Alternatives, part II

You may already know that I have some complaints about pidgin:
– its developers use a brain damaged dvcs (yes monotone sucks, yet another application written in C++ that sucks after cmake)
– The ability to listen to the user feedback is severely reduced.

Since we are talking about alternatives looks like somebody tried to make things a little nicer and forked the code so far and made something fun out of that.

Seems promising, I hope it works well enough to be put on Gentoo soon if the pidgin devs don’t come to their senses =P

Replacements and stuff

I’m completely unhappy of the result of those elections, obviously I cannot tell it was unexpected (Idiots watching TV and believing are quite many) anyway today I’ll write about alternatives.

You know that I consider cmake one of the worst item available if you want to get a build system sane. I know that people usin cmake won’t use those alternatives, most of the time because they aren’t that known, fashionable or with spiffy names.
My list
– linux (kbuild) or ffmpeg like systems (note, we need to find a name for it) since those are relatively hard to get working on new projects,
– quagmire seems to provide something you can use but is still its infancy, yet I’ll give a stab at it.
– waf seems scons done right, still it lacks the completeness and ease you can archive using the autotools the right way (reusing the good .m4 bits from aclocal and not wasting time rewriting stuff every time)
– bitbake could make some windows oriented people happy while giving the rest of the world the tools expected, but maybe those people cannot stand an heavy known markup (xml based) while loving the cmake’s one.
– autotools have the main issue that some part of them are either over engineered (libtool) or annoyingly broking from release to release (automake), still the most useful part now it’s autoconf, but iff ffmpeg configure would be chopped into the right bits to be reusable w/out feeling the pain even it could be replaced with ease, recently I discovered dolt, a replacement for libtool that maybe could help a bit.

Right now if you want to build a project autotools, with all their defects and glitches, are the best all around. If you want to get something saner probably you may start looking at dolt and quagmire, if you want to do something for everybody you may start modularizing ffmpeg configure and makefiles or linux kbuild so everybody could enjoy it. In the middle I put other tools that look more or less useful but that for a reason or another I dislike a little.

In a perfect world we don’t have people wanting to use microsoft visual studio to build opensource projects, every library would provide a pkg-config file with all we need to know to link against it, and every system has a identical way to build shared libraries (passing –shared to the compiler and linker?).

In a perfect world probably we won’t witness human stupidity with a Berlusconi III (the government).

PS: The hunt to .la files is open, please try to remove them from your system and tell us if something must be fixed. The treasure trove about pkg-config files is opened too, if you find a library not exposing one please notify us and upstream possibly with a pkg-config for them ^^

cmake and openwengo, what a match…

Quick and easy task for this day: check which is the status of openwengo since seems that’s the only client providing what skype does, at least in theory…

Part one, get the source – delivered from the site as a nifty .zip

– wget + unzip worked as should

Part two, build the beast.

– cmake! The worst build system since imake, sadly brought into the fashionable stuff because of KDE4,
Now we get something interesting, on a phenom you get:

qlop -tH cmake
cmake: 5 minutes, 12 seconds for 1 merges

A comparison:
perl: 3 minutes, 43 seconds for 1 merges
m4: 29 seconds for 1 merges
automake: 14 seconds for 3 merges
autoconf: 16 seconds for 2 merges
libtool: 44 seconds for 1 merges
make: 30 seconds for 1 merges
cmake: 5 minutes, 12 seconds for 1 merges

Using something less new makes the whole thing even more interesting. Let’s say that to build something using cmake I need the 3/2 the time to build perl, just to start.

gentoo has an ebuild for it so it it’s just getting it, (why cmake needs xmlrpc-c is a question I’ll left unanswered…)

Now back to openwengo.

I have to create a build dir and run cmake from there, it obviously finds something wrong with ffmpeg even if supposedly it has its stale internal version (remind: ffmpeg changed the include paths some time ago) as fallback (no, you have to run cmake a first time, have it fail, run ccmake, find the right option and turn it on, start again).

I’m not sure if this brain damage is due wengo people or cmake, still I find this annoying. The *oh* so despised configure from autotools can be smarter and does not require that many lines if you know what you are doing…

It still doesn’t take in account that there are different endianess for linux (autotools have a nice builtin for this…)…

Once the thing built (took a while), I just got more or less the same thing I got last time I tried it, looks like the 2.2 isn’t quite up to date and they are working on the new mayor release =/

Back looking for other alternatives for skype =_=

Why people should copy from who knows…

Recently I happened to use the newest adium for few minutes (the time to erase my data from the macosx partition while I’m sending the laptop to repair (more on it once it is back, hoping it is back)

Adium probably is the best IM I ever tried, it works fine, in an unobtrusive way, it has all the gloss you may like (from none, to everything), but has just one defect: works just on macosx (that I don’t like that much for developing since I’m not into BDSM).
Now, everybody and his dog knows that adium uses the fine libpurple from the pidgin project, and there is a pretty nice gtk client called pidgin that people usually use…
The problem is that seems that some of its developers spend too much time castrating the UI

NEXT in row: have the chat window unresizable.

PS: no I won’t try to hack pidgin, monotone sucks.

freebsd vs ejabberd vs me, 1 0 0

A moral prize to the people that could guess what’s wrong

relevant part of the config

  {5222, ejabberd_c2s, [

                        %% If TLS is compiled and you installed a SSL
                        %% certificate, put the correct path to the
                        %% file and uncomment this line:
                        {certfile, "/usr/local/etc/ejabberd/ssl.pem"}, starttls,

                        {access, c2s},
                        {shaper, c2s_shaper},
                        {max_stanza_size, 65536}

relevant log message when you try to login

**      Data  == {state,#Port<0.367>,<0.374.0>,gen_tcp,"2667452897",
** Reason for termination = 
** {{badmatch,{error,"SSL_CTX_use_certificate_file failed: error:02001002:system library:fopen:No such file or directory"}},

relevant file that surprisingly doesn’t seem to exist.

ls -al /usr/local/etc/ejabberd/ssl.pem
-rwxrwxrwx  1 ejabberd  wheel  1956 Feb  8 14:21 /usr/local/etc/ejabberd/ssl.pem

ejabberd vs freebsd vs me

I started setting up some stuff on a jail I’m sharing with some friend, freebsd-6.2

– installing ejabberd is quite painless through the port (good)
– configuring it was alike gentoo (nice)
– having ejabberdctl working needed some tweaking (and learning what a cookie means for erl)

now, time to test the beast

– web stuff working as should
– connecting doesn’t using tls ?!
— trying on gentoo shown the same issue -> solution on gentoo: set proper perms to the ssl.pem and using absolute paths.
— on freebsd that isn’t working for unknown reason.

Time to play with gentoo on freebsd in a chroot inside a jail.

humor me plenty!

Influencing projects: do and do not

There are many ways to get an opensource project fit better your needs:

– you contribute to it by doing the missing bits yourself.
– you contribute to it by funding somebody so you get the bits done.
– you ask politely about those bits and you make a point on how those bits could be useful for the developers too (so they will use their time and skill to implement them)

There are also many ways to hinder an opensource project (trying and failing to have it fit better your needs):

– you assume you can lead who is doing since you are using what’s done by them
– you assume that there is democracy and the fact “everybody”* want something (but the people actually doing something) makes that relevant
– you try to annoy people till they give in or give up.

* from interestingly inflated self made estimation

How to contact developers

Let me give a bullet list about ways to contact developers:

– IRC: most developers are present on irc, you may query them, talk to them in the topic channels (e.g: #gentoo-media) or ask for voice in the #gentoo-dev channel. Irc logs may or may not be available for past digging.

– email: again you can either contact the developer privately using the ${nick} email or using the mailing list (gentoo-dev, gentoo-project, gentoo-$topic), you may also read the archived discussions.

– jabber: we got IM too, you may again use ${nick} to contact them directly.

Those are two way communication routes, you ask and you got replies, most of those let you have a nice log so you can even point past discussions for clarification. If someone disregard about you usually can voice it and it remains.

There are 1 and 1/2 way communication routes like blogs, it’s up to the blog owner let the comment appear or not (so he could make like he got full support by everybody just silencing who isn’t exactly keen on what’s there).

There are even 1 way routes like the GWN and GMN in which the editor can write whatever he wants.

If you wonder why I’m just stating the obvious like this, well, seems that some people got a disconnected perception on how communication works so it’s sorely required even if dead boring.

Looking for an Abstraction Layer…

You probably know that I’m a fierce antagonist of anything that isn’t simple, that is over engineered or that is plainly ugly.

Now I’ll spend some lines of this rant^Wlog writing about how HAL is annoying, conceptually broken and ill conceived.

You may start thinking about other technologies that now are maturing in something nicer like dbus (even if could be lighter and faster) or udev, they improved a lot even if I would avoid force feeding ingenuous lambs (I mean people using linux and posix systems before and not yesterday windows converted users that really NEEDED that stuff NOW and that now appear to be the main target for opensource applications nowadays, see David’s post)
) with them.

Now, udev is good at reacting to hw events and dbus is good at passing messages, why something that should be just a little layer of glue between them has to be that complex?
Why it needs to have lots of square wheels reinvented, while we have perfectly round ones available for free?

Cardoe already voiced his frustration about it and I’m plainly not using it while I can, still I’d like to have something lighter, simpler, saner to notify userspace applications that something in the hardware changed, since the idea isn’t that stupid.

About standards

Lately I happened to read something that made me think, basically Miguel de Icaza stance on microsoft’s pseudo xml format and microsoft’s flash workalike.

He tried to remove some polarization we have on anything made by Microsoft and tried to compare in a less biased way the 2 spec AND flagship programs, most of the people could stop at the first part and get the message “ms stuff isn’t that bad afterall” or even the “ms stuff has nice ideas here and there”. I read it as in “there is MUCH work to do and ignoring them isn’t productive”, I’d add my point of view as in, instead of following them and doing their same errors or supporting their same horrors, we could just learn and try to do something different (and broken in different ways) starting for our own foundations and nothing that could be undermined by them?

Having a microsoft offerings workalike may be good for some, but since there are way better tecnologies out there waiting to be improved it’s just a waste. (e.g. Vorbis, wavpack, mkv, nut, XUL, D, parrot, Dirac, snow, SVG…)

Anyway the nice thing of opensource is that everybody is free to do whatever he wants and usually sharing good ideas works in the end, if more people make usable/better tools more people will use them.