dimitris kalamaras

mathematics, social network analysis, free software…

Month: September 2008

SocNetV gets a review (not bad one :))

I started this SocNetV thing as a learning exercise: to deepen my knowledge of Qt/C++, to familiarize myself with tools like svn, mercurial, etc, and, above all, to build something that I needed back then in my Linux box (was it Mandriva 2005?): a simple application to help me draw social graphs and compute some statistics (centralities) about them. After three years of development, Social Networks Visualiser is nowhere near complete, but it is quite usable and it’s getting better (I think).

Today, a friend called me to comment on the “review”… I was, “what review?”…Well, it seems that somehow, Mihai Mircea, the Softpedia Linux Editor was convinced that SocNetV deserves a review on Softpedia. So, there it is: we got 3 stars out of 5. Not bad — actually it was more positive than I would expect. Anyway, thanks for the review and the thoughtful comments, Mihai.

RPM .specs, for a Qt4 application

Been busy the last few days; mostly reading math but occasionally I would steal some time (preferably late at night or in the afternoons) to hack on SocNetV — btw, I released a bugfix 0.47 a couple of days ago.

Today, I decided to check on SUSE Build Service. This is a complete distribution development platform that provides the means to build packages for openSUSE distributions as well as most other Linux distributions. The whole idea seemed to be “upload your source tarball and a spec, and we’ll make binary packages for you for every distro you name”. This is just awesome, if you think about it, cause it takes all the trouble from the developer. Well, I was reading their manual, trying to understand which-is-which and what-to-do-to-build-my-great-package, when I realized that I could easily make an RPM for SocNetV with no hassles, and no Build Service at all. You see, we had a very nice tutorial on building RPM packages in the Greek edition of Linux Format magazine. At the time, I hadn’t test the instructions in real world examples, but hey ..it couldn’t be that hard! And it wasn’t. Actually, it was far easier than I thought in the first place…

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SocNetV 0.46 is here!

I just uploaded the new SocNetV version to the Sourceforge File Release System (FRS). Nothing special this time. SocNetV 0.46 is just a bug fix release – Pajek format loading is improved and zooming widgets work as they should (at last!).

The only new features is that nodes can be automatically resized according to their outDegrees. This is no novelty, but helps a lot. Imagine you have a network of 100 nodes where you have applied a betweeness centrality layout. Nodes which happen to be on many shortest paths between other pairs of nodes will be positioned towards the center of the screen, and can be thought of as ‘mediators’ of information. This is nice, but for instance do they also happen to have many links to other nodes? In other words, do they know a lot of actors as well? With one click, SocNetV can give now an answer, depicting nodes with different sizes according to their outLinks: nodes with more links are bigger than those with less links. Wow 😛

Math and Algebra software you can’t miss in Linux…

Yesterday, I was searching for some nice mathematics applications, mainly for computer algebra, in Linux and here are my two main conclusions.

  • First, there are hundreds of math programs and libraries out there for any need!
  • Second, try to stick with Debian-based distros, or else you ‘ll end up compiling the universe.

In the beginning, I had not exact idea what I was searching for, but to be honest I would love to have something like Mathcad (which unfortunately is commercial and not open-source). Unfortunately, I don’t believe there is such thing in Free Software, at least for the moment.

Nevertheless, after a little search with apt-cache (using Debian unstable), various applications came to my attention.

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