30 Sep 2007

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

School's started, or rather, school's gotten under way. I rather enjoy the classes I'm taking (which can be seen on my updated schedule). I've fallen far behind on LJ, so if there's anything you think I should read in the last fortnight~month, let me know.

Since classes've started and as I've been fading out the cat and psu and fading jhu in, I've been doing some reconfiguring of my environment. I've also been learning LaTeX (both for linguistics and for cs) which can be a strange beast to get into the guts of since all the online info is aimed for newcomers only it seems. In any case, it struck me that I've never made that geekmost step and posted my various profiles and macros for bash, vim, mutt, latex,... . Should anyone be interested, at some point in the nearish future (which longtime readers will know to mean a month from now when I get my next spare moment) I think I'll finally do that. It's about time I got back into generating content for this blog.

When I was working at the cat I wrote a lot of helpful little scripts for my sysadminning (and another bunch for ldap) and from classes I have a third batch for some relatively routine machine learning metaprocessing (separating a corpus into pieces for 10-fold cross-validation, etc). While all the scripts and configs are pretty small in themselves, all together they make for an enjoyable suite and others might find a few treasures in there.

Also, since I've been fading jhu in and getting set up for my classes, a PSA. As y'all know, I use OSX as my os of choice. Of all the oses out there it strikes the best balance between usability and configurability, imo; but this is not a sales pitch for mac. Y'see, osx is a posix system but unlike linuces the package management system it comes with is rather feeble and oriented towards gui apps and not basic tools; it does not use Aptitude (of Debian fame), nor RPM (of RedHat fame), nor even Portage (of Gentoo fame). Yes, there are various implementations of these venerable systems for osx, but none of them ship natively.

Thence, the PSA: if you are a developer who is distributing code, you should be distributing the source code itself. Yes, it's very nice of you to offer debian packages or rpms (the corollary PSA is that you should be offering these as well), but you should not require your users to have these installed. If you're evangelizing to mac users, you should not require that they install fink in order to be able to install your code; they should be able to use cvs or subversion and to run the makefiles manually(however painful such an approach may be). Just because you're writing research software does not make you exempt from standard good practices. It's not just mac, this also holds for Solaris and many other posix systems still alive and well in the wild. Open source, means open source; it does not mean, available through conventional package managers.


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