Posts about kde (old posts, page 5)

2004-05-26 20:36

What is flexibility

Ok, a rant.

A word you see a lot on the free software (whatever) circles, is flexibility.

In particular, people always like to say how a certain program, or operating system, is flexible.

For example, some people say gentoo (or GNOME, or KDE, or fvwm) is flexible.

Poor misguided souls. They should say they are configurable.

Flexible doesn't mean configurable!

A flexible program will handle many different conditions without user intervention (or with minimal intervention). The metaphore is that flexible objects are bent with minimal force.

Kudzu (or Knoppix's hwconfig) is flexible.

Recompiling your kernel to statically link a new driver is inflexible.

If you think that just because you can manually reconfigure your system into a bazillion different configurations, your system is flexible, then you surely agree that marble is flexible.

After all, you can turn marble into many different statues, all different!

No, silly putty is flexible, because you can shape it into different forms easily and quickly and with little effort.

If in order to change the ink settings on your printer you need to create a new printing queue, or print to a file and perform a magic incantation with a .ps file, your printing system is not flexible.

In fact, the only remotely flexible printing system on Linux is CUPS. The rest are rigid, inflexible and bad at their work (at least the ones I know).

If in order to access a device someone tries to use you have to reconfigure your system, or download more stuff, or hunt for a driver, or rebuild your kernel, or recompile applications, your system is broken.

If you think that your system is flexible just because after applying force to your system it performs, you are wrong. Your system is rigid, and you are the flexible buffer that is adapting, it's like a bakelite rod wrapped in rubberfoam. And you are the foam.

You know, when you take an inflexible object and you try to make it adapt to something, it breaks. That's why inflexible software is broken so often.

Since almost everyone has this silly idea about what flexible means, I will probably start using malleable or plastic instead.

Thank you very much, try the veal, I'll be here until thursday.

2004-05-21 23:12

New Stylesheet

Ok, so I touched it a little.

If anyone hates it too much, or it's broken somehow, let me know how to fix it, since I have no idea about CSS.

I think the code snippets look a lot better now, and specially, thanks to Georg's tip, they don't screw the layout anymore.

One weird thing, though (not really related).

Apparently, long ago, I knew how to put the source of the item on a post (see here, the Source KDE Dot News part).

Either the option is gone, or I forgot how to do it. Even if I edit that old post, I can't see where it is.

2004-05-19 17:26

The Roberto KDE Show

I will be speaking at the Primer Congreso Nacional de Software Libre on May 27th, at 15:00.

Now, I am not all that thrilled about it, since it's a commercial event and I am not getting any money for it, but it's a chance to show KDE, and I am a pretty good demo guy.

However, look at the sponsor list: IBM, HP, Sun, Novell, and Microsoft.

Yeah, Microsoft.

So, I did whine a little to the organizers, about how this was not exactly a free software event, and that I didn't just speak for free for anyone who asked me.

Well, they told me that the sponsors pay, but it's a free software event, and that I am important for the event, as a member of the free software movement, or whatever.

Ok, since it's like all other free software events, I am now considering wardrobe.

Jeans and T-Shirt is an obvious choice. I use that even on commercial events.

But... what t-shirt? Here's one good candidate.

I specially like the "KILL BILL" model because it shows my combined admiration for Linux And Quentin Tarantino.

Too bad I can't order a t-shirt from North America. I will have to gimp it, hope they don't mind!

2004-05-11 19:24

Kill Bill Vol. 2

As I mentioned, I saw Kill Bill Vol. 2.

While I enjoyed Volume 1's childish notion of grandeur by accumulation, I must confess I was waiting for that emotional moment, like S. Jackson's monologue at the Diner in Pulp Fiction.

Or the whatheheck moment like the death of Robert de Niro's character in Jackie Brown.

Or even the goofy quarter-pounder-with-cheese moment.

But all I got in Volume 1 was Uma Thurman in the slick Bruce Lee outfit, blood, Yakuzas, and the brass of RZA's version of "Battle without honour".

Which is not exactly a small amount of things to get, don't get me wrong, but not quite what I wished for.

And much later I started reading the reviews for Volume 2, and it seemed a more QT flick, and I like those, and I saw it.

And it's good. And it has the quater-pounder-with-cheese moment (Superman), and the whattheheck moment (Elle's), and it has the emotional moment (a lot of them), even if they are darker, and let's face it, basically evil.

So, there's a lot I liked. I was even happy about David Carradine's part (although his lisp drove me nuts (and I don't mean LISP (I mean he says yeth instead of yes))).

BTW: I read on a newspaper an excerpt from an interview he did for Uncut magazine... he's one crazy guy.

The Pai Mei stuff is hilarious. Michael Madsen's Budd is awesome. The very picture of moral decadence wrapped around the nastiest little-brother syndrome ever.

So, I actually quite loved this movie. It's not my favourite QT flick ever (that's Pulp Fiction, then Jackie Brown), but it's a hell of a lot better than almost everything else I saw in the last year or so.

All I want to know is what happened to Sofie Fatale (cheesiest name ever for a french character), and I would be happy as a clam.

2004-05-10 15:46

Checking old stuff

I looked at my old stories, and found some rather new comments :-)

In my Squid authentication via POP or IMAP article, Edwin Groothuis asked for it to be updated for Squid 2.5. Which is pretty reasonable, so I did it ;-)

And plovs, at 04:00:27 AM on April 05, 2004 posted the first comment on the very first article I ever posted here, Simple KDE Trick #1 (first and last of the series ;-).

That first feedback only took... 14 months and 4 days, since the article was posted on March 1st 2003.

Isn't it amazing how nothing is ever lost?

2004-04-13 19:13

Back in the mines

So, I'm back after a 9-day trip to the beach... relaxed, strong, happy... and TV-less since it seems to have burned something inside when I turned it on yesterday.

Oh, well, who needs it anyway.

And next week I'm seeing Kill Bill Vol. 2!

I am a Tarantino fan, and it has so far scored 100% at the tomatometer (, so it seems to be good!

On a professional level, I just nabbed enough support contracts to do what I want to do this year.

A reasonable fixed income is something I haven't had in a couple of years, it has been up-and-down, great months and bad months, with a rather nice average, but...

I needed a fixed income this year because I intend to save a couple thousand dollars for september.

Why? Because I am going to meet a fellow KDE developer, the one that's closest going east from Buenos Aires...

2004-03-23 16:48


In a whim, I checked out kdebindings/dcoppython from KDE's CVS.

I see the README: dcopython is broken

Then I said to myself: maybe I can fix it. And you know what? It seems to be not broken! :-)

At least for simple data types, that is.

dcoppython lets your python program become a DCOP server or client.

A DCOP server is capable of being controlled by KDE's kdcop, and is a very simple way to make your application externally scriptable.

A DCOP client is something that contacts a DCOP server, so that means you can control and script KDE applications (or other DCOP servers) from python scripts.

The neatest thing here is that this stuff doesn't require Qt!

I intend to use it to make some of my apps externally scriptable without PyKDE.

2004-02-23 18:56

Now THAT is a stupid argument

I am reading comments about ars technica's KDE 3.2 review in /., osnews, etc.

Here's the stupid argument I mentioned in the title: "GNOME is better than KDE because GNOME does X and KDE does Y" [1]

That argument is absolutely stupid unless you can show incontroversible proof that X is better than Y. And for 99% of the instances of the argument, you can't. And even in that case, you are isolating one feature or decision in a very complex system.

Is "yes/No" button ordering better? Maybe. Maybe not. I know "No/Yes" dialogs piss me off, but that doesn't mean one is absolutely better.

And besides, suppose KDE decided to do all things like GNOME. Minimalistic UI, GConf-editor for anything more advanced than changing the date.

Then what's the point? Why would another bland, boring UI be useful at all? [2]

There's a saying: "Taste is in variety".

[1] The opposite is of course just as stupid.
[2] Yes, that is KDE-centric position, I am a KDE user, and I prefer KDE, live with it :-)

In an older version of this, I said footnotes were broken. They aren't, as you can see :-)

2004-02-07 22:31

More fun with Ilan. (don 't read if you have flaming issues)

Warning: flamable.

It seems Ilan has found a feature some developer wrote, called referers log, and thus this blog.

Well, Ilan, I will make sure to follow this link so you notice this reply :-)

Since you intend to reinforce your dermal structure through exposition to high temperatures, let me be the first to assist you.

I am fully aware of everyone's right to criticism. In fact, I fully endorse it.

I also endorse my right to tell any critic that his criticism has the value of manure. Call it metacriticism.

And yes, a 10000 LOC piece of code is worth more than your lame patch. Want to verify it? Check market value of both things. You'll be amazed.

In other issues,

  • It's really a bad thing to use quotes on things that are not quoted, as you did. If you want to show emphasis, use cursive or bold, not quotes.
  • I am happy to challenge your notions, instead of challenging mine, because I think your notions are stupid. want details?

Your notions are stupid because:

  • You make the point in a condescending manner. What is that garbage about "better quality users"? if not condescension you would hate on a developer? At least the developers are providing value. You aren't.

  • Your project is tainted by paranoia. Noone is out to get you. Not even I am. I just don't suffer fools gladly.

  • TANSTAAFL. You get so called free software, but you still pay for it. You don't want to pay the price, don't use it. The price, Ilan, is that you have no control over it, because you didn't pay for its development.

    Oh, you may say, I am getting involved. I released Directory Free KDE! No, if you had gotten involved, KDE would have those directory references removed, not your patch that noone will ever use.

  • Your writing style is stupid, and an idea wrapped in stupidity is a stupid idea. I almost fainted with the reference to the "wonderfully subversive path". Stupidity.

  • You obviously have no idea of the effort involved in actual software development. I do. I know it so well, I stopped. You just have a chip in your shoulder and an attitude. Your ignorance drives your paranoia. Your paranoia drives your work. Your work drives nothing, because it's lame.

In your site, you say "thinking differently, thinking dangerously".

Amazing as it is that you ape a multi-billion dollar corporation's slogan to pretend to show your disconformism, I agree.

You think differently. You think wrongly, too, but at least yes, you think differently. As for the dangerously part... well, I suppose that if you are too busy thinking differently you may fall into a drain or something.

In short:

  • Your so-called software project isn't.
  • It's a patch, and it's a lame one.
  • Your attitude, if you saw it in a developer (which you aren't), you would dennounce. So you are also a hypocrite. (note: I am not. I fully enjoy flaming people sometimes , and support everyone's right to flame and be ornery at will).
  • Your impulse comes from sheer ignorance, paranoia and conceit.

I am happy to encourage you, Ilan, in your path. Please go and prove me wrong, by developing a much nicer KDE, and then making it the default in many, many distros.

On the other hand, I am willing to bet USD 20 that in six months you will have nothing to show.

Go ahead, make my day. Or at least earn me a dinner.

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