Random things

More cleaning up Kept New things in Bloglines –

  • Seth Nickell’s essay about Sabayon makes it look like one of the coolest things I’ve seen in ages. Help desktop sysadmins by allowing them to fire up and configure a user profile (or user group profile) in an Xnested X session. Wow. Cool.
  • rds’ points about Linux users’ laissez-faire attitude to security deserves a real post, but I’m not going to get time. Suffice to say that yes, he’s right, we need to be more aware—Paul Vixie once famously said that “if I can get you to ‘su and say’ something just by asking, you have a very serious security problem on your system and you should look into it”—but I think he underestimates the amount of damage hostile code can do as a user in a world of single-user desktop Linux machines, and he also underestimates the amount that application authors try to avoid bad situations: Apache disavows all privileges, for example, and Hula isn’t supposed to run as root, it was just that way because of a bug in the initial release, which was being fixed.
  • Ian Bicking talks about professionalism in much the same way I do; it’s a code word for staid, stuck-in-the-mud, mindlessly carrying on according to some contentless plan handed down by your betters rather than innovating. The true progress comes when you salt “professionalism” with un professionalism, or the other way around; anarchic groups of hackers don’t get much done (don’t claim that major open source projects are like this, because they are not; there are leaders and process), and “professional” places don’t do a lot of innovation. The interface between the two—the “edge of chaos“, as Michael Crichton has it—is where stuff really happens.
  • More comments on Python vs. .NET stuff from a conversation I had with Reggie Burnett. Again, something I ought to compose a proper reply to but haven’t had time…
  • Python, Quixote, and Cheetah together is the way forward for web applications, says Edd Dumbill: “Quixote plus Cheetah could be the direct (and free) Python answer to ASP.NET“.
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