Thursday, 26 August 2004

Say no to "vendor lock-in"!

I know it's been a while since I've written anything, but as you know, I've been playing around with my PC and Linux. One thing I would like to point out with software is an awful scenario, where an entity becomes dependant on another entity for a piece of software. This is commonly known as "vendor lock-in". It's not a unique case. Many of you out there may already be "victims" of it without knowing.

Why is this bad you ask? What happens if the vendor you are relying on does something different in their product that you use, that all of a sudden stops working on your PC. What choices do you have left? Not much, I think.

One of the best features with Open Source software is the avoidance of "vendor lock-in". As the source is available, if one person doesn't offer the service you need, you could always fix it yourself, or employ someone to fix it for you.

Why have I brought this point up after many months of silence? Well I've just had some dealings with a large IT company which supports some Open Source Linux distributions. The only problem is they don't support Gentoo Linux (yes I know, more zealotry). Nothing would make me happier if this large IT company would release the application server and their source code management application so it was fully functioning with Gentoo, but alas, they only support Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux. Don't fall into the trap of believing their words, just say NO.

Tuesday, 25 May 2004

So I'm quiet again...

I've been quiet on these pages as I've been working away on my machine at home, and playing around with the world of Open Source software. I can't believe how easy life can be with a well designed package management system. And yes, I am referring to Gentoo Linux. The more I use it, the more I appreciate it. I've also been chatting with work colleagues who were thinking of upgrading their operating systems. They were currently on some version of Red Hat Linux, and were asking me my opinion on what to go to next (this was around the time of the Red Hat - Fedora Project split). I mentioned to them about a system that never needs to be re-installed again. They were intrigued. They tried Gentoo. They have both said they will never look back! Effortless updates... you can't ask for more than that! Superb documentation. Great, friendly community. For zealotry like this, that money cannot afford, give it a go!

Tuesday, 27 April 2004

Installing software...

I've been busy, not on this "soap box page", but on getting Linux to run on my PC at home. For those of your that want to have a look as to what I'm up to, please visit my Linux on Toshiba page. That page has been quite active, as I have been updating it with what I've been doing with Gentoo Linux. I cannot sing the praises of that distribution enough. When I want to install some application, I find it's name in the application repository, and then type in one simple command to download it. It will then compile and install itself onto my hard-drive. "So what?" I hear you say... Well, it also looks at anything it depends on (libraries, environmental applications), and then downloads them as well. "So what? Microsoft Windows does it easier!" Well... yes and no! It does do it a little easier, as it does provide one standard set of widgets for all applications to use, but it still does not provide library protection. That basically means, sometimes if you install something, you may find some of your other applications just stop working, because they are depending on their old libraries being there... the old libraries you've just re-installed with the new version.

Gentoo eliminates all this by compiling everything from source and having an excellent dependency resolution system. So excellent, that most times I only have to type in the one command to bring down a complete open source system. Red Hat Linux (and other RPM based distributions) has their own system called RPM, but it does not do as good a job of getting software installed. There have been many articles about this on the web, commonly known as RPM Hell. Pick any of the articles to have a read. I have not yet seen one article praising RPM for going about installing software the right way. If there is one, please inform me and I'll update this page. I cannot really comment about Debian's way or Slackware's way of doing things, since I haven't used them properly before, but I will in the next few weeks / months.

Wednesday, 14 January 2004

How much is that puppy...?

The wife and I recently picked up a Hungarian Vizsla puppy from a local Melbourne breeder. This dog is what I would consider one of the best dogs I have ever had. She's only a few weeks old, and is already familiar with her name, has almost mastered not going to the toilet in the house, and has picked up on a basic game of fetch. If you're considering getting a dog (and I was a pro-Welsh Corgi person for a long time), consider this breed too. If you're after details, please feel free to e-mail me, and I'll pass the details of the breeder to you.

Images of Vizslas can be found here (via the images search engine).

Monday, 5 January 2004

Happy 2K4!

I hope you all had a safe festive period over the 2003 - 2004 period, regardless of your personal religious beliefs. I hope your 2004 is safe and prosperous in all aspects.