kvandale 0.4.

kvandale 0.4.
I’ve prepared a new release of kvandale
(TPFAK, “the program, formerly know as kgnuvd”), a KDE frontend for the online Van Dale, the
famous dutch dictionary. The changelog’s highlights of this release are

  • a new name,
  • i18n support,
  • automated installation

… and a couple of small other improvements.

You can download it here, bugreports are
welcome, feedback is appreciated. :-)

Ow, and I got rejected at Google’s Summer
of Code
. Bummer, but as I already saw, there’s a lot of
improvement to be expected from the accepted developers. Go go go!

umount: /data: device is busy.

new fuser frontend of mountconfig
Most of you know that under Linux, you can’t unmount a device if it’s still “in use”. Less
of you know that there are tools that actually deal with this. Most notably “lsof”, which
lists open files on a directory or devicenode. There’s also “fuser” which can even kill all
the processes that are using files on a specific device. The latter should be used with care, of
course.

Using guidance’s mountconfig,
you’re likely to encounter the same problem at some point – and that’s exactly what last week’s
coding efforts tackle. Umounting a device that’s still in use will now launch the dialogue shown in
the screenshot, identifying what’s preventing you from unmounting the device so you can deal with
these applications. The rude might choose to kill processes, but they have been warned.

Coming up next: Will the user interface survive Simon’s critical review? :-)

Hamburg, Linux.

Hamburg's haven
Me and a couple of friends visited a friend Hamburg last weekend, and we – of course – had a
lot of fun. Arrived late friday evening we took the whole saturday to visit the
“Landungsbrücken” and a little later “Strand Pauli”, a beach bar in St.
Pauli, it was all lots of fun and relaxation. On sunday we went to a lake to go swimming but had to
return in the afternoon already due to tight working schedules.

On a more technical note, I read with much excitement an e-mail by Andrew
Morton
, one of the top linux kernel hackers. He asks for some discussion about which features to
merge into Linus’ tree (the official “vanilla” linux kernel) during the 2.6.13 development
cycle. My personal favorites are:

inotify
Inotify is a kernel feature that can notify userspace programs of changes to the
filesystem. It’s especially useful for search engines that can reindex information incrementally,
i.e. only the bits that have changed, but has lots of other users aswell. Only imagining my locate
program would always use an up-to-date index every time I use it sounds really cool, but there’s a
lot more to it.

FUSE
Filesystem in userspace. It makes things such as SSHfs, EncFS, GmailFS and lots of others It might at some point even become a drop-in replacement for KIO. (In
fact, there’s already a KIO-FUSE gateway.)

reiser4
A new filesystem with lots of features which is also supposed to be very fast. I
did some benchmarking some time ago, it looks
promising.

Xen
A virtualization layer allowing you to run different systems on the hardware of
one, sharing resources.

Things like Inotify, FUSE and Reiser4 could mean a lot to desktop-linux.

Ow, and google extended the Summer of
Code
, they are now issuing 400 instead of 200 stipends, so statistically my chances have
doubled. :-)

Error messages and re-educating users.

What just came to my mind when reading a report of a user who had problems switching from
Windows XP to Linux is that a lot of switching users have to be re-educated with respect to reading
error messages. I see lots of people who seem to have developed a reflex to click away error
messages as fast as possible. While that might be a useful strategy on Windows, these people should
consider actually reading errormessages since they in most cases tell what’s wrong. That seems to be
quite bad about Windows – useless errors messages.

So my advice of the day for newly converted users: Read the error
messages
rather than trying to get rid of them as fast as possible. They might aswell tell
you what’s wrong and what you can do about it. Besides, asking someone to help you only saying
It showed some error!” is not likely going to help.

akademy, whine and other feel-good stuff.

Good day today: Handed in an essay about the constitution of the
European Union
(written in dutch) and went through my “inbox for hardcopied mail” which
is mostly annoying stuff that has to be done but is pretty much empty now. Tonight Chris visited me to have dinner here, which was also quite
good: lambfilet, spinach and mashed potatoes with cheese. I bought a bottle of Zinfandel, which most probably won’t survive the
night. :-)
Also, I booked flights to Spain to attend Akademy
2005
and visit Christine near Alicante, it boils down to two weeks of vacation I’m really
looking forward to. Finally I did some coding mostly abstraction layer stuff for displayconfig.

Had a really good day though, and I’m feeling that way. Next weekend I’ll visit world press photo exhibition in Amsterdam and check out a
friend’s new place in Scheveningen, house-warming.