Archive for News

Pretty Emacs Reloaded

Update: If you are using Ubuntu 8.04 LTS “Hardy Heron” or Ubuntu 8.10 “Intrepid Ibex”, use the packages in the PPA of the Ubuntu Emacs Lisp team, instead of the packages referenced here. For Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” and newer, use the packages in Ubuntu repositories.

My popular1 Pretty Emacs package just got a tad better. I transferred the package to the brand new PPA service provided by Launchpad. So, what’s new about the package? First, I glad to announce the long-awaited amd64 support. Also, I am adding Gutsy Gibbon to the list of supported distributions.

To use the updated package on Ubuntu 6.10 “Edgy Eft”, add the

following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

deb edgy main
deb-src edgy main

To use the package on Ubuntu 7.04 “Feisty Fawn”, add the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

deb feisty main
deb-src feisty main

To use the package on the development version of Ubuntu “Gutsy Gibbon”, add the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

deb gutsy main
deb-src gutsy main

Unfortunately, if you still use Ubuntu 6.06 "Dapper Drake", you will have to keep using the older package release from my orignal repository. I still support Ubuntu 6.06, but I won't update the package with newer snapshots.

After adding the repository to your software source list, upgrade your version of the package with:

sudo aptitude upgrade

If you do not have a previous version of the package already installed and you desire to install it, do this instead:

sudo aptitude install emacs-snapshot emacs-snapshot-el

When upgrading the package you might get the following warning message:

WARNING: untrusted versions of the following packages will be installed!

Untrusted packages could compromise your system's security. You should only proceed with the installation if you are certain that this is what you want to do.

This is due to a bug in the PPA system. I believe that it will be resolved quickly. So, you can safely ignore the warning message for the moment.

Final note, thank you everyone for trusting me and giving me some great feedback about the package. I like to give special thanks to Romain Francoise and Michael Olson for their work respectively on emacs-snapshot and emacs22, during this summer.

  1. A rough estimate tell me there is over 30 000 people using my package, where 88% of them are Feisty Fawn users and 11% are Edgy Eft users. 

Summer of Code Weekly #4

All is well for me and my project. I finished the merge of cStringIO and StringIO, and I am now moving to the more challenging cPickle/pickle merge. During the last two weeks, I mostly spend my time analyzing the pickle module and thinking how I will clean up cPickle. My current plan is:

  1. Make cPickle’s source code conform to PEP-7.
  2. Remove the dependency on the now obsolete cStringIO.
  3. Benchmark cPickle and pickle.
  4. Add subclassing support to Pickler/Unpickler.
  5. Reduce the size of cPickle’s source code based on the bottlenecks found by the benchmarks.

Hopefully, cPickle/pickle merge will be as smooth (and as fun) as the cStringIO/StringIO merge.

Summer of Code Weekly #3

During this third week of the Summer of Code, I found very difficult to concentrate on my work — I been a lightbulb instead of a laser. The result was little code done. On the other hand, I learned a lot about other things. For example, I now finally understand assembly language; how to use gdb; the basics of the design of the Linux kernel; etc, etc.

I also read the book “Producing Open Source Software”, by Karl Fogel. It is really good primer to the world of free software. If you have a burning desire to contribute open source projects, just like me, I highly recommend that you get your own copy, or read it online.

Summer of Code Weekly #2

I can confirm it now, this second week of coding was even better. It was harder on my brain cells, though. I am mostly done with the StringIO merge. I now have working implementations in C of the BytesIO and the StringIO objects. The only thing remaining to do, for these two modules, is polishing the unit tests. And that shouldn’t that me very long to do. So, in basically one week of work, I completed the merge of cStringIO. I am certainly proud of that.

Now, I will need to attack the cPickle and cProfile modules. I don’t know yet which I work on first. cPickle still seems very scary to me, and unlike cStringIO it’s huge. It’s about five or six times bigger. cProfile, on the other hand, is about the same size of cStringIO and well documented. I even wonder if I need to code anything for cProfile. It will be a piece of cake to merge. Now, one question remains: should I take the cake now, or keep it for the end?

Summer of Code Weekly #1

During this summer, I will post each week a short summary of what I did, the challenges I encountered and what I learned during my Summer of Code project. I am doing this for helping me to keep track of my progresses.

So how was my first week? It was great. I don’t know why but I love programming in C. It is just plain fun. I thought learning Python C API was going to be hard, but it is quite easy after all. I just read the code in Python itself and check the reference manual for the things I don’t know. My biggest surprise, this week, was really learning how to do subclassable types. It is strikingly easy, however it’s quite verbose. You can look at my scratch extension module, if you want a minimal working example.

Other than learning the C API, I started working on the cStringIO/StringIO merge. My current plan is to separate the cStringIO module into two private submodules, _bytes_io and _string_io. One will be for bytes literals (ASCII), and the other for Unicode. This will reflect the changes made to the I/O subsystem in Python 3000. These two submodules will provide optional implementations for the speed-critical methods, like .read() and .write().

One the best things, of this week, was the great feedback I got from other Python developers, and particularly from my mentor Brett Cannon, who cheerfully answers all my questions. Now, I just hope the following week will be as fun, or even more, as this one.

Am I dreaming?

Almost Summer

Bird are singing; the Sun is rising; and rivers are flowing again. In short, another beautiful summer is coming. To me that means the end of classes, and a wave of exams which will crush me for a week. But after, I will be free to do what I love — i.e. coding on open-source software, writing, and enjoying the weather while playing sports with my friends. Anyway, enough dreaming for today, I got some news.

I just finished the facelift to my blog’s layout. The new layout still keeps its original simplicity, while being more colorful and appealing. Personally, I am quite satisfied with the result. And thanks to two Firefox add-ons, called Firebug and Web Developer, the whole process was a breeze (and fun too). While I am at it, I would like to also thanks Becca Wei for the initial theme, Almost Spring, on which I built my theme upon. Feel free to comment about what you like or dislike. Since it’s you after all, who will use it (unless, of course, you’re using a feed reader).

A few longer posts will be coming up after I passed through my exams sessions. Plus, there will a weekly post about the status of my Google Summer of Code project. Thanks for reading!

Smoked brains for dinner

Today, there will be a special quiz on Python hosted by me, in #ubuntu-trivia on FreeNode, at 20:00 UTC. Most of the quiz will be to write some simple procedures, faster than your opponents. The winner will, of course, get a superb prize — 5 Ubuntu stickers! Obviously, the real prize is the fun that will get during the quiz. And who knows, maybe you will learn a few neat tricks. So, see you there!

Flipping bits this summer

Dear Applicant, Congratulations! This email is being sent to inform you that your application was accepted to take part in the Summer of Code.

Today, I am truly happy. I wasn’t expecting to be accepted, really, and perhaps no other candidate did. My accepted project is to merge C and Python implementations of the same interface (i.e., StringIO/cStringIO, Pickle/cPickle, etc), and my mentor is the Python star developer, Brett Cannon. This will be a challenging project; I will have to work hard and efficiently to be successful. But one thing is sure, I will have some great fun.

I would like to congrats everyone who have been accepted. A special thanks to students who will be working on Ubuntu, this summer. There is surely some great projects for Ubuntu. And also, another special thanks to the mentors, who will be helping us this summer.

Back in Business

A burned video, a zapped hard drive and a corrupt RAM module later , I have now, finally, got my system running again (and no, my computer was not struck by a lightning).

For the fans of my Emacs package, I just uploaded a new release, and I will continue to provide weekly releases. Unfortunately, it seems, due to a licensing issue, Romain Francoise orphaned emacs-snapshot and its related packages. Therefore, this means I will have to work harder and fix packaging bugs myself, instead of relying on his bug fixes.

A week before I lost my system, I had promised a special Python quiz, in the issue #31 of Ubuntu Weekly News. I have not forgotten my promise. So if you’re one of the lovers my twisted Ubuntu quizzes, get ready for an awesome quiz. Date and time, when the quiz will be held, will be announced, as usual, in the #ubuntu-trivia channel on FreeNode.

On the final note, I would like to mention that will start posting more frequently on my blog. My current roadmap includes some cool tips-and-tricks, fun script recipes, more stuff about Ubuntu. So, stay tuned!