Bush fire

When I woke up this morning, there was a lot of smoke in the air from the bush fire up in the hills east of Perth. The smoke is so thick that some buildings less than a kilometer away are only just visible. Also, sunlight filtering through the smoke gives everything a yellow tinge.

It hasn’t burnt down any houses yet, and hopefully the fire services will get it under control before it does.


On the gtk-doc-list mailing list, Matthias mentioned that the GraphViz license has been changed to the CPL (the same license as used for Eclipse), which is considered Free by both the FSF and OSI (although still GPL incompatible). This should remove the barriers that prevented it getting packaged by Linux distributions.

Due to the previous licensing, RMS urged developers of GNU software to not even produce output in the form that the GraphViz tools use as input. Maybe that can change now. While the license is GPL incompatible, the GraphViz tools can easily be invoked from the command line, passing a .dot file in, and getting output in PNG, PS, SVG, etc format (or even another .dot file with the layout information added), which is enough for pretty much all uses of the tools.

One of the features I added to JHBuild fairly early on was the ability to dump the dependency tree for a set of modules in the .dot format. So to visualise the dependencies for Gnome, you could run a command like this:

jhbuild dot meta-gnome-desktop | dot -Tps > gnome-2.10.eps

(of course, given the number of modules that are needed to build the entire Gnome desktop, you might get a better picture by picking a smaller number of modules).

6 January 2005


I’ve put some of the photos from my trip to MatarĂ³, and the short stop over in Japan on the way back. The MatarĂ³ set includes a fair number taken around La Sagrida Familia, and the Japan set is mostly of things around the Naritasan temple (I didn’t have enough time to get into Tokyo).


A few months back, I got a second monitor for my computer and configured it in a Xinerama-style setup (I’m actually using the MergedFB feature of the radeon driver, but it looks like Xinerama to X clients). Overall it has been pretty nice, but there are a few things that Gnome could do a bit nicer in the setup:

  • Backgrounds get stretched over both screens. The Ubuntu backgrounds already looked a bit weird at a 5:4 aspect ratio. They look even worse at a 5:2 ratio :-). Ideally the background image would be repeated on each monitor of the virtual screen. Some details are available as bug 147808, but it looks like the fix would be in EelBackground code.
  • Most parts of the desktop treat the monitors as independent (which is good, since most people pick Xinerama over classic X multi-screen so that dragging windows between monitors works, rather than to build video walls), but there is a few bits that don’t. One of the more obvious ones is in Metacity: the alt+tab dialog pops up centred on the monitor where mouse currently resides, but it cycles through all the windows visible on the virtual screen. This is a bit confusing, since it looks like it will be a monitor-local operation based on the position of the dialog (however, if it was monitor-local I’m not sure how you’d switch focus to a window on the other monitor with only the keyboard …).


The new merge command in baz is quite nice. This provides support for merging in ways that tla can’t. One of the limitations of star-merge is that it can get confused if you don’t strictly follow the star topology when merging. That is, you should only merge to/from the person you branched from, and people who branched from you. If siblings merge for instance, it can cause problems with subsequent merges.

The new merge command doesn’t suffer from that problem, and allows you to merge from anyone. Of course, if you break the star topology, people wanting to merge from you will either need to be using Bazaar, or ask for you to merge from them first (so that the star-merge algorithm merges the right changes).