Behind the Times


Have you ever felt that time has moved on and left you behind? Recently I had such a moment, and what I discovered was (in hindsight) predictable, even inevitable, but still felt like the ground had fallen away…

Ancient History

Back in 1991 I wrote a small library of handy routines for C programs, in fully-portable ANSI C. Like, really bloody portable, unlike most of what was being written at the time. It was written for myself, for my own programs, but provided a handy common base to work off.

In 1998, I published it on my website, complete with documentation, examples, and the whole show, in case anybody else could make use of it. I publicised its’ existence and location via a couple of posts on usenet (which was morphing into Google Groups around that time), and also submitted a record to LSM – the Linux Software Map. Job done, or so I thought.

Some people have indeed used it, and it has at times even been packaged by others for Mandrake/SuSE as an installable binary package. Changes have been relatively few over the years, but it still does fine duty, even on newly-popular architectures/systems (ARM/Android, OSX, 64-bit things and so on). As you may be able to tell, my definition of “new” is rather broader than most – anything since 1998 is “new”.

Recent History

At the start of December, I discovered a bug in the build-configure script for Visual Studio 2010 on Windows – so I fixed it up, tested and retested, and uploaded the new tarball/zipfile of the software and changelog to my website.

Elvis has Left the Building

It struck me that I ought to update the library version information in the public LSM database, only to find that LSM is long, long gone, and had been replaced by other means about 15 years ago, means which have in turn been replaced-by, subsumed-by, bought and sold, retired, dropped, restarted, re-retired, withdrawn, and so on more times than I care to count.

After reading through the first dozen or so replacements/withdrawals/ownership-changes/drops/re-awakenings/management-buyouts in the sequence, I was feeling as out-of-date as bell-bottomed trousers. LSM died more than 15 years ago, how could I not have noticed in all that time?!?!?!?!

Fashionable

Such a quaint idea as a public moderated topical categorised database of open-source software has obviously long had its’ day. These days it seems that SEO and social media “engagement” is a popular mechanism among the weenies. When I say “engagement”, I of course mean “gratuitous ill-directed broadcasts full of buzzwords”. Yes, there’s GitHub, but that is neither used-for nor designed-for the particular function that LSM performed back in the day.

Oh, well. The library still does fine service for me, and on platforms I couldn’t have dreamed of when I first published it.

Right, I’m off to browse more Vooza videos.

PS: in fact, the software is on GitHub, but I didn’t put it there. Others have archived it to GitHub “so that it doesn’t get lost in future”. Several times by different people. But of course it is almost impossible to find unless you already know exactly what you are looking for…

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