I've started to play some with WebDAV (using Apache and mod_dav). So far, it has been rather impressive. I felt really good about how cool linux is getting today too. I decided to test mod_dav, but I didn't have any of the software to do it on my workstation. So I opened red carpet, went to the redhat 7.2 channel, and downloaded apache, apache's documentation, mod_ssl, and mod_dav. It then downloaded and installed it for me. That entire process took about 3 minutes. Then configuring httpd.conf to do DAV with some auth took about 15 minutes. And I fired up Nautilus, and tested it. Cadaver worked too. Extremely cool. Being able to go from zero to fully functional DAV environment in like 20 minutes is pretty amazing.
The real test is probably going to be how well I can get this to work in an "enterprise" environment. I'm trying to figure out how I can integrate it in with an initial-sign-on system that I'm developing, but that may be impossible, since most DAV clients don't support all of HTTP, like redirects and cookies. At the very least, though, I need to come up with an easy way to add new users and groups, and their associated folders. Also, some quota-like functionality would be very useful. If anyone has ideas on how to do this, please email me. Once I finish, I am going to try and document how I did it, and see if webdav.org wants it as a user resource.
After I solve the enterprise DAV problem, I want to move on to shared tasks/notes. Then slowly the other groupware type features. I basically want to see if I can develop a useful content management system, with groupware type features, using all free software and open protocols. So desktop apps can use it, or users can use a web interface. I am utterly convinced that all (or most) of the pieces are there, and I just need to discover how to put them together in a nice package. And if I get to do some of this research for work, all the better. Lots of architecture work. Hopefully I can come up with a solid plan, and bring some people in on developing it. This would be very useful for higher ed. And in general, I would think. It would be great if small/medium companies could just install an "office server" cd on a computer, and it would set up all of their groupware stuff for them. Then just install "office workstation" cds that can read configuration off of the server, and get up quickly. This stuff is all there - it just needs to be productized and polished.
Lately, I have decided to marry the two things I spend
any money on: home entertainment and computer hardware. I
want to upgrade to a (dual?) athlon box in the next couple
of months, abandoning my still-capable dual celeron 366
machine. I realized that I'm still going to have a lot of
parts left over from that upgrade. I am also moving into a
new apartment with my friends, and I will be one of the few
people with any money for setting up some kind of home
entertainment system. My goal for the year is to get a
decent mid-sized tv, and a dvd player. If I'm lucky, I'd
like us to also get a receiver and a 5.1 speaker system.
The downside to this is that I will only have a DVD player
from which to play music. So, I want to take my current
computer and turn it into an MP3 jukebox of sorts. The
goals/constraints are as follows:
Negative Certs: I have mixed feelings about negative certs. They may not be appropriate for Advogato, but in terms of a trust metric, they do make a lot of sense. Trust is not just measured in positive amounts. There should be a difference between ambivalence (Observer) and active distrust. If I have had a dealing with someone, and they acted in a dishonorable manner somehow, I should be able to publish that fact, to help others judge whether or not that person can be trusted.
As I've said, this probably does not make sense for Advogato. Ambivalence is adequate. Unless you think that someone stole code and published it as their own, and is a no-talent hack that has convinced everyone of their greatness, there is no need for negative certification. But I think that negative certs are extremely useful when transactions come into play. Any time someone actively violates a trust relationship, that should be noted. In the coming future of peer to peer transactions, I want to make sure that I'm only dealing with trustworthy people.
I had a kind of cool thought - combining UDDI with a trust graph, so I always find the best service provider. For that to work, though, negative certs need to be taken into consideration. Once you get to something like this, trust becomes more complicated. You have to consider *how* you trust someone. Trust is not all-encompassing. How we represent that is going to be an interesting policy issue. I could go on, but this is a rant for another day. ;-)
School is all done with now, and has been for a few weeks. I am now working for my school's IT department, in the Architecture group. It is turning out to be a pretty cool job. I am working on several Internet2 projects, like MACE-dir, eduPerson, and Shibboleth. The work is really interesting, and I am enjoying the opportunity to do design analysis and such. Also, a very nice aspect of doing work for higher education is that everything I write is Free Software. So it is a pleasant work environment.
I have also just started my DVD collection. I bought Almost Famous, High Fidelity, American Beauty, and Fight Club. Now I am in the process of deciding what other movies I should get, and what versions of those movies are the good ones to get. Beyond the annoyance with CSS and Region Encoding, DVD consumers are really taken for a ride in terms of releasing multiple versions of the same movie. Some movies have a normal version, a collectors edition, and an ultimate edition. I can understand a movie-only cheap version, and a special/collector's edition, but having multiple enhanced version is frustrating. And then you also have to consider quality of transfers, etc. I love the higher quality of DVDs though, and I certainly can't go back to VHS. I intentionally held off on buying movies until I started collecting with DVDs. To make myself feel better about buying DVDs, I am buying used copies off of half.com, so I don't support the MPAA's DVD policies. The flip side is that I am also not supporting the actors or writers, but they get so little anyway, it doesn't make a difference. Too bad I can't decide where my money goes in terms of royalties.
Until today, I've stuck to writing diary entries solely about computer-related topics and fairly light conversation. But, I really can't let myself ignore comments like this. I wouldn't feel very good about myself if I did. So, for those of you reading this that find this discussion off-topic, sorry. But, just like RMS says that economics is something to worry about once freedom is assured, the world of computers is something we can worry about once our basic human rights have been assured. I worry that some very smart-seeming people in various online communities are so involved with computers that they fail to see the world around them, and all of the very serious problems that need to be addressed. It is great to have strong ethics with software, but unless you also have strong ethics in the real world, it doesn't matter much.
New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.
Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.
If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!