Book: Intellectual Property and Open Source – the solution to IANAL

I’m reading Intellectual Property and Open Source by Van Lindberg at the moment, and despite being about a relatively dry topic, I must admit that it’s a fascinating read. Van Lindberg introduces the book by talking about the comments that end up on, almost certainly prefixed by the expression IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) where people defend, discuss, and rip people up about the legalities of open source and the various licenses. Van Lindberg also talks about how he spends much of his time translating the contents of various legal documents into engineer speak and back again. Despite being a proponent and long time user of free software and open source for the best part of my working life, I’ll admit to being completely ignorant of many of the issues. This isn’t through lack of interest, but I’d rather leave those discussions and decisions to people who know, and it’s clear that Van Lindberg not only knows the subject, but he also knows how to make it interesting to those of us who actually have to work within the confines of rules and regulations. I’m still reading and learning a lot of the ins and outs of copyright, company agreements, and individual licenses and details. There’s a lot of material and detail included here. I’ll have a full review when I’ve finished. Until then, if you have even a passing interest in the various licensing, legal and IP issues with open source, check out the book for a proper read.

Getting Best out of MySQL on Solaris

I’m still working up some good tips and advice on MySQL on Solaris (particularly the T1000, the new x86 based servers like the X4150 and ZFS, amongst other things), but until then I found Getting Best out of MySQL on Solaris while doing some research.With the latest OpenSolaris builds (b79, from memory) we now have MySQL built-in, and I worked with the folks on the OpenSolaris Database team to get some reasonable configurations and defaults into the system. MySQL 5.1 and 64-bit support is currently going through the process and will be a in future build. I’ve also been working with the DTrace people to improve the DTrace support we have in MySQL (documentation will go live this week, I hope). MySQL 6.0.4 will have some basic DTrace probes built-in, but I’ve proposed a patch to extend and improve on that significantly. We’re in the process of updating the documentation and advice on Solaris (and OpenSolaris) installations and layout too, which is itself part of a much larger overhaul of the installation and setup instructions for all platforms.

Setting up the developer stack issues

There’s a great post on Coding Horror about Configuring the Stack.Basically the gripe is with the complexity of installing the typical developer stack, in this case on Windows, using Visual Studio. My VS setup isn’t vastly different to the one Jeff mentions, and I have similar issues with the other stacks I use. I’ve just set up the Ultra3 mobile workstation again for building MySQL and other stuff on, and it took about 30 packages (from Sun Freeware) just to get the basics like gcc, binutils, gdb, flex, bison and the rest set up. It took the best part of a day to get everything downloaded, installed, and configured. I haven’t even started on modules for Perl yet. The Eclipse stack is no better. On Windows you’ll need the JDK of your choice, plus Eclipse. Then you’ll have to update Eclipse. Then add in the plugins and modules you want. Even though some of that is automated (and, annoyingly some of it is not although it could be), it generally takes me a few hours to get stuff installed. Admittedly on my Linux boxes it’s easier – I use Gentoo and copy around a suitable make.conf with everything I need in it, so I need only run emerge, but that can still take a day or so to get everything compiled.Although I’m sure we can all think of easier ways to create the base systems – I use Parallels for example and copy VM folders to create new environments for development – even the updating can take a considerable amount of time. I suggest the new killer app is one that makes the whole process easier.

One worker in one country

A recent article at CNN talks about how MySQL operates. As one of the MySQL team, I can attest that works, but it requires a significant amount of coordination, and lots of online communication through email, IRC, Skype and other methods to keep everbody talking and all the projects working together. The flip side to that process is that we all get involved in different areas, and you tend to be much more aware of what is going on company wide. There is also better cooperation – because we can all get involved we can all provide our experience and expertise to a wide range of problems and projects. Also, because we come from such a wide range of backgrounds and environments, we have a much wider perspective.So not only does remote, and earth-wide staffing work, but it provides us with a level of cooperation that might be more difficult if we all worked in group offices in the same building.

GNU/Linux – Fad or Favoritism picked up by Linux Today

I’ve picked up bloggin at FSM again, and my first post has been picked up by LinuxToday already. I urge you to read the article, but the basis of my thoughts are whether my current Linux distribution choices are because they are better than my previous ones (and therefore my favourites), or whether I’ve merely chosen them because they happen to popular at the moment (and are therefore just a passing fad).