Category Archives: Informatics and programming


void is now visible. Well. Its accretion disk is now visible. Does that mean that we need to typedef void* as a visible type? I guess GLib tried this with their gpointer?

But anyway, folks. Celebrate! void is now ‘visible’.

$CURRENT_ROMAN_EMPIRE is a great nation, but leave us alone

I changed my blog’s tagline in “$CURRENT_ROMAN_EMPIRE is a great nation, but leave us alone”. The only thing that I am not sure about is that if when the day comes that the current “Roman empire” switches again, the dollar-sign will still be the scripting programming language’s prefix-sign for variables?

I don’t know how to solve this other than writing a blog article like this one.

I guess I could carve some documentation into a rock or something, like in Wallonia where there are rocks rather than limestone. In front of my graffiti-tag I could plant a way to change the subject into the name of what then is the world’s empire.

More intelligent people probably have an answer? What is most important, is that we try.

Doing It Right examples on autotools, qmake, cmake and meson


I finished my earlier work on build environment examples. Illustrating how to do versioning on shared object files right with autotools, qmake, cmake and meson. You can find it here.

The DIR examples are examples for various build environments on how to create a good project structure that will build libraries that are versioned with libtool or have versioning that is equivalent to what libtool would deliver, have a pkg-config file and have a so called API version in the library’s name.

What is right?

Information on this can be found in the autotools mythbuster docs, the libtool docs on versioning and freeBSD’s chapter on shared libraries. I tried to ensure that what is written here works with all of the build environments in the examples., what is what?

You’ll notice that a library called ‘package’ will in your LIBDIR often be called something like

We call the 4.3 part the APIVERSION, and the 2.1.0 part the VERSION (the ABI version).

I will explain these examples using semantic versioning as APIVERSION and either libtool’s current:revision:age or a semantic versioning alternative as field for VERSION (like in FreeBSD and for build environments where compatibility with libtool’s -version-info feature ain’t a requirement).

Noting that with libtool’s -version-info feature the values that you fill in for current, age and revision will not necessarily be identical to what ends up as suffix of the soname in LIBDIR. The formula to form the filename’s suffix is, for libtool, “(current – age).age.revision”. This means that for soname, you would need current=3, revision=0 and age=1.

The VERSION part

In case you want compatibility with or use libtool’s -version-info feature, the document libtool/version.html on states:

The rules of thumb, when dealing with these values are:

  • Increase the current value whenever an interface has been added, removed or changed.
  • Always increase the revision value.
  • Increase the age value only if the changes made to the ABI are backward compatible.

The libtool’s -version-info feature‘s updating-version-info part of libtool’s docs states:

  1. Start with version information of ‘0:0:0’ for each libtool library.
  2. Update the version information only immediately before a public release of your software. More frequent updates are unnecessary, and only guarantee that the current interface number gets larger faster.
  3. If the library source code has changed at all since the last update, then increment revision (‘c:r:a’ becomes ‘c:r+1:a’).
  4. If any interfaces have been added, removed, or changed since the last update, increment current, and set revision to 0.
  5. If any interfaces have been added since the last public release, then increment age.
  6. If any interfaces have been removed or changed since the last public release, then set age to 0.

When you don’t care about compatibility with libtool’s -version-info feature, then you can take the following simplified rules for VERSION:

  • SOVERSION = Major version
  • Major version: increase it if you break ABI compatibility
  • Minor version: increase it if you add ABI compatible features
  • Patch version: increase it for bug fix releases.

Examples when these simplified rules are or can be applicable is in build environments like cmake, meson and qmake. When you use autotools you will be using libtool and then they ain’t applicable.


For the API version I will use the rules from You can also use the semver rules for your package’s version:

Given a version number MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH, increment the:

  1. MAJOR version when you make incompatible API changes,
  2. MINOR version when you add functionality in a backwards-compatible manner, and
  3. PATCH version when you make backwards-compatible bug fixes.

When you have an API, that API can change over time. You typically want to version those API changes so that the users of your library can adopt to newer versions of the API while at the same time other users still use older versions of your API. For this we can follow section 4.3. called “multiple libraries versions” of the autotools mythbuster documentation. It states:

In this situation, the best option is to append part of the library’s version information to the library’s name, which is exemplified by Glib’s > soname. To do so, the declaration in the has to be like this:


libtest_1_0_la_LDFLAGS = -version-info 0:0:0

The pkg-config file

Many people use many build environments (autotools, qmake, cmake, meson, you name it). Nowadays almost all of those build environments support pkg-config out of the box. Both for generating the file as for consuming the file for getting information about dependencies.

I consider it a necessity to ship with a useful and correct pkg-config .pc file. The filename should be /usr/lib/pkgconfig/package-APIVERSION.pc for soname In our example that means /usr/lib/pkgconfig/package-4.3.pc. We’d use the command pkg-config package-4.3 –cflags –libs, for example.

Examples are GLib’s pkg-config file, located at /usr/lib/pkgconfig/glib-2.0.pc

The include path

I consider it a necessity to ship API headers in a per API-version different location (like for example GLib’s, at /usr/include/glib-2.0). This means that your API version number must be part of the include-path.

For example using earlier mentioned API-version 4.3, /usr/include/package-4.3 for /usr/lib/ having /usr/lib/pkg-config/package-4.3.pc

What will the linker typically link with?

The linker will for -lpackage-4.3 typically link with /usr/lib/ or with – age). Noting that the part that is calculated as (current – age) in this example is often, for example in cmake and meson, referred to as the SOVERSION. With SOVERSION the soname template in LIBDIR is

What is wrong?

Not doing any versioning

Without versioning you can’t make any API or ABI changes that wont break all your users’ code in a way that could be managable for them. If you do decide not to do any versioning, then at least also don’t put anything behind the .so part of your so’s filename. That way, at least you wont break things in spectacular ways.

Coming up with your own versioning scheme

Knowing it better than the rest of the world will in spectacular ways make everything you do break with what the entire rest of the world does. You shouldn’t congratulate yourself with that. The only thing that can be said about it is that it probably makes little sense, and that others will probably start ignoring your work. Your mileage may vary. Keep in mind that without a correct SOVERSION, certain things will simply not work correct.

In case of libtool: using your package’s (semver) release numbering for current, revision, age

This is similarly wrong to ‘Coming up with your own versioning scheme’.

The Libtool documentation on updating version info is clear about this:

Never try to set the interface numbers so that they correspond to the release number of your package. This is an abuse that only fosters misunderstanding of the purpose of library versions.

This basically means that once you are using libtool, also use libtool’s versioning rules.

Refusing or forgetting to increase the current and/or SOVERSION on breaking ABI changes

The current part of the VERSION (current, revision and age) minus age, or, SOVERSION is/are the most significant field(s). The current and age are usually involved in forming the so called SOVERSION, which in turn is used by the linker to know with which ABI version to link. That makes it … damn important.

Some people think ‘all this is just too complicated for me’, ‘I will just refuse to do anything and always release using the same version numbers’. That goes spectacularly wrong whenever you made ABI incompatible changes. It’s similarly wrong to ‘Coming up with your own versioning scheme’.

That way, all programs that link with your shared library can after your shared library gets updated easily crash, can corrupt data and might or might not work.

By updating the current and age, or, SOVERSION you will basically trigger people who manage packages and their tooling to rebuild programs that link with your shared library. You actually want that the moment you made breaking ABI changes in a newer version of it.

When you don’t want to care about libtool’s -version-info feature, then there is also a set of more simple to follow rules. Those rules are for VERSION:

  • SOVERSION = Major version (with these simplified set of rules, no subtracting of current with age is needed)
  • Major version: increase it if you break ABI compatibility
  • Minor version: increase it if you add ABI compatible features
  • Patch version: increase it for bug fix releases.

What isn’t wrong?

Not using libtool (but nonetheless doing ABI versioning right)

GNU libtool was made to make certain things more easy. Nowadays many popular build environments also make things more easy. Meanwhile has GNU libtool been around for a long time. And its versioning rules, commonly known as the current:revision:age field as parameter for -verison-info, got widely adopted.

What GNU libtool did was, however, not really a standard. It’s is one interpretation of how to do it. And a rather complicated one, at that.

Please let it be crystal clear that not using libtool does not mean that you can do ABI versioning wrong. Because very often people seem to think that they can, and think they’ll still get out safely while doing ABI versioning completely wrong. This is not the case.

Not having a APIVERSION at all

It isn’t wrong not to have an APIVERSION in the soname. It however means that you promise to not ever break API. Because the moment you break API, you disallow your users to stay on the old API for a little longer. They might both have programs that use the old and that use the new API. Now what?

When you have an APIVERSION then you can allow the introduction of a new version of the API while simultaneously the old API remains available on a user’s system.

Using a different naming-scheme for APIVERSION

I used the MAJOR.MINOR version numbers from semver to form the APIVERSION. I did this because only the MAJOR and the MINOR are technically involved in API changes (unless you are doing semantic versioning wrong – in which case see ‘Coming up with your own versioning scheme’).

Some projects only use MAJOR. Examples are Qt which puts the MAJOR number behind the Qt part. For example (so that’s “Qt” + MAJOR + Module). The GLib world, however, uses “g” + Module + “-” + MAJOR + “.0″ as they have releases like 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 that are all called I guess they figured that maybe someday in their 2.x series, they could use that MINOR field?

DBus seems to be using a similar thing to GLib, but then without the MINOR suffix: For their GLib integration they also use it as

Who is right, who is wrong? It doesn’t matter too much for your APIVERSION naming scheme. As long as there is a way to differentiate the API in a) the include path, b) the pkg-config filename and c) the library that will be linked with (the -l parameter during linking/compiling). Maybe someday a standard will be defined? Let’s hope so.

Differences in interpretation per platform


FreeBSD’s Shared Libraries of Chapter 5. Source Tree Guidelines and Policies states:

The three principles of shared library building are:

  1. Start from 1.0
  2. If there is a change that is backwards compatible, bump minor number (note that ELF systems ignore the minor number)
  3. If there is an incompatible change, bump major number

For instance, added functions and bugfixes result in the minor version number being bumped, while deleted functions, changed function call syntax, etc. will force the major version number to change.

I think that when using libtool on a FreeBSD (when you use autotools), that the platform will provide a variant of libtool’s scripts that will convert earlier mentioned current, revision and age rules to FreeBSD’s. The same goes for the VERSION variable in cmake and qmake. Meaning that with those tree build environments, you can just use the rules for GNU libtool’s -version-info.

I could be wrong on this, but I did find mailing list E-mails from ~ 2011 stating that this SNAFU is dealt with. Besides, the *BSD porters otherwise know what to do and you could of course always ask them about it.

Note that FreeBSD’s rules are or seem to be compatible with the rules for VERSION when you don’t want to care about libtool’s -version-info compatibility. However, when you are porting from a libtoolized project, then of course you don’t want to let newer releases break against releases that have already happened.

Modern Linux distributions

Nowadays you sometimes see things like /usr/lib/$ARCH/ linking to /lib/$ARCH/ I have no idea how this mechanism works. I suppose this is being done by packagers of various Linux distributions? I also don’t know if there is a standard for this.

I will update the examples and this document the moment I know more and/or if upstream developers need to worry about it. I think that using GNUInstallDirs in cmake, for example, makes everything go right. I have not found much for this in qmake, meson seems to be doing this by default and in autotools you always use platform variables for such paths.

As usual, I hope standards will be made and that the build environment and packaging community gets to their senses and stops leaving this into the hands of developers. I especially think about qmake, which seems to not have much at all to state that standardized installation paths must be used (not even a proper way to define a prefix).

Questions that I can imagine already exist

Why is there there a difference between APIVERSION and VERSION?

The API version is the version of your programmable interfaces. This means the version of your header files (if your programming language has such header files), the version of your pkgconfig file, the version of your documentation. The API is what software developers need to utilize your library.

The ABI version can definitely be different and it is what programs that are compiled and installable need to utilize your library.

An API breaks when recompiling the program without any changes, that consumes a, is not going to succeed at compile time. The API got broken the moment any possible way package’s API was used, wont compile. Yes, any way. It means that a should be started.

An ABI breaks when without recompiling the program, replacing a with a or a (or later) as is not going to succeed at runtime. For example because it would crash, or because the results would be wrong (in any way). It implies that shouldn’t be overwritten, but should be started.

For example when you change the parameter of a function in C to be a floating point from a integer (and/or the other way around), then that’s an ABI change but not neccesarily an API change.

What is this SOVERSION about?

In most projects that got ported from an environment that uses GNU libtool (for example autotools) to for example cmake or meson, and in the rare cases that they did anything at all in a qmake based project, I saw people converting the current, revision and age parameters that they passed to the -version-info option of libtool to a string concatenated together using (current – age), age, revision as VERSION, and (current – age) as SOVERSION.

I wanted to use the exact same rules for versioning for all these examples, including autotools and GNU libtool. When you don’t have to (or want to) care about libtool’s set of (for some people, needlessly complicated) -version-info rules, then it should be fine using just SOVERSION and VERSION using these rules:

  • SOVERSION = Major version
  • Major version: increase it if you break ABI compatibility
  • Minor version: increase it if you add ABI compatible features
  • Patch version: increase it for bug fix releases.

I, however, also sometimes saw variations that are incomprehensible with little explanation and magic foo invented on the spot. Those variations are probably wrong.

In the example I made it so that in the root build file of the project you can change the numbers and calculation for the numbers. However. Do follow the rules for those correctly, as this versioning is about ABI compatibility. Doing this wrong can make things blow up in spectacular ways.

The examples

qmake in the qmake-example

Note that the VERSION variable must be filled in as “(current – age).age.revision” for qmake (to get 2.1.0 at the end, you need VERSION=2.1.0 when current=3, revision=0 and age=1)

To try this example out, go to the qmake-example directory and type

$ cd qmake-example
$ mkdir=_test
$ qmake PREFIX=$PWD/_test
$ make
$ make install

This should give you this:

$ find _test/
├── include
│   └── qmake-example-4.3
│       └── qmake-example.h
└── lib
    ├── ->
    ├── ->
    ├── ->
    └── pkgconfig
        └── qmake-example-4.3.pc

When you now use pkg-config, you get a nice CFLAGS and LIBS line back (I’m replacing the current path with $PWD in the output each time):

$ export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$PWD/_test/lib/pkgconfig
$ pkg-config qmake-example-4.3 --cflags
$ pkg-config qmake-example-4.3 --libs
-L$PWD/_test/lib -lqmake-example-4.3

And it means that you can do things like this now (and people who know about pkg-config will now be happy to know that they can use your library in their own favorite build environment).

$ export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$PWD/_test/lib
$ echo -en "#include <qmake-example.h>\nmain() {} " > test.cpp
$ g++ -fPIC test.cpp -o test.o `pkg-config qmake-example-4.3 --libs --cflags`

You can see that it got linked to, where that 2 at the end is (current – age).

$ ldd test.o (0xb77b0000) => $PWD/_test/lib/ (0xb77a6000) => /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb75f5000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb759e000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb7580000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb73c9000)
    /lib/ (0xb77b2000)

cmake in the cmake-example

Note that the VERSION property on your library target must be filled in with “(current – age).age.revision” for cmake (to get 2.1.0 at the end, you need VERSION=2.1.0 when current=3, revision=0 and age=1. Note that in cmake you must also fill in the SOVERSION property as (current – age), so SOVERSION=2 when current=3 and age=1).

To try this example out, go to the cmake-example directory and do

$ cd cmake-example
$ mkdir _test
-- Configuring done
-- Generating done
-- Build files have been written to: .
$ make
[ 50%] Building CXX object src/libs/cmake-example/CMakeFiles/cmake-example.dir/cmake-example.cpp.o
[100%] Linking CXX shared library
[100%] Built target cmake-example
$ make install
[100%] Built target cmake-example
Install the project...
-- Install configuration: ""
-- Installing: $PWD/_test/lib/
-- Up-to-date: $PWD/_test/lib/
-- Up-to-date: $PWD/_test/lib/
-- Up-to-date: $PWD/_test/include/cmake-example-4.3/cmake-example.h
-- Up-to-date: $PWD/_test/lib/pkgconfig/cmake-example-4.3.pc

This should give you this:

$ tree _test/
├── include
│   └── cmake-example-4.3
│       └── cmake-example.h
└── lib
    ├── ->
    ├── ->
    └── pkgconfig
        └── cmake-example-4.3.pc

When you now use pkg-config, you get a nice CFLAGS and LIBS line back (I’m replacing the current path with $PWD in the output each time):

$ pkg-config cmake-example-4.3 --cflags
$ pkg-config cmake-example-4.3 --libs
-L$PWD/_test/lib -lcmake-example-4.3

And it means that you can do things like this now (and people who know about pkg-config will now be happy to know that they can use your library in their own favorite build environment):

$ echo -en "#include <cmake-example.h>\nmain() {} " > test.cpp
$ g++ -fPIC test.cpp -o test.o `pkg-config cmake-example-4.3 --libs --cflags`

You can see that it got linked to, where that 2 at the end is the SOVERSION. This is (current – age).

$ ldd test.o (0xb7729000) => $PWD/_test/lib/ (0xb771f000) => /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb756e000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb7517000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb74f9000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb7342000)
    /lib/ (0xb772b000)

autotools in the autotools-example

Note that you pass -version-info current:revision:age directly with autotools. The libtool will translate that to (current – age).age.revision to form the so’s filename (to get 2.1.0 at the end, you need current=3, revision=0, age=1).

To try this example out, go to the autotools-example directory and do

$ cd autotools-example
$ mkdir _test
$ libtoolize
$ aclocal
$ autoheader
$ autoconf
$ automake --add-missing
$ ./configure --prefix=$PWD/_test
$ make
$ make install

This should give you this:

$ tree _test/
├── include
│   └── autotools-example-4.3
│       └── autotools-example.h
└── lib
    ├── libautotools-example-4.3.a
    ├── ->
    ├── ->
    └── pkgconfig
        └── autotools-example-4.3.pc

When you now use pkg-config, you get a nice CFLAGS and LIBS line back (I’m replacing the current path with $PWD in the output each time):

$ export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$PWD/_test/lib/pkgconfig
$ pkg-config autotools-example-4.3 --cflags
$ pkg-config autotools-example-4.3 --libs
-L$PWD/_test/lib -lautotools-example-4.3

And it means that you can do things like this now (and people who know about pkg-config will now be happy to know that they can use your library in their own favorite build environment):

$ echo -en "#include <autotools-example.h>\nmain() {} " > test.cpp
$ export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$PWD/_test/lib
$ g++ -fPIC test.cpp -o test.o `pkg-config autotools-example-4.3 --libs --cflags`

You can see that it got linked to, where that 2 at the end is (current – age).

$ ldd test.o (0xb778d000) => $PWD/_test/lib/ (0xb7783000) => /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb75d2000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb757b000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb755d000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb73a6000)
    /lib/ (0xb778f000)

meson in the meson-example

Note that the version property on your library target must be filled in with “(current – age).age.revision” for meson (to get 2.1.0 at the end, you need version=2.1.0 when current=3, revision=0 and age=1. Note that in meson you must also fill in the soversion property as (current – age), so soversion=2 when current=3 and age=1).

To try this example out, go to the meson-example directory and do

$ cd meson-example
$ mkdir -p _build/_test
$ cd _build
$ meson .. --prefix=$PWD/_test
$ ninja
$ ninja install

This should give you this:

$ tree _test/
├── include
│   └── meson-example-4.3
│       └── meson-example.h
└── lib
    └── i386-linux-gnu
        ├── ->
        ├── ->
        └── pkgconfig
            └── meson-example-4.3.pc

When you now use pkg-config, you get a nice CFLAGS and LIBS line back (I’m replacing the current path with $PWD in the output each time):

$ export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$PWD/_test/lib/i386-linux-gnu/pkgconfig
$ pkg-config meson-example-4.3 --cflags
$ pkg-config meson-example-4.3 --libs
-L$PWD/_test/lib -lmeson-example-4.3

And it means that you can do things like this now (and people who know about pkg-config will now be happy to know that they can use your library in their own favorite build environment):

$ echo -en "#include <meson-example.h>\nmain() {} " > test.cpp
$ export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$PWD/_test/lib/i386-linux-gnu
$ g++ -fPIC test.cpp -o test.o `pkg-config meson-example-4.3 --libs --cflags`

You can see that it got linked to, where that 2 at the end is the soversion. This is (current – age).

$ ldd test.o (0xb772e000) => $PWD/_test/lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb7724000) => /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb7573000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb751c000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb74fe000) => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ (0xb7347000)
    /lib/ (0xb7730000)

Doing it right, making libraries using popular build environments

Enough with the political posts!

Making libraries that are both API and libtool versioned with qmake, how do they do it?

I started a project on github that will collect what I will call “doing it right” project structures for various build environments.

With right I mean that the library will have a API version in its Library name, that the library will be libtoolized and that a pkg-config .pc file gets installed for it.

I have in mind, for example, autotools, cmake, meson, qmake and plain make. First example that I have finished is one for qmake.

Let’s get started working on a

We get the PREFIX, MAJOR_VERSION, MINOR_VERSION and PATCH_VERSION from a project-wide include


We will use the standard lib template of qmake


We need to set VERSION to a version for compile_libtool (in reality it should use what is called current, revision and age to form an API and ABI version number. In the actual example it’s explained in the comments, as this is too much for a small blog post).


According section 4.3 of Autotools’ mythbusters we should have as target-name the API version in the library’s name

TARGET = qmake-example-$${MAJOR_VERSION}"."$${MINOR_VERSION}

We will write a define in config.h for access to the version as a double quoted string


Our example happens to use QDebug, so we need QtCore here

QT = core

This is of course optional

CONFIG += c++14

We will be using libtool style libraries

CONFIG += compile_libtool
CONFIG += create_libtool

These will create a pkg-config .pc file for us

CONFIG += create_pc create_prl no_install_prl

Project sources

SOURCES = qmake-example.cpp

Project’s public and private headers

HEADERS = qmake-example.h

We will install the headers in a API specific include path

headers.path = $${PREFIX}/include/qmake-example-$${MAJOR_VERSION}"."$${MINOR_VERSION}

Here put only the publicly installed headers

headers.files = $${HEADERS}

Here we will install the library to

target.path = $${PREFIX}/lib

This is the configuration for generating the pkg-config file

QMAKE_PKGCONFIG_DESCRIPTION = An example that illustrates how to do it right with qmake
# This is our libdir
# This is where our API specific headers are
# These are dependencies that our library needs

Installation targets (the pkg-config seems to install automatically)

INSTALLS += headers target

This will be the result after make-install

├── include
│   └── qmake-example-3.2
│       └── qmake-example.h
└── lib
    ├── ->
    ├── ->
    ├── ->
    └── pkgconfig
        └── qmake-example-3.pc

ps. Dear friends working at their own customers: when I visit your customer, I no longer want to see that you produced completely stupid wrong qmake based projects for them. Libtoolize it all, get an API version in your Library’s so-name and do distribute a pkg-config .pc file. That’s the very least to pass your exam. Also read this document (and stop pretending that you don’t need to know this when at the same time you charge them real money pretending that you know something about modern UNIX software development).

The upcoming NATO top

I said it before, we shouldn’t finance the US’s war-industry any longer. It’s not a reliable partner.

I’m sticking to my guns on this one,

Let’s build ourselves a European army, utilizing European technology. Build, engineered and manufactured by Europeans.

We engineers are ready. Let us do it.

PGP voor militaire zaken, nee?

Wordt het eens geen tijd dat ons centrum voor cybersecurity overheidsdiensten zoals het Belgisch leger oplegt om steeds a.d.h.v. met bv. PGP (minimaal) getekende (en hopelijk ook geëncrypteerde) E-mails te communiceren? Ja ja. We kunnen ze zelfs encrypteren. Hightech at Belgium. Stel je dat maar eens voor. Waanzin!

Stel je voor. Men zou zowel de E-mail (de content, het bericht zelf) kunnen verifiëren, als de afzender als dat men tijdens de transit én opslag van het bericht de inhoud zou kunnen encrypteren. Bij een eventueel “onafhankelijk” onderzoek zouden we (wiskundige) garanties hebben dat één en ander nu exact is zoals hoe het toen verstuurd werd.

Allemaal zaken die erg handig zouden geweest zijn in de saga over de E-mails over of onze F-16 vliegtuigen langer kunnen vliegen of niet.

Bij de ICT diensten van de oppositiepartijen zou men dan een opleiding van een halfuurtje kunnen krijgen over hoe ze met PGP in de hand één en ander cryptografisch kunnen verifiëren.

ps. Ik weet ook wel dat, in het wereldje waar het over gaat, nu net het feit dat bepaalde zaken achteraf niet meer te achterhalen zijn als waardevolle feature gezien wordt.

Wij hebben in Leuven de beste cryptografen van de wereld zitten. Maar ons Belgisch leger kan dit niet implementeren voor hun E-mails?

Clowns to the right of me

Wat ontbreekt* in de aanpassingen van het voorstel voor de aftapwet van de Nederlandse overheid is een rechterlijke toetsing van de proportionaliteit om al dan niet over te gaan tot een digitale zoeking. Zo’n zoeking is wat mij betreft gelijkaardig aan een huiszoeking.

Dit is onontbeerlijk in een verlichte samenleving waar de drie machten gescheiden zijn.

Spinoza, dé bodemvoorbereider voor de bodem waarop de verlichtingsfilosofie werd gebaseerd, was een Amsterdammer. Het is dus een aardshock voor zij die zich met filosofie bezig houden mee te maken dat Nederland niet meer mee doet.

Noot* dat de toetsingscommissie bestaat uit twee Nederlandse rechters. Twee zulke rechters kunnen nooit een degelijk proportionaliteitsonderzoek uitvoeren voor alle aanvragen.


Eigenlijk he

Eigenlijk moet ik nog eens iets posten over hoe we allerlei dingen met Qt en QML doen he?

Na zoveel jaren recruiters te vragen om naar een Duitstalige Qt/QML ontwikkelaar in Eindhoven te zoeken, zou Heidenhain er goed aan doen eens wat te laten zien waar wij aan toe zijn. Vind ik. Maar ja. Het is en blijft een bedrijf dat zelf een beetje geheimzinnig wil zijn.

De laatste tijd zijn het de details van die Klartext-editor die aan beurt zijn. M.a.w. dat wat er wel toe doet: dat wat werkers moeten gebruiken om een werkstuk in te geven in een CNC machine. Dat duurt even. Want de TNC640 heeft best wel veel specifieke dingetjes die al vele jaren ingeleerd zijn bij gebruikers van de machines.

Ik heb m.a.w. veel dingen die ik zou kunnen posten. Maar ik ben lui, plus ik moet wat opletten wat ik wel en wat ik niet publiek maak. Het grappigste daarvan is dat Nokia veel stricter was. Maar ook veel duidelijker. Daarom kon ik veel meer tijdens Nokia zeggen als nu. Nokia was kei streng in haar NDA’s (tot 180000 Euro schadevergoeding, en meer), maar wel duidelijk: dit mag je zeggen, dit niet.

Verkoop met verlies

Vandaag wil ik de aandacht op een Belgische wet over het verkopen met verlies. Ons land verbiedt, bij wet, elke handelaar een goed met verlies te verkopen. Dat is de regel, in ons België.

Die regel heeft (terecht) uitzonderingen. De definitie van de uitzondering wil zeggen dat ze niet de regel zijn: de verkoop met verlies is in België slechts per uitzondering toegestaan:

  • naar aanleiding van soldenverkoop of uitverkoop;
  • met als doel de goederen die vatbaar zijn voor snel bederf van de hand te doen als hun bewaring niet meer kan worden verzekerd;
  • ten gevolge externe omstandigheden;
  • goederen die technisch voorbijgestreefd zijn of beschadigd zijn;
  • de noodzakelijkheid van concurrentie.

Ik vermoed dat onze wet bestaat om oneerlijke concurrentie te bestrijden. Een handelaar kan dus niet een bepaald product (bv. een game console) tegen verlies verkopen om zo marktdominantie te verkrijgen voor een ander product uit zijn gamma (bv. games), bv. met als doel concurrenten uit de markt te weren.

Volgens mij is het daarom zo dat, moest een game console -producent met verlies een console verkopen, dit illegaal is in België.

Laten we aannemen dat game console producenten, die actief zijn in (de verkoop in) België, de Belgische wet volgen. Dan volgt dat ze hun game consoles niet tegen verlies verkopen. Ze maken dus winst. Moesten ze dat niet doen dan moeten ze voldoen aan uitzonderlijke voorwaarden, in de (eerder vermelde) Belgische wet, die hen toelaat wel verlies te maken. In alle andere gevallen zouden ze in de ontwettigheid verkeren. Dat is de Belgische wet.

Dat maakt dat de aanschaf van zo’n game console, als Belgisch consument, betekent dat de producent -en verkoper een zekere winst hebben gemaakt door mijn aankoop. Er is dus geen sprake van verlies. Tenzij de producent -of verkoper in België betrokken is bij onwettige zaken.

Laten we aannemen dat we op zo’n console, na aanschaf, een andere software willen draaien. Dan kan de producent/verkoper dus niet beweren dat zijn winst gemaakt wordt door zaken die naderhand verkocht zouden worden (a.d.h.v. bv. originele software).

Hun winst is met andere woorden al gemaakt. Op de game console zelf. Indien niet, dan zou de producent of verkoper in onwettigheid verkeren (in België). Daarvan nemen we aan dat dit zo niet verlopen is. Want anders zou men het goed niet mogen verkopen. Het goed is wel verkocht. Volgens Belgische wetgeving (toch?).

Indien niet, dan is de producent -en of verkoper verantwoordelijk. In geen geval de consument.

This one should probably go down in history

From	Tom Lendacky 
Subject	[PATCH] x86/cpu, x86/pti: Do not enable PTI on AMD processors
Date	Tue, 26 Dec 2017 23:43:54 -0600

AMD processors are not subject to the types of attacks that the kernel
page table isolation feature protects against.  The AMD microarchitecture
does not allow memory references, including speculative references, that
access higher privileged data when running in a lesser privileged mode
when that access would result in a page fault.

Disable page table isolation by default on AMD processors by not setting
the X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE feature, which controls whether X86_FEATURE_PTI
is set.

Signed-off-by: Tom Lendacky 
 arch/x86/kernel/cpu/common.c |    4 ++--
 1 file changed, 2 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)

diff --git a/arch/x86/kernel/cpu/common.c b/arch/x86/kernel/cpu/common.c
index c47de4e..7d9e3b0 100644
--- a/arch/x86/kernel/cpu/common.c
+++ b/arch/x86/kernel/cpu/common.c
@@ -923,8 +923,8 @@ static void __init early_identify_cpu(struct cpuinfo_x86 *c)
-	/* Assume for now that ALL x86 CPUs are insecure */
-	setup_force_cpu_bug(X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE);
+	if (c->x86_vendor != X86_VENDOR_AMD)
+		setup_force_cpu_bug(X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE);

Asynchronous commands

With asynchronous commands we have typical commands from the Model View ViewModel world that return asynchronously.

Whenever that happens we want result reporting and progress reporting. We basically want something like this in QML:

Item {
  id: container
  property ViewModel viewModel: ViewModel {}

  Connections {
    target: viewModel.asyncHelloCommand
    onExecuteProgressed: {
        progressBar.value = value
        progressBar.maximumValue = maximum
  ProgressBar {
     id: progressBar
  Button {
    enabled: viewModel.asyncHelloCommand.canExecute
    onClicked: viewModel.asyncHelloCommand.execute()

How do we do this? First we start with defining a AbstractAsyncCommand (impl. of protected APIs here):

class AbstractAsyncCommand : public AbstractCommand {
    AbstractAsyncCommand(QObject *parent=0);

    Q_INVOKABLE virtual QFuture<void*> executeAsync() = 0;
    virtual void execute() Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
    void executeFinished(void* result);
    void executeProgressed(int value, int maximum);
    QSharedPointer<QFutureInterface<void*>> start();
    void progress(QSharedPointer<QFutureInterface<void*>> fut, int value, int total);
    void finish(QSharedPointer<QFutureInterface<void*>> fut, void* result);
    QVector<QSharedPointer<QFutureInterface<void*>>> m_futures;

After that we provide an implementation:

#include <QThreadPool>
#include <QRunnable>

#include <MVVM/Commands/AbstractAsyncCommand.h>

class AsyncHelloCommand: public AbstractAsyncCommand
    AsyncHelloCommand(QObject *parent=0);
    bool canExecute() const Q_DECL_OVERRIDE { return true; }
    QFuture<void*> executeAsync() Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
    void* executeAsyncTaskFunc();
    QSharedPointer<QFutureInterface<void*>> current;
    QMutex mutex;

#include "asynchellocommand.h"

#include <QtConcurrent/QtConcurrent>

AsyncHelloCommand::AsyncHelloCommand(QObject* parent)
    : AbstractAsyncCommand(parent) { }

void* AsyncHelloCommand::executeAsyncTaskFunc()
    for (int i=0; i<10; i++) {
        qDebug() << "Hello Async!";
        progress(current, i, 10);
    return nullptr;

QFuture<void*> AsyncHelloCommand::executeAsync()
    current = start();
    QFutureWatcher<void*>* watcher = new QFutureWatcher<void*>(this);
    connect(watcher, &QFutureWatcher<void*>::progressValueChanged, this, [=]{
        progress(current, watcher->progressValue(), watcher->progressMaximum());
    connect(watcher, &QFutureWatcher<void*>::finished, this, [=]{
        void* result=watcher->result();
        finish(current, result);
    watcher->setFuture(QtConcurrent::run(this, &AsyncHelloCommand::executeAsyncTaskFunc));
    QFuture<void*> future = current->future();

    return future;

You can find the complete working example here.

200 cybersoldaten nodig?

Hoe lok je de gepassioneerde computernerds?

  • Zorg ervoor dat ze opleiding krijgen. Ook in zaken die niet technisch zijn. Laat toe dat ze zich verdiepen in dieptechnische zaken. Bv. low level softwareontwikkeling, electronica, en zo verder. Combineer hun (bestaande) kennis met nieuwe toepassingen. Een gepassioneerde (computer)nerd wil een leven lang bijleren en vooral: al hun kennis combineren met andere ideeën;
  • Laat toe dat ze publiek laten zien wie ze zijn en wat ze kunnen. Laat zij die dat graag doen toe dat ze op bv. radio, Internet en TV komen vertellen hoe hun werk maatschappelijk relevant is. Spreek duidelijk af wat wel en wat niet geheim moet blijven, uiteraard;
  • Zorg ervoor dat ze met regelmaat naar een hackercon of een andere conference kunnen gaan. Uiteraard zowizo bv. FOSDEM (niet echt een hackercon, maar ga er toch maar met z’n allen naartoe). Maar bv. de CCC conferences in Duitsland, SHA2017 in Nederland, en zo verder. Wees daar in ieder geval, zonder schroom, aanwezig;
  • Organiseer misschien een eigen hackercon in België. Waarom niet?
  • Maak het niet te gemakkelijk om toe te treden. Dat je er 200 nodig hebt wil niet zeggen dat de eerste de beste goed genoeg zijn;
  • Zorg ervoor dat ze goed verdienen. Begrijp dat de privé hen meer biedt dan de overheid;
  • Publiceer met regelmaat (hun) code als open source op bv. github. Bv. een Wireshark plugin of log analysetools die onze overheid gebruikt? Laat ze helpen met andere open source projecten. Kijk bv. naar hoe we onze eID software (FireFox plugins, e.d.) publiceren;
  • We hebben veel kennis van encryptie in onze universiteiten (Rijndael), stuur ze op cursus daarover bij onze cryptografen;
  • Zorg ervoor dat onze diensten géén fouten maken tegen de Belgische wetgeving. Alle echte goei zijn zo idealistisch als Edward Snowden en willen goed doen voor de samenleving. M.a.w. De wet, de privacy commissie en het Comité I doen er toe.

Veel success. Ik ben erg benieuwd.

Have confidence in yourself – technology will never replace human beings

Children aren’t worried about the future. Young people aren’t worried about the future; they’re worried about us: us leading them into the future we envision

Jack Ma — Oct 2017, keynote speech at Alibaba Cloud’s Computing Conference in Hangzhou

The RelayCommand in Qt

A few days ago I explained how we can do MVVM techniques like ICommand in Qt.

Today I’ll explain how to make and use a simple version of the, in the XAML MVVM world quite famous, RelayCommand. In the Microsoft Prism4 & 5 world this is DelegateCommand. Both are equivalent. I will only show a non-templated RelayCommand, so no RelayCommand<T> for now. Perhaps I’ll add a templated one to that mvvm project some other day.

What people call a delegate in C# is what C++ people call a Functor. Obviously we will use functors, then. Note that for people actually reading all those links: in C# the Action<T> and Func<T,G> are basically also C# delegates (or, functors, if you fancy C++’s names for this more).

Here is the RelayCommand.h:

#include <functional>
#include <QSharedPointer>
#include <MVVM/Commands/AbstractCommand.h>

class RelayCommand : public AbstractCommand
    RelayCommand(std::function<void()> executeDelegatep,
                 std::function<bool()> canExecuteDelegatep,
                 QObject *parent = 0)
    : AbstractCommand(parent)
    , executeDelegate(executeDelegatep)
    , canExecuteDelegate(canExecuteDelegatep) {}

    void execute() Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
    bool canExecute() const Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
public slots:
    void evaluateCanExecute();
    std::function<void()> executeDelegate;
    std::function<bool()> canExecuteDelegate;

The implementation is too simple to be true:

#include "RelayCommand.h"

bool RelayCommand::canExecute() const
    return canExecuteDelegate();

void RelayCommand::evaluateCanExecute()
    emit canExecuteChanged( canExecute() );

void RelayCommand::execute()

Okay, so how do we use this? First we make a ViewModel. Because in this case we will define the command in C++. That probably means you want a ViewModel.

I added a CompositeCommand in the mix. For a Q_PROPERTY isn’t a CommandProxy really needed, as ownership stays in C++ (when for example you pass this as parent). For a Q_INVOKABLE you would need it to wrap the QSharedPointer<AbstractCommand>.

Note. I already hear you think: wait a minute, you are not passing this to the QObject’s constructor, it’s not a QScopedPointer and you have a new but no delete. That’s because CommandProxy converts the ownership rules to QQmlEngine::setObjectOwnership (this, QQmlEngine::JavaScriptOwnership) for itself. I don’t necessarily recommend its usage here (for it’s not immediately clear), but at the same time this is just a demo. You can try printing a warning in the destructor and you’ll see that the QML garbage collector takes care of it.

#include <QObject>
#include <QScopedPointer>

#include <MVVM/Commands/CommandProxy.h>
#include <MVVM/Commands/CompositeCommand.h>
#include <MVVM/Commands/RelayCommand.h>
#include <MVVM/Models/CommandListModel.h>

class ViewModel: public QObject

    Q_PROPERTY(CommandProxy* helloCommand READ helloCommand CONSTANT)
    ViewModel(QObject *parent=0):QObject(parent),
        helloCmd(new CompositeCommand()){

        QSharedPointer<CompositeCommand> cCmd = helloCmd.dynamicCast<CompositeCommand>();
        cCmd->add( new RelayCommand ([=] { qWarning() << "Hello1 from C++ RelayCommand"; },
                            [=]{ return true; }));
        cCmd->add( new RelayCommand ([=] { qWarning() << "Hello2 from C++ RelayCommand"; },
                            [=]{ return true; }));
        proxyCmd = new CommandProxy (helloCmd);
    CommandProxy* helloCommand() {
        return proxyCmd;
    QSharedPointer<AbstractCommand> helloCmd;
    CommandProxy *proxyCmd;

Let’s also make a very simple View.qml that uses the ViewModel

import QtQuick 2.3
import QtQuick.Window 2.0
import QtQuick.Controls 1.2

import Example 1.0

Item {
    property ViewModel viewModel: ViewModel {}

    Button {
        enabled: viewModel.helloCommand.canExecute
        onClicked: viewModel.helloCommand.execute()

AbstractCommand Model View ViewModel techniques

In the .NET XAML world, you have the ICommand, the CompositeCommand and the DelegateCommand. You use these commands to in a declarative way bind them as properties to XAML components like menu items and buttons. You can find an excellent book on this titled Prism 5.0 for WPF.

The ICommand defines two things: a canExecute property and an execute() method. The CompositeCommand allows you to combine multiple commands together, the DelegateCommand makes it possible to pass two delegates (functors or lambda’s); one for the canExecute evaluation and one for the execute() method.

The idea here is that you want to make it possible to put said commands in a ViewModel and then data bind them to your View (so in QML that’s with Q_INVOKABLE and Q_PROPERTY). Meaning that the action of the component in the view results in execute() being called, and the component in the view being enabled or not is bound to the canExecute bool property.

In QML that of course corresponds to a ViewModel.cpp for a View.qml. Meanwhile you also want to make it possible to in a declarative way use certain commands in the View.qml without involving the ViewModel.cpp.

So I tried making exactly that. I’ve placed it on github in a project I plan to use more often to collect MVVM techniques I come up with. And in this article I’ll explain how and what. I’ll stick to the header files and the QML file.

We start with defining a AbstractCommand interface. This is very much like .NET’s ICommand, of course:

#include <QObject>

class AbstractCommand : public QObject {
    Q_PROPERTY(bool canExecute READ canExecute NOTIFY canExecuteChanged)
    AbstractCommand(QObject *parent = 0):QObject(parent){}
    Q_INVOKABLE virtual void execute() = 0;
    virtual bool canExecute() const = 0;
    void canExecuteChanged(bool canExecute);

We will also make a command that is very easy to use in QML, the EmitCommand:

#include <MVVM/Commands/AbstractCommand.h>

class EmitCommand : public AbstractCommand
    Q_PROPERTY(bool canExecute READ canExecute WRITE setCanExecute NOTIFY privateCanExecuteChanged)
    EmitCommand(QObject *parent=0):AbstractCommand(parent){}

    void execute() Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
    bool canExecute() const Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
public slots:
    void setCanExecute(bool canExecute);
    void executes();
    void privateCanExecuteChanged();
    bool canExe = false;

We make a command that allows us to combine multiple commands together as one. This is the equivalent of .NET’s CompositeCommand, here you have our own:

#include <QSharedPointer>
#include <QQmlListProperty>

#include <MVVM/Commands/AbstractCommand.h>
#include <MVVM/Commands/ListCommand.h>

class CompositeCommand : public AbstractCommand {

    Q_PROPERTY(QQmlListProperty<AbstractCommand> commands READ commands NOTIFY commandsChanged )
    Q_CLASSINFO("DefaultProperty", "commands")
    CompositeCommand(QObject *parent = 0):AbstractCommand (parent) {}
    CompositeCommand(QList<QSharedPointer<AbstractCommand> > cmds, QObject *parent=0);
    void execute() Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
    bool canExecute() const Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
    void remove(const QSharedPointer<AbstractCommand> &cmd);
    void add(const QSharedPointer<AbstractCommand> &cmd);

    void add(AbstractCommand *cmd);
    void clearCommands();
    QQmlListProperty<AbstractCommand> commands();

    void commandsChanged();
private slots:
    void onCanExecuteChanged(bool canExecute);
    QList<QSharedPointer<AbstractCommand> > cmds;
    static void appendCommand(QQmlListProperty<AbstractCommand> *lst, AbstractCommand *cmd);
    static AbstractCommand* command(QQmlListProperty<AbstractCommand> *lst, int idx);
    static void clearCommands(QQmlListProperty<AbstractCommand> *lst);
    static int commandCount(QQmlListProperty<AbstractCommand> *lst);

We also make a command that looks a lot like ListElement in QML’s ListModel:

#include <MVVM/Commands/AbstractCommand.h>

class ListCommand : public AbstractCommand
    Q_PROPERTY(AbstractCommand *command READ command WRITE setCommand NOTIFY commandChanged)
    Q_PROPERTY(QString text READ text WRITE setText NOTIFY textChanged)
    ListCommand(QObject *parent = 0):AbstractCommand(parent){}
    void execute() Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
    bool canExecute() const Q_DECL_OVERRIDE;
    AbstractCommand* command() const;
    void setCommand(AbstractCommand *newCommand);
    void setCommand(const QSharedPointer<AbstractCommand> &newCommand);
    QString text() const;
    void setText(const QString &newValue);
    void commandChanged();
    void textChanged();
    QSharedPointer<AbstractCommand> cmd;
    QString txt;

Let’s now also make the equivalent for QML’s ListModel, CommandListModel:

#include <QObject>
#include <QQmlListProperty>

#include <MVVM/Commands/ListCommand.h>

class CommandListModel:public QObject {
    Q_PROPERTY(QQmlListProperty<ListCommand> commands READ commands NOTIFY commandsChanged )
    Q_CLASSINFO("DefaultProperty", "commands")
    CommandListModel(QObject *parent = 0):QObject(parent){}
    void clearCommands();
    int commandCount() const;
    QQmlListProperty<ListCommand> commands();
    void appendCommand(ListCommand *command);
    ListCommand* command(int idx) const;
    void commandsChanged();
    static void appendCommand(QQmlListProperty<ListCommand> *lst, ListCommand *cmd);
    static ListCommand* command(QQmlListProperty<ListCommand> *lst, int idx);
    static void clearCommands(QQmlListProperty<ListCommand> *lst);
    static int commandCount(QQmlListProperty<ListCommand> *lst);

    QList<ListCommand* > cmds;

Okay, let’s now put all this together in a simple example QML:

import QtQuick 2.3
import QtQuick.Window 2.0
import QtQuick.Controls 1.2

import be.codeminded.mvvm 1.0

import Example 1.0 as A

Window {
    width: 360
    height: 360
    visible: true

    ListView {
        id: listView
        anchors.fill: parent

        delegate: Item {
            height: 20
            width: listView.width
            MouseArea {
                anchors.fill: parent
                onClicked: if (modelData.canExecute) modelData.execute()
            Text {
                anchors.fill: parent
                text: modelData.text
                color: modelData.canExecute ? "black" : "grey"

        model: comsModel.commands

        property bool combineCanExecute: false

        CommandListModel {
            id: comsModel

            ListCommand {
                text: "C++ Lambda command"
                command:  A.LambdaCommand

            ListCommand {
                text: "Enable combined"
                command: EmitCommand {
                    onExecutes: { console.warn( "Hello1");
                        listView.combineCanExecute=true; }
                    canExecute: true

            ListCommand {
                text: "Disable combined"
                command: EmitCommand {
                    onExecutes: { console.warn( "Hello2");
                        listView.combineCanExecute=false; }
                    canExecute: true

            ListCommand {
                text: "Combined emit commands"
                command: CompositeCommand {
                    EmitCommand {
                        onExecutes: console.warn( "Emit command 1");
                        canExecute: listView.combineCanExecute
                    EmitCommand {
                        onExecutes: console.warn( "Emit command 2");
                        canExecute: listView.combineCanExecute

I made a task-bug for this on Qt, here.