sábado, 31 de julio de 2010

RMS is liberal, not a libertarian


I was reading the latest responses by RMS to 25 very important questions he was asked recently. It's been linked from the two IT news site I read most often (OSnews, LinuxToday), so it was like unavoidable to read it.

While reading, I found a rather interesting statement by RMS: That seems to describe the viewpoint called "laissez-faire" or "Libertarian". Where business is concerned, I disagree with it very throughly, because I'm a Liberal, not a Libertarian.

I'm venezuelan, you see? And the things that are going on in Venezuela are despicable. I just can't understand how so may people can still follow a government so bad after 11 years just because 20 years ago a guy showed up on TV in a 30-second clip to say that he was guilty for a failed coup d'état (whereas all the other cells of their movement were successful in getting their tasks done...in other words, the only one who actually failed!). I don't support coup d'états, let's make it clear.

Venezuela's government has become a theocracy lately. Who's the god? Chávez? Not at all. The god in Venezuela is called 'Socialism'
(old-fashioned very far left-wing socialism.. the one where the leader has to be protected from criticisms of all kinds and so on ). The government is certain that socialism is going to solve each and every problem faced by Venezuelans. But when will that happen? There's not such certainty on this point. It's such a shame to see this high-level venezuelan politicians say how socialism is the only way to solve x or y problem... it's offensive, really.

Sorry for the break and going back to RMS: In Venezuela the government pushed for FLOSS (and I'm thankful for that). And there's people (government followers) that believe that FLOSS is somehow related to 'Socialism'. I bet they'd go as far as to present RMS as one of the nowadays socialist heroes and the Free Software Movement as the the equivalent of Khmer Rough for IT. I'd also bet more than one guy out there is more than willing to paint RMS together with Fidel, Che and Marx (well, they have the guts to have Simón Bolívar and Jesus Christ in that crowd having the last supper, so no surprises) or RMS holding a rifle in his hands (to defend Revolution), just like it's been done with Jesus Christ in walls in Caracas. I just can't see how something where there's no central control (as FLOSS is) can be somehow related to Socialism (far left-wing, as I said). Perhaps the ways of the community that's associated to FLOSS could be somehow related to the ideal socialist community's behaviour, but Free Software per se? So it's always reassuring when RMS defines himself as a liberal. No more doubts about that anymore.

Perhaps Free Software Development model could be related to examples of almost pure liberal environments and used in scientific/social investigation. I think some investigations have already been made, right?

PS I don't have anything against socialism per se. It's a political philosophy and there's nothing wrong (if you ask me) with applying some of its principles in public policy (the ones that have been tried and have had a good result in different places). But when it's used as the excuse to apply bad public policies that have been tried in the past (and failed miserably... both in the past and in their actual instance), that won't leave a good trail for it in the future.

martes, 20 de julio de 2010

How to (easily) fool your host into thinking a name is mapped to a certain IP address


Very recently I've been involved in setting up a site that uses Google Maps API. When you want to use the API you have to create a key that is generated according to the name of the site but, as of now, the DNSs of the name we want to use are not pointing to our hosting. I could use the IP address of the host where the site is, right? Well, no. It's a shared hosting so requests have to be made by name.

In this case I have to fool my host into thinking that the name we want to use is mapped to an IP without going through public DNS resolution. I could set up a DNS service just to serve this name and forward everything else but it sounds like an overkill, doesn't it?

In GNU/Linux (and I'd dare to say in any POSIX compliant OS) there's a simpler way to do this:


In this file we can map names to IP addresses at will. So this thing I want to do could be performed by adding a single line to my /etc/hosts (not a real example... IP address and name are bogus): mydomain.com

Then I could go to http://mydomain.com and I'd be able to see the site that uses Google Maps, even if the name is not "officially" public.

Notice this trick (surprise, surprise) also works in Windows (which is POSIX compliant, right?), only the file that has to be edited is System32\drivers\etc\hosts

Additional information:
man hosts
man nsswitch.conf

viernes, 16 de julio de 2010

Is moving to IPv6 all that important, really?

I'm reading this article where we are told how important it is moving to IPv6 (and I'm not saying it isn't), but I can't help but wonder... will enterprises (for example) really have to move to IPv6? Let's suppose you work in a not so large enterprise where basically the only internet need is to reach internet as a client (which I guess would be most of the needs of a large portion of internet users). Does it make sense to move the whole infrastructure to IPv6? I don't think so. With having the proxy/nat server set up with IPv6 to gain internet access, the inner networking for said enterprise could remain using IPv4, or isn't it?

jueves, 15 de julio de 2010

Well over half of the most reliable hosting companies run on Linux


I like to follow statistics on market share of browsers, os, web server and so on. They have to be taken with a big grain of salt for sure but they do give us a look at trends more or less accurate (or so I think).

One of the most interesting statistics I've been following are the ones presented by Netcraft regarding web server market share and OS used by hosting companies. The Web Server market share (Apache Vs IIS and so on) is the one you'll see more often talked about on the web. But the one about reliability is rarely (if ever) talked about... so I'll take a couple of lines to talk about latest statistics that correspond to June'10 puts it like this:

- Over two thirds (29 out of 42) of the most reliable hosting companies use Linux (would they use GNU along with it?)
- 14.2% use BSD (FreeBSD to be more precise)
- A little less than 10% use Windows
- 3 out of 42 are a big question mark

How about that? You think the numbers are accurate... or are they skewed?

PS Did you see the uptime chart for microsoft.com? It's kind of shameful, you know? No wonder it's used by less than 10% of the most reliable hosting providers. :-)