Open in your project name (or Joint, or Shared in
your copyright assignment). Of course, if you're only interested in the
marketing, not the software - then
the status-quo probably works too. To be fair - the transition from closed to
organic open-source is difficult, and Sun is a pioneer in the field, but it'd
be nice to see even a little commitment to progress here: particularly for those
who find hacking
- More testing of
helgrind on factory - generated some updated glibc-2.8 suppressions,
and sent off some debugging info for Julian. Finally got around to
AIA votes, only to
discover I missed the deadline - disorganisation hurts apparently - nevertheless
I'm sure something sensible will happen.
- Had a go at Clarity the (scientologically?) correct
way of tracking your daily work: though sadly no project for inter-toe
fluff removal, so the numbers will be somewhat inaccurate.
- Interesting call with Roman Drahtmueller, sharp guy; he can
even helpfully disentangle my incoherent & context-free ramblings.
More document churn, call with Patrick.
- Up early, poked at Evolution - for some reason the latest
builds are horribly dead-locky; call with Will & Vincent. Built my
own evolution from gnome-2-22 in the end: works nicely.
- Filed expenses for a hour or so; good to get more drudgery
out of the way. Poked Kelli, JP, Amy - time for some crazy hackery.
- Cycled H. to school, poked the mail mound, filed bugs, ran
zypper dup - still unreasonably pleased by it's general
sexiness, apparently born of long suffering.
- Dodgy looking letter from
Rodburghe debt collection: persuing the previous owner of our home
- the trail is I suspect a little cold 3+ years after he moved out.
- Spent a while investigating a serial-port console to debug
a hard lockup: only to discover I don't have a serial port - bother.
Filed more bugs, and yet more, installed on more hardware.
- Surprised & pleased with the apparent, relative competence
of the UK tax authorities - sending me a tax form - customised for me
with only 3 boxes to fill in.
- Poked Guy, wrote verbiage for LXF. While digging for paperwork
discovered a huge block of JCA forms, from my sadly horribly misguided
Sign the JCA today campaigns of yester-year - hopefully they can
be redeemed as new, non-evil drawing paper: with cryptic, colorful
children's crayon drawings on the back. Call with Hubert.
- Dug briefly at packages sizes on the live CD, interesting.
- To work, call with Alex, all manner of interesting things.
Report writing, quick call with Jan wrt. layout, got a DEV300 build of
OO.o going. Chat with Hubert. Call with Kelli's team until late.
- Out for dinner with the wifelet - the first time in ages: to
celebrate our 6th Wedding Anniversary - clearly, I got a good deal: she's
lovelier today than when I married her; to highlight the lack of justice
in life: she got me. Fine Indian (Bangladeshi) meal.
- Cycled H. to school; started on the mail. Spoke to Nildram
to upgrade to an 8Mbit connection (from 2), hopefully that will feed my
factory following habit more efficiently.
- Read more papers, pleased to see Quentin's DisplayLink looking so slick.
- Poked at OpenSUSE 11.0 Beta1, fixed the yast2 live
installer buglet - some uninitialized thing, from an unusual wizard
combinaton with another strange combo box behaviour tacked on. Looks
- More digging in the evening, got to the bottom of the
foundations around 2 feet down: interesting.
- Up early - wedding anniversary; off to Hertford Town Church to
1 Cor 13. Back to Charles & Tania's for lunch, enjoyed their company for much of the
afternoon, back, babes to bed, bed early again.
- Lie in, off to Bury St Edmonds - stocked up at the market;
attempted to buy shoes: sigh.
I would pay a substantial premium (15%+) if each of my items of clothing came
with an ISBN-alike, with which (on the rare occasion that I buy something that
is both comfortable and hard wearing), I could buy an identical duplicate
at some later stage. Furthermore, I'm certain it'd be good for the environment,
put a break on the pointlessly changing fashions of the world (currently
apparently pointlessly pointy toes), and: unfortunately, I'm a S/W engineer not
a retailer or I'd do it myself.
- Off to play in the Cathedral Gardens, lots of fun - albeit rather
cold; home in the end, dinner, babes to bed, bed very early.
- Net connection DOA; interesting, call with Naji, call with
Jan B, more typing; diagrams, more typing, lunch. More bug massage,
upgraded factory again - yet more fixes & improved packaging - really
great to see
zypper dup working so nicely.
- John & Christine around for dinner - really good to get to
know them a bit better, lovely couple.
- Poked mail, prodded bugs. The news appears increasingly
surreal today - with part of the $1bn worth of MySQL moving in a closed-source
direction, while questions as to Is Solaris truly open
source make interesting reading: From what we can tell, the company [Sun] wants
to exist by both fueling and then riding off community-based development. Which is
not the exact same thing as community development itself, at least for fervent
believers of the idea. Whether volunteer developers will rally around software
still primarily associated with a single company remains to be seen ... (or
not seen as the case may be). Then of course Google's Android appears to worry Sun execs:
"Anything that creates a more diverse or fractured platform is not in
(developers') best interests," said Rich Green, - apparently sublimely
unaware that fragmentation may be a direct result of Sun's approach to
'open'source. "Android ... will be available as open source under a nonrestrictive
license," Google said in a statement.. Echos from other places of the continued
demand that all of OpenOffice.org be entirely Sun owned ?
- More bug testing in factory; amused to find & fix another
trivial 2-line OO.o bug, breaking the gtk+ systray applet, as missed by the
extra-onerous Sun CWS process. Prodded some web bits.
- Had fun chopping through some tarmac and digging an inspection hole
to see what state the foundations are in along the side of the house. Amazed by
how deep the sewer inspection hole is - 4feet or so: children suitably interested
in the concept that their 'waste water' can be seen shortly afterwards passing
the hole. Dug my own hole at a safe distance - 1foot down came to some concrete,
left getting below that to another day.
- Call with Guy, Kelli's staff, call with Torsten Duwe. Dinner,
back to work writing a paper.
- Cycled H. to school, prodded mail, OPS architects call,
call with Rodrigo, Will & Vincent. Lunch, call with DT. Poked
at yast2-gtk, fixed some warnings, prodded Xen a little - installed
SLED10 inside a VM: failed, filed bugs.
- Fixed a gio issue - a real joy to work on Gnome -
identified the issue in the debugger, filed the patch, got review,
tested it, commited to HEAD and gtk-2-16, all inside 10 minutes of
work for a 1-line patch; a huge contrast to the pain of getting a
similar change up-stream into OO.o.
- Cell group in the evening.
- Up early, to work: noticed the first spam arriving in
my calendar "VERY URGENT" indeed; sigh. More mail & bug pokeage,
bug testing etc. Noticed that some packages have a -debuginfo and
-debugsource separation now: neat, hopefully will help with OO.o
- Conf call with Brady, OO.o team meeting, conf call with
Naji, DE meeting - a wipe-out of an afternoon. Tried to untangle a
most interesting threading issue for people that close the ORBit2
'main thread' (needed for back-compatibility) - YaST2 likes to do
all it's GUI work in a thread, except for the 'destroy all windows'
at the end (apparently).
- Out for a run, played with babes, dinner, Gordon sermon
on Genesis 12; sleep.
- Up; cycled H. to school; started on the mail pile in
earnest; filed misc. bugs. Great to see Steve Macintyre elected
Debian Project Leader.
- Poked at scim login performance again (it's a huge
CPU & disk hog for some strange reason [ perhaps the setlocale
per-locale-ever-invented is to blame? ]), poked Mike about it.
- Ever more mail chewing - call with JP. Good to see
Thorsten leaping around up in the air.
- Upgraded to the latest factory, filed bugs.
- Played with babes - M. not even distracted by her milk
obsession from the paternal embrace. Back to sleep. Off to NCC,
did the creche - rather fun on this occasion - lots of bounce for
some reason. Back home, slugged with babes, watched Madeline,
Ham, Egg & Chips dinner, played in the garden; put the babes to
bed & more expert slugging.
- Up early; caught a chunk of Noel's talk, and an interesting
chunk of digital signature goodness. Then Cedric showed his nice Eclipse
integration work. Eric showed some interesting things in the formula
- Lunch at a Pizza place, then back to the office to quit, bid
'bye to a few of those with more of a love of central Prague than climbing,
then on to the ropes course: an initial disaster with doko's shoulder, mixed
with some seriously fun climbing action.
- Taxi & plane home - poked at a system-monitor performance
problem; apparently the alpha channel on the GdkWindow means that we have
to use XRender to composite things instead of XCopyArea - which breaks
performance badly with radeonhd; odd.
- Sat on the plane next to a truly amazing cross-section of
foul-spoken, under-age peer-group-pressure victims; under ate-eens,
ate-enn-f birfday, like: you never did !; and similar conversation to
rot the mind.
- Back to the beautiful wife & sleeping children; lovely.
- Up early; breakfast & headed to the conf, bright &
early. Shaun speaking, great to see the IRC-bot you can ask to build
OO.o for you. Jan & Ricardo's nice layout talk, then Caolan's
- Lunch; short talk on the OO.o code, missed Radek's cool
GL transition meeting - thankfully meeting cancelled, so could attend
Julian's cool talk on new valgrind features: particularly the new
work that can pin-point long after the fact, where the dangerous
uninitialized memory that you branch on was allocated & thus give
much faster bug location.
- Tim did a great talk (and demo) on the real complexities
of complex text rendering: really fun - then some straightening out of
the ooo-build freeze / release process from Petr.
- Out in the evening with everyone for an OpenSUSE sponsored meal, beer; a
good time had by all - and great to meet new people like Michel from
- Up early, got my phone unlocked; sync with JP. Much amusement
at the parlous state of Britain's prisons - as Noel says
they have a captive market, but Tor wonders if the price is simply far
- Filed bugs, talk on bugs; found & fixed our spell-checking
blocker during the talk: valgrind - the hackers friend. Conf-call with JP,
caught up with Martin Vidner: interesting. Met up with the guys coming into
down & out to dinner on the tram - with Martin, Julian, Tim, Radek
- Back to the hotel early, doko arrived, sat drinking in the hotel
lobby until late; still no slide-ware for tomorrow.
- Lots of interesting lightning talks, great to see what
people are up to in the team around the place. Pleased to see
HP hardware out there; a rather interesting machine.
- Various meetings; poked at my system - amazingly
dbus-daemon-launch-helper appears not to launch anything;
apparently a 'security' feature, bother.
- Out to the crazy bob-sleigh
- Up, poked at slides, breakfast, on to meet up with the team,
various team talks & so on. Met up with Pete Lowe (from CH, now
working at SuSE Prague). Tried to help out with Sun's latest Java / a11y
/ CORBA problem. Filed queued up factory bugs.
- Debugged strange wireless bugs, chased a couple of e-d-s
crashers & filed bugs. Talked over the team with JP. Out to the fine
local pizza place for dinner.
- Up at 3ish, taxi to the airport, Boingo still being good,
though apparently hard to switch from their more expensive per-use
plan. Poked mail, filed bugs.
- To the office by bus & tube; met up with increasing
numbers of team people, Kendy, Petr, Radek; great to see them. Dug at
file-system issues with Jan Kara, caught up with Pavel Machek, filed
X bug for him; out for lunch with Thomas, Jiri, Jan, Lubos & team.
- Back, caught up with Lubos at some length; interesting.
Poked JP, out for a fine dinner with the team, Lubos & Michael Matz
in the evening.
- Up lateish, off to NCC; Al & Amanda speaking on their
work for YWAM; lunch. Lots of running around the garden with the babes,
dunged the shed out a little. Cleaning, packing etc. in the evening; bid
wife & babes goodbye.
- Up early, into town to the market with the babes.
Home, babes to bed, tried to sleep myself.
- Lunch, and out to Lackford, wandered around; met a modern
Shepherd, with a one dayold lamb - very sweet, children stroked at it,
though N. very nervously: extremely sweet. Apparently the land it's
raised on is covered-over land-fill, and the inexplicable waist-high
steel pipes every now & then are for venting methane: the rolling
contours due to settling: would never have guessed.
- Watched the 2nd Lord of the Rings in the evening, in
the extra extended super directors-cut version; still a cracking
- Pleased by the extraordinary
Cormorant poem - Mother is learning - better said than read
though. Document massage & posting; set off back to Newmarket.
- Long drive, quick lunch, long phone call. More mail,
poked at a panel issue. Out to buy printer ink & new journals.
Dinner. Read and tried to understand the recently posted external contribution
guidelines, curious - up late.
- Amused by the classic excuse for poor software engineering
(it's saved my personal bacon several times):
by As far as Windows 7 goes, I'm looking forward
to it being a more visible demonstration of how the fundamental
architectural changes in Windows Vista are actually the platform's
biggest innovation. - it may be late, buggy, and un-sellable, but
boy - if only you could read/understand the beautiful architecture!
Having said that, sometimes it's even true. Some claim that even breaks backwards binary compatibility, can it
really be ?
- Up early, started reading mail, filed some more bugs
in factory. More research. Shipwrecked by an evolution bug, turned
into a filing spree, provoked into providing info on several other
pending issues too.
- Lunch, more typing against the clock, poked Alex.
Deadline suddely evaporated at the post: nice. Call with David,
then Guy. Really pleased that Caolan's can make it to GoOOCon
next week & doing a call-catcher talk.
- Stayed up talking to the parents, good to have some
time with them, not goggling at the box.
- Up in the night, mail, back to bed; up late. More mail,
downloaded some new evolution packages to isolate a crasher.
Interested by Greg's latest
Kernel Development paper, particularly Who is Sponsoring the
Work - clearly that hugely impacts the ability to support Linux,
the only conventional distros represented in the top 30 appear to be
from Red Hat, Novell, Oracle, to Mandriva (at 0.4%).
- Finally got around to spamming the gcc/binutils/libc
lists with my vtrelocs win. Lots of research, paper writing etc. Call
with JP. Ralf all-hands call. Cracking cold, gone to the chest.
- Dinner, watched the end of the Fellowship of the Ring,
back to work, feeling horribly groggy. Experienced the nice 'Merge'
function for contacts in the latest Evo, the duplication-without-assistance
dialog always really irritated me before; great to see it fixed.
Continued report writing.
- Up; dealt with babes while J. slept until the parents
awoke. Set up machines, started to poke at mail.
- Want to work on OO.o ? we're looking to hire a(nother)
Win32 build engineer for OO.o to grow our team - requirements would be
some soup like: OO.o, Win32, cygwin, unix, gcc, MSVC, dmake, autotools,
gtk+ that sort of thing. We're looking at lower-cost locations, but
perhaps an outstanding candidate could change that. Poke jpr at
novell, and CC me.
- Poked bugs, team meeting, OPS all-hands call. Call with
Alex. Met Elaine in the evening, and talked to her about FairTrade.
In case it's not painfully obvious: the reflections reflected here are my
own; mine, all mine ! and don't reflect the views of Novell, The
Lithuanian Gov't or Arnold Schwarzenegger. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)