Archive | December 9, 2008

Wrestling GenuineJava onto Fedora 10

In order to get access to a client’s VPN, I needed to get their VPN client software installed on my Fedora 10 workstation. Following their basic directions, it was apparent that there was an attempt to run Java in FireFox, and it was failing. Running FireFox from a shell, I could see IcedTea errors. So, I went off for instructions to get Sun’s Java installed.

There were some clues from the, and few promising Google results. The Fedora Project had an FAQ on Java that was a good start. That pointed to with some fairly intricate instructions to download the Sun JDK package and invoke some serious RPM magic on it to turn it into a set of RPM packages that could be installed on Fedora. Once I followed the instructions, the ‘alternatives’ script showed me that Java was installed – hurrah! I tried the VPN install again, but no joy, same IcedTea error messages. Hmm. It turned out that the global Mozilla FireFox plugins, stored in /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins, had two shortcuts: and Running FireFox and examining about:config and searching for plugin told me that Moz should only be using the first one, but that was pointing to the correct place. The second, on the other hand, was pointing to the Iced Tea installation. FireFox’s about:plugins showed me that Iced Tea was still the preferred plugin. I deleted the second,, link and tried it one more time. Yes! Installed. Whew!

Now to get to work…

Notes from October Python SIG: Unit testing and Sphinx

An even dozen (or maybe an odd dozen…) folks attended the October Python Special Interest Group meeting, held as usual on the fourth Thursday of the month at the Amoskeag Business Incubator.

It was a busy and exciting meeting. Vigorous conversations filled the first half hour, as we welcomed a few new members, a few members not seen in a long time, caught up on news and what’s new in the Python world, and made a round of introductions.

Kent S. Johnson presented a new episode of Kent’s Korner, talking about the unit testing facilities available in Python. Python has a couple of options, including a xUnit-clone version and a more Python system in nose. We got into a great discussion on the philosophy of unit-tests, the test-first-fail-code-test cycle, test-driven development, and so forth. It was quite enlightening.

Arc Riley made the second presentation on the Sphinx documentation generator for Python. Arc talked about the history of Python documentation, with docstrings and EPyDoc and ReStructuredText (not to be confused with ReST, Representational State Transfer!). Sphinx seems to be a popular project name these days, as I heard about a different project by the same codename both at the RubySIG and maintainer Patrick Galbraith’s presentation at MonadLUG).

Arc provided us with the slides to his presentation, available on the gnhlug site here.

Links and notes from this meeting and past meetings can be found at Shawn O’Shea’s blog at — thanks, Shawn!

NOTE that the next meeting of PySIG will take place on Wednesday December 17th at the Amoskeag Business Incubator across the hall from our usual meeting room. Hope to see you there!

Thanks to Arc and Kent for great presentations, to Bill and Alex for organizing and running the meetings, to Janet for the incredible cookies, to the Amoskeag Business Incubator for the great facilities, and to all who attended and participated.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.