Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Spectrums, rubber keys, parking fines, OpenLDAP and replacement windows

The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Although come to think of it, I do feel a bit of rigor mortis settling in, could be something to do with the fact that last night was the first time at the gym for nearly 3 weeks. Anyway, much has happened, I lead an army, stormed through Europe, conquered Asia and now rule half the world... oh wait, that was Alexander not me, another life, another movie maybe. When the morning comes and you wake up realising that you are not the one to start the revolution, you are not the one to find the undiscovered species or the missing link, you are not the one to write the book that will fundamentally change the beliefs of and unite the peoples of the world, that you are not the one to positively change humanity with the invention of costless, abundant, pollution free energy, when that time comes, do you feel it? I think I had that revelation this morning, so I cleaned my teeth, took a shower, got dressed and made my way down stairs to make a cup of tea and slice of toast, with marmalade of course!

With absolutely nothing to do with the above and for anyone that actually reads the blurb spewed in these blogs I can inform you that I was not compelled to run naked down the high street with a traffic cone on my head singing "my old man’s a dustman", suffer copious amounts of Mr Patel's extra strength vindaloo, but I did enjoy the vast quantities of Guinness. Yes, the installation went fine (in a roundabout sort of way). Oh yes, there were the niggles and gripes, teething problems, times that I had to resort to the beating the insolent teenager of technology with a hammer to get it to work, but in the end it did just that. What on earth am I talking about? Well... the customer of mine, Mr Windows, is now Mr Linux (apart from a couple PCs) and so is his network of around 100 or so workstations. Working like a charm (or curse?). Open office is in full swing, OpenLDAP proved a complete bitch to install and configure but perseverance is the key and if I had persevered that much in my marriages I'd be a far richer man! Anyway, as far as a viable alternative to a windows network, Linux does provide the goods. I really thought I would lose the bet when I hit the user accounts/validation brick wall but on reading and tinkering, getting it wrong, getting bits surprisingly right, abundant scratching of head, reading and posting, it was eventually sorted. A couple of the PCs were running some 3rd party software controlling a couple of manufacturing machines so these stayed, I wasn't prepared to get that messy and totally balls it up. As far as the experiment is concerned, I think I will mark this one up as a success. The office admin have just about everything they need to work, databases, spreadsheets, fax, scanners, word processing, card games, internet and email. I had to tweak quite a few lines of JavaScript to get the intranet working properly, basically copy and paste to modify the DOM object running under Mozilla. Luckily I had previously written his website and intranet on apache and used Java/Jsp so plugging it in wasn't a problem and some of the C# work was moved to run under Mono, again, some tweaking and configuring but we got there in the end. I moved across most of the MS SQL databases to MY SQL with a few tweaks to the scripts and data transferred through an amalgamation of ODBC queries, BCP and brute force to prise it all in. It all took longer than I thought to complete but some valuable lessons were learned. I’ll keep the patient under constant observation for a while until it can be taken out of critical care but the prognosis is looking good and the transplant is looking to be a success. Wipe please Nurse! Scalpel, backup tape, CD.

The poisons of choice were Kubuntu for the desktops/laptops, Ubuntu LAMP server, and another Ubuntu lamp minus the AMP but running OpenLDAP. The configuration worked fine for this installation and, after the initial demo, has been accepted by the customer as a good alternative and a huge saving on licenses that, for a small business, is a godsend. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I was learning this stuff as I went along, that would have probably put the fear of God into his chequebook and his writing hand.

Whilst all this was going on, and it was a lot considering I'm contracted to big blue 5 days a week, I (we, my wife and Sleepy had the outlaws (in-laws) over from Moscow. It was a bit of a squeeze to play the dutiful son-in-law that was lazy and didn't learn Russian properly, but showing his face and taking the chauffeur role. And, as luck would have it, my new HTC arrived whilst they were here so I had to fit in the configuration of that, getting everything to work under windows mobile 5! I tried to put it to one side and leave it to not be so ignorant but, I am weak, I have no will power... (apart from kicking the nasty cig habit, but that re-emerges when the alcohol level increases). I was magnetically drawn to the study... why is it that I can't leave things alone, it came with a nice Vodafone branded ROM, one visit to xda-developers.com and voila, a bastardisation of HTC, TMobile, O2 and Vodafone and 8 hours trying to get it to work again.

Final note, on trawling through eBay I had a bit of a nostalgic pang, so now I am the proud owner of:
1 x Sinclair ZX81
1 x Sinclair Spectrum 48k (rubber key of course!)
1 x Sinclair Spectrum +
1 x Sinclair Spectrum +2
1 x Sinclair Spectrum +3
Lots of bits, microdrives, thermal printers etc etc.

Why? Because I could! I wanted to feel that "new" feeling again, that time when I got my first computer, a Sinclair ZX81 in 1981(ish), closely followed the next year by the 48k rubber key Spectrum, and an insatiable need to know how the computer and its programs worked. If only I could go back and bash that youngster around the head with the Kempston interface, Just look at the life it lead me too!!

What else? Hmm, erm, well had an argument with a traffic warden about a parking ticket. £30 they wanted and I had paid the parking meter! Pay and display, I did just that. Paid my £2, stuck it on the windscreen and meandered off into Blackpool with the in-laws in tow. On returning, big yellow notice stuck to the aforementioned screen. "You have not paid and displayed, pay in 2 weeks for £30 or £60 if left to run". The pay and display sticker had come unstuck and dropped on the dash, upside down. The notice said illegible and believed to be an infringement to clause 82. On calling Blackpool council and speaking the Vogons there, I concluded that it was better to pay the damn fine, only my wallet was in wife's handbag (well if she buys a wallet that won't fit in my pocket then she can bloody well carry the suitcase!). I called the Vogons again yesterday and paid and while I was waiting for the payment to be authorised, we exchanged polite pleasantries, some poetry and I joked about a refund of the £2 for parking. Then I was informed that if I had the original pay and display ticket I should have written in and explained the case to have the charge waived. Thank you very much Blackpool council. So now I have paid it and have written a pleading letter to get my money back. Snowball in hell.

If you're still awake and have read this far then you should really be a software developer as you can really take the boredom and huge amounts of confusing drivel! For those with the head on the desk and drool pouring out between the snores.... WAKE UP! It's home time!

Good night and good luck!

More in Tux Machines

GNOME: GNOME Shell, Bug Tracking, GXml

  • How to Install GNOME Shell Extensions GUI / CLI
    GNOME Shell extensions are small and lightweight pieces of codes that enhance GNOME desktop’s functionality and improves the user experience. They are the equivalent of add-ons in your browser. For instance, you can have add-ons that download videos like IDM downloader or block annoying ads such as Adblocker. Similarly, GNOME extensions perform certain tasks e.g. Display weather and geolocation. One of the tools used to install and customize GNOME Shell extensions is the GNOME tweak tool. It comes pre-installed in the latest Linux distributions. This article we cover how to install GNOME Shell extensions from GUI and from the command line on various Linux distros.
  • Musings on bug trackers
    I love bugzilla, I really do. I’ve used it nearly my entire career in free software. I know it well, I like the command line tool integration. But I’ve never had a day in bugzilla where I managed to resolve/triage/close nearly 100 issues. I managed to do that today with our gitlab instance and I didn’t even mean to.
  • ABI stability for GXml
    I’m taking a deep travel across Vala code; trying to figure out how things work. With my resent work on abstract methods for compact classes, may I have an idea on how to provide ABI stability to GXml. GXml have lot of interfaces for DOM4, implemented in classes, like Gom* series. But they are a lot, so go for each and add annotations, like Gee did, to improve ABI, is a hard work.

More on Barcelona Moving to Free Software

  • Barcelona Aims To Oust Microsoft In Open Source Drive
    The city of Barcelona has embarked on an ambitious open source effort aimed at reducing its dependence on large proprietary software vendors such as Microsoft, including the replacement of both applications and operating systems.
  • Barcelona to ditch Microsoft software for open source software
    Barcelona, one of the most popular cities in the Europe is now switching to open-source software by replacing Microsoft Windows, Office and Exchange with Linux, Libre Office and Open Xchange respectively. The city council is already piloting the use of Ubuntu Linux desktops along with Mozilla Firefox as the default browser. With this move, Barcelona city is planning to save money over the years by reducing software/service licensing fees. They are also planning to hire new developers to write open-source software. The open-source product will also be made available to other Spanish municipalities and public bodies further afield allowing them the opportunity to save money on software licences.
  • Barcelona to ditch Microsoft in favour of open source Linux software
    Catalan capital Barcelona is planning to ditch proprietary software products from Microsoft in favour of free, open source alternatives such as Open-Xchange email. That’s according to a report by Spain's national paper El Pais, which reports that Barcelona plans to invest 70% of its annual software budget in open source this year.

OSS Leftovers

  • Open Source turns 20
    While open source software is ubiquitous, recognized across industries as a fundamental infrastructure component as well as a critical factor for driving innovation, the "open source" label was coined only 20 years ago. The concept of open source software - as opposed to free software or freeware - is credited to Netscape which, in January 1998, announced plans to release the source code of its proprietary browser, Navigator, under a license that would freely permit modification and redistribution. This code is today the basis for Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) regards that event as the point at which "software freedom extended its reach beyond the enthusiast community and began its ascent into the mainstream".
  • Coreboot 4.7 Released With 47 More Motherboards Supported, AMD Stoney Ridge
    Coreboot 4.7 is now available as the latest release of this free and open-source BIOS/UEFI replacement. Coreboot 4.7 is the latest tagged release for this project developed via Git. This release has initial support for AMD Stoney Ridge platforms, Intel ICH10 Southbridge support, Intel Denverton/Denverton-NS platform support, and initial work on supporting next-gen Intel Cannonlake platforms.
  • Thank you CUSEC!
    Last week, I spoke at CUSEC (Canadian Undergraduate Software Engineering Conference) in Montreal.   I really enjoy speaking with students and learning what they are working on.  They are the future of our industry!  I was so impressed by the level of organization and the kindness and thoughtfulness of the CUSEC organizing committee who were all students from various universities across Canada. I hope that you all are enjoying some much needed rest after your tremendous work in the months approaching the conference and last week.
  • Percona Announces Sneak Peek of Conference Breakout Sessions for Seventh Annual Percona Live Open Source Database Conference
  • The Universal Donor
    A few people reacted negatively to my article on why Public Domain software is broadly unsuitable for inclusion in a community open source project. Most argued that because public domain gave them the rights they need where they live (mostly the USA), I should not say it was wrong to use it. That demonstrates either parochialism or a misunderstanding of what public domain really means. It should not be used for the same reason code known to be subject to software patents should not be used — namely that only code that, to the best efforts possible, can be used by anyone, anywhere without the need to ask permission (e.g. by buying a patent license) or check it it’s needed (e.g. is that PD code PD here?) can be used in an open source project. Public domain fails the test for multiple reasons: global differences in copyright term, copyright as an unalienable moral rather than as a property right, and more. Yes, public domain may give you the rights you need. But in an open source project, it’s not enough for you to determine you personally have the rights you need. In order to function, every user and contributor of the project needs prior confidence they can use, improve and share the code, regardless of their location or the use to which they put it. That confidence also has to extend to their colleagues, customers and community as well.

Ubuntu: Ubuntu Core, Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase for 18.04, Lubuntu 17.04 EoL

  • Ubuntu Core: A secure open source OS for IoT
    Canonical's Ubuntu Core, a tiny, transactional version of the Ubuntu Linux OS for IoT devices, runs highly secure Linux application packages, known as "snaps," that can be upgraded remotely.
  • Introducing the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase for 18.04
    Ubuntu’s changed a lot in the last year, and everything is leading up to a really exciting event: the release of 18.04 LTS! This next version of Ubuntu will once again offer a stable foundation for countless humans who use computers for work, play, art, relaxation, and creation. Among the various visual refreshes of Ubuntu, it’s also time to go to the community and ask for the best wallpapers. And it’s also time to look for a new video and music file that will be waiting for Ubuntu users on the install media’s Examples folder, to reassure them that their video and sound drivers are quite operational. Long-term support releases like Ubuntu 18.04 LTS are very important, because they are downloaded and installed ten times more often than every single interim release combined. That means that the wallpapers, video, and music that are shipped will be seen ten times more than in other releases. So artists, select your best works. Ubuntu enthusiasts, spread the word about the contest as far and wide as you can. Everyone can help make this next LTS version of Ubuntu an amazing success.
  • Lubuntu 17.04 has reached End of Life
    The Lubuntu Team announces that as a non-LTS release, 17.04 has a 9-month support cycle and, as such, reached end of life on Saturday, January 13, 2018. Lubuntu will no longer provide bug fixes or security updates for 17.04, and we strongly recommend that you update to 17.10, which continues to be actively supported with security updates and select high-impact bug fixes.