Daily Archives: September 15, 2007

Why Ubuntu? Let me count the ways

Most of my blog posts for the last month or so have been about Ubuntu, and I plan for this to be so for some time to come.

This is the first of what I call an “occasional series” of posts within these posts.

This series will be about why I take such interest in Ubuntu and why I think you should take interest in Ubuntu, too.

I will begin each such post with the phrase “Why Ubuntu?”

I have no idea how many such posts will follow of what answers I will attempt to provide. All I do know is that I have a deep interest and affection for Ubuntu, and have taken my inspiration for the title of this first post from a list compiled by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Though I’m no poet, she used the same resource to compile her list that I will now use to compile my list.

Words, ordered as best one can.

My blog is being categorized. Is yours?

I write this blog using the WordPress blogging software as made available at no charge by the nice folks at wordpress.com. One of the features provided by WordPress is what they call the “Referrers,” which is described as follows, “People clicked links from these pages to get to your blog.” They provide the URL that viewers used to reach this blog and the number of views that came from that URL.

I’ve had views by the same URL both yesterday and today:


My best guess is that this URL is transient in that while I can visit it now I expect that I won’t be able to visit in a few days, nor will you.

So let me describe it to you.

The page begins with a box containing the following text:

Categorize 3 websites according to the following Instructions:

  • Please review the category association details and choose the most relevant ones for the Content Categories.
  • Select Primary Content Category (required) and Secondary Content Category (if applicable).
  • Categorize each site based on what the content is about.
  • Even though a site may be a blog, please consider other categories before selecting Personal.
  • Take the entire page into consideration. Please scroll to the bottom of each page and feel free to view more than one page in the web site.
  • Complete the Likely Audience Demographics for the site (age and gender).
  • Please use Internet Explorer to avoid problems with site redirects.
  • Always indicate Sexually Explicit for any sexually explicit adult sites.
  • Always indicate Offensive for sites promoting violent content, racial intolerance, excessive profanity, illicit drugs and drug paraphernalia.
  • Always indicate Broken if a site is missing content, returns an error or does not display properly.
  • Always indicate Non-English for non-english sites.
  • Always indicate No Content for sites with not enough content on the site to evaluate or the site requires a login.
  • Before marking a site “Broken” or “No Content”, please click on the “SITE # of 3: http://…” link to open it in a new window and wait for it to fully load.

(NOTE: Please take care to follow these instructions carefully, as we will be validating the quality of your responses. Poor quality work will be rejected.)

There follow three sections, each containing the front page of a blog, with some questions to the left. The questions are as follows:

  1. Primary Content Category, followed by a pull-down option list with such categories as “Sexually explicit,” “Automotive,” and “Computers and Tecnology.”
  2. Secondary Content, followed by the same pull-down option list
  3. Likely Audience, followed by two items:
    1. Gender, with the choices “Primarily Male,” “Primarily Female,” and “No Preference.”
    2. Age, with instructions “Select all that apply”, followed by boxes for “All ages, “Under 13″, 13-17,” and so forth.

Each section presents the front page of a blog:

Club Penguin Cheats

The Wayward Word Press

The Life That Chose Me

My blog is the second. The only common link I see is that all the blogs are hosted by WordPress.

I’ve no idea who is doing this, why it is being done, or the intended audience, except that it’s a sign of some blog-review process.

It doesn’t really matter. My blog is out there for all to make of what they see fit.

But the URL differed so much from the usual URL’s I see that I thought worth noting it down to share with you, so you can make of it what you see fit.

On installing and configuring Sun’s Open-Source Java implementation on Ubuntu Linux

I’ve written a series of posts recently on uploading photos to Flickr. When I tried to use a tool to help do that on Ubuntu Linux I wound up having to install a Sun implementation of Java; see my post How to install a specific version of Java on Ubuntu.

I said how during the install an editor window is opened and you have to navigate that window to click on “OK,” and so accept Sun’s license before the install will continue.

Why is that? Didn’t Sun announce that they are now the providers of Free and Open Source Java?

Indeed they did, in a massive press barrage that was fired off almost a year ago. Today their web site proclaims, “Always open. Now free.”

Open. Free. Sounds good to me. Let’s go get it, so we won’t have to click on any license agreements and can use of the same code that Sun’s open-source community is improving each and every day. Let’s help them out. Maybe we’ll find a bug, in which case we can send in a detailed report to the team, knowing they will fix it — making our own small contribution to open-source Java.

There is a link on Sun’s page, Get the Source. When you visit that you find a a link Subversion: Accessing the source code repository.

Got it. Off to that page. Here is what it says:

Accessing the source code repository:

Access the source code repository for this project in one of following ways:

  • Browse source code online to view this project’s directory structure and files.
  • Check out source code with a Subversion client using the following command. Note: replace the last username with your own username.
          svn checkout https://openjdk.dev.java.net/svn/openjdk/trunk openjdk --username username

Isn’t that great? All we have to do is download the code, compile that sucker, and away we go?

But hold on. Don’t open-source projects usually provide recent releases in binary form, so we won’t have to go through the whole process of starting from scratch? Are they assuming we’re all experts who know how to do it?

No problem: there is a section called “Binaries.” Ah, the promised land.

Oops. The phrase “Binaries” is followed by the cautionary note “coming soon, see the Free and Open Source Java: FAQ.

Soon? How about now! You’ve had almost a year, folks. How soon is “soon?”

But what’s the problem? Why not just download the source, compile it, and run it?

It’s not that easy. Java is big, very big.

And even if you do manage to build it, how do you know that you got it right. Shouldn’t you have some tests on hand to verify that you built it straight and true?

This brings to mind the posts I wrote just after Sun’s announcement, anticipating just this sort of problem:

I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect you can’t just do “sudo apt-get install sun-open-source-java-jre” quite yet. You’ll have to wait a while. After all, after waiting a year, what’s the rush?

This really shouldn’t surprise me. Sun started making noises about making Java open-source almost a decade ago, about the same time that some folks started up the “Linux versus GNU/Linux” fiasco.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Dealing with Sun, Java and the release of Sun’s Java in open-source form for close to a decade has been so frustrating that if a magic genie were to appear, offering to help me wreak my vengeance, I would reply:

Please, please. Have Sun change their stock symbol from SUNW to JAVA. That’s all I ask. Let it be a symbol unto the generations.

As for configuring and installing Sun’s Open-Source Java implementation on Ubuntu Linux, good luck.

You’ll need it.

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