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Name: Brian Bassett
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It's been (coming up on) three months since I last made a diary entry. What follows is an attempt to catch things up.

Real Life(TM)
As of the first of August, the company I work for has moved from the dreary double college town mecca of Moscow, Idaho to the wonderful city of Bend, smack in the middle of Oregon.</sarcasm> But, I'm finally settling down in my new place. It does feel good to be out of academentia, though.

Well, two more trips down to Denver, and quite a bit of work, but things are going well on that front. Also, I seem to have fallen into the role of telephone adminstrator (read: actually voluteered for it) at our new building. And it is a new building. We've got a beautiful view of the Deschutes River as it flows through downtown Bend from our second story windows. (There are times that this becomes problematic. My desk faces one of these windows.)

Obligatory Autoconf Rant
I've been having fun these past few days integrating a program into our build system that we hacked up to suit our needs with our Sun Microsystems contract. The only problem is that it uses a very home grown build system (complete with machine generated (non-automake) Makefiles. Add to this the fact that two of the executables in the suite are built 95% from the same source files (over multiple directories), but with different preprocessor symbols. So, each file has to be compiled twice, with all the objects of the right flavor being linked together into .a archives. We then combine the .as into the final executables. What's more is the fact that it actually works. (At least the upstream authors of this program had the good sense to have a bang-up configuration file format that keeps all path names (aside from /tmp) out of the executable. At least it's not a total loss.)

My coworkers seem to have developed a healthy respect for me and my abilities to bend Autoconf to my whim. As I said when I relayed the news that the above program was tamed:

  • "If I ever say something is impossible, don't believe me."

I haven't gotten too much further on "Resurrection". It's just that I want to do a fair amount of rearchitecting of the internals of NJS, not to mention bring it to within a semblance of ECMA-262 3rd Edition compliance. Oh, and a bit of new functionality while we're at it. Slow has been a great help, looking at things from a slightly different perspective. (That, and the OpenBSD libc has caught three bugs in my code that I never would have found otherwise. (/me remembers never to use realloc for growable strings.))

<words type="famous last">I hope to have 0.3.0 out Real Soon Now.</words>

/me notices how long it's been since I've made an entry. Here goes:

Had fun this past week on a buisness trip. I had the job of verifying the installation of one of our products at Sun Microsystems in Denver, Colorado. Not much actually went wrong during the actual time I spent at the site, but getting there was another matter. Allow me to enumerate:

  • No real problems at the airport, but the car rental agency in Denver gave me a Kia Sephia. This was a car that couldn't accelerate to save it's own life. Couple this with the fact that it appears that Denver area drivers are ignorant of what a speed limit is. (There were places where I was doing 10 mph above the limit, and yet people were still passing me left and right.)
  • I get to the hotel I'm staying at (in Louisville, CO, a suburb of Denver), and go to check in. There's no trace of a reservation, even though I have a reservation number from the national reservation hotline. Panicked calls back to the office revealed nothing. Found out the following day that it turns out they had booked me in Louisville, Kentucky. &grumble;
Other than that, it was a very productive trip in that I got a large chunk of the thing installed.

I managed to push out new revisions of wml, fortune, and entity packages. Knocked off about eight or so bugs. Not too shabby.

Geez. I'm practically no further on NJS than I was last time I wrote an entry here. I need to make the time to push "Resurrection" out the door RSN.

Well, it's official. I'm now "the Autoconf guy" (aka "the build bitch"). Had fun yesterday printing out the dvi's of the Autoconf toolchain. They serve double duty: first, they provide a reasonable source of knowledge about the tools; and second, the mass of the bound version makes an effective tool to bludgeon myself with if I ever get too sick of Autoconf.

I just glanced at my hours for this week, and it's turned out that I've spent the entire week doing nothing but Autoconf configuration for all of our products. (Where did I place those manuals? I feel the need for some bludgeoning.)

I have decided on a code name for the release of 0.3.0: "Resurrection". (Seems fitting for a project that hasn't had any public activity for about 18 months.) Haven't been able to get much else done, though. I'm looking at releasing 0.3.0 in about a week and a half (sans Murphy).

Finally got alphacentauri up and running. Solaris is slightly more amenable once gcc is installed. Slightly.

I decided to take the plunge and updated my main server to potato ("yes-its-really-frozen-this-time"). The only painful part was downloading 250 megs over a 56K modem. Took me three nights to download it all, but thanks to apt, the only problem I encountered was due to bind's config changing locations.

Autoconf, et al
I've come to the conclusion that Autoconf and friends were written by a sadist. That and libtool is braindead. (It's no wonder that the Debian libtool hackaround uses "-D__LIBTOOL_IS_A_FOOL__").

I've also decided that I hate imake equally virulently. Perhaps slightly more. After all, imake is really only useful when your tree is dependent on X11. Otherwise, it sucks large asteroids through micropipettes. Two quotes seem appropriate:

  • "All software sucks, only the degree to which it sucks varies."
  • "It's kinda like a jet engine: it sucks in one end, and blows out the other."

This morning, we recieved a Sparc from Sun so that we'd have a test platform before we send our product down to them. Set it up, and lo and behold, there's a problem with the root filesystem and we don't have (and can't guess) the root password. <sarcasm>Fun...</sarcasm>

We finally get the root password, and I proceed to move in. Download all the GNU/GNUish tools we need (autoconf et al, bash, ssh, and gzip (to unpack them all)). I go to compile gzip, and I am reminded of (another reason) why I dislike Sun: No cc. Can't even compile the darned tools. &grumble;

At least I got to christen the box: alphacentauri. Seemed fitting, somehow.

Got JIG-generated sourcecode to build finally. (It helps if generated code not cause compilation errors because of the generated part.) Things are looking good for a 0.3.0 release middle of this month.

Slow got interviewed by yesterday, and the interview is up. I'm mentioned in passing (about halfway down, "one fellow" is me...), which is pretty darned cool. I hope this interview gives Entity a real boost.

Of course, this also means (in Slow's words) that I have to do it, "or be marked a liar for all eternity."

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