Pascal's TechBlog

Friday, October 28, 2005

Corbicula anti virus: GTK ownage

Worked a bit on Corbicula... I finally got the ScanningDialog not to resize when a large file path was displayed in the FileScannedLabel.

The solution was beautiful, many GTK widgets have a builtin property called Ellipsize, when it's set to (for example) Middle, when the file path becomes too large to display within the current window size, the middle part of the file path is replaced with dots.

Conclusion GTK rocks...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 2 begins to reek of MS Office

It seems the new 2 has autoindentation features just like MS Office has. I start typing '1. Stuff' and push enter, and bam: I've got a numbered list in Writer. It made me weep bricks! My beloved is doing stuff I'm not telling it to do. I mean, I don't have any major disabilities, so I'm quite capable to press the 'Numbering On/Off' button whenever I want that. Why it is that modern office suites have default settings adequite for the severely disabled?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Corbicula anti virus: translation

I've worked a bit on Corbicula this afternoon, I added a 'Translate This Application...' menu item which links to my Rosetta project for Corbicula. I also made some other minor changes, nothing really worth mentioning...

Corbicula anti virus: The GNOME HIG

I worked a bit on GNOME HIG compliancy this week, there are only some minor improvements to report:
  • I changed Corbicula's main application window from the deprecated GnomeApp to a plain GtkWindow.
  • I removed the About button on the toolbar which shouldn't have been there in the first place.
  • In the Scanning Dialog I changed the 'OK' button into a 'Delete Selected' button, this way the user doesn't delete his files accidentally.
  • In the Scanning Dialog I changed the 'Cancel' button into a 'Close' button, I'm still not so sure about this one... Maybe I'll change it into a 'Abort' button later, I'm gonna have to sleep on this one.
  • The expanders also got removed from the ScanningDialog, they weren't that useful, they got replaced by frames which have a standard indentation, which looks very appropriate.
  • I managed to line up my widgets a bit, this looks very tidy.
The next two weeks are probably going to be a bit slow, I'll try to have a Ubuntu package ready at the end of that period. No promises though...

Beagle got hungry

And subsequently ate my filesystem!

Hmm it seems I was just struck with the same issue as Jeff Waugh had during his talk at the UvA. Lucky for me, I quickly recognized the issue and removed user_xattr option from my fstab followed by a reboot.

I actually lost some data for the first time in my life a file of my Corbicula source code. Though thanks to the good folks at I had a spare copy in CVS (which I absolutely hate).

Friday, October 21, 2005

VMware Player in Breezy Badger

I read about VMware releasing it's Player software today, it actually a very nice concept, especially because it's free (as in beer). The basic concept is that it does exactly what it says it does: VMware Player just 'plays' images. This means you can't create your own images. It's really nice to try other distributions, they can just release their VMware image as demoware.

Anyway because Breezy Badger actually uses two compilers installing VMware Player is a bit of a mess (to no fault of VMware, Inc.), but here goes:
  1. Finish a normal install, but don't let the installer automatically run
  2. Install gcc-3.4 and the appropriate linux-headers-2.6.12-9-* through Synaptic
  3. export CC=gcc-3.4
  4. Then run
Good luck!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Jeff Waugh @ UvA

I went to see a presentation on GNOME and Ubuntu by Jeff Waugh at the University of Amsterdam yesterday. I really had a blast watching Jeff's presentation, he talked about a wide variety of topics:
  • GNOME Human Interface Guidelines
  • A selection of Mono applications like, Tomboy, F-Spot and Beagle
  • Ubuntu background and management
  • Bazaar, Launchpad, Rosetta, etc.
While wandering through Amsterdam before the presentation yesterday we took some stupid photo's:

No, they didn't have any U's, so we had to make do.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Windows XP on Cable TV

Last night I was zapping a bit, when I zapped past a monitor channel (which usually displays some graphs), I noticed something weird... I was actually receiving a Windows XP desktop through my Cable TV.

Anyway, the monitoring channel probably didn't run on dedicated hardware, but a cheap desktop pc with a tv-out, and somehow the monitoring application got minimized!

Here's the proof:

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Corbicula anti virus: The big merge

I've finally merged the Scanning dialog and the Results dialog into a single Scanning Dialog, this basically means the Corbicula user interface will be less 'pop-uppy'. Also the user can now see the infected files show up as they are being found:

Corbicula anti virus: CVS import

Yep, I've done it, no regrets. I just imported all my Corbicula code into my CVS repository at sourceforge. So now it's public, you can take a look at my code.

Please bear with me, this is extreme alpha quality code. It still needs some cleanups and most important, documentation. I've been putting off learning to work with MonoDoc, but sooner or later I'll have to face the fact, I have little choice...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Mordheim: City of the Damned

I dug out my old Mordheim: City of the Damned miniatures today. I really had a blast battling with my Possessed once more. Mordheim remains a great game, it's a very good table top strategy game with a touch of roleplaying. Beside that fact, the game is very convenient and affordable because you don't need dozens of miniatures to play. When you don't need dozens of miniatures to play, that means you don't need to lug them around either.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Breezy, Beagle, Banshee, MonoDevelop

I managed to get Breezy properly installed today. It's been a blast! The install procedure now mounts existing NTFS drives by default and it has a progress bar while unpacking all the packages. USplash also rocks. They also managed to get in a new GNOME splash logo and a new default background, both of them are very nice.

After getting the import stuff set up, I managed to get Beagle running. It has been an enlightening experience to be able to search all your 'stuff' in matter of seconds. It doesn't seem to work with X-Chat logs, which is a shame, but not a big deal since it's actually still beta.
I also took a look at Banshee, and to be honest I was sold immediately, it has completely replaced Rhythmbox for my music playing needs. The only downside is that I still need to use The Sound Juicer to rip my music because Banshee's CDDB juju doesn't seem to work, but that point is moot anyway, Banshee doesn't give me enough control over the ripping process.

Finally I restored parts of my old homedir and started working on Corbicula again. I didn't get far. I managed to port Corbicula to the newer libraries which are supplied with Breezy, but before I knew it MonoDevelop hung itself and I haven't been enable to succesfully start MonoDevelop since...

[edit: I tried MonoDevelop and it just worked again, while having my issue I was starting MonoDevelop under high load, I probably wasn't patient enough]

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

An Old Laptop: Debian 3.0

I wasn't really happy with my RedHat 6.2 set-up after all, I decided to give Debian 3.0 a go, at least Woody has been maintained up and until June this year, making it less of a security hazard.

Anyway I'm baking a new lightweight kernel (2.4.32-rc1) as I'm typing this...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

An Old Laptop: RedHat 6.2

I've been playing with an old laptop, a Compaq Armada 4120T. It seems quite problematic to get a decent operating system installed with a graphical user interface. Windows NT 4 wasn't an option because it didn't have a CD-ROM drive.

After a lot of fiddling, I've finally settled on RedHat 6.2. Yes, you didn't misread that! The nice thing about RedHat 6.2 is that it still uses XFree86 3.3.6 and KDE 1.1.2, which are easy on the resources. KDE is actually quite responsive when the applications have finished loading.

The only downside of RedHat 6.2 is that it has been unmaintained since 2003. Now I don't intended to expose any services to the network, but it's still a risk. Now the most important part of getting this machine secure once more is going to be the linux kernel. The latest kernel RedHat supplies is a heavily patched 2.2.24, so that's not too bad, but still 2.2.27-rc2 fixes at least 9 security related issues in the linux kernel since 2.2.24.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

StarOffice free for education

I just read that Sun Microsystems has made StarOffice available for free for students and teachers. This is a potentially good move for Sun, but won't have much affect if they don't combine this with a good marketing push.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Corbicula anti virus: steady as she goes

Today I did some more GNOME VFS juju. Now it adds and removes mount points automagically. Well actually, it doesn't, I confess, I cheated, it doesn't really add and remove anything, it's just that on a Mount and Unmount event the entire list is regenerated, but the user doesn't notice a thing. I did this mainly because dynamically adding and removing stuff was very hard to do, and involved lots of hard to maintain code, so I decided to make thing simple. Another positive side effect of regenerating the entire Scan Target ListView is that all the items in the ListView will always appear in the same order, no matter in which order they we're mounted.

I also managed to make a Flash screencast for your viewing pleasure. Please do remember Corbicula is still alpha software (at best).

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Corbicula anti virus: GNOME VFS

It took me a while to understand how to work with GNOME VFS and VolumeMonitor, mainly because it took me a while to notice that VolumeMonitor is a singleton. After discovering that fact I've made some serious progress:

There still are some remaining issues:
First, the Pixbuf images are loaded straight from the filesystem using a hardcoded path to the 24x24 images, this probably isn't the way to go and will probably need fixing in the near future.
Second, there are still some entries left (which are scrolled out of sight), which need to removed from the Target TreeView in a proper manner.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Corbicula anti virus: status update

After porting ClamAv# from Mono.Posix to Mono.Unix I thought Corbicula should be ported as well, as this involved little effort.

The Results Dialog now actually deletes infected files when their toggle is toggled on. The delete algorithm isn't sophisticated, it needs more refining, but the groundwork is already done.

I also did some research on Gnome VFS to replace the Target TreeView population algorithm, Gnome VFS seems nicely implemented, but documentation is lacking. It seems that VolumeMonitor provides an array of currently mounted Volumes, this could easily be used to populate the Target TreeView. The VolumeMonitor also has some events like OnVolumeMounted and OnVolumePreUnmount to keep the Target TreeView dynamically up to date. Looks promessing!

ClamAv# now ported to Mono.Unix

I worked a bit on ClamAv#, I finally ported ClamAvDemo from the low level API of Mono.Posix to the high level API of Mono.Unix. The Mono.Unix API really is a breeze...