LLVM gaining popularity?

I have been watching with interest the development of LLVM for quite a long time.

For quite some time, work has been taking place on Shark to provide LLVM based JIT for IcedTea.

Now I read that Mono has an alternate LLVM based JIT.

This is excellent news. The more users LLVM has, the faster it will mature, and Mono and IcedTea are both pretty important users.

All we need now it to bring Mono and IcedTea (or OpenJDK) even closer together by working towards a unified bytecode for a unified VM capable of running and mixing java and .net code natively.

Ubuntu and Eclipse

I thought is was worth breaking an almost 2 year silence to note that eclipse has finally been upgraded from version 3.2 to version 3.4 in the latest karmic repo.


Well done to those involved. Ubuntu is now on a much better track towards catching up with Fedora for Java development.

Novell, moonlight and Sun

Shortly after the recent announcements from Miguel regarding Novells partnership with Microsoft to develop moonlight, Simon Phipps responded in hos blog criticising the agreement.

Not long after, Miguel and others counter attacked. Now I’m not going to comment here about whether I think the Novell / MS agreement is a good or bad; I haven’t even looked at it closely yet. What I will say though is that one of the main responses from the Novell supporters has been to call Simon a hypocrite because of how Sun have or do license some of their products.

This misses the point. That nobody has answered all of Simon’s criticisms on their own merit is a bit worrying. I don’t really care about what Sun has or hasn’t done now or in the past. Let’s take each thing on it’s own and debate it. Can someone tell me why Simon Phipps is actually wrong in his criticisms? He may be completely wrong, but saying “Novell isn’t bad here because Sun is just as bad” doesn’t cut it.

If someone wants to start another debate about Sun’s licensing then fine; go for it.

Version control LUG talk

I did a talk last week for the Nottingham LUG. It was a basic intro into approaches to version control, followed by a few examples.

People have asked for a copy of the presentation, so I have put that and some other LUG talk material of mine (including work in progress) into a bazaar repository. You can get it with:

bzr branch http://foo.stupids.org/~martin/lugtalks

Schrödinger 0.6.0

For those who don’t know, Schrödinger is a library implementing the quality Dirac video codec. It is triple licensed using MPL ,GNU LGPL and MIT. It is important because although we already have Theora, another free video codec, Schrödinger is much more advanced and is comparable in quality to current popular non-free codecs.

I’ve been loosely following the development of Schrödinger for a while now and it has been usable for quite some time. The main barrier to its use however has been the lack of bitstream compliance. In other words, if video is encoded with one version, it might not be possible to decoded it with a future version, and vice versa.

In the latest 0.6.0 release though, full bitstream compliance has been achieved. This means that as long as there are no bitstream bugs, video encoded with this version will work on all future versions.

In the past, video downloads have often been offered as a choice between theora and e.g., xvid, giving the user a choice between freedom and high quality. I now look forward to these both being replaced with Schrödinger which provides both.

Open source Java

Finally the OpenJDK sources are available. Still quite a lot of people, especially a subset of Linux folks, don’t seem to care about java. Personally I think we will look back on this in a few years as a crucially important point in the open source and free software world.

This opens the way for a lot more free and open source software to be shipped with Linux distros which is not only convenient in itself, but will help position that software as the default choice for many users over the proprietary alternatives.

BBC On demand service windows only?

Feedback about the BBC on demand service is being sought.

There is one question about whether Windows only services are acceptable.

Find the survey here:

Software patents petition.

I’m never quite sure how much difference petitions make, but we seem to have tried just about everything else and there are still some people who genuinely believe software patents do more good than harm.

Please join us and oppose software patents

Binary drivers

Amazing. Not that this exploit has been discovered. That’s no surprise at all. What’s amazing to me is that people will still continue to load large blocks of unknown, unauditable code into their kernel or as an xorg driver.

Guys, you are already potentially handing over control of your machine to someone who isn’t even willing to let you look at what they are doing with it. Now it turns out that what they are doing is writing poor code so that you are in fact handing over control to any sufficiently skilled attacker, and there is nothing you can do to fix it.

Actually, why am I bothering?

“Yes, but what about shiny games?” I imagine will be the response. I understand that for many this is a simple matter of priorities, but I just wish people would realise that when they hand over hard earned cash to a company, they are not just doing what is most convenient for themselves, but they are supporting that companys ideals and further empowering them. And that indirectly affects everyone.

libata PATA support

Well, it looks like libata PATA support is finally making it into the kernel. This is good news. Woo.

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