Recent hacking – March 2010

I want to try to keep posting on any hacking I get done, so here we go an update on my post from March 5 (of this year ;).

I managed to clean up my port of the GTK+ Quartz backend to the xi2 branch that I wrote about in my previous “recent hacking” blog post. The patch has been sent off to Carlos Garnacho for some sanity checking. Before or immediately after the xi2 branch will be merged with GTK+ master, this patch will be applied so that the Mac port will continue to work just fine. More work has to be done on the xi2 branch in general to figure out some semantics so that different kinds of multi-touch devices/drivers can be generically supported. The main difference here is that some drivers always have, say, 10 fingers/pointers active, and other drivers add/remove these fingers/pointers on the fly. This discussion will hopefully take place on gtk-devel-list soonish.

Also I continued to work on the CoreText backend. Ran into some trouble figuring out how to implement font matching and fallback fonts. It looks like we will not be able to depend on CoreText to do this for us (the interfaces it exports for this are insufficient to implement a proper Pango backend with), so we get to do it ourselves. I hope to find the time soon to complete this work and push the branch somewhere.

My first cairo patch got accepted! On 64-bit Snow Leopard there were issues with drawing dashed lines in GTK+. Turns out this was caused by the introduction of the new CGFloat types in CoreGraphics. The patch in FreeDesktop bug 25814 that resolves this has been committed now and it looks like other projects using Cairo took advantage of this as well.

Recently I spent time on preparing review of bug 71926. In here, we received a very large contribution that implements bg_pixmap in GtkTreeView (finally!) amongst some other fixes. I have split up the patch into digestible chunks and plan to start processing these soon.

When all above is done I plan to most likely work on moving all my ideas and unfinished patches for GtkTreeView to the wiki and Bugzilla. Hopefully somebody will find inspiration in there and start hacking and contributing, since I have realized that I cannot do it all by myself and won’t be able to do so in the near future.

The Hague has a University??

In a blog post it was mentioned that GUADEC will be held at The Hague University this year. I immediately wondered; does The Hague have a University?? Although The Hague is the political capital of the Netherlands, it does not have a University. Looking at the English website of this “University”, they call themselves “The Hague University of applied science”, with “of applied science” in a very tiny font. And that is the correct name, since it is not a regular, real University. Right now they can use the shorter “The Hague University” even though they are not a University because the name University is not protected by law in the Netherlands. In Dutch the name “hogeschool” or HBO is used for this kind of educational institutes, I hear this is similar to “Fachhochschule” in German.

More and more “hogescholen” in the Netherlands are naming themselves Universities, which I think is a shame and misleading. Why misleading? These institutes are not allowed to hand out the academic BSc or MSc degrees, they can only offer “professional” bachelor or master degrees. Some actually offer BSc and MSc education, but they can only do so by using course material of a recognized University that can actually hand out these academic degrees. In this case, you will not receive a BSc or MSc from this “hogeschool”, but from that recognized University. Pure re-sale of education. Things like this are not clearly stated on their website and might be very misleading to prospective foreign students (who will hopefully look more closely to see what kind of degrees are actually offered). Why a shame? It might devaluate the proper academic degrees that people have obtained at a real University because of confusion and fraud.

Most likely this is being caused by the shitty state of education in the Netherlands. Especially at these “universities of applied science” the focus is on making money and not on providing proper education to the students. (Yes, there are real world examples of this). This focus results in appointing leaders that have no clue about teaching, only about making money. Add to this a secondary school system that has been changed twice or thrice in the last 10 years and is still failing, a system wherein Universities are paid by the number of graduated students but not by quality of education and research, and a constant threat of cutting budgets even further, and you have a recipe for failure. The Dutch government has ambitions to offer the best education in the world, but is falling short due to mismanagement across the board.

The good news is that legislation is apparently in the works to protect usage of “universiteit”, “university” and “hogeschool”.