Archive for March, 2010

Seamonkey 2 on CentOS 5

Wednesday 31 March 2010 1 comment

I prefer Seamonkey to other web browsers. The generic tarball build offered for Linux on the Seamonkey website doesn’t work quite right on my machine. Currently I find no one building it for CentOS 5, and certainly not tracking the current releases. For example, just yesterday, Seamonkey saw version 2.0.4 released. (Please be sure to check for later versions. Seamonkey releases age rather quickly.)

Because my machine is adequate, I wanted to see how hard it would be to build it for myself. Somebody had already prepared some notes, and I simply followed the advice for Fedora regarding dependencies. However, I’m not such a fan as to keep track of it like a developer, so I follow a simplified scheme.

Get the source. You can find links for the latest source here. Currently that’s a huge wad nearly 60MB. I move it to /usr/local/src/ and do the un-bzip and un-tar routine. It opens out to a directory named comm-1.9.1, which is not what you’d expect.

Navigate into that directory. My simplified instructions are:

  1. echo ‘ac_add_options –enable-application=suite’ > .mozconfig
  2. echo ‘mk_add_options MOZ_MAKE_FLAGS=”-j4″‘ >> .mozconfig
  3. make -f
  4. make install

If you don’t have at least a dual core processor in your computer, maybe you should change that second line at the end to "-j2" but be sure to keep the trailing single quotation mark (‘). My Athlon dual-core churns away smoothly for about a half-hour, then the prompt returns with no errors. After the make install I find the Seamonkey binary in /usr/local/bin and create a custom launcher on the desktop for it.

I check a couple of times every week and repeat the process for each new release. It simply overwrites the previous installation. I note a particular nice thing is, since having fixed the bytecode hinting in my Freetype2 libraries, and building on them, the fonts display on Seamonkey is sharper than anything pre-packaged for CentOS.

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CentOS: Fixing Ugly KDE Fonts

Tuesday 30 March 2010 Leave a comment

On CentOS/RHEL in particular, I found the fonts in KDE 3 were ragged, and unresponsive to efforts to clean them up via recompiling Freetype2 libs with bytecode hinting turned on. After reading up on it a bit, I decided it might be possible to fix it by recompiling the basic Qt libraries from the source RPM.

As of this writing, the current SRPM is qt-3.3.6-23.

If you follow the canonical method, you’ll place the source RPM in /usr/src/redhat/SRPMS/ and install from there:

rpm -ivh qt-3.3.6-23.el5.src.rpm

Then you navigate to /usr/src/redhat/SPEC/ and run the command:

rpmbuild -bb qt.spec

If you are missing any build requirements, it will complain and you can install them using yum. Run the RPMbuild command again. After a while, you’ll get the prompt back, hopefully indicating nothing went wrong.

Navigate to /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/ and choose the folder containing files matching your hardware architecture. Mine was i386, where I found the newly made qt-3.3.6-23.i386.rpm.

You’ll have to use the --force switch because RPM can’t tell this is different from the one already installed:

rpm -Uvh --force qt-3.3.6-23.i386.rpm

Once it’s installed, you’ll need to restart any part of KDE currently running to get the full effect. Just for good measure, I used the same procedure and rebuilt the kdelibs package on the new Qt libraries. However, I doubt it really makes that much difference in the results. As far as I can tell, Qt handles most of the font rendering operations in KDE. Something in the way it builds under RedHat and clones requires building Qt with the changed Freetype libraries.

Caveat: I have tested KDE 4 on other systems and hate it, so don’t waste your time with comments insisting it’s better. That’s entirely subjective. KDE 3 was fine, basically, but the developers never bothered to fix everything, just abandoned it and moved onto the next, even buggier release. That’s the way Open Source works, and I accept that, but the criticism still stands. When you have a system which is developer-centric, the user will never be satisfied because the developers don’t care about users, for the most part.

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Implications of the Decalogue: Conclusion

Tuesday 30 March 2010 1 comment

The Covenant of Moses was closed at the Cross. In that sense, God today holds no one accountable to the Law of Moses. We keep it around, referring to it historically, so that we may learn about His Laws in general. Moses was a specific example and application of the Covenant of Noah.

Noah is still in force today. All human governments are bound by it, measured against that standard. Because the Decalogue is rather general in nature, we can see it as a reflection of the broader standard of Noah. It’s not a waste of time to continue citing its provisions.

On the mystical level, what we can learn from it is most assuredly binding on every believer in this world. It helps us grasp the nature of God’s mind regarding things.

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Implications of the Decalogue: Ten

Monday 29 March 2010 Leave a comment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s property. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

The Hebrew word “covet” carried more weight than simple envy in this context. At that time, the Nation of Israel still suffered a tremendous amount of superstition common to that part of the world. For example, the notion there was only One God was revolutionary, and Hebrew people as a whole never quite embraced that until after the Exile. In this case, the concept of covet included a background of what we would call petty black magic, where one might seek to employ the likes of “the evil eye” to bring harm to someone they envied or despised for any reason.

We know today the reality of such things as God viewed it. Someone obsessed with the property or comforts of another would give room to Satan and his demons for all sorts of mischief. The Suzerain was demanding His people keep their spiritual doors locked against evil by simply learning to accept their lot in life, trusting Him for all their needs.

The mystical lesson is obvious. God alone, through His Spirit, can prompt people to fight circumstances. However, we do that only for the most other-worldly purposes. We don’t fight with the expectation of winning, but we fight because God commands it, regardless of the outcome. When it comes to mere personal property and creature comforts, this should be the last thing we care about. Under His Laws, whatever is really needed for His purposes is always provided quite generously. Under His grace, we outgrow the concern for such things and take what comes as our basic assumption, and fight it only when we can’t avoid it.

Wanting stuff is the root of all sorts of evil. Taking offense at someone else’s relative prosperity is sin by definition. You should rather rejoice with them in their good fortune, and celebrate the simplicity of your own life. If you are on the lower rungs of material prosperity, thank God for the lack of complexity, and get on with serving your Master.

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Implications of the Decalogue: Nine

Sunday 28 March 2010 Leave a comment

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

The Suzerain does not permit dishonesty. Since it would require more than one witness in court to meet the minimum evidence of a crime, it would invariably be collusion and conspiracy to offer a false accusation or account.

But it’s far more than just the narrow application of a trial court. This includes rumors, unjustified hatred, or any of the thousands of ways we take life and sanity from people one tiny sliver at a time. The security and safety of your neighbor is your own. When it becomes every man for himself, every man dies — literally in some measure, but most fully in the figurative sense.

This is a mystical God speaking His demands in a mystical culture to a people acquainted with mystical logic. Truth is Our God, and if we are not committed to the Truth, we are His enemy. Speaking a lie against God is blasphemy, but speaking a lie against His declaration is hardly less of a sin. God says if you aren’t willing to suffer for His Truth, you can’t gain the safety of lies. Thus, the symbolism: In court cases, those caught lying will receive the punishment they hoped to gain for the person against whom they perjured themselves. When you begin digging into anything contrary to God’s revelation, you have chosen death.

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Implications of the Decalogue: Eight

Saturday 27 March 2010 Leave a comment

You shall not steal.

The word translated into English as “steal” covers a wide range of unjust takings, including frauds. It should be obvious how this inflicts harm on the community. The whole point of living in proximity of others is security, not inviting abuse. We should find it strange this even needs to be addressed. Still, such a blunt statement covers a lot of territory.

Our Suzerain says we need only what He grants us. It’s an affront to Him directly if we insist on nabbing something He gave to another, as if we were charging Him with mismanagement and neglect.

Paul said it best when he said we should prefer being a victim in this area than risk in the slightest degree defrauding another. A primary sin of the Pharisees and the Hellenized corruption of the Law of Moses was this nasty pile of excuses for grabbing other people’s stuff. Jesus condemned it harshly, suggesting a great many Jews were actually worshiping Mammon. A loose grip on the things of this world means they will have a loose grip on you.

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Implications of the Decalogue: Seven

Friday 26 March 2010 Leave a comment

You shall not commit adultery.

This is one commandment more honored in the violation than in the keeping. The Suzerain is not amused when people break faith. We are not animals operating with no moral compass, but bear a heavy obligation to uphold the needs of our extended family community over our particular appetites. Sexual fulfillment is not a sacred right.

Nor is this a demand you view sex merely as an act of procreation. However, you cannot separate the two. It’s bad enough we carry the Western mythology that romantic love is mysteriously overpowering, but we don’t even have much of that these days. It’s just a form of recreation, detached from any other reality.

Notice here the issue is not sex out of wedlock, but sex which interferes with the marriage bond. Nor is it simply a matter ancient women were mere property in themselves. Rather, their sexual favors were a property right, as were the man’s. Sex meant making babies, and God says babies need the full support of their entire village — which always meant your extended family household. So you don’t upset things by getting your cousin’s wife/daughter/etc. pregnant without that lifelong commitment. Same goes if you spot some gal/guy from another clan or even another nation. Proper social stability was not possible without honoring commitments between persons. Obviously, prostitution is also a sin, regardless, but the Old Testament narrative seldom bothered to condemn the obvious.

God has distinct notions about this, and He knows what is best. Reading between the lines, we note idolatry and adultery don’t simply sound similar in English, but they are morally related. If you try to quibble on God’s requirements, you are a moral adulterer, as the Suzerain is the husband who marries the nation as His bride. The Hebrew death penalty on adultery applied to both sexes, but in spiritual terms, you are dead already if you can play around on God.

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Implications of the Decalogue: Six

Thursday 25 March 2010 Leave a comment

You shall not kill.

This has been worked over too often because certain folks like to play games with English translations. Our Suzerain here merely reiterates what He said back in the days of Noah: His domain shall not be disturbed by unjustified slaying of humans. Lesser creatures are a distinctly different matter in His eyes. It doesn’t take much thinking to realize a casual attitude about the lives of others has already been condemned in previous commandments, so this is nothing new.

What we like to forget is the underlying justice issue. First, God gets to say who dies and when, and He says man should die by natural causes — by God’s own hand — or by means of removing a threat to society. Not society as we know it today, but society as He meant it to be. When someone so distrusts the Suzerain’s sense of justice they can’t wait for Him to take care of something His way, they turn to things like murder to get their way. The explanations later in the Torah are careful to distinguish between starting a fight, slipping into a valid conflict, and simply defending yourself. You should restrain your passions in favor of trusting the society in which you live to work things out.

But this system is valid only if your society is structured as God intended. The modern state bears no resemblance to what God intended, so it cannot pretend to carry out justice. The duty of executing a threat falls to those most closely related to that threat. This is the other edge of the same sword from the previous commandment of taking the family seriously. The family has to take it’s duties seriously, too.

As a side note, ancient biblical justice meant if one of your family did an injustice to another, you were obliged to turn that member over to their justice, if that one would not submit voluntarily. The Suzerain would moderate, of course, so that retribution never exceeded the damage done. The underlying issue is obvious: God does not take lightly folks usurping His prerogatives. There is a God in Heaven, and you are not Him.

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Implications of the Decalogue: Five

Wednesday 24 March 2010 Leave a comment

Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.

The Hebrew term “honor” means to reckon something very serious or grave; don’t take it lightly. It should not be reduced simply to “obey,” as that is not the same thing. Contempt for anyone is wrong, but in the tribal world of the Ancient Near East, it was downright deadly. The whole point is the minute dynamics of every day life must arise from a firm commitment to remain attached to the extended family at all costs.

This one thing must be firmly fixed in the reader’s mind: You cannot abstract the concept out to simply positive regard and familial piety. The entire Western Civilization has no frame of reference for what’s assumed by such commands as this. It is not something which is cast merely in a quaint tribal world where your society was your family, and there was no social outlet. We have wedded all our thoughts to the notion somehow we have advanced by spinning off the nuclear family from its original tribal village setting, and dissolved such structure in favor of the excitement and ferment of the urban individualist culture. No such thing exists, because this merely replaces the family with civil government. You can lie to yourself all you like, but you will either live with your old home folks and the family “government” or you will live under the secular state. The latter cannot be seen as anything but an open rejection of God as Suzerain.

While the context here specifically applies to Law and earthly life, the spiritual view recognizes our reverence to God Himself is depicted here. We are obliged to take family seriously because he take Him seriously. If we do not take family seriously, we surely display a lack of commitment, a lack of faith toward God.

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Implications of the Decalogue: Four

Tuesday 23 March 2010 Leave a comment

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work, you nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and sanctified it.

The Suzerain cares about people all the way down to the lowest in His domain. The first and primary effect of declaring a holy day was to prevent the powerful from overworking their subordinates and dependents. This is fundamentally about mercy to the unfortunate.

We cannot find any external proof the ancient Hebrews kept the seven-day calendar continuously before the Period of Exile in Babylon. Other nations had similar patterns, but only Scripture indicates the practice is truly ancient. Given periods of apostasy, we have no basis for insisting it was continuous from the Garden. However, the moral basis is God’s personal practice. If Our Lord takes a break one day in seven, we have no reason to resist. He can surely dictate we observe His personal habits.

If all you get from this is the austere demand your life must stop on Saturday, then you have missed the point. I don’t really care which day of the week you choose, and I doubt God cares, since what we have today is a German adaptation of a Roman practice absorbed during the time of early Christian tolerance, which grew out of a sect of Judaism. Talmudic Jews are notorious for the most outrageous claims of mythical authority, and Jesus often poked holes in their pompous emptiness. They had turned the Law into a very oppressive weapon against the common folks, standing this command on its head.

The Son of Man was Lord of the Sabbath, and claimed the authority to interpret what it should have meant. With all the references to doing things on the first day of the week after His Ascension, and Paul’s discussion about holidays being of no real significance, we have no reason to be crabby about it. If you can’t meet your material needs in six days, you need too much, and you aren’t relying on God to provide. So we take one day in seven to celebrate the mercy of our Lord upon us, and we share the mercy with others.

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