• The Windows UI

    If you have read all my previous posts, you probably deduced that I'm a free software fan. Yes, I am, and I love free software. However, as many people, I'm forced to use Windows systems from time to time, specially for university homework. [Continue reading]

  • Changing NetBSD's console colors

    Do you remember the good old days (playing with your Amstrad, MSX, ...) where the screen was something like yellow on blue? You can now do this in NetBSD! [Continue reading]

  • Framebuffer on NetBSD

    I've got very surprised today to find that NetBSD has a framebuffer device on the i386 platform (in fact any which uses the vga(4) driver). Well, certainly, I first saw it in NetBSD/mac68k (where there is no real text mode, so it must be emulated) some weeks ago, but was stranged to not seeing it in NetBSD/i386. [Continue reading]

  • Tips to create good patches

    We've seen the basics about patches: what they are, how they work, and how to create them. Now, I'm going to give you some tips to make your patches better. [Continue reading]

  • The FluxBox window manager

    GNOME 2.8 is going to be beta real soon now, which reminds me that I should start working on its port to NetBSD through pkgsrc. This means I have to zap all my desktop packages and configuration, and update them one by one. The operation is very, very time consuming, so I will be several days without GNOME installed (well... not really a problem ;-). So I installed FluxBox 0.9.9 today... Wow! What a difference from the stable versions! (0.9 is unstable, in case you don't know.) It finally supports always on top (which I need to watch TV), edge attraction (I'd prefer edge resistance, but never mind), it's very usable through the keyboard and is really fast. Ah! And it supports tabs; I haven't got used to them yet, but many people finds them very useful (so do I in the web browser or in chats). It feels like if I had just bought a new computer. [Continue reading]

  • Creating patches using CVS

    Two days ago I introduced patch files. Let's see how to generate them when the sources you are modifying are controlled by a version management system: CVS. (Note that others also have this feature; just read their documentation.) [Continue reading]

  • GNOME 2.7.4 released

    The GNOME project has just published the 2.7.4 version of its desktop environment. This version is the last one with "big" changes; the branch has now entered the API/ABI freeze and the module and feature freeze. Further versions will not include new features; just new translations, fixes and general polishment. [Continue reading]

  • Understanding patches

    A patch is a plain text file that describes the differences (and nothing else) between two different files. They are a very convenient way to provide modifications to programs - you modify the sources, generate a patch and submit it back to the mainstream author - as they describe exactly what you changed. The original can easily check your modifications and decide if they are wrong or not. [Continue reading]

  • Compiled vs. interpreted languages

    A friend of mine has asked me today what the difference between compiled and interpreted languages is; so here is the answer for her and anybody else who needs it. [Continue reading]

  • Scheduling timetables

    I've to enrol myself in the university again - 5th semester - this Friday. The first problem is to choose the subjects I want to do; there are a lot of different subjects to choose from. But when chosen, the big problem is to schedule them so that they don't overlap in the timetable. [Continue reading]

  • Teleworking considered bad

    Gah, I forgot to post a message yesterday (hmm... does anybody care?). Anyway, let's talk about what I wanted to look at yesterday. While doing my English homework on Monday, I came across a quite interesting article about teleworking, titled Second Sight, from Guardian Unlimited. [Continue reading]

  • Build your own PRAM battery

    My Mac has never worked properly since I got it, as its internal battery, which keeps PRAM data, was dead. PRAM stores a lot of information (more than you could imagine, if you come from the PC world), so losing its data is very annoying (aside of producing strange system problems). So I decided to fix it today. [Continue reading]

  • Playing with NetBSD keymaps

    Having configured my mac68k to boot with NetBSD, I wasn't very surprised to see that it doesn't have an Spanish keymap. So... first task, write one. Yeah, I could get used to the us mapping, but hey, I want to hack the sources ;-) [Continue reading]

  • Deprexification

    Have you ever used a Mac? No matter what you answered, there is an interesting concept that makes things a lot easier when it comes to installing and/or deinstalling applications. To install a new application, you just unpack it in the directory you want. To remove it, you just remove the folder. You can even move that folder to other locations and the program will keep running as well as before. [Continue reading]

  • Got the Mac's ethernet card working

    As I commented a while ago, I got a Macintosh Performa 630. Fortunately for me, it came with a regular Ethernet network card; it kinda worked with the Mac OS that came installed with the machine (7.something). However, since I zapped the disk and installed MacOS 8.1, I haven't been able to get the card working again... until today. [Continue reading]

  • My solution for the 'shared directories' problem

    The previous post explained a problem in pkgviews WRT directories used by a program where other packages can install files; the most typical example are directories holding plugins. It also outlined two possible solutions, or better said, workarounds. I'll explain my solution here, which is already implemented but waiting for approval. [Continue reading]

  • The 'shared directories' problem in pkgviews

    As I explained in a previous post, pkgviews enables the installation of each package in its own depot directory. To accomplish this, the package gets configured with a different prefix (for autoconf users, using --prefix flag) for each package. [Continue reading]

  • Why learning English is a good idea

    This is an article I have had to write for my English classes as homework. So, instead of throwing it to the trash after it gets reviewed tomorrow by my teacher, I'm posting it here. Nothing specially interesting, but it may change your mind about English ;-) [Continue reading]

  • An introduction to pkgviews

    pkgviews is a new technology in pkgsrc; in fact it's not that new, but it is getting popular nowadays. What does it provide over the regular pkgsrc? It lets you install every package in an independent directory, called the depot directory. Lets say you install the buildtool-0.16 package; all of its files will end up in /usr/pkg/packages/buildtool-0.16, and nothing will be installed outside that location. Which are the advantages of this approach? On the first hand, all the files coming from a single package are grouped in a single directory, making things a lot clearer when searching for files. On the other hand, it allows the concurrent installation of multiple versions of the same program. This last reason is specially important, as it simplifies the process of updating a shared library (which is a PITA if has changed its major version number) or updating a server with a very short offline window (consider PostgreSQL, where you have to dump the database using the old version and import it in the new one). [Continue reading]

  • Need new music? Get Nightwish!

    So, you are bored of always listening to the same music in your collection. Maybe it's time to get some new discs. If that's what you are thinking, give a try to Nightwish, a Finnish band. You won't regret about this choice ;) Their style is often described as gothic metal, although I've also seen them classified as opera metal. Never mind, just listen to them and then make your own conclusions. [Continue reading]

  • The seahorse project

    Seahorse is a GNOME frontend for the GnuPG utility. This program is quite nice but, unfortunately, it has been unmaintained for a long time. I've just seen in the main page of the program that they are looking for someone to take over the project maintainership. This post is just a call for volunteers. I would like to help that project (it seems a nice way to get more involved in GNOME), but I feel I don't have the time to do it :( And it could be good to have an up-to-date program that can compete with kgpg. [Continue reading]

  • Ease the way to plug your earphones

    I was tired of having to manually connect the earphones every night to my computer and disconnect the speakers. So I decided to put a solution: construct a small "switch". All you need are some cheap pieces and some hours to work on it (how many depends on your experience). [Continue reading]

  • Silencing the computer

    I've decided to try to silence my computer a bit; it made too much noise. So, after reading several articles from 7Volts, as well as other sites, I've done some computer "modding" today, and the noise has decreased, but the overall temperature has increased a bit, *sigh*. Guess I'll have to tune it a bit more. [Continue reading]

  • Test Driven Development

    TDD? Test Driven Development? Don't you know this concept? I didn't, until two or three weeks ago. TDD is, simply put, a development technique where test code is written before the code itself, so that the test fails before the funcionality is added and passes later. Furthermore, you'll end up with a complete suite of regression tests, useful to check if a new feature (or bugfix) breaks any other part. [Continue reading]

  • Buildtool 0.16 released

    I'm proud to annouce the sixteenth version of Buildtool (0.16), the newest and coolest version ever published (hmm... this holds true for all new versions so far). Don't know what is it? Just go to the website and start reading! [Continue reading]

  • The Kaffe packages in pkgsrc

    At last! I'm able to go through my TODO list and work on the items in it :-) Today I've chosen one that said "Improve the Kaffe packages" (in pkgsrc). I'm going to explain why they were wrong from pkgsrc's point of view and needed to be changed. [Continue reading]

  • Posting messages with Drivel

    Despite Livejournal beeing a free service, it allows you to post new messages to your blogs through external applications. This is much easier than having to log into their website and write the message from within your browser. [Continue reading]

  • Make your prompt more visible

    If you are like me, you'll probably have found yourself with multiple command lines on a terminal, together with their respective output. Searching those lines in the screen can be difficult, specially if your prompt is long (and with that, I mean more than 4 characters or so). A solution is to make your prompt more visible. How? Putting it in boldface mode. [Continue reading]

  • Got BSD Hacks

    I've just got a copy of the recently published BSD Hacks book, by Dru Lavigne. Back in February, I wrote two little hacks (specially addressed to the book), titled "Log a headless server remotely" and "Automate NetBSD package builds", that were added to it. Wow, I'm really happy to see the printed results :-) [Continue reading]