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Comment Re:A bit big for their britches? (Score 5, Insightful) 640

My only concern is that last time I looked Wayland wasn't ready for primetime, and the intent with Wayland wasn't to be a full replacement for X for most users.

If Mark Shuttleworth was proposing Wayland for prime-time inclusion in Ubuntu 11.04 or even 11.10, I'd be concerned. But if you actually follow this news story to the original source at http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/551 you would find this:

Timeframes are difficult. I’m sure we could deliver *something* in six months, but I think a year is more realistic for the first images that will be widely useful in our community. I’d love to be proven conservative on that :-) but I suspect it’s more likely to err the other way. It might take four or more years to really move the ecosystem. Progress on Wayland itself is sufficient for me to be confident that no other initiative could outrun it, especially if we deliver things like Unity and uTouch with it. And also if we make an early public statement in support of the project. Which this is!

So the first likely viewing of this would 11.10 and real integration into the entire stack is more likely in the 14.10/15.04 time frame.

So this is a classic storm in a teacup right now. The reality is "promising project will be supported by major Linux player for future inclusion".

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Re:LibreOffice will join the ranks of Linux... (Score 4, Interesting) 500

...in no time, with 300+ variations. This is what I hate about OSS. The moment someone isn`t too happy, they get the fork off and duplicate the work and dilute any chance of completing the damn thing, rather than working things out.

The moment someone isn't too happy? Read the history! Developers have been ranting about the closed shop that surrounded the copyright assignments required for contributing to the OO.o tree for years. The go-oo fork was set up as a rational way to keep track of contributions from people who weren't happy to give their copyrights over to Sun, and I think it's fair to say that most open-source contributors were more comfortable with Sun than Oracle. Forking a project this big is not something that developers take lightly and it takes extreme situations to make one happen.

There are plenty of examples of successful forks out there. Because OO.o version 3.x is LGPL v3.0, and I assume that TDF will stay with the same license, TDF will be able to take whatever OO.o adds, at least while the forks stay close together. However, unless OO.o starts taking code without copyright assignments, the reverse is not true. It is entirely probable that LibreOffice will be become the preferred product, at which point Oracle is going to have to make a call on whether it wants to work with TDF properly, or watch OO.o wither.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Re:Oracle = Predictable? (Score 1) 589

And you certainly don't have to "reverse engineer" RTF -- you can download the spec from Microsoft. It's proprietary in that it's not an open specification, but it's not the dark mysterious pit of hell that the Word binary format is.

Except, like all Microsoft specs, they aren't complete. Nor does RTF == page description languge. Using RTF with two installations of the same MS Office level where the default fonts and margins have been changed on one will not transfer perfectly.

Comment Re:That is fucking awesome! (Score 5, Insightful) 455

The movies (and games) that the Blender Foundation sponsors serve two purposes.

First, they act as a showcase for the technologies currently available.

Secondly, and far more important for the software, the work flow and features required by modern animation teams drives the development of the Blender on. Sintel is built with the latest generation of Blender - 2.5 - which is still in beta. The requirements of Sintel have been developed in Blender in tandem.

Someone said 'it looks like a game trailer'. While I suspect it was intended as a put-down, it is actually a tremendous compliment. Modern computer games pack huge artistic and development muscle, cost tens of millions of dollars to develop and pull in the technical muscle of huge companies. That Blender can enable a small team of deveopers, animators and digital artists to produce something like shows the capabilities of the team and the software.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Been there, done that (for free) (Score 1) 378

These are graph-cut or similar algorithms. There are several free alternatives which have been out there for years. Two spring straight to mind - the resynthesizer plugin for the GIMP and GREYCStoration image inpainting.

  • http://www.logarithmic.net/pfh/resynthesizer/removal
  • http://cimg.sourceforge.net/greycstoration/demonstration.shtml

CS5 seems to have made this easier to use but the functionality has existed for ages.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Re:H.264 (Score 1) 473

Maybe it will be possible to have a pluggable video decoder for Firefox for the HTML5 Video tag so you can hook up your own solutions. That might solve the issue for everyone.

It would have solved the issue for everyone. The problem is that Mozilla explicitly refuses to do that for ideological reasons!

The link you supply is for a strictly-Windows-only solution. Supporting DirectShow codecs is fine for Windows (maybe) but it doesn't help for cross platform. GStreamer DOES exist for Windows and MacOS X and would be a better starting point.

That a patch has been accepted for Fennec already suggests that there may be more movement here in the future. Don't assume that all patch acceptance is politically driven. Mozilla is trying to ensure it doesn't end up on an expensive hook if the licensing for H.264 turns sour. There is nothing technically blocking this sort of development - legal issues are sadly more convoluted, move at glacial pace and subject to all sorts of wrangling.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Re:H.264 (Score 1) 473

However, the only browser vendor which steadfastly refuses to give users a choice on the matter is Mozilla. Everyone else is either supporting both codecs out of the box (Chrome), or supports just one, but allows user to install additional codecs as needed (Safari, Opera etc).

You make it sound as though there are only two video codecs out there. Mozilla will give you a choice of any of the unencumbered video formats as they get them implemented. However, right now any implementation of H.264 in the core of firefox is not going to happen. It would do us all no good if Mozilla did implement H.264 and then got hooked for megabucks when the H.264 licensing agreement suddenly requires dollars per instance of software decoding H.264.

The chances of the H.264 LA not charging for this codec in the long term is effectively zero. The only debate is whether how it will charge for encoding and decoding implementations. Maybe it will be possible to have a pluggable video decoder for Firefox for the HTML5 Video tag so you can hook up your own solutions. That might solve the issue for everyone.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Last.fm in Canada (Score 1) 278

I live in Canada, so I actually pay for last.fm. I think $3/m is still a great deal, considering how much I listen to it. However, I wonder if last.fm would have statistics on how many customers they lost by charging and whether it was worth it or not.

I subscribed at US$3/month to last.fm and it's probably the best value I get out that three dollars. On the other hand, its the thin end of the wedge as far as the finances go - I've heard artists and music I would never have discovered otherwise. Bad news for the big media companies though - I try and buy CDs direct from the band or as close as I can get. No point paying $30 on amazon.ca when I can order it direct from the artist for $15 including shipping.

One last point - I have become very sensitive to bullshit in quotes.

Warner's CEO Edgar Bronfman said, 'Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry'

That's an assertion, not a fact. And I suspect that it is totally wrong, at least if we are talking about the music industry as a whole. If we are talking about the increasing democratization of available music on the web and the reduced reliance on megamedia to provide music for the masses, then maybe he has a point. Sadly for Warner, I'm more interested in good music than I am in the lining of Warner's quarterly statements.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Re:But Steve Jobs said... (Score 1) 307

I'm really a bit puzzled about what the extra cores are good for

The big win for increasing the number of cores compared to raising the core speed is power consumption (i.e. Watts). A 1GHz four-core chip consumes the same power as a single core 2GHz chip.

Now that is no use if all your apps are single-threaded. The PS3 has forced many game developers to address parallel processing for games and PC developers are routinely targeting dual core systems.

A large fraction of CPU-intensive tasks can be spread over multiple cores easily enough. The most obvious of these is web browsing as epitomised by Google Chrome. Add in music playback with visualization and a OpenGL driven display interface and it's easy enough to keep three or four cores busy.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Re:But Steve Jobs said... (Score 3, Interesting) 307

I wonder how long I will go on musing for, before I break down and buy one...

For myself, I'd give it another 6-12 months to see what shakes out of the market. The Cortex-A9 quad core looks like it is the perfect chip for high performance, low power consumption tasks, and the Tegra 2 SoC looks like it will provide a moderate-performance GPU on top of that. There are a number of different form factors that look like they will hit the shelves over the next year, from single screen netbooks, dual-screen touchscreen folding books, a mix of tablets and tablets with removable keyboards. Hey - even Google is supposedly building a tablet based on this sort of tech.

The iPad is likely to find its niche suddenly becomes a crowded space by the end of 2010.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Emacs circa 21st century (Score 1) 310

Anyone that claims either vi or emacs is a useful editor hasn't used a modern Windows IDE. Just the amount of context aware help that is available about the platform is amazing.

That just shows that you haven't used a version of Emacs since the GNU - Lucid split. Lets see - I have language aware parsing (including context-aware tooltips) and completion (ala intellisense), automatic indexes into each file, class browser, helper wizards, version control awareness and integration, fully programmable interaction with the editing buffer to cope with work-specific stuff, electric expansion (and fully modifiable expansion tables), dynamic completion and the ability to work seamlessly with remote files.

And that doesn't touch on all the other features that I use day-to-day, like highlighting, source code comparison and patching, recursive directory comparison and debugger integration.

Anyway who claims that Emacs isn't a useful editor hasn't learned how to use it.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Re:Lone Wolf (Score 3, Informative) 346

It's true that Firefox has typically been playing catch up throughout its lifespan. However, in the last 18 months, it has been seriously lagging behind other browsers (IE aside). Process separation, general speed, stability, memory fragmentation, etc.

This meme about Firefox memory fragmentation just won't die! Firefox 3.0.x you could still claim that Firefox was sucking down more and more memory as pages got visited. With 3.5.x, you can kiss that problem pretty much goodbye - Firefox returns more memory back to the system than any competing browser.

And Firefox isn't the largest memory consumer here either - that prize probably goes to Chrome, simply because one-tab-per-process is inevitably a heavier memory requirement.

Firefox stability is still a minor issue. However, it's stable enough that I get about 1 crash every three days, which is well within my tolerance level (14 extensions, 11 plugins). Tools like abrt provide a decent mechanism for informing the necessary bug trackers.

Speed-wise, Firefox devs know they are in a race with Chrome. 3.6.x looks like it will be faster than 3.5.x by a fair margin. Project Electrolysis stands to improve matters further. I'm all for competition - keeps everyone working on the issue.

Give me a plugin sandbox so that Flash trapping doesn't take out the page and I'll be content.

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

Comment Re:More than a million? (Score 1) 395

You laugh.

My management once praised my work because an idea of mine had led to a situation where each line a programmer wrote generated 8 lines of C, so I'd done a great thing for productivity...

I, on the other hand, felt rather disheartened about my management...

Been abusing the old #include directive in C again?

#define _FUNCTION_NAME hello
#define _OUTPUT world
#include "function.skel"
#define _FUNCTION_NAME brave
#define _OUTPUT new world
#include "function.skel"

File: function.skel
void _FUNCTION_NAME()
{ printf "_OUTPUT\n"; return }
#undef _FUNCTION_NAME
#undef _OUTPUT

Voila. Templates in C! *cough*

Cheers,
Toby Haynes

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