Random Screenshot: A “Blank” SharePoint Site in a GNOME Folder

So let’s take a peek at what Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) generates for a “Blank” Collaboration Site. What jumps out at my inexperience with the inelegant innards of SharePoint is the absence of .ASPX files. There’s locale resources, some FrontPage-looking (WebDAV) stuff, some kind of browser capability database (see “Add Blackberry support to Forms Server 2007 or SharePoint 2007”), a *.DLL file for SOAP, a *.DLL file for ‘application pages,’ two different web.config files and the global.asax file that is probably doing most of the heavy lifting.

I assume the rest of the site is in the Content Database. And, oh, by the way, I had some kind of disk catastrophe yesterday and lost a 300meg WSS Content Database! Because the log had some open transactions I could not recover the database. I got almost everything back as disk files (not in SharePoint) from a backup.

Buy this book at Amazon.com!

Jack Wallen: “What replaced the ever-popular KDE 3.5 was something unstable, hardly usable, and as configurable as Windows Vista. Gone were the days of configuring KDE to your exact specifications. KDE was (and is) the first-ever “Microsofting” of the Linux desktop. The developers released something that was painfully worthless and refused to listen to the users when the users gave feedback. On the other side of the battlefront, you have GNOME, which is steadfastly moving forward — the same direction it has been moving for years.”

Because KDE has a reputation for being more complex and Linux power-user ‘friendly,’ it’s quite a surprise to find KDE morph into something that can be accused of emulating Microsoft, Vista-era designs.

Alternative to KDE and GNOME

Julian Coccia: “The fact that GNOME is getting heavier and more unreliable is not my main problem. The big issue I have is that it depends on the Linux implementation of .NET (Microsoft’s framework) called Mono. THAT’S WRONG, PLAIN, SIMPLY WRONG. Mono used to be optional to GNOME, but now it is a dependency. To make things worst, more and more applications are migrating to Mono, which means that, soon, most of GNOME will be built on Microsoft’s .NET. That seems to be very necessary for a lot of people, especially Microsoft. I, for one, don’t want to have any Microsoft junk in my computer.”

My other lousy assumption was that GNOME would not get any where near Mono—because Miguel de Icaza can be charged with the “crime” of leaving the GNOME project to lead Mono development. More truth stranger than fiction…?

Measuring the true success of OpenOffice.org

Michael Meeks: “the statistics show a picture of slow disengagement by Sun, combined with a spectacular lack of growth in the developer community. In a healthy project we would expect to see a large number of volunteer developers involved, in addition – we would expect to see a large number of peer companies contributing to the common code pool; we do not see this in OpenOffice.org. Indeed, quite the opposite we appear to have the lowest number of active developers on OO.o since records began: 24, this contrasts negatively with Linux’s recent low of 160+. Even spun in the most positive way, OO.o is at best stagnating from a development perspective.” This one comes via Jeff Atwood.

Buy this book at Amazon.com! The assumption here is that most Linux desktop veterans would say, “Dude, use Evolution.” But my “weird” response to this gospel truth would be, ‘There’s no Windows version.’ There actually is a Windows version from a Novell rock star programmer but it was not ready when I was looking—and it’s quite strange how it’s being offered.

The way Mozilla presented Thunderbird was not very strange, so I moved my personal email out of Outlook and into Thunderbird (lazily over a series of months) on Windows. And when the time came to move to Linux, I was seriously surprised just how easy it was! I just copied the Windows profile data to my Ubuntu virtual machine, ran thunderbird -P in GNOME and pointed a “new” profile at my old data copied from Windows. Some points of interest:

  • The habit of “surfing” the Web with news feeds and corporate junk mail is now confined to a Linux virtual machine. The new levels of safety here are through the roof! Yes, I admit that I used to do most of this risky work in Windows running as an Administrator.
  • Mozilla Thunderbird uses the mbox format. According to Jonathan de Boyne Pollard, “‘mbox’ is a family of several mutually incompatible mailbox formats.” The great news here is that this format is not some weird stuff Mozilla made up—it’s some weird stuff other people made up—Unix people. Because of this weirdness, we have the MBOX to EML converter by Ulrich Krebs. Java wins here (but I did see a Python code sample somewhere reading mbox).
  • “The Email Standards Project works with email client developers and the design community to improve web standards support and accessibility in email.”
  • Only Ubuntu Linux: “If you want to Import your mails from Evolution to Thunderbird there is very nice utility called MboxImport.”
  • How-To: Import Thunderbird Emails to Evolution

This email management move is a quantum leap for me. Now all of my most intensive, daily data management tasks are confined to super-portable virtual machines (hint: use something like my Western Digital Passport). Data management means hours and hours of little tweaks (often saved in thousands of little files)—and the psychological drag effect of ‘trapping’ all of those work hours on a single device is gone.

Back in 2006, when I interviewed Ed Dun of Fooky.com, I was worried about his use of Microsoft technology for his Web presence. Ed Dunn was not. Now that Microsoft has released its “cloud” offerings, I can understand why Ed Dunn was not worried (even though I know he has a plan A while this Microsoft cloud thing can be his plan B).

You see, let me tell it. It go’ like this:

  • The Microsoft Cloud (which includes Windows Azure) is Microsoft’s slow-ass-but-very-comprehensive response to Internet Service Providers. I know a guy like Paul Thurrott may chuckle at this one because Microsoft is not selling “dot-com names” like GoDaddy.com. But ISP MediaTemple.com is selling a grid computing service (mtgrid < mscloud).
  • The Microsoft Cloud is (obviously) a response to Amazon’s Elastic Computing Cloud. But the Microsoft advantage here is that way too much long-tail data of small-business is in Microsoft formats (SQL Server and Office). Amazon, like Google, can’t touch these formats like Microsoft can. Instead of being scared of losing billions per month (yes, per month) by trapping people into Office formats from the 1990s, Microsoft is finally getting some balls and opening this shit up. For anyone who has ever rented an ISP account that used SQL Server, you will know that the cloud’s SQL Services and the BLOB Storage of Windows Azure make that ISP shit from back in the day look like a joke (I knew it was a joke when I first saw it years ago—which why I use Linux-based systems to this day).
  • The Microsoft Cloud is (maybe-not-so-obviously) a response to Google Apps. Entire Universities use Google Apps for their email and other stuff. Microsoft would like to do this too (and be taken seriously). The tooling story for Google Apps is command-line-python-centric pathetic compared to the Visual Studio flagship that is undefeated (and these words are coming from a guy who just spent hours yesterday writing Java code in Gnome on Ubuntu in NetBeans 6.5RC2 and Eclipse Europa—most Microsoft Employees don’t even know intimately how much better their tooling story is).
  • The Microsoft Cloud strategy is an interactive ‘online service’ for developers. When Microsoft allowed Silverlight developers to host their videos on Microsoft servers, I thought this would be unique and unusual. I am pleased to be wrong about this. For the first time in this crazy-ass company’s history, Microsoft will offer seriously-scalable Internetworking products to its millions of professional developers. Previously, Microsoft just provided some toys to compete with the Dreamweaver market (like FTP upload in Visual Studio). This was (and is) an insult to Microsoft developers who understood the importance of the Internet long before Bill Gates with his whack-ass, corn-fed, “Road Ahead.”
  • The Microsoft Cloud strategy depends on years of real-world experience running several of the biggest Internet sites in the world—like MSDN.com, MSN.com and, by proxy, MySpace.com. It was sad to hear a paying attendee at the PDC stand up at the Q&A microphone and express doubt about Microsoft’s ability to function properly on the Internet. But I blame Microsoft for letting that doubt grow during the years it was bludgeoning Netscape in some silicon back alley.

Buy this book at Amazon.com! In the same manner that most properly-assimilated Americans (north and south) are reluctant to talk about the systematic murder of indigenous peoples, Microsoft will be forever reluctant to talk about why it tried to ‘kill’ (or ignore—which can be same esoteric thing) the entire Internet.

The Microsoft cloud strategies are a tacit apology for this greed-based, imperial blunder. However, remember that MediaTemple.com has these little, toy grids. Little folks like MediaTemple.com will never be able to scale to the level of Amazon.com, Google.com and Microsoft.com. So Microsoft has another chance to actually kill the Internet by taking it over. Seriously. This is not drama on my part. This is just white history poetically repeating itself. This is not the “road ahead” but the “toll road ahead”—for more information about Microsoft’s cloud thing without my racial epithets, see Mary Jo Foley’s “Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform: A guide for the perplexed.”

Buy this Book at Amazon.com! It is sad that Microsoft wasted so much time with a consumer-focused Internet strategy, trying use the defunct MSN to dominate (and hobbling together Google-envious advertising technology deals). Now the cloud will be in the hands of millions of .NET Developers—remember why it’s called “dot net” in the first place? This means that developers, like Ed Dunn, have a huge cushion to fall back on should they so choose—and Microsoft will be operating the toll roads ahead possibly making more billions per month (unless an outfit like AT&T has some mafia litigation to add to the Redmond Karma).

We should be hearing about more Microsoft-based startups instead of ex-employees from Redmond starting up a company like Real Networks.

And, oh, by the way, Microsoft cloud also represents the vindication of REST over SOAP. For more about this, dig into “Paul Prescod, the RESTafarian Most High” here in the kinté space.