Leopard Upgrade Report: Mo’ Features, Mo’ Problems

(Apologies to The Notorious B.I.G. for the title.)

I upgraded to Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” recently. In short, it’s not ready for mainstream use. There are a few nice improvements, but these are balanced by numerous problems that make me wish I had waited until, say, June 2008 or so. If you haven’t upgraded and aren’t sure that you need to, I suggest that you wait a few months, until some of the bugs have been worked out.
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Journalists, Developers Puzzled by Android SDK’s License

The Android mobile phone software platform from Google has some journalists and developers confused due to its license terms. The terms are open source, but not as free as the GNU General Public License. That decision has people wondering what Google’s up to. I have a theory about why they did this.

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Impressions of Ruby on Rails from an ex J2EE developer (me)

A friend who is working primarily in the J2EE technology world (as I was, until early 2006) asked me for a how’s-it-going with respect to Ruby and Rails.

The short version:
– Ruby is fun to program in, as you’ve probably heard
– Rails is over-hyped, but it’s still quite good (definitely not perfect)
– I like the productivity of Ruby on Rails but I wouldn’t call it a silver bullet by any means
– Ruby performance was bad and is getting less bad, and can even be good if you do what the experts say
– The real gem (har har) in the Ruby and Rails space is the community itself
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GNU Screen and my screenrc

GNU Screen is a remote terminal multiplexer, described welll elsewhere.

I use it to eliminate the too-many-Terminal-windows problem on my laptop. I also use it to help me achieve some level of continuity on remote hosts, by leaving half-completed sysadmin tasks as-is until hours or days later even if I get interrupted or if the task is really long-running and I need to roam around with my laptop.

Today I decided to invest some time in making my command-line development environment launch with a single script. Here are the details.
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The Mozilla Platform’s Catch-22 Problem

Starting with Netscape 4.5, I’ve used Netscape, then Mozilla, then Thunderbird for email. I have a similar relationship with Firefox. I’ve watched with great hope and been disappointed over the years as Thunderbird bugs that really annoy me just… stay. I think I know why. It’s because Firefox and Thunderbird are built in such a way as to create a catch-22 situation — one that actually discourages new contributors.
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