3 Dec 2000
(updated 3 Dec 2000 at 04:25 UTC) »
Do not adjust your set. This is a Streaming Freedom
video bulletin. The cable hack will last exactly sixty
seconds; it cannot be traced. It cannot be stopped. And it
is the only free voice left in this city.
So goes the tagline of a rogue journalist in the TV
series Dark Angel. The character represents the
voice of freedom (free as in "speech") in the struggle
against a corrupt, dysfunctional society. It's an
parallel: his fiction and our reality in the OSS
struggle against proprietary software. The resemblance is
only skin deep, but compelling nevertheless.
* * *
I discovered Advogato some time ago, but have
to register until now. I have my own online diary software:
some PHP3 code I threw together some time ago. My software
is modeled after sites like everything.org and wiki-wiki-web
in that it automatically generates hyerlinks between entries
(a feature that might be cool to see here at Advogato). But
my software is also immature, so I'm going to give Advogato
I used to attempt keeping notes in a file in my home
directory: kind of like a changelog with some simple
formatting convetions. I used a small Emacs mode I wrote to
help automate the editing. It worked very well until about
five years ago when I started using linux. Until then I
only had one account on one unix system, which made keeping
track of my log file no problem at all - it was always there
when I needed it in the same file in the same directory.
When I started using linux on my home PC, I used the
software to keep the same kind of log on my home system. At
first, this worked: work-related notes on the system at
work, personal notes on the personal system at home. Pretty
quickly, though, the system broke down: I often think about
work while I'm at home, and vice-versa. (Yeah, I'm not
supposed to think about personal stuff on the clock, but the
thoughts come unbidden. Try not to think about purple
elephants, and you'll see what I mean.) My notes started to
cross-pollinate between the two log files, and pretty soon
it was hard to tell one from the other.
To make matters worse, I changed jobs to one that
requires me to work on several different systems. And just
last year, I bought a laptop, one more system to throw into
the mix. My notes, thoughts, to-do items were now scattered
across several files on several systems. I could still
record my thoughts anytime I needed, but going back and
finding them later became a real problem - often the entry I
was seeking wasn't on the same system I was using, and then
I had to go into hunt mode.
I suppose I'm probably preaching to the converted
who hasn't had a similar problem? I thought my Palm
organizer might help matters - it
solved a similar problem I had keeping track of phone
numbers. But great though the Palm is, it just isn't great
at writing notes onto.
Now that the Internet is everywhere, it's clearly a
great potential candidate to solve this kind of
the the notes online. Store them in a database. Enable me
to retrieve them, add new ones, edit old ones, etc., from
any computer connected to the net.
I've been using my own PHP journal pages, but they're
as mature yet as the Advogato diary system. The Advogato
system is obviously very simple, and not very
feature-burdened, but sometimes less is more. I really like
its ease of use. I like its fast-loading design. I like
its clean, uncluttered look. Some new
features would be nice, and who knows, maybe I'll take the
Advogato code and add my own features. That is how the
whole OSS thing works, right?
Stay tuned. More about ODS, exif-tools, and linux
digital photography still to come.