A name is a name… or not?

I really saw this mess coming when I read the announcement that Mozilla’s Phoenix will be called Firebird for now: Firebird is a spin off of the once open-sourced Interbase-Database Server by Borland existing for three years now and using the name “Firebird” since then.

As you can imagine, the Firebird (DB)-People were not too happy about this – Phoenix had to be renamed because of a naming conflict and the new solution still creates one – but this time it’s not a commercional product it’s conflicting with – its another Open Source project.

I can understand both sides:

Mozilla
The name Firebird has been checked by Netscapes/AOLs legal departement (why have they not noticed this? or is it maybe that they thought it would not matter?) and another name-change would again involve the legal departement which won’t please neither the BIOS vendor Phoenix not the Mozilla-Team as they will not release another milestone called phoenix.

Firebird
Firebrid already suffers from not really be known in the public. The RDBMS it spun off is known mainly by delphi-developers and neither Interbase nor Firebird were often in the press these days. A more known product with the same name will further divert attention. And the psycological reason: The name Firebird was chosen based on the real political mess around open-sourcing Interbase and is, in my oppinion, a very well chosen name.

Why I can understand the arguments on both sides, I can neither offer a solution pleasing for both projects (besides the question why Phoenix is not to be called simply “Mozilla” – after all, the Browser-Component in the Mozilla Suite is to be replaced by Firebird (the browser) anyway) nor can I understand the way the folks around Firebird (the DB) react to the problem (and here – an entry in Dave Hyatts blog). War is never a solution – never!

MLDonkey

Possibly, you have heard of the eDonkey filesharing program. Since long, there exists a compatible OpenSource-Program called MLDonkey. MLDonkey needs a Unix based system to run (although I think, i’ve heard of a cygwin port). MLDonkey has a nice GUI and generally seems to work better than the original Linux-Client – even more in combination with the Windows-Remote-Control-GUI MLDonkey Watch.

The developer of MLDonkey seems to not longer have time to continue the development, which is a shame as there are still some small problems with the client – some of them making problems on the eDonkey-Servers out there.

Pierre Etchemaite now provides some patches under http://concept.free.free.fr/mldonkey which fix a lot of the problems currently still in the client. If you want to use MLDonkey, you should really apply them.

On the Mailinglist (subscription via the Savannah-Page linked above) the patches and their results are discussed.

Don’t hesitate and give MLDonkey and the Pango-Patches a try!

PostgreSQL 7.3 – it works

I’ve installed the new release of my favourite database, PostgreSQL today and I can happily announce that the upgrade from 7.2.3 went without any problems (a strange thing to announce when having my luk with software in mind ;-).

I’ve not yet had the time to check out all the wonderful new features (Schemas, Domains, a very extended ALTER TABLE and much more), but I will try it somewhere this week.

What I’ve noticed during the update: The current Webmin-Module (1.030) for administering Postgres’ users does not work with the current format of pg_hba.conf but editing the file by hand is quite straightforward – more so because of the very extensive comments in the file.

JclDebug

If you are a Delphi Programmer like me, you surely know the problem with users reporting an exception here and there but you cannot reproduce it at your place. This can get even more dramatical if such exceptions are thrown within threads as this will lead to an immediate bluescreen in Windows 9x/ME and to a “visit” by Dr. Watson in the NT-based versions of windows.

Imagine you could get a detailed error-report containing a full callstack of where the error occured combined with information about file and line-number. This report could be generated directly on the users computer and be sent to you via email or directly via the internet, using a custom procedure – even directly creating entries in the bugtracking-tool you are using.

This and more is made possible by the Project JEDI – more accuratly, the JCL-Subproject with its JclDebug-Framework. When you have completed the installation of the package, a new Menu Option called “Inser JCL Debug Data” will be added to the Project-Menu of your Delphi-IDE.

Now you add an Exception-Dialog to the Application using “File, New, Other…” followed by “Dialog, Exception Dialog”.

The newly added Form can easily be customized to your likings.

Now make a complete build. The IDE-Plugins will create a MAP-File, compress it and add it to the .EXE-File of your Project. When an Exception is thrown, the new error-dialog will be used, displaying a complete callstack with filenames and linenumbers.

I’ve created a small CGI-Script for receiving such reports and automatically filing it into my phpBugTracker (a very nice “Bugzilla-Light” written in PHP). This has already helped me to track two stupid bugs down which I was never able to reproduce on my development system.

Oh and before I forget: The whole thing can be downloaded on it’s Webpage at Sourceforge.

Why I like jEdit

jEdit is a texteditor written in Java. Actually it’s not just a texteditor – it’s the texteditor. It combines the usage-guidelines known of other programs running under Windows or windows-like environements with the functionality (as an editor, not as a newsreader webbrowser filemanager «insert whatever else emacs can do) of Emacs.

When you download the current release (you can easily take the current 4.1pre-Release – even the CVS-Snapshot is stable enough for production use [at least for me]) and install it via the provided installer, you will get quite a simple looking UI. So the first thing to to is to load the PlugIn-Manager and to download and install whatever you need. Then restart the program and begin with the configuration-session…

On the screenshot, you can see many of the features I like about jEdit:

  • The cool look&feel (install the L&F-Plugin and chose the Metouia-Look to get mine).
  • The File-Browser always open on the left side. You have to select it under Global Options/Docking to get it sticking at the left side.
  • The search-bar which even supports regular expressions
  • The split-view. I am currently looking at the same file, but chaning this is a matter of selecting another tab (install the BufferTabs-Plugin to get those) in one of the views.
  • The color-scheme of the editfield. I really like having bright text on a dark background. It’s so much easier to read.
  • The yellow triangle marks in the gutter of the editfield are for folding the sourcecode. Click them and the associated block will be folded.

Please give jEdit a chance even though it’s written in Java: The thing is extremly feature-loaden and really fast. Trust me!