Burn Info, burn!

There’s one thing the GNU project has done wrong (and thus the followers of it, like the Debian Linux distribution and others) and it is with their stupid preference to not provide proper man pages but instead insist that the user runs “info [whatever]”. In Debian you also very often have to install a separate doc package to get those info files, and I fail to see the logic in providing tools and libs etc without the proper docs. (and in fact in many cases the info page shows the man page until you get that proper package installed!)

Man pages may not be the best format in the world for docs, but I rather have a proper man page for all commands and then I’ll go html online for extended information. Info is just plain annoying and we should bury it. The sooner the better!

And yes, it is not a coincidence that no project I’m actively driving as a proper contributor are producing any Info documents…

curl on z/os, symbian and os21

The curl project continues to conquer new markets and it continues to get ported to more platforms and operating systems. Just recently there have been reports about…

  1. A port to the IBM z/OS system, with the official IBM info about it being found here.
  2. Dan Fandrich ported it to the Symbian OS
  3. Christian Vogt mentioned that he had no troubles porting and using it on OS21

I’m trying to maintain a list of all CPUs and operating systems we have known ports being run on and if you have curl and/or libcurl running on another than the ones I list at the bottom of the INSTALL document, please let me know!

Swedish Top Developers?

I find it hilarious that IDG.se out of all publications put together the “best developers in Sweden” and lists the top-75 ones (article in Swedish). It is funny because IDG is not exactly a place flooding over with technical (or any kind of in-depth) knowledge, so obviously they got this list by getting input from others and how on earth can they then compare person A against person B when they’ve been mentioned by different sources? Also, just lumping every kind of “developer” into the same pile and then trying to order them is also an interesting challenge. Clearly some of these devs are more project managers, theorists and similar, while others are hardcore kernel-hackers, C coders or Java dudes.

I don’t mean to bash the people present on this list, as I’m sure I would also liked being present if I had been that. I just think the list fits so well into IDG’s style of populistic journalism. The audience wants top-lists, let’s give them another one!

Or perhaps I’m just jealous that I’m not included! ūüėČ

More Means Less

Less is more it is said, and I can certainly subscribe to the reverse: more means less. The two primary open source projects I spend time in have been growing the last years, in source code contributions, but also in amount of users and in amount of contributors. I see the similar effects on myself and on my own role in both Rockbox and curl: I do more and more coordination, planning, admin work, talk (chatting on IRC, responding to mails etc) and “guidance” than actual coding work. My code/non-code work ratio has decreased massively.

This is not complaint, just an observation!

It makes sense to me that early on in a project, and until there’s enough momentum to get the project to more or less drive itself, it is important with a driving core that pushes the project forward. That makes sure every little peace fits together and gets the proper attention to make it a good product and project. As time goes by, more and more people get that knowledge, that ability and the amount of people that drive the project forward increases.

So being an “elderly” in both these projects, I’m more of an advisor, talker, tinker, admin, than a lead programmer now. This is at least most notable in Rockbox, since we have 80 committers now and I think at least 50 of them are active.

I probably spend roughly the same amount of time: somewhere around 2-3 hours/day on my open source projects.

Of course, in my particular case exactly now, I’ve also just recently ramped up my working hours and find myself trying to get accustomed to this life with full-time work, a two-kids-and-wife family and several time-consuming spare time projects. It takes a great deal of juggling and less sleeping.

Nothing is forever so I’m certain my situation will change over time. I’m determined to continue hacking in both projects. And my juggling skills will improve…

Swedish Broadband Usage

The other day I fell over this interesting report published by ITIF called Explaining International Broadband Leadership (108 pages 3MB PDF) that listed USA and 30 OECD countries and their broadband usage and the report came to numerous conclusions and advice why the US is falling behind in the ranks and so on. Quite interesting read in general.

In their ranking table, Sweden is listed at #6. I immediately noticed the column called “Household penetration” (subscribers per household). Hm, isn’t that the amount of households that have broadband? It says 0.54 for Sweden. 54% broadband users among the households 2007?

We have this organization in Sweden called “Statistiska Centralbyr√ɬ•n” in Swedish and “Statistics Sweden” in english. They basically work with gathering and presenting statistics on Sweden and Swedish related matters. They’ve produced a huge report (in Swedish – 1MB, 256 pages PDF) called “Private citizens’ use of computers and internet 2007” (my translation). They mention that during spring 2007, 71% of the Swedes used broadband internet from their homes. (Over 80% had internet access in their homes, which makes 12% of the users not using broadband…)

Isn’t there a shockingly huge difference between 54 and 71? And this is just a quick number I could check myself for my country. How off is then the other countries’ values? The ITIF report doesn’t even try to describe how they got their numbers so it isn’t easy to see how they got this. The Swedish report does in fact also contain a comparison with other European countries, and the numbers shown for them don’t match the ones in the ITIF report either! (But the order of top broadband using countries is roughly the same.)

I’m also a bit curious on how they got the numbers for the “average download speed in Mbps” column, but I don’t have any numbers to cross-check for that.