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 !

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

ORM - good or bad ?

I am digging into Hibernate / JPA stuff. I understand the difficulty to have two paradigms in one software ( relational vs object oriented). But still I wonder. Are these ORM frameworks really helping or are they creating more difficulties than they solve ?

What I am sure is that most of the problem they solve should not be solved. For example database independence. That's important just because vendors don't care about standards. Who cares about SQL:2003 - not talking 2008. So we add one extra layer just to hide the absence of standardization. One may argue that's common to most standards. Well may be but I think here it not that justified.

Any way, I find very unpleasing to see so little integration of tools. Again Java stuff, is not providing common sense solution to every day solutions. Why do we have to research and go through a painful learning curve for achieving something pretty easy with VB.

So lets continue searching... agility, elegance, flexibility, power, openness and productivity !

Monday, May 11, 2009

Netbeans & Spring - refactoring not easy as it should be

Well, may be you think it is caused by poor design... But I wanted to change the way a few objects were named modify the packaging structure in a soon to be released application. Refactoring with Netbeans is usually easy as the IDE changes properly references for you. Well it does in the Java code but not in the Spring XML definition !

Too bad and now hours of checking ahead !

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

SpringSource support pricing - nothing free - like free lunch?

Interesting article about SpringSource support pricing

Obviously, the company has to get revenues from something but it is good to remember that some free stuff can finally cost more than their commercial equivalent products.

Also some comments of the article about the source repository and the possibility to get fixes without a support contract are relatively pertinent.

I say relatively because my experience is that even with subscription and support contracts, small companies have difficulties to get their problem recognized by some vendors.

My feeling however is that SpringSource plays the classical commercial Java game - meaning the pricing is not clearly displayed and replaced by "contact sales".

Again this is complicated for small companies and makes comparison very difficult. So watch before to take a technical decision and don't forget that the relation with the vendor also matters.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

SpringSource acquires Hyperic

SpringSource acquires hyperic. It is astonishing to see how well SpringSource played these last two years. While integrating various other products and frameworks SpringSource mastered the art of making a consistent Java alternative enterprise offering. I spent little time on monitoring and scaling, but I think it make sense.

SpringSource is kind of safest (specially considering the uncertain Oracle-SUN strategy), efficient way of doing lean good Java apps. I think its business model should be studied in depth. All their products are pure open source. Great documentation is provided (good affordable documentation is a key for community acceptance). So training, conference and expertise is their single financing at this stage. It is funny to see how SUN could never build a decent software service stream of revenues while alternate vendors did...

I hope they wille give it a shot in the RIA dance. Or do we have to consider that BlazeDS (Flex intergation) is their way to RIA ?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wings - RIA - creation in Java or XML based language

I am quoting here the Wings framework web site.
"Popular frameworks like Sun JSF and Apache Struts rely on a heavy mix of different technologies like Java, JSP, XML & Tag libs. This implies that the association between the different media have to be maintained manually to be always in sync. Errors between these assoication implies bad suprises during runtime while pure Java-based frameworks like Wings can leverage of the compilers consistency checks."

I agree. Most XML based stuff are deferring checks at runtime. By the way this is my single regret with the Spring container and IOC. Fortunately the Spring container parses and validates the XML directive up-front when the application context is created so most errors can be easily checked at start-up.


One more GUI Ajax RIA framework for Java. One good point compared to ZK - real open source with a lgpl license.

It becomes more and more complicated to choose one :-) Seriously I think this storm of gui frameworks is a clear indication of an issue. Java lacks a clear path for building confortable interface (dummy HTML is not good for real application building).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Apache Pivot - What is it ?

So I spent a bit of time this week-end with Apache Pivot (release 1.1).

It is a completely new GUI toolkit / framework built on top of Java2D. So it is not Swing, nor native browser controls.

This puts it in my opinion in the category of LRTW software (Lets Reinvent The Wheels). As mentioned in my first post, rendition is far from perfect.

The provided elements are good for layouts and containers but lack for me a good rich text editor - I think to get Java really on the desktop and shining for little businesses we need a programmable Java written office suite.

The interface can be built in Java or using an XML Based language: WTKX. May be this is more comfortable for some designers... Event handling plumbing seems to be in Java only - there is an empty scripting section in the tutorial so may be there are possibilities to declare event handler.

Pivot also includes utilities for data-binding (the stuff we miss in Java since years and you could find in VB or Delphi since day 0) and JSON (data exchange over HTTP), internationalization is also covered (I did not check it).

So my first opinion: this seems to be an open Java based Flex a like solution.

Unfortunately the deployment of the Java plugin is not comparable to Flash and the rendition if far from what you would get with native controls -e.g with Ajax or GWT.

Event being handled locally, so Pivot falls short compared to for example ZK / Echo and I think Canoo. In the demo I could not see an example with multiple windows / MDI like interface.

The tutorial is still incomplete. My statement : good open source = good documentation (potentially charge it but please write it if you want to gain quick acceptance).

What's more I could not find an indication of which problems Pivot is supposed to solve.

At this stage I cannot imagine to use it for anything. The project is currently 'incubated'. Except if the project can jump very quickly in term of quality and server based event handling, I don't think it will make long run.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Apache Pivot

So I am having a look at Apache Pivot 1.1. I started the demo app in my browser (IE 7 - I know, I know...) just using the applet scroll bar and the entire interface went scratched.

I cannot elaborate more at this time. But Swing is a conceptually nice, complicated and frequently disappointing. Java applications suffer very often of poor renditions problems ?

In fact Pivot is not Swing based (it may looks like Swing for developpers) but is built on Java2D. But I am already sure that it exhibits similar behaviors...

Friday, May 01, 2009

ROO ? From SpringSource

One more stuff on my 'to evaluate list'. I must say that the Spring lightweight container is one of the most pleasant encounter I did with Java stuff these last two years.
My statement : right to the point. Good design, good documentation absolutely non obstructive, this makes programmers productive, designs elegant and solutions flexible...

This is the perfect example of how much innovation in the Java landscape is powered more by third parties than by the official JCP/JSR and owner of the language (SUN - now Oracle).

SpringSource also acquired the company behind Groovy and Grails. Nice language and probably easier to learn than Ruby On Rails (for a Java programmer) and with I think a much better (in fact perfect) integration with Java.

Well it seems that SpringSource continues its walk to ease programmer productivity with a project called 'ROO'. The name is not definitive it seems to be centered around Maven and provide command lines wizard to assemble application. Release is expected for July 2009. Wait and see.