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Today is the big vide grenier in Teillay. I went last year, got a laser printer to mess around with.
Well, it was chilly and overcast and I felt a bit naff and... to be honest... couldn't be arsed.
So I'm sitting here with my nth cup of tea writing this. Much better.

I spent the morning playing with the MIDI module as revised by Ian. It has better device detection, supports sending Running Status and also SysEx. But perhaps the biggest change is splitting apart the association between "ports" and "devices". In my module, and likely because it was following Acorn's original MIDI spec, a device provided a port.
Dave added multiple ports, and some logic to ensure that devices were allocated the same ports if disconnected and reconnected.
Ian has taken that one step further by breaking apart ports and devices. This allows some cool things like remapping from one to the other. In order to give this a spin, I first connected my cheap serial interface and it was allocated port #0. I then plugged in my keyboard and it was allocated port #1.
I started playing something ("Remember Me" by The Birthday Massacre) and I could see the LED on the serial interface flicker.
I then remapped the output to send port #0 data to device #1, and my keyboard started playing the music.

I made a few small revisions to the code. I put the full headers with the copyright attribution back in. To be honest, I'm not bothered about copyright. If I was, I wouldn't be giving away the source. However copyright (or the slight abuse of it) is what makes licences like the EUPL work. So it ought to be stated who is claiming copyright (for dimwit countries that only pay lip service to the Berne Convention) and what the distribution licence is.
The "RISC OS community" ran afoul of this subtlety recently when somebody suggested using a bit of Arculator in a new ADFS module (I won't bore you with the details). Sarah Walker (the author!) pointed out it was GPL (a bit of a no-no with RISC OS) and subsequently got a bee in her bonnet about her code being stolen, bad faith, blah blah.

For two reasons. The first was a discussion regarding if it would be possible to use a GPL component, and if so how. This is due to the infamous "linking" issue (and GPL's viral nature). It's worth pointing out that Arculator is apparently licenced GPL 2, and while the GPL 2 FAQ says a lot of confusing twaddle regarding such things as dynamic and static linking, the actual legal agreement (the licence) makes no reference to any of this whatsoever, only referring to whether or not the code is a part of the "whole" of the application.
GPL v3 does include this, but it's basically a massive land grab to include any language about dynamic linking. You see, I have no problem with GPL mandating static linking, as this implies the GPL code is a part of the application therefore it should be GPL.
But dynamic linking? That's a massive can of worms. You're using this program from here and that library from there, and the act of making one depend upon the other causes the GPL to apply? Screw you, Stallman. We all know how he would react if Microsoft stuck in their terms that making use of the Windows API (or OCXs etc) would cause your programs to become Microsoft's. It's ridiculous, but no difference really. Especially when you have a system like RISC OS (there are other things that Linux and Windows) that shoot out loads of hooks for when stuff like modules are loaded. In the absence of actually defining what exactly is meant by dynamic linking, a militant reading of the GPL could suggest that no GPL software can run on RISC OS. There's an awful lot of "you hand an address to the kernel and it will call you upon some condition or other". Callbacks, for example.
Secondly, it is actually completely valid for somebody to not know that Arculator is GPL. Why? Well, two reasons. The source files contain absolutely nothing at the top to indicate that the files are covered by the GPL. Furthmore, if you get the sources from GitHub, the only indication is the presence of the "COPYING" file. The "readme.txt" file doesn't mention it, so you have to notice that one file.
If, however, you pull the sources from, there is no reference to any licence at all. So if you got it from there, it's perfectly understandable to not be aware that GPL had anything to do with it.
None of this isn't to say it's acceptable to ignore Sarah's wishes. She's made it clear that she considers it to be GPL. Would be nice if it was clearer in the code, and that she didn't automatically freak out over discussion about how to use these components. It's a perfectly valid discussion given the GPL is no help at all here - indeed the official word in the FAQ is, and I quote: What constitutes combining two parts into one program? This is a legal question, which ultimately judges will decide". This is utter bullshit, and why nobody with a functioning braincell should go anywhere near the GPL. It lays down a potentially onerous condition, and then not only utterly fails to explicitly describe how and why it applies, but ultimately passes the buck. The only time a judge should be involved in a software licence if if you believe your rights have been infringed. It should not be considered your first port of call to know how and when the licence even applies. Un-freaking-believable.

Anyway, the copyright statement is to clarify this situation but it's not something I'm particularly concerned about. My only request would be "please don't relicence it as GPL" because if you do so it means that it can't ever be considered for possible inclusion within RISC OS itself. It is a good capable MIDI support module now, and I feel it's getting mature enough that this could be something worth raising with ROOL at some point. However any relicencing as GPL would be wilfully frustrating such efforts, not to mention making me question what your motives are around "open source". You see, for me it's about the freedom to make use of the source, not about the freedom to be a dick and be more concerned about petty politics than the code.
Or, to put it another way - I'm not actually that bothered about who uses it and how as long as it is being used. Because if it is, then my work has been for something. I'm really happy that Dave and Ian got onboard with their own suggestions. The module is, now, good. That's ultimately a benefit for all of us. And that's what it's all about.

I also put the EMULATE_SERIAL code back in. ☺ As far as I can work out, this is a tweak to punt MIDI data out through a CP2102 UART at the standard 115200 8N1. It is not compiled into the module by default. So I'm just going to guess that either Dave doesn't have MIDI hardware, or he found it easier to debug stuff by sending bytes to another machine using standard serial. Whatever, as I said it's not compiled in by default so it can be left in peace. Somebody else might find it useful to have the option in the future.


Now time for lunch. Beans on toast with chicken nuggets and more tea. I really don't know how I've managed not to wet myself. It's surely my fifth or sixth huge mug. But, today, unlike for loads of Frenchies, is a day to just chill the hell out and relax.

Speaking of which...



There are supposed to be massive strikes in France today.

Honestly, I don't really understand why. You see, striking is the act of witholding your services in order to make a point to the company you work for. But it's the 1st of May, a national holiday. So unless you're some sort of service worker, you're probably not at work anyway. I'm not...

The unions are expecting 1.5 million people, the authorities are expecting a third of that, and predictably it didn't take long for clashes to start.
For the first time in around 15 years, the unions have joined together to put on a united front. Both against the rising of the pension age to 64, but also with the use of 49.3 to push the legislation through without a vote. Because, let's face it, Macron probably felt his reform would get voted down. So it wasn't voted for, it was just signed into law. So, yeah, you can understand why people are annoyed. It also sets a dangerous precedent of what could be pushed without parliamentary discussion or approval. Not so much for Macron, but unless France gets it crap together in a hurry, we're liable to have one of the extremities in power and, honestly, it doesn't matter if it's the left or the right, they're both nutjobs that will cause massive problems to the country.



The SMIC (minimum wage) has risen 2.2%, which is an additional €37,92 a month as of today. It rose in January, so it has effectively gone up by 5.6% so far this year.
Unfortunately, there is only a legal obligation to pay more to people receiving the SMIC. I am paid more (as I'm classed OE3) which means my hourly (brut) is €11,2852. As such, it did not go up in January (effectively, therefore, a pay decrease) and I would be surprised if it goes up now.
To be keeping step with the SMIC, I should be paid €11,92 an hour. It's only ~60 centimes, but that's €4,20 a day, or €29 a week, or... you see little bits add up.
But, alas, the company I work for doesn't want to give us anything extra. They're already dealing with a double whammy of taking on loads of new "managers" in the past year or so (that many more snouts in the trough), plus a massive hike in energy costs (I think electric rose around 75% at the end of last year).
That being said, every time the SMIC rises and our pay doesn't, it's a decrease in pay. Don't look at the unit values, the numbers this month are the same as last month. Instead, look at what that money buys. That's where the differences are laid bare.
Maybe, if we're effectively making less, we ought to work appropriately less?

A handful of receipts.

With this in mind, and since I tend to buy the same stuff, I thought I'd do some comparisons for the receipts that I have, both paper and electronic. I'm used to a visit to the supermarket costing around €45-60. Now it's more like €55-70.

Article Summer '18Spring '22Winter '23Now
Organic semi skimmed 1l 1.47 1.54 1.68 1.82
Yoplait cherry yogurt ×4 1.33 1.59 - 1.90
Organic fresh pasta 250g - 0.88 - 1.24
Seriously strong cheddar - 3.29 3.41 3.94
U own brand cheddar - 2.35 - 2.72
Pineapple juice (fresh) 1l - 2.25 2.43 2.43
Chicken/pasta frozen meal 900g - 3.75 3.99 4.56
Chicken/potato ready meal 280g - 2.80 2.88 3.07
Beef/pepper pasta box 400g - 3.28 3.54 4.00
San pellegrino limonata ×6 - 3.20 - 3.59
Barilla papiri (pasta) - 1.12 - 1.77
Harry's bread (100% mie) ×12 - 1.54 1.82 2.15

As you can see, prices have been steadily increasing until 2023 when inflation kicked in and we're all that much poorer.


The girl writing all those vide grenier announcements

This little girl gets around. It seems that at least one in five vide grenier adverts picture her scrawling the name of the town on the wall.

The chocolate girl
The chocolate girl.

I finally got annoyed enough that I cropped her out of one of the announcements and then tossed her to Google Image Search. That led me to somebody apparently selling something on... was it etsy? I don't recall. But it was a cleaner picture with the "Chocolat Menier" title. So I downloaded that and tossed it to Google, who identified it as Chocolat Menier by somebody called Firmin Bouisset, drawn in 1895.
Firmin was an illustrator, seemingly specialising in advertising posters.

So now I know the origin of this drawing. You too. ☺



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David Pilling, 1st May 2023, 16:05
Menier chocolate, in its characteristic green wrapper is commonly available in the UK.
David Pilling, 1st May 2023, 19:47
I watched the GPL stuff on the ROOL forum. Respect Saraha's wishes and acculator is a very nice piece of work. 
But in general I'd not like to be involved. There's a smooth progression from someone using a GPL program by hand, to them setting up a .bat file, to another program issuing a run command and accepting the results, to a .dll version. 
When do you cross the red line - probly if you sell a piece of software and supply a GPL component with it along with an interface to use it. 
David Pilling, 1st May 2023, 20:27
...and what brought that on, was providing code that allowed Ovation Pro to spin up GhostScript via the trans loader interface. 
Rick, 1st May 2023, 20:39
I think, even if the things are inter dependent, if they are two separate entities that load separately (even if one requests the other), then they're not the same. 
I guess the acid test for any of this is, forget whether or not something depends upon X, but all instead could X be replaced by something equivalent that isn't GPL, and if so, there's no justification for any GPLification. 
As for Arculator, it is impressive indeed. I'm always in awe of those who manage to write emulators. I had a crack at a 6502 one a long time ago and while it's not that hard to emulate the processor, the skill comes in adding all the other bits and getting it to work in a way that's good enough to fool clever software, and - most importantly of all - getting it to do it's job at a speed that isn't a complete joke. That's the part that tripped me up, the speed. Or in my case the lack of it. 
Emulators for x86 and ARM are orders of magnitude more complex. So, yeah, whoa. It's impressive.
Rob, 2nd May 2023, 11:27
Licencing.. I looked at the GPL once, and decided I couldn't make head nor tail of it. I mostly release any code I write under a BSD licence. These are short, clear, and boil down to "do what you want with it, but credit me" but that's also partly because a lot of it is one-off stuff that I'm not wanting to have to support long-term!
Rick, 2nd May 2023, 14:48
My personal impression is that the GPL is poorly defined in order for militant people to have it mean what they want it to mean. 
For example, all of the stuff about linking is actually an irrelevant triviality for GPLv2 as the licence itself only states that it shouldn't be part of the whole of the program (and fails to define what that actually entails, but certainly doesn't define anything to do with how it is linked). 
So personally I find myself questioning the motives of somebody who releases software under a licence that is so completely hostile to other forms of open source. Forced assimilation isn't my definition of open.

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