Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Sat, 31 Jan 2004
New stylesheet for PlanetApache
Thanks to Stefano for providing a decent looking stylesheet for PlanetApache!
[22:53] | [computers/open_source/asf] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
No longer a SubEthaEdit virgin
After I posted the tips and tricks list last night, my friend Wilhelm IM'ed me and we ended up doing some stuff with SubEthaEdit -- this was my first time editing a document with someone. We were able to edit some documents with each other across the Internet. I know that this is probably old news for lots of people, but this is very useful, especially if you work remotely like I do.

I have no trouble imagining a work session that involve iChat AV with an iSight in audio or video mode, along with a collaboratively edited document in SubEthaEdit. When you couple this with TextExtras, you get a really useful tool suite. I can even conceive of doing pair programming in such an environment.

When are we going to see stuff like this on Linux? No excuses about Rendezvous, what Wilhelm and I did last night had nothing to do with Rendezvous. And what about TextExtras? Are the GNOME and KDE textediting widget extensible in the same way?

[22:40] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 30 Jan 2004
Mac Tips and Tricks
I've been building up a collection of useful Mac OS X software and tips. So I decided to put them all together in one place so that I could have them when I needed them. While I was at it, I figured that I might as well share. Enjoy!
[19:05] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 29 Jan 2004
Lunacy, Scheme, and Python
[via ??? I forgot -- I'm sorry ] Lunacy is a vm/compiler for Scheme that was also to have a front end for a dialect of Python. I wish that this were still being actively developed. It would be great to have something like this for Python.
[23:11] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 15 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Chandler Sprint at Pycon 2004
It looks like OSAF is going to be running a developer's sprint at PyCon 2004 in DC. We want this to be a chance for people to start contributing to Chandler, so let us know if you want to come. PyCon is relatively low cost (as conferences go), so I hope that we'll get to hook up with some cool folks.

This means a trip to D.C. for me and (I hope) the chance to make some personal contacts in the Python and MacPython communities.

[23:08] | [computers/open_source/osaf/chandler] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 27 Jan 2004
Is tla just another tla?
I've wanted to get the full code for Planet Apache somewhere where other ASF folks could hack on it. Ordinarily that means a CVS repository. The thing is that the planet developers are using tla, which is the version of arch that has been rewritten in C (as opposed to being a pile of shell scripts). So Thom convinced me to try Arch.

After my adventures with subversion (svn), I was a little nervous, especially when I saw that Arch also uses the neon library. But for the most part, the Arch build was short and sweet. Arch has a very different model from CVS or svn. In Arch they use branches for everything, and make it easy to merge branches together. That seems kind of interesting. Even more interesting is that there really isn't any notion of a centralized server. Everyone can have their own repository and people decide whether or not they view another repository as a main line of development or not. Depending on the scenario, this seems like it would allow a very flexible way to organize groups of developers. So for now I'm going to try this, along with an Arch to CVS tool.

I've just started out with this, so I'll report more as I go along, but for those of you interested in trying this at home: The Arch Wiki tells you how to get Arch and build it. This IRC transcript gives a quick tutorial on Arch. I also grabbed some tools off of the Arch wiki: cscvs, an Arch to CVS tool, tla-tools, which has a bunch of extra tools (and is cranky about building on OS X without GNU sed -- cranky as in hangs), tla.el, which provides simple Arch support in Emacs, and zsh-completion for tla, since there are lots of new commands to learn.

[23:26] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 26 Jan 2004
Abstract classes in Python
Ivo Timmermans has an posting explaining how to do abstract methods/classes is Python. I'm not going to comment any more other than to say go read it.
[22:08] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Friend networks and the desktop
[via boingboing.net] Warren Ellis makes an important point about systems like Orkut, LinkedIn (which picked up a lot of activity for me today via ASF folks).
These things want to be a hub for your Internet community experience, but they're just not necessary enough. Tribe gets closest, but it's nothing you're going to leave as an open window on your desktop all day. The first new social network system that builds an IM program into its structure may have a shot.
If these things ever get really useful, you are going to want them to be open all the time on your machine. If that happens, then the connection data is just a data stream for whatever application sits on your desk. I know that I don't want to leave a browser window open for this. The experience just won't be interactive enough. I already have too many communications channels -- I recently participated in a discussion that happened part in blogs, part in e-mail, and part in IRC. This is not at all unusual, and I'm surprised that it didnt' wind up spilling into IM. So what am I trying to say here? The data that's in systems like Orkut needs to be available as input to desktop applications. And personally, I'm thinking a small number of desktop applications. Right now I have Mail.app, NetNewsWire, iChat and Snak (IRC) open on my machine. If I opened up either Proteus or Fire to get the rest of my IM, well, I'd need an entire display (on a multi monitor setup) to keep track of all this stuff. It's too much and I need to work. This stuff needs to consolidate.
[22:04] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sun, 25 Jan 2004
12 Years Today
Today is our 12 year wedding anniversary, and I'm remembering one of the Bible verses that we used for our wedding:
Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
When we got married, I understood this passage more from the perspective of passion, and emotion - the powerful feelings of being in love. Today I still understand it this way, perhaps even more than I did then. But the reason is that love has been forged in the fires of life. Through joys and struggles, the good moments between us and the dark moments.

A few nights ago I watched the Quicktime video interview of Howard Dean and his wife. One thing that Dean said really stuck out to me (I'm not particularly a Dean fan):

Howard Dean: She is a huge influence on me. Uh, principally because our marriage is based on respect, and friendship, uh, and those are … I mean, being in love with somebody is a terrific thing, but if you only marry somebody because they're in love … you're in love with them, that's why the divorce rate is 50 percent. And, she's a real life partner, not just a, you know, somebody I fell in love with. She is a friend and I respect her, and that is enormous for me. Plus, she's a lot smarter than I am.
It takes more than being in love. A lot more. It takes friendship, respect, vulnerability, the ability to say "I was wrong", and a whole host of other qualities. So when I look back at the Song of Solomon, I understand that the love being written about is not just the heat and passion of being in love, but it is all those other qualities as well. And that's what the writer means when he says
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
So thank you, Julie for 12 years of sharing joy, happiness, pain, and suffering. I don't think I really understood what I was getting into, and I think I realize now that I still don't fully grasp it, but I'm looking forward to continuing to discover it with you.

Happy Anniversary!

I Love You!

[14:37] | [people] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sat, 24 Jan 2004
I received an Orkut invite pretty early on, via a fellow ASF'er. It's been interesting to see how fast I've been discovered / invited. I'm on Ryze, Tribe, and LinkIn, but none of those sites has as many of people in my "tribes" as Orkut. The combination of ASF people, and bloggers appears to be much higher than any of the other sites. Is this the association with Google at work? I remember when Tribe came out and Marc Canter was talking it up, but not enough people that I knew signed on. It's been interesting to watch it fill up over the last day or so.

I like the user created tribes feature, which is very similar to Tribes -- there don't seem to be the listings, but the listings never really worked much for me. The profiles are asking for a lot of information, but a lot of it is irrelevant to me because I'm not interested in dating.

So now that my network is getting exposed to the world, what's the benefit? Will I get messages via Orkut that I don't in other media? I'm already connected to the people in my Orkut friends list -- I'm not in it for the numbers. I might get to meet new people via friends of friends. I'm still not seeing it... I've started hanging out in #joiito, and I've gotten more benefit out of that than Ryze, Tribe, and LinkedIn put together. It seems to me that it's not enough to have a big network. The right network is more important.

[22:38] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 23 Jan 2004
Brains For Sale
The January 2004 issue of Fast Company has an article titled Brains For Sale which talks about how IBM is using its research labs as a sales tool. The basic gist is that IBM is sweetening some deals by including access to researchers at the various IBM research centers. This is an interesting twist on something that IBM has been doing for a while. It's well documented that IBM is making a lot of money from its extensive patent portfolio. This seems to be taking that notion one step further. Why wait for IBM researchers to invent something and patent it? Why not bring them right into your company and get them to help solve your really hard problems? It will be interesting to see how this works out. If it works out it'll actually put some truth in the much ballyhooed phrase "our most important asset is our people".

At the same time, I'm a bit ambivalent about this. Having been a researcher for a while, I've been dismayed at the slow decay of corporate research laboratories, and it's tempting to view this as another step in that direction.

[22:37] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
It really is real
The author copies of my book, Professional XML Development with Apache Tools arrived today. I hadn't actually seen the finished product, so having a few copies come out of the box makes the whole experience seem more concrete. I find these connection points to the finished product really help finish the process of creation. When I worked at Apple, it was walking into Fry's Electronics and seeing MessagePad 2000 boxes on the shelf. With ASF software it's been walking into consulting clients and seeing the Xerces jar files or other ASF jars in the classpath and the product source code. Building something that people actually use is important for me.

So any way, if you are interested in the various XML related Apache projects, the book is a survey of what the projects including examples of their use.

[22:25] | [books] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 22 Jan 2004
Don't call us, we'll call you
Stefano traces back the history of the IOC concept. I can add a little more data. I heard the phrase "don't call us, we'll call you" repeatedly when I interviewed at Taligent around February of 1995. You should recall that during this timeframe Erich Gamma (of Design Patterns and Eclipse fame) was working at Taligent, so I have my suspicions...
[22:47] | [computers/programming] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Planet Apache improvements
I've just updated the Planet Apache sidebar to include the RSS feed for the Gump results. Thom removed the feed from the main aggregation because there were just way too many entries. I think that people would like to know that Gump has a feed, which is why I moved it off to the side. I hope this will help some people who are interested in the Gump results.

In other news, it looks like some other folks are going to get involved with the look and feel of Planet Apache, so you won't be looking at my tasteless CSS styles for too much longer.

[22:43] | [computers/open_source/asf] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 20 Jan 2004
I don't believe in The One, I believe in him.
Well, it turns out that the rest of the Matrix trilogy might have a few quotables in it after all. Sam's reference to Niobe struck me yesterday, but when I read Thom's post today, it struck again, this time in reference to the whole ASF.

One of the reasons that it took a bit of time to get Planet Apache up and running is that there was some concern over how "official" it would be. There was a segment of the community that was concern about oversight of it (there's lot's of concern about oversight at the ASF these days). Other people were concerned about people ranting on about stuff unrelated to the ASF, which has prompted people to create subfeeds of their blogs for ASF topics only.

The consensus of the ASF community that expressed an opinion was that we host Planet Apache off the ASF infrastructure, thereby avoiding (we hope), the oversight and branding issues. This is also one reason why I haven't been super fast about getting feather up onto the site either. Fortunately Thom May stepped into the gap with hosting, and between the two of us we got the thing going.

Thom and I have not corresponded a super lot about Planet, but I was pleased to see his post about it today. Thom is interested in Planet Apache as a social vehicle, and I think that this is an important part of its function. One version of Planet Apache would be an aggregation of ASF specific subfeeds, which would get you a kind of "what's happening in the ASF world". This is kind of an informal newsletter or daily status report. That's all fine and good.

That's not what we have today. What we have today is whatever feeds people registered, which makes it less directly focused on ASF software projects and more focused on ASF people. This is important, because all ASF people are more than just the ASF projects that they work on. So it's as important, or more important to trust the people in the ASF than the organization itself. That can only happen as people get exposure to one another, and not only in a technical fashion. So the fact that Planet Apache is more like a day long water cooler conversation rather than an hourly status report is of great value. The ASF is now more than 700 committers. How do you build community across that many people? One thing that you can do is create a place where they can express themselves and their opinions uncensored, so that more of their personal side becomes visible. It helped a lot this year when I went to ApacheCon and talked to people who had blogs. There was more to talk about outside of code, and that made it easier to use that precious face to face time to build deeper relationships.

I think that Thom and I are in agreement that we won't require ASF specific feeds. If people want to do that, that's fine by me. But let me suggest to those folks that you are short changing your fellow ASF'er's and the people that use our software by doing so. Let your hearts and souls out a little bit.

[00:39] | [computers/open_source/asf] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 19 Jan 2004
Stefano and Sam
Congratulations to Stefano on his new job at MIT. We talked about this a bit at ApacheCon, so I'm glad that everything finally worked out. I hope this means we'll get a chance to see each other a bit more often in the next two years.

Sam had a great summary of the whole deal, and one of the most important values for assessing projects. It's the people not the code. Or put another way, since you almost always need more than one person for a sizable project, it's the community, not the code.

[00:17] | [computers/open_source/asf] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sun, 18 Jan 2004
Some Python tips
On Friday in the Chandler IRC, someone asked about good introductory Python books, which led to a discussion of tutorial versus reference books. I commented that I liked the CHM form of the Python doc, which was news to some folks. So in the spirit of sharing (what little I know), I've put up a page of Python tips, which I'll be adding to as I learn more.
[23:00] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sat, 17 Jan 2004
Text, vCard, or FOAF?
Last week, Dave Thomas posted about his use of a blog as a contact manager. His implementation entails 1 flat file per person stored in the file system, controlled by CVS, and is converted by RubLog plugin. This all seems great to me except for the use of yet another flat file format. If I were going to do such a thing, I'd be tempted to use either vCards (which are described in a pair of RFC's) or FOAF files. Either of the formats are plain text, which is important. They are also (supposedly) well defined enough so that there could be standard infrastructure (parsers, etc) for getting the useful information out of them. As I've related in an earlier post, vCards made it mostly trivial (once I found the right command in Outlook) to move my entire Outlook address book to the Mac OS X address book.

I'm ambivalent about vCard versus FOAF. For the purposes of interoperability with other clients, vCard is probably the better format. For the sake of everything being XML, FOAF as a slight advantage, since the xml-vcard effort seems stalled, as does the rdf-vcard effort.

[23:36] | [computers/internet/microcontent] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 16 Jan 2004
Ecto pyblosxom
I'm pleased to announce alpha support for Ecto in pyblosxom. which is available from my home page.

At the moment there is support for retreiving posts, editing them and creating new posts. Labelling posts with categories is supported. Changing posts and deleting posts is not.

This support involves modifications to the blogger XML-RPC plugin as well as a new metaweblog plugin. In addition, these pluging rely on changes to pyblosxom.py which are not yet in CVS. All the necessary files are available from the home page.

This posting was made (and edited) using these plugins.

Thanks to Adriaan Tijsseling, the author of Ecto, for helping me to debug this.

I also plan to do support for NetNewsWire's weblog editor -- Brent and I are working on some issues there.

One final note. This support is for my own use mostly, but I thought that people out there might find it useful. I'm very happy to receive patches that make this work with blogging tool X. Beyond support for Ecto and NetNewsWire, I'm not promising support for any other blogging tools.

[23:12] | [computers/internet/weblogs/pyblosxom] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 15 Jan 2004
Which is harder building kernel 2.6.1 or subversion on Mac OS X
Bill Kearney is wrestling with trying to get Linux 2.6.1 running on his older hardware. A few days ago I built 2.6.1 on my development linux box, and it seemed to build okay. I haven't booted it yet, because I haven't had enough time to reboot it and then walk over to the garage to make sure that it boots correctly. Perhaps over the weekend.

Last night and today I've been wrestling with getting subversion 0.36 to build on Mac OS X. I was unhappy with the Fink guys because their version is so far behind, but after my experiences, I understand a bit more where they are coming from.

To build subversion (svn), you need Berkeley DB (BDB) 4.2.50, Neon 0.24, httpd 2.0.48, and subversion-0.36. Getting the tarballs and unpacking them is no problem. I built Neon and BDB according to the instructions and set them aside. No problem. Next up, build httpd 2.0.48 against BDB 4.2.50 so that httpd and subversion both use the same BDB (subversion needs BDB 4.2). I got stuck here for quite a while. First, the httpd build wasn't finding BDB. This was partially fixed by Justin Erenkrantz who pointed me to a newer version of httpd-2.0.48/srclib/apr-util/build/dbm.m4 (I got version 1.8). This got me further not quite all the way. I made a typo in the pathe for BDB which was just dumb. But it took a couple builds to find it (thanks to Jack Repenning). The next obstacle was that httpd built, but subversion wasn't finding it or SSL. When I tried to run apachectl. It failed with an error about expat libraries being incorrect versions. I was trying to build all of the httpd modules as shared, which may have been the problem. So throttled back to enabling just the modules described in the svn INSTALL file. This still didn't produce a working apachectl. As a last act of desperation, I blew away the httpd directory and unpacked the tarball again, copied the new version of dbm.m4 and configured. And lo and behold httpd built and apachectl ran. Of course, I'm missing a bunch of modules that I want -- I guess I'll be learning how to build individual modules as DSO's (yes I did try to build all the modules non-shared. subversion didn't like that either).

Working httpd in hand, I then proceeded on to try and build svn clients and servers. After the first attempt at configuring, I saw that subversion actually builds neon itself. So much for the original build of neon. The problem was that neon wasn't getting built with SSL support. So I went looking through the mailing lists (again) for some kind of pointers. Fortunately, this message mentioned the --with-libs= option for neon, which resulted in subversion configuring correctly. The compile just finished and everything seems good. I can't guarantee that it runs, but that's next on my list.

If you've been keeping score, and you want to try this at home (assuming you've unpacked the tarballs):

cd db-4.2.50
cd build_unix
sudo make install
cd ..
cp dbm.m4 httpd-2.0.48  (you have to get the path for dbm.m4 right after you download it)
cd httpd-2.0.48
./configure --enable-dav --enable-so --enable-maintainer-mode --enable-ssl --with-berkeley-db=/usr/local/BerkeleyDB.4.2
sudo make install
cd ..
cd subversion-0.36.0
./configure --enable-maintainer-mode --enable-ssl --with-ssl --with-libs=/sw/lib --with-berkeley-db=/usr/local/BerkeleyDB.4.2
sudo make install
No goats, chickens, or other animals required. Just lots of frustration.
[23:27] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 5 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

twl JPG


Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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