Blast from the recent past; two years ago

Today I was feeling somewhat blue, mostly because I’m demotivated to do most stuff, and I wanted to see what it was like to work in Gentoo two years ago.

One thing I read is that a little shy of exactly two years ago, ICQ broke Kopete, just like they did yesterday. Interestingly enough, even though a workaround has been found for Kopete 0.12 (the one shipped with KDE 3.5), there is no bump I see in the tree this time. Sign that the KDE support in Gentoo has changed, most likely.

There is also the whole thing with ALSA problems, which span so many posts that it’s not worth listing all them. The current ALSA maintainer simply gave up on providing something that, at least for some users, ended up being quite important.

And all the work on Gentoo/FreeBSD! Although Javier is doing a huge work now to support FreeBSD 7.0, he’s not prone to blog about it, and you can see that Gentoo/FreeBSD is easily ending up in the “historical” memory, rather than being discussed and tried out by users daily.

What didn’t change at all is my insomnia, it’s almost 2AM and I’m still up. And this time I don’t even have Antiques Roadshow to watch. I’m currently working on xine, just like two years ago.

In general, I think a lot of areas in Gentoo did go downhill from two years ago, rather than improving. While Portage is certainly improved, thanks to Zac, Genone and the rest of the team, and we can see that in the new extended repoman checks, that also helps QA. But the general user support seems, to me, lacking.

This is a direct consequence, in my opinion, of leaving open doors for people who are just driving Gentoo’s energy away, by taking over projects to make them stall, by discussing details over and over and over, by repeating the same request even when people reject it as it stands, and so on.

I hope things will improve in the next months, thanks to a new council that can finally grow some balls, straightening up the situation, but if this does not happen, I’m already preparing for my plan B…

The ICQ mess, part N+M+K+1

So all the Kopete users will have noticed that I’ve just bumped it in portage, both for the standalone version and the two from kde-base. Reasoning? For the third time in less than a month, the ICQ protocol changed, or dropped some support.

So what happens? The stable versions are all broken, and I won’t be calling for a new stable for this, as we’re probably going to assist to newer breakages in the next months too. What I can only suggest people is to use net-im/kopete (that is not tied to the KDE releases and is right now ~arch only) if they want ICQ support working. Next time a patch will be needed it will be updated only on net-im/kopete.

Anyway, I have to thanks all the Kopete developers who made a really good job with fixing it promptly once again.

Now, for the “Why one has to bother to do this?” part, I want to suggest everybody here to use a Free as in Freedom protocol, an open protocol, like Jabber, as much as they can. We do have some good Jabber providers now, like KDETalk and of course Google Talk, that since a few months is interoperable with the other Jabber networks, and a few other (local) servers are listed on the Wikipedia page.

As the Wikipedia article also refer, there’s the problem of not having your friends on there. Well, just make them use Google Talk, Gaim, or whatever else, but let them join the Jabber network and you’ll be safe with protocol changes!

Problems with Kopete and ICQ

I e just finished having dinner, in front of emacs, while fixing today’s Kopete problems. For who didn’t notice, Kopete stopped working with ICQ today because of a change in ICQ’s policies, that kicked out older versions of the clients, included Kopete.

Luckily upstream reacted almost immediately and I was contacted by an user (padde on Freenode) with the information, I got the patch for net-im/kopete and I started working on it.

Unfortunately kdehiddenvisibility does not seem to work that well with that version, so I had to disable it for now. I also took the time this time to add a few useflags to disable some plugins and protocols, that should make Kopete take less time to build, and allows to have proper runtime dependencies for plugins like the LaTeX and the Cryptographic ones, that needs tetex and gnupg respectively.

Anyway, right now I patched net-im/kopete-0.12.0-r2, kde-base/kopete-3.5.3-r2 and kde-base/kdenetwork-3.5.3-r2 with the patch to fix ICQ, the older versions of kde-base stuff got an elog message to let users know of the problem. I might ask for a new stable in the next days, but I’m not sure yet.

Talking about early stables, xine-lib-1.1.2 is going to be stable sooner than I expected, this because of a bug in MiMMS code, that could be exploited and that will require a new stable. This means that I should be able to finally clean up the state of the xine-lib versions to something completely working and stable, hopefully.