The best kittens, technology, and video games blog in the world.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Software Triage

Muffin // Our new kitten by Merlijn Hoek from flickr (CC-NC-ND)


For variety of complicated personal reasons I haven't been updating my blog in ages.

If you want to follow me, I've been a lot more active on Twitter and Google+. And on soup, but that's very different kind of activity. If social networking nonsense ever stabilizes, we might end up in a flow where things start as a single sentence on something Twitter-like, then some of them get elaborated into a couple of paragraphs on something Google+-like, and eventually a few become full blog posts on something - uhm - blog-like. And the stupid masses are kept away from it all on something Facebook-like, and recruiters keep spamming people on something LinkedIn-like etc.

Anyway, I'm sort of back, I hopefully your deliveries of kittens and technology will resume on a more frequent basis.

Since my software (at least the kind I published) has seen very little activity, I want to start with triage of everything I published as Open Source (and still remember), and quick decisions what I'm planning to do about it all. And by the way I'll probably be switching from OSX to Ubuntu seriously this time, which is also somewhat relevant to these decisions.

The Morgue

First, some truly ancient software I mention mostly to make sure I don't miss anything important.

I have 4 projects on sourceforge. Three of them - FreeTable,
Gtk+/CLI IDP Interface, and
Joystick Mouse Emulation (funny story that, I fried mouse port on my computer and had to do this as a hack, then it turned out it got some legitimate users) are like 12 years old, back from good old days when people still believed in Linux on desktop. They're of course dead, have been dead for ages, and won't see any development ever. I vaguely recall that FreeTable actually got some uses, and people even packaged it for a few distros, and if they did so, good for them!

My fourth sourceforge project is MediaWiki, which is doing perfectly well without me. texvc was one of the big features that let Wikipedia become what it is, but it's pretty much done and doesn't need any extra work.

Another project which is pretty much dead is bridge, which died together with my iPod. Sansa Clip is an MP3 player superior is every possible way, except it doesn't keep logs of what you've played, but then I can live without knowing everything about me (especially since its recommendation-based radio is a pile of fail anyway). I don't play to get any new iPods, so it's unlikely it will get resurrected ever. Feel free to take over the project if you need it.

Art Projects

I apparently published quite a few programs which are entirely useless for anything other than providing 15 minutes of amusement tops. They won't see any more development not because they're "dead" - they're just "complete". Death of the Author and such pomo stuff (a small fraction of pomo stuff is actually not total bullshit, and that's one of these rare things).

Amethyst - Ruby syntax for Perl - was full of win, but it doesn't need or want any more work on it. Successor to Perl 5 arrived some time ago and it's called Ruby.

My attempts at building a CPU out of TTLs are also unlikely to be resurrected. I sort of vaguely plan to go back to hardware hacking some day, but if it happens, it will more likely be Arduino or something else higher level, not TTLs. Raspberry Pi looks interesting as well, other than the horrible name.

Does anybody use these things?

Back when I was on Wikipedia I wrote tawbot, which was a small program for doing various admin tasks on Wikipedia. It used to have quite a few users, but I haven't heard from them ever since. Is it still in use? I don't think so, and since I'm not really editing Wikipedia past fixing typos and dead links and such trivial things, there's probably no reason to unabandon it. If I'm wrong, definitely tell me.

XSS Shield for Rails was a revolutionary system (the revolutionary part is that anybody cared at all about security in the Rails world) for protecting Rails against XSS attacks. Rails 1.x. These days Rails supposedly has builtin XSS protection system (and ton of other security screwups, hi there github!), so unless you're forced to use some ancient version of Rails, my XSS Shield can be allowed to rest in peace.

I have a bunch of cool local patches for acts_as_solr, but I had trouble even finding upstream. Is anybody interested? I could put the patched version on github or something.

Update urgently needed

One thing I really need to do something with, and sooner rather than later, is jrpg. I don't plan to do any serious development, but it's suffering from software rot - every new version of Python, Windows, or graphics drivers causes more and more problems. Upgrading it to some new Python (not sure if 3.x would be necessary or if 2.7 would be enough), and building new packages for Windows and OSX should be about enough. My bad that I left it not done for so long.

I have a bunch of Ruby libraries - magic/help, magic/xml, and libgmp-ruby which are not in gems for a simple reason that they're older than gems. All three could still see some use, except of course nobody will ever bother to manually build them in 2012, we're too lazy these days. So an evening or two of modernizing them, putting them on github, packaging them into gems, and possibly making them Ruby 1.9.x (or 1.8.7 for all I know, they still remember Ruby 1.6 era) compatible would be a huge improvement.

Total War

One thing I have been doing a lot - and I never wrote one word about it on this blog - are development tools for Total War series. A big problem with video game modding is that people lack good Open Source practices - they don't put their software in publicly accessible repositories, often get into drama on who can do what (I wrote a mod but don't you dare reuse my files in your mod!). I've been trying to change that and all my Total War related stuff is on github in etwng repository.

I have tons of converters for various formats, scripts for common modding tasks, even Linux and OSX filesystem drivers (FUSE FTW! I just feel dirty for using C++ for it) for their custom package format. This is still active and well, and people have even written third party GUI frontends for my tools etc.

It might be a good idea to take some time and gather links to everything Total War related that's not there, find all abandoned tools and give them new home (like I did with alpaca's ui coverter), and maybe put my old Rome Total War / Medieval 2 Total war stuff there just for completeness, but none of these are really high priority issues.


RLisp was something between an art project and a "serious" Ruby/Lisp hybrid language - where "serious" means something like CoffeeScript-serious or HAML-serious, which isn't really all that serious when you think about it.

The thing is - VM for Ruby 1.8 really didn't let me do everything I wanted to do with it for just boring practical reasons. I even tried to compile it to C linked with libruby. I'd like to at least take a look at Ruby 1.9 and JRuby VMs (VM inception) if they are any better. If not, tough luck, it was loads of fun anyway.

Did I mention I'm switching to Linux?

You won't hear me bitch about OSX any more, how awesome is that? Unfortunately, there are two huge things missing on Linux - TextMate and OmniFocus.

TextMate has a sort of replacement in redcar, which I'm not really too happy with. I've complained about it, and even made some minor patches, the truth is I will pretty much have to spend a lot of time on redcar to make it more like TextMate if I want to stay OSX-free for long. I just hope I won't even reach the desperation necessary to switch to Emacs.

The other thing that Linux misses is OmniFocus - pretty much the only GTD app which isn't made of suck. This doesn't sound too complicated (compared with let's say a text editor or packaging system - things people keep failing at all the time), so I might end up writing one if I'm unhappy with everything. If you know of a good offline GTD app I can try, do tell me.

And that's about it

That's it for today. I'm surprised my kitten-pic-finding scripts even worked after all that time. Did I miss any software I wrote that you care about?

Hopefully it will take less than a year for the next post.


Anonymous said...

As it comes to editors, did you try Sublime Text ?

taw said...

No, and after 1000 crappy non-TextMate editors my hopes that one non-TextMate editor will turn out not to be a total piece of shit are pretty low.

Martin Radhose said...

Good to see a new post here.
I was afraid you stopped blogging for good.

Łukasz Piestrzeniewicz said...

Glad to see you back and looking for more :)

Sublime Text 2 is as good as TextMate and is already used on par with it by devs in my company. I'm not sure how it works on Linux however.

Łukasz Piestrzeniewicz said...

Glad to see you back and looking for more :)

Sublime Text 2 is as good as TextMate and is already used on par with it by devs in my company. I'm not sure how it works on Linux however.

Imexius said...

I thought you died; then I checked your google+ and noticed you were still active.

taw said...

Rumors of my death have been vastly exaggerated.

psykotedy said...

I'm an Emacs freak, so I would point you toward org-mode (I'm sure I've skimmed something about GTD on org-mode, but my advice would be starting here. But I'm also a cheap bastard who wouldn't justify the price of OmniFocus when I was running OS X, so use that as a frame of reference.