What
 · Technology
 · · Open Source

That Oracle-Google Appeal · I’m ac­tu­al­ly not that up­set. The de­ci­sion may or may not stand, so no­body on ei­ther side should ei­ther overcel­e­brate or rend their gar­ments in an­guish. And even if APIs are copy­rightable, maybe that’s not so ter­ri­ble. But I think the OSS com­mu­ni­ty just picked up a new to-do item ...
[10 comments]  
Solving Fujifilm’s Problem · I got this new cam­era from Fu­ji­film; it’s out­stand­ing, but has a re­al­ly ir­ri­tat­ing soft­ware prob­lem. Fu­ji could fix that on the double-quick and at the same time turn the prob­lem in­to a mar­ket­ing weapon. How? Two word­s: Open source ...
[4 comments]  
OSCON 2013 · I’ve been to this event a bunch of times over the years, al­ways as a speak­er I think. But if I couldn’t speak I’d prob­a­bly pay re­al mon­ey to come any­way. It feel­s, for the mo­men­t, still es­sen­tial ...
[1 comment]  
Two Factor, Twice · One of my jobs is brow­beat­ing peo­ple to turn on 2-Step Ver­i­fi­ca­tion, and it’s work­ing; more and more peo­ple are. To­day I learned that we’ve got some open-source tech­nol­o­gy you can use to add 2-factor to your own ap­p ...
[17 comments]  
Undocumented Territory · What hap­pened was, there was an ir­ri­tat­ing lit­tle bug in my LifeSaver ap­p. Which turned in­to a re­al prob­lem, since I was us­ing an un­doc­u­ment­ed API. The sto­ry of the bug’s death might be use­ful in giv­ing a feel­ing for the 21st-century open-source world ...
[1 comment]  
Use the Source! · I’m work­ing on an An­droid app and the doc­u­men­ta­tion didn’t stop me mak­ing a stupid mis­take. If it weren’t open-source, that might have been a prob­lem ...
[14 comments]  
Five Pictures of OSCON · It’s my fa­vorite con­fer­ence, I think. I love the small­er, more fo­cused events too, but OSCON is a gath­er­ing of the tribes and we need one of those ...
[4 comments]  
Practical Open Source · An­droid is an open-source pro­jec­t, which has a bunch of cul­tur­al and eco­nom­ic con­se­quences. I’m go­ing to ig­nore those to­day, and de­scribe how I use the source code to get work done ...
[23 comments]  
Rebuilding the World · What hap­pened was that, for rea­sons which I’ll write about un­der the Con­cur.next rubric, I want­ed to turn my at­ten­tion back briefly to Er­lang. Which means that I need­ed to fetch & build the lat­est ver­sion. Which end­ed up cost­ing me three days of Open-source yak shav­ing. Which had a hap­py end­ing and some lessons to teach ...
[4 comments]  
OSCON 2009 · I’d be hard-put to say whether OSCON or RubyConf is my fa­vorite con­fer­ence of the year; when I miss ei­ther I’m grumpy. Here’s a brief re­port from the lat­est San Jose in­stal­men­t, with pic­tures ...
[3 comments]  
Software · This is a di­rec­to­ry of some small pieces of open-source soft­ware I’ve writ­ten over the years. All the big pieces of soft­ware I’ve worked on have been in the ser­vice of one com­pa­ny or an­oth­er, and are with­out ex­cep­tion now dis­card­ed. How­ev­er, these lit­tle morsels live on. There’s a les­son in that ...
 
Pronounced “Keen-Eye” · We launched Pro­ject Ke­nai very qui­et­ly last Fri­day. It’s a de­vel­op­er hub with SCM and is­sue track­ing and fo­rums and all the oth­er stuff you’d ex­pec­t. We built it be­cause we need­ed it, but it’s open for use by the world for free. For a new­born in­fan­t, it looks pret­ty good. Any­one can vis­it, but to cre­ate a project re­quires an in­vi­ta­tion, which I have some of; con­tact me if you want one. There are lots of in­ter­est­ing things about Ke­nai; among oth­er things, it’s a Rails ap­p. Here­with the de­tail­s.
[Up­date: Nick Sieger re­sponds to heat over “control”.]
 ...
[14 comments]  
Sun Web Stack · [This is one of four pieces of Sun news from last week; I ac­tu­al­ly got to make the an­nounce­ments at OSCON but was too busy to blog]. The Sun Web Stack, ship­ping lat­er this year, is an ag­glom­er­a­tion of Web stuff (“Formerly known as CoolS­tack, al­so known as LAMP/SAMP”), and a fully-supported Sun prod­uct on both So­laris and GNU/Lin­ux. Read on for de­tails and dis­cus­sion; this rais­es some in­ter­est­ing is­sues ...
[8 comments]  
Nine Pictures of OSCON · Here­with some il­lus­trat­ed take-aways from OSCON 2008; I en­joyed it (and, I think, ben­e­fit­ed from it) as much as any con­fer­ence in re­cent years ...
[1 comment]  
All Free Now · On Novem­ber 12, 2006, I wrote Ja­va Is Free, about the GPL’ing of the Sun Ja­va source code. It was a good day. The job wasn’t 100% fin­ished then, be­cause there was en­cum­bered code we couldn’t GPL. As of to­day, it’s pret­ty well done. With con­tri­bu­tions from a bunch of peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tion­s, es­pe­cial­ly Red Hat’s Fe­do­ra com­mu­ni­ty and the Iced Tea pro­jec­t, the miss­ing pieces are filled in and the TCK has been passed. Most peo­ple don’t re­al­ize what a huge hur­dle the TCK is; we are talk­ing about a whole lot of te­dious, un­ex­cit­ing, ex­act­ing, work, and we all owe a tip of the hat to the peo­ple who ground their way through it.
[2 comments]  
Warm OSS Glow · I see that NetBeans 6.1 is out. It’s a nice enough re­lease (MySQL im­prove­ments, sur­prise sur­prise), but here’s what touched me. I don’t know how many oth­er OSS projects do this, but I got an email this morn­ing from qa@net­bean­s.org: “We'd like to in­form you that the fol­low­ing is­sues you re­port­ed have been ad­dressed in the new version” and list­ing four bugs I’d filed. What a nice touch.
[3 comments]  
JRuby 1.1 · I see the JRuby­ists have shipped JRu­by 1.1. I in­creas­ing­ly think JRu­by is in­ter­est­ing and im­por­tant as a test case, even if you don’t hap­pen to care in the slight­est about Ru­by or Rail­s ...
[7 comments]  
Sssssssssssssssssssssssun · As any­body who watch­es this space knows, we’ve been pour­ing in­creas­ing amounts of love on dy­nam­ic lan­guages re­cent­ly. Wel­l, er, on Ruby, to be pre­cise. But you know, Ruby’s not the on­ly game in town. So, as of this morn­ing, not­ed Python­ista Ted Le­ung and Jython lead Frank Wierzbic­ki are join­ing Sun ...
[22 comments]  
Bejeweled Ape · I am de­light­ed to an­nounce that my col­lab­o­ra­tors (now in­clud­ing Bran­don Mitchell) have been wran­gling the Ape and it is now a Ru­by Gem. Wow.
 
Virtual Indiana · I got the net­work­ing work­ing on yesterday’s In­di­ana + Vir­tu­alBox + Mac in­stal­l, but not well. I think that driv­er needs some work, it seems to lock up on big da­ta trans­fer­s. Any­how, just for fun, I brought over a 22-meg 5782×3946 JPG (a slide scan, the first pic­ture here), and opened it up with the Gimp un­der In­di­ana un­der Vir­tu­alBox un­der OS X. And it worked. It sure ain’t as fast as Light­room, but then noth­ing is as fast as Light­room. I pulled out the Levels tool and and black­ened the shad­ows a bit and twid­dled the white bal­ance. You could live with it if you had to. That Vir­tu­alBox is more than a lit­tle OK ...
 
The Ruby News · I keep putting off this Ru­by News Sur­vey piece be­cause there keeps be­ing more news, but hey, you have to pull the trig­ger some­time ...
[1 comment]  
NeoOffice · I just made my an­nu­al do­na­tion to NeoOf­fice. If you want to deal with MS Of­fice and OpenOf­fice.org and ODF doc­u­ments on the Mac and you don’t want to buy any over­priced opaque bi­na­ries, it’s your best bet. The new news is that that the lat­est NeoOf­fice (2.2.2) start­up is ir­ri­tat­ing­ly slow on my 2GHz MacBook. Which, you see, is good news, be­cause pre­vi­ous com­bi­na­tions of old­er NeoOf­fices and old­er Macs start­ed up painful­ly, ag­o­niz­ing­ly, slow. For those of us who live on the We­b, at this point in his­to­ry it’s hard to feel much love for office-doc pro­cess­ing soft­ware; but of its kind, Neo is re­al­ly not bad.
[1 comment]  
Year-End Sweep — Tech · Over the course of the year, in brows­er tab­s, book­mark­s, and del.i­cio.us, I’ve built up a huge list of things that I felt I should write about, at least at the time I saw them. Wel­l, dammit, I’m not gonna let 2007 end with­out at least mak­ing a try. Here goes. Cat­e­go­rized, even ...
[7 comments]  
New NetBeans · The bits were post­ed ear­li­er to­day. NetBeans 6.0 is live ...
[1 comment]  
Android · I’m hav­ing a lit­tle trou­ble un­der­stand­ing An­droid; the busi­ness side I mean, not the tech­nol­o­gy ...
[12 comments]  
Pattern? · I can’t help but no­tice that, ev­ery time the sub­ject comes up in a con­ver­sa­tion with Open-Source geek­s, how much ev­ery­body seems to hate SourceForge. I’m talk­ing a se­ri­ous­ly neg­a­tive vibe. Any­one out there like them?
[17 comments]  
The Plot Thickens · Ah, I see the RubyForg­ers have the new serv­er on the air. That 4200 should do quite a bit bet­ter than the very ba­sic Xeon it’s re­plac­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly since they were maxed out on I/O ...
 
GlassFish V2 · It’s out to­day. Now, I don’t work with app servers that much, and I’ve hard­ly ev­er touched GlassFish. But this is in­ter­est­ing any­how, for two rea­son­s: First, GlassFish is an ex­am­ple of a soft­ware prod­uct that was strug­gling in the mar­ket, and is do­ing im­mense­ly bet­ter af­ter mov­ing from closed to Open Source. Smells like the fu­ture to me. Se­cond, check out that launch point­er: a blog clus­ter, with the mar­ket­ing ba­sics and a ton of highly-technical de­tail. I just don’t think there’s any oth­er sen­si­ble way to launch a mod­ern soft­ware pack­age whose users are de­vel­op­er­s.
[3 comments]  
Long-Weekend Fun · So, hey, it’s the last week­end be­fore school starts and ev­ery­thing gets re­al again. So we should be kick­ing back, right? As in, work­ing on Atom Pro­to­col and WordPress ...
[4 comments]  
Website Gems · It’s hard for cor­po­rate Web sites to be in­ter­est­ing. My feel­ing is that gen­er­al­ly, you’d like them to make it easy for peo­ple to find what they need, and oth­er­wise get out of the way. Hav­ing said that, there are two Sun-Web things that, just in the last week, gave me a big smile. First, FOSS Open Hard­ware Doc­u­men­ta­tion. One of the ma­jor ob­sta­cles faced by the peo­ple who build Free and Open-Source op­er­at­ing sys­tems (i.e. us, the pen­guin­istas, and the BSDer­s) is get­ting the hard­ware builders to pub­lish spec­s; his­tor­i­cal­ly, they’ve been fright­ened of those weird open-source hip­pies. Wel­l, we’re a hard­ware builder, and that page is try­ing to ag­gre­gate all the specs that kernel-builders might need. Si­mon Phipps tells me that this is a big job, with lots of le­gal due-diligence, and it’ll nev­er be com­plete. But at least a good start. Se­cond, check out this screen­cast about wik­is.­sun.­com. When this went by in the in­ter­nal email I skipped it—who’d watch a screen­cast about a wik­i? But hey, it’s good, check it out.
[1 comment]  
Pantone’s Missed Chance · To­day I see, via John Gru­ber, that Pan­tone has been ac­quired by X-Rite. In 1995, I gave Pantone’s CEO some ad­vice that might have made them a lot of mon­ey. He didn’t take it, but it’s an amus­ing sto­ry ...
[9 comments]  
TestMaker · I got mail from Frank Co­hen say­ing “We just re­leased TestMak­er 5.0, could you give us a plug?” Hey, why not; I don’t know the first thing about the soft­ware so this is not an en­dorse­men­t, and the phrase “SOA Governance” gives me a mild wave of nau­se­a, but Frank’s a good guy, a long-time pro­po­nent of dy­nam­ic lan­guages on the JVM, and any­how the software’s Open-Source. Hey Frank, does it talk REST?
[1 comment]  
Tidying HTML · I’ve de­cid­ed that mod­_atom re­al­ly needs to be a blog-publishing sys­tem, not just an Atom Store. And fur­ther­more, based most­ly on the com­ments to that San­i­ta­tion piece, I’ve made two de­sign de­ci­sion­s. First, the san­i­tiz­ing hap­pens on­ly on the HTML out­put; the Atom-store part will per­sist the da­ta as close as pos­si­ble to the way it was sent up­stream. Se­cond, I’m go­ing to try us­ing the TidyLib pars­er to pick apart type="html" text con­structs so I can clean ’em up ...
[4 comments]  
Welcome David · The Ape (runnable, source) has a new com­mit­ter: David Calav­era, who’s from Spain. He wrote me out of the blue say­ing “Here are some patch­es that are the be­gin­ning of an RFC2617 framework.” David need­ed the Ape to talk WSSE for his own work ...
[3 comments]  
mod_atom Status · Peo­ple who are in­ter­est­ed in the soft­ware shouldn’t have to read the acres of prose in the mod­_atom in­tro, so I’ll just keep this one up to date ...
[3 comments]  
mod_atom · This is a stripped-down im­ple­men­ta­tion of the serv­er side of the Atom Pub­lish­ing Pro­to­col as an Apache mod­ule, im­ple­ment­ed in C. It felt like some­thing that need­ed to ex­ist and I am better-qualified for this par­tic­u­lar chore than your av­er­age geek; hav­ing said that, I have no idea if any­one ac­tu­al­ly needs such a thing. mod­_atom ac­tiv­i­ty can be tracked on this blog, for now, here. If any in­ter­est de­vel­op­s, then I’ll trans­fer dis­cus­sion to a blog at mod-atom.net which will be driven, of course, by mod­_atom ...
[17 comments]  
Lightroom and Open Source · Over the last few years, I’ve be­come some­thing of an open-source tri­umphal­ist, drift­ing to the con­clu­sion that (on the en­gi­neer­ing side) it’s the best way to build soft­ware and (on the busi­ness side) it’s a bet­ter way to mon­e­tize it. I have to con­fess that Adobe Light­room has kind of shak­en my con­vic­tion­s. Cer­tain el­e­ments of its UI and de­sign (for ex­am­ple, the crop/ro­tate tool, and the non­de­struc­tive edit­ing paradig­m) are qual­i­ta­tive steps for­ward in the state of the art. Fur­ther­more, I can’t think of a sin­gle good busi­ness rea­son for Adobe to open-source it. I guess the con­clu­sion is ob­vi­ous: for the fore­see­able fu­ture, both mod­els of soft­ware build­ing and mar­ket­ing are go­ing to march along; nei­ther is doomed.
[7 comments]  
Summer of Code · I re­al­ly have to salute Google’s Sum­mer of Code; in ev­ery open-source com­mu­ni­ty I lis­ten to, with­out ex­cep­tion, there are SoC rum­bles go­ing around. One com­mu­ni­ty asked me to help a bit, and I’m hap­py to: OpenOf­fice.org has had re­al­ly good ex­pe­ri­ences with SoC and wants to do even more; they’re look­ing for stu­dents and ideas and if you build some­thing use­ful, the way OpenOf­fice and ODF are grow­ing, you have a chance of get­ting your work on a whole lot­ta desk­top­s. Check it out!
[2 comments]  
JRuby Servlets · I got the Ape run­ning on JRu­by and wired Jing back in, which is re­al­ly use­ful (some of the so-called Ser­vice Docs out there are ca­nine fe­cal mat­ter). I was pret­ty damn im­pressed when the now-2400+ lines of Ape code to­tal­ly just worked in JRuby. Then, I was ir­ri­tat­ed by the re­al­iza­tion that my prim­i­tive CGI set­up for run­ning the Ape is just not gonna fly if I have to start up a JVM and JRu­by for each re­quest. So I thought “this is what servlets are for, right?” and the good news is that It Can Be Done ...
[3 comments]  
Cooler Stack · They’ve re­freshed the So­laris Cool Stack, I see. Most ob­vi­ous­ly, there’s new stuff: Ru­by (with RubyGems and Rail­s) and Mem­cached. But for my mon­ey, the most in­ter­est­ing is the souped-up PHP. It comes with a ton of ex­ten­sion li­braries, and, most im­por­tan­t, the Suhosin patch from the Har­dened PHP Pro­ject. I have no vis­i­bil­i­ty in­to why there is so much tur­moil and ac­ri­mo­ny in the PHP-security world, but I sus­pect you’d be nuts to de­ploy any se­ri­ous PHP app with­out Suhos­in.
 
AMP R Us · I’m hap­py; Cool Stack was just a first step. This is some­thing I’ve been ar­gu­ing for since ap­prox­i­mate­ly fif­teen min­utes af­ter ar­riv­ing here. The pub­lic­i­ty is here, here, and es­pe­cial­ly here: Sun Op­ti­mized AMP Stack for the So­laris 10 OS. There’s lots of mar­ket­ing lan­guage, but I think the es­sen­tial thing is that Sun is go­ing to try to be a first-rate sup­pli­er of all the im­por­tant pieces of open-source Web-facing soft­ware. The job isn’t fin­ished yet, un­til all of Apache and MySQL and Post­greSQL and PHP and Python and Ru­by and Rails are in the pack­age, all op­ti­mized for So­lar­is, all stuffed with DTrace probes, and all with de­vel­op­er and pro­duc­tion sup­port avail­able. It won’t be long ...
[15 comments]  
Integrated Systems · In Which Mac?, I wrote “Not quite ready to unSwitch for day-to-day work yet; it seems the lat­est Lin­ux­es still have is­sues with out­board dis­plays and pow­er man­age­ment [now 37 peo­ple are go­ing to write me to tell me how you can make that work, each pro­vid­ing their own multi-step recipe]”. Hu­bert Figuière , very sen­si­bly, com­ment­ed “Actually there is no need for a multi-step Linux-that-work-on-laptop how to. Just pur­chase a mod­el that is known to be well supported.” ...
[15 comments]  
Building Ruby · A cou­ple of months ago, Ruby­ist world head­quar­ters over in Ja­pan was look­ing around for some­thing to run their new Sub­ver­sion serv­er on. We dug a box out of a clos­et and sent it along, and now it looks like it’s up. Jeep­er­s, that’s a ful­ly load­ed X4100, it ought to be able to han­dle the next cou­ple of thou­sand Ru­by com­mit­ters as­sum­ing they on­ly code eigh­teen hours a day or so, and with hot-swappable ev­ery­thing, so next time you type svn co ruby, it’ll prob­a­bly work.
[2 comments]  
Apple App Attrition · Yes, it’s an­oth­er an­guished chap­ter in my re­la­tion­ship with OS X and its pos­se. Baubles al­ready hang­ing on this chain in­clude Back to the Mac, Time to Switch?, and Un­switch. Weird­ly, un­less my log­files are ly­ing, peo­ple like read­ing them. Any­how, I had a hard crash this af­ter­noon when I un­plugged my ex­ter­nal screen, and af­ter OS X came back, both Mail.app and NetNewsWire had lost their mem­o­ry. It turns out NetNewsWire takes a dai­ly back­up of your sub­scrip­tions (that Brent Sim­mon­s, he da man!) so that on­ly took a cou­ple of min­utes to re­cov­er. But Mail.ap­p, like iCal, seems to think a crash is a good enough rea­son to dis­card us­er da­ta; all my pref­er­ences and pro­files were gonzo, I had to start from scratch. It still had my old POP mail with­out the ac­count they be­longed to, but it’d for­got­ten about my Sun IMAP world. I got it work­ing again, but then there were some fold­ers I didn’t rec­og­nize, so I delet­ed them, and now it’s borked again; says “Synchronizing with server” and nev­er comes back. So I said the hell with it and now I’m run­ning Thun­der­bird, which ain’t as pret­ty but seems to work. I’m still OK with OS X, but the num­ber of its apps I use is down to Ad­dress Book, iTunes, iMovie, and (un­til the mi­crosec­ond I find an al­ter­na­tive) iCal. Ap­ple makes nice com­put­ers and a good op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Aside from movies or mu­sic, I’d stay away from the rest of the app­s. OK, let’s try to be fair: I use com­put­ers and ap­pli­ca­tions way hard­er than most, and plen­ty of peo­ple are un­like­ly to push these apps in­to break­age. And Apple’s mail and cal­en­dar and brows­er and so on are pol­ished and easy to use. But I just can’t re­ly on them any longer. [Up­date: The Mac is go­ing to win be­cause its com­mu­ni­ty is smart and en­gaged. For ev­i­dence, check the com­ments. Ex­cel­lent stuff.]
[44 comments]  
The Week After · A few brows­er tabs have built up with follow-ons from last week’s Ja­va source code news. The best sin­gle day-after piece is Mark Reinhold’s There’s not a mo­ment to lose!; I was on that IRC chan­nel for the “Vijay is on it” mo­men­t. Mark al­so points at Ja­va Posse cov­er­age. I lis­tened to it and ten min­utes in was get­ting du­bi­ous, there wasn’t much new news. But about halfway through they start­ed get­ting tech­ni­cal; as in, is build­ing the JDK more like build­ing Lin­ux (easy) or like build­ing OpenOf­fice.org (hard)? Lis­ten for de­tail­s. Then there’s an in­ter­view with me in Eclipse Magazine. Two amus­ing points: when Se­bas­tian Meyen sent me the ques­tion­s, he men­tioned half a dozen dif­fer­ent web sites and mag­a­zines they might run it in, but not Eclipse mag (Se­bas­tian, it’s just fine); al­so, con­trast the fan­ci­ful ar­ti­cle ti­tle and my an­swer to the community-models ques­tion. Speak­ing of Eclipse and snick­er­s, there’s Mike Milinkovich telling In­for­ma­tion Week that we made the open-source move in re­ac­tion to Har­mo­ny. Look, Eclipse is an im­por­tant part of the Ja­va ecosys­tem, and Har­mo­ny is an in­ter­est­ing project with re­al­ly smart peo­ple, but gimme a break. You might want to look past the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and in­dus­try tec­ton­ic­s, and con­sid­er a sim­pler ex­pla­na­tion. Mov­ing on: I took my dai­ly glance at Slash­dot to­day and damn if there isn’t a great big honk­ing get-the-Java-source-code ad all up and down the right side­bar. I would nev­er have thought of do­ing that, and I don’t claim to un­der­stand the ad­ver­tis­ing strat­e­gy or tac­tic­s; but see­ing it made me hap­py. Clos­ing note: You have no idea how much work this has been, for a whole lot of our best peo­ple; my hat is off to ’em.
 
The Morning After · Wel­l, that was quite a par­ty. Here­with a few notes on com­mu­ni­ca­tion­s, re­ac­tion­s, and names ...
[6 comments]  
Java Is Free · When I took the job at Sun in ear­ly 2004, I had a long talk with John Fowler, about this blog among oth­er things. John said: “You might end up hap­pi­er if you don’t blog about open-sourcing Java.” That was then. Today’s sto­ry is sim­ple: Un­mod­i­fied GPL2 for our SE, ME, and EE code. GPL2 + Class­path ex­cep­tion for the SE li­braries. Javac and HotSpot and JavaHelp code drops to­day. The li­braries to fol­low, with pain ex­pect­ed fight­ing through the en­cum­brances. Gover­nance TBD, but ex­ter­nal com­mit­ters are a de­sign goal. No short-term changes in the TCK or JCP. There are a ton of pre­sen­ta­tions and an (ex­cel­len­t) FAQ and so on, all to show up at sun.­com/open­source/­ja­va some­time in the next few hours. I want­ed to add a cou­ple of re­marks on ar­eas that stuff doesn’t high­light ...
[16 comments]  
That License Thing · CNET says Jonathan says CDDL. Slash­dot says CRN says GPL. Who ya gonna be­lieve? (This is fun!)
 
SAMP · If you’re run­ning any of Apache, MySQL, PHP, Per­l, or Squid on So­lar­is, trot on over to the Cool Stack space and pick up the lat­est super-optimized build­s, now for x64 as well as SPARC. Hey guys, how about Ru­by and Python? And some­day (hope­ful­ly soon) we’ll be do­ing it with apt-get and won­der­ing what this pkgadd thing used to be.
[3 comments]  
Ubuntu Baby · What hap­pened was, we had Kerith over to take some re­al fam­i­ly por­traits (they came out great) and when I scanned her neg­a­tives, there were gi­ga­bytes of pix­els that I didn’t re­al­ly want to copy around the net­work, so I thought I’d drop ’em on a DVD. This frag­ment com­bines Open Source serendip­i­ty, Microsoft-bashing, and adorable ba­by pho­tog­ra­phy ...
[7 comments]  
Get Yer SAMP Stacks Here · One of the nice things about work­ing for a big com­pa­ny is that some­times you run across smart peo­ple do­ing smart things that you didn’t know about. For ex­am­ple, check out the CoolThreads Op­ti­mized Open Source Soft­ware Stack (thank good­ness, they al­so use “Cool Stack”). I don’t know who these guys are, I don’t know where they are, some­one just pinged me and said “Look what’s pop­ping up on the blogs” (Gene Saun­ders, Dwayne Lee). Sum­ma­ry: Apache and MySQL and PHP and Squid, in var­i­ous com­bi­na­tion­s, all 64-bit builds op­ti­mized to the max with with the Stu­dio com­pil­er­s, which should be way faster than gcc build­s. Looks like some­body just saw an op­por­tu­ni­ty and Did The Right Thing; good on ’em.
 
Back to the Mac · It took near­ly two weeks to get the Pow­erBook fixed, but for now I’m a Macboy again. On bal­ance, the Mac ex­pe­ri­ence is bet­ter. But Ubun­tu is not that far be­hind, and it’s catch­ing up. I’m think­ing about the endgame ...
 
Ubuntu Gimp Intelligence · Wel­l, I was go­ing to have to do it some­time. I got out the USB ca­ble and plugged the cam­era in­to the Ubun­tu box, not ex­pect­ing much ...
 
More Ubuntu · Just a scratch­pad for my fur­ther Ubuntu-experience notes. So far: “locate”, Emac­s, Thun­der­bird, Fire­fox, func­tion keys, win­dows vs. app­s, menu place­men­t, hi­ber­nate, and X key­board map­pings ...
 
Involuntary Ubuntu · This morn­ing I got a con­tract in the email from a lawyer and clicked on it, and MS Word start­ed open­ing. Sigh. Then, my Mac locked up. After I cy­cled the pow­er a cou­ple of times, it was es­sen­tial­ly a brick. Can I blame Mi­crosoft? It’s off at the Mac doc­tor now, no prog­no­sis, no ETA. [Up­date: Fried log­ic board, new one on or­der, they can’t say when it’ll be here.] I’m learn­ing how to ac­tu­al­ly work full time on Ubun­tu re­al­ly fast (that was the cur­rent most up-to-date in­stall on the Ul­tra 20, and I re­al­ly did not want to in­vest any OS-install time). If you’re read­ing this, I’m mov­ing along OK; this is the first-ever on­go­ing post not au­thored on and post­ed from a Mac­in­tosh ...
 
OSCON Notes · I have a bunch of notes and thoughts scat­tered round my com­put­er and brain and I was go­ing to do a big round-up post, but who knows, some­thing might turn out to be a conversation-starter, so I guess I’ll split ’em all up to keep things or­der­ly. Be­fore I get go­ing on that, I just want to say “Thanks!” to the O’Reilly peo­ple for putting on this even­t. What with the new ba­by I could on­ly stay for about 48 hours, but it felt like a 48-hour-long warm bath for the soul. Not on­ly am I among my tribe, but the peo­ple are most­ly friend­ly and most­ly wit­ty and quite a few of them are stylish in off­beat and in­ter­est­ing ways, and then a whole bunch of them have be­come friends over the years. The talks weren’t, on av­er­age, as good as the crowd, on av­er­age, but then some of them were ex­cel­len­t. Here’s a ques­tion: should OSCON be­come part­ly an UnCon­fer­ence or Camp or some­thing? I’ve been to some of those and I re­al­ly like them, but on the oth­er hand, quite a few of the OSCON ses­sions amount to some­one who Real­ly Knows His-or-Her Shit stand­ing on stage lay­ing out what the next few steps are in some deeply im­por­tant piece of the com­put­ing ecosys­tem. I mean, wel­com­ing grass-roots voic­es is good, but if you want to know where Python is go­ing, you need to lis­ten to Guido, and if you want the bleed­ing edge on the Atom Pro­to­col, along with a command-line de­mo, I’m your guy. Which is to say, in­for­ma­tion trans­fer from ob­ses­sives is a valid sub-function of trib­al gath­er­ings. Hav­ing said that, dur­ing this kind of ses­sion, the di­a­logue with the au­di­ence is or­gan­ic and spon­ta­neous and the ques­tions are typ­i­cal­ly so good that there’s re­al­ly no “authority” re­la­tion­ship be­tween the per­son with at the front of the room with the mi­cro­phone and a per­son in one of the chairs fac­ing them. Stil­l, I think OSCON would ben­e­fit from turn­ing one of its days—or even half—into an UnCon­fer­ence. Stand by for more OSCON-driven frag­ments. [Up­date: Here’s a con­trar­i­an voice. I thought the pa­per se­lec­tion was good, but he rais­es a trou­bling ques­tion: If I hadn’t al­ready known dozens and dozens of at­ten­dees, how would I have gone about meet­ing them?]
 
OSCON - Open Data · Dur­ing the open­ing ple­nary, Tim O’Reilly sug­gest­ed that the im­por­tance of soft­ware li­cens­ing is de­creas­ing. Soft­ware is in­creas­ing­ly a ser­vice, run­ning on the Net, while li­cens­ing to date has fo­cused on what’s run­ning on your com­put­er. He re­port­ed an as­tound­ing re­mark by Stall­man, to the ef­fect that his rad­i­cal no­tions of free­dom are not ap­pli­ca­ble to the ser­vices we all use ev­ery day. Tim asks: What stan­dard of open-ness can we ap­ply to Software-as-a-Service of­fer­ings, to the Googles, Ya­hoos, and Ama­zons of this world? It’s a re­al­ly im­por­tant ques­tion. I think I know the an­swer. [Up­date: In­ter­est­ing follow-up from Tony Coates.] ...
 
That Open Source Thing · We haven’t been say­ing much since Ja­va One, so I thought I’d men­tion that I spent some time this week in the in­ter­nal work pro­cess around Ja­va and Open Source, and that it’s mov­ing along nice­ly. As of now, I’m re­al­ly op­ti­mistic that it’ll turn out well for the com­mu­ni­ty and for us too.
 
Computers in the Right Places · Pre­vi­ous­ly I wrote that we didn’t have a good pro­cess for de­ploy­ing box­es to de­serv­ing re­cip­i­ents; but we’re re­al­ly mak­ing pro­gress. Item: Last month I not­ed the serv­er for Nex­en­ta. Item: They’re get­ting the kinks out of the T2000 try-&-buy; now we ship a se­ri­al ca­ble so you can boot­strap the suck­er, and I hear they’ve weed­ed out the sil­ly “Do you have a So­laris application?” qual­i­fier; I mean, it’s ex­act­ly the peo­ple who don’t that we want to talk to. Item: We sent Ul­tra 20s to Thomas Enebo (get a blog, Thomas) and Charles Nut­ter (good blog, Charles), AKA the JRu­by Posse. Item: I want­ed to do some­thing nice for an­oth­er well-known PHP-based open-source pro­jec­t, and found out that PHP5 runs slow­er than PHP4 on the T2000, which makes no damn sense at al­l, a key ad­van­tage of PHP is that it’s shared-nothing, as in hor­i­zon­tal scal­ing, as in, that chip should eat it for break­fast. So I had a talk with An­di Gut­mans over at Zend (PHP world head­quar­ter­s), and he couldn’t see a good rea­son ei­ther. So we’re ship­ping a T2000 to the Zen­di­ans and the prob­lem may be­come in­stant­ly ob­vi­ous, or it may re­quire some work, but we’ll crack that nut one way or an­oth­er. [Up­date: Thomas Enebo has a blog.]
 
Nexenta α2 · I went and got that sec­ond al­pha re­lease of Nex­en­ta from gnu­so­lar­is.org and gave it a try on my Ul­tra 20. There are still a few rough edges, but it ba­si­cal­ly work­s. [Up­dates: Man­aged to try NetBean­s, and filed my first bug.] ...
 
NeoOffice 1.2 · I see Si­mon Phipps held forth on the good­ness of NeoOf­fice; prob­a­bly not by co­in­ci­dence, re­lease 1.2 showed up to­day. On top of all its oth­er virtues, Neo has re­al­ly slick & quick up­date pack­ages, all per OS X stan­dard­s. I’ve been sling­ing them a few bucks now and then, and if you’re on the Mac you should give the soft­ware a try too. Re­mem­ber, C-$2MS.
 
Adium is the Future · The peo­ple I work most close­ly with are lo­cat­ed in New Jersey, Southamp­ton (U.K.), San­ta Cruz, North Caroli­na, Prague, and Ham­burg. In­stant mes­sag­ing is an es­sen­tial busi­ness tool. I use Adi­um, which re­lies on the Gaim multi-protocol IM soft­ware. There are a lot of things about it that pre­fig­ure the fu­ture of soft­ware. [Up­date: Wow! Check out Eric Meyer’s follow-up.] ...
 
OSI · That stands for “Open Source Innovation”, and Dana Blanken­horn sug­gests there isn’t any. Uh... Apache. Emac­s. Vi. Per­l. Python. Ruby. PHP. Those were the re­sult of twen­ty sec­onds think­ing. I don’t think soft­ware in­no­va­tion his­tor­i­cal­ly has cor­re­lat­ed neg­a­tive­ly or pos­i­tive­ly with open-source-ness. In the fu­ture though, I think pret­ty well all soft­ware in­no­va­tion will be ei­ther open-source or in­side a big server, be­cause the busi­ness mod­el for ship­ping closed-source soft­ware as a prod­uct is just too twist­ed and weird.
 
Open Source Who? · I was in this high-level meet­ing and we were fo­cus­ing on ac­ces­si­bil­i­ty; a lot of good work has been done by Free/Open-Source soft­ware peo­ple in this space, but the sto­ry still isn’t as good as it needs to be. So I got up on my pul­pit and rant­ed away about how we need to do more evan­ge­lism and get the word out that ac­ces­si­bil­i­ty is everyone’s is­sue and should be on everyone’s agen­da. One of the busi­ness­peo­ple said “Well yes, but man­age­ment at Sun and Novell and IBM are all on board and will put re­sources in, so aren’t we OK?” I was si­lenced for a mo­men­t; among oth­er things be­cause the state­ment wasn’t ob­vi­ous­ly nut­s. I mean, it’s nice that the eco­nom­ic main­stream takes F/OSS se­ri­ous­ly, and I’m re­al hap­py to be work­ing for a com­pa­ny that’s in the mid­dle of that. But I’m used to a world where F/OSS pri­or­i­ties are about what the geeks are in­ter­est­ed in work­ing on, not what man­age­ment is will­ing to fund. And this could be se­ri­ous. Way back when, I sus­pect that man­age­ment wouldn’t have been that in­ter­est­ed in a MINIX re­place­ment for the 386, or a patchy Web server, or pro­gram­ming lan­guages named af­ter jew­els and snakes. I’m op­ti­mistic that the good ideas will get worked on any­how, be­cause few forces are stronger than a good en­gi­neer in the grip of a good idea. But stil­l, the world is chang­ing (as al­ways) out from un­der us.
 
More GNU/Solaris Rumblings · I’ve been ha­rass­ing peo­ple at Sun fair­ly re­lent­less­ly that we need there to be a GNU/So­laris dis­tro, and soon­er rather than lat­er, but so far I haven’t con­vinced any VPs to as­sign a pha­lanx of en­gi­neers to the pro­jec­t. But hey, the com­mu­ni­ty may just go ahead and do it; there’s a screen­shot, even. Hm­m.... he men­tions www.gnu­so­lar­is.org and in­deed there’s such a do­main, but noth­ing there yet. Stay tuned.
 
Some OO.oCon Lessons · Yeah, at the con­fer­ence there were speech­es and press brief­in­gs and so on, but the main thing was all the good stuff there to be learned, some of which is re­lat­ed here. Plus a rare live pho­to of a slash­dot­ting ex­pe­ri­ence from the in­sid­e. [Up­date: They fixed the video.] ...
 
COSO · That stands for “Chief Open Source Officer”, and as of now, Sun has one, name­ly Si­mon Phipps. We are do­ing a whole lot of Open-Source stuff, and a lot of dif­fer­ent groups are do­ing it, and we to­tal­ly need a sin­gle point of con­tact and co­or­di­na­tion. Simon’s the ob­vi­ous choice, and now’s the ob­vi­ous time. By the way, if you’ve nev­er been to one of Simon’s speech­es on things OSS, you should go, he’s al­ways worth lis­ten­ing to.
 
Lunch at LinuxWorld · Oooh, Ubun­tu and OpenSo­lar­is, sittin’ in a tree. What­ev­er we have to do, we should make this hap­pen.
 
Debian Solaris · Check out Al­varo Lopez’s su­perb piece Why I do think OpenSo­laris ought to work with De­bian. Call me a rad­i­cal, but I think that easy in­stal­la­tion and up­grad­ing are im­por­tan­t. I think Lin­ux got where it is be­cause it was ba­si­cal­ly easy enough to in­stall and ba­si­cal­ly good enough to get a lot of jobs done. I think that hav­ing apt-get or equiv­a­lent Just Work is the sin­gle most im­por­tant value-add So­laris could get. Turn it around: I think a lot of peo­ple who need what So­laris has to of­fer are nev­er go­ing to find out un­til apt-get or equiv­a­lent Just Work­s. Out of the box. So, thank heav­ens for OpenSo­lar­is.org, where they’re chew­ing over Alo’s rant. Smart things are be­ing said, and Eric Boutili­er points out there that Gen­too, OpenPKG, and oth­ers are look­ing at this. But then there are peo­ple who claim to be So­laris fans say­ing ig­no­ran­t, id­i­ot­ic things like “Linux as a whole does not have any­thing good to of­fer, ex­cept that ‘it’s free’”. Earth to OpenSo­lar­is: Every com­mu­ni­ty has a few mo­ron­s; please learn to ig­nore yours. All this is pret­ty well a sideshow for the ex­ist­ing So­laris cus­tomer­s, but if we want So­laris to, you know, grow, this is how to do it. Good on ya, Alo, and hang in there, you’re 100% right.
 
Good One, Apple · Hey, all this good open-source kar­ma (much in ev­i­dence last week at Ja­va One) seems to be catch­ing; I hear that at WWDC, Ap­ple an­nounced the We­bKit Open Source Pro­ject, to make the KHTML/OS X com­bo a re­al two-way part of the com­mu­ni­ty. Good on ’em, and let’s hope this is just a first step. (Mild Ap­ple gripe; in re­cent months I’ve had three friends—one by ac­qui­si­tion, one by em­ploy­men­t, one by contract—start do­ing work for Ap­ple, and all of a sud­den we can talk about my job but not theirs. Hm­ph.)
 
Enterprise Open Source · Among the flur­ry of Ja­va One an­nounce­ments is GlassFish, CDDL-licensed source code for some­thing called “Sun’s Ja­va Sys­tem Ap­pli­ca­tion Serv­er PE 9”. I said “Huh?” and they ex­plained to me that this was our im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Ja­va EE spec and I said “Oh good, we’re open-sourcing EE!” and they sneered at me and said “No, EE is de­fined by a par­tic­u­lar bi­na­ry that pass­es a par­tic­u­lar com­pat­i­bil­i­ty test, so in prin­ci­ple you couldn’t open-source it”. Uh, right. Any­how, I am quite sure our ef­fi­cient PR peo­ple will be emit­ting a flood of de­tails and FAQs, so I’d just like to tsk-tsk gen­tly at our friends out there (y­ou know who you are) that rushed in­to print last week de­plor­ing our clue­less­ness for not do­ing what was done to­day. Hey guys, cut us a lit­tle slack. And a tip o’ the hat to Bob Su­tor who did.
 
The Java + Open Source Sweet Spot · Check out this piece from Tim O’Reilly. The O’Reilly peo­ple track sales trends in tech book­s, not just their own but the whole in­dus­try. They’re trans­par­ent about their method­ol­o­gy and in my opin­ion these num­bers are very sol­id and be­liev­able. Any­how, in this case, you need to read the nar­ra­tive that goes along with the pic­ture. The growth is be­ing driv­en by the OSS+Ja­va stuff: Spring, Strut­s, Lucene, and so on. Hey Tim, how about do­ing middle-aged eyes a fa­vor and mak­ing fu­ture ver­sions of the graph a lit­tle big­ger?
 
OSS Hell, Tiger Edition · Every time there’s a ma­jor OS X up­date the on­go­ing pub­lish­ing soft­ware, which de­pends on Per­l, MySQL, and ImageMag­ick all play­ing nice with each oth­er, and on Emac­s, pre­dictably falls apart. Each time, the fix-up recipe is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent and I do a post here in hopes of aid­ing oth­ers in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion ...
 
Project Harmony · Every­body has now heard about Har­mo­ny (if you haven’t, here are the pro­pos­al, FAQ, and friend­ly nois­es from Sun). Sup­pose they pull it of­f, and that there’s an OSS J2SE that any­one can down­load, build, and change. Why is this a good thing? If you’re a mem­ber of the Free Soft­ware move­men­t, the project is its own re­ward for rea­sons of pure ide­ol­o­gy hav­ing noth­ing to do with tech­nol­o­gy, en­gi­neer­ing, or busi­ness. I’m not among the faith­ful, but I’ve noth­ing against ’em. How about for the rest of us; are there any ac­tu­al­ly any prac­ti­cal real-world ad­van­tages? I’d think the most ob­vi­ous win would be around patch­ing and bug-fixing. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, OSS soft­ware gets bug­fixed quick­er and bet­ter. On the oth­er hand, the Har­mo­ni­ans plan to achieve com­pat­i­bil­i­ty by pass­ing the TCK test suit­e, which ev­ery­one says is tough and time-consuming; quite like­ly, more time-consuming than most in­di­vid­u­al pieces of bug-fixing. So that might get in the way of the kind of patch­ing re­spon­sive­ness we’ve got­ten used to in OSS-land. [By the way, is it pub­licly known how long the J2SE TCK ac­tu­al­ly takes to run? I’ve nev­er seen that pub­lished.] I guess you could ap­ply patch­es with­out do­ing a “release” and run an un-TCK’ed J2SE on an in­ter­im ba­sis. That might make some peo­ple ner­vous; it would make me ner­vous. In fact I think the rules say you can’t call it Ja­va un­less it’s TCK’d, so I guess we need a new name; I pro­pose “JINJ”. What­ev­er; whether or not you re­al­ly think Har­mo­ny is worth do­ing, you have to like peo­ple who are hurl­ing them­selves at big tough prob­lem­s, and not in the in­ter­ests of get­ting rich. Plus, they’re do­ing it at Apache, my own fa­vorite OSS nexus. My hat’s off to them.
 
Newsapalooza · I take off for a cou­ple of days of ru­ral iso­la­tion and and dial-up ac­cess, and the news flood­gates break loose. Si­mon Phipps has good com­men­tary and more point­ers. First, a tip of the hat to Poland for their in­ter­ven­tion which (at least tem­porar­i­ly) seems to have de­railed the EU’s head­long rush to em­brace soft­ware patents. In all this news, one an­gle that’s get­ting lit­tle dis­cus­sion but seems to me a re­al game-changer has to do with the Mi­crosoft­/EU lit­i­ga­tion. Mi­crosoft says they’ll ship a ver­sion of Win­dows with­out Me­dia Play­er and, while I agree with the EU that they played a lit­tle dirty in lever­ag­ing the Win­dows monopoly in­to the media-player space, this doesn’t seem like that big a deal. What does seem a big deal is the or­der that they dis­close enough of the Ex­change and SMB pro­to­cols to em­pow­er peo­ple to build com­pet­i­tive mail/disk servers with­out hav­ing to do ar­cane reverse-engineering. This ge­nie, I think, can’t be put back in the bot­tle, how­ev­er the ap­peals end-game shakes out, and it’ll be a while be­fore we re­al­ly un­der­stand all the im­pli­ca­tion­s.
 
JambOO.o! ·  Via Si­mon Phipps, a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward for Kiswahili chain­gizwa kati­ka Pro­gra­mu Huria na zi­na­zopatikana bu­re, which is to say “Swahili Free and Open Source Software”: the first ev­er re­lease of a free of­fice suite soft­ware in Swahili, called Jam­bo OpenOf­fice. This whole Open/Free soft­ware thing, it’s not just one hemi­sphere or eco­nom­ic sphere or eth­nic sphere, it’s, well, ev­ery­body ev­ery­where.
 
Open Document Worries · On Novem­ber 15th, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion post­ed a bunch of doc­u­ments cov­er­ing that office-document-format work that I’ve writ­ten about be­fore. Si­mon Phipps pro­vides a use­ful overview, but I read the let­ters from Mi­crosoft and IBM and ran across a cou­ple of scary bit­s ...
 
Competition · For our own JDS, that is, from Novell’s desk­top of­fer­ing, which got a lengthy re­view here, al­beit from a heavy Lin­ux geek; I’d be more in­ter­est­ed in what Moss­berg or Wild­strom have to say. Looks like their pric­ing won’t be that far off ours, ei­ther. So here’s the pic­ture: there are now two large, sta­ble, com­pe­tent com­pa­nies who can pro­vide you a fully-supported business-friendly desk­top suite that will cost a lot less than Mi­crosoft. This is how Free En­ter­prise is sup­posed to work. Hold on; it’s go­ing to be an ex­cit­ing ride.
 
Apple Should Go Open Source · I’m talk­ing about the ba­sic apps like Mail and iChat and Fin­der and Sa­fari (al­ready part­ly there) and the iLife suit­e. It would be good for the com­mu­ni­ty and good for Ap­ple ...
 
NeoOffice/J · I got an email with an at­tach­ment I want­ed to read whose name end­ed in .sxw. Click­ing on it baf­fled OS X, so I asked around and some­one point­ed me at NeoOf­fice/J, which is part of NeoOf­fice. I got a hur­ried and en­tire­ly opaque ex­pla­na­tion of how this is us­ing Java/Co­coa mag­ic to sweep the Open Of­fice X11 un­der the car­pet, but hey, it seems to work, de­spite lots of “This is a Beta!” warn­ings. It han­dled the .sxw, and then I point­ed it at a .doc and a .xls and it was fine with those, too. The on­ly down­side so far is it doesn’t have the re­al Aqua look.
 
Open Source OS X Hell Again · In a pre­vi­ous es­say I re­count­ed my tra­vails in get­ting the GD.pm, and some oth­er Open Source stuff, up and run­ning on the OS X box. I did it again last night, and here are some maybe-helpful hints. If you don’t know what GD.pm might be, you won’t miss any­thing by skip­ping this one ...
 
GD Hell · I've been putting a few cy­cles in­to soup­ing up the on­go­ing soft­ware to bright­en up the front page with an “image of the day,” and al­so to make the in­line ver­sions of the pic­tures small­er so as to go eas­i­er on the modemis­tas. The pro­gram­ming is pret­ty easy, but get­ting the tools to­geth­er is a walk through Open Source Hel­l. (Teaser: Con­tains XML In­sid­er Good­ie) ...
 
Image Editing and OSS Awe · Yes­ter­day I post­ed here won­der­ing about better-than-basic im­age edit­ing for Mac OS X. Here­with a sum­ma­ry of the guid­ance I got, and a bit of bog­gling in the face of the OSS ed­i­fice ...
 
author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
Random image, linked to its containing fragment

By .

I am an employee
of Amazon.com, but
the opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.