Paolo Bonzini's blog

What to do about GNU?

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About a month ago, I released GNU sed version 4.2.2 and included in the release a "rant" (more of a criticism, perhaps—I'm not a native speaker) about the state of the GNU project.

I made it clear that I had no philosophical disagreement with FSF; in fact, that's likely the reason why almost no one took my post as an occasion to attack the FSF and Richard Stallman. To the few that did: guys, you clearly missed the point. I wrote that text because I want free software and the FSF to be successful. My concern is that if GNU loses, the FSF loses—even if some other piece of free software happens to win.

Floating point to decimal conversion is not so easy

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Russ Cox of Plan-9 and Go fame posted a blog entry titled Floating Point to Decimal Conversion is Easy. While he is usually right, I believe this time he isn't.

Floating point to decimal conversion is easy if you are okay with ugly results. A good conversion routine will print the shortest decimal representation of the floating-point number, that is, the shortest decimal number whose closest floating-point representation equals the original number. You do not want 0.30000000001, you want 0.3, because the number right above 0.3 is 0.30000000003 and 0.30000000001 does not provide any extra precision.

Towards a permissive copyleft license for dynamic languages

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The problem

With the recent increase in free-software releases for dynamic languages, a serious issue is there for people who would prefer to give their software the protection of copyleft. The issue is the difficulty of interpreting the Lesser GPL in the context of these languages.

The difficulties in turn from two different sources. First, it is hard to interpret the language of the Lesser GPL in the context of languages that have no object files but only source code files.

All you should really know about Autoconf and Automake

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So, here is the shortest possible tutorial on the autotools.

The problem with autotools is that it is used for complicated things, and people cut-and-paste complicated things even when they ought to be simple. 99% of people just need a way to access .pc files and generate juicy Makefiles; the portability part is taken care by glib, sdl and so on.

You can use then the following basic autotools setup, which is just 9 lines. You can start from here and add more stuff (including libtool).

  • configure.ac:

AC_INIT([package], [version])
AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE([foreign subdir-objects])

Optimizing HTTP header manipulation, part 2

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In the previous post I told you how a couple of primitives (which means, modifications to the base classes) helped speeding up HTTP processing in Swazoo by a factor of 6.

Today I'll remove another part of it by modifying Swazoo itself. To remove Seaside, I used the simple "hello world" site that Swazoo serves if you start it with

gst-load --start=swazoodemo Swazoo

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