Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Monday 31 October 2005

Dying laptop

This time it is for real. Sunday, on the floor of UbuntuBelowZero, the Power Adapter of my aging 5 year old PowerBook died, after being flacky lately. Off course, since this is the older model, nobody has it at the conference to replace, so I'm without a laptop at all. The paradox is that it happen close to home....

Replacement is between USD60 and USD80 either used, new or third party.

The only good news is that I should be getting one in the mail as a friend of mine found one under its bed. Not sure if it works, so fingers crossed.

Sunday 30 October 2005

Duck or Dragon?

According to Daniel Robitaille, we should vote whether "Drake" is a duck or a dragon. We were reminded about that at UBZ.

I must say it is a man Drake.


Saturday 29 October 2005

UBZ Day -1

Ubuntu Below Zero starts tomorrow and people already arrive in Montreal. Yesterday we went to meet Ryan, Behdad who arrived from the lands of Ontario and 2 of his friend that live in Montreal.

I know that other ubuntuites are already here and that others are coming. I look forward to that. They cool thing with having been "reorganized" (that is the new buzzword to avoid saying you start a new round of lay-offs) is that I can attend UBZ.

Wednesday 26 October 2005

Linux Expo Montreal - day 1

Today Linux Expo was held in Montreal on the side of ExpoTI, on the same floor. There was a few kiosks for non profit .org like FACIL. Originally I was offered to get one to present GNOME, but I declined due to a few logistic issues (including the required cost to get electricity), but to be fair, KDE didn't make it either. Definitely next year, with more planning, I'll see what can be done if at all possible.

I'm somewhat disappointed by the lack of presence from big vendors: no RedHat, no Novell/SuSE, no IBM, no... Believe it or not, I still find really important to have big vendor presence on such shows, even with some real local actors.

Here is some spam:


And printing some flyers for the show (for FACIL) required me to fix bug 318916 in Evince.

Friday 21 October 2005

For a change

I need a new job.


Wednesday 19 October 2005

False alarm

I plugged the power supply to a machine at the office and it worked. I even had almost perfect +5V and +12V. I must have done something wrong. I plugged it back to my computer, and here we go. There is still a bad smell coming from the fan exhaust. We'll see.

But I have no sound card as I pulled it out.

Nokia 770

Nokia started shipping the Nokia 770. Marc even got his unit after ordering it.

Damn. Mine isn't here yet :-(

Update: Dave and Vincent got their too.

Tuesday 18 October 2005

Crap and crap

My desktop machine just died. I switched it off to see what was that soundcard lspci didn't find, to discover that it was an ISA card. Off course when I wanted to switch the PC back on it didn't work. Given that there was a bad smell coming from the back of the machine out of the power supply exhaust, I bet this is it...

So back to working almost exclusively on the PowerBook G3/400 unless I do MacOS X stuff which I should be doing as AbiWord Mac still needs fixing. I still have the old PowerPC desktop, but it is not with a PowerPC 604 240MHz with 128MB of RAM and headless that I'd be doing anything productive (running Debian sarge).

Maybe in addition to that power supply should I get a replacement for the dead CD-ROM, a Fast Ethernet adapter (it only has 10 base-T) and a sound card. An USB 2.0 controller wouldn't be a bad idea either as USB 1.1 is very slow to empty my 1GB compact flash off the camera. But I would also require an USB 2.0 card reader.... Let's stick to the power supply.

Hardware sucks. Off to bed.

Mail threading (aka conversations)

Luis: What I do that whenever I configure an IMAP client for my mail, I tell him to use the Inbox as the "Sent" folder so that all mails I send are in the same folder and not the "Sent" folder that even some mail software decide to make the local by default (I don't remember which one). That allow to keep conversation threaded.

Unfortunately in Evolution it has some annoying side effect. Nothing that couldn't be worked around. See bug 271124 for the most annoying: if you INBOX is the "Sent" folder, then every filter you create from a message in the inbox is considered for outgoing. And since you can't change that after your are on your own. The other side effect (I couldn't find the bug) is that the column label get switched so you end up having the incoming mail be displayed with the recipient (aka you). I don't remember what bug# it is.

So far the best mail user agent for threading is Mutt. Why? Because it does real threading like Evolution and Thunderbird, it tries to reassemble the threads using the subject (like Thunderbird) but mark the thread as such with a * instead of the - (text mode arrows) to make a visible distinction. At also has a customisable regexp for the reply prefix because some bad citizen (Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange, etc.) just whatever the programmer decided and whatever the localization team decided....

And the last bit is the Outlook 11 + Qmail that break everything, even more if the reply is made in Evolution. The problem is as follow:

  1. Outlook no longer put Message-ID: because some customer complained about the "privacy" when Outlook did put the machine name on the right part of the Message-ID: (this is the reason given in the Microsoft KB). Note that the fix is plain stupid as they could make a valide Message-ID: derivated from the e-mail address in the From: like some news reader do, because it is perfectly publicized information.
  2. qmail does not append a Message-ID: to any message that goes thru him, unlike Sendmail or Postfix. That means the message sent by Outlook via a qmail MTA still does not have one on outbound. If the delivery occur without only qmail in the path, then the message will be delivered without Message-ID:. Message-ID: is only a SHOULD in the RFC 2822 (section 3.6.4), and section 6.3 of RFC 2821 state that the mail transport agent MAY compensate irregularities by putting one, which qmail fails to.
  3. Evolution at the end, when replying to such a message, just discard the In-Reply-To: and References: content because it does not find the Message-ID:, thus breaking the whole threading. I can't blame Evolution for not inventing the Message-ID:. And now I can't find the bug# so it looks like I'll report it again.

Monday 17 October 2005

Parc Jean Drapeau, Montréal

A few week back (October 2nd, 2005), a little excursion to Parc Jean Drapeau on Île-Sainte-Hélène, Montréal.

The rest of the shots are either on slide film (and needs to be scanned) or to be stitched into a panorama (the city-scape taken from the island).


Friday 14 October 2005


Wednesday I spent my NDF working on removing various memory leaks for AbiWord 2.4.2.

It all started with a Unit Test that was leaking memory because the class UT_Map had a bug. Since only a couple of plugins use that class(1) I had to test, and the StarWriter (.sdw) importer looked like a good candidate. So I installed the whole set of plug-ins to debug and noticed and opened a file, running under valgrind to make sure I was not trashing memory, leaking or other nastiness that that Unit Test did not reveal.

That's how I found other leaks. Some of these involving bad API design. So I had no choice but fix them. There are still few left and probably more to discover.

(1) actually we have several hash classes that I plan on removing to only use one.

Breezy Badger

Breezy Badger the Ubuntu 5.10 release is out since yesterday.

Congrats to the Ubuntu team for the work.

Sunday 9 October 2005

Packaging Madness

AbiWord 2.4.1 has hit Ubuntu Breezy today, thanks to Mark Shuttleworth for pushing it, joshk packaging it for Debian and seb128 integrating it to Ubuntu. Thanks guys, so close to the release, for putting AbiWord in it.

My Ubuntu package for Enblend finally got uploaded into Breezy Universe. w00t.

Friday 7 October 2005

GNOME Summit

My only regret is to not be of attendance at the GNOME Summit in Boston. I'm the only one to blame for that. Given that Monday is a holiday in Canada. I wouldn't have needed to take days off. Just to get a new passport (fr).

Well, such is life.

Thursday 6 October 2005


Where is the source?

Wednesday 5 October 2005

I'm so pissed off

I'm so pissed off. Hallski just announced that andersca was doing for Imendio a port of Gtk on MacOS X.

What piss me off even more, is that earlier in the year, andersca ordered me to stop working on it because he wanted to start in a few month. I told him no, because each time someone a similar situation occur, the whole project stop; so obviously continuing was the only way to keep a pace, even slow and not waste time ever again. At GUADEC, I wanted to talk to him about that, we never did (he sort of escaped, etc). I did put the code in Gtk CVS because that was the only way to make sure other people could work on it, I never got any feedback. At what point it was said to me that andersca might take another project because he wanted to do that solo (I knew that developers had big ego). Since I never heard from him I assumed he did pick something else. And the announcement that he got commit access to WebKit just led me to think the same.

OK, I haven't worked on it since really, mostly because of lack of time or motivation or a combination of both and of because other priorities like an utterly broken AbiWord on MacOS X (it still is). But I must admit that this is a nice backstabbing and it is really appreciated to see that amongst the GNOME community, there are still people who feel like the need to do so. I personnaly really feel offended as I never hid anything about what I was doing, and what Imendio did behind my back just assume that what I was doing is crap (because they didn't feel like cooperating).

That said, I no longer will be working on that port, because I don't care anymore. Maybe I'll just concentrate on things people give a little bit of appreciation and gratitude, because on that, Imendio, andersca and Hallski showed to be at the complete opposite.

Oh and if you think I'm writing that just because I'm just angry, it is not. In fact I have been mumbling about it for weeks, but I promised my "source", who gave me the info to be honest with me, to STFU. I did.

Monday 3 October 2005

AbiWord 2.4

AbiWord 2.4 is out.

And yes, there are known issues with text rendering on Mac.

Report bugs here. Read the release notes and download


I went to see Serenity Saturday evening.

  • You like the TV series Firefly, then you'll like the movie.
  • You like sci-fi movies, then you'll like that movie.

I don't want to say more as I don't want to spoil the movie, but as shown in the preview, River kick ass.

Sunday 2 October 2005

Welcome Open Office, seriously.

Welcome Open Office, seriously. Welcome to what? Welcome to the world of native applications on MacOS X. I'm glad to see that you saw the light, that you realised that for your users, you had to get rid of X11 on MacOS X, because they deserve it.

When I started the AbiWord port on MacOS X back in 2001 (I bought that PowerBook G3/400 for that sole purpose), it was because I believed that the GTK based port of AbiWord runing on X11 wouldn't be a gift to our users. The experience showed that integration is really important. Freedesktop.org has been created in order to allow desktop interoperability between KDE and GNOME (and other X based free desktop software), because developer realised that runing an application designed for one desktop one another desktop was a much better user experience if it did integrate properly. That is also that same reason why some distributions insist on having a UI theme that is the same on both GTK and Qt, to make this difference even less obvious, to blends the frontiers.

I'm proud to see Sun finally realising that we all were in the right. And that announcement of abandoning X11 and going on with Cocoa is the right thing to do. Good luck for that, but at least you have some people paidmotivated to do it, unlike AbiWord. And do yourself a favor, don't use Java.

Update (2005/10/03): apparently I was mistaken. The Mac port is not sponsored by anyone. Even more "good luck".