elliot's blog

Mac OS X Will Become a Target, Symantec Warns

This article notes that Mac OS X will become a target for hackers before too long and (heavens above!) someone has already written a rootkit for it. I wonder when Symantec will be releasing their "Mac OS X Protector Enterprise Security Blanket" product?

Popularity comparison of CMS tools

This is an interesting survey comparing popularity of open source "community platforms". To summarise:

  • Use of open source CMSs is accelerating rapidly.
  • phpBB is the most used.
  • Mambo and Wordpress are the fastest growing, with Wordpress set to become more popular than Mambo before too long.

Patch accepted

At the weekend, I had my first patch accepted into the Drupal project (not the Drupal core, but a contributed module called Webform). Nice: means I don't have to maintain it any more! Does this mean I can put "Open Source Developer" on my CV now?

WordPerfect < MS Office < OpenOffice

In an article about why IT consultants should jump on open source, the author mentioned how WordPerfect had been eclipsed by Microsoft Word. While working out when this happened (could be a useful example of how products are eclipsed by newcomers), I realised how this kind of micro-history, of the movement of product popularity in IT, is relatively under-documented. But this is where something like Wikipedia really comes into its own: I found a whole entry on the history of WordPerfect. It turns out WordPerfect was overtaken by MS Office in the early 1990s (which sounds about right to me). Is OpenOffice.org waiting to do the dirty on MS Office, the way MS Office did on WordPerfect?

Google stuff

Interesting article about how Google runs their infrastructure: 1000s of cheap PCs which they expect to break, running Linux. Not much detail, but gives some idea of the scale they are working on.

Google also this week announced it has open sourced some of its code. Can't see as I'll have much use for it, but some of my functional programming friends might enjoy Goopy/Functional.

.coop

Today I was in contact with the first person I've come across who has a .coop email address (i.e. name@somewhere.coop). I found this utterly bizarre, so had a look round and discovered that .coop is now a top level domain name you can buy yourself. Might be of interest to my colleague Paul Cooper, who sometimes goes by the pseudonym "coop". Though I think he'd have to convince them he's a cooperative to get one.

Congratulations!

Congratulations to my good friends Alex and Nancy, whose baby boy Cory was born yesterday at 9.30pm.

Bug report

Got the first bona fide bug report for my BookmarksToDelicious software. Unable to reproduce it, though. Hopefully the submitter will let me have his bookmark file and tell me what command line he used. Still intending (eventually) to update the software to handle bookmarks in xbel format (Konqueror).

Scary

Drupal patches

Last night I spent some time pulling out the changes I've made to my Drupal install (i.e. this website) and turning them into patches. So far, I've submitted four patches to the Drupal issue tracker. One was rejected on the grounds that something similar was already in CVS, and a second because it was too picky (I can't abide error messages if they are avoidable, and all my patch did was fix a trivial error which didn't affect how Drupal runs). The other two are still in the queue, so they might make it in yet.

Aside from anything else, I've learned two important lessons about attempting to contribute to Drupal (which are possibly true of trying to contribute to any open source project):

  1. Developers are extremely particular about coding standards. In two of my four patches, I slightly diverged from the coding standard for brevity's sake, and the patch reviewers were critical of this in both cases.
  2. To develop on a project, you really need to be using the bleeding edge source code from CVS. One of my patches was rejected because similar functionality had made it into the source tree since I downloaded it.

My motivation for submitting patches is so I don't have to maintain my patched versions. I always encourage people who modify open source software to try to get their changes incorporated into the main source tree, rather than maintain a fork themselves. But, on this occasion, because I am quite picky, I may find myself in the position of maintaining my own fork of Drupal so I can keep the features I've added which I find useful.

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