Sunday, 26-Dec-10 10:57
Open Source Isn't When It Comes to Apple

OSX seems to be a great tool when it comes to software development: it's essentially an UNIX system which has however a good UI and great commercial support.

Unfortunately, Apple is also run by a control-freak who wants to make sure that once you sign up for the Apple ecosystem, you *will* sell your soul too.

Open Source is a great and awesome thing. With commercial software, you only get the binaries, not the source code. The source code allows you to tinker with the code, improve it, or find bugs. In the least the availability of the source code means that if the originator company goes bust, you can hire someone else to maintain it.

But the thing is - to turn the source code into a runnable binary, you need a compiler. Otherwise it's just source code. The problem here is that the only usable compiler is owned by Apple, and recently they've started to require you to sign an NDA with them if you want to download it. It's still available on the OSX install disks, so the situation isn't that bad - yet. But today I encountered this:

% sudo port install subversion-javahlbindings
--->  Computing dependencies for subversion-javahlbindings
--->  Fetching subversion-javahlbindings
Error: Target org.macports.fetch returned: 
********************
subversion-javahlbindings requires the Java for Mac OS X Developer Package from Apple.
Please download and install this package:
https://connect.apple.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/MemberSite.woa/wa/getSoftware?bundleID=20719
********************

Yup. You need to sign an NDA with Apple if you want to use Subversion (OSS) with and IDE, like Eclipse (OSS). You know, like *most* Java developers do.

And this is true for all of the open source port projects for OSX - they all require the Apple compiler and Apple tools. Apple has the OSS community by their balls, and they ain't letting go. (And what's with the idiotic practice of refusing to distribute binaries, Fink and Port guys? And where's an usable gcc for OSX? And since XCode is still largely based on the GNU toolchain, is it even legal to require an NDA to download it?)

I'm starting to think it's time for me to ditch OSX completely, and move to a more open system, like Windows or Linux. What would be good replacements for Scrivener and Quicksilver?

Saturday, 18-Dec-10 21:45
Clean room theory

Living with kids can be messy. In fact, I'm typing this surrounded by nursing pillows, books, towels, random clothes, toy cars and some things I'm afraid to move because they might contain sentient life forms that used to be porridge.

However, I've come to believe that you can live in a mess, as long as you keep one room clean. There must be a place where you can go and forget about the mess - and it's really hard to forget if it's all around you. It just keeps nagging, and at least I find it hard to relax if I know that I should be doing something else.

So I try to keep the kitchen clean, no matter what. (Clean defined as "does not bother me", not as in "counted in particles per million") Sometimes I fail, and sometimes I can get a bit anal about it, but still: waking up before anyone else and enjoying the morning tea, watching snow drift down from the heavens unto the white trees... It's quite worth it.

Wednesday, 15-Dec-10 01:28
How did I become myself - the pub edition

I don't do these "fun tests" as often as I did, but this somehow struck a cord: In Facebook, there's this meme spreading about naming 15 important bars or pubs of your lifetime. So here's my list of 15 important ones. Since I'm not much of a pub-goer, it took a while to build the list, especially since I didn't want to include places I've been to only once.

  • Kleopatra, Lappeenranta (RIP) My first.
  • Willimies ("Wiltsu"), Lappeenranta. The center of the night life of my home town.
  • Hotelli Lappee, Lappeenranta. Final night before leaving home. Got a hug from a crush.
  • Janoinen Lohi, Helsinki. Neighbourhood bar for many years.
  • Kaisla, Helsinki. I always end up here.
  • One Pint Pub, Helsinki. The men's room hasn't had a lock as long as I can remember; yet I always go here too.
  • Amsterdam, Helsinki. Go. Lots of it.
  • Pikkulintu, Helsinki. Enjoyable moments with friends, games and beer.
  • Weeruska, Helsinki. The place for the inner circle of bloggers. Many memorable discussions.
  • Akkurat, Stockholm. STRONG. STRONG. VERY STRONG.
  • Caio, Oulu. Memories of having just fallen in love.
  • Keltsu, Espoo. University pub. Oh boy.
  • Top of Shinagawa, Shinagawa Prince Hotel, Tokyo. We built something great here. And the scenery is just breathtaking.
  • The Pancake Parlour, Bourke St, Melbourne. Not strictly a bar, but spent still a few evenings here.
  • Kaffibarinn, Reykjavik. Just love the barrenness of this place, mixed with some strong emotions.

Each one of these has changed my life in some degree - many of them have enhanced it, but some have also damaged it. There are also important places where I've been only once (or places whose names I can't recall), so I have to skip them - which is why there are no English or Scottish pubs on this list. If I could, I would list one memorable bar romp in Edinborough, but...

Friday, 10-Dec-10 22:36
Happy or not happy, that is the question

Finnish press is now touting a study that having kids makes you less happy than not having any. This debate originates an old study, published back in 2004 in Science, and as usual in science, been subject to some hefty debate. Some people are taking it really personally, which is interesting. When a scientific study says that on the average, people behave this way, the outliers pop up and tell the world that "Well, I never..." And then the choir goes "so much for science."

I'm finding this puzzling. I mean, I understand that people don't like it when someone comes in and tells you that you did the wrong choice by having your children, which do give a lot of joy and fun as well. But it's not the wrong choice, and it's totally a mistake to read the studies like that. There is nothing wrong in not trying to maximize your personal happiness, as there is nothing wrong in trying to maximize it either. For some, duty and honor are above all else. Others find other causes for their life. Some find none (which is sad, I think).

You see, I just don't buy that "well, you wouldn't serve your country in the army if it didn't give you a personal bliss" -line. If we were only hedonistic pleasure-seeking missiles, I don't think the humanity would ever have bothered to invent stuff much beyond the fire and farming.

To me the great problem with these articles isn't that they somehow break down the existing belief that having kids makes you insta-happy (a stupid notion: having to clean up poo isn't somehow magically more fun than not having to clean it up.) - it's the fact that people read them as if the pursuit of happiness was the most important thing, and they're somehow failing it. It's not, and you're not.

Parents of the world: you're keeping humanity alive. You're doing what defines life as we know it: procreation. That's something to be proud of, even if you have to waddle through lakes of pee to get there. And you will be sufficiently happy doing it. Some of you will enjoy it immensely, some of you won't. Duh.

And on that note, we at Team BUNT would like to present a new member of the human race. And yeah, I'm happy, really happy about it. For me, parenting is an experience. I'm not a thrill seeker, but doing things for the sake of doing things is what makes me tick, and this is one of those experiences that I know I would regret missing on my deathbed. :-)

P.S. There's a nice writeup on this topic at The New York Magazine as well. It e.g. talks about how strong welfare systems like in the Nordics actually makes parents a lot happier, as you have less to fret about.

P.P.S. And yeah, let's not overdo the procreation part anymore. Way too many people on this planet.


Private comments? Drop me an email. Or complain in a nearby pub - that'll help.



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