Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Uses of Virtualization: Slides Here

Earlier this week, I lectured at InfoWorld's Virtualization Summit on a topic that has interested me for a long time: uses of virtualization outside of the two principal use cases (server consolidation and developer testing of portability). Here is the slide deck from the presentation. It discusses security, training, demo's, desktop consolidation, and virtual appliances, among other uses.

Monday, September 17, 2007

From Ant to Maven

I spent part of the last week migrating Platypus from Ant to Maven 2. This is a migration I've been itching to do for a while. I don't much like Ant, because I find I spend far too much time struggling with it.

Maven, by comparison, works on a "convention not configuration" model that centers on a specific build sequence and an expected file layout for your project. Understand these two, and Maven makes builds simple and very rich. For one, Maven downloads all dependencies for utilities and reports you want to run as part of your build cycle. There is no more wrestling with Ant's dependency errors. In addition, Maven's end product (beyond the build's binaries) is a website that it re-creates on each run; it loads the site with reports and data about your build. So, you and the team always know where things stand with the project.

The one complaint I read about Maven 2 is that it's hard to find the info you need to set it up and use it. This is actually not the case, if you know where to look. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of digging before you find that two excellent 300-page PDF tutorials are available at no cost. Plus a great introduction. So for those who need to know, here are the links to Maven support docs:

Those resources should solve nearly any issue you encounter. In an upcoming column in SD Times, I describe in greater detail the benefits I have found in migrating from Ant to Maven. Try Maven, you'll like it!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

So much for strong passwords...

Perhaps you think Fgpyyih804423 is a strong password. As discussed here, it took OphCrack 160 seconds to break it. That's scary!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ubuntu Everywhere?

I have long felt that desktop Linux would become a reality only when you could go to a Linux gathering and find no more than a third of the attendees at the command line. In other words, as long as users are frequently at the command line, the OS is not ready for a big share of the desktop. Desktop users require ease of use.

Earlier this summer, I was at O'Reilly's Ubuntu Live conference in Portland, and the Ubuntu tribe were almost all using the GUI interface. This inflection point confirms for me Ubuntu's claim as the desktop Linux distro. (The conference was especially enjoyable because of the lack of zealotry. It was simply a conclave of the interested with no excess of the us-against-the-world mentality--a factor which made it a far more rewarding experience.)

Having secured its place on the desktop, Ubuntu is trying to move to the server, where competition is much more intense, and where the desktop origins could help as well as hurt. Time will tell.

However, the desktop roots did not preclude Ubuntu's use in Microwulf, the first-ever supercomputer for less than $2500 and first-ever under the $100/Gigaflop threshold.

For your friends who want to try Ubuntu, but who are not geeks, I highly recommend an approachable, not-too-techie intro: Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks: A Pain-Free, Project-Based, Get-Things-Done Guidebook from the ever readable No-Startch Press.