2007-08-08 09:05

Me and FLOSS in the late '90s

I have no idea how, but I ran into this in Linuxtoday:

KDE Programming Tutorial 0.2 (Dec 22nd 1998, 00:09:36 )
Roberto Alsina announced that he uploaded to ftp.kde.org the version 0.2 of his excellent programming tutorial. It is also available here. Hopefully, this must-have material will be soon included in the kdesdk package and in CVS.

Now, this was pretty shocking because I don't remember writing it (anyone knows where a copy may be?). I have no idea what was in it, and in fact, the idea of people learning C++ from me in 1998 is so stupid it's shocking, since I knew very little.

Then it hit me, the URL! Ultra7? That was my 486 at college [1].

It had a webserver? What on earth had I been drinking back then? Why can't I remember this???

Wayback machine, come here! Fetch!

Here's my first home page. I must say it's pretty good. It's not garish. Very Web2.0 in the abundant white space.

First interesting thing: there is at least one extant copy of PyXForms, my first free software project, used by absolutely noone.

And there are even two cool screenshot of a functional program noone ever used [2]:

im1im2

In fact, I have no idea how I did that highlighted message display.

Then all that proto-good taste goes away when you reach the page for my most "popular" project ever... Krn in my 1999 home page [4]. It' so 1999 free software style. All that's missing is an electric blue background.

It seems I had discovered The Gimp and it's banner scripts!

BTW: I wonder what's Magnus Reftel doing nowadays? We used to exchange dozens of mails a day and for some reason we lost contact.

There was also a mailing list archive for the very very very first posts of our proto LUG (which would later become LUGLI)

And here's the best part, and the one that makes me kinda sad... Themes for Qt1.

You can read a little about them in this thread.

I have written about them once or twice before but here's the short version:

Rasterman was starting to hack themes for Gtk. I decided they couldn't be the only ones with this cool new technology but I had the big disadvantage of not being able to touch Qt's code because of licensing issues. So I intercepted the drawing events using a LD_PRELOAD hack and implemented a theme full of gradients without modifying or recompiling Qt or KDE.

Now that's one of the most impressive hacks I have ever performed, even if it was a hack done with the most evil code ever, and... there seems to be no extant copy of the code or the screenshots.

Which is kinda sad, indeed.

[1] UNL, where every computer had a public IP address!
[2] The idea was a sort of GUI Pine, all handled with single key strokes. I still pine for that program! [3]
[3] And for the fjords.
[4] AKA the buggiest program ever to be part of KDE proper.

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