Open Source

Specialism, image management, Chromium and Windows

One of the things I love about open source is that there’s a huge amount of power in the idea that you can use, and indeed co-operate on, a whole ecosytem of generalised, robust, re-usable components, and then combine, configure and supplement them into something that is greater than the sum of its parts - into a final result which concentrates on being extremely good at a particular task. There was a time that to create something awesome in a particular space, you’d either have to buy in lots of expertise or you’d have to invent it yourself, before you ever got to the interesting bit that mattered.

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Microsoft, the good open source citizen

GPL Microsoft Open Source

What a difference a few years can make. For a long time, Microsoft was seen as public enemy #1 of those who liked to promote, produce and consume open source (I’m deliberately not describing it as a ‘movement’ here - that implies political motivations which I assert that only a vocal minority have). It was entirely their own fault of couse; blustery, really quite bizarre tirades from the only two CEOs their company has ever had cemented their position as the McCarthy’s of the modern era.

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Back from Qt Dev Days (Munich)

Before 2009, I’d never set foot in Germany before; not for any particular reason, I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. However, thanks to gracious invitations to conferences I’ve now been twice. 😀In May I went to Stuttgart for FMX, and last week I went to Munich for Qt Developer Days. It was an enjoyable conference, as always the best part is just meeting other delegates, the sessions themselves are merely the icing on the cake.

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My evolving view of open source licenses

I’ve been involved in open source for a long time - probably what might be considered a ‘generation’ in this industry. I was a fan of open source before I even knew the term existed - during my formative coding years in the early 90’s I was always releasing code for free and encouraging people to tell me why it sucked, and doing the same for them. Of course, most of the discussion went on over FidoNet, BBS-relayed emails, the very early (pre-WWW) internet and code on FTP sites, but the principle was much the same.

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Getting more structured with my DVCS tests

Ok, so I’ve posted my initial feelings about tinkering with Mercurial and Git, and that seems to have generated some interest. It’s time to get a bit more formal about how I’m going to evaluate them against each other, to decide which one I like to use most in real, practical scenarios. So, I decided to come up with a list of use cases for the things that I typically have to deal with when managing the repositories for a software project (open source and otherwise), so that I can methodically test them out and see how I feel about each system.

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Playing with Mercurial

I’ve been interested in DVCS for a while; having done my fair share of branch management, something which makes that process easier and more transparent is definitely very attractive. I particularly like the way a DVCS makes it easier for people to collaborate in pockets of their own, away from the centralised environment, and track other repositories and keep their local mods up to date more easily - public-branch-on-demand if you will.

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amazon backups Linux s3 sysadmin

Edit: this script is deprecated in favour of a rewritten version 2. I use Amazon S3 to host large media files which I want cheap scalable bandwidth on, and for expandable offsite storage of important backups. I used to have some simple incremental tar scripts to do my offsite backups, but since I moved to Bacula, I’ve just established an alternative schedule and file set definition for my offsite backups, the critical subset of data I couldn’t possibly stand to lose (like company documents).

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MS breaks the sixth seal?

Quick check - ok, the sun is in fact not as black as sackcloth. But today, something earth-shattering happened - Microsoft has contributed code to Linux. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that I’d never live to see the day this happened. It’s 20,000 lines of driver code to make Linux run better under Hyper-V, which is of course in their interest (since you have to buy a copy of Windows Server 2008 as the host) , but that’s par for the course for open source contribution (you scratch your own itch!

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Open source - the next challenge

Open Source users

So, after much initial confusion, sabre-rattling, dispair and finally acceptance (sometimes grudging), the world now pretty much groks open source. In addition, we’re all getting better at doing open source - it’s increasingly obvious what the best practices are in terms of growing and developing an open source project, and of how businesses as well as hippie coders can use and produce it effectively. Increasingly, open source is a known beast, and those that don’t embrace it in some fashion are increasingly looking hopelessly luddite.

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It's all in the small print

There have been cries of joy on the intertubes recently from people who like .Net but who like using it on non-Windows platforms (or believing they have the option to do so), in that Microsoft has extended their Community Promise to Mono, meaning they won’t sue over uses of it. Or so it’s been rather shallowly reported in some circles, more on this below. Firstly I’ll just say that no matter what, this is a positive step.

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