The source file culture

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The source file culture

Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος
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Re: The source file culture

David Given
George Petsagourakis wrote:
[...]
> The lack of C knowledge is a severe hit to the common
> Lua scripter, although the module authoring in its
> entirety (only some few commentable efforts are excluded)
> is ignoring the windows operating system and doesn't
> release compiled binaries for the win32.
>
> I would like to know why such culture exists.

Because the world is bigger than Windows, and Lua is fundamentally an
*embeddable* language for which source code is the most useful thing to
have. Distributing binaries is hard, and there's no real point when most
users are going to need to recompile everything anyway.

That said, there is a fairly small group of people like you who want
Windows binaries, and this is precisely what Lua For Windows is for:

http://luaforwindows.luaforge.net/

It's the *official* unofficial Windows binary distribution.

--
┌─── dg@cowlark.com ───── http://www.cowlark.com ─────

│ "They laughed at Newton. They laughed at Einstein. Of course, they
│ also laughed at Bozo the Clown." --- Carl Sagan
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Re: The source file culture

Javier Guerra Giraldez
In reply to this post by Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος
On Mon, Sep 7, 2009 at 12:04 PM, George
Petsagourakis<[hidden email]> wrote:
> I would like to know why such culture exists.

i know it wasn't your intention; but i had to read the whole message
several times to stop finding this line offensive.

note that nobody is specifically ignoring any demographics; it's just
that it might just not be what we want when we release code.  note
that it's always 'code' what's released from enthusiasts like us. code
is what we breathe, inhale and exhale. it's the natural product of
just being, and the main means of communications.

'modules' OTOH, are work, done when you want to have something done.
personally i'm flattered when somebody takes the effort to transform
some of my code into something usable by other people; but i seldom
have the motivation to do it myself.

so there you go, my personal view of what you call 'such a culture'.
i'm honestly glad to see my code go where i didn't thought, but it's
not my goal.

--
Javier
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Re: The source file culture

Ralph Hempel
Javier Guerra wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 7, 2009 at 12:04 PM, George
> Petsagourakis<[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I would like to know why such culture exists.
>
> i know it wasn't your intention; but i had to read the whole message
> several times to stop finding this line offensive.

After editing a number of tech books by non-native (or
just awkward) english speakers, I read most text now assuming
that the writer's intent is to not offend.

Most writers that try to offend put more than one such
line in a messgage :-)

I read that line as:

   I am curious why it seems that most Lua modules come
   in source code form.

Ralph
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Re: The source file culture

Chris Camacho-2
In reply to this post by Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος

> I would like to know why such culture exists.
>  
I'd love to be able to understand the reverse, why do people insist on
downloading
binaries?

There could be any manner of virus or back door in binary, at least if its
source code I can audit it myself, better yet I can fix it too.

I've been able to teach a number of people basic programming and
compiling skills,
even people who have left school without qualifications, its just not as
difficult as it looks.

In many cases a developer is only too glad to help out someone who is
struggling
with their beloved creation...

Best
Chris

--
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By sending an email to ANY of my addresses you are agreeing that:

   1. I am by definition, "the intended recipient"

   2. All information in the email is mine to do with as I see fit and
make such financial profit, political mileage, or good joke as it lends
itself to. In particular, I may quote it where I please.

   3. I may take the contents as representing the views of your company.

   4. This overrides any disclaimer or statement of confidentiality that
may be included on your message.


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Re: The source file culture

Javier Guerra Giraldez
In reply to this post by Ralph Hempel
On Mon, Sep 7, 2009 at 12:35 PM, Ralph
Hempel<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Most writers that try to offend put more than one such
> line in a messgage :-)

totally right.  that's why i took the effort to read it until i could
understand the writer's point of view.

> I read that line as:
>
>  I am curious why it seems that most Lua modules come
>  in source code form.

and that's what David and I answered. :-)

i'd like to add that even if the Lua community, being more 'source
code oriented' and therefore targeted at developers; here everybody is
welcomed and encouraged to ask for help and insights, Just like
Petsagourakis did.  If somebody needs help compiling, somebody else
will offer advice.  if the task is seen as needlessly complicated,
odds are that somebody else make it simpler.

and if somebody just wants to know why we are like we are... it's
because we're like that! :-)

--
Javier
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Re: The source file culture

Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος
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Re: The source file culture

KHMan
In reply to this post by Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος
George Petsagourakis wrote:
> [snip]
> The lack of C knowledge is a severe hit to the common
> Lua scripter, although the module authoring in its
> entirety (only some few commentable efforts are excluded)
> is ignoring the windows operating system and doesn't
> release compiled binaries for the win32.
>
> I would like to know why such culture exists.

In my case, I dump a lot of quirky stuff on LuaForge; supporting
them is a time sink. Too many time sinks that have no benefit to
me means they are a waste of time, or time and effort donated. So,
I think preparing executables that support very few users is a
waste of my time. Now, if we are talking about a major piece of
work like a popular FLOSS editor, then that's a different story.
We have to triage our time. That's why for Quylthulg I used a
project name that I cannot even spell... :-)

Time and effort are very limited resources. Developer resources
are very limited resources. There is always too little to go
around in FLOSS projects. Most of us don't have a
one-click-to-create-binaries-for-multiple-platforms set up. Most
minor projects get nothing in return for all the hours and effort
put in, no contributed code, no feedback. It's not like in LKML
where they can afford to routinely diss people.

Now, if you were paying good money for the modules, I would agree
that you should get good support. But hey, as I have said, it's
mostly used as all free-as-in-beer, and if there are few users or
few downloads, the case for preparing all sorts of executables in
a reliable manner isn't very good. I don't even try because I
don't want people to depend on me for those executables at all.

I agree with the other posting that those who want to use modules
in executable form should look to the aggregators who package
modules, such as Lua for Windows. Or rather, look at Perl, IIRC
when a module gets into the main codebase, it gets supported by
Perl itself. I think a mature platform will have to subsume
codebases of most modules in this manner.

Yeah, to some users, it sucks, but I think we're making do to the
best of our interests here. If this was a billion-dollar market,
then of course, things would be different...

--
Cheers,
Kein-Hong Man (esq.)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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Re: The source file culture

Mikhail Gusarov

Twas brillig at 02:05:26 08.09.2009 UTC+08 when [hidden email] did gyre and gimble:

 K> Time and effort are very limited resources. Developer resources are
 K> very limited resources. There is always too little to go around in
 K> FLOSS projects.

In addition it's always beneficial to make efforts concentrated: makers
of Linux distributions can package a lot of Lua modules much more
efficiently than authors of modules, and the same applies to
Lua-on-Windows, already mentioned in this thread.

--
  http://fossarchy.blogspot.com/

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Re: The source file culture

Phoenix Sol

CODE GOOD  ( WANT )
BINAREES BAD  ( DO NOT WANT )




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Re: The source file culture

KHMan
In reply to this post by Mikhail Gusarov
Mikhail Gusarov wrote:

> Twas brillig at 02:05:26 08.09.2009 UTC+08 when [hidden email] did gyre and gimble:
>
>  K> Time and effort are very limited resources. Developer resources are
>  K> very limited resources. There is always too little to go around in
>  K> FLOSS projects.
>
> In addition it's always beneficial to make efforts concentrated: makers
> of Linux distributions can package a lot of Lua modules much more
> efficiently than authors of modules, and the same applies to
> Lua-on-Windows, already mentioned in this thread.

Yeah, I think pure end users should go for a reliable platform,
one where effort is put in by a group of people. If a pure end
user go for single-author modules, that can be risky. The Lua
ecosystem is still small compared to Perl or Python, given limited
resources, a Lua platform will take a longer time to form and mature.

Large FLOSS projects tend to be more self-sustaining and are able
to attract more developers. Small or obscure FLOSS projects need
very strong-willed developers to sustain the project over multiple
years -- which can be a rare thing.

I think pure end users who want something that they can rely on
for multiple years, who want a certain level of peace-of-mind that
the kaboodle will usually always work, should strongly support the
Lua platform initiatives.

--
Cheers,
Kein-Hong Man (esq.)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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Re: The source file culture

Reuben Thomas-5
In reply to this post by Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος
2009/9/7 George Petsagourakis <[hidden email]>:
> I really appreciate the efforts of all authors that
> contribute C modules for Lua. It really makes it clear
> that Lua community is very much alive and kicking.
> As much as I love Lua, I am a Windows guy and that
> as a fact is making hard for me to appreciate the
> functionality of such modules. I am pretty sure that
> there are even more people that hit a full stop when
> they encounter the need to compile a specific Lua
> extension that they have found.

To those who live in a Windows world, the non-distribution of binaries
can be mystifying or infuriating. Equally, to those of us who live in
a standards-based world, life is simply too short. The project to
which I devote most time, GNU Zile, runs on over 20 platforms. I don't
distribute binaries for any of them, even the one I use, as it's not
easy. There are at least two things to consider: first, distributing
compiled Cprograms. I could cross-compile for Windows, but it turns
out that even Windows users can't agree on what C runtime to use, so
I'd have to ship 2 or 3 flavours. Secondly, there's platform-specific
packaging. I don't have time to learn how to package for Windows,
Cygwin, Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD &c., and
there's no tool I'm aware of that lets me automatically package for
all of them. (This is not a surprise, as Linux distributions at least
tend to have quite complex packaging rules.) In any case, for most of
the programs I work on, there are already people packaging them for
most platforms.

Perhaps a more cogent question to ask is why people still use C, when
they could at least solve the executable side by languages which are
either interpreted or compiled to a platform-neutral format, such as
the JVM or CLR. But again, the answer is obvious: we still use a lot
of software written in C, so we want to bind to it.

One might also plead specially in favour of the few platforms with the
most users, Windows chief amongst them, and indeed many programs, Lua
included, have binary distributions for Windows, GNU/Linux and Mac OS.
But as contributors to this thread have already said, we don't all
have the time or motivation for that.

Personally, most of my C programs are distributed in source form with
a GNU autotools build system. This is the best I can do for the
largest number of users: my end of the deal is simply to write to
various standards, mostly POSIX, and autotools takes care of the
platform (including Cygwin and MingW on Windows, but sadly, as far as
I know, not the Microsoft toolchain). If something as easy to use as
autotools with the same range of support came along tomorrow, I might
well consider using it; in the mean time, I write as little C as I can
(most of the code I write these days is in Lua or Perl).

> The lack of C knowledge is a severe hit to the common
> Lua scripter,

Not really. With distribution systems like gems or even good old
autotools, you don't need to know anything about programming, you just
need a toolchain installed and be able to read a README and issue a
command or two. Unfortunately, Windows does not make this an
attractive option; I'm glad to see that these days at least Mac OS
does.

> although the module authoring in its
> entirety (only some few commentable efforts are excluded)
> is ignoring the windows operating system and doesn't
> release compiled binaries for the win32.

That's not "ignoring the Windows operating system", that's "not making
special allowance for the Windows operating system". Most of my C
programs run on Windows (though its standards support, unless you go
to third parties, is not what it should be).

The points that other contributors have made about the ability to read
and fix source code are of more minority interest: trojans are just as
easy to insert into source as into binary code, while being able to
fix or improve code, a freedom I exercise and value highly, is not of
interest to many users per se (though its existence is important).

--
http://rrt.sc3d.org
Music is sweetest when it almost stops
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Re: The source file culture

Reuben Thomas-5
In reply to this post by KHMan
2009/9/7 KHMan <[hidden email]>:
>
> Yeah, I think pure end users should go for a reliable platform, one where
> effort is put in by a group of people. If a pure end user go for
> single-author modules, that can be risky. The Lua ecosystem is still small
> compared to Perl or Python, given limited resources, a Lua platform will
> take a longer time to form and mature.

Being "reliable" has nothing to do with number of contributors, nor
whether a program is distributed as source or binary. In general,
source will last longer before rotting, and is easier to fix when it
does rot, but the most important thing is the quality of the code (in
particular, how portably it is written) and the commitment of the
maintainers.

> I think pure end users who want something that they can rely on for multiple
> years, who want a certain level of peace-of-mind that the kaboodle will
> usually always work, should strongly support the Lua platform initiatives.

Amongst programmers there is no such thing as a "pure end user". When
as a programmer one is choosing what languages and libraries to use,
there are a number of trade-offs, including the future development of
such code. How one makes those trade-offs depends critically on the
expected life-cycle of one's own software; consider for example the
differences between a game, a throwaway hack, an enterprise
dataprocessing utility and an open source cross-platform long-term
project. Backwards compatibillity, forwards compatibility,
performance, code quality and licensing are factors which assume
different importances in different scenarios.

--
http://rrt.sc3d.org
Il ne vaut pas la peine de peigner l’eau
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Re: The source file culture

KHMan
Reuben Thomas wrote:
> 2009/9/7 KHMan:
>> [snip]
> Being "reliable" has nothing to do with number of contributors, nor
> whether a program is distributed as source or binary.

:-) Arf, I was typing quickly and chose a less than perfect
adjective. It is more of a sustainability of a FLOSS project thingy.

>> [snip]
> Amongst programmers there is no such thing as a "pure end user". [snip]

:-) Woof, another less than perfect choice of phrasing. I mean it
like the way I use Perl -- I just script in Perl and have never
seriously written modules for a general audience.

So there.

--
Cheers,
Kein-Hong Man (esq.)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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Re: The source file culture

Reuben Thomas-5
2009/9/7 KHMan <[hidden email]>:

> Reuben Thomas wrote:
>>
>> 2009/9/7 KHMan:
>>>
>>> [snip]
>>
>> Being "reliable" has nothing to do with number of contributors, nor
>> whether a program is distributed as source or binary.
>
> :-) Arf, I was typing quickly and chose a less than perfect adjective. It is
> more of a sustainability of a FLOSS project thingy.

That's how I understood what you wrote.

>> Amongst programmers there is no such thing as a "pure end user".
[snip]
>
> :-) Woof, another less than perfect choice of phrasing. I mean it like the
> way I use Perl -- I just script in Perl and have never seriously written
> modules for a general audience.

That one is scripting for one's own use tends to give one much more
freedom about what libraries and languages to use, not less.

--
http://rrt.sc3d.org
Every act of belief is an act of unbelief (Carse)
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Re: The source file culture

Asko Kauppi
In reply to this post by Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος

You mentioned Lua for Windows in the beginning. Have you really tried  
it?

http://luaforwindows.luaforge.net/

-asko


Georgios Petsagourakis kirjoitti 7.9.2009 kello 20:56:

> Indeed my intention was not to irritate/get flamed/annoy or degrade  
> any of the module/extension authors. Thanks Ralph Hempel for the  
> clarification.
>
> My comment stems from the fact that there are quite a lot of people  
> who are using Windows, and really there is nothing we can do other  
> than open the code with a text editor and look at it unless we are  
> into C programming. Taking this as a fact implies that in order to  
> script Lua, you need to be able to program in C which blows away all  
> the simple to use syntax concept of Lua, that is the main selling  
> point to non programmers.
> I do realize that Lua isn't about getting it out and that it is  
> meant to be embedded in another host program but it has gotten  
> beyond that scope, for quite some years now, especially since the  
> release of the Kepler project. I feel the need to express that the  
> community should be ready, for example, when the Apache includes Lua  
> support with their next release.
>
> Best Regards,...
> George Petsagourakis

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Re: The source file culture

Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος
This post was updated on .
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Re: The source file culture

Olivier Galibert
In reply to this post by Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος
On Mon, Sep 07, 2009 at 08:56:21PM +0300, Georgios Petsagourakis wrote:
> My comment stems from the fact that there are quite a lot of people who are
> using Windows, and really there is nothing we can do other than open the
> code with a text editor and look at it unless we are into C programming.
> Taking this as a fact implies that in order to script Lua, you need to be
> able to program in C which blows away all the simple to use syntax concept
> of Lua, that is the main selling point to non programmers.

Oh please, you don't need to know C to compile a program.

  OG.
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Re: The source file culture

Timothy Hunter
In reply to this post by Πετσαγγουράκης Γιώργος
Georgios Petsagourakis wrote:
> My comment stems from the fact that there are quite a lot of people who are
> using Windows, and really there is nothing we can do other than open the
> code with a text editor and look at it unless we are into C programming.
> Taking this as a fact implies that in order to script Lua, you need to be
> able to program in C which blows away all the simple to use syntax concept
> of Lua, that is the main selling point to non programmers

I think that's overstating the case a bit. Lua is quite usable
out-of-the-box. Now, there may be some extensions that you'd like to use
but not distributed in a pre-compiled form for Windows. If so, you can
get yourself a compiler and learn how to compile them, or if nothing
else you could pay somebody to do this for you. In either case, after
you've done so, consider making them available for other Windows users.
That's what "community" is about, after all.

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Re: The source file culture

Vaughan McAlley
I can see where George is coming from. Personally, I have good Lua
skills, and enough C to get my data into my Lua program (though I
pretty much have to relearn C every time I try it). What is way harder
for me is the compiling stage. I just can't get my head around
dependencies, object files, headers, makefiles and (most annoyingly)
error messages that might as well be written in Sumerian cuneform,
even if I follow the author’s instructions to the letter.

This is why I use an OSX binary if it's available. From what people
have said above, I promise to appreciate binaries more from now on.

Vaughan
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