Back home

by Miguel de Icaza

Traveling back home.

Posted on 26 Oct 2001


by Miguel de Icaza

Woke up late again, so I missed breakfast at the hotel and at the show. While on our way to the PDC we saw a show being shot a few blocks away from our hotel. The dude from McGiver was on the set. The bus driver told us everything we wanted to know about McGiver.


Pretty good talk from Jim on the internals of the CLR, I took various notes on his talk that I will share later on the Mono list.

Someone asked about .NET on Unix and C# on Unix and Jim pointed to the shared source non-commercial implementation that Microsoft will be releasing and also mentioned Mono.

Various people approached me after the talk to ask more about Mono. There was a lot of interest on .NET for Unix.

I had lunch afterwards with various people interested in alternate implementations of the CLI and C# afterwards (Sam Ruby had lunch with us as well). It is always good to see Sam again, a very pragmatic guy, and also enthusiastic about C# and the CLI (he particularly likes the metadata).


In the late afternoon there was a large get together of people in the "Ask the Experts" hall. This has to be one of the best ideas of the show, basically there are various workgroups organized in tables with the various topics about .NET. It is easy to find the group you are interested in, and have a nice talk with them.

I had a chance to meet Anders and enjoyed listening to the answers he gave to the various questions that people asked him. His comments were very interesting, as he shows definetly a sign of good taste in language design. For example, regarding the lack of exception checking in C# his answer was along the lines of: none of the current approaches really have proved to work or are too cumbersome. When we find a good way of implementing that, we will.

Learned also that foreach (X i in SomeArray) is translated by the C# compiler into for (X i = SomeArray.LowBoundary; i <= SomeArray.UpperBoundary; i++), which turns out to be pretty cool as it generates code that is as efficient as it can be.

I also ran into Dick Hardt which is a combination of a hacker and a businessman. Passionate about technology, and also interested in widening the use of Perl and Python in the windows world. He introduced me to some of the programmers at Active State and Ian who has been working on making Perl expose .NET components and consume .NET components.

Don Box is a pretty cool dude. He is the only hacker I have outside the GNOME world that uses the word "dude". His new book is about .NET. A preview of the first two chapters of the book were distributed at the show.

His new book is `a thousand times better written than the Essential COM book'. It was pretty funny that he told us `The Moniker section on the Essential COM book is the part I like the least; That and the first chapter of Essential XML'. So honest and so funny.

Don apparently loves Barcelona.

Jim Miller and David Stutz was extermely busy fielding a bunch of questions on the CLR, C# and ECMA.

I was so tired and had so much wine, that I went back to the hotel afterwards (and got to discuss the GPL, american ideology and the war with Frank).

Posted on 25 Oct 2001


by Miguel de Icaza

Another long day at the PDC; Ran into Ben a couple of times. He finally got his Mac wavelan to work at the show.

I decided to skip the concert as I was too tired and had a headache, so I went back to the hotel to sleep for a few hours before I went for dinner with Pilar and Sid.


My sister picked me up at the hotel and we went over to her house which turns out to be perfectly decorated by things that both her and Sid have painted, built, designed and assembled.

It was pretty amazing, I took lots of pictures of her house, it is a very nice place. Sid is a really creative person and builds all sorts of things.

They both like LA.

Posted on 24 Oct 2001

Laptop woes

by Miguel de Icaza

I have been having some problems with my upgraded laptop and my upgraded OS. Been fighting them all day.

The network at the PDC is horrible. Getting an address from the DHCP server can take up to a 30 seconds if you are lucky.

Then they have some kind of proxy server that crashes all the time, because now is the second time that a guy shows up and tells us `Dont worry, we are rebooting the proxy server, it will be ready in a few minutes'.

When the server comes up, I can visit many web sites, but many others just never resolve to an IP address. Randomly. Wild guess of the day: the Proxy Server is MS Proxy Server.

Linux at the PDC

I have not heard a single mention of Linux so far. But I ran into Ben Adida (from OpenACS) and Eric of AbiSource fame (which is not doing much AbiSource these days).

All the talks are pretty focused on the new .NET stuff, which made me realize that we should ship and distribute a library to make propper use of Jabber on Linux. I am not sure if Gabber is enough, or if Gabber can act as the multiplexor it is supposed to be, but we should look into that.

Ben is having a love/hate relationship with the various .NET technologies.


Met Luis Daniel Soto in between breaks finally. He was kind enough to sponsor my trip to the PDC. Talked about Mexico, .NET, Passport and found out that he got married last year.

I went to the Project-7 talk at the end of the day. The presentation on Fortran for .NET was pretty fun. Bertrand Meyer also tried to convince the audience that Eiffel was the way to go.

Bertrand made a good point that is not mentioned very often. .NET will give people a chance to choose the best language for a particular application instead of choose a language because of the libraries provided by it.

He also discussed how the Eiffel compiler for .NET supports multiple inheritance. It is a pretty cool trick: for each class created an interface is also created. So multiple inheritance is implemented by having the derived class implement both interfaces from the parents.

Pilar and Sid have been working on their costumes for Halloween and they decided this year to use some science fiction characters, so they had been working on all the pieces: the dress, and the gadgets. I am not sure if I took pictures of that though. We had dinner in a nice restaurant called `North' in Sunset boulevard. We had a good night.

Dinner with the ECMA guys

Thanks to Sam Ruby, I had a chance to join the ECMA committee members that attended the PDC. A bunch of us got Mojitos at the restaurant.

Bertrand poses with other ECMA members (here you can see Jim, the man in charge of the MS CLR). Bertrand made very compeling points on why people should use and buy Eiffel ;-)

Posted on 23 Oct 2001

Los Angeles

by Miguel de Icaza

As usual, I woke up and stayed in bed, so I spend most of my 60 minutes that I had reserved for having breakfast at home, taking a long shower and all that stuff in bed instead.

Made it to the airport. They now check your boarding pass when you enter the restricted area and before you board the plane. You also need it to get during baggage claim.

The airplane food used to be passable, I never complained about it (with the notable exception of TWA food which consisted of a piece of bread with a piece of ham and water). But these days the food is just bad.


Got to see my sister and her husband. She took us to a Oaxacan mexican restaurant in Los Angeles, and I had a wonderful barbacoa. It was so tasty. Jacob would have loved it, although he probably would just have ordered a burrito.

I forgot to bring my camera, so I have no evidence.

Posted on 22 Oct 2001


by Miguel de Icaza

I am still moving files from my old hard drive to the new hard drive. By the end of the day I was done.

Thanks to the help of Duncan I got all the nice new features on my laptop setup properly: USB mouse, fully antialiased desktop, lots of new fonts, relevant updates and packages.

I eventually got sick of the AA display, and have now gone back to crisp and clean non-AA fonts.

I think that we should disable anti-aliasing small fonts, and only use it for certain weight/size and up. Anyways GdkXft is pretty cool, any monkey can get this working.

Posted on 21 Oct 2001


by Miguel de Icaza

Today we celebrated Ximian's 2 year anniversary in the company. Bijan and David were out on a business trip, and we missed them.

The spirit of the hackers at Ximian was present in the lounge as Nat had passed out from working 50 hours straight without sleeping. We also had to wake up Dan who also had passed out. Shortly after the celebration Vladimir passed out.

So Ximian is as busy as we have always been.

My camera is still at home so no pictures from me.

Chomksy Audio

The audio for yesterday's talk on Chomsky is now available in Real Audio format: Chomsky at MIT Audio


I have now installed my new Red Hat 7.1 on my new machine and reinstalled VMware as well as all the software I use for developing Mono. Tomorrow I will be migrating my data from my current hard drive to the new hard drive and hopefully I can go on my trip with my new computer.

Hopefully I will be able to run Gnome on AA mode, Duncan has been helping me out, as he has setup a beautiful desktop on his machine. I finally got everything working the way I wanted, although I am not very pleased with the anti-aliased fonts on my desktop, I think I will go back to the sharp fonts that I have been using.


I have been running Nautilus with Tuomas and Jakub's SVG artwork, and it looks so much nicer than anything I have used before.

If I had copious spare time I would be hacking the task-oriented features of the new Windows file manager into it, it should be pretty simple to do.

It is definetly a task for the various hackers in GNOME Love to do.


I am convinced that we need to get a Galeon component for Nautilus which would bring the all nice browsing capabilities and the supporting infrastructure of browsing into the Gnome shell.

Posted on 19 Oct 2001


by Miguel de Icaza

Today Anindita, Iain, Alex and I went to see Noam Chomsky's talk at MIT.

Very good, I even took some notes, but they are incomplete, and you might be better off reading some of his recent interviews at ZNet. The MSNBC Chat With Noam has some of the content that was discussed today.


This is my second day trying to re-organize the expression handling in the C# compiler to cope with Indexers and Properties correctly.

The problem is that so far my whole model for evaluating expressions consisted of recursively asking each expression to "resolve" itself (which was perfect until this point). The resolution process might return a different object and by the time it returns, it has to set two values in the base: the Type of the expression and the expression classification.

This breaks in some cases, because there is no guarantee that indexers will have both their set and get properties, and the argument (that can be properly implicitly converted, and hence used in an OverloadResolve operation) is not available unless it is the left side of an assignment. So, I have to do a lot of work to reorganize the sources around this change.


I am still sick from whatever I got on saturday, am starting to get better slowly, but the weather and the random changes in temperature at night have not helped.

Posted on 18 Oct 2001


by Miguel de Icaza

Evolution is fast approaching, Nat and I did a little thing for the hackers last night.


Installing new pieces of the laptop.

Upgrading to a new version of the operating system is not worth all this pain.

Posted on 17 Oct 2001


by Miguel de Icaza

I am starting to appreciate more and more the new CD from Jaguares (Cuando la Sangre Galopa)

I also have been listening to Norris Man, a CD I got from a Reggae concert that my mother and I saw in San Francisco a couple of months ago.


Tuomas has been doing some incredible things with Nautilus.

I also discovered that people have been putting together a bunch of Nautilus Scripts

Posted on 16 Oct 2001


by Miguel de Icaza

Went to the Howard Zinn talk at the Massart, as usual very good.


More work on Mono, things progressing nicely.

Posted on 10 Oct 2001