FreespaceOpen installer improvement or how to mavenize an old ant based project

The Pre-story

A month ago I was having a big nostalgia moment, installed the GOG client and started to playing with old games. My childhood was there again. I remember these games very fondly even today, although I have played with them long ago. They managed to bewitch me with their charm and whenever I played I entered another world where I was the hero who had to solve the problems. It was really fantastic that even with the pixel graphics they had their magic.

I wanted to play with Freespace 2.

I recall the day when my schoolmate introduced it to me during my elementary school years. It was fun to play the pilot who shoots down the evil shivans, meanwhile colossal ships clashing each other and you try to avoid their beam turrets laser. In my first encounter with the game I had rushed in the middle of the fight and ended up wildly spinning my ship by a shot of the beam turrets.
My nostalgia energy was definitely fully charged and ready to take the adventure, the helmet and the ship controls to show again who is the better pilot. I have clicked the start and right away the energy flew away because the window was halfy showing the game. Great, so I did some search and one of the best solution on steam was to use FS2Open version. Which pumps up the game to be ready to be used on a modern day computer without issues.

NOTE: It is also worst to mention that the creators of the Freespace game released the source code on the web when their company was bought to be freely used. Since that happened a lot of promising space simulator projects have been created based on the source code. More info here.

I went to Hard-Light wiki and downloaded their installer client which was a jar file. Hmm I program mostly in java I know about these things and I’m curious how the code looks like, it is always good to see how things are done by others to learn a few new tricks. The installer project source code is not hard to find, it is located on github. I checked the project and it was created long time ago. Fortunately the project is still active and I believe it is quite useful one. For that reason I created a Hungarian translation for it. Then I have converted it to maven based project for fun.



Stanford Seminar by Steve Cousins of Savioke on Service Robots

Steve talks about his story in robotics, his view on service robotics, practical challenges they faced during the design & deployment of their hotel delivery robot.

The most spot-on line I found in this talk:

“Robotics is the poor stepchild of every other industry”

Dear David Hanson, A good slapping would be well earned now

With love,
Your fellow roboticists.

For reader reference, the video below is now in the process of getting cut to pieces & hugely misinterpreted.

Seriously. Don’t we have enough people already freaking out due to the recent years’ military adoption of drone technology?

Your work is good. Amazing. The best animated dolls ever. You have more experience in robotics than I do. But this is not the way to present your work, no matter what! The shortest line that can be misunderstood when cut in the proper way will be the one circulated around. The joke was awkward even for a roboticist.

For a few minutes of fame you just made yourself and the rest of us look like irresponsible crazy scientists. It doesn’t even do you good as you scared so many people and fuelled endless conspiracy/robot-takeover/singularity theories that tips the acceptance of robots all the way to the negative scale.

We should be concentrating on making people’s lives easier, safer, more meaningful, more pleasant, whatever that is for good, not freaking them out with human-looking dolls talking BS!

Then there are already some famous & smart people who are half-educated on recent AI/Robotics talk fearful nonsense, such as Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and others. Do you want to join that club?

Cheers from a fellow roboticist,


Dear non-robotics people,

Please don’t believe sci-fi level stuff you see on TV.

For a good anecdotal overview of robotics I recommend reading Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks.

They say an engineered system is only as good as the worst performance it can give. If you would like to see how the best top-level humanoid research groups failed outside of their labs:

For a full picture on the Darpa Robotics Challenge many references can be found all over the internet or if you are from the US you can watch this documentary by PBS.

Ask me questions if you have any.

Kind regards,



Eclipse Mars on Elementary OS

I had to deal with a monstrous-size Java project that only works with Eclipse Mars. Like a good power-user I downloaded the installer and installed it fine, started right away and worked fine.


Then after lunch I tried to start up Eclipse it kept crashing and with weird errors related to GTK. Even when it didn’t crash immediately, I couldn’t access anything of the dialogs.
Tried reinstalling, and it worked again. But why?
I realized that it only worked when I started Eclipse Mars from the installer!!!

At this point I had eyebrows raised all the way to the ceiling. What the hell?
A close inspection on the eclipse.ini file showed the difference of the installer-launched Eclipse vs the installed and then launched one. It seems that by default the system goes for GTK 3 which causes things to go south.

Adding the following line to the eclipse.ini in the _installed_ eclipse folder (whereever you install it) solves the startup crash issue: