Behdad Esfahbod's daily notes on GNOME, Pango, Fedora, Persian Computing, Bob Dylan, and Dan Bern!

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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July 2003
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Current Posts
McEs, A Hacker Life
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I NEVER run Windows in real life, I may run that in a virtual world, simulated for me by VMWare.


Unemployed by MS because of blogging

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Sometimes, you just feel like banging your head against The Wall...

Monday, October 27, 2003

A few years ago, venture capitalists wouldn't fund a software startup if its product wasn't for Windows. Now they won't fund anything that runs on Windows either.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

George Fong (george hunterpage com) in linux-sony insue com:

In the meantime, I built a desktop workstation from an old server.
Installation from scratch, including transferring data and all my
personal settings etc took less than an hour :-) I did have some problem
getting Xine to read DVDs though .... until I remembered that this
desktop only had a CD reader in it .....


Monday, October 20, 2003

Dear Mr. MeEs,

The GNOME Foundation would like to extend an invitation for you to participate in our annual GNOME Summit to be held on November 22nd, 23rd and 24th. The conference will be held at Brooklyn College in New York City.

The conference committee recognizes your work as software maintainer and main developer of GNU FriBidi and your membership on the Unicode Committee, as well as your Persian translation work for GNOME. It would be most valuable for the GNOME project, if you are able to join the other key software developers and educators.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any additional information.

Timothy Ney
Executive Director

 Free Is More Than Gratis

This is the English translation of the stickers a friend from Hamakor has sent me from Israel. The stickers are in Hebrew, with a Linux Tux and their own logo on it. earlier this year I said on an Israeli list that if I had such a sticker, I would stick it in my office, and I'm going to do that. Humm, no, not on my laptop! Anyone with nice stickers? Send me to Box #396, 81 St Mary St, Toronto, M5S 1J4. Thanks.

Update: I did stick it in my office. I changed address, don't send to the address above. Contact me for new address ;-).

 Damn DVD Regions

It was today that I found out how to change the DVD zone of my drive on Windows, and changed it from 2 to 1, as it was purchased in Uk, and now I'm in Canada. BTW, I've got a few DVDs from UK... The amazing fact that maybe you have not noticed yet, is that all this shit is in software. You never get an invalid region error in Linux, say with xine, mplayer, .... Cool, eh?

 Stability, Windows vs Linux

It's not just that Linux is more stable than Windows in core operating system functions, that means it almost never hangs (if you don't use latest developmental unstable kernels), there's another side to that, which is: Windows is more stable in GUI functionality than Linux, so that when it crashes when playing an specific second of a movie, it keeps crashing there all the time, but on Linux, all you need to do is a kill -9 and rerun the application and it plays like a charm!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I upgraded to Rawhide!

After doing two distro upgrades, you may come up with some duplicated packages. Here's where this script came handy:

rpm -qa |
awk -F- '{OFS=FS; if (NF>1) NF-=2; print $0'} |
sort |
uniq -c |
grep -v " 1" |
grep -v gpg-pubkey |
cut -f 2 |
grep -v kernel |
while read x;
rpm -q $x |
awk '{if(i)print s; i=1; s=$0}';
done |
xargs rpm -e

Yes, it's a real pipeline!


Got a working Fedora Core 0.95, simply doing yum upgrade worked out. Did patched rc.sysinit, and resolved .rpmsave and .rpmnew files. Mozilla and Epiphany have that annoying Persian entry bug fixed, so Persian support seems perfect.

 GNOPPIX 0.6.0-beta1

Just downloading it. Released a few hours ago.


This post on /. contains links to many projects I'm studying these days. Right now I'm reading Gnome HIG, next would be to read Still upgrading to Fedora Core 0.95 using friendly 'yum upgrade'. Fullstop.

Sunday, October 05, 2003
 Python again

I have to learn Python tonight. Last week I did some. It's cool.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Man, the way fedora-devel list is going, in a release or two we sould have a completely different desktop. One that beats anything like XP or so. I mean in package management, MIME association, accessablity, hardware detection, hotplug handling, ... Cool!


title Fedora Core (2.4.22-1.2061.nptl)
        root (hd0,1)
        kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.22-1.2061.nptl ro root=/dev/hda2 hdc=ide-scsi acpi=on idebus=66 resume=/dev/hda6
        initrd /boot/initrd-2.4.22-1.2061.nptl.img
title Legacy Proprietary Experimental Code Can
        rootnoverify (hd0,0)
        chainloader +1


Dear user,

As we all know you're dumb and you can not learn to use a package
manager ever. To ease your pain we've decided not to inflict you the
so-called "dependency hell" and provide you an autonomous application.
Just click on its auto-update menu and it will download everything you
need, we swear it.

Of course when you've done you'll just have to do a cpan refresh, tell
xemacs to auto-update itself, your movie player to download new codecs,
mozilla to download a langage pack and a few themes and by the way did
you know about this wonderful openoffice macro that will help you update
your spellchecker ?

To help you keep up with updates we've thoughtfully provided a "time to
update" popup that will remind you every few weeks you need to keep up
with us. To avoid any misunderstanding we designed it to be completely
different from the swarm of update popups you deal with every day.

Since another application might update some libraries we depend on at
an inconvenient time, we've provided you with a private copy of all the
dependencies we need. You can be sure no one will mess with their
configuration files or change their format, since we also use a private
copy of these files. God forbid it was trampled on by one of those nasty
control panel thingies ! The system has no business telling us what
fonts to use.

We swear we'll keep up with security fixes for all this peripheral
uninteresting stuff, at least as long as it doesn't interfere with our
application wellbeing but you won't mind because we know best and you
trust us. To avoid migration breakage we even use different
configuration files for each version. You just have to re-enter the few
scores of options our app use and you're done ! No risk of automated
conversion mess-up whatsoever ! The app will even refuse to start till
you've filled the four screens of configuration to prevent mess-ups !

You might need to get yourself a new disk of pay for a broadband link,
but that's truly trivial and you should thank us to help you keep with
your times. We're pleased to inform you we're working on a bootable
standalone CD that will drop you in your preferred application without
having to worry about the system altogether. For the time being we've
implemented a 100% user-side install so you won't have to worry about
nasty unix permissions. Just click the setup icon and the whole app will
install itself in Wonderful Technologies\Wonderful Technologies
Application Plus Professional\6.6 SR6\ in your workspace. And it only
takes 300 Mb per user!

We stay committed to provide products that work now no matter what
happened before they arrive,


Regarding you question on why you can't print from Wonderful
Technologies Application Plus Professional we're sorry to inform you
update of the print library is not scheduled before the release of
Wonderful Technologies Application Plus Professional Entreprise 7 first
quarter of next year. That it works with the rest of the system is
purely a fluke of your imagination and due to you system provider
bundling an unstable untested printing backend too early. You're better
of with the Obsolete Corp backend we provide now - it has been tested a
full two days with my nephew's inkjet printer. Hopefully our app-on-cd
system will take care of those regrettable incidents soon. In the
meanwhile we advise you to buy an Expensive Systems LaserColourWriter
9000000000000 which are known to work with Wonderful Technologies
Application Plus Professional (at least for the american models). They
even come bundled with vouchers for other Wonderful Technologies great
products !


If you can't afford an Expensive Systems LaserColourWriter 9000000000000
my nephew just wrote me we wants to sell its inkjet printer. JUST CALL !


Shoot, finally released Wine RPM for rh9. Waiting for 0.94 one: Waiting - / | \ - / | \ - / | - ... Fedora Compatible Packages is distributing the cool packages that were put out of due to legal problems in between the merger with Red Hat. These packages include, but are not limited to, xine, mplayer, and xmule.

I'm having fun with these repo concept that has got it's way in Fedora. So debian beats in package management no more. Currently I have the following repos, configured for up2date, yum, and apt-get (apt-rpm):

name=Red Hat Linux $releasever - $basearch - Base

name=Red Hat Linux $releasever - Updates

name=Fedora Linux / stable for Red Hat Linux $releasever ($basearch)

name=Fedora Linux / testing for Red Hat Linux $releasever ($releasever)

name=Fedora Linux / unstable for Red Hat Linux $releasever ($basearch)

[livna-stable] Fedora Compatible Packages (stable)

[livna-unstable] Fedora Compatible Packages (unstable)

[livna-testing] Fedora Compatible Packages (testing)

name=Test Linux 2.6-test prerelease kernels for RHL9/rawhide


It's quite easy to use Linux,
and forget that should contribute back.

It's quite easy to use a distro,
and switch to a better one when one's out,
and to say that was not my distro.

Sure, using Linux is so easy,
and complicated too.



One of the best things in Fedora is that Havoc Pennington is so active there. BTW, he's a Red Hat employed. His project is the right one, and their guidelines and specs are getting more and more implemented in Fedora.

Thursday, October 02, 2003
 More GNOME 2.4

Let me tell you what works out of the box in this Fedora: Nautilus burning CDROMs by drag-n-drop!
More: Panels are now all unified as a single type of panel. Locking applets is available too.
And well, as like the previous version, Persian support works everywhere: Chattin Persian in both GAIM and XChat! Epiphany, the new default browser seems to be a good one too.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003
 GNOME 2.4 Rules!

It simply does. Start reading release notes, and also here.


One of the wonderful tools in this new GNOME 2.4, is the tool called Zenity. It's done by Glynn Foster, and replaces the old gdialog. Have a look at it yourself, in short, it provides user input dialogs in shell scripts, kind of what the old dialog tool does, but really enhanced.

 At first, It was only God

... then Fedora was born.

It rebooted, and the hard part started: Porting all my hacks and configurations to the new one. I was really wondered how these Red Hat have fixed what I used to fix myself in Red Hat Linux 9! After configuring small things here and there, I went to patch the boot script /etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit which I hack for many things, and guess what? Many of my hacks have been already done there, or were nonissues!

One more thing: Some small things I never couldn't configure to work, started working! DRI for XFree86 on a 2.4 kernel is one of them. BTW, the bad thing is that after a week and a dozen of tries, I still cannot compile their kernel :(.

 Fedora Core 0.94 Welcomed

Well, long time man I didn't write here. Important thing happened: I spent three hours in my Theory of Distributed Computing class on Sep 26 to install Fedora Core 0.94 (aka Red Hat Linux Severn Beta 2) that was released on Sep 25 on my Vaio laptop. The down side is that I missed the class, so I have to read the paper tomorrow before the class. Actually I'm having lots of fun with this new thing. The cool parts include a recent cool configured 2.4 kernel, and state-of-the-art GNOME 2.4!