Articles / Editorials

All articles tagged with Editorials

No avatar August 01, 2009 00:00 An Introduction to Scrum


Scrum is an iterative and incremental process for product development and the organization of teams. Tasks will be achieved faster and with higher quality with the aid of Scrum frameworks. This is possible because of the high self-motivation of the team, which itself chooses how the tasks will be executed. The customer demands will be iterative, prioritized, and quickly realized.

No avatar May 31, 2008 00:00 Without A Net

Millions of people today still go through lives untouched by LCD screens and laser mice, and all the Bachs and Shakespeares of history did reasonably good work without them, so it must be possible. Is it preferable?

No avatar September 01, 2007 00:00 Die Hard Make Habits

The make build tool was (and still is) very influential in the sphere of software development tools. Its influence is so powerful that even bad aspects of its design survive in the next generation of build tools. Many generations of developers grew up in the school of make. Like the frog in the slowly heating bowl, they got used to its quirks to the point of not feeling the pain anymore. But they shouldn't be too quick to conclude that make's way is the one and only way. The punishment is to miss the opportunity for significant improvement.

No avatar April 21, 2007 00:00 The Case For Java-Based Scripting Languages

Scripting languages are ubiquitous. They are used everywhere: in log parsing, triggering applications, or performing volatile operations which require frequent changes in logic. Shell script was one of the most popular languages through the end of 1980s. Then came Perl, which revolutionized the world of scripting. Later in the day, we have Python and Ruby, both pretty popular. In an organization having primarily Java skills, is it worthwhile to have your developers learn these languages?

No avatar April 14, 2007 00:00 Enigform: The OpenPGP Firefox Extension

We all know about the benefits of digitally signing email messages using OpenPGP-based software like GnuPG (or its older commercial counterpart, PGP). Imagine the same benefits applied to the world of the World Wide Web.

No avatar February 24, 2007 00:00 Java Web Services Tools

Web Service tools in Java are into their third generation now. Web services were introduced with the hype of a loosely coupled technology for inter-connecting disparate endpoint systems. But they are, in fact, suffering from their tight coupling based on the WSDL data specifications and data types. Most of the current tools offer quick solutions to expose existing code as web services, but none offer a simple, yet intuitive and full-featured client.

No avatar February 25, 2006 00:00 The Problem With Mirrors

Mirrors are extremely useful when used to their full potential -- but this rarely happens. There is nothing wrong with mirrors but the way that we use them. I want to make it so average users who don't (and shouldn't need to) know too many technical details can automatically make the best use of mirrors.

No avatar July 02, 2005 00:00 What is Wrong with Make?

Evolution is a slow process. Getting rid of old bad habits is never easy. This article is a critique of the Make build tool. I'll list its shortcomings this week and suggest a few more modern alternatives next week.

No avatar May 21, 2005 00:00 The Intellectual Property Wage Slave, or Why You Should Q...

A study of the productivity of software programmers shows the most talented coders to be over 100 times more efficient than the meanest. It is clear, however, that there is nowhere near a commensurate increase in pay.

No avatar April 16, 2005 00:00 Distributed Extreme Programming (XP) Planning on AgilePlace

XP is a lightweight software process that values people and communication over processes and tools. It exploits the benefits of tight collaboration in an environment in which all stakeholders sit within talking distance of one another and work in pairs. Extreme programming works extremely well in delivering great software because, first, it is fun to do, and second, it eliminates fear, promotes collective code ownership, and encourages frequent small releases. In fact, it also values working code over detailed designs. It is quite amazing that the last three or four values are in fact values shared with the Free/Open Source movement (see "The Cathedral and the Bazaar").

No avatar March 13, 2005 00:00 Building a Network Management System

This article looks at current NMS offerings and considers how and what would make a "real" NMS.

No avatar March 05, 2005 00:00 Bringing a Commercial Product into the Open Source Community

Recently, I was approached by a company that was planning to release its core code into the Open Source community. Unfortunately, they didn't have a lot of experience with the Open Source community, nor did they have an understanding of what draws developers to work on a specific project. They were aware that word-of-mouth seemed to be the main method for building interest in the Open Source world, but they wanted some advice on how to get the word out in the first place.

No avatar October 30, 2004 00:00 Can Openness Save the Internet?

The usefulness of the Internet has been severely compromised by a proliferation of spam, worms, crackers, and viruses. The Internet has been stifled by harmful traffic (and its related expenses) which have increased to a now intolerable level. According to the U.N., UNTAD, Symantec, F-prot, MessageLabs, and several market analysts, the financial burden of dealing with harmful Internet traffic reached tens of billions of Euros this year. Next year will see this increase to hundreds of billions of Euros if the problems worsen as forecasts predict. What is destroying the Internet, and can its collapse be prevented?

No avatar October 16, 2004 00:00 Critique of Where Perl 6 is Heading

The purpose of this essay is to explain why I believe Perl 6, the way it currently seems to progress, is the wrong thing at the wrong time, and why I predict (with all the expected caveats of predicting something) that it won't be successful. I will also suggest a better alternative for the future of Perl which makes more sense at this point.

No avatar October 09, 2004 00:00 A Common Design for Vector Graphics GUI Components

There are many GUI components available which can be used to display vector graphics and animation. Most of them are dedicated to particular classes of vector images such as graphs, business diagrams, SVG images, geographic maps, technical drawings, and financial charts. Unfortunately, it is not yet always possible to find a suitable component for a particular application which satisfies price, licensing, scalability, performance, stability, feature availability, and other requirements. And if one wants to add vector-based visualization to an existing application, additional requirements of integration ability arise.

No avatar September 18, 2004 00:00 Ignore Garbage In, Catch Garbage Out

Intrusion detection is one of the major challenges to information security. In this article, we will consider network intrusion detection, the analysis of network traffic for suspicious behavior. I base my argument on my experience with a popular network intrusion detection system (NIDS) and informal discussion with other network administrators.

No avatar August 28, 2004 00:00 Agile Practices

There is a fundamental sea change happening in the industry around us, a move away from prescriptive top-down mandates to implement a methodology to a developer-led "viral adoption" of Agile Practices. But exactly how widespread is this movement?

No avatar August 07, 2004 00:00 Console and Desktop Shaking Hands

The GNOME Desktop Environment is a dynamic, young project and full of expectations. I regret that mine are somewhat higher, though.

No avatar May 01, 2004 00:00 Xtreme Programming and Open Source Software Development

Over the (fairly) recent past, software developers have been offered a plethora of panacean remedies that seek to address inherent inadequacies and observed problems in traditional software development methodologies. More often than not, however, they come bundled with their own variants of the said inadequacies and problems, and (at least as far as software developers are concerned) basically replace an old devil with a new. But not all do this. One particular credo that has seen some well-deserved success in this regard is Xtreme Programming.

No avatar February 11, 2004 00:00 Gna!, A New Host for Libre Software Development

A new software hosting platform is available, and we are spreading the word.

No avatar January 24, 2004 00:00 Providing Good Feedback for Bug Reporters

A comment on a bug I submitted recently spurred me to provide some feedback from an application user's perspective on bug reports. There are ways of responding to a bug report that encourage the types of responses that are helpful to developers, and there are ways of responding that only produce anger and frustration, without getting anything fixed. My hope is to encourage good communication between bug reporters and developers to enable better, quicker bugfixes.

No avatar January 17, 2004 00:00 Modular vs. Monolithic: The winner is ...?

The history of software development is full of controversies. One of the oldest is the controversy about modular vs. monolithic software development.

No avatar December 13, 2003 00:00 Zero Install and the Web of Software


The GnuCash installation instructions warn non-programmers against even trying to install it. The word “nightmare” is used. Ideally, the process should be quite simple. If the project were distributed using Zero Install, users could safely fetch and run it, with all its required dependencies, using a single command.

No avatar October 18, 2003 00:00 Learning From Kaleidoscope


Back in the heady days of Macintosh System 7.5, Greg Landweber released Aaron, which changed the system’s windows and buttons to match the “Platinum” appearance of the upcoming MacOS 8 (codenamed “Copland” after the composer Aaron Copland). Hacked versions of Aaron quickly appeared with the MacOS 8 images replaced by images of the hacker’s creation. Landweber realized he had a cash cow and released Kaleidoscope, which could switch “schemes” on the fly.

No avatar October 11, 2003 00:00 Processing Issues Faced by Email Verification Systems

Following the distributed and coordinated attack on antispam service providers over the last month, this article is intended to provide an overview of one such attack on email verification technology company Bluebottle and highlight the core challenges faced by email verification systems in handling email.

No avatar September 20, 2003 00:00 Lessons in Packaging Linux Applications

This article records our experiences with packaging an application for many distributions and shows areas in which packagers, Linux distributions, and developers can improve coordination for better and easier distribution. We look at communication problems, packaging errors, package dependencies, menu entries, and bug tracking systems.

No avatar June 21, 2003 00:00 Stop the autoconf insanity! Why we need a new build system.

Any veteran GNU/Linux user has, at one point or another, run across a package which used the autoconf/automake toolset. There is a lot to be said in favor of this emerging standard. Running "./configure && make && make install" usually results in a working installation of whatever package you are attempting to compile. The autoconf tools are also portable to almost every *nix platform in existence, which generally makes it easier to release your program for a large variety of systems. However, despite these few pluses, the auto* tools are constantly a thorn in the side of users and developers alike.

No avatar May 24, 2003 00:00 SpamAssassin vs. Spastic

SpamAssassin has emerged as the most popular antispam tool in the Open Source world. It has gained such momentum that it has even crossed over into the commercial world as SpamKiller by Network Associates, and other commercial products are also based on it. This article is a short comparison of real world results between two antispam tools, SpamAssassin and Spastic.

No avatar March 29, 2003 00:00 Too Much Free Software

The plethora of Free Software applications available today, none working perfectly, is a problem which stands in the way of major adoption of Linux on the desktop. In order to conquer the desktop, we have to stand united.

No avatar February 15, 2003 00:00 GCC Myths and Facts

Since my good old Pentium 166 days, I've liked to search for the best optimizations possible so programs can take the maximum advantage of hardware/CPU cycles. If I have a nice piece of hardware, why not run it at its full power, using every little feature? Shouldn't we all try to get the best results from the money invested in our machines?

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