October 2009


development15 Oct 2009 08:02 am

A client who I did a project for in the past contacted me and asked if I had some availability to migrate over a system I developed from the really old infrastructure it was running on to some newer hardware.  Once migrated, my client could end support for the really old hardware, and turn it down saving money.  Great idea.  Could I provide an estimate on the amount of time required to get everying migrated and working?  Sure.   I think about it and go over what was required for the previous activity and esimate about 2 weeks or so.

The old environment was a Solaris 2.6 server.  The new environment was Solaris 10.

The new system required me to install GPG encryption and PHP to work within a SunOne iPlanet web server.  Sounds simple?  Right?  Wrong.

While Sun powered the Internet boom around the late 90’s and year 2000’s, Sun pretty much fell by the wayside.  Sun purchased Netscape iPlanet, and bundled the web server with their standard distribution.  But, the Open Source movement and the Free Software Foundation came out with Apache.  A web server that performed circles around SunOne iPlanet.  My friend Ron did some really good performance testing of SunOne, and could demonstrate chapter and verse how an Apache web server could support way more users then an iPlanet web server.

Many high performance web sites still running on Solaris eventually migrated over to Apache to get the more bang for the buck.  But, for web sites that were not highly scaled, why spend the dollars to migration from SunOne iPlanet to Apache if everything is working?

The problem comes in when you attempt to find software distributions from Sun Freeware that are packaged as executables for SunOne iPlanet on Solaris 10.  The only pre-compiled packages of PHP were for Apache.  The source code was available, but, to build PHP, there were many many MANY steps.  I’ll rattle off a few of them.

– Install lots of packages

– GCC

– Libgcc

– A bunch of other libraries

– gmake

Then I find out that the Solaris 10 development server I was using was installed as a development server.  When you install Solaris on a server, you are asked which flavor you wish to install.  Production (stripped down), development (more stuff), or Full Distribution (everything).  Trying to get GCC to complile things required MANY libraries be installed on the server.  Again, more time required to get everything working.  And, while trying to debug while your make and compile was working, you get really descriptive errors, like “Error 10” – Compilation failed

Error 10!  What’s error 10?  google and google until I find a roadmap down the pieces and parts that are not working.

Finally, everything compiles, the software is installed, and the web site looks to be working, then need to tweet the GPG encyption so it uses the previously generated keys.   Then a bunch of debugging on the PHP to encryption component.

Everything finally started working, but, unfortunately, it took about 3 times longer then I anticipated.   Thats the problem in IT when you attempt to estimate a development cycle in a vacum with on partial information avaialble.

The project was fun because I really had to really roll up my sleves and get into a development cycle.  

The client should recoop the investment by turning down the old infrastrucutre, which rarely happens in IT.

Uncategorized06 Oct 2009 08:14 am

I was surfing through eBay the other day.  I own a couple of different businesses and one sells large quanties of stuff on eBay, so I often frequent eBay.

I wasn’t exactly looking for an iPod, when I clicked on a link on the eBay homepage, I was presented with all of the iPod auctions ending shortly.

Impulse buying overcame me, thinking I would get one of my Children an iPod at a really good price.   And with Paypal buyer protection, if it showed up in less the optimal condition, I could return it and get my money back.

The next thing I know, the iPod arrives, with over 11,000 songs.  All manor or songs I like, never heard, don’t like, etc.

But,  at iTunes prices of songs for .99 centes, that cheap iPod on eBay had a music value of over $11,000.    I copied 42GB of music to my home NAS server, so my children can now stumble through a litany of classic rock, punk, classical, country, western, country & western, opera, etc.

Over 11,000 songs of musical enjoyment for the cost of a used iPod.  That sa pretty nice way to start the day.