Name: Bob Boyken
Member since: 2000-07-19 14:59:44
Last Login: N/A



Aspiring open source developer. Linux enthusiast since mid-1997. Last dozen or so years have been spent developing applications for DOS/Windows. I've been teaching myself Perl, Python, and PHP in the hope that one day I could get a gig doing it professionally. DREAM REALIZED! Recently hired to help a small team migrate a suite of ColdFusion applications to PHP. I'm also charged with establishing an intranet portal that will link to these and other applications. My marching orders are to use open source solutions exclusively and to teach the other developers to do likewise. I find open source programs that come close to what we need and then I make the modifications that my management asks for and roll those changes back to whoever "owns" that open source project.

Recent blog entries by boyken

Microsoft: hardware and software now one

I just received a nice new Dell PC that my boss is having me set up as a web application server. I was very surprised to see a Microsoft Windows 98, Second Edition sticker firmly affixed to the side of the PC. We had always intended to fully dump the OS and install Linux, but this made me curious enough to boot into Windows in order to read the EULA. It seems that Microsoft now considers the software (Windows 98) and the hardware a "single, integrated unit." You are expressly prohibited from selling or giving away your copy of the operation system without selling or giving the hardware to the same person! Of course, it didn't matter because all we got was a recovery CD.

This was a rude surprise for my boss. Since he knew we weren't going to use Windows 98 on this machine, he intended to take the CD and install it on another PC. He reasoned that since he paid for a copy of Windows 98, he ought to be able to use it. He didn't count on Microsoft declaring this notion entirely unreasonable.

Why Open Source Rocks

As soon as I had completed some mods to the MetaDot portal software we are using, I communicated those changes back to the original author. He thanked me and I felt like I had contributed something meaningful.

Within hours, my boss came to me with another, but much more complicated modification. He successfully convinced me that it was imperative that MetaDot support multi-level delegated administration. The current version of MetaDot enables two types of users: normal and site administrator. I emailed the MetaDot team with this new requirement as I was about to leave work yesterday.

This morning when I arrived at work, an email from MetaDot was waiting. They enthusiastically supported the concept and provided me guidlines for implementing the changes in a manner compatible with their future plans. What more could we ask for? Because we have the source code, I can implement features that my organization requires and roll them up to the owner for review and inclusion in future versions. It's a win-win-win!

Woohoo! I'm an apprentice!

Today I was led to checking out Enhydra after reading reading a column by Nicholas Petreley in InfoWorld. Man, he really doesn't care for Zope. I was amused by his comment that Zope has an "unnecessarily high nerd factor." Anyway, it was enough to prompt me to check out Enhydra. There's a really good article on their site regarding open source developement called Beg, Borrow, and Steal: Why Open Source is the only choice.

My boss came to me with a problem he discovered with MetaDot. It seems that when you do a search, clicking on the links does not take you to the site the link refers to. As this is definitely non-intuitive behavior, I notified the author, who goes by the handle supercobra of the problem and my intent to modify his code. I've imported it into my CVS server and when I'm done, I'll send him the diffs. Fortunately, he did a really fine job on this software and I shouldn't have to make too many changes.

Man, I love open source!

Scored a minor victory today in that I was finally able to get the NT Admins to loosen up the Exchange server so I can access my mail via IMAP from Linux. It's been particularly frustrating to have to boot into Windows98 just to check my work email. I sure wish I could figure out a way to access the global directory from Linux.

My boss is threatening to buy a more powerful PC for the portal applications he is having me develop. Sweet.

I am a 41-year old programmer trying to reinvent himself. I became totally frustrated with M$ products years ago, but I put up with things in order to feed my family. Three years ago, after a brief flirtation with OS/2, I discovered Linux. I have since converted my household PCs to Linux (we don't even dual boot any more). I have longed for the opportunity to alter my career path away from M$ and toward some sort of open source development.

About a month ago, I received a call from a former coworker. His company was looking for someone who could help them begin migrating their application development away from ColdFusion and toward something open source. He asked if I would be interested. HA! I took a pay cut and added 40 minutes to my commute time and I haven't been this happy in years!

I'm actually getting paid to work with Linux (and soon BSD) and do PHP, Perl, and Python programming. My primary task is to build an intranet portal for a particular government project. So far, I'm running MetaDot and WorldPilot. We're also running a Jabber server. Yesterday, I was handed a list of 26 applications they want added to the portal. I hope I can convince them that we may soon need to upgrade the server, although they've been surprised at what I've been able to give them with the P133 w/32MB RAM and 2GB HD they handed me.


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