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Not the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter, Part 5

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Learning buzzwords: Turing-complete

There are times when you need some big words to impress people. Proactively embiggen your reputation, leveraging intellectual stimuli to cause synergetic paradigm shifts. That kind of big words. So here's a good one for all discussions about computer programming and programming languages:


But we need to give you some context so you know when to use it and when it's not appropriate. So let's start with Turing. That's just the family name of Alan Turing, a british mathematician who committed suicide because he was gay and the secret service was unable to employ such perverted people (what a dark age that was ...). He was also involved in code cracking in the second World War and one of the early pioneers of digital computing. But because he was a maths guy he tried to model computers abstracly so he could deduce what they can effectively compute.

So as a thought experiment he abstracted a computing device to be a tape to store things, a read/write head that can move along the tape and some internal state of the machinery that decides what to do next. So for example the abstract turing machine would read a "1" from the tape, look in its state and then decide to write a "0" there and move one field to the left. Keep in mind that no such machine really exists, it's just a mental model for discussing computability. Also you may notice an interesting abstraction: Wether the machine reads a "1" or a "red flower" symbol is equivalent. Numbers are symbols, and symbols are numbers. Mmmmh ...

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GNOME News: Black Lab Drops GNOME and Further GNOME Experiments in Meson

  • Ubuntu-Based Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.0.1 Drops GNOME 3 for MATE Desktop
    Coming about two weeks after the release of Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11, which is based on the Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system using the HWE (hardware enablement) kernel from Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak), Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.0.1 appears to be an unexpected maintenance update addressing a few important issues reported by users lately.
  • 3.26 Developments
    My approach to development can often differ from my peers. I prefer to spend the early phase of a cycle doing lots of prototypes of various features we plan to implement. That allows me to have the confidence necessary to know early in the cycle what I can finish and where to ask for help.
  • Further experiments in Meson
    Meson is definitely getting more traction in GNOME (and other projects), with many components adding support for it in parallel to autotools, or outright switching to it. There are still bugs, here and there, and we definitely need to improve build environments — like Continuous — to support Meson out of the box, but all in all I’m really happy about not having to deal with autotools any more, as well as being able to build the G* stack much more quickly when doing continuous integration.