Joe Hendren

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

BBC World Service only leads to Ping Pong

I found something I like about being in Auckland. As I was driving to work today I channel surfed in the hope of finding a decent National Radio FM signal.

To my surprise I came across the BBC World Service on 801 AM - great - I now have a choice between two commercial free newsgeek stations. I stopped listening to commercial radio a long time ago as I find saturation level advertising intrusive and annoying.

Tonight I camped at a pub in Onehunga to watch the cricket. On my way home, just after 11pm I put my radio back on the Beeb and found an interesting technology programme, Digital Planet. Today they looked at the growth of open source software, including discussion of a European Union Commission report that found that in 'almost all' cases long-term (business) costs could e reduced if businesses dropped proprietary software (such as Microslop) in favour of open source solutions. I am sure there is probably some right wing fruit loop somewhere in the world who thinks open source is a front for communism.

They also had a bit of discussion on how bloggers are holding big business to account, which certainly caught my attention :) Sadly I missed some of this item as I was unable to tune my home radio to the same frequency. But on going out to the car I ended up meeting one of my new neighbours who invited me to meet the flat and have a game of ping pong. Great to find the neighbours so friendly

Stella the cat is also very friendly, in fact I met her almost as soon as I arrived here :)

So if my car stereo had not randomly stumbled across BBC World Service this morning, I would not have met the neighbours, making it highly unlikely I would have finished the day with a midnight game of ping pong. Funny how things work out sometimes.

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6 Comments:

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Byron said...

Several people have called Open Source communism, the most well known example is probably Bil Gates he also claimed that people against software patents were communists, the response from the Free Software Foundation is quite interesting.

 
At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Byron said...

Several people have called Open Source communism, the most well known example is probably Bil Gates he also claimed that people against software patents were communists, the response from the Free Software Foundation is quite interesting.

 
At 1:05 PM, Blogger Rich said...

Can I sign up as a left wing fruitloop who thinks open source is a front for capitalism. Who's behind Linux? IBM, HP, Novell, Oracle, etc. All big corporations just like Microsoft.

As someone who actually has to make this stuff go, I resent having to spend my time sorting out problems with open source software when the solution could have been delivered cheaper and simpler by paying the MS dollar. (Like having to recompile C code just to get the most popular database to install on the most popular Linux). And on quite a lot of these projects, my day rate is coming out of public money that could be spent on delivering better services.

 
At 5:42 PM, Blogger Joe Hendren said...

Rich from my experience (which is obviously not as extensive as yours) a lot of these problems are caused by Microsoft software being designed not to play nicely with non-microsoft products. is this what you mean when you say 'most popular database'

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger Rich said...

Nope, Oracle. The installer was built against a shared library module which had been removed from the new version of Redhat. The initial fix was to compile and link a stub to replace the removed module. Not what I'd consider a reasonable sysadmin task.

Latest waste of time I had was finding that Tomcat, in addition to logging normally, also outputs gigabytes of logs into a redirected standard output file (hence filling the disk and crashing the machine). This was removable, after a lot of googling, by changing an obscure config setting.

The problem I think is that there are an awful lot of boring, tedious but neccesary jobs in software development doing things like checking compatability, sorting out log files, making sure all application settings have a UI. Open source developers are mostly disinclined to do these jobs (I think there are a lot more OSS developers than OSS quality engineers) and since they mostly don't have managers making them do them, the jobs just don't get done.

Shrinkwrap software firms (I used to work at one) have whole groups of people finding bugs like "using *&*()&(&)&" as an identifier breaks the system" and making sure they get fixed.

 
At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Carl Anderson said...

Joe, if i could lower the tone, which pub in onehunga did you go to? I m moving there soon, and need a decent local!

 

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