Posts for September 2008

2008-09-14: podlators 2.1.3

The primary change in this version is some sorting-out of the Unicode support. Thank you very much to H. Merijn Brand and Juerd Waalboer for their patient explanations of the Perl core test suite failures and how Perl Unicode support is supposed to work.

As of this version, Unicode support in pod2man and Pod::Man will not work properly unless the POD input properly declares =encoding utf-8. This is required, and always has been required, by the POD specification. Without this setting, some Unicode settings of Perl will result in doubled encoding. Proper encoding is now tested in the test suite.

This version also adds a --stderr option to pod2man and pod2text and a corresponding setting to Pod::Text and Pod::Man which sends errors in the POD to stderr instead of to a POD ERRORS section in the generated file. This may be preferrable, since the POD errors aren't of interest to the end-user and errors may be more visible during the build.

There are some additional fixes to the documentation and the spelling checks, thanks primarily to Niko Tyni.

You can get the latest version from the podlators distribution page.

2008-09-14: spin 1.71

I managed to trigger the spin Perl warnings about undefined variables caused by a missing argument to a command today, and took a moment to fix it. Missing arguments are now set to the empty string rather than an undefined value, and \size now produces a good error message about an empty file argument. There are probably other commands that will need a similar fix, but I'll get those as they show up.

You can get the current version of spin from my web tools distribution page.

2008-09-21: spin 1.73

I removed a directory from my web site this afternoon, ran into spin's lack of support for deleting removed directories, and took a moment to fix that. It requires switching from find to finddepth, and I'm not sure what version of File::Find introduced that interface, so it may require a newer version of Perl than 5.005 now. I didn't go back and check.

I also mentioned that dependency handling doesn't work ideally with \sitemap and \include, added better documentation around \id and the Subversion Id expansion, and made a few other documentation improvements.

You can get the latest version from my web tools distribution page.

2008-09-21: Usenet standards

While reorganizing and improving bits of my web site, I started poking at my Usenet article format and NNTP pages. The first step was the addition of \size to spin, but I also wanted to replace the Apache fancy-indexing directory listings of drafts with something more informative.

I've now updated both pages to have real indexes of drafts that include links to the IETF pages and abstracts for the documents, as well as a few other comments. In the process, I found a bunch of other Internet-Drafts, particularly historical versions, that I didn't have on hand and fleshed those out.

All of this really is just another (and sometimes less useful) presentation of information that's already available from the IETF, so I'm not sure how useful it is, but if I'm going to keep it around I may as well do a good job of it.

While I was at it, I also updated the link to the Moderator's Handbook in the Pitfalls of Moderation FAQ since landfield.com appears to be down for the count. Since I was editing it anyway, I cleaned out some of the unnecessary emphasis and improved the writing style minorly.

2008-09-21: podlators 2.1.4

This is entirely test suite fixes. The primary goal of the release is to skip all the UTF-8 tests on versions of Perl earlier than 5.8, since Pod::Simple refuses to cope with UTF-8 encodings on earlier versions of Perl and fails all the tests. Since I'm getting regular error reports about that, it will be nice to stop it.

The other fix is to support aspell for spelling checks, since someone (I forget who) sent me the right aspell command to simulate ispell -l. This is useful since ispell on Red Hat is actually a wrapper around aspell that, for extra credit, doesn't recognize the same flags in the same way and hence spews to standard error.

I hope that this spelling check is going to be more useful than harmful. aspell has a slightly different dictionary, of course, so required more stopwords. I hope I'm not just generating spurious errors for people on make check for things that don't matter. But the idea of automatically checking spelling with every release is so neat....

Anyway, you can get the current release from the podlators distribution page, and from CPAN in a few of course.

2008-09-23: House with a view

I don't quite have the energy to write a review this evening, so have another beach photograph.

House with a view

I'm looking forward to vacation this year, since I know so much more about photography. I'm skipping past a lot of pictures from last year that are okay, but which could have been so much better and which I can do such a better job of now.

Three hours of meetings (which became two and a half, but that doesn't always help) plus an hour and a half of volleyball devoured the day, so I didn't get much else done. I'm trying to help debug a problem with the new GPS receiver PCI board for our new campus stratum one time server, which will also be absorbing several other services from one of our very few remaining sarge systems, and work continues on our new virtualization project. I have very little time for anything else at the moment, but I did get new OpenAFS packages uploaded for lenny that fix the worst of the current bugs and add 2.6.27 kernel support.

Tomorrow, I get to take the car into the shop to have them figure out why the battery isn't holding a charge. It's very nice, convenient, and useful to have a working car. It's a great deal of work (and expense) to have a car that doesn't work, at least if you want to change that state. If Zipcar parked one of their cars just a little closer, it would be an easy decision to give up having a car completely, given that I drive at most a few hundred miles a year. (Although I do like my car. When it's working.)

2008-09-26: Things learned from debate

Things you learn from a US Presidential debate: Apparently the solution to the Iranian crisis is to replace the United Nations with the Extraordinary League of Democracies.

They need to have a really cool plane. And a secret headquarters.

2008-09-28: bundle 2.30

I'm going through the Debian packages of my scripts and redoing them using Git as part of rebuilding my personal archive using reprepro, and in the process I took another look at bundle. This is a remarkably stable script — we're not using it as much in production any more, but I'm still using it for all my personal systems — which means that it doesn't get as much love on coding style.

This is entirely a coding style change, changing all global variables to all caps and adding my new -v handling code to print out more information and to use standard output. It also changes the default interpreter path to /usr/bin/perl to match all my other scripts.

You can get the latest version from the bundle distribution page.

Last modified and spun 2017-09-17