Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

28 May 2005

Maypole

Some time ago a colleague at work needed an "Access" like application to run over the company intranet. Though IT are very pro Microsoft and anti FOSS & Linux, they refused to using a Windows server running Microsoft IIS and ASP, instructing him to use one of my Linux Apache boxes.

After some discussion we discovered that he only really needed a CRUD tool, not a full-blown web database tool. After a quite hunt round and some suggestions from Perlmonks I tried out Maypole. It seemed to do exactly what we wanted, and it was free, open source and it would run on my servers without a problem.

I've not really allocated enough time to the project, just some fiddling now and then. Nothing seemed ever to work, all sorts of things did weird things, I got Perl to segfault, and it was not going well, my poor colleague got very frustrated, but was powerless to help - which made him more frustrated. The problem really is that the application was a good idea, got some nice documentation, then it was redesigned, and now a lot of the documentation available is wrong. It's actually better now it's been redesigned, and the bundled documentation is fine, it's just confusing if you are not careful.

This week I actually allocated two days to the project, and got it all working for my colleague, and though he was busy making a training video, when he gets back to the project, I hope he will be a lot calmer.


Windows Is So Random

Microsoft's Windows operating system is so random. They started with some good ideas and some bad ideas. Over the years, rather than fix the bad design decisions, they have just hacked at them, building layer upon layer of patches. The result is that the current version, Windows XP is fundamentally broken. XP is so dangerously insecure that you need to obtain third party software for firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware, just to make it safe.

On top of that you have a GUI design with sound guidelines, that is mostly ignored by Microsoft, such that third party software looks more like standard software than Microsoft's own.

It's painfully complex to administer, the GUI actually makes it harder to do most things, at least on a Mac or Linux box GUIs usually make tasks easier. When you want to do things repeatedly, there usually isn't a CLI option, which means a task that can be scripted once on a Linux box and then applied hundreds of times, has to be done one machine at a time by GUI on Windows.

The Windows desktop user experienc is getting better though, and may be in a few years time Windows Longhorn may be as good as Linux is now*...

* Windows rapidly approaching desktop usability