Sloppy thinking in good product

What in the world would make a manufacturer like D-Link produce a nice and affordable router/gateway/firewall/VPN piece of equipment like the DI-804HV, and not include support for configuration by means of SSH and/or HTTPS?

This product is by no means “brand new” or the “latest of the greatest”, but it is modern enough to warrant some modern and proper security features.

The remote management feature is, of course, disabled by default. But as an administrator I have an option to either leave it disabled, or transmit my password in cleartext across the Internet. Gee, those are both appealing options.

On an additional note, while the web based configuration interface is nice, it really needs to be re-worked to handle text-only browsers, such as Lynx, much better. It is almost impossible to configure the damn thing using low-tech stuff.

Oh wait.. I forgot.. everybody is using Windows and a GUI!

SuSE goes PowerEdge 750

After having hesitated for many months and years, I finally got my hands on a new Dell server waiting to be configured for SuSE Linux (SuSE 9.0 Professional). Although the sales person was dearly convinced it would work without any problems (“Oh yes, we know it works with the SuSE Enterprise Server”), I was a bit suspicious.

I did not need to be; the PERC4 SCSI-RAID controller was properly detected, and after that, the installation went very smooth. As soon as the files had finished copying, a reboot was in order; followed by an on-line update. Shortly thereafter, the machine was up and running.

Apart from the fact that the 750 PE is a 1U chassi (they tend to make more noise since the fans are smaller and have to rotate/spin faster), this server is very simple, very basic, and very functional.

Svar till “Öppen Källkod kan aldrig bli affärskritisk”

På CS/Debatt 9/3 2005 skriver Stefan Dahlgren (vd, Bea Systems) att “Öppen källkod kan aldrig bli affärskritisk” (sic).

Sådana här uttalanden hjälper varken hans egen sak (vilket uppenbarligen går ut på att främja Bea Systems produkter) eller att förtydliga för människor vad “Öppen källkod” innebär.

Insändaren går mer eller mindre ut på att applikationer och system byggda på/med öppen källkod är oseriösa, samt att de ständigt skulle befinna sig i någon form av betastadie. Till skillnad, såklart, från de applikationer och lösningar som Bea Systems förespråkar och/eller tillhandahåller.

Det företag jag arbetar på har sprungit på argument och problem i båda världar; öppen källkod och slutna system. Det handlar inte om att något alternativ är bättre, billigare eller säkrare än det andra. Det handlar snarare om att man skall gå in i systemval och upphandlingar med öppna ögon. Något som många företag och konsulter är rädda, eller för lata, för att göra.

Det finns tusentals produkter som kommer från öppen källkod som är betydligt bättre och stabilare än slutna system; det finns också självklart många exempel på system med öppen källkod som inte är bra.

Stefan Dahlgren likställer öppen källkod med gratis, ett vanligt men ganska uppenbart misstag. Öppen källkod betyder inte gratis, öppen källkod och billigare system betyder valfrihet.

Och att det inte skulle gå att använda öppen källkod för affärskritiska lösningar är antingen en uppenbar och medveten lögn eller en åsikt lika insnöad som tron att Microsoft är det enda företag vi behöver.

Jag har arbetat som verksamhetskonsult och systemutvecklare sedan 1985; vi har rullat ut ett stort antal affärskritiska lösningar till våra kunder. Några av dessa lösningar är baserade på slutna system, andra är baserade på öppen källkod. Det finns ingen skillnad i hur nöjd kunden är eller hur stabila lösningarna är i dessa fall. De baserade på öppen källkod är system och applikationer vi tar fullt ansvar för; kunden tecknar ett support- och/eller driftavtal, inte olikt det man gör för “vanliga slutna system”.

Att förstå är att utvecklas.

Joaquim Homrighausen
WebbPlatsen i Sverige AB
Stockholm

The Skype Hype

How cool is Skype? Well, considering that it’s one of those “ButOfCourse(tm)! Why didn’t I think of that?!” type things, it must mean it’s very cool. It’s something many software developers have thought about, but few have done anything about.

Having played with it for a total of 60 minutes today, I’ve decided to buy two headsets (they had them on a Skype special, including 120 minutes of SkypeOut-talk); one to be used at home (USB, for more plug-and-pray compatibility), and the other for use at work.

I was also quickly informed of two hybrid telephones (one is from Siemens) that handle both Skype-VOIP and traditional telephony; awesome! Here’s a review of the Siemens M34.

The coolest things with Skype is, of course, that it’s a nice slap on the wrist for the telephone companies; as in “HELLO!!! IT’S TIME TO WAKE UUUUP”.

So I guess you’ve got to ask yourself, Do you feel Skyped yet? Well, do ya?!

Has Sun seen the light?!

Sun today announced something referred to as OpenSolaris.. they also announced that they’re releasing a “free-to-use” license for some 1600 patents they claim to own. I’m not quite sure what all this means in regards to “real life”, but I’m sure millions of people and thousands of lawyers will be involved in figuring this out 🙂 Regardless, it’s a nice gesture and a big step in the right direction; way to go Sun!

This could, of course, just be another marketing stunt aimed at selling more hardware 🙂

The announcement for OpenSolaris is here.
The OpenSolaris site can be found on www.opensolaris.org
The announcement for the patents is here.

McAfee needs help!

I just finished upgrading some ten installations of McAfee’s VirusScan Professional at a customer site. Most of them were upgraded from 7.x to 8.x, for some it was enough to renew the virus update subscription.

I’ve been doing IT for the better part of my life (which comes to some 24 odd years out of 36 possible), and I can’t figure out exactly how the McAfee on-line store works. Granted, the last upgrades were done at around 04:00 in the morning, but seriously.. how hard can it be?

You log in to the on-line store, select your upgrade and download it, right?
Well, unless you have chosen to use McAfee’s software that is.

It’s fascinating to see that one of the world’s largest suppliers of anti-virus solutions cannot design a simple and functional on-line order process.

Perhaps they give their web developers too much money?

Novell: SuSE Linux 9.2 and Novell Linux Desktop

Wow! Two new toys in the world of Linux! SuSE Linux 9.2 looks to be a lot of fun, and comes with a number of nice improvements over previous versions. Running the upgrade procedure on a SuSE Linux 9.1 installation worked like a charm (albeit a bit slow for my taste; and this is on a 2.4GHz machine with a DVD-reader). Things just keep on getting better.

And then, to top it off, Novell announces its Novell Linux Desktop to be available very soon; how sweet!

“They” are running out of arguments.. I like.. I like a lot!

DokuWiki

I started playing with DokuWiki for the first time today. I’ve been looking at other Wiki-based systems before, but I’ve never really looked, if you know what I mean.

The reason I’m taking a look at DokuWiki is because I want to get some sort of global documentation database set-up for a customer where I’m currently camped out. I wanted to do it without the use of a standard intraNet or similar.

One could argue that a Wiki is not the best way to handle corporate documentation, due to its design and odd “mark-up”. On the other hand, I’d argue that one of Wiki’s strengths is just that. It’s extremely flexible and very lightweight (or can be, I suppose you could bloat anything).

Considering that “real” (whatever that means) document management systems usually have some heavyweight costs associated with them, I’d say DocuWiki and the likes have something going for them. The only question is how to get the powers that be to realize that good things don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Information wants to be free 🙂

MySQL Version 4.1 Certified as Production-Ready

CUPERTINO, Calif. — MySQL AB, developer of the world’s most popular open source database, today announced the general availability of MySQL® 4.1. Certified by the company as production-ready for large-scale enterprise deployment, this significant upgrade to the MySQL database server features advanced querying capabilities through subqueries, faster and more secure client-server communication, new installation and configuration tools, and support for international character sets and geographic data. MySQL 4.1 can be downloaded now at dev.mysql.com.

Yessuh.. we’ve been waiting for this for a looong time! 🙂

The full story can be read here.