19 December 2008

KDE 4.2 Beta 2 Is Available Now.

As pointed out on Aarons blog and on the KDE website the 4.2 beta 2 is now available.

Roll on January!

12 December 2008

Scary But True

An interesting and quite funny story that I just read can be found here. It details a mail sent to a Linux project from a teacher believing them to be some kind of illegal software pirates.

And of course the response is also shown.

10 December 2008

Rules of branching......

Just found that someone with whom I work has changed the name of a visual studio solution file in one of our branches. The reason was that people where finding it difficult to know which branch they where working on.

I don't agree with this as it goes against what I understand to be branching. I would be interested to find out what other people think on the issue.

1 December 2008

.Net Get Assembly Build Date.

Being of more of a (u)/(l)inux mindset these days I like to include some basic info on apps that I write, even simple 4 line command line applications. In C# I have been trying to create a simple library of functions that I tend to use over and over in command line apps and I have just added a nice little method to get the applications build date using reflection.

I would love to own up to writing the code but honors must go to this post on Coding Horror.

Visual Studio Toolbox Choose Items Crash

Here is a link to a know problem which I am now experiencing.

Basically if you try to add items to your Visual Studio 2008 toolbox and have the Power Commands Addin installed and SP1 Visual Studio will crash.

There is a link at the bottom of the post above with a work around.

27 November 2008

KDE 4.2 And Debian.

I am a little behind on my reading as work is crazy at the moment. However, I do try and keep on top of Planet KDE. Reading while munching my sandwich today I read Ana's blog that basically say's that KDE 4.2 will not be loaded to Debian experimental and that the current (__excellent__) KDE 4 backports available for Lenny from will only maintain updates for the KDE 4.1 serise.

Now I have an issue. After a long time using Sidux and a (very) short time using Kubuntu I was really enjoying using Debian. I respected the work that the Debian KDE packagers made in creating the backports for Lenny. However, I'm getting a bit disappointed now.

I realise that Debian is a great project and I respect their opinions and guiding rules. However, the delay in shipping Lenny is getting ridiculous now. It wasn't really bothering me prior to today but now it seems that it is preventing KDe 4.2 getting into experimental.

What has also annoyed me is that restricting the KDE4 backports to following the KDE 4.1 release's means that until KDE 4 makes it into Debian testing the most stable KDE 4 Debian will support is KDE 4.1. I mean there will only probably be 2 support release's to KDE 4.1 and how long will it take to get KDE 4 to Debian testing? That leaves a big gap which not all Debian users will be happy with.

Me for one

KDE 4.2 "Caterpillar" Released

KDE 4.2 Beta 1 is out.


This release is for testing and bug triaging and reporting.

Apparently over 800 bugs have been dealt with in the past week. 4.2 is shaping up to be a great release.

26 November 2008


I received some spam this morning to my work mail account. It wasn't the normal spam for increasing performance (mine not my pc's) but rather from a web developers reference site. I had a quick look at the site and found it to be quite a good reference. Whether I use it or not might depend on my feelings about being spammed by them.

Anyway, I digress. While looking around I found a link to short article on This is a great little site which aims to bring a QuickSilver (Mac), Launchy (windows) or KDE Run (!) to the web. Basically go to and start typing what you want to search for. As you type the search results start to be displayed below. You can navigate the results with the keyboard. It would seem this is a very early release and if you watch the webcast that the developer has put together you can see he has some very interesting plans for it.

Microsoft, erm I mean, SCO Finally Lose.

So as scattered all around the web SCO have finally lost their case against Linux. Here is a link to one such article on the matter.

As highlighted in the above article it would seem that SCO can not ever raise the case again. Oh well. It's my belief that Microsoft were behind the whole sorry story. There have been some interesting articles in the last few years pointing to Microsoft exec's close to Bill and Steve leaving Microsoft and joining various companies that sit on the fringe of the case. I very much expect that Microsoft bank rolled at least some of the SCO attack. We will obviously never know.

Kate VI Input Mode Is In For KDE 4.2.

I have just been reading a great post on Erlends blog that he has finally submitted his code to enable VI input mode as a Kpart for KDE 4.2. This is a really welcome patch.

You can read a full set of supported commands in the above post.

20 November 2008

KDE 4 Debian Lenny Backports.

I have just noticed that the KDE 4 Lenny Backports page has been updated to show that KDE 4.1.3 packages have now been created and uploaded.

I have not updated yet but will tonight.

There is some thing about a known problem with KDM so make sure you read the above page before updating.

Interesting News From Adobe - Alchemy.

Over the last couple of weeks there has been some big news release's from Adobe. I'll be honest apart from using Flash (Youtube!) I do not really use any of their products. That is a matter of I have neither had the need or the opportunity rather than any other reason.

However, I was very interested to read some more information relating to some news leaked onto the net some time ago. The leak stated that some guys at Adobe where working on a way to compile c/c++ code into Actionscript to be run in a browser.

Well at last there is a post about it on the Adobe site. Looks interesting.

More importantly it could open up the web to finally start the road to moving what we regard as the desktop today to a web based solution.

18 November 2008

Visual Studio 2008.

Why does it need 205,184k just to open my solution? And why does it need to trash my hard drive?

14 November 2008

Vim Macro Recorder.

I love simple tools for simple jobs and the VIM Keyboard Macro recorder is one such tool. In fact it was the reason I found VIM in the first place.

Anyway, how to use the recorder. To record a macro hit the q button and then enter a name for your macro. q is a great name as it is quick to type (qq) but you can name it bob (qbob) or whatever you want. When you finish completing your keyboard maneuvers then hit q again to end the recording.

To play the macro back you type @name. So if you are lazy like me that would be @q. If you want to repeat the macro a number of times then 10@q will play the q macro 10 times.

12 November 2008

Konqueror & Dolphin Interesting Poll.

This is a rant about Dolphin and it's development as the default file manager within the KDE4 desktop.

I actually have mixed views on the subject because although I agree with the author of the above that Konqueror is an excellent file manager I can also see the argument for a separate file manager, i.e. Dolphin.

The trouble is that although I like Dolphin I have been having some performance issue's. Now this could be down to the Debian Lenny Backport packages or it could be down to the point that the author of the above has missed. Dolphin is a new application. It has only had 10 months of real world usage and still has a lot of development to go to improve things like stability and performance.

The interesting thing at the end of the above article is that they have a poll of what should be used for web browsing and file management. The outright winner is Firefox for browsing and Konqueror for file management.

7 November 2008

Next Version Of IE To Use WebKit..... Maybe?

So the George Bush of the propriety software world, Steve Ballmer, was in Sydney talking to Microsoft developers when one clearly gifted individual stood and asked the following ...

"Why is IE still relevant and why is it worth spending money on rendering engines when there are open source ones available that can respond to changes in Web standards faster?"

Ballmer's reply? "That's cheeky, but a good question, but cheeky".

He then went to to say

"There will still be a lot of proprietary innovation in the browser itself so we may need to have a rendering service," No surprise there then.... but then came...

"Open source is interesting, Apple has embraced Webkit and we may look at that, but we will continue to build extensions for IE 8."

So is he saying that Microsoft could one day ship a WebKit based browser? From the earlier comment that would require Microsoft to develop WebKit to work with their extensions and plug ins and would they give them back to the Webkit project. Would the WebKit dev's want the changes to be back ported? Could they even be backported without Microsoft giving away details of the inner's of IE.

Interesting questions which will probably never have to be answered.

5 November 2008

KDE 4.1.3 "Change" Is Out


The KDE project has announced that KDE 4.1.3 (codenamed "Change") is now available.

4.1.3 is the 3rd maintenance release for 4.1 with the main updates being :
  • Two crashes fixed in the Dolphin filemanager
  • A large number of bugfixes and optimizations in the KHTML HTML rendering component.
  • Several bugfixes in the Kopete multi-protocol Instant Messenger.
The rest of the changelog can be found here.

QT Creator - First Impressions.

I will be honest, I am maxed out completely at the moment and haven't had much of a chance to look at the new IDE from QT Software. I have however, been reading some interesting posts from around the KDE community which seem to be split as to whether or not the application is a good move and welcome.

The KDevelop team seem to think it is a duplication of effort and I can see why. However, as someone that spends much of his days battling, erm I mean enjoying(!) Visual Studio it always suprised me that QT did not have a good IDE of it's own. I have loaded monkey studio and tried to build something with code blocks. They are both ok IDE's but VS does provide a benchmark for IDE functionality. i would say that VS goes so far as to make certain tasks very easy and some programmers very lazy. I don't think that this is a good thing but that is my opinion.

I have used KDevelop in the past but have not always found it's UI to be particularly easy to work with. Of late I have started to head down the same route as Aaron and Ivan, basically Vim is my friend. Both of those previous links are to posts relating to QT Creator and KDevelop. Aarons makes for very interesting reading while Ivan basically agrees.

As for me well I installed the windows binary of QT Creator this morning while waiting for a build, fired it up and got a memory error. Tried again and it fired up. First impresssion is that it looks professional. Once I have tried to use it I will report my honest opinion.

3 November 2008

QT Creator - Technology Preview Available.

The project that has been rumored around the web over the last couple of months is now finally available as a technology preview.

QT Creator (know previously as Greenhouse) is a cross platform IDE that aims to provide a single development environment for QT. With code editor and designer for the UI elements and integrated debugger.

You can grab downloads here for linux, mac and windows.

31 October 2008

Debian OpenOffice Updates

This article has pointed out that there are some important updates for Debian OpenOffice users. It would appear there are 17 patches in total which effect Stable, unstable and experimental.

The above article details the flaws being fixed.

30 October 2008

Kubuntu 8.10 Is Out


The latest incarnation of Kubuntu is now out and if you are really lucky you might find a mirror you can download it from. Or for those that want to do an upgrade of an existing system you should hit Alt-F2 and type ...

kdesudo "adept_manager --dist-upgrade"

This should open up Adept which should offer you an upgrade button.

Kubuntu has now switched to KDE 4. After playing with the previous release on Kermit my work laptop for some time I'll be interested in seeing what the new version is like. I have been meaning to blog about Debian Lenny which I have installed on my own Thinkpad which is brilliant. Kubuntu 8.04 had some silly little bugs which although not major really annoyed me. Things like Alt-F1 not working.

Anyway lets install and play.

28 October 2008

Denied By Reign - Jono's Album Is Out.

Anyone that has been involved within the Linux Community over the last 10 years will know of Jono Bacon. Ex-Kde hacker, Linux Format scribe and now Unbuntu Community Manager.

Jono has now released his first (metal) album and you can get it here. It is released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license which means that you can share, copy, remix the ablbum.

20 October 2008

Aaron Seigo On Another Podcast

Aaron Seigo is the guest on the current podcast at

This is not a podcast that I have come across before but Aaron is interesting as ever to listen to.

19 October 2008

Debain Lenny KDE 4.1.2 Backports Are Out

Just got back from a great week away with Lorraine and Bean on the Norfolk cost to see that KDE 4.1.2 is out for Lenny.

For those not in the know, Ana Beatriz Guerrero López one of the Debian KDE maintainers has been maintaining a site and repository of backports for KDE 4 for Lenny. The site is pretty basic but does detail how to install KDE 4 for Lenny and provides news of when the updates are out.

I would warn that the updates do take longer then say Kubuntu to be added (as in 4.1.1, 4.1.2 and as in they take a week or two not months) but then when they do appear they are rock solid and it is the work of a small group.

As far as I am concerned Debian KDE 4 rocks over Kubuntu.

9 October 2008

Gimp 2.6 And Visual Studio 2008.

Having downloaded and started playing with GIMP 2.6 on windows as part of the day job I have noticed a few new tricks.

The best of which is that you can now set GIMP to be your default graphic file handler in Visual Studio 2008. (I have tried this with previous versions of both GIMP and Visual Studio and it has never worked as expected. There may have been fixes or workarounds but life is too short!)

Simply right mouse click on a graphic file, select open with. In the dialog box that appears select Add and you will be able to set the path to the gimp-2.6.exe file and set a name that will be displayed in the available applications list that VS displays when you select open with. Once you have entered these click OK and click Set As Default. Now every time you open a graphics file it will load up into Gimp.

7 October 2008

Kubuntu 4.08 Adept-Notifer (Update Program)

Since updating Kubuntu to 4.1 I have been suffering a reoccurring problem with the update program that usually sits in the system tray. a Kubuntu font of knowledge who's tips I regularly follow, recommended running the following from a terminal


Which I have used in the past but now I have updated to 4.1.2 even that has stopped working. Now I'm left with running adept and using the "fetch updates" toolbar button. This is turn turns the above back on until I reboot.

If any one knows a straight fix..... please comment.

nobackup VIM Setting

Something I have meant to sort for a while is VIM leaving backup (swap) files littering my windows laptop.

set nobackup

Add this to the bottom of your ~/.vimrc and this will mean those backup files will be removed when you close the instance of VIM using the file.

A Week Of New Toys....

So what with KDE 4.1.2, Python 2.6 and now Mono 2.0 and a new free windows Rails environment this week is turning out to be the worst ever for bankers but the best ever for development geeks.

Ruby In Steel is a new free (for personal use) Ruby on Rails IDE based on Visual Studio 2008. Download the installer and it will set up a full environment including MySql and Rails. I have yet to try it but I have seen the commercial version which looked quite promising.

Mono is the other big release (so far) this week. Releasing version 2.0 they have added major support for lots of API's including ADO.Net 2, LINQ, Cairo and System.Drawing 2.0.

6 October 2008

KDE 4.1.2 Is Now Available.


KDE 4.1.2 (codenamed "Codename"). Is now out. This is later then planned but only by a couple of days (I believe the issue was caused by a misbehaving binary in 4.1.2 branch.

This is the second update to the 4.1 branch and includes only bug fixes (4.2 is in feature freeze I believe).

Anyway Kubuntu packages are out already although the backports for Debian Lenny normally take another week or more to make it out.

Changelog can be found here.

Download/Update and enjoy.

Python 2.6 Is Out.

Python v2.6 is now out and available for download.

The above link is to the official release page which has loads of links for downloads, changelogs etc.

3 October 2008

Linux Format - Meet The Team

The team at Linux Format are planning a meeting with readers of their fine magazine.

Details can be found here.

If you can get to the Bristol and Bath area then enjoy.

1 October 2008

GIMP 2.6 Is Out.

The GIMP, one of the great Open Source applications, has released version 2.6 today.

You can download it here and read the release notes here.

For a history of the GIMP (which is quite long) see here.

This version has numerous small fix's and changes but also brings in some quite big changes as well such as the early integration of the GEGL library.

The great thing about GIMP is the fact you can give it to a windows user and prove that OSS can be solid, fully functional and dependable. Since I started at Konetic the whole development team have adopted it to do all of our image work. Why?? Well I was able to sell it on the "oh no I don't use photoshop as I prefer the GIMP. Yes it is free!" angle. This usually hooks people. "Oh it's free well I'm sure it can't handle layers or mask's", "erm yes it can", "oh really??". I had that very conversation with a colleague just last week who has been using Corel draw for 10 years. He is now porting his work to Gimp.

29 September 2008

Bluetooth Headset

As I work form home at least 3 days a week I communicate with the office via Voip. This is usually either the Voip built into Messenger Live or Skype. Up until recently I was using a Plantronics headset which was great even if I did look like a pilot. I decided that the time had come for a Bluetooth headset as the Plantronics one was on it's last legs.

It arrived Saturday and after a stressful Sunday night trying to install the drivers under Windows (as in I had to reinstall drivers for nics, stop and play with Bluetooth services etc) I can fully recommend that no one use a bluetooth headset under XP service pack 2. It's hideous, painful and one of the many reasons mortals hate PCs.

And whats worse is that now I have it working the quality is rubbish. I am going to plug my "preferred" laptop in and see if under Linux it's any better.

24 September 2008

Perforce Branching For ASP.Net Projects.

We use Perforce as our source control at work. It is OK but I can see why Google are investigating GIT ;) Having used it for nearly 2 years now I have got comfortable with it even if Owen (my co developer) has to remind me to use the "Revert Unchanged Files" option prior to submitting!!

Anyway back to the point of this post. I have tried branching within Perforce before with our ASP.Net application and have not found it to be an easy process. Don't get me wrong this is not down to Perforce but rather the fact that with an ASP.Net application you end up having to hack the either the solution or the project files in order to build the branch. The reason? It seems that you can not share a IIS virtual directory between two different branches of the same ASP.Net application.

The cure? Well today I hacked the project file of the web project to change the IIS instance name so that when I loaded the project it told me the instance did not exist and it would create it for me. Before now I have renamed the branch solution file but this is not ideal and I think the separate IIS instance is neater if far from perfect.

I not sure if the reading I have done on this topic has missed some vital element but I would be interested to hear how other people get around the same issue.

18 September 2008

Dropbox On KDE

So Dropbox has finally gone live.

For those who have not used it yet Dropbox provides a web based service that allows seamless syncing between two pc's. Not only that but it provides a mechanism for hosting your photos and providing links that can be shared with those you want to share with. There is a great screen cast for more detailed info on their site.

The great thing is that not only is it (very) fast but there are clients available on Windows, Mac and as of the 6th of this month a beta Linux client.

The not so good news is that it's a GNOME based Linux client. The even worse news is that it's a Nautilus based client.

So, the first question is has anyone got the Linux daemon running on it's own. The second question is has anyone got it working with Konqueror or Dolphin and the last question is if not anyone fancy helping me write a KDE based Dropbox client??

Greg Kroah-Hartman's Linux Plumbing Keynote.

Greg, for those not in the know, is a major Linux Kernel contributor.

His keynote for the Linux Plumbers Conference has just been posted on his blog (with some slides). It makes for some interesting reading considering the noise coming from the ubuntu leader and his team of late.

I would be very interested to see what position they hold next year.

C# Label transparency

I am writing a small configuration editor for work at the moment and have come to make the initial release for the other guys to test. As the tool could end up in the hands of our partners I thought I would add a decent looking splash screen and about box.

Creating a graphic was the easy part. I left room for a label to be added on the splash window to display the application version. This was an approach I took when working with VB6/VC++ many years ago so I could pass the version info in the page load event. The only trouble is that C# label controls do not support full transparency.

I did a bit of searching and reading of docs. It turns out that turning the .BackColor property to Transparent will only set the back ground colour to the colour of the containing control. Hence if like me you have a picture box and a label it will show the back ground colour of the picture box control, grey (or the default control colour).

Therefore, the following (where pb is a picture box control and l is a label) will do the job. The code should be added to the splash window class.

Private void pb_Paint(object sender, PaintEventArgs e)
l.Visible = false;
e.Graphics.DrawString(l.Text, l.Font, new SolidBrush(l.ForeColor), l.Left - pb.Left, l.Top - pb.Top);

17 September 2008

watch out world my brain is full.....

OK, so first proper blog.... what shall I write.....hmmmm??

My name is Andy, I live in Harlow (UK) and am a software developer. I work with DotNet during the day but once out of the office use and develop on Linux based systems. I'm 30 and am married to Lorraine with a 3 year old son, Bean (not real name.... but used for obvious reasons).

The idea of this blog is to note down stuff about software development, programming in general and Linux. For those interested in such things I am a Debian lover and am currently running Lenny on my Thinkpad R40, Sidux on my Thinkpad R60 and Kubuntu on my PC Specialist work laptop (dual boot win xp). All 3 are running KDE 4.1.1 as I am a big KDE fan.