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August 2002 Archives

August 4, 2002

A Start

I stumbled across Lemonodor's web log. Quite coincidentally, I've been doing some contract work on extending a software package that he spent many years building. It's a great knowledge-base product that uses Common Lisp - my favorite programming language. You can learn about it at I/NET's web site.

August 5, 2002

Choosing Debian

Recently, I chose Debian GNU/Linux. I started Linux in 1994 with Slackware and it's floppy disk sets. Before switching to Debian, I've used RedHat for the last 5 years. However, over the last few months, I've become very fond of Debian. I've replaced all of my RedHat systems with Debian.

There are a number of good reasons why I abandoned RedHat and migrated to Debian. The primary reason is Debian's package system that saves me time and effort. I maintain a large number of Linux systems. With RedHat, I had to download and compile a large number of packages on each system to achieve my standard configuration. With Debian, nearly every package that I use was already in Debian. And, if that package was not in Debian, I've since added it to the main development distribution.

As an example, I wrote a computed tomography simulator CTSim. I started this in 1980 on my IBM-PC using PC-DOS 2.0. In 1999 after I ported this to Linux using RedHat. I had to download and compile a number of libraries to build and use this with RedHat. Specifically, CTSim required FFTW, wxWindows, and CTN which were not in RedHat. As new versions of these libraries were released, I needed to re-download and re-install them.

With Debian, this is much easier. Both FFTW and wxWindows are already in Debian. As new versions of these libraries are released, I give a single command to Debian to upgrade all of my packages. CTN, being a speciality DICOM library, was not in Debian a few months ago. However, I've since added it to Debian distribution and now Debian users can easily add it to their system. Finally the best part: CTSim is now in Debian. When a user chooses to install CTSim, all of the required libraries are automatically installed along with CTSim. This is far better than me having to instruct RedHat users how to download and install all of the required libraries. (To be fair, I did have a statically-linked RPM available for RedHat, but it was 10MB in size vs. the current 1MB Debian package size.)

My Debian web page has a list of the Debian packages that I've added or adopted.

Common Lisp Controller

I write Lisp programs with an attempt to have them run correctly on as many Lisp implemenations as possible. To do this requires that I test my programs on multiple Lisp platforms. (The main platforms that I use are AllegroCL Enterprise, Lispworks Professional, and CMUCL.)

Peter Van Enyde's Common Lisp Controller package is quite useful for this sort of testing. The basic idea is that you install your source code and system files in a standardized location. Then in your Lisp environment, just give to command (require <pkg>) and the files in your package will be compiled if necessary and loaded into your environment. Common Lisp Controller gives each implementation it's own hierarchical directory structure to store it's compiled code.

Currently, Common Lisp Controller is best supported with Debian GNU/Linux. A nice integration is that when ever you a CLC-aware Lisp package with Debian's package tools, Common Lisp Controller will automatically compile and install the files in the package. Further, when the package is removed, CLC will remove the source and compiled code from the system. I've been working with Peter recently on CLC and it is becoming quite powerful on Debian development (sid/unstable) systems.

August 12, 2002

Officially Debian

Today I was approved by the Debian Application Manager as an official Debian Developer. Currently I'm supporting 16 packages in Debian. Before getting approved my sponsor had to approve and upload each of these packages into the Debian distribution. Gladly for both him and I, I can now upload my packages directly into the Debian distribution.

About August 2002

This page contains all entries posted to Kevin Rosenberg in August 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2002 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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