Thursday, December 17, 2009

Open ERP Outlook plugin

A new plugin is now released and here is the link. I tried to install it unfortunately it does not work... and I could not find a way to save the settings.

So no major progress on that one.

Also, Axelor again annouces its Word plugin but no spec, download or price.

Plenty of good ideas there but...

Spring 3.0.0 is out !

Spring released its latest major release: 3.0.0.

The new features are there :

I have been quickly trough the list, at this stage it is hard for me to say that it is going to change my life as 2.xx did. But for sure I will spend some time looking at these new features.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Open ERP - training company project - end of pre-study

Yesterday I sent the result of our pre-analysis for this Open ERP project for a training/coaching/consulting company.

As I expected, training management is not an issue. The organization of the courses catalog and the subscription facility are quite good and I expect a lot of small companies to be able to manage their activities with this module.

Still the project requires a lot of modifications. I expected some of these but not so much.

So of course the budget is high (compared to the first expected figures). Will the customer sign for this ?

I Don't know.

One problem with Open-Source is that a lot of people think that every thing will then be cheap by nature.

So here is a summary of points that need to be addressed:

  • Sales commission / revenue recognition / performance management.
  • HR data, contract management (exists but too basic), competency management. Absence management (again it exists but it is too basic).
  • Multi-company. Open EPR is multi-company but implicitly. Here in an international context, the customer would like to be able to explicitly choose the company it will send invoices from.
  • More flexible invoicing. In clear a project will require multiple invoices with different sources and destinations.
  • International handling: internal invoices generation.
  • Intermediate accounting movement. Because they are used to request their customers to pay in advance, they need to write in their books 'deferred income' to indicates that they a have debt to perform some services.
  • Calendar management. The system need to be able to summarize the availability of multiple resources.
  • Time-sheets screens need to be enhanced.
  • Document management security need to be enhanced.
  • For accounting, the fact is that Open ERP has a lot of international features but does not in standard have all the output to provide legal statements in all the countries covered by my customer. So the solution would be to sync with an external accounting package.
These points are workable, but represent a serious budget. Are they acceptable? The latest point for accounting may be seen as an issue because one of the key result point of the project is the integration between their financial and their commercial systems.

On the pros side, the customer will get what is needed functionally and will then use a standard platform instead of a proprietary solution. They will have new functionalities and potentially will be later able to leverage more Open ERP standard modules - like stock management, direct mailing etc.

On the cons, they will have to train again their users and probably adopt new ways of working. Also globally the Open ERP interface is not necessary more user-friendly than what they are used to.

Next meeting with the customer is within two weeks...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ubuntu suspend without keyboard

Some similar problems seem related to the intel keyboard controller.
Well the following command should cure and identify my problem :

root@batman:~# echo -n "i8042" > /sys/bus/platform/drivers/i8042/unbind
root@batman:~# echo -n "i8042" > /sys/bus/platform/drivers/i8042/bind

No change, so I can forget about the entire set of stuff related to this hardware...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dzone article about Java missing features

I could not resit to reply to this article on Dzone about Java missing features:

Well, this is more student work than anything else. So for me Java, the language is fine.New things are nice, yes. Don't take me wrong. But I don't think productivity will dramatically change thanks to closure or anything else in the list.

Java the platform is more a problem.

What am I missing from Java :

  • Simpler persistence (I know each version makes it simpler but it is still too complicated).May be a pure standard object oriented database with an integrated reporting...
  • Better, much better Swing, an easy Desktop application framework (I know it is coming, just cannot wait).
  • MS (or OO) Office like components (a word processor; a spread sheet,...) easy to embbed and to enhance. All in Java please.
  • In the same way, a Java based web browser component. Or merge Mozilla in JVM.
  • XUL like language for interface building.
  • Plenty of bug fixes and performance improvement.
  • Better integration with Desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux)
  • A standard ZK like web development framework.
  • ...
Well plenty of things to make it a good client application builder. And simpler enough to be effective on small size project.
Also political and commercial aspects matter:
  • Truly OpenSource I mean the real JDK not a //  product.
  • Bundlled and distributed in all Linux distro.
  • Popular as PHP among hosters with prices comparable to PHP.
  • Nice really Open Source apps -for example CMS - not these open-source-for-the-basic-stuff-and-need-to-pay40K$ -for-getting-still-less-than-joomla.
  • transparent market place not the -if-you-want-to-know-the-price-write-us.

So these are my dreams. And be sure that if I find something open and multi-vendors like this, I will consider to move on.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Still searching a solution on hibernate for the Vaio - Ubuntu 9.10 - CS31

While I am testing other stuff I re-installed Ubuntu, did an update and switched to the Nvidia driver.

Suspsend: stops the computer quickly. When resuming unfortunately the keyboad does not work !

Hibernate: black screen, then blinking cursor for around 1 minute, then error messages and finally shutdown. Restarting from hibernate. I see Grub loading. The Ubuntu logo (white) then a minute or two (may be three), error messages and finally I can login and indeed my desktop is properly re-initialized.

So the situation has evolved since I started looking at Karmic (Koala 9.10... I will now try to dig in the logs.

Two busy weeks - still not hibernating with Ubuntu

I still have problem with my Ubuntu 9.10 on my CS31 Vaio.

An old problem of Ubuntu installer related to hibernation is the swap size. There is a need to have a swap size as big as the RAM size. So, I learned that the swap is used to hibernate. Cool and logical. Usually Linux install are recommending a swap size equal to two times the RAM size. Considering the extra requirement of the hibernate swap the allocation of 12 GB - (2+1) x 4G - of swap for 4GB of RAM makes sense.

Anyway, it is not my problem. I saw may posts on the Ubuntu forum on this issue but none of the tips worked. Some net rumors pointed me to think  hat it could be 64 bits related... So I tried 32 bits install, no change - I moved back to 9.04 no changes either ! Glad to see it is not a Karmic problem... Clearly the power - ACPI management changes depending on the video card driver. I swapped the Ubuntu driver by the proprietary Nvidia driver. Good for performance and extra setup controls, but nothing changes on my hibernation issue.

Will I find the time to dig into the ACPI stuff? It is far from my day to day business.

Two busy weeks - back from Milan - Number portability - the Belgium case

Last Monday, I did a one day trip to Milan to give a class about our middleware for number portability. A big piece of Java work that would have very much benefited of Spring.

In fact I solved the beans configuration exactly the reversed way Spring does. Basically I stored all the configuration stuff in a single object for each sub process and every component take what's relevant for its job.

I know this make all this code dependent on this big fat object. I think some people call that a white board design. I agree this lack elegance and hinder re-usability. On the other side it simplified very much configuration and because objects share the config info it is naturally consistent. The same object also implemented a factory pattern, creating and initializing most of the objects (a better part of my design).

Most of us keep looking forward, but I think checking what happened backwards brings also some values.

There is a lot to say on this project not only on the Java side but also project wise.

Number portability (moving from one operator to another but keeping your number) has been implemented in most European countries (because of European market regulation). Yet each country had the freedom to implement it its own way. This has been for me an opportunity to work many times ( for Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Hungary Finland, Latvia, Nederlands, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary ) on similar but different projects.

Typically, number portability is solved by a central database that lists those numbers that have been ported to another operator. An administrative process - kind of work flow -  has to be implemented, usually with time constraints. Once porting is agreed between the donor and the receiving operators, a technical phase propagates the porting information to all operators. The net result being that all operators own a copy of the central database that feeds the operators switches (usually trough what is called an Intelligent Network platform).

Belgium was the first process I developed. The central database project was outsourced to a contractor -  a very  big, well known international software house.

The entire process was driven by a committee piloting the contractor. That generated what committees like to get: papers (probably also a lot of meetings and a high volume of coffee breaks).

The full documentation filled an entire CD (for comparison I received the Spain technical documentation - a single file format description - on one page).

Technically this was my first exposure to Web services (more or less 6-7 years ago). That part was great. However the web services was described as an XML schema - no WSDL. So I had to use an XML parser,code and decode the messages.

The rest of the project was 'nuts' and was a school case on what not to do.

The committee-contractor tandem generated a lengthy and mostly absurd acceptance process, so we had to simulate business transactions of all kinds in an absurd repetitive fashion. Testing and preparing acceptance reports took finally 3-4 times more resources than developing the Web services.

More funny was the total absence of service oriented attitude of the contractor. The idea of giving an easy test platform, a reference implementation, or any basic tools (e.g: raw messages) for developers was out of their mind. Just for one reason. Not only they got the contract for the central database, they also expected to take the business of all the connecting operators. So the motivation to help anybody was naturally extremely low.

They also provided a web based application. They used Java and the most modern computers stuff at that time - multi-processors Sun servers, clusters, Oracle, Nokia Checkpoint appliances, load-balancers etc This was very professional. Unfortunately the application quickly turned out to be a pig. Users started to complain from availability, performance , error messages, failling transactions etc.

In my opinion, this was due to the inexperience of the programming staff and finally a very poor design.

A constant problem of big consulting companies is that they send their senior people to win a deal and send junior staff to implement it. As the amount of problems became important, their support staff could not follow anymore. They entered into crisis management by the book - thus delivering an help-desk procedure that requested a complete network description just for asking a password... Of course, this exasperated their users more than it solved problems.

I never attended these comittee meetings. The specs were done when  I started the project for my customer.Why have they decided to build their on messaging infrastructure on top of relational database using Soap. I don't know. However I saw later similar designs and it seems they copied a system developed in the UK.

In a search to create additional work, they decided that a VPN was not enough. SSL certificates were used between all parties. Good. Obviously they created their own certificate request process with conventions about what to put in each field of the certificate - this was described in a 20+ pages document (all other countries I saw after, simply ask to exchange public certificates between the operator and the central database - final point). In fact their policy and certificate distribution could have been meaningful if the transaction had to be secured end to end - operator to operator - which they did not.

In the line with their policy to create work, the certificates were issued for a single year, this created a permanent state of maintenance multiplied by two (test and production had to be renewed). The funniest thing was when I setup our messages reception point. The only way I could setup the server to get messages was turning off client certificate authentication! Half of their stuff did not work because they were not providing a complete certificate chain. When I discussed that with the contractor security 'expert', I could measure a long silence that finished by  'what's important is that it works now'. Indeed but  as far security is concerned...

A few years later, the outsourcing contract expired. The operators committee took the decision to swap the contractor and the entire application! So the new contractor re-implemented the entire system ! Their implementation had to be identical for the Soap transaction and they decided to keep  the SSL security system, unchanged...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Open ERP Training module - updates

First of all, my project for a training company continues.

We did 3 days of interviews (mind mapping) and drafted the functional perimeter (a structured list of points). Basically for my customer there are two business lines Open Courses (OC) and Intra Courses (IC). The same difference is present in Open ERP training module.

The subscription mechanism, the catalog and offer concepts fill the need for a training center.  There is also a few screens for 'Intra' which is basically what I call IC.

For my customer, I think on the OC side we have a 99% match. For IC, the situation is more complex. If things go on, I will post more on this project.In fact the training module is so good that most of the work will be for other business management aspects...

Typically the offering process is more complex for IC because by nature the offers are customized to suit the customers requirements. My customer see each of these offers as a 'project' - the current Intra functionality is elementary compared to their needs (sales management, commissioning, revenue recognition, international aspects,...).

Anyway it seems this training module is gaining interest and I saw some posts on the Tiny partners list.

Without revealing any secret (and nothing official here), we can expect the training module to merge with the trunk within a few weeks.  So I hope to find it in extra addons before the end of the year...

Good to know, currently the initial customer for which the module has been developed is in production.

As far as I know they are still at work for the portals. We should have 4 pre-defined portals:student (agenda, achievement, tests results,...), customers-partners (to enroll their employees), suppliers (to view and confirm orders) and teachers (planning + confirmation, access to training material).

On the roadmap they still have the scanning of documents (exams, evaluation form,...).

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Not so Karmic Koala

Well, back to my Vaio. I am not yet happy with the current setting. My intention was then to install the latest Ubuntu.

Install was very smooth. I see Ubuntu progressing at each release. very impressing.

Unfortunately, hibernating or suspending is not properly working. Well they may do so but restarting is an issue. I searched a bit on the net. Not that much at this stage...

Monday, October 26, 2009

XP Clock - back to 20 minutes drift

Too bad and very strange and why 20 minutes...


XP clock trick

It is difficult for me to remember when the problem started. On my HP portable. The clock goes forward 20 minutes. I fix it. Then a bit later, well, it is back putting me in future !

I found a post on a forum:

net stop w32time
w32tm.exe /unregister
w32tm.exe /register
net start w32time

It seems to work. May be I should restart. I am very much worrying, a second PC is now having the same problem.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Back to python - Wingware does the job - Netbeans does not

So I am back to Open ERP and Python. I wanted to start tracing in Open ERP. The best way for me to understand the application, see how to make modifications etc. And of course hunting bugs...

I already mentioned the new NetBeans support for Python. Unfortunately the debugger is not able to debug multi-threaded application. So I give up. Going through some books and articles I found Wingware

This is not free but I think worth its moderated price. It exists for Windows & Linux. My trial is very positive.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Experimental plugins for netbeans

Configure this url in the list of the update centers...

Well, it contains at least one perk... a plugin that mimize scanning of your project!

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Vaio install venture continues

Well in spite of the added virtual memory, the Sony recovery software continues crashing when installing on a VM. So forget about my previous post, my only excuse: doing three things at the same time.

Saturday, I registered my new Dyson vacuum cleaner. Instead, of sending the classical postcard I followed the indication in their manual and went to Nice site, built by graphical nuts for sure. Don't expect to see "register your product". After some search, I went to "profile". I did not know that I had a vacuum profile... I created one and finally there, I could register my serial number. These registration processes are really the poorest applications made on the internet... Companies should put much less mony on graphical stuff and much more (that is more than zero) on use-case scenarios

Sunday, I did a bit of homework for the school of my sons. A few parents are trying to setup a library. I already  helped, building a small Java program to print stickers with barcode (believe me or not, this was a pain). Currently the inventory is done by people encoding data in spreadsheets. This last sunday, I grouped all the files together and wanted to publish it on Goodle doc. Unfortunately I never suceeded importing the file.

These week-ends are definitively too short !

For this week, I need to finish a web service written in Java with Apache Axis, get back to a customer for an Open ERP project, read a full bunch of paper concerning another Open ERP project and finally may be a bit of Joomla -- I want to try migration from 1.0.xxto 1.5.xx.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Virtual PC not for me either, so back to the future with VMWARE

Well, I recognize my ignorance. I though the so called XP Mode required the Intel vitualization. Well in fact, it seems Virtual PC has this requirement (logical in fact).

So I give up on MS Virtualization stuff. Strangely, without prompting, 7 activated itself...

I decided to try VMWARE, I requested a trial key and loaded the software. My idea is to try to use the recovery disk from the Vaio to install Vista 32 bits. I will then recover all the drivers and apps originally installed. I will use this 32 bits OS for Checkpoint access. At least that's my plan.

Unfortunately the Vaio recovery DVD crashed with a message "memory xxxxxxxx cannot be read from instruction at xxxxxxxxx" - sorry I forgot to write the exact message. I tried to run the memory diag on the VM , it passed.

By default VMWARE allocated 1GB of RAM; I tried to configure 4GB and... it worked. Well, it started to work since the re-install is still running as I am writing this. Next I will try to get back this Virtual memory...

This give me a bit of time. As most IT, I am use to throw RTFM to users but I must admit myself I don't spend that much time in the manuals of utilities or O/S. Any way I decided to go through the VMWARE workstation manual. Plenty of discoveries there that I will comment later on this blog... as soon Vista runs on 7.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

7 - Virtual PC & XP Mode

Well I will not go further on the XP Mode for the Vaio. It does not install. In fact you need the Intel virtualization extension to install XP Mode. Strange. I understand that performance could be affected but not working at all...

My processor is a t6500 I must say I did not looked at that feature. It is basically in all recent desktop processor but not for in the notebook/laptop product line.

So before considering your migration, look at you processor with the utility provided by Intel

What's next for the Vaio? In spite of this XP Mode processor issue I will try the Virtual PC (which has the benefit of being free). And I will compare it with VMWARE workstation.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No securemote on 7 64 bits

I checked and Checkpoint Securemote is not available for 64 bits architectures (and will not be). I have not tried anything more as all my tests with vista 64 bits were negative (more or less one year ago).

Checkpoint has released a new end-point client called 'Endpoint Connect R71'. This one installed pretty well and seems working except that the customer I am connecting to does not have the latest firewall to support this new client.

Practically this one is a big typical gotcha for anybody planning a migration!

Browsing about this, I read a few things about Virtual PC and XP mode (XP mode seems to be a Virtual Machine capable of installing old apps and publish them to the Windows 7 host - kind of screen less VM). This is my next target for the Vaio. If  I can get securemote working from there, I am done.This will be an opportunity to look at Microsoft virtualization solution.

On a higher point of view, all this make me a bit laughing at our industry. A properly designed architecture should have isolated developers from this 32-64 bits issue. I understand that this affects some critical spots in an OS but why a printer driver or a network application (even if it is a driver or service) needs to be aware of that silly detail (they don't address more than 3GB as far as I know) that's a key problem. The second major issue is that most people including experienced professionals find this absolutely normal. It is NOT. OS, VM, interpreters etc should shield us from these craps: we should be in the street protesting about these nuts designs!

Think again,was all that Java and .Net fuss not about this?

You think that's not possible? When Apple migrated from the Motorola 68000 processor to the Power PC most parts of the OS was running in an emulator. So why not doing today most of this coding so it would run in a Java VM (or .Net for Microsoft)?

Frankly there is an habit here for not looking at all these undelivered promises! Why? In my opinion because the industry analyst have an over sized ego and exhibit the common weakness that sustains major failures: the inability to recognize their own mistakes.

By the way I did one on this blog. I read that 7 has a disk burner application. I will try this later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Windows 7 64 bits & HP Laserjet 3550N

May be this will help somebody. I decided to try the Vista 64 bits drivers for my HP Laserjet 3550N on my Windows 7 and it works without a glitch ! Why is HP announcing this as not supported. Again mysterious.

Next I will try to get Checkpoint Securemote at work...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Windows 7

I re-installed again the new Vaio. This time with Windows Vista Ultimate. The install is very smooth and quick. Of course I lost the pre-installed application given with Vista. The most annoying being the CD burner. Why is this not bundled in a product called 'Ultimate' is a mystery.

The net result of installing a 64 bits OS is that I have now 2GB free on 4GB. So be happy that the half  RAM  of your new still idle, unused computer is free...

I must say that I was a bit confused about Microsoft OS naming. 95,XP,2000.. Vista and now 7...

May be, because, ideally you should have 7GB of RAM to get 4 free... or may be because I will have to wait 7 months to get drivers for my HP3550.

I must admit this HP printer was a bad choice, not because it is a bad printer but because some processing is off loaded to the host driver which is then more complicated and basically available much after anything... on board PCL and Postcript printers are much better supported. One remark, it now prints remarkably well from Linux.

Another  point: 7 seems to go on the hard disk for no reason every 20 seconds...strange...

So getting the right OS is still not easy. I prefer Windows to get Office - more used but also much more useful than Open-Office. It is good to remind that the common cut & paste is in most case not working between Linux apps.

I like Linux for the OpenERP and development in general. Vista is crap in average, XP becomes outdated and the XP64 bits support is problematic (drivers, apps) ,Windows 7 lacks some drivers.

Using VMWARE is of course an alternative. Although it  adds complexity on everything (cut & paste works even less in this case). My idea was to use Windows as a host for my VM. The reason was that I expected to carry this Vaio much more than the previous HP to replace my classical notebook. So the starting time of a session with Office is critical.

Summary for this sunny Sunday: getting it all at work is still not easy !

Friday, September 25, 2009

Printing the hardware config - Saved by MSINFO32

Just before scrapping Vista, I wanted to get a dump of the hardware installed just to be sure to be able to find the right drivers etc in case of troubles.

Unfortunately the control panel does not help you doing that.

Thanks to google I found back a utility I haven't use since years - MSINFO32.

Windows VISTA...

On my new Vaio, I got 4GB of RAM. Here are the figures just after having produced the recovery disk...

Total memory is 3GB (because it is a 32 bits OS). Cached is reported at 1950 MB! And free is reported to 0. The graph for memory shows 1,4 GB.

I don't understand these figures and not matching figure but what I see is that is already consuming everything... That could be a sign of optimization whenI I am using it, but here I have a serious doubt because nothing is installed and running.

Second, I continue to see the hard disk light blinking... for doing what?

So my plan is to get out of Vista on this one too. As a MS partner I have access top the early release of Windows 7. I think this is an opportunity to try it out...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ockham's razor - Joomla - CakePHP - Jake -jQuery

As explained earlier, I am trying to integrate a small app built with jQuery and CakePHP in Joomla.

My first idea was to use Jake - This is a generic Joomla component capable of calling a CakePHP application. I remember to have tried it more than a year ago.
Probably something changed in my settinggs (in fact the config - os /PH¨P/ Joomla is entirely different....) all I get is:

"Fatal error: session_start() [function.session-start]: Failed to initialize storage module: user (path: C:\xampp\tmp) in C:\xampp\htdocs\www\DiagTools\cake\libs\session.php on line 553"

I tried tweaking PHP sesson config, checked permissions (actually sessions files are created there). On the net, I found a few posts seeking for support about the same concern but no answer.

I remarked that Jake is still in beta since 2007. I think that's indication of at least future troubles...

A second option was not to integrate them, but to make them similar enough. I found a few posts proposing to recycle Joomla thems into a CakePHP theme so the two components would work side by side. I think this is a poor man integration, my customer will not be able to use the Joomla admin to administer the site or change security settings etc The worst being that I will have to rechange it if we go for another design.

Considering that CakePHP is used only for structuring the application, validating a single basic form and calling a web service (a feature that sits there but that nobody uses), why not getting it out and keep just the jQuery stuff?

So I started this third solution which is creating a fresh Joomla component.

One more time the Joomla community amazed me by its vitality and by the high number of good quality components and plugins available. SC jQuery is a plugin that makes installing jQuery a single click operation. In the confiiguration you may choose the themes for the user interface widget - really cool :

I have not done serious things with jQuery since a while, this theme concept is great and you can see it in action here :

So at the end of the day I got the kernel of the app running in Joomla. The layout still requires adaptation and I have to simulate the screens built with CakePHP...

Yet I am sure to have done the right choice, removing one technology, avoiding a bridge. This will  provide the best integration for the users and the most flexible options for the administrators of the web site.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back to Joomla - Cake -PHP

So after a long Open ERP period I am back to the Joomla world.

Almost a year ago I setup for one customer an application built around JQuery and Cake PHP. A bit later the customer asked for a web site which has been built with Joomla. It would be perfect if the the web site and the application could share the same look and feel. I feel a bit faulty : at that time using Cake was for the simplest way (for me) to structure a small PHP app... but I did not plan anything concerning the web site - at that time his web site was made (by somebody else) with Wordpress - excellent for making a blog but terrible for making a web site...

My first steps today are basically to get back a development environment, the web site, (joomla,db...) the app etc. As usual I use Netbeans, here 6.7 - the PHP support is now stable and official.

Following Netbeans recommendation, I picked XAMPP ( to install PHP and MySQL - I am working on my HP XP portable (Paddle).

After having transferred the web site I got an error message in a few modules positions. I then restarted a fresh Joomla install - same result.

Warning: Parameter 1 to modMainMenuHelper::buildXML() expected to be a reference, value given in C:\xampp\htdocs\joomla\libraries\joomla\cache\handler\callback.php on line 99

Basically Joomla 1.15.xx is not compatible with PHP 5.30 (which comes with the currently latest XAMPP 1.7.2). So you need to get an older PHP version, thus an older XAMPP. Older release are not on the same site, so you need to go to to find what you need. I decided to go for 1.6.8 to be sure to get rid of PHP 5.30. Unfortunately I then hitted another issue with phpMyAdmin the MySQL tool I cannot live without...

Too bad. I did not investigate that one, I de-installed XAMPP again. So I moved to 1.7.1 which installed PHP 5.2.9. Proceeding with dichotomy for finding release that's the job I am in...

It is now working (after a small battle for setting up a user and a password).

The rumor says that this will be fixed with Joomla 1.5.15 to be released soon (october).

One more time, I regret the Java platform. Some so called Agile programmers believe that their productivity decrease because of compile cycles, I am laughing at that. These compile times represent little amounts of time for most programming jobs. For me, the Netbeans background compiler removed this concern entirely.

The key point for the pro-compiler camp is this for me : the semantic analysis is a job for developers not for users. When a code is compiled with Java 1.4 it runs on 1.6 just because the VM are backward compatible at the VM level and in spite the language continues to evolve. Language changes do not impact the compiled and so you can keep your olfd stuff working as designed on a recent platform.

At this stage the two interpreted language that I used exhibited the same poor facilities to handle changes in the language itself  : PHP & PYTHON.

So I move back to my stuff and still continue dreaming of the perfect environment for my job...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Creating a startup script for svnserve on Ubuntu - init.d/skeleton

I am finally moving from my Suse Sles server and switched to Ubuntu (8.1.10 - 64 bits). As on my desktop I put webmin to manage the server processes. Simple and easy.

Installing svnserve (subversion) is easy thanks to synaptic - the package manager. The only missing piece is the startup script.

I first though porting the Suse script to Ubuntu. Not that simple.

I found the following link explaining how to proceed c

Basiscally the start is creating a one line script and putting the correct link to rcX.d directories (sudo update-rc.d svnserve defaults).

One user 'Sean O' helped a bit further. Thanks to him I know about the skeleton script in init.d.

This is the starting point for building a correct script. I modified shortly the script by adapting properly the variables such as :

DESC="Description of the service"
DAEMON_ARGS="-d -r /home/svn"

I added the USERNAME variable. It is referenced in the script like this

start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --chuid $USERNAME --make-pidfile --pidfile $PIDFILE --exec $DAEMON -- $DAEMON_ARGS

This will now start the process under the svn account instead of root. The key is the command start-stop-daemon. Anyway I need a good book of practicall syadmin for Ubuntu...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Register your Vaio - Advanced lesson about ergonomy

I bought one week ago, a fresh notebook. My current (soon previous) one is a HP nx9420. Not a bad computer specially now that I 'upbacked' (downgraded is not appropriate as moving from Vista to XP was really a move to more for less) to Windows XP. Still the machine has only 1GB of memory and running virtual machines, Netbeans etc is still not obvious.

My policy for buying computers remains to find the best I can, on stock, for a fixed (in advance) budget. This Sony Vaio CS31 was well under 800€ for 4GB of RAM - 320 GB of HD. So basically 4 and 3 times bigger than the HP I bought a year ago.

For the first time I decided to downsize my screen. I started years ago with a Toshiba 12" (not sure anymore) then Compaq 14", next Fujitsu 15" and finally the HP 17".

The ratio changed with the HP. This is a nice screen but not that portable anymore... Also I bought a compact video projector so the big screen is much less needed.

Netbooks (Asus ee pc) are still not for me. May be one day. The screens are too small to work -- at least for programming, the horse power too weak and the autonomy still not good enough.

So here is the Vaio. I usually give our computers a name from comics heroes. The HP was 'Paddle' (Kid Paddle). I will name the new one Batman because of its glossy black piano like surface (to avoid as you see immediately fingers traces on it).

Sony encourages you (via a popup) to register your computer online -- an easy and supposingly no time consuming task...

Once clicked, the desktop icon (your desktop is filled with adware) your IE opens and brings you to the registration page. The easy process now prompts you for a 2 parts serial number.

As usual, all these numbers are on the back of he computer. Putting a secondary serial number sticker near the screen is too much for one of the biggest electronic manufacturer of the planet (its full of stickers but none of them is relevant) .

All the ergonomic, usability lessons are now forgotten as you move up your portable to see what's written under it... without disconnecting your network cable... if you can (no wifi in my office which is an cave). Of course there are multiple numbers. Which one is the one?

Don't imagine anybody thinking: let's write this is the 'serial number'. You dream. Why not use the web instead? Isn’t that more modern?

On the web a link is there - how to find the serial number... great (still I would prefer not having to ask) then a secondary window opens with a link to 'how to find a serial number... cool. One more click and there, finally I learned that the serial number can be recognized because it is a serie of 17 digits separated with '-'.

Practically speaking you can recognize it as it is made with the smallest typeface one can use to print a sticker -- so keep up your portable with one hand and use the other one to bring your magnifier close enough to read the sticker...

Desperately, I learned on the same web page that there is another way to get this number:
reboot (so loose your registration data),
press F2 enter the Bios config and ... it is there.
Great idea but why a giant such as Sony has not designed a small Active-X control to read this and make the registration easy that's a sign computer are still not designed to make every day user life easier...

After a couple of trials I finally entered the serial number.

The interactive web site, gives you the option to answer a small survey. But as the computer is damned fresh I decided that I could not say anything smart, so I skipped the survey. May be I should review this after all - just to see if they question customers about the registration process...

I then clicked to the Vaio club finally reaching home… huh a familiar 404 error page fired by Tomcat... I gave up, happy to know that I can expect now two years full of services.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oracle & SUN - Marketing

A few articles today on the net as Oracle launched an advertising campaign attempting to keep customers wit Sun hardware platform. I don't care about this pure marketing stuff. It just indicates how non convincing the deal was. May be they will later changing boxes colors. This classic white is now so boring...

I remember once an analyst explained why Next failled - because the hardware was black. Time changes (I just bought a black Sony Vaio) ...

More worrying to me is the absence of direction for Java itself. Java 7 seems to be a pack of non features (closure), long time sleeping stuff (Swing app framework) and self competing material (modularity - OSGI like).

Marketing tricks cannot do anything against lack of vision and I fear for Java and its community...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tribute to Alan Turing

A friend of me published this link on Facebook concerning the treatment of Alan Turing

The way this significant contributor to the victory in Europe during the second war has been treated by because of laws persecuting homosexuals remains appealing. It seems the consequences of the hitlerian ideology were not that clear even for the democracies at that time...

Turing is one of the father of computer sciences. Its theory of calculability is based on an finite state machine automaton with infinite memory capability.

This last concept has been largely implemented by Microsoft OS but only in the ability to use it...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Open ERP - Training module demo - concepts

Today I did a first demo of the Open ERP training module.

Of course this is not 100% finished but it is becoming workable. My customer was seriously pleased by the flexibility of the application. Automating administrative communications to participants and automating invoicing is a key decision factor.

Still the product is missing functionality for planning... I expected that remark and hope that can be worked out soon.

Summarizing this kind of application is difficult. Although I did a demo - 3-4 hours. I wanted to have a one page summary of the key concepts of the module.

Trying to connect entities quickly turned out into a spaghetti plate... so I removed most of the links and just defined major areas of the application to group concepts together.

Mind-mapping software usually promote the vision of a tree, from central to auxiliary concepts, in such situation such a diagram becomes impossible. I will come back in a few weeks to this as I am preparing my review of "Everything is Miscellaneous" from David Weinberger. Simple hierarchical modeling and classification are subjects to many pages in the book. I hope to add a software developer, database designer, knowledge worker perspective on these subjects as I found this book interesting but highly frustrating...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Open ERP plugins - Open source business model - does it work or not

Today I wanted to spend a bit of time on the extensions - plug-ins of Open ERP. I wanted to check Outlook - and Excel.

Integrating e-mails in the ERP makes sense for the CRM part. Reporting etc with Excel makes also sense...

I like to insist that these plug-ins are commonly demonstrated and advertised by Tiny. This is my number one source of frustration...

However searching for them on their web site... nearly nothing - nada - rien !

Finally I found using Google :

Well, that page leads to pages that do not exist.

However a hint is given. These have been developed by Axelor - Axelor is the developer of the web client of Open ERP. A nice piece of software, their web site however is the paradise of the 404 error.

Here there is no indication of a way to buy or download these plug-ins. the Open ERP forum is filled with messages of people searching the addons software.

With the common reply message from the moderator, pointing to the 404 page of Axelor...

So, I sent an-email to Axelor asking information about these plugins.

Beyond the practical aspect, I see here a major difficulty for the Open ERP model.

The open source approach has a lot of positive aspects however in some cases it prevents the development of finished affordable products.

  • Suppliers are waitting for the customer willing to pay some functionnality.
  • Customers are waitting in the hope somebody else will pay for them.

Between the virtuous open world of cooperation and the static 'je te tiens tu me tiens par la barbichette' -(sorry I don't know the name of that kids game in english - the first one to laugh loose the point... ). The gap is really small. This is attested in my opinion by the small amount (1 project) of modules developed under the concept of shared funding by Tiny.

On that subject I regret that Open ERP is not following the path of the Joomla community where small extensions are available at a very affordable price...

May be is this because the Joomla plug-in model requires less integration or may be because the user base is bigger, may be simply said Joomla users are so happy to find a solution for their web sites for a few dollars that they don't spend time argumenting on the price or the open-source, free aspect.

Anyway I am waiting for Chris Anderson 'Free' its new book about free business models with attention and some scepticism... Because there is nothing free like a free lunch !

Friday, September 04, 2009

python - version selection - easy_install

Finally, I found out the basic trick to use easy_install (so called Python setup tools) and to point it to the right python install.

Well : simply call the script with the right python version !

sudo python2.5 /usr/bin/easy_install -f "TurboGears==1.0.8"
easy_install -f "TurboGears==1.x.y"


D599,372 - idiot stupid patent of the day or proof of concept ?

So Google patented the design of its home page! Congrats to the US PAtent office. I though I lived in an area served by the most ridiculous bureaucrats - it seems I was wrong.

So please avoid the 1 logo, 1 text area 1 button, couple of links design... THIS IS PATENTED !

I think we should say thanks to Google. Yes THANKS. They did great by providing us one of the best example of how much the patents concepts is screwed and does not apply properly in the digital ages...

As I am writing '' is welcoming you with a "Maximum number of users has been reached". Probably nuts like me searching for this patent description...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Open ERP Business intelligence - what -where -when ?

The Business Intelligence module is still under development - I found a 'status' on the official blog :

Using bzr branch you can get the following from launchpad:

Although the concept is very interesting ,the current code is simply unusable.
Browsing the sample cube is not working :
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/", line 242, in dispatch
result = LocalService(service_name)(method, *params)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/", line 73, in __call__
return getattr(self, method)(*params)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/service/", line 583, in execute
res = service.execute(db, uid, object, method, *args)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/osv/", line 59, in wrapper
return f(self, dbname, *args, **kwargs)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/osv/", line 119, in execute
res = pool.execute_cr(cr, uid, obj, method, *args, **kw)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/osv/", line 111, in execute_cr
return getattr(object, method)(cr, uid, *args, **kw)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/addons/olap/", line 282, in request
mdx = mdx_parser.parse(request)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/addons/olap/cube/", line 163, in parse
return self.mdx_query().parseString(query)[0]
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/pyparsing-1.5.0-py2.5.egg/", line 1048, in parseString
instring = instring.expandtabs()
AttributeError: 'NoneType' object has no attribute 'expandtabs'

Also installation with the standard web client is also not working (404 error) :

404 Not Found

The path '/browser' was not found.

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/CherryPy-3.1.2-py2.5.egg/cherrypy/", line 606, in respond
cherrypy.response.body = self.handler()
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/CherryPy-3.1.2-py2.5.egg/cherrypy/", line 227, in __call__
raise self
NotFound: (404, "The path '/browser' was not found.")

I find all this conflicting with the optimistic 5.0 release description : "
"a statistics engine (BI cube)" in

Obviously, I cannot complain for non-working code on a non-released product.

However I thing I could expect to get the level of functionality demonstrated on their videos...

Also I find that the numerous projects and branches on launchpad are forming a complicated maze...

So that's it for Business Intelligence as of today.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Open ERP - Training centers solution

I spend a couple of days working with - This is a serie of addons modules for Open ERP. The target is the management of a training center.

Any companies active in training or conferencing could benefit of it once it is finished -which is far from being the case I must say.

On the mind map you can see more or less the scope of the modules. You first design you library of courses with potentially sub-courses.

Offers represent your commercial offering. For example you could decide to market only course A with course B. Or may be sell them separately and propose a discount on a package of both. A session is basically an instance of an offer with dates -> seances.

The document management is used for support materials and can be associated to products - probably to order from print shops.

There is a trainers management but with minimal functionnality concerning skills and knowledge management.

It seems the modules will be strong at ordering management, managing external resources and cost computations.

I had no time to look at the portal functionality at this stage. Of course there are dash boards and reports... But I could not make a quotation -- too buggy !

Beyond the fact it is not working completely at this time, I see two major concerns:

  • planning is dramatically embryonic - no way to enter planning of availabilities trainers, locations) and very basic seance scheduling. So it will not help building your schedule.
  • the other point is the integration with the rest of the application. From the offer you may link to a product while in my mind a training is a product... The consequence is that the standard Open EPR workflows for offering etc do not apply. So selling a classical product and a training will probably not easy to implement in the system... Potentially one could work around this by creating one product per offer, but I think it is too much admin work.
I hope these weakness will be worked out one way or another. There is really some potential in helping services companies and training management is part of it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

DOCLink for DOCMan on Joomla

a year ago, I built a small website for one of our customer. It is built with Joomla 1.5xx. One of the key compoent is DOCman. A small document manager that ease uploading, building a directory tree of documents etc

DOCman is ideal for small corporate web sites, loading brochures, manuals etc But watch out to the size limit (php settings) set by your hoster !

Strangely the menu system enables only to point to a category in the tree - not a document leaf.

What my customer wanted - which is basic I must admit was a simple way to make links from an article to some content in the DOCMan tree. I though I could find the URL of each individual document and create the links manually. I did not succeed - well there is no easy way to find the id of the items.

Finally I found an extension that adds an button on the defaut editor - TinyMCE -and that helps finding the right resourcee and link it. Really easy.

My only regret is that it is not standard and I searched for it during at least one hour...

Also the tip for the day don't forget to go to Extensions/Plugin manager, locate DOCLink and enable it then the button will show up ev ery time you edit an article (rows of buttons under the text area).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Open ERP on Ubuntu 9.04 - HL7

I really regret that Open ERP is made with Python. The best language is the one you use and I will not spend a minute comparing the benefit of one against another... but I strictly believe that the Python packaging is a mess and I regret the JVM, Jar files and custom loading... With Python, good extensions are in binary compiled format and change between platforms, os and python versions.

At this stage Open ERP does not install easily on Ubuntu 9.04. That's because the repository does not include all the packages needed to make it running on the default Python 2.6. The solution in the attach link is to install Python 2.5 then ensure that the Open ERP server will run on 2.5 :

So I continue testing and prepare demo systems...

Today I subscribed to This organization edits a messaging standard to interconnect IT system in the context of an hospital network. We plan to develop an interface to our home-made medical files application so we would grab administrative data from the hospital servers...

Monday, August 17, 2009

OpenERP - Not always so easy on Wiindows ? Login and SQL permission

Today, I am spending a bit of time on simple quotation, ordering, invoicing. To my great surprise I crashed the app in various simple screens of the application.

The point is: it works on Linux install but not on Windows. I am wondering why and investigating. I think the All in One install is not the latest code... Not sure yet.

Because each DB/Install becomes quickly different as modules are installed. I tried to backup the failing DB on Windows then restoring it on my Linux machine.

Sound simple... but it failed immediately... with a message popup "Couldn't backup database" .

I then stopped the Windows service and started the service in its command box -- a trick I recommend to everybody as you will see a good quantity of messages to debug your install... The exe is : openerp-server.exe

There, I could see that the server is prompting for a password!

This is the password used by Application server to connect to the Postgres database. By default the user is 'openpg' and password 'openpgpwd'. Once the password is entered the DB backup is executed in a few seconds.

Here is what you see when attempting to backup a DB from the Open ERP client:

432 user=openpg password=xxxxxxxxx dbname=template1', closed: 0>
Password: openpgpwd

Practically for my Open EPR that's it.

Looking at many applications, this single user scheme is frequent and may raise some questions. DBMS provide complicated authentication and validation schemes and application designers spend their time to shortcut these...

But don't think I am blaming the application deigners, they are just facing difficult time with inappropriate DBMS technology. Mapping one application user to one DBMS user is a pain:

  • Most application want to connect to the DB to get application config that sits in the DB before asking a username to the user.
  • Optimization like connection pooling are better implemented with one common user.
  • There is no concept of SQL inpersonnifcation - (e.g Windows run as / Unix sudo).
  • Security scheme is nice in DBMS but usually not enough for applications that are not expressed as stored procedure.
  • Implementing permission on Business app is often driven by the data - e.g: cannot touch invoice of another office - that are difficult to implement at the DBMS level. So applicaitons developpers prefer a scheme that work for all permission issues.
  • Error code and messages returned by DBMS are not easily map to business concept.
  • Any more ?? Probably.

I see there two approaches to improve things (on the long run):

  • Removing all this permission crap in DBMS that is not that much used (and that very often creates installations problems)
  • Merging completely the application server with a DBMS. So that application code can benefit from DBMS permissioning.

However I know that the trends on the market is to add things and not to remove any. So I doubt somebody will remove the useless things (with the probably correct argument that may be somewhere somebody is using this feature).

The second option would hit the current market conception about generally accepted software layers. Again too bad for me. But remark that these layers in software do not correspond to a business scheme but to the IT sofwtare market structure...

I admit that there is little market pressure for such changes... so I will return to my OpenERP stuff.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Seriously back to OpenERP - duplicated entries on attendance log & timesheet

I will use the blog to keep track of my tests and tutorial preparation that I am doing with Open ERP. Instead of an abstract target, following the principle "eat your own dog food", I am taking my own company as a target... at least to start.

We need accounting, invoicing, HR (vacations, expenses, attendance), time-sheets, CRM (including help-desk / sales contact management),outlook integration, document management.

Having installed hr_timesheet_sheet (what a name for a module), there is an entry
"[Human Resources] > Timesheets > My Timesheets > Current Timesheet" (the entry between [] corresponds to the main menu of the application - ctrl-t). The key functionnality that I am seeking is there: every user can sign-in and sign-out to indicate attendance (my colleagues will not like it) and enter activities that are linked to analytic entries (projects).

As ususual I am the ideal tester meaning that quickly things go wrong. Each time I clicked (sign-in) and then (sign-out) I got two entries per click in my attendance log ! The net result was a single day with -26 hours of missing attendance !

I found quickly the reason. Timesheets are related to employees and sign-in and out to users. As I used the demo data, one user 'Fabien' was already defined and linked to the user Admin and as I configured myself as an employee two employees where configured with the same login...

To clean-up the wrong difference number, I used the garbage icon and removed the incorrect lines on the attendance log. Next of course I removed the link between 'Fabien' and 'Admin'.

Summary for the timesheet (data configuration)

Employee -- link to -> User (so sign-in / sign-out) can work
Employee -- link to -> Product -> Will give standard cost / sales price

Analytic account for the project -- linkto -> Link to Partner and Link to Price list -> Automate invoicing from time-sheet.

Process for the timesheet

User login sign-in sign-out -- record attendance log.
Timesheet record --> record work done on project.

Finance user goes to [Project Management] > Financial projet management > Invoicing

Timesheets have states : draft (employee confirm) --> confirmed -- (manager validate) --> validated.

Approval is done [Human resource] > My department's timesheet > My department's timesheet to validate.

Other resource -- see Setting up a serice company

Remaining questions

Why is there a general account on timesheet. In fact the timesheet are recorded in the general account... I think it is more an internal architecture quirck - analytic accounts are normaly linked to general account...

I have no easy way to invoice my confirmed timesheets. I can see uninvoiced entries but the status is not indicated. As I wanted to change the view using the web cleint but then I hitted

Patents war

Patents war is raging again.

A couple of days ago, headlines were that Microsoft patented word processing XML usage then a few days later, the news are 'Microsoft to stop shipping Word' as there are claims that they abuse a patent about document architecture and content manipulation.

For a lot of people, the patents system is viewed as a romantic ingredient. The poor, lonely, genius, self-made inventor protects it is dramatic contribution to humanity, changing our life for better... finally becomes rich and save children from the street etc etc...

Unfortunately patent is everything but this romance.

It is interesting to read these two patents, at least shortly or may be just the title.

Word-processing document stored in a single XML file that may be manipulated by applications that understand XML.

"Method and system for manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other".

Both patents share the same bad patents pattern applied to software:
an attempt to present as a new invention a common practice of people in the field.

Separating content and structure is basically every day task of software developers and XML has been designed so different applications can exchange data.

How these patents claim innovation is also similar:
the combination of two existing recognized principles is supposed to be an innovation. Translated in the common world - take 'car' and 'wheel' - these are not patentable (although I heard somebody patented the wheel in Australia years ago) but spare wheel in a car could be an innovation...

The key issue with this way of seeing innovation is that it's in fact strictly prohibiting software development. Indeed most software development is about combining /assembling / adapting existing solutions (algorithms / components/ technologies) to fit a specified request.

The next meta patent could be 'solving requests by combining existing solutions'. That would patent the entire software industry... and may be the entire universe (at least business) !

In Europe, software patents do not exist (yet - there is intense lobbying on that point - they are not accepted)- although the European patent office sometimes accepts one in an attempt to extend it's business. Only software patents that have some relation with a physical device (the classical example is the ABS brakes system) are acceptable.

This European way of doing exclude most of the abuses of the American system. But...

Looking at the ABS system we can see that what is important is not the software but the logic of releasing brakes to optimize their effect. So the ABS could be patented without the mention of software at all ! Note that good car drivers knew since years that brakes blocking resulted in control loss...

So my conclusion is that the European system does does not help people protecting their software / algorithmic invention (new algorithms / new ways of digital processing / new methods of problem solving).

Business method (as we have seen for e-commerce) should not be patentable specially when they are simple translation of everyday concepts into software.

I cannot imagine a good patent system without a very strict definition of innovation. But what is innovation is a philosophical issues - I mean : subject to lengthy discussions.

May be after all the loop is closed and we should not have patents at all thus letting people, companies and the market deciding based on products qualities, usefulness and services... But that's look like jungle life - again it is not romance.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

VMWARE acquired SpringSource

Strange but confirmed. VMWARE acquires SpringSource... I am on my hass !

The only understandable synergy at this stage is the Hyperic applications monitoring (that SpringSource acquired recently). VMWARE is eager to be a key player in vitual infrastructure - so called cloud. That makes sense. But what will do VMWARE with all this Java stuff?

I am a bit concerned about the future of the Spring container (and Groovy and Grails).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Time for summer holidays

It is time for holidays. So a bit of desk cleaning and that's it. Two weeks for giving up with databases, Java, Python... projects, plannings and budgets. I am taking my portable of course, but that's basically for emergency only...

I finished my first Tony Buzan book. This was a bit general - the french title 'une tête bien faite', I think the original title is 'use your head', the book goes over fast reading, memory and mind-mappings (a subject I like more and more).

There is a lot to say about these subjects and Tony Buzan has written books dedicated to each of them -- I will continue investigating.

Following Tony Buzan recommendations, mind-maps should be graphical (including graphic but also being smartly shaped) and coloured. It is a shame that all software tools that I have see currently are implementing very regular organisation pattern and don't promote that much colors and graphics. Anyway, I recommend you this book.

On the Open ERP front line, I finished a small doc concerning Initial Analysis - see previous post and what to prepare to have good, constructive interviews sessions with business processes owners. Tiny provided me three mind-maps. A good start but I will try to develop mine for the next project...

I have done a bit of testing with Python, but I had not time to finish my test software - submitting HTML forms to a Joomla web site. Hm that will be for August I guess...

Finally I am taking with me 'Everything is Miscellaneous' - ' The power of the new digital disorder' from David Weinberger. Social aspects of the web is fascinating and I hope to work more on it later this year...

So I hope to come back rested and a bit smarter - what a plan !

Friday, July 17, 2009

Open ERP - Methodology - Project layout

As I am working on a well sized Open ERP project, it is now good time to build extra material concerning the project methodology.

The idea is basically to perform a a first analysis and then provide the customer with a fixed budget. The purpose of this initial analysis is not to get all details but to list identify business activities.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Python map

Is this blog not better now with graphic... :-)

Also it is not entirely open...

Note taking - mind mapping Python & Open ERP

As I am continuing to learn Open ERP, I tried to keep track of what I am learning (Open ERP, Python,...). I decided to use FreeMind a small software (written in Java) for creating mind maps.

FreeMind has a simple interface, you create nodes by pressing the return or insert keys. This is fast to create a tree structure of your ideas and in my case keep track of my progress. Navigation is globally more confortable than with a linear text.

Unfortunately the tool is not perfect.

For example as I learned Python, I wanted to keep track of code snipsets that are for me the most valuable source of information for remembering an aspect of a programming language. It is annoying not being able to specify a title and hide the body of the note - I am getting too big block of text, the work around is to create one node for the title and one for the code...

Another aspect is text formating which is applied to the entire node - no way to say that this word should be in bold/red (for example to separate visually the code from my comments).

Another issue is that FreeMind supports text but not graphic. I should say not that much. You can insert pictures but it is a pain and there is no way to diagram easily within the map and the Windows clipboard is not supported - that would save my life, helping me to work with Snagit (Snapshot taking) for example.

The interface is also sometimes driving me nuts. For example when you want to apply a function of the toolbar, the current selection is lost when you move over something else... watch out!

As I followed the Open ERP course I regretted not having used my PC to take notes. The problem remains which tool to use... FreeMind is nice but probably too basic in many aspects...

I will finish on a positive mention for the export, I can export my maps to HTML with Javascript. This makes my notes very accessible and easy to browse. Let's hope they will enrich it a bit so it can be of more general usage.

I will post my maps later on (I still don't know how...)

Friday, July 10, 2009

First steps with Python support in Netbeans 6.7

Python support is being added to Netbeans.

Install Netbeans 6.7 (in my case the bundled JDK did not installed, so I had to install the JDK speartely) then in the list of plugins install the Python module.

The install will bring you Jython as a first Python platform. I will keep that for further study. I then installed the Cpython 2.6. Restarted the Netbeans platform and to my great surprise Tools/Python plaftorms auto detected the new Pyhton install !

I created a project, but there, a problem occured when trying to debug. The message was a bit hard to decode. I saw file names truncated (under Windows, the default projects directory is under 'Documents and settings'. I changed the location to avoid spaces (something I always remind around me - don't put space in file names) and it works (I mean I can debug a 2 lines long Python program.

Open ERP -

I continue digging into Open ERP. Searching for new extension, I found the project where addons are stored:

So if you think a branch is interesting for you - using bzr on Linux is:

bzr branch lp:~openobject-training/openobject-addons/extra

I know this basic stuff for many people, but for me it is a lot to learn and discover

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Open ERP - startup up issue on Linux / Ubuntu

An error such as:

INFO:dbpool:Connecting to template1
[2009-07-09 15:48:45,096] ERROR:dbpool:Unable to connect to template1: FATAL: Ident authentication failed for user "chanon".

Means you cannot connect to Postgres for security reason. Under Ubuntu, it may be worth trying " sudo -u postgres python". So you start as the postgres user (will require the super user password).

Open ERP bugs etc on Launchpad

I was a bit puzzled, searching for open issues on Open ERP on launchpad. Well it seems everything is packed under the openobject project.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Google announces Google Chrome OS

After Google Chrome (a browser) and Android (OS for portable devices - smart phones) Google just announced :

The two first products made a lot of sense to me having a more application oriented browser is a necessity for a Web application fabric and mobile Web business requires smart phones and if you don't want to have the Apple and Microsoft business plans in the midle of your road...

But here, I have a doubt. Most of the Linux Netbooks are returned, exchanged or simply not used... because they lack Microsoft Office and a few handy apps.

Wait and see...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What's up OpenERP training - Drupal Camp at Louvain-La-Neuve

This week I followed my first Open ERP training - this was kind of chaos at the beginning, but I learned a lot. Yet there is still many things to learn and do before feeling completely conformable.

Giving a course on such extended and modular product is difficult (so I pardon them) and I am thinking about developing my own training program/material/solution. You can expect more on this blog about Open ERP. I am not saying it is perfect but it is really an excellent product for managing small to medium size companies in a very large number of sectors - services, manufacturing, distribution... Still I regret the Python stuff but I must admit there is no such product in Java.

This morning there was a DrupalCamp near my location. Not that much people but it was a first attempt to organize such an event in the french speaking part of Belgium . I think they could have attracted more people just by sending the conferences program more in advance -- 2 days is very short.

I attended a few sessions - top 25 modules (interesting). A presentation about government/administration usage of Drupal (see for example Per say, nothing exciting except a sentence from this civil servant who think that government should provide as much data to citizens so they can build mash-up and invent services. It remains the question on how do that... micro-formats (e.g ical, vcal), rdf and rdfa - are part of the solution - at least a start. I will call that pragmatic semantic web... as a foundation for digital democracy.

The last session I attended was about building Web 2.0 apps with Drupal. Not excellent mostly because they tried to show an evolving usage case, not in line with the announced title and not fittting the one hour format.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Replacing my old mobile 5140i

I am using two mobiles, one for business usage is a Qtek 2020i. Something that people call now a smartphone and was called a PDA when I bought it. It is still fine for my usage, although the sound is not very good (a shame for a phone)- but I have an excellent Ericsson wireless headset. The second was my Nokia 5140i that I use in common life because I think the Qtek is too big, and I have always a fear to break it. The 5140i was a so called outdoor model capable of resisting shock, dust and water splash. It did its job very well. Unfortunately I took it so often with me without special care that the screen got scratched at a point it became unreadable under sunlight.

So I decided to replace this Nokia. Obviously I started by looking at Nokia so I don't have to re-learn the software...

Is it worth an article? I think so. First the Nokia catalog is very, very,very large, the time they had a few models (when I bought my first model a 2110, I think there was only one) is gone.

Choosing between them is exceptionnaly difficult and if not enough complicated Nokia put you in the middle of the list, models that are not yet available.

Second surprise, you can search the catalog, only if you have Flash. I think this is a ridiculous usage of Flash. No problem to require it for illustration, video, animations, but why for searching ? Ajax stuff would do much better with less requirements.

Next, the list of criteria is very incomplete. I know I am a mobile dinosaur, but I don't care that much about RDS Radio, MP3 etc. I want outdoor/robut/water resistent, loudspeaker, USB interface and if possible Bluetooh. Well none of my criteria are in. I think they need a serious update. Specially that recent model basically have most of it...

Finally the most missing info is... PRICE ! What a hell is this. For each mobile I had to google searching an online vendor &@"%!

All of that to realize that there is nothing like an outdoor water resistent phone. So they give up, you may have everthing at Nokia but a simple solid robut phone !

So done for Nokia. I remembered having seen a similar phone from Samsung. I found in fact two models B2100 and B2700. The web site is nice but does not tell (sell) you that much.

So google again and I found This is a very well done web site. I must say I have been impressed by this mobile, falling and falling, squezed by car and finishing under water in a sink. That's my phone !

So I moved to the biggest mobile phone shop of my area (Cartronics). There, basically you can find any model on the market. Unfortunately, there are so many phones on the market that I could not find an exact explantion of the differences between a few Samsung models.

More important, the vendor ignored what USB was and (after explanation) though bluetooh is sufficient (still not current on a desktop / corporate machine). This is specially strange as this phone is showing a micro-USB connector which is becoming a standard and could become 'the' standard for power loading... Its explanations about sync where not convincing - telling me this was only very basic... But as written before I don't need much more. So I decided to buy one two see (thinking buying a second with a different color for my wife later).

I was then passed to antoher vendor who had the kindness to open the box. There, surprise - a cd with software (good) ... and the USB cable (very very good). So this was definitively picked as my new outdoor phone....

Twitter - future - if any ?

The Iran crisis put some spotlight on Twitter. Getting in touch quickly is a good thing. I still don't understand why the Iranian government has not been able to shutdown quickly access to it.

Anyway sending small messages has an interest, but why should it be on a different service than a 'normal' blog. Of course the short format help reading on mobile access, does it means we will have two separate cyber world a short and a large (screen oriented). Does it mean the apparition of a kind of Novlang posting as for the sms (most of them being non sense in my opinion). I think there is a need for micro-blogging to converge with other tool.

Also the twitter business model fall short.

I am not alone to think about it :

Friday, June 05, 2009

JavaFx 1.2 is out

I still don't believe in the JavaFx stuff - too bad, too late and not relying on the Java strong use in enterprise. Anyway the vesion 1.2 is out. Clearly they don't care that much of compatibility and you will recompile your code:

"The JavaFX 1.2 SDK release is not binary compatible with the JavaFX 1.1 SDK. This means that your application and all libraries that it depends on must be recompiled with the JavaFX 1.2 SDK."

Things like that, happens. But this confirm my opinion that SUN push out this product (as they did for Java) without finishing it.

My humble advise: wait for JavaFx 3.0 - if it exists.

Otherwise it seems to move to the right direction -- but at senator speed -- they now support text controls (hard to call it an innovation) and seems to support Linux (not sure what it means in this context).

There are obviously many other changes. Mostly in the graphical area, so they seems to continue competing with Flash...

What has not changed however is a clarification about why one would really desire using it.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Spring for Python - Yes they can !

I could not believe my eyes... SpringSource did it again... translating parts of its framework to Python -- including the IOC ! Ok I am convinced, I will give a serious look at Python.

By the way, my OpenERP on my Ubuntu is fine. I will go through Python tutorial (I bought already two book in french, but I found them not that good) and build a first development environnment.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back to Ubuntu - Installed OpenERP

Well, my experience with OpenSuse are over. There are basically 3 reasons.

1- performance. This thing is slow, slow, slow. My previous Suse 9.2 on a Pentium 4 was fine but with OpenSuse 11.1 it is strictly unusable.

2 - in spite of various attempts. I cannot get a config capable of NFS mounting from my SLES server at boot time.

3 - the repository is not complete as far Python is concerned. Annoying as I am digging into OpenERP a python based software.

So I moved to Ubuntu (8.1). Performance is great, may be faster than my old suse. Server admin : I miss Yast. But I put webmin using the debian package. So far so good.

I installed today OpenERP 5.0.1. Really easy cool setup. I must say my first opinion on Python is relatively negative. I don't link the syntax, the idea of significant indentations repulsed me... But as my coworker remarked, this will at least push me to indent my code (I do - but I am more a vertical developper than an horizontal one :-).

Also I am sure I will regret Java independance and the fact that good python extension are typically written using C or C++. Not talking about my Netbeans ide, my be-loved spring stuff...

However I admit the resulting app in this case is great !

Among the advantage of Python the designer of the app said to me that data structures changes are more simply implemented via python. I can agree. With a typicall Java ORM (JPA or Hibernate), any changes in the DB will turn into endless changes into the code base. So this is not new 'religion' to me, but I will sure look how OpenERP is built and why try to find why this ERP shine while all the Java based products miss elementary functionnalities and are pain in the a.. to setup and use.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Python 2.6 - OpenERP openSuse 11.1

Well, I am looking at an open source ERP called "OpenERP". Not a very orginal name but an impressing product. Strangely this is written in Python. Quite uncommon but only the result matters...

The editor provides good documentation for installing the sofwtare. Example are given for Ubuntu. The apt-get commands solves dependencies issues and Ubuntu install was painless. But I am now with my openSuse distro.

I tried getting apt-get for openSuse and use zypper (the equivalent of apt-get for openSuse). Unfortunately some dependencies cannot be solved.

As usual wrong rumor circulates, one being that OpenERP does not work with Python 2.6. I checked yesteday with the editor. Not correct it works with Pythpn 2.6.

The problem is simply that the openSuse repositories are not complete and do not contain all the need libraries.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What about the Java Store annoucement ?

I haven't commented yet on this announcement related to a "Java store".
So here is my comment on "Why the Java Store has Gotten a Luke Warm Reception" on Dzone":
Unfortunately,I have to agree. Sun has a long track record of late half delivering higly expected promised technologies. I think their marketing decided years ago not to listen to customers and developpers and prefers announcing products they would like instead of those developped by their engineers.

I really like Java but I profoundly regret that this platform is unable to deliver boxed/publicly available polished products which is basically what the so called Java stored should be aimed at. So this will be the most powerful empty store on the Internet.

Ps: the orginal blog announcing the Java store.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Args - My NFS proble solved

After hours of idiot searches. I simply cleaned the/etc/mtab~ file (the lock file for the mtab - mounted files). And it works. So my Python install had nothing to do with my NFS issue. I feel better.

Giving up with Ubuntu for now - looking at OpenSuse

I need to upgrade my Linux computers.

Linuxers may explain you that Linux solves install dependencies issues - dll hell. Unfortunately that's wrong. One day, you will find the need to install software requiring something requiring a more recent kernel. Is it possible to get around it? May be, may be not. For the common Linux user (I don't want to recompile others stuff) the only path is to upgrade the entire OS and rebuild you complete stuff.

I did a try with Ubuntu desktop. Nice install and a good looking desktop with easy config. Synaptic package manager is great. The shell apt-get is great to install software in a matter of minute. I found it promising...

However I decided to go for OpenSuse. Why? Simply said, the separation between so called Desktop / Server is pure marketing vision - at least in the Linux world. What if you have a desktop and want to organize your mind with a wiki? What if you are a Web developper.What if you want a database etc Well it is all server stuff. So this separation is artificial and unworkable.

Ubuntu server exists but unfortunately they haven't done for server the great work they did for Desktop - I mean a good administration front-end. So every piece of software will require you to dig in to file based condigs without help.

So I started to regret Suse (I used Suse 9.2 and Sles 10.x) and Yast (equivalent to Windows control panel) which does an honorable job at configuring everything on your system.

It almost worked fine... Install is friendly as Ubuntu and the desktop is the same - I took Gnome as it seems to be defacto standard (in the past I preferred KDE but since their version 4 big bang they are loosing support I think).

Performance is not that great. Bloating is not only a MS Windows problem. Moving from Suse 9.x to 11.x seems to be the same performance loss as you move from XP to Vista...

Well it worked fine... until I tried to install extra packages - Python libs. Since then (is it related ? It is still strange to me, but it is the only thing I did with it...) I cannot mount my NFS share with my fresh desktop anymore (it worked, yes it worked for almost a day and now, it is gone). Mysterious ! And I don't see what's wrong with this NFS share.

Why do I need Python? Well, it will be for a coming article.

Friday, May 22, 2009

OpenSuse - selecting your default Java version

Having multiple Java version is sometimes a pain... I must say I am impressed my freshly installed OpenSuse. Just type "update-alternatives --config java" and you get prompted for whic installed version you would like to use as default.

Btw this is the first time I see the OpenJDK installed by default.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Log4j xml config for a telnet server

I searched and could not found a log4j.xml example for creating a telnet server (showing logs)

So here is mine :
<appender name="telnetd" class="">
<param name="port" value="3002"/>
<layout class="org.apache.log4j.PatternLayout"&gt
<param name="ConversionPattern" value="%-4r [%t] %-5p %c %x - %m%n" />

Friday, May 15, 2009

Trying to buy from Novell

Just wanting to upgrade our Linux SLES server (to the freshly announced version 11). So I wanted to buy a media kit and subscription from Novell.

You may search for a shop, buy etc icon, link on the Novell web site... nada, nothing, niet. But there is a big, huge, sliding but useless black Ajax like menu...
Going to the product pages I got exited with a link "how to buy" (one of the two distributors I used previously seems to be in business with Novell anyore , the other one web site is still displaying products that are two years old).
There, a few prices and still nothing on really how to buy it. The single way seems "request a sales call". So did I. Putting a description of my request wich can be summarized "want offer or prices for SLES 11 with 1 year subscription and media DVD and manual. Also I want to know how to buy it...

Then I wait. Two hours later I got a friendly phone call. The charming lady asked me " what do you want ?" - meaning never write what you want since anyway we don't read it...
So why not buying on our online shop was her reply to my rephrased request... So she pointed me to ! I gave her a warm thanks ! I told her... "how can it be that I did not find this myself..." she laughed and said "don't worry that's the way I am having a job...". One more goodbye later I though I could manage the purchase by my self....

One more ckick and... but... it is not that much updated (although they advertise 11 on their front-page). Isn't that their top enterprise platform?

Great, so you can still order your SLES 10 Media. Thanks !

Next... another place just below the previous one (why there are two... strange)...

Then I clicked on what I though would be my best pick...

Hm not that easy...

Luckily, there is a feedback link. "Help us improve our web site". It is needed indeed, I want to help again...

Finishing with a message like "buying from Novell is HELL!"

Hm too bad...
So I can hear from my desk... "what ?!? COMPLAINS about OUR web site... never seen anything about that... " indeed guys ... perfect job !