Home About Meetings FOSS

January 9 2024 code golf, darktable, Raspberry Pi 400, AI, Niklaus Wirth, PDF/X

Posted on January 12, 2024
( 6 minute read )

Calyx meet was down for maintenance and Brian wasn’t around to invite people to Discord; so we used the openSUSE Jitsi instance.

Darren said that at the York CoderDojo he had had a go at code golf in which people aim for the shortest possible code to solve a particular problem.

Mike said that, while Ansel, the fork of darktable, is being cleaned up, it has still got a fault in it; so he has been using Rawtherapee + GIMP but will go back and look at Ansel; Bernie noted that there has been a new release of darktable at Flatpak.

Darren showed the Raspberry Pi 400 keyboard which he had bought.

Mike mentioned that he bought a fitting which allows filters to be used different cameras and had tried out a polarising filter to see if it would pick out fish in water which led Bernie to describe his experiences at the Malton auction and Mike to mention a Praktica and other items which he had picked up for about £20.

John said he was thinking of checking out the Northwest Computer Museum in Leigh and David and Mike said they would also be interested in going.

Bernie mentioned the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on AI by Professor Mike Wooldridge; Mike, having met Chris Hobbs, was somewhat sceptical of the capabilities of ChatGPT but Bernie said that Mike Wooldridge had explained the different types of AI being developed. For example, DeepMind is looking at protein molecules which can take years to describe and has worked out the shapes of several thousand proteins.

David commented that ChatGPT version 4 goes a lot further so that the output looks plausible but in a recent example a Chatbot learned to be racist!

David wondered if people realised that Sam Altman had been sacked from Microsoft owned OpenAI for trying to set up a hardware company to use the OpenAI software.

David also mentioned that a court has struck down idea that photographer has copyright over a photograph of an old master.

The discussion then moved on the significance of methane produced by cattle for global warming before

Darren noted that Google had fixed eight zero day bugs in its Chrome browser during 2023.

David drew attention to the death of Niklaus Wirth who died on 1 January 2024. When asked how to pronounce his name, he said it depended on whether he was to be called by name or by value. He had worked on PL360, an alternative assembler for the IBM360 in which register names look like variables; arguably C descended from PL360 which was implemented on the PDP-11. He was invited to develop the successor to Algol 60 but, when all suggestions for improvements to Algol 60 from himself and Tony Hoare were rejected, he resigned and went on to launch Pascal which had invariant character strings; this was eventually fixed in Modula/Modula-2/Oberon.

In David’s view, Wirth never came up with anything to be remembered by; rather he slipstreamed lots of other developments; in practice, his actions undercut Algol 68, whose features have nonetheless been shoehorned in Python and Rust to sort out problems there. David thought that Tony Hoare had contributed a lot more.

Mike asked about writing BASH scripts; David recommended ShellCheck which will nit pick your scripts and John recommended the BASH Reference Manual.

Mike went on to ask for recommendations for a language to learn and David recommended Rust. Mike asked how Rust handled OpenCL. David explained that OpenCL conceals two proprietary systems and no-one is interested in developing a general version only versions for their own systems.

Mike also asked about handling high resolution images and David recommended FITS. He also mentioned that the printer wanted a PDF that would handle CMYK. David said he was sure that LyX/LaTeX could handle that [it can using the pdfx package] while John said that Scribus could do it too. David added that you can convert a Tiff to PDF/X in ImageMagick.