On GNOME bug 561962 I have someone complaining that Metacity defines _POSIX_C_SOURCE before using POSIX functions (as you’re supposed to). He says that defining this breaks the build on OS X. Do some of you know much about POSIX on OS X and can explain to me why this should be, here or on the bug? It seems to me that if your toolchain knows about _POSIX_C_SOURCE then you’ll need it to use POSIX-only functions, and if it doesn’t it’s just another symbol. I can’t see why removing it would fix something.

Which makes it look like a bothering sort of day

Dynamite Cloth Patches Tell It Like It IsMetacity has a script called patch-wrangler where it downloads and applies a patch given the patch number, and if the patch applies cleanly builds the program for testing.

I want to make it so that you give a bug number, instead, and it will download the relevant page from Bugzilla, and then if there’s only one current patch on that bug it will grab that one.  And it will also store the name and email address of the contributor, and the comment on that patch, from the HTML, and store them into a hidden file with the patch so that the commit script can put them into ChangeLog.

But I can’t do that, because Bugzilla doesn’t show email addresses unless you’re logged in.  I would be able to do that by passing ephy’s or firefox’s cookies.txt into wget, except that nobody apparently uses cookies.txt any more and it’s all gone to sqlite.  I could fix it all up by hand but it’s a major nuisance.


Photo by Larry He’s So Fine.

Mr Cat

I haven’t posted for far too long.  For now, three things:

  1. There is a friendly cat who rejoices in the name of Mr Cat.  He has moved in with my friends Amy and John in Maryland, not far from Baltimore and DC, but John is allergic to him.  They have neutered him and given him his shots and he is in good health.  All the no-kill shelters are full and he’s too old (four-ish) to stand much of a chance at a shelter where he might be euthanised.  Do you know anyone local who can find him a home?
  2. It looks as though I’ll be in the area of the original Cambridge the week after next, in case pubmeets might be happening. :)
  3. The fifth sentence of the 56th page of the closest book to me is: Bydd y llyffaint yn amadael â thi a’th dai, ac â’th weision a’th bobl, ac ni cheir hwy yn unman ond yn y Neil. The frogs will leave you and your houses and your servants and your people and will not remain(?) in any place but in the Nile.

a rare public political post

I keep hearing people say, “If you don’t vote you have no right to complain.”

This is, of course, nonsense.  Your right to complain is inalienable, and should be exercised.  Myself, I can’t vote, being an alien, and yet I complain all the time.  Complain away.

Everyone else is going to remind you to vote if you can, I’m sure, so I presumably don’t need to.  But I do want to tell you that voting is the least you can do.  Feeding one bit of information every four years into the political machine is something, but hardly anything.  The people at Peterloo died asking for even that basic minimum, and I believe you should honour them not just by voting but by going beyond it.

I’ve been very impressed by the way Obama’s campaign have used slogans like “Yes we can”, rather than something easier like “Yes, Obama can”. Unfortunately, people seem to be reading “Yes we can” as “Yes we can… elect Barack Obama, who will then take over from us, and we can sit back and let other people run our lives from then on.”  I was disappointed that when this video says “Did you do enough?”, it means “Did you do enough to get Obama elected?” and not “Did you do enough of the sort of thing we’re actually here to do, did you feed the hungry, did you help oppressed folk find a voice, did you join a union to let your voice be heard, did you give time and resources to Habitat for Humanity or the ACLU, did you work to bring about social justice?” And I worry people have stopped seeing the election as a means to such things and just think that when their chosen candidate’s in power everything will be lovely and they can go back to sleep. However good a person he is– and I believe he is a good, even a great person– he’s not a cross between King Arthur, Jesus Christ, a Jack Kirby superhero and the mythologised version of Abe Lincoln.  If you believe he is, you will be disappointed.  One person can make mistakes: put not your trust in princes.  But you— what will you do?

I can’t vote, being an alien, even though I live here– so make sure you go in my place and the place of millions more who will be affected by this election but have no voice in it.  But more importantly, find other ways to make a change over the next four years.  Be involved.  Complain.  Make a difference.  It’s not about them, it’s about you.

Update: Join us on #potus on irc.netgoth.org.uk.

2008-10-31: when the year too dies

Blessed Samhain to those who keep Samhain, and happy Halloween to those who keep Halloween.

Shortly after I made the first cup of tea of the morning, O’Keeffe presented me with a very dead mouse. It’s a clear sign of the start of winter when mice start hiding in places she can find them. I thanked her courteously and tied it up in a plastic bag to throw it away.

Later we went to the YMCA, where I had my first turn on a treadmill; I seem to have reasonable endurance but not much strength. Tomorrow they’ll be showing me how to work the weights machines and so on.

This evening Fin made chicken curry for dinner. I went out trick-or-treating with Rio. So many of the houses had signs saying to vote for one candidate or another that I said to her, “I wonder they don’t have special Barack Obama sweets.” She told me they should be called Yes We Candy. (Google tells me someone got there already, though I’m sure she didn’t know it.)

And I’m looking for translators for the new version of Joule, which might be 3.1 or 4.0. There’s not much to translate and you get your name in the footer for pages served in that language. Interested?