Drupal's Earl Miles on Lullabot Podcast

Jeff Robbins from Lullabot recently interviewed Drupal developer Earl "MerlinofChaos" Miles for an audio podcast. Earl Miles is the lead developer for some of the more popular contributed modules found at Drupal.org. The podcast focuses on his Drupal module work which includes Views, Panels, and Node Queue. Jeff Robbins also managed to ask some non-Drupal questions in the 88 minute recording that I found just as fascinating. Personally, I always enjoy opportunities to get to know more about the developers behind the software I'm using.

Windows XP SP3, Internet Explorer 6, and Complacency

Microsoft has never said that they would drop support for Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) after the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3. However, I've often wondered if it would be to Microsoft's advantage, as well as beneficial to their customers, if they did drop the IE6 support. With Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) now the status quo for most non-Enterprise users of Windows and IE8 development underway, what better opportunity is there to end support for IE6 than now?

There is no question that Microsoft is supporting IE6 in the next service pack. Jane Maliouta, Microsoft's Deployment Project Manager for IE8, addressed IE6 support with XP SP3 in an IEBlog post on IE and Windows XP SP3.

XPSP3 will continue to ship with IE6 and contains a roll-up of the latest security updates for IE6. If you are still running Internet Explorer 6, then XPSP3 will be offered to you via Windows Update as a high priority update. You can safely install XPSP3 and will have an updated version of IE6 with all your personal preferences, such as home pages and favorites, still intact.

So the question remains, just how long does Microsoft plan to support this 7 year old browser? From as near as I can tell, support for Internet Explorer 6 is tied to the life cycle of the Windows XP operating system. Mainstream support for Windows XP is currently dated to end in April 14, 2009. So that means Internet Explorer 6 will have been on the desktop for more than eight years! While enterprises may take comfort that product support for Windows XP and IE6 has lasted so long, consumers and the rest of the world have since moved on with the changing world.

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Development milestone for Geeklog 1.5

The release of Geeklog 1.5.0 Beta 1 by the Geeklog Team marked a new milestone for the open source blogging system. Although the software is still in development, Geeklog's developers hope to release the final version of Geeklog 1.5 on May 26th. The end of May marks the beginning of the coding phase for Google's Summer of Code 2008. To mark the occasion, Geeklog is highlighting the work done by students participating in last year's Summer of Code that is going into this new release. How cool is that!

Changes found in Geeklog 1.5.0 incorporates the following projects implemented during the 2007 Google Summer of Code:

  • New user-friendly install script
  • New Configuration Graphical User Interface
  • New Webservices API based on the Atom Publishing Protocol

Review of 9 open source e-commerce platforms

Webdistortion, a web design studio in Northern Ireland, recently reviewed nine different e-commerce platforms. All nine platforms reviewed were open source software packages.

With e-commerce webdesign really starting to take off, its never been more important to choose a platform which suits you as a developer (i.e. one that you can support) and one that will provide your clients with the features that they need to run a successful online shop.

There are a number of ways of getting a shop online, and we’ve focused primarily on open source e-commerce platforms here.

PHP 5.2.6 Released

The PHP development team started the month of May with the release of PHP 5.2.6. With over 120 bug fixes, this release is mainly focused on stability. There are however several security enhancements in PHP 5.2.6:

  • Fixed possible stack buffer overflow in the FastCGI SAPI identified by Andrei Nigmatulin.
  • Fixed integer overflow in printf() identified by Maksymilian Aciemowicz.
  • Fixed security issue detailed in CVE-2008-0599 identified by Ryan Permeh.
  • Fixed a safe_mode bypass in cURL identified by Maksymilian Arciemowicz.
  • Properly address incomplete multibyte chars inside escapeshellcmd() identified by Stefan Esser.
  • Upgraded bundled PCRE to version 7.6

References: Release Announcement, PHP 5.2.6 ChangeLog, PHP.net Download page

Are you using KnowledgeTree or SharePoint?

It has been awhile since I've considered using KnowledgeTree on the office intranet. I eventually decided that I needed to focus more on our content management system (we are now using Drupal) and consider implementing a document management system (DMS) at a later date. A recent Linux.com article on KnowledgeTree reminded me about the DMS that I almost forgot about.

These days, effective document management means accessibility from anywhere on the planet, electronic storage, reliable backup, and instant document modification updates. KnowledgeTree offers all that and more. It's available in several editions, including an open source community version (which we reviewed last year) that businesses can tailor to their individual needs.

You can install KnowledgeTree in-house on your company's server or use it as an online, hosted service. With it, you can create, edit, and store documents from Linux, Mac, and Windows computer. KnowledgeTreeLive, the hosted version, can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection and a supported browser -- Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer.

I always promised myself that I would take a second look at KnowledgeTree sometime down the road. Unfortunately, at least for for KnowledgeTree, the regional office I'm under has started a move toward Microsoft's SharePoint. As I've written in the past, SharePoint is confusing system to describe and even Microsoft has a tough time explaining their product to potential customers. I initially thought SharePoint would be more of a CMS, Portal, and wiki but each time I've looked at SharePoint I'm realizing that it's greater strength may be in document management.

Simple Machines grants permission for Drupal-SMF Bridge

Last week, I mentioned that the the Drupal SMFforum Integration module was no longer being supported by the module's project leader, "vb". Apparently, Simple Machines had not granted permission to the module developer to distribute code found in the SMF application as required by the Simple Machines License. While some discussion followed this announcement at the SMF forums, as well as here at CMS Report, none of this discussion compared to what took place at the Open Source Community.

The good news is that Simple Machines LLC has granted vb to continue distributing some of the SMF code to work with the Drupal SMFforum Integration module. vb wrote:

How free is free?

It looks as if Laura Scott, pingVision, had some free time on her hands. There are reasons free servcies on the Internet are free. Laura wants you to start asking yourself, "why?".

Is the future really free?

It seems we've entered an age where there's a land-grab happening for personal data and attention time. Look at all the web start-ups backed by venture capital. They aren't investing out of philanthropy. There's value there. YouTube is "free" but Google paid over a billion dollars for it. Why?

Here's a hint: It's not about the Tube. [Read more at Laura Scott's Blog]

Personally, I'll need to read her post a few times and soak in on the information from her excerpts. Some things to think about...

Recovering from the Winter Weather Blues

Observed snowfall for April 25, 2008

Seeing four inches of snow on the ground in April does not make those that love summer happy.

We had four inches of snow here, but other parts of South Dakota received more than a foot of snow. In other words, I can't complain too much, but I still hold the right to complain a little! The good news is that most of the snow has melted with only a few snow drifts still left in the yard.

Seeing this much snow during the last weeks of April isn't unheard of in the northern plains, but it doesn't happen too often. I think the last time I saw this much snow in April was in 2004. For the meteorologists at heart, the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls has a good explanation for show these type of winter weather storms develop in April.

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