Open Source

Review: OGRE 3D 1.7 Application Development Cookbook

It’s always gratifying, and a little weird, when I see books being written about OGRE - it just serves to illustrate (if any more evidence was needed) how far the project has come since I created that first ‘vertex coloured triangle’ rendering test on my home computer 12 years ago. I’ve been retired from the project for a while now, but I still get asked my opinion about things sometimes, and Packt were nice enough to send me a copy of this new book by Ilya Grinblat and Alex Peterson, OGRE 3D 1.

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Oh no, not a 'Best of' collection?

Well, yes - and my apologies if you’ve already seen these. In celebration of the new blog and before I’ve polished any new entries for it - I often write & refine my posts over several sessions, I find the content is better that way - I thought I’d flag up three posts from this blog that I’m particularly satisfied with, and that I think resonated well with people. Work 2.

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SSSelectableToolbar

A common requirement in any Cocoa application is a preference pane style window where each toolbar item switches to a different view in the main window, resizing as necessary. I’ve used BWToolkit to do this in the past, which provides BWSelectableToolbar. However, there are a few issues with using BWToolkit: If you want to deploy on the Mac App Store, You have to customise it to remove all uses of private methods, since those are banned on the App Store.

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The spinal analysis, and what it means for OGRE

Health ogre Open Source spine

For 18 months I’ve been told by a succession of doctors and physios that I didn’t have anything structurally wrong with my spine and that my bouts of back pain were simply ‘standard non-specific back pain’ - ie muscle problems that I should just take NSAIDs for and exercise more. I’d been a bit skeptical because the problems were occasionally quite extreme and seemed to be always centred on one particular location (the joint just at the bottom of my ribcage), but after getting many opinions and one set of x-rays I went along with it.

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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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"Commercial Source" licensing

Business Open Source

Making a living from open source is hard. Correction - making a living from writing open source software is hard - it’s incredibly easy to make a living from someone else’s open source software of course, which is why that’s what most people do πŸ˜€At one time the popular opinion was that pure-play open source companies could make a living from support services, which works to a degree but I know from both my own experience and from that of others that it doesn’t work that well.

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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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Some CIOs don't know what the hell they're talking about

Business CIO GE Open Source

I picked this story up via Matt Asay and it pretty much summed up the frustrations I’ve had in the last 10 years when talking to certain people about open source - particularly when I was involved in business software. Peter Gyorgy, CIO of GE made this comment in a recent panel discussion: β€œI think open source is great for own internal playground type of things but if it’s running vital mission critical applications - networks running on open source for example - then that is a huge, huge risk to the organisation,”

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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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It's all about the middle ground

Matt Asay Open Source

I always find Matt Asay’s blog an interesting read - even if I don’t always agree with him, his posts on open source are always thought provoking. Today he was talking about how Wikipedia’s contribution rate is falling and how that has parallels in open source; that the community is no replacement for a centralised, focussed team. He’s right on the core point - at the heart of every successful open source project there’s always a core team (or individual), and in the really influential ones, that team is usually funded - Mozilla is famously bankrolled almost entirely by Google, the Apache foundation has many, many sponsors including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, Eclipse has IBM, and so on.

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