GSoC status report 4

I'm suffering from having a mortal form again, but things are moving in the general direction of progress.

Or "Rose, it's 2 in the morning!" Yeah yeah, whatever, you're not my mum.

# Imperfections

Some would call this whining - skip this section if you're here for technology :)

You're not supposed to make yourself work when you don't have energy to because you'll feel bad. People have tried telling me this and I've tried listening but to really take it on board I had to figure out what low energy actually feels like, so here we are, skipping a week of status reporting and holding a suspiciously high Factorio play time. I spent some of that play time making a cool blue circuit factory! Downtime is a good idea, hopefully - we'll find out next week whether it worked.

It's surprising that one of the hardest problems given to me by the Fates has been fighting against myself, which sounds overly dramatic but in a literal sense is true. I would be moving faster if I felt up to it, but I don't feel up to it because I moved too fast recently. It's my fault because I wore myself out, but it's not my fault to rest when I need to, so instinctively I remain undecided on whether it's my fault. Sadly this isn't a balance that I've learned to strike, at least not for large scale work that I care about.

Add this to a general guilt for doing less than others seem to be doing (a velocity- rather than the famous competence-based impostor syndrome) and the work that was once appealing becomes more distant. LoC metrics are a favourite of crap managers, quick glancers, and the part of my subconscious that judges my self worth. It's not ideal and it's even not-idealer when your work is mostly thinking and not actually that much coding - see the previous report for a bunch of musings about what code should be written and not much written code. It's valid work! But the goblin in my skull disagrees. The mortal form disappoints me. I was hoping to discover my inner cold programming machine but I just found some boring human imperfections. Yawn!

This isn't what I was expecting to write about but I think it's helping. I'm sure these aren't unique experiences but they worry me nonetheless, which is partially because I'm hardwired to be worrying about something most of the time.

In a couple of days it will all be OK because I'll be able to play Counter-Strike again and that will for sure make my productivity go up, or down. The paradox of relaxing!

# The Happenings

As predicted, I have to face prediction. Before I do that, I want to get a feel for the behaviour of compositors' performance so I'm not mathsing in the dark, and my weapon of choice is Linux's tracing system which either is called ftrace or has a component called ftrace. I can't tell which.

We've met Linux's tracing before. The screenshots from GPUVis were made of data extracted from it, which makes it an attractive answer to the question "where do I put all my data". In theory, if wlroots gains the ability to output events to this system, GPUVis will automatically be able to display these events as it does all the others.

The mechanism for userspace to emit events in this way landed in Linux 6.4 which was unleashed about 12 hours before I realised that my laptop's 6.3 series kernel didn't have support for it and nearly gave up. Until 6.4, the feature was gated behind CONFIG_BROKEN and looked truly like a lost cause. Thankfully Simon noticed that 6.4 held the answer to my problems and I found things to do while I waited for it to hit my distribution. Thrilling! We're back on track.

To hide the horrors of a bare UAPI from wlroots, I wrote and published libuserevents, which is my first C library and will make interacting with user_events amazing and great and you should definitely use it. There are whispers of integration into wlroots so far. I hope eventually I'll have a nice tool that can monitor a running compositor and show a graph of the frame times because that will at least be something pretty to look at to get away from thinking.

In the background there's a scene timer wriggling its way through review and the dreaded How To Schedule Frame Signals is looming over us all. I forgot to submit the Vulkan timer in all the ruckus. Oh well, apparently no one's supposed to be using the Vulkan backend yet anyway so I doubt there's anyone holding their breath.

I've also just noticed that the second status report has links to git branches instead of commits, so they're likely very stale by now. Remind past me to not do that, that moron.

Who knows what the future holds? Join us next week time to find out.