linux programming

Caring For Your Environment

I’ve been thinking about where all my spare time goes recently because I just don’t have the time to do things I want to do, development-wise. In my life I have a couple of obvious (non-family related) time sinks like:

  • XBOX 360: Bioshock, Assain’s Creed, Gears of War, …
  • Physical Exercise

Now clearly physical exercise is unnecessary for a desk-jockey like me right? But there’s evidence to suggest that physical exercise might make me smarter. I need all the smarts I can get so I guess I’ll be continuing that for now.
What about gaming? Well I’ve been gaming since Jet Set Willy so I don’t think this is really a time luxury anymore. It’s now a defining character trait.

So that’s not given me very much wiggle room so I started to look more closely at what I actually do when I’m the big fat “H” in HCI. I discovered that I was spending some time on Project Euler which is definitely not time-wasted but is perhaps a little frivolous so I stopped it. But after that still no development work was getting done. Then I found I would spend a fair amount of time tending my development environment garden.

Gardening Again

Recent projects have included:

  • Switching my development machine from Gentoo to Ubuntu, ooo-ooo-ooo
  • Setting up SVN over SSH
  • Getting Emacs to provide true type font support
  • Upgrading Ubuntu to Gutsy for Compiz-Fusion support
  • Trying to get Gutsy to work with my f*cking ATI Radeon 9600 so I can actually use Compiz-Fusion
  • Trialling Lisp based tiling X window managers

And so it goes on. I can always think of something to do, and it’s very much like gardening I think. I admit that I haven’t really done much real gardening but when I did have a garden I found I could spend hours in it mowing, pruning, removing stones, painting fences, … you get the idea. The only difference is that with gardening, gardening and aesthetics are the objectives. The objectives of my development environment “gardening” are less clear. I’m clearly not getting very much productivity benefit from trying to get Compiz-Fusion to work, only that it makes me feel very powerful to be able to make an ATI graphics card work as expected with Linux.

What’s in your garden? Are the weeds ten feet high but you just can’t see them or could you submit it for a competition and win? Is this sort of OCD the preserve of the programmer or have I really lost it this time?