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Tue, 02 Oct 2012

Enscript 1.6.6

The other day, I released GNU Enscript 1.6.6. You should all go and send me bug reports.

It's basically the same as the 1.6.5.90 release, but more official. (I'm bored of the long version numbers - maybe I ought to knock a decimal point off.)

Posted: 02 Oct 2012 20:28 | Tags: ,

Sun, 13 Jul 2008

GNU Hackers' Meeting 2008

On Thursday and Friday, I took time off work to visit Bristol for the GNU Hackers' Meeting 2008. Around 20 people attended - obviously these were all people contributing to GNU, but (surprisingly) I didn't feel too much like I was surrounded by giants. Instead, it was all quite relaxed; most people there seemed rather like me - with a mild caffeine addiction, permanently short of spare time, and just trying to improve their small projects as best they could.

The impression I have of the GNU project after this meeting is one of a disparate organization with many small contributors; it is clear we have massive communication problems, both internally and externally. From the outside, I suppose GNU looks like a monolithic, perhaps US-centric project, with the strong leadership at the top controlling the direction of all these sub-projects. In reality, these sub-projects are more or less autonomous. There may be some checking at the centre that no two GNU programs are directly competing to solve the same problem, but the maintainers are largely on their own, struggling to build up whatever community of contributors they can. The feeling of isolation is much greater than in Debian, for instance - there, although package maintainers generally have some sort of authority over "their" packages, you will get bug reports filed if you are not following Debian policy, and you are expected to observe common freeze periods around releases. There are no real equivalents in GNU.

So naturally, considering the amount we had in common, this meeting was always going to be a success. It was very well run by Brian Gough, and there was just the right amount of structure versus "corridor time" (although everything took place in a single room, except for lunch/pub). There were a few talks from people about the projects they were working on - for instance, a nice game called GNU FreeDink, although I need to fix a segmentation fault to progress any further in level 2, and a very impressive sound generation program called Psycosynth.

It was suggested that a UK-only GNU hackers' meeting could be organised sometime, which I think would also work very well. Simply meeting up like this every once in a while was quite inspiring; I much prefer developer-oriented meetings over user-oriented meetings, and this was one of the best.

Posted: 13 Jul 2008 00:00 | Tags: , ,

Mon, 03 Dec 2007

I want to learn Emacs

Three weeks ago I swapped capslock and Ctrl on all my usual systems, much to the chagrin of Daniel when he foolishly tried to use my keyboard. I'm now quite happy with the positioning of Ctrl - it was surprisingly easy to get used to.

It is not a coincidence that this is Tip #1 on various lists of ways to use emacs more effectively. I find myself wanting to ditch vim… perhaps this is just asking for a holy war.

My reasons are quite vague at the moment, but have something to do with wanting consistency of user interfaces across editor, shell and, er, IRC client. One other thing I've noticed is that very few people seem to write many vim macros - I suspect that having lisp to work with will actually make this easier. Also, of course, it's a GNU project! As part of that, the licensing is vastly more sensible than vim's.

So, seeing as forcing myself to use the capslock key as ctrl seemed to work, I suppose I'd better force myself to use emacs regularly instead of vim, and see how it goes. This involves purging vim from machines where I can, and aliasing 'vim' to 'emacs' in places I can't. Perhaps this will scare more people away from borrowing my keyboard.

Posted: 03 Dec 2007 00:00 | Tags: , , ,

Sun, 02 Dec 2007

Enscript git repositories

Today I created a git repository for enscript's Debian packaging. The upstream repository is in git as well, of course.

Next I need to work on pulling any distro fixes I can find into upstream, and getting a new bugfix version released. This should hopefully obsolete most of the Debian patches.

Posted: 02 Dec 2007 00:00 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Sat, 17 Nov 2007

GNU Enscript Maintainership

Some news that's overdue to be blogged: a few weeks ago, I picked up the Debian package 'enscript', and fixed some of the easier bugs in it. This has been uploaded to unstable, thanks to Myon, who rocks.

Having looked at the package, I realised that further work on it was unfeasible without a new upstream release. GNU Enscript had been unmaintained for a while, so I wrote to the GNU project and asked whether I could set up a Savannah project for it. A few days later, rms dubbed me the official maintainer.

This week, I sent in my copyright assignment form. This is one of the things I wasn't expecting - from the copyright headers, it didn't look as if Enscript required copyright assignment to the FSF. Still, it makes sense in the long run. I have to examine the existing code, and work out whether there are any other contributors from whom to ask for assignments or disclaimers. One of these days I'll actually get around to writing some code for it, perhaps.

On the plus side, I now have an account on fencepost.gnu.org, which means I have a nice gnu.org email address to go with it. Also, the FSF sent some nice stickers for my laptop with the copyright form.

Posted: 17 Nov 2007 00:00 | Tags: , , , , ,

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