Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2009

Damien Katz: Koala on the loose!

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala has just been released. This is big news as this version includes Apache CouchDB, used as a replicable database by desktop apps. This means CouchDB will be on over 10 million desktops. Nice :)

WOW! Didn't realize CouchDB was standard in Ubuntu now. Very cool. I'll have to look more into how exactly it's being used. Congrats to the CouchDB team!

Ubuntu 9.10 = easiest, cheapest upgrade ever | Education IT |

The point is that I don’t need to budget for this upgrade. I don’t need to obtain volume licenses and decide where to deploy them. I don’t need to do anything except click the Easy, errr, Upgrade button. Even if we had to pay for it and properly license it, wouldn’t it be slick if we could open Windows Update in XP or Vista, choose an optional OS upgrade, enter our volume license key, and then walk away?
Of course, it would be even slicker if it was free.

Every time I *don't* have to hunt around for license keys, worry about if deploying another VM will put me over a volume license limit, etc., etc., etc., I'm so glad I'm using free software for the vast majority of what I do.

The Silent Number: Top things to do after installing Ubuntu Linux 9.10 Karmic Koala

This list of the top things to do immediately after installing your newly acquired copy of Ubuntu doubles as a general list of great software to try out and use, complete with links to any special instructions on how to set them up, Terminal commands for those who prefer a command-line interface (CLI), and when available, personal package archives (PPA), repositories to keep the applications at their newest version, not just the security updates provided for you by default. Feel free to pick and choose; enjoy!

Great "to do" list after installing Karmic. Even if you consider yourself a seasoned Ubuntu user check this out--there might be some apps in the list you weren't aware of!

Nadir Of Western Civilization To Be Reached This Friday At 3:32 P.M. | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

Experts predict that the penultimate catastrophe will occur at approximately 7:15 p.m. Thursday night, when the social networking tool Twitter will be used to communicate a series of ideas so banal they will instantaneously negate the three centuries of the Renaissance.

This would be funny if it weren't true.

Sequoia To Publish Source Code For Voting Machines

"Voting machine maker Sequoia announced on Tuesday that they plan to release the source code for their new optical-scan voting machine. The source code will be released in November for public review. The company claims the announcement is unrelated to the recent release of the source code for a prototype voting machine by the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation. According to a VP quoted in the press release, 'Security through obfuscation and secrecy is not security.'"

Not that I care about Diebold, er, Sequoia releasing their source code because if anything ever needed a ground-up grassroots effort it's voting machine software, but has this been a great week for FLOSS FUD killing or what?
First we get the White House moving to Drupal, then we have the Department of Defense stating they prefer open source because it's more flexible and secure, and now this. Very cool.
Personally I think this is a pre-emptive PR move on Diebold/Sequoia'…

powdermonkey: Department of Defense New Guidance on Open Source Software

The DoD CIO office (or ASD-NII) just has posted new open source software guidance for the whole Department of Defense! Only took about 18 months to get through, so worth it. Hopefully this puts the FUD to bed.

If it's secure enough for the Department of Defense ...
I also love that they're embracing the idea of open source as a way to better anticipate new threats. All one needs to do is look around to see that proprietary software has far more exploits than open source software, but that's still a common point of FUD.

OpenBlueDragon releases 1.2

This release has a few notable extras:

Plugin Interface overhauled enabling full SpreadSheet support
Full Nirvanix Cloud Files Support
Core Amazon SQS Support Functions
Updated Amazon SimpleDB support for their query language
Java 6 support
Query Slow Log Monitoring
+tons of smaller bug fixes

Great stuff in 1.2, and we're settling into a nice 6-month release cycle, but of course you get the latest stuff in your hot little hands every night with our nightly builds.
Make sure and check out the release notes for all the details on this release!

Why Adobe Needs to Support Linux

I just got back from the wonderfully educational and inspiring BFlex/BFusion conference in Bloomington, IN, and I want to thank Bob Flynn for putting on another great conference and for his tremendous hospitality to Team Mach-II while we were in town. Save us a spot for next year!BFlex is designed to be all hands-on sessions, some 90-minute and some full-day. This is a great idea and one which other conferences could stand to emulate, at least in a small dose. The hands-on sessions allow participants to bring their own laptops and get concrete experience in CFML and Flex as opposed to simply watching slides and hoping they remember how to do everything when they get back home.This model is not without its dark side, however, and the hell of hands-on sessions can be summarized in one word: installation.My hands-on session this year was entitled "Building and Deploying CFML on an Open Source Stack," and as I thought through all the bits and pieces attendees would have to insta…

Massive CouchDB Brain Dump

The following is a semi-unorganized brain dump of everything of interest I've come across while learning the incredibly cool CouchDB document-oriented database system. In this brain dump I pull things from many different resources including my own head, so there may be literal quotes from some of these resources without inline attributions. For that I apologize, but rest assured I'm not trying to plaigarize anyone or take credit where it's not due; I was just merely taking notes as I perused a lot of different resources and organized them in a way that made sense to me. I do have a complete list of all of the resources I used at the end to let you explore on your own. Again, my apologies to the creators of the resources from which I pull for not attributing inline.I'll be presenting CouchDB to the ColdFusion Meetup on December 17 (Charlie did a great job of booking a full schedule through the end of the year) so don't miss it!

CouchDB: General Concepts document-ori…

Yet Another PDF/Acrobat Pro Rant

I'm in PDF hell yet again today and had to vent. Now that iText fixed my
searchability problems (CFPDFFORM fail), I'm noticing cases where the font
in particular fields in the generated PDF does not in any way match the
settings that are in the PDF form when you look at the settings in Acrobat. For example, all the form fields in one of the PDFs I'm working with are
set to font face Times New Roman and "Auto" for the font size. Random
fields here and there show up as Arial instead of Times New Roman and come
out some massive font size, even though other fields with the same amount
(or less) text are a reasonable size and are the correct font face. Since I only recently figured out how to do mass changes of the font face
on multiple fields (usability fail; and this doesn't work consistently by
any means, but it's faster than doing it one by one), I thought I missed
setting the font face correctly on a field or two. But lo and behold when I
open the PDF f… using Drupal | Dries Buytaert

I think Drupal is a great fit in terms of President Barack Obama's desire to reduce cost and to act quickly. Drupal's flexibility and modularity enables organizations to build sites quickly at lower cost than most other systems. In other words, Drupal is a great match for the U.S. government.

Second, this is a clear sign that governments realize that Open Source does not pose additional risks compared to proprietary software, and furthermore, that by moving away from proprietary software, they are not being locked into a particular technology, and that they can benefit from the innovation that is the result of thousands of developers collaborating on Drupal. It takes time to understand these things and to bring this change, so I congratulate the Obama administration for taking such an important leadership role in considering Open Source solutions.

This is a great move for a whole bunch of reasons, and is yet another example to point to when you run into that t…

My Open CFML Presentation from BFusion 2009

Here's a PDF of my "Building and Deploying CFML on an Open Source Stack" presentation from BFusion 2009. The VirtualBox VM we used in the session is available here (2.9 GB zip file), and the user/password on the VM is "floss" (without the quotes) for both. The VM includes:

Ubuntu 9.04
Java 1.6.0 Update 16
Tomcat 6.0.20
OpenBD (WAR and pre-deployed)
Eclipse with CFEclipse and Subclipse
A ColdTonica WAR to practice deployment

The one thing we didn't get to in my session is connecting Apache to Tomcat, but that's simple enough so give me a shout if you have trouble with that.
What we did get to (that I'm glad we did) is monitoring Tomcat and OpenBD with VisualVM, and a lot of people (based on the reaction) seemed not to be aware of that tool.
Once again this is a GREAT conference (I'd be lying if I said Ben Nadel's portion of the keynote didn't get me a little teary eyed) with great technical content and day-long training sessions. If y…

InfoQ: Simplifying Java EE with Grails

Graeme Rocher introduces Groovy and its corresponding web framework, Grails, followed by a code writing demo intended to highlight the advantages of using Grails over Java EE in order to develop web applications.

Haven't even watched this one yet but after seeing Graeme present at SpringOne2GX this year, I know this will be a fantastic one to watch if you're interested in Grails.

Open Source Voting Software Concept Released

Wired is reporting that the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation has announced the first release of Linux- and Ruby-based election management software. This software should compete in the same realm as Election Systems & Software, as well as Diebold/Premiere for use by County registrars. Mitch Kapor — founder of Lotus 1-2-3 — and Dean Logan, Registrar for Los Angeles County, and Debra Bowen, California Secretary of State, all took part in a formal announcement ceremony. The OSDV is working with multiple jurisdictions, activists, developers and other organizations to bring together 'the best and brightest in technology and policy' to create 'guidelines and specifications for high assurance digital voting services.' The announcement was made as part of the OSDV Trust the Vote project, where open source tools are to be used to create a certifiable and sustainable open source voting system.

Awesome news. I got to see a presentation by and talk …

Apple Seeks Patent On Operating System Advertising

In one alarming aspect, the device could be disabled while the advertisements run, thereby forcing users to let the advertisement run its course before the system would unlock and allow further use. In an even more invasive scenario, explained in the patent application, the user could be required to do something, such as click to continue, in order to verify that they are actively watching the advertisement and haven't simply walked away while the ad runs.

People better be paying me to use devices if this kind of crap starts happening. Yet another reason to use GNU Linux.

Session Notes - Grails Without a Browser

Presenter: Jeff Brown, SpringSourcegrails typically thought of as a web framework (which it is), but there are significant applications built with grails that have no browser front-end at all interesting work done at LinkedIn in this regard talked about it in public at JavaOne last year primary revenue generating app is a grails app (partner interaction, etc.) this app has no browser front-end to it built a business/service layer all in grails have other applications that sit in front of this that aren't grails lots of stuff in grails doesn't have anything to do with building web apps specifically GORM service layer these make good sense in any application can think of grails as a platform--similar to eclipse platform eclipse IDE is what you think of, but the IDE is really just one app on top of the eclipse platform e.g. substantial parts of grails are being used in griffon for building desktop apps grails 0.4 was the first release that had the plugin system in it interview so…

Session Notes - Not Your Father's Custom Tags

Presenter: Dave KleinCustom Tags are Valuablebuild reusable components keep code out of pages make pages more readable even putting presentation/html code into custom tags can make the page more readable encapsulate domain knowledge easy for page designers to use without knowing much about the domain model, etc.JSP Custom Tags are Painfulcreate handler class for each tag implement one of several interfaces implement interface's methods <pure_evil>define a TLD</pure_evil> add a page directive for each TLD great once they exist, but because they're a pain to create people avoid them and don't get the benefit JSP custom tag for hello wolrd is 2+ pages of code, equivalent GSP tag is about 6 linesThe Power of JSP Without the Painconvention over configuration no tld, no xml no interfaces to implement a TagLibrary is a single groovy class can contain multiple tags within this class each tag is a closure don't need to declare within the page if it's in the proj…

It's Alive! CFML Plugin for Grails

Nothing to distribute quite yet, but I'm psyched that I just successfully hit an index.cfm in my nascent CFML plugin for Grails. What this means is that (when it's done anyway) you'll be able to run CFML from within a Grails application.Why is this cool? Partially just because it's fun to mess around with, but there are several practical reasons as well. Here's a few off the top of my head:Leverage the power of Grails for building the model and controller layer of an application while using CFML for the viewIntegrate existing CFML functionality or entire CFML applications within the context of a Grails applicationWrite hybrid Grails and CFML applications, mixing and matching CFML and Groovy/Grails code in various sections of the applicationUse Grails URL mappings to hit CFML or Groovy code based on URL patternsCreating the plugin was actually relatively simple. The Grails plugin architecture is amazingly powerful and easy to use, and after Graeme Rocher's two s…

Session Notes - Grails Plugin System Part 2

Presenter: Graeme RocherTechnical Pluginstypically a bit more complicated to implement can mix and match technical and functional plugins provide programming apisKey Conceptsplugin lifecycle GrailsApplication object encapsulates the conventions in a project Spring BeanBuilder runtime spring configuration--need to understand the spring dsl MetaprogrammingPlugin Lifecycle Hooksenclosures that allow you to manipulate the grails runtime def doWithWebDescriptor = { xml -> } useful for creating plugin that manipulates web.xml def doWithSpring = {} can use full power of spring within a grails plugin written in groovy so have full access to groovy in configuring spring def doWithDynamicMethods = { applicationContext -> } metaprogramming e.g. could add a method that interacts with hibernate since you have access to the applicationContext you have access to more or less everything def doWithApplicationContext = { applicationContext -> } post-processingdoWithWebDescriptorprogrammatic mo…

Session Notes - Grails Plugin System Part 1

Presenter: Graeme Rocher

plugin quick start
technical vs. functional plugins
plugins for modularity
distribution and dependency management
plugin demo

Key Facts

grails itself is made up of a collection of plugins

hibernate, webflow, gsp, etc.
grails core is essentially a set of plugins (about a dozen)

there are 300+ plugins available now

what a plugin can do is wide and varied

plugins are easy to create

don't need to spend a ton of time learning the internals of the framework to create a plugin

plugins are easy to distribute
everyone is a plugin developer
well over 25 million lines of user contributed code in the plugin repository


automatically makes any domain class searchable


adds apis to tag domain classes


ratings for domain classes


for scheduling tasks
interesting because it adds a new concept to grails -- "jobs"
adds create-job command to command line, has a jobs directory, etc.

weceem cms

example of a functional plugin as …