November 08, 2007
Smart Questions

The usually smart Charles Arthur make a classic mistake here - GrowlMail screwed up your Mail so it keeps crashing? Yeah, but what should the developers do? - approaching an open source developer for help in a bad mood and with a sense of entitlement.

Remember, when you ask an OSS developer for support, what you are actually doing is asking a stranger for a favour. Now, the fact that they are releasing open source probably means that they are the sort of person who's likely to help out a stranger, but if you come across as unconstructivly critical, uncooperative, or just plain unfriendly, the developer has nothing to lose by just turning her back.

The canonical work on getting help from OSS developers is of course ESR's How To Ask Questions The Smart Way.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
November 01, 2007

I've never been too intimidated by driving Subversion from the command line, so I've always maintained my branches by hand, keeping note of what had been merged in the check-in messages. But today Graham Tackley recommended I take a look at svnmerge. I must say, I didn't know what I was missing.

It keeps track of merges for you, ensuring that you'll never try to merge the same revision more than once, or miss any out by accident. Makes it easy to block revisions that you don't want to merge, too. Give it a try.

Don't forget - you'll need a decent merge tool, too

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
September 27, 2004
Which Distro?

Excellent! My next project will involve building a new site which will include some 'announcment and discussion forums', or, well, blogs. I wonder why I'm in the frame for this one? ;-)

I'm thinking WordPress for the blog engine. Seems to be all the go at the moment.

Even more excellent, if a little scary, is that all this is to run on a Linux box. I've not used Linux in anger, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm very much a command line man, so I'm sure I'll get on fine once I've got some momentum up. But getting started...

Which distro should I use? I quite fancy Debian, but I'm not sure that I'm hary chested enough for it. Would I better off with SuSE, or is that a bit desktop oriented? Is Ubuntu ready for prime-time? Or is there another distro altogether that I should be using?

Update 28th September: Ubuntu is looking promising, but I'm going with Debian. CDs burning as I write.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)
May 27, 2004
Cross Platform Open Source more successful?

Cross Platform Open Source more successful? "Python is another language that runs nicely on many platforms and does a great job of making life easy for Windows users. ... Perl, by contrast, seems to have reached it's ceiling in terms of uptake. Outside of ActivePerl think it's fair to say Perl puts *Nix first - perhaps that's the problem."

Me, I'm stuck with Windows, so naturally I'm only interested in software which runs on the cheap whore as well as on the psychotic ex.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
April 23, 2004
UK Open Source trade association

Open Sourcerers get UK trade body. "The association will promote open source in general, and Zope, Plone and Python technolgies in particular." Cool! Good job, Andy and Seb.

Visit the association at Zope UK.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
January 13, 2004
The value of free software

I do hope that Richard Allan MP's excellent response to Jack Schofield's Grauniad piece on Free Software is published.

Now, I'm not a Free Software man myself - I prefer the more flexible BSD/Apache style of licence. But Richard is right to flag up the importance of the work that the Free Software people have done. The Internet wouldn't exist in anything like its current form without it.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
July 01, 2003
Open source = higher quality

Interesting. In Closed source versus open source in a model of software bug dynamics, Damien Challet and Yann Le Du of the University of Oxford show that open source software has less defects than closed source, other circumstances being equal.

I'll have to try this on on El Presidente - "It's your fault that the software I wrote is crap. You insisted that it be closed..."

Via Azeem Azhar.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
November 08, 2002
Microsoft's FUD isn't working

Open source gloats over leaked Microsoft memo

See also: What We Can Learn.

Via Niel Eyde.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
October 21, 2002
Language popularity in Open Source

UseTheSource has compiled some interesting statistics as to the popularity of various languages in open-source development, using Freshmeat and Sourceforge as the, uh, sources for his stats.

See the Freshmeat statistics here, and the Sourceforge statistics here.

No real surprises here. C, C++, and Perl are all very big. Python is number six in both lists. VB is nowhere, whereas I think that in the commercial world, VB is big. But then, surely no one uses VB by choice, and contribution to OSS projects is usually voluntary.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Software idea may be just crazy enough to work reports on Mitch Kapor's Chandler, a cross platform open-source PIM which might just be able to go toe-to-toe with Outlook.

Mitch Kapor designed Lotus Agenda about a million years ago.

Sound's like it's written (at least partly) in Python, too. Now that is cool!

Via Techdirt.

Update: Yup, it's in Python - see the technology page. Could this be Python's killer app at last?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
September 17, 2002
SQuirreL SQL

SQuirreL SQL - SQuirreL SQL Client is a graphical Java program that will allow you to view the structure of a JDBC compliant database, browse the data in tables, issue SQL commands etc.

Looks really cool.

Via Sanjay's Journal of Coding Tips, via Babu.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
September 13, 2002
'Software Choice'

M$'s Software Choice page, and Bruce Perens' Sincere Choice.

Via Pushing the envelope.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
September 09, 2002
Open Source a threat to Java?

Sun's CEO Scott McNealy contends that Open Source is hurting Sun (and J2EE) in its fight against Microsoft (and 'NET).

In Sun's J2EE Standard Needs JBoss, Marc Fleury, JBoss founder, contends this.

O'Reilly's William Crawford has some interesting reflections on all this in J2EE Open Source.

VB and Java the only successful languages of the last two decades? Hmmm. Well, it really depends upon how you define successful. In terms of market share, I suppose that he's right, but people are successfully using Python, Ruby, Haskell, Objective C, PHP, Tcl and especially (shudder) Perl to develop useful tools, to name but a few. None of which detracts from his essential points.

It is certainly true that Java isn't really delivering revenue for Sun. But then, as Joel points out (Headline: Sun Develops Java; New "Bytecode" System Means Write Once, Run Anywhere), a hardware company developing a system which effectively makes hardware a commodity was always rather an odd decision. I'm not sure that you can pin the blame on Open Source!

Posted by Simon Brunning at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
September 03, 2002
Eclipse Workbench is a site dedicated to the Eclipse open-source community.

It links to articles and plug-ins, and has an FAQ.

Also worth a browse - the Eclipse Wiki. The JDT Key Bindings, Remote Java Debugging and Interesting information got by Martin Möbius
pages are all worth a look.

BTW, Eclipse 2.0.1 is out. I used the Software Update feature to update automatically, and it worked fine - as smooth as silk. The same cannot be said for a couple of my colleagues - it didn't seem to do anything for them.

Ah well - Mark has never got on with Eclipse. It just doesn't like him. I think that it's 'cos he's a VB man at heart - Eclipse resents it. I've recommended to him that he stick to Notepad. Or EDLIN.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 27, 2002
Time to open-source OS/400?

Open Source OS/400: A Crazy Idea for Crazy Times

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 06, 2002
July 24, 2002
The UK's OSS policy

Open Source Software Use Within UK Government.

See also The Register's coverage, and the Slashdot discussion.

So, while we are not up there with Peru just yet, things are heading in the right direction.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 18, 2002

VNC is a very useful cross-platform remote control system, allowing you to control one computer from another in a browser window. Open source, too.

Update 5th August: TightVNC is an enhanced version of VNC, also free.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 16, 2002
Python Eclipse

Superb! Gerhard Kalab has started work on a Python plugin for Eclipse!

Early days yet, mind you, but excellent news nevertheless.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
July 02, 2002
Where have all the open source vendors gone?

Tim O'Reilly (yes, that O'Reilly) contends that open source is alive and well, even though the same can't be said for many of the open source centered businesses.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 01, 2002
Connection Pooling with Tomcat

Connection Pooling with Tomcat is just what I have been looking for - I've been trying to work this out for hours!

Dive into connection pooling with J2EE is a good follow-up read, but it doesn't have a simple step-by-step guide to getting started.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
June 17, 2002
Economics and open source

Joel's Strategy Letter V talks about why big companies produce open source software - what's in it for them?

And the thing is, there is always a reason, and that reason is never altruism. Which is no surprise.

The reason for IBM's conversion has been obvious to me for some time. They don't make a lot of money from hardware and software any more (the iSeries aside). They make money from services and consultancy.

It is worth pointing out, though, that Java isn't open source.

Update 18th June: Slashdot have picked this up. Lots of heat, not much light.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
June 14, 2002
The Open Source Initiative

The Open Source Initiative is trying to make the case for open source in the commercial world.

Python's site is the first to carry its logo. ;-)

(Via Python Daily URL)

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
June 13, 2002
GNU Enterprise

A new version of the open source ERP GNU enterprise has been released.

"GNU Enterprise (GNUe) is a suite of tools and applications for solving the needs of the enterprise. From human resources, accounting, customer relationship management and project management to supply chain or e-commerce, GNUe can handle the needs of any business, large or small. If you are looking for a full-function ERP, GNUe is the package for you." (From What is GNUe?)

(Via Python Daily URL)

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
June 12, 2002
New release of omniORB

A new version of Duncan Grisby's CORBA ORB for C++ and Python, omniORB, has been released.

I saw Duncan speak at this year's Python UK conferance. He sold me on CORBA, I must say, but I haven't put it to use yet. I wouldn't be surprised if I used CORBA with Java first.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Professional Programmers

"VB is often the first language of the clueless". ;-)

Funny, but a bit harsh, I think. I know some good VB programmers.

Also, I agree with tk's post - I think that it's likely that good programmers want to get into open source, rather than that getting into open source will make you a good programmer.

Why? Because you are likely to be a good programmer if you are an enthusiast. And who gets into open source? Enthusiasts, that's who!

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Anti-open source 'whitepaper' devastated

Anti-open source 'whitepaper' devastated (at The Register) blasts AdTI's Mocrosoft-funded anti-OSS paper.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
May 09, 2002
How IBM became the good guys

Business 2.0 has an interesting article about the way that IBM now embraces Open Source, This Is Your Father's IBM, Only Smarter.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
Open Source and the UK government

Someone in the UK government knows about open source, thank God.

Blair hasn't been sucking up to Microsoft so visibly recently, I suppose, but we are still a million miles behind Peru.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
May 08, 2002
FUD fighting

Peru is proposing a Free Software law. Check out Microsoft's FUD letter, and Congressman Edgar Villanueva Nuñez's superbly reasoned response.

See here for the originals, and links to coverage.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)