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Stu's Diary - October 1999

Wednesday, 27th October 1999

Working lunch with one of my business partners, celebrating our escape from the successful completion of our work for Hewlett-Packard.

Tuesday, 26th October 1999

Other than a trip to the doctor, to get any injuries documented, just a quiet day, mainly spent on my guitar.

Too sore for T'ai Chi :(  I did a light warm-up and routine, just because I feel it stops me stiffening up too much.  All I can say is that it's a good job there's no T'ai Chi lesson this week (it's half-term).

Monday, 25th October 1999

Car insurance company.  And the approved repair centre.  Actually, I must say that I'm very very happy with how things have been handled so far ... nothing worse than believing you're the victim of an accident only to feel a victim of your insurer.

Oh, and the final part I need for the second SPARC workstation arrived this morning.  However, wiring it into the office can wait until I'm not feeling so sore.  And until I decide to go into the office!

Sunday, 24th October 1999

I was at the front of a 3 car pileup on the M4 this afternoon :(  No-one was seriously injured, fortunately, but I'm a bit shaken up and will be taking a few days off GNQS to deal with it.

Saturday, 23rd October 1999

Spent the day taking pipeclient apart ... I'm trying to track down the cause of jobs sticking in both the routing and arrival states (a problem I never see myself, which is why I'm having trouble fixing it).  Plan is to make sure I really understand how pipeclient was intended to work, improve the debugging code, and see if we can track down where things are going wrong.

Thursday, 21st October 1999

Spent the evening setting up Perforce, only to realise that what I'd done was not going to work :(  The idea of the two master and two submit trees is fine, but I may need to put them into two separate depots to achieve separate changelists.  Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, 20th October 1999

Okay - can't reproduce the SPARC compiler problem. :(  Nor can I reproduce the SPARC resource limit problem.  Both aspects of GNQS work absolutely fine here.

This is so frustrating.  We pursued donation of kit to help investigation of reported problems, and now we have the kit, we can't actually reproduce the problem :(

Tuesday, 19th October 1999

Good news today, on two fronts!

First off, the license file for the SPARC compiler has arrived ;-)  Once I've figured out how to install it, I can build some binary SPARC releases, and also investigate the compilation problems reported on Solaris.

Secondly, the license file for Perforce has arrived.  This means that, tomorrow evening, I can get the new GNQS source trees up and running on ;-)

Saturday, 16th October 1999

Today is definitely not a GNQS day.

I've got to sort out the fretboard on one of my guitars, get both guitars restrung (get some more strings first!) and scrounge a Marshall Valvestate guitar amp to see whether I want to get one or not.

Friday, 15th October 1999

Well, it turned out that the problem with the Sun adaptor was an incompatibility between my venerable (and venerated!) Viglen keyboard and the Sun adaptor itself.  This is a bit of a dilemma; I've grown very fond of that keyboard over the last eight years.  Sigh.  Time to go shopping for a replacement.

Had an ... erm ... interesting time getting the SPARC workstation networked.  Specifically, I didn't know how to set the default gateway for the workstation to point at the local router.  I couldn't find this in the supplied paper documentation, nor the manpages.  Tried the online documentation at (via a PC) to find that their web pages won't render in Microsoft's IE 5 :(  Ended up having to install Answerbook2 off the documentation CD (a CD which didn't originally ship with the workstation, I might add) just to find out.

I'm beginning to understand why Alan looks unimpressed when I complain about RedHat ;-)

I guess one of the key differences between many Linux distributions, and the commercial UNIX alternatives, is that the people behind the Linux distributions are used to, and influenced by, the more consumer-orientated world of PCs.


Looks like last night's GNQS v3.50.6 will be quickly followed by GNQS v3.50.7.  I missed out the Linux loaddaemon fix from Roman (most profuse apologies there) and also the fix for sensible people who don't have . in their root account's PATH (they're not that sensible, if they're compiling as root!).

So, enter stage left - Perforce [more].  I've installed it locally for now, and if my application for a free software license is successful, I'll make it available from as soon as possible.

I'm also now waiting for a license for the SPARC compiler ...

Thursday, 14th October 1999

The adaptor kit for the SPARC workstations arrived this morning!  Well, one of the adaptors arrived anyway; I'm promised the other RSN.

This has finally prompted the retirement of my venerable 17" monitor.  It's been with the GNQS project since the beginning (when I managed to convince my boss at the time that the SPARC workstation just had to go ;-)  Unfortunately, it's recently been playing up anyway (everything kept going yellow), and it can't handle the resolution of the SPARC workstations Sun kindly donated to the project.  Interestingly enough, the Sun workstations don't seem to work above 1024x768 with PCs running Windows 98 either ...

GNQS got a mention in Linux Weekly News ;-) [more]  Unfortunately, Slashdot didn't bother.  That's a shame.  GNQS may not have been GPL'd as long as the Linux kernel, but as a source tree I think (could be wrong) it's older than everything but Stallman's Emacs.  And it's certainly been successful.

The plan for this afternoon is to get at least one of the SPARC workstations up and running, and get SPARCworks installed so that I can investigate the Solaris installation problem before v3.50.6 production goes out tonight.


Ho hum.  No luck with getting the adaptor for the Sun workstation working.  Well, I can't wait any longer - time to clear enough room to set the workstation up on a spare desk in the office.  Tomorrow.  Which means that GNQS v3.50.6 doesn't have the fix for problems running SETUP on Solaris.

Okay - v3.50.6 has gone out the door.  I ended up having to diff the code to work out what changes have actually gone in.  Mental note - this is poor practice on my part.  I should keep a proper list - I used to after all!

And after this week's T'ai Chi course, I'm hurting far more than last week's.  Rob (our kindly instructor/teacher/whatever) did work us hard, but I think I'm actually in worse shape than I realised ;(

Wednesday, 13th October 1999

Generally speaking, this was a non-NQS day.

Tuesday, 12th October 1999

Slow day today.  Must be because it's gray outside.  Can't figure out why it's gray outside - the sky is lovely and clear.  Oh well.

Spent today working on more code for the web-based bug-reporting system.  There's nothing to show at all yet; I'm still putting the infrastructure into place.  This is going to be my priority between now and Christmas.

I've also got some bad news for GNQS users.  One night a week is now taken up with a night class; I'm thinking of taking up another night class.  Can't decide between photography, or finally learning to read music (I've been playing for 10 years now, and have never bothered to learn).  Either way, it'll mean not just another evening when I'm not available, but less time on other evenings too due to daily practice.

However, at the moment I'm not working for anyone, so I'm available during the day to do more work on GNQS.

Monday, 11th October 1999

Well, Thursday will mark exactly 5 years since my first release of what was then Monsanto NQS, back in 1994.  I've recently posted stories on this to both Slashdot and Linux Weekly News; maybe they'll even get posted.

GNQS v3.50.6 production will come out on Thursday. 

Friday, 8th October 1999

So much for catching up with email yesterday.  Got back from T'ai Chi last night and just crashed out.

However, I did manage to pick up a Destroyer Droid  to add to the many weird and wonderful things scattered around my office.  For some unknown reason, he seems to lean to the left a lot, so Kristi has named him Lurch ;-)

Today's emphasis is on looking into adding online bug-reporting and source control to the web site.  I'll be catching up with email in the evening.

Thursday, 7th October 1999

Time daemons.  Specifically NTP.  Yet another thing RedHat Linux doesn't seem to ship with (sigh).  However, once up and running, it did show up an interesting bug in Gnome's clock applet.

I'll catch up with my GNQS email this evening.

Wednesday, 6th October 1999

Spent the day in London.  Actually, it feels like I spent the day traveling to and from London :(

I was looking mainly for balanced audio cables fitted with 6.5mm jacks.  Unfortunately, most of the shop assistants didn't understand what I'd asked for, and none of the guitar shops (or pro-audio shops for that matter) actually had any.  Foyles and the Virgin Megastore both did better out of me ... ;-)

The Linux Expo show at Olympia was more interesting than expected.  The highlights for me were the Cobalt RaQ people and Perforce.  It's possible I'll be hosting a Cobalt RaQ over in the States soon.  And Perforce might just be the solution we need for source control management for GNQS.

Tuesday 5th October 1999

My apologies to everyone that I've been ignoring my email for the last couple of days.  Yesterday was Kristi's birthday, so I've been busy organising a day out for her (and spending today recovering!).

Tomorrow is Linux Expo UK day.  I'm not exhibiting - just going to see what it's like.  Also an excuse to have lunch with an old friend.

On the CD front, I've been listening to the latest Nine Inch Nails release - a double release called The Fragile.  Not bad ;-)  But, if you like folk and aren't stuffy about it, check out Snakefarm's release Songs From My Funeral.  Different, but very good.

And my copy of The Matrix finally arrived this morning.  The commentary sound track isn't one of the best, but hey - who cares? ;-)


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