Fwd: Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen 2014-12-15 No Comments

Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen

Playing Xiangqi with xboard 2014-12-08 No Comments


Out of the box, xboard is expecting you to play western chess. It does support Xiangqi, but the default setup uses ugly western pieces and western square fields rather than lines:

You can make it look more traditional ..

.. but it is not really trivial to get there. Windows users have WinBoard Xiangqi install as an option but Linux users don’t.
You could select board theme “xiangqi” at

MENU / View / Board / # ORIENTAL THEMES / double click on "xiangqi"

but you would end up with broken board scaling (despite xboard 2.8 knowing how to do better) without further tuning.

To summarize you have to teach xboard to

  1. play variant “xiangqi” rather than western chess,
  2. use different graphics, and
  3. get the board scaling right.

The following is a list of related options and how to get board scaling right by using a special symlink.


  • xboard 2.8 or later (for proper scaling of the board image, see below)
  • a Xiangqi engine, e.g.
    • HoiXiangqi (of HoiChess, games-board/hoichess in Gentoo betagarden) or
    • MaxQi (of FairyMax, games-board/fairymax in Gentoo betagarden).

Command line view

Now some command line parameters need to be passed to xboard:

Tell engine to play chess variant “xiangqi”:

-variant xiangqi

Use images for drawing the board:

-useBoardTexture true

Use xqboard-9x10.png for drawing both light and dark fields of the board:

-liteBackTextureFile /usr/share/games/xboard/themes/textures/xqboard-9x10.png
-darkBackTextureFile /usr/share/games/xboard/themes/textures/xqboard-9x10.png

xqboard-9x10.png can be a symlink to xqboard.png. The “-9x10” part is for the filename parser introduced with xboard 2.8. It ensures proper board rendering at any windows size. Without that naming (and with earlier versions), you need to be lucky for proper scaling.

Suppress drawing squares (of default line-width 1px) around fields:

-overrideLineGap 0

Use SVG images of the traditional Xiangqi pieces:

-pieceImageDirectory /usr/share/games/xboard/themes/xiangqi

Suppress grayscale conversion of piece graphics applied by default:

-trueColors true

Use HoiXiangqi for an engine:

-firstChessProgram /usr/games/bin/hoixiangqi

If you are running Gentoo, feel free to

sudo layman -a betagarden
sudo emerge -av games-board/xboard-xiangqi

to make that a little easier.

Russia blocks access to GitHub 2014-12-06 No Comments

Russia Blacklists, Blocks GitHub Over Pages That Refer To Suicide


(German) rsync mirror rsync1.de.gentoo.org wieder online 2014-11-16 No Comments

Nach mehreren Wochen downtime — primär durch mich verschuldet — ist rsync1.de.gentoo.org nun wieder online.
Wie vorher wird das komplette Repository aus einer RAM disk ausgeliefert, daher ist der Mirror relativ flott.

# rsync --list-only rsync://rsync1.de.gentoo.org/gentoo-portage/
drwxr-xr-x          3,480 2014/11/16 16:01:19 .
-rw-r--r--            121 2014/01/01 01:31:01 header.txt
-rw-r--r--          3,658 2014/08/18 21:01:02 skel.ChangeLog
-rw-r--r--          8,119 2014/08/30 12:01:02 skel.ebuild
-rw-r--r--          1,231 2014/08/18 21:01:02 skel.metadata.xml
drwxr-xr-x            860 2014/11/16 16:01:02 app-accessibility
drwxr-xr-x          4,800 2014/11/16 16:01:03 app-admin
drwxr-xr-x            100 2014/11/16 16:01:03 app-antivirus
drwxr-xr-x          1,240 2014/11/16 16:01:21 x11-wm
drwxr-xr-x            340 2014/11/16 16:01:21 xfce-base
drwxr-xr-x          1,340 2014/11/16 16:01:21 xfce-extra

Die Hardware darunter ist gesponsort von Manitu.

Introducing Gambit to Gentoo 1 Comment


I would like to introduce you to Gambit, a rather young Qt-based chess UI with excellent usability and its very own engine.

It has been living in the betagarden overlay while maturing and just hit the Gentoo main repository.
Install through

emerge -av games-board/gambit

as usual.

(German) Fwd: change.org: CETA und TTIP stoppen! 2014-10-26 No Comments

change.org: CETA und TTIP stoppen! (An: Bundesverfassungsgericht)

Fwd: Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe 2014-10-16 No Comments

Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe

Fwd: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz No Comments

I ran into this documentary today…


Testomato.com’s Minicrawler using uriparser 2014-10-15 1 Comment

I recently learned that Testomato.com — an online service for helping you find technical errors in your websites — is using my uriparser library with their Minicrawler.

For my blog, their tool reported lack of favicon.ico which I now took the occasion to fix.

Proof of their use of uriparser can be found here.

Two types of respect mixed up by Linus Torvalds 2014-10-07 Comments Off

I recently ran into the Q&A with Linus Torvalds @ Debconf 2014 video.

During the session, Torvalds is being criticized for lack of respect and replies that ~”respect is to be earned”. Technically, he confuses respect as in admiration with respect as in dignity. Simplified, he is saying that human dignity does not matter to him. Linus, I’m fairly disappointed.