Open Source… wars?

Ok, its been a while since I posted here, but this is not the reason not to post again… and again 🙂
Many post to social networks, but I don’t think that good technical discussion belongs there.

Anyway. Want to touch on hot topic recently – wars in some open source projects. Don’t really want to get on either side of those (that is not that simple), but examples concern me a lot:

  1. Bacula backup vs Bareos – who stole what?
  2. pfSense protecting their trademark by requiring written agreement to get access to their build tools

Both projects are flagships in their respective areas (backup and firewalls), both trying to get more from commercial operations – maybe that’s the problem?

Contributor took our code and forked it? So what? Wasn’t it open source? Oh, you had some contributions, which were not open source? Because you want to make more money from commercial product? Yes, I understand, but people, who supported this project for a long time want those improvements too and there was nothing released for “community edition” for quite some time. It sad. Reading posts by the owner of Bacula just gives a feeling of someone desperately trying to save the face.

pfSense firewall trying to protect its own trademark? Maybe, but asking to remove community-supplied build, which many were asking for (which added Hyper-V drivers) and then trying to justify letters from lawyers  – looks silly and just shows that intent to get code away from community is there.

I do not have anything against making money on open source projects… but I feel that the community should have higher priority than profits. Maybe non-profit is better way to go, but that’s not what people, owning such projects really want – they want to make more money… and maybe sell off to some big corp later – to win a fortune.

Its possible I am wrong. But the above is the result of reading news and discussions.


SSL Browser Root Ubiquity – is it real?

I haven’t posted in a while, so this is a good post to revive this blog.

Just run across a post onVeriSign’s (now Symantec) blog.This is former Tim Callan’s SSL blog, was quite interesting to follow. However, Tim Callan left Symantec recently, so different people now write posts for it.

Regardless… Here is the post in question:  The SSL Blog – Online Security

First, I wanted to post a comment to that entry, but I couldn’t – blog engine told me that:

Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:
Text entered was wrong. Try again.

Doubt this is AI 🙂 just comments are broken in such funky way, so here is my response:

  1. You can’t say “more than 1 in 10 visitors to this site were being shown a message” based on “IE6 which still enjoys nearly 11% of worldwide browser market share” – you do not know what is the share of IE6 users on the site in question, it very well could be 0%.
  2. Going forward, new CAs will rise and they won’t have their new roots in old browsers – because there is no time machine to go back and put them in.
    This does not make those new CAs less trusted than the old ones.

I guess, Symantec does not like competition and uses every opportunity to poke at rivals.

Blogging here

Spent time today trying to cleanup this blog a bit.

I love wordpress, but there are some usability issues. handling templates is one of them. No preview available. No conformation when selecting new template.

As a result – screwed blog by accident. Of course did not have any notes on how it was formatted – had to reinvent the wheel.

Would be nice to be able to define couple customized layouts – one default for example, and test one – to try different templates, colors and widgets. Oh, well.

So much for tags – love that idea, but it does not translate to Categories logically all the time. Example – I had “Computers and Internet” category. All good, but this name is too long for a tag, which should be simple one-work label. Converted to just “computers”.

Another issue is a layout. That’s more my personal quest for the best.  I’d like to use full width of the screen – to be able to post wider items. On another hand – wide text is hard to read, better to limit the width. But with 3-column design, middle column isn’t too wide. On the other hand – 3-column layout may look too cluttered (and it probably does!).

Decided to keep current layout anyway…

Open Source and user’s feed back

You would think that Open Source projects would excel in several areas, including listening to user’s feedback…
Not really true overall, but big projects with large customers base usually good in implementing feature requests.

Unfortunately, there is one exception from this rule – Pidgin Purple (formerly GAIM).

I’m still on last beta version of GAIM and was looking into upgrading to the most recent version of Pidgin, hoping it will bring enhanced stability and new features. Since I usually use applications in their portable incarnations (from PortableApps for example), I couldn’t test Pidgin before – there was no portable package for it and I did not have time to make one myself.
Just today I found some unofficial packages on PortableApps forum and decided to give Pidgin a try.
To my biggest surprise, I found one missing feature – there are no protocol-specific icons in the buddy list anymore…
You can see what protocol contact is by holding mouse over it – tool tip will have protocol icon, but you are out of lack if you just glance over contact list…

Hoping that I’m missing something, I checked all possible options – nothing. Finally, when to their bug tracker to find some interesting and worrisome discussions..

Judge for yourself. There is a very long discussion in ticket 414. Ticket itself is closed with status “wontfix”.
And the most interesting is this paragraph (left by user “elb”, someone from Pidgin team, I presume):

Adding a “me too” to this ticket is NOT USEFUL. If you do not have a solid use case that is NOT discussed above or on the thread on this topic on, save your time and ours by not replying. If you DO have new information, please send it to, do not comment on this bug.

Ok, you do not want me to even vote on this feature? You are not allowing me to even comment about it on your public site?
Why then, in another (although, duplicate) ticket 1863, the same user comments this:

There is no indication that there are “thousands upon thousands” of users “just like you”; there have been a dozen or so users requesting protocol icons in the buddy list, compared to the *millions* of Pidgin users out there.

Well, I find this quite arrogant. And this is really disturbing to hear such things from advanced, long standing Open Source project…

I will probably pass on migrating to Pidgin this time. Wonder how many others will do the same. Oh, sure, I understand that it is possible to create plug-in to make protocol-specific icons come back, but WHY? Why would this standard feature in current GAIM or any other multi-protocol client should magically disappear from project?

There is an explanation on why this step was taken in Pidgin Design Guidelines. But I don’t buy it – that “uniformity” is good in theory (or can simplify life of the developer), but in practice… In practice you should care of your customer base need or want, and let them raise their voice, and listen to it!

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MS ISA Server 2006 and FTP

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After upgrading ISA server to 2006 version, I was surprised to find that my FTP behind it stopped working in passive mode. Having quite smart FTP server installed I blamed MS ISA for this and did not have time to look at this deeper… until I found a need for this – had to move my Blogger blog from 1and1 hosting (expired free one) to my own server. And Blogger refused to publish the blog unless I have passive FTP working.

FTP client was getting 500 response – that FTP server sent bad response. Quick capture on ISA server showed that my FTP server was too smart – it actually was configured to return correct IP address in PORT command (the external IP, not default internal one). This, turns out, is “bad” thing from ISA server FTP filter prospective. Turning advanced NAT support on FTP server, making him return internal IP, fixed this – now ISA server could replace that IP with the external one it knows about.

But that got me thinking – software gets smarter, you try make it better and as end result – there is some stupid “simplification” (or “assumption”) made by other developer broke functionality.

Granted, if I’d read the docs for ISA server, I might have caught this, but sorry, RTFM is the last thing I’d do. smile_wink