FOSDEM 2007 and other fun stuff

Have been at FOSDEM this year again. That was great fun, meeting even more people from GNU Classpath and OpenJDK. I think I just have to let it sink down a little bit and get the impressions sorted and write a little more then. One thing that’s for sure is that this is going to be an interesting year indeed.

Read more of this post

Bits and pieces of today

So Ballmer is concerned about IP theft? Maybe he should look at his company for a start, which is probably by far the greatest IP thief. Only thinking about the biggies like GUI (from Apple), DOS (from UNIX), MSN search (from Google), .NET (from Sun), IE (from Netscape) etc. I think the list is endless and MS barely invented anything significant themselves. Well except maybe for the clippy 🙂

VB.NET for Linux? Cute. I wouldn’t use it anyways. Still nice to have the choice. (Incredible that anybody is using BASIC these days still, but oh well). Now that Java is going to be liberated, I think that Java is the better plaftform choice hands down anyway.
In other far more important news (;-) ) my interpreter has now reached the 40% mark wrt performance improvement compared to the beginning of this project (Dacapo run 5159secs before vs. 3128secs now). And no, the -funswitch-loops flag didn’t work out as expected. To my big surprise, I discovered today that the binary of the threaded interpreter is not only much faster than the switch-interpreter, it’s also somewhat smaller. Shouldn’t it be bigger? I mean, there is the dispatch code at the end of each BC handler (compared to one small piece of dispatch code at the beginning of the loop)? I guess the compiler does some wild trickery here (I really gotta look at the generated assembly). Really unfortunate that label-pointer-gotos are a GCC specific thingy. Anybody who knows how to implement a threaded interpreter with MS-C, please enlighten me (‘naked’ functions come to mind, as well as assembly hackery, both of which feels somewhat unconfortable to me) (on the more exotic stuff that I have here I think I better don’t ask 😉 )!

What else there is? Today I received a nice package, 4 LPs from Neil Young for 10€! Nice deal indeed. And interesting music. The LP version of Sample and Hold simply blows the socks off. A guitar-techno-rock-vocoder maelstrom (dunno how else to decribe this), hiding and exposing (at the same time) NY’s emotions with respect to his disabled son. Unbelievable that the record company later decided to put a different (comparably boring) version on the CD version. Ah and funny side story: the same record company sued him for ‘unrepresentative music’ for 3 million dollars back then 🙂 I guess NY didn’t find that funny, but it triggered an interesting series of LPs, including a (pink!) rockabilly LP, a western style LP, more synthie crap, and a (presumably) Blues Brothers inspired LP (This note’s for you!). All this effort only to say ‘Fuck You!’. Nice.

Ok, preparing for FOSDEM now. I’ll be there on Friday 17:00. I’m really looking forward to this! Let there be rock!

It’s growing

And it’s growing really fast now! It is so amazing to witness a new human person growing up. And to recognize that living(!) personality even before its birth. We haven’t made a supersonic picture yet and most likely never will. That is an interesting experience actually. It seems to be the normality nowadays to observe that young beeing even before it’s birth, just for safety’s sake. But not doing so, and simply accepting whatever will come creates a completely different feeling for us. That is a little hard to describe. It’s a feeling of letting that baby its privacy (which it certainly deserves), and a feeling of trust and, well, acceptance. (I am not really good at finding the right words, but it feels good.) And really, what else would we do anyway? Even if it would be disabled in any way, there’s no way we would abort.

Another effect is (especially for Madeleine) that not making yourself a picture beforehand prevents you from focussing on the superficiality too much and allows to develop a deeper sensuality towards the child. I don’t know about you, but pictures tend to have a heavy effect on my mind and memory. For example (in a completely different context), when I take many pictures of a holiday journey, this exact journey tends to reduce itself on these pictures when I look at them often. Which doesn’t happen when I don’t watch them often or don’t shoot them in the first place. That’s quite similar here.

A practical side effect is that we don’t know if it’ll be a boy or girl. So we gotta bite the bullet and think out names for both. So far we could only think out girl’s names though.

Baby, you are so welcome! 🙂

KDE vs Gnome and Java

I don’t want to quarrel about the pros and cons of each desktop. I think both are fine and we should stop whining at each other. However what I find a little disturbing is that applications typically are written for one or the other, but don’t work smooth on both. Evolution looks outlandish in KDE as does Konqueror in Gnome. That might not be a biggie for us techies, but a first time non-techie user would certainly be quite confused about the inconsistencies. So, can Java help us here and if so, then how?

Read more of this post


Yay! Today I bought the train ticket to Brussels and booked my room. I’m arriving on friday at 5pm and will stay in a hotel really close to the university (the ‘Brussels Hotel Belgium’). This means that I can definitely make it (I wasn’t really certain until now due to some peripheral problems). I’m really looking forward to seeing you all again.

Swing idea

While diving into Xebece hacking I got an interesting idea for Swing. One major complaint against Swing apps is that they look very alien on most desktops. With newer JDK releases you can improve the situation a lot by using the native L&F of your platform, at least on Windows, GTK and MacOS X. The L&Fs are pretty good overall, by far not perfect but OK-ish. Except for the icons…
Read more of this post


I think I’ll really revive that old project of mine now. I cleaned up the CVS a little for a start. And in order to show that I am serious I also fixed one of the three reported bugs.

The short term goal would be of course to close the other two bugs too and then push out a release. This shouldn’t be too hard really, except that I have no idea yet, how to open any kind of file on MaxOSX. I’d need something like gnome-open for Gnome or kfmclient exec for KDE, which simply takes a file path as argument and tries to open that file according to its mime type. Help from MacOSX experts is greatly appreciated here.

The long term goals/ideas for (which would make up a 2.0 release when I come this far) are:

  • Replace the RTF stuff with HTML internally. This would greatly ease the usage of the right hand side description panes and allow to insert hyperlinks to 1. other nodes in the tree, 2. any web page or file system resource (yay!).
  • Re-integrate the hypertree support for much nicer navigation inside the tree view. However this is a patented technology and would be optional and not hard linked as long as that patent hasn’t expired.
  • Support printing.
  • Improve import/export functionality.

Xebece screenshot

Cool new stuff

Sun compiled two very interesting articles about New and updated desktop features in JDK6 (part1 and part2). Very interesting reading and quite exciting that Swing and Java2D finally receive more polish with respect to better desktop integration. I’m quite a fan of Swing (naturally), but in the past it has been annoying that Swing applications never seemed to really fit into the desktop. This is greatly improved in JDK6.

The GTK L&F needs more love though. It looks much better than in JDK5, but there are still many remaining issues. It still looks like a mix of GTK and Metal. For example the toolbars are clearly metal-ish, as is the file chooser. Tabs are something completely different, but definitely not GTK. Then there are lots of 1 pixel errors and a general feeling of slowness. I do however understand the difficulty in implementing such a L&F. GTK still does not provide any kind of API, at least not documented, to access the theme engine ‘from the outside’, e.g. from Swing. That is one of the biggest obstacles why I never got around to start such a L&F for GNU Classpath (besides the general lack of time).

On a different note, today I finished off (well sortof), the WindML BufferedImage/VolatileImage overhaul in the JamaicaVM. It now supports RGB565 and ARGB1555 images accelerated (for VolatileImage possibly even in the Video RAM when the driver supports this, grmbl) and ARGB8888 at least natively buffered, thus minimizing the overhead of getting the image on the screen. That’s pretty much as good as it can get on that platform. That makes up for a pretty nice performance improvement, as well as a much better memory handling (not speaking of the cleanup effect…). Many thanks go to Dmitri Trembovetski for patiently answering questions and cleaning up some misconceptions of mine!

On an even different note, my cat is going crazy for some days now. I wonder if she has hormone problems with the spring coming up here. 😉 Strange to see all those spring flowers bloom already in the mid of february though.

Windows sucks

This is going to be a pseudo rant. So read on or not…
Read more of this post

Netbeans vs Eclipse

The last couple of days I have desparately tried to use NetBeans for some of my work instead of Eclipse. Read on for a skimmy comparison (or rather, a list of issues that I found with NetBeans)…
Read more of this post