Monday, August 20, 2007

Cynicism, what's the point..

Cheap-boat-for-sale suggested that we form a cynics group. I won't be wasting my time, it'll never work.

Open Source, Spectrum of liberty

I just read Stefano Mazzocchi's post "On Version Control Architectures and the Fear of Displacing Innovation" he paints an eloquent picture of a tension which I'm sure is familiar to most, if not all, contributors to open source projects. How far do we have to constrain what we let each other do in order for our project to have a discrete identity which exceeds the sum of its parts, and at what point towards the libertarian end of the spectrum does our project loose coherence and become equal to or even less than the sum of its parts.

Stefano says "how many potential contributors did we miss because we didn't give them commit access soon enough" and I know exactly what he means. I'd like to broaden the question though, and ask why we choose to encumber ourselves with unweildy processes and centralised infrastructure?

I recently proposed that Apache James could lower the bar to publishing news stories if we used a blog. The ASF doesn't provide any blogging infrastructure, and if we used an off-site service, such as blogger (as used to publish this blog), it would be a "turnkey" operation and not involve Apache infrastructure in any effort. However my proposal has been met by a resounding "Hmmm... I'm not sure..." with most of the reservations being around hosting official content off-site. To me there seem to be many concrete benefits and very few drawbacks with out-sourcing this function and I was surprised that others didn't share my point of view.

So reading Stefano's post made me wonder, why *do* we feel that we have to control the infrastructure in order to "own" the project? Why do we want even to consider expending our limited resources on hosting for ourselves services which we can have for free?

Ok Initially we had to own the infrastructure so that we could operate the services we needed, and, yes, today we could argue that we want to retain full control over certain key services, websites, email, source control. But I always believed that the Apache Way was about community, proven processes and best practice, a brand and some world class products.

Don't take this the wrong way, I know that ASF infrastructure is vital to the ability of the projects to operate, and that it will never be possible for me to repay the people who set it up and who volunteer to maintain it on our behalf, but I never really thought the infrastructure was anything other than the key enabler. We have dozens of people hosting mirrors of our downloads, and no one complains about that, why would they, it benefits everyone.

Using a no-cost off-site service doesn't IMHO automatically compromise your reputation or undermine the moral authority of your message.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quote of the [specify timeperiod]

I couldn't quite believe the hype:

"Oracle Coherence enables continuous data availability and transactional integrity, even in the event of a server failure"
Yes, it says "data availability ... in the event of a server failure". Of course they mean one server out of a cluster, but my mind boggled for a moment 'till my common sense caught up.

Perhaps not worthy of a QO[ST] Gold Award, but I'm reckon its worth one of those corporate shards of broken glass handed out for being-a-good-customer, which is surely a euphemism for spending-more-money-than-you-needed-to.

scoes woes - or "I own the internet"

Most of the reports of SCO's defeat in court I've seen have mentioned the share price, as did Fitz, but Ars Technica also makes this point

"SCO's biggest windfall since the start of its legal fiasco has been UNIX licensing revenue collected from Microsoft and Sun, much of which is rightfully owed to Novell under the terms of the 1995 Asset Purchase Agreement."

Does this mean SCO can expect a letter from Novell's lawyers, can M$ and Sun take SCO to court for scamming them with the protection racket, or will SCO just get to keep the money?

If its the latter, then I'm afraid you owe me a fiver for using the internet. I'm currently in dispute with some other people about whether or not I really own it, but if you are concerned about the risk to your business should I be successful (and when I am I won't look kindly on anyone who gets on the wrong side of me at this stage) you can ensure that you are covered, legally, by paying me the modest one-off licence fee. Put your £5 in a brown envelope and leave it at Glasgow Central Station, under the bench beside the lift on platform 13.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Apache James At Apachecon US 07

== UPDATE ==
I've had to withdraw this talk, because it coincided to closely with the New Job. Sorry.


My Talk "Apache James - The Complete Email Application Platform" has been accepted for Apachecon US 07 in Atlanta on the 15th of November at 15:00. Be there!

If you didn't see me at Apachecon EU 07 in May you can look forward to a description of the major features and components of the Apache James mail server, with a focus on how the modular architecture can enable extending, customising and embedding of email functionality into systems and products of all kinds with an email related need.
If you want to integrate email with your enterprise systems, or want to add an open source email application server to your J2EE stack this talk is for you.

Since I first gave the talk in Amsterdam in May life and art have converged, the Mailet API has its own sub-project and the componentisation of James' trunk has proceeded along very similar lines to those anticipated by that talk.

I will be presenting the same outline but with some added detail, news of progress and further plans from the James team, so even if you heard me in Amsterdam I'm sure I will have things to say which will interest you.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Do a lot more interesting stuff with your iSight camera

I'm not a mac owner [cries of "shame" and "boo"] nor do I have an iPhone, iPod, an iSight camera or iLaunch, but I know a lot of you do own some of these things, so when I got in touch with a long-lost friend yesterday and he told me he'd been doing this including a thing called IRIS I thought I'd pass it along.
Find out more about IRIS here, including downloads, according to the blog:

Iris is a kind of “Photo Booth on Steroids”, that allows you to do a lot more interesting stuff with your iSight camera.

Features include:

  • Snapshot mode, with core image filtering.
  • Movie mode
  • TimeLapse Movie mode
  • Security mode, with motion detection and email alerting.
  • WebCam mode
  • A built-in Gallery, with email, send to flickr, and export options. iPod, AppleTV, and iPhone export are supported.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Goodbye School boards

Scottish school boards cease to exist today, replaced by "parent forums"[sic] and "parent councils".

I've been chair of our primary schoool board for the past couple of years, and today also marks my first day of freedom ;-)

I'm very proud to have had this opportunity to be involved in our school, and I hope the new arrangements work out well for them.

Facebook Cache Phreakiness

Robert Scoble, facebook obsessive that he is, blogs about facebook's recent problem with cache headers.

In a nutshell, and facebook's own words:

This was not the result of a security breach. Specifically, the bug caused some third party proxy servers to cache otherwise inaccessible content. The result was that an isolated group of users could see some pages that were not intended for them.
Perhaps not a security breach, but IMHO a worrying lapse in security and wake up call for facebook QA.
I saw other peoples' message inbox, including their messages' subjects and the short snippet. Not their whole messages, but it was bad enough.
What's worse is that because it was a proxy cache issue I saw cached content for other people who used the same proxy, more normally referred to in the human world as my colleagues, and not just for some random facebook strangers.

Zimbabwe $2

$2 not $200,000, originally uploaded by danny angus.

The BBC report that Zimbabwe is introducing a $200,000 note.

I thought it might be worth posting this picture of a $2 note I brought home with me after visiting a Zimbabwean friend in 1993. It is literally not worth the paper it is printed on.

At that time $2 would cost you £0.20 (20p) and $2.35 would buy you 20 cigarettes, the same cigarettes cost £2.35 in the UK, mainly because of duty.

Now (by which I mean *today* as inflation is running so high in Zimbabwe), if a grain of sugar weighs a milligram, this note would buy you five grains.

Zimbabwe is a lovely country and the people I met were very friendly. The sight of the kids in neat school uniforms coming out of traditional mud hut villages to line up for the school bus filled me with hope. Many people I spoke to then believed that Zimbabwe could be a role model for the whole of Africa, that dream must be well and truly dead now. How much longer are we going to sit around watching this get worse and worse?

I know nothing, I'm not a fortune teller, and you'd be insane to think that I am. This disclaimer was cribbed from an email footer I once received. It is so ridiculous I had to have it for myself.

Statements in this blog that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements including, without limitation, statements regarding my expectations, objectives, anticipations, plans, hopes, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward looking statements include risks and uncertainties such as any unforeseen event or any unforeseen system failures, and other risks. It is important to note that actual outcomes could differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements.

Danny Angus Copyright © 2006-2013 (OMG that's seven years of this nonsense)