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Re: Tools

Erik wrote:

> netscape is a pig, lots of pixmaps naturally bloat up the xserver, but I
> have to disagree about enlightenment. Once I cut down the config files and
> set it up in a usable appealing way, E is very light and fast. It's got a
> couple oopses, but dr16 seems to be 99% good. E itself isn't the problem,
> it's the unfortunant choice of the default theme, which is pixmap heavy.
> People complain about E being big and slow, when it's the theme causing X
> to be big and slow :/

Maybe you're right, I'm very happy with Window Maker, as I like the NeXT
look very much (call me romantic!)...

It's not very often that the window manager will take a lot of CPU. But
using a lot of pixmaps in a theme eats the memory alive and make the
computer swap, killing performance. To me, it just looks like
Enlightenment lends itself to overuse of pixmaps very easily... With a
Pixmap GTK+ theme on top of this, OUCH!

> > I play Quake okay with my Voodoo2 accelerated Pentium 225 with 96 megs
> > of RAM while leaving Netscape and XEmacs running (the advertised minimum
> > is a Pentium 233). I cheat a bit, since my bus speed is 75 instead of
> > 66, compiles a kernel faster than a 233/66. ;-)
> hehehe, I played it on my cyrix 120mhz (150+)... it runs about the same
> speed with or without the voodooG, but it looks much better with the card.

Oops, I meant Quake 3: Arena, by the way! :-)

> A new computer is next on my list... by the tiem I get enough saved up,
> athlons will probably be reasonably priced and g400's well supported :)

Hmm, G400 are okay, but trailing in most benchmarks and tests (I look at
Tom's Hardware and Ars Technica every once in a while). nVidia hardware
seems to be the best, with TNT2 Ultra and GeForce 256, but Voodoo3
hardware seems to be the biggest bang for the buck, mostly lacking in
the visual departments (only 16 bit and picture always look too dark
with the 3Dfx chipset, dunno why).

> I use fbcon, and I don't have a problem changing vc's... If I run an
> svgalib program, it will do some damage to that console, but switching
> to a different one and back magically fixes. If only they'd glue in s3
> support... :)

I don't know much, I don't use fbcon. We intend on making it easy for
outside developers to add fbcon (or whatever!) support to our SDK, not
doing it ourselves. If nobody wants it, nobody will do it, and the

> >> SDL is almost there, but I feel it has a few downsides, like being
> >> limited to bmp and wav.
> >
> > This is by design. Image or sound loading isn't in its goal, and the BMP
> > and WAV loaders are there only to demonstrate how to do it. Look at
> > IMGLib, on the same site, by the same author (and contributors), for the
> > "other" loaders. Soon to be renamed SDL_image or something like that.
> Interesting :) png and jpg loaders would really help SDL's appearance to
> potential users, I think... *shrug* :)

Take a look at http://www.devolution.com/~slouken/SDL/libraries.html.
Note that DirectX doesn't support loading of any kind of image format I
think, no? Maybe BMP thru some Win32 hack, but whatever...

I like it better that way. I don't need to have a JPEG loader if all I
use is PNG, it's "pay as you go" instead of one big monolithic library.
SDL provides the video surface, you provide the content! It's a good,
clean, separation of work.

> I got a handful of programs I wrote a while back (when I was very stoned
> on codeine after some oral surgery) that are pretty decently commented,
> and I was planning on using them in howtos or tutorials, but never got
> around to it. They're in http://math.smsu.edu/~br0ke/gamedev/ if you want
> a good laugh, mostly really old technlogy (svgalib, emphasis on 320x200x8)

Hmm, I see... Stoned on codeine, eh? :-)

> I've heard horror stories about win2k's attempt at "system administration".
> When you get a true multiuser system, there will be issues with
> administrating. It's not just a dos box, like win9x... With m$ inflicting
> this transition, I expect people will start having an easier time
> transitioning...?

Hehehe!!! I just had this vision of the 1984 Apple Macintosh TV ad, but
with the runner throwing the hammer being replaced by a penguin shooting
a Quake rocket! LOL!

> > Software becoming easier isn't too bad if done properly. For example, I
> > am often amazed of how well done are the configuration scripts for
> > networking on Red Hat Linux. Sourcing shell scripts, with the
> > /etc/sysconfig system is an excellent idea, easy to edit by hand, easy
> > to parse for configuration front-ends, very cool. It is bad when the
> > actual workings are really hidden and you cannot explore and hack the
> > system if you want to, that is the Windows danger.
> I personally think of redhat as a beginner linux. It candycoats the fun
> stuff, but gives you some exposure, and when you're confident, you
> naturally move on to a less candycoated distro... (I'm using debian and
> looking seriously at trying ROCK...)

It's not that much beginner (you didn't see Corel Linux, and it shows!),
it's just so well done. They were among the first to leave the BSD boot
style and go with rcX.d SysV boot style I think, and it's the kind of
improvements they have. For example, they use a lot of the "foo.d" style
to replace a "foo" config file, similar to the "update-modules" script I
saw on Corel Linux, don't know if it came from Debian or not, but this
was nifty.

What *wasn't* nifty with Corel (Debian also?) was network interfaces
configuration. All in a single file. With variables, oh, so friendly! I
like the "ifup" and "ifdown" scripts in Red Hat a lot, if they weren't
already there, I'd do them myself! See, maybe I'm not a beginner and I
am rather experienced, but I don't have time to lose on fiddling in
files when it could *easily* be faster ("easily" as in "without
compromising my control").

> > Ah, I see (I'm french, sometimes I don't know "sayings" with strange
> > literal meaning (like "holding a candle"!))! The software was known to
> > be buggy, we had to inflate the ulimit for it and it bited back. :-)
> sorry about the idiom :) (past tense of bite is bit, btw)

"Idiom" is the word, yes! Thanks for the help! :-)

> I d'no where the dr peice came in... (anyone knows who dr hook was/is,
> shaddap, I don't wanna feel old :)
> http://www.voodooextreme.com/ask/askgrand.html#jan3a
> some interesting stuff on that q/a forum :)
> the toplevel is http://www.voodooextreme.com/ask/askmenu.html, there's some
> frames and shtuff

Thanks for the link!

> > SDL is going into that direction, being able to be the support layer for
> > OpenGL, but it isn't all what DirectX offers, it also has Direct3D
> > immediate mode, which is an OpenGL competitor, and DirectDraw, which is
> > a 2D API.
> the windows game developers I talk to are generally disgusted by d3d. But my
> interest is in opengl so I talk to people who are interested in opengl, so
> they're naturally biased :)

Yes, they could have a bias. :-)

But anyway, commercial games do get written using D3D, so it is actual

> it's definitely a unique beast :) To people who work with networks, the
> possibilities are staggering :) at work, I have a p166 that just runs my
> mail reader, an old dec dual with scsi for netscape, and I sit infront of
> a 400mhz thing :) I run wmmon on a few of my boxes, I get graphical
> displays of everything and the only times I have to get up are to get
> more coffee or use the restroom. I laugh at my friends who admin small
> NT lans, they're forever walking from computer to computer :)

Yes, I can't believe those people! Maybe they should put "free exercise
program!" on the side of NT Server boxes! ;-))

> Because it does everything through the network proto, it's slow. But
> for games, it may be a worthy tradeoff to lose the network capability
> for a speed gain... :)

Yes, of course, and the beauty is that you can do it, with things like
XShm, DGA and direct rendering!

> I said I beleive they exist, not know they exist :) Plenty of apps have
> peices that sit on oss and do the same thing as say esd or alsa... I saw
> a kernel module that was basically ttysnoop before. I'd imagine there are
> plenty of examples of people getting closer to the kernel or wire than
> theyhave to :)

Ok, maybe a kernel-space ttysnoop could be useful on boxes with a large
number of terminal or telnet sessions going on, where you'd like to be
able to provide phone support (ttysnoop has a noticeable overhead, not
that much, but with 50 or 100 sessions going on, might be a lot).

How many games I saw had their own separate sound process. I don't think
this is the best way to do sound in a game (a thread is an improvement,
but synchronous is the best IMHO), but at least, if you're going to use
that, use something already existing (like esd)!

> > I didn't say that they do *not* use assembler, but use it in an
> > intelligent way. Carmack *prefers* C code to assembler, but knows when
> > and how to do it in assembler. The "demo coder" style of game programmer
> > is the kind that writes assembler on a whim, like this incredibly stupid
> > tutorial I saw recently on http://www.gamedev.net/gamedev.asp where the
> > author showed how to program a complete DirectX game in assembler.
> > DUMB!!! The "tricky" parts that could require assembler are all inside
> > the DirectX libraries anyway!
> I personally feel that assembly is important to learn and never use again.
> 99% of the time, the compiler will do a better job of making fast machine
> code than the human (given good source). Understanding how the machine
> works helps you make appropriate decisions for the C code... bootloaders
> and mebbe drivers are a use for occasional asm, just enough to get the
> job done... :)

Yes, knowing assembler is important, and even with todays compilers,
sometimes you have to use assembler. For example, we have a sound mixer
for Quadra (no threads, no sound server process, doesn't skip or lag!)
that adds the samples together and then uses if's and whatever to
properly clip it. This is a good case that could be replaced with
assembler. I think MMX has such a bounded add, and if not, I could
simply do an add and a jump on carry to replace the if's, that would be
much more efficient (considering this is kind of an "audio alpha
blending blitter", moving a few megs per second of data)... Turned out
okay without it (Quadra is a simple game), but maybe it would help my
486 if I did it.

Pierre Phaneuf
Ludus Design, http://ludusdesign.com/
"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you. Then you win." -- Gandhi