Thursday, December 18, 2008

a recent book acquisition: Pragmatic Version Control Using Git

You can't avoid coming across Git these days, so instead of closing my eyes before it, I decided to better get involved. I used PragProg's 5 years anniversary discount coupon for purchasing the PDF.

a recent book acquisition: Programming Amazon Web Services

My main Internet provider is quite good at certain services, and they provide with that awfully nice IMAP server; they even allow me to run procmail with my own rules to sort my e-mail into IMAP folders.

I made terrible experiences with them, when I made some Rails experiments. Essentially with ruby and its GEMs as well as with perl and its CPAN you need to be able to run a C compiler yourself in order to get those nice modules built. They don't allow me to run a C compiler there, so I was searching for a different solution.

Sooner or later I came across this book, and with its help (and also with openSUSE 11.1's new features) I want to set up my openSUSE EC2 image. My ideas go towards Catalyst (the perl MVC framework), a web presence for my girl friend, who is a fine arts professional, and of course a few web sites for my own purposes ...

a recent book acquisition: Building Embedded Linux Systems

I am quiet curious to use busybox in one of our cars, or just to understand better, how I can make advanced use of the busybox in my DSL router.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Catalyst, the MVC framework in perl

I recently came across Catalyst, an MVC web application framework, written in perl, let's say it's competing against Ruby on Rails and Grails. But (as it's written in perl) it can make use of the vast resources on CPAN.
To be continued.

installing Solaris packages as non-root

Do you know, where you can get ready made freeware packages to run on Solaris from? I got a few from recently.
Do you think, you can only install Solaris packages as root? Of course, it's simpler and just better to do so, but what if you can't?
Solaris packages from come as gzipped files, and I use pkgtrans in order to get pkginfo, pkgmap, and a subdirectory reloc created below my $HOME/PACKAGES/ . pkgmap is described in the manual page protype(4) , it defines details like file mode, symlinks, and much more. Within that subdirectory reloc you find the package's executables, library files and man pages.
The sys admin would use pkgadd for installing a package, but pkgadd only allows for execution by root, so I developed a shell script ( imitating pkgadd. It reads pkgmap and does jobs like adopting the file mode specified within pkgmap. I don't plan on implementing pkgadd's full functionality, but just that subset, that is seriously required in order to get the packages installed, that I really want to install.
Of course, executables and libraries, that depend on hard-wired absolute file or directory pathnames will experience a little grief. But most of the utilities, I am working with, don't complain about such problems.
Now e.g. I am able to download and install ready made packages (wget, curl, …); and you know, how much nicer it can be to use wget and curl than downloading within a web browser.

Update 2012-01-11:
If you are interested in my shell script, drop me an e-mail mentioning in the subject!
I should be able to locate and deliver it within a reasonable amount of time then. (I should have mentioned the name here in the first place, which I didn't.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

First steps for Linux on iPhone with BusyBox

After I had read this article last weekend, I forwarded it to one of the engineers at my current customer's company. That company is in an automotive niche market, and he had already spent work time on an attempt establishing Linux within one of their projects. Actually Linux is being employed in one of the screen based user interfaces on a car, but as opposed to the Linux iPhone approach it's not BusyBox based.

I actually came across BusyBox only this year, but that's only because embedded programming hasn't been on my agenda for a while.
That other context, where BusyBox is being employed, is my Internet router, an AVM 7270, actually also serving as cordless phone (DEC) base station, Fax recipient and PDF converter, WLAN access point, ...
So that box is also BusyBox based, and I can connect to it using telnet, and I can store and read data on it, and I like that.

If you are interested in Building Embedded Linux Systems, have a look at this nice book published by O'Reilly!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

annotating PDF files with free software

flpsed is a WYSIWYG PostScript annotator.
You can't remove or modify existing elements of a document.
flpsed lets you add arbitrary text lines to existing PostScript documents (PostScript is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated). Added lines can later be reedited with flpsed. Using pdftops, which is part of xpdf one can convert PDF documents to PostScript and also add text to them. flpsed is useful for filling in forms, adding notes etc. [...]
flpsed is released under the GPL.

Actually it is more a PostScript annotating tool than a PDF one. When you first save an annotated PDF document, it gets converted to PostScript. If you want to resume editing such a document, you and the tool have to deal with the PostScript file. You lost the nice document structure diagrams, PDF viewers show you for certain documents.
And: PDF resp. PostScript annotating is not filling out PDF form fields. This tool lets you write text at any location within such a document, and it does not help you finding PDF form fields, as PDF viewers do.
I still find this utility very, very useful.

WeFind uses Grails, right?

Yet another search engine, but what's special about it, I mean from a developer point of view? It's implemented using Grails. Well, yet another MVC approach in yet another esoteric language. Well, guys why just don't you use an ordinary language like Perl, and why just don't you use Catalyst? Somebody should have told you.