Parse French dates on a en_US machine

Immagine you work in France, but you are really fond of your good old en_US locales. I'm sure one day you would invariably face the task to use python to play with some french text. I just find out that this can't be easier. You just need to set create and set the correct locales for your python script and voila' !

In this case I need to parse a french date to build an ical file. First, if you haven't already done it for other reasons, you should rebuild your locales and select a freench encoding, for example fr_FR.UTF-8.

On debian , this is just one command away :  sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Now you are ready to play :

import locale, datetime
#locale.setlocale(locale.LC_TIME, 'fr_FR.ISO-8859-1')
locale.setlocale(locale.LC_TIME, 'fr_FR.UTF-8')

date_from = "Dimanche 3 Juin 2012"
d = datetime.datetime.strptime(date_from, DATETIME_FORMAT)
print d


If you want to set the date for a particular time zone, this is equally easy once you discover how to do it with standard library function. At the end of the previous snippet add :

from import *
d = d.replace(tzinfo=gettz('Europe/Paris'))

This is the script I was working on. It uses the vobject library to generate ical files and itertools.groupby to parse the input file.

import vobject
from itertools import groupby
import re
import string
from import *

import locale, datetime
locale.setlocale(locale.LC_TIME, 'fr_FR.UTF-8')

def test(line) :
    if re.match("^Dimanche.*\n$",line) is not None :
        return True
    else :
        return False

l = []
with open("example") as f :
    for key, group in groupby(f, test):
        if key :
            a = list(group)
        else :


cal = vobject.iCalendar()

for ev in l :
    date_from = ev[0]
    d = datetime.datetime.strptime(date_from, DATETIME_FORMAT)
    d = d.replace(tzinfo=gettz('Europe/Paris'))

    vevent = cal.add('vevent')
    vevent.add('categories').value = ["test category"]
    vevent.add('dtstart').value = d.replace(hour=15)
    vevent.add('dtend').value = d.replace(hour=18)
    vevent.add('summary').value = unicode("Test event")
    vevent.add('description').value = unicode(string.join(ev[1:]),encoding='UTF')

icalstream = cal.serialize()
print icalstream

Input :

Dimanche 6 Mai 2012
- text text
- more text
Dimanche 13 Mai 2012
- text text
- more text
Dimanche 3 Juin 2012
- text text
- more text
Dimanche 10 Juin 2012
- text text
- more text


CATEGORIES:test category
DESCRIPTION:        \n - text text\n - more text\n  \n
SUMMARY:Test event
CATEGORIES:test category
DESCRIPTION:        \n - text text\n - more text\n  \n
SUMMARY:Test event
CATEGORIES:test category
DESCRIPTION:        \n - text text\n - more text\n  \n
SUMMARY:Test event
CATEGORIES:test category
DESCRIPTION:        \n - text text\n - more text\n \n
SUMMARY:Test event

Average: 3 (5 votes)

ocamlbuild and C stubs

Today I struggled once again to build a simple library with ocamlbuild, so once for all I decided to write something about it. I'm sure next time, googling for an answer I'll find this post and shake my head in despair :)

The library in question is parmap written by Roberto Di Cosmo to speed up computations on modern multi processors computers. We want to build everything: cma, cmxa and cmxs. Moreover, we want to build a shared library that contains stubs for a couple of bindings to C functions. On top of that, I want to use configure to make sure that the platform I'm using supports a specific syscall.

We start by copying ocaml.m4, the more or less standard autoconf macros for OCaml ( source here ). I prefer to copy this file in my source tree as I don't want to impose to download it from a website to compile my library. This file ends up in the directory m4. Then to use it, I need to invoke aclocal as follows aclocal -I m4. This will take care of making the m4 macros known to the configure script.

Next step is the configure script. I need check for the standard ocaml utils, if extlib is known by ocamlfind and if the function sched_setaffinity is available on the system. This is the standard autoconf way to detect if a specific function is available. Together with the AC_CONFIG_HEADERS([config.h]) call, this will define the variable HAVE_DECL_SCHED_SETAFFINITY to 1 in the file config.h that can be later used in the C source code.

AC_INIT(parmap, 0.9.4,

if test "$OCAMLC" = "no"; then
 AC_MSG_ERROR([You must install the OCaml compiler])

if test "$CAMLP4" = "no"; then
 AC_MSG_ERROR([You must install the Camlp4 pre-processor])

if test "$OCAMLFIND" = "no"; then
 AC_MSG_ERROR([You must install OCaml findlib (the ocamlfind command)])

if test "$OCAML_PKG_extlib" = "no"; then
 AC_MSG_ERROR([Please install OCaml findlib module 'extlib'.])

AC_CHECK_HEADERS([sched.h],,AC_MSG_ERROR([missing sched.h]))
AC_CHECK_DECLS([sched_setaffinity], [], [], [[
                #define _GNU_SOURCE 1
                #include <sched.h>


Once this is done I've to generate the config with autoreconf and then run autoconf to generate my configure script. If this go through, you should be able to run your configure script as usual. So far so good. Now it time to convince ocamlbuild to play nice with us.

First we need to write a small myocamlbuild file to set few dependencies and compilation flags. The first rule we add is a dependency to convince ocamlbuild to copy the config.h file in the _build directory. Without this rule, ocamlbuild is unable to figure out the dependency just by looking at the C source file (I've found a [bug] on the inria bts about this problem).

The second rule adds a couple of compilations options to compile our C code. I think this can be done on a file basis, but since these options make no harm, I use to compile all my C objects.

The third rule is there to make aware ocamlbuild that is I want to compile a library that uses libparmap, I must specify that libparmap is a dynamically linked library. The forth rule is an analogues rule for native libraries.

The fifth and sixth rule are one to compile the .a and then to link it. This is need to correctly generate cmxs objects.

open Ocamlbuild_plugin ;;
let _ = dispatch begin function
  | After_rules ->
      dep  ["compile"; "c"] ["config.h"];
      flag ["compile"; "c"] & S[ A"-ccopt"; A"-D_GNU_SOURCE"; A"-ccopt"; A"-fPIC" ];
      flag ["link"; "library"; "ocaml"; "byte"; "use_libparmap"] &
        S[A"-dllib"; A"-lparmap_stubs";];
      flag ["link"; "library"; "ocaml"; "native"; "use_libparmap"] &
          S[A"-cclib"; A"-lparmap_stubs"];
      dep ["link"; "ocaml"; "use_libparmap"] ["libparmap_stubs.a"];
      flag ["link"; "ocaml"; "link_libparmap"] (A"libparmap_stubs.a");
  | _ -> ()

But of course this is only part of the ocamlbuild configuration. We also need to specify how to build these libraries and what to include. To build the stubs library we specify a .clib file in which we tell to ocamlbuild the C objects it has to link together.

This is accomplish with by adding the file libparmap_stubs.clib :

$cat libparmap_stubs.clib

To build{x,}a and parmap.cmxs I need to other files, respectively :

$cat parmap.mllib

$cat parmap.mldylib

and at last we write the _tags file to correctly associate different flags to each component.

$cat _tags
<*>: annot
<{x,}a>: use_libparmap
<parmap.cmxs>: link_libparmap
<*.{ml,mli}>: package(extlib), package(unix), package(bigarray)

This should build all you goodies in one go :

$ocamlbuild -use-ocamlfind parmap.cma  parmap.cmxa  parmap.cmxs parmap.a -classic-display
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlopt -I /usr/lib/ocaml/ocamlbuild unix.cmxa /usr/lib/ocaml/ocamlbuild/ocamlbuildlib.cmxa /usr/lib/ocaml/ocamlbuild/ocamlbuild.cmx -o myocamlbuild
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlc -ccopt -D_GNU_SOURCE -ccopt -fPIC -c bytearray_stubs.c
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlc -ccopt -D_GNU_SOURCE -ccopt -fPIC -c setcore_stubs.c
/usr/bin/ocamlmklib -o parmap_stubs bytearray_stubs.o setcore_stubs.o
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamldep -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -modules parmap.mli > parmap.mli.depends
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlc -c -annot -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -o parmap.cmi parmap.mli
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamldep -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -modules >
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamldep -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -modules bytearray.mli > bytearray.mli.depends
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamldep -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -modules setcore.mli > setcore.mli.depends
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlc -c -annot -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -o bytearray.cmi bytearray.mli
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlc -c -annot -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -o setcore.cmi setcore.mli
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamldep -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -modules >
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlc -c -annot -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -o parmap.cmo
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlc -c -annot -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -o bytearray.cmo
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlc -a -dllib -lparmap_stubs bytearray.cmo parmap.cmo -o parmap.cma
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlopt -c -annot -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -o bytearray.cmx
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlopt -c -annot -package bigarray -package extlib -package unix -o parmap.cmx
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlopt -a -cclib -lparmap_stubs bytearray.cmx parmap.cmx -o parmap.cmxa
/usr/bin/ocamlfind ocamlopt -shared libparmap_stubs.a bytearray.cmx parmap.cmx -o parmap.cmxs

Relevant files:

All the source code is in Git parmap - in the pipes branch. If I'm doing something wrong, or not in the standard way, please tell !!!

Average: 5 (1 vote)

I'm going to linux conf AU 2012 !

This is going to be a big adventure !!!

tickets ready, registrations ready !

No votes yet

Results of MISC 2011 !

The results of the MISC competition 2011 were announced during the Workshop LoCoCo in Perugia Monday 12th of September.

The winners are :

  • for the track paranoid and trendy the solver aspuncud, a solver based on an experimental version of clasp with iterative unsatisfiable core elimination by Oliver Matheis.
  • and for the track user the solver gj-user-solver, a refactored SAT4J with a custom Pseudo Boolean Optimisation algorithm by Graham Jenson.

The novelty of this year was the introduction of a new aggregation function to the user track that can be used to maximize or minimize the numerical value or a cudf property.

All competing solvers were able to provide an answer the large majority of problems. Performances were used to break a few ties this year, and we can clearly see that solvers are getting faster and faster. Now most solvers are able to answer a 'common' installation problem under 3 seconds (see for example the solver aspuncud in the sub category dudf-real of the paranoid track) providing at the same time an optimal solution w.r.t. the chosen optimization criteria.

We received a positive feedback from all participants despite a small glitch in our ranking function. We definitely looking forward to establish MISC as an international solver competition for the next few years.

Average: 3 (1 vote)

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

new release of ocaml-buddy

I've just released the new version of ocaml-buddy, my ocaml bindings to the buddy BDD c library. Thanks to a fruitful interaction with Jimmy Thomson, I've fixed a couple of memory leaks and cleaned up the code a bit.

grab it when is still hot :

comments a testers are welcome. A debian package is on the way

Average: 3 (6 votes)

I'm going to debconf 2011


Got my tickets, now looking for a place to sleep... My first debconf. It's going to be gooood :)

Average: 2.6 (8 votes)

mpm : putting all the pieces together

Recently, all relevant packages needed to run mpm (the mancoosi package manager) landed in debian (thanks ralf and zack !). Now it should be a tad easier to run mpm and to play with it. The code of mpm is available on the mancoosi svn repository (user/pass : mancoosi/mancoosi) . To run it, you also need to install python-apt.

These are all cudf solvers you can use as mpm backends. They use different solving techniques and were implemented for the MISC competition :

In addition, you need the CUDF solver integration for APT / MPM , that is the component in charge of translating the apt/mpm installation problem to cudf and to provide a solution back to apt/mpm

The last (optional) component is the dudf-save that allows you to report an installation problem back to us . mancoosi contest (dudfsave) is avalaible for download at

the mpm command line is still not very user friendly, but since it is not meant to be used by final users or production systems, I think I'll not spend too much time to add all bells and whistles.


Average: 2.8 (8 votes)

MPM: A Modular Package Manager

One of our paper has been accepted to The 14th International ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on Component Based Software Engineering (CBSE-2011) happening in June in Boulder, Colorado, USA. This is a joint work with Roberto Di Cosmo, Ralf Treinen and Stefano Zacchiroli.


 Software distributions in the FOSS world rely on so-called 
  package managers for the installation and removal of packages on
  target machines. State-of-the-art package managers are monolithic in
  architecture, and each of them is hard-wired to an ad-hoc 
  dependency solver implementing a customized heuristics. In this
  paper we propose a modular architecture allowing for pluggable
  dependency solvers and backends. We argue that this is the path
  that leads to the next generation of package managers that will
  deliver better results, accept more expressive input languages, and
  can be easily adaptable to new platforms.  We present a working
  prototype---called MPM---which has been implemented following the
  design advocated in this paper.

More details about the paper are available here


Ralf (that went all the way to the US to present the paper) has just informed us that the paper won the 'ACM Sigsoft Distinguished Paper Award' !!!!!!!!
Average: 3 (6 votes)

Dose3 in debian experimental !

Thanks to Ralf's work, dose3 has been just accepted in debian experimental !!! yuppiiiii \o/

  Dose3 is a framework made of several OCaml libraries for managing
  distribution packages and their dependencies.

  Though not tied to any particular distribution, dose3 constitutes a pool of
  libraries which enable analyzing packages coming from various

  Besides basic functionality for querying and setting package properties,
  dose3 also implements algorithms for solving more complex problems
  (monitoring package evolutions, correct and complete dependency resolution,
  repository-wide uninstallability checks). 
For the ocaml affectionados the API of the library is available here (there is still a bit of work to do here...) . The source code shipped in each release does not include a vast range of applications sitting in the experimental directory. You can have a look at these in our svn.

if you want to get a copy of the development / bleeding edge / unstable version from svn, you can check it out from the svn

 svn co
user/pass : mancoosi/mancoosi

Average: 1.1 (108 votes)
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