The Patent Wars

apprently have begun. Red Hat and Novell have been sued by ‘IP Innovation’ (HAHA) for infringing on ‘their’ parent (it’s really a Xerox patent that they only bought) on virtual desktops. I wonder, why Red Hat and Novell (and not, for example, Sun, IBM, etc). It’s these two companies that showed a very strong position against and for Microsoft’s patent deals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Novell gets help by their big brother, while Red Hat doesn’t. That would serve well to show what a good idea it is to make dirty deals with Microsoft, and drive more weaklings into the ‘protecting’ hands of M$, whose only goal is to control the market.

I do hope that this will wake up the army and make M$ and/or the broken patent system shut up once and for all. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Erosion of freedom

It all started around around 9/11 I think. From that point on, politicians systematically try to erode people’s freedom. The latest twists here in Germany is to include biometrics data in your passports and probably soon in your idendity card. This is going much too far for my taste. What’s next up? Small GPS chips so that you can be tracked, ‘just in case’ (not that most people do something like that voluntarily by having such things in their mobile and car)? What if I decline to renew my ID card when it’s expired (Luckily, my ID card is brand new and I have another 10 years, but I guess they will make up a whole lot of other things in the meantime.)? Will this make me an outlaw? I think I’d not be the only one.  O man, all this feels more and more like ‘1984’ or ‘Brave New World’. Then all those public discussions about legalizing wiretapping and all that. I mean, I don’t have much illusions that they are doing this anyway, but writing it down in law is a whole other story.

I so hope that more and more people wake up from their sheep-life and don’t accept anything that comes from the politics anymore. Has the general public become too lazy for a little revolt?

Microsoft is like a big old tree

It will stand against storms, it will resist thunder and lightning as well as a tide or another. The only thing that can bring it down is an army of pesky little insects (dare I say: bugs 😉 ).

OpenJDK rasterizer goodness

Some days ago I received an update from Jim Graham in private email that the rasterizer (anti-aliasing rendering and stroking) for OpenJDK is in a good enough shape to be published in one of the next builds. Hooray! He even agreed to send me the code early so I could test it and have a look and yay! it works. Performance is not yet superior though. I’ll take a look if I can improve on it.

Of course, he should have send all this to the mailing lists instead. I told him and I’m sure he’ll do that in the future. It’s really helpful when code comes out earlier than the standard builds. These always lag 2 or 3 weeks behind what the engineers are doing. This makes me feel quite disconnected, which isn’t a good thing for my motivation. I’m hoping that this will get better with the transition to mercurial that is going on. Hopefully they will grant the community at least read-access to the group workspaces then, and ideally there will be a relativly open community-workspace, to which members of the community can get commit access relatively painful and which can serve as an intermediate place for patches, from which the Sun engineers can pull those that are considered good.Some more critizism, some time ago, Keith and I posted patches to the core-libs and swing-dev lists, most of which fix one or the other bug in the DB and which are relatively trivial. They all remained unanswered yet. Maybe all the developers are on vacation right now? Otherwise it would be a good thing to at least acknowledge that somebody will do something about them. I mean, that’s what you get when you want to keep control over the code. Somebody should feel responsible for communication then, at least if the intention is to actually build an active community around OpenJDK.

Update: Jim posted the code for the rasterizer in public now. Thanks alot Jim!

SConsification

Some days ago, Mario pointed me to SCons, a software build system like (*cough*) make and friends. Well, not exactly like it. I gave it a try and hacked up a SConstruct file for building Jamaica and came up with something that builds all the native code in only a couple of hours. While the original makefiles, configures and such are more than 10000 lines long, this scons file is only around 100 lines. Well, that comparison isn’t exactly fair, because the original build system does a lot more, like building the Java files, building a couple of different versions of the VM, building for different targets, etc. But believe, it is still a lot more concise than all this make and shell hackery. The fact that SCons is written in Python and the SConstruct file is also only a Python script, makes it very powerful (you can use all the Python API!) and easy to extend. And yes, SCons integrates builders for Java, a bunch of other languages, support for autoconf-like configuration and a lot more. If you like make, the autotools and friends like me (that is, not at all), then you should definitely check this out.

In my one of my last posts, I was rambling about that I would probably go freelancer. I am still thinking about this and can’t really decide yet. Thinking of the downside, I fear to be a 2nd class developer when doing contractor work. And then, I have a family that depends on my (stable) income. So hmm, maybe I should postpone this move to later. Hmm, difficult. After all, I can always try to do some freelance work besides my job, when I find some time (which I don’t at the moment, but that will certainly change).