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* Posts by Reuben Thomas

10 posts • joined 18 Feb 2007

Why modern music sounds rubbish

Reuben Thomas

Radio 3 News

That does explain why BBC Radio 3's newsreaders are so much quieter than Radio 4's: I'm guessing that R4 is compressed simply because it's mostly speech, in a fairly small volume range). It does make R3 news sound peculiarly personal, though (it's the delivery, not just the volume). It's "I say old thing, have you heard..." vs "HERE IS THE NEWS".

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Ubuntu 8.10 - All Hail new Network Manager

Reuben Thomas
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Shame it doesn't work very well

The upgrade is all very well, only the new network manager is basically undocumented, and crashes precisely every second invocation for me, which means I can't use it; the new kernel won't suspend and resume on my laptop; and the new configurationless X.org has some serious problems, not least of which that the keyboard and mouse configuration preference applets no longer work (again, at least for me) so that I can't set the keyboard auto-repeat rates or mouse acceleration, without first restoring my X.org configuration file, and adding a magic "please don't autoconfigure" commmand.

So in sum, I had to reinstall the Hardy kernel, I can't use the new network manager, and I can't use X.org without configuration, which adds up to oh well, at least I get fixes to lots of bugs that I filed over the last six months.

I had already been recommending non-technical users I know to stick with Hardy, as it works well, and is sufficiently up-to-date for most general use purposes. This only makes me wonder if I should have taken my own advice.

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Vodafone pitches Comic Sans as the next Crazy Frog

Reuben Thomas

One for type-ists?

"users have tried to change their phone font and have broken their phone in the process"

Would this be Monotype developers, by any chance?

(No available icon is sufficiently typographically au fait for this story.)

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Google releases serialization scheme

Reuben Thomas

XML is not necessarily text

I'm amazed that no commenter, let alone the article's author has made the point that XML is not text. It's simply most commonly represented as such. I presume that Google, having clever people, have other reasons for using a non-XML binary format. I can certainly imagine some: using a language designed to represent objects makes it much easier to give type guarantees, and their protocol buffer scheme might well make guarantees about the performance of the code it generates. The fact that it's not XML is interesting, but it has nothing to do with its use of binary formats.

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Mono man accuses Mac Gtk+ fans of jeopardizing Linux desktop

Reuben Thomas

Misattributed comments

"De Icaza is the biggest and highest profile voice so far to complain publicly about the proposed toolkit changes, here and here."

But neither of the "here"s links to something written by De Icaza, although the second at least links to things he wrote.

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What I learned from a dumb terminal

Reuben Thomas

Practising as preached

This is a joke, right: "making some mistakes are inevitable"?

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MiYahoo's future rests with open source and courage

Reuben Thomas

Why don't Rackspace compete with Google?

Maybe this is so obvious not to be worth mentioning, but I don't understand why Rackspace et al aren't building Google-like data centres. Why aren't Microsoft, Yahoo! and the like demanding Google-like pricing from their vendors?

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EC to help older people 'age well'

Reuben Thomas

Why the insistence on ICT?

Why the insistence on ICT? The only reason I can see is that this is about pork-barrelling as much as it is about older people. What older people need, what anyone needs, is innovative products, services and systems, not "innovative, ICT-based products, services and systems". The sooner we as a society get over our infatuation with ICT, the better. (Of course, as ICT industry enthusiasts, we have conflicting interests...)

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Wiki elevated to Oxford English Dictionary

Reuben Thomas

It's not elevation

A word making the OED is not news, it's statistics. The OED is no académie-driven Grand Robert, it's a descriptive dictionary; a dictionary of record, if you like. Its authority is scholarly, not prescriptive, and thank goodness; the lack of an « English Academy » is one of the reasons English is such an adaptive and vibrant language. (What a thought: English is run like Wikipedia! Maybe we should all switch to French after all...)

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Mono on the Mac: Time to look beyond Linux?

Reuben Thomas

Mono for Mac just needs more effort

The article misses the point in a couple of ways:

"The real stomping ground of Mono is undoubtedly Linux" Actually, it's open systems. You noticed that on Mac it works fine with all the standard, open APIs (meaning most non-GUI functions, plus GUIs under X) but not with the proprietary and Mac-specific Cocoa. You then derail completely: "any efforts expended in terms of building a more feature-complete implementation of Cocoa# would, in a sense, be wasted effort from a portability point of view since Cocoa" well, no, it wouldn't be wasted, because then Mac users would be happy to run Mono GUI apps, and you've already correctly observed that they won't run apps that don't look native. And "What’s the point in writing your application using an ECMA certified, platform-neutral language when all you’re doing is making calls to a proprietary, platform-specific toolkit?" okay, so let's give up writing in C, because all we'm doing is generating proprietary, plaform-specific instructions. Seriously, this is a major part of the point of Mono: you can write one app, and it will run on Windows (where it is simply calling proprietary, platform-specific APIs) or Linux (where it is calling platform-specific APIs that may be open, but certainly aren't as neatly standardised as Mono's), or whatever other system you're on.

And then this: "I expect some pundit will be along soon to assure me that if I just added a couple of lines of gobbledegook to this config file". Why didn't you ask whether Apple could make X work decently? A rootless X server that starts automatically when required would remove all the objections to running X apps under Aqua except for the "look-and-feel" one, which for many programs is enough.

Finally, to describe Cocoa as proprietary is not entirely fair, and you didn't mention the obvious riposte of the Mac-centric open source development, namely to use GNUStep. Read this article, for example:

http://www.macobserver.com/columns/devilsadvocate/2003/20030606.shtml

Finally, your conclusion: "in terms of how/where they fit into Mac development, I think it’s time to step back and re-evaluate where we’re going." is nonsense. It fits in just like it does on any other desktop platform, and it's obvious where we're going: eventually, Mono will work fine on Mac OS. What seems to be lacking is sustained effort in that direction. All that's needed to get there quicker is more effort. Apple could help if they wanted, and, as for any minority platform, it would seem to be a big win: they're far more likely to attract than lose devotees by such a move. Equally, more Mac developers could get involved. Like most OSS projects, this one will stand or fall in the straightforward market-place of development investment, wherever it comes from.

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