Apocalypse Please

if you need to create a string holding a datestamp, please — for the love of everything that’s holy and just and pure in this universe — stop abusing the patience of everyone on this planet, and use the ISO 8601 format.

formats not to use:

  • seconds from the epoch – oh please. I mean: come on1.
  • HTTP date – which is defined in two RFCs but it still sucks for small things like sorting or, you know, non-human parsing.
  • ctime() output – now, give me a flipping break

and please, don’t even think that people can rely on strptime() if they want to parse your datestamps — because they might care about something called “timezone”2.

any reference to running web services and their utter lack of clue in this matter is purely coincidental. not.

this blog post should go in the overall discussion about how web services clearly showed me how the bar for writing them has been placed so low that not even “Eleven Inches” Hermes could limbo beneath it. if even a simple, clearly defined data exchange format like JSON has been abused that much3 then there’s really little hope for the rest of us that care about interoperability and third party application development.

  1. okay, I’m guilty of this insanity as well, but I’m in the process of fixing it []
  2. a huge FAIL should be photoshopped on top of strptime(3) man page, right near the “Glibc Notes” section, where it says that in most cases the corresponding fields are parsed, but no field in tm is changed; WTF? what does in most cases mean? you have to tell me in which cases, you fscking idiot! []
  3. and I’m looking at you, Tumblr []

Some Things Come From Nothing

json-glib: 0.6 is out! please: download it, test it, use it. as far as I know, it has been packaged for Debian unstable, and has entered the NEW queue (kudos to Rob Bradford, esquire and fine gentleman).

debian: with the release of Hardy I decided to switch back to Debian after three years of Ubuntu. even though there are still some rough edges in Lenny, the support for laptops has definitely improved a lot and so I got back to my old love. starting from Gutsy, I found myself increasingly at odds with Ubuntu decisions and even though I upgraded my wife’s laptop to Hardy, I’m really glad I got back to Debian.

clutter/1: apparently, I’ll give a lightning talk about our reference toolkit for Clutter at this year’s GUADEC, in Istanbul. Øyvind proposed it for me because, regardless of being on the paper committee, I actually forgot the deadline for the CFPwhoops, maybe I shouldn’t have said that. :-) with the Tidy lightning talk and the Clutter guts talk given by Matthew, we decided for a high-level/low-level approach, instead of going for the usual this is teh Clutter, look at teh bling kind of talk. if you want to understand Clutter, Matthew’s talk is definitely where you want to be; as we all know:

Clutter = Clean and nice API + Performance + Portability + Integration = ♥

from my Clutter talk at FOSDEM

so, if you want to know how Clutter creates love, get to Istanbul this July. :-)

tweet: I started eating my own dogfood. Tweet is by no means complete or even guaranteed not to turn you into a goat and eat your breakfast — but now it works well enough for reading your own timeline and sending new statuses; and it doesn’t require trunk of anything any more, thanks to a Tidy transplant. I’m using Tweet as a way to see what kind of API is needed to properly integrate a Clutter canvas into a GTK+ application: colors, fonts, etc. if you want to try it out, contribute or just mock my insanity:

  git clone git://github.com/ebassi/tweet.git

clutter/2: we’re really close to a 0.7 release, which will mark the beginning of the slushy phase of the API; as far as documentation goes, we’re in pretty good shape already, at 93% for the Clutter namespace, and another 80% for the Cogl namespace. bindings will need to be updated — but the amount of new API is not that big, so it’s not going to be a long wait. I’m making a note here: huge success.

Good Intentions/2

gtk+: I’ve been working again on the RecentManager and in trunk you’ll see some new stuff, namely:

  • use GIO to determine the MIME type of a URI, on every platform supported
  • use the file monitoring API to avoid polling the storage file
  • add a GtkSettings property for clamping the recently used resources list to a 30 days limit

more stuff I’d like to add is:

  • small parser changes to GBookmarkFile, to reflect changes in the spec
  • bulk addition, for applications storing multiple items when quitting
  • new API needed to follow the usability review in bug 349541
  • moving the RecentItem icon code to GIO, and add API to extract the thumbnail

twitter: I’ve been using Twitter a lot in the past two weeks; it’s nice, it makes it easier to copy and paste a quote or a thought, and the 160 characters limit is an interesting challenge. As it’s been ages since I last wrote an application1, I decided to start writing a Twitter reader/writer — using GTK+, Clutter and Tidy; without much thinking, I opened gvim and started writing code in C2 — so, the obvious thing that happened was that I ended up writing a library yet again in order to use Twitter’s web API. luckily for me, libsoup has now a really nice API to work with; all you need is GET and POST to their RESTful API, retrieve the result, parse it through JSON-GLib, hide everything inside a new GObject and you have a wrapper around a web service. the application, you say? oh, I was sure I forgot something. well, it’s coming along — it just needs some work still.

  1. lately all I’ve been doing was writing libraries []
  2. hey, that’s what I do for a living, it’s hard to switch off; plus, I could reuse some of the platform libraries []

Rhyme the rhyme well

Jason, it’s not just the canvas: writing a simple 2D canvas is trivial — that’s why a lot of applications end up writing their own homegrown one.

The hard bits are the animation framework, the event handling and down to the integration with the existing platform. A generic canvas is hard, and you probably don’t want it to be developed inside gtk+ (not even for 3.0) — just like Cairo is not developed inside gtk+ but supersedes part of gtk+’s API.

As for 3D acceleration — I’m obviously biased here, so everyone should take what I write with a graintruckload of salt — but I maintain my view that if GNOME (and Linux) started heavily pushing towards more support for OpenGL, then we could get more market share1, more visibility and thus more leverage to make the currently closed source drivers more open. Intel understood this; AMD is now getting it; I’m pretty sure nVidia will — or they will be simply pushed into irrelevance by the open drivers developed by the community2. Let’s face it: other platforms and toolkits are pushing heavily on hardware accelerated 3D effects.

Let’s start aggressively work to get the platform into the XXI century.

update@2008-10-11T12:21+0100 — just as a sidenote: if you have a good CPU, Mesa and software rendering, Clutter will work. It won’t be fast for some operations (like scaling and, possibly, rotating), but in that case you should probably start contributing to Mesa to make it fast (there’s a lot of room for improvement).

  1. think Compiz, and how many more users it brought home just with a spinning cube []
  2. unless you are a gamer, and need the very best card as soon as it’s out just to play Crisis []

Helm, set a course… for love

a GNOME cruise? I already have the theme song…

GNOME-Love Boat, love exciting and new,
Come aboard, we're expecting you.

The GNOME-Love Boat soon will be making another release,
The GNOME-Love Boat promises something for everyone.

Set a course for adventure,
Your box's on a new romance.

And GNOME-Love
Won't hurt anymore,
It's an open source,
On a userfriendly shore.

it's GNOME-Love
Welcome aboard it's GNOME-love

Small Print

Could someone please tell me why notification-daemon holds ~51000 windows after two days of uptime?

Notification Daemon
51700 windows? Really?

Now, I accept the idea that maybe xrestop is lying (and mallum on my back is ready to hit me) but this sounds like a huge leak somewhere.

Please, someone tell me this is a known bug in Ubuntu Feisty and that Gutsy is already fixed.