Miriam Ruiz
random thoughts on technology and life











{August 30, 2007}   Finally Gnash 0.8.1

The 4th and hopefully last alpha version (I expect the next one to be a beta) of Gnash, the GNU’s free Flash player has been released yesterday. There are many important changes, but the most relevant thing you’ll notice is that it’s by far more stable than the previous one.

Gnash supports right now the majority of Flash opcodes up to SWF version 7, and a wide sampling of ActionScript 2 classes for SWF version 8.5. The program is still under heavy development and Flash version 9 and ActionScript 3 support are also being worked on. Debian SID has right now one of the latest release candidates for this version, and 0.8.1 will probably be in the repositories soon.

As it is expected that in one or two versions it will be able to select between the different possible backends, we’ve decided to have just one package with pre-selected options in the repositories. AGG is probably the most conservative version that will work for everyone, and even though OpenGL might be better for certain graphic cards, we’ve decided to play safe. In any case, I’ve also made some unofficial packages for those who want to try different configurations of Gnash, like, as I said, using an OpenGL backend.



{August 29, 2007}   Internationalized hex-a-hop

The first serious i18n effort for the Games Team is now bearing fruit. The newer version of the game hex-a-hop is now entering Debian. All the merit goes to Jens Seidel, who has developed the patches for making it work with SDLPango and to support all the spectrum of Unicode characters, instead of the limited ASCII set included in the game, as well as to all the people of Debian i18n who have done the translations (Helge Kreutzmann, Damyan Ivanov, Enrique Matías Sánchez, Bas Wijnen, Piotr Engelking, Yuri Kozlov and Clytie Siddall).

The game has already been translated to Bulgarian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Russian and Vietnamese. Thanks Jens, both for taking care of the changes in the code needed to achieve this, and also for coordinating all the t10n and i18n process, as I don’t really have much experience in those areas.



{August 27, 2007}   Mi papá me mima
Hay una foto de la que estoy enamorada desde la primera vez que la vi en la web de Heterodoxia. Es una imagen realmente tierna de un niño jugando con una muñeca, ante una pizarra en la que aparece escrito el texto “mi papá me mima”, sobre un dibujo muy primitivo de un padre con el pelo largo.

Es una imagen muy dulce, y que al mismo tiempo ataca frontalmente todos los estereotipos asociados tradicionalmente a los hombres.La fotografía, de Adrián Fatou Valenzuela, fué premiada en el II Certámen Fotográfico “Hombres en Proceso de Cambio”, organizado desde el Programa Hombres por la Igualdad (Delegación de Igualdad y Salud. Ayuntamiento de Jerez de La Frontera). ¡Adelante, chicos, seguid así!

“Mi papá me mima”. Autor: Adrián Fatou Valenzuela.
3er. Premio II Cert. Fotográfico “Hombres en proceso de cambio”
Programa Hombres por la Igualdad.
Delegación de Igualdad y Salud. Ayto.de Jerez.



{August 26, 2007}   D compiler in Debian

gdc has finally entered Debian repositories (thanks Arthur Loiret, Matthias Klose, thanks GCC folks!). It’s time to start putting the rest of Kenta Cho’s games into Debian. Two of them, A7Xpg and Gunroar, are already in the NEW queue, some others are on the way. Kenta Cho is most famous for his shmups or shoot ‘em ups, mostly featuring abstract reinterpretations of retro classics with each game having a specific unique feature and using randomly generated levels. rRootage and Noiz2sa are already in the archive, since they were coded in C++. Thanks to Javier Candeira, who introduced me to Kenta Cho’s world.



{August 24, 2007}   GoPlay!

Thumbnail of GoPlay! v0.1DebTags is a really nice system for clasifying programs, it allows you to select which packages you want by being able to select between many different kind of labels, that are used to categorize them. Anyway, there is sitll a long way to go if we want to make it easier for users to locate the programs they want, and that goes for games too.

In DebConf7, in Edinburgh (Scotland), Enrico suggested me that we could do a GUI for searching the games available in Debian, using his DebTags as the backend. Starting there, using his libept library for accessing the data, FLTK (Fast Light Toolkit) as the toolkit engine, and C++ as the programming language, we’ve been slowly developing it.

The version 0.1 of the program is ready, and hopefully will be in Debian soon. We’ve decided to create a standalone package with the thumbnails, that could also be shared with other programs, and the package for goplay itself. Both are now waiting in the NEW queue, and hopefully soon they will be in Debian. Of course, more snapshots of the games shall be taken, and there’s a lot of room for improvements, but at least it’s a starting point.

For using it, you’ll need to install debtags and ept-cache in your system, and set them up properly, and possibly also the results from popcon, if you want to have that data in the GUI too:

apt-get install debtags ept-cache
debtags update
mkdir /var/lib/popcon/
cd /var/lib/popcon
wget http://popcon.debian.org/all-popcon-results.txt.gz
ept-cache reindex



{August 23, 2007}   New Game: Battle Tanks

Battle Tanks is a GPL’ed multiplayer game with original cartoon-like graphics, cool music and inspired in the old arcade games. You can choose one of three vehicles (tank, Shilka, and rocket launcher) to try to eliminate your enemy using the whole arsenal of weapons you have available (four types of ammo, six types of rockets, landing troops, mines and so on). The game supports keyboard as well as a gamepad.

There are ten multiplayer maps (seven for deathmatch and three for cooperative mode) in different locations (city, village, forest, desert,…) and a game world that reacts on player. Roads have traffic, buildings can be destroyed, weather effects are simulated, etc.

I’m not usually into packaging war games, but I think this is cute enought to make an exception, and in any case I don’t think playing it will hurt anyone, apart from some prides, if they find out they’re not as smart and quick as the enemy.

I hope that the game enters Debian repositories soon, but meanwhile you can find some packages for the game already built for SID for i386, powerpc and amd64 architectures (the source for the packages is here).



{August 21, 2007}   PiX Frogger: help the frog cross the street

Does the name “Frogger” ring a bell? Introduced in 1981, developed by Konami and distributed by Sega/Gremlin, it’s one of the most classic from the earliest ages of computer videogames.

PiX Frogger is a clone of the classic game Frogger, in which you must help a frog cross the street to avoid becoming roadkill by cars and trucks. The frog starts at the bottom of the screen and the only control the player has is navigating the direction for the frog to hop. The game allows 4 players playing simultaneously with the keyboard.

PIX Frogger is on the way. Implemented in Fénix, an interpreted script programming language, specially designed to developing and running 2D games and added to Debian repositories some weeks ago, it has really cute graphics and the visual layout has been nicely taken care of. The game in itself is quite simple, so it shouldn’t be hard for smaller kids to play, especially when they can compete against each other 4 at a time.

For more grown-ups, I guess it’s so cool to have a version in Debian from this historical game. I’m sure many people missed it. I hope it enters the repositories soon, but meanwhile you can get it from here. Thake care while crossing the street, though.



{August 17, 2007}   Gnash 0.8.1 is on the way

As the new version of Gnash (0.8.1) is probably going to be released in some weeks, I decided it was time to make some newer packages available. I’ve done a lot of changes on them, first of all I’ve removed all the library packages, as they don’t seem to make a lot of sense right now. There is still no gnash-dev package and will probably not be at least for a while. I’ve also made available different options of the program, right now one compiled with GTK+ and AGG, and another one with KDE and OpenGL. I might add newer ones in the future. I’m not really sure if those packages, or this approach, will end up in Debian’s repository yet, anyway, due to some reasons I cannot say here, but in any case it’s the first release of packages of Gnash I’m proud of, so I thought someone might be interested.



{August 16, 2007}   Fénix en Debian

Fénix ha entrado por fin en Debian, aunque he tenido que parchearlo seriamente para dejarlo un poco en condiciones, al menos hasta que salga la primera release de Bennu. En el foro de Fénix expliqué con detalle alguno de los cambios que he tenido que hacer, pero creo que es conveniente que ponga también una nota aquí por si alguien que no lea dichos foros tiene interés. Asímismo también he dejado disponible un archivo con los parches ya aplicados, por si alguna persona que use otra distribución quiere usarlo. Fénix es el nombre de un proyecto libre destinado a crear un compilador gratuito para un lenguaje derivado del que en su día Hammer Technologies creó para el desarrollo de videojuegos con su entorno DIV, ya he escrito anteriormente sobre él en mi bitácora.

En todo caso, no se trata de un fork, sino que la versión de referencia de Fénix para mí sigue siendo el código que hay en el repositorio CVS de SourceForge. Mi idea es mantener la compatibilidad de los juegos y de los plugins respecto al código que ya hay e incorporar los últimos cambios que haya en el CVS.

El código original tenía cosas que ni por asomo se podían consentir desde el punto de vista de la calidad de los paquetes, así que he tenido que modificar ciertas cosas. Asímismo, los mensajes eran un caos, la mitad en español y la mitad en inglés. Los he pasado todos a inglés y los he internacionalizado con gettext, incluída una traducción (aún a medias) al Español, pero esta vez con un sistema estándar y en condiciones.

Read the rest of this entry »



{August 15, 2007}   OpenXML no es ni abierto, ni estándar, ni siquiera XML

Me resulta curiosa la política que rodea al mundo de los estándares. Cuando se supone que, por cuestiones puramente económicas y estratégicas de las empresas y los organismos, sin entrar en consideraciones éticas, un estándar debería garantizar la interoperabilidad y la calidad, resulta que una empresa que ostenta el monopolio domina de tal forma a las demás que, incluso en contra de los propios intereses de éstas, muchas parecen dejarse pisotear.

Entre los muchos motivos por los que no debería ser aceptado como estándar ISO, encontramos:

Una joya, vamos. Lamentablemente, como pasa a menudo, el voto de España será de abstención. Así nos va, supongo.

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