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
Another mini lie in, wow. Breakfast, and set out to
Homebase with M. to stock up on paint. Bought the cheapest
planeing machine - UKP 20 to wreck.
Managed to get E. to sleep, and the others to play
quietly so I could paint the large bedroom, while J. got
the bathroom into good shape.
Off to an 'Alleluja Party'
Managed to move the bunk beds into the touch-dry
room, and got babes into bed. Got trick-or-treated by some
(very sweet) little daughters of some friends - dressed up
hideously, hmm. Considered the concept of 'Treat or Treating'
as an antidote next year - giving each house a little gift or
Tea; Worked away at travel checkin / booking for
tomorrow, re-assembled netbook, packed variously.
Lie-in, J. off to see Claire & co. in Coventry -
leaving me to paint.
Played with the netbook instead for a bit - disassembled,
and admired the relative scarcity of chips inside, dis-connected
various potential power thirsty pieces, and booted and tweaked it
with an open case - nothing that obvious showed up.
Made tea for, and conferred with the builders, before
slogging away up-stairs painting doors, walls, skirting etc.
in the attic, bathroom, and large children's bedroom.
To think - that the youth of today pay money to buy
solvent to sniff - when they could be earning money as painters
and getting nearly same experience.
J. returned tired, happy and full of news. More work
in the evening - painting ceilings, caulking, etc.
Cooked breakfast, and off to Sizewell Beach. Tried to
build castles of sand amid the rolling breakers with mixed
success and much amusement. Mini-milks from the erstwile
Sizewell Tea now tragically renamed to something far
Admired bronze monument to the (only) 8 survivors of
32 young men escaping from (Holland?) to fight
the Nazis in Kayacks, of which some far smaller number (3?)
survived the war - wow; quite a distance to canoe.
Back for lunch, and set off home. Managed to get some
painting of skirting boards done variously in the attic - a
fine shade of green.
Expanded my netbook testing rig to include a spare
light-switch to make it safe overnight, and my ammeter
Up early, admired Bruce's collection of (unfortunately)
too-low current ammeters; and set off to the beach. Did some
boating at the pond, and wandered across to climb and slide on
Back for lunch; spent the afternoon trying to persuade a
Panasonic DVR with HDD & DVD to play ball - an experience
reminscent of getting oowriter to do bulleting / indenting in a
vaguely sane fashion - ie. totally unusable for mere mortals.
Played with the babes, and out to get Fish & Chips
for dinner. Bathed and put them to bed, ate with Bruce & Anne,
caught up with my blog.
Off to St. Anne's Wells Garden - in the morning, lots
of sliding, climbing and swinging. Mother met old student of
hers - with children in tow, which was fun.
Back for a fine lunch, packed and set off to
Bruce & Anne's - got to Aldeburgh after an unusualy
clean motorway experience - only congested at Dartford.
Played with the babes, admired Bruce's recent
knee replacement and relative mobility. Bed early,
Up in the morning, tested the netbook with the multimeter - got
some interesting measurements. Off to the swimming pool with Grandma &
babies - lots of time encouraging smallish people in their swimming.
Back to the work - iterated several potential fixes with varying
success current-wise; good stuff. Tried to get some reasonable numbers to
the team. Great to see the (dalston)gnome-power-manager re-write (why !?)
writing a debugging message to ~/.xsession-errors, dirtying the inode and
burning power when the battery status changes; hmm.
Watched Emma in the evening with the parents - lovely.
Off to St Lukes in the morning, J. spent her time in
the creche, and I with the babes - but good to see Sammy &
Kate, Ali etc. Father spent the morning cooking lunch and
perfecting the laptop battery connector.
Out to the Park in the afternoon, much runnung, jumping,
balancing, swinging and so on. Wandered home in the end. Up late
talking to the parents and watching a movie.
Awoke early, boggled at the massive eco-house under
construction behind them. Apparently adding fifteen 2x1 metre
solar panels on your roof and a load of insulation is license
for an unfeasibly large and unattractive building.
Off to the Booth museum while M. was asleep, to admire
the avian casualties of the 19th Century - of course it's
pleasing to see five Golden Eagles stuffed and in a case, but
you can't help wondering if the would have been prettier in
their unleaded state.
Home, lunch - off to Maplins with Father - picked up
a load of tiny spade clips, and returned home to try to
construct a compatible laptop battery connector - to allow a
true on-battery power consumption measurement. Spent hours
with father drilling holes in mahogony, spreading, thickening,
soldering, and arulditing a new male connector for the netbook,
while the babes watched a DVD; fun - left the epoxy setting
on the Aga.
Plumbers, and Project Managers, and diggers, and
carpenters conspiring to improve everything left & right.
Briefed them all carefully for the impending week of holiday.
Prodded again at the dlopened module that was
crashing on dlclose, fixed that by using an OO.o idle
handler (one-shot timeout), but then on re-load we re-register
the GType and bad things happen. Read the GTypePlugin code,
oh dear. Why can't we simply have a single, simple flag that
says "free this type when it is no longer referenced" -
surely that would be infinitely easier. Decided to lookup and
clobber an existing class of the same name's vtable manually
if it is pre-registered, and to do my own class_init and
instance_init - apparently that is by far the simplest
approach. Of course, in C++ there are (I assume) far worse
problems (around vague linkage) with unloading modules.
Fixed up the OO.o quickstarter issue, and created a CWS
for it. Pleased to see the evils of dual licensing getting yet more
speaking of Drizzle the author says:
Our reward has been that in our single year of
operation we have achieved a larger base of contributions then
MySQL achieved in its decade long existence. Community contribution
at the expense of proprietary extensions is a small price compare
if you consider the value that surrounds us by releasing that
opportunity. ... The conflict inherent in trying to reserve rights,
and take the rights from others, leads to conflict.
I couldn't agree more; and I too find RMS' support for
the concept of proprietary licensing, as necessary for developing
a piece of Software somewhat amazing; some kind of highly selective
purism. Surely a better remedy than divestment would be the LGPLv2+.
Caught the builders at lunch filling in the trench with
foundation, despite it being 10cm in the wrong direction along
it's length - bum. Managed to rescue the excess concrete for
a base for a children's play-house at the end of the garden.
Tried to work out what I did this year, to fill out my
objectives in the web tool - I could swear I did this last year,
but couldn't find that. Onto the next fun bit of admin - expense
Eat dinner during an unexpected call - ultra-cheap Iceland
sausage caserole & mash, (delicious), lighting packing of the
car, and J. drove us to Brighton to M&D's.
Builders with diggers arrived, and proceeded to dig left
and right; good stuff. Prodded OO.o bits - team & PM meetings,
one-to-one with Jared. Plugged at clutter (back in) time-line issue
in the evening - David R. it seems has the real fix.
Up; builders started knocking through a nearby wall.
Luckily off to Cambridge today - got the train. Interested to
read Glyn Moody's thoughts
on the so-called open source business model - excerpting
... owning the copyright ... introduces an asymmetry
into the collaborative development process ... breaks the underlying
contract of mutual benefit with companies and people that contribute
code. And without the reciprocity, I think the urge to contribute
is bound to diminish, because there is likely to be an underlying
feeling that external contributors are being unfairly exploited
A very healthy dose of common-sense that applies well to OO.o.
Met up with Saad and Wei-Ming at the computer-lab, got OO.o
building for them, lunch with Ross too. Back in the evening.
Up early, played with an OO.o build, chased VPN problems.
Pete over for lunch - examined carpets at length with him, before
choosing a couple.
Staff meeting with JP - read some health & safety at
work blurb. Chat with Jeff.
Got suckered into a painting groove - painted skirting
boards everywhere - while catching up with Sam Fisher on the
phone - interesting.
Up early, off to have the teeth examined - it seems they
need work doing to them. I wonder if there are any good, peer-reviewed
papers on dental work-loads, and recession. It would be fascinating to
see if the total number of suggested remedial actions increases in a
Prodded at mail, moblin bits, booked OOoCon travel, fought
my VPN - suddenly flaking, perhaps from a surfeit of over-enthusiastic,
but bogus DNS records.
How can one plasterer be twice as productive as another ?
amazing - three walls and a square of ceiling in a day. The Union will
be sending hit squads soon no doubt; got nearly everything done (but
not dusted) up-stairs. Spent the evening with Bert, going over the plans
again, and caulking holes.
Dish washer signalling it's displeasure with some interesting,
un-documented blink code - don't you just love manuals with the "Try
turning it off, then on again" mantra in place of any technical
Off to NCC in the morning, Helen spoke. Had Mila back for
lunch, really good to see her again. Babes watched Madeline
while J. painted the bathroom.
Spent the evening sketching a new airing cupboard, and
planeing down old scrap wood, to make it look new and suitably
attractive for the purpose.
J. disappeared early to the conference, leaving me with
four small girls to entertain - put up a shelf & mirror in the
bathroom. Got E. into bed and asleep.
Early lunch, and set too at the dish washer. It'd be
really good if there was a way to tip it over, to fiddle with,
that didn't involve mopping water up for ages. Unfortunately the
infernal machine has decided it is far easier to only clean,
already clean things - with some sort of anaemic rotor
non-rotation; most annoying.
Distracted by taking the babes into Cambridge to play
in Cherry Hinton park, then picked up J. at Downing. On to
collect some fish & chips for dinner, put babes to bed.
Bit the bullet, and dismantled the D/W pump - it seems
my previous fix, almost exactly two years
ago has only held off failure by a little - worse, I used a
ferrous screw - so it rusted. Replaced the packer with a larger
bit of brass screw, and added a washer to help seal it again.
Re-assembled everything. Unfortunately we now seem to have an
interesting wear problem - with the new washer audibly
eating into the nylon pump housing - bother. With uncertain
long term prospects, at least one set of crockery was cleaned
reasonably - there is a limit to how much partially dissolved
washing powder I can cope with in my tea.
Up early, chewed through our bug list, closing incidentally
fixed / duplicate bugs - encouraging.
J. disappeared in the evening off to the C3 women's
conference in Cambridge - hacked away late at nothing substantial.
Put up some new plasterboard in the root, Erected new
insulated plaster-board to cover the porch roof - which clown
decided it was a great move to have an externally open porch
with only a bit of plasterboard and some floor-boards separating
the house from the elements ? Had to glue the stuff to the
existing ceiling, due to a lack of suitable joists to screw to.
Up lateishm, groggy, and with builders setting to re-constructing
the walls they moved yesterday. Plumber also arrived to plumb in the
bathroom, and managed to split the hot water isolator so it leaked,
and then (by some contorted genius) replace it.
Plugged away testing Thomas' suggested fix - nice, mine
forgot the difference between killing an effect that wasn't started
properly, and completing it (doh). Got a nice fix in. Worked with
the up-all-night-Aaron, doing stirling work on Banshee's media panel
(screenshots no doubt, to follow).
Robin - a nice chap from Ohloh responded, and kicked off a
re-count of Qt; hopefully giving a sensible number for that.
Chat with JP; OpenOffice team meeting(s) variously. Dug
briefly at an interesting store / rdb issue with Rene and Thorsten.
Prodded at some stats.
Dinner / birthday party tonight which should be fun - new
bath being used for the first time ever too. Claire & Simon,
Laura & Creighton came over, stayed up late talking with them,
Pleased to find a new bug in libbonoboui, with a nice patch
from Jeff Cai, fun - will that be the last bug-fix there ? What with
Matthew's great work getting rid of it from Evolution - I'll be free.
Filed for some FTO, prodded Clarity.
Wrote overdue LXF column; Moblin team meeting; noticed Aaron
Siego had written a nice update on KDE numbers
(and yes, I highly prefer a plain-text, simple-to-host,
no-hosted-database-anywhere style to my blogging software, E-mail
works well enough for comments though). That coupled with the "you
are a trolling idiot" style, encouraing mail I got from KDE
enthusiasts persuades me that someone (with time to update Ohloh)
could profitably spend it updating both GNOME (to remove a few
obsolete packages), and KDE (to include all of the packages that
form part of it). Still - as a general rule, broadcasting:
"I am an amazing 0.7936254" - without any referant for comparison,
is not that helpful. Having said that - it is indeed interesting that
(apparently) gtk+ is around 560k LOC and
that Qt is (apparently) 16
m LOC - perhaps the included WebKit bulks it up - but it does
seem amazing that Ohloh chalks up Qt as ~30x larger LOC-wise. It's
also strange since, my checkout of the same git repo, and a
find -name '*.[ch]*' | xargs grep ';' | wc -l - (crude, but
easy) - seems to yield only 1.3m ';'s for Qt - which seems more sane,
with WebKit being 470k ';'s. I must be a very easily confused
hype-merchant to get such widely different numbers; I can believe
OO.o is around 8 million lines, and Linux also around 8, but is it
really credible to suggest that Qt is larger than the sum of these ?
I suspect not - you would have to wonder what each line did. Assuming
I'm right, I wonder what confused Ohloh - which I've previously
tended to believe.
Plugged away at mutter for a while, seems we leaked an
animation in some corner case - chased it with Thomas' help. Up
very late digging into mutter effects code.
Up early, to work prodding tedious tasks; chat with
Thomas Schmidt about FATE. JP's staff, one-on one, call with
Builders finished re-hanging every door around the
stair-well with three substantial fire-proof hinges - sadly
splitting and mis-aligning some in the process.
Moved babes bunk beds out of their room (scheduled
for demolition) into a new room (cue intense excitement)
during a quick break before call with Frank & Jared.
Dinner, then call with Frank & co.
Hacked happily at Cubano all morning. Synched with Aaron.
Interested to read Cornelius' blog
on the value of KDE. Of course, its possible to do the arithmetic yourself,
but if ohloh can do the work for you - all to the better. Interesting Ohloh has
a higher LOC count for KDE, and a lower cost than Cornelius. Of course, the
real question is not 'is KDE valuable' - of course it is; but how does it
compare, Ohloh brings more balance perhaps:
Of course, Ohloh is perhaps not up-to-date, revision control systems
move around, exact line number metrics vary, which module is part of what project
is probably contentious, and apparently costing models vary wildly, and
per language type.
And.Of.Course.CPlusPlus.Developers() << Make.The.Point() << That.So.
c_developers (tend_to_point_out(), that(), the(), same_is_true_of_C()), but_lifecycle_is_harder());
Used some spare insulated plasterboard to plug some gaps in insulation,
and put up some hard-board to try to make the loft crawl-space cleaner - lots
of dust and moss around there.
Lie-in, off to NCC, did creche; back home for lunch
with Erin & John - good to get to know them a little better.
Knocked up a new floor-board in H's bedroom, it seems,
finally to be finished - and got her moved in, to much
Managed to get the annoyingly under-engineered new light
fitting installed in the 2nd floor stair-well, it seems not to
fit any form of energy-saving bulb (sadly).
Much sibling excitement and climbing of H's new bed;
rotated it to better fit the room, and discovered that (inevitably)
it needs more disassembling and re-making in aonther form.
Spent much of the day caulking cracks, and painting over
them - surprisingly satisfying seeing a crack disappear and a new
clean, filled surface arrive.
Out in the afternoon to a lamp shop - admired various
twisted creations before a buying frenzy. On to Lackford Lakes
playground, meeting Russel & Sue there. Much digging of sand,
swinging, climbing, sliding etc.
Tweaked H's bed to fit new geometry; sleep.
Up later, tired, not feeling at all well. Slugged in
bed until the builders arrived to bang on the door, and around
the place. Groggily pressed keys on the keyboard for a while.
Chased down a nice g_idle handler returning TRUE in
error bug in gnome-packagekit causing some interesting
No sign of the plumber come to fix the shower, so cut
the pipes, and installed an isolator just for the shower;
PTFE tape and compression joints on painted pipe-work - now
more screwdriver-free forms of ablution are possible. Put
up H's new bed in the evening, after J's painting frenzy.
Up early, feeling more or less unwell - a day of conference
calls with some hacking in the background at this & that.
More plumbing today - great, finally a radiator in the
loft (my office) to warm the cockles of the (extremely sedentry and
furred up) heart. Nice.
Having showered the babes, discovered the shower would no
longer turn off; drat. Dis-assembled it, apparently the spring loaded
solenoid valve is clogged with crud internally: huge great chunk of
corroded copper & scale in the (partially broken) copper mesh
filter to stop that sort of thing getting in. Re-assembled - sadly
it is necessary to disable the toilet and sink in order to turn it
off. Down to one functioning toilet up-stairs, one sink in the
kitchen, and no shower: bad. Contemplated ordering the spare part
myself post-haste - still, nothing so fun as turning an isolator
with a screwdriver each time you want to wash.
Poked at bugs; cupsd not starting - added the nice Intel
xinetd support patch; closed a number of simple issues.
Intense painting action in the evening - managed to seal
the bathroom ceiling, while getting covered in watered down paint.
To work; mail chewing, bug poking, meetings, and so on.
Normally I don't like corporate adverts, but this one actually
makes a reasonable point about the inadequacies of alt-tab in
Quested for missing council paper-work for tens of minutes
before finally discovering it crushed under the table - the joys of
children, paid bills. Filled in J's tax return with her - another
experience of pure bliss.
More work, while J. painted the ceiling up-stairs: nice.
To work, carpenters arrived somewhat under the weather;
and fitted skirting boards around the place variously - as they
Prodded mail & news. Somewhat terrified to find another
It makes one introspect - do I use the word 'sexy' when I speak publicly ?
As a matter of fact, I almost certainly do, as part of an effusive flood
of positive adjectives; but never talking about women - mostly about
widget rendering, toolkit layout, beautiful icons - that sort of
thing; is that a fundamentally wrong word to use to describe something
aesthetically pleasing ? Being offensively crude in one's description
of a lady seems hard to forgive, but is expressing a mild opinion in
the hearing of another that a friend is attractive really that wrong ?
Should we all become completely asexual creatures in some way ? at
least, I hope I'm still allowed to find my wife fantastically
attractive. Consulted her briefly - her sage advice was "she
seems to be a bit over the top doesn't she", but of course J.
speaks from a position of strength five girls to one hairy hacker
in my household. The cowed male bristling at the keyboard (or
A chunk of meetings, and more banshee prodding until late.
Helped J. with her tax late.
Up, off to NCC - Tony speaking from lots of small pieces of
scripture read by the congregation. Home for lunch, with John Madden.
Had a fine time talking and painting Hannah & Naomi's rooms with
his kind assistance.
Martin, DT, Zoe & baby Patrick over to watch Prince
Caspian in the evening: good fun. Much cuddling of baby P - very
Up early, off to Ridgeons to look ineffectually for things
knotting treatment eg. really not a very baby-proof store. On to
collect new flush for toilet - it has been leaking all night -
presumably muck from soldering blocked the fragile whatnots inside.
Lunch; J. set off on a multi-hour quest for exactly the
right tiles: plain gloss white with a simple black edging -
incredibly these are rather hard to get hold of - most tiles these
days being huge, rectangular and oddly textured.
Limbo'd under the toilet replacing the flush - seems to
work, no obvious flooding / collapsed ceilings. Noticed the builders
had insulated the back of some of the new walling in the loft -
covered that with hard-board. Cut pipe work in the crawl-space, and
extracted unused pipe & header tanks.
J. returned flushed with almost-victory and a boot full of
tiles. Tea, put babes to bed; on with the painting, and poly-filling.
Played with pretty shutdown splash-screens, somewhat
ineffectually - so much chvt / console fiddling fluff in
the scripts - gdm itself seems to enjoy switching console
when it gets a KILL; odd.
Wrote up a report on OO.o. Played with Cubano rendering
the media panel in earnest.
Read mail; it seems the lazy-web came up trumps in the
form of Marius Gedminas's explanation for my conundrum with
mov (%si), %ax
inc %si; jnz test loop. It appears that
if you try to read a word at
0xffff ie. across the segment
boundary you get a SEGV, which often just spins - a satisfying answer
at least. Seemingly Robert Forsyth also came up with the answer, nice.
Got the latest skype beta; apparently it uses pulseaudio
properly - which is all good, sucking un-fixable proprietary software,
but sadly necessary.
Lots of architraving got cut to size and fixed, and more doors
arrived on their hinges. OO.o team meeting, and PM meeting.
Chatted to Thomas and Robert, both in Boston - Thomas suddenly
ill poor soul; later it turned out in all the excitement some
unidentified child had been filling my mobile 'hello-phone' with water;
no torx screwdriver bit of the correct size to disassemble it either:
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 (email@example.com)