Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Monday 23 October 2006

Why you can't run MacOS X on a standard PC

A question I hear often is "why can't I run MacOS X on a PC?" "But Darwin is Open Source, people can make it run on a standard PC?", etc.

It won't! Read about binary protection or how Apple do build into the system a protection system for key binaries of the system.

You don't get that with Free Software.

+1: Informative

Laptop software suspend and Linux

There seems to be a bit of misinformation spreading about Linux and software suspend not working reliably on Linux. Let me quote:

After running Linux on a variety of different systems, I have to say, it's utterly amazingly refreshing to use something whose software was designed specifically for its hardware. I close it and it goes to sleep. I open it and it wakes up. In almost four years with my previous laptop, I never got power management working well enough that I would trust it.


He's "amazingly refreshed" at finally having working power management, after suffering through years and years of crap. I remember the first little while with my Powerbook, where I'd pray a bit every time I'd close the lid, only to eventually be enlightened: it won't crash on me a few times a day! The uptime on my Powerbook is basically "how long since the last kernel upgrade", like it bloody should be.

Guys! Which dimension have you been living in? Or are you suffering from a reality distorsion field. Software suspend has been working for a long time reliably on Linux, on reliable hardware. Let me summarize:

  • 1999: Pentium 166 based Toshiba Satellite. apm -s works fine with Debian/Linux for i386
  • 1999: PowerBook 3400 with hand installed Debian/Linux for PowerPC (no installer by the time I installed it). Worked fine by closing the lid (or something like that). Much more stable than the MacOS 8.x that came with it.
  • 1999: Compaq Armada 1700: apm -s works fine with Debian/Linux for i386
  • 2000: IBM ThinkPad 600E: closing the lid suspends to RAM. With Debian/Linux for i386
  • 2001: Toshiba Tecra: apm -s works fine. RedHat Linux 6.0
  • 2004: PowerBook G3/400 finally moved to Debian/Linux for PowerPC, then later in late 2004 to Ubuntu. Closing the lid suspends to RAM. Much like it was doing on MacOS X.
  • Dec. 2005: IBM ThinkPad Z60t: suspend works great out of the box with Ubuntu Dapper Flight 2 (2nd pre-release of 06.06 LTS). This machine end up beating the uptime of my server at home because of its universal UPS. Well it was until I upgraded to Edgy... and it is back on a new cycle.

I must admit that sometime things are not completely white. For example Dapper final release kernel, break the resume horribly on my laptop, since 2.6.15-21. Kernel 2.6.15-25 still has the problem, I don't know for -27. -19 works fine, I'm sticking to it. Malone #49078. Edgy kernels are broken a bit worse with 2.6.17: Malone #63967, this is not with other boot-related breakage like the console messup (update: that last one have had a huge improvement) or grub not working properly.

But these are not worse than suspend not working on PC laptop with the Operating System you are forced to purchase that is supposed to be supported by the manufacturer... (and sometime it works way better in Linux) given that most of the time you are never getting this fixed... unlike for Linux. And for MacOS X, it better be working given the very narrow hardware range it supports.

Thanks pcolijn for contributing into rectifying the truth. The dark side is always more attractive and easier, but in the long run will NOT win.

Update: I forgot about that Toshiba Tecra I had from work in 2001.

Monday 16 October 2006

And you want to run binary X drivers?

Are you sure want to run a binary X driver as root[1]? Think twice


[1] X runs as root

Sunday 15 October 2006

fork, fork, fork

A quick Google codesearch led me to see how many people do really fork dcraw for their own use. This just reinforce why libopenraw is being written... I also discovered exact-image. I have to check that one out, just by curiosity...

Saturday 14 October 2006

libopenraw update

I now have Canon CRW support in libopenraw. Partial at least, but the remaining bits will be more trivial.

Friday 13 October 2006

Debugging the debugger...

In order to help Dodji with Nemiver as providing input and such, I needed a packaging for Ubuntu. So I did it and committed it to the subversion repository. Now you can just ./autogen.sh ; debuild -b ; sudo debi to get Nemiver installed on your Ubuntu or Debian etch.

Off course, if a Debian packager wants to do it, feel free... half of the work is done. I'll push it to Ubuntu universe as soon as a release is done.

Thursday 12 October 2006

Don't beat them, join them


PS: Before someone asks: Gnash is low quality, written in C++ with Boost, requires Copyright assignment, svn doesn't even compile and it does less than my current Swfdec, so I didn't hack on it

About the low quality and doing less I must say that I have had much better success with it. As a proof, the movie you provided as a sample works well. And unlike your git repository gnash CVS compiles fine. The C++ use is NOT a problem. Actually it probably solve lot of design issues, but I'm just not surprised: this is on Planet Gnome, not Planet KDE.

Bottom line, the only issue left is copyright assignment. I'm not sure what to think about that, there are pros and cons....

Wednesday 11 October 2006

Coming from Open Source, returning to Open Source....

Eudora, the famous mail client for MacOS and Windows that used to be Open Source a long time ago [1] is returning to Open Source to allow Qualcomm to withdraw themselves from the market and refocus on their core business. Thank you Qualcomm, you made the right decision for you, your customers and everybody else.

See the FAQ

Source: MacNN


[1] I don't remember the licensing at that time, but I think it was BSD-like

Thursday 5 October 2006

Google me

Ol just gave me an idea about the new Google code search: Google yourself in source code.

Wow, I forgot I had done minor contribution to these packages...

Sorry for these few seconds of ego-centrism. You can return to your normal activities.

Tuesday 3 October 2006

Travelling with photo gear

When flying from Toronto to Dublin, my fear what that my connection in London-Heathrow force me to check my carry on luggage in. I only travel with one carry on that is my LowePro CompuTrekker AW to carry photo gear and laptop. Very convenient, regulation size, etc.

Getting lost on the Internet, I found a few things about travelling safely with you photo gear, mostly in the USA because this is were the regulation are getting the worse.

First, Bruce Schneier idea to put expensive camera as checked in luggage with a weapon. It sound weird, but TSA regulation about transporting weapons on board of aircraft is quite adequate as it involve making sure the piece of luggage arrive to the destination. They certainly don't want to have a lost gun somewhere in the wild. So much for your priced gear. That includes Starter Pistol used to start a race :-)

Second, James Duncan Davidson talk about various kind of cases that are both regulation size for carry on and safe in case of mis-handling. I'll keep that in mind if I have to travel more. I'm not a pro- so I don't have the same needs, but I usually pack several lenses, etc.

Monday 2 October 2006

aKademy 2006

Back from aKademy 2006. The return trip was almost fine. We got delayed 3 hours in Shannon due to 2 mechanical problems, but then everything was smooth. I still don't get the reason why we have to do DUB -> SHN -> YYZ, but so be it.

There was a truckload of KDE developers. Lot of beer has been consumed, lot of fun have been had, and lot of interesting topics discussed.

I was there, sponsored by OSDL, to attend the ODF Day on behalf of AbiWord. I also attended various sessions for KDE even if I missed the core of the conference by arriving late on the Sunday. Qt4 is very interresting and Trolltech seems to have addressed most of the issues I considered needed fixing: separation of the base library with the UI to be able to use Qt without depending on X11 if you don't need UI, and MVC programming.

Thanks to everybody !

Set top boxes with AbiWord

Two new set top boxes with AbiWord in it:

  • Linutop: a VHS-tape size machine that runs Linux with Firefox, totem, evince, gaim and AbiWord. There is not much more information.
  • Easy Gate from Le Neuf: an internet appliance from the french Internet provider Le Neuf. A more detailled review in french.

Looks like the future of AbiWord lies in the hand of the lower power embedded market. OLPC and Maemo are already good proofs of that.