Strangely Consistent

Theory, practice, and languages, braided together

November 15 2010 — taking charge and getting stuff done

102 years ago today, Empress Dowager Cixi (慈禧太后) passed away. She had ruled China for 47 years from "behind the curtains", going against imperial tradition forbidding women to engage in politics.

Selected by the Xianfeng Emperor as a concubine in her adolescence, she climbed the ranks of Xianfeng's harem and gave birth to a son who became the Tongzhi Emperor upon Xianfeng's death. Cixi ousted a group of regents appointed by the late emperor and assumed regency over her young son with the Empress Dowager Ci'an. Cixi then consolidated control and established near-absolute rule over the dynasty.

She has a generally bad reputation in the scrolls of history.

Historians from both Kuomintang and Communist backgrounds have generally portrayed her as a despot and villain responsible for the fall of the Qing Dynasty, but in recent years other historians have suggested that she was a scapegoat for problems beyond her control, a leader no more ruthless than others, and even an effective if reluctant reformer in the last years of her life.

Nevertheless, her life is full of plotting and intrigue, something which no doubt tickles the mind of the historically curious. During her nephew Zaitian (載湉)'s rule, Cixi had him put in house arrest for nine years. He died, 37 years old, on the day before Cixi passed away, apparently from arsenic poisoning.

To my surprise, the thing I meant to do today (converting November to work on Rakudo ng) had already been started. By me, no less. I had forgotten that.

Hm. Seems I did some initial work on it in relation to this post, and then continued that work a few days later.

So where did that put me? I run make in the ng-compat branch of November to find out.

Ah. #73912 bites, and we get this bogus error message:

Illegal redeclaration of symbol 'November'

Luckily, at some point pmichaud++ told me how to deal with this. (Can't find it in the backlog, but I remember him telling me.) The trick is to stub the class before you start pulling in any modules that use that namespace:

class November { ... }

That worked! Now November gets as far as pulling in HTML::Template which, amazingly, still compiles. These Makefiles are old enough that I need to manage PERL6LIB by hand — how barbaric.

Oh, and it turned out I needed to update the script wiki, responsible for actually running the November application. It had bitrotted from previous changes in module naming done in that branch.

Running perl6 wiki, this is what I get now:

Cannot modify readonly value
  in '&infix:<=>' at line 1
  in 'November::view_page' at line 53:lib/
  in <anon> at line 37:lib/
  in 'Dispatcher::Rule::apply' at line 44:lib/Dispatcher/
  in 'Dispatcher::dispatch' at line 37:lib/
  in 'November::handle_request' at line 49:lib/
  in main program body at line 17:wiki

Probably Rakudo has become a bit more stringent with readonly things since alpha. This will provide a good starting point for tomorrow's investigations.