Recent comments on posts in the blog:

Well, there is the book Modern Perl. I liked it.
Comment by spwhitton Sun 16 Feb 2020 00:52:38 UTC
Hi Sean, thanks for these interesting thoughts. Amazingly, as I was unable to sleep (or it is just that I already slept enough), I started to think about work, programming, and newcomers fluent in Python, and realised that I loved Perl the most. Then I thought that my knowledge of Perl was extremely rusty and that I ought to find a book to level myself to more modern Perl and wondered where to start – maybe by lazily asking for advices on Planet Debian? As sleep did not come back I woke up and and now I am writing this comment to thank you for giving my day a very good start :) Sometimes it looks like things are never random and there is some kind of destiny…
Comment by charles+sdfsdfsdferww Fri 14 Feb 2020 20:01:47 UTC
Ah, nice, thank you!
Comment by spwhitton Thu 26 Sep 2019 23:02:04 UTC

Although I was similarly confused, I think I just might be able to explain the Marxism reference in de Botton’s book. I think he’s referring to Groucho Marx, who said “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member”, as de Botton describes in the chapter, with the club being an analogy to the relationship with a person he now finds wants him as a member. (I learnt the Groucho Marx quote by chance via Woody Allen movies). Whether or not de Botton chooses to call this ‘Marxism’ for fun because political-Marxism is such a fundamental topic in literature, or whether he simply adopts it as a way of saying “Groucho-Marxism”, not sure. Probably both.


Comment by Sat 21 Sep 2019 10:57:48 UTC
Yes, it’s actually been usable by DMs for at least a year. You just have to e-mail your SSH key to Ian Jackson.
Comment by spwhitton Sun 14 Jan 2018 21:42:17 UTC
So dgit can be used by DMs now? That’d be awesome! I thought it still was DD-only.
Comment by Fri 12 Jan 2018 22:27:35 UTC
[citation needed]. That’s a suspiciously round number. IQ measures ability to do IQ tests, and not much else. And isn’t a glass of wine pretty much the Balmer peak? :P
Comment by jgh Fri 18 Aug 2017 21:15:56 UTC

The British welfare state is indeed being eroded by the current government, but there is a good chunk of the country that very vocally objects – we’ve just had difficulty getting power since 2010, for a host of reasons. It’s not just some grassroots socialist movement, either. A big chunk of the country really are socialist.

While the changes that have been made to schools are reversible even if the current government cling on next week, this election might be our last chance to save the NHS, because the current government are in the middle of a process that will effectively sell it off. That would be difficult to come back from.

Comment by spwhitton Thu 01 Jun 2017 11:07:32 UTC

It’s refreshing to see this is so in the UK. Specially as it is talked all around that, since Thatcher, the UK has been slowly dismantling what used to be a firm welfare state — I had the impression that yes, that many institutions still stand, but it’s clearly going the way of the USA. I’m happy to see it’s not. I live in Mexico, a country that had a very long institutions-buildng process, approximately from the end of our revolution (~1920) to 1982. We have then had a series of neoliberal governments, and term after term, the weight of the social goods are clearly diminished; we still have a system much stronger than the USA’s (including a very limited but existing nevertheless public health, a troubled but great educative system including the best universities in the country, water and energy production / distribution, and a very long etcetera), but… It feels it’s all irrevocably going away. But the point you make in a most surprised tone is what I most long to see here: Politicians that live among the people, that are not a breed apart, that are consequent with themselves.

Comment by gwolf Tue 30 May 2017 12:01:34 UTC

I know DnD a bit, but I always found it very weird and unrealistic. Something like the DOS of the RPG games. When you could instead have a Unix, like RuneQuest.

So I actually think you should take a look at RuneQuest, not only because it presents an extremely coherent rule-system all over (all rules are as general as possible to fit as many situations as possible; and the rules always apply to everything), but also because it supports several magic systems, some of which are extremely elegant.

The current version usually goes by the shortcut “BRP” (supporting several settings including RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu, which also used this system since ever) and you can find resources to it on

Comment by seegras Tue 14 Mar 2017 12:10:25 UTC