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Viewing posts from January, 2006

It looks like the first Ice Age of the 2...

It looks like the first Ice Age of the 2006 is retreating. For almost a full week we had to suffer temperatures in range of -25 to -30. I can remember that kind of cold setting in for a single day ... once in 5 years or so, but here we got almost a week of that horror. And they say that it is not over yet - there will be -25 again at the end of this week. After all this cold -9 tomorrow or -2 on Tuesday will be like a blessing.
The biggest problem that I have with this weather is that it is enough to get out of the house for 10 minutes to get to the nearby store and back and by sore throat is back for another day. Irritating.

Ok, I read the first GPLv3 draft. I foun...

Ok, I read the first GPLv3 draft. I found multiple problems, some good, some quite bad:


  • Section 2 - The output from running it is covered by this License only if the output, given its content, constitutes a work based on the Program.: does this mean that documents written in Abiword is covered by GPL? (Edit: I misread the sentence here, it really states just the oposite of what I thought :P)
  • Section 3 - Regardless of any other provision of this License, no permission is given to distribute covered works that illegally invade users' privacy, nor for modes of distribution that deny users that run covered works the full exercise of the legal rights granted by this License.: does this mean that one can not make a locked down system where users can not write outside the homedir, make /home a separate partition and mount it with noexec parameter thus denying all simple users the right of running modified versions of these programs (at least on this system)?
  • Section 4. - You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright
    notice;
    : does that mean that I have to write "Copyright by this and that and this and that and this and that" on every CD that I record in my home to give to my friends? It sounds as bad as the original BSD advertisement clause.
  • Section 5.b - You must license the entire modified work, as a whole, under this License to anyone who comes into possession of a copy.: I suggest adding "legally" before "comes", because otherwise, for example, if a company is making an internal modification of a GPL program with some secret information embedded into the code (some very internal communication routine, passwords, codes, ...) and some industrial thief steals this modified code for a blackhat hacker, he can claim that he "came into possession of a copy" and thus he has all the legal rights use it and that no trade secret laws can apply.
  • in some places "Corresponding Source" is used instead of "Complete Corresponding Source Code" (Edit: I was pointed to a place in the middle of the licence where "CS" is defined equal to "CCSC". Still, not the best style - either declare that upfront or use one style trough the document)
  • Section 9. - it is not clearly stated that using the covered work indicates acceptance of the Licence, but it is explicitly stated for modification and propagation.
  • Section 13. - I really do not like geographic limitations. Anyone can state "this program has a progress bar, which is patented in USA, so you can not use it in USA unless you have the patent" for basically any program thus very easily discriminating against quite a few people. If it is illegal by other means, leave it be illegal by those means - do not impose additional illegality on it via copyright. Law in some countries and patent situation can change more easily then the licence for old free software projects with many contributors.


I have not yet read any comments from either FSF or any other people and I am not a lawyer, but I hope that these problems will be fixed in next drafts.

Help needed for Simple Backup development.

I have long understood that to make a good free software project, having multiple authors/contributors is essential. To that end, while I am fixing bugs and writing a few new features into the main SBackup codebase (see Changelog), I am inviting new people to contribute to SBackup development.
Many users have a need for an essential feature - backup to removable media. With current architecture of SBackup this goal is quite easy to achieve, but it would take a lot of time away from bugfixing and some other important features that I plan to do before 1.0. Also this feature is very independent of the rest of code, so I think it would be great way for somebody else to help the development of SBackup to become the ultimate simple backup system for desktops and servers alike. I have written a specification of how the new functionality (codenamed BackupBurner) should function and there is already a half-ready Glade interface in the source code.
So - volunteers, please step forward out of the cosy confines of the lazyweb :)

Just finished recovering from a cold tha...

Snowing by the wire

Just finished recovering from a cold that I got on New Years eve while taking a bunch of pictures. Sadly, the one on the right is the best :(
Also just finished writing a summary of what I want to have completed/fixed before the 1.0 release of SBackup. ~20 entries. Of them at least 3 are marked as "hard" - i.e. non-trivial or in other words: several tens or even hundreds of lines of code added and changed all over the codebase. This will take a while :( Assistance would be very welcome :)

Aggregation the G way.

Aggregation the G way.
I've been using the magic of RSS (and Atom) to keep up with Planet Debian, blogs of my friends, tech news and posts to an anime fan forum for the past several months, however one little problem bothered me - the forum has a lot of posts (sometimes more then 5 per minute) and an RSS feed of only last five items. That means that I had to have my RSS aggregator (Liferea) open at all times, so that I do not miss any posts. However keeping my laptop on and online at all times is quite bothersome, so I started looking for solutions.
I tried Google Reader however I didn't like it much - I like to see more of my feed. There is too much screen space wasted for all the wrong reasons, one can only see 5 items at the time (which is quite a hassle if you have 500+ of them), a lot of info I would like to see is not there (which blog did this come from???), some strange html conversions, ...
Now I have found my solution. It is a combination of rss2email and GMail. I have a computer that I always keep on and online (it could be a server, but in my case it is a simple workstation). I installed rss2email there, added all my feeds to the database there (hint: export feedlist from Liferea and do a bit of grep/sed magic), moded config so that all mails come from a single address, all have a custom identifiable header and all are HTML mails without any transformations. After that I configured cron to launch "r2e run" every half an hour and "r2e run 22" every minute (where '22' is the id of the feed of that anime forum). At Gmail side I simply filtered all mails from rss2email into a separate label and archived them (so that they do not clutter my inbox).
Now when I want to reed my feeds, I go to the last message of the RSS label in my Gmail, open it, read it, star it if I need to look at it later and then press "k" to get to the newer message. After I am done reading I usually go and remove RSS label from read messages, so that they do not appear in this labels "folder" and are only saved in Archive. If I start running out of space, I will simply search and delete old RSS items then.
Most of the screen space now is devoted to the message, I can see all the fields I want to see (source, author, topic, content, pictures, URLs) and I can manage messages by hundreds. Also being able to search both your mail and your rss feeds at the same time is neat.
Yesterday I did a little improvement to this scheme. The forum that I read has the title of every message made of "author: topic", so every message is a separate conversation in Gmail. I decided to try to use the conversation feature of Gmail and did a little modification to rss2email so that if the message is from this forum, then everything up to the first semicolon is cut from the title and inserted as a part of the name of the sender. In the end the subject of every message contains only the topic of the corresponding thread in the forum and thus all messages from one thread are neatly grouped together as a single conversation. At the same time every messages From: looks like "$forum_name $author <custom@from.address.com>" so that I can still see who wrote what in the forum.

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