October 2010

More on these later, but I’ve spent quite some time honing the Cross Platform Launcher plugin, making it work nicely with the Maven NAR (Native Archive) Plugin. You can now build JVM launchers across all three platforms (Mac OS X, Ubuntu Linux and Windows) with one plugin, that contain cross platform JNI code.

This is in preparation for another large-scale project, to replace my hodgepodge of clunky shell/perl backup scripts and Windows XP backup with something a little more… industrial.

I need a decent backup system. Time Machine looks great for the Mac, and I use it… but don’t entirely trust it. I use FileVault, and having to log out just to start a back up of any bands that have changed is just retarded.

I could just go out and buy Retrospect, but that’s not my style 😉

It has to back up in the background, notifying the user of activity unobtrusively. I’m thinking of a continuous incremental system, from the usual trio of operating systems, managing retention periods and disk space. I want to go back to any point in time and see/restore that data. It has to store all file metadata, so, extended attributes, modes/ACLs, multiple streams, sparse files, long filenames, symlinks, long symlinks to long filenames, ownership, etc. I want to be able to translate backup data into tar streams for verification and off-site backups. i.e. give me a tar stream of the whole data from last Wednesday, 18:34 onto this disk. It has to have a sparse, Zen-like UI – I’ve seen too many backup programs that were obviously written for developers!

I don’t ask much, really…..

The first seeds have been sown; I have the beginnings of a cross-platform library for filesystem access and access to all the above enhanced metadata that’s not available in Java. I know Java 7 has some of this; I can’t wait for Java 7. I wrote quite a bit of this for UNIX some time ago, using Ant and Eclipse, but didn’t do it using TDD. I’m revisiting this, and starting from first principles using TDD.

I also need to reuse some common code from MiniMiser. Mercurial makes transplanting code between repositories quite easy.

I think with this project that I’ll open it as soon as I’ve cut something that builds in my CI server. Shouldn’t be long now.

Oh look, some tumbleweed…..

Actually, there has been progress on the homebrew Z80 system!

No actual hardware yet, but I now have a working simulator, with the beginnings of a Z80SIO serial I/O simulator. This correctly intercepts all the I/O port access that the chip understands, and displays the state of all the registers on screen, with an interpretation: rather than just dumping the raw register contents, it describes what each bit or bit group is intended to do, i.e. 7-bit data, 2 stop bits, receive interrupt enabled.

I’ve got a prototype perl script communicating back-to-back with minicom via a pseudo-terminal; now to reimplement this in C, and wire it into the SIO simulator.

Getting the pty code controlled by the register access is going to be tricky.

Then it’s time to write a quick ‘local echo’ test program in Z80, and off we go…..