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.
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
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?
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."
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.
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.
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.
See also: What We Can Learn.
Via Niel Eyde.
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.
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!
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 Pushing the envelope.
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!
Eclipse-Workbench.com is a site dedicated to the Eclipse open-source community.
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.
William Gates? He's my age. He's a gentleman of my generation. We're a few months apart in age. I've never met him. I hate to pick on him. Really. He's obviously a very smart man. And he's a nicer guy, as a human being, than a lot of his competitors. But I have to pick on Bill, instead of Bill's competitors. Because Bill physically killed and ate all his competitors.
So, while we are not up there with Peru just yet, things are heading in the right direction.
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.
Superb! Gerhard Kalab has started work on a Python plugin for Eclipse!
Early days yet, mind you, but excellent news nevertheless.
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.
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.
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)
"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)
A new version of Duncan Grisby's CORBA ORB for C++ and Python, omniORB, has been released.
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!
Someone in the UK government knows about open source, thank God.