04 Feb 2023

website updates, migrating to gitlab and renaming the emulator to washDC

From its inception in October of 2016, WashingtonDC has always used github as its primary source repository. Github is a company that provides free git hosting for open-source projects. It's probably the most popular open-source project hosting service in the world. I've been hosting my various personal programming projects there since 2012.

Github was originally an independent corporation, but in 2018 they were bought out by Microsoft. Microsoft has used the open-source code hosted on github to develop a GVaaS (GPL Violations as a Service) tool called copilot.

I have a lot of opinions about this, and most of them aren't directly related to WashingtonDC or Dreamcast so I don't want to put them in the blog, but if you're curious you can read my full thoughts on the situation here.

From now on, WashingtonDC's official upstream git repository will be hosted on a competing service called gitlab. I apologize for the inconvenience this may cause but I really don't think anybody should be using a company which thinks it is exempt from license terms to host their projects. I'll still be keeping my github profile around because I occasionally need to open PRs on other peoples' code, but as far as my own code goes github is dead to me.

The URL for the gitlab repo is https://gitlab.com/washemu/washdc.

Since the URL is changing, I'm also taking the opportunity to rename the emulator from WashingtonDC to washDC. This is something I've wanted to do for several years (in fact, it's already called washDC several times in the codebase) but it never seemed worth the trouble since that would entail changing the URL of the git repo. Now that the URL is changing due to this github bullshit, I might as well rename the emulator too.

With regards to WashingtonDC/washDC itself, nothing has changed except the name being changed to washDC. WashingtonDC/washDC is still open-source software, and it is still available under the terms of the GNU GPL. The official website of the project is still http://www.washemu.org. I will continue to support Microsoft Windows as a platform even though it's made by the same company as copilot. The only thing that's changing is that the official upstream git repo will be hosted at https://gitlab.com/washemu/washdc.

I'm also working on making the site look better. washemu.org is written using emac's org-mode markup language, which is exported to HTML using ox-html.el. In the past I've used my own custom theme to do this which mimicked the old geocities aesthetic, but it's always been a bit of an eyesore and I didn't want to fix it because that would cut into my WashingtonDC-development time. I'm finally giving up on that theme and using a theme called ReadTheOrg, which you can find here.

TBH this theme has a few things I don't like, the background is white (I prefer black or dark grey) and the text is entirely contained in a tiny column which looks absolutely ridiculous on my ultrawide monitor, but other than that it's very pretty and undoubtedly better than anything I could make myself. Later this week I'll try mucking about with the CSS or whatever to see if I can't tweak it to be more to my liking. It also uses more javascript than I would prefer but the good news is that I've already confirmed that it works with javascript disabled anyways. That's another thing I might try to see if I can mod out, I really don't like javascript.

Or maybe I'll try a different theme, we'll see. In any event I'm greatful towards the creators of this theme despite my criticisms. I hope that last paragraph didn't sound too negative, ReadTheOrg really is a great theme.

I didn't get any work done on WashingtonDC this weekend because I was too busy writing that rant about github/Microsoft's hypocrisy, but I'll get more done next week. I've got a branch going called make_aica_great_again where I'm finally working on fixing all the longstanding problems with WashingtonDC's AICA audio implementation. When I get back to work I'm going to finally get the DSP implemented, but even without it make_aica_great_again already sounds significantly better than the master branch. I think you're going to love it when this merges to master, bad audio emulation is the biggest problem with washDC and once it's fixed I think this emulator will finally be in a position where it can be considered as an alternative to the other major Dreamcast emulators out there.

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