Gentoo: News for PIC developers

Some weeks ago I decided to restart working with PIC microcontrollers, just for fun, and bought some electronic components, tools, etc. After having everything in hands, I started looking at the state of the PIC development tools in Gentoo, and found some outdated packages. I updated the packages I wanted to use (dev-embedded/gputils and dev-embedded/gpsim; dev-embedded/sdcc still needs some work), and added some other packages (dev-embedded/cpik, a C compiler for PIC 18F, and re-added dev-embedded/pikdev, a simple graphic IDE for the development of PIC-based applications, that was previously removed due to the usage of kdelibs3, and now is a Qt4-only application).

I'll be putting some effort on packaging the MPLAB X IDE and the XC8 compiler in the next weeks, if permitted by their licenses. I'm not sure yet.

That's all for now.

Thanks.

GSoC and Scrum

This year I helped the Gentoo GSoC project as a mentor for the first time! I mentored Jauhien Piatlicki, that worked on the g-sorcery project, that is a framework for automated ebuild generators. It is meant to replace g-octave and some of the other Gentoo automated ebuild generators in the future.

For those who don't know, Google Summer of Code is a Google program that pays a student to work during 3 months on an open source project.

I have been using Scrum at work for some time already, and asked Jauhien about trying to use it in our project. We agreed on using it wherever it made sense for our workflow. In other words, we adapted Scrum to our workflow, instead of adapt our workflow to Scrum. That's because none of us was a Scrum expert, and because we needed to follow Gentoo/Google guidelines and timeline during all the project, making it hard to apply some aspects of the Scrum methodologies.

We had sprints of 2 weeks, starting on monday, after a quick planning on IRC. We had a private IRC channel at Freenode, where we discussed stuff, had meetings, etc.

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Creating a tumblelog with blohg

Tumblelogs are old stuff, but services like Tumblr popularized them a lot recently. Thumblelogs are a quick and simple way to share random content with readers. They can be used to share a link, a photo, a video, a quote, a chat log, etc.

blohg is a good blogging engine, we know, but what about tumblelogs?!

You can already share videos from Youtube and Vimeo, and can share most of the other stuff manually, but it is boring, and diverges from the main objective of the tumblelogs: simplicity.

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g-octave news: the octave overlay

After having lots of problems with people that can't use g-octave properly, sometimes because they don't seems to be able to read documentation, elog messages and/or just ask, and after a suggestion of Sebastien Fabbro (bicatali), I write down some simple scripts to update the g-octave package database and an overlay using g-octave and a cronjob.

I built a virtual machine on my own server and set up a weekly cronjob, that will hopefully keep the packages up-to-date.

The overlay is available on Github:

https://github.com/rafaelmartins/octave-overlay

To install it, follow the instrunctions available on the README file. The overlay is available on layman, named octave.

Packages with unresolvable dependencies, e.g. packages with dependencies unavailable on gentoo-x86, aren't available in the overlay. If you find some package that is supposed to work and isn't available on the overlay please open an issue on Github, and I'll take a look ASAP.

As a bonus, g-octave code itself was moved to Github:

https://github.com/rafaelmartins/g-octave

Feel free to submit pull requests if you think that something is broken and you know how to fix it.

And as another bonus, the g-octave website (http://g-octave.org/) is now running on the Read the Docs service, that is way more reliable than my own server. This should avoid the recent documentation downtimes.