Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Free music radios online. Dozens of great channels.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Giving for the holidays.

At, by Brad Pitt. If you want to make money while helping, head over to, microloans for developing countries.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hijacking Cote's blog and running with scissors in the Oracle stairs.

I agree with Warren. I've delved long and deep in the bowels of company code (call the rescue team!) and I can tell you that while Mr Anderson (RTFA) is right at the 100,000 feet level, he's positively wrong at trench level. The problem is not that applications are built as black monoliths, a fact that Jesper Anderson concedes to as he states that this was the best approach given the available technology. No, in fact the problem is that there is a "process of programming" that has congealed over IT departments and that it is this process, this for-profit-corporation closed-source process that is the problem. It's not the code that is the problem, it's the process.

The reality, as Warren so eloquently pointed out, is that computers do not parse manager-speak. Computers process binary instructions, and that's it.

I'll expound on the idea: the process itself is the culprit. There is no shortage of smart, get-shit-done types out there in computerland. Just look a the development of stuff outside corporate walls like nginx, django, turbogears, wsgi, RoR, D, the upcoming JavaScript, the upcoming Python 3000, Linux itself... I point you, gentle readers, to

Where Linus Torvalds says:
>In contrast, look at where Linux is used. Everything from cellphones and other small embedded computers that people wouldn't even think of as computers, to the bulk of the biggest machines on the supercomputer Top-500 list. That is flexibility. And it stems directly from the fact that anybody who is interested can participate in the development, and no single entity ends up being in control of where it all goes.

>And what does that then lead to? Linux ends up being very good at a lot of different things, and rather well-rounded in general. It's also very adept at taking up any new niche, because regardless of where you want to put it, not only has somebody else probably looked at something related before but you don't have to go through license hassles to get permission to do a pilot project.

You see, the kind of innovation that Mr Anderson claims CIOs fret about, from the fourth paragraph in the Oracle article:
IT execs struggle daily, he said, with limited budgets and ever shifting requirements, evolving compliance and governance issues, and a growing autonomy within individual business units - fostered by blogs, wikis, and other collaborative Web 2.0 software - that is causing them to lose control.

That kind of innovation, the wiki engine written in PHP, ruby, or python, the blog written in ruby, php again, or python, the collaborative web2.0 site written in php, ruby, python, all with mySQL backends or some other unserious database with some unserious programming language with unserious documentation (LaTeX, you call that documentation? I want WORD documents!--Screams the clueless VP). Yes, that kind of in-your-face we don't care if our page is down or looks ugly (hello Myspace), and we don't care if our site is down daily (hi Twitter, lov'ya), and we don't care if our site shows "George Washington is gay!" mid-afternoon (checking my Wikipedia watchlist as I type)... Yes, that kind of innovation, this kind of developed-by-developers programs and systems are challenging established business IT because they are easy to install, intuitive to use, and add real value to the community and to individual contributors (AKA Lusers).

Anderson says: "We need a new platform that's driven by business processes, not code. The expression language needs to become business processes, not code." And I agree! The business processes to IT processes now suck, and cause all kinds of problems. The code is coded, optimized, unit tested, integration tested, system tested, and deployed according to the 400 pages technical specification. Yet despite all that, it is not serving the customer. Instead, the customer turns to facebook or to mediawiki installed by a rogue IT operative in a repurposed desktop under a desk on the 8th floor and memorizes an IP address to access the Ubuntu-running-in-violation-of-all-that-is-Holy-non-redundant-barely-backed-up-wikipedia-clone. (Can you tell I speak from experience?)

Why? Because the customer was not able to express what they wanted, especially after the royal munging that is commonly referred to as the business specifications document.

In opensourcey land, developers have public email addresses. They listen to all comers on public mailing lists--so easy to use that anybody with a hotmail account can hop right in (and they do)--and have to defend their position against know-it-all pimple-faced teens who read "ASP.NET in 24 hours" and suddenly just know how to build a massively scalable website.

Although to be entirely honest, the pimple-faced teen who just read "ASP.NET in 24 hours" has a much better grasp of internet technology than your typical corporate IT manager.

So these developers, who let all the world know their personal problems, fears, and financial problems, are living a declarative lifestyle and welcome, even encourage frank and gutsy conversations from the customers. They want people to tell them what sucks on their websites/applications. And the hotmail-wielding pimply-faced noobs indulge mercilessly.

Yet, in spite of all that, good software, agile software, flexible software, self-healing, self-updating, self-deploying (is that a bug or a feature Mr Worm?) software get developed and adopted by millions despite the fact that there was no project manager, there was no VP of Application development, there was no 7 environments (pre-dev, dev, testing,QA, UAT, PROD and I get confused), there was no 400 pages of documents outlining every single in-itself-innocuous feature that turned into a monstruous collective of unusable madness, and there certainly was not a Steering Committee with a Excel priority list the size of a small database with green and red arrows in the Priority column.

No. There was a small team (go read about youtube's here: and there was mad skills and there was dedication and camaraderie and there was a vision.

I work in IT in a Fortune 500 and there is none of that. Why? Because there is the soul-crushing process that gets in the way (totally--I don't even answer the phone from customers--what's the point?) of the people doing the work talking to the people using the work.

Indeed, the industry knows this. There is a fix on the horizon, and it's called ITIL. It's a layer or process that is basically CYA for IT management, along with a long itemized invoice for the business, painstakingly detailing every little improvement so that "business" will realize all the hard work IT is doing and will loosen the purse stings a little more next budget season.
There is still the remnant of such a tool: SOA. It's the SOAP+ESB+WS* demon that only works if you're willing to sink $500M into it, and that by virtue of the overlooked fact that the smart people that get-things-done were lost in the shuffle and got it working at the 11th hour, unbenownst to managers who gleefully cheered yet another successful implementation without the faintest idea about the "code" that the computer cores actually process.

The fix? Google's close. See

The reality is close to what people aren't willing to talk about, meaning the dead horse on the table: IT as we know it is obsolete. Its model of hierarchy with top-down command and solid, repeatable processes is holding back innovation in the enterprise. It's not holding back innovation outside the enterprise, and that's why there's so much innovation outside the enterprise. Inside, the creative, quirky, eccentric, xbox-playing geeks quickly lose all hope and turn drab, dronish and dour under the high walls and low uv-lit ceilings of managed processes and compartmentalization. All the cool (still energetic) developers at my company, yours truly included, pour said energy into non-work side projects. Why? No red-tape, no endless meetings, no bullshit.

IT management is what is holding back technology from being used effectively in the workplace.

Now, to address the one issue that people are always throwing up as an excuse not to change: the need to follow regulations, such as HIPAA, SOX, etc. Tell me. What's the point of doing any of this if your regulation-compliant top heavy IT management process takes the rest of the company straight into being delisted from the NYSE? It is the job of the top management to figure a way to follow regulation as well as embracing the new style of development. This is what the competition will be doing, and this is why you went to fancy business schools, Dear Executives.

So, to sum up: Oracle is right that things need changing, and Oracle is wrong in the way to get there. At the end of the day, you need talented developers who understand the business and the needs of individual business users to write "code" for the computers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Great online app that takes screenshots of your website witha bunch of different browsers on different platforms.

CNN and Iraqi red crescent on IRaq's abandoned children.

It's a disgrace. Man can do better.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fix for apt-get remove nginx failure

That blog gives instruction on how to remove nginx from ubuntu, but I've applied it to Debian Etch and it works.

Note that I had to add line:
echo "nothing here" after the commented line, or the uninstall was causing a "Syntax error near else" error.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The next *really* big thing

I left this out on the opensolaris-discuss mailing list:

--- Dennis Clarke wrote:

> I think that the next really *big* thing will be Indiana as well as
> the
> nifty new pkg concepts.

I think the next really really big thing will be Indiana's fully free open-source no-Sun Microsystems-required-to-build unnamed successor that will have this great packaging system but that will also have this great modular load system so it will be able to internet self-install with basically a couple of megs on a USB or one of those little flash rams in digital cameras. I think this next really really big thing will not mention Sun Microsystems anywhere and will be used by more than 3 billion people on all sorts of hand-held or hanging-on-your-clothes devices with reliable viop, video-streaming, enterprise-class networking, military-grade encryption, self-regulated meshing, voice recognition, GPS, web, will be rugged and work anywhere in the world, from permafrost-thawing Siberia to the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

These lovely devices will automatically use any kind of bandwidth available, and will have automatic bandwidth detection and evaluation, so people in parts of the world where the US FCC doesn't hold court will be able to utilize a much broader spectrum and push the envelope of speed and distance at minimized power consumption.

These devices will be the computers of the 21st century. Desktops are yielding their dominance to laptops, but within 10 years, laptops too will have yielded their dominance to these devices, and people all over the world will not see keyboards, but sexy (thank you Apple for bringing sexy back), small, and continuously powered and networked personal devices that will allow people anywhere in the world to speak with and see anyone else in the world they wish to at a word from their lips.

These devices, if the OpenSolaris community plays its cards right, will run a successor to Indiana (not necessarily the first child).

Did I paint a rosy picture? Did I take a snapshot from 1960 sci-fi?

One laptop per child will revolutionize computing.

OpenSolaris can do the same.

A few things must happen first, though.

The OpenSolaris community must be completely untangled from Sun Microsystems. Face it, you guys are crying about microsoft windows on Sun hardware. Why? Because you think microsoft sucks. Let me let you in on a little secret: plenty of people think SUNW sucks, and will not involve themselves in a project that's dancing the tango with SUNW, no matter how exciting the dancing might seem.

Why is it important for OpenSolaris to be able to run completely independently of Sun? You want to be able to use talent. You want to be able to use the talents of gifted and smart people from the Linux camp, from FreeBSD, from IBM, Intel, AMD, Apple, Microsoft, and the army of large for-profit corporations that make up the Global 5000. You want to be able to use the next uberhacker who will revolutionalize some fiber of the network with his scalable, distributed, unbreakable, unsuable social networking web 4.0 application in 3 years. You want to get all the people on your Skuldelev rowing in unison, so that you can take on the foggy new world of saturated global communications.

You feel it now? Sun Microsystems may or may not survive the next 20 years of accelerated globalization. OpenSolaris must. Unchain yourselves from the corporation and embrace freedom. Freedom to build from source, freedom to run on devices not invented yet, freedom to mold to your heart's content, freedom to let the software soar to heights undreamed of. In doing so, fulfill yourselves, and fill a need in mankind's struggle to extend care to all of its members.

Linux did it. OpenSolaris can too.

By the way, these devices will be designed and built in the People's Republic of China. Sooner than you and I can possibly imagine. So get rolling, because time is short.

Update on March 18 2009: Google's G1 running Android is getting awfully close to this.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Core Values Journalist

Am Core Values Journalist at Health Net ITG. Will be doing interviews and writing articles. I knew my writing skills would come in handy someday. Anybody want to point me to a good website on how to conduct interviews?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Showed Bill how to use

Just showed Bill at the office how easy it is to get a blog at

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Donation Fund For Nicolette Falzone

Because I care. You care too. You send her money. Mkay?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Update on Nicolette Falzone -- Successful surgery.

Surgery was successful. But it took the media getting involved. See this article.

Now, I work for healthnet as you astute readers undoubtedly know. I am happy for Nicolette, but this is just something we are going to have to take to heart and fix, because we as a company have the capability to do it, to really improve ourselves and really improve the system as a whole as a result.

Also, it seems the news coverage was spreading: APP and the NY Sun also covered the tale.

Web Architecture

interesting article on web architecture from Andy Wardley.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Happier to work at Health Net

Regarding the previous post, I sent an email to an exec, they responded, and now all is well. So, my faith is restored in our execs.

Seems the paper also updated their coverage.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ashamed to work at Health Net

After reading this story I'm felling shitty about working for Health Net. I guess the life of a 5 year old doesn't matter to the bean counters/executives. (I already know our shareholders don't care.)

Update: see the next post.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

'$100 laptop' production begins

Production has begun on the first 3 million machines. The revolution has begun.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

We named the dog Indiana.

So I've been reading every message on the mailing list, and I've been flamed, and even told to leave... But then again, what's new eh?

So here's what I feel today: it's discouraging. There's too much work to get done, too little time, and too few people. I feel that the people who want a UNIX will be disappointed, and those that was Ubuntu on Solaris will also be disappointed.

To make a bad analogy, the German Panther main battle tank was probably the best armored tank in the world. The problem was, of course that the battle was turning more and more into an air war, and the Panther could not compete once the p51 had gained air superiority over a battlefield.

So, although technically superior to its foes one-on-one, the Panther had to operate in an environment where its technical capabilities were not the determinant factor between success and failure.

Likewise Solaris, while technically superior, lacks the flexibility and development capabilities of GNU/Linux.

I simply think that Solaris the product is not self-sustaining, that Open-Solaris the open-source project is hobbled by needs of compatibilities and binary-only bits, and that Indiana the distro is aiming to be where Ubuntu is, or at best where it was two years ago.

I think the reality is starting to sink in at Sun and things are going to get progressively worse. I think they will truly realize that their dream of a opensource-worked OpenSolaris from which they can pick and choose the bits for the next version of Solaris is turning into a kind of a nightmare, where things are foggy, unstable and never quite make sense.

Anyway. Back to work.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

on SOA at BT via Monkchips

I think what Andy was saying is that Business Analysts have gone the say of the dodo and need to come back in order for companies with significant SOA investment to actually realize positive RIO.

Thanks Monkchips

Noticed this note from James Governor. I appreciate it. And I'll discuss the diet in more details some day. Maybe.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Steve Yegge on working at google

Just didn't want to misplace the link.

Update: had misspelled Steve's last name. Now corrected.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Answers to the OpenSolaris Riddle.

This is all related to this post of mine a few days ago.

First, I answered a question from gman (see below) about what mistakes Sun has made in my opinion. (by the way I do not think the recent drop in SUNW price is in any way related... I personally think their sales department is hindering sales (did I say that before? I did! 13 month ago too!))

David Comay (manager, container/zones at Sun Solaris Engineering) asks:
I'm curious what you think Sun should do though with respect to making it clear that Solaris is FOSS (at least, Nevada and beyond are?) Are you saying that nothing less than relicensing it under GPLv2 will do the trick? (ref)
Well, I think these are two independent things, namely, making it clear that Solaris is FOSS, and whether to relicense Solaris under GPL2.

He also adds
With respect to the cost, you may be surprised but many/most of us in Solaris engineering know that open source development doesn't cost less. That's one of the reasons folks are working hard on pushing the remaining pieces of infrastructure outside the firewall so that the community can fully engage.

Well, to that, I'll answer that pushing the remaining pieces of infrastructure outside the firewall won't actually mean lower cost. I'll come back to it, because that's related to the issue above.

Jim Grisanzio, whom some of you know of, is Community Manager, OpenSolaris Engineering, adds:
All I wanted to say is that I certainly realize that many people don't know we are open yet. I get it all the time, actually. I don't really view it as a problem anymore so much as an opportunity to engage people. There's no other choice, actually. :) Also, we've been open for almost two years now, so I think you'll see us start to kick it up a bit. Some of us wanted to keep it a bit low key until we got most of out stuff out there, but I think Sun is going to start pressing the issue more. The OpenSolaris Starter Kit was a pretty good initial indication of that.

That'll come in handy later in the post.

He also added that he had installed Ubuntu on one of his laptops, liked it, and wanted to learn from such successful communities.

gman, who is really Glynn Foster, who was just elected to the 2007 -
2008 Governing Board of OpenSolaris (ref), adds:

OpenSolaris now actually has a platform to build a community from. I expect having a ratified constitution and newly formed board will help with that. As I've mentioned elsewhere, there may never be another phenomenon quite like the Linux kernel - communities don't build over night, and certainly don't form around mature code where the boundaries to entry are still high. All on our agenda, it's going to take some time. The one thing that's interesting about Ubuntu is that they've done relatively little engineering work - 90% of it has been pulling together existing work around the various communities. I do believe that is something that Sun and Solaris needs to start doing.

All right. Hang on to your horses.

I found this little graph out there that shows the relationship of the OpenSolaris source code to the Solaris codebase. Go look at it. Ask yourself if the backport and keeping the Solaris 10 codebase proprietary would be compatible with the gplv2. That little graph was mentioned on the OpenSolaris discuss forum.

Now, the problem for Sun is that Solaris development is too slow, and Solaris until 2 years ago faced the prospect of certain obsolescence.

Just to add to your reading pleasure, go read the thread Ian Murdock (Sun's new Chief Operating Platforms Officers, and the "ian" in Debian) started. Make sure you read all the way down, and look at this one from ux-admin (the last one in the thread).

You didn't read it, did you? Let me just tell you it started real friendly-like. "In the meantime, I just wanted to say hello, and to make sure you heard the news directly from me." --Ian. Of course, as all things are wont to in the Great Internet, this innocuous post meandered all the way to "The way you put it, 'either make it look and behave like Linux or we'll
ditch it', just sounds too much like blackmail." --ux-admin

I gotta tell you, Ian's going to have to like the money Sun is paying him, because if that's the "Welcome Aboard", I don't really want to see the "let's go around the table and introduce ourselves" meeting.

Going back to the obsolescence bit: now that OpenSolaris has been Open for 2 years (under various definitions of Open), and that the community is finally moving into getting people on board to make decisions and coding outside the firewall, OpenSolaris now has a bright future ahead... Or does it?

The code as it is, the open parts, are not buildable into Solaris. And they won't be, it seems. But wait, if OpenSolaris is not actually Solaris, then what is it? (Refer to diagram) oh, it's a bunch of source that could be built into other things. Not actually Solaris, mind you. Also, from the Emancipation project (go John), which yours truly had a hand in prompting, we know there are things now that Sun cannot Open Source that are required to build a minimal Solaris system...

Uh, are you confused yet?

But wait, there's more. What do I think Ian's going to be able to do with the Sun Engineers? Not much, unfortunately. One man alone does not have the bandwidth to deal with such a determined foe.

Ok, now to address the main point: Under CDDL and Sun Contributor Agreement (pdf warning) Sun Microsystems is allowed to backport OpenSolaris code into the proprietary Solaris codebase. So the contributor of code, while contributing to the OpenSolaris codebase, also contributes materially to Sun Microsystems Inc, assuming Solaris Engineers backport the code to Solaris.

Going back to "Solaris development is too slow" and the obsolescence bit: Sun needs new contributors. Not just any kind of contributors, but seasoned, professional software developers. Now, these people work at serious companies. (IBM, Google, HP, Red Hat, Intel, even Sun) or at prestigious institutions (MIT, etc). They not only do not have a lot of time, but they also have very little tolerance for red-tape, already having ample measures of that in the workplace. Go see the source code for linux someday. It may not be pretty, but the email addresses of the contributors read like a who's who of modern computing. So do you think any of these people are going to contribute their very limited and therefore highly valuable time to a for-profit corporation without getting a paycheck?

Now, this means that the people who are going to join are, well, green, and will need mentoring, good communication, TLC, wikis, buildable software... But as gman said: "communities don't build over night, and certainly don't form around mature code where the boundaries to entry are still high" these people will hit the "Sun Solaris Engineering Process", be met by the kind of people who sign their email "PhD Solaris Kernel Development, Sun Microsystems" and be utterly discouraged. They will go back to Ubuntu and make all sorts of disparaging comments on slashdot and kuro5hin about Slowaris. And they will be regarded by the Guardians of the UNIX Way as uncouth rabble.

Then, Sun will essentially have to pay people to work on OpenSolaris. Either on payroll from 8-5, or indirectly by funding a foundation that will pay people to work on their own time at home, after getting out of work from Sun at 5pm. These people, already working 45+ hours, will burn out eventually, having traded time with their family for Yet Another Successful Build. This will cost Sun too: the kernel engineer, who, tired of the rat race, retreats into a life away from keyboards and into coaching a little league team, or running a bakery down by the promenade, will cost Sun replacement expenses.

The more Sun "open sources" OpenSolaris, the more expensive Solaris will become. Eventually, Sun will pull the plug, and recommend Linux to its customers (2009-2011 timeframe).

Now, if GPLv2+: Sun would not be able to backport the changes into Solaris. And some legal magic would have to happen for a GPLv2+ build to happen anytime soon. But then OpenSolaris could be hacked to death by the linux hordes and the best bits could go into linux, and the rest would then die the death that's going to happen anyway.

Sun Kernel engineers could be kept on Sun payroll, and their day self-directed, working through a public bugzilla server. Eventually their skill would be absorbed by the community, the Linux community mind you, and they could retire fat and happy in a dozen (or two) years.

Net result: Sun would use Linux, and have direct input into linux development and future, like IBM and RedHat do now. Sun also could drop all its development efforts, turning them over to googlecode with a large "take this and make it fly" sign. Sun could then focus on hardware.

What about their current enterprise-grade Solaris customers?

What about them? If they were actually paying for the full development and support and infrastructure needed by Solaris, we would not be having this discussion. These Very Important customers are not making Solaris cost-effective for Sun. Essentially, it's costing Sun money to keep these customers. That's the kind of customers Sun does not want. The sooner Sun says: go to Debian stable, the better.

On Ubuntu and 90%, I would suggest that from Debian unstable to Ubuntu on a CD in a professionally typeset sleeve in my mailbox at no charge, there is a huge gap. Thank you Mark. Thank you. Thank you.

By the way, and this is sort of a disclaimer: Simon Phipps needs to not be involved in any of this. He's too Sun Old Guard, besides the fact that I don't like him because he was rude to me personally (ask jimgris) and that as I go out of my way to be non-offensive and generally kind and supportive in spite of my mundane French upbringing, I am sensitive to the negative effects of personal attacks. On that point, I would like to say that he currently is alone in that "I don't like him" category. I especially disliked my previous VP a few months ago, but I don't report to him anymore, so it's all better now.

Finally, and to wrap it all up nicely: Solaris has no alternatives but to merge with Linux on the same terms as Linux. Solaris the distro will die. Solaris the kernel will die, but its children will live on as part of Linux. Linux is famous and known to be FLOSS. This took billions of dollars and many years to sink in (probably a solid 10 years, give or take 2). Sun does not have the resources to do the same thing with Solaris. Unless OpenSolaris lives on its own outside Sun firewall, with a copyright scheme that does not allow Sun to cherrypick enhancements for its own proprietary version, and can freely be mingled with Linux, it will die. It's only a matter of time.

That's why, ultimately, the best you can hope for is GPLv2+.

Now, there is another scenario, but it's bordering on the realms of science-fiction/fantasy: namely that Google was wrong, that hundreds of thousands of disposable computers running linux is not the way to go, that big business and big government are going to start spending a lot more on IT, and that Sun is going to reach $125B in market value, at which point it wants to have copyrights to Solaris because it will be able to make money with it. I think this is the secret hope of Sun shareholders, and of many of its employees.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Assorted Thoughts

I'm really tired at the end of a day coding and fixing css and playing with routing tables to get passive ftp working...

But I've also been thinking and now feel like writing it down for you folks.

James: The maintainers and Innovators. I think the CIOs that throw a pile of money at a problem (via large projects) are the worse of the Maintainers: they utterly lack the ability to see that a small team with high quality hardware, high quality leadership, and FREEDOM (say it like Scott Wallace as he rallied the Scottish rabble against Longshank's Northern Army), can far exceed the capabilities of a large, slow-moving SOA-enabled, IBM-designed and Cognizant/Perot System-implemeted system.

Oh well, their loss.

On Ian joining Sun and working to align Solaris toward Debian: That's the very best thing that could have happened to Open Solaris. Of course, it's going to have to get a lot better very fast, because it's got about 9 months before Apple takes over as Microsoft Vista dies the dreaded death. Actually, scratch that. Ubuntu will do it, because Dell with ship Kubuntu machines by summer, and then it's over. I mean Kubuntu with KDE 4.0, and Beryl. The Mac OSX will be playing catchup. Vista will still die the death. By year's end, Vista will have been a failure, and MSFT will be at $17/share.

For Google: keep going, but please make youtube better. It's still crap, unwatchable at times.

For Jim Grisanzio: Sun is starting to make a few too many mistakes with Solaris. Unfortunately, the people at my office still don't get that Solaris is FOSS. In a meeting last week I said Solaris 10 was open source and free in production, and my manager stared at me, then ignored me, as if I had just announced the Pope was my uncle. It didn't even register with him, at all.

I can't believe it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Congratulations to google

Congratulations are in order to Google's Personalized Homepage team for the theme Tea House. I really like it.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Twiki Not For Me

We're using twiki and mediawiki at work. My team's pages are in the twiki pages and I, even though I've been using it more than a year, Hate Twiki.

For those of you who are going to say I'm not using it right: you're right.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Efika At Blastwave

Efika at Blastwave

So, not bad... I think maybe I'm gonna have to look at that.

powered by performancing firefox

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Digging Deep

Well, I'm all over the OpenSolaris-discuss mailing list. I'm gonna give this another shot. I don't see how I'm going to be able to do this without spending a ton of money though. We'll see. I may be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

For eokyere

A followup for eokyere of on his comment at Jonathan's post apology to Matt. I know very well the diff between Java the language and the JVM.

See the comments at John Clingan's blog entry on The Java Platform.

Just wanted to clear that up.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Another one at Jonathan's

Jason, I went to HP, went to "home/home office" picked everyday computing, picked sort by lowest price, picked the "HP Pavilion a1410e series", selected View Details, clicked customize (price $269), upgraded the cpu from sempron to AMD athlon 64 3500+ (price $299), took the free 512 memory upgrade, kept everything the same (80 GB 7200rpm hd, 48x cd-rw, Windows XP home, sound, video, mouse and keyboard). There's a $50 mailing rebate and a $100 instant off. I assume tax and shipping will not raise it above $400. This should be plenty for Solaris. I know it's plenty for Debian. (I have Debian 3.1 running on a AMD K6 with 96 megs of ram and a 6gb hd compaq laptop from 1998 (no GUI) and it's fast enough.) I have no doubt whatsoever that Debian Sarge and Etch would run on the $299 HP without any problem. Heck, Windows XP runs on it. I suggest Sun buy a few dozen from HP, install the latest Solaris 10 (no DVD allowed, do the CD install), put them back in the HP box, take orders and ship them next day. Then publish detailed (exact) instruction on how to install and configure the OS and the main components (apache, ftp, bind, sendmail, etc) on a wiki somewhere. That would get people realizing that Solaris can get in at the ground floor.

Comment on adoption by kids: programming is an art, just like writing (novels, poetry, etc) and usually one is most comfortable in the mother tongue, meaning the language learned from childhood (although mine is French, but I'm not normal as my wife often says). Get kids using Solaris at home, and in 10 years you'll have 30 million experienced Solaris developers in every city in the world. You don't have to give it to them for free, but you do have to make it run on new, entry-level hardware.

Is there anything in my proposal that cannot physically be done this week?

Didn't think so, except maybe fix Solaris to run on that machine. As long as Debian can do it and Solaris can't, well, I'm not a Sun shareholder, and I don't plan to be for a while.

As far as my hating Java: I never said that. My all-time favorite text editor and 100% of all programming IDE is jEdit, and it's a Java app. Love it, could not live without it (Yes I've told Slava). What I said is that I would never program in Java. I took a Java class, got an A, bought some books, installed NetBeans, tried, and tried, but it never clicked, never felt natural, never felt like I could get my mind and Java in the same trough. So I gave up. I stick with python because it just feels natural to me (even if django gave me nightmares with its funky orm). I've digressed. I'll stop now.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A post on Jonathan's Blog

Reposting here because, well, am not sure the moderator will like it, and well, I spent time on this so don't want to watch it disappear in a puff of bits.


Jonathan, interesting interview. Interesting response to Matt.

On the interview: very tight money-wise. Very very tight, remember that. I'm a software developer for a fortune 500, in my late 30's with a wife and a 1.5 year old. It's still not easy to make ends meet. The cost of housing and health insurance alone is killing me, not to mention food and gasoline. I take a lunch box to work to same money. The family cars are 8 and 3 years old respectively.

Now, I am also part of a two-man startup. We have a couple of colocated servers (total cost $3500, on my partner's credit cards mostly) with $60 monthly hosting costs. We do little database driven websites for local businesses. I develop in python, php, asp and javascript, and do consulting for a company I worked at before, as well as take occasional development jobs.

I also often converse with Jim Grisanzio on his blog about OpenSolaris and sometimes with James Governor via email about enterprisey stuff in general.

I too wish Sun the best. But I gotta tell you, I don't have a single machine running Solaris under my control. I tried installing it on a couple old machines (Debian 3.0 Sarge runs just fine on both) and failed both times. Now, I'm not a Solaris admin, and not a UNIX guru, I'm a web application developer (backend stuff mostly, web-services, etc) and I can install and manage RH, Ubuntu, Debian Etch, even a Windows 2003 Server 64 machine (had fun getting ADODB working under IIS on that box but I managed). I've installed and manage mediawiki, bugzilla, svn, Apache with reverse proxy, ftp, ssh, and gasp, can play with routing tables. I admin databases, (many flavors except DB2) and especially love sqlite these days.

To me the fact that I failed to install Open Solaris, or Solaris Express (what's up with your zipped cd isos btw?) means that I cannot in good faith recommend it to anyone except seasoned UNIX people.

Now, I tell people all the time to dump Windows (unless they work in accounting) and OS X (unless they're photo people) and use LAMP with the P either php, python or p-ruby. I also recommend Postgresql, and I use about 30 extensions in Firefox (for development aids) -- which is why IE is dead for me.

Why am I telling you all that? Because I want you to know that I'm not a *NIX zealot, not a script-kiddy, not a academic type. I'm an average developer who's trying to finishhis BS six units per semester. And because I want to use Sun software, but it's "Too Hard" for me. I would love to use Solaris 10 and get ZFS and all that stuff. Except, well, I can't. I can't get my wife to dislodge $2,500 for "yet another server", and I can't bring myself to kill 5 CDs to burn an OS I'll probably not be able to install on hardware with less than 1GB of ram.

Oh, and I do not have a 19-inch rack at home.

What I want Sun to make a $400 machine that I can run as a Solaris server with postgresql, mysql, python, mod_python, php, mod_php, apache, and a few more utilities (LaTeX, DocBook, svn, trac, mediawiki, bugzilla, ftp, (see Debian apt-cache for a full list) and make it support a few users (less than 50 for sure). It has to be a server. There won't be any GUI installed. Let me repeat that: no GUI.

You do that, and make the order page 1 page with a "credit card number and address" and no silly questions like fax number, company name, and ship it the same day, and Jonathan, I will personally buy one, and will tell all my friends about it, in person. Also, you have to ship it the same day! It's very important. I never buy anything online or offline if I have to wait more than a day or two for it (that's why no Ebay for me).

A final piece of advice: Sell the system pre-configured, with all the software above already working, and hardened by your engineers, and send along a little hard-bound manual with exact configurations. If people want to wipe the HDs and start again, that's up to them. Remember that these machines will be toys for tinkering.

Just like people tinkered with Linux 15 years ago.

A couple of other things you can do to gain the going-to-exist-business: release Solaris under the GPLv2 (not 3, 3 does not exist) and encourage mingling of technologies with Linux. I'll repeat that: mingle with Linux. Make ZFS work on Linux and contribute it. This will splash more than the EU report of FLOSS (which I printed and skimmed).

The other thing I would like you to do is take it easy on the java platform: I don't code in java, and I will never code in java. I don't do Java EE with ejb and serverfaces. I don't develop applications for J2ME. After getting to know Python better, I now want to go after Ruby, Scheme maybe, Dylan maybe. So stop mentioning "Java is on a Billion devices" every single time. We all know that know this and I personally don't care. I want Solaris as a platform for my applications, not a "Java Is The Greatest" spiel. It's getting old.

Anecdote: on New Year's day, I was at a gathering, and a 13 year old showed me photos on her cell phone. I asked what kind of stuff she had on her phone, and she proceeded to show me. The Java logo came on, and I asked her what that was. She stared blankly and said "I don't know". She had tuned it out, never wondered about it, just like he FBI warning in front of videos and DVDs that absolutely everyone completely ignores for having seen them endlessly without appropriate context. Now, that kid made her own website and thinks MySpace is for old people. I can get her to buy that $400 machine. You can't, but I can. Heck, I can even get her dad to buy her one instead of an Xbox. Later that afternoon she asked me how one goes about getting a domain name. Let me rehash: I would love to get her on Solaris, Apache, Mysql, Python. I can totally see how she's going to make money off The Network someday soon. Jonathan, help me get Solaris 10 in her hands.