mrchrist is currently certified at Apprentice level.

Name: Matthew Christensen
Member since: 2000-07-21 18:40:28
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Although my roots go back to writing games & apps in C++ on the Mac, the last 5 years of my life have been devoted to web programming. I started with perl and, god help me, am still there. I did a couple of major projects in PHP, and learned Python/Zope, but have found that perl suits my needs well, and that mason/apache/mod_perl is a powerful and flexible solution. I've heard good things about JSP, and since I learned java back when it meant applets, I'm interested, but just haven't found the time.

I work almost entirely on Linux, although I admit that I like to have a Wintel box around to run IE5 (renders so fast!) Worked with NT for a while, but its buggyness soured me on the whole NT kernel. Unfair, perhaps, but Linux has yet to let me down (yes, yes, I should try Free/Open/NetBSD, i know).


FreePFM A GPL'd web-based personal finance manager written as perl CGIs (for portability, mostly).

CryptWriter OK, so it's not open source...but it is a shareware (!) program I wrote back when I was 15 for the mac. Just found it through an internet search. Amazing what pops up from your past, eh?

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Decided to take my old-school GPL project FreePFM and try an experiment. Gonna write up some requirements, then implement it in PHP, Java (JSP + Servlets), J2EE (EJBs), .NET, Java Swing, and a standalone windows app. All apps will communicate with the same database. Should make an interesting project. I've wanted to learn some MS technologies for a while now, see what they're really like.

BeOS is slick and cool. Unfortunatly, I am having trouble getting my hardware working properly. Plug and play my ass. At least it reboots quickly.

Using BeOS reminds me of being a Macaddict, when everything was shareware. Linux has spoiled me, I'm so used to everything, quality or crap, being free. As in beer.

Koolaid! Just got BeOSinstalled on my Thinkpad.

Except that it won't recognize my pcmcia network card, which I suppose makes it basically worthless to me.

I want to start playing around with GUI development to take a break from all the web design I do. But what environment to use? Tk means I can use python/perl, but it's ugly. KDE vs. gnome/gtk? Do I bite the bullet and get VisualC++ just to see how the other side lives? Maybe java/swing? yerg. so many choices. I miss my Apple II and getting to choose between LoRes and HiRes (ok, so you could also choose HiRes 2 and get more screen resolution) modes.

Decided to cure my malaise by novelty. Started learning Python again with the eventual aim of converting Mason to python. Don't know if it'll happen, but boy is python a gorgeous language. I mean, I love perl, but it is so fugly...And on the OS front, bought myself a copy of BeOS 5.0 to see what's up on that front. Should be fun.

<rant>Has anyone else noticed how little innovation there really is in the free software community? I mean, I was browsing sourceforge last night for projects, and realized i could be:

  1. Creating a new IRC client
  2. Creating a new Napster|Gnutella|Freenet client
  3. Writing a new window manager
  4. Working on a massively multiplayer OpenGL space/fantasy 3l33t RPG.
Is their anything really innovative out there? </rant>

An issue that I've been struggling with for a while is the relationship between free software development and employment as a programmer. I had a problem at my last job where I finished a perl module and I wanted to release it to CPAN. Although the work was done at home, I decided to follow the appropriate channels. Needless to say, the answer I got was not the answer I wanted -- my employer owned anything I did on or off the job that was "related" to my work. Which, of course, as a web developer, is just about anything. I could submit the thing to a board for a limited or educational release licence, but they'd have to evaluate its potential commercial value first. Beh.

How do people deal with this? Do we just go ahead and do our GPL projects and hope they never become big/popular enought that companies try to legally grab them? Do we not even bother if we're under the kind of contracts that most programmers are? Is their a happy medium? No idea...


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