Friday, October 1, 2010


I have about a dozen grand projects tumbling about my cranium at any given moment. The most important involve taking my love of computers and programming, and turning it into profit so that one day, when I am rich, I can feed homeless people all the time. One idea that has been bubbling on the biggest back burner has been to make myself marketable as a website designer/online application developer. To do this, I have studied several approaches, and am near making something useful. First, you must have a system to develop upon, and a system to receive the code. I am of the opinion that the two should match, if not the exact hardware, then most certainly OS/application versions, file versions, etc. I see the wisdom in this approach because at work we have two systems running basically the same thing. One is MS SQL Server 2000, the other is MS SQL Server 2005. Both machines have a 'dev', 'test', and 'production' instance, and the process we use for promoting changes in the system is different for each machine. People, this is a product made by the same company! It's kinda scary to me to think that there are vastly different ways of doing thing just in the different versions of the same software.

Granted, FOSS *nix operating systems and software is a little different, grep is grep and vim is vim (and awexome, suck that EMACS boys!) no matter the *nix, but there are some differences. Take for instance the Ubuntu version of shutdown and the FreeBSD version of shutdown, they both can shutdown the computer, but in Ubuntu it's `shutdown -h now`, and in FreeBSD it's `shutdown -p now`. The difference is huge! in FreeBSD `shutdown -h now` will only halt the system, in ubuntu it powers down. So what's a boy to do? remember two different shutdown commands? maybe, so what if I do?

Personally, as I get older, I am finding it easier to just use one system for developing, and one system to deploy. It's hard for me to invest in learning a gobjillion ways of doing something, so TIMTOWDI is great when gettin' my hack on, but horrible when actually deploying an application.

I am rambling to say this, php is not for me I think. I am sure I will be learning more of it, and will be using it from time to time, but I will not find it enjoyable. I love ruby too much. It's exactly what I want and expect in a scripting/programming language. My LAMP cannot be a LAMP, I need something else, another acronym:
FLPR stands for FreeBSD, Lighttpd, PostgreSQL, Ruby(or Rails), and it is going to be my deployment platform. I am not sure exactly what I will be deploying yet, Antlers perhaps? but one day, I will be deploying something. I have two obstacles to overcome,
1. Ubuntu has made me OS lazy. I don't know as much as I should about Linux. I've been using it almost exclusively for the past four years, and I used it for two year (way back in the day!) in highschool. Ubuntu does a lot of things for me, so I have been focusing on developing my skills as a generic programmer instead of a competent sys admin. It's only natural right? I abhor specialization though. sigh, that's a different matter.
2. I don't know a thing about lighttpd. It's going to have a learning curve. It's going to be a while before I have to worry about it as I develop my first application, but that brings up another problem. I want to use it because I keep asking myself Can rails scale? and figure even if it does happen to scale very nicely, I still want a fast webserver, the hardware on my deployment machine ain't exactly state o' the art.

the hard target here is the FreeBSD way of doing things. Currently, I utilize the most recent ruby, the most recent rails, and I use rubygems to manage my gems. That is not the FreeBSD way. I am not even sure how to do things my way on a FreeBSD platform. Should that be a clue? Why not just use Linux? Simplest answer to that is "because I don't want to" :P It is honestly, a little more complicated than that, but that would be a political discussion, and it would also be an adventure in missing the point. here are some issues I have had with FreeBSD recently (6 months to a year ago)
1. FreeBSD uses ports to install gems, and perhaps my google-fu needs practice, but I haven't been able to discover a good way to use rubygems to install gems in FreeBSD instead of the ports. Gems need to be installed via gems, not via ports. I cannot compromise there.
2. Related to item 1: ruby on FreeBSD is old. I think I can fix that, at least I will be able to, or maybe I can get a friend to look at it for me, and guide us on the way.
Once these two issues are sorted out, i will begin developing an awesome application. until then, I languish along.


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