Monthly Archives: January 2007

Cycling: North Berwick this time

On Saturday I took a 30 mile cycle out to North Berwick. The tail (westerly) wind did help, and helped my decision on whether to cycle west, north or east.
I took a couple of stops along the way for refreshments. I got into North Berwick about 5pm, just as the sun was setting.
When I got to the train station, the train was due to leave in about 5 minutes time. There was an announcement to say that it was 10 minutes late. Did it appear? Nope. The next one appeared and left on time though. One thing that I noticed is that with the train being electric, it is considerably quieter than the desiel trains that run between Edinburgh-{Glasgow, Bathgate, Fife via Stirling}.

Installing Inkscape on Mac OS X

I recently installed Inkscape. This was interesting for me because Inkscape is similar to on the Mac. It too needs X11 to run and has a special launcher to help integrate the program with the OS.

They have the easy installation similar to what will be introduced in the next release of

What is more interesting is that on first start they have a message “Font caches may need to be updated”. This allow the user torun a program called fc-cache.

I don’t know if this could be of any use in As on the Mac has done various things to allow the support of fonts installed for Mac OS X applications to be used in too.

Something that was even more interesting for me was the application that produced the Mac OS X integration. It seemed that they didn’t use a simple Applescript droplet. Instead they seem to have used an Applescript studio or XCode application and used Interface Builder to produce the application. One advantage is that way you don’t need to have a menu called “edit” with a menu item in it called “edit script”. This has confused a number of users before.

Apple posts an FAQ about the X11 for Mac OS X

Apple have released Technical Note TN2165, an FAQ about the X window environment (X11) for Mac OS X.

There are several interesting things in the tech note including:

  • OpenGL does not support off-screen rendering.” Even with OpenGL not being enabled in, I get redraw issues with part of the window being off screen. This happens in both when scrolling the document and opening a new dialog that partially appears off screen. When the section of the document or dialog is moved on screen, then it doesn’t draw properly. I’m now wondering if this problem is not just with OpenGL, but with X11 in general.
  • XDarwin is no longer recommended.
  • It is technically feasible to make cmd+v work across all X11 applications.
  • XInputExtension is not yet implemented.” Could this be why on the mac has some issues with the input of some international characters? (Please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong with this assumption.)
  • OpenGL has the same problem as the command osacompile, in that it won’t run/work unless the user is root or the currently logged in user of Mac OS X.

Cycling: Riccarton to Falkirk & 2 punctures in a fortnight

A week past Wednesday, I took a cycle straight from university along the Union canal to Falkirk. It was the furthest West I have cycled along the canal towpath. It was an enjoyable quiet cycle that too just over 4 hours. I needed the exercise.

I even got around to taking a few of pictures on the way. The two photos attached to this post were taken only a few minutes apart, a short distance apart.

I’ve now seen the Falkirk Wheel, for the first time. As it was very dark by then the pictures of it didn’t come out well.

After getting into Falkirk around 8pm, I popped into Tesco for a quick shop, before hopping on the train with my bike home.

The next day I had some horrible slow puncture that got rapidly worse that meant I had to push the bike home. It was a lovely thorn that was stuck in the tyre that caused the puncture. Pushing the thorn out and patching the inner tube seems to have fixed it. The hardest part of the repair was tyre back on to the wheel, but I managed.

Yesterday I managed to get another puncture, this time on the other tyre. It was caused by a bit of glass 8mm long and about 2-4mm wide. It caused so much damage to the inner tube that meant that patching it just didn’t work. So after a couple of failed attempts I stuck in a new inner tube.

How can you help the project?

I’ve come across the question of: I’m not a programmer, or use on my Mac as a normal course of business (though do use on other platforms); How can I help the Mac Porting Project?

As a non programmer, and someone who doesn’t use on the Mac as a normal course of work, there is still something that you can do to help.

The three main areas that come to mind and documentation, marketing, and donating processor time.

In terms of documentation, simply checking the documentation that is available, and making sure that it is easy to understand, and up to date. We don’t always get everything right, so need others, like you, to suggest improvements. This areas covers user support too.

In terms of marketing, writing blog posts, that comment on on the Mac, increases the awareness of the project, it doesn’t need to be done often. Every blog post or news article, that portrays accurate information increases the possibility of an extra user, and more importantly a developer too.
Now that we have a variety of screenshots out there of the current status, we have seen an increase in people coming to the project both as users and developers (or I’m just getting more involved with the project).
Even just using the OpenDocument file format can help, as it means that others need to install (or another application that supports the OpenDocument file format).

A third way of supporting the Mac project, especially if you have large chunks of time when your Mac isn’t being used, is to build There is a special system that the project has that automates the whole procedure of building, but you need to manage to compile locally first. This is slowly becoming easier, though there is support all the way from the Mac Porters.

More information about the buildbot system is available:

If you don’t have a stable internet connection, you may be interested in the tinderbox setup.