Saturday, October 12, 2013

8 months with a macbook pro retina 15''

Back in February, I wanted a new laptop for my work, so I bought a fancy Dell Latitude E6540 laptop. Bad luck, it was giving my sore eyes and horrible headaches, to the point I couldn't work more than a dozen minutes with it. As in my work, we were not allowed to buy PC laptops with any other vendor, my boss convinced me to get a 15'' macbook pro retina (yes that's about as expensive a laptop as you can get). Although quite reluctant at first, I did need a new laptop, so I gave in. Of course, I had to install debian on it. I booted once or twice on macos to leave enough space for Debian and install rEFIt so that I could boot into it. I had to use version 3.9 of linux else it wouldn't boot.

After about 8 month, I must say I'm quite pleased with the beast. The retina display is very neat (a 2880x1800 resolution!), and it is pretty fast. There are two annoyances though:

  • I never managed to get either the non-free NVIDIA drivers or the integrated intel graphics to work. The NVIDIA driver give blank screen on X startup, while it doesn't even start with the intel drivers (and I've tried all the tricks I could find around). The fine point is that I don't have any hardware 3D acceleration !
  • The wireless network is pretty unstable.

Another point is the update of GRUB: Debian's post-install scripts don't play nice with the EFI setup, so here is what I have to do to update to a newer version of grub, (and it's also what I had to do initially to install GRUB):

# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
# grub-install --efi-directory=/mnt

The /dev/sda1 partition is the so-called EFI partition. I think it is created by rEFIt and it is essentially empty.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Release 0.7 of ctioga2

Quite a bit of work has gone into ctioga2 since my last post. Among the most interesting features, ctioga2 now features:

  • full windows support, including proper file types associations
  • fill syntax as powerful as gnuplot's
  • an impulses plot style
  • unclipped plot elements along with full control of the curves depth: in front of axes, behind background lines...
  • control of symbol size through a Z axis

The latter feature proved actually instrumental in a research project under way in my lab (which is why I wrote it in the first place). It is demonstrated in the image above, made using this code.

I've also started the gnuplot versus ctioga2 gallery I was speaking about in my last post, where I try to reproduce most of gnuplot's examples using ctioga2; it can be found here. While I don't like so much the look of the gnuplot graphs, and I try to keep the look of ctioga2's as close as possible to that look, it proved invaluable in detecting small bugs, fixing small glitches and providing inspiration for new features.

In the meantime, my todo-list for ctioga2 doesn't seem to get any smaller. Let's hope I'll implement them fast enough ! Keep posted...