This Thursday, I'm off to see HP demonstrating some snazzy server kit in Reading. Unfortunately, though, the choice of location seems a tad unworkable -- it's apparently at Oracle Parkway, and Google Mapping it brings up 'Oracle Centre' as a suggested search. Fair enough, it looks like the same area! So anyway...
Last night I had an epiphany of sorts. I've just finished reviewing a new Linux game for the magazine, and as I got up to go home it occurred to me, "this game was hardly advanced; how come there's nothing like it in the open source world?"
I wrote an SDL tutorial for LXF many issues ago, the infamous "Trout Wars" series. But if you followed that tutorial all the way through you might remember that the levels and enemies were loaded at run-time from text files, which meant that you could change various parts of the game just by editing the text files.
Here at LXF Towers, we let no geographical boundaries get in the way of our reporting. Be it Barcelona, Paris or San Francisco, when there's an interview to be done, Team LXF scurries around the globe like a crazy Linux-using ferret holding a tape recorder. On Tuesday, I took the long trek to Bristol to chat with Kristian Van Der Vliet (aka Vanders), the lead developer behind Syllable.
Patents are granted in the UK and other countries because the idea is non-obvious, and the developers deserve sole use of the new technology for a period of time. They last for varying amounts of time depending on the country, but it seems that 20 years is about the average. 20 years of monopoly on an idea seems like a long time, particularly in the fast moving world of computer science.
Sitting in a traffic jam in Doncaster over the Christmas holidays, I became aware that I had forgotten the French word for traffic jam. Rather than accept the grim slide into forgetful feeble-mindedness, I went to France for a week in January to brush up on my language skills. Here are some of my findings.
A number of people have been discussing the spreadsheets roundup in LXF76, particularly the 1/10 score I awarded to KSpread. It's a tribute to the increasing maturity of the KDE community that most of the comments were constructive, forward-looking and objective. Others weren't quite so fun to read.
Either way, I think the KOffice guys deserve a few pointers to clarify the review, so I picked out just some of the more interest comments that people have made. Here they are, along with my responses:
I think I've seen it all now. Whatever kind of hobbies people take up, they invariably find ways to prove that they're better than others. Look, the spoiler on my fancy roller skate is 3.2 cm wider than yours! I'm the best! Hey, you're not as good as me, because I drink wine that's six months older than the junk you swig. Oh, and I'm far cooler than you could ever be, because I use -fomit-frame-pointer in my CFLAGS. Hah!
Dramatic news this week. We’ve decided to add ‘Autopackage’ to the Linux Format A-Z style guide (http://linuxformat.co.uk/writers, grammar watchers!). Software in the magazine is italicised, so up until now we were using “an Autopackage file”, but we’ve decided that the technology has reached the tipping point, so to speak, and deserves to join the Roman ranks of RPM and Deb with its very own 'Autopackage'. Marvellous!