Linux, 2017!

First of all, please do not read this post as a complain. Just as an analysis. I am a Linux user for decades. I remember using Linux in my first year of University, somewhere about 1996. I never stopped using Linux, in the server, but during some years, somewhere between 2002 and 2017 I was a Mac user for the desktop (one PPC Mac Book, two Intel Mac Book Pro). Back to the beginning of 2017 I needed an update, and decided to go back to Linux. Mostly because of the price of a decent Mac Book Pro when compared with a generic laptop. I decided on a Dell, and without a lot of thinking, decided on a Dell with a 4K display. Well, I had a hard time trying to install a distribution. Tried Mint, Debian and Ubuntu. Curiously, all gave trouble with UEFI boot, but the one that ended up installing a working Linux was Mint Given it is Debian based, I can keep up with the Debian updates, and install most packages available only for Ubuntu.

While I see some applications getting better, from 2002 to 2017, it seems Linux community continues rewriting the wheel. I can’t see any big difference from what I am experiencing today in the desktop with what I was experiencing earlier with Gnome 1. Yes, the code was changed. It might be more stable, faster, support a couple of new things. But it seems we continue rewriting and rewriting the same old applications.

Then there is the issue with a 4K display. Even if GTK3 has support for High DPI screens, a lot of  applications are not written for this toolkit. And I am not sure, at all, that this is something that need to be managed by the graphical toolkit. I still think it is a Xorg issue, where we should be able to define DPIs for each screen, and have the basic low-level tools scale everything. As this is how I see things, I decided today to look to the blog of Xorg. And it doesn’t have news since 2013. As I could read, now most work is done as independent libraries. Nevertheless, it is strange no changes were needed to be done in 4 years.

Also curious that a bunch of applications using node.js are being working great. Examples are GitKraken, Code, Atom, Franz… and even Sublime is working great on 4K (even if it has some other issues). Unfortunately Unity3d is not working properly in 4K, but that looks more like an issue with their own GUI system, than anything else (but then, if Xorg took care of things, maybe it would work great, just like it works acceptably under Windows). But other things, like old Gtk, Xlib, QT or even Java applications still look like needing a microscope to be read.

So, here I am, with a shiny new laptop, deciding to keep Linux, or getting back to.. huh.. windows! Yeah, I do dual boot, but I like Linux for most things. But some aren’t possible As a teacher, I know I will have problems when trying to use a beamer. When connecting an external display, everything will look monstrous. Or I can change the resolution on the built-in screen, go searching the HiDPI switch, turn it of, restart the session for it to be correctly applied, and then use the laptop. Shame.

And yes, I know a lot of this is my fault. If I did not change to Mac, and if like me other hundred of developers didn’t do the same, probably we would have a lot more Linux users, writing and patching these applications. Or we would just end up with a lot of more distributions, a lot more window manager, but with the same main issues.

At last, but not less important, I would like to thank you to everyone that is still working on Linux making it better. I know this is not a paid job. I know you (and I) do what we want, and what makes us happy. That is why this is not a complain text. Just looking to what I see, without pointing any fingers.



Sim, Chef! (Season 1)

Sim, Chef!

Sim, Chef!

Yep, the first Portuguese series that I comment here, at the end of a season. This is a comedy, a little unrealistic on some points, but lots of fun. Also, it has some nice girls, and show nice food. And I always liked cooking shows, so, why not join them? The only sad thing is that Benedita Pereira’s character reminds me of someone… that does not know of my existence, unless in real need of computer services. Sad!

Under the Dome (Season 3)



Right, it ended. Badly. Unfortunately, somebody wrote the season finale before the series got cancelled. Now, I feel like Sheldon Cooper, needing completion. No, this is not anything you do to your followers. Nop. Wrong.

Well, regarding Under the Dome, the first season is the best. The second goes down. The third goes up again a little. The end is a little fun, but also a cliffhanger. And I would love to see where they would go from there.

And, yeah, Julia Schumway is cute, cute, cute.

Modern Family (Season 8)

Ariel Winter @ Modern Family

Ariel Winter @ Modern Family

Modern Family continues, and like The Big Bang Theory, the story is mostly the same from the beginning. Two gays with relationship problems, and self-doubt, a lazy mom and the three kids, and the old guy with the cute woman. From time to time an episode is better than the others, making a laugh, but most of the time it just guarantees a 20 minutes of OK time. Example of this warm evolution is the season finale, that was just like any other episode from the series. I know this series is mostly based on each individual episode, than in a continuous story, but nevertheless, it would be quite easy to make some suspense on the “umbrella story”.

The Big Bang Theory (Season 10)

Sheldon Cooper @ TBBT

Sheldon Cooper @ TBBT

Right. Tenth Season. And in 10 years Sheldon Cooper had more girls than me. Oh well.

Back to the series. Things are mostly the same from last seasons. Some new details to shake a little the story (Raj parents not paying for his house, baby for Horward and Bernardette, ..) but the main history keeps the same. While nothing vibrantly new, the series keeps to make me laugh. And of course, nice girls.

MonoGame: From Windows to Linux

The traditional way to have a C# MonoGame Project compile both under Linux and Windows is to use a tool named Protobuild. With the last version (3.6), the MonoGame OpenGL template for a cross platform game includes references to the libraries in the three main formats: DLL for windows, DyLib for mac, and so for Linux. This seemed like a good chance for making things work.

And it mostly did. Change to the path where the .csproj file resides, and run xbuild. The bin folder should be created, and inside there, a path accordingly with your project configuration. For example, bin/DesktopGL/AnyCPU/Debug. Then, go there, and just run your game with
mono Project.exe.

(future work: check how to make things work outside the output dir)

Edx + Microsoft Course on R

I participated in some courses in Coursera, with very interesting subjects. For the first time I decided to enroll in a course in edx, and I ended up in a Microsoft Data Camp course on R. The course is very basic, mostly on syntax than in statistics. Good enough. The course is based in 5 to 6 minutes videos, and then some exercises done online. Although too basic, the course was interesting enough for me, as I did not know anything on R.

But what really annoyed me was the final evaluation. First, the instructions claim we will have 4 minutes per question… but the timer starts at 3 minutes. Well.. Microsoft… Then, instead of having questions on using R for some interesting tasks (take this data, change it, then plot) the exam is a set of puzzle questions, with placeholder we need to fill to obtain some result. Yes, when using R we will be faced with puzzles. And worse, there is no pause button. I understand you might want to limit the time to answer to each question, but why not to pause in between questions? Specially when you are at home and someone rings your door bell. Well, after 20 minutes or so at the door, I returned to the exam, and still got 75%.

And, OK, I did not pay for a verified certificate. But at least you could show a digital certificate we might print and show. OK, I’ll get back to Coursera. See you, edX!

Sim, Chef! (S01E01)

Yep, this is the second time I blog about a Portuguese series. It started right in the same week as “Ministério do Tempo”, but it is a comedy. It follows the 20 minutes of other well known series like Allo Allo! or The Big Bang Theory, and with non-sense ranging from the minimum to crazy. What I like in it? Well, the idea (stories in the Kitchen of a well known restaurant), the fun, and of course, Benedita Pereira. So, it is another series I will keep my eye on. Stay tuned.

Ministério do Tempo (S01E01)

Ministério do Tempo

Ministério do Tempo

Probably this is the first time I post about a Portuguese series. As far as I could find, it is not original from Portugal but Spain, but adapted (or localized) to Portugal. It is sufficiently strange, and includes enough reference to history, to make it interesting. I liked the first episode and will give it a chance. Keep tuned.

Euclidea – Geometric Construction Game



Euclidea is a very interesting game. Something new, a different game, educational, fun, difficult, challenging. A great game. If you like geometry, if you loved how to build geometric constructions on paper, but always made them blur, you will love this game.