Recommended Emacs package: cmake-ide

Using emacs with flycheck and company is great experience, but what bothers me is that I need to carefully set many variables so that configuration used by these helper tools matches my actual build configuration – e.g. include directories, extra compiler and linker flags etc. I need to apply these settings per-project, and keep updating them whenever I change my build config in any way. This is particularly inconvenient for projects that feature configurable build process.

I use CMake for most of my projects, and I’ve recently found a package that can utilize it to automatically configure many other Emacs packages. The package is called cmake-ide, and it is available on MELPA.

There is literally zero configuration required. It automatically discovers whether a file you are editing belongs to a CMake project, runs CMake to prepare an out-of-tree build, and investigates compile_commands.json generated by CMake to figure out the precise build config for each file. It then uses this information to set up irony, flycheck, rtags, company-clang, and probably some other packages too. Whenever build config might change, cmake-ide will automatically update everything.

Super convenient.

Current progress on AlgAudio

… or “what I’ve been working on for the past three months”.

So this summer I have participated in a programming internship at Audiovisual Technology Center – CeTA in Wrocław. CeTA is developing a number of very exciting projects, and the one I had the pleasure to work on is AlgAudio.

screenshot

(download links available below)

AlgAudio is a new signal processing framework that we’ve been developing from scratch. The user builds an audio processing network by placing “building blocks” of simple operations, connecting them together, configuring their parameters, and defining how the parameters should influence each other. The network works in real time, so any changes to the parameters are immediately reflected in the outputted audio. This makes AlgAudio a perfect tool for live performances.

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C++11: std::threads managed by a designated class

Recently I have noticed an unobvious problem that may appear when using std::threads as class fields. I believe it is more than likely to meet if one is not careful enough when implementing C++ classes, due to it’s tricky nature. Also, its solution provides an elegant example of what has to be considered when working with threads in object-oriented C++, therefore I decided to share it.

Consider a scenario where we would like to implement a class that represents a particular thread activity. We would like it to:

  • start a new thread it manages when an instance is constructed
  • stop it when it is destructed

I will present the obvious implementation, explain the problem with it, and describe how to deal with it.

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Dynamic linker tricks: Using LD_PRELOAD to cheat, inject features and investigate programs

This post assumes some basic C skills.

Linux puts you in full control. This is not always seen from everyone’s perspective, but a power user loves to be in control. I’m going to show you a basic trick that lets you heavily influence the behavior of most applications, which is not only fun, but also, at times, useful.

A motivational example

Let us begin with a simple example. Fun first, science later.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <time.h>

int main(){
  srand(time(NULL));
  int i = 10;
  while(i--) printf("%d\n",rand()%100);
  return 0;
}

Simple enough, I believe. I compiled it with no special flags, just

gcc random_num.c -o random_num

I hope the resulting output is obvious – ten randomly selected numbers 0-99, hopefully different each time you run this program.

Now let’s pretend we don’t really have the source of this executable. Either delete the source file, or move it somewhere – we won’t need it. We will significantly modify this programs behavior, yet without touching it’s source code nor recompiling it.

For this, lets create another simple C file:

int rand(){
    return 42; //the most random number in the universe
}

We’ll compile it into a shared library.

gcc -shared -fPIC unrandom.c -o unrandom.so

So what we have now is an application that outputs some random data, and a custom library, which implements the rand() function as a constant value of 42.  Now… just run random_num this way, and watch the result:

LD_PRELOAD=$PWD/unrandom.so ./random_nums

If you are lazy and did not do it yourself (and somehow fail to guess what might have happened), I’ll let you know – the output consists of ten 42’s.

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