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Barry Hawkins

Product Development Consultant, Educator, and Coach

Web Services Count On Moore’s Law Matching Hardware Buying Cycles

Tonight’s AJUG meeting covered web services within the broader context of service-oriented architecture (SOA). While SOA can certainly have something other than web services involved, the focus of the discussion was web services, since that’s been a hot topic for a while. The more I hear about web services, the more reservation I have about a wholesale embrace of them. They are certainly not the panacea for technological integration ills (and consultant salary ills) that so much marketing hypes them to be.

So, what’s my big hangup with web services? XML versus a binary protocol, that’s what. In every presentation on web services that I have attended in the last two years, I have heard reference to Moore’s Law. The presenter makes reference to Moore’s Law because invariably someone like myself asks the question, “so what kind of impact does the use of human-readable XML instead of a binary protocol have?” The presenter usually states that the overhead can be 2 to 3 times that of a comparable transaction using a binary protocol. But, according to the presenter, that’s irrelevant, because with Moore’s law the power of machines will double shortly and the overhead will be imperceivable.

Whew, that’s a relief. Well, not really.
Read More »Web Services Count On Moore’s Law Matching Hardware Buying Cycles

Thoughts on open source mailing lists

After the robust thread started by the recent post to the Debian PowerPC mailing list, I received a private message from someone I had indirectly affected in what I wrote. His name is Joe Malik, and he actually does much for that mailing list in terms of participation and helping folks along. I thought about what he wrote to me, and it caused me to reflect on what I had quickly banged out in frustration. Part of my response to him spoke to some general thoughts of mine about open source involvement and mailing lists. I have posted part of it below:
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OK Debian Linux PowerPC mailing list, it’s like this…

Call it frustration, call it justified anger, call it whining, but I finally had enough of the response I and other new list members have been getting on the Debian lists. Being a new list member, you don’t exactly want to alienate everyone, particularly when you need their assistance if you’re ever going to come up to speed.

I reached a point shortly after my previous post where the risk of being alienated was outweighed by the state of things on the list. So, I posted the following:
Read More »OK Debian Linux PowerPC mailing list, it’s like this…

Word from the oracle, or what the hell is reverting to canoncial form

To put it mildly, trying to make some noteworthy progress with getting Debian Linux to run on the PowerBook is not going well. One thing that makes the already-frustrating experience even more unpleasant is getting answers or advice from those in the know. Participation on open source mailing lists is voluntary; we all know this. People answer as they have time, etc.

However, when you have burned 4-6 hours on something, then you hit a brick wall, and then you articulate a fairly detailed question, you hope for some guidance. I have been getting quite a few one-line, cryptic answers that tend to lead me on another 2-hour quest that ends in my learning that the answer was only half the story. I think my frustration is starting to show, as one of my posts from today’s adventures shows:
Read More »Word from the oracle, or what the hell is reverting to canoncial form

The price of learning, or why apt-get is so important

Today is another day of finding that I have expended quite a bit of effort that could have been spared if I knew more about the apt package management system of Debian. The current XFree86 version woes I am seeing where one package for 4.3.0 pulls in several older 4.2.1 packages could have all been averted were I not using the documentation that recommends the use of dselect for package management. So, as it turns out, RTM isn’t always the answer. The excerpt from one of my posts to the Debian PowerPC list fleshes it out:
Read More »The price of learning, or why apt-get is so important