Development

Mailing lists as community channels - ugh

I’m not blogging as often these days; as you know I don’t traditionally ‘do’ short blog posts - in my book if something is worth blogging about, it’s worth making sure it holds together as an argument, and as a piece of writing generally - and a combined lack of time of anything I’m motivated (or permitted) to talk about has left the site a little bereft of content. Luckily my OGRE Twitter is stocked with more frequent and less lovingly crafted status updates on what I’m doing there.

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"Maturing" download games market starts to show retail-like characteristics

Watching the ebbs and flows of the game industry is simultaneously inspiring and outright depressing. As is usual for this stage in a console generation, we’re at the ‘consolidation point’ (pun unintentional) - where the tech is pretty well understood, even if it is starting to look a bit dated compared to even a modest PC (how much hassle AA is on this console generation is a case in point), but that at least developers can crank out content in a more efficient fashion.

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Salad Days

My friend Damien was blogging about his early experiences with computers & programming yesterday, and it reminded me of how I got started. Specifically, it reminded me of an influential magazine I read at the time called “Input”, which taught BASIC programming for the ZX Spectrum and BBC. It was a short-lived, esoteric British thing, but I was astonished to find that not only does Wikipedia have a page on it, but they also linked a TV advert of it which has been lovingly archived on YouTube:

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Open source is most important to producers rather than consumers

Gartner haven’t exactly been the sharpest tools in the box when it comes to predicting open source trends over the last few years, vastly underestimating it until about 2008, by which time it didn’t exactly take a professional analyst to tell you that it was popular. Still, now they’ve woken up to its potential, occasionally they post something useful. In particular, I liked a recent blog post about how open source is “trending towards customer obscurity” - that is to say that while open source is incredibly important to producers of software, the vast majority of consumers don’t really care how their software is made any more than they care how their car was made.

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hgsubversion - dropping old history during conversion (mod)

I’ve already posted about my experiences with Git and Mercurial, the end result of which was a vastly increased respect for Git but a basically confirmed preference for Mercurial, based on ease of use, platform consistency and resilience. Mercurial’s conversion tools are really quite good - the core tools worked fine but I was impressed by hgsubversion’s speed and that it seemed to just work, in both initial conversion and pulling subsequent updates.

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Microsoft, the good open source citizen

GPL Microsoft Open Source

What a difference a few years can make. For a long time, Microsoft was seen as public enemy #1 of those who liked to promote, produce and consume open source (I’m deliberately not describing it as a ‘movement’ here - that implies political motivations which I assert that only a vocal minority have). It was entirely their own fault of couse; blustery, really quite bizarre tirades from the only two CEOs their company has ever had cemented their position as the McCarthy’s of the modern era.

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DVCS Score Card

DVCS Git Mercurial ogre

So, I’ve just about completed my practical experiments & review of Mercurial and Git.

In the end, I had far too many separate notes and sets of experiences to post, so I boiled the argument down into the 10 most important factors to me, and scored Mercurial and Git on a scale of 1-5 based on what I’d found when using them. Here are the (annoying) results:

# Criterion Git Hg
1 Ease of use - command line 4 5
2 Ease of use - GUI 4 4
3 Platform support - core 3 5
4 Platform support - GUI 4 4
5 Web Host Functionality 5 4
6 Reliability & error handling 3 5
7 Storage efficiency 5 3
8 Run-time performance 5 5
9 Flexibility 5 4
10 OGRE Community support 5 4
Totals 43 43

I’ll explain the scores, and my conclusion, after the jump.

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Dependencies to build Git from source on [K]Ubuntu 9.04

Git is picky when it comes to converting large, moderately complex Subversion repositories and so far the only option I’ve found that works reliably is using the very latest version on Linux. Forget about using 1.6.5 on Windows via msysGit, at least for the git-svn conversion it’s very, very unreliable. Similarly I found Git 1.5 on Linux very flaky for the svn conversion. This doesn’t give me the greatest confidence in Git but in order to properly explore all the angles, I’ve committed to making it work even if it means I have to monkey about a bit.

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Adventures in conversionland

As you know I’ve been reviewing DVCSs lately. I’m taking my time doing real use cases on them, and deliberately not doing the sort of feet-first leap into whatever looks best / most popular on the surface because I don’t particularly want to discover unexpected problems down the track. It’s consuming a lot more time than I expected - I’m writing up my findings and may publish the entire results later on if I can find the time to clean them up and format them better, but for the moment I thought I’d share some experiences with the conversion process of a relatively large, long-lived, multi-branch repository (OGRE) from Subversion to Git and Mercurial, because that’s what I’ve been wrestling with in the last few days.

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Back from Qt Dev Days (Munich)

Before 2009, I’d never set foot in Germany before; not for any particular reason, I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. However, thanks to gracious invitations to conferences I’ve now been twice. 😀In May I went to Stuttgart for FMX, and last week I went to Munich for Qt Developer Days. It was an enjoyable conference, as always the best part is just meeting other delegates, the sessions themselves are merely the icing on the cake.

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