The Joys of Seamless Upgrades

Upgrades often is a naughty word in programming and system administration.  When a system admin or programmer starts an upgrade, often it is with clenched teeth and an expectation something will break, explode or spontaneously combust.  So congrats to the WordPress guys for releasing another seamless, non-breaking, and easy to do upgrade.  And yes this blog now runs on the latest greatest WordPress 2.8.6.

Now if only upgrading my Drupal sites could be as simple and trivial.

Drupal Dreams

I love my WordPress powered blog.  For a blogging site, WordPress is the way to go.  However there are site that require me to step beyond the paradigms of a blog.

Back in the day, I used to hardcode all my sites using XHTML & PHP.  I’d make them elegant, minimalistic and W3C compliant.  I also wasted a good deal of time doing so.  So now…  when I need to set up a site, I reach for Drupal.  Now thats a fun application to work with.  By no means is Drupal “simple”.  It is a freaking CMS for crying out loud.  Simple and CMS don’t go together.  And it does have its weaknesses.  Getting an image gallery set up in Drupal 6 is non-trivial.  But once you know where things are and how the components work, then you are all set.

Rethinking the justCheckers Website

After listening to my backlog of FLOSS Weekly shows, I’ve been thinking about my involvement with my own project.  Naturally I want it to succeed.  But I also want to use it as a portfolio of my work.  On one hand, I’d like to hack everything together by myself.  On the other hand, I simply don’t have the time or inclination to do everything.  Especially if I think about it… my skills in PHP might not be as interesting as showcasing my work in developing justCheckers and working as a team lead.  So I’m think about setting up Drupal, and maybe do some additional integration work…  I’m just not that sure that anyone really cares about my XHTML/PHP/web development prowess, especially with some many powerful tools that are around.

I’ll probably do that… set up Drupal, integrate a justCheckers look and feel into it (showcasing my web designer side), import all the data, setup a team again and move the damn project forward.

A Quest for Easy Multiblog Setup

One of the downside of sporting the ‘Y’ chromosone, is the tendency to setup new kit without reading instructions.  In my case a similar thing happened with my sites.  I bought a domain and hosting.  Then I installed Drupal hearing all the wonderful things I heard about Drupal. What I didn’t do was research to find out installing Drupal on GoDaddy could be problematic.  And that Drupal is complicated to setup exactly how you want to.  Also it turns out that Drupal is a pain to maintain.  At least  for me it seems that way.

Maybe the problem is because I am writer.  As a writer I tend to view in the lens of literature.  World history becomes a story, the Internet looks awfully like a multimedia capable library and all my websites morph into glorified blogs.  I just can’t wrap my head around on WHY I actually need a CMS.  I fought around with Drupal to get to look not half arsed.  And then I installed WordPress for my blog and everything… just… worked!   Out of the box.  No questions asked.  No fiddling around with .htaccess files.  No monkeying around for modules just to do something useful.

Now I plan on transitioning my stealth project sites to WordPress.  However I don’t want to handle multiple installations.  A separate installation for my own personal blog is fine.  But not for a separate installation for each project.  Especially since all of my self-hosted projects will actually stem from one central project/system.  I looked at WordPress MU but it looks too complicated to setup and maintain.  I’m trying to avoid hacks if possible.  But the WP Hive module/plugin looks promising.  I’ll keep you updated on how things progress.

Notes: Excuse if some of my thoughts seem cryptic.  Those in the know will understand why I can’t speak plainly about my upcoming projects.  Those who don’t know will find out later, once I’m ready to announce my ideas to the rest of the world.  And dear GoDaddy admins, fear not.  I am not going to start a massive blog network on this hosted space.  I just need a single tidy installation to run a few very related websites with different domains.  So please don’t swing Thor’s ban hammer at my account. 🙂

Moving House and Home…

Please excuse the past few days of silence. But I’ll moving this blog/journal/collection of incohesive rants yet again.

The new home will be at my new brand new domain:

Now at the moment of posting this message, the domain is not up.  CIRA, you fail again.  So for the next few days I’ll be working on putting up a new blog on that site, and copying over my content.  I’ll keep this blog up for posterity though.  However I will post new entries on the new site.  Also I might be silent for a few days while I transition over.

Open Source Gamer Goes to Ontario Linux Fest 2008

Last, last weekend (October 25) I attended my first conference, Ontario Linux Fest 2008. And what an awesome event it was! The event turned out be a somewhat low key event. Not a huge number of exhibitor booths, but the Eclipse, Fedora, FOSSology, FSF, OpenStreetMap and Drupal people had setup shop there. The event featured 4 tracks, and a number of great speakers. Got to meet Jorge Castro from Canonical, Ross Turk and Daniel Hinojosa from SourceForge, Jon “maddog” Hall, Jeremy Allison from Samba, Ian Darwin and Bradley Kuhn from the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC). It is always an amazing thing to meet the people “in the flesh”, who make a difference in the FOSS community, and read from blogs. The seminars were fantastic and inspire me to further my own open source/free software involvement.

One of the organizers, Richard Weait tried to convince me to start up a Brampton LUG. I might try it out, once I have a little bit more time. Nothing fancy mind you, just one night a month at the Coffee Culture, a few ads and a mailing list. We will see how it will go.

Also I got to go out to dinner with Bradley, the Red Hat and FoSSology folks. And thanks to Google for providing yet another free service in life, in the form of free drinks at the reception/ after-party.

So thanks guys for the awesome time. Sorry for not blogging earlier. Life keeps me busy as always. And lets make the 2009 event even larger!