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Thursday, October 27, 2005

The US Patent Law...

...is by far the stupidest piece of legislation that I've ever come across. Or maybe not, but in that case, the authorities handling the practicalities of the law are obviously incompetent.

How else would you explain this? (In case you wonder but are too lazy to follow the link, some bright young mind now wants to patent XML. The question of prior art has obviously not come up yet, or we wouldn't have to bother. Or has it? Can they really be this stupid?)

If they do manage to patent XML, I guess I won't have to bother trying to find a decent XML editor for Linux. Now that's something.

Monday, October 17, 2005

XMetaL (The Revenge of the Bride of the Mutant Ninja XML Editor, Part Two)

Speaking of XML editors, my favorite, hands down, is XMetaL. It's user-friendly, fast, and easy enough to customize. I've written tens of thousands of pages with it, and if I had a choice, I'd continue using it without a second thought.

Unfortunately, XMetaL is only available for Windows. There's no Linux version, no *nix whatsoever. This is probably not going to change, either, because BlastRadius insists on coupling XMetaL Developer (the version you need if you want to customize the product) with Microsoft Visual Studio. This is probably the single most limiting business decision they've imposed on the product: none of the developers I know likes the Microsoft IDE. In fact, most avoid it as the plague. Believe it or not, there are far better IDEs available.

Also, XMetaL doesn't work in Wine, the fake Windows environment found in Linux. I've tried, but I can't make it work. Most of the lesser XML tools work, but not XMetaL.

It's about time someone developed a decent XML editor for Linux.

XML Editing for Linux

A friend and I tried a couple of XML editing packages for Debian Linux the other day. They ranged from the totally unusable to unusable and buggy.

Why is this?

I can live with the "buggy" part; I run Debian unstable and get my share of bugs and early alphas so it's OK. I can wait. (Even though I do think that early alphas should at least survive through a File->New...)

But I don't get the "unusable" part. All of the editors we tried were useless for actual editing and the user interfaces ranged from the messy and the ugly to the utterly pointless. In many cases it was even difficult to enter text; you had to bring up a dialog to do this...

So what are these editors for? Is there a use for XML that we've missed? Is it too much to ask for a text editor that you can actually use for editing text?

Unfortunately, then, there's still no decent XML editor available for Linux, apart from nxml-mode for emacs that really isn't an XML editor more than it is a kitchen sink.

Monday, October 10, 2005


2001, the pitiful 35mm print Warner insists on distributing instead of a proper 70mm print, was depressing. Yes, the film is still good, yes, the transfer from 65mm negatives was sometimes decent, yes, moviegoers of today deserve to see this timeless classic, and yes, it's a fact that there really aren't that many 70mm installations left. Even though I have one in my garage.


It's not what Kubrick wanted, is it? If Warner Brothers had actually respected his life's work, his legacy, they would have presented the audience with that 70mm print whenever and wherever possible. But they don't respect Kubrick, they never did, and they don't care about his old films. The guy's dead, after all, so he isn't complaining. Warner Brothers care about money, and there's money to be made even from old films if you're careful not to spend too much.

This is why cinemas are dying all over the world.