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Eclipse CDT with autotools support

The guys from Fedora Eclipse have developed a plugin for GNU autotools support:

When using Eclipse CDT without this plugin, you have to choose between a "managed make" and a "standard make" project type. The first one causes severe restrictions on the build system of your project and will usually not be sufficient for larger projects as you cannot provide your own Makefile. The second one does not have this restriction but has a less sophisticated integration with the Eclipse build system.

The autotools plugin combines the advantages of both modes in one new mode: You can use your own Makefiles created by GNU autoconf and automake but Eclipse will still take care of automatically building the project.

This mode works just fine for existing projects: I checked out the source code of suPHP from the repository and converted the project to an autotools C project (this can be done using the File -> New -> Other... menu). Without much need for configuration Eclipse ran the configure script and built the project. After the automatic build process completed the autocompletion feature worked like a charm: It provides autocompletion for methods and attributes of an object making C++ development nearly as much fun as Java development.

By the way, have a look at the ChangeLog plugin also provided by Fedora Eclipse. It is only a small plugin but can be very handy when documenting changes.

5.1 surround sound with Xine

Today I had a very strange problem: While Totem (with gstreamer backend) was playing a VOB test file with correct 5.1 surround sound output, Kaffeine (with Xine backend) mixed up the channels incorrectly.

After looking some time around and trying different hints found on the web, I finally got the right hint in a bugreport: Some magic settings in the ~/.asoundrc or /etc/asound.conf solve the problem:

pcm.!default {
type plug
slave.pcm "surround51"
slave.channels 6
route_policy duplicate

Of course you have to make sure this settings do not collide with other settings (which might have been created automatically by some tool).

Update (2007-03-12):

Forget what I have written above: This solution works for Kaffeine, however it creates other problems. The right solution is to set the setting "audio.device.alsa_default_device" to "plug:surround51:0". The reason is that Xine does all checks (like how many channels are supported) on this device, even if configured for 5.1 surround mode. However I had to read the corresponding Xine source code to find out. This behaviour seems to be documented nowhere and one would usually expect Xine to use the device defined in "audio.device.alsa_surround51_device" for 5.1 sound output.

Ubuntu 6.10 and X11 radeon driver

Today I replaced the totally outdated Gentoo system on my desktop PC with Ubuntu "Edgy Eft".

When I tried to switch from the "vesa" to the "radeon" driver, the PC crashed on startup of the X server. After some internet search I found a corresponding bug report: This is actually a bug in the radeon driver. However there is a workaround: By setting the "AGPMode" option to "8" in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf the problem can be fixed. At least this perfectly worked for my ATI Radeon 9600 XT.

Exchange Server 2007

As the Outlook Web Access feature of Exchange Server 2003 is not a beauty when a non IE browser is used, I hoped this might change with the new Exchange Server 2007.

However I now tried a hosted demo of Exchange Server 2007 (free signup is possible) and I am rather disappointed: Although the frontend now looks much better and clearer, it still does not use AJAX technology. A monthly calendar view is also still missing. Even worse is the fact, that the weekly calendar view has been removed and now only the daily view is available. Thus you cannot get an overview of your schedule anymore.

Microsoft seems to have not noticed that cross-browser AJAX is possible today and should be used by webapplications. Other examples show that this is not just a dream but really possible.