Older blog entries for Rasputin (starting at number 3)

Ain' t it amazing what a little sleep can do ;)

While poking through the daily diary entries, noted a couple of things that need commenting on. First a minor correction...

Schoen - the FreeBSD-QA mailing list started just before we shipped 3.4, although it didn't get real attention until just before 4.0. There had been a lot of whining about the lack of solid testing for stable, one thing led to another and there we were ;)

Asmodai - Having sat on the committe that wrote SQL-99 (ISO Joint Technical Committee 1) I guess I should explain a little about why the storage mechanism for pre-compiled stored procs isn't covered within the standards. Standards have to be written to set a minimum level of support and compliance without imposing (where possible) limits on extensions and improvements. We felt (and still believe) that specifying a language should not include forcing an implementation. By enforcing compiled compatibility across vendor platforms, we would effectively be forcing one vendor's methodologies to be the standard. The reason stored procs are so efficient is they can be optimized to take advantage of the underlying implementation. The optimizations for Oracle are substantially different from those for Sybase because the underlying database engine is substantially different. These products also store pre-compiled procedures differently. This approach also allowed us to permit vendor extensions to the language (PL/SQL or iSQL) while ensuring a minimum level of cross platform compatability (mostly enforced with the fips flag).

There's actually a lot more to the problem than I've explained here, so maybe I'll do an article on the standards process over the next couple of weeks to examine this further. Feel free to pester me about this if I let it slip a little ;)

I'm having second thoughts about a person to person messaging system in an environment like Advogato's. Is there any desire for something like this in the community at large? Any thoughts? My initial thoughts on this are that a wholly self-contained messaging area (within Advogato) would eat tremendous amounts of resources and quickly become unmanageable. An e-mail link (possibly hidden unless otherwise flagged by the owner), much like in SourceForge might be a slightly better idea. It would obviously have to be done outside the context of "mailto:", else we force a specific subset of browsers to use it. I'll give this more thought and continue this <babble> tomorrow.

Give me liberty (from SQL) or give me a beer! ;) It has definately been one of those days. Fortunately it's also the last one of this week.

I finally have my FreeBSD 4.0 box to the point where I'm happy with it, so I guess I'll start poking at some of the PR's to see what I can fix. I still have to decide whether I'll be better able to work on 3.4 (I'm slightly more familiar with the code) or 4.0 (it's new enough, the bugs should all be relatively shallow, because nobody's had time to be really weird yet ;))

I noticed a couple of things that might be worth investigating (I know, only been here a few days and already I'm whining ;)). I realize it's there in front of me and my sydlexia prevents me from seeing it, but there must be a better way to get to the journal entries area so I can babble at my screen. Also, wanted to drop Pedro a quick note about his HP toy and realized I actually had to work at sending him a limited distribution type message (I'm sure not everybody here wanted to read it). Maybe some kind of messaging system? I guess I have to learn XML so I can look at the code that runs this to see how, if at all, this might be done. Amazing how many opportunities to code show up in the open world when you're looking for something to do.

I think I just accidently accepted a pair of tasks...

I was going to add my $.02 (CDN) to one of the articles when I realized I can't post anywhere except here until I get certified a little higher. The joys of being new to a community. This is probably a good way to keep the s/n high, as opposed to what I've been seeing on /. recently. There really needs to be a better way to limit the trolls, idiots et al ;)

It also occured to me as I talked to customers, that there is a lot to be said for making developers actually support their creations. In the corp world I'm used to, I coded and some other poor sucker^H^H^H^H^H^Hspecialist received the concerns and complaints from the people who used it. It was a lovely little bubble I lived in. Now that I'm supporting software written by somebody else, I begin to get a better appreciation of why solid coding methodologies are so important.

I would guess that having to support your creation in large part contributes to the quality of open source software. Knowing you're the person who receives the rantings of an irate user is actually a decent motivation to write good code. There are very few OS projects out there where the support people are a different group from the developers. You also get a better feel for what's good and bad with the product, outside of marketing pressures.

I get to find out how much I've learned as a large customer needs to make some substantial changes to the product we support (they want to change the way their network is partitioned) and I (was) volunteered to do the scripts and code to make the changes for them. If it doesn't work as well as they would like, I get called directly ;) It's not actually open source (my employer isn't that liberal) but the theory is about the same.

It's amazing how difficult the first entry can be ;) I have to do this from the office because I had a really bad HD experience with my workstation at home and I didn't have anything useable until it was well past the time my mind wanted sleep. I run FreeBSD 4.0 now and I will admit I find a lot to recommend it over 3.4. Over the month and a bit that we tested the release candidates (we always need more bodies in FreeBSD-QA ---hint ;)) I personally found it to be a little quicker and (arguably) more stable by the time it was released. I still use 3.4 for my gateway/firewall, but that's because there are some issues with 4.0 and older IDE drives/BIOSes.

In my day job I'm a senior support specialist for a set of network management tools and the associated environments (Oracle, Sybase, Solaris, HP-UX, NT) but in all honesty I tend to be much happier when I'm hacking out code. I did take a bit of a break from coding, because after 9 years of C my mind was getting a little squishy around the edges.

Anyhow, I'm back to do some Open Source work, but I haven't found a project yet that really grabs my imagination. When I find one (or if one finds me) I'll be sure to mention it. In the mean-time, I'll probably start looking into fixing some of the FreeBSD bugs as a way to familiarize myself with the code base.

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