Sphinx Search init script for Centos 5.1

Sphinx search is pretty new, and as a result I was unable to find a nice convenient package for it for CentOS 5.1. This is problematic since there is no init script included with the source tarball, and the issue of updating the index is the sysadmin and developer’s problem, and cannot be configured to simply update the index when the data changes.
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Document Databases – New Kids on an Old Block

There’s a new crop of databases that has appeared lately, under the rubric of “document databases”, and there’s quite a lot of enthusiasm for them given that they tend to be slow and very feature-poor compared to the SQL RDBMSs that are the typical persistence mechanism for web applications. What’s mainly appealing about them is that they are easy to use, and theoretically quite scalable, compared to the traditional “one big SQL database server” approach.
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ActiveRecord: the Visual Basic of Object Relational Mappers

I’ve been working with Ruby on Rails intensively for several months, and I’ve finally found a place where Rails can’t readily be extended to do what I want. It’s ActiveRecord, which is probably the most controversial part of Rails.

I’m reminded of a James Gosling quote disparaging Microsoft tools, particularly Visual Basic: “The easy stuff is easy, but the hard stuff is impossible.” There’s a parallel between VB and Rails in this instance, in that if you only let yourself use the high level tools, the hard stuff is impossible, but the designers specifically tell you to do the hard stuff using a lower level toolset. The controversy that surrounds “X can’t do everything, therefore it sucks” should really be focusing on the feasibility of going through that trapdoor to do things “the hard way”. This is what Delphi did, which is why so many folks chose it over VB; it made the hard stuff easier.

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Immature developer attitudes revealed in flames regarding CDBaby

Derek Sivers of CDBaby kicks ass. He got a sophisticated and very very user-friendly, efficient, straightforward e-commerce system (including the back-end systems) written in PHP. Based on what I’ve read, he’s up there with Phil Greenspun in my opinion; that is, he’s among those who understand strategy and customer service and low-level technology and are able to build systems that don’t suck, resisting the temptation to be distracted by technological panaceas and fads. I may disagree with their individual technology decisions, but their higher-level thinking is excellent, so they’re definitely in the class of people who I’ll give the benefit of the doubt.

So when I read 7 reasons I switched back to PHP after 2 years on Rails I was a bit surprised, but not much. He’s experienced with PHP (he says he’s written 90,000 lines of code for CDBaby!), and has a huge installed base of code he wrote and understands intimately. He tried Rails, it didn’t work the way he wanted, and he went back to PHP. It was immediately obvious to him that this was what he should continue using.

The most shrill and arrogant among the Rails community have been rather unkind, partly due to this rather poorly written Slashdot headline that misrepresents what Derek says in his article.
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