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Present Perfect

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 14:20



Getting ready to do a release. Did a prerelease yesterday, got a little bit of feedback on it. Some last minute memleaks got fixed but they introduced crashers in some plugins so I reverted them for now. We can fix them properly after the release.

I'm hoping to get into a more regular release cycle from now on.

Meanwhile jdahlin is making progress on the media test suite, it's starting to look really nice. I hope he likes his new job so we can keep him around.

Yesterday was great. I reserved the day for doing only code. I wrote a C frontend to our versioned tools so that they would be able to call the versioned binaries. This was a requisite I had for doing decent packages that were parallel-installable. It was so nice to just program one thing well with a clear set of requirements and a clear end goal. I had started feeling like I didn't know how to program decently any more, but it turned out it was quite alright.


There was an idle PowerPC sitting in the design department. It's now sitting on my desk. Yellow Dog 3.0 looks really nice. I remember trying 2.x on my old powerbook, but that still had that ugly-as-hell fluxbox installer and it didn't get my keyboard right.

With 3.0 I feel right at home. I moved over some of my desktop settings, started setting up gstreamer from CVS, and installed mach to build some packages I needed to get the CVS build to work. It's nice when you can just install a tool you've written on a platform that you never tried and have it Just Work.

The machine is dog-slow at compiling though, but it'll be good for test builds and test runs.


Still not sure what to do there. I've reworked the GStreamer website and one of the last things on the TODO list is to rebuild the Red Hat/Fedora package area.

I have always wanted this to be completely compatible with fedora.us repositories, for the sole reason that I prefer to work with a community effort project so fedora.us's goals are more aligned with that than freshrpms.

But, I think I've been with fedora.us for more than a year now, and some fundamental problems just aren't getting solved. I agree with most of the guidelines, and have made my peace with those I don't agree with, but the sad fact of the matter is that it's just not working. The QAPriority Queue (what an ironic name) contains over a hundred packages.

Yes, they have to be reviewed properly. Yes, we don't want crap. But some of those packages have been stuck there for over half a year.

By contrast, I just asked Matthias if he could put together a gtk-doc package of 1.1 for the YDL 3.0 machine I installed today, and it's no problem at all.

So, even though fedora.us wants to be a community effort and Matthias likes to go at it alone, I have to admit that at the end of the day, as a packager of GStreamer wanting to get GStreamer packages out there, fedora.us is not working as a solution to that problem.

I've been procrastinating updating packages because I don't like working towards a solution that I don't know yet. So today I make the decision to change the solution. The solution will be to promote both fedora.us and freshrpms as viable packaging solutions for GStreamer, and let the users decide.

With that settled, I can stop procrastinating on getting packages built, and get on with it.

About time too, since I'm doing a release today...

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 14:19



I am pretty sure it doesn't like me. Tool's Aenima album is filled with amazing tracks. There's one stinker on it, "Die Eier von Satan", which is some German guy rattling off the recipe for satan's eggs, and there's some filler on it in the form of a wheel organ ditty.

What does Rhythmbox give me on the way to work ? Two times the ditty and three times the stinky song. My day is screwed before it has even begun.

I'm pretty sure there's a lot wrong with both randomize functions, and pseudo-random playlist generators in general. I've noticed the same problem in Dave/Dina when trying to select random playlists based on parameters. I have some ideas on why that is but I'll need to investigate and code to test the ideas.


Went to see the final chapter. When it was not overly hollow it was too emotional. All in all, that's two hours of my life I'm not getting back. But I owed it to myself to see it.

Still haven't seen ANY of the LOTR movies, woo !

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 14:18


Home Improvement

Time for some chores around the house. Of course, nerd chores. First task at hand was to have an automatic updater for my dyndns account set up.

Felt like an old-school hacker when I cooked up an expect script to retrieve the assigned IP address from my NAT Nokia router through telnet; five minutes of work after understanding enough of expect to see what I want.

Then tried this with ez-ipupdate, but that only allowed me to set the address on the command line, which when run as a daemon from init is no good of course. Started putting in an address-command argument to ez-ipupdate, but after going through the source a bit which was full of static vars and irc-daemon-like maze code, and also after seeing that the included debian patch in the .src.rpm was so huge that the original was even more messy than I thought, I gave up.

ddclient seemed to have an option for running an external command to get the ip though, so that worked out fine as an alternative.

So, that was two hours wasted.

Second task was making sure the bits from fedora.us and rpm.livna.org get mirrored. I would love for someone to write a very simple program that sets up mirroring scripts for you based on collections of files you want. I don't want the whole fedora.us mirror, just stuff for RH9 and F1, and only stable, testing and unstable.

Having to write these scripts manually all the time (in this case, with lftp) is a pain.

Another hour and a half wasted.


Finally started doing some work again, prompted by another user trying it out and poking at bugs. Started with figuring out a better layout for the package tree, making sure the online and local one are in sync, and starting to fix bugs by rebuilding packages. Will take me some more time this week


jdahlin dropped by last night. We were wondering how it was going with him. He stayed for dinner and a movie, "Love and Sex". Quite alright, and Famke Janssen is never bad to look at.

To rent movies I needed a copy of my appartment rental contract and my NIE papers. The video store also had a Lego Mindstorms set for sale, which prompted a discussion between Johan and me. I have an expensive Mindstorms set lying around doing nothing. So Johan suggested I do something really useful with it, like, pushing the eject button on a floppy drive.

But then it hit me - I have a very simple Mindstorms project that could benefit Dave/Dina.

See, I have this one remote that, by typing in some codes, can emulate any of 200 remotes. Yesterday I was thinking that it would be nice to have all these config files out of the box to choose from, but it would be very painful to push all those buttons.

But, if I made a lego machine to push the buttons, and a LegOS app to control it, and have it communicate directly with lirc so it can ask for another keypress when it didn't work well, I could easily let the thing run for a day to make it learn all the codes !

Hm, that really makes me want to try LegOS and see if this is possible, I need to poke some friend who knows about LegOS to check :)


Still spent more time fixing up docs, adding API to the doc build, still busy with the website, still busy with cleaning up some of the error stuff. I fixed up the player library and the player to actually display these error messages.

So, when an error comes up, you get this dialog. And when you click on Information (which really should be a "Debug Information" button), it gets replaced with this dialog.

I like it, because if users send us the debug information we can check where the error is coming from.

Still, UI wise I would prefer the original dialog would expand to show the debug info on clicking Information...

Tomorrow is Johan's first day at work. Wish him luck, he'll need it...

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 14:17



Argh. Spent way too much time on reworking our website. It's full of cruft content and it uses too many different technologies.

For the rework I had too many design goals and it made my head hurt. I wanted to make sure that

  • cvs commit on the www module would auto-update the online docs so that people would make an effort to keep the content up-to-data

  • all big non-cvs-managed chunks of data (images, packages, source tarballs, media files) were completely in a separate tree

  • no mysql was used, but instead xslt transforms on simple custom .xml data files

  • our generated documentation was easily integratable into the site

  • keep the content directories relatively clean of source material files

After long periods of fretting over it I decided to just go with a basic autoconf/automake/xsltproc setup for the whole site, and use rsync to manage the huge data/ dir.

Using autoconf and automake might seem overkill, but I really really wanted to use nonsrcdir builds so I could keep the actual online content free of build crap (except for Makefiles of course)

Right now I just need to add big bunches of content and scrub the old cruft.

I'm almost done. The reason it's taking so long is that I keep having second thoughts about this being the right way to do it. I still don't know, but I've given up fretting and decided to just plough on and make the content up-to-date, then force the rest to help ...

If someone is really good at XML/XSLT and xsltproc stuff, I'd appreciate it if you looked over

the build setup for the site and gave me some feedback on it.

Too wired again, going home now.

update: On the day that everyone receives .zip files from everyone else through some virus, someone at intel.com sent me a zip file containing a 207-page word document of a GStreamer manual and plugin guide he wrote. Scary stuff. Sadly it contains a lot of cut and paste from our documentation. I wouldn't know what I'd have done though if it was 207 pages of goodness, which would take 207 days of pain to cut and paste to our documentation :)

Still, I wonder - why didn't he propose to work on our docs in the first place ?


So jdahlin found a place. I hope I can visit him soon. He starts monday.

This morning I woke up too early so I played some more Buffy . (The PS2 game - I gave up playing real life Buffy when my lifesize vampire dolls got staked one time too many). Of course since you can only save at the end of levels and the level took 40 minutes I ended up being too late at work again.

Then I overcompensate again by staying way too late and upsetting my girlfriend.

I love my life and the way the only real problems I have is stupid stuff like this.

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 14:16



Went snowboarding for the weekend in Soldeu, Andorra. The weather started off bad, with heavy gusts of wind, rain, and snow. But around noon things cleared up and we had full sun for the rest of the day.

I'm so proud of my girl - she must have fallen eight or nine times on each track, and one of her legs looks like a map of Andorra in blue and purple. But she never gave up, and in the end she managed to do a whole track without falling.

Am thinking of buying a snowboard now that I know how easy it is to go out for a weekend here. I'd love to have a custom graphic on it, however - am thinking that a GNOME foot, a tux and a GStreamer slug set would look nice... Have to check how much it would cost.

Someone like ross would have it easy: he'd just get a board like this.


My dad's writing his doctorate thesis in Docbook/XML on Linux. For the last year he's kept writing it without the document ever validating because he hasn't done his bibliography links yet. He kept maintaining it didn't matter, while I try kept trying to get through to him that it's hard to see the real errors between the errors you keep around.

Anyways, he's mailed me six times over the weekend while I was away, trying to make sure he got the right address, phone number, and so on, and stating he really needs me to install RefDB to help him finish his bibliography. He's sort of a procrastinate-then-all-hands-on-deck kind of guy ... I have four days to get it finished for him :)


Spent two days of last week butting my head on a talking wall. There are some people who like to argue for the sake of arguing, even more so than me. Luckily, a weekend in the snow manages to take a lot of that stress away.


arrived wednesday evening. Today he starts looking for a place to live, I hope he manages to find one. Finding a place here can take quite some time and you definitely need some luck. On the other hand, since he plans on living with other people, it should be fairly easy to find something. Good luck today !


Good luck with the lariam. Everything they say about that stuff is true. I'm glad I never had to use it myself :)

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