Recent blog entries for pjcabrera

4 Mar 2004 (updated 4 Mar 2004 at 03:13 UTC) »
SNAP Software Development Center

I would like to announce the founding of an open source research and development center at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico.

One of the goals of the SNAP Software Development Center, is to improve the quality of software developers in Puerto Rico, by involving Puerto Rico IT, computer science, and computer engineering students in supporting and improving open source projects through internships in the SNAP Center, and through open source-based independent study projects at the students' universities. (I will post about the other goals in the weeks ahead.)

In the fall of 2003, myself and two colleagues from the Java Society aligned ourselves with the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, and took a proposal for funding the SNAP Center to the Industrial Development Corporation of the government of Puerto Rico. To make a long story short, we were approved! The contracts between the Interamerican University and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corp have been signed and everything is official. We just ordered the first of the equipment today, March 3, 2004. (I'll be writing about that once it arrives and we start installing stuff - all of it open source - on the servers!)

I am involved with the center as co-founder and software architect. I am involved in "educating" faculty and students at the Interamerican University about open source licensing issues, open source technologies, and lightweight methodologies such as eXtreme Programming. I will also be involved in direct student outreach. (We want all students, whether or not they are in IT or computer science or engineering, to know about and to be excited about open source.)

The project begins at the Interamerican University, but it is our hope that this open source R&D center sparks interest in similar projects at other Puerto Rico universities.
Let Java Go! Petition

As some of you may know by now, Eric Raymond has posted an open letter to Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, pleading with Sun to open source the Java platform. A colleague of mine and I want to do something about this.

We are eXtreme Programmers to the core. Using his customer stories describing what he wants to do, I have started writing a simple J2EE app, using the Struts and Hibernate open source Java frameworks. At its most basic feature set, the user simply enters their email address and name on a web form, and after the user clicks submit, the app emails a copy of Eric Raymond's letter to Scott McNealy, James Gosling, and the Sun Microsystems Board of Directors.

We want to let Sun Microsystems, and Scott McNealy in particular, know in a very personal way, how many developers want Java to be open source.

We need your help. We do not have at the moment, reliable hosting that can take the possible beating of a Slashdotting. My simple Java app may not survive the onslaught on my personal home server. :-)

If anyone can provide Tomcat and MySQL hosting ASAP, I am willing to Paypal some money each month between now and the last day of OSCON 2004 in Portland. I want to hit Sun with a thousand emails of Eric's letter every day, between today and OSCON 2004.

If you can help, contact me at:

pjcabrera AT sociedadjava DOT org

Hey, Scott!

Let Java Go! Let Java Go!
Let Java Go! Let Java Go!
Let Java Go! Let Java Go!
Let Java Go! Let Java Go!
Let Java Go! Let Java Go!
Java Society of Puerto Rico

I have been involved with a volunteer-run Java Users Group in Puerto Rico for little more than a year. During that time, I have been giving free monthly workshops and presentations on applying Java open source technologies. The contents of my presentations is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

The JUG has finally organized a board of directors and an executive commitee to carry out activities. I am vice-president of the board, and executive in charge of recruitment.

As part of a membership drive strategy with the local four-year colleges and universities, we plan to hold RoboCode and Java TetriNet competitions in May of 2004.

For more details, see my JRoller weblog.

The source code for competition enrollment, online score posting, and tournament-like eliminations will be distributed under an Apache license. [ I had to work open source in somehow. :-) ]
16 Feb 2004 (updated 16 Feb 2004 at 20:44 UTC) »
deekayen

I absolutely agree with you about large hardware store chains and the little local mom-and-pop varieties. I bought my PowerBook from a local Puerto Rico Apple shop that has been struggling for over ten years, instead of buying from CompUSA or over the web. I believe in choice, and if I don't support the little guys, the big guys will soon be telling us how it is. Fuck that! :-)

I also find myself in agreement with you about people from other countries working in a country and not knowing the language. But a little perspective is needed, please.

Some of these folks are escaping oppressive regimes and they come to make a fair living, free of hate and persecution. Who are you to give them any lip? They are probably having a hard time working full-time and learning the language on their own time. How would you like to be bitched about when the only place for you to run to doesn't speak your language?

Besides, you will soon learn your own employer is either giving them your job overseas, or bringing them over to the USA to take your job off your own hands. I'll love to see your perspective on this in 5 years, when the baby boomers retire and the USA finds itself short 14 million professional-level employees.

One question, deek? How many languages do you speak? Could you live in Japan if suddenly Communists took over the Congress and the White House and the only place to find work was Japan?

That's what I thought, bitch.

By the way, you just got bitched at by a multi-lingual Puertorican (6 languages and counting.)
16 Feb 2004 (updated 17 Feb 2004 at 00:50 UTC) »

repeat send of another post. removed

16 Feb 2004 (updated 17 Feb 2004 at 00:51 UTC) »

repeat send of another post. removed

Jiggety-jig, jiggety-jig, back again, back again.

I'm not going to make excuses as to why I haven't updated my blog in the last seven months. No one really wants to know anyhow. :-)

I'm back with a new focus on Java free software. I will be working with Java free software on the job and in other professional level projects, so there will be a lot more free software news coming from me now. I'll write about that at some other time.

Now moving right along...

The pond just got a whole lot bigger for the little folks...

I find Red Hat's leaving the consumer operating system market to concentrate on the enterprise market awesome news for the growth of Linux, but it's a bit sad. It marks the end of an era and the start of a new one for Linux. The most famous Linux distro is leaving its roots behind, maybe not in spirit, but at least in writing. :-)

The interesting thing is, this now leaves room in the consumer market for Mandrake to come back from bankruptcy. Now that the big fish has moved to other waters, suddenly there is a huge market gap to fill.

Of course, Mandrake now has even more competition than before, with Lindows and Xandros also positioning themselves in the consumer Linux market. Lindows goes for the computer newbie, while Xandros goes after the early adopter hardcore gamer that doesn't want to leave Windows games behind, doesn't know how to hack Linux either, they just want to move to this Linux thing because it's the cool new thing. I'm not sure which one has the higher market, but as Mandrake is the closer one to what Red Hat was, it may be the one to gain the top spot. I think Lindows and Xandros are positioning themselves in really narrow niche markets.

As for Fedora, I hope it turns out regular releases that compare in stability to the "old" RH Linux. I also hope it stays a volunteer-run project and doesn't go commercial. The world needs a showcase volunteer-run distro that doesn't require one to be a hard-core Linux hacker.

Disclaimer: I myself use Gentoo and Linux-From-Scratch for my development servers, so I'm not bashing hard-core distros. All I'm saying is that there are a lot more mainstream Linux users than hard-core Linux users, and I'd like Fedora to be there for the mainstream Linux users the way Red Hat's consumer Linux used to.

My best wishes to Red Hat and Fedora in the years ahead.

A month on the lam...

A little over a month has gone by since my last post. I got swamped with work from my job, and barely had any free time for hacking. Things have been back to normal for a week now.

Here's the summary:

Free Software in Puerto Rico Government

During this last month, the March 12-13 conference promoting broader free software use in the Government of Puerto Rico, was scaled way down in scope, because of lack of financial support. Now that this has passed into history, I am starting to plan a 'real' conference for some undetermined time in the future.

But first, I am exploring commercial sponsorship possibilities from the green-lizard and rouge-thing-on-the-head free-software companies, as well as the two-lettered computer hardware company and the three-lettered computer hardware company.

Mono and Gnome Hacking

I cleaned up some documentation in The Mono Handbook and began adding content to the introductions of the various ECMA standard .NET namespaces.

I am having a blast rewriting Same Gnome in Gtk# and Glade2. I didn't know Gnome2 programming could be so easy! :-) I am documenting my effort, to be included in The Mono Handbook as a case study of Gnome programming in Mono.

After I'm finished with Same Gnome, I'm converting GnomeCalc. :-p

Hacking the Linux kernel

My only solace during this last busy month was reading Understanding the Linux Kernel, Second Edition, during my lunch break and before bedtime. I also located a copy in good condition of Linux Core Kernel Commentary (aka LCKC) with the CD-ROM, which is now out of print. Finding this last book in good condition was a waste of time, because after only a week of use, the spine broke and the pages started coming unbound, which seems to be the fate of all LCKCs in existance. :-/

Good hardware is so cheap these days, I went and built a new spare PC, installed Debian GNU/Linux on it, plus the source of the last three releases of the 2.4 series kernel, some of Con Kolivas' patches and his contest benchmark. I grabbed the last three releases from the 2.5 series kernel as well, to keep track of the latest development. I also have installed LXR cross-references to all this source on my XBox Apache server.

Since I don't have the time to read the lkml every day, KernelTrap and Kernel Traffic will be my new found friends.

It seems in my overenthusiasm, I misunderstood my invitation to the free software in government conference. I was asked to 'participate', and I assumed that meant that I was asked to speak. More details later.

Talk loud, and carry a big stick ...

I have been promoting free software a lot in and outside of work in the past two years, and it has apparently attracted the attention of someone at the Office of Management and Budget Planning of the Government of Puerto Rico, the country where I live.

I've been asked to speak at a small conference discussing the greater use of free software in the local goverment. In typical fashion, I have only a month to prepare. I received the invitation yesterday, and the conference is scheduled for March 12 - 13.

I have never given a talk about free software to a group bigger than 6 to 8 people, and even then, I was preaching to a mostly devout choir, so to speak. The idea of standing in front of government paper pushers and showing them how free software is good for their budgets is scary (hence the title of this entry.) But the argument is an easy one to make, so I am not worried especifically about what I will say. I am worried about my delivery and effectiveness when speaking to a group so unlike myself.

With only a month to prepare, it's going to be difficult for me to drum up support from important companies in free software. I do not mean direct financial support to myself or to the conference, but support as in them bringing demo units showcasing their software, especially its Windows and Office compatibility.

Perhaps this conference should only be seen as a stepping stone, and I shouldn't worry so much about making a big impact so early in the game. After all, it seems the conference planners are mostly convinced about the financial benefits of free software, and only want to bring this information to the attention of their colleages.

I am meeting with the conference planners this week and next week as well. Perhaps we can start planning a bigger, better island-wide conference in the summer or fall. We'll see what develops.

For the next week or two, I will probably scour the web for summaries or transcriptions of similar talks and conference proceedings in the last year, to aid me in preparing my presentation. In typical free software enthusiast fashion, I plan to reuse other people's work and strengthen the stew with my own views.

If anybody has any pointers, suggestions, comments, feel free to write. You can contact me @

'echo qkdbcsfsb@qpcpy.dpn | tr b-z a-z'

PS - The tentative name of the conference is "Destiny : Linux" but I personally do not think Linux is the answer to everything, and other free operating systems should be discussed and presented as well. And the emphasis on Linux takes emphasis away from the more important point of software freedom. (Heh, maybe I shouldn't worry about getting Stallman to attend, as I see I have his gig covered. ROFL.)

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