* Posts by Marco van de Voort

241 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Jun 2008


There's no place like GNOME: Project hits 25, going on 43

Marco van de Voort

Re: Plus ca change - lentement

The illusion that GTK3 will be a worthy successor to GTK2 has been abandoned long ago, as soon as externally reported bugs were no longer resolved.

Marco van de Voort

Re: Plus ca change - lentement

////And a new preferred GTK version will become default in distros as soon as the previous one is somewhat usable.

RAD Basic – the Visual Basic 7 that never was – releases third alpha

Marco van de Voort

That depends really on which country you are from.

In some countries education believes in using industry languages for education, while some other countries choose languages based on educational purposes. In some countries it depends on the school/college.

Both cases have their arguments for and against (including that industry languages training most benefit big business that can use cheap graduates with minimal training and might have changed anyway when students graduate/after that initial job, and counter argument that the educational purposes argument in practice often degrades to teachers not having to less frequently update/rewrite their courseware than actual educational benefit )

Marco van de Voort

Re: Beginners'

Or by its intended purpose. People whip up applications in systems programming language C too.

Marco van de Voort

public release

Call me stupid, but public releases that you can't download are like, weird.

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop

Marco van de Voort

Re: Linux "Desktop"

And, more importantly old software for that API still largely works

If some old app crucial to you is suddenly out of favour, you are stuck with getting it to compile on supported distributions yourself, mess with VMs and other layers, which all require their own attention/time and also get more difficult with time.

There is no binary backwards compatibility at all for Linux.

Any fool can write a language: It takes compilers to save the world

Marco van de Voort

Re: Too Scary, Too Complicated

There are more issues, like e.g. anything that defies the procedural regime (e.g. home made exceptions, advanced forms of nested functions (e.g. with displays)) etc etc is hard.

Own debug code generation (and an own debugger to interpret them): hard.

The problem is that if you chose the transpiler way, it forever will remain bound to transpiler (read target language) limitations.

Marco van de Voort

Re: I miss a critical note and some figures.

Just curious: which ones allow direct access to their internal structure ? (direct rather than the source way)

Marco van de Voort

I miss a critical note and some figures.

I totally miss any form of criticism i the article. It is just a article about baseless glory story. No analysis of how it actually works out for non corporate 3rd party users. No numbers, not even names of successful independent frontends and how they do/did it. It could have been an old glory story from the days of the GIMPLE introduction that got polished up a little.

I agree with fg_swe, actually in recent years we saw a decline in attempts to use the backends directly, and go to last resort C backend (which often means giving up the hope on a speedy compiler-run-debug cycle). Only corporates with vast manpower can afford to tangle with these beasts.

On GCC the major version transitions are notorious and break your frontend all the time, and you can only get an old version into a Linux distro for so long. LLVM has so much undocumented behaviour (other than look how C/C++ frontend does it, that you don't even get that far. Both teams are notorious for ignoring bug reports and merge requests for issues that don't touch the dominant frontend(s) and/or their corporate sponsors, even for multiple major cycles. So basically if you run into a problem you are fscked.

Performance issues are often papered over with parallel compilation that is also not that easy with a new frontend.

The wild world of non-C operating systems

Marco van de Voort

Re: Indeed C is everywhere just deep down

Free Basic can generate assembler on x86 and generates C for gcc for the rest.

Free Pascal writes ELF .o directly, but still uses LD on popular *nix targets.

On more static targets like Windows and go32v2/dos it has complete stack (assembler/archiver linker, resource compiler and, finally, in the development version, a debugger).

Marco van de Voort

Re: Indeed C is everywhere just deep down

Free Pascal is written in itself.

Marco van de Voort

Re: Modula 2

The block structure of Modula-2 is still my favorite. NO begin or { except for function and module level blocks. A minor flaw was that the adding of the function/module name to function/module END keywords. That made refactoring needlessly complicated and setting them apart for better error generation could also have been achieved with END function/module.

My main grudge was the lacklustre string support. It was as bad as C. Static arrays or pointer to chars via a library construct. Ugh. Fine for embedded work, but for anything up the application tree, it was cumbersome

Marco van de Voort

Re: Modula 2

Other way around. It was Pascal with some C warts (like << >> for shift operators and case sensitivity) grafted on.

It was also what stronger typed than either, mixed type expressions needed to be disambiguated with casts/conversions.

Marco van de Voort

The Pascal language/compiler of the UCSD OS in the article is IIRC actually based on a bootstrap stage of the more complete mainframe Pascal compiler. The subset (P4) is bytecode to make the interpreter minimal and the compiler is sufficiently simple to run on it.

Marco van de Voort


Classic MacOS originally was in Pascal (up to V8 ?)

Microsoft Windows 1.0 was said to be also in Pascal, though it was more a shell than an OS?

IIRC the Modula2 OS was Lilith, and Modula2 was used a lot in embedded applications. Standalone application as a system language, but maybe doesn't count as OS?

GNOME 42's inconsistent themes are causing drama

Marco van de Voort

Windows 2000

I share the authors view that the Windows HID experience went to hell after Windows 2000. Both the system and the emergence of more and more applications that didn't conform to HID guidelines.

One of the core problems with theming is that it so enormously focuses on the visuals. While core nice things of the Windows experience is the consistency of the interface, which ties into assistive technologies and keyboard use. (I could install and configure Windows 2000 without touching a mouse!).

Many ported apps do a half attempt at mimicking the visuals, but totally skip the rest of the HID guidelines (tab order?)

Gnu Nano releases version 6.0 of text editor, can now hide UI frippery

Marco van de Voort

Re: Humor has its funny side.

It is more a reference to looking at something from all angles, which in Dutch is "looking from all sides".

I'd go for "aspects"

AsmREPL: Wing your way through x86-64 assembly language

Marco van de Voort

Or just type "si" in gdb followed by an "info registers".

Can Rust save the planet? Why, and why not

Marco van de Voort

IIRC that article is commonly considered junk, as it uses benchmark-game benchmarks, where some have been optimized for multithread use, and some not.

It shows more which community wants to invest more time in futile benchmark games than anything related to energy.

Config cockup leaves Reg reader reaching for the phone

Marco van de Voort

A student club's IT was a mix of eclectic architectures, one older than the other (and they prided them on the heterogenous old nature).

Anyway, as favor I did a netbsd crossbuild from PPC(*)->to->m68k, and then ran crossinstall to prepare a dir to prepare the dist for moving to the 68k.

Unfortunately I forgot the option to set an alternative root dir, so it installed over my PPC distro. Needless to say, the commandline experience after that was "interesting" as the PPC tried to execute m68k binaries

Cheeky chappy rides horse around London filling station, singing: 'I don't need petrol 'cos he runs on carrots'

Marco van de Voort

Your driver shortage numbers oversimplify and miss several aspects:

First, and for all, cabotage has ended, and UK bound lorries from the EU often go home empty, requiring UK rides to substitute. The goods picked up by those were not counted in those 20000 EU drivers. Only the ones with some form of residency were counted.

Moreover longer customs eat up driver-hours and thus also require relatively more drivers. Lorries are also less filled because taking goods from multiple sources complicates passing customs, again leading to more lorries being used and thus drivers.

Moreover, the UK driver populace is relatively old, and during this almost two year period, some naturally retired, and some simply called it a day because of all the troubles, while less than the replacement were trained for various reasons. Some also might also have found other work during covid related hiatus and left the industry.

And of course not all drivers are equal, drivers for very long lorries or lorries with hazardous materials usually needing special training and licenses.

So basically it is brexit, covid and an already pre-existing demographic among drivers suddenly happening as a perfect storm. The speed of it all probably surprises even some of the ardent remainers, who expected Brexit impact not instant, but to be a slow trainwreck over 10+ years.

Visual Basic 6 returns: You've been a good developer all year. You have social distanced, you have helped your mom. Here's your reward

Marco van de Voort

Well, as long as your company doesn't have Eur 5000 annual revenue: (from the license text:)

"Once your company's total revenue reaches US $5,000, or your team expands to more than 5 developers, you can move up to an unrestricted commercial license with Professional edition."

which is kind of well, always. (it doesn't say only the revenue of Delphi program counts)

Home office setup with built-in boiling water tap for tea and coffee without getting up is a monument to deskcess

Marco van de Voort

Re: WW2 quarter of British Tank crew casualties were when popping out to make a brew

Though I assume the British Tank crews had a better reason not to go outside than the average office working at home.

Pigeon fanciers in a flap over Brexit quarantine flock-up, seek exemption from EU laws

Marco van de Voort

Structure the exceptions

Maybe it is time to frame all these exceptions in something. Hmm. How would we call that, an euhh, treaty ?

Ruby off the Rails: Code library yanked over license blunder, sparks chaos for half a million projects

Marco van de Voort

copyright assignments

The problem with the copyright assignments is that it just shifts the weak point that goes rogue from the heir to Canonical.

E.g. if Canonical would go bust and parts would be snapped up by someone seeking to exploit the portfolio anyway they can.

This is an quite old discussion, since afaik GNU managed projects like gcc and gdb also require copyright assignment.

As UK breaks away from Europe, Facebook tells Brits: You'll all be Californians soon

Marco van de Voort


Ad services are services, which wouldn't be covered in a deal. UK sovereignty fully applies here.

And even if it would, it would cover moving EU citizens data to UK datacenters, and nothing about 3rd party state citizens(Brits) elsewhere.

EU says Boeing 737 Max won't fly over the Continent just yet: The US can make its own choices over pilot training

Marco van de Voort

Re: Brexit?

What will the UK do after Brexit wrt aviation?

- make meals even less palatable with chlorinated chicken.

Python swallows Java to become second-most popular programming language... according to this index

Marco van de Voort

Re: I've never understood what people have against braces (or semicolons)

Well, braces are shifted letters. Non shifted characters are easier. Like euh, begin...end, but some people wanted to save some keystrokes ;)

Someone made an AI that predicted gender from email addresses, usernames. It went about as well as expected

Marco van de Voort

What could you use it for?

When I started working, more experienced colleagues always warned to never guess gender, and always let people enter their gender, because slight mistakes already lead to highly offended customers/users/whatever.

This was before the whole non-binary movement, and as a result, by 2005 that already changed to "let people enter how they want to be addressed", since that was what most gender fields were used for anyway.

So given that a small mistake will cause an enormous backlash, what can you actually use it for? Statistics maybe, but in most cases those will be anonymized, so you won't have the name. So that leaves dodgy webcrawling to send spam.

Chinese tat bazaar Xiaomi to light a fire under Amazon's Kindle with new e-book reader

Marco van de Voort


There is also still pocketbook.

SoftBank: Oi, we paid $32bn for you, when are you going to strong-Arm some more money out of your customers?

Marco van de Voort


Risc V might be fashionable and the "open" community's darling, but there is only one decent source for production level silicon exists , SiFive.

MIPS is relatively cheaper, and more regular and used in great variety, used in the past in many routers, game computers, settopboxes and even microcontrollers using it exist (e.g. PIC32).

I'd at least expect the various ARM license fugitives to be divided over the two.

Release the pressure: Win16 support arrives for version 3.2 of Free Pascal

Marco van de Voort

Re: And in the next release ...

There have been discussions about 6502, but it is even more register starved than the Z80. And none of them are 16-bit capable, not even by combining 8-bit registers (iow needing zero page indirect indexing to process a pointer). The codegenerator doesn't model this atm.

Marco van de Voort

Re: 'hello world' warhorse?

True. In reality even trunk is nearly daily tested by compiling the lazarus codebases and all packages (including staples like Indy and Virtual String Grid), which combined are multi-MLOC codebases.

Marco van de Voort


This release also revitalizes Amiga, Aros and Morphos targets and adds the m68k backend.

Marco van de Voort

Re: You'd think they'd prioritise current Mac OS support over Win16

FPC 3.2.0 should work on Catalina. The builds are fat binaries for supported targets, as afaik Apple guidelines prefer.

Marco van de Voort

Re: And in the next release ...

ZX Spectrum is only supported in trunk. Work is still being done on the smartlinking and cutting down the Rtl and doing parts in assembler, as unfortunately the programs are currently still too large to fit in a ZX-81 (as in >10k)

C is for 'Careful now', D is for 'Download surprise': Microsoft to resurrect optional Windows 10 updates as 'Previews'

Marco van de Voort

Recent Edge update seemed to set all fileassociations to "query"

Recent Edge update seemed to set all fileassociations to open a dialog. Some however, like for html seem to have no option to make it permanent as it was.

disclaimer: initial impressions only, I haven't tried to reproduce yet.

Ah lovely, here's something you can do with those Raspberry Pis, NUC PCs in the bottom of the drawer: Run Ubuntu Appliances on them

Marco van de Voort

What about sheevaplugs ?

Checked my drawer, what about old sheevaplugs ?

Moore's Law is deader than corduroy bell bottoms. But with a bit of smart coding it's not the end of the road

Marco van de Voort


Before you start throwing in technologies that require a radical different approach, start with simple optimization like looptiling to optimize for cache effects.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

Marco van de Voort

Re: And there is of course also lazarus/freepascal

Thank you

Marco van de Voort

And there is of course also lazarus/freepascal

Since Delphi got awfully expensive lately. Strange that it isn't mentioned. Sponsored piece? Embarcadero had a release in the last few days.

Beer gut-ted: As many as '70 million pints' spoiled during coronavirus pandemic must be destroyed in Britain

Marco van de Voort


The traditional way of getting rid of slightly off beer is to feed it to the pigs (really, they love the stuff!).

But here (NL/BE) all livestock is already chewing its way through a million tons of potatoes.

Is that a typo? Oh, it's not a typo. Ampere really is touting an 80-core 64-bit 7nm Arm server processor dubbed Altra

Marco van de Voort

128-bit simd units

Text says 128-bit simd units in a list of per package things. I assume these are per core?

Time to svn commit like it's the year 2000: Apache celebrates 20 years of Subversion

Marco van de Voort

Branching and merging worked from the start. Tagging was replaced by branching even.

SVN doesn't internally administrate as finely divided though, which lessens merge performance in more extreme cases. But that is something different. In cases both sides have changes in the same lines it sometimes borks.

(but a good 3rd party three-way diff tool as Beyond compare can even resolve many of those)

Windows Dressing: Psst... Fast Ring folks, whispers Microsoft. You're in this for the cool icons, right?

Marco van de Voort

position, not picture

I can vaguely remember from UI design classes that most people remember the position of an icon more than the action icon itself, specially for routine tasks.

So one could wonder what this is good for.

25 years of Delphi and no Oracle in sight: Not a Visual Basic killer but hard to kill

Marco van de Voort

Re: the question is why Delphi failed to sweep up more of the Windows development market

Personally I think the time for 3rd party tools vendors was simply over and from the late nineties on, the market belonged to the big IT vendors that predatory priced development tools because they wanted to promote their "platform".

Another ten years later, open source would also start a significant dent.

Borland maybe should have aligned themselves with a Big One in that period.

Marco van de Voort

Re: Pascal has always been great

Kernighan commented on pre borland versions 15 years older than Delphi.

Stronger even, at the time he was still publishing versions of his books for Pascal, e.g.


You'll never select all and mark as read again after this tale of peril... Oh, who are we kidding? Of course you will

Marco van de Voort

NMR wiping.

I did need to get a new ATM card due to the magnets of an NMR apparatus. There was tray for keys and wallets near the door that I forgot in my hurry.

Usually it was fine, but occasionally (specially after servicing) a light imbalance could generate a card wiping field (and it was said to rip the keys from your trousers, but I never witnessed that).

p.s., hydrochloric acid on your ATM card is also not very good for it. Just light acid on the hand and touched the magnetic strip of card at one end, but the card was finito, the strip got some green tinges at the end where the acid touched and refused to work a few days later . All in the nineties when the ATMs only had a magnetic script of course.

Boris celebrates taking back control of Brexit Britain's immigration – with unlimited immigration program

Marco van de Voort

Some of that is what I thought. "Easy Visa" is an easy to implement solution to clear some last hurdles, and also attract the students before they become "World Class Scientist" (the bit where you educate an hundred to find one nugget)

To cherry pick world class staff, primarily you need to give potential staff good salaries and somewhat secure prospects. World Class staff coming for multi year tenures don't mind visa that much, since they can be handled by the uni (or research institutions) bureau for that. And those know which points to pressure for the real good ones.

Easy visa is the methods to drag in reams of (usually /paying/) hopefuls into your education system to bolster the base, to partially fund it, and with hopefully some cream rising to the top eventually.

The Curse of macOS Catalina strikes again as AccountEdge stays 32-bit

Marco van de Voort

Well, indeed Apple has shown many signs that it takes users of software not serious, and focusses chiefly on media consumption. Primarily from its own services.

So the blame is on the Apple users still trying while the writing has been on the wall for a decade, while Apple is laughing all the way to the bank.