Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
  Just too complicated for my old brain
A couple of years ago, I was doing software development on my own, and not having any schedule to keep I decided one day to checkout subversion. Since it was just myself programming, I hadn't been using source control (though I do have various little hacks to prevent the stupid things like removing my only copy of source; and I do have archives of past versions sitting around in tar files); but subversion was the new hip and happening thing so I decided to take a look.

Opening up the requirements page soon tempered my interest:

1. Apache Portable Runtime 0.9.7 (
2. autoconf 2.50 or newer (Unix only)
3. libtool 1.4 or newer (Unix only)
4. Neon library 0.24.7 or 0.25.5 (
5. Berkeley DB 4.X
6. Apache Web Server 2.0.49 or newer
7. Python 2.0 (

Some of the libraries that Subversion depends on themselves have dependencies that add features to what Subversion can do.

Ok, at the time my home machine was running Red Hat 7 (already a dinosaur), I was stuck with apache 1.3 for my user interface on the project, and I don't even think my version of GCC was up to snuff (they were changing it a lot back then). So subversion lost a supporter that day. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like anybody's learned much since then.

ruby rails So now Ruby on Rails is the latest thing since slice bread. Ruby is a cool looking language though I've never dived in deep enough to find some way in which it was better than perl. The performance of the engine has never been that great, but these days who cares--all the servers sit around being bored 99.999% of the time anyways.

Our main project is back using perl and home grown macros to pump out interesting views of boring numbers, but I have a number of side projects including one to keep track of rafts. The perfect thing, I thought, to use Ruby for. (I know if I don't force myself to use Ruby for an existing project, I'll never get around to using it. Just look how far I've gotten with OCaml & Lua). Somehow I'll probably also get sparklines in there which should exercise Ruby iterators.

Thanks to a hard drive crash late last year, I have a box with a relatively recent operating system on it now (FC4. yes I know FC5 is out, but I'm not updating my system. I don't even know where my system is, exactly). If that hadn't happened, I'd probably be trying to install Rails on redhat nine or something, heaven help me. Looks like there's a fair bit of advise for installing this stuff onto FC4, so lets see what's required.

So, since the OS is already up and running, lets see what the list of stuff for rails looks like.

ruby and party
yumex (since nobody wants to use yum on the command line)
fastcgi (which requires ...)
lighttpd (which means I have to rewrite iptables)
mysql (luckily I already had that, as well as sqlite; ah but there is some weird password reconfigure to make it work with ruby)
ruby gems
ruby fastcgi bindings
query browser (what's wrong with the commandline?)
true type fonts (huh?)
This looks like more than a one martini install. Well, might as well get started... More news as it happens.
Oooh, I've set up Subversion on my machines... Didn't need to install Apache 2, though; unless you want mod_svn (access to SVN repositories via http), it only depends on APR from the apache side. So setting it up wasn't too bad.

As for Ruby on Rails? Never played with it, but personally I like the look of Django, which is a relatively lightweight Python library for Web app development. It has relatively primitive form support, however, so I'm loooking at porting my homebrew super-sexy PHP forms/AJAX library to it (it does AJAX - well, AHAH to be precise - but if JS isn't available on the browser, falls back transparently to server-side form submissions, without your page code needing to care)
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