Month: March 2005

Why patents suck

I found a great example why (software) patents suck on the IGDA homepage, and an oppressive feeling arises when I imagine what lawsuits like this mean for game developers and software engineers in general if the claim is admitted. A short excerpt: There is an ongoing patent litigation case in the Eastern District of Texas of interest to all developers because of how broadly the Plaintiff appears to want to apply the claims of the patent. In this case, American Video Graphics, L.P. (“Plaintiff”) has sued sixteen game publishers, alleging that these defendants infringe AVG’s [patent], “Method and Apparatus for Spherical Panning.” […] Plaintiff has identified over 1000 accused games, which Plaintiff alleges infringe their [patent]. IGDA is now desperately searching for prior art to invalidate the patent. Read the full story here.

Exceptions and Stacktrace in C++

Today I was discussing about how one could implement a stacktrace in C++, where one has not the luxury of Thread.dumpStack() or Throwable.printStackTrace(…) of Java. The general C++ approach one finds often is to create a dummy object on the stack at the beginning of each method which receives the current file and function as constructor parameters (using the __FILE__, __FUNCTION__ and __LINE__ macros) and stores them, i.e. increases a list pointer and saves the const char* at the resulting position. As soon as the object gets destructed at the end of the function, the list header pointer is decreased again. So, my first implementation looked like this: The first test with an exception I threw somewhere deep in the call hierarchy of my program revealed what one has to remember about exceptions: objects that exist on the stack at the time the exception is thrown are ordinary destructed. So, the d’tor of my CallStack object was called, too, and current was not pointing to where I had expected. So I had to mark the …

GTK Font Size

Although I’m not a Linux geek, I play around with it from time to time. I have a Gentoo installation on my notebook. One might argue about the different distributions, but I found this one to be the most intuitive among the ones I tried. Today, I updated to the current Eclipse 3.1 M5a milestone, which I use at work, too. I had no trouble with this version yet, and if it’s good enough for work, it’s fine for using it at home, isn’t it? I did not use portage, but downloaded the GTK 2 binary instead. One thing I disliked was the huge font size. I was able to customize most font sizes in the Eclipse options, but the main menu remained in its original way-too-large size. I found out that this was some kind of GTK default font, so I searched for a way to change it, and found a little handy tool called gtk-chtheme. I downloaded it using emerge gtk-chtheme and was then able to change this main font easily. Now everything …

Bureaucracy rocks

I am currently working on a review of Diomidis Spinellis’ book “Code Reading – The Open Source Perspective”. I found a nice quote at the beginning of chapter five, “Advanced Control Flow”: “It is necessary for technical reasons that these warheads be stored upside down, that is, with the top at the bottom and the bottom at the top. In order that there may be no doubt as to which is the bottom and which is the top, it will be seen to it that the bottom of each warhead immediately be labeled with the word TOP.” (British Admiralty Regulation) Had a good laugh when I read that 😉