Archive for September, 2010

PyQt comes to OpenSolaris

Friday, September 10th, 2010

For the past month I’ve been honing my PyQt skills and greatly enjoyed it. I’ve been saying to people at conferences — for years already — that Python (or some other scripting language) is the Right Approach ™ to a great many end-user applications for its speed on development and ease of prototyping. Now I finally spent a month testing the truth of that statement.

However, all the work I did was on Linux systems, both Ubuntu and Fedora. Today I sat down to package PyQt for OpenSolaris. Riverbank Computing supports Solaris, to the extent that sip lets you do –platform solaris-cc, but there were a few gotcha’s along the way.

  • The mkspecs parser in sip expands Windows-style percent-sign variables. This bumps into the Sun Studio flags which includes things like -library=no%CStd. It took me a long time to track that down, and then patch it out.
  • Python lives in /usr while our Qt packages live in /opt/kde4 — this just causes packaging headaches and RPATH juggling, nothing spectacular.

But those little gotchas aside, packaging went smoothly. You can get the specfiles from the KDE 4.6.0 preparation repository. Packages are not yet available from our usual KDE4-on-OpenSolaris repositories, though. We might backport into the -450 specfile and package repository if there’s any enthusiasm for it.

One thing I’ve had some trouble with is finding code to test the bindings with. Somehow the examples that are bundled with the PyQt source distribution aren’t mentioned a lot on the web, so it took a while for me to find the obvious testing ground. But from there the whole QtDemo application runs except for the OpenGL parts: it seems I’m missing the bindings for that. So there’s still some polishing left to do with the dependencies, too.

So what’s the future hold now we have Python bindings for Qt in OpenSolaris? Well, the obvious thing to do would be to produce some small applications that help with OpenSolaris-specific features such as ZFS, dtrace or containers. That would give the KDE4-OpenSolaris desktop a boost as well.

NLUUG fall conference schedule finalized

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

The NLUUG‘s Fall Conference — this time on the topic of Security — has been finalized. You can find the schedule, with speakers on both practical and theoretical topics, one the conference website. One of the speakers will be Frank Karlitchek, on Cloud security (in the context of OwnCloud). There tends to be a good amount of KDE presence at the NLUUG conference — I guess that means I’m good at spreading the Call for Abstracts in KDE circles, I guess.

Attendance for students is dirt cheap, so here’s a chance to pick up some useful or inspirational information on security.

Next NLUUG conference will be in May, topic still to be disclosed.

KPresenter template contest

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Eugene reminds us about the KPresenter template contest. This made me go “hunh? did I miss something?” and yes indeed, there was an announcement on the dot some time ago.

Of course, my artistic skills are limited to Kolourpaint and LaTeX beamer hackery, so I’m not going to enter, but I’d encourage all those with actual talent to submit something. Spice up everyone’s presentations! Do bear in mind that the license on the resulting artwork needs to be liberal enough that it can be redistributed — consult the contest rules for details.

Bread in the Bone

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

After the summer months — during which I’ve been in hiding, of sorts — I thought I’d pick up with recipe blogging first. In the style of Ariya Hidayat. When he’s not doing ridiculously cool things, he has nice photos of various dishes.

During the summer months I’ve picked up making bread as a nice relaxing activity. The feel of the flour as it sticks to your fingers, the elasticity after kneading the dough, the stink of yeast and the smell of fresh-baked bread in the kitchen contribute to that relaxation. Yesterday’s exercise was a bread braid — just plain whole wheat rolled out and then braided, so that you get a loaf with some character. My intention had been to take a picture of it, but the kids (and myself) liked it so much that the whole thing was devoured in under a half hour. Well, that was dinner taken care of, at least.

No bread today, but I’ll point to a scone recipe on the BBC site that is quick and tasty. 20 minutes from “braaaaaains … I mean, scones” to the finished product is just right. I poke a single raisin on the top of each scone — a raisin which is duly removed and dropped on the floor by the kids.

Bread is different from software. You mix in the right ingredients, follow the build instructions, and what comes out varies based on the phase of the moon or the draught in the kitchen or a hundred other variables not under your control. Oh, wait, maybe it is like software packaging. But more on that some other time.