Walk the Line and a night out

For the first time since three-year-old Leo was born, Andi and I dumped *all* of the kids off with my parents (thanks Mom and Dad) in Chapel Hill and headed out to movie, dinner and a show. We saw Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash bio-pic. Ebert gave it the thumbs up, Rolling Stone says its Oscar material and we both loved it.

After the movie we were hoping to try Panang again, but we didn't have time for dinner. We had to meet Andi's brother and head back to Raleigh to see Carbon Leaf at the Lincoln Theater. Carbon Leaf put on an enjoyable show, but the music didn't really grab me, at least not enough to inspire any CD purchases. If I had to triangulate (using my out-of-date reference materal), I'd say they were Connells-style white-boy jam-pop, with celtic influences (penny whistle included) and Phish-like sing-along lyrics.

All and all, a very nice and kid-free night out.

Happy holidays everybody!

Personally, I love the fact that by saying "happy holidays" I can wish good people well and at the same time irritate the assholes of the world.

Today's links [December 02, 2005]

Red October: what's the big deal?

I hate to be a party pooper, but what's the big deal with the "Red October" announcement?

In case you haven't heard, Sun has made it's entire software stack free and is bundling it all under the name Solaris Enterprise System. Big chunks of it are open source and some pieces are not, but now everything is free. It includes everything: operating sytem, database server, identity server, messaging server, collaboration server, portal server, SunRay server software, C/C++ IDE, high-end Java/UML IDE, web-centric Java/JSF IDE, office productivity suite and more.

Why is that a big deal? Jonathan Schwartz has already told the world that all Sun software will eventually be open source. So free and open source is not news. In fact, what's the hold up! And if you want any form of support, you still have to pay for licenses (contrary to what The Register thinks). Nothing new about that.

So what's the big deal? Is this going to get more customers trying our software, buying services/support and our mighty servers? Are we doing something that Microsoft, IBM and others are afraid to do? Does Solaris Enterprise System beat the crap out of Red Hat Enterprise system? I'm just an engineer, not hooked into Sun marketing strategy and I'm speaking for myself (as always here) but I bet the answer to those questions is yes. That's the big deal.

Roller 2.1-dev

Roller 2.1 is still under development but it's essentially feature complete. I'm running the latest build on this site, so you may see some quirks.

JavaOne 2006 call for papers ends today

It's not too late to sneak one in. I just submitted one myself. Here's the link:

Demokritos: Python Atom Store

James Tauber is working on an Atom protocol implementation written in Python, an Atom Store. An early alpha release is available on his blog.

Good luck Claire!

Bittersweet news today. Claire: we're going to miss you at blogs.sun.com, so keep in touch and don't stop blogging. Check out Claire's new blog at clairegiordano.org. I hear she'll be working with Anil.

re: Criticism of PR out of line

Jim's right: "encourage them to participate and write their own blogs" is definitely a more helpful and consistent position with regard to PR people and blogs.

The problem is, PR wants it all. They don't want to blog along with all the other employees, they want to control your company's one corporate blog. Look at the GM Fastlane blog for example, it's run by a team of Marketing/PR people and a couple of outside blog consultants. Sure, the GM execs do some of the writing, but it's certainly not a blog in the blogs-as-authentic voice sense; it's an always on-message corporate newletter.

So, I have to agree with the Debbie Weil quote "don't let your PR department write your blogs" (in Does your company belong in the blogosphere?). Instead, encourage your employees blog freely and set them up with infrastructure to help them do that.

Mustang and web continuations

Cool! Mustang (Java SE 6) will have built-in continuations via the Rhino JavaScript engine. So my old JSPFlow code and it's much more successful child StrutsFlow should work right out of the box.

Good news for Struts and WebWork fans

The ServerSide reports that two popular Java web application frameworks, Struts and WebWork, are merging. Here's the Merger with Webwork proposal. That's really good news for Struts users (like me). We'll get the WebWork innovations (and maybe even a good upgrade path) and WebWork users will get a bigger/stronger community.


I ported another one Rebecca Wei's beautiful Wordpress themes to Roller, Ocadia You can see the results on Carl's blog. It was an easy port because the underlying HTML is almost identical to that in Almost Spring.

Comments are back, by the way.

Comments down

I've got a build of Roller 2.1-dev running on this site now and there's a small bug in the new comment moderation feature, which is preventing new comments. I hope to deploy a fix this weekend. Hold your tongue until then.

Porting Wordpress themes to Roller

It's really not that hard to do, but a couple of new Roller macros would make it a lot easier. After an hour or so, I ported Almost Spring to Roller. It's running on Otto's blog. I think I'm going to try a couple more.

I case you're wondering, most Wordpress themes are licensed under GPL. That means we can't include them in Roller (since Roller is Apache licensed), but somebody could offer a separately downloadable theme-pack.

One thing I noticed during this exercise is that Wordpress themes are dangerous. They're written in PHP, so you don't want Joe average user to edit them. As the Wordpress.com FAQ says templates are "untrusted code that we haven’t verified" so template editing and importing are banned. Contrast that with Roller, where templates are written in Velocity and are therefore safe for end-user customization.

Google searching the Triangle

Jason Caplain, a VC here in Raleigh, posted a rumor about Google to open RTP office. The story also made the Raleigh paper. The News and Observer story Google Looks for Local Offices quotes Andy Beal, who speculates that Google may be considering aquisition of local startups ChannelAdvisor or Motricity. Or perhaps they just want to syphon off some talented but bored IBM and SAS employees.

Roller 2.0 ships!

Roller 2.0 is now available on Roller's Java.Net download space. Roller 2.0 is a major release that includes:

  • Full support for group blogging. Users can have multiple blogs and can invite other users to join group blogs with three permission levels and simple workflow.
  • Web user interface redesign. The entire UI has been reworked to support group blogging, simplify and enhance the user experience.
  • Additional database support. Database creation scripts added for Apache Derby, IBM DB2 and Oracle (in addition to existing MySQL, PostgreSQL and HSQL-DB support).
  • Superusers. Global administrators can now admin and edit any blog in the system.
  • And lots more!. The release also includes numerous bug fixes and small improvements, see CHANGES.txt for the full list of changes.

This is a new release, but the Roller 2.0 codebase has been in use for weeks at a number of production sites, including blogs.sun.com and this site. Here are links to the updated documentation:

As usual, if you run into installation or upgrade problems, please seek assistance on the Roller mailing lists. Please report bugs and enhancement requests to Roller's JIRA based issue tracker.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody and a big thanks to everybody who helped out with this release!


Weekend project

Last weekend, I helped Alex finish his first model: a 1/48th scale replica of a Republic P-47D Thunderbolt fighter. Alex did everything except for the putty/sanding work and some of the finer painting. I spent a *lot* of time building models and painting miniatures when I was a kid. I entered hobby store contests and even convinced my parents to buy an air-compressor and an airbrush for me. It's cool to rediscover some of that fun with Alex.

Kit by Revell/Monogram.

Roller 2.0 ready for release

We've got the final build and the votes needed to release, so expect the Roller 2.0 release in the next couple of days.

Update: Thursday, Nov. 24, 2005 -- Happy thanksgiving!
   bash-3.00$ svn copy \
   https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/incubator/roller/trunk \
   https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/incubator/roller/tags/roller_2.0 \
   -m "Tagging Roller 2.0 release"

   Committed revision 348727.

Why use Websphere WCE?

The weekend is over so I suppose I should blog something to move that awful underwear experiment post down of the page. So how about this. As Rich Sharples asks, why would anybody use Websphere Community Edition rather than Glassfish/Sun Java App Server? Know why? Leave him a comment.

The underwear experiment

Since this is a "professional" blog, I would never tell you the story of the underwear experiment, in which a little boy decides to test the limits of parental odor detection, fabric strength, and personal hygene by seeing how long he can go without changing his underwear. But I will say this, the experiment lasted two months.

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