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Wacko Freshmeat Entry of the Month


Contributed By Jim Dennis

pyDDR 0.2.5
by theGREENzebra - Saturday, December 22nd 2001 00:39 EST

About: PyDDR is a clone of DDR ("Dance Dance Revolution") written in Python. The idea of DDR is simple. There's a mat with four directional arrows, and the game scrolls arrows up the screen to the beat while playing a song. When the arrows reach the top of the screen (not sooner and not later), the player hits the corresponding arrow on the pad, and given that it's hit on time with the beat, points are scored. Based on how well the dance is put together, s/he is graded at the end of the song.

Changes: PyDDR now has working DDR mat support. STEP files can now contain starting/ending markers to shorten a full-length MP3 into a DDR-length song without modifying the file, and song and group names are also displayed at the top of the playfield. A few bugfixes and improvements were made regarding fonts, misses, and combos.

This is a game written in Python 2.1 and using the Pygame package (which is a set of bindings between Python and the SDL game-development libraries).

The thing that's wacky is that it's intended to be used with one of those DDR "dance mats." These are little floor mats with four arrows arranged in a cross pattern (like old fashioned cursor keys before the advent of the "inverted T cursor/arrows" on PC keyboards). You can "dance" on the mat, providing "step" input (timing and direction or foot placement) for the game. It then awards points based on how closely you follow the dance step (which it's displaying and scrolling to the tempo of some MPEG encoded music).

You might have seen video games where kids where dance for a high score. I know that I saw lots of these in Japan, where it's apparently *very* popular.

I suppose this is the most exciting non-violent, completely G-rated fun that's available for kids on the 'net.

(Maybe the fact that *I* think it's "wacky" reveals too much about me!)

Not The Answer Gang


Answered By Huibert Alblas, Ben Okopnik, Iron, Don Marti,

Huibert Alblas asks:
Ext3 and ext2 are compatible filesystems, you can mount ext3 filesystems with an "only ext2" kernel, _but_ it has to be cleanly unounted (damn, what is the correct past tense for that what I want to express?)

(!) [Ben]

"Has to have been cleanly unmounted." English can get very funky sometimes... OTOH, Spanish isn't much better. Hey, Mike! Does Esperanto suck just as much with tenses, or (being a designed language) did they actually do something with this mess?

(!) [Iron]

It would be the same in Esperanto. (But see below.)

Ext2 kaj ext3 estas fajl-sistemoj kunlaborivaj. Oni povas mauxnti ext3-an fajlsistemon en koro "nur" ext2-a, *sed* gxi devas esti pure malmauxntita.

(!) [Ben]

Hey, that looks like code I've been writing lately! :) I don't think I've ever seen written Esperanto before, other than single words or so - my memory says I have but can't provide written proof. This is cool.

(!) [Iron]

But it would be more natural to transform the sentance:

... *if* it has been cleanly unmounted == 
	oni povos ... *se* gxi estos pure malmauxntita.
	(-os : both clauses in future tense because of the "if")

... *only if* == *nur se*

... *if* one unmounted it cleanly first ==
	*se* oni jam malmauxntos gxin pure
	(literally: "already will mount")
There's no way around the fact that "has to be cleanly unmounted" requires three verbs, with the last one being a past passive participle. What Esperanto gives you is a complete set of active and passive participles for all tenses.
mauxnti   = to mount (pronounced "mount-ee")
mauxntas  = I/you/we/they mount, (s)he mounts
mauxntis  = mounted
mauxntos  = will mount
mauxntu   = mount!  (imperative)
mauxntus  = would mount  (subjunctive, as in:
	If I had mounted ext3, my files wouldn't be ruined.
	Se mi mauxntus ext3'on, miaj fajloj ne estus ruinitaj.

	If I had been accustomed to mounting ext3, my files wouldn't be ruined.
	Se mi kutimus mauxnti ext3'on, miaj fajloj ne estus ruinitaj.
	(kutimi = to do something habitually)

It's easier to explain the participles with "prezidi" (to preside):

prezidanto   = president  (he-who-is-presiding)
prezidinto   = former president   (he-who-was-presiding)
prezidonto   = president-elect    (he-who-will-preside)

prezidato    = subject   (he-who-is-presided-over)
prezidinto   = former subject   (he-who-was-presided-over)
prezidonto   = future subject   (he-who-will-be-presided-over)

Not officially a part of Esperanto, but you can get away with:

prezidunto   = (subjunctive: he-who-would-be-president [but he's not])
preziduto    = (subjunctive: he-who-would-be-presided-over [but he's not])

When you want to get away from tense:

prezidento   = President (no tense affiliation; a separate word root
                          ...but most verbs don't have an -ent counterpart)

gxi devas esti malmauntita == it must be unmounted (it must have been unmounted)

li devas esti malmauntinta gxin ==
	he must have unmounted it
	he was obligated to have unmounted it

li devus esti malmauxninta gxin ==
	he should have unmounted it   (subjunctive: but he didn't)

Unofficially, you can combine "esti malmauxntinta" into one verb: 
	malmauxntinti     (to have unmounted something)

	gxi devas malmauxntiti    (it must have been unmounted)
collapsing three verbs into two.

Or even:
	malmauxntintis    (is having unmounted something)

So these are equivalent:
	li estas malmauxntinta gxin
	li malmauxntintas gxin
	== he has unmounted it.

	li estis malmauxntinta gxin
	li malmauxntintis gxin
	== he had unmounted it.
But one normally tries to keep the verbs as simple as possible, and not use participles unless necessary. English and Spanish habitually say "is doing", "was doing" when the participle isn't necessary: this is *not* done in Esperanto. Although if you do it, it's not "incorrect", just weird.

The unofficial forms aren't in the grammar books or used by the great writers, so they aren't recommended for academic/professional use, but because they are logical extensions of the grammar system, they aren't "wrong" per se. If enough people use them, eventually they will be acknowledged in the Plena Vortaro (Complete Dictionary, literally "full word-collection").

(!) [Ben]

The implications behind all of that are fascinating, "great writers" and "academic/professional use" particularly. Any estimates on how many Esperanto speakers there are in the world?

(!) [Iron]

The only number I heard was that it's the same size as the smallest countries in the United Nations. I forget which those were. I suppose we can say, a bit smaller than Liechtenstein. How big is Liechtenstein now?

The difference is that Esperantists are scattered all over the world rather than being concentrated in one country. So for instance, you can take an around-the-world trip and stay only at Esperanto-speaking lodgings using the Pasporta Servo ("passport service", This gets you the inside scoop on a country whose language you don't know, even if the hosts don't understand your language.

"Great writers" was an exaggeration. I meant the most respected Esperanto writers and translators. E-o's creator L L Zamenhof translated the Bible and Hamlet himself before introducing the language, and wrote numerous original poems and proverbs. (The regularities of the language make finding rhyming and metric pairs relatively easy.)

"Famous" original works in Esperanto include _Metropoliteno_ by Vladimir Varankin, written in the 1920s about the building of the Berlin and Moscow subways. (The author was either a loyal Soviet or submitted to Soviet censorship rules, so you have to ignore the propaganda-speak in it.) _Mr Tot Acxetas Mil Okulojn_ (Mr Tot Buys a Thousand Eyes), a humorous look at a travelling salesman with comments about the invasion of privacy (Carnivore, PGP back doors, I *knew* we could tie this to Linux somehow!). _Kredu Min, Sinjorino!_ (Believe Me, Ma'am!). etc. Also the infamous _Knedu Min, Sinjorino!_ (Knead Me, Ma'am!), a dictionary of "taboo and insulting expressions", whose title is a satire of the previous book.

Most Esperanto books, however, are translations. But whereas most translations to English come from the top five big languages, translations to Esperanto come from a wide variety of small languages. Hungary and Bulgaria were centers for Esperanto translation and academia during part of the 20th century, and there was also significant activity in England and Germany before WWII. In the late 20th century, China produced a significant number of children's books and translations of Chinese literature, due to government sponsorship of Esperanto. (The way the government is now sponsoring Linux projects.) Japan produces a science-fiction anthology series _Sferoj_ ("spheres", but also a pun: "sferoj => science-fiction-pieces" analogous to "negxeroj => snowflakes [units of snow]") containing sf from many countries, sometimes translated, sometimes original. Brazil, Finland and the Netherlands have translators doing their own national works and also works from many other countries. There are also works that have been overlooked in English translation; e.g., _Lirikaj Perloj de Al-Andalus_ (Lyric Pearls of Al-Andalus_), "Spanish and Jewish lyric poetry from Spain during the Golden Age of Islam". And of course, the Koran is available, as well as Kempis' _Imitation of Christ_, Confucian and Buddhist text and apologies, Spinoza, Hillel, Descartes, etc.

An Esperanto bookstore in Emeryville, California, with several hundred titles:
My Esperanto page:
A variety of information:
The Linux Esperanto-HOWTO (in Esperanto):

In another thread...

(!) [Iron]

Actually, around that time, my LG connections did put me in touch with a Linux Esperantist in Vietnam. The only other Linux Esperantist I know of.

(!) [Ben]

Linux. Esperanto. In Vietnam.

Tell me, Mike - don't you ever get out of that rut and do anything out of the ordinary? I mean, all that sounds so... well... *common*. <grin>

(!) [Don]

The Bay Area is crawling with them. I'm one of the few local Linux freaks I know who can't at least tell people how to reinstall LILO in Esperanto.

It even starts to get on people's nerves.

Two weeks later, a letter from

Estimata samideano Majk!
/* Miaopinie Vi ne konas min, cxar mi ne skribis al Vi antawe... Mallong-dire mi estas 36-jara programmisto el Rusio (urbo Volgograd) kaj krome la Linux-sxatanto */
Mi deziregas gratuli Vin al la NovJar-festo kaj deziri al Vi bonan farton, sukcesan kreadon kaj privatan felicxon!!!

Mi ankaw volas sekvi Vian konsilon pri plezur-faro al homoj, do mi informas ke konstante legas artikolojn de la *gazette* rusigitajn far Sergeo Skorohxodov (dissendolisto comp.soft.linux.gazette en SUBSCRIBE.RU) kaj opinias tiun La Bona Afero! Unufraze: estu tiel plu!

Amike, Dmitrij W. Vronskij (aka dww[RU])

Esteemed fellow-Esperantist (= member-of-the-same-idea) Mike!
I don't think you know me since you've never written to me... To make it short, I'm a 36-year-old programmer in Volgograd, Russia, and also a big Linux fan.
I'd really like to wish you a Happy New Year, and hope things go well in your personal affairs.
I also want to follow your advice about doing good for people (lit: doing pleasure to people), therefore I inform (keep informed?) and constantly read articles in the Gazette russified by Sergej Skorohodov (from the list comp.soft.linux.gazette at SUBSCRIBE.RU) and think it's a Good Thing! In a phrase: keep on truckin'!
Friendlily, Dmitrij W Vronskij (aka dww[RU])
"Geniulo inventas, talentulo efikigas, stultulo uzas kaj ne dankas"
--Kozma Prutkov, fabela rusa filosofiulo
"A genius invents, a talented person produces, a stupid person uses but doesn't thank."
--Kozma Prutkov, fabled Russian philosopher

More on Ben's reputation

Answered By Ben Okopnik, Iron, Guy Milliron, Thomas Adam, Chris Gianakopoulos

(!) [Ben]

Heh. In my PC hardware classes, lo these many years past, I used to destroy my students' MBRs for fun. Or wipe their CMOS... or crunch the DBR... or even make loops in the File Allocation Table, making DOS/Win loop infinitely as it tried to read, say, IO.SYS. All quickly fixable.

(!) [Iron]

I knew it, I just knew it. Never trust anybody who wears dark sunglasses, you never know what they're hiding. I knew that Ben Okopnik character was going to be trouble. Heather, call the FBI.

(!) [Ben]

<shrug> No need to call them; I already offered to corrupt their machines a long time ago (for a very reasonable fee, even!), but they told me they were running Wind*ws and were well served in that area.

If you have any contacts at the CIA, however, I'd be grateful.

(!) [Iron]

You don't already have contacts??? I thought for sure some of your KGB kronies must be double agents.

(!) [Ben]

They won't *share*. <pout>

(!) [Guy]

*laugh* Reminds me of a DOS based Fidonet software, Opus. In the manual under requirements:

  1. Sunglasses
  2. A Nerf Bat
though completely optional in both cases, yet highly recommended.

I can't believe I started in FidoNet when it was a meer 1000 nodes and left when it was just about to crest 32,000 nodes.

Your mouse has moved. Windows must be restarted
for the change to take effect. Reboot now? [ OK ]

In another thread...

(!) [Thomas]

Dear TAG,
Just thought I'd wish you all a merry christmas and a happy new year!!

I'd just like to apologise for my "attitude" while answering some of the questions posted here. I have been under a lot of duress and a heavy workload has made me irratable.

But as of next year, I'll be usual cherry self :-) <Ben....stop sniggering> :)

(!) [Chris]

No way do you have "attitude"! You are easy going.

(!) [Iron]

[Who never noticed Thomas being non-cheerful about anything.]

I guess he'll have to try harder, if he wants ppl to talk about him like we talk about Ben.

(!) [Ben]

'Ey! I resemble that remark!

Uninstalling Linux

Answered By Iron, Ben Okopnik, Mike Martin

How do you remove linux from the hard drive completely?

(!) [Iron]

Go to the LG search engine ( and search for "uninstalling" or "uninstall". You'll find several items. Here's one of the better ones:

(Ben, we need an "uninstalling Linux" entry in the TAG FAQ.)

(!) [Ben]

It's already there:

(!) [Mike]

Not to be too stroppy - but do we? I would see this as more a question for whatever windows equivalents there are to the answer gang.

(!) [Iron]

It comes down to being a responsible OS. Linux has gained lots of brownie points by being the OS that's compatible with more systems than any other, access a wider variety of filesystems and network protocols, has a less buggy compiler and more sysadmin/developer support tools, etc. In essence, the one that saves the day for sysadmins/developers trying to work around the shortcomings in other systems. Do we want to lose this good PR by not recognizing that uninstalling Linux is just as legitimate as installing it, and people may have good reasons to? Perhaps they're a newbie trying Linux out and got lost. Perhaps they inherited a computer with Linux on it. Whatever. It's about making Linux into a system that "plays nice with others". Or more correctly, enhancing the already-good job Linux does with this. It's about being a responsible OS.

Now think about what help The Borg gives you if you want to uninstall it to install Linux. Is there any documentation in the Windoze manuals for this? What about documentation on how to set up Windoze so that it can share the system with Linux? Of course not. Nobody in their right mind would want to uninstall The Borg. It has all the features consumers are demanding, and it's "innovative". After all, The Borg had Plug-n-Play first!

Thus, it's a feather in Linux's cap to make sure the "uninstalling Linux" entry is prominently displayed near the top of the FAQ. It shows that we're confident enough in the OS to help you uninstall it if you want to. (You'll be back...) It gives newbies a safety valve in case they need to uninstall Linux someday, they'll know where to look. And finally again, it's a feature Windows *doesn't* have.

(!) [Ben]

Uninstalling Linux works out to pretty much the same thing as uninstalling Wind*ws - and Microsoft does indeed have an entry in their Knowledge Base that describes how to do that (I found the link at Dell, while searching for serial port loopback info. Go figure.) In reality, we're providing instruction for either one. Hmm, there's a different way of looking at it...

I definitely agree with the above logic if not the fine details.


(!) [Ben]

Hello!!! Your questions!!! have lots of randomly scattered exclamation!!! points!!!, so they must!!! be very!!! important!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!! for letting us know!!!!!!!!!!!


Wow, that's really exciting. Is there a reason that you're telling us about this? I'm sure that if you wanted help, you would have provided a list of exactly which errors you got (preferably by copying and pasting rather than retyping), in which kernel version, which module(s), etc. As it is, - well, my neigbor's favorite goldfish died a month ago, so I'm fresh out of sympathy. <shrug> I guess that you *are* the only one with this problem... at least you're the only one who _knows_ about any part of this that's a problem. The rest of us are completely in the dark, due to lack of information. 5. No FTP I connect to the web thru a LAN! It works!!! Wow. More excitement. Now, if we only knew which particular "it" that refers to... Web connection? FTP? Pouring milk into your breakfast cereal without spilling any? Tune in for our next exciting episode, when our mysterious guest reveals all!

Tux trivia

Answered By Iron

When I gave her a stuffed Tux as a present, my Girlfriend asked me, what it's sex is?

(!) [Iron]

Four out of five sexist computer nerds surveyed agree Tux is male.

World of Spam

From: supercow

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We have recently visited your site: We thought there was substantial potential for making revenue for you by placing banners or advertising on your site if you have a reasonable flow of traffic.
[The LG copying page??? High traffic? -Iron.]

We operate on the pay per click method and checks are issued on the 5th of each month. Pay per Click means each time a surfer sees the banner ad on your site and clicks though to the advertised site you are paid for the click.

Advertising on your site increases the importance and prestige of your site.

[It does? Are you sure about that? -Iron.]

Do You Suspect Your Spouse Is Having A Cyber Affair On Your Computer While You Are Away? Have You Ever Lost Hours Of Hard Work... Just Because Your Computer Crashed? Do You Wonder What Your Kids Or Employees REALLY DO Online?

Introducing... XXXXX -- Secret Keystroke Recorder & Backup Utility

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I have visited your website today and noticed that you have a great site that would work really well selling Evidence Eliminator.

You make a STAGGERING conversion rate, PLUS 10% of earnings of referred webmasters and an INCREDIBLE Webmaster loyalty and retention performance to bring you the World's premium cash payout. There is nothing better.

This is the World's best and best-selling program. Nothing converts better. That's official - EE rules. Try it and see how amazing it converts. You will not be disappointed.

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Recently the company upgraded the commissions from 30% to an AMAZING 50% of their top-selling and World-Famous product, now allowing even the very newest of Webmasters to generate very generous earnings.

You have been selected as a potential candidate for a free listing in the 2002 Edition of the International Executive Guild Registry Please accept our congratulations for this coveted honor As this edition is so important in view of the new millennium, the International Executive Guild Registry will be published in two different formats; the searchable CD-ROM and the Online Registry.

Since inclusion can be considered recognition of your career position and professionalism, each candidate is evaluated in keeping with high standards of individual achievement. In light of this, the International Executive Guild thinks that you may make an interesting biographical subject.

Russian Joke of the Month

A newspaper boy in Soviet Russia announces his wares:

--Ben Okopnik

Happy Linuxing!

Mike ("Iron") Orr
Editor, Linux Gazette,

Copyright © 2002, the Editors of Linux Gazette.
Copying license
Published in Issue 74 of Linux Gazette, January 2002
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