I couldn’t think of anything to name this post. I just got done reading this thread started by Colon Watson of Canonical. It’s a little dry off-hand so there is a nice summary by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. Long story short, Ubuntu is most likely going to be changing the way apps are packaged, distributed and installed.
To the Linux die-hard, this is nothing short of sheer blasphemy. Spending all evening resolving dependencies on obsolete libraries or some odd cyclical dependency to get an app to install is part of the badge of honor all *nixies wear with elite pride. The thought that an application would be wholly self contained and the only real dependency would be on the base system.. is.. is… an awful lot like OSX does things. No really, have you ever cracked open one of those magical .app program/dirs on a Mac? They are a little self-contained ecosystem of libraries and directory structure that transcends standard application paradigms of Windows and Linux with the libraries being maintained by the OS.
I can see this being hugely popular and convenient for Ubuntu as they spread out from PC’s to phones and tablets. I wonder if Apple ever thought to patent their application structure, and since I am thinking about it, I wonder if that is even something patentable? I hope it isn’t, I dislike software patents enough, and I applaud Google’s efforts to shield the rest of the world from patent trolls. So I suppose we will see how Ubuntu’s efforts pan out. I for one really hope it works. Application installation has always been a pain in Linux. Granted, it seems to work well enough, but the first time something goes wrong you see just how flawed it really is.
Have you ever done a web search, and clicked on a link, only to be taken to a site that has no images, a bunch of text and an suspicious looking text? I usually gloss over the page and quickly move on. Those sites generally are just trying to get you to click on a link that will present you with an ad or something. Well, I just did that with my own site. If you look there ins’t much in the way of images on the site, its mostly text and my ramblings. To someone just coming to the site for the first time they might not recognize that the site is in fact legit, and not thinly veiled attempt by a Chinese hacker to trick you into clicking on something so I can install crapware on your ‘puter.
I don’t do much with graphics any more, so I am I am going to try to put a little more flavor into my site. Most people don’t want to see my pictures, since they are mainly of my kids. I don’t do photos of my food, so thats out, I could take some pics of my dog, but that might get old quick. I will have to look around and see what other people are doing. When in doubt, copy like a lout…. or something like that
I just read this article that is claiming that Ubuntu is starting to be dumbed down. http://www.linuxinsider.com/rsstory/77894.html So the new 13.04 release is getting ‘meh’ reviews since it locks the user out of much of the configurability of the operating system. Really?? They are just coming to this conclusion, Ubuntu has been in the wild for more than a couple years here and it’s managed to do something NONE of the other distros has, getting main stream (Read, Steam) gaming to come to the platform. Granted 13.04 does seem like a pretty minimal release, without many new features, but you are going to get that with a static release schedule. Sometimes stuff just isn’t ready to be released. Better to release a small update than a broken one.
For wide acceptance Linux HAS to be dumbed down a bit. There’s nothing worse than introducing someone to Linux (who is used to Windows) and I have to drop to the command line to get something configured properly. I’ve said this before, if you want Linux to be more than a geek toy you must remove the need for someone to use the command line to configure their system. If simply must configure your system and monkey with the guts..Debian hasn’t been discontinued, and you can really get into the guts there. Or better, yet Gentoo, or even better yet Linux From Scratch!!
Really, Ubuntu has done a ton for getting Linux into the mainstream. The mainstream desktop that is, RedHat still reigns supreme in the Linux server market and they contribute more code back into the baseline kernel than Ubuntu. This is despite the fact that I really dislike RHEL or CentOS for that matter, you can read my rant about CentOS here. This is just personal preference too, many other admins like RHEL (poor bastards)
In my previous post I started a project/experiment to create a simple Java Rest client. I immediately found that I would need a simple service that didn’t do much in order to test it properly. So that is leading to another part of the project, the simple PHP service. I started writing what I thought would be a pretty simple generic PHP service, then it hit me…I suck at PHP. No really, I haven’t done it in a while, and even then I wasn’t highly proficient. So I scrapped the whole idea and decided that someone out there in the interweb must have created a simple PHP rest service thinger. As it turns out, I was right
This project was super simple and did everything I needed it to do. Predefined service routes and responses. Yes, I could shoe-horn it into doing a lot more, but I don’t need that. Just something easy to create and modify service responses to test my simple client with.
I guess after all this I have to say that the old mantra of Unix coding is really starting to die out. “Make each program do one thing well” It seems everyone is so concerned with creating programs that do everything for everyone, they don’t do anything very well.
I added a new page for my newest experiment. I had to create a very simple REST client for a project that couldn’t depend on any outside libraries, just the standard Java EE libs. I got it build and functioning, but it’s pretty barebones right now. It was a good learning experience and I plan to continue that, making it more functional and complete. The goals of the experiment are:
1. It will be a single java file
2. It will not depend on anything other than the standard Java libraries
3. It will handle HTTP and HTTPS
4. It will handle all standard HTML responses in a logical fashion (thats open to interpretation right now)
5. It won’t suck…
Well thats all I have right now. Check the project out here if you want.
I’ve been wanting to secure the back-end of this site with SSL for a while now. More so now that the attacks against the site have really ramped up. I don’t make any money from the site so I had a hard time swallowing the price for an SSL cert. StartCom to the rescue! They have level 1 certificates for free. You just need to install their intermediate certificate, which they provide a nice tutorial for. So yeah, if you want a free cert, check out Startcom at https://www.startssl.com/
No, I don’t mean it is getting drunk. (curse you english language with you double meanings for everything) Since I added the Better WP Security plugin I am geting site lock out notifications at about 2-3 a day now. Tracing the requesting IP’s all go back to one nefarious country…dun dun dahh…China. The performance of the over server is degraded as well with the number of requests coming in. I would love to say that I am really that popular, but it seems I am directly in the crosshairs of some individuals in China with a lot of bandwidth.
I should really just blacklist the whole country really. I used to run my web server out of my house but the bandwidth was pretty poor on a home DSL line. It didn’t help that I was getting attacked pretty regular as well. I ended up blacklisting most of Russia, China, and Korea. It cut down on the amount of serviced requests greatly and saved on my server wear and tear but it still ate up bandwidth.
Just read this article last week and I added a couple new plugins for security. Namely, I added Limit Login and Better WP Security. The very next day after adding these plugins it was already blacklisting IP’s coming from China that have been trying to brute force their way into my site.
If you run a WordPress site I can’t recommend enough that you beef up your password strength and add those plugins (if you haven’t already). AND MAKE SURE YOU KEEP YOUR WORDPRESS INSTALL UP TO DATE!!!! The amount of bogus traffic over the past couple of weeks has been scary. You have been warned.
I’ve been complaining that I can’t run Linux at work since they moved to the new VPN. I’ve tried time and again to get it to work but it is a proprietary system that only has a client for OSX and Winders. I’ve been using Win7, which all in all isn’t too bad, for about the last year. I was talking with one of the newer guys that got a shiny new MacBook Pro when he started about building our project. I told him that when I kick off a build I generally have about 17 minutes of browsing the web time since the build process basically renders the computer almost unusable. He was dumbfounded that it too me 17 minutes to build our project because it only took him around 3 minutes for a full clean and build. Surely he was misinterpreting what I was doing, there is no way the build times could be that different, hey, it’s all just Java.. Sure enough, he showed me and the project built faster than I had ever seen.
He started up IntelliJ in less than 20 seconds and I got pissed. Usually when I get in in the morning the first thing I do is start up IntelliJ, then I go get coffee, go to the bathroom then commando crawl back to my desk just in time for IntelliJ to have started up and begun indexing my project. I immediately put in a request for a Mac.
I got my shiny new MacBook Pro a couple weeks later and eagerly started setting up my development environment on it. I gleefully flipped the bird at my old PC every time I ran the native command line or built one of my projects. So far everything has been going swimmingly, I have completely transferred all my work to the Mac and I’ve been working off it exclusively for the past couple of weeks. There are only a couple of things that make me raise and eyebrow about how the Mac works
1) What the hell did Apple do to the Unix file system?? What is this /Library and /System and other odd folders doing in my root? Best just to delete them since they look erroneous (joking.. don’t really do this, it really messes with your system)
2) Task switching, I know it’s a little nit picky, but I seriously can’t Cmd+tab to a minimized program? Why show it in the list if selecting it isn’t going to do anything.
3) Does everything seriously cost money on a Mac? I guess the notion of Free as in beer hasn’t made it’s way here yet. Yes, I’m a bit on the cheap side, but hey, I use a free operating system I’m not going to pay $5.99 for a better task switcher for my work Mac.
4) The command and control keys need to be put into a ring and only one of them gets out alive. Seriously Apple, which one is it going to be? It seems Apple wanted to replace the control key at a system level with command but all the application developers disagreed and continued to use the control key for all their shortcut commands. This is an area of endless frustration for me, it usually takes me 3 tried to copy anything then another 2 to paste it.
Thats it for now, I’ll be sure to post some more annoyances in the future. So far I like the Mac better than my PC, but it isn’t as perfect as the Mac fan-boys would lead you to believe.
I am stuck on a Win7 machine at work. I used to run Linux on it but then the company changed their VPN to this Windows and sorta-Mac supported only solution. I had to dump the penguin so I could have access outside the office, kinda important that. So yeah, other than my world passing me by at half the normal pace there is little difference, oh wait no, that’s completely inaccurate. The thing I miss above all else is the command line. I tried to replace it with the Windows Powershell but I seriously didn’t feel like learning everything from scratch, I did give it a concerted try though.
Just for comparison, take all the nifty bash/zsh commands you love and enjoy on a daily basis, now rename all of them, and don’t get cute by naming them something easy to remember. No, use something long, and make sure there are plenty of hyphens. Now take all the options you were used to passing to those commands and rename them too, almost there hang with me. Now close your eyes and just mash your head against the keyboard to get a rough idea of what it feels like to replace the Linux command line with Powershell.
Well I did what any self respecting Linux lover would do when relegated to Win-land, I installed Cygwin. Yes, that bastardization of *nix on a Windows shell. Or something, I couldn’t come up with anything snarky there. Regardless, running Cygwin offers a glimpse of home without actually letting you get there. It’s slow sure, but it offers enough familiarity that I actually enjoy using it over the endless point and click of a standard Windows user experience. The standard cygwin command line is terrible, running RXVT native makes it manageable. However, I just found Mintty! It’s sort of like Putty (based on some Putty code I gather) and with the proper amount of tweaking can actually result in a likeable experience. Couple that with screen and I hardly miss Linux…who am I kidding, I still go home at night and just poke around my laptop (running Xubuntu) just to feel better about myself.