I’ve been doing a lot of different stuff at work lately, which I find very refreshing, and although it’s not enough to keep me totally commited and concentrated on work it’s certainly enough to stop me from getting bored. See, I was hired as a Java developer, and since I started I’ve been working on a later-than-late project, just trying to get it through the door and save some little face for the company. But this project is coming to a close now – hopefully Wednesday this week – and so I’ve been put onto other tasks, most of which I find challenging and therefore worthwhile.

First up was Microsoft Content Management Server, or MCMS. Now, ask anyone and they will tell you that I’m a hardcore Linux otaku(anyone that has spent five minutes in a room with me that is), but nevertheless I’m happy to experiment with MCMS, for a couple of reasons – it’s something I can disconnect from as soon as I leave the office (it’s Microsoft!!); and it gives me some experience with C#, which I can use to get into Mono.
I like Mono, it’s cool. It’s also cool that Novell is sponsoring (read: running the show) because it means there is a greater chance of commercial acceptance – lets face it, at one time or another Novell “0wn3d” the networked-workstation market. (I haven’t tried there Novell Linux Desktop yet, but it’s running Gnome and since that’s my vote for the future of the desktop I can’t see it as anything but good for everybody concerned.) More importantly, there are a few ultracool Mono apps that are destined for the Gnome environment/desktop (such as Dashboard, or Beagle) … and I definitely want to help along the path.
Today I was working on a Wise Installer script, which is interesting in the way that dissecting a frog would be interesting (of course, being a Buddhist I wouldn’t want anyone to dissect a frog unless it died of natural causes … and even then it’s a little creepy, but there are probably good lessons about life and death to be found inside the guts of a frog). There was a problem with a database installation sequence, and I’m happy to say that I not only found and fixed the problem, I potentially sped up the entire installation process by a slight shift of logic (why copy files you might not use? Especially ~200Mb database scripts). Tomorrow I’ll be testing that particular modification, and then performing the same voodoo on the different installation classes – server, connected client, standalone.
So yeah, it’s fun in a perverse, “this is intimidating because I’ve been writing Java for the last 5 years” kind of way. It is definitely giving me perspective, and my current perspective is that I don’t want to use the almost all-pervasive Microsoft platform for delivering my applications!! It is however important to challenge yourself, I think, and I’d ideally like to stay on as long as the work is there … until I leave for the land of whiskey and bagpipes, Scotland.
I’m really hoping that I’ll get at least one end-to-end J2EE solution to design and implement whilst I’m still in the country, but it’s becoming less likely with each passing month. I’ve met our “good clients” now (the kind you can tell to fsck off, without having to resort to Linux-like modifications of swear words), and I think there might be some work in a few months from there – but will we (the company) last that long? Time will tell, as always. I’m really not bothered either way, since if I was made redundant I’d at least have an excuse to leave the country (yes, that’s another link to the kiltedaussie blog – click me already, or I’ll have to keep bringing it up!). How about those good ol’ Googlers at blogger.com, neh?
In the personal/opensource space I’ve triaged a few bugs this month, as I try to ween myself off the work email account and onto Gmail. Mostly just duplicates, or NEEDINFO reports, but still an important step. I’ve also downloaded Garnome 2.9.1, and will install it as soon as I figure out the issues with the bootstrap/docbook-xml package … and then blow it away one of these weekends as I install Yoper with Kendrick, if only to be put in a place where I can’t add user accounts. (I hear that Yoper is integrating the mostly okay YAST from SUSE/Novell, so the user account problems won’t last for long … and besides, Gnome has some interesting admin tools for just such as thing, provided I can get it working.)
The “lets call it an Open Source Meetup even tho’ it’s really a house party” at Chris’s place was fun, but I would’ve liked to stay longer or drunk more – I’ve been “off the turps” since celebrating a (minor) Tattslotto win with a guy from work. Bourbon/coke and 7-eleven pies do not congenial bedfellows make … it was only after Berocca and Alcodol, in liberal portions, that I stopped wondering and hoping I would die. Very self-indulgent, followed by very self-pitying … the lesson is “don’t drink” and it’s a lesson I’ve learned hard.
(If my Mama is reading this — I didn’t even really drink that much, but it was enough over a long enough time to make me geniunely sorry for abusing my liver in such a way. Since then I haven’t been able to enjoy even a small spirit/mixed drink, and it’s only been the odd glass of red for me. I guess I should be happy that I can still appreciate a nice glass of red!)
The next Open Source Meetup is in December, and I thought it would be good to have at the Trader Bar – where the price of beer is driven by free-market dynamics, and a scrolling price ticker above the bar provides constant feedback on the current state of the mini-market. I think the environment is pretty ideal for where I’m trying to lead the Melbourne Open Source Meetup – information saavy, market-aware, new-rules of business and the value of opensource. Where individuals can connect and reconnect with likeminded people, and not only discuss but create the new business environment as we best see fit.
Sounds like a bit of a “wank”, put that way. But if you’re in Melbourne, feel free to come along and share your thoughts – it will be fun!