Diary of a geek

April 2005
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

Andrew Pollock


Other people's blogs


RSS feed

Contact me

JavaScript required

Sunday, 03 April 2005

Pondering my future

I have to say that what Matthew Wilcox had to say regarding the Social Contract changes strikes a chord with me, and echoes the sentiments I've heard of other developers around the traps.

I hadn't been thinking about it too much until someone I respect greatly brought it up recently, and it made me think about it in about as much depth as Matthew probably has, and I didn't like it.

I definitely feel that calling the GR an "editorial change" was grossly misleading.

I guess I will have to consider whether I want to continue in the project once the new Social Contract starts to take effect on Etch.

Maybe Ubuntu is a more moderate alternative.

Like Matthew, I have an emotional attachmen to Debian. I firmly believe it is a technically superior Linux distribution. If Ubuntu builds on that strong foundation without some of the licensing fanaticism, maybe that's where I'm better off contributing my spare time...

[06:39] [debian] [permalink]

I'd like to be a Mr Mom

Sixty Minutes ran a story tonight about men being the "housewife".

I've wanted for a long time (once I had settled down and gotten married, and had kids) to be the one doing the domestic duties, provided it was economically feasible.

For a few years I've been jaded with the IT industry. I can't see myself being in it for the rest of my life. I think the realisation came when SecureNet was acquired by Betrusted. We scored a manager from the United States, and he was having one-on-ones with everyone. He remarked to me about how I'd been there 18 months and was a "veteran" (there had been significant staff turnover in those 18 months). It was like "Wow, you've been here 18 months! There's forever!"

This made me realise that if I was considered a "veteran" after 18 months to 2 years in a job, that I'd be looking at something like another 12 different jobs in my working life. I'd actually like to settle down in a job and be a 20 year veteran, not a 2 year one, and you just can't do that in IT. You either go bust, get bought, or the job gets so sucky that you just plain quit. So far, I've been in all of those situations in my 10 years (egad, it's been 10 years!) in the workforce.

I figure, if Sarah can earn enough money, and my investments can supplement that, why should I have to keep working? I love kids. I change a pretty mean nappy, I'm a clean freak (when I put in the effort). I could do Open Source stuff from home in my spare time (some mothers may laugh at me now, saying that it is a full-time job just being a parent).

I think most importantly, I'd like to be there for my kids. I've worked some pretty horrendous hours in jobs in the past, and I don't want to be working jobs like that when I have kids at home I could be spending time with.

I certainly don't agree with 60 Minutes calling the phenomenon a "social upheaval". Gawd, just because people aren't sticking to their gender stereotypes any more? Give me a break. I think it's a lifestyle and an economic decision. I know Sarah really enjoyed last year when I was a full-time student and not working at all. She had lunches made for her, all the housework got done, and I was a much nicer person to have around.

[05:06] [life] [permalink]

One assignment down

Whilst I don't necessarily agree with the motive for this particular assignment being one done in pairs, I have had a pretty fun time doing the actual work. It was nice to be able to openly collaborate on an assignment for a change.

I worked quite will with my partner, Tiane. We both have half a clue about Java, and we both seemed to be on a similiar wavelength. We were able to elaborate on our ideas really badly to each other, yet understand what we were trying to say and do, which was rather convenient.

In terms of efficiency, it probably wasn't all that good. I think we spent 3 sessions in the labs at uni for about 7 hours at a time, but the time seemed fairly productive. Doing the work in three sessions seemed to help us take a fresh approach to problems. We would solve something in 15 minutes that we'd previously been bashing our heads against in the previous session.

So I'm kind of hoping the next assignment will be a partner one as well, because it's more fun.

[04:48] [uni] [permalink]

Is Architecture: Any too much? (or If only one could control wanna-build more easily)

As I continue to wade through the backlog of mail in my debian-devel folder due to The Thread, I read a small thread starting with this message from Peter De Schrijver, which got me thinking.

Why do we bother building everything on every architecture?

I haven't seen or played with any of the more uncommon architectures that are potentially going to be affected by the Vancouver Proposal, but I know ARM is more of an embedded system architecture, and I don't actually know what m68k is good for, other than maybe revelling in a bygone era.

For some of these architectures that have trouble keeping up with building everything, do we actually need to build everything on them? Does s390 need KDE? Does it even need X? Can you sit in front of a mainframe and use it as a desktop computer? Would you even want to? Similar questions must apply for some of the other architectures.

So I wonder if we're a bit too quick to use Architecture: any in our binary packages? Well, as I just discovered on #debian-devel, the Architecture: field is irrelevant anyway (to package building), it is wanna-build that attempts to build everything, and it doesn't look at the Architecture: field of a source package.

So it's a bit of a shame package maintainers can't more directly control this from their packages, and it's a shame that it can't be done on a opt-out basis. For example, if KDE didn't need to be built on m68k, the kde source package could have something like Architecture: any, !m68k. Even if the architecture list had to be explicitly specified, wishlist bugs could be used to add an architecture to the list that a particular package was built on.

But, as it seems that the build process doesn't work this way, this approach won't work in any shape or form without a bit of reengineering of all the buildd stuff.

One upside of these musings is that I discovered a veritable wealth of knowledge about how everything hangs together, which was something I was lamenting about the lack of about 18 months ago, so I can improve my education some more.

Back to reading debian-devel...

[04:40] [debian] [permalink]