Yet another morning with the customary 1400 new emails. I grumble, hit freshmeat and see new versions of both Vipul’s Razor and SpamAssassin out there. I spend 20 minutes upgrading both with the bleak hope that tomorrow’s new batch of mail will be down to 1375 messages.
3 more questions from corporate PHP users whose lawyers want a guarantee that PHP is free of any patented code or algorithms. Explaining yet again that, as an open source project, we do not have any means to provide such patent indemnification. Perhaps an addition to the “no warranty” clause in the PHP license is in order here which explicitly states that we can not possibly provide patent indemnification.
This whole patent thing is getting out of hand. It is even popping up on the PHP mailing lists. Someone posted an algorithm recently and someone else piped up stating that he had patented that particular (obvious) algorithm years ago.
And another email asking whether the rumour that I didn’t write any of the O’Reilly Programming PHP had any truth to it. I wish I knew who started that rumour. Just for the record, I wrote big chunks of it, and reviewed, corrected and amended all the other chunks.
My current project is to upgrade the HTML-based presentation system I wrote years ago. You can see the old system in action at conf.php.net. The slides in the new system are written using a very simple XML format that are parsed and rendered using a variety of mechanisms. The main rendering target right now is actually Flash through php-ming. I think that with an XML-to-Flash system I will be able to emulate most of the features that people like from presentation systems such as PowerPoint without losing the ability to work in a sane ASCII format. Generic HTML rendering will of course also be available for people without a flash plugin, and some sort of Docbook-XML converter will be needed for printing purposes. I’ll probably add SVG support as well, but will need to bug someone at O’Reilly for a copy of SVG Essentials before I’ll be able to attack that part of the project.
I’ll stick the system into CVS sometime in the next week and see if I can’t motivate some people to give me a hand with fancy flash effects and navigation widgets.