Tag Archives | LAMP

WordPress updated to version 3.1

A new version of WordPress is available, and I’ve updated the blog to version 3.1 and downgraded it again. It seems like some of my custom hacks didn’t make the transition as smooth as I’d like. A good lesson there: always make backups; they’re handy for quick rollbacks. Check out some of the new features, listed here.

It appears that the Header Image Rotator (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/twenty-ten-header-rotator/) is the problem. I’ve disabled it, got the update working, re-enabled it and it broke again. Sure enough. I’ve let the author know about the problem and the error messages in my logs. Let’s hope for a painless fix. In the meantime, I’ll post a favorite old picture of mine, taken on a cold snowy night.

Seacoast WordPress Developers Group announce March meeting

Organizer Amanda Giles announced a second meeting of the Seacoast WordPress Developers Group:

When: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 7:00 PM
Where: NH-Innovation Commercialization Center, 75 Rochester Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Why: Let’s get together for another meetup. More details coming soon. Please send me your suggestions or ideas for things you would like to share or see shared.

CMS Learning Curves, artist unknown

CMS Learning Curves

LAMP – Linux, Apache, Microsoft?!?!!, PHP?

For a new client project, I’m configuring LAMP in a way I have not before. The “M” in LAMP, often referred to as Middleware or the trademark of a certain database, is Microsoft in this case, Microsoft SQL Server.

My development workstation is running Fedora 14 and I installed the following to get it working: unixODBC, FreeTDS and php-odbc. (The other components were already installed.) In order to get it working (the target server is up and running, that’s another rant/post), I followed the how-to at http://www.unixodbc.org/doc/FreeTDS.html. Taking care to do the intermediate tests with tsql and isql, and then configuring the PHP CodeIgniter framework to use odbc (with one tweak to the source), I was up and running!

The power of Open Source continues to amaze me.

HowTo notes: installing REE, Passenger, Ruby on Rails on CentOS5

Recently, I installed Redmine, the Rails-based project tracker,  on an existing virtual private server, running CentOS 5 Linux and an assortment of LAMP applications and web sites using Apache, PHP and MySQL. I chose Ruby Enterprise Edition (REE), an optimized and high-performance version of Ruby, and Passenger, an Apache module to connect to Ruby. Here are the steps I followed, as a reference and in hopes it might help others:

  1. Log onto the box via ssh. As a good practice, I run as an unprivileged user, and use sudo only when superuser rights are needed. So, download the files and un-tar them and read the READMEs and run the processes as a regular user, switching to root via sudo only when the rights are needed.
  2. Download and install Ruby Enterprise Edition. Today, that’s:
    wget http://rubyforge.org/frs/download.php/68719/ruby-enterprise-1.8.7-2010.01.tar.gz

    but follow the instructions you’ll find at http://www.rubyenterpriseedition.com/download.html for the latest. Those instructions will have you un-tar the file and then run the installer.

  3. Install the tools needed to build Ruby Enterprise Edition. If you run the installer, it will prompt you for missing tools. In my case, I needed to:
    sudo yum install gcc-c++ make patch zlib-devel openssl-devel readline-devel
  4. If you’ll be using mysql, you’ll need the native code to build the matching gem. REE attempts to build gems for MySQL, SQLite and PostgreSQL, so choose your flavor and issue the appropriate command like:
    sudo yum install mysql-devel

    or postgresql-devel or sqlite-devel as appropriate.

  5. Follow the instructions supplied by the REE installer. They did a nice job on that. To install Passenger when I was done, some additional source code files were required:
    sudo yum install httpd-devel apr-devel
    sudo /opt/ruby-enterprise-1.8.7-2010.01/bin/passenger-install-apache2-module
  6. Once again, follow the prompts to add the proper load module and path commands to your web server configuration, add a configuration file for your site, and you’re ready to start installing your site’s code.

NOTE: It wasn’t the case with my particular host, but you may need to adjust your SELinux settings, if you’ve got SELinux enabled. See the post at http://www.catapult-creative.com/2009/02/04/installing-rails-on-centos-5/ and look for “SELinux” for some ideas.

Notes from MonadLUG, 14-May-2009, Tim Wessels and Kablink

Five people attended the May meeting of the Monadnock Linux User Group. Thanks to Charlie for scrambling at the last minute to secure the Peterborough Town Library for the meeting, as our regular venue was unavailable. Charlie made the iniital announcements – Ed Lawson presents Scribus in June, Charlie will show OpenBSD in July, no August meeting, and Patrick Galbraith returns for another (not-to-be-missed) meeting on MySQL in September.

Tim Wessels did the main presentation of the evening. Kablink is the Open Source version of Novell’s Teaming product, bought from SiteScape, Inc., a company that started in Clock Tower Place in Maynard, MA. The Open Source version had been known as ICECore previously. Source code can be downloaded from http://www.kablink.org and sourceforge. Tim discussed some of the history of the project, where and how it is being used, possible ways to configure it for workgroup and corporate enterprise use. and reviewed some of the challenges and tricks to installation and configuration. If you’re looking for an Open Source competitor to Microsoft’s Sharepoint, with the ability to create portals, finely-control roles and access, and scale to thousands of documents, Kablink is worth investigating.

Thanks to Tim for the presentation, Charlie for running the meeting, and all for attending!

Life After VFP

Robert Jennings posts Yet “Another Life After VFP Thread.” For those not following VFP closely, MS recently announced a confirmation of earlier news that there were no plans for a VFP version 10, and that the VFP scripts in the project known as Sedna would be released under some sort of public license. Poor communications lead to media and Slashdot reports that VFP was to be Open Sourced, sadly not the case.

Robert does a good job of outlining the huge cost in moving a vertical-niche application into another development environment, language and runtime. Most sophisticated specialty applications have person-years of investment built into them, knowledge not easily extracted, transferred or translated to any new environment. Regardless of whether that new environment is Dot Net, Dabo, LAMP, Python or Visual Fred, there will be a huge cost and risk with any enterprise making this switch.

Unlike the Open Source world, when a vendor choses to discontinue a product, developers have little choice but to move along. While many folks point out the upside that the product will likely run for years to come, and a lack of Microsoft official support doesn’t instantly obsolete a product (DOS apps can still be found, after all), there is an immediate slowdown in the custom software market, and a longer-term turning away from the product by customers. Large-scale vertical products have to be operating with 5- and 10-year plans for reinvestment and changes in direction, to ensure they can fund “The Next Big Thing” while continuing to deliver good value to their customers today and tomorrow.

This is not a death knell for the product. The writing has been on the wall for years. But developers with large applications have to be looking around for a new platform.

FoxPro developers always viewed themselves with a bit of “Battlestar Galactica” mythology: a rag-tag crew of self-taught developers from the PC Revolution, they survived the dBASE wars and the implosion of Ashton-Tate. Working under a cruel master who never promoted their product, they persevered. MS’ internal team developing VFP did amazing things on a shoestring budget, introducing a fairly smooth transition from procedural to object-oriented, from developer-guided to event-driven interfaces, from characters to pixels, from local ISAM to RDBMS. The VFP IDE was a remarkable environment in which to develop rich-client, component-based, web-driven or even server-based applications. I will miss it, and look forward to becoming as skilled at my next platform.

MonadLUG meets tomorrow night: Joomla! and uniq

MonadLUG meets tomorrow night, 7 PM at the SAU1 offices in Peterborough (directions here). The Man Page of the Month will be uniq, presented by Raymond Cote. The MPOM have been very successful: one volunteer takes a few minutes to talk about a single command. Nearly all of the presenters have included a double-sided handout with command reference and some illustrative real-world examples. It gives attendees a chance to share their experiences and observations and I never fail to hear “I didn’t know it could do THAT.”

The main presentation will be on Joomla! by Guy Pardoe. Joomla! is a content management system based on LAMP and fairly easy to install, configure and maintain. An active developer base, support forum and a huge user manual make basic operations pretty approachable. I’ll be interested in hearing Guy’s insights.

Dabo rocks!

I’ve mentioned it before, but the dabo project rocks! dabo is intended to be a cross-platform (Mac/Linux/Windows/Everywhere) rich-client application (like FoxPro 2.5 before MS bought it) with the rich-client experience (grids, list boxes, checkboxes, pageframes, menus, multiple forms) in the appropriate widget-set for each OS. It supports a slew of backend data sources (MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, Oracle, more) and is designed with a similar architecture (UI-BizObjects-Data) to many of the FoxPro frameworks. Best of all, it’s written in Python and available under an Open Source license.

I’ve spent a couple days downloading the source, watching the excellent screencast tutorials, browing the extensive mailing list archives and wiki, running the demos, generating an app with the App Wizard and reading the code. I’ve got an existing LAMP application that would benefit from a rich-client component with reporting capabilities, and dabo looks like a good choice. Hope to blog my progress as I get into it.


A favorite Saturday radio show is Michael Feldman’s “Whad’YaKnow” with its predictable lineup of standup, quiz shows, interviews and yes, the Disclaimers. Since it seems I’m not a lucky winner of an Acer Ferrarri for all the nice things I’ve said about Vista, I want to take a stand here and say that I’m not taking back a single word. The issue has brought up (again) the question of the imparitiality of bloggers, a tempest in a teacup in the dead news week between Christmas and New Years when not much else happens other than this-year-retrospectives and pundit’s predictions for next year. Some question the impartiality of bloggers, to which I say, “Well, duh.” Bloggers are real human voices who have agendas, prejudices, biases, opinions and stubborn beliefs. Here are some of my disclaimers:

1. I make my living solving people’s computer problems. I like to say nice things about my customers and I like it when they say nice things about me. I rarely if ever mention a customer in my blog, but when I do, I point out the relationship.

2. I favor LAMP solutions because I believe they are the optimal solution for many situations. I’ve invested time, effort and money in mastering the tools to deliver those solutions, and I’d like my investment to pay off.

3. I own an Apple iMac and want to see Apple succeed.

4. I don’t own an Apple iPod and want DRM to end. I own a teeny amount of Apple stock.

5. I own stock in RedHat (NYSE:RHT) mostly to have them send me their annual report for free. I own sufficient stock to pay for about seven minutes of my retirement.

6. I don’t own any stock in Google. If anyone wants to send me some, feel free.

7. Microsoft: hard to write a simple, glib sentence that summarizes a complex relationship. I’m a former “Solutions Channel” partner, Certified Professional, MCSD, MCSE and nine-time MVP. As a Solution Provider and MVP I often received free or reduced cost products for review, testing or in-house use. I was paid as a lead author on a certification exam. I was feted occasionally with airfare and some expenses covered to visit Redmond for indoctrination/education. Some of it worked. Some of it was pitiful. I invested a lot in MS in the nineties, and I’m cashing out. Their business practices are too rough. Their “vision” is too weak. Their belief that each and every customer should be paying them hundreds of dollars each year is just delusional. I believe that Microsoft had the computer industry reins in their hands in the nineties and could have matured into a powerful and wise industry leader. They blew it.

8. Microsoft Visual FoxPro is the most productive development environment I have ever worked in, bar none. I miss it, and I’m bitter the vendor doesn’t want to promote it to their customers.

9. I have most of my meager riches in retirement funds held by big financial companies that invest it in stuff I don’t always approve of, like telecom oligopolies, pharmaceutical companies, large software companies in the Pacific Northwest (sell! sell! before it’s too late!!!), defense industries and other investments that will make money and perhaps allow me to retire some day. This doesn’t make me want to say nicer things about them.

10. Recent winners should sit on their hands and let someone else play for a change.

11. Office staff should be grateful for having a job at all and not tie up the office phones trying to play.

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